Podcast

How Calvinism Distorts the Nature & Character of God Soteriology 101: Former Calvinistic Professor discusses Doctrines of Salvation

Dr. Flowers welcomes Pastor Scott Mitchell, of Calvary Chapel in Boston, who has authored a new book titled, "Rediscovering Romans 9: How Calvinism Distorts the Nature & Character of God"…which can be found here on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Rediscovering-Romans-Calvinism-Distorts-Character/dp/B08W7SNJYK   To SUPPORT this broadcast please click here: https://soteriology101.com/support/   DOWNLOAD OUR APP: LINK FOR ANDROIDS: https://play.google.com/store/apps/de… LINK FOR APPLE: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/soterio…   Go to http://www.ridgemax.co for all you software developing needs! Show them some love for their support of Soteriology101!!!   To ORDER Dr. Flowers Curriculum “Tiptoeing Through Tulip” please click here: https://soteriology101.com/shop/   To listen to the audio only be sure to subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play or one of the other podcast players found here: https://soteriology101.com/home/   For more about Traditionalism (or Provisionism) please visit http://www.soteriology101.com   Dr. Flowers’ book, “The Potter’s Promise” can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/Potters-Promis…   Dr. Flowers’ book, “God’s Provision for All” can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/Gods-Provision…   To engage with other believers cordially join our Facebook group: https://m.facebook.com/groups/1806702…   For updates and news follow us at:  http://www.facebook/Soteriology101   Or @soteriology101 on Twitter   Please SHARE on Facebook and Twitter and help spread the word!   To learn more about other ministries and teachings from Dr. Flowers go here: https://soteriology101.com/2017/09/22…   To become a Patreon supporter or make a one time donation: https://soteriology101.com/support/
  1. How Calvinism Distorts the Nature & Character of God
  2. John 6:29: Is Faith a Work?
  3. Is Faith Just Another "Good Deed"?
  4. Calvinists are Stumped by Colossians 2:12
  5. Does Calvinism lead to Fatalism?

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129 thoughts on “Podcast

  1. Any thoughts on the dilemma Calvinists now face viz a viz astronomers recent observations? Apparently the newer “telescopes” have helped verify Einstein’s theory of relativity. Quantum physics has moved on from workable equations to observable phenomena. Particularly regarding properties and behavior of light. This is significant because it proves that time is part of the created universe, like gravity, matter, energy etc. Doesn’t this blow up all the fancy supralapsarianistic-expeealadotious (sorry I couldn’t resist) concepts?

    1. Stephen Chase:
      First, I should make it clear that I am NOT a Calvinist. However, your post seems to imply that the Calvinists’ supralapsarian/infralapsarian debate involves the CHRONOLOGICAL order of God’s decree whereas I understand this debate to involve the LOGICAL order of God’s decree — i.e., such views don’t necessarily rule out time being part of God’s creation. Indeed, I believe many Calvinists do believe that time is part of God’s creation.

      You claim that evidence for Einstein’s theories of Relativity and/or Quantum Physics “proves that time is part of the created universe, like gravity, matter, energy etc.” How so? Could you explain?

    2. I would like to look at the whole issue from the perspective.of God’s action rather than man’s response.
      Under what circumstance could would God disappear from the intersection with mankinds events.

      Predetermined events down to minutest details would propose In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth and then sits outside of events watching everything come to pass that He already determined would come to pass. God has no need to intervene in our lives nor will He.

      This is a picture of an uncaring, uninvolved in our daily lives type of Greek god who has no resemblance to the God of Scripture who Loves with an everlasting love . He is not sitting idly by watching us in our pain and struggles while He says I ordained it so before the earth was formed. As with Jerusalem when Jesus said “oh Jerusalem Jerusalem How often I would have.gathered you under my wings as a hen doth her chicks but you WOULD not” He calls today and moves into and also upon our daily lives.but many WILL not and it is not because.they COULD NOT.

