Ephesians 1: “He chose us to be in Him” or “He chose us in Him?”

 

Watch this short video clip for an overview of this passage.


 

Suppose there are two football coaches living there in your hometown, Coach Calvin and Coach Hobbs. Coach Calvin is in a league where he pre-selects and compels each player to be on his team.

Coach Hobbs is in a league where he invites who ever wants to play football to join his team voluntarily. However, one thing they both have in common is that prior to the teams being formed both coaches had predetermined to conform their team members into well conditioned and trained football players.

Calvinists insist Ephesians 1 teaches that God is like “Coach Calvin” but all the text actually states is what the coach has predetermined for his team to become, it says nothing about his predetermining who would and would not be on the team (i.e. “in Him”).

choseninHIMThe first chapter of Ephesians is another hotly contested passage regarding the doctrine of salvation. The first verse reveals that Paul’s audience is “the faithful in Christ Jesus.” In fact, the “in Christ” theme introduced in the apostle’s opening sentence continues through this entire section of the text. He repeats this phrase, in various forms, ten times in just thirteen verses, as highlighted below:

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To God’s holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ

11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

I would like to pose a question for objective consideration. Let’s drop any preconceived ideas we have about this text and attempt to answer the question as honestly as we can.

How does one come to be “in Him?”

Does this passage state that he chose us individually to be effectually placed in him, or does it simply state, “he chose us in him?” Does it teach that Christ redeems us individually so that we might be irresistibly put in him or does it only teach, “In him we have redemption?” Does it say that God has chosen individuals to be in him, or does it say, “in him we were also chosen?”

  • Has God chosen individuals to be placed in Him?
  • Or, has God chosen individuals who are in Him?

Put another way…

  • Has God predetermined the individuals to be in the group?
  • Or, has God chosen a group of individuals for a predetermined end?

Some focus so much attention on the first 12 verses that they fail to see the last two verses where Paul gives an answer to this vital question; “How does one come to be in Him?”

13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation.

First question: When were they included in Christ?

Was it before the foundation of the earth?  What answer does the text give?

“…when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation.”

 Let’s continue to read:

When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

Second question: When were they marked in Him?

Was it before the world began and without any regard to their response to the gospel? What does the text say?

 “When you believed, you were marked in him…”

The text seems to clearly indicate that God has predetermined that the “the faithful in Christ Jesus” (vs. 1) will become “holy and blameless” (sanctification – vs. 4) and they will be “adopted” (glorification – vs. 5). (Note: Romans 8:23 clearly indicates that Paul sees “adoption” as a future hope for all who come to faith.)

How do we know that we, believers in Christ, will be sanctified and glorified? Because God has marked us IN HIM and given us His Spirit as a guarantee of what he has purposed for all who believe.

This passage is not about God predetermining which individuals will be in Christ. It is about God predetermining what will become of those who are in Christ through belief in His truth.

The divine “Coach” has invited all to come and join His team (Col. 1:23, John 12:32, Mt. 28:19, 2 Cor. 5:19-21, Mk 16:15, Mt. 11:28) because He genuinely desires all to come (2 Peter 3:9, 1 Tim. 2:4, Ek. 18:30-32, Matt. 23:37, Rm. 10:21). And all who do come will be trained (sanctified, conformed into his image -Rom. 8:29) and guaranteed a spot (adopted in glorification), because that is what our “Coach” has predetermined for all who are on HIS TEAM!

I strongly urge everyone reading these words to consider the exegesis given by Dr. Hershel Hobbs (co-author of the Baptist Faith and Message, the largest protestant denomination’s most widely accepted Statement of Faith):  CLICK HERE

CLICK HERE to listen a podcast on this topic.

203 thoughts on “Ephesians 1: “He chose us to be in Him” or “He chose us in Him?”

  1. Another great encouragement from God’s Word, Leighton! The destiny for the team “Jesus” to stand holy and blameless before the Commissioner, God the Father, was determined before creation, when the only member of that team that existed was the manager of the team, the Son of God Himself.

    After creation, or as the Bible says – “FROM the foundation of the world” names were added to the team roster, “The Book of Life of the Lamb Slain”, (cf. Rev. 13:8 and also 17:8, Ps. 69:28b, Phil 4:3, Luke 10:20, Heb 12:23). I praise His name that He paid for me to be on His team, and saw my heart’s trust in Him, and added my name!

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    1. When was your name added to the lamb’s book of life Brian? Let me just have fun on here without it being so serious, if I make a mistake in being immature (we all know it is going to happen) trust me I want to grow in the grace of holiness and knowing Christ intimately in life, but it seems growth is slow,in Christ, so slow I hardly notice. If names are added from the foundation of the world, which Revelations 13:8 and 17:8 seem to implicate, seeing there were not names added at the foundation of the world, the first day of creation, Then God knows who will be saved in time/history. Unless you can show me a verse where God writes down individual sinner’s names who though their neutral free-will repent and believe in Christ, then (this is turned upside down) they become the elect.

      God bless
      Kevin I am trying

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      1. Hi Tom! Welcome to Soteriology101 discussions. Please feel free to give comments and ask questions. I hope your interaction will be a blessing for you and others.

        Your question – “Rev 13:7/17:8 … foreknowledge or foreordained?” might need further explanation as to what you are asking. My view is that God did not foreordain everything that will happen in the future, but ordained to leave some things unplanned so that His free will and man’s limited free will could interact relationally. Therefore His foreknowledge is not a lie, knowing the future as settled, for His plan incorporates it as not being completely settled. He knows the future as it presently is truly able to be known, as partly determined by Him and as partly undetermined with many possibilities.

        How this relates, in my view, to the Book of Life of the Lamb slain… is that there has always been a place within it for everyone’s name to be added once the place their faith in God’s mercy for their sin. Many places will be left empty because of people’s rejection of that mercy.

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      2. BrainWagner writes:

        Hi Tom! Welcome to Soteriology101 discussions. Please feel free to give comments and ask questions. I hope your interaction will be a blessing for you and others.

        Your question – “Rev 13:7/17:8 … foreknowledge or foreordained?”

        While the discussion of omniscience, foreknowledge and foreordination are continuing, perhaps some notes from some recent reading on how Augustine grappled with these would be of interest.

        excerpts from:
        The Problem of Divine Foreknowledge and Future Contingents from Aristotle to Suarez (Brill’s Publishing – Studies in Intellectual History)
        Author: William Lane Craig

        Augustine’s intellectual struggle with theological fatalism, the six premises, and how his solution is found in the doctrines of Plotinus:
        The six premises:
        1. God foreknew that Adam would sin
        2. Adam sinned voluntarily
        3. If God foreknew that Adam would sin, then it was necessary for Adam to so sin.
        4. If it was necessary for Adam to sin, Adam did not sin voluntarily
        5. Therefore Adam did not sin voluntarily
        6. Therefore, either God did not foreknow that Adam would sin or Adam did not sin voluntarily

        Augustine argues passionately for premises (1) and (2). But he will deny (3) and (4)…….Augustine’s concern is to void the inference that foreknowledge causes what is foreknown. This consistent concern, as well as the many parallels between the present work and De civitate dei 5.9-10 make it not unlikely that Augustine equates necessity with causal necessity and opposes it to freedom and voluntary action. Augustine argues that even though God foreknows a human action, and that action, by virtue of God’s knowing it, will occur necessarily, it does not follow that the human will is determined through necessity, but God can foreknow the human will make a choice freely. But this appears to be mere tautology, which solves nothing. Augustine’s struggles with the complexities of his position brings him to a formulation of the existences and non-existences of time……

        As Augustine elsewhere tersely puts it: “Everything past no longer exists, everything future does not yet exist, therefore nothing past and nothing future exists. But in God’s sight there is nothing which does not exist. Therefore, in god’s sight, [nothing exists] as past of future, but everything is now”

        But the nagging problems persists: if the future is literally non-existent—not merely not presently existent–, then how can it be present to God in His timeless eternity?

        The answer would seem to be found in Augustine’s Neo-platonism. Taking over the Neoplatonic notion of timeless eternity, Augustine argued that God exists changelessly and timelessly, beholding the entire span of temporal series in His eternal present. According to Plotinus the immediate object of the “Nous” is the realm of intelligible senses, which constitute the archetypes for the existence of particulars in time and space. This intelligible world is conceived by Plotinus to be a realm of timelessly existing, essentially related forms. These intelligible forms are not only universal Platonic forms, but individual essences as well. Because the forms constitute an essentially interrelated unity, to comprehend on form is to comprehend them all. Intelligence is a sort of timeless intuition of these forms on the part of “Nous”.

        By comprehending the universal individual forms, the “Nous” comprehends all spatio-temporal particulars which exemplify them. In such fasion its knowledge of all things, past, present, and future stands changelessly and timelessly. Now Augustine’s conception of the objects of God’s knowledge appears to have been essentially the same. He attaches enormous importance on the doctrine of Plato, he says, is called “Ideas”.

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      3. Excellent survey Duane of Augustine’s views. IMO I wish people would see how these views have been used to establish themselves as so-called orthodoxy that undermines the truth about the sequential reality as taught clearly in Scripture.

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  2. Pastor Flowers. You need to take this issue head-on. The people to whom Paul writes are “the saints which are at Ephesus.” We can call them God’s elect without implying how they came to be God’s elect. By definition the saints are God’s elect.

    To these saints (God’s elect), Paul begins, “[God] blessed [you and me] with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:”

    First blessing: [God] chose [you and me] in [Christ] before the foundation of the world, [for a purpose]. However we understand this part of the verse, we know that something was accomplished before God created the world.

    The manner in which this is to be understood sets the stage for the rest of the passage. Dr. Hobbs says that this refers to a plan of salvation. That’s fine but this plan of salvation is limited by context to God’s elect. It excludes the reprobate (Paul would not have written a letter like this to unbelievers – it is only after a person comes to believe in Christ that Paul could write these things to them).

    Paul tells these believers (God’s elect) that their salvation was made certain before God created the world – either because God chose His elect at that time or because He prepared a plan to bring them to salvation (either way, God had to know them); the effect is the same as in writing “us,” Paul is saying, God choose you and God choose me and planned for the salvation of each of us.

    Paul goes on to describe how the salvation of God’s elect came about: in the course of time, they came to believe and God marked them at that time to distinguish them from the reprobate.

    You seem to have ignored v4 in your comments above. You need to confront this verse head-on before taking off into further comment. Otherwise, you accomplish nothing.

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    1. I’ve observed 3 errors by Calvinists.

      (1) They fail to observe that v.4 starts out with “just as,” and therefore are completely oblivious as to how v.4 relates to the principle statement of v.3, in which v.4 is based.

      (2) Calvinists fail to understand who the “us” are, by failing to consider v.19, which defines the “us” as “us who believe.” This is talking about Christians, and the eternal plan of God in Christ, rather than the eternal plan of God for unbelievers “to be” in Christ, as Leighton well points out.

      (3) Calvinists demonstrate “confirmation bias” whenever they recall v.4 from memory, in which Calvinists frequently recall the verse saying: “God chose us from before the foundation of the world,” thus revealing that they see the “in Christ” as extraneous information, and completely detached from the principle statement of v.3.

      If every spiritual blessing is exclusive to Christians, then *how* do Calvinists figure that they had a spiritual blessing to become in Christ?

      Principle Statement

      Verse 3: Every spiritual blessing is exclusive to Christians.

      Examples

      Verse 4: The eternal plan of God is the spiritual blessing of a Christian’s innocence.
      Verse 5: The eternal plan of God is the spiritual blessing of a Christian’s adoption.
      Verse 7: The eternal plan of God is the spiritual blessing of a Christian’s redemption.
      Verse 9: The eternal plan of God is the spiritual blessing of a Christian’s revelation.
      Verse 11: The eternal plan of God is the spiritual blessing of a Christian’s inheritance.
      Verse 13: The eternal plan of God is the spiritual blessing of a Christian’s indwelling.

      The error of Calvinists are two-fold: basic reading comprehension failure due to confirmation bias. Calvinists see “chosen,” “us” and “before the foundation of the world,” and the filter out the rest, thus missing Paul’s entire point.

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      1. Hat Tip, Examining Calvinism,

        Paul mentions “In Him,” “In Christ,” “In the Beloved,” 11 times in the first 13 verses:

        v.1: “The saints who are at Ephesus, and who are faithful in Christ Jesus.”
        v.3: “Blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.”
        v.4: “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world.”
        v.6: “Which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.”
        v.7: “In Him we have redemption through His blood.”
        v.9: “Which He purposed in Him.”
        v.10: “The summing up of all things in Christ.”
        v.11: “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance.”
        v.12: “We who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.”
        v.13: “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation–having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.”

        Verse 13 is definitive (to any not wearing the Calvin goggles.)

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      2. Jeff Danleoni writes, “v.13: “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation–having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.”

        Verse 13 is definitive (to any not wearing the Calvin goggles.)”

        The person is “in Christ” and consequent to that, is said to hear the message of truth, believe and is sealed. That is what those wearing Calvinist goggles conclude. The descriptive, “in Christ,” comes first. Is there another way to understand this verse?

        Thus, v4, “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world.” Those chosen were in Christ before the creation and then in the course of time, following the creation, those “in Christ” come to hear the gospel, believe and be sealed.

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  3. Any Jew could say – “We were chosen in Abraham before Israel became a nation to possess the land of Canaan in the Millennium.” He would not be emphasizing being chosen as an individual back when Abraham lived. He would not even be guaranteeing that he as an individual would enjoy that future benefit of possessing the land. But he would be telling the truth about his election!

    Praise the Lord that there is a guarantee that each one who becomes one of the elect in Christ through personal faith in His redemption knows with certainty that he will enjoy the future blessings promised to the Son of God before the foundation of the world! Any believer, member of Christ’s body, can say with confidence, “We were chosen in Jesus to stand blameless before God in the final judgment!”

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    1. brianwagner writes, “Any Jew could say – “We were chosen in Abraham before Israel became a nation to possess the land of Canaan in the Millennium.” He would not be emphasizing being chosen as an individual back when Abraham lived. He would not even be guaranteeing that he as an individual would enjoy that future benefit of possessing the land. But he would be telling the truth about his election!”

      This goes back to the promises God made to Abraham. God made a promise to Abraham, as an individual, but then did not fuflill this promise till long after his death. Did that promise encompass individuals to just a group?

      Later, Paul writes in Romans 2, “Behold, you art called a Jew, and rest in the law, and make your boast of God…he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” An interesting distinction.

      But then Paul says, “the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him who believe in Jesus.”

      So what does Paul mean when he writes, “God is just, and the justifier of him who believe in Jesus”? God justifies the one who believes in Christ but not those who do not believe in Christ. This points to individuals. The issue here is how one person comes to believe in Christ and another does not when they both start out equal in sin and unbelief. Is it because God favors the one and not the other as the Calvinists concluded?

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      1. Great answer RHUTCHIN to my friend Brian’s illustration above, I have been waiting for while now to see if anyone would could challenge it logically and you have done so. Great job.

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      2. Actually Kevin if you read Roger’s reply again you will see that he did not respond to the main point of the illustration I gave. In fact he basically agreed that the choice of Abraham was a choice of a group that did not include all individuals born to him but only those whom God would add later after they expressed faith.

        So there was no rebuttal to the fact that Paul was speaking anachronistically. He became part of the elect after he expressed faith and a recipient of the spiritual blessings that go with it. He wasn’t talking about being picked as an individual before creation, any more than the Jew in my illustration was talking about being picked as an individual in Abraham.

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      3. brianwagner writes, ‘…he did not respond to the main point of the illustration I gave.” This, I think, referring to his earlier statement, “Any Jew could say – “We were chosen in Abraham before Israel became a nation to possess the land of Canaan in the Millennium.” …But he would be telling the truth about his election!”

        You say “Any Jew…his election!” Then you said, “…each one who becomes one of the elect in Christ…” So, you are speaking of those Jews who are saved. My point was to note that only those Jews who were to be saved could make this statement. If you meant to apply this to all Jews, without respect to salvation, then the statement would not be true.

        If a Jew is to speak to of “his election,” he is speaking of himself individually. I see this contradicting your claim, “He wasn’t talking about being picked as an individual before creation, any more than the Jew in my illustration was talking about being picked as an individual in Abraham,” by saying “…his election!”

        I’ll admit to being confused regarding your point given how you phrased your argument.

        You also write, “[Paul] wasn’t talking about being picked as an individual before creation…” From Galatians, where Paul says, “…when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles,…” I think we might reasonably conclude that Paul was convinced that he was one of God’s elect from birth. I equate “…called me by his grace…” to being elect of God. If so, then we could conclude that it was God who ensured that Paul would be born – not leaving it to the vagaries of the human will – and thereby God could know that which He would do before creation.

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      4. Hi Roger, Not sure I should respond, since you did not ask any questions. But let me reply to two points –

        1. You said – “My point was to note that only those Jews who were to be saved could make this statement.” But my point is that Paul is not assuming any individual election of anyone as if they “were” to be saved, but is saying “chose us in Him” as someone who is now saved and now sees all the benefits guaranteed to anyone who is now in Christ, because these benefits were guaranteed to Christ before creation. Paul was speaking anachronistically just like the individual saved Jew was in my illustration, or I was about myself when my father’s will was made before I was born.

        2. God makes a plan for everyone that includes giving them an opportunity to be saved and to serve Him forever. It is a detailed plan that I believe He forms once their conception in the womb takes place (Ps 139:16). But like a Potter, His flexible plan/intentions for that individual can be changed if the clay does not willingly respond to that plan. He does make sure it all fits with His overall plan, but that plan only has certain boundaries and ends but is not all settled in His infinite understanding. Paul was not disobedient to the plan for his life (at least not from the time he heard Jesus calling him, and he willing responded to God’s grace when he was offered it!

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  4. Where’s that word “reprobate” again in Scripture? Calvies seem to love to run to Augustine and Calvin, but never to the Bible when they are talking about predestination and election. “That’s fine but this plan of salvation is limited by context to God’s elect. It excludes the reprobate (Paul would not have written a letter like this to unbelievers – it is only after a person comes to believe in Christ that Paul could write these things to them).” So unbelievers = eternally non-elect reprobates? Unbelievers just means that….an unbeliever. Nothing to do with eternal decrees and a caste system that unconditionally and eternally separates two types of individuals. Unbeliever. Someone who must be a sentient being who exhibits unbelief, and yet is expected to believe because Christ commands him to believe. An unbeliever has the capacity for belief, but not the willingness to believe.

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    1. Jeff Danleoni writes, “Where’s that word “reprobate” again in Scripture?”

      It isn’t. However, the Bible refers to God’s elect and the term, reprobate, just refers to those who are not elect; it was coined for that purpose. I don’t see that it is an issue. You are correct to say, ” So unbelievers = eternally non-elect reprobates.”

      Your issue is whether this was an eternal decree. Calvinists say that God is omniscient. Thus, when God created the world, He knew the identities of His elect and the reprobate; all their days had been written before he created oen of them. To argue against the eternal decree, you must argue that God is not omniscient.

