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Soteriology 101 received its 501(c)3 status as of May 3, 2018 so all gifts since that date can be filed as a tax deductible donation.
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For those who have expressed interest in making a donation without using Patreon, Zelle or Paypal, checks can be made out to “Soteriology 101” and sent to:

Leighton Flowers
Soteriology 101
10685-B Hazelhurst Dr. # 25541
Houston, TX 77043

214 thoughts on “Support

  1. Dear Dr Flowers:

    I’ve just recently come across your teachings so I don’t even know if this is the right place or forum to ask a question. Thank you for “speaking the truth in love” about Calvinism. Using the Word, you have disarmed some really damaging teachings that confuse needlessly the faith “once delivered.” But my question is this. It concerns Eph 2:12  That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: Aren’t these people in this verse as condemned as those that Calvinism says aren’t elected to salvation? It says they have no hope and are without God. They never had a chance to believe. How do I answer someone that poses this question?
    Thank you

    1. Hey Richard, thanks for the question. I don’t think that Paul describing the former state of the Ephesian Christians as “strangers” and “having no hope, and without God” requires us to think of that as a permanent state they are unable to be reconciled from. Clearly, the Ephesian Christians were reconciled from that state. I think it is accurate to see an unbeliever as being without hope in the sense of their standing before God. In that present stance, separated from God, there is no hope. But that doesn’t mean they are unable to recognize they are without hope and so throw themselves at the mercy of the Father. I certainly don’t think they “never had a chance to believe’. The Ephesian Christians were once in that state and they now believe. In general, I do not see a biblical category for people who “never had a chance to believe”. I hope that helps.

    2. Hi Richard,
      Thanks very much for your post!
      I wanted to let you know that due to extensive obligations Dr. Flowers doesn’t visit this sight for ongoing dialog much.
      If he does answer your post – then you can disregard this one.
      But if he doesn’t – please understand that as the reason.

      On your question – I would ask you to consider something Dr. Gordon Fee refers to throughout his carrier as a scholar.
      When we read the data of scripture (just like any other data) we interpret what we read by aligning it with what we believe to be unquestionable truth. There was a time when scholars thought “he stretches the heavens out as a scroll” affirmed the concept of a flat earth – because a preponderance of people held the concept of a flat earth as unquestionable truth.

      The Calvinist is taught the concept of “Universal Divine Causal Determinism” (see William Lane Craig) is unquestionable truth.
      So his reading of scripture (just like the flat earth readers) interprets verses to affirm that concept.

      I would ask you to be very cognizant of that as a characteristic of human perception.
      When you’re reading verses that appear Calvinistic – be aware of the hidden biases that make those verses appear that way.
      Please see William Lane Craig for a clear outline of “Universal Divine Causal Determinism”

      Sincere blessings
      br.d :-]

  2. Dear Dr. Flowers. My wife and I have been greatly blessed by your ministry; we gave $1000 in April because we believe ministries such as yours need to be supported. However, I am no fan of Paypal because of a controversy in 2016 where Paypal chose sides with the LGBT community. I’d rather not support PayPal by supporting you. I cannot find a mailing address on your website. Any chance you could include a snail-mail address on your site?

  3. Dear Leighton,

    Thank you so much for your videos on Calvinism. I would like to answer the question you so often pose to your audience. You ask why we cannot be more civil when discussing Calvinism. The reason so many of us find it difficult to do so may have more to do with Calvinist Debate Tactics, as exposed so thoroughly by Kevin Thompson, as to any other factor. Your experience may vary considerably from this pattern, but it is definitely the pattern I was met with. Every argument is met with an accusation that “You think you can save yourself” or “You think God may be thwarted” or “Your soteriology is of man and not of God”. These endless dreary accusations quite frankly wear on one’s patience. Next come accusations that “You must go to a seeker-sensitive church” or “You must watch Joel Osteen”. Unless of course you are involved in any of the Assemblies of God, Church of God, Four Square, Pentacostal denominations – at that point they denounce you as a heretic.

    On a deeply personal level I also feel that every word that comes out of that system is an affront to God in every way. I hardly know where to begin. His Holiness. His Love. His Provision.

    Those factors when combined set the stage for a very heated debate. To compound this, Calvinists seem to loathe conceding any point they worry may be used against them. Instead they dodge questions, and counter-attack.

    In truth and love.

    John Foster

  4. Very impactful ministry . Mr flowers your videos lead me to this website but i noticed you all aren’t tax deductible. Have you all considered starting a free church. Most churches are free churches are still are Tax deductible status. Figures i would share the wisdom. Thanks for all you do

  5. Hi Dr. flowers, I was looking for a place to send an email and couldn’t find any so I guess I’ll have to ask my question here. I’ve heard you say many times that you were a Calvinist for 10 years but then on this Monday’s podcast during the conversation you mentioned that you were either slowly moving away from Calvinism or were no longer a Calvinist for seven years before you told anyone. That’s of paraphrase so sorry if it’s not quite accurate. My question is were you a convinced Calvinist for 10 years and then spent seven years moving out of Calvinism or were you a convinced Calvin is for three years and the other seven years of moving away from Calvinism was part of your 10 years? Thank you.

  6. I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate your YouTube channel. I have been in the ministry for over 20 years, mostly as a church planter, for first 15 years affiliated with Texas Baptist. I’ve been a planting pastor and directly involved in over 150 church plants in various capacities but never formally trained in ministry. I have a pretty diverse theological upbringing saved in a Congregational Methodist church that had an AG preacher, discipled Baptist. I ran into systematic theology for the first time a couple of years ago and it turned my world upside down. I am pretty analytical and Calvinism appealed to me intellectually. It made me doubt all I knew and made me think I may have wasted 20 years of ministry. I have been in a spiritual depression for a year or so with a confused concept of God. I ran across your channel and that lead me to others with similar teaching that lined up with how I originally believed. I’ve been watching for a couple of months now. Praise God! He really does love everyone! Thanks for making sound biblical arguments and rightly handling with word of God. It’s been a torturous theological detour but I believe God had a plan, its good be back on a familiar road that I believe is the right one! P.S. Where can I mail a check to support your ministry?

  7. Great message and resources Dr. Flowers. I’m very grateful I found you on youtube. It is a blessing to make a donation, and to pray for your ministry.

  8. I’ve labored among east European Evangelical Christians-Baptists and they tend to believe that a person can lose his/her salvation. They also preach assurance of salvation but it’s not, so to speak, automatic. In their thinking, if a believer continues to abide in Christ, Christ continues to live in the believer through the Holy Spirit and can be assured of salvation.. David Pawson, a British Baptist pastor, adheres to the same understanding. He is little known to most North American evangelicals. You can hear his point of view by viewing his talk on the question of “once saved, always saved” at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vy3tSIg7Gi0&t=3506s . I’d love to hear your comment on Pawson’s thinking on the subject.

  9. Hi Dr. Flowers. Thank you so much for your logical & loving approach to this divisive topic. Christians have enough battles without battling each other. We would like to support your work, and have no interest in the tax deduction. I would like to “vote with my feet”.
    PayPal voted with their feet when they cancelled an expansion in North Carolina after NC passed a logical, common sense law stating that you must use the bathroom corresponding to your biological gender. https://money.cnn.com/2016/04/05/technology/paypal-north-carolina-lgbt/
    If Christians don’t vote with their feet, only the radical anti-god community will, and that is not good for righteousness or for our country.
    I would not have a problem writing a check directly to you individually, or to if Soteriology 101 is an LLC, or whatever. Please respond back and let me know. I won’t bother you about this again.

    1. Hi Bob,
      Thank you very much for your kind and sincere post.
      Dr. Flowers is often busy and unable to participate directly on a consistent basis on this site.
      However, I can forward your request and we can see if someone can get back to you.

      Sincere thanks!
      And God bless you!

      br.d

  10. Hello Prof Flowers,
    I have a couple of questions for you but it seems like I’m having difficulty figuring out how to get my email over to you. I found your email address at Texas Baptist and I sent you a message. The message was more than a question so it was pretty long, which might be why no one ever replied to it. Nevertheless, I take this matter of understanding the scripture, and especially in knowing how to counter the arguments of calvinistic-thinking/leaning Christians, very seriously and am very appreciative that I have come across your ministry. I would be even more appreciative if I could find a way to interact with you in sending over my communications. I think the email is too long for this blog. The email has to do with your description of “libertarian free will”. I also have a question about the “good ground” in the parable of the sower. On that question, I can cover it quickly by asking, ” how do I counter a calvinist argument coming to me indicating pre-faith regeneration is true because of the parable of the sower indicating that the ground had to be good before the word of God had come to it. They say the heart had to be regenerated in order for the heart to be good ground to receive the Word.

    Thanks for your help.
    Dominic D.

    1. Welcome, Dominic. It’s really tough to get an individual interaction with Leighton these days. I would suggest, that for an answer to your first question, you search this site in the search box provided using the term “freewill”. For you second question, Read the parable of the sower again along with Jesus’ interpretation and see that two of the soils receive the Word into their hearts and even express faith (before regeneration, of course)… and the only hinderance to their becoming good soil is not being eternally immutably predestined to become good soil (no one is born as good soil… right?), but that they get rid of all hardness, shallowness, and thorns.

      Even the evil one knows that the hard soil is able to believe and be saved.
      Luk 8:12 NKJV – “Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.”
      Jer 4:3-4 NKJV – For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem: “Break up your fallow ground, And do not sow among thorns. 4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, And take away the foreskins of your hearts, You men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, Lest My fury come forth like fire, And burn so that no one can quench [it], Because of the evil of your doings.”
      Eze 18:30-31 NKJV – “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,” says the Lord GOD. “Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. 31 “Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel.”

    2. Hi Dominic D.,
      I know you addressed your question to Dr. Flowers, but I hope you don’t mind if I make a comment for your consideration.

      Professor Gordon Fee asks what he considers to be a critical question concerning Biblical texts like you are discussing with Calvinists.

      What *INFORMS* us of what we believe the text is saying?