      1. Hello Plowboy3 and welcome

        Very insightful post!
        Yes – under scrutiny of LOGIC – we will see that in Calvinism there are two categories of events.
        1) Events “Rendered-Certain” to infallibly come to pass
        2) Events NOT “Rendered-Certain” to come to pass – which by their nature are not going to come to pass anyway.

        Now LOGIC shows us
        Event (1) by its very nature cannot be prevented – at pain of falsifying what is infallible.
        And with event (2) there is nothing to prevent – since that event is not going to come to pass anyway.

        Do you remember the Holodeck on the Star Trek Next Generation series?
        The Holodeck is a computer which creates computer SIMULATED scenarios of reality
        Computers are 100% determined – just like Calvinists are.

        Now the Calvinist needs some form of divine prevention – because he sees it within the general narrative of scripture.
        So he has to figure out a way to have it – in a world in which every nano-second is predetermined by a divine program.
        Therefore the closest he can get to it is a computer SIMULATION of it.

        Net result – the Calvinist brain exists in his own little Holodeck.. :-]

  2. Hey thanks Nathanael. Not sure what order without chronology would be. Order of importance or preference? All the Calvinists I’ve run into say things like “eternity past”. Wouldn’t anything related to foreordination involve a past for God? I like CS Lewis’ statement that “God exists in a great unbounded now”. Some Calvinists also seem to equate eternity with infinity. Which makes sense if you believe God is infinite as opposed to eternal. I’m not an astronomer or very well versed in quantum physics. But you can check out some of the really interesting articles from the past two years in the periodicals like National Geographic.

    1. Welcome Steve! The issue of defining eternity past and future is a very important one. Here are my thoughts.

      Ps 90, 2 Sequential Reality

      There are two definitions for “time”. One is connected only to creation… it is the measurement of matter in motion. The other is connected to reality which is from God’s nature.

      Reality is sequential events… befores and afters going backwards infinitely and forwards infinitely. “from everlasting to everlasting” (Ps 90:2)… “who was and is and is to come” (Rev 4:8). There were events of communication, relationship, and decision making in the Godhead before creation of space and matter… right?

      A reality that is sequential and non-sequential for God at the same “time” is a logical contradiction borrowed into Christianity from neo-platonism. The Scripture gives no other “competing” reality for God’s presence, which is contradictory to the word “reality” anyway.

      His foreknowledge is dynamic therefore and not static. His understanding is infinite (Ps 147:5). He knows all the possibilities that still exist and all things that are already determined that limit those possibilities.

      ***********
      Some like the illustration of God as a blimp watching the full parade below. But for a blimp to watch a parade, the full parade has to exist. The future does not exist as a completed entity to watch either as a place or in God’s mind.

      Reality is only sequential, and comes from God’s eternal nature – “from everlasting to everlasting” (Ps 90:2), “who was and is and is to come” (Rev 4:8). Relationship and communication in the Godhead before creation were sequential (befores and afters).

      The underlying important issue is – does God’s mind reflect univocally the sequential reality of His Word, or have scholars discovered in their philosophical reasoning that God hid from Scripture His perspective of reality? It would be a perspective that also makes man’s perspective in Scripture actually faulty, for Scripture makes the future as not yet existing, but in reality it is already existing as completed (forever), for God’s reality is the only true one.

      1. Hey Brian. Thanks so much for that response. I needed to read through it a couple of times to make sure I was tracking. It is a logical and scriptural assessment of the time conundrum. I’m still left feeling that at the end of the day it seems to fall back on squeezing eternity back into a timed perspective. I guess I’ll have to fall into the more abstract and philosophical category. I’m more ok with leaving some things labeled mystery and or above my pay grade these days. After 50 plus years of bible reading, study, sermons and conversations i’ve actually come to believe that the human mind plus the bible equals the devil’s playground. Sounds terrible I know. But I’ve decided to go the “spiritual” route and ask God for guidance (His Holy Spirit) in meditative contemplative prayer. It’s been a time of awesome growth. I have less fear of intimacy with God and others, as well as more peace and acceptance. Sorry to go all “touchy feely” on a thread that is supposed to be more intellectual. But sincerely thanks again for the clear answer. Great food for thought.