      Your final statement, “An unbeliever has the capacity for belief, but not the willingness to believe” is nice but that is just the Calvinist Total Depravity; “not willingness to believe” means that the person lacks free will (which requires a willingness to believe; the ability to choose otherwise) and thus lacks the ability to believe.

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      1. Again, no doctrine of eternal unconditional election or reprobation anywhere in the Bible. That’s a Calvinist theological creation, not a Biblical one. What is God’s eternal decree? Where is it defined in the Bible? Must God have an eternal decree to be omniscient? Why? These are all theological inventions. God could very well be omniscient without any eternal decree. That’s the problem when you superimpose Calvinism onto the Bible. You start reading election, predestination, foreknowledge, and foreordained through a theological prism that didn’t exist for 300 years after the gospels were written.

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    2. Jeff, you stated, “Calvies seem to love to run to Augustine and Calvin, but never to the Bible when they are talking about predestination and election.” You can deny divine election. That is fine. But your quoted remark is so far from the truth and totally without merit or support.

      By the way, neither is the word “Trinity” found in scripture.

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      1. Typical Calvinist response. If you don’t believe in the Augustinian version of election, you must not believe election is in the Bible.

        Yawn.

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  5. Peter the apostle warned us – “there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them,” (2Pet. 2:1). The mercy of the Lord is evident that He even paid for the sins of false teachers who are twisting the truth of the gospel for their own destruction and deception of others (2Pet. 3:16).

    But we should not be surprised that there will be those who use philosophy and theology to undermine Scripture’s clear teaching about the mercy of God! Let’s be a part of God’s honest call to everyone who bear His image to accept His salvation which He paid for everyone (1John 2:2)!

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    1. brianwagner writes, “Peter the apostle warned us – “there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them,” (2Pet. 2:1).”

      What is this verse saying? It says that false teachers will infiltrate the churches. Jesus warned of this, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” Paul said, “I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.”

      What do they teach – destructive heresies. One specific destructive heresy – denying the Lord who bought them. As these are false teachers, they twist the truth even to include themselves in their false teaching. This does not validate as truth that which they teach.

      brianwagner has taken a false teaching that abuses the truth made by a false teacher with no intent to proclaim truth and has sought to promote it as truth. Peter was using an example to make a point. In 1 Corinthians, Paul, writing to believers, tells them that they are bought with a price. We have no basis to conclude that Peter means to tells us that the false teachers were also bought with a price; only that they teach a heresy regarding this doctrine.

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      1. I’ll backtrack on this. Having looked up the Greek, I see that the phrase, “having bought them,” modifies despotan (master) and in their teaching these false teachers deny Him. There is some disagreement on whether master refers to God or Christ but given that Christ is the price God paid to rescue His elect, I’ll take Peter to mean God. The issue here then seems to be what Peter means by saying that God bought the false teachers – given that He knew He was not going to save them. Paul refers to God buying His elect in 1 Corinthians , so I need to look for passages that refer to God purchasing “each and every person” or specifically the non-elect. Bummer. I am not sure Peter’s writing is clear (at least, not to me) but maybe it is.

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    1. Hi John, I am not sure if your question was just directed to Leighton, but I hope you don’t mind my offering an answer also.

      God chose the Son before creation, because He truly was one that existed to be chosen, being a person in the Godhead. In His omniscience He would know all the possible humans that could come into existence within those boundaries, according to those laws, and for those ends of whatever He predetermined. He would know that He did not pre-determine any of those possible humans to perish but that they would all be given an opportunity for repentance (2Pet 3:9). He would know that He would be freely working, but not coercively, according to His desire that all would be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. His knowledge of the future is always complete and perfect according to His Sovereign choice to know it as a combination of pre-determinations of some things and all the possibilities that He wills to exist and to leave undetermined.

      God could have, because of His omnipotence, predetermined all things before creation. But the Scriptures, normally read, with its abundant invitations, commands, and subjunctive conditional statements, as well as its specific passages concerning divine and human freedom within human history, make the philosophical view of the divine pre-determination of all of human history impossible.

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      1. I asked that question because he seems to be objecting to the contention that God chose His elect before the foundation of world. He seems to be implying that God chooses following the individual’s response to gospel. Even someone like William Lane Craig who affirms libertarian free will would say that God would know who would freely choose to believe in Him before beginning of world because according to him, God chose a possible world in which maximum human beings freely chose to believe in Him.

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      2. You are correct, John, that corporate election denies that any individuals, beyond Christ, were chosen before creation. And yes God chooses the individual when He sees the personal active faith of that one placed in His Son for salvation. You need to ask yourself why you hold to all things being pre-determined before creation, which would be necessary, if God back then were to choose individuals as a completed list of all the future saved.

        As I outlined above , I choose to believe that such a view by intelligent men like Calvin and Craig does not hold up under the scrutiny of the view presented by the inspired text from God’s chosen men. When Jesus said, “Many are called-ones but few elect-ones”, He does not say or mean – “… few HAVE BEEN elect before creation.” Jesus is describing what “is” happening, and places the activity of calling before the activity of electing. The parable He just spoke clearly supports this normal understanding. There are a number of passages like this one that Calvinists have to twist to fit their philosophical view that everything was predetermined before creation.

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      3. I was not questioning whether or not God predetestined who will be chosen. I already know Leighton Flowers does not believe that. Even those who affirmed libertarian free will (unless they are open theists) would say that God foreknew the free choices of individuals without affecting their choice. So if God foreknew, one cannot set a fixed time in which God had that foreknowledge. It is logical think to God foreknew it from eternity. So I don’t see any problem in thinking God foreknew who would choose Him before creation of world even if one affirms libertarian free will (unless one is open theist).

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      4. A predetermined human history before creation which includes all choices of both God and man, would either have to be eternally a part of God’s nature or created by God out of an omniscience that is a knowledge all possibilities (middle knowledge).

        The first would be close to panentheism. The second, though reasonable, as I mentioned does not fit the normal reading of Scripture for the obvious evidence that was given. If God can choose from all possible human histories before creation, He can certainly choose not to predetermine all things and leave some things to remain in His omniscience as undetermined, since the future does not yet exist.

        You need to consider what authority you have chosen to base your understanding of God’s predestination and omniscience. I hope you would agree that we should always get our definitions from clear passages of Scripture.

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      5. If you are taking an open theist position, then fine. I just wanted to ensure whether Leighton Flowers is advocating an open theist position.

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      6. Hey John, Pointing to labels doesn’t push forward the conversation and understanding of Scripture concerning foreknowledge and freedom in my view. Would you be willing to answer – 1. Was God able to leave some things undetermined before creation? 2. If God chose to continue His freedom to make future determinations for some things after creation, wouldn’t His omniscience of the future have to be defined as knowledge of both His already made predeterminations and all His sovereignly permitted possibilities that still exist. And 3. What verses clearly counter the proof from the Scripture that I gave to show that all things could not have been predetermined before creation? Thanks.

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      7. brianwagner writes, “A predetermined human history before creation which includes all choices of both God and man, would either have to be eternally a part of God’s nature…”

        “…part of God’s nature…”? That seems extreme. Certainly, God’s decisions reflect His nature and are consistent with His nature. God cannot lie, so God does not lie. That God cannot lie is part of His nature; that God does not lie is consistent with His nature.

        That God predetermines human history is predicated on God being omniscient and omnipotent. So long as God is omniscient and omnipotent, He cannot NOT predetermine all human history as these qualities make God the final arbitrator of all human history. You understand this because you recognize that a person has to deny either omniscient and omnipotent in order to gain a different outcome; thus, you deny omniscience. However, omniscience does not mean that God’s choices are “part of” His nature – consistent is the descriptor of God’s choices.

        brianwagner writes, “…or created by God out of an omniscience that is a knowledge all possibilities (middle knowledge). ”

        Middle knowledge describes God’s knowledge before He chooses one unique world to create. Once God chooses a world to create, then Genesis 1 describes that world. That world, consistent with middle knowledge, would then be one in which all human history has been predetermined.

        Of course, proponents of middle knowledge have yet to flesh out details about how God knows all possibilities. They assume that “free will (libertarian/ contra=causal choice – somewhat nebulous terms themselves)” accounts for these possibilities, but this does not negate the determinist character of the unique world God creates.

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      8. Brian, the point I am making is that you have to have a systematic theological lens that supports maximum verse in the Bible based on which you exegete Bible verses. Open theists do point specific portions of the Bible which supports their position. But question is, are you able to exegete majority of Bible verses and God’s economy of salvation with that position. You can’t say I exegete such and such verses with open theist view and such and such verses with God having foreknowledge of future events. You have to take a position about the foreknowledge of God based on what majority of Bible supports.

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      9. Hey John, That may sound nice – “a systematic theological lens that supports a maximum amount of verses”, and actually I agree with you, which is why I offered that lens! But to say that about my view without proving from at least a half dozen clear Scriptures that all things were pre-determined before creation, means you may be the one using a pretty opaque lens. Here again is the lens I offered above.

        “God could have, because of His omnipotence, predetermined all things before creation. But the Scriptures, normally read, with its abundant invitations, commands, and subjunctive conditional statements, as well as its specific passages concerning divine and human freedom within human history, make the philosophical view of the divine pre-determination of all of human history impossible.”

        Invitations – Hebrews 3:7-8, Commands – Acts 16:31, Subjunctive conditional statements – Romans 10:9, Divine freedom – Jeremiah 18:1-11, Human Freedom – 1Corinthians 7:37 are good clear examples of each category, each with many other examples. The Calvinist must read these all in way that is not normal to the context of Scripture’s revelation to maintain their theological construct.

        To them an invitation that contextually is for all is not really from all theologically. A command given to all is not really an obligation to all, because they cannot even hear it, theologically speaking of course, A subjunctive conditional statement is really a falsehood, or at least an anthropomorphic guess, because theologically all things will happen as pre-determined, and God is not making new determinations as Scripture says He is, because theologically He has already made all of them.

        I am going to stick with the normal reading of Scripture and reject the Calvinist/Augustinian/Stoic theological lens.

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      10. Brian, the only question that I asked is about your view regarding foreknowledge of God. Does God have foreknowledge of future events? Does God knows who will choose Him only after He has seen how an individual responds to gospel? If that is the case, did God know whether Judas would betray Jesus before foundation of world or only after the thought of betraying Jesus occurred in Judas’ mind?

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      11. brianwagner writes, “God could have, because of His omnipotence, predetermined all things before creation. But the Scriptures, normally read, with its abundant invitations, commands, and subjunctive conditional statements, as well as its specific passages concerning divine and human freedom within human history,…”

        The Scriptures lead us to believe that there is no real “human freedom.” Paul speaks of a person being a slave to sin; of being blinded by Satan; of being deceived by others. No passage speaks to the issue of human freedom to choose other than in the sense of 1 Corinthians 7. 1 Corinthians 7:37 contrasts a person not being forced to act (having no necessity or under no compulsion) with the ability to choose (has control over his own will – not compelled) and says nothing about internal or external influences on the person in making a choice as described by Paul elsewhere. The freedom that a person enjoys in that situation is freedom from compulsion – nothing more. If that is what you mean by “human freedom,” then you cannot argue against pre-determinism on the basis of human freedom – you must still deny omniscience and sovereignty to make that argument.

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      12. John, I am sorry if I have not been more clear as to how the Scripture presents the “foreknowledge” of God. Let me first answer your specific questions –

        Does God have foreknowledge of future events? Yes, but only as He has determined and keeps determining the future.
        Does God knows who will choose Him only after He has seen how an individual responds to gospel? Yes as a reality, but No, because He knew it previously as a possibility according to His plan.
        If that is the case, did God know whether Judas would betray Jesus before foundation of world or only after the thought of betraying Jesus occurred in Judas’ mind? Yes, as a possibility, but No, as far as being an eventuality, because God sovereignly chose not to predetermine all of human history.

        Knowledge of the future can only be as God determines it to be. Since He was not bound to create at all, His foreknowledge of creation before He determined to create was only a knowledge of all possibilities of creation. So yes, He does have complete knowledge of the future as He has determined it to be, and no, He does not know the future as completed, but only as partially determined and as partially undetermined as the Scripture indicates.

        Yes, God knows all the possibilities of humans that could come into existence, but He knows none of them as having been planned to perish but all of them to come to an opportunity of repentance (2Pet 3:9). Once they place their personal trust in Him in response to His enabling, but not irresistible, call, He knows them as fulfilling His desire and He keeps the promise of His plan to make them one of His children.

        Yes, God knew before creation of Judas as one of the almost innumerable humans that could come into existence and could either be a believer or be a rejector of God’s invitation that would come to him, and if a rejector, how he could be used (along if an large number of other rejectors) to become the betrayer of the Messiah. But no, Judas was not pre-determined before creation to be that one! He was chosen and determined for that “job” after his personal rejection of God’s mercy for his soul.

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      13. Brian, I did not bring up whether God determined it or not. I am granting your position (say, Molinism) to be true, for the sake of argument. Let us assume that God willingly has decided to stay away and allowed the world to work by chance and free will choices of the individuals. Still in that case, why do we have to assume that God does not know who will choose Him from eternity based on His foreknowledge?

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      14. Also how do you account prophesies of the prophets in Old Testament where God says He will bring Assyrians and Chaldeans against Israel and Judah? About about the future arrival of the Messiah? Also Paul talking about the mystery of resurrection from dead of Jesus Christ before the beginning of world?

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      15. If God decides to leave even any of His own choices undecided, then His knowledge of HIs own choices would be a compilation of all those possibilities He will be free to make in conjunction with a complete knowledge of all the possibilities man would be able to choose from within the limitations of God’s already pre-determined ends, laws, and limits.

        I see the Scripture teaching that this is exactly what He has Sovereignly decided to be the outworking of His omniscience. My view is not Molinism, since Molinism has everything known as completed in human history before creation, because that philosophy believes God predetermined it to be that way before creation.

        God’s knowledge of the future, since the future does not yet exist, can only be as He has determined and still determines it to be, and Scripture has clearly portrayed the future as partially pre-determined and partially undetermined. God knows it completely as it truly is. It is not all pre-determined.

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      16. Based on your this position, how do you exegete prophesies of the prophets in Old Testament where God says He will bring Assyrians and Chaldeans against Israel and Judah? About the prophesies regarding future arrival of the Messiah even from the mouth of Jacob to Judah and from the mouth of Nathan the prophet to David? Also Paul talking about the mystery of resurrection from dead of Jesus Christ that was there before the beginning of world and hidden from the world and now revealed?

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      17. John, Just saw your added questions… All predictions given by God, and there are many revealed in Scriptures that we given without condition, is a revelation of God’s plan that cannot be altered concerning its specifics or generalities. That does not mean that God could not allow for divine or human freedom in working out those predictions. The fact that some events were planned before creation or since creation and left unrevealed until later in human history is obvious, but those examples cannot be used to extrapolate that all things were predetermined before creation without doing injustice to the plain meaning of other Scriptures.

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      18. Brian, events in Scriptures gives us an idea about the nature of God. But that has to be consistent. If one takes a stance regarding forekowledge of God, one has to consistently apply it throughout the scripture. It is inconsistent to say that God has the knowledge of some events, but God do not have the knowledge of some other events. If you are happy with that kind of exegesis, I don’t have anything more to say.

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      19. Thanks for the conversation, John. I am not sure how I am being inconsistent. God knows events only as they exist. The future does not exist yet, so the events of the future can only be known based on God’s determination of them or non-determination of them. They can not all be known as completed unless God has pre-determined the future to be already completed in all its detail. The Scripture does not support the revelation of this kind of future, but one with some events pre-determined and many yet to be determined by God’s active and passive interactions with man.

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  6. Right on and amen. I’ll add that Paul’s purpose in writing this letter was much more focused on God’s plan in Christ for the church than on who gets saved. People like to focus on Ephesians 1:4 and debate election, but how often do you hear a teaching on the terms “mystery, plan, purpose and in Christ” from Ephesians? The mystery, plan and purpose Paul frequently speaks of has to do with his eternal plan in Christ for the Church. It’s all there, people just get too focused on 1:4-2:5.

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    1. Gene Brode, Jr writes, “Paul’s purpose in writing this letter was much more focused on God’s plan in Christ for the church than on who gets saved.”

      That is true as far as it goes. The question is whether Paul says even more than that in Ephesians 1 about the individual. Paul’s purpose in his letters is to build up believers. He does this by telling them something that God has done specifically for them – as individuals. In Ephesians 1, Paul says:

      – God chose you and me in Christ before the foundation of the world;
      – God predestinated you and me unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will;
      – You and I have redemption through Christ’s blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
      – God has abounded toward you and me in all wisdom and prudence;
      – God made known unto you and me the mystery of his will;
      – You and I have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of God who works all things after the counsel of his own will.

      In the end, we see Paul’s focus not on those who are saved. All this God did, “according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, ” and God did this before the foundation of the world. God knows His elect and He knew them before He created the world. By contrast are the reprobate of whom Christ says, “I never knew you.”

      Paul’s message; That which God did for me, He did for you also. How encouraging given who Paul was. There is a focus in Paul’s writings on the church, but Paul makes clear that God knows every person in the church.

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      1. Where is that edit feature when you need it?? It should read “In the end, we see Paul’s focus on those who are saved.

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  7. Once a person becomes one of the elect in Christ, which happens AFTER he personally and actively puts his trust in Christ, and God, seeing that trust, keeps His Word and joins that believer into the body of Christ, THEN that believer can say that he NOW has all the privileges promised to Christ, and to any future member added to His body, promised to the Son before creation.

    God was not bound by His nature to create a pre-determined human history that damns most of humanity made in His image! He freely chose, as Scripture clearly reads, to have a future of free interaction with those to be born in His image, according to a few predetermined ends, laws, and limits in agreement with HIs nature and for His glory in Christ!

    False definitions of His sovereignty and omniscience and mercy made by popular theologians that have undermined the plain teaching of Scripture have obviously harmed glorifying God and loving the lost as He has loved all of them (John 3:16-18, 1John 2:2). God invites all of them to His salvation! He is not making that offer as a LIE to the majority! “Today if you hear His voice, harden not your heart!”

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    1. brianwagner writes, “God was not bound by His nature to create a pre-determined human history that damns most of humanity made in His image!”

      God, who is omniscient, was not bound by His nature (His omniscience and omnipotence) to create humanity. Having made the decision to create humans, God naturally determined human history because He is omniscient and omnipotent.

      Even if you deny that God is omniscient with regard to the future actions of people, God still has the final say in what people do, so God necessarily determines what people do. This does not mean that God causes people to do those things they set out to do.

      An example: a vicious rapist plots and plans to take a young girl, do many evil things to her, and finally kill her. God is present with the rapist every step of the way. It is God, by virtue of His omnipotence, who has the final decision on whether the rapist will continue to carry out his plans – God must decide whether to intervene to stop the rapist from doing it. It is only because God decides that He will not stop the rapist that the rapist can do all the evil he desires. This happens in present time.

      Denying God knowledge of the future only changes the equation from pre-determines to determines. God still determines that part of humanity that will be damned as he has the power to confront those who reject Christ (as Saul of Tarsus was doing) and bring them to salvation. God has the final say on a person being damned. In the same fashion, Stephan is stoned but Peter is released from prison. It is God who determined that this was to be the way human history played out.

