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388 thoughts on “Support

  1. I think it would be good if you could make subscribing easier to your website. I see nowhere to do so. thx.

    1. Hello Thomas and welcome.

      If you are referring to this website – it follows the typical “WordPress” environment – consistent with a “Blog” site.
      Since you’ve made a submission – I think you’ve successfully subscribed.

      Blessings!

      1. Hello Soteriology 101,

        I was wondering if someone could answer a question that I have! I have sincerely enjoyed much of your material and my question has to do with John 6 and that “those who my Father has given me” idea. I loved the thread of how this could very likely be talking about the disciples (as seen in John 17 and John 18:9). It is something that I am looking into but the one instance of “those given by the Father” that doesn’t fit is John 10:29 which states “My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. (KJV)” I understand that the passage previously refers to “other sheep” that are “not of this fold” and “will hear [his] voice” (verse 16) which probably refers to Gentiles/believers in the future. However, then I think it would make sense to extend John 10:29 about those that the “Father gave” to every believer alive in Jesus time, not just the disciples, because the disciples are no where listed in that chapter or the preceding. And then if that statement “those whom the Father gave” is not specific to the disciples, but to all the believers alive at that time, it can most likely be generalized to all believers at all times. Those are my thoughts, but now comes my question! I’m an amateur Greek learner (for about six years now) and I have noticed that John 10:29 actually says in Greek “My Father, which gave me, is greater than all” and lives out the “them” portion. Could another possibility been that what the Father has given to Jesus was actually “life” instead of “them/people?” I reference John 5:26 – “For as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.” Here I notice that the Father gave (aorist tense) in John 5 just as the Father gave (perfect tense) in John 10. So could Jesus really be saying, “And I give unto them eternal life (John 10:28)… My Father, which gave [eternal life] to me, is greater than all (John 10:29)? Any feedback you could offer on this thought would be great! I never want to twist Scripture and want to be faithful to what the text actually says. I also never want to twist the Greek to say something it is not. Thank you!!

      2. Hi Anthony! I would be more than happy to address any questions you have. And feel free to write me personally if you wish – brianwagner@vbc.edu. I believe you have a good understanding of what Jesus is talking about in John 6 and the other passages. I believe He indeed is talking about those given to Him during His earthly ministry who have already put their trust in Him. Verse 37 is key, in my view –

        John 6:37 speaks of the Father’s giving (present tense) to Christ. Therefore it would be calling Jesus a deceiver to suggest all had already been given to Christ, unless, of course, Jesus did not know the determinist doctrine very well.

        If determinism was true, Jesus would have known it and He would have said – “All the Father already gave to me will come to me.” The context of John 6 clearly indicates what kind of people the Father was actively giving to the Son… They were those who were looking to the Son and believing in Him (6:40). There is nothing in this chapter about pre-creation decrees or individual election. The determinist forces those ideas into these verses because he wants to see them there.

        The response of freewill is a condition that God sovereignly made part of the “giving” requirements to be met before the coming. No-one is given to Christ before creation. Remember the word “gives” in John 6:37 is present tense which clearly contradicts the determinist idea of some being eternally immutably given before creation.

        The context points to drawing, looking at, believing in, and other things in that are in the process and responses of whom the Father’s gives. Jesus is explaining these things to unbelievers because He wants them to keep seeking Him, but not just for food that perishes.

        If you can’t see that Jesus is being used by the Father in this context to draw people to a decision to trust Jesus for everlasting food, everlasting life… I certainly can’t share the context any more clearly than Jesus has.

    2. How does one create a new post or comment on this site as opposed to a reply? Thanks.

      1. Hello wpeters123 and welcome.
        On any given article to the bottom of the page – and look for a post submission field.
        Then you won’t be replying to any specific post.
        Blessings!

    3. I have been a donor for this past year in the 10.00 category. Where do I get the free download that you offer? Thank you! God bless your ministry. I think it’s really needed.

      1. Hello Karla,
        And we sincerely thank you!

        Let me pass your question on to SOT101 admin
        I’ll get back to you.

        Blessings!
        br.d

    4. Hey! I’m sure you have read Justin martyr before. But I just started reading Some of the early church fathers. Justin martyr literally has word for word refutations against Calvinist concepts. In his first apology chapter XXVIII and chapter XLIII
      Have you ever presented these to Calvinists? I mean this guy is almost as close as you can get to the apostles. Showing what they would have believed! James white and up there must be aware of this, do they just think he is wrong?

      1. Welcome Adam! Leighton has had Ken Wilson on his podcast to discuss Ken’s book which itemizes how earlier writers to Augustine, and even the early Augustine taught clearly the freedom of the will. You can probably find that link on the Soteriology101 YouTube page.

  2. Can someone guide me to the article that John Piper wrote that if he was a Christian for 25 years and then if he committed a murder, then he would have to doubt the fact that he was actually saved 25 years ago…or something to that extent. I heard Leighton address it somewhere but I am not sure which video and hence I am asking for your help

    1. Hi Bevin,
      I can’t point that exact article to you – perhaps someone else here is familiar with that article and can point it to you.
      However, I can tell you – the concept you are describing is pretty much consistent – as a general part of the Calvinist belief system.

      I can tell you this from personal experience. Years ago , I had a personal friend who got drawn into a Calvinist church and who was accused of committing a certain sin by the pastor of that church.

      If he lied and acknowledged the sin the pastor accused him of – then the pastor would declare that he was *REALLY* saved. And conversely, if he spoke the truth and did not acknowledge the sin the pastor accused him of – then as far as the pastor was concerned he was never a *REAL* believer.

      The pastor put him out of the church until he made up his mind. If he told a lie and agreed with the pastor he could return. If he told the truth he would be considered a false Christian and rejected by that congregation.

      It makes sense that Calvinists do this. They do not *REALLY* know if a person is saved or not. Calvin himself taught that the vast majority of the church is filled with people who are given a FALSE Salvation.

      John Calvin
      -quote
      “He holds it [Salvation] out as a savor of death, and as the occasion for severer condemnation”
      ” he illumines them only for a time to partake of it”
      “and strikes them with even greater blindness”

      Because of this – Calvinists tend to watch each others behavior – like one reads tea-leafs.
      If they see certain patterns in a fellow believer’s behavior – they may assume that person was given a FALSE salvation.

  3. Has Dr Leighton Flowers addressed the concept of whether God is atemporal (eternal present) as Augustine believed or that time (logical sequence) is part of God’s existence? How does this impact Soteriology?

    Dr. Richard Holland’s book argues that the incarnation creates problems for Augustine’s perspective and that the early church fathers before Augustine disagreed.
    https://kgov.com/richard-holland-god-time-and-the-incarnation-interview

    I suspect an atemporal being would be distant and impersonal to a creature that experiences logical sequences (aka time).

    1. Hello Philip and welcome

      Dr. Flowers – due to a heavy schedule – normally doesn’t have the time to interact with posters here.
      But you may find him on Facebook – if you are a FB user.

      I personally haven’t heard him speak about that aspect of Augustinian thinking.
      It sounds like it might be a topic Open Theism advocates might very well be interested in.

      Blessings
      br,d :-]

  4. Hello Dr.I was at work and unable to watch live discussion ,I did watch later however.The question about works and faith was answered a little out of context. Paul is speaking to the Grecian Jews and gentiles in Romans and when he says it is not according to works he is more specifically referring to circumcision,as he mentions that it is not as if God’s promise has failed. Paul also emphasized that Abraham (believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness(faith is belief not a work).Works does however refer to the law in its totality but in Paul’s letter the former proselytizing of people into Judaism was culminated with circumcision. No flesh will glory in my sight is problaby illustrating this as well. Great show!!!

      1. I must admit the debate or war between Dr Flowers and J White has had some positive effects on discovering answers to poor exegesis of scriptures however I can’t help but wonder if Dr Flowers is being lead out to sea by Dr White. The more than argumentative calvinist has obviously rejected Dr Flowers view of salvation and continued confrontation seems to be more heated and unproductive everytime they clash. Get Him away from this puppet before this philosophical shark gets him to far from land.

      2. Hello Mike and welcome.

        Personally, I was struck with the large numbers of youtube comments under one of the last videos
        And how accurately those commenters recognize Calvinism’s world of double-speak talking-points.
        Those videos – even though Dr. Flowers suffers through them – are having an educating effect.

  5. I’m wondering where your christian values are? And so far I don’t see any. Don’t buy Calvinism, no problem, not the case with you folks… no your only Christ filled mission in life is to rant about Calvinism rather than to extend the church of Christ. If you spent 1/1000 of the time evangelizing just think of what you may accomplish.
    Your theology is in the tank from my perspective but I’m only interested in the Gospel. So let the wind blow your hair where it may. Do you love Christ? Do you honor the Father? Are you filled with the Holy Spirit?
    I don’t see any of that in your continuous rant about Calvinism!! Instead of ranting give someone like MacArthur a call have a televised debate shake hands and go your way.
    I could personally give you a lot of facts why Calvinism is right, but if the truth be known you’re really not interested in the truth. Nor am I interested in bending your ear trying to persuade you that you may be wrong…….it’s not important. All the people I witness to have never heard me preach Calvinism. As Paul said I want to learn nothing among men except Christ and Him crucified.

    Best of luck with your ranting?
    Dave Smith

    1. YES!!!! Thank you for saying exactly what I’ve been thinking. This whole web site is NOT “FOR GOD” instead almost every page is “AGAINST CALVINISM”. Didn’t Jesus tell us something like….Go into the world and preach the gospel and make disciples of men? The more I listen to Leighton Flowers…the more I believe Calvinism.

      1. Hello Sara and welcome.

        Something interesting to think about:
        IF Calvinism is true –
        Then “Whatsoever comes to pass” here at SOT101 was decreed to infallibly come to pass.

        So Calvin’s god decreeing “NOT FOR GOD” come to pass – is reason for further believing Calvin’s god?

        Blessings!

      2. Sara,

        Since you say that this web site is not for God, then conclude that you believe in calvinism, then your statement is an oxymoron.

        In other words, if it’s not, then it is, hence calvinism, and hence, calvinism makes no sense at all.

        Ed Chapman

      3. Sara, “Go into the world and preach the gospel and make disciples of men?”

        What if Dr. Flowers argues against Calvinism because he believes is violates and harms that principle? What if Dr. Flower’s professional life is dedicated to evangelism as the Director of Apologetics and Evangelism for Texas Baptists? Will you take his viewpoint seriously, then?

    2. You’re concerned about the Gospel? I wonder if your almighty idol has a ‘gospel’. Do you know that the Gospel is called Good News?

      1. Hello Mainframe Supertasker and welcome.

        I didn’t respond to Dave Smith’s emotional post – and perhaps I should have.
        It is true – the content we focus on here often shines a spotlight on logical conclusions about Calvinism which a Calvinist may not like.
        I probably didn’t respond to Dave Smith’s post because it didn’t rise to the point of being demonstrably aggressive.

  6. I purchased the tip toe through Tulip and now I can’t get back to the download page to continue the course. please help

    1. Hey Jeremy, when you purchased it you received an email with the download links in it as well. Check your spam folder for that email if it isn’t in your inbox.

      If you need me to resend it please email me at the address given on the store page. Thanks!

  7. Hi. Just wondering if Dr. Flowers has plans on addressing 1 Samuel 16:14 at some point? If not it might be a good topic of conversation. Blessings, Cal

    1. Hello Calvin Smith and welcome.
      Dr. Flowers, due to high demands has not had the liberty of interacting with participants and thus questions here.
      But if you are a FaceBook user – you may readily find him there.