    2. Stephen Chase:
      Hey Steve, some great questions! You stated “Not sure what order without chronology would be. Order of importance or preference?” Well, I’m not sure either. Different flavors of Calvinist may mean different things by this. I suspect that what most mean by “logical order” concerns God’s priorities in His decree(s). Supralapsarian Robert L. Reymond, states* “…since God’s decree is eternal with no chronological antecedence or subsequence in it, there was never a moment when people, viewed as fallen and created people, did not certainly exist as well in it.” Take it for what it’s worth, I guess.

      You also stated “All the Calvinists I’ve run into say things like ‘eternity past’.” Paul Helm, a Calvinist** who wrote the chapter “Divine Timeless Eternity” in “Four Views: God and Time”***, states “Though this view (let us call it ‘eternalism’) has an impressive pedigree in the history of western Theism — it is the ‘mainstream’ view represented by Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Calvin and hosts of others — there is reason to think that it is very much the minority view among contemporary theologians and philosophers of religion.” Maybe you’ve been interacting with the views of the latter rather than the former.

      You asked “Wouldn’t anything related to foreordination involve a past for God?” Interesting question. As I stated in an earlier post, I believe “that time was never created (any more than were the moral law and the laws of logic) but has always been part of God’s orderly nature. Time is what gives events their sequence, their order.” So I ask a similar question: If time was created, wouldn’t this involve a time before time was created in God’s past? By the way, I believe that what is referred to as “time dialation” would be better labeled as “process dilation” — i.e., just because CLOCKS slow in the presence of gravity, or when traveling at high speeds — doesn’t mean that TIME has slowed down; it means, in my view, that the processes that MARK or MEASURE time slow down. (Perhaps I shouldn’t even use the word “measure,” because I believe time is non-physical — metaphysical, if you will.) I don’t believe God is “in time” or “time-bound” but rather that God does things in order (or sequence) and enables us to do the same.

      Regarding C.S. Lewis’s “great unbounded now”, I asked in an earlier post: “If God stands outside of time and sees all of time in His eternal ‘now’/’present’ seeing everything as ‘now’ and nothing as ‘past’ or ‘future’ (untensed view), then (because God sees things as they really are) nothing IS ‘past’ or ‘future’. If so, even our very existence is uncertain, since God would not see our nonexistence as ‘past’ and our existence as ‘present’; rather, He would see both our existence and our nonexistence as ‘now.’ Does God really see our former unregenerate state and our current regenerate state as equally real, equally ‘now’? Does He eternally see our sins in existence (as ‘now’)? When one’s view implies that God can’t tell whether we exist or not, then I think it is fair to say that such a view seriously impugns God’s omniscience.”

      * “Perspectives on Election: 5 Views” (Chad Owen Brand, ed.; 2006, B&H Publishing Group) p65
      ** Helm authored the chapter “The Augustinian-Calvinist View” in “Divine Foreknowledge: Four Views” (James K. Beilby and Paul R. Eddy eds.; 2001, Intervarsity Press)
      *** “Four Views: God and Time” (Gregory E. Ganssle, ed.; 2001, Intervarsity Press) p28

      1. Good points and questions. The “unbounded now” requires abstract thought and a stretch toward something that would never satisfy a more linear and left brain approach. Any question along the lines of “if there is anywhere, anyone, or anything outside of time, what time is it there?” are self defeating.