      God does not merely “invite” people to salvation, He commands them to “repent and believe the gospel.” If some refuse to do so, such as Saul of Tarsus, God can confront them and bring about their salvation. Or God can decide to do nothing so that the person stands before Him at the judgment to be cast into outer darkness. Denying God knowledge of the future does not change any of this.

      Do you also need to deny that God is sovereign by any reasonable definition of that term to get what you want? Seems like it.

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      1. If God is not bound to create human history in the first place, He is not bound to create it your defined way. And false definitions from uninspired sources concerning omniscience or sovereignty never trump the meaning God Himself as revealed in the normal reading of His Word! Please stop doing harm to the glory of God’s nature, His freedom, His mercy, and His truthfulness!

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      2. brianwagner writes, “If God is not bound to create human history in the first place, He is not bound to create it your defined way.”

        OK. Now take that one step further. God is not bound to create anything and not bound to create anything in any particular way. When God does decide to create, that which He creates is bound to be that which He decides it will be. Thus, God creates the world and rather than create all things alike, He creates some living things as birds that fly, some as fish that swim, and then God creates man, taking a rib from the man to create the woman. Everything is as God determines. After this, God sustains everything He created.

        God rules over His creation and does so absolutely. The rapist does not wake in the morning unless God decrees it; otherwise he dies in his sleep or rests in a coma. The winds blow and the rains fall where God tells them. Nothing happens independent of God or is hidden from Him and His rule. There is no harm done to God by rehearsing His sovereignty and His absolute control over all His creation.

        Even you recognize that man cannot be free from God unless God is less than that which the Scriptures depict Him to be. Thus, you need to take away His omniscience and finding that to be insufficient, you discover that you must take away His sovereignty – but only in your imagination because God is always God and will always be God despite what you or others might want Him to be.

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      3. Once again you are obfuscating the argument. God is determining things as we speak, whether actively or passively, and you even acknowledge this, that He determines to allow evil men to wake up another day. The Scriptures’ portrayal of His divine freedom to make such determinations makes impossible that everything was predetermined, no matter what false definitions of omniscience and sovereignty you choose to believe. His revealed glory is at stake!

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      4. brianwagner writes, “The Scriptures’ portrayal of His divine freedom to make such determinations makes impossible that everything was predetermined…”

        I don’t see a difference between predetermined (God knows the future) and determined (God knows the present) and you seem unable to articulate a difference. In either case, it is God who determines everything that happens – thus, the same result under predetermined or determined – and no one has figured out a concept of human freedom to get another outcome. Human freedom is constrained by God’s freedom which means that humans are free to do whatever God determines and nothing beyond that.

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      5. I hope and pray Rhutchin that you will become able to see the difference. Something pre-determined is already determined, it does not then become determined later at a future time, otherwise pre-determined is meaningless.

        It is correct to say, as you have – “Human freedom is constrained by God’s freedom which means that humans are free to do whatever God determines and nothing beyond that.” I would even add that human freedom is also constrained by the partial aspects of human history that were pre-determined before creation or that have been determined since creation. But since God is still making determinations, as indicated in Scripture, and as you have voiced, everything cannot logically have already been pre-determined before creation. Something cannot be pre-determined as well as yet to be determined!

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    2. My dear friend and brother’
      I just woke up out of a complete deep sleep and I am unable to go back to sleep. Frustrating. You know why.

      My eyes landed on this and inquiry minds want to know (remember I think this is fun) so let’s keep it fun and light hearted; Plus I am leaning.

      You said: “Once a person becomes one of the elect in Christ, which happens AFTER he personally and actively puts his trust in Christ, and God, seeing that trust, keeps His Word and joins that believer into the body of Christ, THEN that believer can say that he NOW has all the privileges promised to Christ, and to any future member added to His body, promised to the Son before creation.”

      Within God’s word, when does this happen? That is a person becomes one of the elect after he personally through his free-will repents and has trust in Christ? Mainly just that part of the quote. I am not to concerned about the rest. I am trying to understand the non-calvinist and one thing you told me what makes them tick. So please evidence of this happening through God’s word?

      Thanks Brian

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      1. Good morning Kevin. Sorry you couldn’t sleep. Matthew 22:1-14 is the clearest passage in my view to answer your question about being individually elected during life when one personally believes. And it is a passage that I think gives the Calvinist some difficulty.

        The word “chosen” comes after the word “called” in verse 14. And this order fits with the whole natural reading of the parable which is about being invited first and then ending up among the chosen. The Calvinist also for some reason does not recognize the importance of the present tense in Jesus words.

        Jesus is not saying, “Many have been called, but only few have been chosen,” which would fit nicely with Calvinist theology if Jesus had said that. But He said, “Many ARE called, but few ARE chosen,” not because of some predetermined selection made in God’s mind before creation, but for another reason.

        It is because as Jesus Himself affirmed earlier in Matthew 9:37, “The harvest is truly plentiful, but the labourers are few…” This is so convicting! The harvest is truly plentiful! Many more need to called so that many more can join the chosen.

        One final thought… this parable also clearly shows, and the Calvinist and I totally agree, that becoming one of the chosen is not based on accepting the invitation… but on putting on the wedding garment provided! Being clothed in the righteousness of God! Praise His Name!

        I am glad you have taken the posture for now to ask pointed questions about what was said. You should certainly feel free to add with each question a brief comment why you are asking the question. That reason for your question would show where you are in your understanding.

        Hope you feel better today!

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      2. Brian I am going to answer this on the page at soteriology101 at the bottom of the page where you can reply. I hate replying where this little bell notifier is. And I do not see a reply right after your response on the page it appears on. So it will be at the bottom

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      3. brianwagner writes, “[Jesus] said, “Many ARE called, but few ARE chosen,” not because of some predetermined selection made in God’s mind before creation, but for another reason.”

        Many can be taken to mean “all” in this case. All are called to salvation – the command of God is to “Repent and believe the gospel.” As John Owen might say, it is the duty of all people to repent and believe. Are all saved – Do all repent and believe? Apparently not from what other Scriptures tell us. The few who are saved are described as being chosen. How are they “chosen”? This particular Scripture does not tell us, does it?

        That God is the one who chooses from among the many called to salvation is one way to explain why only some are saved and not all.

        Then, “this parable also clearly shows, and the Calvinist and I totally agree, that becoming one of the chosen is not based on accepting the invitation… but on putting on the wedding garment provided! ”

        Who, in the sense of the parable, provides the wedding garment? It can only be the king (God) whose servants gathered up people and brought them to the wedding as the banquet was ready. It is here that they would then be provided the wedding clothes by the king. Note the reaction of the guest who did not have the proper clothes, “The man was speechless.” That man was clueless but still thrown out. Pretty harsh.

        We can kinda understand the people who initially rejected the invitation – they represent Israel (except God dd not destroy them). The second group invited could represent the Gentiles. The wedding garments represent faith and this is not provided to the one guest who is then thrown out (apparently through no fault of his own).

        It’s an interesting parable but somewhat difficult to explain fully.

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      4. Another theological Freudian slip Roger! You affirmed that God “chooses” after that call. Though you also want to say the choice was before creation… that is a contradiction Calvinists like to live with.

        And the garment is not faith, for only God’s righteousness makes us accepted in His presence, but we must not reject it, when it is offered. The man in the parable freely did reject it evidently!

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      5. brianwagner writes, “Another theological Freudian slip Roger! You affirmed that God “chooses” after that call. Though you also want to say the choice was before creation… that is a contradiction Calvinists like to live with.”

        I know. As I said before, it’s a method that I use to help people understand what God has done. This is especially so for people like you who don’t think God is omniscient. If I said that the choice was before creation, it would be like Paul yelling out, “I am a Pharisee and believe in the resurrection” and you would have gotten sidetracked.

        Then, “And the garment is not faith, for only God’s righteousness makes us accepted in His presence, but we must not reject it, when it is offered.”

        God’s (or Christ’s) righteousness is through faith – Romans 5:1: …being justified by faith…” You know, the whole Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness in Romans 3. The garment of righteousness is put on by faith.

        Finally, “The man in the parable freely did reject it evidently!”

        Then, why does Christ describe him as being speechless when asked in a non-threatening way, “‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’” Could he not have been portrayed to say, “Oh, I am so very sorry! Let me explain…” Speechless suggests an uh-oh moment when one realizes that he has screwed up royally.

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    1. I think there is sufficient biblical evidence that one comes to be in Christ when they respond to the gospel call (see Eph 1:12-14). Even Jesus put the order as calling then chosen (Matt. 22:14).

      But I think what you are asking is how the phrase “before the foundation of the world” in Eph 1:4 relates to Paul saying “chosen us in Him…that we should be holy and blameless before Him.” The best way to understand this would be to picture one righteous Jew saying to another righteous Jew, “Isn’t it a blessing that we were chosen in Abraham before Israel was a nation to dwell with the Messiah in the Promised Land when He comes!” They were not chosen as individuals back then, but are speaking anachronistically since they are a part of the seed promised the blessing given to Abraham individually back then.

      Paul is not talking about being chosen as an individual in Christ before creation as the spiritual blessing, but being chosen in Christ to be blameless and holy before God. The emphasis is not chosen to be in Christ, but chosen in Christ to be!

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      1. brianwagner writes, “Paul is not talking about being chosen as an individual in Christ before creation as the spiritual blessing, but being chosen in Christ to be blameless and holy before God. The emphasis is not chosen to be in Christ, but chosen in Christ to be!”

        As you say, Paul is talking about, “…being chosen in Christ to be blameless and holy before God.” In addition, this “being chosen” was before the foundation of the world.

        However, Paul says to those to whom he writes (who are certainly believers) that God has blessed us – i.e., God has blessed you and me. By writing, “us,” Paul has brought it down to the individual level. Any individual who is a believer should read Ephesians 1 as a personal message to him – “Grace be to you,..[God has] blessed [you] with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: [God chose you] in him before the foundation of the world,…”

        Contrary to what you explain, we should, instead, read Ephesians as God having chosen each one of us, who are His elect, individually in Christ before the foundation of the world.

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      2. “I think there is sufficient biblical evidence that one comes to be in Christ when they respond to the gospel call (see Eph 1:12-14). Even Jesus put the order as calling then chosen (Matt. 22:14).”

        this only shows the means in which God has chosen to carry out the purpose he planned out from the beginning in saving those he chose. again, God is the God of the ends and the means.

        “Paul is not talking about being chosen as an individual in Christ before creation as the spiritual blessing, but being chosen in Christ to be blameless and holy before God. The emphasis is not chosen to be in Christ, but chosen in Christ to be!”

        except that’s not what the text says.

        we are chosen(by God) in Him, before existence for romans 8:29-30. we are “in Him” because we were chosen to be in Him.

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    1. Hi Yudo,

      Again Eph 1:4 does not say or even emphasize “chosen to be in Him”, but rather “chosen in Him” to be…” The simple answer concerning God’s knowledge of people that will be in Christ is that when in comes to the future God knows it as fully as He freely chooses to know it! He definitely knows the future fully as it truly exists in His mind, based on all the things He has predetermined in combination with all the things He has left undetermined as true possibilities.

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      1. brianwagner writes, “He definitely knows the future fully as it truly exists in His mind, based on all the things He has predetermined in combination with all the things He has left undetermined as true possibilities.”

        Then you have no complaint against the Calvinists who say that God has predetermined all things and left nothing undetermined – just one of many possible outcomes that you must reasonably accommodate. The questions then is whether God would actually leave anything undetermined – beyond those few things you would identify as undetermined (or have you just misunderstood what God has said about those things as they relate to His omniscience).

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  8. “The simple answer concerning God’s knowledge of people that will be in Christ is that when in comes to the future God knows it as fully as He freely chooses to know it!”

    i don’t follow,

    God is omniscient. in order to be this God must know the future fully and accurately and has no choice but to know it fully and accurately or else he is no longer omniscient.

    ” He definitely knows the future fully as it truly exists in His mind, based on all the things He has predetermined in combination with all the things He has left undetermined as true possibilities.”

    you’ll need to explain how this is possible before you can assert it with any validity.

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    1. Hi Yudo, You believe, I assume, though I have not yet seen clear biblical evidence in support of this idea, that God predetermined everything before creation for human history forever, including His own decisions in it. Though logically it may have been possible for Him to choose to create such a future, and therefore He would know it that way, the Scripture indicates a future that is partially predetermined (as evidenced by predictions) and partially underdetermined (as evidenced by conditional statements). Since He determined the future of human history and His involvement in it to be that way, that is the way He knows it! I hope that clarifies it a little better for you of what I was trying to say.

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  9. I understand this “chose us in Him” to be election language. Basically you can say things that are true of the head of the group, as true of the group and even true of individuals of the group. For instance later in Ephesians Paul says we are seated in the heavenly places. Anyone can look around and know he currently isn’t seated there. But Christ is there, and what is true of Him is true of us. Correct?

    If that’s a correct way to understand it, the way Paul speaks on occasion, my question becomes where does this language occur elsewhere. For example when he says that we are dead to sin (I can into my own heart and see that I’m not, look around at other Xtians and see they are not), is that the same language usage as the Ephesians 1 language usage? How far does it go?

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  10. A very good exegesis of the text, but here’s your problem – we’d never choose Him! The only thing we choose is sin. Look at the next chapter. Ephesians 2:1 “You were dead in the trespasses and sins.” What were we following? The prince of the power of the air. If we are following the prince of the power of the air, what changes? His choice of us (1:4, 11) determines our choice of Him (1:12-13). There is now ay around it – we were hostile and unable to submit to Him (Rom. 8:7) and thus our belief in Him (1:13) is dependent upon our hearing the gospel (1:13), our hope in Christ (1:12) DUE TO His purpose and His will (1:5, 11) and His choice (1:4). Yes, we are responsible and yes He chooses us when we could not choose Him (2:5-6). Blessings. Keith

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    1. Hi Ekbeck77! But what if God enables everyone to choose through His gracious enlightenment and conviction (John 1:9, 16:7-8), but not irresistibly? Why does His choice of us as individuals have to be seen as prior to our choice of Him, especially when His choice of certain individuals is mentioned and illustrated as being after His call of them as individuals (cf. Matt 22:14). We did not exist as individuals before creation, but the Son existed. He was chosen by the Godhead to form a group joined to Him that would stand holy and blameless before God at the judgment (1:4).

      We became a part of that group as individuals when we heard (with the enabling of God’s enlightenment and conviction) and then freely believed the gospel. We could have rejected what we heard (cf. Heb 3:7-8). But now that we are in Christ we can truly say that we were chosen in Him before creation to be blameless, not we were chosen before creation as individuals to be in Him.

      Paul is speaking anachronistically. He did not exist as an individual to be chosen before creation, only Christ did. Picture two Jewish believers in the Millennium, and one says to the other, “We were chosen in Abraham before the creation of Israel to be citizens of this great Kingdom.” That is the same kind of rhetorical expression Paul was making in Eph 1:4. The spiritual blessing Paul is discussing in 1:4 is the holy and blameless standing in Christ, not the individual election in Christ of a few and the damnation of many. I hope this helps.

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    2. When God created man with a visible physical body with an Invisible soul and spirit God in His Sovereignty gave man through the use of his soul the ability to understand, respond and exercise a free choice. The very makeup of man’s soul, which is Mind Emotion and Will, is man’s God given ability to either receive or reject God’s Truth.
      Understanding how God made man’s body to function is important to this conversation on man’s ability or inability to respond to God.
      God made man to function by being influenced by an outside source..God intended for that outside source to be Him. But God has allowed there to be another outside source that can also influence man. That other source is satan.
      Who we yield ourselves to determines our choice of who Masters our lives…

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      1. Paul writes in Romans, “…The mind of sinful man is death…the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God…if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die;…”

        The unsaved have a corrupt heart and are slaves to sin – thereby sin is their freely (within the constraints of their slavery) chosen master. It is only after God gives the person a new heart that he is then able to choose his master and because of faith, he chooses Christ to be his master.

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    1. Hi Segun! Great question! Looking to define the eternity of God’s life is important to this dialog about election! Definitions, I believe, must flow from Scripture, not to it from philosophy.

      Therefore, I believe Scripture clearly gives a reality of God’s eternal life as sequential, from everlasting to everlasting (Ps 90:2), an infinite series of befores and afters. The philosophical ideas of timeless or above time as expressions of God’s eternity are not something God has revealed in Scripture. And certain Scriptures have to be “stretched” to be made to fit those ideas.

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      1. Brian,
        You sinfully blaspheme the infinite understanding of Almighty God. I believe you do it unwittingly because of your Open Theism Bent

        Psalm 147:5New King James Version (NKJV)

        5 Great is our Lord, and mighty in power;
        His understanding is infinite.

        This verse easily tells us God’s understanding is infinite, meaning having not limits, by implication Knowledge inexhaustible, and as I sais this is by implication means also his knowledge and wisdom. i will study the knowledge of God more to show you from His word that open theism is terribly wrong and causes you to do imaginary exegesis.

        Romans 11:36New King James Version (NKJV)

        33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!

        34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord?
        Or who has become His counselor?”[i]

        35 “Or who has first given to Him
        And it shall be repaid to him?”[j]

        36 For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.

        Tell me, what is there that is existing that is not of God and for His glory. The plain exegesis is all things,are existing because of God, through God and for His Glory.

        1 Corinthians 8:6 New King James Version (NKJV)

        6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live

        Once again, there is one God the Father, “of whom are all things”

        .Bringing Many Sons to Glory
        10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

        It seems to me Brian all things exist because of God and for God’s glory, and he upholds all things by the word of His power. You seem to think He (God) is all together like one of us.

        Answer me this Brian, I know you will have an answer for the easy plain to understand verses I posted above. But why is it all the reformed scholars disagree with you. You are right and they are all wrong.

        Before you answer, you think long and hard about Psalms 147:5

        Psalm 147:5New King James Version (NKJV)

        5 Great is our Lord, and mighty in power;
        His understanding is infinite.

        His understanding has no bounds which by implication includes God;s knowledge and Wisdom

        There is nothing God does not know and he has always knew the past, present and future at the same time,

        I know you think God did not know who would be created, if they would sin for certain, you knew it would be possible, so Christ was made the Open Theism contingency plan. I also you think time was never created. Prove that one from scripture.

        But you know what, this is God’s purpose and it has been in the mind of God from all eternity.

        Ephesians 3:11-16New King James Version (NKJV)

        11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him. 13 Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.

        But here is the verse I know the Open theist really hates:

        This verse speaking of Christ:

        1 Peter 1:20 Who (Christ) verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

        Jesus Christ our Savior foreordained before time, before the foundation of the world, from all eternity!!!!!! This is one you cannot twist your way out of. No philiphosphical sinful reasoning of of the human mind can get you past this one.

