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553 thoughts on “Support”
I didn’t know how to start a “thread” so I’m leaving this question as a reply:
How do you start over in Christianity when you’ve lost foundation completely as to who Jesus is?
1) Is Jesus the “Reformed Jesus” who all my former church friends still worship, seem so blessed by, openly preach “God didn’t choose everyone” (quoting their recent sermon) and quietly scrutinize everyone in their midst since some can be false converts, “reprobates”? Are these rather cold and dismissive people, but whom I have seen many times really worship Jesus, the chosen sheep whom I have to wait to be irresistibly drawn to be transformed into? Is salvation like “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” but with a “new heart”?
2) Or is he the Jesus I grew up with who talked like Linus in Charlie Brown Christmas and said “peace on earth” was for everybody and you could make your own decision about believing—but God isn’t going to stop you if you walk away because you’re not predestined to salvation or anything else so you’d better be careful?
3) Or is it the Jesus in the middle who chose you already but doesn’t want you to know that or draw you to salvation yet because you’re still not asking in the “right way” or haven’t suffered enough loss and consequences yet to satisfy God that you’re repentant now and can receive mercy and salvation?
I’m honestly not overjoyed to worship any of the Jesus’s above since they completely contradict each other so who knows which one is real. And each of these “brands” of Jesus are what I have been actually taught, all using the same book! I think my difficult experience in a Calvinist church seared a deep distrust as to who is. As frustrated as I get with the sermons of John Piper and his cronies, the plain truth is that his interpretation could be right. Which means I’m a trillion miles away from being elect since I’ve never ever been drawn by that Jesus or received that “spirit of truth” ever. Yet I see how steadfast these Reformers are and this is growing, not shrinking, in denominations. How can that many smart devoted followers of Jesus Christ be THAT completely wrong?
Can someone start over somehow when they no longer trust God, the church and have even become afraid of Christians? Is there such thing as a spiritual “blank slate” or “delete” button with previous ingrained theologies?
Hello Confusing Paths and welcome
Yes you can start over – and the Lord would dearly want you to.
I totally understand church as a place where unsuspecting people are abused!
And I can especially understand how that would take place within a Calvinist church.
Firstly – Jesus is your primary friend and the rock upon which you stand.
I would suggest you read the words of Jesus on a regular (perhaps nightly) basis.
Jesus is not compromised!
His motives are pure!
There are books are churches that abuse – which can be helpful for those who are struggling with doubts about whether they can trust their own perceptions in the matter of churches that abuse. If you are having those struggles – I would research those books.
You will read the testimonies of others who have come out of painful and devastating situations which for some of them took years to be healed from.
I think you will eventually also find like-minded sincere and honest people who understand churches that abuse.
Don’t give up!!
The Lord can and will deliver us from evil!
The Lord can and will heal our wounds!
You asked a very very important question.
From my studies, the answer is number 2, the Jesus you grew up with.
Your #1, I believe, is for the Jews only, and that is the confusing issue for reformers who think that “FOR THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN JEW AND GENTILE. The problem with that is that gentiles weren’t already God followers to begin with.
Those Jews were already God followers in the Law of Moses, aka works, who were chosen, if you will, to be God followers of Jesus, aka grace.
Gentiles were never under works to begin with.
You are safe to return to the Jesus you grew up with.
I’m not reform, never have been, never will be.
Man I enjoyed reading your questions about Jesus and appreciate you sharing your story. I can def relate to the frustration and confusion that comes with seeing and hearing seemingly polar opposite conclusions drawn from the same text or book. I grew up in church and actually worked for one as a children’s and youth pastor. Im currently not in full time ministry( not because I walked away from faith or the church ) but life /kids / marriage have lead me to other sources of provision for my family. However along the way I have experienced similar frustrations when it comes to my faith. I would read or listen to many different types of speakers/ authors and find myself confused as to how they could be so right on some things but in my opinion be so off on many others. Over the years I have longed to do exactly what you talked about; Hitting the reset button. Not walking away from faith but just coming to Jesus without all of the baggage and presuppositions that I’ve picked up over the years. As a dad of 5 young kids I want to get this right and pass along to them a solid faith that is real and not leave them confused as to what version of christianity they should adhere to as they get older. I certainly don’t have a black and white answer for you but I want you to know that you are not alone in this feeling/ desire to spritityablly clean house and start over. Here are some things that are working for me and helping me de clutter my mind of all the confusion. If there was any advise or recommendation that I could offer it would be this; Find a good bible that has a decent concordance so you can look things up with out your phone and possibly some commentary ( I like the Life application Study bible in the NLT or NIV) I know that all the hard nose theologians may turn their nose up at that because its not the ESV study bible but the goal here is not to impress but rather to get back to a thriving,lifegiving relationship with the Son of God. Secondly I would try to create time to be outside ( trail, park, woods….anything where you are surrounded by nature and quiet) and bring your questions to God. This isn’t creation worship but I do think that there is something about being in creation that connects us to the creator and evokes worship. Finally I have been trying to spend less time watching videos, listening to sermons, reading commentary from so many christian leaders. Im not saying that we shouldn’t have extra-biblical study or influence but for me its been helpful to detox on all the books, and sermons while Im trying to get back to who Jesus really is. I have so enjoyed just putting the phone away, graying my study bible and just praying and reading with out all the other influence or distraction. And If i come across something that needs a deeper look then I’ll pull other resources just to get a better idea of the context and audience but for the most part just getting alone with god and his word and spending more focused time in the quiet, solitude, and nature has been very helpful in hitting the “reset button” of my faith. I hope this doesn’t come across as cheap advise. Again I appreciate your willingness to share and be vulnerable on here and I pray that you and I both will find a way to clear out all the baggage and come to know and love the Son of God in a way that not only is real and practical for our lives but so much so that those around us will see a real faith that would ultimately draw them to Him as well. ( I guess that last line reveals that I’m not a 5pt calvinist 😉
Hello Hansen and welcome
I love this forum because I can finally ask questions about Jesus and Christianity I was never able to ask in my former reformed church without fear of rejection and judgement.
I have now asked, prayed and begged Jesus to draw me to salvation hundreds of times since having to resign from my Calvinist church a few years ago after being publicly shamed and called a reprobate when they found out I had been hiding an alcohol problem but never told anyone at the church because I was afraid of the exact judgement and gossip that ultimately did result. if I were drawn to salvation, I would have never had that kind of a problem they said. The Pastor said that, “When you’re elect, you can take or leave alcohol. You can pick it up and just put it down and it has no power”. That’s never been true of any recovering alcoholic or addict I’ve known so that must be only the chosen elect who are “delivered” while the unchosen, unelect, who are predestined to hell, need AA and recovery programs to stay sober because they have no hope of deliverance? All these decades I thought I was saved but still struggling with addiction and despair. I didn’t realize that I was never saved, never even called to be saved, just foolish and deceived. I quit alcohol nearly three years ago but I guess I did it without God and just with pride since God doesn’t help anyone or listen to anyone’s prayers He didn’t already effectually choose. I keep waiting for something to change within me, some sign, some fragment of supernatural love that everyone who is effectually saved says they experience. I have never had that.
I want to stop praying for salvation. It’s truly causing me harm at this point. To choose Jesus and then find out He didn’t, and still hasn’t, chosen me, has exhausted me. I’ve tried and tried for years but at some point just have to stop.
My question: If I stop ridiculously asking Jesus to save me when he’s clearly heard me endless times, can I now assume that’s it? If God has to draw you and I now am certain he has chosen not to offer that to me, why not stop? I go to hell because I stopped asking? What kind of insanity is that! I can’t live like this anymore! I have to stop before continuing to beg for salvation destroys me. All I get in return is the dark lingering voices of my former church, pointing and shaming at me.
Hello Giving Up
What God requires of you is to believe in the FINISHED work of Jesus Christ on your behalf.
He does not require you to continue to ask for something – when he has already communicated to you what he requires.
Every human being is going to sin.
That is the nature of being human.
But every time you have the option to sin or not to sin – God is there to give you strength to sin less.
For example – a drug addict may not have the power to stop taking the drug because his body is addicted to it.
But he does have the power to take less of the drug today, and less of the drug than that the next time – and less of the drug than that the next time etc.
Eventually he will have the physical power to resist taking the drug.
And in the midst of temptation – God will be there to give him strength so that he can resist that temptation.
There are many people who have come to Jesus with much greater and more powerful addictions.
And He has delivered them wonderfully!!
And His desire is to do that for you.
He is FOR you and not against you.
Welcome, “Giving Up”! Do you believe Jesus died on the cross to have your sins removed from your life, to save you from hell, and to make you become an everlasting member of His family? When you pray do you feel that God is your Father? Do you hate sin, love righeousness, love His Word and His people? If you can answer “yes” to all those questions without thinking you created those changes in your feelings yourself, but that God created them in you through His new birth, then you really should begin to have a settled assurance that you are in Christ.
The condemning feelings that you feel, which were either created by others or even by yourself, or perhaps are fiery lying darts from the evil one shot into your mind, will not be enough to quench those results of the new birth that I listed, and are clearly listed in God’s Word, if the new birth has truly taken place.
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone,
The freeing thing about Provisionalism is that God offers salvation to all that would take Him up on His offer. There is none of this (for lack of a better term) voodoo, where you magically may or may not be ordained to be in the club. In Provisionalism you simply understand you have sinned, and accept the offer to be reconciled to the Creator through His Son. So simple. When you doubt, if you have even a hint of Calvinism in your life, it can take your eyes off the offer, and put it on yourself, i.e. “Maybe I am not of the elect” or “maybe there is something wrong with me”.
Hello williamacowell and welcome
Yes I agree!
And additionally – you are not left – as the Calvinist is – with no CERTAINTY of whether or not you have been designed/created specifically for eternal torment in a lake of fire.
And the non-Calvinist has another nice blessing which is never granted to the Calvinist.
He is granted the function of choice.
In Calvinism, does Satan have free will? If one is born unelect, since Satan wants everyone but God doesn’t, isn’t that unelect person already “turned over” to Satan their entire lives since salvation will always be unattainable? Is God still directing each moment of the life of an unelect person or is Satan given some free reign since that person is doomed to hell anyway? I’m very curious about this.
Hello LFG and welcome
To your question – Calvinism is predicated on the concept of Universal Divine Causal Determinism.
Sometimes called “Exhaustive Divine Determinism”
In Calvinism there is a FORM of “Freedom” for the creature
1) The creature is FREE to be and do ONLY what Calvin’s god determines and infallibly decrees the creature will be and do
2) The creature is NOT FREE to be or do anything other than what Calvin’s god determines and infallibly decrees the creature will be and do.
So in Calvinism – the state of nature – at any instance in time – including the state of man’s nature – at any instance in time – is 100% predestined.
And can only be what it was predestined to be.
It is not permitted any FREEDOM to Be or Do OTHERWISE than what it was infallibly decreed to be and do
Concerning Satan – John Calvin says:
“The devil, and the whole train of the ungodly, ……can neither conceive any mischief, nor plan what they have conceived, nor how they may have planned, move a single finger to perpetrate, unless in so far as He……COMMANDS…..they are….FORCED to do Him service.” Institutes I, 17, 11.
Concerning mankind – Calvinist Robert R. McLaughlin says it this way:
“God merely *PROGRAMMED* into the divine decrees all our thoughts, motives, decisions and actions” (The Doctrine of Divine Decree)
Calvinist Paul Helm’s says it this way:
Not only is every atom and molecule, EVERY THOUGHT AND DESIRE, kept in being by God, but EVERY TWIST AND TURN of each
of these is under the DIRECT CONTROL of God (The Providence of God pg 22)
This was very helpful, thank you. I heard my former Calvinist pastor say in an online sermon recently, “Your choices in life are more like McDonald’s than a Buffet–God’s menu of options for your life are almost none”. How hopeless it seems to me to radically love a God who’s predetermined every devastatingly bad choice you’ve made along with its consequences, as well as every tragic thing that’s happened to you. To ask God for forgiveness almost doesn’t seem an appropriate relationship in Calvinism. it makes more sense to thank God for what good you do get since he predetermined it—-and all of life’s horrors and human mistakes you just accept as part of your day. God willed you make that mistake or have that terrible thing happen to you today. It’s almost none of your business—you’re just to “persevere ” through it.
You have to be aware of the fact that many aspects of Calvinist doctrine are not emotionally palatable to the Calvinist.
And that includes your Calvinist pastor.
I think you should be able to understand why that is the case.
Take for example what your Calvinist pastor says about “your choices”
In Calvinism – per the doctrine of decrees – the creature is not granted the function of choice.
If you look up any number of definitions for the term “Choice” you will find a necessary condition is “Alternative Possibilities” from which to select.
According to the doctrine of decrees – there is no such thing as an “Alternative” from that which has been infallibly decreed.
And in Calvinism – everything without exception has been infallibly decreed.
So any time your Calvinist pastor insists that he is granted an “Alternative” from that which has been infallibly decreed – he is denying the doctrine of decrees.
Now your Calvinist pastor can have a PERCEPTION of having multiple options from which to select.
But that PERCEPTION would be an infallibly decreed FALSE PERCEPTION.
Lets use an example
Lets say your Calvinist pastor is standing in a garden path which splits to the left and to the right.
He has the PERCEPTION that he has a choice between those two options.
But one of those options is infallibly decreed.
And as soon as that one option was infallibly decreed – its ALTERNATIVE was infallibly EXCLUDED.
That EXCLUSION took place at the foundation of the world.
If it was infallibly decreed that your Calvinist pastor go to the left – then going to the right was EXCLUDED by the infallible decree – and therefore not available to your pastor.
If it was infallibly decreed that your Calvinist pastor go to the right – then going to the left was EXCLUDED by infallible decree – and therefore not available to your pastor.
So in Calvinism – for every event
1) The creature is granted only ONE SINGLE option.
2) That one option is RENDERED-CERTAIN
3) All Alternative options are EXCLUDED – and their EXCLUSION is also RENDERED-CERTAIN
Therefore – the necessary condition of “Alternatives” available to the creature do no exist for the creature.
And since “Alternatives” is a necessary condition for “CHOICE” then – the function of “CHOICE does not exist for the creature in Calvinism
I have been studying Demonology and the writings of those who have been on the front lines of possession deliverance and demonic oppression for decades and centuries. Religious demonologists are pretty consistent in their findings about the “mind of the demonic”.
They universally agree that demonic infestation, oppression and possession can only begin in one of two ways:
ATTRACTION or INVITATION. And either of these options require man’s FREE WILL to manifest. One 19th century exorcist wrote that demons look endlessly for those whose “FREE WILL is distorted or made impressionable by tragedy or emotion” because only through FREE WILL can the demonic directly enter your life. You must invite them (through conjuring) or attract them (through rumination on dark thoughts), and once you do, you have given Satan “free will” in your life. And only the name of Jesus Christ will ever put a stop to him.
So if Calvinism were true, God would have to predetermine demonic oppressions and even possessions of his own creation. Demonic possession is the ultimate perversion of God’s created beings. If Calvinism is true, then God orders the vile infestation and destruction of his own creation in real time for his own glory. And if God IS predetermining a demon’s every move, why have an Angel guard a
yes – you are correct with all of that!
The demon is forced to use both TEMPTATION and SEDUCTION in the process of gaining ground in a person’s life.
In Calvinism a fundamental rule is that nothing is *UP TO* the creature.
Because everything is 100% meticulously determined at the foundation of the world before the creature exists.
So in Calvinism – everything without exception is *UP TO* a divine mind who determines 100% of everything there is to determine.
Now since it is the case that NOTHING is *UP TO* the creature – then who would the demon be tempting or seducing?
In Calvinism – the state of the creature is – at every instance in time – exactly what Calvin’s god decrees it to infallibly be
So a demon – in order to affect that – would have to be able to affect that which Calvin’s god infallibly decreed.
And of course that does not make any sense at all.
So yes you are correct – Calvinism and demonic activity are simply Logically incoherent.
And if you ever see a Calvinist taking authority over a demon – or casting a demon out – that Calvinist is doing so in direct contradiction and denial of his own own doctrine.
And that is why you will hardly if ever – see a Calvinist deliverance ministry.
I was very intrigued when this same Calvinist pastor rather proudly said in a sermon some years ago that he had never had a demonic experience or seen or felt any spiritual presence of Satan—-as though he is living in a special bubble granted to him with election. I frankly had never heard a Pastor say he’s not had any supernatural demonic experience, especially since becoming a Pastor when you’d certainly think he’s a target. I wondered if he’s right about nothing ever rocking his boat because, if he’s teaching a false Jesus, he’s already in Satan’s camp so why discourage him?
Yes – it makes perfect sense that he would say that – because it is a “Self-Complimenting” way of acknowledging that his belief system is at odds with the principles of seduction and temptation expressed within scripture.
So in an offhanded way – he is acknowledging that his belief system doesn’t jive with the general narrative of scripture on this subject.
And at the same time – in order to compensate for that – he frames it into a self-complimenting statement.
However, he certainly doesn’t see himself has having a false Jesus.
I think its much more realistic to say that he has been captured by a DOUBLE-MINDED belief system.
And he needs deliverance himself – from the snare of DOUBLE-MINDEDNESS.