  3. Leighton,
    I was listening to an Apologea Studios Youtube video with Jeff Durbin today and came across a statement he made when witnessing to some young ladies at an abortion rally. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aiyHYjFcX50 The time in the video is 28:30 when he makes a statement about God’s law being written on our hearts so that inside each one of us has the ability to “know” what is right and wrong. First of all, I love the work he does in the pro-life movement and I commend him on his efforts. However, I do believe his Calvinistic leanings might get in his way sometimes, as demonstrated with the Mormon community questioning his Calvinism rather than facing the gospel question. But when making this Truth statement about God’s law being written on our hearts, isn’t that a bit of a contradiction according to Calvinism?
    What I mean to say is this. God giving us His law by writing it on our hearts, then damning us for not even being able to respond to it before time began, makes about as much sense as going into a foreign country, then posting laws in a language that nobody can understand, and then sentencing those who break that law even though they can’t read or write.
    I find it nonsensical that God would “write His laws on our hearts” without us being able to make a choice to follow them or not. According to some Calvinists, the non-elect don’t even have the ability to “want to” seek God. If they don’t have any ability to respond to God’s law, then why bother writing on their hearts? That seems just like your analogy of the leopard being condemned for having spots, when God’s law says if you have spots, then you will be condemned.

    Anyhow, I thought the video was a great video overall, but I find that Jeff has a tendency to pander to the people he is witnessing to. He says, “God bless you” a lot, when the people he is trying to reach should not be blessed at all for what they are doing. But I still commend his passion for the lost. Fortunately these ladies on the video didn’t know his Calvinist leanings or they might have told him that they had an abortion because God make them have an abortion. That would end the conversation.

    In Christ,
    Rich Baker

    1. Hi Rich! Many good observations. Leighton is easier to catch on his FB page – Soteriology101 You are correct that it makes more sense to think general revelation, like “the work of the law” written (not the law itself) in their hearts, is for a positive reason. That view seems more honoring to God’s glory, which is more about mercy than judgment.

  4. All I can say is thank you so much, Dr Flowers, for being the voice that you are! I used to be a Calvinist myself, albeit an inconsistent one. Always been taught the Calvinistic understanding of Ephesians 1, Romans 9, etc growing up, but God’s amazing love for me and the whole world has been my anchor in life. Without His great love, this life would be truly without hope… I couldn’t even have the strength to get out of bed in the morning.
    My dear little sister, my best friend, unfortunately was a strong Calvinist up until she left the faith 6 months ago. Calvinism had stolen and twisted her understanding of God’s love I’m afraid. We would spend a lot of time discussing these matters of election, love, predestination, and reprobation, but even I was stuck with my Calvinistic lenses on. I’m convinced that God became nothing more than a dictator to her… Things came to a head when she would pray and pray for God to effectually save her friend (who she is now living with as her boyfriend), but there was no change. She cried and cried and I believe she was truly without hope that God actually loved him, since she believed that He would effectually save those He self-sacrificial loves.
    I will continue to listen to you, support you, and help spread the word! God Bless you, sir, I mean that.

    -Ben

    1. Welcome Ben. Thank you for your encouraging words. I will make sure Leighton sees them. And I will pray for your sister this morning. God wants her and her boyfriend to come to the assurance of His love through His Word!

  5. Hi, I just wanted to ask Dr.Flowers if he could do a show about the differences between the traditional view and the Armenian view and if he could do a show discussing the traditional view and and babies as far as what or when a child actually is accountable for sin and what happens when they die. I love the show but it would be good to hear shows from time to time actually explaining how a non calvanist views these and other issues. I think this would be especially helpful for people who are leaving the calvanist view point. i do not know any other way to contact Dr.Flowers so I hope this comment will reach him.

  6. Rom 11:33  O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! 
    Rom 11:34  For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? 

  7. I recently found and am really enjoying your podcast and finding much of the content to be pointed and gently spoken in love at the same time. Thank you so much. Upon scrolling upon scrolling through your many episodes, I found so much time dedicated to the topic of predestination vs free will and the permanence of salvation but I am unable to find anything focusing on the theories of atonement. Recently I have been in discussions with Jehovah’s Witnesses and I have had to process why I do not believe that Jesus’ death is merely representational but substitutionary. Do you have anything on this, and if not, could you spend some time on this niche of Soteriology?