        This is why Ephesians has been properly understood by most as

        Ephesians 1:4New King James Version (NKJV)

        4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,

        The “blessings” are not the things that are “before the foundation of the world” Just like Sean Cole told you, that is terrible Greek. But I tell you it is terrible grammar. It is the “US” (the saints who are in Ephesus and believers/faithful in Christ and present believers and future sinners who will embrace Christ as their Savior) (all of theses are individual believing ones in Christ), who are chosen before the foundation of the world, meaning before time or creation began, being in the mind from all eternity.

        Well you still say no one existed to be elected. It is your unbiblical open theism that will not allow for God to elect individuals in Christ before the foundation of the world through is infinite understanding, knowledge and wisdom.

        You got your work cut out for you with Psalms 147:5 that declares the understanding of God is infinite meaning is knowledge is exhaustive. He is all knowing. Just like he knew Jeremiah before he formed him in the womb, (think about it, if God had not formed Jeremiah, so he was not existing, but God knew him) so the same power of of supernatural understanding happened at Ephesians 1:4. God chose or elected those in Christ (because through his infinite supernatural and exhaustive knowledge he knew all the”US” elected in Christ) predestined to be saved in time. Yes they were elected to holy and blameless before him and for many other blessings in Ephesians 1.

        Brian, you may not believe this because of the limitations you put on God’s knowledge and understanding which I believe to be unwittingly sinfully blaspheming God’s character and nature.

        His understanding is infinite, is knowledge is exhaustive, and Christ was foreordained before the foundation of the world, from all eternity in these last times you you/us

        Through God’s eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord. God purposed to save men in Christ, He elected them in Him to salvation to be favored and blessed with all spiritual blessings. Whether that is holiness, forgiveness of sins etc all according to the good pleasure of His will.

        oh man I almost forgot this verse,

        Collisions 2:2……… to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and[a] of Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

        Matthew 19:26 – 26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

        “WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE” THAT WOULD DEMAND BY IMPLICATION INFINITE UNDERSTANDING, EXHAUSTIVE KNOWLEDGE AND SUPERNATURAL WIDSOM.

        notice where ALL WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE IS TO BE FOUND, NOT IN HUMAN PHILIPHOSPHICAL OPEN THEISM REASONING

        iT IS TO BE FOUND IN Christ, all knowledge and wisdom, So it has to be infinite, supernatural and exhaustive.

        Brian you can try and refute this with Open Theism false teaching that many have called heresy, but I will not believe it. I will believe orthodox Christianity,

        No I must save to computer cause this will probably not get posted, I will post it on my wordpress Brian Reformedsoteriology101

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      2. rs101 writes, “I believe you do it unwittingly because of your Open Theism Bent”

        Actually, it is Brian’s free will bent that drives his philosophy. He figured out that free will, as the non-Calvinists want it, cannot work if God is omniscient in the classical sense (in the sense that Calvin, Arminius, and others of that time defined it). Brian will argue that he allows for God to be omniscient in knowing all future possible events but not in knowing the actual events that will occur. For example, God knows that Cain can murder Abel or not murder Abel but doesn’t know what Cain does until that event happens in the course of time. (At least, that is my understanding of Brian’s position.)

        Essentially, Brian is ahead of the pack, in a sense, on the free will issue but I don’t think that he has bought into the Open Theism agenda. He is a work in progress – but he understands the weakness of those who expound free will to oppose Calvinism and has come to the point where he can admit the obvious – If one accepts God to be omniscient in the Calvinist sense (which most non-Calvinist do), he has no real argument against Calvinism.

        Liked by 2 people

  11. HOW DOES ONE COME TO BE IN CHRIST

    Professor Leighton FLowers, I promise Sir, if you just direct me to another article, I will do the same, I have many at another site. 🙂 God bless my friend It will be an article war.

    How does one come to be “in Him?” Leighton confuses being “chosen or elected in Christ before the foundation of the world with experiencing eternal life/salvation in Christ in time/history. Ephesians 4:1, see my explanation of Ephesians 4:1 posted on here along with the Infinite Understanding of God Professor Leighton, His Exhaustive Knowledge and Supernatural Wisdom. “but with God all things are possible

    I want you to read what Hodge says Leighton on this issue because you are confused I mean that respectfully

    “The purpose of our election is very comprehensive. (Because God’s infinite understanding PS147:5, Exhaustive knowledge and supernatural wisdom) were all involved. God chose or elected us in Christ before the foundation of the world, from all eternity, how you say, (with God all things are possible, and that implies his infinite understanding, exhaustive knowledge and supernatural wisdom) If you say God cannot elect us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blame then you are limiting the the Almighty power of God, his infinite understanding and the exhaustive knowledge of God. You are saying all things are not possible with God. it was not the blessing that were from the foundation of the world, it was the “US” all the saints at Ephesus, believers in Christ jesus, believers now living in the present and those who will be saved in time/history. I point you to my post on here Leighton that talks about Election and the Understanding/Knowledge of God. I said I would let Hodge explain it to you but I have been doing all the writing. But let me conclude:

    As Hodge said above: “The purpose of our election is very comprehensive, it is the purpose of God to bring his people to holiness, sonship, and eternal glory. He never intended to do this irrespective of Christ. On the Contrary it was his purpose, as revealed in Scripture, to bring His people to these exalted privileges through a Redeemer. It was in Christ as their head and representative they were chosen to holiness and eternal life, and therefore in virtue of what he was to do in their behalf.

    Now don’t miss this Leighton:

    There is a federal union with Christ which is antecedent receding in time or order; previous or preexisting( to all actual union, and is the source of it) to all ACTUAL;UNION, AND IS THE SOURCE OF IT. God gave a people to his Son in the covenant of redemption: John 6:37

    Those included in the covenant, and because they are included in it—-in other words, because they are in Christ as their head and representative ——-receive in time the gift of the Holy Spirit and all other benefits of redemption

    THEIR VOLUNTARY UNION WITH CHRIST BY FAITH, IS NOT THE GROUND OF THEIR FEDERAL UNION, BUT ON THE CONTRARY, THEIR FEDERAL UNION IS THE GROUND OF THEIR VOLUNTARY UNION. It is , therefore in Christ i.e. as united to him in the covenant of redemption, that the people of God are elected to eternal life and to all the blessings therewith connected…..THe carrying out or application of redemption is “ACCORDING TO THE ETERNAL PURPOSE WHICH HE PURPOSED IN CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD, GOD PURPOSED TO SAVE MEN.IN CHRIST. ELECTION IS UNTO SALVATION. God the Father elected sinners in Christ to salvation

    Again, election is from eternity.

    This verse separates perfectly for you:

    1 Peter 1:20- Who (Christ) verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

    There was Christ being foreordained (appointed and decreed beforehand) and the “US” (who I identified as the saints in ephesus and faithful in Christ and present day believers and those who in time/history will come to faith, all INDIVIDUALS) chosen or elected in Christ (federal union) but Christ was manifest ion these last days for the audience Paul is writing to, present day believers and those who will come to faith (actual union), Because as John 6:37 says, “all the Father gives to me will come to me, and I in no wise will cast them out.

    Praise to the Glory of His Grace
    He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains proves that he has no brains of his own. Charles Haddon Spurgeon
    Kevin

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    1. RHUTCHIN,
      Thank you for your response, As you can tell I am new at this and maybe said some things about Brian in my Post that are not true. Brian and i are friends, although I think he is a little frustrated with me right now.

      Could you look at my post and tell me where I am wrong about Brian so I can apologize. I also did not call Brian a full Open Theist. I only said he seems to have a bent in that direction. I first noticed it in some PM we were having and I ended the emails saying, “unless you are an open theist” I put the bait out there and Brian did not bite or tell me that he as you said (was a work in progress) but I knew something did not seem right from some of the answers he gave me.

      Now on the flip side. I have learned a great amount from this man. He is very gentle,l patient, godly and forgiving.

      So Please check my post on here and leave a reply where I was wrong about Brian.

      Brian I apologize publicly for indirectly or even directly calling you an Open Thest.

      Brian what are you then?

      Rhutchin, could you tell me if Open Theism in it’s full form and thrust is a heresy please?

      Rhutchin, is there anything dangerous and harmful to Brian’s beliefs that the saints of God need to be aware of.

      Thanks

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      1. Brian believes in free will. He has also realized that God’s omniscience affects how we view free will which Calvinism recognizes. I think Brian is looking for a solution to the free will problem that non-Calvinists encounter if they agree with the Calvinists on omniscience. He is an honest broker. I thought your reply contained a lot of points that Brian will have to address as he works through the kinks of his thinking. Most have already been raised but your repetition doesn’t hurt anything.

        I think that Open Theism is the product of irrational thinking. Is it heresy? Tough to say – only because everybody works through goofy thinking at some time in their study of the Scriptures. I think Open Theism is the product of a “publish or perish” mentality that forces people to try to come up with something new. It happens.

        I thought your opening comment, “You sinfully blaspheme the infinite understanding of Almighty God,” a little strong.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Yes thinks for mentioning it again, I mean the way I opened my post with Brian. That was uncalled for. I know I hurt Brian because we are friends and with tears in my eyes I wrote my pm of apology and forgiveness. Thanks for mentioning it again though. Through the providence of God the Lord wants me to know to be gentle and speak to other with kindness. You do that well RHUTCHIN. So does Brian, he is such a kind, gentle man who I hurt and still feel guilty about even though he has forgiven and I have ask God to forgive me. Let me tell you about this man, I hurt him and he still counseled me in the word about the condemnation and guilt I was feeling. He told to focus on the promise of God’ forgiveness to and cleansing to all who ask him. He forgave me instantly. Brian has had a tremendous sanctifying influence on me. Even though I am a Calvinist.

    You said and I quote: I think that Open Theism is the product of irrational thinking. Is it heresy? Tough to say – only because everybody works through goofy thinking at some time in their study of the Scriptures. I think Open Theism is the product of a “publish or perish” mentality that forces people to try to come up with something new. It happens.

    It really seems to limit God in so many ways, i guess because I am saying this is a Calvinist. But you will not believe how much this man Brian has taught me (not open theism) but other things in the word. Mostly discussing the word on here and being Christlike while doing it. He will be the first to tell you he is not perfect at it., but I have learned now to re-read what I have wrote to see if Christ would be glorified and if I am attacking someone sinfully or judging them sinfully. He is a very Godly man, I know since I have interacted with him through PM.

    BTW: what is your take on Ephesians 1:4, Brian says it cannot be election of individuals because they do not exist yet?

    Anyway, I am still strong in my belief in Calvinism, although Brian and i discussed it a lot,l but most of all he is a godly man who loves the Lord whose friendship I value.

    Brian when you read this, I found an article you wrote on academia, very I was very impressed my friend.

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    1. rs101 writes, “It really seems to limit God in so many ways,…”

      It has to doesn’t it? The only arguments against Calvinism involve limiting God.

      Then, “BTW: what is your take on Ephesians 1:4, Brian says it cannot be election of individuals because they do not exist yet?”

      I think we are getting into that on the “Answering Calvinist Proof Texts” thread. Probably more action and more fun.

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  13. Ok I want to make this post interesting and exciting, There are those on here who do not believe anyone was elected before the foundation of the world because no one existed except the Godhead, So there was no one to choose from.

    Then there are Calvinist (I am one of them) who believe the elect were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. How did God KNOW Jeremiah before God formed Jeremiah in His mother’s womb. Before he was existing. If he knew Jeremiah before he ever existed can he not know the those He chose in Christ before the foundation of the world before they existed. God’s understanding is infinite (past present and future) “if you disagree the burden of proof is on you” and is knowledge is exhaustive and nothing is to hard for God and nothing is impossible with a God whose understanding is infinite and knowledge exhaustive. Psalms 147:5

    Colossians 2: of Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

    Tell me what wisdom and knowledge are not in Christ, The above verse says all wisdom and knowledge are in Christ, Including Past before it become past or it cannot be all wisdom and Knowledge in Christ and God’s understanding cannot be infinite, beyond measure Psalms 147:5

    Also read my above article on this page answering Leighton Flowers about how does one get into Christ

    Then jump over to Alpha and Omega Ministries, Dr. White did a Podcast on a few verse in 1 John on being 1 John 5:1 and some comments made by Leighton Flowers on the false teaching faith preceding regeneration. It was very technical as he went very deep into the Greek and showing weakness made by the comments made by Professor Flowers. I expected an anti-James White PodCast by now. Professor Flowers you are slowing down. I was very surprised to see Dr. White address Leighton again, and the thing about it, even if Leighton makes a Podcast, Dr. White will probably pay no attention to it. Dr. White really feels he has nothing to prove after the Romans 9 debate. Although, and I hope,and really wish he would stick around for a while, but he feels Professor Flowers only thinks he is right and will cannot be corrected after that disastrous debate on Romans 9 where Leighton danced and preached all over the bible, but still thinks he practiced biblical exegesis. Dr.White does not take him seriously, as he sees Professor Flowers to much entrenched in tradition.

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    1. Hi Kevin, I guess the Lord wanted you to come back into this discussion. Welcome back! Thank you also for the compliment on the article you read of mine posted on Academia.edu. Which one? Did you see my critique of Owen’s limited atonement view from his book Death of Death?

      You already know what I think of infinite understanding. God has it, we don’t! 🙂 But my understanding of it seems to fit the normal reading of Scripture than the Calvinist with His immutable omniscience that makes God have no free-will and His interaction in the Godhead impossible.

      As for 1 John 5:1, Here’s what I sent to Leighton on the subject the other day –
      Basically the present tense in Greek for the word “believes” is emphasizing the description of someone is who is born again, that is – they keep on believing. It is not teaching how one becomes born again, nor is it eliminating the truth that an act of faith of some kind happens before the new birth. Though a casual inference that any kind of believing can only start after being born again is possible in this verse, it is not necessary. Putting non-stop “believing” as a result of the new birth fits better with the purpose of the book, which is emphasizing how one knows they have been born again, not teaching how one becomes born again, which was the purpose of the Gospel (20:30-31). In that verse “by believing” one should life in His name, which certainly makes the casual inference that believing is before getting everlasting life.

      One of the evidences of being born again according to John in this verse (5:1) is continuing in the faith! Those who promote easy believe-ism, to the point of their saying that someone who had professed the true gospel is still saved even after taking a stand against the gospel have to deal with this verse. And Calvinists who try to push from this verse the grammatically possible casual inference that believing only starts after the new birth have to deal with the direct contradiction of that inference with John 1:12, and with so many other verses that have personal faith being expressed before the actual event of salvation takes place. Of course, they just say there are two “regenerations”, one of the will and then one of new life… but that is really a stretch and twisting of Scripture! For the Scripture never indicates there are two regenerations connected with personal salvation!

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  14. Hey Brian,
    I think so, I am just really hard on myself. I did what you said though and I meditated and prayed on 1 John 1:9 and began to see the forgiving grace of Christ and His cleansing blood. I also found out that I do not need any of this modern day pop psychology of “forgiving yourself” that is no where taught in God’s word. God’s grace is sufficient and his merciful forgiveness is all i need.Once it became a reality in my mind and spirit I felt release and joy I still thank the I one I hurt and sinned against is the one who counseled me in God’s word. Brian I said it before and i say it again, good for and probably bad for you, but you definitely have a sanctifying influence on me. Yes I am back, but not to the extreme I once was, It will be now and then. I so wish I could get rid of that post, but there will always be consequences for our actions. God bless you Brian I hope you and your family is doing well.

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    1. Omgosh Brian,
      you know me enough to know, I know John Owen, One of my heroes. I know you were probably critiquing him, but you also know I have an open mind and I will carefully listen to what you have to say,. I did not download that one. Is there any way you can give a link to that. I would be soooooo interested in reading what you have to sa

      Thanks and God bless

      Did you listen to Dr. White on about 3 passages in 1 John on His Podcast (Radio Free Geneva) His focus is mainly on 1 John 5: and some comments made by Professor Flowers (a godly man, no false humility here) on his false teaching on faith preceding regeneration. I know you do believe that also, but I am a big time believer of listening and reading to what others say and critique about your own system of belief. Dr. White was very respectful. I think you would really enjoy. He goes deeply into the Greek on all the verses. So you have to watch the show to get the full benefit. Someone like you will benefit more than I did.

      You do not have to listen to the whole podcast. He starts talking about Professor Flowers and 1 John 5:1 about 39 Minutes into the podcast. I would love your feedback if you have time.

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      1. Kevin, You will have to give me the link to that White podcast. I couldn’t find it googling it. I have read White’s interpretation of that verse, I believe. And as you saw my response above, I am not denying that White’s interpretation is grammatically possible to have his meaning, but it is not grammatically necessary, nor does it fit with the context of 1John, or the purpose of that epistle, and his interpretation creates obvious tension with many other NT verses that put faith before the moment of salvation, like John 1:12, 20:31, Eph 1:13-14. Here is the link to my Academia site, and the Owens review is under my Book Reviews section – https://vbc.academia.edu/BrianWagner Let me know what you think. 🙂

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      2. Kevin, I did find it, and watched most of the portion from 1John. My position is still the same. John is truly pointing to what characteristics will be seen in the born again person’s life, which White points out clearly… they will be practicing righteous, practicing love, and practicing belief in the fact that Jesus is the Christ. The book was written so that a person could have assurance that they are saved (5:13). They should look to see if those things are real in their lives.

        But none of those three passages make it necessary to believe that an unsaved man could not be enabled by the grace of God to do some of these things, even though none of those things would please God for salvation, for works, even after salvation are not meritorious for salvation, to keep one saved for instance, but they do merit rewards for God’s glory. You and I talked about Cornelius in length. Do you remember? He was fearing God and doing righteousness (Acts 10:35), but had not yet had his heart purified by faith (Acts 15:8-9).

        White not only misrepresents this verse when he tries to prove faith ONLY comes after new birth, he also misrepresent Leighton’s argument from 5:10. Leighton clearly ends his post in full agreement with what White taught is clearly John’s meaning, that those born again will practice belief that Jesus is the Christ. But it is White’s tradition that will not allow him to see that the Greek construction in 5:10 show that a perfect verb does not have to make a present participle’s action impossible to be exercised before the action of that verb.

        It was interesting to me that White ignored the use of the perfect for “born again” that he showed was also in Gal 4:23 – “But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise.” The new birth is through believing in the promise, in other words, after hearing the promise and believing in it. See how Paul describes it in Gal 3:22 – “But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.”