  8. Good morning!

    If one uses Zelle to become a supporter, does that qualify for the free download? Can Soteriology 101 send a tax receipt for these types of donations?

    I have been sending a monthly donation via Zelle (Navy Federal Credit Union) since October 2019, and want to make sure you are receiving the donation.

    Thanks for the help!

    ~Yvonne

  9. I would like to quote Dr. Flowers and his book, “The Potters Promise”. I see that it was published by Trinity Academic Press but I can’t find a city and state. Where is the publisher located? Thanks.

      1. It’s for an academic paper. So yes, I need that level of detail.

  10. Something interesting from Keller about what sends people to Hell…their choices. (53:00 mark)
    See youtube: Questioning Christianity – Why we can Believe in Jesus

    1. Thank you John!
      You do know however – in Calvinism – people are not the true determiners of their choices.
      In Calvinism whatsoever comes to pass – including human perceptions of reality, human thoughts, human choices, human desires etc – are all determined *FOR* each person by Calvin’s god.

      So like a self-driving car comes to a 4-way stop and makes a choice to turn left in order to get on the highway – in Calvinism is works the same way. The program determines the choice the self-driving car will make. And Calvin’s god likewise determines the desires and choices every person will have.

      And Calvin’s god designs/programs the vast majority of his creatures for eternal torment.

      Calvinist Robert R. McLaughlin
      -quote
      “God merely *PROGRAMMED* into the divine decrees all our thoughts, motives, decisions and actions”
      (The Doctrine of Divine Decrees)

  11. Greetings, Leighton!
    I appreciate what you do on your channel, that is to spread the word of God’s love for all people. I noticed your Youtube channel is a Brave verified Creator. Yet I have not seen you in any way ask for donations though Brave. Since you are a Youtube Creator verified with Brave, you can accept donations from Brave users like me.(Brave is a wonderful web browser) I earn around $5.00 every month from watching ads from Brave. You do not have to include this in one of your videos, but just put it in the “gifts” links for donations in the support page. Basically, people would click that BAT triangle in the search bar and would be able to tip you in no time. Some of us kids do not have permissions of using real money, but with Brave, crypto money is possible. I have a heart of supporting your ministry. God kept you humble for so long! It would take a great deal for me to deal with those other theologians who worship Calvin’s idol.
    This site soteriology101.com is not a Brave verified Creator yet. You can link your website too in publishers.basicattentiontoken.org where you linked your Youtube channel along with it.
    For all this, i assume you know that your Youtube channel is linked to publishers.basicattentiontoken.org by your knowledge. If it is not, then it may be of some concern for you.
    Please affirm that you’re the one owning your Youtube channel on publishers.basicattentiontoken.org.
    I am a new Creation in Christ, I was saved almost exactly a year ago. : and thankfully was not introduced to Calvinism soon.
    May the LORD bless you and your ministry –
    Mainframe.

    1. Hello Mainframe Supertasker

      Dr. Flowers, due to scheduling conflicts does not appear here at SOT101 very often.
      You may however find him at Facebook.
      We will make sure your comment here about gift/donations etc is passed on to him.
      Sincere thanks
      br.d

  12. Hi everyone. It would be a good idea to read on Danielism, the synergistic position that reconciles the Sovereignty of God to man’s free will more than convincingly – never heard before. Get this concise account today by visiting http://www.salvationcentre.za.org – look for Calvinism, Arminianism, Danileism – The Third Position.

    1. Hello David Daniels and welcome

      Although I’ve not heard of Danileism – it would have to be the 5th position rather than the 3rd :-]

    1. Hello Roy,
      Can you give a little more info on what the podcast would be about?

      Thanks
      br.d

  13. Hi. I love your podcast and listen regularly. I really looked forward to the app, but it just crashes on any and every iPhone and iPad I have installed it on. Each is running the latest iOS and range in age from 5 years old to 3 months old. I have no problems with any other app on any of these devices

    1. Hello Robert and welcome.
      I’m sorry to hear the app crashes on your device!
      Perhaps there are compatibility information provided with the app that may provide an answer as to why.
      I’ll convey your issue to Dr. Flowers – and thank you for trying and submitting your report.

      Blessings!

  14. I just have to say I’m so thankful for this ministry. I’ve read The Potter’s Promise once and about to start again. I struggled with the teachings of Calvinism for years, but I didn’t know how to refute them. The book and website has given me great clarity. Please keep doing what you do Dr Flowers and God bless!

    1. Thank you so very much Denver – for your wonderful testimony – and your very kind remarks.
      I will be happy to pass these on to Dr. Flowers!

      Blessings!

  15. Can you recommend a commentary on Ephesians that is not from the Calvinistic approach?

    1. Hello Larry and welcome.
      Anything by Gordon Fee, and/or N.T. Wright are going to be free of Calvinist presuppositions.
      You may also want to look at “Studies in Ephesians: 25 Lessons for Group – by Jack Cottrell ”

      BTW: Commentaries by their very nature have a tendency to be more opinion than not.
      The ultra Reformed commentaries of John Gill for example – where he comes across one verse after another – and blatantly argues it can’t possibly mean what it clearly says – because God forbid anything contradict his sacred Calvinist hypnosis.

      1. Thank you for your information about the commentators Gordon Fee and N T Wright. I could not fine any Ephesians commentaries by those two authors but I will be ordering the other recommendation you made about the 27 lesson study.

        Is there a forum on this site to ask theological questions about any topic? I have a question about Ephesians 1:1-14 and the pronouns that Paul uses.

      2. Hi Larry… Here’s my view. Eph 1, 4

        Determinists have always tried to read too much into that verse that Paul wrote in a context about blessings we now have, now that we are in Christ. Some of those blessings were given to Him (the only Elect one) before creation, to be shared with all who would later be joined to Him and become one of the elect in Him.

        The pronoun “us” is being used in a general reference, anachronistic sense, like me saying – “We chased the Native Americans before the Revolution so that they would live west of the Appalachian Mtn range.”

        Another similar example would be the Levites in David’s day who were chosen to carry the ark. David said, as recorded in 1Chr 15:2 – “No one but the Levites may carry the ark of God, because the Lord chose them to carry the ark of the Lord and to minister before him forever.”

        Any Levite that day could have said to another Levite – “God chose us in Aaron, before Israel entered the promised land, to carry the ark of the Lord and to minister before him forever.” Of course, he would not have had the ridiculous thought that God had his name written down in a book during Aaron’s time, along with the names of all future Levites. He would not think that he individually or physically would be ministering before the Lord forever in this special task as a priest. He would just be using the “us” as a pronoun of reference with a corporate connection because of the promise made to Aaron, and because of his being added into Aaron’s lineage by physical birth.

        We say, with Paul, we have the same privileges granted to the Son of God before creation that go to any in His lineage, since we are now joined to Him by spiritual birth through our personal faith. We now have the blessing to stand holy and blameless before God as one of God’s chosen in the Chosen One – Christ.

        ********
        Questions to ask a determinist:
        When God supposedly “chose” you before creation, were you unchosen at some point and then chosen? What did God see when He supposedly chose you… just your name, your life up to the point where He decided He wanted to get involved noticeably to you, your whole life forever and all His involvement in it already? What did “you” mean when He chose “you” back then before you existed? Trying to answer these questions will hopefully help them see they are being dogmatic about a premise – determinism – that Paul wasn’t even trying to teach about in this passage, and which is illogical when using the words “chose… before the foundation of the world” if no actual choice was made.

      3. Thank you for those thoughts they were helpful. John Phillips in his commentary on Ephesians says that because God is infinite, He is beyond time so when the scripture says “before the foundation of the world” that is for our understanding. To God all time is present. What do you think?

        I’ve also read that the verses 1-14 is one sentence in the greek. (but if greek doesn’t have punctuation how are sentences determined.I don’t know greek.). In verse 12 Paul seems to have the “we” refer to the Jewish Christians and the you to the Gentile. If this is one sentence and if Paul is carrying the same thought throughout, would the us and we in verse 4 also be referring to the Jewish Christians?

      4. Larry… Here’s my view. Ps 90, 2 Sequential Reality

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

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

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

        His foreknowledge is dynamic therefore, each time He makes a decision His knowing goes from “will happen” to “has happened”. It is not static. His understanding is infinite (Ps 147:5). He knows all the possibilities that still exist to decide upon, to cause one or permit another, and He knows all things that are already determined by Him that limit those possibilities.

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

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

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

      5. Wonderfully stated Brian!

        I would also like to point out the ALTERED REALITY that a believer unwittingly is forced to embrace in the process of embracing Calvinism with its underlying core “Theological Determinism”.

        Of course we know – that Calvinism has its own vernacular.
        It does not use the term “Sequential” to describe events – but rather uses the phrase “Whatsoever comes to pass”.

        Now the core and SACRED PROPOSITION of Calvinism – is that a THEOS – before making creation (i.e. the Solar system, sun, moon, earth, atomic particles, man, animals etc) determined “Whatsoever will come to pass” in the course of time – with all created things.

        But a critical aspect of that determination is that this THEOS makes “Whatsoever comes to pass” do so INFALLIBLY

        For example, take the rotation of the earth 360 degrees every 24 hours.
        This means that the earth is rotating .004 degrees per second.
        Now according the Calvin’s doctrine, the earths every micro-movement occurs INFALLIBLY

        But the earth is a natural entity.
        And nature is a FALLIBLE entity.
        Nature does not have the ability to do something INFALLIBLY

        So in Calvinism – the earth is not just moving all by itself – or by laws of physics – but rather the earth is BEING MOVED by a THEOS who makes the earths movement occur INFALLIBLY

        And how does that apply to you?
        How does that apply to Adam in the garden?

        Every neurological impulse that will come to pass within Adam’s brain – represents an electro-neurological movement.
        And in Calvinism those electro-neurological movements in Adam’s brain don’t just come to pass all by themselves, because they come to pass INFALLIBLY

        Adam does not have any ability to make something occur INFALLIBLY
        So they are not movements that Adam has any control over.

        So what the Calvinist ends up with (per the underlying doctrine) is that he has absolutely no control over anything that comes to pass with his mind or with his body.

        Every neurological impulse that comes to pass within his brain – was decreed to do so – and occurs INFALLIBLY

        And Adam (i.e. mankind) as a natural entity – does not have the power to resist or alter anything that is established as INFALLIBLE

        The bottom line in Calvinism then – man is not in control of any of his mental or physical functions.
        And every perception which comes to pass within his brain WAS 100% determined by an external mind (i.e. THEOS).
        He does not know what reality is.
        He only knows what perceptions were decreed to INFALLIBLY come to pass within his mind.

        How then does the Calvinist live a life of cognitive normalcy?

        John Calvin understood this dilemma and he gave instructions:
        -quote
        “Go about your office *AS-IF* nothing is determined in any part”

        So in Calvinism you have a sacred core proposition – that all things are determined in every part.
        And for the Calvinist, that proposition is the MOST SACRED proposition taught by scripture.

        And yet he is forced to go about his life *AS-IF* the MOST SACRED proposition taught by scripture is FALSE.
        And that is why we find that Calvinism forces the believer in to a state of DOUBLE-MINDEDNESS

      6. One of the ways the Greek language differs from English is in word order.
        In English you may say: “Sally gave the Bible to Bill”
        So you understand who gave the Bible to who – by the word order in that sentence.

        While in the Greek language the word order could be swapped around.
        So the way the Greeks distinguished who gave the Bible to who – is by adding textual indicators – (like a suffix) at the ending of certain words.