      Dr. Fee is referring to the fact that the human mind interprets data in accordance to what it already believes to be true.
      For example, there was a time when Bible readers interpreted specific verses to affirm a flat earth.
      They believed the earth was flat unquestionably.
      And since scripture only affirms truth – therefore verses *MUST* affirm a flat earth.

      So to answer Gordon Fee’s question on this issue – what informed those people was not scripture alone.
      What informed them was their unquestionable belief that the earth was flat.
      Since that was the case, any idea that scripture taught otherwise would have been seen as heresy for them.

      Calvinists argue that what informs them is scripture alone.
      But they would have to be infallible as human beings in order for that to be true.

      Dr. William Lane Craig informs us that Calvinism presupposes “Universal Divine Causal Determinism”.
      This is in fact what INFORMS Calvinists when they read scripture.
      They believe it to be true – the exact same way that people once believed the earth was flat.
      No other interpretation of scripture makes sense to them – because “Universal Divine Causal Determinism” is what INFORMS them.

      I suggest – you will gain a significant advantage by first examining Calvinists for their logical inconsistency.
      I think when you make that examination – you will find that Calvinism is seriously double-minded.

      I think when you examine Calvinist language – you will find it full of evasions, obfuscations, and double-speak talking-points.
      I think you will find Calvinists do not speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, when they speak.
      I think you will find every aspect of their language to be not much more than highly scripted talking-points.

      This was for me – a very powerful indicator – that something is internally very wrong with Calvinism.

      On talking scripture with them – they essentially read scripture – making it say what they want it to say.
      So I find discussions concerning scripture with them a complete waste of time.

      But ask yourself – why would their language be so full of double-speak?
      I think if you find the answer to that question – you will understand the very heart of Calvinism.

      Blessings in your pursuit!!
      br.d :-]

    3. Thoroughly enjoying the podcasts here from Broome, Australia. Is Leighton familiar with David Pawson. He might want to add this world renowned teacher (in his deep 80’s now) to the names of AW Tozer and CS Lewis. David has a website in England and has authored many books and podcasts including on this subject

  11. Thank you Brian and Br.d!

    Great replies and which further reaffirm the perspectives I now hold to thanks to the Sotieriology 101 program! I’ve actually covered a few of these suggestions in previous conversations with my “calvinistic thinking” friends and, even as was said, it sadly seems to end up as a waste of time.

    On my other question about “libertarian free will”, I’ve previously searched the site on the topic and there are no satisfactory answers for my dilemma, at least which I can locate.

    I would definitely love to resend the original email I wrote to Prof Flowers where someone (whether one of the two of you, or Leighton himself) could take a good look at the perspective I offer in my discussion, and kindly send a reply. 🙂

    I’d be glad to post it here, but as I previously explained, it’s fairly long and it’s a lot more than just a simple question. I would only attempt to post it here at your request.

    I brought this topic forth because I personally have a slightly different take than Prof Flowers, although its probably more semantical differences on how to describe the will of man, because I don’t disagree with the entire premise put forth in his discussion as relating to “libertarian free will”. I just don’t like the word “free”, I prefer the word “human” when referring to our will. I think the difference between the two words (“free” and “human”) is a big enough difference that it’s at least worthy of a discussion. I go on in my email to explain more details.

    I did notice that there was a Gmail address provided and I can certainly send my email there if someone would be agreeable to look it over. Thanks again for your time. Very much appreciated!

    Blessings- Dominic D

    1. Dominic… you can send me the email if you wish. And did you find my word study on “Freewill” on this blog site?

      Also… translators of Scripture were satisfied using that word for a Hebrew word for some reason. Interesting huh? Also… would you say a decision made “without necessity” by one who has “power over his own will” would be a freewill decision?

      1. e-mail coming Brian, thanks! To quickly reply to your question here, my answer is absolutely “yes”.

        That said however, I believe there’s more to the will of man than the question/presupposition seems to have taken into account. In my mind, it’s simply not that simple, particularly in light of scripture.

        None the less, I will enjoy having a further discussion about it after u read my email.

        Thank you again for your time and reply.

    2. Dominic
      I just don’t like the word “free”, I prefer the word “human” when referring to our will. I think the difference between the two words (“free” and “human”) is a big enough difference that it’s at least worthy of a discussion.

      br.d
      Very insightful Dominic!
      I agree with you – the term “free” is so heavily loaded. Its like a rope used for tug of war – everyone pulling its meaning in different directions. I think you’re thinking “human will” is much more precise.

      Appreciated!

      Unfortunately, I don’t have an email address for you to resend your writing too.
      Lets see if someone else has a suggestion on that.

  12. Leighton, I began listening to your blog about a month ago. I am not a Calvinist, though I do have great respect for many of my friends and former professors who are Calvinists. You have some of the same personal reservations about Calvinism that I have but I must say that I am not persuaded of some of your interpretations of particular passages of Scripture. I did want to comment on your interview with Andy Stanley by saying that I did not think the conversation was very helpful. I have read Andy’s book and listened to interviews where he tries to explain his controversial theological statements about the relationship of the Old Testament to the New and find them very confused at best. I don’t think it is helpful or correct to say that they are just differences in apologetic methodology. If you have not read his book Irresistible, I encourage you to check it out.

  13. Hey Leighton, love the podcast and the channel! Listen to you often. I have one request. Could you do a video on terms as you would define them? There are a lot that I am not sure of and honestly I think one can have a hard time finding what terms mean in general and how others define them, I know you point that out often to. Keep up the good work!

  14. Leighton,

    Couldn’t find a direct email address for you, at Sot101, so I hope this finds you well.

    I listen to some of your broadcasts, out of curiosity and interest. I wanted to reach out to ask if you have ever read “By His Grace and For His Glory” by Thomas J. Nettles? I am just starting it, and wanted to get your take.

    Thanks,

    Glenn Ashcraft

    1. Hi Glen… you’d have better chance of response on the FB site Soteriology101. But welcome. Others here might give you their opinion. I myself have not read that one. What strong arguments or weak arguments have you discovered in it so far?

  15. I absolutely love what Dr. Flowers is teaching. I am a Southern Baptist and I am so glad that finally someone is giving us a theology for what we believe. I grew up thinking that we were neither Calvinist nor Armenian but had no one to answer my questions as to what we actually were. Dr. Flowers is now doing that.

    I do have a question though. It really makes sense to me that foreknowledge in Romans 8 is talking about God’s knowing the old testament saints in the past. But how can they be glorified if they are waiting in heaven for their new bodies to be given to them at Christ’s return? (I thought we were naked as Paul said and not glorified yet until Christ returns.) Are we to think of glorification as a process after we die? (Such as glorified immediately to some degree and then completely once we receive our new bodies?)

  16. I answered my own question. I forgot about the mount of Transfiguration. Moses and Elijah were clearly glorified then. That may be the whole point of why Paul is saying we know they were glorified and so we will be too. They are our proof.

  17. Hello Brother Flowers….thanks very much for your ministry. My friend saw your interview with Andy Stanley and recommended that I view it. I appreciated that interaction and now watching many of your other presentations.

    Its a bit healing for me because many of my family members are Calvinists and Calvinistic. It’s been a hurtful experience in many ways. At worst I’ve been ostracized in a passive way. I don’t use a label in my Christian experience but I would say that I’m more closely associated with the Word of Faith camp. In watching your broadcasts I’ve been more respectful of the “Theological world.” My friend and I often refer to persons attending seminary as them going to “cemetery.” It seems to me that whatever amount of faith one has when they enter seminary it dies after attending. In regards to Piper, MacArthur and other “respected church leaders.” Let God’s Word be true and every man a liar.”

    I’m watching your interview with Riley and his experience at that Southern Baptist Seminary. You mentioned the “prosperity gospel.” and that it being on the shallow side of Biblical understanding. Again I would challenge your use of this derogatory term in describing a system, if you will of persons in their understanding of the Bible. First of all “prosperity gospel” is a term ascribed from persons “outside of the camp.” Perhaps follow your rule of examining from a Word of Faith (a term Paul uses in Romans) teachings to understand the Word of Faith teachings rather than throwing some label on it that for all intents and purposes comes from outside the camp. Keith Moore (Word of Faith Bible teacher) of Faith Life Church is adept in teaching prosperity. If you go to one of his teachings on You Tube “Abounding Ability” he explores this in depth and gives a very clear Biblical understanding of it.

    Thanks for your consideration.

    Susan

  18. I’ve heard Dr Flowers on his podcasts often mention getting emails, but I can’t find his email anywhere on this website, or in emails from Patreon, or anywhere else.

  19. Dr. Leighton – Thanks for your solid clear teaching and for consistently holding for the Truth. We -The church- desperately need someone to do what you are doing and to keep doing it. Thanks for your faithfulness… I too have had some really harsh experiences with those who hold to TULIP. I believe we who understand Grace and have a measure of leadership entrusted to us must be the ones who stand up and give an ongoing apologetic for GRACE.

    But giving an ongoing apologetic for GRACE is not enough… we must also practice the art of Polemics as well…this is what we do cross culturally in missions and it must be done on the home front. What is Polemics? Biblically it is: Destroying arguments… While apologetics is defending something Polemics is destroying the distortion, showing why it is wrong. (Much more uncomfortable to do but just as necessary as Apologetics.) I applaud you for doing this.

    Here is Polemics in 2 Cor. 10:5 :

    “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ…”

    The greek verb destroy here means to: cast down…pull down…throw down…destroy the argument. It goes beyond simply stating our position in positive terms, it means to pull the distortion down, pull it apart, show why it is wrong, cast it down, demolish it, exposing the false teaching as false and why it is false. Even though the teachers may not know it is false, it is false none the less.

    We need to do both to be effective, Apologetics and Polemics. Few want to do apologetics and fewer still want to do polemics. It takes a good dose of courage to do apologetics and even more to do polemics. But we must not fail our brethren they need us to do both with clarity, courage and humility. Thanks for doing that and blazing the way for GRACE.