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      3. I believe Dr,White makes it clear enough through the Greek of what I could understand that through the 3 verses he used that because of one being born again they are enabled to be doing, practicing righteousness. Are we to say as Catholic Church of Rome says that works of righteousness enable us to be born again. Then Dr. White’s next verse, said plainly that because one has been born again, (made alive in Christ Jesus) they love the brethren. Not the other way around, you love the the brethren and then you get born again. Then in 1 JOhn 5:1 same Greek construction as the other two verses we read: 1 John 5:1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. It reads just like the other Greek construction and grammar of the other two verses. WHOEVER BELIEVES OR IS BELIEVING THAT JESUS IS THE CHRIST (HAS BEEN BORN OF GOD) Clearly, plainly it states that the one who is believing that Jesus is the Christ, has been (past tense) born of God. It does not say and would be forcing it to do so, to say that “those believing that Jesus is the Christ is why they are born of God. THat is to turn this verse and all three others on their heads. I think there is some tradition blinding Leighton and you Brian from the truth here. If a school boy like me can see it, then definitely scholars like you and Leighton can surely see it. Tell me why Dr. White is wrong in His understanding of the Greek instead of just coming back and asserting it.You explained in a manner that you thought I would just accept and move on. Not here. it is just ot clear that you are wrong on this issue. You said “Kevin I still believe the same”. Show me why thoroughly, Dr. White did a thorough job interacting with these texts of scriptures although you complain you do not agree with him. Why? You know Greek right, attack in a respectful manner because here is why. The one proof verse you gave proves nothing and illuminates nothing concerning the in depth Greek Grammar and Construction Dr. White did on these verses. But I see it without the Greek. Your proof text 1 John 5:23 – I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. The believing on the Son of God is just the fruit or evidence that they have eternal life,(it is assurance of salvation) but it says nothing about faith preceding regeneration and was not meant to do so. It does nothing to illuminate the three verses Dr. White used. I think it was there so they would be encouraged and continuing believing. But nothing about faith preceding or causing regeneration. I am confused which verse did Dr. White misrepresent? I seriously doubt White white misrepresented, probably just a difference of opinion. I will listened to 5:10 again and see if white misrepresents leighton understanding who i will also check again. But the first three verses cannot be denied, unless you are blinded by tradition and I think Leighton is or he would see what a school boy like me so easily can see. Brian, I have no problem with Galatians 3:22:23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed, but they also had to be drawn to Christ as John 6:44 says. No one can come (speaking of inability, not of a neutral free will) unless the Father draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day. The drawing effectual power of God Almighty that enables some one who cannot come or have faith (synonymous) and the same him God will raise up on the last day. Even John the Baptist was regenerated, quickened, made alive from the time he was born and he never heard the words of the Gospel. But the moment he did he started believing moving in the prophetic mission he was given to do by God. Galatians 3:22 does not say :the new birth is though believing” that is your tradition.No where does it even mention it. Your tradition it making you see it there Brian. Well I know everyone thinks they have the perfect ironclad handle on the Greek but I in no way see how Galatians 4:22-23 through faith giving any indication or proof of faith proceeding or quickening and making anyone alive in Christ. Of course we are converted through faith in Christ but that comes though Regeneration, being made alive in Christ producing faith and repentance within us. Even as 1 John 5:1 says so clearly,

        If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.

        It reads, “everyone doing righteousness practicing righteousness, (present tense) “has been born of God”(Past Tense) Any Honest man will see plainly that the doing of righteousness is because one has been born of God.(Past Tense)

        John 4: 7 Beloved, let us love one another, because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.

        Honestly which comes first the love or the being born again. An honest man would read “Everyone who loves or is loving the brethren (present tense) “has been born of God” (Past Tense)

        1 John 5:1- Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.

        Everyone who believes, or is in a present state of believing, believing ones (present tense) has been born of God. (Past Tense) Any Honest man of God will admit that the being “born of God” (Past Tense) precedes and results in one believing in Christ Jesus. (continuous present tense)

        I would say as a result of being born from above, from the Spirit who gives life (John 6:63) is in a continuous present tense of doing righteousness, loving the brethren and believing in Christ Jesus, believing ones

        So when one is born again, he is doing righteousness, loving the brethren and believing in Christ Jesus.

        Not the other way around.

        When one doing righteousness, and is loving the brethren and believing in Christ Jesus he is born of God. Nonsense. Hog wash. Away with such a thought, God forbid and may such a thing never be,

        Like I said, any honest man, can easily see what a school boy like myself sees in these three verses above. Even your other complaints which may just be your tradition or a difference on how one sees the Greek do not confuse and complicate and take away the easily plain meaning of these three verses. Although I will watch Dr. White again to see where he misrepresents Professor Leighton. You do realize Dr. White was was showing by using those three verses from 1 John where Leighton had been misrepresenting the God of the scriptures. No honest man can see these verses any different unless they are so in bondage and blinded to their tradition or just violently refuse to let go of it

        God Bless
        Kevin

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      4. Your many words, Kevin, give evidence to what may be your frustration. White, Leighton, and myself agree that these verses in 1John mean these are the RESULTS of being born again. These three results will be practiced and never stop in the life of a child of God, though they still sin too, but they don’t practice sin anymore.

        But these three verses do not teach how one is born again, but White wants to imply that personal faith has no part, based on a verse that is not teaching HOW one is born again. One is not born again by practicing faith in the FACT that Jesus is the Christ, but God does give the new birth when one displays trust IN the Lord Jesus Christ while God is convicting that person’s heart. And once born again, that person will never stop believing the fact THAT Jesus is his Savior.

        White talked a lot about hermenteutics, and some very good stuff about Greek exegesis. I was not impressed, however, by his characterizations of those who do not hold to monergism. It is his unwillingness to try to believe how it is possible, and fits with Scripture, that God did not select individuals for salvation before creation, that makes him turn unnecessary inferences into dogma from verses like 1John 5:1. He should have admitted that his point was only an inference from this verse… and not a necessary one based just on three these verses that we’re not teaching how to be born again.

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  15. I am going to take a shot at this Brian, More just to see if I understand you philosophy on Ephesians 1:43

    Brian said and I quote: “But my point is that Paul is not assuming any individual election of anyone as if they “were” to be saved, but is saying “chose us in Him” as someone who is now saved and now sees all the benefits guaranteed to anyone who is now in Christ, because these benefits were guaranteed to Christ before creation.”

    Brian is saying, “chosen in Christ” is as if someone now is saved, and they are guaranteed a blessing/blessings that are “before the foundation of the world” such as Holy and without blame in Him. (Although there are many more blessing than holy and without blame in Ephesians 1) So Brian is talking about those who are already saved and become holy and without blame before Him

    Brian said and I quote: “The emphasis is not chosen to be in Christ, but chosen in Christ to be!”

    My bible does not say we were ‘CHOSEN IN CHRIST TO BE’ and I know you mean holy and without blame, but you have to change the wording there to make it say what you want it to say. You are reading into the text I believe Brian, Ephesians 1:4 says:

    4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,

    It says “just as “He chose us in Him, your grammar and terminology seems to be mixed up on this verse Brian. It seems forced instead of just flowing with the divine revelation God’s has given us.

    As far a Rutdhin doing this: So there was no rebuttal to the fact that Paul was speaking anachronistically. Read my post above about “HOW DOES ONE GET INTO CHRIST” It does rebut your anachronistically term and i think quite well.

    Brian said and I quote: “Again Eph 1:4 does not say or even emphasize “chosen to be in Him”, but rather “chosen in Him” to be”

    Your right Brian it does not and was not meant to be. Look at the verse again

    4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,

    It says and I quote: “just as He (God) chose/elected (US) “in HIM” (Christ)

    Whether you see it or not we were chosen or elected in Christ by the very God of heaven

    When did this happen, (it tells us in the very next phrase) (NO WHERE DOES IT SAY THAT THE NEXT PHRASE IS TALKING ABOUT SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS, THAT IS MAN-CENTERED MADE UP HUMAN PHILOSOPHY) Firm yes, but I promise you Brian and you know it is true I say it with the utmost respect.,

    God (CHOSE US IN HIM) “WHEN” (BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, BEFORE TIME BEGAN, BEFORE CREATION BEGAN, IT WAS IN THE MIND OF GOD FROM ALL ETERNITY. Even as God KNEW Jeremiah BEFORE he formed him in his mother’s womb, before Jeremiah even existed, God knew him completely and intimately. through his infinite understanding, his exhaustive that is infinite (knowing no boundaries, meaning his understanding covers the past, present and future all at the same time or it is not limited. This thing that God does not know something is past until is it is past is nonsense, and needs to be proven from Holy Scripture. They very thinking of it is going “beyond the bounds the Name of John Piper’s book. I told you Brian that I had started reading that book and it was not grasping my attention, now it has. Also John Frame book called, “No other God” I believe is going to be a good one. I am also reading Stephen Charnock “on God’s Knowledge” a classic. It is going to make for some great comments and questions on here.

    Election of individuals is from eternity, the only way I think we can say it is not possible is if we are saying God’s understanding is not infinite, beyond measure, His knowledge is not exhaustive, meaning all wisdom and knowledge is not found in Christ Jesus

    of Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:3 All knowledge all wisdom, meaning all kinds and past, present and future.

    Why is it hard to understand how God elected the saints in Ephesus, the faithful/believers in Christ Jesus, present believers and future sinners who will embrace Christ in faith and salvation because they also have been elected in Him for His good pleasure and the fact that he works all thinks according to and for His will. Not our willl

    Romans 11: 33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!

    34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord?
    Or who has become His counselor?”[i]
    35 “Or who has first given to Him
    And it shall be repaid to him?”[j]
    36 For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen

    if we could just get Romans 11:33-36 in our minds and spirits we would no He is God and we are not and that

    nothing is to hard for him and that all things are possible with God almighty who is all powerful, His understanding is beyond our comprehension

    not only that, 1 Samuel 2:3 says: .

    “Boast no more so very proudly, Do not let arrogance come out of your mouth; For the LORD is a God of knowledge, And with Him actions are weighed

    Do your home word here, it says (THE LORD IS A GOD OF KNOWLEDGE) The word knowledge is actually plural and should read, “THE LORD IS A GOD OF KNOWLEDGES” meaning he possesses it all. Past, present and future all at the same time. Why do we so want to limit God?

    You see God’s knowledges are perfect also meaning God is the author of all Knowledge but we those who want to strip Our Lord of these attributes.

    So, “just as we were chosen, “picked out” , or elected (yes you can say picked out here) before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and blameless before him

    I have never seen salvation and redemption come without the blessings in Christ also. So when one is elected to salvation and that God the Father executes that salvation in time they receive all the spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ.

    HOW DOES ONE GET INTO CHRIST

    How does one come to be “in Him?” Leighton confuses being “chosen or elected in Christ before the foundation of the world with experiencing eternal life/salvation in Christ in time/history. Ephesians 4:1, see my explanation of Ephesians 4:1 posted on here along with the Infinite Understanding of God Professor Leighton, His Exhaustive Knowledge and Supernatural Wisdom. “but with God all things are possible

    I want you to read what Hodge says Leighton on this issue because you are confused I mean that respectfully

    “The purpose of our election is very comprehensive. (Because God’s infinite understanding PS147:5, Exhaustive knowledge and supernatural wisdom) were all involved. God chose or elected us in Christ before the foundation of the world, from all eternity, how you say, (with God all things are possible, and that implies his infinite understanding, exhaustive knowledge and supernatural wisdom) If you say God cannot elect us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blame then you are limiting the the Almighty power of God, his infinite understanding and the exhaustive knowledge of God. You are saying all things are not possible with God. it was not the blessing that were from the foundation of the world, it was the “US” all the saints at Ephesus, believers in Christ jesus, believers now living in the present and those who will be saved in time/history. I point you to my post on here Leighton that talks about Election and the Understanding/Knowledge of God. I said I would let Hodge explain it to you but I have been doing all the writing. But let me conclude:

    As Hodge said above: “The purpose of our election is very comprehensive, it is the purpose of God to bring his people to holiness, sonship, and eternal glory. He never intended to do this irrespective of Christ. On the Contrary it was his purpose, as revealed in Scripture, to bring His people to these exalted privileges through a Redeemer. It was in Christ as their head and representative they were chosen to holiness and eternal life, and therefore in virtue of what he was to do in their behalf.

    Now don’t miss this Leighton:

    There is a federal union with Christ which is antecedent receding in time or order; previous or preexisting( to all actual union, and is the source of it) to all ACTUAL;UNION, AND IS THE SOURCE OF IT. God gave a people to his Son in the covenant of redemption: John 6:37

    Those included in the covenant, and because they are included in it—-in other words, because they are in Christ as their head and representative ——-receive in time the gift of the Holy Spirit and all other benefits of redemption

    THEIR VOLUNTARY UNION WITH CHRIST BY FAITH, IS NOT THE GROUND OF THEIR FEDERAL UNION, BUT ON THE CONTRARY, THEIR FEDERAL UNION IS THE GROUND OF THEIR VOLUNTARY UNION. It is , therefore in Christ i.e. as united to him in the covenant of redemption, that the people of God are elected to eternal life and to all the blessings therewith connected…..THe carrying out or application of redemption is “ACCORDING TO THE ETERNAL PURPOSE WHICH HE PURPOSED IN CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD, GOD PURPOSED TO SAVE MEN.IN CHRIST. ELECTION IS UNTO SALVATION. God the Father elected sinners in Christ to salvation

    Again, election is from eternity.

    This verse separates perfectly for you:

    1 Peter 1:20- Who (Christ) verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

    There was Christ being foreordained (appointed and decreed beforehand) and the “US” (who I identified as the saints in ephesus and faithful in Christ and present day believers and those who in time/history will come to faith, all INDIVIDUALS) chosen or elected in Christ (federal union) but Christ was manifest ion these last days for the audience Paul is writing to, present day believers and those who will come to faith (actual union), Because as John 6:37 says, “all the Father gives to me will come to me, and I in no wise will cast them out.

    Praise to the Glory of His Grace
    He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains proves that he has no brains of his own. Charles Haddon Spurgeon
    Kevin

    My wordpress site link

    https://wordpress.com/stats/insights/reformedsoteriologyblog.wordpress.com

    I will be performing proper exegesis on these verses tomorrow starting with 1 John 2:2 with the help of Dr. James White, Gary Long on Definite atonement and possible John owen the death of death in the Death of Christ. It will be interesting as we will find out that 2 Peter 2:1 is not even talking about Salvation. But first 1 John 2:2, then, John 3:13-16 and finally 2 Peter 2:1

    John 3:16-18, 1John 2:2 2 Peter 2::1

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    1. I have no more reply to this Kevin, except the following few words! You are free to believe what you like in these matters! I have explained what I believe the Scripture says that best I know how and with a sincere motivation to honor His Word, His sovereignty, His mercy, His humility, and His love the best way I can, based on my understanding of the normal, contextual, grammatical reading of Scripture.

      God could only choose individuals before creation, only if they actually existed before creation. Choosing to create a settled human history in His mind, which includes all His choices already predetermined, with some saved and most lost, is really no choice at all, just a creation of a such a history that was the only creation His omniscience would allow His will to create (according to Charnock and most Calvinists). I CHOOSE not to believe that the Scripture teaches such man-made philosophical foolishness!

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      1. Brian,
        Did I ask you to respond, no I do not think I did, Won’t you tell me how you really feel about Calvinist, especially after the last two sentence of your response I did not ask for. What is it about me that irks you Brian

        I CHOOSE not to believe that the Scripture teaches such man-made philosophical foolishness! This includes you Leighton and Hobbs.

        Also I seen on here where today where you used in reference 2 Peter 2:1 toward calvinist being false prophets, false teaching and brings in destructive heresies. SO Brian thinks the Calvinist are heretics. And to think I got chewed out.

        You know Brian that post was uncalled for unneeded. You even at to mention Charnock someone I am studying right now. If you had the right doctrine as Charnock as intelligent you would be a force to be reckoned with But instead you are an open theist who does not understand God determines all things according to the council to his will

        always thinks he is right, never seen you admit you are wrong.

        Whatever, I am done playing games with you Brian outta here

        We don’t need God we have Brian is what it feels like sometimes.

        If you would just have minded your own business this would not have happened

        When I want to refute something on here it is because I am trying to learn.

        I just wrote a whole post on “how do we get into Christ”

        Brian you need to sit down, lean back take a deep breath, relax and do some deep introspection, Ask God to search you and see if there be any wicked way in you.

        This time, I was not attacking anyone, only doing what I like to do. But this blogging is a joke. I am truly done with it.

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      2. I’m sorry Kevin that you thought that I was attacking you. My word “foolishness” was directed at the philosophical underpinnings of Calvinism.

        Also, I would like if you would show me the quote about 2Pet 2:1. I only use that verse to show Calvinists how God’s word clearly says redemption was for the false teachers too, that are damned for it is for everyone. I wasn’t saying Calvinists are damned false teachers. Perhaps I wrongly gave that impression. Tell me where the quote is. Thanks.

        And I only mentioned Charnock, because you mentioned him. I wanted you to know that I have read him too. I can show you how his ideas of perfection, simplicity, immutability, and omniscience defined by him using philosophy and no clear Scripture.

        This is a dialog website! As your friend, I would suggest that you may do better learning by just asking questions for a while instead of trying to make points.

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      3. EPHESIANS 1: “HE CHOSE US TO BE IN HIM” OR “HE CHOSE US IN HIM? that is where 2 Peter 2:1 is Later I was right the first time this time I m gone for good thank Gid

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      4. Kevin, Read Roger’s response to my comments about 2Pet 2:1. He did not jump to the conclusion you made that I was saying Calvinists were the false teachers bringing in damnable heresies. He knew I was saying that Calvinists “undermine” the meaning of that verse when they try to prove it doesn’t mean that God “bought” the penalty for the sins of those reprobate teachers. You know that I call Calvinists “my brother”! Why would you jump to a negative conclusion such as that about me?

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      5. Because I am immature and need to grow up in Christ more Brian that is all. I did not just jump to that conclusion. I really though that was what you are saying. You guys know my character in Christ is not as mature in Christ as the rest of you, and also I am not a scholar or an advanced like I just told leighton. I am an amateur school boy. I practice on here to get better. So no I did not just jump to conclusions, I really though that was what you were saying. I will be saying forgive me forever Brian. I will re-read what you wrote. I do hate when you say, “there is nothing else I can add to what I have already said” It sounds like you really believe your position is right and there is no chance of it being wrong, so everyone might as well just accept your correct version as it is.

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      6. You are my friend, Kevin! I do not phrase things well and can be given some of the blame for misunderstandings that result. I can see how you might think I am saying I am right and will not change when I say, “I cannot explain ….better than I have”, but I am really just saying that because I do not want the conversation to escalate further into debate for what I am feeling may be no profit.

        I will always be willing to continue to try to answer questions after that point, if asked, and I will read what is written to me on the same subject, even if it has no questions, but I will not respond further in those circumstances when I said I have said it the best way I know how, unless I have questions about what was said to me. Yes, I can be taught! 🙂

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      7. This was the response before you made your response Brian. Listen before I paste it I am not mad and no ill will, I know I offended again so I ask you to forgive me,

        JEFF DANLEONI
        DECEMBER 4, 2015 AT 6:03 PM
        Typical Calvinist response. If you don’t believe in the Augustinian version of election, you must not believe election is in the Bible.

        Then you said and I don’t know why other than because of the post before yours, otherwise it does not make any sense.

        BRIANWAGNER
        MARCH 24, 2015 AT 2:07 AM
        Peter the apostle warned us – “there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them,” (2Pet. 2:1). The mercy of the Lord is evident that He even paid for the sins of false teachers who are twisting the truth of the gospel for their own destruction and deception of others (2Pet. 3:16).

        But we should not be surprised that there will be those who use philosophy and theology to undermine Scripture’s clear teaching about the mercy of God! Let’s be a part of God’s honest call to everyone who bear His image to accept His salvation which He paid for everyone (1John 2:2)!