        There are complete sentences in the Greek language.
        But you are correct, they did not end a sentence with a special mark (the period) like we do in English.
        But once you learn the grammatical rules – then you understand the sentence.

      7. Larry – you may also be interested in checking out Brian Abasciano comments on Ephesians.
        I think you can google for them.
        He doesn’t have an official commentary on Ephesians – but he’s a well regarded scholar in inter-textual analysis of the Greek.

        Also, take a look at Beyond the Fundamentals – with Kevin Thompson
        I believe he has 2 or 3 youtube videos on Ephesians you might find informative.

      8. I just received the book by Jack Cottrell “Studies in Ephesians”. As I was looking at the book I came across this statement on page 200, it is on Ephesians 4:1-6. Dr. Cottrell states, “The church and its leaders should believe and teach that baptism is indeed a salvation event, i.e., that in the moment of the immersion, God is performing the saving actions that He promised to perform: 1) to justify the person being baptized by forgiving all of his or her sins and cancelling all condemnation, and 2) to bestow. upon that person the gift of the indwelling and sanctifying Holy Spirit.

        I’ve always been taught and believe that baptism is a sign and a step in obedience that happens after salvation. What are your thoughts?

      9. Yes, that is a typical issue here and there in the church
        With different people holding varied degrees of insistence upon it – and some none at all.

        Some believers hold that Baptism is simply the outward manifestation of an inward work of the Lord – just like repentance from sin is.
        In other words, the Holy Spirit convicts a person of a given sin and that person repents and changes.
        And thus we have – the sanctification process – in general terms.

        Similarly, the Holy Spirit impresses upon a believer, the beauty of going through the process of water baptism – and the believer desires to do that to show his love and commitment to Jesus – and as a way to please him. Just as Jesus said to John the baptist “suffer it to be so now – so that I might fulfill all righteousness”. In other words, Jesus didn’t really need to be baptized in order to be 100% Jesus.
        He did it because it was recognized as a sign of commitment and love for the father.

        Other people get really fussy about water baptism, and some insist one is not really born again without it.
        But I generally think that is a minority view. And more often seen as a sign of imbalance and/or an obsession.

        Many years ago, I knew a believer who taught people that they should strive to experience REAL tongues of fire.
        In other words, we should strive to have literal tongues of fire hovering over our heads.
        And if we don’t get to that place of spirituality – then we are really not fully mature believers.
        But you can see that is an obsession and extremely unique.

        So IMHO, insisting that one is not born-again until after they dip in water, or get up in front of a congregation and recite prepared words, In my view is simply an obsession.

        But that’s just my position on the subject.
        And others may differ. :-]

      10. Welcome Larry! Here are some thoughts of mine you may want to consider.

        Believer’s Baptism the norm of Christianity

        First… the “Church” is something Jesus is building and has members joined spiritually to Him as one body through faith.

        Second… baptism as necessary after a profession of faith is taught in all Christian denominations for converts from outside Christendom.

        Third… immersion was the main mode of baptism practiced in all of Christendom until the 12th century.

        Fourth… infant baptism is not clearly taught anywhere in the NT, or in the first 300 years of Christianity as a common practice of many.

        Fifth… Peter is clear that baptism does not cleanse but is an answer of a conscience that is already “good” before God (1Pet 3:21).

        Sixth… Jesus commanded that disciples be made and then baptized as part of His great commission. When He said “baptizing them” He meant there has to be a “them” already made disciples that are to be the recipients of the baptism (Matt 28:19).

        Seventh… 1 Corinthians 1:17 NKJV — For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.

        Paul’s words in 1Cor 1:17 are key to show baptism is not part of the gospel! Also he said in 1Cor 4:15 that regeneration to those in Corinth was brought about through his preaching of the gospel… he baptized very few there.

        I also have found that the example of Cornelius’ conversion is the best to show a person who believes that baptism is necessary for salvation. Cornelius received the Spirit (10:47) and was baptized by the Spirit into the body of Christ (11:15-16) and had his heart purified by faith (15:7-9) all *before* he received water baptism (10:48).

  16. Dr Flowers, love the channel and videos on YouTube. Would you be willing to a video review of Gordon C Olson’s book “Getting the Gospel Right: A Balanced View of Salvation Truth”?

    -Gary

    1. Thank you Gary for you very kind words.
      Dr. Flowers – due to a busy schedule – is not able to participate here very much.
      But I will pass your kind comment and your request on to him.

      Sincere thanks
      br.d

  17. Hello! I’d like to support Soteriology101, but when I click the link for monthly support, it takes me to Patreon but never loads the page for me. Help!

    1. Thank you Vicky – for letting us know.
      I will pass this on to SOT101 Admin – and get back to you.
      Someone will email you directly with an answer.

      Blessings!
      br.d

  18. Question for Dr. Flowers: If God chooses rulers by his own will (Daniel 2:21), how can a country democratically elect presidents, senators, etc using Libertarian Free Will? More specifically, how can a true democracy be a thing if Daniel 2:21 is true? Ps, I realize most “democracies” are actually republics, my question is more philosophical than realistic.

    1. Hello Ajay and welcome.

      Dr. Flowers – due to his schedule – if very infrequently here.
      You may more readily find him on face-book.

      However, on your question – if you don’t mind me answering
      You’ve posed a good question – that has to do with the general idea of man’s free will and how it can be understood to exist under the authority of God.

      There are two primary schools of thought on this.

      I remember Dr. Flowers using the analogy of a chess player.
      In the Calvinist line of thinking – God is the only player – and the chess pieces are humans.
      He moves them from one place to another on the board
      And he treats them *AS-IF* they were the author of their choices – instead of himself.

      The non-Calvinist position is that God (for the most part) allows man to be the other player.
      And he allows man to be the author of his own choices.
      But God is in control of all circumstances – and people make choices according to their nature.
      And God, with his perfect intimate knowledge of each person’s nature – can maintain a form of control that does not reduce human functionality to that of a robot.

      When it comes to rulers – you will also notice a pattern in scripture.
      God judges a country and its people not only by the choices they make – but by the ruler’s choices they submit to.
      For example – God was going to destroy Ninevah – and warned them in advance.
      But the ruler of Ninevah instructed all the people to repent – and God forgave.

      On the Calvinist view – you have God making the people and the ruler of Ninevah do evil things.
      And then treating them *AS-IF* if they were the authors of the choices – me made them choose.

      On the non-Calvinist view – you have God allowing the people of Ninevah to be the authors of their choices.
      And holding them accountable for the choices they authored.

      Hope that makes sense.

      Blessings
      br.d

    2. Daniel 2:21 does not state “God chooses ALL rulers”. He might intervene to have a certain ruler put in place to accomplish a particular plan but we should be careful not take the verse beyond what it states. If all rulers are put in place by God’s decrees as Calvinist teach, the consistent Calvinist observing a horribly wicked candidate who is vastly leading in the polls and reason it would be best to align with God’s will by voting for and supporting him. This thinking is broken!

      1. Hello Larry and welcome.

        I liked your analogy!
        One Calvinist would manufacture a reason to vote for the evil candidate and claim he was simply following scripture.
        Another Calvinist would manufacture a reason to vote against the evil candidate and claim he was simply following scripture.

        Then they would both boast themselves super Christians because their follow the super apostle John Calvin! :-]

  19. I’m trying to defend scriptures from my hard core Calvinist husband. I try talking to him and tell him that scriptures don’t contradict itself. But today I came upon 2 passages that have me worried that he will use this as a defense for Calvinism.
    How can I make sense of these two passages? They seem to contradict each other but I don’t believe that there are contradictions in scriptures but rather my understanding of them.

    Acts 9:7 – And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.

    Acts 22:9 – And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.

    1. Hello Regina,
      Are you familiar with the testimony of Lee Strobel and his work – The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus? Strobel was an avowed atheist, who was convinced that God, and the resurrection of Jesus was a man-made myth. And he set out to prove it. One of the weaknesses he initially thought would help him do that, was looking for scriptures which appear to contradict each other. Such is the case you have as your example. What he discovered is that such cases are technically not contradictions – they are rather differences in the testimony of an event from different people’s points of view. These are very common with investigations of crimes for example. You can have two people in the same room, give slightly different testimonies, because that is how each individual remembers the event.

      Technically, a contradiction is with logic. And in the case of Calvinism – many of its contradictions have to do with a proposition being treated as TRUE one minute and FALSE the next.

      The concept of divine permission is for example very problematic for Calvinists.
      John Calvin – following Augustine – rejects the standard definition of “PERMISSION” as it is commonly understood within language to mean to allow something with acquiescence or passive assent. So for example, a private in the army asks “permission to speak freely sir” to his commanding officer. And the commanding officer grants permission. In that form of permission the commanding officer does not DETERMINE the words the private will say. He “permits” or “allows” the private to be the DETERMINER of his own words. And John Calvin adamantly rejects any idea of acquiescence or passive assent – in regard to god. Calvin’s god – in that circumstance would not only grant the private permission to speak – but he would also determine what words the private would say.

      Divine permission in Calvinism takes the following logical form:
      – What is CAUSED is permitted
      – What is NOT-CAUSED is not permitted

      Consequently, Calvinists have two radically different definitions for the term “permission”. And they use the word “permission” as a replacement word for CAUSE. When they say “I don’t know why god permits evil” what they mean is “I don’t know why god CAUSES evil”.

      So John Calvin had a way of distinguishing the common understanding of permission.
      He called it “INACTIVE” permission, or “BARE” permission, or “MERE” permission.
      These for John Calvin are his way of distinguishing the common understanding of permission.
      And he calls the idea of this form of permission in regard to god – revolting and absurd.

      However this becomes a serious problem for the Calvinist because he doesn’t want to say his god is the CAUSE of every evil.
      So he will say that god “permits” or “allows” evil.
      But every time he does – he is in contradiction – because he is asserting “MERE” permission which doesn’t exist in Calvinism.

      So “MERE” permission is something that is TRUE for the Calvinist one minute and FALSE the next.
      And when you have something that is TRUE one minute and FALSE the next – you have a clear contradiction.

      Now that you understand that its gets even more radical:
      You ask a Calvinist if Calvin’s god “MERELY” permits his mind to determine TRUE from FALSE on any matter?

      He wants to say yes. But when he does – he is both contradicting and denying his own doctrine.
      To acknowledge that according to his doctrine – god does not permit his mind to determine TRUE from FALSE is extremely radical!
      It is so radical – he doesn’t even want to consider it!

      But take a look at the logical formula I presented above – and think again about the private and the commanding officer again.
      The commanding officer only permits the private to speak words – which the commanding officer CAUSES the private to speak.

      Now take that example and extrapolate it to the question of whether Calvin’s god permits the Calvinist brain to determine TRUE from FALSE.
      “MERE” permission does not exist in Calvinism.
      So Calvin’s god does not “MERELY” permit the Calvinist brain to determine TRUE from FALSE.
      Instead Calvin’s god CAUSES the Calvinist brain to PERCEIVE something as TRUE or to PERCEIVE something as FALSE.