As long as his ego and his pride do not permit him from acknowledging that ensnarement – he will remain ensnared in it.
The same principle of deliverance is at work for his deliverance than for anyone else.
He has to come to grips with the fact that his mind became ensnared in a DOUBLE-MINDED belief system
And he has to ask the Lord for forgiveness – because he allowed himself to be seduced into that condition.
Once he acknowledges the ensnarement and asks for forgiveness , and asks the Lord for deliverance – he will be delivered.
Then after that – he will have a personal knowledge of how Calvinism ensnares the mind
And he will help to keep (especially young and easily influenced believers) from getting captured by the same ensnarement.
………and isn’t “Desiring God” an oxymoron of a ministry name if you’re incapable of that on your own?
Yes! Another very excellent observation!!
The whole notion of “Desiring God” for a Calvinist is part of its DOUBLE-MINDEDNESS.
Once we understand – in Calvinism – the state of man’s nature – at any instance in time – is 100% predestined – and nothing about it is ever *UP TO* any man – then what does that tell us about any “DESIRE” that will exist within any man – at any instance in time?
Whatever DESIRE exists within any man at any instance in time is also 100% predestined.
And nothing about it is ever *UP TO* any man.
So the Calvinist exhortation for other Calvinists to “Desire God” simply functions as one more denial of their doctrine.
A Calvinist has no more control over his “Desire” than he has over any other impulse or inclination that comes to pass within his brain.
For a Calvinist to even think that he is permitted to be the DETERMINER of any “Desire” that comes to pass within himself – is a total denial of his own doctrine.
You’ve accurately identified another area in which Calvinism is simply a DOUBLE-MINDED belief system :-]
If salvation is predetermined then what is the point of the gospel even being in the Bible? Why didn’t God just give us a Bible that is written with instructions only for the “elect” – cuz they would not need the gospel written. They would just need a set of rules to live by since they are chosen by God. Isn’t that what the OT was… a set of rules to the chosen people??? Does this make sense?
Hello Diana and welcome
In Calvinism – not only is salvation predetermined – but them movement of every molecule – and every impulse that comes to pass within within every human brain is AUTHORED at the foundation of the world – and made to come to pass irresistibly.
In Calvinism – the state of nature – at any instance – including man’s nature – at any instance – is 100% meticulously predestined.
In such case – 100% of everything is *UP TO* a THEOS – leaving ZERO% of anything *UP TO* any man.
Accordingly in Calvinism – the vast majority of the human population are designed/created specifically for eternal torment in the lake of fire – for his good pleasure. And a large percentage of the believing church are also given a FALSE SENSE of salvation/election.
So Calvinism – is much much more about salvation.
As Calvinist Robert R. McLaughlin puts it:
“God merely *PROGRAMMED* into the divine decrees all our thoughts, motives, decisions and actions” (The Doctrine of Divine Decree)
And Calvinist John H. Leith puts it:
” On the natural level, what we call the order of nature [i.e. what we call naturally occurring events, for Calvin], is REALLY the ACTIVITY OF GOD. (John Calvin’s Doctrine of the Christian Life pg 111)
Hello Soteriology101, I was wondering if someone well learned could make an organizational chart showing what you must believe if you believe something else. Example: If you believe in innate inability, then you must believe in prevenient grace. I believe that this chart would make debates much easier by holding people accountable to cognitive dissonance.
Hello Zane and welcome
I like your idea
You may want check out Dr. Flower’s face-book page.
It may be the case that he’s already done what you suggested.
I was confused by the Christmas Eve message by my former Calvinist pastor who I still catch online once in awhile. He was offering the salvation message but also offering you to confess or repent something you are maybe doing that you shouldn’t be doing and blah blah. But this is the same pastor who said just two months ago in his Calvinist sermon that your choices in life is like “McDonald’s”–limited choices if any. So, what does that mean? How does this pastor believe you have only choices God gives you but somehow you did something outside of God’s will anyway? Is this what double minded means or am I just not understanding how you can be predetermined but still capable of sin that needs repenting.
Hello LFG and welcome
I’m sorry to tell you that – the self-contradicting nature of what you are observing with your Calvinist pastor is exactly what I would expect.
The core of the doctrine is simply too radical for any Calvinist to fully adopt.
They of course have an urgency to APPEAR to be consistent with the doctrine for the sake of appearance.
But there is a form of double-speak that is completely characteristic of language.
And it is that double-speak that I suspect you are observing.
Calvinists are often quite caring and normal in all other respects.
But when it comes to their doctrine – double-speak is the what you eventually learn to expect.
And I want to thank you and let you know I appreciate the sincerity in your question!!
I am not sure how to start a new thread on this website, but I would like to comment about something I was reading in the Bible today:
[1Ki 11:14 KJV] 14 And the LORD stirred up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite: he [was] of the king’s seed in Edom.
At least Eight times I have found that God stirs up someone to do His will. Five in the negative sense (like the above verse) and at least three in the positive sense, like He does with Cyrus to rebuild the temple. I could see how this could be done by circumstances, without God forcing His will on someone. For example, if the Prodigal Son was a true story, I could see how God could use a famine to stir someone to repentance. Anyway, when I first read the above verse it sounded like God was forcing His will. Is this compatible with Provisionalism? I would appreciate anyone’s thoughts on this.
Hello williamacowell and welcome.
I’m not a provisionist – so I can’t give you an official answer.
But I know Dr. Flowers well enough to have confidence in what he would say.
The provisionist would certainly agree with the verse all by itself.
And he will not rule out the options that God has for FORCING a person to do something – if that is what God would wish to do.
But the provisionist would say that that is not something we would find as NORMATIVE within the general narrative of scripture.
God can certainly do whatever he wishes.
In the book of Acts we have God striking a man such that he is eaten by worms.
If he wants to do that to any person – he is certainly at his discretion to do so.
But is that the rule or the exception?
The provisionist is going to have the same position on the issue of Exhaustive Divine Determinism (aka Calvinism)
Per Calvinism’s doctrine of decrees – we have a god who AUTHORS every impulse that will come to pass within the human brain.
And makes every impulse come to pass infallibly – and thus irresistibly.
And humans thus have no say in the matter of anything
And they cannot even have a thought that they can call their own.
So the provisionist rejects Exhaustive Divine Determinism (aka Calvinism) for the same reason.
The provisionist finds an occasional place here and there within scripture – where God determines a person’s impulses or determines their will – and does not permit that person to have any alternative impulses or will.
But the provisionist sees that as the exception within scripture and not the rule.
The Calvinist on the other hand – takes those few instances in scripture in which Exhaustive Divine Determinism can be construed – and he extrapolate that as the RULE and not the exception for all human functionality.
And that is why Non-Calvinists often will observe that Calvinism reduces human functionality to the functionality of a robot.
I hope I answered your question.
Hi William… Yes, most Provisionists believe God can impose His will and turn the hearts of others, but never towards sin, except in the sense of confirming the hardness they freely created in their hearts themselves… and never to force a covenant love commitment of faith… which requires free will choice to exist.
I’m wondering how Calvinist pastors hold up to extreme personal tragedy since they believe God orchestrates all situations. Has anyone ever known of a Calvinist pastor who’s had a child murdered or a spouse killed who still preaches the next Sunday that God ordains everything? Or do they go through a crisis of faith?
Unfortunately, Lfg, “God wills it”, is a strong mental drug, when one swallows it. It was one of the “drugs” used to justify the murderous crusades in the Dark Ages.
Yes, Calvinist pastors would deal with personal tragedy, using that “drug.” One problem is that they are already aloof from having deep personal relationships, because they believe in God as being aloof and impersonal, unable to feel changes in emotion. So to them, being stoic about tragedy is godly. Very sad!
Hello Lfg and welcome
Your question is very logical.
And the answer has to do with the normal human emotional response to the doctrine of decrees.
Basically the Calvinist holds the doctrine to be TRUE – while going about his office *AS-IF* it is FALSE
I know that doesn’t sound very reasonable a way to live with a belief system.
But the fact is – the belief system is simply too radical for any person to be logically consistent with.
Take for example the consequence of what we humans understand as the function of “Choice”.
If you look at any number of dictionary definitions for “Choice” you will see a consistent theme – in which a Necessary Condition for the function of “Choice” is multiple options available to an individual from which to select.
So take for example – the 10 year old boy whose does not want to go to the dentist.
His parents tell him he *WILL* go to the dentist whether he likes it or not – because they have DETERMINED that for him.
They have only given him ONE OPTION
He is given NO CHOICE about what option will be
And he is given NO CHOICE about his role in that option.
So – the bottom line is – he has NO CHOICE in the matter.
Now on Calvinism’s doctrine of decrees – 100% of every human impulse, inclination, and action are DETERMINED for each human.
So whether you will go to the dentist or not is already DETERMINED for you.
Whether you will commit a specific sin at a specific time is already DETERMINED for you.
All of which is DETERMINED and FIXED by infallible decree – which means it you *WILL* do it infallibly.
No alternative from that which is infallibly decreed is granted existence at any time.
So in Calvinism – your Calvinist pastor is never granted more than ONE SINGLE option for every impulse, action, and event in his life.
He is never granted a CHOICE about what that option will be
He is never granted a CHOICE about what his role will be in that event.
Consequently – according to the doctrine – human beings are not granted the function of CHOICE in Calvinism.
But that is simply too radical a consequence for any Calvin to live with.
And that is why all Calvinists – including your Calvinist pastor – hold the doctrine as TRUE – while going about thieir office *AS-IF* the doctrine is FALSE
I know I keep kicking the same deceased canine here but I just read Piper’s answer to someone struggling with believing in Jesus and he systematically says a laundry list of things you need to do “or else” you will be lost with no hope. I don’t understand. If I have lost faith in Jesus and God (which I am deeply struggling with) and Piper says it’s a gift in the first place that you can’t choose to want and it’s irresistible, how can any single thing I do now make any difference anyway? I have prayed for God to love me and save me for so many years, it’s honestly now just a broken record in my head and rather stale and moldy. Like I’m still praying for a boy in 7th grade to ask me to the dance except now I’m 62 years old and that boy is long married and maybe even dead now. The answer’s been “no” for decades. I usually try to avoid reading any Calvinist teaching these days but somehow, when I’m feeling deeply down, I seem to keep gravitating back to those I used to think were so right. Now Piper’s words just strike fear and frustration in me. I don’t want to keep praying in terror and frustration to Piper’s God. So I don’t pray anymore at all.
Hello lfg and welcom
There is a characteristic of Calvinist thinking – which to most people is non-intuitive – but to the Calvinist is it his normalcy.
You can start to understand this characteristic – when you understand the burden the Calvinist bears – embracing Calvinism’s underlying foundational core doctrine.
The underlying foundational core doctrine – which is unique to Calvinism alone – and which separates Calvinism from its alternatives – is EXHAUSTIVE DIVINE DETERMINISM.
In Calvinist vernacular – it is stated as “WHATSOEVER COMES TO PASS is CAUSED by infallible decrees established at the foundation of the world – before creatures are created.
The reason it is classified as **EXHAUSTIVE** Divine Determinism – is because absolutely NOTHING is left UN-Determined.
Not one nanosecond is left UN-Determined.
Not the slightest vibration of a molecule is UN-Determined.
Not one impulse can come to pass within a human brain – that was not AUTHORED at the foundation of the world
Every human impulse comes to pass INFALLIBLY within the human brain
Which means there is absolutely nothing about anything that is UP TO you.
THE PROBLEM THIS RAISES FOR THE CALVINIST:
The burden the Calvinist has to bear with that doctrine – is that he cannot possibly experience any sense of NORMALCY if he lives his life consciously acknowledging that doctrine.
Consequently – the Calvinist lives out a constant MENTAL TAP-DANCE trying to simultaneously AFFIRM and DENY his belief system.
What you are observing with John Piper’s statements – is that MENTAL TAP-DANCE routine.
For the Calvinist – according to the doctrine – every person’s election/salvation status is FIXED at the foundation of the world
And there is absolutely NOTHING any Calvinist can do to alter it – in any way shape of form.
Consequently – the Calvinist as a coping mechanism – learns to live *AS-IF* his/her election status is NOT FIXED at the foundation of the world. And they live *AS-IF* their election/salvation is dependent upon their own discipline and faithfulness.
The answer for you LFG – is to stop looking to any Calvinist for your answers – because you are guaranteed to listen to what they have to say – and consider it viable at first. But as soon as you start to examine it under LOGICAL SCRUTINY – you discover – as you have in this case – that falls apart and becomes unstable.
CONCERNING YOUR PERSONAL SALVATION
The scripture says “What shall I do to be saved”?
The answer is BELIEVE in the Lord Jesus Christ – and you shall be saved.
You BELIEVE in Jesus!
BELIEVE that Jesus – died on the cross as the sacrificial lamb – to pay the price for every sin you have committed and will ever commit.
That doesn’t give you license to go out and sin when your conscience tells you you shouldn’t
But it tells you that you can trust God
You don’t have to worry about the finished work that Jesus completed on the Cross for your salvation.
So – don’t look to Calvinism for answers.
There is no need for you to get ensnared in the MENTAL TAP DANCE that comes with adopting John Calvin’s belief system.
Calvinists have the burden of it – because they embraced it.
And until the Calvinist comes to realize he is reaping the consequence of an unhealthy belief system – he will have to live out his life performing Calvinism’s MENTAL TAP DANCE.
But you don’t have to be ensnared in that.
And you can put your personal confidence in the person of Jesus Christ.
Welcome lfg, I will be praying for you today that you will meet a godly Christian woman whom you will choose to walk with. She needs to lead you into the learning how to recognize and trust presence of and salvation of Jesus. She needs to help you focus on worshipping and serving Jesus, and serving others, more than focusing past or present personal failures.
How do you discern what God has created in your life through His salvation presence, if you are one of His? Any hatred of the evil that is still in your flesh that you feel, that hatred is from Him.
Any desire to do good only for His glory without expecting anything in return, that desire is from Him. Any sacrificial love you feel for other Christians, especially annoying ones, that is evidence of God’s presence in you.
Your constant assurance that Jesus is the only Savior and that you can freely call God “Father” when you pray are also proofs that you belong to Jesus.
And each time you want to, and are able to, say “no” to the temptations of the world, feeling certain in your heart that heaven will make up for any “loss”, which the world suggests you might face, should also add to your peace that you know you belong to Christ.
Your post resonated with me! .. partly because I am a 68 year old woman:)
I did not grow up in the Church – which sadly can be a good thing, depending on the church. As a teenager, I suffered from serious anxiety and depression, in part due to parental abuse… out of desperation, I reached out to Jesus in hopes that He could help. And boy did He! He loved me like no one else ever did or could… I was hooked; I fell deeply in love with Christ, and my life changed. Fortunately, I landed in a wonderful – completely non-Calvinistic – Christian youth group (Young Life)… where it was all very simple: God loved me with a passion (so much that He’d rather die than live without me), so I couldn’t help but love Him back… and love myself and others too in response!
Fast forward many years…..
A few years ago, our pastor retired and was replaced by a new, young pastor. We loved him at first as he was very passionate… I was sure that his passion for God came from the same place as mine – I was wrong. He began to say things like, “God doesn’t want you to love yourself, and God doesn’t want you to be happy.” He also quoted John Piper constantly. So, I began to do some research about Piper, reading many of the articles on the Desiring God site. … something I wished I had never done!!! One article chastised Christians for “gorging themselves” on verses about how much God love them!!! …and if you think you have value and worth, you are stealing God’s glory! What better way to keep people OUT of the Kingdom, than convincing them that there is nothing they can do to enter … something that the Bible refutes over and over and over again! After exchanging many long emails with my new pastor, I discovered that he interpreted much of the Bible very differently than I did…I felt confused and discouraged; my faith took a real hit.
Since then (after leaving our church of almost 20 years), I have been researching this strange movement… trying to compare their understanding of Scripture with what the Scripture really says (or at least what I think it says)… trying to understand why they would pervert the beautiful message of Christ’s loving sacrifice for ALL people into something unrecognizable… making God sound more like the abusive parent I grew up with than the loving Heavenly Father I fell in love with at the age of 17.
My heart goes out to you. DO NOT give up… don’t keep exposing yourself to this twisted version of Christianity. Read and listen to Jerry Walls; Dr. Flowers; Austin Fisher. Even more, read the Truth of who God is (His good character) in the clear and simple words of the Bible. God DOES love you, maybe more that you could ever imagine or even hope!
Austin Fischer expresses it exactly:
“…the silhouette of the crucified God of Golgotha is an image chiseled into my heart. When sin within rises, chaos without descends, confusion all around lays waste to any semblance of comprehension—when I don’t feel like I understand a damn thing—I look up there and I understand enough to say thank you. I understand enough to call it love. And I watch as it casts sparks of light into previously darkened corners. So when someone messes with this picture, adding a cryptic backdrop that threatens to stain the whole thing, I’m against the backdrop only because I’m for the picture I think the backdrop ruins. I’m not against the Calvinist picture of God so much as I am grieved by what that picture does to the picture I love… “
Thank you Jane
Your humble and Christ-like spirit is evident!!
I’m personally thankful that the Lord delivered you from the snare of the Fowler (i.e. Calvinist confusion) as he did me also.