        Then you said RHUTCHIN sees things different than i did. If all you meant was that Calvinist “undermine”the meaning of that verse they try to prove it doesn’t mean that God “bought” the penalty for thee sins of those reprobate teachers. it sure sounds still like that is what you were saying after reading what Roger said
        although, you know what Brian, I am over and past this. I know I did wrong again, all I can do is forget those things which are behind and press forward to the high calling of God in Christ Jesus,

        This is one sentence Roger said about what you said, remember, he is the calvinist, you are the non-calvinist who believes God does not even know I am going to type the next letter until I do it.

        Roger said and i quote: brianwagner has taken a false teaching that abuses the truth made by a false teacher with no intent to proclaim truth and has sought to promote it as truth. Peter was using an example to make a point.

        I am not even sure what he meant by this. But it sounds like he disagreed with you about something

        But like I said Brian I am not for sure, I am not a scholar, an advanced student, just an amateur school boy, thats all

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      8. No problem Kevin. Thanks for asking for clarification. I posted that post as a stand alone, at the bottom of the page… not as a response to Jeff D, whose post was months before. I should have been clearer about how I was relating it to Calvinism, but if you read Roger’s response you will see he begins talking about how in his view only the elect are paid for. I was saying that 2Pet 2:1 says clearly that the reprobate were also paid for in Christ’s death.

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      9. brianwagner writes, “…in his view only the elect are paid for.”

        Paul makes specific statements in his letters to believers that Christ died for them (often saying “us” to include himself). While Paul makes statements regarding the never believing, it is more general. For example, Paul writes that, “…[Christ] gave himself as a ransom for all men–the testimony given in its proper time,” where “all” can be taken as meaning, in general, Gentiles as well as Jews.

        Certainly, we all agree that the elect were paid for and once paid for, the transaction was complete. But, in what sense, could Christ have been said to pay for those who were not to be saved. He could be offered as a ransom for the never saved but was the ransom too little to gain their release while, at the same time, being more than enough to gain the release of God’s elect?

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      10. What? God underpaid Himself so that there was not enough to release everyone if they would only accept it by faith? There are too many clear verses, like the one you pointed to in 1Tim 2:6 that must be twisted to make all mean “not all”! 1John 2:2 and 2Peter 2:1 are two of the clearest the Calvinists must twist the most to get to fit their system, telling the reader – “These verses really don’t mean what you thing they do… just like John 3:16 doesn’t either.” Really ?

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      11. brianwagner writes, “What? God underpaid Himself so that there was not enough to release everyone if they would only accept it by faith?”

        If faith is required to complete the deal, in addition to that which Christ paid, then the payment by Christ is not sufficient. In the Calvinist system, Christ paid in full and nothing more is required.

        Then, “There are too many clear verses, like the one you pointed to in 1Tim 2:6 that must be twisted to make all mean “not all”!”

        We have agreed to disagree on this. Based on Ephesians 3, I have concluded that Paul’s focus is on the salvation of Gentiles as well as Jews (it floored him when God revealed this to him), and this is reflected often in his letters – thus, I see Paul’s use of “all” (and similar terms) reflecting his Jew/Gentile sensitivity. There is no twisting here – it is perfectly legitimate

        Then, “… 1John 2:2 and 2Peter 2:1 are two of the clearest the Calvinists must twist the most to get to fit their system,…”

        We both agree these verses mean what they say – we disagree on what they say.

        Finally, “…just like John 3:16 doesn’t either.””

        3:16 is straightforward. God gave His son only for those believing in Christ (note the use of the participle) and not for those not believing. The verse does not tell us how two people hear the gospel preached and one has an epiphany and comes to believe while the other just goes on his way oblivious to eternity. Non-Calvinists like to read more into the verse than the verse says. What, exactly, is the issue with 3:16?

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      12. “Brian said: There are too many clear verses, like the one you pointed to in 1Tim 2:6 that must be twisted to make all mean “not all.

        Brian I really don’t see why you cannot see why the understanding given to all cannot be acceptable. If I tell you I want all of you these boxes in the back room broke down and disposed of before the end of the day, that does not mean every box in the world without exception.

        Even so in:

        1 Timothy 2:6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.

        I just says all, check your Greek. It does not say ALL THE PEOPLE IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD WITHOUT EXCEPTION. JUST THE BOXES IN THE BACK ROOM.

        In this particular verse it only says Jesus gave himself to be a ransom for All. Not to all People without exception

        We know scripture intepretes scripture, Let’s look at Matthew 20:28

        Matthew 20:28 – as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

        This is outstanding. It mentions Christ Jesus being the ransom as it does in 2 Timothy 2:6. But it gives us a little more information who the”all” is here I do think,

        1. Jesus did not come to be served
        2.Jesus came to serve
        3.and to give His live AS A RANSOM FOR MANY., (reminds me where he said I lay my life down and I take it up again)

        That verses has always amazed me

        So when we compare these two verses we see Jesus gave His life a ransom for all, and he gave his life a ransom for many.

        SO when I look at these two verses I see who the “ALL” ARE THAT PAUL WAS TALKING ABOUT IN 1 TIMOTHY 2:6. The “all” in 1 Timothy 2:6 is the “MANY” in Matthew 20:28.

        The many and the all are the in in the same, they are the ones that Christ represented on the Christ.

        Isaiah 53 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him;
        He has put Him to grief.
        When You make His soul an offering for sin,
        He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,
        And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.
        11 He shall see the labor of His soul,[b] and be satisfied.
        By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many,
        For He shall bear their iniquities.
        12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great,
        And He shall divide the spoil with the strong,
        Because He poured out His soul unto death,
        And He was numbered with the transgressors,
        And He bore the sin of many,
        And made intercession for the transgressors.

        It was God’s will to Crush, bruise and even murder Jesus, but it was accomplished by the hands of those it was ordained.

        Acts 4: 27 for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel,

        28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place

        A, Christ’s soul was made an offering for sin VS 10
        b,Jesus had the promise he would see his spiritual seed, offspring vs 10
        C, He shall see the labor of His soul,[b] and be satisfied. Vs11 Not one person elected to salvation, that Christ died for would end up in hell. CHRIST WOULD SEE THE LABOR OF HIS SOULD AND BE SATISFIED AND WOULD LOSE NONE JOHN 6:37-38
        D. Christ bore the sins of Many VS 12

        Once again in verse 12 of Isaiah 53 we have the word many. Christ bore the sins of the MANY and now of those many transgressors he daily makes intercession for them.

        John 17:2 Jesus is given authority over all flesh, why does only give salvation to those the father gave to him.

        Remember back in John 6:37: All that the Father gives to me will come to me and I will in no wise cast them out,

        Then the next verse 28, this is the will of the Father that all he has given me (the all, the many, His labor)He shall not lose but raise them up on the last day,

        So not the Calvinist is not twisting anything, We are just being honest with the scriptures

        1Timothy 2: 6 does not say “all people, it just says “all: which is the many or those Christ labored for his spiritual seed.

        Titus2: 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

        1 Peter 2:9 – But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light

        I explained 1 proof text, I will be giving 1 John 2:2 a complete workover. Proof texting and asserting just won’t do

        All who Christ purchased and bought salvation and redemption receive in the appointed ad destined time by the Holy Spirit Acts 13:48
        I get to proof text as least once 🙂

        2 Peter 2:1- even as there shall be false teachers among you; which need not to be wondered at, or stumble any, it being no new or strange thing, but what was always more or less the case of the people of God. This is a prophecy of what should be, and agrees with the prediction of our Lord, Matthew 24:11 and which regards not only the times immediately following, in which it had a remarkable fulfilment, for false teachers now began to arise, and appeared in great numbers in the age succeeding the apostles, but to all periods of time from hence, to the second coming of Christ; and these were to spring from, and be among such that bore the Christian name, and so regards not Mahometans and Deists; and it is to be observed, that the phrase is varied in this clause, and these are called not “prophets” but “teachers”: because as prophecy was more peculiar to the former dispensation, so is teaching to the present:

        who privily shall bring in damnable heresies: errors in the fundamental doctrines of the Gospel; such as relate to a trinity of persons in the Godhead; and to the person of Christ, to his proper deity, distinct personality, eternal sonship, and real humanity; and to his office as Mediator, rejecting him as the true Messiah, and as the only Saviour of sinners; denying his sacrifice and satisfaction, and the imputation of his righteousness; and to the Holy Spirit, his deity, personality, and divine influences and operations: these are “damnable”, or “destructive”, or “heresies of destruction”; which lead to eternal destruction both those that introduce and propagate them, and those that embrace and profess them; for they remove, or attempt to remove, the foundation of eternal life and happiness: the manner in which these are usually introduced is “privily”; at unawares, secretly, under a disguise, and gradually, by little and little, and not at once, and openly; and which is the constant character and practice of such men, who lie in wait to deceive, creep into churches at unawares, and into houses privately; and insinuate their principles under specious pretences and appearances of truth, using the hidden things of dishonesty, walking in craftiness, handling the word of God deceitfully, and colouring things with false glosses and feigned words: and even denying the Lord that bought them; not the Lord Jesus Christ, but God the Father; for the word is not here used, which always is where Christ is spoken of as the Lord, but and which is expressive of the power which masters have over their servants (i), and which God has over all mankind; and wherever this word is elsewhere used, it is spoken of God the Father, whenever applied to a divine person, as in Luke 2:29 and especially this appears to be the sense, from the parallel text in Jde 1:4 where the Lord God denied by those men is manifestly distinguished from our Lord Jesus Christ, and by whom these persons are said to be bought: the meaning is not that they were redeemed by the blood of Christ, for Christ is not intended; and besides, whenever redemption by Christ is spoken of, the price is usually mentioned, or some circumstance or another which fully determines the sense; see Acts 20:28 whereas here is not the least hint of anything of this kind: add to this, that such who are redeemed by Christ are the elect of God only, the people of Christ, his sheep and friends, and church, and who are never left to deny him so as to perish eternally; for could such be lost, or deceive, or be deceived finally and totally by damnable heresies, and bring on themselves swift destruction, Christ’s purchase would be in vain, and the ransom price be paid for nought; but the word “bought” regards temporal mercies and deliverance, which these men enjoyed, and is used as an aggravation of their sin in denying the Lord; both by words, delivering out such tenets as are derogatory to the glory of the divine perfections, and which deny one or other of them, and of his purposes, providence, promises, and truths; and by works, turning the doctrine of the grace of God into lasciviousness, being disobedient and reprobate to every good work; that they should act this part against the Lord who had made them, and upheld them in their beings and took care of them in his providence, and had followed them with goodness and mercy all the days of their lives; just as Moses aggravates the ingratitude of the Jews in Deuteronomy 32:6 from whence this phrase is borrowed, and to which it manifestly refers: “do ye thus requite the Lord, O foolish people and unwise! is not he thy Father that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee?” nor is this the only place the apostle refers to in this chapter, see 2 Peter 2:12 compared with Deuteronomy 32:5 and it is to be observed, that the persons he writes to were Jews, who were called the people the Lord had redeemed and purchased, Exodus 15:13 and so were the first false teachers that rose up among them; and therefore this phrase is very applicable to them:

        and bring upon themselves swift destruction; either in this life, being suddenly cut off in the midst of their days, and by the immediate hand of God, as Arius and other heretics have been; or eternal damnation in the other, which their tenets lead unto, and which will swiftly come upon them when they are promising themselves peace and safety.

        Cannot wait to get to 1 John 2:2-Propitiation is the answer in this verse. The bible says the soul that sins shall die, The wrath of God abides upon the sinner, Christ bore the the sins of many Isa 53:12. The whole world here are the children of God scattered abroad the world who will in God’s divine timing be brought to life by the Holy Spirit and the SPirit will apply the atoning benefits of Christ to their lives as they repent of their sins and embrace Him as their Lord and Savior.

        1 John 5:19 – We know that we are of God, and that the whole world is under the power of the evil one.

        I love the way the non-calvinist pushes for all the whole world always meaning everybody without exception

        I guess even here in 1 John 5:19 even the Christians, the saints of God, born of the Holy Spirit, wearing the righteousness of Christ and washed iin the blood of the Lamb. are part of the whole world lying under the power of the evil one. But the answer could be there in the verse, hmmmmmm

        ;

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      13. rs101 writes, “1Timothy 2: 6 does not say “all people, it just says “all: which is the many or those Christ labored for his spiritual seed.”

        The question the reader asks, as you noted, is “all” what?

        We could say that the “all” are “‘All’ that the Father gives to me will come to me and I will in no wise cast them out,…” which you noted earlier.

        Joining John 6:37 w/ 1 Timothy 2: 6 gives us, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all that the Father was giving to Him.”

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      14. RHUTCHIN, That is excellent, I especially like the last part you voiced, “FOr there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as as ransom for all that the Father was giving to Him. I am just so confused. The giving of the Father to the Son an elect People and Jesus giving Salvation to all the Father has given HIm John 17:2 is so clear.

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  16. Radio Free Geneva: Showbread’s “Dear John Piper” and Leighton Flowers on 1 John 5:

    You should be able to find the podcast here. Like I said it starts around the 39 minute mark. I even skipped until I got to that place. I was very confusing with the Greek, but I can look at the English Grammar of the 3 verses he uses and see they are not just similar but the same.

    Here is the link

    http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php/2016/03/17/radio-free-geneva-showbreads-dear-john-piper-leighton-flowers-1-john-51/

    I already know you think 1 John is assurance of salvation, not sure how you arrive at that. But you will be more interested because there is a lot of Greek in this Podcast.

    God bless

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  17. Your many words, Kevin, give evidence to what may be your frustration.

    Frustration me? Where did you get that? I only get frustrated at you silly nonsense responses that a too personal with me when all I want to do is talk and have fun.

    White, Leighton, and myself agree that these verses in 1John mean these are the RESULTS of being born again.

    Yes the believing,doing righteousness, and loving the brethren are the results or fruit of being born again. The first three do not happen until person is born again. I would say the names now are Dr. White and Kevin

    Let me say respectfully up to this point, you have said nothing useful or beneficial to the discussion

    These three results will be practiced and never stop in the life of a child of God, though they still sin too, but they don’t practice sin anymore.
    ,
    i do not need to be taught this, i am very aware of this, but this is not what Dr. White is talking about in the Podcast. it is irrevelant.

    but White wants to imply that personal faith has no part, based on a verse that is not teaching HOW one is born again.

    Which of the three verses is teaching HOW one is born again. I did not know you teach sinners HOW to be born again but COMMAND THEM TO REPENT AND BELIEVE IN THE GOSPEL TRUSTING THE HOLY SPIRIT TO DO HIS INNER WORK. jOHN 6:63 IT IS THE SPIRIT WHO GIVES LIFE.. None of the three verses that DR. White used were teaching anyone HOW to be born again.

    One is not born again by practicing faith

    I agree with that, it is what 1 John 5:1 teaches everyone believing on Christ, has been born again.

    in the FACT that Jesus is the Christ, but God does give the new birth when one displays trust IN the Lord Jesus Christ while God is convicting that person’s heart. And once born again, that person will never stop believing the fact THAT Jesus is his Savior.

    ACTUALLY BEEN MADE SPIRITUALLY ALIVE WHEN THIS CONVICTION OF THE SPIRIT BEGINS, BUT ARE WRONG WHEN A QUICKENED AND MADE ALIVE CHRISTIAN PUTS THEIR FAITH AND TRUST IN CHRIST THEY WILL EXPERIENCE ETERNAL LIFE, Jesus as their Savior.

    White talked a lot about hermenteutics, and some very good stuff about Greek exegesis.

    I was not impressed, however, by his characterizations of those who do not hold to monergism. It is his unwillingness to try to believe how it is possible, and fits with Scripture, that God did not select individuals for salvation before creation, that makes him turn unnecessary inferences into dogma from verses like 1John 5:1. He should have admitted that his point was only an inference from this verse… and not a necessary one based just on three these verses that we’re not teaching how to be born again.

    THe pot is black said the kettle and that black pot has hit you right on the head. Dr. White would not be impressed with your synergism and stubborn unwillingness, although scripture has been showed to you, but you cling to your traditions Inferences into dogma (a lot of assertions tonight but we all know how you really feel about calvinist) like 1 John 5:1 He broke it down in the Greek, used two other verses to illuminate it. It is and always will be your stubborn tradition Brian. My Last email

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    1. Good morning Kevin, I guess we are at another impasse. I cannot explain 1John 5:1 better than I have.

      You’ll just have to ask White if his verse proves that there is not any kind of faith that can be expressed before being born again. The bigger problem he has is the two types of being born again that Calvinists teach. Do you really believe someone can be born again before they receive Jesus, before they receive life! Or is it more normal to think that the Scripture means being born again is receiving the life of Jesus? Can that life, that person, that birth, be received THROUGH faith, if there is not any kind of faith present in the heart to go THROUGH.

      WHITE even called being born again as having spiritual life, but I bet if he were pressed he would mean that there was only a change of the will BEFORE Jesus and His life can be received. Thus two regenerations… one supposedly of the will and then one of receiving Jesus and His life! The Calvinist must have two regenerations to keep their precious individual election doctrine logically in tact. But they have to twist the normal reading of Scripture to get it.

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  18. Good morning Brian I guess we are at another impasse. I cannot explain 1 John 5:1 better than I have

    I beseech you Brian:

    Hebrews 3:8 do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness,

    Dr White has shown in three verses where the grammar is the same in the Greek: (Please don’t try and tell me he is lying because if you do it will be in print, not that you will, but you already saying he is wrong and God calls for integrity and honesty not your traditions)

    Dr, White game three verses:

    1 John 2:29 – If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.

    I am not attacking anyone’s character here but a 3rd grader could break this down,

    THe one doing good (present tense) has been born of God (past Tense) The reason you do good, you love the Lord and keep His commandments is because YOU HAVE BEEN BORN OF GOD.

    YOU DON’T DO GOOD, OR PRACTICE RIGHTEOUSNESS IN A CONTINUOUS STATE TO BE BORN AGAIN OR FROM ABOVE

    NO DOING GOOD, AND KEEPNG THE COMMANDMENTS BECAUSE YOU LOVE CHRIST IS BECAUSE YOU LOVE CHRIST IS BECAUSE YOU HAVE BEEN BORN AGAIN.

    HARDEN YOU HEART ALL DAY BUT I BESEECH BY THE MERCIES OF GOD TO HUMBLED UNDER THE MIGHTY HAND OF GOD. GOD’S HAND BEING THE HUMBLING INSTRUMENT.

    another easy one, I have said several times on here that I am not a scholar or an advanced student, just an advanced student, but it does not take much to a look a see what john is saying here,

    Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

    “whoever loves (PRESENT TENSE) HAS BEEN BORN OF GOD) (PAST TENSE)

    “You don’t love the one another to get born again , no loving is a result or fruit of being born again.