      So we have the following possibilities:
      1) Calvin’s god determines the Calvinist brain to perceive something as TRUE which Calvin’s god knows is FALSE
      2) Calvin’s god determines the Calvinist brain to perceive something as FALSE which Calvin’s god knows is TRUE
      3) Calvin’s god determines the Calvinist brain to perceive something as TRUE which Calvin’s god knows is TRUE
      4) Calvin’s god determines the Calvinist brain to perceive something as FALSE which the Calvin’s god knows is FALSE

      You can see from (1-4) above that the Calvinist has a 50% chance of having a FALSE perception of something.
      It turns out – according to his doctrine – a Calvinist goes through his day having thousands of FALSE perceptions.
      Every time he perceives himself as the determiner of his own choices – he is having FALSE perception.
      Every time he perceives himself as having multiple options from which to choose – he is having a FALSE perception.
      And according to his doctrine – whatsoever comes to pass – does so by infallible decree.
      So a Calvinist is a person whose god decrees him to live out a life of infallibly decreed FALSE perceptions.
      That is how RADICAL Calvinism really is!!!
      And most Calvinists find it so very RADICAL – they won’t allow themselves to think about it.
      And that is why Calvinists avoid logical thinking.

      I hope I explained that – so it makes sense!

    2. Hi Regina, if you Google this question – “What did those with Saul hear?” – you’ll find the answer why this is not a contradiction … For example, http://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=6&article=997

      If you are talking about why God allowed the men to hear sounds but not the words only Saul heard. It was because God was making a special call, not just to draw Saul to a salvation decision but to be an apostle. Saul heard the words, but that doesn’t mean he immediately understood them or was irresistibly drawn to obey them.

      He said himself that he had made the decision to obey what he heard in the vision. Acts 26:19 NKJV — “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision,”

      But God does sufficiently call each person to seek Him and His salvation. He does it a few times in each person’s life. They are responsible to freely obey that call. Consider this…

      Heb 3, 7-8

      The warning is given, “Today if you hear His voice, harden not your heart.” Heb 3:7-8

      This warning passage in Hebrews makes no sense if Calvinism is applied to it. The Calvinist “elect” cannot harden once they hear, and the warning would be deceitful for they will never be lost. The Calvinist “reprobate” cannot hear and the warning would again be deceitful for it suggests there is hope for them if they repent, which they cannot do.

      But there is also a warning of judicial hardening for rejecting to believe His voice – Consider – 2Th 2:9-12 NKJV – The coming of the [lawless one] is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

      And – Pro 29:1 NKJV – He who is often rebuked, [and] hardens [his] neck, Will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.

      No-one is born reprobate. All are given a call to seek that they can understand and respond positively to. There is no excuse.

  20. I’ve seen others inquiring about the free download of the the TULIP course for Patreons but didn’t see an answer. Is this where I can find out?

  21. Hi Leighton. Love your podcast. I had a question about Jeremiah 24:7 – I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am Yahweh. They will be My people, and I will be their God because they will return to Me with all their heart.
    This verse is troubling me because it does seem to suggest an effectual move of God to change Men’s minds to trust in Him (who otherwise wouldn’t per rest of book) to set up remnant to return to Jerusalem after captivity. How does this reconcile with provisionist free will? Thank you!

    1. Hello Mike and welcome

      Dr. Flowers – due to his schedule – is not here to interact with posters very often.
      You may more readily find him at Face Book – if you are an FB user.

      But if you don’t mind me making a comment on your question
      I think it depends on how you interpret the words “I will give them”.
      How does that take place?
      Does it follow the model that would be consistent with robots – where robots are lacking a certain algorithm in their program?
      And the robot programmer says “I will give them” a certain algorithm – so that their program will no longer be lacking?

      In other words – are interpreting the text in such a way that we are conceiving of god updating man’s functionality with something it didn’t have before – then doesn’t that interpretation entail a certain model of thinking.
      And that model of thinking (in principle) is one in which man is designed to function as a biological robot.

      Remember – in Calvinism – man’s nature at every instance in time – is 100% determined at the foundation of the world.
      As R.C. Sproul says “There is no such thing as a maverick molecule”

      So on Calvinism – if there is an algorithm missing in man’s program – then that could not be the case unless it was infallibly decreed at the foundation of the world.

      I think you would want to bear that in mind in your interpretation of that text.
      And simply operating in denial like the Calvinist does on that issue – is like asserting 2×3=6 while rejecting 6/3=2.

      Blessings!

      1. Thank you for articulate answer. “I will give them” vs. “I will persuade them” is still a bit of a conundrum for me. I definitely see a lot of Bible pointing toward provisionism but there are sections that aren’t so obvious on surface. Logically Calvinism doesn’t make sense because of deterministic conclusions, but certain passages, on surface look, are more difficult.

      2. Thanks Mike
        Yes – I agree.
        I think that is why (previous to Jonathon Edwards) a number of Reformed thinkers came to the conclusion that scripture appears to imply both. And since they could not reconcile that as a non-contradiction – they simply concluded they must accept both.

        Some of those Reformed thinkers have been called “Libertarian Calvinists” by Dr. Oliver Crisp because he saw within their writings the acceptance of Libertarian freedom. He also concludes that Jonathon Edwards brought about – what he called a “sea change” in Reformed thinking. Edwards has been said to be highly affected by John Locke during Edwards college years. Locke was a Hard Determinist.

        I think this is why we see some conflict between Calvinists such as John Piper and Paul Helm’s – in conflict with previous generation Calvinists like J.I. Packer. Packer appears to be more influenced by the pre-Edwards school – while Pipe and Helms are more influenced by the post-Edwards school.

        As a consequence – Calvinist arguments on determinism tend to parallel Atheist arguments on determinism. This would make sense if we presuppose Edwards having been influenced by a much more philosophical focus on determinism.

    2. Great question and dito your comment on Soteriology101 show as I also greatly appreciate Leighton’s work. Hopefully Leighton will chime in here. My thought on your question is that God is addressing Jewish exiles who he has classified in two groups. The bad fig group would align to King Zedekiah and those of like mind who “did evil in the sight of the Lord” and whom God was laying out his judgement in this chapter. For the good figs who unlike Zedekiah had shown humility in their captivity, God was promising to restore them to the land and to give them a deeper knowledge of himself. God is holding out expectation of these good fig people to return to him with their whole heart. Jerimiah is pretty clear in Ch 18 that God declaring good things and evil things on his people and then change his plans if they do not follow through on their part…

      5Then the word of the LORD came to me: 6“O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the LORD. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. 7If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, 8and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it. 9And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, 10and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it. 11Now, therefore, say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: ‘Thus says the LORD, Behold, I am shaping disaster against you and devising a plan against you. Return, every one from his evil way, and amend your ways and your deeds.’

      1. Hello Larry and welcome
        Dr. Flowers – due to his schedule – is not here very often to interact with posters.
        You may more readily find him at Face book – if you are an FB user.

        He also is on youtube frequently – and you might be able to log in real-time on one of his presentations and post comments.

        Blessings!

  22. Hello, I made a 10$CAD donation one month ago. I have just received an email telling me that my donation had been refused and refunded. I don’t understand what’s going on or what I did wrong. Is it because you don’t accept CAD money?

    1. Thank you J-F for letting us know!

      Let me see if I can’t get some information about this for you. And the appropriate thing would be to respond back to you directly via your email. I hope you are ok with that?

      Thanks
      br.d

  23. Hi,
    Does the parable of the sower disprove calvinism? Why would there be soil #2 and #3 if divine determinism is true and that it is God that gives the saving faith as calvinism proclaim? Is God mocking some humans being giving them the faith for them to believe for a while and then take it away and yet they are morally accountable for not believing? Is there a video on this subject?
    thanks

    1. Hello J-F and welcome.
      The Calvinist has his own unique way of interpreting everything in scripture.
      All scripture must conform to certain presuppositions which are established as unquestionable truth – before we even open a book
      In other words – a presupposition is made canon before he opens a page.
      And he brings the text to that cannon – and his interpretation of the text must conform to it.

      So if you ask your question to a Calvinist – he is going to have a ready answer which for him makes perfect sense

      You may recall – there was a time in which people considered it unquestionable truth – that the earth is the center of the universe, and the sun orbits around it.

      People in those days – who were scripture readers – had verses they insisted affirmed that system.
      And if you disagreed with them – you would probably be burned to the stake as a heretic.

      When the human mind interprets any data – it works to draw internal associations with things it already believes as true.
      That is why people back in those days were convinced that scripture teaches a geocentric model of the solar system.

      There are even people today who are convinced that scripture does not teach the solar system we currently have.

      So the bottom line is – people approach scripture with ideas the are already convinced are unquestionable truth.
      And that is how the Calvinist approaches scripture.

      Even thought he tells himself he doesn’t
      It becomes obvious he does. :-]

    2. Welcome J-F. Good observation. Unfortunately Calvin actually taught that concept of deceptive faith known as Evanescent Grace –

      Calvin clearly said that what God does to some reprobate is that He “instills in their mind” and “illumines their mind” to make them think they are elect “in their own judgment” … “the better to convict them.” He’s not talking about Rom 1 reprobate minds that are easily recognized by their immorality… Calvin said that these reprobate have a “resemblance and affinity” with the elect.

      And this temporary faith was not created by them… but given to them in their minds by God according to Calvin. He said they are given a “taste of heavenly gifts” and a “temporary faith”. He said – “There is nothing inconsistent in this with the fact of his enlightening some with a present sense of grace, which afterwards proves evanescent.” (Institutes 3.2.11)

      How can anyone really agree with him on this? Does God really do such deception “the better to convict” the lost? Elsewhere Calvin even said God’s universal gospel call was designed to condemn. He said – “There is an universal call, by which God, through the external preaching of the word, invites all men alike, even those for whom he designs the call to be a savor of death, and the ground of a severer condemnation.” (Institutes 3.24.8)

      I refuse to believe this about God.

      It is divinely just to harden someone after they have freely refused the good news and grace that would have sufficiently led them to salvation or even to harden someone for some good purpose and then afterwards give them an opportunity to freely receive or refuse His grace. But for God to make someone think they are “elect” so that He can pour more guilt on them, even though they were never ever able to freely receive or refuse saving grace… Not my God!

      1. Thanks Brian!
        I didn’t know the Calvinist’s call it “Evanescent” Grace

        That is hilarious!!
        Everything in Calvinism is shrouded behind a smoke-screen of deceptive equivocal terms.

        In this case – what is “FALSE” is called “Evanescent” – because they don’t want to speak the TRUTH and call it what it is.
        FALSE grace.

        How many Calvinists does it take to perfect the art of the con! :-]

      2. Yes, Br. D. Many Calvinists part with Calvin on that one because it is so obnoxious… but it is a good subject to bring up with all of them to get them to start to think about parting ways with Calvin altogether, if they can reject his idea of evanescent grace or temporary faith. It really does make God look horrible in His sovereign choices. For God not only “passes over” the non-elect, He tricks them into damning themselves more thoroughly by making them think they are truly saved for a while.

        It then can lead to a discussion of why God wants to give the gospel to every person if not so that they might have a true opportunity for salvation. Do Calvinists really want to believe that God wants it given to the so-called non-elect so that He can torment them with many more stripes for rejecting that which they were never able to accept! What would be another option for giving them the gospel they could only reject?

      3. Totally agree!
        And sometimes in my dialog with them – I add also what Calvin teaches concerning the proportions of Calvinists who are given a false sense of election.

        -quote
        He INSTILLS within their minds – such a SENSE as can be felt without the spirit of adoption

        And concerning proportions – they are -quote “A few grains of wheat hidden under a PILE of chaff.

        Putting these two together – we have the preponderance of the population of the Calvinist church – specifically deceived with FALSE perceptions of election/salvation – going through the rest of their lives experiencing a continuous stream of divinely authored FALSE perceptions. FALSE perceptions of what they were designed for.