May the Lord continue to bless you – and bring you ever closer to himself! :-]
This forum is really amazing information and it’s been very helpful! I am pasting below the complete list (sorry it’s lengthy) of all the “recommended reading’ from my former Calvinist church of which I won’t name. This may be a dumb question, but I had never been directly exposed to Calvinism before so I had no idea I was reading books required for bible study that might say something different than I grew up with. So I’ve gotten curious. Can you please tell me what percentage of this list of books, music and commentaries I was “recommended” or “required” to read at my former church over 5 years that you would consider Calvinism and perhaps wouldn’t have chose for your own flock or for your own spiritual growth? How exposed to Calvinism was I?
Expository Apologetics: Answering objections with the power of the Word. – Voddie Baucham Jr.
Evidence that Demands a Verdict: Life changing truth for a Skeptical World – Josh & Sean McDowell
The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus – Lee Strobel
More than a Carpenter – Josh McDowell
Attributes of God
The Attributes of God – A.W. Pink
The Holiness of God – R.C. Sproul
The Pleasures of God – John Piper
The Knowledge of The Holy – A.W. Tozer
ESV Study Bible
Zondervan Study Bible
MacArthur Study Bible
Gospel Transformation Study Bible
Basic Bible Interpretation: A Practical Guide to Discovering Biblical Truth – Roy B. Zuck
Taking God at His Word: Why the Bible is knowable, necessary, and enough, and what that means for you and me. – Kevin Deyoung
The Hermeneutics of the Biblical Writers – Abner Chou
Toward an Exegetical Theology: Biblical exegesis for preaching and teaching. – Walter C. Kiaser
Understanding and Applying the Bible – Robert McQuilkin
A Harmony of the Gospels – R. Thomas, S. Gundry
The Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament – Walton, John H., Victor H. Matthews, et al.
The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament – Keener, Craig S.
A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament – Brown, Francis, Samuel R. Driver, and Charles A Briggs
An Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words – Vine, W. E., Merrill F. Unger, and William White
21 Servants of Sovereign Joy: Faithful, Flawed, and Fruitful – John Piper
Here I Stand: A life of Martin Luther – Roland H. Bainton
Johnathan Edwards: A New Biography – Ian H. Murray
George Whitfield – Arnold Dalimore
Foxe’s Book of Martyrs – John Foxe
Long Line of Godly Men (Book Series) – Stephen J. Lawson
Wesley and Men who Followed – Ian H. Murray
The Forgotten Spurgeon – Ian H. Murray
The Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible – Jared Kennedy & Trish Mahoney
The Biggest Story ABC – Kevin DeYoung
The Biggest Story: How the snake crusher brings us back to the garden – Kevin Deyoung
The Gospel Story Bible: Discovering Jesus in the Old and New Testaments – Marty Machowski
The Ology: Ancient truths, ever new – Marty Machowski & Andy McGuire
Chronicles of Narnia – C.S. Lewis
Confessions / Catechisms
1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith
The Baptist Faith and Message – 2000
The New City Catechism – Kathy Keller
The Apostles’ Creed: Discovering authentic Christianity in an Age of Counterfeits – R. Albert Mohler Jr.
Confessions – Augustine
City of God – Augustine
Pilgrim’s Progress – John Bunyan
Institutes of the Christian Religion – John Calvin
Mere Christianity – C.S. Lewis
The Weight of Glory – C. S. Lewis
Creation / Science
Creation Q&A: Answers to 32 Big Questions about the Bible and Evolution – Institute for Creation Research
Theistic Evolution: A Scientific Philosophical, and Theological Critique – J.P Moreland, Stephen C. Meyer, et al
The Battle for the Beginning – John MacArthur
The Genesis Record – Henry M. Morris
Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive origin of animal life and the case for Intelligent Design – Stephen C. Myer
The Lie: Evolution – Ken Ham
Pocket Guide to Astronomy – Answers in Genesis
Partners 1on1 Discipleship – Mike Farbarez
The Master Plan of Evangelism – Robert E. Coleman
Discipling: How to Help Others Follow Jesus – Mark Dever
New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional – Paul David Tripp
Morning and Evening – Charles H. Spurgeon
The Valley of Vision: A collection of Puritan prayers and devotions – Arthur Bennett
Nine Marks of a Healthy Church – Mark Dever
Biblical Eldership: An urgent call to restore biblical church leadership – Alexander Strauch
Church Membership – Jonathan Leeman
Evangelism – J. Mack Stiles
Tell Someone – Greg Laurie
Christian Ethics – Norman L. Geisler
The Gospel According to Jesus: What is authentic faith? – John MacArthur
The Gospel According to God: Rediscovering the most knowable chapter in the old testament – John MacArthur
God is the Gospel: Meditations on God’s love as the gift of himself – John Piper
A Gospel Primer for Christians: Learning to see the glories of God’s love – Milton Vincent
Long Before Luther: Tracing the heart of the gospel from Christ to the Reformation – Nathan Busenitz
2,000 Years of Christ’s Power (4 volume Set) – Nick Needham
Christianity Through the Centuries: A History of the Christian Church – Earle R. Cairns
Homosexuality / Same Sex Attraction
Same-Sex Attraction and the Church: The surprising plausibility of the celibate life – Ed Shaw
Is God anti-gay?: And other questions about homosexuality, the Bible and same-sex attraction – Sam Allberry
Hymns of Grace – The Master’s Seminary Press
The Baptist Hymnal
The Excellent Wife: A Biblical perspective – Martha Peace
The Exemplary Husband: A Biblical perspective – Stuart Scott
Strengthening Your Marriage – Wayne A. Mack
What did You Expect?: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage – Paul David Tripp
When Sinners Say “I Do”: Discovering the Power of the Gospel for Marriage – Dave Harvey
Preparing for Marriage God’s Way: A Step-by-step guide for Marriage success Before and after the Wedding – Wayne A. Mack
Manhood and Womanhood
Family Shepherds: Calling and equipping men to lead their homes – Voddie Baucham Jr.
Thoughts for Young Men – J.C. Ryle
Biblical Manhood and Womanhood – John Piper
Men and Women: Equal yet Different – Alexander Strauch
Disciplines of a Godly Man – R. Kent Hughes
Disciplines of a Godly Woman – Barbara Hughes
Family Driven Faith: Doing what it takes to raise sons and daughters who walk with God – Voddie Baucham Jr.
Your Child’s Profession of Faith – Dennis Gundersen
Family Worship: In the Bible, in history, and in your home – Donald S. Whitney
When Good Kids Make Bad Choices: Help and Hope for Hurting Parents – Elyse Fitzpatrick & Jim Newheiser
Parenting: 14 Gospel principles that can radically change your family – Paul David Tripp
Tying Their Shoes: A Christ-centered approach to preparing for parenting – Rob & Stephanie Green
Shepherding a Child’s Heart – Tedd Tripp
Raising Men not Boys – Mike Fabarez
Don’t Make me Count to Three – Ginger Hubbard
The Constitution of The United States of America
A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians in the Higher and Middle Classes in this Country, Contrasted with Real Christianity. – William Wilberforce
The Religious Beliefs of America’s Founders: Reason, Revelation, and Revolution – Gregg L. Frazer
A Call to Prayer – J.C. Ryle
Praying The Bible – Donald S. Whitney
Transforming Prayer: How everything changes when you seek God’s face – Daniel Henderson
The Valley of Vision: A collection of Puritan prayers and devotions – Arthur Bennett
Praying with Paul: A Call to Spiritual Reformation – D.A. Carson
The Supremacy of God in Preaching – John Piper
Preaching & Preachers – Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Lectures to My Students – Charles H. Spurgeon
Christ-Centered Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon – Bryan Chapel
The Reformed Pastor – Richard Baxter
The Sovereignty of God – A.W. Pink
Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God – J.I. Packer
Chosen by God – R. C. Sproul
Sin and Repentance
Spectacular Sins: and their global purpose in the Glory of Christ – John Piper
The Doctrine of Repentance – Thomas Watson
Passions of The Heart: Biblical counsel for stubborn sexual sins. – John D. Street
Suffering / Grief
Good Grief: A companion for every loss – Granger E. Westberg
Suffering: Gospel hope when life doesn’t make sense – Paul David Tripp
The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place – Andy Couch
12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You – Tony Reinke
Systematic Theology – Wayne Grudem
What is Reformed Theology: Understanding the Basics – R.C. Sproul
The Death of Death in the Death of Christ – John Owen
The Heart of Christ – Thomas Goodwin
The Whole Christ – Sinclair B. Ferguson
The Forgotten Trinity: Recovering the heart of Christian belief – James White
On The Trinity – Augustine
Strange Fire: The danger of offending the Holy Spirit with counterfeit worship – John MacArthur
Charismatic Chaos – John MacArthur
Let The Children Worship – Jason Helopoulos
Thank you LFG
I can definitely see some materials here which are Calvinistic indoctrination materials.
Anything by John Piper, John Macuarthur, R.C Sproul, A.W. Pink
But some of the authors I do not believe are infected by Calvinism.
The easiest way to figure this out yourself – is to take the author’s name and paste it into google, and after the name place a comma and then the word “Reformed”
For example “John Piper, Reformed”
You may get results in which you see the author advertised as “Reformed” or associated with a “Reformed” organization.
And you are wise to question materials – because Calvinists do not advertise their materials as Calvinist materials.
For example –
“The Attributes of God – by A.W. Pink” should MORE TRUTHFULLY be called “The Attributes of God according to Calvinism”.
And “The Holiness of God – by R.C. Sproul” should MORE TRUTHFULLY be called “The Holiness of god according to Calvinism”
Unfortunately – Calvinist language is not a TRUTH-TELLING language.
Calvinist language is a MARKETING language.
It hides what it doesn’t want the Non-Calvinist consumer to see – in order to make itself APPEAR acceptable to the Non-Calvinist consumer.
I’m gary could you please email me it is extremely important
I emailed you – using your email displayed by the system – but that email address bounced back and does not work.
My church of 7 years has brought on a new Calvinist lead pastor. With this he also brings on covenant theology as well as a Covenant Membership document that I am required to sign before my wife and I are welcomed to take communion. It’s all so messed up. I attended a new membership class this past week in which we were told that sound doctrine is one of the church’s 4 major pillars. I am considering to email the membership pastor the following question and am looking for thoughts on this as well as the accuracy my question as to its representation of Calvinist teaching. MY QUESTION: Would the Church accept me into its membership if I revealed that I held to a doctrine which teaches that before creation God ordained everything that occurs? Through His eternal unchangeable decree God is the exhaustive divine determiner of all things. God not only has ordained good but has also ordained all evil. Every evil thought, every evil desire and evil action of every man and woman flows from his decree. By ordaining everyone’s greatest desires God had determined each person’s every choice. He ensures that most of humanity will never want a relationship with him. Instead, each would be incapable of choosing to come to Him in humility, incapable of asking for forgiveness and incapable of accepting the Gospel. Having ordained this before their existence, God determined the eternal damnation of the majority of mankind. His purpose in creating these unwanted and eternally damned souls was such that all of creation, angels and men alike, will on judgment day play witness to His great sovereign and holy justice.
Ask them, youngearther… I’d love to hear how they answer you! Change – “He ensures” to “He ensured”.
You are already in the New Covenant, and it was sealed with the Blood of Christ. This “Covenant Church” is making you sign a contract that holds you accountable to the doctrines that they teach, and will use it to PUNISH you with, if you fall out of line with their theology.
So, are you willing to give ten percent to the pastors paycheck to get beat down with? I wouldn’t. But then again, I’m not into bondage.
If I were you, I’d leave now, while you have the chance, before signing anything. If you sign that thing, and then leave, he might just track you down to whatever church you go to, and badmouth you to the new church.
I speak based on the testimonies I’ve heard at spiritual abuse blogs. My advice, leave, and don’t let the door hit you in the rear end. Run as fast as you can, and don’t look back.
Never sign a contract with any church’s that call themselves a COVENANT church. It could also have LEGAL consequences, outside of church.
What you are seeing imposed upon the people of that church – is what someone purposefully intended.
And its not going to get any better!!
You would be well advised to leave – while leaving can be done without raising controversy.
If you don’t leave – you will be expected to obediently submit – with the possibility that you will be expected to obediently submit to things that are against your conscience.
At that point – it would be no surprise to find yourself the brunt of accusations.
If I were you – I would leave – while you can do so – and avoid devastation to yourself or your family.
Calvinism advertises itself a doctrine of “Grace”
And everybody involved is going to be toting that line.
But it is actually a doctrine of “Good-Evil”
And in order to embrace it – the Calvinist must learn to condition his mind to obfuscate its “Evil” parts.
If you don’t believe that is realistic for yourself or your family then you would be well advised to not put yourself or your family through that situation.
Wisdom cries out in the gate.
Thank you BR.D (and Ed) for your concern for me and my family. At this point God is directing me to stay and to be a prophetic voice of confrontation, one which hopefully will lead to repentance. If no repentance, leadership will be faced with a continual confrontation of their evil. There are many others attending our Church that my wife and I cherish and for whom God is calling us to stay and fight.
You are one brave soul there, brother! I wish you all the God given talents to do as you are called to do here. You are noble! Keep your wife/family informed, however, forwarning them of the retaliations that this church’s new paster will have on those who question his “authority” over your souls.
A couple things. They will lord over you, even tho Jesus tells them not to. Elders are supposed to be mentors, not authoritarians. But they will be authoritarians anyway.
If your family is aware, and is behind you, go for it. But if it is going to hurt them in any way, causing them to become atheists…re-think that.
Many people have become atheists due to the spiritual abuse they have endured. Get ready to enter the den of demons.
One such church was Mars Hill Church in Seattle with Pastor Mark Driscoll.
I hate to say it – but past history in this regard would suggest a 99% probability that the Calvinist pastor in this church is going to secretly see you as a fly in his ointment – and he will find a way to justify accusing you or your family with whatever accusations he can manufacture on short notice – which he calculates will work to force you out of the church.
I suspect you’re going to be forced to leave one way or another.
Or your going to be assimilated and become a Calvinist BORG.
And there is the possibility of the pastor and his teachings on submission – causing a rift between you and your wife.
I have seen Christian families destroyed by situations like this.
I pray for your family that the hurt and devastation they will endure – will not produce wounds that will take years to heal.
I have unfortunately found that Calvinism only attracts two types of individuals: ones already arrogant by nature who have found another reason to feel “entitled”, and one’s who have deep jealousy issues of others and cope by using limited atonement as a weapon. Neither type will ever change because their egos and false sense of selves are being “fed” constantly this steely cold theology. Leave.
Hello Cgl and welcome
Great post, youngearther. I’ve had to sign those at the last few churches and they are deceptively vague. It’s usually something like “I will conform all areas of my life to the truth of God’s word”. But “The Truth Of God’s Word” can frankly be interpreted in as many personal creative ways as there are individuals alive on earth. So if my pastor has a “pet gospel” of something like limited atonement, whatever you sign agrees with that, based on “God’s Word”. It’s an endless circular argument that you will always lose. I sure did. That’s why I quit.
So, not about Calvinism, but I am in need of good theological advice on a matter.
For background information, I am the drummer in the worship team, and the congregation that I am at had a drum set donated to it by a parishioner because I play drums.
I have had confrontations with a couple of parishioners about certain teachers that they have praised, specifically Creflo Dollar and Joel Osteen, and I have rebuked the head pastor for edging dangerously close (as I discerned it) to “name it and claim it” philosophy. He has a condition similar to plantar fasciitis that afflicts one foot or the other, but, so far, never both at once. He told this to the congregation during a sermon, and one of the people called out for him to “not claim it”, to which he said that he denied claiming it. Uncomfortable, and I called him out in front of the congregation over it, and he, and the parishioner who called out to him, denied it.
Now, today, the deacon was giving the sermon because the pastor wasn’t there. I walked out during the first five minutes of the sermon. Two weeks ago his son passed out at school and tested positive for Covid. Because of that, the entire family was quarantined for five days, and they missed last Sunday. The deacon recounted this to us this morning, and said how he denied that his son had Covid, even when the doctor and nurse assured him that, yes, his son did in fact have it. Now, he wasn’t acting in denial, he clarified that his son couldn’t have Covid because he (the deacon) declared that his family would never have covid, because if he or his wife caught it, it might kill them, and they had kids to take care of, and God would never give them anything that they could not handle. I got up at this point. When he told us that he wasn’t quarantined because of covid, and that covid would never touch his house, I walked out.
So, given the above evidence, and the obligation I feel towards the church because of being part of the praise team, what do I do? Do I take my wife and keep walking? Do I make another, probably ineffectual, attempt to correct the issue?
Thanks in advance for any advice y’all can give.
Welcome Isaac… Those men are not yet qualified to pastor or oversee the spiritual health of God’s people. Find men in your community who are and join your testimony and service for Christ with theirs.
You could still meet personally with those other men leading the congregation where you are now and share the important Scriptures that clearly show they are following their own imaginations concerning what they think “faith” is. God nowhere calls us to claim a denial of reality, but actually calls us to suffer for his sake.
Hello Isaac and welcome
Here are my thoughts on your question.
1) In every social group there are always going to be conflicts and disagreements between people.