    1 John 5:1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the Father also loves the one born of Him.

    Just like the last two, same grammar. I hope someone does not show something so little in the Greek that it is a waste of Time. If there was something in the Greek, I think Dr. White would have seen it and not brought this up. I will put Dr. White’s Greek Skills up against anyone’s on here, because I there are some who have made word and power of God on no effect through tradition

    So you have as I have said before and this will be the last time an amateur schoolboy points this out

    1.having been born again resulting in one doing good
    doing good does not result in one doing

    2. Those having been born again resulting in loving another
    Loving one another does not result in being born again

    Having been born again resulting in a continuous present action of believing in Christ Jesus (believing ones)
    Believing in Christ does not cause one to be born again.

    THe grammar is the same of all three verses, there is no denying it.

    1. 1 John 2:29 – If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.

    2, 1 John 4:7 – Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

    3. 1 John 5:1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the Father also loves the one born of Him.

    And those of you who called out Dr. White’ name personally, send him an email, call him up on his show. So easy to hide behind an email. I am sure it will be completely different when it is one on one with Dr. White

    Brian said and I quote:You’ll just have to ask White if his verse proves that there is not any kind of faith that can be expressed before being born again. The bigger problem he has is the two types of being born again that Calvinists teach. Do you really believe someone can be born again before they receive Jesus, before they receive life! Or is it more normal to think that the Scripture means being born again is receiving the life of Jesus? Can that life, that person, that birth, be received THROUGH faith, if there is not any kind of faith present in the heart to go THROUGH.

    BRIAN WHY DON’T YOU ASK DR. WHITE, I KNOW THE DIFFERENCE OF BEING BORN AGAIN AND CONVERSION. IT IS NOT BEING BORN AGAIN TWICE, and the misrepresentations continue. The only probably is your misunderstanding Brian. Put that intelligent Brian to work and represent the Calvinist Correctly Please I ask of you Sir. There is no faith until one is born again, from above and the Holy Spirit gives live, John 6:63 in then in connection with the word of God faith is produced.

    I could be wrong, but do you know how fast I think it all happens. That being born again first the Spirit of God and then repentance and faith. As quick as the wink of an eye. John the baptist being the exception being born again by the Spirit of God, that is Quickened and made alive from his mother’s womb. (I know not in his mother’s womb so let it be ok) but a lot of years went by with john the Baptist being Born Again before he had repented of his sins before God and had legitimate faith in God. I do not you cannot argue there that being born again by the Spirit of God proceeded faith and repentance there.

    So I do not need to ask (White) you mean (Dr. White) about a silly two conversions you are confused about or which comes first, being born again or faith. Like I said, John the Baptist being the exception, I think it happens (I think it happens as quick as the wink of an eye)

    THe reason I say I think, because I know that many who are born anew or from above, go through longer periods of conviction of sin, godly sorrow, grieving over their sin (these are good and pleasing things so they are not in the flesh but in the Spirit) longer than others, for reasons known only to God. I have seen and I hope you can say you have to. I do know when God gives them relief, they through the effectual work of the Holy Spirit in the inner man in combination of the Father. teaching them and giving them understanding gain release from guilt, dominion of sin, washing of the blood of Christ, peace and joy that pass all understanding, and joy that is full of glory!!!

    John: 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’[e] Therefore everyone who has heard and learned[f] from the Father comes to Me.

    Guarantee if you are are drawn by the Holy Spirit, (work of the Spirit the work of being born again has been completed, because Jesus says the same man that is drawn, He (Jesus) will raise up on the last day, You have the man of God preaching the general call through the power of the Holy Spirit, then there is that inner Call being taught by the Father the gospel, (they are hearing from the General Call) the Father through the work of the Spirit teaches and they learn through the inner call of the Holy Spirit.

    Verse 45 says they do come to Jesus. Verse John 6 : 37 says all the Father gives Jesus do come to Him, and John 6:44 guarantees they come also through the almighty drawing effectual power of the Holy Spirit and Jesus guarantees in John 6 he will lose none but rase them all up on the last day. Now saving God Jesus cannot fail to do the will of the Father. But the diminished humanistic god open theism cannot offer that same guarantee and promise of preservation and perseverance of the saints, if he does. I do not see how since he has a lot of individual with libertarian free -will people. Is he going to determine they stay saved and violate and force their libertarian free-will. What a bad place to be in, In on sense the open theism god could determine but the libertarian free-will individuals could with this libertarian free-will could just choose to do something else. But they you say that is not true, not if they are determined. OH, ok, you mean if their libertarian free-will is forced and violated.

    Yes I do believe people are born again before they place their faith in Christ all the time. Did not John the Baptist.

    Brian said Born again and receive Jesus before they receive life. The last time I read God’s word, John 6:63 says THE SPIRIT IS LIFE. SO IF I AM BORN AGAIN BY THE SPIRIT I RECEIVE LIFE, AND GIFTS OF FAITH AND REPENTANCE

    Do you not think being born again is spiritual life?

    As White I call being born again as having spiritual life.

    Brian said: WHITE even called being born again as having spiritual life, but I bet if he were pressed he would mean that there was only a change of the will BEFORE Jesus and His life can be received. Thus two regenerations… one supposedly of the will and then one of receiving Jesus and His life! The Calvinist must have two regenerations to keep their precious individual election doctrine logically in tact. But they have to twist the normal reading of Scripture to get it.:

    The above is all irrevelant because it is nothing but assertions beause we do not have Dr White here to question him. You came up with the two regenerations on you own and pushed them onto Dr, White. A complete and dishonest misrepresentation of Dr. White.

    Brian said: one supposedly of the will and then one of receiving Jesus and His life!

    WHERE DID WHITE SAY THIS BRIAN? THIS IS JUST YOUR MISUNDERSTANDING OF WHAT IS BEING TAUGHT CLEARLY IN SCRIPTURES AND IT DOES NOT MATCH WHAT YOU BELIEVE (AND BOTH KNOW THERE ARE SOME SERIOUS PROBLEMS THERE)

    This is why I say, Brian, who is an open theist, why don’t you really tell us what you think of Calvinist, no more of this pretend humility Brother stuff. Look at his last sentence and that is WHY I HAVE BEEN STRONG AND FIRM IN THIS POST.

    Brian said and I quote: The Calvinist must have two regenerations to keep their precious individual election doctrine logically in tact. But they have to twist the normal reading of Scripture to get it.:

    Brian in the future, think twice before you want to spank someone for their tone. THe above is an untrue assertion about two regenerations, they you get sarcastic and disrespectful and mention ” THEIR INDIVIDUAL ELECTION DOCTRINE LOGICALLY IN TACT, THEY HAVE TO TWIST THE NORMAL READING OF SCRIPTURE TO GET IT.

    It is the Diminished Humanistic god of Human Theism hat twist the normal reading scripture, for example:

    Jeremiah 4 “Because they have forsaken Me and made this an alien place, because they have burned incense in it to other gods whom neither they, their fathers, nor the kings of Judah have known, and have filled this place with the blood of the innocents

    5 (they have also built the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings to Baal, which I did not command or speak, nor did it come into My mind),

    The open theist jumps all over the words nor did it come into my mind, to show God does not have future Knowledge, That is why I call the God of Open THeism the diminished humanistic god of open theism.

    THe “Nor did it come into my mind) really means, We find that the essence of the context is that the people of Judah are about to experience God’s judgment because they have violated God’s absolute holiness. In worshipping the pagan gods of the surrounding nations and engaging in their most despicable practices, Judah was doing something that God “did not command or speak” – something that was foreign to His holiness. They had made the land God had given them, and in which He had condescended to dwell with them, “an alien place.” The phrase “nor did it come into My mind” indicates not a lack of foreknowledge on God’s part, but rather that to entertain the thought of such vile deeds, much less to command it, would be completely and utterly foreign to the nature of God.

    God is addressing the issue of human moral behavior instead of expressing ignorance since that is what God is talking about.

    Now this is what I call twisting the scriptures, God is all-knowing. Has a perfect knowledge of the future of everything that cannot be frustrated or defeated the open theist’s god whose followers have libertarian free will. I have a slew of scriptures twisted into a pringle by the open theist to conform and manipulate it ot the diminished god of Open Theism. The Open THiest twist the normal reading of scripture to get it to say what they want,

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    1. Good morning Kevin! You have heard of the order of Salvation… White and Calvinists say – regeneration then faith then justification. You have admitted this order can happen with an amount of time in between regeneration and faith. My question to you is where would you place the actual reception of Jesus’ life into one’s spirit? He that has the Son has life, he that does not have the Son of God has not life! 1John 5:12

      Does a person receive Jesus’ life, which is His presence, into their spirit at regeneration before that person starts trusting in Jesus, and then after trust that person receives justification? Isn’t justification automatic when one has Jesus? Don’t we also have God’s righteousness when we have Jesus? Wouldn’t justification also happen at regeneration? So it seems illogical to me that if we have Jesus in our spirits at regeneration, we have His everlasting life before faith, but we do not His righteousness according to the order of salvation by Calvinists. Really?

      But if you believe Jesus does not enter one’s spirit until after faith, then what kind of “spiritual life” is received at regeneration according to the Calvinists. And if it is not the righteous everlasting life of Jesus, then why wouldn’t it be seen as a different life, and different “birth” and the Calvinism is teaching to starts to spiritual life, two new births?

      As a side note – You will have to show me where I said White was “wrong” in his interpretation of the three passages in 1John. I wish you would read my comments more carefully Kevin. I said I agree with White that the three passages clearly teach what are the continuing evidences in a person’s life who has been born again! I wish you would see that I have plainly said that more than once! What I also said is that White is trying to apply these passages to try to prove that there is no faith or trust before being born again. I think you are not catching the non-sequitor argument that White is using! It does not follow (non-sequitor) that if CONTINUING DOING right, love, and believing in a never ending way are obvious results of being born again that there were NO NON-CONTINUING ACTS of doing right, showing love, or trust before being born-again or even conditions for it!

      To try to prove something dogmatically from a passage which was not given to prove that idea is WRONG unless there is a logical inference tied directly to it! IF 1John 5:1 said – “No one is able to have any kind of faith that Jesus is the Christ until they are first born again” then I would have no argument with what White is trying to get this passage to say! But it doesn’t say those words nor does it logically imply that meaning, which White says it has. It only doesn’t reject the possibility of White’s implication.

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      1. brianwagner asks, “Calvinists say – regeneration then faith then justification…where would you place the actual reception of Jesus’ life into one’s spirit? He that has the Son has life, he that does not have the Son of God has not life! 1John 5:12″

        We can read 1 John 5 as–
        11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this [eternal] life is in his Son.
        12 He who has the Son has [eternal] life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have [eternal] life.

        In Matthew 30, Jesus says, “I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no-one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields–and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.”

        We can conclude that “eternal life” is a present certainty and a future reality in the age to come. So, we might read 1 John 5 as:

        11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this [eternal] life is in his Son.
        12 He who has the Son has [the assurance of eternal] life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have [the assurance of eternal] life.
        13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have [been assured of] eternal life.

        The issue is whether 1 John speaks of having Jesus’ life in them or does one have the assurance of the future reality of eternal life.

        1 John says, “…this life is in his Son.” What does that mean? Are we to give it the slant that Brian does – the life of Jesus – or a different life – the guarantee of eternal life in the age to come (presumably the new heavens and new earth).

        Brian has inserted his personal belief that 1 John refers to “Jesus’ life” and has done so (not maliciously, of course) in order to support his conclusion. In doing so, he assumes the conclusion he wants in his argument – the fallacy of begging the question.

        If we view the life of which 1 John speaks to be “eternal life,” then we can say that this “eternal life” is found in Christ requiring that one first believe in Christ in order to obtain the assurance of eternal life. Thus, the faith by which one believes in Christ must precede the receipt of eternal life that is in Christ. This does not help us resolve the regeneration/faith issue.

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      2. Roger, Mark 10:30 does not logically discount the present reception of everlasting life in this age by all believers! It is just a promise that they will have it in the age to come, which compared with Jesus’ full teachings on everlasting life, they have in this life and also in the next!

        The issue is – Does the Calvinist believe that their so-called “elect before creation individual” receives regeneration life before he receives Jesus and His everlasting life?

        It like trying to pin jello to the wall to get a straight answer on this from a Calvinist! 🙂 Is it because they want regeneration before faith and justification after faith, but then find it hard to explain why receiving the life of Christ would not immediately bring both regeneration and justification?

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      3. brianwagner asks, “Does the Calvinist believe that their so-called “elect before creation individual” receives regeneration life before he receives Jesus and His everlasting life?”

        We have events that we can put in this sequence

        – Initial condition of being dead in sin.
        – God made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions. (The regeneration of Calvinism)
        – No-one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.
        – No-one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.
        – – He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
        – – The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.
        – Preaching of the gospel.
        – – The Holy Spirit will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment:
        – Hearing of faith.
        – Believing in Christ.
        – – many who heard the message believed
        – – The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God
        – Everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.
        – This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.
        – Everlasting life – this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
        – – these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
        – – whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
        – – Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

        Summary:
        – God has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
        – God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.
        – God saved us and called us to a holy life–not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time

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      4. See what I mean Roger… like pinning Jello to the wall! You couldn’t just say yes or no, you had to throw a lot of verses out there that you and I both agree wholeheartedly are true! But you did not answer my question directly. Why? Is it regeneration life, then receiving Jesus, then everlasting life? Or is it something else? Why be so obtuse? 🙂

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      5. I am perplexed. I listed a series of events in a reasonable sequential order and then labeled the second one as the regeneration of the Calvinists. In that sequential order, regeneration is the quickening by God in Ephesians 2. It enables preaching to produce faith. Faith leads to belief and belief to eternal life. What can I do, and how, to make it less obtuse?

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      6. That was a little better, Roger. It helped me see the flow of your list more easily, ignoring the non-essential additional verses you gave.

        So what I see is Regeneration… then Preaching of the Gospel… then Hearing of Faith… then Believing in Christ… then Forgiveness, Righteousness, Everlasting life. Did I understand it correctly?

        So all I am still looking for is when is the life of Jesus Himself (1John 5:12) received… at the “Regeneration” point or at the “Everlasting life” point? And would I be correct in saying that you see the “Regeneration” and “Everlasting life” events as two different types of spiritual life received at two different times?

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      7. brianwagner writes, “So what I see is Regeneration… then Preaching of the Gospel… then Hearing of Faith… then Believing in Christ… then Forgiveness, Righteousness, Everlasting life. Did I understand it correctly?”

        Yes. Now if we substitute The quickening of God in Ephesians for regeneration, would you agree with that sequential order? If not, how would you order theses events?

        Then, “And would I be correct in saying that you see the “Regeneration” and “Everlasting life” events as two different types of spiritual life received at two different times?”

        By regeneration, we mean, “God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions…” Regeneration is an action performed by God on those dead in sin. Those dead in sin do not have faith and cannot have faith while “dead in sin.” Faith then leads to eternal life. Thus, regeneration/quickening is one action of God before faith is received and eternal life is a second action of God after faith is expressed in belief. So, the short answer is, Yes.

        Then, “So all I am still looking for is when is the life of Jesus Himself (1John 5:12) received… at the “Regeneration” point or at the “Everlasting life” point? ”

        As I explained earlier, I see 1 John 5:12 speaking of eternal life as that is the context from v11 and reiterated in v13.

        11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this [eternal] life is in his Son.
        12 He who has the Son has [eternal] life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have [eternal] life.
        13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

        This eternal life is for those who believe and this as a consequence of faith, so John speaks of that eternal life that flows from faith – therefore, in your terms, at the “Everlasting life” point.

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      8. Thanks for the clarification of what you believe. I cannot agree that there is a spiritual birth (a quickening, a being made alive) without the everlasting life of Jesus, but it is hard to find Calvinists who will actually admit that there is in their view. Thank you for your candor.

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      9. brianwagner writes, “I cannot agree that there is a spiritual birth (a quickening, a being made alive) without the everlasting life of Jesus,”

        That;s fine. Can you tell us how you understand Ephesians 2 when it says, “…God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions…”?

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      10. Brian said: You have heard of the order of Salvation…

        Yes I have being a Calvinist heard of ordo salutis is Latin for “order of salvation.

        Brian said:You have admitted this order can happen with an amount of time in between regeneration and faith.

        Yes I did with one example maybe two, I am not sure if the second is right but I think it is. John the Baptist was regenerated for quite a long time before he came to faith in Christ would you not say Brian and I am asking you a question? The other times It can happen i think quick as the wink of an eye. Now that I think about it maybe I gave three examples, there are people I have known been under the conviction of the Holy Spirit for some time, going through a period of godly sorrow and holy grieving and then it is as if the Lord gives them relief by embracing Christ through faith and experiencing the washing of their sins away.

        Brian said with a “I gotcha question”? -My question to you is where would you place the actual reception of Jesus’ life into one’s spirit? He that has the Son has life, he that does not have the Son of God has not life! 1John 5:12

        My question to Brian is does the Holy Spirit not have life in himself. John 6:63 -It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. ooops I gave you the answer.

        THe Spirit quickens while we are still dead in tresspasses an sins and through the outward preaching of the Gospel, does a miraculous inner work, so that faith comes by hearing the word of God.

        For apart from the Holy Spirit no man would naturally, of his innate desires and abilities or free will, turn to Christ and embrace the humbling terms of the gospel

        1 Corinthians 2:14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.

        You see Brian, God’s Word says, not me, that without the Spirit even Gospel of Christ will be considered foolishness, nonsense and silly. I know it to be a fact. I have seen it happen as sinners spit in the face of God and Blaspheme in everywhere imaginable. But God can bring forth an environment of soberness, conviction of sin, fear of God, fearfulness of God. I really don’t know what you believe Brian or if you believe that God can send the Spirit of God from on High and send Revival as in the days of the Great Awakening with Jonathan Edwards and even John Wesley. There would be a period of time when they would go throug so much fear and guilt that they would beat their chest and cry out for mercy while Johnathan Edwards was preaching probably the most famous sermon ever, “Sinner’s in the hands of an angry God.”

        For Sure Brian I do not know, I know John the Baptist regenerated from His mother’s womb.I don’t think he was confessing Christ when he was nursing. And I have seen and heard of some wrestling with guilt and fear under the deep deep holy holy conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit until God would send relief and they would see Christ as their remedy for sin an guilt.

        John 3:3 -Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

        Look how important this was that Jesus had to tell Nicodemus. You and I both know what it means when Jesus says, Verity verily, or truly, truly, it was a time to very serious and sober a matter of life and death.

        John 3:7-8 -Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You[must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

        2 Corinthians 2:14 – Notice Jesus says “you must (something that is of complete and utter necessity) be born again, and we know that is by the Spirit of God. Notice the wind blows where it wishes (speaking of sovereignty) so does the Spirit of the Living God. That is why you can have one person on one side of the church playing on his cell phone and another hanging on every word the preacher says with tears in his eyes, The wind of the Spirit is blowing or regenerated him and not the other man. THe Gospel brings about two aromas. The aroma of life and the aroma of death. yes the gospel brings death.
        14 But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.

        Brian, the sinner is not able to come to Christ unless they have been born again. The sinner must be born and quickened and made alive then there will be the spiritual activity of faith and repentance, Faith in Christ and repentance toward God.