        Statistically speaking – the major part of the Calvinist church is Totally Depraved
        Their minds full of infallibly decreed FALSE perceptions.

        And an infallibly decreed FALSE perception – is a perception the mind is not permitted to know is FALSE
        Because if the mind ever did know it was FALSE – it would no longer be a FALSE perception.
        And that would falsify the infallible decree which brought it into existence.

        So I have ever asked a Calvinist – does he know what percentage of Calvinists are Totally Depraved?
        And he looks at me cross-eyed! :-]

        Then I ask him what percentage of the perceptions in his mind are FALSE perceptions?
        And he again looks at me cross-eyed :-]

        Theological Determinism – eradicates human epistemic functionality.

        That’s one of the things that makes Calvinism such a “superior” belief system!! ;-D

      4. Br. D. Do you happen to have the references for those two quotes? Thanks. And are you sure the contexts are those who profess Calvinism or would it include those who profess Christ from every denomination?

      5. Both of these are from Calvin’s official “INSTITUTES OF A DOUBLE-MINDED BELIEF SYSTEM” :-]

        The first quote – “Instills a sense into them” is from my copy of (pg 342)
        Following that statement – he assumes his reader will make an objection – and he responds

        “Should it be objected, that believers have no stronger testimony to assure them of their adoption, I answer….there is a great resemblance and affinity between the elect…and those who are IMPRESSED for a time with a fading faith, yet the elect alone have that full assurance……….

        This is an excellent of double-speak!
        The statement is designed to equivocate on the word “assurance”

        How do you LOGICALLY attribute “more assurance ” of [X] – to someone who is permitted no knowledge of [X].
        In this life-time – you simply have assurance of the fact that you are not permitted to know [X]

        However – when you end up in the lake of fire – you will certainly have “more assurance” of [X]! ;-]

        There are many things that are nothing more than masquerades in Calvinism
        And assurance of election in this lifetime is one of them

        The second quote is located within the subject of the “SECRET” of election.
        -quote
        We must thus consider both god’s secret election and his inner call. For he alone “knows who are his…….

        The fact that Calvin indicates that the elect are “hidden under” a pile of chaff – is to me a clear indicator – Calvin sees the FEW and the MANY – as applicable within the church – at least enough for him liken “proportions” using that analogy.

  24. As a Reformed Protestant, was it justified for Sebastian Castellio to criticize Calvin for this participation in the execution of Michael Servetus? I am not referring to Servetus’ trinitarian thoughts, but by the application of Calvinist’s doctrine of predestination.

    1. Hello Daniel Mulcahy, and welcome
      I suppose your question – could be boiled down and restates as “is a Reformed person ever justified in criticizing a Reformed leader?”

      Well – I guess that depends on what “Reformed” is supposed to stand for.
      If “Reformed” means follower of scripture – then where does scripture tell Christians to torture, mutilate, and murder other Christians? Especially for differences of personal opinion over doctrines?

      The Romanized (i.e Catholic) church – as history shows – murdered many Christians in the name of Christ.

      And I take note of the fact that N.T. Wright calls Calvin – a Catholic with a small “c”
      Which essentially means – Calvin did not follow scripture – where it says “Come out of her and be not partaker of her plagues”
      So to be Reformed – thus means to be partially Catholic.
      And torturing, mutilating, and murdering Christians is therefore justified.

      And since torturing, mutilating, and murdering Christians is justified for a Reformed person, then I suppose to criticize someone should be that much easier to justify.

      Blessings!

  25. Hi,

    Thanks for the last answers!

    Does Romans 6 :17-18 teaches the condition of man (ye were the servants of sin), the responsability of man to receive the Gospel (ye have obeyed from the heart) and the promise of God for those who believes (having been set free from sin)? If this is the correct understanding of theses verses, I don’t understand how can someone come to the conclusion that regeneration precede faith?

    But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

    Thanks

    1. J-F, yes indeed! Here are some of my own thoughts.

      Light then Faith then Life!

      Jhn 1:9, 12 NKJV – That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world…. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:

      Jhn 12:36 NKJV – “While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”

      Jhn 20:31 NKJV – but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

      1 Corinthians 4:15 NKJV — For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.

      Gal 3:26 NKJV – For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

      1Pe 1:23, 25 NKJV – having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, … Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.

      Reformed theology posits a fake “regeneration” that makes no-one immediately a child of God, nor does it immediately give everlasting life! What kind of birth does not make one a child or give life? Very sad… besides being a clear rejection and ignoring of clear Scripture teaching.

      For this Calvinist regeneration seems to me kinda like a drug that had been before willfully refused by the woman that a man offered it to, along with his proposal of marriage to her… but then he slips it into her drink without her knowing and she immediately accepts his next proposal of marriage.

      Now does that sound like true love? And how can you call a drugged woman’s “yes” her “personal responsibility”? She was unable to do other because of a change the “drug” made in her? When it was given to her, she was still firmly rejecting the one making the proposal who was slipping her the drug without her understanding.

      I see no personal willing acceptance of that woman… nor do I see love in the one who caused the change in her instantly upon her using that drug.

      1. And take the “so called” preservation of the saints – which under logical scrutiny – shows itself to be a masquerade.

        In Calvinism – a person’s election status is FIXED and RENDERED-CERTAIN – before they are created.

        Election is either “infallibly” TRUE or it is “infallibly” FALSE

        And it is a logical impossibility for anything that is “infallible” to need to persevere in order to remain “infallible”.

        A 10 year old should be able to see through that!
        And the Calvinists will swallow that camel – just like a fish swallows the worm on a hook

        There is nothing a Calvinist could ever do – to change his election status – even if he wanted to.
        And in addition to that – every impulse that comes to pass within his brain is put there by an infallible decree.

        So the Calvinist can’t have one single impulse he can call his own!

        What a blessing to have such an IRRATIONAL belief system!! ;-D

      2. But our everlasting salvation is “rendered certain” at some point or it’s not everlasting salvation at all.

        Some believe that happens at resurrection. I believe the Scripture is clear that it is “rendered certain” at regeneration. It certainly was not “rendered certain” for anyone before creation.

  26. Hello brothers and sisters from Soteriology 101. My name is Ronald Jimenez. I pastor a church in Medellin, Colombia, and I’m very interested in learning more about your theology. I’m so glad I found Dr. Flowers videos on YouTube. However, I have searched Provisionism or any resource of this sort in spanish, and I haven’t found any. I speak English and actually work part time as a translator and interpreter, but I’d like to share some of your material in spanish to some fellow brothers. Is there any web site where I can find material in spanish? Do you have any plans to do it?
    I thank you in advance for your attention.

    Sincerely, Ronald Jimenez.

    1. Hola Hermano,
      Google translate has the capability to translate entire web pages.
      See this google page for instructions:

      https://support.google.com/translate/answer/2534559?co=GENIE.Platform%3DDesktop&hl=en&oco=0

      Here is a text clip from “Flowers Man Bad” after I used google translation. I’m not fluent enough in Spanish to know how good this is but its certainly a start…

      Leighton Flowers es sincero y genuino … y por eso los calvinistas están enojados con él.

      Permítanme plantear este artículo con un descargo de responsabilidad: el Dr. Flowers no me dice qué escribir. Nunca lo ha hecho. Ni una sola vez. En ocasiones me ha pedido que amplíe algo que escribió pero nunca me ha dicho qué decir sobre él o qué posición tomar sobre un tema. No presenta estos artículos de blog para su supervisión editorial, aunque quizás algunos argumentarían que debería hacerlo.

      Vamos a empezar.

      El consenso general entre los calvinistas que ven a los maestros en línea y participan en discusiones en línea (“calvinistas de Internet”) con respecto al Dr. Flowers no es que esté equivocado, no que esté equivocado, sino que es un mentiroso.

  27. Dear Leighton & team. We love your ministry. Can you recommend a Catechism? They all seem to be reformed.

    1. Hello Bob and welcome
      Dr. Flowers – due to his schedule is seldom here to interact with posters.
      You may more readily find him on facebook – if you are an FB user.

      Sorry about that!
      Blessings!
      br.d

  28. I have benefited so much from this ministry. I found it at a time when I was really struggling with the claims of Calvinism. Twice last year I gave five hundred dollars to help support your work. Neither time did I get a receipt. As a result I was not able to claim the gifts on my taxes. Numerous times I have wished to contribute more but am unsure of the legitimacy of the ministry’s financial dealings. I would like to contribute more now.

    1. Hello Mike
      I’m very sorry to hear about these issues.
      If you don’t mind – I will forward your post here along with your email to an associate of SOT101
      Hopefully someone will get back to you directly!

      Thanks
      again
      br.d

      1. Hello BRDMOD
        Thanks for showing interest. No one ever contacted me. If you don’t mind, would you try passing on my email again. As I mentioned before, I wish to contribute more but am now doubly dubious about the ministry’s financial dealings. Thanks.

      2. Thank you Michael for reaching out.
        I sent an email to Dr. Flowers directly providing your email
        Lets see if someone gets back to you.

        br.d

  29. Hi,

    I am wondering how one would defend Ecclesiastes 6:10 from a Provisionist prospective. I am by no means a biblical scholar and could very well be misreading the text. However, on the surface it seems to make a pretty good case from Predestination. If you could expound on this that would be much appreciated.

    Best Regards,

    Nathan

    1. Hi Nathan and welcome. The ESV has the best literal translation of the Hebrew here, in my opinion. Other translations try to read too much of their theology into this verse.

      ESV Eccl 6:10– “Whatever has come to be has already been named, and it is known what man is, and that he is not able to dispute with one stronger than he.”

      Notice that nothing clearly is said about anything happening by God before creation. The purpose of the book is to appeal to the unbeliever’s common sense.

      The verse is stating that since there is nothing new that exists that hasn’t already been identified, and that man is known, understood, by someone greater than himself, then perhaps he should not be contentious but start to seek that understanding from those greater than him… Solomon is ultimately pointing to God, of course, who does understand all about man already.

      To try to link “named” to mean that man is decreed by God to live out life only one way is reading too much into that word. Naming something just means recognizing its characteristics with a proper identification. And “known” here just means fully understood. God fully understands what man is able to do with the free will He has given to man, who was made in His image.

  30. Hello. I greatly appreciate and support your much-needed and vitally important ministry. I completely understand about the business of ministry, and so can appreciate that suggestions to perhaps produce additional resources can be seen as ‘just more work’. However, in the interest of equipping the average person in being able to engage with Calvinists who accuse non-Calvinists of not understanding ‘Calvinism’, I would ask that you prayerfully consider creating a downloadable PDF resource with the commonly used quotes Dr. Flowers points out from Calvin, Piper, Pink, McArthur and others, demonstrating what they actually profess and believe so that we can show them why we believe the logical conclusions Calvinism entails are deduced from their actual beliefs. 1 on 1 conversations (either in person or electronically) are still the most effective way to engage with family and friends, and I feel this could be valuable in provoking people’s interest in watching some of the amazing videos you are producing, and introducing them to the incredible bulk of work being produced here. Leighton is truly a workhorse and I so appreciate his commitment to producing great content. Blessings to all involved, in Christ, Calvin (ironically that IS my first name : )

  31. Hello, I so greatly appreciate everything that Leighton and this ministry has done, and want to personally thank him for helping me answer so many questions that I had as now ex-Calvinist. I am wondering if anyone has ever put together a full list of all the Calvinist proof-text verses, along with the brief counter argument or verses that negate their interpretation. I’ve thought about attempting to do this myself by going through all of the videos provided, but this is obviously a large scale project, and just though I’d inquire if someone had already created an excel chart or something like it already. Thanks you in advance.