And that is no less the case with Christians.
Since wisdom tells us that conflicts and disagreements are a given for us – then it would seem the better part of wisdom for us to make decisions about whether or not any given conflict or disagreement rises to the level of us departing from that group.
For example, the issue of a Calvinist Pastor who obtained his position within a Non-Calvinist church by deception – and he is using deceptive and manipulative strategies to manipulate the congregation would be such a situation.
Another example would be the Reverend Jim Jones example – where a false teaching arises to the level of leading people into affects which are serious and deleterious. The people of the Jim Jone’s congregation did not have enough discernment to recognize that he was going off in a dangerous direction – and they suffered the consequences of not having that discernment.
Personally – the situation of a Christian man who makes the claim that there is no possible way his family can get a sickness – represents a lack of Christian adult maturity. So a man in a pastoral role making that kind of claim – simply shows a lack of maturity.
And the rest of the congregation should be provided with information concerning that – so that they have the opportunity to not be mislead by that man’s immaturity. If that level of immaturity shows up in other ways – then I would say its time for the congregation to consider his qualifications for being in any king of leadership or pastoral role. But no one has to leave the church because of one man’s immaturity, if the people of the church are informed enough to not be mislead by it themselves.
2) The business of a Christian “Calling someone out” publicly in front of a congregation – I personally believe to be a sign of immaturity also. I do not see that practice as wisdom. Especially over trivial matters.
It sounds to me that the congregation you are in – has people in and out of leadership position – who are not very mature. There are probably members of the congregation who are more mature than that. And they can be used as a kind of “BALLAST” to keep the whole boat stable. Their maturity can operate to gently and lovingly INFORM the congregation – so that the congregation does not have to be tossed about by the immaturity of others.
Ordered the 6 week tulip course a week ago through PayPal. How long does it usually take to receive the course?
Let me see if I can reach out to someone who can answer that question
Rick, you should have received an email with a link to download each of the lectures and handouts. Let me know if you did not receive that email, or perhaps it ended up in your spam folder. Brian
Hi! I’m considering a donation but would prefer giving to a specific need. Is there a break out of various ministry needs and funding status. Funding the new P.R.O.V.I.D.E book might be a good match for me. Lastly if you all need technical help, I have experience in video and audio production and am retired : )
Hello Larry – and bless you for your kindness!!
Let me see if there is anyone associated with the ministry who knows how to answer that question.
I have a question that’s really been bothering me: Dr. Flowers, Mike Winger, and other traditionalists say that “this is an in house debate.” That is, Calvinists are our brothers and sisters in Christ. But if they teach that “receiving Christ” and the sinner’s prayer are superstitious (David Platt)… aren’t they denying scripture and keeping people out of the Kingdom? If so, how can we fellowship with them? It seems they are doing Satan’s work for him. Thanks, Jane
Hello Jane and welcome.
You ask a very thoughtful question – and one which comes up from time to time.
Yes – you are correct in your observation.
There are consequences to the Calvinist system of belief.
And one of those consequences – is what you have noted.
And many Calvinists are aware of that consequence – and want to avoid it.
Unfortunately, the only way they can avoid it – is by betraying the very belief system they assert as the golden standard
This is a very consistent pattern with Calvinist behavior.
There is another very serious issue – which is the issue of dishonesty.
The Calvinist has no intention of being dishonest with other people.
But in order to retain a sense of human NORMALCY and human PERSON-HOOD he must deny the foundational core of the doctrine.
In order to do that without getting caught – he has to be very subtle about it.
And the result is – he learns how the become an expert in the use of strategically misleading language.
He is essentially crafting statements using words that have equivocal and illusory meanings.
He uses “permission” language designed to produce the ILLUSION that he is “MERELY” permitted to commit sins
When the truth is – he is granted permission – to ONLY do that which has been infallibly decreed
He uses “Free Will” language designed to produce the ILLUSION of “LIBERTARIAN” freedom – which the doctrine strictly eradicates.
He claims that man is granted the function of “Choice” in his belief system
When what he is really granted are infallibly decreed IMPULSES which he is given NO CHOICE in the matter of.
So – as you have noted – there are serious consequences for the Calvinist belief system.
But what this entails – is essentially human sin.
Those consequences in his belief system – are man-made consequences – which he is not willing to acknowelge.
So a consequence of the belief system is that it tempts the Calvinist into various sins
But the Calvinist can be a sinner – and still be born again.
In is not an envious state for any believer to be in!
And there are grave consequences for the testimony of Christianity – in that unbelievers will find Calvinists to be dishonest – and they will assume dishonesty is a part of Christianity.
So we agree with your concern!!
And we pray the Lord will grant deliverance to the Calvinist.
But we especially pray the Lord will grant mercy to the unbeliever who is unfortunately affected by the sins of Calvinism.
That’s very helpful to me… thanks!
I found the following chilling!!! Below, CS Lewis – Screwtape is explaining the goals of Devils concerning humans… does this sound familiar???
Absorption of its will into ours (Screwtape)
Now it may surprise you to learn that in His efforts to get permanent possession of a soul, He relies on the troughs even more than on the peaks; some of His special favorites have gone through longer and deeper troughs than anyone else. The reason is this. To us a human is primarily food; our aim is the absorption of its will into ours, the increase of our own area of selfhood at its expense…
He really does want to fill the universe with a lot of loathsome little replicas of Himself-creatures, whose life, on its miniature scale, will be qualitatively like His own, not because He has absorbed them but because their wills freely conform to His. We want cattle who can finally become food; He wants servants who can finally become sons. We want to suck in, He wants to give out. We are empty and would be filled; He is full and flows over. Our war aim is a world in which Our Father Below has drawn all other beings into himself: the Enemy wants a world full of beings united to Him but still distinct.
Yes – every demon in hell knows – in order to take ground in a human’s life – he has to SEDUCE that person.
In Calvinism – WHATSOEVER comes to pass within the human brain is solely and exclusively determined by infallible decree.
Since in Calvinism – humans have no control over the impulses which come to pass within their brains – then who is there to SEDUCE?
Our Father Below (i.e. Lucifer) has drawn all other beings into himself:
The Enemy (i.e. God) wants a world full of beings united to Him but STILL DISTINCT.
Hey Dr. Flowers,
I know in several videos, you say that your wife is a therapist, mental health or something. I need counseling help, and am wondering if you have any resources that could help that are Biblically sound. I’m a Christian, but I’m at the point where I’m even starting to say out loud that I hate God. That’s a big red flag and I have verbally repented of that, but in my heart, I still feel it. I’m becoming more evil and satanic by the day, and I can’t seem to get out. God doesn’t seem to want to save me from it either.
Hey Jake, Brother Flowers doesn’t monitor this site.
My advice is to not seek on the Internet the mental health counseling you need. Instead, pray that God will bring to your mind the name of a godly man in your area that you respect. Go to him and ask him to pray with you and to counsel you through this spiritual battle. Do exactly everything he tells you to do with a submissive spirit. I’ll be praying today for you.
Hi Jake… view this, and see if it fits… it helped me. My best to you Jake:)
Hey there Dr. Flowers/Mr. Brian Wagner,
In reading some recent comments, I see that Dr. Flowers does not refer or visit these comments all the time (nor should we expect him to with the volume of comments that arise). I know this comment now that I just finished writing it is lengthy, however, I pray that this comment is still considered enough to make its way to Dr. Flowers so God can bring more enlightenment of Scripture to everyone through him!
If I may offer a bit of context and gratitude, I have been a viewer of Dr. Flower’s commentaries and videos on Soteriology for several months now, and I am finding his exegetical interpretation and Scripture-centered/grounded perspective on Soteriology to be most glorifying to God and consistent throughout His Word. I recently also bought the Potter’s Promise and I’m making my way through it right now. This all has helped me in being equipped with the Scriptures I need to defend the Word against my good long time Calvinist friends and dear brothers in Christ that I have gotten into many discussions with.
Knowing that Dr. Flowers has done many reaction videos in the past of which many I have seen, I have a question, however, that I hope may make its way to Dr. Flowers: Would you (Dr. Flowers) be able to compose a reactionary video to another one of Allen Parr’s recent videos on Predestination made on August 22nd? I found your previous one when Parr compared Calvinism to Arminianism to be very enlightening, especially in the false dichotomy presented in his video. Now, it seems he recently did another video on this subject which appeared in my interested search, and brought up some really interesting points with greater depth and interpretation. There’s some content that I agree with in his referencing of human free will, and other areas where I think he needed a little more context and could therefore be misinterpreting.
Some of the content that Parr goes through has been covered in your De-Calvinized Scripture videos and other debates or videos, however there are some other points that I think were misleading, and I would love to get your perspective on the scripture. This would also help newer viewers to get a fuller picture in a more condensed video in case they happen to come across your video and are not already going through your playlists on YouTube.
Allen Parr is a great guy, and his work for the Lord is awesome. However, like you, I find his particular interpretation of Soteriology to be misleading. This, I believe, as well as many others, may be an excellent excuse to compose another response video (done in brotherly love and respect) to his most recent video. This would be incredibly beneficial to not only myself, but many newer viewers who want to stay Scripturally-centered.
A text without context is pretext for proof-text!
Thank you for taking the time to read my comment/post. I really appreciate all this program does for he glory of God and His provision for all and in the spreading of the Gospel for the honor and power it truly gives to everyone who believe!
Hi Zach, I will forward your request to Leighton. It sounds like a good suggestion.
Thanks so much Brian, great to hear from you and thanks for all you guys do.
You’re very welcome!
Hello Zachary and welcome
I hope you don’t mind if I tackle your question here a little bit.
Per your question I went to look at a youtube video presented by Allen Parr which is titled “Does God PREDESTINE Some People To Hell And Others To Heaven?”
Here Allen appears to be tackling an issue of disagreement which is internal to Calvinists. It is a difference between PURE COHERENT Calvinism – and a SUGAR COATED version of Calvinism which many Calvinists want today.
There is a general reaction against PURE Calvinism which contains a strong element of divine malevolence.
Calvinist today – for example want to call Calvinism a “doctrine of grace” in order to evade that element of divine malevolence.
Calvinism is actually a doctrine of “Good-Evil”
You can observe that by observing that many things within Calvinism – appear in the form of “Good-Evil” pairs.
Calvin’s god is a god of divine malevolence for the most part.
John Calvin acknowledged that the divine decree causes the emotion of “horror” within a person.
That is why Calvinists today find PURE Calvinism distasteful.
I suspect Allen is doing what many Calvinist do today.
He is trying to create an “ARMINIANIZED” version of Calvinism – which he personally finds palatable.
And once he has developed a Calvinism which has the element of “divine malevolence” removed from it – – he wants to classify that is the “CORRECT” form of Calvinism.
It is not.
It is a “Sugar-Coated” version of Calvinism.
Allen is essentially trying to evade the foundational core of Calvinism – which is EXHAUSTIVE DIVINE DETERMINISM.
Allen wants an “ARMINIANIZED” version of Calvinism
A softer gentler version of Calvinism
Because he finds TRUE Calvinism distasteful.
Allen is not alone.
Many Calvinists today do not find TRUE Calvinism palatable.
But this pursuit always fails logically
Simply because it is an attempt to evade the foundational core of Calvinism – which is the doctrine decrees.
Let me know if that helps.
You make a very observant point. That’s really stepping back and looking at the big picture there as to what has been happening over generations of this theology and the subsequent interpretations that come about with changes in culture. I’m a bit more educated on the determinist view of the world thanks to Dr. Flowers, but I can’t say I’ve thought as much about the good-evil/horror/”arminianized” aspects of Calvinism over the years.
There are certainly many different forms of Calvinism that branch out from its root ideology. Often times while well intended, these forms of Calvinism depend of course on what the individual intends or desires to get out of scripture, or whatever fits with their pre-constructed idea who God is. Obviously that’s a problem Biblically, but whenever scripture is taken out of context or applied in areas it may not have been intended for (whether intentional or by accident), you get so many different meanings.
I think that’s why so many people disagree just within the realm of Calvinism let alone among other perspectives, because they cannot agree on their view of who God is and what type of relationship humanity is supposed to have with God (I’m a 3-point, or 4-point, etc. because each view changes the individual’s resulting image of who God is). While many people like the sugar coated Calvinism (soft-determinist) perspectives, in some ways it still even appears that others are more determinist than Calvin himself!
Thanks for your thoughts and contribution, it certainly added to the overall perspective of Calvinism in soteriology.
One other kind of tough question regarding the infallibility of the Bible for good discussion:
Mr. Brian Wagner, BR.D, or anyone would be encouraged to contribute to this, but here’s the situation:
I was discussing with a friend the context and Greek literature and grammar in Ephesians 2:8-9. It was explained by Dr. Flowers and Dr. William Lane Craig (and perhaps many others who share in this context), that the English word “this” in the original Greek or Hebrew is referring to salvation, not just faith or grace alone, because the antecedent of the word “this” in the original language is neuter, not feminine. This means the “this” in English would, if translated directly or true to the original text, refer to the entire preceding clause of salvation by grace through faith, not just faith alone. Dr. Flowers does a good job in one of his videos explaining this context.
However, in bringing this up, I was asked whether I thought the Bible was infallible or perfect and without blemish. I of course believe that is true, to which I was confronted with the statement that I can’t believe that the Bible is perfect if the intended meaning of the verse as I was proposing was “lost” in translation in its original context…
The resulting questions out of this are: What do I say to that…? Is there even a valid response to that question?
If the Bible is God breathed and perfect and in the way He intended it to be, can there still be instances where certain meanings might be lost in translation if not interpreted in the original language? Is that even possible? And does that mean the Bible is no longer “perfect” and instead flawed in the new language?
Fundamentally, this a paradoxical situation or not?
I mean I do believe that just because the Bible is translated into a different language and loses the gender specific portion of the previous language doesn’t mean the Bible isn’t perfect anymore…I was just not sure how to rectify or compose a response in that instance. Does anyone have any input as to how to understand or respond to this conundrum?
Thanks in advance for anyone’s contribution.
I was confronted with the statement that I can’t believe that the Bible is perfect if the intended meaning of the verse as I was proposing was “lost” in translation in its original context…
This is a straw-man argument.
Anyone who knows anything about the evolution of the various Greek manuscripts knows that over the years there have been Greek scribes who have been bold enough to alter the original text of scripture – simply because they didn’t like what it said.
What we would have in that case – cannot be described as anything else but a “lost” translation of the original text.
What we need to differentiate is – the perfectness of the word of god vs. the imperfectness with which humans handle that word.
Calvinists in particular are taught to AUTO-MAGICALLY hold the Calvinist handling of scripture as divine.
So when a Calvinist says “this is what scripture teaches”
What he is actually saying is “This is what Calvinism teaches”.
He asserts this because he doesn’t want people to recognize – Calvinism’s vulnerability lies in the fact that it is a HUMAN handling of scripture.
Conflating scripture with a group’s theology is a strategy to avoid acknowledging that fact that that group’s theology is founded on a HUMAN interpretation – which is subject to HUMAN error.
Did I answer that question for you?
BR.D, you make a good point. I like how you contrast the perfectness of God’s word with the imperfection of humanity. That really makes it important that we understand the text in the original context, setting, etc. that it was intended for. Just because a feature of language (like gender) is “lost” to translation, does not mean the Bible suddenly becomes flawed; it just means that the interpreters of the new language need to be aware of the situation and therefore spend the time and devotion in the word to discern for themselves what the REST of the Bible is saying (as well as some diving in to the original text) to help discern what those isolated instances of certain verses like Eph. 2:8-9 are truly saying.
I’m glad I asked in the chat. In the past I’ve usually been one to just read or observe and never really participate in discussions, product reviews, etc. and just stay in the virtual background, but I’m glad I decided to ask some questions here.
So, I’ll have to follow up with more in the future whenever I have something to ask, because this has been beneficial.
Thanks to yourself for your input and to Brian Wagner for initially responding with the possibility of Dr. Flowers composing another video upon my request.
Very much my pleasure Zach!
Another thing you might find interesting is anecdotal comments from scholars who sit at the table to make decisions about a certain translation of scripture.
For example – when the NIV came out – it is my understanding that a number of Greek scholars deliberated over various texts.
There are some books in the N.T. for example in which scholars believe they represent different Greek manuscripts that at some point were compiled into one official letter within the N.T.
It going to go without saying that a vast majority of verses within the N.T. are going to be understood by Greek scholars in a similar fashion – and there will be consensus on those verses.
But then there are also going to be verses in which there is a difference of opinion about how the Greek is to be translated.
You may know that the Greek language is quite different from English. In an English sentence – we might for example say “Mary gave the Bible to Joe”. The framing of subject, predicate, and direct/indirect-objects within sentence structure – are framed differently within the Greek Language from what they are within the English language.
And also, we human beings have a tendency to have our own personalized vocabulary. And that is also observable with different authors within the N.T.
So Greek scholars who sit at a table deliberating over how a verse is to be translated are going to be taking all those things into consideration. And as you can imagine – there are going to be differences in opinion. And those difference can represent significant differences in how a given Bible translation handles certain verses.
Feel free to pop in anytime and chat Zach!!