    1. Hi Troy and thank you for your kind words!
      Due to many responsibilities Dr. Flowers is not regularly here at this blog site.
      However you may find him on FaceBook.
      If you are a FB user – I urge you to look for him there.

      Blessings!

  8. Please consider compressing the podcasts before posting. Some of the longer episodes are nearly 1 gig. It takes a bite out of my data allowance if I have to download with no wifi. Thanks

  9. Feb 14. Cudnt find email address anywhere on your website so sending this from here.I watched your new youtube clip “Why Provisionism is not pelagianism”. FYI near the middle you mispelled fallacious as “fallous”. Dr Flowers, your continuous back and forth with White is gracious on your part, but unnecessary. White has pride and ego problems that prevent his hearing your points. James White- So much knowledge, So much ability, So little grace (sometimes). You are responding to a bully. I’ve seen a few of his debates where he cleary knew he held a senior and superior position in learning and could have taken a kind and humble posture to help his lesser learn doctrinal truths also. However, he held a firm condescending attitude and put another notch in his 150+ debate gun belt, and left town with another bloody victim lying in the street. By not humbling himself in a loving way, he forced his opponents to keep their guard up, and where learning could have taken place, contention remained. By being more concerned about upholding the debate format, he has on occasion lost a great opportunity for real ministry. But, he served his fans another DEBATE, WELL DONE!!! It sometimes seems he would rather be seen as winning the debate than winning the man (for Christ). He holds a Doctorate in hyper-correctness, and will not open his mind. We all suffer from pride and blind spots. Thx. I dont intend this to be a post, please remove it after giving it to Dr Flowers. Sorry, i have no savvy in electronic communication

    1. Hello VM and welcome.

      Dr. Flowers – due to a busy schedule is not often able to spend time here interacting with posters.
      But you may find him on Facebook – if you are an FB user.

      But I liked your comment on debate tactics.
      And I agree – a Calvinist debate strategy is all to often driven by a spirit of one-up-manship rather than a love for TRUTH.
      Although I don’t see that as a lack of kindness – but rather a “tell” that one internally knows when one’s position is weak logically.
      Belligerent behavior serves as compensation for when one’s logic is on shaky grounds.
      Blessings!

  10. As as been pointed out by others, Dort introduces contradiction:

    Article 7
    Election is the unchangeable purpose of God, whereby,BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, He hath out of mere
    grace, according to the sovereign good pleasure of His own will, CHOSEN, from the whole human race, which HAD FALLEN through their own fault from their primitive state of rectitude into sin and destruction, a certain number of
    persons to redemption in Christ, whom He from eternity appointed the Mediator and Head of the elect, and the
    foundation of salvation.

    No human “had fallen” before the foundation of the world.

    John Calvin was a consistent supralapsarian. Dort and WCF tried to bridge supra/infra and just caused more contradictions.

  11. In a recent episode Leighton mentioned that the Remonstrance podcast labeled him a “semi-pelagian”. Does anyone know which episode of Remonstrance he is referencing? Did Leighton reply?

    1. I don’t know the exact podcast but that accusation is very much not a new one. Dr. David Allen wrote a great article last year explaining what Semi-Pelagian means historically and how that label doesn’t fit. Dr. Flowers has addressed this accusation and put it to rest in several videos. I recommend searching semi Pelagian on his YouTube channel to see what comes up. He also points out the boogie man fallacy which is guilt by association like like us Semi Roman Catholic because we believe in the trinity or calling a Calvinist semi gnostic because they believe in theistic fatalism.

    2. Love your program, your very gratious to the like of John Piper who is under the judgement of John 2. He is Ecumenical and supports
      Many false teachers. And his Hedonism Doctrin is from the pit of hell.