    1. Hi Don – Here’s something I put together.
      Pulling Petals Off the TULIP

      After looking at the meaning of these following clear verses as they relate to the TULIP, I would see myself as 1/2 T and 1/2 P in agreement with Calvinists. 🙂
      T – 1/2 pulled off
      Rom 11:32 For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. [The first part of this passage agrees with one part of Calvinism’s view of Total Depravity, but not the second part]
      John 1:9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.
      U – Pulled off
      Rom 9:25 As He says also in Hosea: “I will call them My people, who were not My people, And her beloved, who was not beloved.”
      2Pet 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning [His] promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing [planning] that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
      L – Pulled off
      1John 2:2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
      2Pet 2:1 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, [and] bring on themselves swift destruction.
      I – Pulled off
      Mark 7:14 When He had called all the multitude to [Himself,] He said to them, “Hear Me, everyone, and understand:”
      Heb 3:7-8 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness,”
      P – 1/2 Pulled off
      Eph 1:13-14 In Him you also [trusted,] after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. [This passage agrees with one part of Calvinism’s view of Eternal Security, but not its rejection of carnality]
      Heb 5:12-14 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need [someone] to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes [only] of milk [is] unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, [that is,] those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

    2. Don, Brian teaches the Greek so he is a wonderful resource.

      But I would ask you to take a certain reality into consideration.
      Calvinists are human – just like everyone else.
      So they bring their humanity to their belief system.

      Part of human nature is human bias.
      We see what we want to see – and don’t see what we don’t want to see.

      Consider for example, the Rorschach ink blot.

      A certain college girl looked at a picture of a Rorschach ink blot. She was then asked how she interpreted what she saw. She interpreted the picture as two people facing each other, having an argument. During this session, she also divulged that she and her boyfriend had recently broken up.

      A certain German officer who was involved in medical atrocities was shown a Rorschach ink blot. He interpreted the picture as an insect being dissected. This tells us about how the human mind interprets data.

      Rorschach ink blots are simply random blots of ink in mirrored form. They do not contain any data of a struggling relationship, or a dissected insect.

      So what we understand from this, is the human mind interprets data on a personal level, based on internal associations within the mind. Some scholars for example, believe that Luther interpreted passages in the N.T. according to his own personal struggles with the Catholic church. And those internal mental associations influenced his perceptions of certain texts.

      And that brings us to the underlying foundation of Calvinism
      Universal Divine Causal Determinism

      If a human mind is sufficiently convinced that Exhaustive Divine Determinism is unquestionable truth, and that mind is also convinced that scripture is unquestionable truth, then it’s quite natural to understand how the human mind will interpret scripture accordingly, with the mind fully persuaded it is following the “plain” reading of the text.

      The mind simply interprets the text to affirm what it already holds as unquestionable truth.
      For any theological investment to assume this cannot possibly happen, is to deny the stark reality of our humanity.

      Consider examining Calvinism from the perceptive of the degree to which it is LOGICALLY contradicting.
      The Calvinist urgency is to have a world in which every nano-second is 100% pre-determined in the past.

      He faces two problems
      1) That is not the world he experiences – his perception of his daily reality is not one in which his brain is controlled by an external mind.

      2) He may be able to find a handful of verses in scripture which can affirm such a world – but the general narrative of scripture does not.

      He is therefore caught between two worlds which mutually exclude each other.
      The existence of one world – mutually excludes the existence of the other.

      The Calvinist has to somehow find a way to make two opposing worlds – become one and the same – which is LOGICALLY impossible.

      For me – approaching Calvinism from that perspective allows one to cut through the FOG of Calvinist thinking.

      The scripture is not illogical.
      And any interpretation of scripture which resolves to contraction is therefore problematic.
      Find the contradiction – and you find the problem.

      What you end up finding – is Calvinism’s urgency to make Universal Divine Causal Determinism line up with scripture.
      And he has to twist scripture into an irrational pretzel in order to do it.

  32. Dear Soteriology 101,

    Imagining that Mr. Flower’s schedule is probably very full, is it still possible to contact him by phone?. I had someone approach me recently offering to finance a podcast suggesting the things we spoke of regarding Christianity be spoken and published in Spotify. I have a good idea of what elements of Christianity I want to speak about, but I, nevertheless wanted to get his advice on some items relating to Provisionism which I am now, thanks to the teachings of Mr. Flowers, convinced are true having been a former calvanist. I am also looking forward in becoming a monthly donor to this ministry because I believe what is being taught is biblical. It makes total sense and I’m made to wonder, listening to Leighton, how I could not have seen this before. I believe the message needs to get out to other believers. Thank you so much.

    Rudy

    1. Hello Rudy,
      I’ll forward your message to Dr. Flowers for you along with your phone number and email.

      In the mean time – I will erase your phone number from your post – for the sake of your privacy.

      Thanks
      br.d

  33. Hello people at Soteriology 101,

    This question is for Leighton Flowers, but others can probably answer it as well.

    I have been a Christian for as long as I can remember, but I’m no expert and only recently learned about Calvinism over the past year. In my quest for information I came across your YouTube videos. Thank you for them, they have been informative. You may have answered this question before, but I’m not sure how to search for questions on your website, so here it goes:

    It seems to me that Calvinism is just plain heresy. It is clearly not the gospel (the good new about salvation) that I was taught, not the gospel I understand from reading the Bible, nor the gospel Leighton Flowers teaches. Calvinists like John Piper seem to preach a gospel contrary to the Bible, but it seems like many non-calvinist Christians still refer to them as bothers in Christ as opposed to wolves in sheep’s clothing.

    Per Galations 1: 7-9 as below:
    “7 which is not just another account; but there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9 As we have said before, even now I say again: if anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!”

    It seems the Bible has harsh words to say for people who don’t teach the truth. I understand they are not necessarily denying Jesus is the Son of God, but to me, their incorrect view (in my opinion) of soteriology creates a god for them that is not the same God of the Bible.

    Could you do a video explaining the appropriate way to view a self professing Christian Calvinist teacher? More specifically, Why should I view them as Christian brothers? Why shouldn’t I view them as false teachers?

    David

    1. Hello David and welcome.
      The underlying foundational core of Calvinism – and the ESSENCE of what makes Calvinism unique – is Exhaustive Divine Determinism.
      Academia classifies it simply as “Theological Determinism”.
      But that classification does not clearly identify the EXHAUSTIVENESS of determinism within Calvinism.

      In Calvinist vernacular:
      Whatsoever comes to pass is the consequence of divine decrees.
      Therefore 100% of whatsoever comes to pass – comes to pass infallibly and thus irresistibly.

      This is what makes Calvinism radically different – and its conceptions of Biblical things are going to follow a certain model.
      For example
      Calvinist R.C. Sproul
      -quote
      God ordains evil and everything God ordains is good.

      Calvinist Robert R. McLaughlin
      -quote
      “God merely *PROGRAMMED* into the divine decrees all our thoughts, motives, decisions and actions”

      John Calvin
      -quote
      Hence they [humans] are merely instruments, into which God constantly infuses what energy he sees meet, and
      turns and converts to any purpose at his pleasure. (Institutes)

      John Calvin
      -quote
      individuals are born….doomed from the womb to certain death, and are to glorify him by their destruction.(Institutes)

      Now the Calvinist’s job is to make his Exhaustive Determinism APPEAR to line up with the general narrative of scripture.

      So its a guarantee that any response you get here from a Calvinist – is going to be an attempt to do just that.
      Blessings!
      br.d

      1. David, I should add to that.

        In regard to the Calvinist trying to make Exhaustive Determinism APPEAR to line up with scripture. The Calvinist’s development of the TULIP was designed exactly for that purpose.

        Its also critical to understand – in order to evangelize that system – Calvinists have quite naturally tried to either HIDE its element of Exhaustive Determinism – or craft representations of the system designed to make its Exhaustive Determinism APPEAR to be the opposite.

        You should be able to understand why those would be the expected strategies.
        Since Exhaustive Determinism is what makes it a radical belief system – its natural to expect the Calvinist is going to try to hide that aspect of it – or try to make it APPEAR as the opposite.

        So you can expect to find three urgencies at work in Calvinist statements
        1) Statements designed to make Exhaustive Determinism APPEAR to line up with scripture
        2) Statements designed to HIDE the radical degree of Exhaustiveness of its Determinism
        3) Statements designed to make Exhaustive Determinism APPEAR to be the opposite of what it is.

        The unfortunate consequence of this – is that a certain degree of intellectual dishonesty must be deemed acceptable for the sake of persuading the non-Calvinist audience into viewing the doctrine as acceptable.

        Consequently, Calvinist statements follow a model which you should be aware of.
        The model involves telling a lot of “little” truths – carefully designed to hide the WHOLE TRUTH.

        I think you can understand how that would be a Calvinist’s natural response to his situation.
        Its not like he intends to be dishonest – he really doesn’t want to.
        Its more like the belief system forces him to be dishonest with himself

        Understanding these things – will significantly empower you to understand Calvinism and understand the underlying urgency behind Calvinist statements.

        Blessings!

    2. Hi David! If a person professes to only be trusting Jesus for their salvation, we should call them “Brother”, though always exhorting our “Brothers” to test themselves to see if they really are in the faith (2Cor 13:5), especially if they are living openly disobedient lives. Where it really gets tricky with Calvinists is if they call Calvinism the Gospel, which some do. Then that is professing a false gospel, though they might be doing so, unwittingly. Those Calvinists must be confronted on their misuse of the word “Gospel” or on their actual belief in a false Gospel. But most Calvinists need to be helped to see how their unsound doctrine harms confidence in prayer, harms the love motivation in evangelism and harms trust in the clarity and authority of Scripture.

      1. David, I am encouraged by your reaction to Calvinism… as it’s exactly the same as my own. My (ex) denomination, one that felt very in line with for over 40 years, has been infiltrated. Those non-Calvinists that remain embrace the Calvinists among them. I cannot do that easily for the reasons you stated so well. This theology breaks my heart; it makes my cry, and – as I told my ex-pastor – it throws a big fat wrench into all I love about Jesus and all I have held dear for almost 50 years of knowing His matchless love and flawless good character. It’s very hard for me not to see it as heresy. My best to you, Jane

  34. Hello
    I searched and searched for an email address, but could not find one
    I want to donate, but do not know if you have a tax ID as a charity (which would allow a larger donation.
    I want to THANK Dr Flowers for easing anxiety caused by Pastors Voddie Baucham and John MacArthur who both present a definitive sermon on Calvinism. I can not understand how this could do anything other than discourage people struggling with Christianity.
    What is their purpose for preaching on Calvinism? How are they following the second greatest commandment stated by Jesus “Love your neighbor as yourself” when they send the message “most of you (few follow the narrow path) have no escape from eternal conscious torment of hell (John MacArthur) no matter what you do or what you try “
    More importantly, the Bible states God is love. It does not qualify that by stating God is love FOR THE ELECT ONLY. I think they need to explain that during sermons on Calvinism

    Thank You, without Soteriology 101, Calvinist belief followers would cause me tremendous anxiety.

    1. Yes Soteriology 101 is a 501c3 and can be used as a tax deductible donation. Thank you for your kind support and encouragement!

    1. Frank,
      Can we help you further with the donation question?
      Are you looking for a specific online web-page or email – through which to donate?