Dr. Flowers and Mr. Brian Wagner,
I wanted to thank you for the newest video this channel posted of Dr. Flowers breaking down Allen Parr’s double predestination video. It was great to hear Dr. Flowers’ response to his video, because brother Allen did a great job analyzing certain scripture, and still clarity was given on other areas of his video that needed correction.
Soteriology 101 is doing an excellent job with presenting scripture in an unbiased way, true to the text, and giving Biblical context for everything. I’m thankful my request (and anyone else who had the same request) was heard and swiftly met with a Biblical and scholarly response. I look forward to seeing the channel grow and make more content in this way as more and more continue to see the truth of Christ’s love.
May God bless the work here as we share the truth in love. Thank you!
You’re very welcome! Thanks for the good suggestion.
Thank you very much Zach for your kind words.
And I assume you also understood how Allen’s position fails to be coherent with Calvinism?
Of course, and yes, thanks a lot. Your comments were very helpful. Thing is that Allen, much like all our other brothers in Christ share so much in common in unity with Christ, that much of what he says in other videos are honorable and respectable because they reflect the teachings of Christ. Even in his video here he said many very honorable things in reflecting the words of some scripture he brought up. The more we recognize the fact that we are brothers and should not quarrel, the better. We will have disagreements (as we know from this video among others), but we cannot let that get in the way of our relationship with one another in Christ.
Nevertheless, my continuing understanding of the doctrine of Calvinism has provided me with a growing ability to discern good exegesis from that which is lacking, which is where I wanted to have some questions answered with regards to his video. In other words, I knew what I already knew, and I also knew from the video what I wanted to ask because I recognized that what I was hearing was already coming from the Calvinistic perspective.
I look forward to more opportunities like this that arise in the future where we can sharpen one another in the sword and spirit.
Thank you Zach.
A few points I would like to make.
1) I do not consider myself to be in a “quarrel” with any Calvinist.
The Apostle Paul found that Peter was struggling with the influence of certain legalistic Jews – who took the position that born again gentiles are un-clean. The fact that Jesus bought and paid for those gentiles – and grafted those gentiles into his body – was thus dishonored by that position.
Paul approached Peter concerning the issue.
It was not a “quarrel” between them.
It was a “clarification of the truth” – in order to ensure people are no longer mislead.
So when I point out that Allen – in his desires to create a more palatable (i.e. benevolent appearing Calvinism – is ARMINIANIZING his representation of Calvinism in order to accomplish that – then I am not “quarreling” with Allen.
I am simply “clarifying the truth” which Allen is neglecting – in order to ensure people (who watch Allen’s presentation) are no longer misled.
Dr. Flowers point in his Youtube response – made that very point – when he stated – quote “Allen is was trying to create a softer version of Calvinism”.
In Calvinism – Calvin’s god is the divine potter – who at the foundation of the world – FIRST CONCEIVES each person he is going to create. And as the divine potter – he creates each vessel – to either be a vessel of wrath – or a vessel of mercy.
The “MANY” Calvin’s god creates/designs specifically for eternal torment in a lake of fire – for his good pleasure. The “FEW” he creates for the opposite end.
So Allen – in his denial of double-predestination – is denying the foundational core of Calvinism. Allen was careful to say -quote “This is my position” – because Allen knew his position was in contradiction to John Calvin – and in contradiction to all TRUE followers of Calvinism throughout Calvinist history.
2) Yes – I would agree with you that what Allen presents – is as you say “honorable in reflecting the words of some scripture”
The problem is – in doing so – Allen is misleading his audience by presenting an ARMINIANIZED version of Calvinism – without making people aware that that is what he is doing.
Allen needs to be a little more honest with his audience. He needs to let them know when he is deviating from TRUE Calvinism – and creating an ARMINIANIZED version of it – in order to keep people from being mislead.
So the critical issue has to do with honesty and not misleading people.
How do you expect Calvinist churches to spin the Matt Chandler resignation so that TULIP still stands? Was Matt predestined to cheat on his wife? Or will they say he was a false convert and still needs salvation? Is he still elect? How does a brutally unwavering Calvinist like Matt Chandler explain away this mess as a “bad personal choice” when I thought he said there weren’t any choices? Not to be a jerk, but I kinda wish it was John Piper this happened to. He gets scarier and more arrogant with every book and sermon.
Hello CLG and welcome!
I personally hadn’t heard about the Matt Chandler situation.
At least I don’t seem to recall it.
But we’ve seen this before.
Once we firstly understand – the foundational core of Calvinism is not the TULIP but rather EXHAUSTIVE DIVINE DETERMINISM as enunciated within the doctrine of decrees. Which means the Calvinist is really nothing more than a Determinist wearing his Determinism in the arena of Christianity.
And then when we secondly understand – that a consequence of Determinism – when it is fully swallowed – eliminates any sense of human normalcy within the believer’s life.
And when we thirdly – understand that all Atheist Determinists – acknowledge – they have to live *AS-IF* Determinism is FALSE in order to retain any sense of human normalcy.
Then at that point – we really start to understand what makes a Calvinist tick – and why they think the way they do – and why they speak the way they do.
Because Determinism is a belief system which cannot be held to coherently – without losing one’s sense of human normalcy – the Calvinist – follow the same exact patter that the Atheist Determinist follows.
They hold the doctrine as TRUE – while treating it *AS-IF* it is FALSE.
Since I know these things about Calvinism – I have no doubt that DOUBLE-SPEAK is going to be on display in this situation with Matt Chandler – because Determinism forces the Calvinist into it.
Thanks for alerting us!
I’ll keep my eyes and ears open for how this one plays out! :-]
I saw this issue on Matt on Yahoo news.
A common theme, which I think that this is where the SBC got themselves deep trouble with this sexual abuse problems, which is in the realm of what they all call, CHURCH DISCIPLINE.
As my preamble, I don’t believe in Church discipline, as they describe it. They use Matthew 18 as a means to support church discipline. But I don’t find any church discipline there at all.
What I find in Matthew 18 is when someone sins against you personally, you confront that individual. If he denies it to your face, you are to find at least 2 witnesses who WITNESSED that sin. If you can’t find at least two witnesses, it ends right there. But if you find at least two witnesses, and if that person STILL denies it, you bring the church together (congregation), and hold a little TRIAL, where the accused gets a chance to defend himself. If the congregation is convinced that he did it, by the testimony of the victim and the witnesses, then you are to kick that guy out of the church, and let Satan destroy the flesh, meaning, he’s not fit to be in church.
If he repents in any step, then forgive him, and restore.
What they do, however, is BRING two witnesses to WITNESS the CONFRONTATION against the accused, meaning, that the accused could be FALSELY ACCUSED. And the two “witnesses” are generally going to be the ELDERS. And who is the church that they bring this to? Pastor and Elders. But that’s not the congregation!
Apparently, they have never read:
One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.
So, they have already twisted the reason for the two witnesses, as well as church.
Now, coming from a military background, those who are disciplined are NOT kicked out of the service. Discipline is to correct a deficiency. Drop and give me twenty!
However, they don’t kick them out. And that is where the problem lies. In the end, the person that they really punish is the victim, because the victim is PRESSURED into “forgiving” the perp, and if they refuse, she is put under a harsh form of church discipline.
OK, so, this guy confessed his “transgressions”. Great.
But what does that mean, especially since they rarely kick the perp out of the church. Also, what does this mean when a felony was committed? Keep it hush hush in the church?
Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
THAT is what they are more concentrated on, especially when it comes to a PASTOR. Restore the pastor?
Next, they will use 2 Corinthians chapter 2 as their “supporting document”, which they also think it’s referencing the sexual sin in 1 Corinthians 5.
Now, if you read 2 Corinthians 2, slowly, you will see that Paul is discussing HIMSELF, not another. He speaks of himself in the 3rd person.
He is speaking about a letter that he wrote previously, which made a lot of people in the congregation SAD. And in turn, that result got to the conscience of Paul, and he was sorry. And he was asking for their forgiveness.
Too many people think that Paul was talking about someone else, especially the guy in 1 Cor 5. He wasn’t. Another example of Paul talking about himself in the 3rd person is 2 Cor 12:1-4, when he said, “I knew a man in Christ…” The thorn in Pauls side, he wanted to brag about 2 Cor 12:1-4 (read beginning in chapter 11 about boasting). But Paul was restraining himself from boasting about 2 Cor 12:1-4…but he really wanted to boast about it. Hence, thorn in his side.
But this is why I’m against “CORPORATE” forgiveness, because Paul is a PERSON who made people sad, and he was sorry that he made people sad, he’s asking for their forgiveness. He would have rather written an UPLIFTING letter, edifying.
But how they present it, is that YOU ARE NOT THE VICTIM, but they want YOU to forgive a sin that was not committed against you personally. How does that not equate to a priest in Catholicism forgiving your sins? Can you forgive a sin that was not committed against you?
So, to conclude, they will probably be quick to “restore such an one”, ultimately restoring him to his pastoral duties.
But what does both Titus and Timothy indicate?
6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
He should not be pastor ever again.
We shall see, tho.
I think we can see a common pattern within many organizations – including religious organizations – which in this case would be a “Church”.
I know for example – a fellow in his early 30s who discovered indisputable evidence that he and other boys had been sexually maladjusted by a Catholic priest in his town. The evidence was overwhelming enough for him to pursue a law-suit.
In his first meeting with the church lawyers – they tried to persuade him that dropping the suit would be best for everyone because in pursuing this suit he was causing damage to the institution of the church and thus causing damage to Christianity and to the people of the town.
All they cared about was the institution!
That story can be found over and over within hundreds of churches of all denominations.
The Calvinist Pastor and Elders have as their first interest – the interest of the institution and the raised positions of authority that their institution is designed to provide to them.
That is why you observe the way Calvinist Pastors/Elders will interpret the Bible concerning church discipline
Its an interpretation designed as its primary purpose – to service their personal interests and the interests of the institution which grants them power over others.
They’er not doing anything (in principle) that the Catholic church wouldn’t do.
This is what happens when man turns the body of Christ into an institution.
That’s exactly what it boils down to!!
Did you give up on 1saved?
There are bound to be individuals who will arrive here and posture wanting to have peer-to-peer dialog with others.
When what they really came here for – is to see if they can get people to kiss the ring on their finger! :-]
Oh yes, I’m done. It was becoming way too circular. I laid out my reasoning, of the difference between “put away” and divorce, but he kept coming at the argument of “divorce”, instead of “put away”. Both A2A and I are in agreement, but hey, 1saved has discernment that eclipse’s all of us! Who can argue with that!!! LOL.
It was becoming way too circular.
That is called “discernment”
Love your sense of humor also! :-]
Do a google on “Pastor at popular Texas church leaves over ‘inappropriate’ messages with woman”
I removed the link for the sake of appropriateness – but thank you for that update.
I purchased a book not knowing too much about Calvinism, it’s called, “Systematic Theology – An Introduction To Biblical Doctrine,” written by Wayne Grudem. I later found out he is a Calvinist. Should I toss the book or is it okay to read it? Thanks!
Hi Nathan. Grudems’ is well worth having, even though he is a moderate Calvinist. Every book has errors in them, except the Bible. 😉
Hello Nathan and welcome
To understand Calvinism – one must understand its foundational core.
The foundational core of Calvinism – and that which separates it from its alternatives – is EXHAUSTIVE DIVINE DETERMINISM (EDD) – as enunciated within Calvinism’s doctrine of decrees.
The creatures…are so governed by the secret counsel of god, that NOTHING HAPPENS but what he has knowingly and willingly decreed. (Institutes, 1.16.3)
Once you understand EDD – then you will understand that Calvinism represents a 100% meticulously predestined world.
Every impulse that comes to pass within the human brain is FIXED in the past – and cannot be otherwise than what it was infallibly decreed to be.
In the garden path of EDD – there is no such thing as a fork in the path.
In EDD there is no such thing as a human brain choosing between [A] and [NOT A]
Because in a predestined world – only one of those is granted existence.
For every human event – and every human impulse – there is never granted more than ONE SINGLE PREDESTINED RENDERED-CERTAIN option.
And man is granted NO CHOICE in the matter of what that option will be.
And man is granted NO ABILITY to refrain.
On Determinism – every impulse that comes to pass within the human brain – comes to pass by antecedent factors outside of the brain’s control.
CONSEQUENCES OF THE DOCTRINE OF DECREES:
Consequently – no Calvinist can live logically coherent with the foundational core of Calvinism.
Every Calvinist is forced to live *AS-IF* Determinism is FALSE in order to retain a sense of human normalcy.
So if you find yourself reading or listening to a Calvinist who is trying to explain or defend his belief system – you are coming face to face with DOUBLE-SPEAK – because no Calvinist can live with or accept the logical consequences of the doctrine.
So in your quest to discover what Calvinism is – if you are disciplined to remember that Calvinist statements are always going to be statements designed to evade the logical consequences of Determinism – then that discipline will go a long way to help keep you from being deceived by Calvinist language.
And you will understand the underlying reason why Calvinist language is a language of DOUBLE-SPEAK.
The Lord bless you in your search!
Hello! I apologize if this is disjointed, it is rather late here and a long week.
First I want to thank you all for this site! It is a breath of fresh air and I believe scriptural truth.
I had moved along for five decades and never heard the terms Calvinism, Arminianism, etc… Raised a Southern Baptist, in the deep south, my view has always been traditionalist (for the most part), though I prefer no label.
Having moved from the south to the upper Midwest, I find myself again in a Southern Baptist church…one of the few around here. I very much appreciate my pastor and I believe him to truly desire to stay in the word and preach the Bible, not opinion, culture or conjecture.
He leans towards Calvinism, however. He won’t label himself, but identifies himself as “leaning”.
Interestingly, God, in his omniscience, brought this debate to my attention a few months before we found this church. That gave me time to research, wrestle with scripture and solidify my stance. (Your site and videos have helped polish that stance.)
So, I find myself basically in alignment with your view, but am surrounded by people who lean Calvinist. I am told that it is a secondary issue, but that is something I struggle with… When reading Calvin’s views and those coming after him, what I see is an image of God with Calvin’s face taped over it. The god of Calvinism seems to be a lesser god, a smaller god, a limited god, a colder god and, quite honestly, a moral monster. It is not the God of scripture.
Obviously I have a strong reaction to it and I am working to keep that in check, but it just seems to me that Calvin’s god is not the God I know in the Bible.
Anyway, I do have a question about eternal security. I agree that the elect are secure. I believe that to be based in the foreknowledge of God. When I read verses/passages such as the parable of the four soils, Matthew 24:13 and Revelation 2:10, they seem to imply that one can come to faith and subsequently lose that faith. The parable I can reason through as they never truly believed. The verses, however, in calling for endurance, seem to be addressed to believers who are being exhorted not to fall away. Could you elaborate on this in relation to eternal security?
Thank you again for all that you do.
God bless you all.
Welcome Skip! The basic problem for those believing in CS will continue to be that they will “see” conditions and warnings about remaining saved that are not actually in verses that they think teach them, and they will not see the unconditional elements in clear promises of Jesus in verses, which verses also do not have any conditional elements or warnings added in those contexts.
And they avoid realizing that back in NT times there were many, just like those today who are in RC, EO, Anglicanism, Lutheranism, etc, who professed to be in Christ, but who were not yet in Him, and who needed those NT passages to warn them that they might forfeit all future opportunity of getting saved and being joined to Christ, if they don’t finally mix the gospel they had been hearing with faith (Heb 4:1-2), especially if they publicly left and took a public stand against the teachings of the gospel.
Will it be possible for God’s child to stop abiding in the faith after resurrection even though they still have free will?
Some believe OSAS (once saved always saved) starts after resurrection… others after regeneration. But almost all believe OSAS is true salvation at some point… meaning never to be guilty of sin again forever.
There are a few who even believe that God never gives that final salvation, and they think they can forfeit whatever salvation they have even after they get to heaven. That is not much of a salvation in my thinking.
1John gives the evidences of regeneration as practicing righteousness (2:29), not practicing sin (3:9), loving the brethren (4:7), continuing to believe Jesus is the Christ (5:1), overcoming the world (5:4). These are all present tense participles defining continuing actions that the change of the new birth makes.
Thus, I believe these actions continue forever, since those changes could not be reversed without proposing that the God of love who gave the new birth life, creating His child, has taken that new birth life away and returned that one to being a child of the devil. There is no verse teaching God unbirths any of His children.
I hope this helps! Brian
Thank you for the reply. It definitely has given me a direction in which to dig deeper.
It is interesting that I was limiting (without conveying such) the question to our temporal life. I believe that once we have passed from this world and into His kingdom, it is not possible for us to lose salvation. So, in that regard, I absolutely embrace the concept of eternal security. And if that is what most people are referring to, when they refer to eternal security, then my question really wouldn’t fit.
I suppose my question was more inline with Paul’s situation with Demas, in 2 Timothy 4. Are we to take it the Demas never had actual faith? Or that he did have actual faith and when faced with adversity chose to walk away…rather than enduring in the faith?
Thank you again!
Hi Skip, I don’t think we need to take the word “left” to mean “apostasy”, since Paul uses the personal pronoun “me” – deserted me.
I just watched Leighton’s video on Eternal Security. I guess I should have started there.
Please ignore the previous question. Thank you!