      1. Hello Glen and welcome
        Thank you for your very kind remarks!

        Dr. Flowers – due to his schedule – is not here very often to interact with posters.
        You may more readily find him on FaceBook if you are an FB user.
        Very sincere blessings!
        br.d

      2. Really? I don’t like Flowers one bit. So to speak. I could lay out a “rational”, even “biblical” excuse for condemning him if I had a mind set on the flesh. But I won’t cuz I believe I can’t or shouldn’t judge Dr. Flowers that way. Or maybe you just don’t understand what John Piper actually believes, or teaches in regards to Christian Hedonism. I agree, not a good thing to call it. But think with me. If everything Bad is sin, and we can define it in such a way as to say its our delighting in anything other than God, than what Piper is saying is that the scripture, in so may ways and places calls us to treasure and delight in Christ. We should turn from idols, turn from making ourselves and creatures and the like our delight and make Yahweh our joy, our delight and our treasure. That I believe is what Piper is calling Christian Hedonism.

        Calvinism, at its core I believe, is related to this and believe it or not, all of you that are unable to understand Reformed theology, Calvinism, etc, are missing it right here! HUH?! You say. Well, I remember when I was saved, 34 years ago, not raised in the church, knowing almost nothing, I had only known Christ for a few days. I had this thought. “I’m better than others because I had faith. I am special”. I clearly remember the Spirit rebuking me. Feeling the sternness of his clarity in saying to me that He gave me my faith. I’ve grown in knowledge all along. But it’s clear that I was born again, by the Spirit, was given faith. Not because of the voice but the scriptures. It’s a Logical order. Whether you want to say temporal I’m good with that. It’s the biblical point that I was given a heart of flesh.

        It’s completely related to Piper and his Christian Hedonism because I was changed into a new creature that no longer valued myself and this world. It was then that I responded in repentance and faith. I treasure Christ and delight in Him. I went from being Of the Devil to being of God. All this libertarian free will, provisionist, whatever, may sound good, but its not consistent with the scriptures. We all have a will, but its enslaved pre-Salvation. I’d like to see Dr. Flowers walk slowly and carefully, or any of you walk through John 6 or Romans 8 and 9 or a host of other passages and put them all together, using the same hermenuetic we all use to come to major doctrines we all believe: The Trinity, resurrection, atonement on and on. If you were all consistent, you’d be singing the praises of Soveriegn God

      3. Hello soter7 and welcome

        You say – you believe you can make “rational” reasons for disagreeing with Dr. Flowers and agreeing with John Piper
        Calvinism is John Piper’s belief system
        Calvinism is predicated on Exhaustive Determinism
        Exhaustive Determinism does not permit your brain to be the “determiner” of TRUE from FALSE on any matter.

        On Determinism a THEOS determines 100% of the choices your brain makes.
        You don’t believe what you believe through “rational” reasoning
        You believe what you believe because an external mind determined what you will believe

        So for you to think that you’ve come to your conclusion through “rational” reasoning is to deny Determinism
        Which means you deny Calvinism
        Which means you agree with Dr. Flowers and disagree with Dr. Piper

        Blessings!

      4. You don’t seem to understand reformed epistemology/soteriology. I appreciate your comments, but it betrays your error and why you don’t understand the scriptures and the Sovereignty of God. I suggest you ask the Spirit for guidance in this regard. A clue would be your argument itself. You seem to think I have no mind. That God thinks for me? That’s not at all my beliefs nor what the scriptures reveal. I never nor has Calvin or White said anything about Exhaustive Determinism in the way you so expressed. Again, Genesis 50, Isaiah 10, Acts 4 and John 6 and Ephesians 1. In fact, look at Philippians 2:12, 13. It gives a great treatise on the matter in regards to sanctification.

      5. Not only that but like Flowers, you never answered the content of my reply. Just as Flowers you can’t follow the flow of argument. You’re all I er the place. Eisegesis!! With the Bible and with your brother.