    Our inclusive culture will find this repulsive and likely we will be slandered at least that is my experience but it is necessary and guess what the Calvinist Ideology does this with ongoing VIGOR…very effectively undermining GRACE and attacking the truths found in our statement of faith. Thus ends my “brief” case for GRACE Apologetics as well as Polemics on the home front before it is too late.

    Now for “taking the spin off” in one small area of Calvinism this is exposing what TULIP teaches explicitly and/or implicitly in just one area. Could you read this next piece below and see if any of these statements about TULIP are inaccurate. I am not asking if a Calvinist might try and cover up these truths about TULIP with different softer cunning words that hide the uncomfortable reality of their position, of course they would, that is an art I believe they have perfected. My question is: are any of these statements inaccurate about the 5 point system called TULIP?

    I will set the stage with a quote by Calvinist leader Arthur Pink (deceased). Who is honestly portraying what TULIP teaches explicitly and implicitly and what he and others really believe about God’s nature.

    “When we say God is Sovereign in the exercise of His Love, we mean that He loves who he chooses and God does not love everybody.” Arthur Pink (Calvinist)

    The often undisclosed truth of TULIP and a few of it’s camouflaged realities show us that
    Sovereign God created all people in His image but by far most of these image bearers of His He created specifically for eternal destruction. He never authentically loved most of them but instead He knowingly works to maintain their eternal exclusion and rejection.

    He gave irrefutable proof of this by:

    – He himself refusing to send His son for their salvation
    -Purposefully omitting them from His genuine call
    -Actively excluding them from Jesus’ substitutionary atonement for mankind
    -Consciously denying them His gift of Salvific Faith,
    -Wilfully withholding His Grace and Mercy from them while eagerly bestowing it on a few others
    -Deliberately not loving them before the foundation of the World.

    And so we see God’s predetermined plan from Eternity past was always calculated to genuinely love only a few and to intentionally work to save only a few while resolutely denying most of His creation a “bona fide offer” of forgiveness and salvation but rather with full intent he decisively created most of His image bearers for the eternal horrors of hell, thus manifesting His Glory in ways too lofty for us to understand.

    If you find this image of God at all alarming or repulsive…Who are you o man to question God’s Sovereign will and judge Him as He works his mysterious plan for His own glory… His ways are higher than your ways and His thoughts than your thoughts, He is the potter you are the clay so now you can see: “When we say God is Sovereign in the exercise of His Love, we mean that He loves who he chooses and God does not love everybody.” Pink

    Have I misrepresented the explicit or implicit meaning of TULIP? I don’t think I have, what do you think? It is scary that this is the God that many people believe exists.
    Blessings

    1. Brian
      Have I misrepresented the explicit or implicit meaning of TULIP? I don’t think I have, what do you think? It is scary that this is the God that many people believe exists.
      Blessings

      br.d
      Hello Brian and welcome and thank you for your excellent post!

      I hope you don’t mind if I respond to it.

      I certainly don’t believe you have misrepresented Calvinism – especially in regard to the question of divine love for creatures – when you’ve carefully provided a quote from a prominent voice in Calvinism to that affect.

      Of-course what we find – is Calvinists are word jugglers – and concerning quotes from prominent Calvinists like Arthur Pink (and Calvin himself) they will try to argue that he didn’t say what he said he said. I think you probably know how those semantic games go.

      But yes it logically follows within Calvinism’s interpretation of the “divine potter” that he specifically designs “the many” for eternal torment.
      So yes Calvin’s god creates creatures specifically for sin, evil, and eternal torment – for his good pleasure – and for his glory.

      The average Bible believer does not see that *IMAGE* of divine character as consistent with scripture.
      But is is consistent with the element of moral dualism derived from Gnosticism and the element of determinism derived from NeoPlatonism. And these elements can be traced back to Augustinian syncretism.

      Blessings.

      1. If calvinism is consistent with the moral dualism in gnosticism and the determinism in neoplatonism, then wouldn’t it be a false doctrine, and if false, then why is it not considered a heresy?

      2. Taw
        If Calvinism is consistent with the moral dualism in gnosticism and the determinism in neoplatonism, then wouldn’t it be a false doctrine, and if false, then why is it not considered a heresy?

        br.d
        Personally I wouldn’t use the term “consistent” in this context – but would rather say that one can see elements of Gnostic dualism and NeoPlatonism within Calvinism – via Augustine. Augustine’s syncretism with NeoPlatonism into Christianity is well known within academia.

        One must remember that political power plays a role in Christian history. Luther for example could have been killed by the RCC if it hadn’t been for political protection. If he had been killed they would have declared him a heretic and history may have been different. What is told about Pelagiaus being a heretic occurred under the political power of Augustine. If it had not been for Augustine’s political power – what is considered the heretical belief of not needing grace for salvation may not have been attributed to him.

        So the whole business of what is called heresy is intertwined with how things played out in history. So the business of Augustine mixing the doctrines of Plotinus (the father of NeoPlatonism) into Christianity is pretty well known. As a matter of fact I once read an advertisement promoting the writings of Plotinus – advertised as enabling one to better understand the New Testament. This was said also of Plato – with the RCC – prior to and around Augustine’s time. Those who considered Plato to be inspired by God as a non-Christian Apostle.

        It must also be noted that Calvinism has enough Biblical Christianity within it to easily retain credibility. One has to know how elements of Gnostic dualism would appear to see how they season them the doctrine.

        You may wish to check out Dr. Flowers interview with Ken Wilson:
        https://soteriology101.com/2019/03/11/was-st-augustine-the-first-to-introduce-calvinism-to-the-church

      3. Thanks, I’ve heard the podcast with Dr Wilson, it’s one of my favorites!
        Isn’t calvinism mainly concerned with soteriology, atleast the aspects that make calvinism “calvinism”? The TULIP seems to be all about soteriology. I understand that soteriology is the study of salvation, but if your doctrine of salvation contains error, then isn’t it a false doctrine? If it’s a false doctrine, or “another” gospel, then it should be called out, as the Apostles would do.

        Hyper calvinists, seems to me, tend to be the most consistent with the logical conclusions of calvinism’s true implications. What I have heard from them is that Christ died for Adams’s sin, not anyone else’s, so there’s no guilt to repent of for the elected ones, just need to “know” that they are the elect by their being “drawn” to the things of God. (Seriously, I have heard it explained thus by a hypercalvinist.) So one’s current interests determine their election, and when they just “know” that they are already the elect then there’s no need afterwards for repentance. This is actually very consistent with their determinism, because since God chose the elect before creation, as calvinists believe, it becomes more of a “discovery” of one’s election.

        I fear that calvinism is leading many to THINK they are automatically saved and the elect, when in actuality they are not saved without repentance. Imho this is a serious error, and I believe it’s “another” gospel.
        Is it Biblical to soften the seriousness of this soteriological error?
        Is it truly helpful to those being deceived by it or deceiving others by it?
        Mustn’t we speak the WHOLE truth in love, or risk deceiving others and not being faithful to the light we’ve been given?

      4. Taw
        Isn’t Calvinism mainly concerned with soteriology, atleast the aspects that makes Calvinism “Calvinism”?

        br.d
        I thought that at first because Calvinists tend to focus on that issue when they promote Calvinism
        But after I was able to boil it down to its foundation – its corner stone is Theological Determinism.
        What William Lane Craig calls “Universal Divine Causal Determinism”.
        The reason Calvinists focus so much on soteriology is because for them its focusing on positives – and evading negatives.
        Those negatives include the fact that Calvin’s god RENDERS-CERTAIN every neurological impulse the creature will ever have.
        Calvinists don’t want to focus on that aspect of their doctrine because its difficult to evade the fact that that makes Calvin’s god the author of evil.

        Taw
        Hyper Calvinists, seems to me, tend to be the most consistent with the logical conclusions of Calvinisms true implications.

        br.d
        I think that’s very discerning of you Taw – and I agree.

        Taw
        I fear that Calvinism is leading many to THINK they are automatically saved and the elect, when in actuality they are not saved without repentance.

        br.d
        Well I do agree with you that Calvinists seem to automatically assume they are all elect while they openly question others salvation.
        The ironic thing about that is that Calvin asserted that in the Calvinist fold there is a -quote “Large mixture of those who have nothing of Christ but the name and outward appearance” Calvin believed that the “many” within the Calvinist fold are deceived by Calvin’s god to believe they are saved – he gives them a taste of salvation in order to magnify their torment in the lake of fire.
        I think Calvinists practice a form of thought-blocking – in order to keep themselves from thinking about those aspects of their doctrine.
        No Calvinist actually knows whether is is saved or not because Calvin teaches that is a secret.

      5. Ok, but that doesn’t answer my concluding questions, so let me restate:
        If calvinism’s soteriology is in serious error, then isn’t it “another” gospel?
        Is it Biblical to soften the seriousness of calvinism’s soteriological errors?
        Is it truly helpful to those being deceived by it or deceiving others by it?
        Mustn’t we speak the WHOLE truth in love, or risk deceiving others and not being faithful to the light we’ve been given?

      6. Taw
        If calvinism’s soteriology is in serious error, then isn’t it “another” gospel?
        Is it Biblical to soften the seriousness of calvinism’s soteriological errors?

        br.d
        Certainly I’ve heard believers state emphatically that Calvinism is “another” gospel.
        However, when I look at the way people generally respond to those statements – I don’t see it producing the desired effect.
        People frequently hold such statements as questionable even to the degree they are actually true.
        I think because Calvinism has so imbedded itself into evangelical circles.

        Personally I do see it as another gospel
        But I’ve found it counter productive to make strong statements on that.

        What I’ve personally discovered, is if I can successfully alert Christians to underlying truths that are built into Calvinist doctrine and Calvinist psychology and Calvinist language – which Calvinists don’t want people to see – this gives Christians a chance to recognize things they would clearly want to stay away from.

        Those are the very things Calvinists spend most of their time trying to hide from people.
        Calvinists have evolved a certain type of dishonest language in this process.