Skip, I guess I should have read both your comments before answering the first! 😂
Basically, what you are saying, is that if someone leaves the faith, then that person was never saved to begin with.
I have a problem with that, as you know from my one sided conversation about DA BOOK, in which you think is only about THIS LIFE, and this life only, Percelli!
1 Timothy 4:1
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
So, are you really saying that those people weren’t once saved to begin with?
Then you ask:
Will it be possible for God’s child to stop abiding in the faith after resurrection even though they still have free will?
My response to that:
When you break down Hebrews 11:1 to the lowest common denominator, this is what it states:
Faith is KNOWING that you are going to get what you are waiting (hope) for.
So, what are we waiting for? Do we have it yet?
Once you have it, there is no more need to wait for it, and there is no more need to have faith over it.
So, what kind of faith will we even need after we get what we waited for?
The thing that bothers me, from both Calvins side, and your side is both of your use of the word FAITH.
It’s really quite simple, from Hebrews 11:1. How many different kinds of faith do we need here?
Why would we need faith after the resurrection? Faith means you are waiting for something, based on something.
What are we waiting for, and what is it based on? Do we even know? Obviously not, other wise, why ask the question about abiding in faith? What faith?
An addendum, if I may, to my last:
2 Timothy 2:18
Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.
That, of course, is discussing Preterists spreading their gospel, which ended up in??????
Overthrew the faith of some.
What does that mean? That they were never once saved to begin with?
I’m fully against any teaching of “regeneration” for any Gentile. But that is what you have in common with the Calvinists.
Therefore, how can the OSAS stand with FREE WILL in mind? Keep in mind that faith is for THIS LIFE, not after the resurrection, once you already get what you are waiting for.
If you preach FREE WILL, then LIMIT that free will in another doctrine, then debits don’t equal credits (definition of accounting, based on my accounting class teacher in school many years ago).
So, there does indeed appear that after your salvation, that your salvation is absolutely conditioned.
Then there is this:
If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;
IF…IF…IF…be not MOVED AWAY from the HOPE (see Hebrews 11:1, and…Romans 8:24
For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?) of the Gospel (WHAT IS THE GOOD NEWS?).
Hope defined: Expectation (waiting for something). What are we waiting for?
Notice that Romans 8:24 states that we are saved BY HOPE. And Hope is part of the definition of faith (Hebrews 11:1).
Another word of significance from Colossians 1:23: CONTINUE
Now, I’m sorry, Brian, but I do not see any UNCONDITIONAL stuff here.
Even Paul praises the STEDFAST of some’s faith:
For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.
Now, why would he use the word STEDFAST if there is such a thing as OSAS?
Hello Skip and welcome!
Thank you for your testimony!
I am sure – once you discover that the foundational core of Calvinism is EXAHUSTIVE DIVINE DETERMINISM (EDD)
And once you discover that Determinism is a belief system the believer cannot be logically coherent with and still retain any sense of human normalcy
And therefore is forced to live *AS-IF* Determinism is FALSE
You will at that point discover how self-defeating a belief system Calvinism is.
And at that point you will also discover – why Calvinism forces the believer into a state of DOUBLE-MINDEDNESS.
And then you will recognize – that is the reason why Calvinist language is a language of DOUBLE-SPEAK.
Once a person understands those aspects of the doctrine – that person would have to be mentally unstable to want to lean towards it :-]
Thank you so much for the reply. And I am in full agreement. As I pondered the implications, when it was first brought to my attention, I could not reason through their claims. They stand in opposition to scripture, logic and even our most basic sense of justice.
Of course, getting others to see that is more of a challenge…especially those who attended seminary and somehow embraced this view.
I have a lot of catching up to do on your web page. Thank you again for this resource and the response!
Thank you very much Skip!
And may the Lord bless you and continue to increase you in the knowledge and liberty of the truth that will keep you free! 🙂
A new topic:
The more I read the Bible and anti-Calvinist writers, the more I am convinced of Provisionalism. However, I end up in a quandary. I have always been taught that God will give us wisdom, the Holy Spirit will guide us, etc. However, when I lay in my bed at night and think about this, I think “If God cannot make Calvinists and others who are sincerely seeking God see the errors of their ways, i.e. the correct doctrine that He is trying to convey through His Word, what makes me think that He will guide me in my day-to-day affairs. In other words, if He doesn’t seem to be able to do the more important thing, what makes me think He will do the lesser.
Thanks for entertaining my thought,
Great question, Bill. But underlying it is Calvinist/deterministic thinking – “If God cannot make…” God doesn’t force obedience, but He does keep disciplining His children who have strayed into false teaching and have started living harmful spiritual lives because of it. You can be assured that He is working on dem der Calvinists to reconsider their false doctrine in light of His Word. And many continue to freely respond to His discipline and leave Calvinistic teaching.
But, my guess is that God spends more time disciplining us about our lack of forgiveness towards others, and our lack of unconditional love for our family and our brethren in Him, than He spends time disciplining Calvinists for their false doctrine, in their misguided (blasphemous, imo) attempt to glorify His character by promoting neo-platonist definitions for it.
Thanks so much for your response. You used a key phrase “strayed into false teaching”. I know of a couple of people who came into Calvinism kicking and screaming. They thought that when they were presented the Calvinistic arguments, they needed to submit to God’s word and forsake what they innately thought, i.e., that even though everything inside of them wanted to reject Calvinism, they had to put their emotions aside and be faithful to the Bible (so they thought).
It seems to me at a point like that, God’s Spirit could’ve stepped in and guided them. Again, I go back to my original thought, which is if God didn’t guide them in that situation, what kind of confidence do I have that He will guide me now.
I know of a couple of people who came into Calvinism kicking and screaming
A Calvinist testimony of coming into Calvinism – or doing anything -quote “kicking and screaming” is Calvinist denying the very Calvinism he is trying to affirm. And denying it in a couple of ways.
1) He could be trying to present the facade that he had a choice in the matter. And according to the doctrine – he is not granted a choice in the matter of anything (per the standard definition of the term “choice” )
2) He could be trying to present the facade that an impulse within his brain (in this case the impulse to “kick and scream”) was determined by himself and thus within his brain’s control. But again – according to the doctrine – all impulses that come to pass within the human brain are determined by antecedent factors totally outside of the brain’s control.
So once one understands Calvinism – then one understand – it really doesn’t matter what the Calvinist thinks or does about anything.
Because the Calvinist is never granted any say or choice in the matter of anything.
A he is never granted control over any impulse or perception which comes to pass within his brain.
William, I’m not sure of why you have this question. Do you doubt God’s love? As for those who “came into Calvinism kicking and screaming” … Could they have been feeling conviction of the Spirit that something seemed wrong in Calvinism?
But then they probably freely chose to ignore His promptings, that they should test these tenets of determinism for themselves in Scripture. They freely chose rather what many in all religious persuasions do… They tell themselves, “All these smart leaders have taught this doctrine for so many years. They could not possibly be wrong!”
What they don’t realize is that most of those “smart leaders” told themselves the same things, and didn’t follow the Spirit’s promptings when they came. Does that make sense?
Hello William and welcome
This is a wonderful question!
And very insightful!
There is a difference between the Calvinist and the NON-Calvinist Christian – in regard to human perceptions.
Per Calvinism’s doctrine of decrees – WHATSOEVER comes to pass – was FIXED at the foundation of the world – and cannot be otherwise than what it was decreed to infallibly be.
So let us use a thought experiment:
Let us say – a Calvinist and a NON-Calvinist are required to take a TRUE /FALSE exam having to do with scripture.
For each question in that exam – a perception comes to pass within the Calvinist brain – and a perception comes to pass within the NON-Calvinist brain.
The difference between these two – is that the Calvinist’s perception is established by a decree which establishes it as the ONLY perception granted to that brain for that question. Because – per the doctrine of decrees – no ALTERNATIVE from that which is decreed is granted existence.
Since that perception is the only perception granted to the Calvinist brain – it follows – his brain is not granted the function of choosing between TRUE and FALSE – because only ONE SINGLE PREDESTINED RENDERED-CERTAIN PERCEPTION perception is granted to his brain.
Additionally – for his brain to be able to choose between TRUE and FALSE would entail a “Libertarian” choice
And Libertarian choice does not exist for the Calvinist per his doctrine.
So his brain is not granted the function of choosing between TRUE and FALSE on any matter.
Since it is humanly impossible to countervail an infallible decree – then it follows – every FALSE PERCEPTION which exists within the Calvinist’s thinking – is FIXED by infallible decree – which would not permit the brain the ability to discern it as FALSE.
The NON-Calvinist is not perfect.
He may get questions in the exam incorrect.
But his perceptions are not FIXED by infallible decree
Therefore his brain is granted the liberty of discovering the mistakes he made.
So the bottom line is – per the doctrine of decrees (AKA Determinism) the Calvinist has no way of choosing between TRUE and FALSE on any matter. And thus is not granted the function of discerning TRUE from FALSE on any matter.
While the NON-Calvinist can and does make mistakes based on FALSE perceptions
His perceptions are not FIXED by infallible decrees.
His brain is granted the function of choosing between TRUE and FALSE
Therefore his brain is granted the function of discernment
Now if I have a choice – I certainly would not choose a world in which my brain is never granted the function of discerning TRUE from FALSE on any matter. Because if that is the case – then every perception within my brain is completely unreliable.
I hope that helps!
There may be no good answer to my question, but If I may be bold, it seems if the Spirit is to guide us into all truth (John 16:13) then, (I hesitate to say this) He is not doing a good job. This is represented by the diverse views of soteriology. However, I will qualify this by saying that after reading some Calvinistic literature, I felt I was faced with the truth (that Calvinism was true) and yet I found it repugnant. When I reflect on this, it could be that the repugnancy I felt could have been brought about by the Spirit. But there was also a pull toward Calvinism. My reasoning for that was that often in life the right way is often the hardest, in this case Calvinism.
My reasoning for that was that often in life the right way is often the hardest, in this case Calvinism.
Actually – Calvinism is not the “hardest” way
Being faithful to TRUTH is the “hardest” way.
Calvinism is DOUBLE-MINDED
The Calvinists lives in a world of DOUBLE-SPEAK
Being DOUBLE-MINDED cannot possibly be construed as being faithful to TRUTH.
Calvinism’s power – is the power of language
It is the power which language has to create FACADES of things – which really do not exist.
When I was a little boy – there were certain toys which were advertised with “glitter”
The advertisement presented the product making it APPEAR to “glitter” in order to make the child want the product.
Calvinism advertises itself the same way.
Once one comes to recognize the “glitter” of Calvinism is not real – then one will realize why Calvinism advertises itself the way it does.
You are correct. I misspoke. What I should have said was the Calvinistic theology was the hardest pill to swallow.
Well – for a person who thinks logically – it sure is! ;-]
many years ago – when I was introduced to it – I considered Calvinism.
But I was over 30 years in the Lord at that time and with my first glance at it – I observed cult-like characteristics with it.
But I really didn’t know its history, its underlying doctrinal foundation, and why its social structure is cult-like.
Leighton, we need a Provisionist Study Bible.
As I read through the Bible myself, I’m writing Provisionist notes all over it. I’m writing new headings in different sections in order to keep it all straight. When we are properly guided with headings and notes, the logical sequence of the Bible makes so much more sense from a Provisionist perspective.
Almost every other study Bible has reformed notes and headings. They serve to guide the reader though a sequence of thoughts, which, in the end, land on the Calvinist framework for Soteriology.
Please consider it. It would change the Body of Christ. It would be the embodiment of all the work you have done in this field of study. I know you are busy. Maybe assemble a team. It would be so much easier for us to teach our own children and families. It would be for the discipleship of the nation.
Hello Dustin and welcome
And thank you for your insightful post!
Many years ago – the Catholic church worked very hard to keep people from having access to scripture.
Scripture was locked away – and only available to the Catholic academic.
This allowed the Catholic priest to stand before the people and tell the people anything they wanted – and call it scripture.
Then the printing press was invented.
And one of the first books that people wanted to see printed – was the Bible.
And people put their lives in danger in order to have a printed Bible that others could read.
The Catholic church killed anyone they found with a Bible.
But eventually recognized that it was a loosing battle for them.
It was a battle of *DOMINATION*
And they were loosing that battle
So the next strategy for the battle of *DOMINATION* was for priest to stand over the shoulder of the reader and tell the reader what each verse means.
What we see with that – is what scripture calls a *PRINCIPALITY AND POWER*
When any group has *DOMINATION* as their strategy – that group becomes a *PRINCIPALITY AND POWER*
Calvinism – has taken up – where the Catholic church left off – in the battle for *DOMINATION*
The Calvinist priest cannot psychically stand over every Bible reader’s shoulder and tell them what each verse means.
There are not enough Calvinist priests available to physically do that.
So the strategy is – to flood the Christ market with materials which function to tell the Bible reader what every verse means.
That makes Calvinism a *PRINCIPALITY AND POWER* which sprang out of Catholicism.
Hello Dr. Flowers, and Dr. Wagner
It’s Zach Morton again, you’ll find I had a brotherly interaction with yourselves and BR.D. this year back in August. Thank you again for the kind insight and follow-through in new content on the part of Dr. Flowers.
I have 2 requests/ideas for future content that I believe may bolster our ability to reference the Bible with accuracy and in-context. But first, if I may give the background and reason for my request, this may explain its usefulness to those who plan on using this request.
Over the past several months in diving into the soteriological aspects of the Bible, I have found that the Bible leaves little (zero) room for Calvinism where text and context are properly understood. The content that you produce (Dr. Flowers and Dr. Wagner) has been a critical piece in helping me understand the Bible clearly, and with an open perspective. This content has particularly been useful in my conversations with my brothers and sisters in Christ who are wonderful people, some of which who also hold to Calvinistic (potentially deterministic – as Calvinism tends to lean towards) interpretations on soteriology.
This has helped to feed my desire to learn for myself, who God is and dive deeper into learning His true character…does he control us like puppets, or desire a deeper relationship with us? That sort of thing. I find my understanding and relationship deepening in that way, and I’m very blessed. However, there are always conversations where I cannot remember the scriptures that best give answers to, or simply refute other incorrect theology, and I’ve long desired the ability to develop a library of scriptures based on various categories of theology. I have been working on this for months, but I simply do not have the vast experience and knowledge to easily locate the scriptures that are so often used on this channel.
This leads me to my first request for your team at Soteriology 101. Unless something like this has been done previously (in which case could you show me where…), could Dr. Wagner and Dr. Flowers compose a “library” of scriptures that provide background to the Provisionist perspective? I have recently watched the “Guide to Calvinist Proof-Texting” videos, which are excellent sources for how to respond to these “proof-texts” Calvinists also use. However, in Dr. Flower’s responses, he counters scripture with scripture (the best Biblical defense), and does so quickly and with numerous references. Is there a way to document these in a list so as to be seen on a single page or two, much like the TULIP page he references in those “proof-text” videos?
***In short, to counter Calvinist proof-texts, Dr. Flowers has shown numerous scriptures elsewhere in the Bible that refute those perspectives (not just de-Calvinising scripture). *Is there a way to list/catalog all the scriptures most commonly used to refute Calvinism/support Provisionism for quick reference much like you would in a Biblical Concordance?* Since so much has already been done in the numerous years of making content and diving into the scriptures yourselves, I would imagine that this request would, for those who have so much experience already, be a mere compiling of the scriptures that they already know so well. They could even be categorized in the TULIP chart, but instead these are scriptures that clearly show why each category of TULIP is Biblically INaccurate instead of accurate.***
This would be a valuable reference for those well-versed in their faith and just need the quick reference for help, and even valuable for those who are new converts into Christianity, or just from Calvinism. A Biblically rooted source like this would be incredible. Please ask any questions if this request needs clarified, I am not sure how clearly it may have been conveyed.
I said there were 2 requests. My second one is much shorter! Dr. Wagner, I recently watched the video with you and Dr. Flowers in responding directly to Dr. John Piper’s video on election (Ephesians Ch. 1). The video is called “Chosen In Him or Chosen to Be In Him.” You both did an excellent job, there are great uses of scripture you both pull out in response to Piper’s video, and there was a lot to gain out of your commentary.
Piper has another video on Ephesians Ch. 2, where he talks about the gift of God. Now I know Dr. Flowers had mentioned much on this before, however the Greek grammatical explanations that Piper uses in explaining the effectuality of the scripture is a little confusing. It seems as though Piper and Soteriology 101 are using the same Greek roots in interpreting scripture to come to different conclusions. Based on the Eph. Ch. 1 video and Dr. Wagner really explaining the Greek root structures of the verses, there was a lot to gain from that. If there was a video (doesn’t need to be super long either) where Dr. Wagner and Dr. Flowers were able to apply the same depth to Ephesians 2:1-10 in response to Dr. Piper’s video much like his analysis on Ephesians Ch. 1, that would add A LOT of clarity to perhaps what is considered one of the most highly debated verses in Biblical Soteriology.
I understand these requests may take time and earnest consideration, but these requests were also thought and finally brought about with the same sincerity and desire for clarity in God’s word. I apologize for such a long-winded comment, this has just been weighing heavy on my heart for months at this point.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read through and think about not just my request, but the situation I and so many others like myself are experiencing all around them. I am very strong in my faith, but I also have concern for some of my friends, and others who are ignorant on Calvinism and may be pressured into a framework of thinking that leaves them questioning God’s true lovingly sovereign character.