  12. Dr. Flowers:
    Regarding your discussion with the Arminians in your podcast “Innate Inability?”: I think there is some confusion in the conversation because they are coming from a different view of eternal security than I think you are. They believe that someone is saved by grace but then has to do good works not to lose that salvation. Southern Baptists believe that once you are regenerated then you are a new creature that will never lose salvation. In their conversation, they are assuming that a saved person can get hardened and lose salvation. (Maybe they even think God needs to give an additional post-salvation “prevenient” work of grace to keep a saved person saved.) They are able to say man is not born hardened but still feel uneasy embracing what you believe because they disagree with how you see salvation.

    I feel like some non-Southern Baptist Calvinists also have a confusion about Provisionism because of a basic difference in their conception of salvation. Unlike Provisionists that embrace a simple “John 3:16–Billy Graham–whoesoever will” form of salvation, they are hung up on a salvation that involves infant baptism, church membership, and the need for works to prove you are the chosen.

    I would like for you to do a deep dive comparison of Calvinists vs. Southern Baptist Calvinists. Maybe it would be productive to see if there is some common ground that would pull Southern Baptist Calvinists back to their Provisionist roots — away from John Piper, John MacArthrur, and Rc Sproul, all of whom are not Southern Baptists.

    Thanks for your podcast!
    Chuck Love

    1. Hello Chuck ,
      Dr. Flowers, due to a heavy schedule, is no here to interact with posters.
      You may more readily find him on Facebook – if you are an FB user.
      Blessings!
      br.d

    2. What provisionist roots? Traditional soteriology is relatively new. At least it wasn’t some majority view. I think maybe you’d do well to look at church history. The reformation was founded on an anti Arminian epistemology.

  13. Thanks for posting information. I have recently discovered the outrageous lie of Dispensation Premillennial eschatology. I tried to find an Amillenial church and I was mostly finding Presbyterians as one of the few that still hold to Amill eschatology. However, I began to understand how differently they see soteriology than what I have been taught. I am still struggling to get my feet underneath me regarding this debate, but this scholar seems to be able to shed some very interesting light on the issues.

  14. Leighton, I am listening to your podcast about how God chooses some and not others for “no apparent reason.” As you state this does not mean that God chooses some and chooses to not grant salvation to others for no revealed reason. As you say, Calvinist do teach and believe that God chooses some “for his glory.” As for Calvin’s teaching he clearly states that God does not choose the elect because of their good works or because of his foreknowledge. He makes it clear by writing concerning Romans 9:18 which reads,

    “Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens who he wants to harden” Do you see Paul attributes both to God’s decision alone? If, then, we cannot determine a reason why he vouchsafes mercy on his own, except that it pleases him, neither shall we have any reason for rejecting others, other than his will. For when it is said that God hardens or shows mercy to whom he wills, men are warned by this to seek no cause outside his will.” (Institutes 3:22.11)

    Calvin later says it is wicked to investigate the causes of God’s will.

    1. Hello Bill and welcome,
      Dr. Flowers due to his schedule – does not interact here very much.
      You may more readily find him at Face book if you are an FB user.
      Also, you might look on his Youtube series for a video on the subject you are asking about.
      There is an android APP also for those videos which allows for search by topic.

      If you don’t mind me adding my two cents – I would say – what sets the Calvinist/Reformed reading apart from all others is its adaptation of Universal Divine Causal Determinism (aka Exhaustive Determinism)

      With Calvin it is automatically assumed that man absolutely nothing is ever UP TO the creature – but rather 100% of whatsoever comes to pass – is solely and exclusively UP TO a THEOS. Which means man is never permitted any choice on the matter of anything.

      Since that is the case with Calvin – it makes sense that he would conceive of a THEOS who designed/creates the vast majority of the human population – specifically for eternal torment in the lake of fire – for his good pleasure.

      And man of course – who has no choice in the matter of anything – has no say in the matter of what he is designed/created for.

      The Non-Calvinist reading does not assume Universal Divine Causal Determinism – so they don’t assume what comes with it.
      blessings
      br.d

      1. Yes, I agree. It is interesting that some Calvinists do not hood to UDCD. They say that we can still decide between turning left or right but when it comes to matters of salvation God is completely determining our choices.