        See my post WHAT IS ALTRUISTIC DISHONESTY IN CALVINISM:
        https://soteriology101.com/2019/01/21/why-divine-permission-establishes-free-will/#comment-34483

        So for me, there a number of components within Calvinism that when Christians become aware – they will be alerted and not get seduced into Calvinist through deceptive language tricks.

  20. Leighton,
    I am the Pastor at First Baptist Point, and I have been listening to your podcasts on Soteriology for some time now. I appreciate what you are doing, as you seem to be of a small group representing the traditional understanding, in a sea dominated by reformed publications. I have a question, or perhaps more of a statement: The debate concerning the tension on the nature of Foreknowledge between the differing views seems to flow along these lines, that either God determined all that come to pass or He looked into the future to see what individuals would choose. Both of these views seem to me foolish, I explain how God knows without causation or discovery, by appealing to God’s Providence-it simply is His Nature and within His Ability to do so. God chooses to create, and by His Providence knows all there is to know, even every choice his creature will make. Granting creatures the freedom to choose within His creation does not in any way diminish what He can and does know. It seems to me that much of the tension that men wrestle with attempting to understand God is answered by His Providence, not only concerning Soteriology, but many facets of God’s Nature. I am reaching out to get your thoughts, especially because I don’t seem to hear anyone explaining in along the lines of God’s Providence (I am that I am). Thank you again, Grace to you and your faithful work in the Name of Christ our Lord! Brother Zachary Honzell zhonzell@frontier.com 972-658-2286

    1. Nice post Eric!
      -quote
      If the prisoner does not accept the pardon, it is not in effect: “A pardon is a deed, to the validity of which delivery is essential, and delivery is not complete without acceptance. It may then be rejected by the person to whom it is tendered; and if it is rejected,
      we have discovered no power in this court to FORCE it upon him.

      So the question:
      Does scripture indicate that God unilaterally (without exception) FORCES his will upon the creature – in all things – and in every part.

  21. Hi Leighton,
    I have read various books by guest you have had on your podcasts/YouTube videos, including Austin Fischer. One of his books – “Faith in the Shadows” is forwarded by Brian Zahnd, whom I have learned has some deep theological problems. Do you know anything about this and/or should I be wary of Austin Fischer? Mike Winger (one of my favorite online Pastors) has done an expose of sorts on Brian Zahnd, which is very troubling.

    1. Hi Steve,
      I wanted to let you know that Dr. Flowers – due to his schedule – may not have the opportunity to see posts specifically addressed to himself here on this site. But I understand he may be more heavily active on his Facebook account. So you may have a much higher likelihood of catching him there.

      Blessings!
      br.d

  22. Dr Flowers,

    I first want to thank you so much for your ministry and your allowing the spirit to use you in your convictions on theology. It has been a blessing to me. I wanted to see if you were either going to do a video or if you know of any documentaries/movies coming out that would speak to the other side of the new Calvinist movie. I watched it and I can see how it could be very attractive to those who don’t fully understand where they themselves stand. Thanks and I look forward to your response.

  23. Dr. Flowers,

    I have watched and read many things you have put out over the last several years. While I could bring up many different things, I would like to make a brief observation. From a Reformed perspective, you have often been accused of not understanding what we believe. This flows out of the fact that you claim to have been a former 5 point Calvinist.

    It seems to me that there are faulty hermeneutics at the core of some of the positions you have taken. The Scriptures lay out the hermeneutical principles by which it operates within. The lynchpin of all hermeneutics is the inspiration, inerrancy, and infallibility of Scripture. I realize you gladly affirm this Christian pillar. The Scriptures also informs us that God is perfect, does not make mistakes, and cannot lie. I’m sure you would affirm this as well. The hermeneutical deduction you make from these biblical claims is that the Scriptures must be harmonized with itself. I’m sure you would affirm this. However, I can’t count how many times I have seen/heard you turn this principle on it’s head. Your standard operating procedure is to insert a word picture or an analogy in the middle of an “explanation” of what a verse means. Word pictures or analogies are not part of the framework of hermeneutics. While that may seem like a simple diversion to you, it’s not advancing the goal of finding the meaning of the text.

    One other thing you have a habit of doing is to set up a premise before you go through a passage. As one example, you did this in your assessment of John MacArthur’s view of total inability. You set up the premise “The Righteous Live By Faith vs. Those Who Suppress the Truth in Unrighteousness” in that video as the starting point as you went through Romans 1. That is NOT the starting point of how you do hermeneutics. That is NOT how you exegete a passage. You walk through the passage using hermeneutical principles. You CANNOT properly exegete a passage without understanding that it all has to be harmonized with the rest of the book. Now I realize that you would probably agree that this must be done but you can’t do that if some story, or word picture or some analogy is inserted as the defining characteristic of your conclusion. An inspired Book demands faithful hermeneutics. I don’t believe you have been consistent in that area.

    1. Welcome Steve. I think Leighton is pretty faithful in using basic and sound hermeneutics. But if you would like to discuss a specific passage in depth, I would be more than happy to.

      Leighton rarely visits theses pages, and has asked me to be one of the monitors. You may have a better chance of catching him on the Soteriology101 FB page.

    2. Hi Steve,
      Thank you for your post – and welcome!

      Its pretty well understood by scholars that everyone brings their own presuppositions to every text.
      What you called “bringing your premise to the text”.
      So that is going to be a reality for every reader.

      And it should be obvious that the Calvinist’s (who is human) reading of the text comes about through that same process.

      On Dr. Flowers use of analogy – I would ask you to consider whether or not Calvinism requires the reader to accept irrational premises as an integral (yet unrecognized) part its hermeneutic.

      As you say – the god of scripture is perfect – which means he is not irrational and does not bear false witness.

      Jesus says “let your commutation be yea yea or nay nay – for anything else comes of evil”.
      I would ask you to consider the possibility that Calvinism forces you into the position of disobeying that command.

      Perhaps you would be willing to listen to Dr. Flowers videos a few more times and ask God to show that to you.

      blessings!

      1. Thank you for responding.
        The point of my reply was simply to point out an erroneous method of how to apply hermeneutics. I wasn’t looking to discuss a specific passage. You don’t have to spend much time going through material that Leighton has made public, to find plenty of examples of how he does it. He constantly uses stories, word pictures, and analogies as he seeks to explain what a passage means. That is not how you employ hermeneutics or proper interpretation.

        Since you brought up presuppositions, let me address that. Presuppositions can potentially influence how someone interprets a text. No question about that. But that is not hermeneutics. The Scriptures lay out their own hermeneutical framework. Hermeneutics is a method which uses tools (biblical tools) to identify *how* you interpret. There are immovable stones, principles and biblical facts that you operate from as a starting point. Accepting or rejecting a premise is something that you arrive at during your interpretation process. Hermeneutics establishes *how* you are going to interpret that. Therefore, hermeneutics are to be used before you interpret. Everyone has a hermeneutic they operate from. It is either accurate or it is faulty.

        Dr. Flowers constantly uses human stories, word pictures and analogies to bolster his interpretation of texts and passages. That method of doing so departs from how hermeneutics should be employed. There isn’t anything you stated in your reply that addresses that point.

      2. Thanks Steve,
        I appreciate your kind spirit.

        You are probably used to a certain methodology in approaching the scripture – and I think you will find there is more to approaching the scripture then just grammatical etc exegesis.

        Also I think you will find that Calvinists just as much as anyone else – bring presuppositions to the text. These are presented in a different format as Dr. Flowers does. But never-the-less they are still there.

        Scholars in the forefront of Biblical criticism will tell you that the human mind interprets data in accordance to what it already believes to be true. For example, many years ago men believed that the earth was the center of the universe, and some believed that the earth was flat. These people held to those beliefs as cannon – infallible – and unquestionable. Therefore when they read scripture they saw verses that affirmed what they believed to be TRUTH. They were convinced that scripture affirmed a flat earth. Or they were convinced the scripture teaches the earth is the center of the universe.

        Copernicus for example, would not allow his books on the solar system to be published until after his death because he feared he would be burned to the stake as a heretic.

        All that to say that Calvinists bring their own presuppositions to the text. They just don’t have the same presentation style that Dr. Flowers does using analogies.

        Personally I like Dr. Flower’s analogies because for me they serve the same purpose as Jesus’ parables.
        Jesus could have debated with the Lawyers of his day – over grammatical explication – word meanings in the text etc.
        But for the most part he presented a framework of understanding God and scripture – by presenting principles within parables.

        You may enjoy listening to N.T. Write in his dialog with James White on Youtube. And you may enjoy the dialog between James White and Brian Abasciano. Both of these are much more focused on grammatical exegesis – which I think is closer to what your familiar with.

        But I do see Dr. Flowers contribution also – which is to show that sometimes the presuppositions which color the readers interpretation are irrational, self contradicting, or otherwise contradicting of scripture itself.

        Blessings!

      3. Thank you, Steve, for your thoughful reply. I teach hermeneutics on the grad level. If you would like to discuss specific rules of interpretation, I’m all ears. 😊 But in Leighton’s presentations and expositions of subjects, I don’t think you’ll find much different interpretaion methods than in presentations of many Calvinists.

        Leighton admits that he is not trained thoroughly in exegesis from the Hebrew and Greek text. But one can still do some good basic interpretation relying on the exegetical work of others and following other interpretation rules of grammar and context.

        And recognizing one’s presuppositions is essential to good interpretation. Call that another rule in good hermeneutics if you will.

        There is a difference between logical inferences that must be true based on premises that are facts that require the inferred conclusion. But often the premises that are assumed as true are not proven.

        In those cases the conclusion becomes only a reasonable “sounding” inference as much as the premises behind it “sound” true… But those reasonably “sounding” premises are just unproven assumptions or presuppositions.

        Calvinists are guilty of extrapolating/drawing reasonable “sounding” inferences for more meaning from verses that was not really there in those verses. That is another way of saying eisegesis! 😊

        I use this example of faulty extrapolation of reasonable “sounding” inferences when teaching logic.

        1 2 3

        I ask the students which number is next.