Please prayerfully consider, and if I get an acknowledgement of some sort in any way for the meantime, that would be wonderful. I have also been more seriously considering a financial contribution into this channel as I continually grow more supportive in your efforts to give Christ glory in His work and character. How should one consider safely giving their contribution for future reference? Thank you very much.
Hi Zach. Thanks for the suggestions. And please just call me, “Brian”. I want to obey the Lord in rejecting being greeted by ministry titles (Matt 23:6-10).
If you email me, I can give you a long reply with some of the exegetical work I’ve done in Eph 2:1-10. You could ask follow up questions then if you wish to. email@example.com
Hi Dr Flowers,
I just wanted to write and let you know how grateful I am that I found your content and have been steered away from Calvinism.
I was a baptized Christian attending an evangelical church in my early 20’s. I ended up in a very physically abusive marriage and when I wanted to leave him, the counsel from the church was that I should stay and pray harder for my husband to come to faith in Christ. He would then become a “new creature” and stop abusing me. Well, when that didn’t happen and he started abusing our 4 year old son, I left him – and I left the church as well.
That began my separation with God. I remained mad at him and unchurched for many years. I met a wonderful man and remarried. We had a daughter together in 1998, then in 2002, he became a police officer. In 2005, he was murdered in the line of duty. Now I REALLY hated God and spent the next 10 years as a Buddhist. (so much happened in those years but I’m trying to keep this short LOL)
I was mad at God because he didn’t stop Dan from being shot. I was mad because Dan was our daughter’s world and I had to somehow make a 6 year old understand that she would never see him again. I was mad because he was killed the day after my son’s 15th birthday and had to tell him that the man who had become like a father to him, was gone. I was mad because there was no reason for my pain other than God choosing not to stop that man from shooting my husband.
Now, can you imagine how much I might hate God if I believed that not only did He choose not to prevent Dan’s death, but that He actually orchestrated it? The belief that God chose not to stop bad things from happening to me, as a devoted follower, shipwrecked my faith for decades. If I believed in Calvinism, not only would I never come back to my faith, I would be so hardened in my hatred of God that I might cause Him to let me go and be separated from Him for eternity.
Thankfully I realized that Buddhism was wrong and not for me and spent the last 6 years or so not really believing anything. I reconnected with my highschool sweetheart in 2015 and we were married in 2016 – I’ve never been happier. He doesn’t have any religious leanings at all and thinks religious people are mostly hypocrites, and I don’t blame him.
He spent 20 years as a deputy sheriff mostly working in the jail, which caused him to have a very low opinion of humanity. Before his career in law enforcement, he spent 11 years as a paramedic and saw such horrific things that the images still haunt him to this day. I think his heart has been broken so many times by what people do to each other that he just can’t see that there is a just God who loves His creation.
He has pulled the mangled body of a 7 year old boy from under a car while his mother screamed at him for not doing anything to save his life. He has been handed a cold, dead infant by a mother in anguish, begging him to save her baby – and unlike the people at Bethel – he knew he couldn’t. He tried to intubate a teenage girl who committed suicide by drinking drano, but her throat had dissolved. Again, a mother screamed for him to do something, but he knew he was powerless in the face of death, and it broke him.
There are 1000 more stories like this or worse that my dear husband has witnessed, and it seems like it left his heart cold towards God. According to Calvinism, God MADE all of these horrific things happen on purpose. They say He created and ordained ALL the evil acts that people do, and specifically created some of us to burn in hell – even if we want to believe. It is not a stretch to say that this view makes God a horrible monster – who in their right mind could love Him?
This view creates faith in Jesus and belief of what He did for us on the cross by force – which is logically impossible. How can someone be compelled to have faith? I think if this was the correct view, we would see this theme throughout the Bible. On the contrary, we see God continually reaching out to his fallen creation, despite our failings and rejection of His grace. We see His anger, sadness, frustration, and desperation to save us – to the point that He had to come to Earth, suffer and die horribly in order to give us a pathway home to Him. The only thing we have to do is admit that we need the hand He has extended, and accept the gift of eternal life with Him. It’s simple, beautiful, and complete.
Anyway, I appreciate your ministry and just wanted to say thank you for helping me on my path back to God.
Welcome Dionne! Thank you for sharing some of the story of your journey trying to understand why God has allowed so much evil in your life and the lives of those you love. Of course we will not have satisfaction for all those questions until we see Jesus.
But for now I’m somewhat satisfied by believing firmly that God allowed the most terrible evil to happen to His own Son, so that He could freely provide for grace and justice for all who have suffered all other kinds of evil in this life!
Leighton rarely visits the comments section on these pages, but I’ll let him know of your kind message.
Thank you so much, I greatly appreciate that. And yeah, you’re right… no one suffered more evil than Jesus, that’s a good way to think about what happens to us and how it really can’t compare. I wish someone would have shared that perspective with me at the time, it would have saved me a lot of heartache!
Hello Dionne and welcome
Thank you for poring out your heart in sincerity and honesty
The very fact that you did so is a sign of God’s influence in your life.
You wouldn’t respond to the evils that people commit the way you do – if it weren’t for the love of God which you embrace – and therefore the contrast to the evils you’ve had to endure.
I’m sure at this point – you know that God cannot stop people from committing evil acts without robbing them of their own free-will. And if he robs them of that – then he essentially turns them into robots.
And I think you understand – in contrast to the god of Calvinism – the TRUE God of scripture does not conceive every human impulse at the foundation of the world – making every human impulse come to pass infallibly – making no alternative impulses available to man other than the impulses he decrees to come to pass within every human brain.
We never know why the Lord allows the evils in our lives
But we do know the Lord redeems those experiences in our lives by giving us a heart of compassion for others who are afflicted by the same evils.
Perhaps the process you are going through at this point in your life – is the Lord healing you – and giving you his heart and his love.
I too have gone through similar experiences – having grown up in a home with a father who would beat his wife and his children.
Through the years after that – I have seen so many times – how the Lord melted my heart with his love and like yourself – gave me understanding and love for others.
Thank you for sharing your story. I’m thrilled to hear that this ministry has helped you! – Leighton
Yay! I’m glad you saw this… have a wonderful day!
Question: What are the differences in these subsets of Christianity?
I want to join a church in my area but I have no idea where to go… we have a Calvary Chapel, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Baptist (SBC on the sign), and then a couple that are “non denominational” whatever that means, it doesn’t help me figure out what they do there at all. Statements of believe aren’t very helpful either… even heretics like Kenneth Copeland and Steven Furdick have pretty normal boilerplate statements but they don’t live up to them from the pulpit.
My parents go to one of those evangelical non denominational churches but I don’t know if I want to go back to the denomination that told me I needed to stay in my abusive marriage. That’s what started this whole mess in the first place.
Because I left my faith then became a Buddhist for almost 10 years, I am terrified that I will get sucked into something that will throw me off track again. I’m hoping to gain some clarity on this issue so I can make the right decision. I will list the ones I’m curious about by the person I like to listen to on You Tube (there are a few more but they fall under these main categories). I feel a sense of deep love, trust and respect for all of these men and their teachings… they have all helped me tremendously on my journey back to God.
Mike Winger: he’s a Cavelry Chapel guy but I don’t know his particular denomination
Chris Rosebrough, Fighting for the Faith: Confessional Lutheran (I’m a HUGE fan of Prophesy Bingo)
Justin Peters: I know! I just found out he’s a Calvanist BUT you wouldn’t know it because he never talks about the parts that make God sound like a monster. I was shocked to learn that about him, but I love him anyway… he’s so clear and humble, and I really believe all he wants to do is minister to people and teach God’s word. He doesn’t seem to care that he may be speaking to “reprobates” and I love that about him.
And of course, Dr. Flowers! So why a Southern Baptist and what does that mean??
I realize that I mostly listen to “discernment” ministries, and I guess that’s not surprising due to my history with religion, new age, and the occult. I am learning what to listen for so I can spot trouble when I hear it in a sermon but I’m not there yet. I will still listen to something a pastor says and not pick up on the error or the heresy until it is pointed out and refuted, but I am getting better at it. I guess I’m afraid to go out on my own without one of the above teachers saying “this isn’t right, and here is why.” And I’m not sure why I trust these teachers… I guess it’s because they point everything back to scripture and don’t lean on their own biases for interpretation. They go back to the Greek or Hebrew when something is unclear, they let clear scriptures interpret the scriptures that are less clear, and they ALWAYS put things in proper context.
Anyway, I appreciate any feedback, thank you!
Hello Dionne and welcome.
Your question is totally understandable!
Kevin Thompson in his youtube channel “Beyond the fundamentals” may be a good resource for you.
One of his most recent videos was focused on what certain churches have as their primary vested interest.
A Christian church – in principle – is supposed to be resource of Christian edification.
A Christian ministry – in principle – is supposed to be function in a servant-ship capacity.
Many churches however – have the *SYSTEM* as their primary vested interest – and members of the church function as “servants” of the *SYSTEM*
Any time a member turns to have Jesus Christ as his primary focus rather than the *SYSTEM* that member is scolded and is warned he is compromising or leaving the faith.
Then you have the Calvinist (aka Reformed) churches – which have *DOCTRINE* as their primary vested interest – rather than Christ.
Members of these churches cannot have Jesus as their focus because promoting and maintaining the *DOCTRINE* is the critical focus.
From what I understand about Mike Winger- he appears to have following and walking into Jesus Christ as his primary focus.
So if I were looking for a resource – he would be someone I would seriously check out.
Also – I mentioned Kevin Thompson to you – who has the youtube channel “Beyond the Fundamentals”
You may be interested in checking out his videos having to do with a non-biased reading of scripture.
It may be the case that you will find best wisdom in maintaining a safe-distance to ministries and churches for the time being.
If you read the book of Galatians – you are going to find Paul having to deal with an issue in that church.
There were people who came in with an agenda trying to convince believers and draw believers to themselves.
Paul writes to the believers in Ephesus – about the “cunning craftiness of men” and that the church should no longer be “Tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine” but “grow up into the head which is Christ – into the measure and stature of Christ”.
You can see – Paul’s vision for each member of the body of Christ is that Jesus Christ should be their primary goal and primary focus.
And you can see from Paul’s letters that that is often not what he finds happening in the home churches of his day.
The Apostle John speaks of a certain leader who “loves to have the preeminence above the brethren”
These are problems which have plagued the Lord’s people from the beginning.
I am happy to be here for you as a source of information if you have doctrinal questions.
Also Brian Wagner who is a teacher of the Greek N.T. is here for you in that capacity as well.
Please feel free to pose questions to us – if you feel we are a source of information you can trust.
Thank you so much, that is very helpful! I do follow Mike Winger already but I’ll check out Kevin Thompson as well. Have a wonderful Christmas!
Thank you very much!
And warm Christmas wishes for you and yours!
Hello, I have a question. Why do you recommend NT Wright as a notable New Testament scholar? Thanks!
Hello Lindie and welcome.
Dr. Flowers, due to his schedule, is unable to be here to interact with questions.
If you are a Face Book user – you may however find him there.
On your question about N.T. Write – you may be interested in watching a certain Youtube Video
It is titled: NT Wright vs. James White – St. Paul & Justification – Unbelievable?
I think you will get a flavor of Dr. Write’s approach to scripture.
He does not read any English translation of scripture because he is fluent in the original languages of the text.
You can see his certificates if you go to his web-site ntwriteonline / courses / certificates
On that note, Greek Scholars are a dime a dozen. Yet, we have tons of denominations and differing doctri es from all them Greek Scholar experts. Lol. They know how to unite all of us Christians!!
Yes! Excellently said!
And one of the reasons I suggested that particular youtube video – was to show how that is the case.
Good point Ed!
When is it time to leave? I have been a member of a “High” 5 Point Calvinist Church for 26 years. I have served as a church planting missionary through NAMB as well as an itinerant preacher. For the past 10 years I have struggled with the Doctrines of Grace, yet I always seemed to reassure my position by reading some commentary by my favorites ie: Piper, MacArthur, Grudem, Carson, Sproul, Lawson, Mohler, etc. etc. etc.. Several years ago as I was wrestling with God’s Word I looked up at the substantial library of books I had accumulated and noticed that 95% or more of the volumes were all from Calvinists. But there was a book I had picked up while visiting Southeastern Theological Seminary entitled Chosen but Free, by Norman Geisler. This book put a bug in my brain and got me thinking about other views. From there I began researching and studying other, non-calvinistic views, and a deep dive into daily bible reading prayerfully asking God to reveal His truth to me clearly, which eventually led me to where I am today. A non-calvinist in a Calvinist Church. I have gone through the course Tiptoing Through the TULIP, twice, and will most likely continue to examine the contents. I must say that the handling of Ephesians chapter one was a real eye opener! And of course understanding Judicial hardening, and the Corporate view of Romans 9-11. To keep this from getting too long, here is my current situation. Our church is small (25 people) our pastor is a faithful man of God who has invested much in me and the local body. I have remained in this church because of my respect for him and the relationships built with other members over the 25 years. Leaving would certainly be detrimental to the body, yet I feel empty, frustrated, and not very useful because of the differences in our theological views. I have spoken to my Pastor about my current theological views and concerns. His response hit me hard, “If you were to leave that would be the end of me.” Yikes. So I want to honor my brothers and sisters in Christ, but my tongue is bleeding from biting it so hard all the time. I certainly appreciate your prayers and any biblically sound suggestions you may have.
Welcome Guy! Your journey is very similar to Leighton’s. Be honest with the man who is pastoring. Ask him if he would be willing to take the same steps you and Leighton took to reexamine the favorite passages of Calvinists from other perspectives that deal with context and grammar in those passages.
You can also check my page where I critique Calvin, Gill, and MacArthur on some of those passages and give an alternative exegesis.
Thank you for your quick response. I just went to your link and downloaded several of your papers. Excited to digest them.
Guy, I hope they will be of some help!
And thank you for your wonderful post!
It is easy to see – both your heart and your head are in the right place!
I have to tell you though – the more you investigate Calvinism from an outsiders perspective – the more you are guaranteed to recognize – there is a certain characteristic of double-mindedness and double-speak inherent within it.
The foundational core of Calvinism – is EXHAUSTIVE DIVINE DETERMINISM (EDD) – as enunciated within the doctrine of decrees.
The creatures…are so governed by the secret counsel of god, that *NOTHING HAPPENS* but what he has knowingly and willingly decreed. (Institutes 1, 16, 3)
Calvinist Bruce Reichenbach (The Gospel Coalition)
There is *NO INSTANCE* in which I can desire anything other than that decreed by god.
Calvinist James P. Boyce
God determines *ALL* things *WHATSOEVER* that come to pass.(The Decrees Chp 5 pg 1)
Consequently – per the doctrine – all impulses which come to pass within the human brain – no mater how sinful and evil – are *AUTHORED* at the foundation of the world – and *MADE* to come to pass infallibly and irresistibly.
These are issues concerning the underlying doctrine – which becomes a burden that every serious Calvinist must continuously bear.
What we have observed – is that many Calvinists choose to engage in all kinds of SEMANTIC TAP-DANCE routines – designed to make the dark side of the doctrine disappear – or at least appear less dark.
I am grateful to the Lord that he is leading you to seek reliable information – so that you can pursue your Lord Jesus with all of your heart and all of your mind, and all of your strength!
Once again – I sincerely thank you for your wonderful testimony and post.
Please do not hesitate to ask any questions
I hear you, brother.
The Rechabites in Jeremiah 35 were used by God as an illustration to motivate Judah to jealousy and repentance. Is this not a type of Israel and church in the book of Romans. They were honoured by God for their complete and enduring obedience to their fathers commands. Therefore God punished Judah in v17 because they did not repent and obey. The entire book is focused on repenting according to the will of God’s people. How did the Rechabites obey their father without the HS indwelling to cause them to do the right thing for the totally depraved man is rebellious. This is one of the commands with a promise to obey your parents therefore a totally depraved person would be incapable of doing so. If the believer in the OT was indwelt in the OT how then was he a believer in the first place according to the definition of Calvinistic depravity and regeneration?
Jer 35:17 “Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Behold, I am bringing on Judah and on all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the disaster that I have pronounced against them; because I spoke to them but they did not listen, and I have called them but they did not answer.'”
Jer 35:18 Then Jeremiah said to the house of the Rechabites, “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Because you have obeyed the command of Jonadab your father, kept all his commands and done according to all that he commanded you;
Jer 35:19 therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, “Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not lack a man to stand before Me always.”‘”
Correction to post.
If the believer in the OT was not indwelt by the HS how then was he a believer in the first place according to the definition of Calvinistic depravity and regeneration?
Welcome cec! I enjoyed reading your comments. The OT has many other examples that undermine the Calvinist view of total depravity.
If they were totally depraved, how did Adam and Eve in their new totally depraved condition, feel shame, hear God’s voice, and understand the truth God was telling them about what had happened and will happen?