      Thanks
      br.d

  35. Hey there I am very interested in gaining a better “true” understanding of Calvinism. It’s very easy for me to listen and agree and understand all you out out in your podcast. However, and I really haven’t looked, is there a resource, teaching, or book you’ve written or put out there that defines what Calvinist believe that sources it back John Calvins writings and teachings. Because what I come across often is the statement of, “oh well, Calvinists don’t believe that.” And it would be greatly helpful if I could say, “well if you look here in Calvins writings and teachings he clearly teaches and ascribes to theistic determinism(or any other tenant of Calvinism). I think it’s harmful to have division in the church and I find it equally Important to have source knowledge of this differing view, to better engage those lost to a certain harmful doctrine/theology. This is a very lazy way of going about it, but basically I was curious if you could point me in the right direction of some resources that provide what Calvinist believe by sourcing/citing those beliefs from Calvins writings and teachings… I feel this would effectually end the whole back and forth of “well Calvin didn’t say that”, when I’m fairly certain most Calvinist I run into here in Maine haven’t honestly read Calvins work. I would be VERY grateful for any response. I’m growing in ministry, and will be taking on a teaching and pastoral role and I want to be more prepared and educated for the sake of having meaningful, life-changing discussion with those seeking more of Jesus, not for simply knowing more than they might. I just want to be able to speak truth in love to these individuals. Grace and Peace.

    Very Respectfully,

    Chris Heine

    1. Hello Chris,
      I would recommend Dr. William Lane Craigs, Defender Series presentations.
      They are free – online
      And he reviews the Reformed view with its unique interpretation of scripture.

      You need to understand that Determinism is the underlying foundational core of what makes Calvinism unique.
      Historically there have been two fundamental problems with Determinism.

      FIRSTLY:
      Exhaustive Determinism cannot be rationally affirmed – it is a self-defeating belief system.
      If everything is – as Calvinistic Determinism stipulates – 100% determined before we are created, then every perception, and every belief that comes to pass within our brains is 100% determined before we are created.
      This means your brain is not the DETERMINER of your perceptions.
      Your perceptions are determined by an external mind.
      And your beliefs are determined by an external mind.
      You believe whatever you believe – simply because an external mind determined your mind to believe it.
      You did not weigh the evidence – for and against it – and came to your own decision.
      Your decision was made for you by an external mind.

      Dr. John Searle – Professor Emeritus of the Philosophy of Mind and Language – Berkeley
      -quote
      “Rationality is possible only where one has a choice among various rational as well as irrational options.

      Where every impulse and perception within one’s mind is totally determined by factors outside of one’s control, the process of choosing for one’s self does not even exist. (Rationality in Action)

      The way Calvinists historically have dealt with that problem is to hold the doctrine as TRUE – while treating it *AS-IF* it is FALSE.
      In other words – the doctrine stipulates that 100% of whatsoever comes to pass is solely and exclusively determined before you are created. But the Calvinist lives and communicates *AS-IF* his doctrine is FALSE.

      So the Calvinist learns to live with the doctrine by embracing DOUBLE-MINDED thought patterns.
      He holds the doctrine as TRUE and FALSE at the same time.

      SECONDLY:
      You have the problem of Calvin’s god as the AUTHOR of evil
      Calvinists today refuse to acknowledge that because they are concerned about how it makes them look.
      But John Calvin stated it very boldly:

      John Calvin
      -quote
      But it is quite frivolous refuge to say that god otiosely PERMITS them [i.e. evils], when scripture shows
      Him not only willing but the AUTHOR of them.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God pg 176)

      John Calvin
      -quote
      I have already shown clearly enough that god is the AUTHOR of all those things….. (Institutes chapter 18)

  36. I’m really struggling with Jeremiah 1:5 as a Calvinist proof text: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,and before you were born I consecrated you;I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” It seems to imply that Jeremiah did not have a choice in becoming a prophet. It was set before he was born. How would a traditionalist interpret that passage?

    1. Hello Michael and welcome

      The reason you are struggling with it – is probably because of the very false-dichotomy thinking that afflicts the Calvinist.
      The Calvinist takes a verse like that and he AUTO-MAGICALLY draws that conclusion.

      Notice the text does not say ‘Before I formed you in the womb I created you to be a prophet and since I am the AUTHOR of every impulse that can every come to pass within your brain, and since I make every one of those impulses come to pass infallibly and thus irresistibly – you as a human have no choice in the matter of anything”

      The text simply says “I knew you”

      So for the most part – there are a few schools 0concerning that:
      1) Simple foreknowledge: – “I knew what you would be while giving you Libertarian choice to choose what you would be”

      2) Middle-knowledge: “I have perfect knowledge of every choice you WOULD make – having given you Libertarian choice. ”

      3) Calvinism: “I have perfect knowledge of every impulse that will come to pass in your brain because I am the AUTHOR of every impulse that comes to pass in your brain and I don’t give humans ANY CHOICE in the matter of anything – they simply function robotically.

      1. OR 4) Openness: “I knew you in the womb. I anointed, consecrated and appointed you as a prophet. And now will you, Jerimiah, choose to fulfill this calling? If not, I’m looking elsewhere.” We might do well to remember Saul was God’s anointed king. Israel was God’s chosen people, the Levites were God’s chosen priests. Chosen does not always turn out swell with the chosen fulfilling God’s desires.

  37. If Calvinism teaches that God has ordained everything that can, will, and ever could happen because of His will, and that, basically, we are along for the ride, does Satan actually exist?
    Let me expand slightly. According to Calvinism (as I understand it, if I’m wrong please clarify) God determined that Adam and Eve would disobey and eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge. Now, in Genesis we are told that the serpent approached Eve and deceived her so that she ate of the fruit, and took it to Adam. So, was the serpent actually Satan, or was it God fulfilling what he determined had to happen?
    If we are determined for heaven or hell before we are even born, then what purpose does Satan even fulfill, if he is real?
    I’m seriously trying to understand this.

    1. Hello Isaac and welcome

      You ask a very insightful question.
      The question is asked as a logical consequence to the belief in Determinism.
      The belief in Determinism appears within human societies in two primary forms.

      We have ATHEIST Determinism – typically known as NATURAL Determinism.
      And we have THEISTIC Determinism – typically known as Theological Determinism.

      In both cases there is a DETERMINER
      In ATHEIST Determinism – Nature is the DETERMINER
      In Theological Determinism – a THEOS is the DETERMINER.

      Now listen to a well known Atheist – Dr. Sean Carrol – explain the phenomenon you just mentioned:
      -quote
      We tend to say “I made a choice between coffee and juice, and I chose coffee.”
      But am I the one who really chose coffee? Could I have done otherwise than select coffee? Was selecting and drinking the coffee UP TO ME. Well – if you believe that you are nothing more than the result of chemicals and compounds within the universe evolving into a certain configuration, then the answer is NO.
      You selecting and drinking coffee was not UP TO YOU.
      And NO you could not have done otherwise.
      Because everything you are and everything you do is determined by antecedent factors within the universe – which are totally outside of your control”
      -end quote

      Now what separates Calvinism from all of its alternatives is its embrace of Exhaustive Determinism.
      With Calvinism – Nature is not the DETERMINER – a THEOS is.
      But we have the exact same situation.

      Could you have selected anything other than what a THEOS infallibly decreed you to select?
      No

      Could you have had an impulse in your brain other than what a THEOS infallibly decreed?
      No

      Could Satan have an impulse in his brain other than what a THEOS infallibly decreed?
      No.

      So there is your answer.

      John Calvin puts it this way:
      -quote
      Hence they [humans] are merely instruments, into which god constantly infuses what energy he sees meet, and turns and converts to any purpose at his pleasure.

      -quote
      God was the AUTHOR of that trial of which Satan and wicked robbers were merely the instruments.

      -quote
      Men can deliberately do nothing unless he *INSPIRE* it. (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God pg 171–172)

      So the answer to all creaturely functionality in Calvinism – is that the creature has no control over himself.
      Because whatsoever comes to pass with him – has been determined by antecedent factors totally outside of his control.

      Therefore Satan does exist – for the Calvinist just as much as man does.
      But both Satan and man have no control over who they will be and what they will do.

      Blessings!

  38. The more that I have been studying Calvinism and the core beliefs, I have come to the realization that Calvinists, or Reformers, believe in a very weak, scared god who cannot face any kind of challenge to his authority, and treats Satan as his own personal Khrushchev so that his own hands will stay blameless for the evil that he authors, decrees, and demands must happen. Not only that, but the god of the Calvinists hates us. He hates us so much that he condemns humans to hell and damnation just for the very fact that we exist.
    Calvinists will tell you that we are damned because of sin, but sin, by classic definition, is missing the mark. Yes, read that again: missing the mark. How can we be guilty of sin if we are living, according to Calvin, as god determined that we should live. We are doing exactly as god decreed that we do, and therefore we are not, in fact, missing the mark. I love Brother Leighton’s analogy of the chess master, because it really is a superb example. How good can a chess player be if they dictate every move that their opponent makes, so that they know the outcome of the game. On the other hand, the God that I believe in, love, and desire to serve, is the chess master who knows that, no matter what move or series of moves His opponent makes, He know how to counter them, and make them work for His victory.
    The God that the Bible presents is a loving, powerful, sovereign God who can, and does, know every decision that we can make, and how to turn those decisions to His glory and the fulfillment of His plans.
    One thing, though, that I think Brother Leighton forgets is that God is timeless. He is, and was, and will always be, outside of time because He existed before time was ever a concept, so He can see all the way from the past to the present to the future, from the beginning to the end. Just like a chess game only has 20 moves that can be used to start, God knows every move that everybody can make, and how that will effect everybody else. So it is not a case of Him “jumping into his deLorian”, but the mere fact that God CAN and DOES know every decision and the outcome of every decision that we can make.

    1. Hello Isacc and welcome

      wonderful post!

      If you look for it within Calvinist statements – you will also find what I call *AS-IF* thinking.
      The Calvinist holds many things to be TRUE – while treating those things *AS-IF* they are FALSE
      The Calvinist holds many things to be FALSE – while treating those things *AS-IF* they are TRUE

      Take for example – the fact that Calvinism teaches that it is impossible for a Calvinist to have CERTAINTY of his salvation.
      This is Calvinism’s doctrine of the INVISIBLE church.
      Along with that is the teaching that Calvin’s god -quote “Holds out salvation as a savor of greater condemnation” to a -quote LARGE mixture within the Calvinist fold. And that he -quote “Illumines them for a time to partake of it – and then strikes them with greater blindness”

      In other words – Calvin’s god gives a FALSE salvation to the MANY and a TRUE salvation to the FEW.

      Calvinists typically have no problem claiming other people are created specifically as vessels of wrath – fitted for destruction.
      But they get very angry and very resistant thinking about Calvin’s god creating them for that end.
      So this part of their system surfaces as yet another DARK aspect of the doctrine which they try to TAP-DANCE their way around using deceptive language.

      1. Thank you for your post. Maybe this is a dumb question but it is continuously on my mind:

        If one is a committed Calvinist pastor who openly teaches that “God did not choose everybody” and “Jesus died only for the predestined elect”, and that Pastor turns out to be completely wrong and has even caused harm to people’s faith, does that Calvinist pastor go to heaven anyway because he meant well?

        Are you saved and chosen by God as a Pastor if you are teaching a mind of God that doesn’t want everyone to be saved but you’re sure you’re right?

      2. Welcome CGL, Interesting question … but the answer is a resounding yes! We go to heaven only by grace through faith and not connected to how badly we might screw things up, unintentionally or ignorantly by our flesh after we are born again. But I do think we will be surprised and feel deep shame and remorse when those things are pointed out to use at the judgment of believers, and much of the works we thought were praise worthy are burned up.