        The problem is one cannot be dogmatic. The answers, because of different presuppositions, can be 4, 5, 10, 0, or 1. All can be made a reasonably “sounding” inference or guessed as the next number. But there is NO logically necessary inference that can be drawn from just those numbers and that question.

        4 would be next if integers are assumed. 5 is next in the Fibonacci sequence if it is assumed. 10 is next in base 4. And 0 is next if working backwards in integers, and 1 is next if starting the same sequence over. All seem to be the correct and reasonably “sounding” inference based on an already chosen presupposition.

        The Calvinist reads “before birth” in a verse and then extrapolates/presupposes “before creation”. He reads “God knows” the future and thinks/presupposes/makes the inference that it can only be God knowing only “will bes” for the future and never “might bes” for the future.

        But those assumptions don’t “sound” as reasonable to me as they do to them. When I’m looking at the clear evidence of Scripture and not trying to extrapolate dogmatically beyond what’s written, I see Him knowing both “will bes” and “might bes” for the future.

        His revelation of the facts of “might bes” makes me think it is logically/necessarily, if His Word is true, to make the inference that God knows those “might be” facts as only “might be” facts. 😉

      4. Brian,
        I loved your analogy of using the incrementing numbers and the “system of numeric sequence” to show the power of presupposition.
        That is just brilliant!!

        If I could add to your conclusion – I would say:

        The Calvinist holds Theological Determinism to be the “system” which is assumed. And as such he automatically looks for evidence of Theological Determinism within the data of scripture. But there are unfortunate byproducts this brings about. And if one knows what to look for, one can find the Calvinist’s response to these byproducts is simply to invent strategies to hide, mask, obfuscate and evade them. It also forces them to masquerade many things – to make them appear to be things they are not.

        These strategies then end up evolving the Calvinist into various modes of intellectual dishonesty. And they turn the word of God into what Paul calls an “uncertain sound”.

        The end result becomes Christ-dishonoring practices – which have become observable as systemic to the theology – and part of Calvinism’s historical reputation.

      5. Thank you Taw!
        And I totally agree with you on Brian’s post!
        Brian is not only really smart – but he’s also one of the most gracious and kind Christians I know! :-]

      6. Wow!!! Awesome explanation!!! Needs to be published if not already! If it is, please share where I can get my hands on a copy.
        Where are you a professor? Trinity, with Dr Flowers?😊

      7. Thank you Taw Bur for your kind words. I teach mainly for Veritas Baptist College (vbc.edu), but also for a couple others.

        Not published, I don’t recall, in any of the few articles I’ve had published. 😉

  24. Thank you for the replies Brian and BR.D. I would like to comment on many of the points you made but I simply don’t have the time. Please don’t take this the wrong way Brian, because there is absolutely no indictment intended, but I don’t know if you do well with hermeneutics or not. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has an economics degree but she seems to have the economic knowledge of a First Grader. I have conversed with many Christians who claim to believe that God is sovereign but after a short conversation, it’s clear they don’t. Same is true with hermeneutics. Not sure about you guys but I see plenty of flaws in Dr. Flowers’ hermeneutical approach to a text.

    Just to comment on a couple things. Hermeneutics is not a Calvinism or non-Calvinism issue. “Presentation style” has nothing to do with hermeneutics. And neither does philosophical reasoning. (which you used several times in your reply) “Will be’s or might be’s” are not a hermeneutical issue. Those are interpretation issues. The Scriptures themselves lay out every single hermeneutical principle with dogmatic statements that rise above whether you are a Calvinist or something else.

    And so, to peel back to my original assertion; stories, word pictures, and analogies are not part of a sound hermeneutic. Both of you felt it necessary to project many of the difficulties you have with “Calvinism” into this discussion. That was not the topic I raised and I have no interest in going down that road. I don’t have the physical time to do that. But if you will insist that stories, word pictures and analogies have a place in sound hermeneutics, I strongly suggest you are incorrect.

    1. Thank you again Steve for posting with a kind spirit.
      And thank you for your conclusion.

      I’ve been in this conversation before – with a Calvinist pastor who insisted exegesis other than reformed was improper exegesis. Eventually it became clear his position was based upon his position – which held the philosophy of Theological Determinism as equal to scripture. And any exegesis that did not affirm it was improper exegesis.

      John Piper takes a similar position as yours concerning N.T. Write – who is an internationally recognized scholar. So its obvious that reformed people can see themselves as the golden standard when it comes to exegesis and hermeneutics from which all others are to be measured.

      Although you indicate your position is neutral to Calvinism – I think its probably the case that its based upon those influences.

      My conclusion for you would be my hopes that the Lord with keep your mind open – and allow you to see the very problems you sight exist to the same degree with reformed hermeneutics. How-be-it they manifest differently.

      Certainly Dr. Flowers would say he is not an N.T. Write or an F.F. Bruce But I suspect everyone grateful for his ministry understands the contribution he provides.

      Blessings Steve and thanks again. :-]

    2. Well Steve… I would love to hear the references from Scripture where you think they “lay out every single hermeneutical principle with dogmatic statements.” I have a list of my own for rules of interpretation taken from verses in Scripture.

      I also noted that you did not comment on my discussion of how reasonable sounding inferences are made that are not logically necessary inferences. I was wondering what you thought about that part of my response. Thx.

      1. Brian,
        You can call it a cop out if you like but I don’t have the time to expand upon my comment. It was a side bar to my original thought anyway.

        Logical inferences are philosophical observations that can be as varied as a rainbow depending on who is fleshing them out. Every inference is based on an assumption. I believe that the Scriptures condemns philosophical observations in the exercise of hermeneutics.

      2. Actually Steve logical inferences are necessarily true… That is the fourth law of logic. It is the reasonably sounding inferences that are based on presuppositions that are assumptions that may or may not be true.

        How about giving me just one rule of hermeneutics that you ascribe to, that is biblically based? Perhaps it could be the one that you know real well off the top of your lift. That way I’d have some idea how you have come to your conclusion that Leighton has not followed such biblical hermeneutics. Thanks.

      3. Steve
        I believe that the Scriptures condemns philosophical observations in the exercise of hermeneutics.

        Jesus’ exercise of hermeneutics on Psalm 110
        “If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?”

        Hmmm – that sure looks like a “philosophical observation” to me!

        Jesus exercise of hermeneutics on Leviticus 19:17
        “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. ……..”

        Hmmm – that sure looks like an “analogy” to me!

        Is there no room for Jesus’ exercise of hermeneutics in the body of Christ today?

  25. Brian first.
    Logical inferences are necessarily true *only* if the premise is true. Then more assumptions can potentially come into play. The philosophical loop is never closed because there is always someone who will challenge your premise, your inference or your conclusion.
    I have to be honest Brian, I would love to interact with you but I simply don’t have the time right now. Maybe my time will be freed up and we could return to this discussion at a later date. I apologize.

    Now BR.D,
    Based on your response,you are confusing interpretation and hermeneutics. Apparently you are not aware that using a philosophical observation in speech is not the same as using it as a principle of hermeneutics. The same is true of an analogy. You should know the difference between the two. The same is true with Jesus’ words. You can say there is interpretive value in what He said there, but that is not a principle of hermeneutics. As I stated to Brian above, I will also convey to you. I don’t have the time right now to continue this interaction. Hopefully at a later date. I apologize.

    1. Steve
      Now BR.D,
      Based on your response,you are confusing interpretation and hermeneutics. Apparently you are not aware that using a philosophical observation in speech is not the same as using it as a principle of hermeneutics.

      br.d
      Hermeneutics (/ˌhɜːrməˈnjuːtɪks/) is the theory and methodology of interpretation.

      Gordon Fee:
      -quote:
      Hermeneutics Is about asking questions about the Bible’s meaning in the “here and now.” A text cannot mean what it could never have meant for its original readers/hearers…the true meaning of the biblical text for us is what God originally intended it to mean when it was first spoken or written. -end quote

      Personally I don’t see Jesus’ statements as relegated to “philosophical observations in speech”.
      It appears to me Jesus’ statements are his way of showing what the original author meant by the text and how that text thus applies to the “here and now”.

      But thanks – it will be interesting to take this up later if possible.

    2. I agree Steve the premises have to be true… I should have added “from the Scriptures” when talking about logical inferences. I assumed you would have understood that, since our conversation was about the hermeneutics of Scripture. The premises stated there are true. Right?

      I also see how much time you have taken to respond to me and BrD and find it curious that you can not share one hermeneutic principle you hold to from Scripture, especially since you took the time to criticize Leighton’s posts for not following such principles.

      In my opinion, your criticism becomes an empty one if you are unwilling to provide such evidence.

  26. Could you provide an extensive list of Bible commentaries or books the books of the Bible that you fully support or maybe just their names?

    1. Welcome Dean! You probably would have a better chance getting some kind of answer from Leighton on his FB page. But I will let him know you asked here.

  27. To Leighton:
    It is the 6th day of the month of May.
    Just watched your video with Ben Shapiro.
    At the end you were specifically wanting to know what can be done to spread Provisions and to not feel hopeless was the underlying tone. There is only one way, but before that scripture: Acts 5:34-39. The significant Gamaliel tells us something clearly true and forensically observed, that what is of God spreads and prospers and anyone who negates, negates God, and we know no one can win in confrontation with the Holy One. Here’s the problem: and make sure to hear this warning seriously: if God is really on your side when it comes to this doctrine you must begin churches who are conceived out of the doctrines you espouse. Theologians are kept alive and popular by the Pastor’s and laymen who follow them. This is the singular only way. Start insisting on building in America and around the world and call on the people who view your videos to come forth if they are willing to be bloodstained missionaries for Christ’s Gospel and finance them and have the churches they build from the ground up support something like the SBC, but for a complete Traditionalist unity of brotheren, in relation to finishing the Great Commission. It is truly the only way to segregate your body away from Calvinist influence. You already have a platform and have more than you need to start small but effectively. Whoever gets this written message, if it is not in fact Leighton flowers, send this specific note to him please, and also, I am open to help. My name is Travis Feliceto Lewis, more than that I think I was made to help. Contact me, many things can be started through Christ if you are in fact right about Calvinist. Also Calvinist can be thoroughly disaproven with one verse, even though many don’t believe or say they don’t believe in proof-texting, Christ use proof texts so it is not error to kill false as soon as possible out of the door. If consider more of the plan that will be necessary and building up an infrastructure of Provisionism /Traditionalism contact me I am glad to come on the podcast.