Hello cec and welcome
If the “T” within Calvinism’s TULIP were intellectually honest – it would stand for Totally Predestined Nature”
Because – per Calvinism’s underlying doctrine – the state of nature – including man’s nature – at every nano-second in time – is 100% predestined at the foundation of the world – and at every nano-second in time – cannot be other than what it was decreed to infallibly be.
The same goes for man’s eternal destiny.
Calvinists use the “T” in their TULIP to FALSELY attribute man’s (abilities / inabilities) – and from that his eternal destiny to the state of his nature.
The TRUTH is – in Calvinism both the state of man’s nature – including every impulse that will come to pass within his brain – as well as man’s eternal destiny are FIXED before man is created by an infallible decree.
So you can see – the “T” in Calvinism’s TULIP is used by Calvinists to mislead people in order to keep people from seeing the TRUTH about the doctrine. Calvinists are well aware – if they tell the WHOLE TRUTH about their doctrine – people are going to reject it.w
So they use strategies like this to try and hide the element of divine malevolence inherent within the doctrine.
In studying Romans 5 I’m reading commentaries that cite “federal headship of Adam and Christ.” Is this a Calvinistic concept? I know Leighton talks about “born guilty” but is this where Calvinists develop this doctrine? I look forward to your response.
Welcome Louis…. Federal headship is the Reformed theology view. Yes they read that view into Rom 5. But my view is that the phrase “sin entered” in verse 12 is pointing to the sin nature being passed on from Adam, not his guilt.
It also makes perfect sense – that in Calvinism guilt for sin is “passed on” to man. Because in Calvinism – select guilt for sins and evils is ASSIGNED to select individuals before they are created – as part of the divine conception of who and what those individuals will be.
The individual doesn’t have to be or do anything – in order to be blamed for sins and evils.
The Calvinist reading of “Esau I hated before he did anything good or evil” is that Esau was created to be hated
And ASSIGNED guilt for select sins and evils – before he did anything good or evil.
John Calvin explains
those who perish are destined to hell by the eternal good pleasure of god. Though the REASONS DO NOT APPEAR They are NOT FOUND but MADE worthy of destruction. (Concerning the eternal predestination of god)
……the wicked themselves have been CREATED for this very end—that they may perish. (Roman’s 9:18 Commentary)
I tried to find a topic where you talked on Mathew chapter 13 about the parable of the weeds. If Jesus explains that good seed are his people and the weeds are the people of satan. Then the question arises. so there are people (God’s) people that are being planted and also there are satan’s people? how to understand this parable correctly?
Because I can’t seem to explain it. It would make sense if God planted good seed and devil planted weeds to mess up the good seed. But Jesus himself explains good seed is people that listen to him and weeds are “sons of the evil one”. So how can you plant already those who are listening to you? a little unclear
Welcome Mikhail… no one is born a seed of God or seed of Satan. Being planted is not being born into the world but placed to be a testimony after they have chosen whom to follow.
Hello mikhail and welcome.
There is a Calvinist interpretation of that – and a NON-Calvinist interpretation of that I am familiar with.
The foundational core of Calvinism is EXHAUSTIVE DIVINE DETERMINISM (EDD) as enunciated within Calvinism’s doctrine of decrees.
The creatures…are so governed by the secret counsel of god, that NOTHING HAPPENS but what he has knowingly and willingly decreed. (Institutes 1, 16, 3)
In Calvinism therefore – a percentage of believers are specifically created/designed to be weeds (vessels of wrath)
These believers are divinely deceived with a FALSE SENSE of salvation.
the Lord…….. instills into their minds such a SENSE …….as can be felt WITHOUT the Spirit of adoption.
(Institutes 1. 2. 11)
he ILLUMINES ONLY FOR A TIME to partake of it; then he…..strikes them with even greater blindness (Institutes 3.24.8)
The NON-Calvinist view I am familiar with is something like this:
God through the Gospel message – (symbolically speaking) plants a seed
The seed he plants – is the seed of hope and love.
Satan also comes along and he also (symbolically speaking) plants seeds.
Those are seeds of doubt – designed to beguile man into having a distorted view of God’s love and intentions.
Those who choose Jesus – are then (symbolically) called – the planting of the Lord
Those who reject Jesus – are then (symbolically) called – the planting of the serpent
Thank you for your reply! I personally do not hold to the Calvinistic view but find it hard to explain some passages. For example this parable is especially hard for me to argue against Calvinism, maybe because I’m not understanding the grammar behind the words? When i read that God has planted a seed and the seed is his people to me automatically it means that God has planted his people then there must be those who are not his people.
So if someone asks me to explain this parable to them, and if they ask me, how is it that one seed is good and the other seed is bad? Because when I hear the word “seed” I think about something/someone that hasn’t been born yet physically. So if God is planting a seed and it is the good seed from the start then it will be good in the end. What is the point of Satan planing his seed? the bad people. Does this parable mean that there is a chance the bad seed can somehow effect the good seed? So many questions but so little time and space to write. God bless you
You may be interested in checking out Kevin Thompson’s youtube channel “Beyond the fundamentals”
He has a number of videos unpack-ageing how – when it comes to scripture – Calvinism and context don’t go well together.
And also – on the degree to which the mind has to be pre-conditioned in advance – in order to guarantee it reads scripture through a Calvinist lens.
Its very real to me – the Calvinist has an urgency to read EXHAUSTIVE DIVINE DETERMINISM (EDD) into the text whenever possible.
However it is also obvious there are verses within scripture – which when the Calvinist reads through the lens of EDD – it results in a conclusion which the Calvinist cannot possibly find palatable.
In those instances – he does a complete about-face and treats EDD (the foundational core of his doctrine) *AS-IF* it doesn’t exist.
So it becomes obvious – the Calvinist reading is very subjective.
When reading EDD into the text is palatable – he will be logically coherent with his doctrine.
When reading EDD into the text is un-palatable – he is forced to be in denial of his doctrine.
So we have a pattern of TRUE in one verse and FALSE in another
When you observe that as a pattern of ones approach to scripture – it functions as a red-flag.
Did you see my previous response, Mikhail…? No one is born a seed of God or seed of Satan. Being planted is not being born into the world but placed to be a testimony after they have chosen whom to follow. God does allow Satan to move around his pawns/seeds, those people who have self hardened against God and now are “seed” to be planted where Satan chooses, within God’s permission.
And God’s permission is only because of some possible good that might result from the interaction of Satan’s seed with God’s seed… like some of Satan’s seed converting and becoming some of God’s seed, or for God’s seed to develop endurance and deeper love for the lost, in the midst of opposition from Satan’s seed.
HI, I recently noticed that my youtube membership says it’s “paused.” I never paused it. The exact message is “This membership has been paused. You won’t be charged again unless it’s turned back on.” Yet, I see no place to turn it back on. My membership in a different Christian channel is still good. Maybe I’m missing something.
I promise, I never paused it. I’m NOT asking you for tech support lol, just letting you know in case this is happening to others. I trust wild wolves more than youtube/google.
If nothing can be changed, I’ll support you via patreon. Thanks for all you do!!!
You’re message has been forwarded to Leighton!
If I understand what you mean – this is not unusual.
@br.d: That doesn’t surprise me at all. Last year youtube deleted my account and sent me a message saying it was due to *repeated and egregious content,* only I have Never uploaded anything to youtube, ever, and my account must be15+ years old. I appealed and they put it back–I’m guessing it was deleted by one of their oh so trustworthy bots. Beware! 😉
Hello, dear brother in Christ! My husband & I have been listening for several years now and continue to be affirmed and strengthened in Christ and in the Word because of your work. We are in our 70s, and both have known Christ for 50+ years. I looked for a “contact” link but, not finding one, I thought I would leave you a message here. I have long been thinking that the fact that Jesus came as the last “Adam”, and in His death legally brought an end to the entire first creation; and in His resurrection, being the second “Adam”, birthed a brand new creation, that this truth flies in the face of Calvinism’s limited atonement. It was sitting there on the back burner of my mind as an undeniable truth, yet I hadn’t fully explored it or written about it (I write, and find when I
write out such insights, it puts it all in order in my mind, and reminds me of additional scripture which affirms and teaches the same thing). But this morning, I was in Romans 5 and, although I really haven’t a doubt that you already have this information somewhere here in all your many resources, I couldn’t help but want to share my delight in finding the little gem of verse 18. “So then, as through the one transgression there
resulted condemnation to ALL MEN, even so, through the one act of righteousness, there resulted justification of life to ALL MEN.” It boggles my mind why any serious Bible student [thinking of MacArthur, Keller, Piper–and the one that makes me saddest, Lutzer] do not see this. In my thinking, this one verse and the doctrine as Christ as the Last/Second Adam, ought to end the debate. If you have addressed this somewhere, I would love it if someone on your staff could point me to that particular resource. Grateful for all you do…
Welcome Linda! Leighton rarely follows this blog page of his anymore, but I will forward your post here in an email to him. I am sure it will encourage him. As for Rom 5:18, the Calvinist usually does his dance and says “all” cannot mean “all” or you end up with universalism – everyone gets saved.
Here’s my take as an expanded translation with my thoughts in brackets. Romans 5:18-19 NKJV — Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men [a propensity for sin passed on in the body and soul received from Adam] , resulting in condemnation [when the mature conscience fails when confronted by the law], even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men [in at least a few enlightenment opportunities during their lives to freely seek that gift], resulting in justification of life [when personal faith is expressed in the Giver of that gift] . For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners [excluding those who die before their conscience matures], so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous [excluding those who personally refuse to trust in God’s offer of mercy].
Brian I always love your comments. I’m not sure I posted the following question in this forum to you or others, but in regard to your post speaking to sin nature and propensity to sin, I wonder did Adam and Eve have any different propensity than you or I? The Genesis 3:6 passage describing Eve sounds much like me. For sure they were not raised up in a world filled with sin and death, but were there original nature’s that different from ours as newborns? The question I asked Leighton on a YouTube which he did not have time to prepare much of an answer, I’ll ask again here. If God were to create Adam and Eve like creatures perfect and without sin, place these Spirit soul entities within newborn infant bodies, set them in front of the steps of an orphanage, would we expect their life lived out to be much different than you or I as it regards sin? The answer here of course opens up much discussion on the inherited sin nature of man.
Larry, I find this question much like the one, could Jesus have sinned. In the end, it is most important to believe that Jesus did not sin, and to believe that all mankind sins (when reaching conscience maturity). How Jesus was kept, or kept, from sinning, we will probably have to wait till He tells us how those two natures, mixed together, worked together in Him. But for now, I lean towards saying His divinity, which was not able to sin, kept His humanity, which was able to sin, from sinning, when they were mixed together, but not from being thoroughly tempted in all points.
So also, I lean towards seeing Adam and Eve’s human nature changing when they sinned, and they passed those changes in nature (weaknesses if you will, though I think Paul calls it indwelling sin/flesh) to their offspring that makes sinning inevitable when confronted by God’s law. I would rather not say God created Adam and Eve with natures so weak that sinning was inevitable when confronted by God’s law, or confronted by temptation of any kind. I don’t want to say that she had to be deceived and he had to be directly disobedient in that first temptation. But his offspring all sin when their conscience is confronted by the law (Rom 7:9). And whether they do because of the learning of past sins, or confronted by an environment of further sinful temptation, or by being born with a sin nature. The issue is all do sin! And the gospel is the only remedy.
Hello Linda – and welcome!
Dr. Flowers – due to his schedule – is not able to interact with posters here at this site.
But you may find him on Face Book – if you are an FB user.
Also – you may interact in the chat-blog during his Youtube presentations.
On your question about whether Dr. Flowers has addressed your question – I would suggest you check his book “Potter’s Promise” on Amazon or Christian books.
You may or may not know – the foundational core of Calvinism – and what separates it from all alternatives – is EXHAUSTIVE DIVINE DETERMINISM (EDD) – as enunciated within Calvinism’s doctrine of decrees.
Consequently – EDD functions as a sort of Canon outside of the Canon of scripture for the Calvinist.
And EDD thus functions as a lens through which the Calvinist reads scripture.
So when the Calvinist is faced with any verse within scripture which would contradict EDD – he cannot accept that verse at face value.
He must figure out a way to interpret that verse – so that it does not contradict EDD.
In the case of the verse you quoted – the Calvinist cannot accept the word “ALL” at face value.
He must find a way to interpret the word “ALL” so that it does not mean “ALL” but rather means “SOME”.
That is how the Calvinist gets around verses which as you rightfully point out – should end the debate.
He must put EDD as his sacred Canon above the canon of scripture.
And the canon of scripture must be subject to his more sacred Canon – which is EDD.
HI Br.D. I had this exact conversation with a Calvinist this spring. I tried to explain to her that Christ died for ALL doesn’t mean that all are saved because ALL must believe the atonement was for him,her personally to be “effective.” In other words, Christ respects our decision to embrace the provision or dismiss it. This is why God can judge those who say ,”no thanks.” Leighton calls this the “non seqitur” fallacy that Calvinists interject. I think it’s ironic too, that the Calvinist does believe DEAD means DEAD…ALL the time! I guess dead can’t mean an idiomatic expression..hmm.
Thanks for responding and this website has been a blessings to many!!
Yes – St. Louis – thank you!
This brings up an aspect of Calvinism which is necessary to understand.
You will occasionally hear Dr. Flowers say – the Calvinist communicates using the same vernacular which NORMAL people use – but the Calvinist has a different dictionary.
In other words – the meanings which he applies to a given word – is in many cases – is a *AD-HOC* meaning – which deviates from the *STANDARD* meaning NORMALLY understood by a that given word.
This is not only true within the belief system of Calvinism – but it is also true within the belief system of Atheist Determinism.
The reason for this phenomenon within Calvinism – is because the foundational core of Calvinism is Determinism.
Here is a quote from Dr. Sean Carroll – an internationally recognized Theoretical physicist – Atheist Determinist.
Dr. Carroll is commenting o how a Determinist uses language to communicate
There are two questions.
1) How does the world work (for a Determinist)
2) What words should we (Determinists) *ATTACH* to how the world works
Notice how Dr. Carroll is indicating how a Determinist has to find words or meanings which *ATTACH* to how the world works within the belief system of Determinism.
This is because NORMAL people do not have a world-view which is founded on Determinism.
NORMAL Parents do not bring up their children – teaching them that everything which comes to pass within the world is pre-determined.
So every society throughout the world – has their own language.
But that language is not Deterministic – because people throughout the world do not have a Deterministic world-view.
Now here is a similar quote from John Calvin
When [Augustine] uses the term PERMISSION, the *MEANING WHICH HE ATTACHES* to it will best appear from a single passage (De Trinity. lib. 3 cap. 4), where he proves that the will of God is the supreme and PRIMARY CAUSE of all things….(Institutes 1, 16, 8)
So here we have the same exact phenomenon.
Here we have the word “Permission” – and its *STANDARD* meaning is from the Latin “permettere” which is defined as: To let pass, to let go, to let loose, to give up, to hand over, to allow.
But for Calvin’s god – to “Let-Pass” or “Let-go” or “Let-Loose” or “Give-Up” etc is simply anathema!
The *STANDARD* meaning for the word “Permission” simply does not describe how the world works in Calvinism’s deterministic world.
And yet the Calvinist – as a Determinist – wants to continue to use the word.
So what he does – is to create an *AD-HOC* meaning for that word.
And as Calvin explains – he *ATTACHES* his own unique *AD-HOC* meaning to that word.
And this is what we have in Calvinism.
The NON-Calvinist – is required to extremely vigilant in order to not be mislead by Calvinist statements
Because Calvinists create their own unique *AD-HOC* meanings for many words.
Another example – is the word “Choice”
It will not be unusual to hear a Calvinist say – people are held accountable for the “CHOICES” they make.
But what you need to realize – is that the function of “CHOICE” does not exist for people in Calvinism.
There is no such thing as an *ALTERNATIVE* from that which is decreed to infallibly come to pass.
Therefore – there are no *ALTERNATIVES* for humans to “Choose” between – because *ALTERNATIVES* do not exist.
The Calvinist internally and intuitively understands this.
But the idea of not having “CHOICE” he finds extremely distressing.
He wants to see himself as a *NORMAL* human being.
He does not want to see himself as ABNORMAL or SUBNORMAL
So speaks *AS-IF* he has the ability to CHOOSE
But he does not really have “CHOICE”.
What he has – are infallibly decreed pre-determined *IMPULSES* which infallibly come to pass within his brain.
So he uses the word “CHOICE” as a replacement word for *IMPULSES*
Once you understand – the Calvinist must create *AD-HOC* meanings for words – you will find many of their statements contain cloaked meanings – which are required in order for those words to fit within the world of Determinism.
The consequence of this for the NON-Calvinist however – is that he can be easily mislead by Calvinist language.
You had a video stating that david jeremiah was not a calvinist. Here is a service I went to last year. It sure sounds like calvinism to me. Scroll down to the sermon foreknowledge and predestination.
I really like David Jeremiah and this pains me to watch the first part of this. He’s got confused Calvinism going telling you you are chosen before your existence and then later tells you the moment you believe you are predestined. I exist in a calvinist takeover Church and get the same confusing rot all the time. You are required to spend $350 and attend a nightly institutes course where you will get full indoctrination. Come Lord Jesus!
Very sad to hear, Larry!