      2. Hello Bill
        You have to understand the Calvinist psychological response to the doctrine forces him into a state of DOUBLE-MINDEDNESS.
        And you have to understand that when you listen to Calvinist statements such as you describe.

        Look at this statement by Calvin himself
        -quote
        “All future things being uncertain to us, we hold them in suspense, AS THOUGH they might happen either one way or another.”

        Here Calvin is acknowledging that it is LOGICALLY IMPOSSIBLE for anything to happen one way or another – because every event is RENDERED-CERTAIN.

        Turning left can be RENDERED-CERTAIN.

        Or
        And turning right can be RENDERED-CERTAIN.

        But they both can’t be RENDERED-CERTAIN because one cancels the other.
        And they can’t be left OPEN for the human to decide because that is a denial of the doctrine.

        But the Calvinist needs to perceive himself as having the LIBERTY to turn left or turn right.
        The Calvinist needs to perceive himself the DETERMINER of whatsoever comes to pass within his brain.

        He needs to perceive those things in order to have a sense of human normalcy.
        But he has to deny his own doctrine in order to have those things.
        He has to deny his own doctrine in order to claim he has the LIBERTY of making a choice.

        So the very LIBERTY (i.e. Libertarian free will) he claims does not exist – is the very LIBERTY he claims to have.
        He simply refuses to call that LIBERTY “Libertarian”

        Calvinism is thus a belief system fraught with DOUBLE-MINDEDNESS

  15. It seems to me that Calvinism in terms of being a type of determinism is more consistent than Armenianism. Cavlinists at least says that God is the determiner, while Armenians say there is a different determiner than God, and God only can see the determiner’s work (“He can look into the future to see what someone will choose.”)

    There are only two outcomes for the Armenian view.
    1. That God can change what happens when He sees something in the future He doesn’t like, which leads back to God being stronger than the determiner, but then God has to decide everything that is going to happen from some time of beginning (Thus Armenians become Calvinists.)
    OR
    2. God CAN’T change anything in the future, because then He will have made the future He knew was true to be false. Thus Armenians have to believe in a power greater than God (the determiner).

    In neither of these options can the individual have any say in the matter, because such individual’s full life was determined before he ever existed. I.e., no individual is his own determiner. Thus, no individual is responsible for his own good or evil acts, and no punishment or reward would be just for such acts.

    Logically, the only way out of this conundrum is to allow individuals’ future actions and experiences not to solidify until they get to be the determiner of their own life, for either good or evil.

    1. Jeff
      Armenians say there is a different determiner than God, and God only can see the determiner’s work (“He can look into the future to see what someone will choose.”)

      br.d
      No I don’t think this is correct.
      I believe they would say
      1) God is the “Ultimate” determiner
      2) God is not an EXHAUSTIVE determiner in the sense that he MERELY permits them to be the Determiner of some things

      Jeff
      but then God has to decide everything that is going to happen from some time of beginning (Thus Armenians become Calvinists.)

      br.d
      But with the caveats that I mentioned above – which isn’t Calvinism

      Jeff
      God CAN’T change anything in the future, because then He will have made the future He knew was true to be false. Thus Armenians have to believe in a power greater than God (the determiner).

      br.d
      Not if you take into consideration – the correction a made to your first point

  16. I appreciate your points above, but if God is making decisions in the far past, before we existed, based on things we will do after we exist, then He still is basing His decisions on a determiner that didn’t exist, if it’s not Him. Even if it’s a lower level determiner that’s not us, God still had to make the other determiner before He could use the information the determiner brings to the table. But He tells that He made all things in heaven and earth in 6 days, including Adam. So any predetermination before Adam means there is a “lesser” god that God made earlier that would not allow God to know anything about Adam or you and me until lesser god was created, but now Lesser god knows more than God. Settled theism Armenianism drags the believer kicking and screaming into Calvin’s arms, so that God can drag him kicking and screaming into eternal life.

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