  28. I have just become a monthly supporter because I so appreciate Dr. Flower work and you-tube channel. I am not trained at all trained in ministry, as I work for an IT company. I have had a long term friend with a 5 point Calvinist whom has slowly been converting me over to TULIP theology. I have indeed learned and grown so much from our friendship as I’m in search for God’s truth but have not been able to affirm the systematic teaching of Calvinism.. Dr. Flowers has been able to clearly articulate what I have not been able to do for myself. I feel alive again thanks to Dr. Flowers you-tube ministry. Please keep doing what your doing, you are making a difference for me !! I appreciate so much that you have chosen to continue your focus on reaching us to us lay people in understanding soteriology and the humility & respect you have demonstrated and modeled speaks volumes. Thank-You

  29. Can I ask….., If I could only get someone to watch a 5 minute video, what would be the most direct and best support for free will vs Calvinistic Election?

    1. Hi RB
      You might find the following from William Lane Craig of interest:

      1. Universal, divine, causal determinism cannot offer a coherent interpretation of Scripture. The classical Reformed divines recognized this. They acknowledge that the reconciliation of Scriptural texts affirming human freedom and contingency with Scriptural texts affirming divine sovereignty is inscrutable. D. A. Carson identifies nine streams of texts affirming human freedom: (1) People face a multitude of divine exhortations and commands, (2) people are said to obey, believe, and choose God, (3) people sin and rebel against God, (4) people’s sins are judged by God, (5) people are tested by God, (6) people receive divine rewards, (7) the elect are responsible to respond to God’s initiative, (8) prayers are not mere showpieces scripted by God, and (9) God literally pleads with sinners to repent and be saved (Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility: Biblical Perspectives in Tension, pp. 18-22). These passages rule out a deterministic understanding of divine providence, which would preclude human freedom. Determinists reconcile universal, divine, causal determinism with human freedom by re-interpreting freedom in compatibilist terms. Compatibilism entails determinism, so there’s no mystery here. The problem is that adopting compatibilism achieves reconciliation only at the expense of denying what various Scriptural texts seem clearly to affirm: genuine indeterminacy and contingency.

      2. Universal causal determinism cannot be rationally affirmed. There is a sort of dizzying, self-defeating character to determinism. For if one comes to believe that determinism is true, one has to believe that the reason he has come to believe it is simply that he was determined to do so. One has not in fact been able to weigh the arguments pro and con and freely make up one’s mind on that basis. The difference between the person who weighs the arguments for determinism and rejects them and the person who weighs them and accepts them is wholly that one was determined by causal factors outside himself to believe and the other not to believe. When you come to realize that your decision to believe in determinism was itself determined and that even your present realization of that fact right now is likewise determined, a sort of vertigo sets in, for everything that you think, even this very thought itself, is outside your control. Determinism could be true; but it is very hard to see how it could ever be rationally affirmed, since its affirmation undermines the rationality of its affirmation.

      3. Universal, divine, determinism makes God the author of sin and precludes human responsibility. In contrast to the Molinist view, on the deterministic view even the movement of the human will is caused by God. God moves people to choose evil, and they cannot do otherwise. God determines their choices and makes them do wrong. If it is evil to make another person do wrong, then on this view God is not only the cause of sin and evil, but becomes evil Himself, which is absurd. By the same token, all human responsibility for sin has been removed. For our choices are not really up to us: God causes us to make them. We cannot be responsible for our actions, for nothing we think or do is up to us.

      4. Universal, divine, determinism nullifies human agency. Since our choices are not up to us but are caused by God, human beings cannot be said to be real agents. They are mere instruments by means of which God acts to produce some effect, much like a man using a stick to move a stone. Of course, secondary causes retain all their properties and powers as intermediate causes, as the Reformed divines remind us, just as a stick retains its properties and powers which make it suitable for the purposes of the one who uses it. Reformed thinkers need not be occasionalists like Nicholas Malebranche, who held that God is the only cause there is. But these intermediate causes are not agents themselves but mere instrumental causes, for they have no power to initiate action. Hence, it’s dubious that on divine determinism there really is more than one agent in the world, namely, God. This conclusion not only flies in the face of our knowledge of ourselves as agents but makes it inexplicable why God then treats us as agents, holding us responsible for what He caused us and used us to do.

      5. Universal, divine determinism makes reality into a farce. On the deterministic view, the whole world becomes a vain and empty spectacle. There are no free agents in rebellion against God, whom God seeks to win through His love, and no one who freely responds to that love and freely gives his love and praise to God in return. The whole spectacle is a charade whose only real actor is God Himself. Far from glorifying God, the deterministic view, I’m convinced, denigrates God for engaging in a such a farcical charade. It is deeply insulting to God to think that He would create beings which are in every respect causally determined by Him and then treat them as though they were free agents, punishing them for the wrong actions He made them do or loving them as though they were freely responding agents. God would be like a child who sets up his toy soldiers and moves them about his play world, pretending that they are real persons whose every motion is not in fact of his own doing and pretending that they merit praise or blame. I’m certain that Reformed determinists, in contrast to classical Reformed divines, will bristle at such a comparison. But why it’s inapt for the doctrine of universal, divine, causal determinism is a mystery to me.

  30. Maybe this has already been answered here but I failed to find it in searches. Would it be a contradiction for a provisionist (traditional view of soteriology) to sign the abstract of principles at SBTS Louisville?

    1. Hi Clint. I’m not SB… but having read the Abstract, and feeling I know the Traditional position pretty well… I’d say no. Some wording could be interpreted to fit (probably against original intent) but I think Traditionalists reject condemnation from birth, though affirming a sin nature from birth.

      If you want Leighton’s view, you may have better success catching his replies on his FB Soteriology101 site.

  31. I came across Dr. Flowers about six months ago! I was referred to him by Mike Wenger.
    I grew up in a reformed calvinistic church. I always though something off. I read through the NT with just a text only Bible and was amazed how #1 easy it is to understand when the Holy Spirit shows you. And #2 That scripture is not calvinistic. I have by God’s Grace through his word and Dr. Flowers and Mike Wenger have left Calvinisum! I have studied and studied for hours on end every night for the last six months or so.
    My question is this. I attend a reformed church. Yes it is calvinistic in some but not all its teachings. They beilive we have a choice in accepting the gift of salvation. Should I leave or stay? I have a wife and child with whom to consider also. Also I am a small group leader. I also will be attending seminary in the fall to get my MDIV in the same denomination (RCA). I am not swayed by Calvinisum and I am not worried about my wife and son as they ask me basically anything when pertaining to theology. But what is the best way to lead them? Just looking for discernment.

    Thanks!

    1. Hello Ryan and a very warm welcome!

      On your question – I’m afraid to say – that the Lord will probably put you in a situation where you will be forced to leave the Calvinist influences if you really want to be free of them and be free to minister as your heart leads you.

      I believe you will find there is a form of group control that is pretty consistent within the Calvinist social structure. A Calvinist leader who calculates the need to allow Calvinism to get a strong-hold in the congregation will typically take a stance asserting that the doctrinal differences are unimportant. But just as soon as that strong-hold is established – that stance will dramatically change.

      If I were you, I would be asking the Lord to open an new door for you and your family.

      Blessings and I’ll say a prayer for you!
      br.d

    2. Hi Ryan,
      So glad you are seeing the scriptures as they were intended to be read. I Agree with BR.D
      Look for a church that is Bible believing and Bible preaching.
      If you stay in the context you are in…it will not be good for you and your family as time goes on things will get harder. They will not get easier. If you stay under that teaching it will affect your family even if right now it seems to be ok.

      I have found what BR.D said is so true. When a Calvinist pastor first comes he pretends often to be in line with a non-calvinist church’s doctrine then as time goes on he teaches more and more Calvinism and he takes a harder line. These guys tend to get more radical over time not less. Look at where Piper is at, more more radical, and J Mac — It is always hard to leave and sometimes you feel stuck… pray that God will open another door for you or show you another good Bible Preaching church that preaches the Word without the Calvinist colored glasses. It may take some time but the sooner you act the better it will be for your family. Of course this is my opinion.

  32. Hi team at Soteriology101!

    I just wanted to encourage you all in the wonderful work you do. Leighton, I have been listening to the podcasts for a couple of months now, and I have been so relieved to finally have answers to my questions about christianity – which actually just turned out to be questions about calvinism. I was brought up in a reformed church and I also had issue with the doctrine of election but I could find no help with answers. You have shed light in my spiritual life which I am so thankful for.

    I am spreading the word about Soteriology101 resources!

    1. Welcome Sara,
      It is so good that you are able to get some solid biblical answers to your questions. Leighton is doing an excellent job!!! I agree.
      Keep spreading the word… our church in North America desperately needs to see the true God of the Bible not some man-made distortion. Keep pressing on and spreading the word.

    2. Thank you Sara!
      Wonderful words of encouragement!

      And may the Lord continue to bless you and shine his light on those things he want’s you to see! :-]

  33. I’ve been a long time listener of the sage and saint, Dr. Charles Stanley. This week he’s been preaching on Ephesians 1. For the past two days I agreed with him because he kept mentioning the key words,”in Him” as strategic to understanding the text. Leighton has done a great job for me in “framing the context,” of the passage since Calvinists do not, and create confusion and conflation. However, Stanley does an “about face” and appears to become a compatibilist today! Say it isn’t so!! Could you perhaps listen on the podcast of INTOUCH today and let me know what you all think? Thanks so much! God Bless you all in this much needed ministry

    1. Shelly
      However, Stanley does an “about face” and appears to become a compatibilist today! Say it isn’t so!!

      br.d
      Hi Shelly
      I think you’ll find people on both sides of the aisle on Dr. Stanley. Calvinists also scratch their heads over him. Some say they love to listen to him. Some call him Arminian but a good expositor. Some refuse to listen to a word he would say. I think listeners discretion is advised.