      3. Hello CGL

        Its also of interest to note – in Calvinism – the believer has no CERTAINTY of his election/salvation status
        John Piper refers to this in one of his sermons in which he states he has no CERTAINTY of the election/salvation status of his biological children.

        This is historically called the “INVISIBLE” church
        The elect are of course not “invisible” to Calvin’s god who is the one who creates/designs each person for one destiny or the other.
        The elect are “INVISIBLE” to the believer – including one’s own election/salvation status.

        All Calvinist believers who are NOT elect – but have a perception of being elect/saved are given a FALSE perception – and they live each day of their life experiencing consistent FALSE perceptions of election/salvation.

        If they are NOT elect – they eventually discover this to be the case when they wake up in the lake of fire.

        So in reference to your question – the Calvinist pastor has no CERTAINTY if he is elect or not anyway.
        And in Calvinism – when one is NOT elect -then one is TOTALLY DEPRAVED.
        And the Calvinist church is not granted the ability to discern those who are TOTALLY DEPRAVED from those who are elect.

      4. I have another odd question: Is there some kind of special illusive status that the wives of Senior Calvinist Pastors are supposed to have? I attended a large TULIP church for over half a decade and, although the only musician of a certain solo instrument for many concerts and rehearsals attended by the Sr. Pastor’s wife, she never once introduced herself, never spoke to me, never told me I play well after dozens of solos, not an acknowledgement for the entire years I was a member. It was weird and uncomfortable. And deliberate. What’s up with that? Are the Calvinist Pastor wives only to observe you from a “safe” distance to determine if you’re elect or not first? I didn’t get it.

      5. Hi CGL
        I have a suspicion that behavior is probably unique to that particular group.
        It may be the pastor has some kind of heavy emphasis on some teaching that perhaps made his wife behave that way.
        I don’t know of anything about the general doctrine of Calvinism that would lend itself to that particular behavior.

  39. So God Does Make Junk Afterall
    Accepting Calvin’s Jesus as the Real Jesus

    “When a potter makes jars out of clay, doesn’t he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar for decoration and another to throw garbage into?”
    Romans 9:21 NLT

    I’ve had a devastating spiritual crash recently. It’s the second complete spiritual crash in my life so far. The first crash came when I was playing marbles at six and the little girl across the street rocked my world when she uttered those seven shattering words, “There’s No Such Thing as Santa Claus.” I must have blinked and looked shocked. No Santa Claus? That’s impossible. I can show mountains of evidence from past Christmas’s to prove he’s real. He even eats the cookies I leave for him every Christmas Eve, personally. I remember I argued with her and later took it right to my parents after they arrived home from work. I asked. I saw the “I guess it’s time to have this conversation” look pass between them. And then I knew. It was all a fraud. All that magic and excitement and writing letters to Santa and all those wonderful gifts Santa gave me because I was special, were just lies made up by my parents. I was young, but I remember that sparkly magical air that filled my naïve six year old balloon of hope, instantly drained out and went flat.

    My second devastating spiritual crash was much more recent. That’s when I found out my whole life I have believed in the wrong Jesus. A made up Jesus who has heard every one of my prayers since I could say them, died for the sins of everyone in the world equally and then gave us all a chance to follow Him, has loved me even when I at times drifted away, and is always trying to help me and guide me to follow His will because he loves me and has a plan I can trust. Wrong Jesus. A figment of my imagination. I wasn’t even close to knowing who Jesus really is. Now I do, thanks to my Southern Baptist Calvinist church, who preached the real Jesus until it forced open my eyes to see the devastating truth. And I am unsarcastically ashamed and embarrassed to have ever prayed to the one I believed in.

    The Real Jesus never loved everybody or even said he did. More alarming, Jesus & his apostles state throughout the NT that anyone who wants to be saved has already been chosen before they were born and the rest are created to “throw garbage into” for God’s glory. Anyone who genuinely asks Jesus to be their Savior is doing so because God is personally drawing them to irresistibly sense his presence and respond. Then one has this mind blowing, fireworks conversion explosion, filling overwhelmingly with God’s love and hope. Instantly gone is all past guilt of sin, any present or past addictions, any lack of understanding of the scriptures and any desire to live outside the walls of the church, or live “in the world”. Only then will you understand the Gospel.

    I struggled with Jesus in Lutheran Sunday School as a child because he always sounded angry and threatening, like “Make Me Your Personal Savior or If You Even Look At Me Sideways, I’ll Annihilate You.” But after I lost Santa (who really really cared about me), I had only Jesus left to believe in and prayed all the time but never felt His love or presence. But I always “knew” He was there. Now I know I was horribly wrong. He does not listen to any prayers of the unsaved unless 1) it’s a genuine prayer for Salvation that he’s irresistibly drawn you to say, or, 2) it’s going to ultimately bless a chosen (elect) person somewhere else somehow by listening to/answering prayer generated by a person God created to ‘throw garbage into”. All these years, I didn’t know Jesus at all. And yet maybe I did. The Jesus that I committed to and was baptized four times over 25 years and thought I loved, or maybe tried to love, turned out to be the exact Jesus I was afraid of when I was a child. I was right at five. All of a sudden, all my years of spiritual confusion fell into place.

    John Piper, amongst his many mantras, states that if you’re even attempting to seek Jesus, you are already one of the “elect” because the unelect never think about the things of Jesus. I challenge that. Mathew 7:23 clearly states that many will think they are believers but, in actuality, were never chosen and are in for a big nasty surprise at the end. If Calvinists are teaching the real mind of God and the real Jesus, which on face value looks like they certainly are, then I must accept that Jesus is who I always thought his was—someone who has chosen to save so many around me but, for some reason I’m not allowed to understand, deliberately chose to condemn and not save me. Church is not a hospital for sinners. It’s a rest home for persevering Saints when they’re not preaching to everyone that “Jesus Loves You and Wants to Save You” when they know that’s not true for many they are speaking to. It doesn’t matter. The ones God chose as elect will hear and be saved. The rest God doesn’t care about, so the church shouldn’t and doesn’t care either.

    Assessment of my own salvation was generated by my fellow Calvinist church “brothers and sisters” when I was arrested on a DUI a few years ago (and quit drinking for good) and was publicly shamed, trashed, rejected and cut off until I had to resign from membership. All 1,000 church members never spoke or acknowledged me ever again except as gossip to each other. Of course I fully understand the magnitude of what I did and the cost involved. But, somehow, in desperation to feel the love of God and have someone reach out and help me, I didn’t expect the reaction of “You’re an Exposed Fraud and Not One of Us. Get right with God if You Want to Be Here”. As I watched and heard those people with their beautiful blessed squeaky clean lives trash and reject me instead of reaching out to me while in desperate need of loving support to quit drinking and cope with a disintegrating marriage, I knew John Piper was right. God loves these people so much, he sent his son to die for them. They have been delivered from all major sins and just grapple with an occasional doubt or swear word. The Gospel commands the spread of the “love of Jesus” everywhere because there might be someone hearing where that’s actually true. The rest are told a complete deception that Jesus would ever love or care about them. That’s the bible’s instructions for spreading the Gospel. It falls in line with exactly what John Piper says, and now I’m convinced. I joined a nondenominational church far away after I resigned from my Calvinist church but continuously felt like I had been dumped by the love of my life and now I’m just dating on the rebound. Sitting in church was driving me into a constant state of trauma and overwhelming feelings of rejection and hatred from God, “What Are You Doing Here? I Told You To Get Out”. So I stopped.

    Going back to Romans 9:21, I can now easily conclude that God does make junk. That Jesus does not love anyone but those he came to redeem and already knew in advance who they would be. We don’t know who the “elect” will be, as Calvinists readily point out in defense of statements that point to Jesus as an unloving God, because you never know when Jesus will decide a minute from now to stop hating you and surprise you that you were elect all along and now is your appointed time for love and salvation. Or not.

    Calvinism, the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, is like a box of matches. God has given us each a box of matches and commanded that we strike a match of “prayer and connection” with Jesus every day, asking for forgiveness and salvation or risk the wrath of disobedience. But what God also says through predestination is that most boxes of matches were deliberately created with no flint tip. You can strike that match 24 hours a day for the rest of your life but it will never spark. God created “dud” boxes of matches but commands all to continue striking them even to a predestined futile end. Sadly, to stop the trauma and spiritual rejection eating me alive, I am making a terrifying decision—although through predestination, I didn’t make any decision but God made it for me.

    I have to throw away the box and stop begging to be part of something that, through continuous rejection and trauma, don’t think I was chosen to be part of. It’s terrifying and terrible to let go of prayer and hope but I don’t believe in a loving Jesus anymore and profusely thank Calvinism for setting me straight. I could have wrongly believed Jesus loved me and was listening to my prayers my whole wasted life. If you are one of the “Golden Tickets”, chosen to be loved by God before you were born, I can understand why you would not understand or sympathize at all with those whom Jesus opted not to save and doesn’t effectually love. And I will always look at you longingly in human jealousy, wishing I was loved like you. Of course we are all “generally” loved, like “a blade a grass” or a “deer in the forest” as I think Piper describes God’s “love” for the unchosen. We’re just part of the perishing creation. Special, but not really. Loved by God, but not really.

    I haven’t lost Jesus because he was never there. He rejected me before I was born. Or maybe he’s planning on accepting me some other time in life but the answer remains “No” for now. I only know one single thing for sure. I miss Santa.

    1. CVG – Jesus said – “Come to Me, all [you] who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke [is] easy and My burden is light.” [Mat 11:28-30 NKJV] That call leaves no one out.

      Jesus does love everyone! And He will continue to love forever even those who reject His call, as He grieves for them, separated from Him and tormented in their selfish rebellion, forever. Please cast all your care upon Him, for He does care for you!

    2. WOW! Wonderful Post!!!!!

      Laurie:
      John Piper, amongst his many mantras, states that if you’re even attempting to seek Jesus, you are already one of the “elect” because the unelect never think about the things of Jesus.

      br.d
      Yes but the problem with this – is that it is a denial of John Piper’s own doctrine

      John Calvin explains
      -quote
      But the lord……instills into their minds such a SENSE…..as can be felt WITHOUT the Spirit of adoption.
      (Institutes)

      John Calvin
      -quote
      He also causes those whom he ILLUMINES ONLY FOR A TIME to partake of it; then he….strikes them with even greater blindness (Institutes)

      John Calvin
      -quote
      A SMALL and contemptible number are hidden in a HUGE MULTITUDE and a FEW grains of wheat
      are covered by a PILE of chaff

      So John Piper is presenting a FALSEHOOD to Calvinist believers – and has to deny his own doctrine in order to do so.

      I suggest – rejecting Calvinism as the best solution to this problem.

  40. I apologize that I was unaware when submitting my post that my real name would be public. Could you please edit my post to be only initials (CVG) or anonymous? Thank you. I wish to keep my part of my personal story private.

  41. Why have I been shadow banned from comments on youtube. I know I haven’t said anything derogatory or unkind and I have given to Soteriology 101. So why am I banned?

    1. Hello Roy,
      Its not my understanding that Dr. Flowers blocks anyone on Youtube
      The policy we apply here is to ensure everyone gets a fair opportunity to voice their positions
      And there are people posting what might be called “unfriendly” comments on Dr. FLower’s youtube channel
      So I would anticipate if there is any blocking – its in all probability youtube’s internal automated algorithm at work

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