      BTW: The Apostle Paul would applaud you for exercising a critical listening ear.
      Well done! :-]

  34. Leighton, we so appreciate your podcast and resources. Please, please, please take the high road with James White’s latest unChristlike response to your pointing out his misrepresenting you. For anyone with any level of objectivity, it’s clear he is handling himself poorly. As he continues to escalate his degradation of you, don’t let him drag you down. I can only imagine how tempting it must be to go back-and-forth with him, but I think there is real danger in pursuing it at this point as he’s essentially in ad-hominem mode. Remain Christlike. Remember the wisdom of Romans 12:18–20: If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” I’m sure you wouldn’t categorize White as your “enemy,” but he’s sure behaving like one. At this point, he needs a good friend to confront him, as you’ve suggested. You’ve done your best.

    1. Thank you very much for you post Rob
      Due to a very busy schedule – Leighton isn’t here very much to interact with participants – but you may more readily find him on facebook.

      Your post was encouraging. And I can tell you from the consistency of Dr. Flowers dialoging and responding to Dr. White – he is very familiar with the behavior patterns and a hose of other LOGICAL inconsistencies he’s adeptly responded to over time. But I’m sure he will appreciate your encouraging words.

      Sincere thanks
      br.d

  35. I have having a debate with a friend… a John Piper fan. I wrote the following letter to her. Can anyone give me a sanity check? Thanks, “Valued and Loved”

    I don’t agree the Bible teaches that His death was not a measure of my worth, but only a measure of my sin… I believe it’s a measure of both. It’s a given that the Cross is about our sin, but if He didn’t think we were mattered, why would he have bothered?
    • But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ … that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus
    • For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son.
    • For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

    Self-esteem means “confidence in one’s own worth.” That’s very different from the arrogance that you described. When I spoke of self-esteem, I did not mean to imply that I should think more highly of myself than I should, or that I am preoccupied with my self-esteem. I would not imply that self-esteem means prioritizing myself over God. If you knew me you would know that that’s not how I live.

    I understand “dying to self” to mean dying to our dark side, not dying to who we are; not dying to our dignity and worth. A God who really loves us, would not require us to obliterate who we are in order to serve Him, because that’s not love… in fact dying to our old self allows us to be the people we were always mean to be.

    As CS Lewis put it: “…our real selves are all waiting for us in Him.”

    As I see it, Self-centered self-love (II Tim 3:2) is a counterfeit version of authentic self-regard found only in Christ (Luke 12:17).

    Imagine a good parent not valuing their child – that doesn’t compute. A child who knows her father loves her is secure… she has nothing to prove… no need to be “preoccupied” with acquiring what her father, who loves and values her, demonstrates to her everyday – she is priceless!

    When I first read about Jesus in the Gospels as a teen (many years ago, yes, I’m pretty old) I was struck by how much He cared for those the world demeaned (even unbelievers, maybe especially them)– the outcasts, prostitutes, Samaritans, lepers, tax collectors, and more. He noticed them, touched the untouchable, listen to them, and healed them. In his eyes, they had value… there is no other way to interpret that. He loved them, despite the fact that they were lost in sin – and I fell hopelessly in love with Jesus! But the pois religious leaders threw off on Jesus for being a friend of sinners! He deflected their critics: He had come to see and to save the lost (Luke 15 (1-4)).

    I know that you follow John Piper, and I know that doesn’t mean that you agree with everything Piper says… but I came across an article by Piper about the Biblical definition of love. He said that biblical love does not mean “being made much of.” Last January, my husband had (an only partially successful) quadruple heart bypass. When Father’s Day rolled around, we all wanted to do something special to show him how much he means to us. During dinner, I asked our three adult children to share a special memory of their Dad that highlighted his decades of faithful fatherly love and care. You see, just like the loving father that welcomed the Prodigal back with a fine robe, a ring, and a fattened calf, we wanted to “make much of” my sweet husband, and we did just that! I don’t think that we were stealing God’s glory, I think we were demonstrating it – and I don’t think God was offended.

    We don’t compete for God’s glory when we bask in how much we matter to him – to me, that’s a heart crushing concept. On the contrary, of all of the ways He displays His glory, valuing us, especially the least among us, is how God’s glory is most beautifully and regally revealed (I Cor 13:13) …The life of Jesus exuded this kind of love… knowing how much we matter to God is in fact the starting place for loving him (I John 4:19). I honestly can’t understand how it glorifies God to minimize His love. He, in fact, is love (I John 4:8 and 16).

    1. Hi Valued and Loved and welcome to SOT101

      You may have posted this question twice?
      If so and if the second posting is simply a duplicate – I’ll delete it.
      Please let me know.

      Thanks
      br.d

      1. Yes, please do delete one of them…. the first post took a long time to post, so didn’t think it had. Thanks

    2. Hello Valued and Loved – and welcome!

      Please allow me to make a few responses – others may also – and hopefully mine will be of help to you.

      Valued and Loved:
      I don’t agree the Bible teaches that His death was not a measure of my worth, but only a measure of my sin… I believe it’s a measure of both.

      br.d
      When one speaks of Christ’s death as a measure of the value or worth of those whom Jesus died for one is best to proceed with extreme caution. And personally I’m not comfortable speaking that way myself – because it focuses a value on the recipient of the gift rather than a focus on the sacrificial love of the giver. So I feel comfortable stating that Jesus sacrifice is a measure of His wonderful love. And a measure of a wonderful and loving father.

      Valued and Loved:
      if He didn’t think we were mattered, why would he have bothered?

      br.d
      For me it is best to say – In this case beauty is in the eye of the beholder (i.e. Jesus).
      If Jesus sees me as valuable or beautiful then I am totally blessed.
      But following the lead of the authors of the NT (in how they would speak about themselves) – my disposition concerning myself is that there is nothing in me that he should love or value. So if he does – its only because beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

      Valued and Loved:
      Self-esteem means “confidence in one’s own worth.” That’s very different from the arrogance that you described. When I spoke of self-esteem, I did not mean to imply that I should think more highly of myself than I should, or that I am preoccupied with my self-esteem. I would not imply that self-esteem means prioritizing myself over God. If you knew me you would know that that’s not how I live.

      br.d
      I think you probably have a correct perspective here. The Lord doesn’t want us to be doormats and let people walk all over us.
      So in that regard we have esteem for ourselves – but sometimes self-esteem is like walking a tight-rope – we can lean to far over into a form of self-love. We can also lean to far into a form of self-loathing also. Or we can de-value ourselves in an unhealthy way.
      All of these are imbalances – and the Lord wants us to have a healthy sense of self-worth, tempered by a healthy sense of gratitude that he loves us in spite of ourselves.

      As the bride says: “I am my beloved’s and he is mine – his banner over me is love”.

      Valued and Loved:
      I understand “dying to self” to mean dying to our dark side, not dying to who we are; not dying to our dignity and worth.

      br.d
      Yes I think this is well balanced.
      “Death to self” preaching has been around for many years and perhaps peaked with the Keswick movement in the 1800s and then again with the Shepherding Movement in the 70s and 80s. The Shepherding Movement represented an especially unhealthy unbalanced emphasis – damaging to young Christians and devastated Christian marriages and families. An excellent documentary on these types of imbalances in the church can be found in “Churches that Abuse” by Ronald Enroth and “Twisted Scriptures” by Mary Alice Chrnalogar.

      You are wise to be cautious on an emphasis on “death to self” – and understand it can lead to Pharisee-ism.
      But also remember what Samuel said to King Saul “Didn’t I make you king over all Israel when you were little in you’re own eyes”

      Valued and Loved:
      As I see it, Self-centered self-love (II Tim 3:2) is a counterfeit version of authentic self-regard found only in Christ (Luke 12:17).

      br.d
      Yes if I understand that as you seeing your self-regard as in Christ. But we do know that Paul talks about the manifestations of the flesh. And we do know that people can sometimes have an inflated sense of self-worth. So its also wisdom not to get ensnared in that trap.

      Valued and Loved:
      Imagine a good parent not valuing their child – that doesn’t compute. A child who knows her father loves her is secure… she has nothing to prove… no need to be “preoccupied” with acquiring what her father, who loves and values her, demonstrates to her everyday – she is priceless!

      br.d
      Yes – I think this is a good example. An healthy minded intelligent loving father or mother doesn’t want their child to develop self-loathing, self-defeating or self sabotaging behavior patterns. We find these unfortunately as unhealthy traits handed down to children by dysfunctional parents

      Valued and Loved:
      When I first read about Jesus in the Gospels as a teen …He cared for those the world demeaned ….outcasts, prostitutes, …there is no other way to interpret that. He loved them, despite the fact that they were lost in sin – and I fell hopelessly in love with Jesus!

      br.d
      Yes – this is an very good point!
      And it was very much the same for me!
      He loved me and gave his life for me when I deserved the opposite.

      Valued and Loved:
      I know that you follow John Piper, and I know that doesn’t mean that you agree with everything Piper says… but I came across an article by Piper about the Biblical definition of love. He said that biblical love does not mean “being made much of.” Last January, my husband had (an only partially successful) quadruple heart bypass. When Father’s Day rolled around, we all wanted to do something special to show him how much he means to us. During dinner, I asked our three adult children to share a special memory of their Dad that highlighted his decades of faithful fatherly love and care. You see, just like the loving father that welcomed the Prodigal back with a fine robe, a ring, and a fattened calf, we wanted to “make much of” my sweet husband, and we did just that! I don’t think that we were stealing God’s glory, I think we were demonstrating it – and I don’t think God was offended.

      br.d
      This sounds healthy and pleasing to the Lord to me.

      But I would warn Christians who are unfamiliar with Calvinism to stay away from its ministry. Calvinism has a very different perspective on good and evil than most Christians are familiar with. The dividing line which differentiates good from evil is blurred and sometimes simply doesn’t exist in Calvinist concepts of God. In many respects evil is good and good is evil in Calvinism. On top of that, Calvinists almost always want to make their system as appealing as possible, so they will not acknowledge (even to themselves) any of its dark aspects. And most Christians will be totally naive, unsuspecting and unprepared for things like that in professing Christians (i.e., Calvinists).

      Valued and Loved:
      knowing how much we matter to God is in fact the starting place for loving him (I John 4:19). I honestly can’t understand how it glorifies God to minimize His love. He, in fact, is love (I John 4:8 and 16).

      br.d
      Again – this goes back to the starting question.
      I’m uncomfortable using language about how much I might matter to God.
      If he sees any value in me – then he is only seeing those wonderful aspects of himself reflected in what he has made in me.

      It is certainly healthy to say “I am fearfully and wonderfully made”

      BTW: Thank you so much for feeling free to post your question here!
      I see that as a compliment to Dr. Flowers – that people look to him as Christ-like.
      And he is! :-]

    3. Thank you… you’ve really given me some things to think about. I’ve asked God to show me if I need correction in my understanding of the Bible. I’m glad I didn’t send this letter yet, as I may now need to change some things a bit. So grateful that you took the time!

      1. Thank you Valued and Loved.

        You have a kind, gentle and thoughtful spirit.
        I see these as reflections of the Lord in you.
        And I’m grateful you shared that here.

        So many aspects of my life are balancing acts – finding that right place that is pleasing to Jesus.
        Its all a part of me being human and His overwhelming love!

        Warm blessings to you and your family!

  36. I was wondering if someone could help me understand Matthew 11:27 and John 6:44? I’m working on distancing myself from unconditional election and limited atonement and am struggling with these passages. Thanks very much in advance.

    1. Hello Andrew and welcome.
      Let’s see if Brian Wagner is onboard today – he is an excellent help on biblical texts.

      The John 6:44 is a typical proof-text used by Calvinists. But how does one use it as a proof-text?

      First by adopting an extra biblical concept and accepting that concept as INFALLIBLE TRUTH. And then by data mining in scripture for verses that can be used to affirm that extra-biblical concept. This process is consistently used to affirm all sorts of doctrines.

      Calvinists will of-course insist their process is the other way around – and their doctrine follows scripture. But anyone who is using scripture verses to get what they want is going to insist that. So you are wise to not be fooled by what people insist.

    2. Hi Andrew – Here are some of my thoughts on John 6:44. Matt 11:27 is similar. If you want to interact through email, mine is brianwagner@vbc.edu Praise God that the true Light reveals Himself to everyone. (John 1:9).

      And John 6:44 is not a gotcha verse if one recognizes that the one drawn is not logically guaranteed in that grammatical construction to either come or to be raised up just because he is drawn. Only the one drawn and who comes is promised to be raised up. Even if “drag” is used here or in John 12:32… the meaning is only to drag to a location… There is no guaranteed change made in the person’s nature just by being drawn. Once they are brought to the location or before the person, like Christ… they have to make a decision what to do next and how to respond to the options and information they now have in that location or before that person!

      The same Greek word for “drawn” is used in the LXX in Neh 9:30… and that group of Israelites, though drawn by God to the opportunity to obey Him, did not do it. The Hebrew word for “drawn” used in Neh 9:30 is also used in Hos 11:4-5, which again is showing that Israel was “drawn” by God with love to Himself, but they refused Him. Paul recalls this kind of drawing with love, using the words of Isaiah where God said – “All day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and contrary people” Rom 10:21. Does God only play act His love already knowing it only can and will be rejected? Not my God.

      Paul and Silas were “drawn” before the rulers of Philippi and then thrown into prison (Acts 16:19)… There they were free and able to either groan and complain or pray and sing! We know what they freely chose to do! I actually prefer the idea of “drag”. God graciously “drags” us to a place of decision. We cannot escape that “grace”, and we are now able and responsible for how we freely respond to it… making us clearly without excuse at the final judgment of God!

      *********
      Are you familiar with identifying distributed and non-distributed terms when premises are being evaluated as to what is logically valid to prove from them? In 6:44 the “no one can come” is a distributed term… but “the Father draws” is a non-distributed term. The “will be raised up” is non-distributed also.

      In brief Jesus is saying that all who come will be raised up. But the verse is not logically proving that they are the only ones to be raised up (deceased infants maybe also).

      And being drawn is necessary to enable coming, but the premise doesn’t prove it is the only thing necessary to enable coming (the context reveals looking at the Son and believing is also part of those coming). Nor does the verse guarantee that all who are drawn, and therefore enabled to come, will actually come.

      The emphasis on coming and believing is throughout this passage. It fits the purpose of the book…that unbelievers reading would be enabled/drawn to come and believe and then receive the everlasting life of the new birth (20:31). But reading doesn’t cause coming and believing.

      Reading determinism into these verses that don’t clearly prove it and whose purpose even contradicts determinism is just sad!

    3. Here are my thoughts…
      Matthew 11:27 New Living Translation (NLT)
      27 “My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

      The Son “chooses to reveal” the Father to all who open the door of their heart through faith in Christ.

      John 6:44 New Living Translation (NLT)
      44 For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up.

      The Father draws and seeks all who are lost. Those who want to be found will be saved.

  37. Don’t know where the best place to ask a question is, so I’ll ask one here.

    How does the Incarnation relate to compatibilism?

    So Jesus is 100% God, and then became 100% Man, including our full real nature. He was tempted to sin, but didn’t. I imagine that explaining this compatibilistically would be something to the effect of “Jesus’ desires as God were higher than His desires to sin as Man, therefore, He didn’t sin.” However, this means there was zero enticement or drawing away involved in Christ’s temptation, though His human desires may have been there. In other words, did Jesus actually make a choice?

    I’m curious to see how this view of the incarnation can be explained in the provisionalist worldview compared to a calvinist worldview

    1. Hello Michael and welcome

      To my knowledge the Provisionalist does not embrace Theological Determinism – upon which compatibilism is predicated. So if I understand you’re question – the Provisionalist doesn’t face the issue the Calvinist does. Without Theological Determinism – Jesus’ humanity can be “fully man” having a “Libertarian” form of freedom.

      The Calvinist on the other hand does embrace Theological Determinism. That embrace is in fact a primary aspect, making Calvinism its own unique and distinctive Christian Theology. And is what Calvinist Theology has in common with the Muslim Theology.

      If the Calvinist were logically consistent he would have to say that everything Jesus thought, said, and did (while assuming humanity) would be fully determined by the THEOS. And as such Jesus – just like the first Adam – would have no control over any creaturely attribute – including his thoughts, choices, etc.

      But we know that Calvinists are not logically consistent –because determinism is unlivable. The provisionalist doesn’t have the Calvinist’s burden – and is thus able to enjoy a more logically coherent belief system.

  38. Hey Dr. Flowers! Just thinking out loud…under determinism could someone even claim that the Word of God is divinely inspired and thus, set apart? Theoretically, all written works would be determined by God…even contradictory ones. So, what would give the bible special authority in that world view?

    Thank you for all you do!

    1. Welcome Caleb!

      You make an excellent point regarding the LOGICAL consequences of determinism.

      Yes it would LOGICALLY follow in Theological Determinism – since ALL texts ever written are determined by the THEOS – then what within the scheme of determinism specifically makes the text of scripture different?

      All persons “physically” writing texts would be functioning as the “instruments” of the THEOS – and they would only be permitted to write what the THEOS DECREED them to write. Because in Theological Determinism – nothing more and nothing less is PERMITTED than what is DECREED.

      But it also goes beyond that into the realm of human perceptions which are also completely determined by the THEOS.
      For example
      – The THEOS determines the Jehovah’s witness’s perceptions – he perceives his perceptions TRUE and others FALSE.
      – The THEOS determines the Catholics perceptions – he perceives his perceptions TRUE and others FALSE.
      – The THEOS determines the Calvinist’s perceptions – he perceives his perceptions TRUE and others FALSE.

      Additionally – the THEOS determines all of these to have FALSE perceptions which they perceive as TRUE
      It LOGICALLY follows – none of these people have the ability to determine whether or not any perception they have is TRUE or FALSE.

      So how is anyone in this condition going to be the author of a text – such as scripture – that is TRUE while other texts are FALSE?

      In Theological Determinism – the THEOS knows what is TRUE/FALSE – but the creature has no way of determining TRUE/FALSE

      Theological Determinism eventually turns pretty much everything into a contorted IRRATIONAL pretzel.
      And that is why Calvinists are forced to become experts in subtle language tricks.

      BTW:
      Dr. Flowers due to a heavy schedule doesn’t interact here very much – but you may readily find him on Face-Book.

      Blessing!

  39. How do I easily find a church that is non-calvinistic? I do believe in salvation by grace alone, by faith alone, by Christ alone. There are quite a few churches in our area that are calvinistic. My eyes are being opened and I am unsure about staying in my current church. I always felt like God’s love was never portrayed properly in the calvinistic viewpoint and it’s becoming more and more evident to me why I always felt an emptiness and lack. It is a different view of God’s character that scares me. Is there any kind of online resource that has a list of churches that are evangelical and yet NOT calvinistic? God bless. I really enjoy your youtube videos. They’ve given me much to think and pray about as I search the Word. I’ve been in reformed churches for 10 years (one for about 5 years; the other for about 5 years now as well.)

    1. Hello April and welcome

      I thank you for your sincere question!
      I have a little disappointing opinion on that question – for it is my observation that Calvinists are so incentivized on pulling people into their system that this incentive compromises honesty – and they will be more than happy to justify deceiving people – masking indicators that would alert people to their Calvinism in order to bring people into it.

      I advise you to proceed with caution. Firstly, I suggest you get a good grasp of the underlying characteristics of Calvinism so that you can learn to “sniff it out” with those attempting to hide their Calvinism.

      I suggest you work to develop at least temporarily, a network of Christians you’ve vetted and know are not Calvinistic. Such a network will provide the most trustworthy information on where you can go to find a non-Calvinist group.

      The Lord will guide your steps!
      Blessings!

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