        So as the Son has life, the Spirit has life, but it is the Spirit of God that applies the salvation of Christ an His ETERNAL LIFE TO THE SINNER. THAT MIGHT HELP YOU UNDERSTAND.

        You really seem to want to lesson the work of the Holy Spirit and he has applied to my life the greatest gift of all, THe hope of Glory within me, the Lord Jesus Christ.

        I know I am kind of off subject right now, I have anwered part of it above, but I feel you reallly need this. The Spirit of God is essential when the Gospel is preached Brian. Without HIm, your words will fall to the ground ineffective. The Spirit’s sword of the Spirit which is the word of God can even have effect on sinners for short periods of time. Read the Parable and the Sower.

        Luke 4:18 – “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free,

        Even Jesus needed the Spirit to preach. His calling and inner workings in connection with his mighty sword, the word of God.

        In Luke 24:49, as our Lord Jesus Christ is preparing His disciples for the great task of worldwide evangelism, He tells them that Spirit-wrought power is crucial for the success of the gospel. Jesus says to His disciples, “Behold, I send you the Promise of my Father upon you, but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high”

        1 Thess1: 5 because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and min the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.

        The gospel of Jesus Christ comes in power, in the Holy Spirit and in full assurance and convicition,
        If there is to be a divine result from God’s Word, the Holy Ghost must go forth with it. As surely as God went before the children of Israel when He divided the Red Sea, as surely as He led them through the wilderness by the pillar of cloud and fire, so surely must the Lord’s powerful presence go with His word if there is to be any blessing from it.

        How utterly dependent we are on the Holy Spirit in the work of preaching! All genuine preaching is rooted in a feeling of desperation. You wake up Sunday morning and you can smell the smoke of hell on one side and feel the crisp breezes of heaven on the other. You go to your study and look down at your pitiful manuscript, and you kneel down and cry, “God, this is so weak! Who do I think I am? What audacity to think that in three hours my words will be the odor of death to death and the fragrance of life to life (2 Cor.2:16). My God, who is sufficient for these things?”
        1 Thessalonians 5:19 says, “Do not quench the Spirit.” Of course, we cannot “quench” the Spirit so as to completely “extinguish Him” because He is God, as we have seen. Nonetheless, we can certainly quench Him in the sense of hindering or stifling His presence and ministry among us, in the corporate gathering of God’s people. The word “quench” here means, “to put out,” as one puts out a fire.

        NO where in the bible is there a complete order of salvation-

        Come on Brian, it sounds like you’re trying to just mix me up. I know and have admitted I am a amateur school boy but really???

        Once one is regenerated he repents of sins and turns to God and embraces Christ in faith. THe moment he receives Christ he receives positional justification which is permanent and does not need to be made better. He also receives sanctification, holy in Christ. The new Christian now journeys in slow gradual sanctification. Growing in the grace of holiness and knowing Jesus Christ intimately in everyday life. To Him be both Glory both now and forever, 2 Peter 3:18 He is putting off the old man that grows corrupt according to the deceitful lust and putting on the new man which is created after God in Righteousness and trull holiness. He realizes even his spirit is sinful before God and needs sin to be mortified. We are to cleanse ourselves of all filthiness of the flesh and spirit perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord.

        Yes, that is good preaching there, one is justified once he receives Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

        Well when we are justified in Christ Brian we receive Christ imputed righteousness. It is symbolically or figuratively like a spiritual robe of Christ’s Righteousness we receive due to active and passive and active righteousness.

        Brian said:Wouldn’t justification also happen at regeneration? So it seems illogical to me that if we have Jesus in our spirits at regeneration, we have His everlasting life before faith, but we do not His righteousness according to the order of salvation by Calvinists. Really?

        Yeah, that is what I say really???

        That is not how I believe it, you show how that believes it that way and I will try and talk to him. I think I answered most of this above.

        A Person receives eternal life one they believe and embrace Christ as their Lord.

        Brian said : But if you believe Jesus does not enter one’s spirit until after faith, then what kind of “spiritual life” is received at regeneration according to the Calvinists.

        The life of the Spirit of God John 6:63 – The Spirit gives life, the flesh profits nothing————remember romans 8 tells us we can do nothing in the flesh that is pleasing to God, that would include, repentance, faith, humbling yourself (not life as a sinner man humbling yourself to your wife, that humbling is as filthy rags and is sin from defect) The humbling is not actuated by the grace of the Spirit, cause the Spirit gives life and before the there is life, the flesh profits nothing.

        No Brian it would not been seen as a different birth, you are just trying to win a debate here, it was my Jesus who is God who hung on that Cross and was buried for 3 days, Eternal life alone is found in Jesus Christ

        Brian do you understand that now. This is where you usually let your intelligence (cause I admit you are one of the most intelligent men I have ever met) but do you see the each person in the Godhead have roles and functions. Eternal life is found in Christ Jesus alone. The Spirit has power within the preaching of the gospel drawing one effectually and through his almighty power to Christ.

        You know what, I am an amateur school boy when it comes to God’s word, you are going to find mistakes and things I should not have said. I will learn from it.

        But you know what Brian, I know without doubt there are lots of things within your post that are false and wrong. Will you admit to them? This I have never seen you do.

        I don’t think anyone has said the power of the Holy Spirit is a “birth”, the Spirit’s power is to apply Christ to the repentant believing sinner.

        Do you know believe the Holy Spirit has life Brian John 6:63
        Do you not believe the Father has power Brian?

        The trinity one in Essence

        he three Biblical doctrines that flow directly into the river that is the Trinity are as follows:

        1) There is one and only one God, eternal, immutable.

        2) There are three eternal Persons described in Scripture – the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. These Persons are never identified with one another – that is, they are carefully differentiated as Persons.

        3) The Father, the Son, and the Spirit, are identified as being fully deity—that is, the Bible teaches the Deity of Christ and the Deity of the Holy Spirit.

        Because you know Brian that “righteous everlasting life” is found only in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Spirit has life, for his purpose, role and function in the trinity.

        The Spirit is a Spirit of power and,

        the Spirit is the Spirit of Life to us

        Romans :10 If Christ lives in you, you will live. Though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life. The Spirit does this because you have been made right with God.

        11 The Spirit of the God who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you. So the God who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your bodies. He will do this because of his Spirit who lives in you.

        I see a connection between the Christ and Spirit when it comes to verse 10 here Brian. Read it slowly and carefully. IF CHRIST LIVES IN YOU, YOU WILL LIVE, and though your body will die because of sin, THE SPIRIT GIVES YOU LIVE.

        When this happens I am not for sure, I would have to study it. Eternal life is in Christ, but the Spirit gives life also.

        There are not two births, two regenerations, that is just silly nonsense that I do not even see in the word of God.

        Brian, really???? really???? You don’t think I have read what you said about Dr, White’s understanding of the 1 John verses. How do you know how carefully I am reading them, if is probably Brian and mean this with all due respect I just don’t believe you. Dr. White is your superior i am afraid.

        Brian said and I quote sadly:White is trying to apply these passages to try to prove that there is no faith or trust before being born again. I think you are not catching the non-sequitor argument that White is using! It does not follow (non-sequitor) that if CONTINUING DOING right, love, and believing in a never ending way are obvious results of being born again that there were NO NON-CONTINUING ACTS of doing right, showing love, or trust before being born-again or even conditions for it!

        There is no faith or trust before being born again, Would these things not be pleasing to God in the flesh. Without faith it is impossible to be pleasing to God. So yes, Dr. White is Correct, I just hope you are not accusing him of deceivingly doing what you think in your own opinion is wrong. And I emphasize your own opinion

        Well you are thinking wrong because I am catching and understanding Dr. White’s conclusions that do follow logically

        Brian said and I quote! and believing in a never ending way are obvious results of being born again that there were NO NON-CONTINUING ACTS of doing right, showing love, or trust before being born-again or even conditions for it!

        Brian!!! Listen carefully to me!!! That seems to be the one thing I cannot get you to do. I trust Dr, White or Brian. Combined with the rest of the scriptures I go with Dr. White. Even if he is wrong the principle of “regeneration preceding faith” is a fact and principle you have to deal with because because those in the flesh will not come to Christ and those with “libertarian free-will can reject Christ apostatize at any moment. God cannot determine them Brian, that would be violating and forcing their libertarian free-will. Brian, do you understand!!!!

        You and white just need to get together and hash it out!!!!!!

        You’re just rambling and frustrated in your last two sections of your post. I do like one part though.

        You said and I quote: “No one is able to have any kind of faith that Jesus is the Christ until they are first born again”

        That is almost correct except you put “any kind of faith” and 1 John 5:1 says Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.

        Regeneration brings one to be believing ones in Christ Jesus Brian, not just any kind of faith.

        Listen don’t ramble on with me, use your big words, trying to sound intelligent, do you really think I am going to believe you know Greek better than Dr White,

        I don’t think so. See there are those out there more intelligent than you and more wise with greater understanding in God’s word Brian. One of them is Dr. White.

        Oh, I believe you tried to be tricky and trip me up tonight in your post. You may have somewhat, but God’s word stands forever Brian.

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  19. Hello Brian again,
    I see you seem to know nothing about the work and the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

    There is the New Birth of the Spirit and Eternal Life in Christ

    Here are some verses on the new birth and eternal life, should help

    You see Brian wants us to get confused with the Spirit quickening us and making us spiritually alive and eternal life.

    John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have new birth

    John 4:14 – but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to new birth.”

    And this is the new birth, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

    Ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end [the new birth]” (Rom. 6:22)

    “He that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap (the new birth)” (Gal. 6:8).

    There is the New Birth of the Spirit and Eternal Life in Christ

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  20. 1 John 5:12 Jesus is received when someone trusts him as Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit applies Christ and his benefits including eternal life found only in Jesus Christ

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    1. So Kevin, If I am understanding you correctly you are saying that the Holy Spirit gives a spiritual life that is called new birth (regeneration) that is not everlasting, but it makes the receiving of Jesus happen later. And you are saying that with receiving Jesus by faith one gets His everlasting life which starts in one’s spirit, but that start is not called a new birth. The life the Spirit starts in a new birth but is not everlasting, and the life Jesus starts is everlasting but not the same as the spiritual life caused by the Spirit! Do I understand you correctly?

      When the spiritual life that is given by the Spirit at the new birth causes Jesus to be received, and HIs everlasting life begins, does that spiritual life that is given by the Spirit get absorbed or does it get replaced by the everlasting life of Jesus or does it just end? Does the Spirit give this spiritual life at the new birth but does not yet indwell the person Himself until Jesus and His life is received, or does the Spirit indwell with His life and then causes repentance and faith so that Jesus and His life is received so that now both the Spirit and Christ, with both of their lives, are together in the spirit of the believer?

      This sounds very confusing to me! How does it all fit with Paul’s words – Rom 8:9-10, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness”?

      I think it is more consistent with Scripture to believe that the Holy Spirit brings enlightenment with the preaching of the gospel, and thus enable as person to believe in Jesus. The enlightenment is not regeneration, but enables the person to trust, and if they trust, God gives the new birth of everlasting life, which is the same as the presence of Jesus by the Holy Spirit to dwell in the believers’ spirit forever! The new birth is the start of everlasting life just like our physical birth was the start of our earthly life. Enlightenment is not life, but it is enablement. But it just does not need to be an irresistible enablement, because God does not have to force His salvation life on anyone. God is willing and able to suffer loss and still be perfect. And He has paid of more than enough of man’s iniquity. Praise His name! When He see a man’s act of trust in His Son, He just fulfills His promise to give that salvation life to all who receive His Son as an act of faith enabled by the Holy’s Spirit’s enlightenment.

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      1. brianwagner writes, “…the Holy Spirit gives a spiritual life that is called new birth (regeneration)…”

        No one has equated regeneration with the new birth. As RS1001, says, “You see Brian wants us to get confused with the Spirit quickening us and making us spiritually alive and eternal life.”

        The New Birth seems to be a process that includes regeneration but would not have to be limited only to regeneration. That’s my view. I don’t think this is settled within the Calvinist community. I do not even have a clear idea of that which the Scriptures mean by the term, “New Birth.”

        Peter writes, “God has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade–kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” This has the new birth following faith. I am not sure what he refers to.

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      2. Brian,
        What am I going to do with you. 🙂 I even tried to be somewhat firm in my tone to throw you off. Told myself I was going to be sharp, but you still got me in some kind of weird trap. I am going back to bed, I will look at this in the morning

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  21. Good morning Brian,
    Not trying to overload you, but I am just posting verses and quotes to try and work my way though the questions you have asked and assertions you have made. So just skip over that which you don’t find irrelevant, if I feel you skipped over something relevant I will get the dog chain out and out back to where you are suppose to be, 🙂

    Brian said and I quote: So Kevin, If I am understanding you correctly you are saying that the Holy Spirit gives a spiritual life that is called new birth (regeneration) that is not everlasting,

    First let me just say I think I did a pretty good job answering you above, some things that might have answered some of your questions that you chose to ignore. i have to myself a pat o the back, Pat Pat 🙂 Just joking.

    Anyway, the new birth is a must a necessity as we read in Nicodemus in my post above. Without it you cannot see or enter the kingdom of heaven. Who is speaking these words of command, no other than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself and he starts off with the words Verily, Verily meaning what he is about to say is emphatic (you must be born again) and of the utmost importance. “Must speaks of being required or of necessity. WITHOUT THE WORK OF THE SPIRIT THE FLESH PROFITS NOTHING AND CAN DO NOTHING PLEASING TO GOD SUCH AS REPENTING, HAVING FAITH, HUMBLING ONESELF. ALL THINGS THAT ALL PLEASING TO CALL WHEN ACTUATED AND CARRIED ALONG AND THROUGH BY THE HOLY SPIRIT, HUMBLING, REPENTING AND BELIEVING IN FLESH PROFIT NOTHING, AND ARE NOT PLEASING TO GOD. WITHOUT FAITH A PERSON IS NOT PLEASING TO GOD. All men do not have faith although in Romans it has been falsely misunderstood that God has given to “every man or one the measure of faith.” If you start from the 1st chapter of that book you will see the audience is believers in Christ and when Paul says God has given to everyone the measure of faith, then the Apostle Paul exhorts everyone present according to “the measure of faith given to you by God” to prophesy in proportion or measure of out faith, the same in serving (probably the gift of helps, teaching, exhorting those who contribute in generosity, who are leaders and ones who have that very special gift of God, “who do acts of mercy, although they suffer at times, they do it with cheerfulness.) Paul was not saying that every sinners as the measure of faith to believe in Christ. He was exhorting and encouraging the church to use the gifts and blessing that God had bestowed on them in grace according to the measure of faith given to them Some people have greater measures of the same gifts than others. Does not matter, we all work together for the common goal, that Christ be glorified in all and through all.

    I know, I know i leave the main subject at hand too much but it is indirectly related to it. For too many years non-calvinist have tried to use that verse to prove all have innate faith to believe in Christ.

    You see John 6:44 says they who are given by the Father are drawn effectually by the almighty power of the Holy Spirit, and the Father though and by the means of the Holy Spirit, inwardly teaches them the gospel they are hearing outwardly (now I am speaking of the elect in Christ those given to Jesus who he guaranteed will come and he guaranteed he will not lose, because it it the will of the Father) By the means of the Holy Spirit the Father they are taught inwardly (those he gave to Jesus) the gospel of Jesus Christ. And everyone that has been taught by the Fatherly inwardly through the means and power of the Holy Spirit, they learn and come to Jesus as Jesus said in John 6:37 because they are enabled to by the Father through means of the enabling power of the Holy Spirit in John 6:65.

    You cannot say that Brian, because the libertarian free-will can reject Christ before they by their false unscriptural free-will repent and believe and they can also reject and apostasy after if they truly have libertarian free-will.

    Which is it Brian? Can those who get themselves by their libertarian free will get unsaved, by choosing to reject Christ and apostasy. That would be libertarian free will, being able to choose from from the two right? Accepting or rejecting? Or are they now irresistibly saved? Being libertarian free will being violated and forced to continue to believe in Christ? How can you determine something that has a libertarian free will without violating it’s rights and forcing it to do something it does not want to.

    I really want the answer to the question above.

    2 Thessalonians 3:2 – And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith

    “Do I think the Spiritual life the Holy Spirit gives that is called new birth (regeneration) as not being everlasting. I don’t think I ever said that, if I did then I will admit I was wrong. The work the Spirit starts in us at the New Birth being born again (Brian do you equate being born again and receiving Jesus as the same thing?) I think the Spirit, yes does quicken us makes us spiritually alive and though the hearing of the gospel and all that I have explained in last two post (you might need to re-read them) the Spirit Applies the the atonement of Christ to our lives. Yes that is what I believe. In Christ there is life eternal.

    Christ dwells in us by the means of the Spirit of God, right now the Spirit of God has taken up residence in those who have embraced Christ as Lord and Savior.

    Romans 8:9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you.

    Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

    10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

    The Holy Spirit is called a lot of names, Spirit of Comfort, of holiness, judgement etc and also called the “Spirit of Christ”

    We as Christians have the “Spirit of Christ dwelling within us.”

    1 Corinthians 3:16 – We are a temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwells in us.

    1 Corinthians 6:19 – Our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, which is in us because we are bought with a price. Everyone who has been purchased (redeemed) by the blood of Christ also has the Spirit of God dwelling in him.

    Romans 8:9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

    Romans 8: 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

    14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

    We are led to do the indwelling Spirit’s work of Sanctification, Killing of Sin. AS stated in verse 8:13. If we are led by the means and power of the indwelling Spirit to kill, mortify and put to death the deeds of the flesh we will live.
    1. The Holy Spirit is our teacher guiding us into truth (See also John 16;13, I Cor. 2:10-11

    “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. John 14:26

    2. The Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf

    26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
    Romans 8:26-27

    3. The Holy Spirit gives us joy and peace

    22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
    23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

    4. The spirit gives us gifts for ministry (Ephesians 2;8)

    4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:
    I Corinthians 12:4-7

    5. The Spirit gives us boldness to witness (I Tim. 3:13)

    And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. Acts 4;31

    6. The Spirit gives us power (Zechariah 4:6)

    that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, Ephesians 3:16

    19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, Ephesians 1;19-20

    7. The Spirit gives us the power to live godly lives

    “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Ezekiel 36:27

    8. The Spirit helps us to pray

    praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints Ephesians 6:18

    9. The Spirit gives us wisdom and revelation

    17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints
    Ephesians 1:17-18

    10. God the Father speaks through us by the Spirit

    I am going to do what Brian hates, but us amateur school boys going up against scholars need extra help,

    It maintains that since unregenerate man is dead and unable to respond to the gospel, he must first be “born again” so that he can receive the gift of faith. This regenerative work of God will only take place in the lives of the elect as God irresistibly draws them. This all must take place in this order; otherwise biblical salvation, it is maintained, is no longer of God in His grace, but rather of man through self-effort. Calvinist professor Dr. R. C. Sproul sets forth this position when he writes:

    http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/reformed/ddregen.htm

    Maybe the above comment is help you understand why one “must out of necessity” be born again (other than faith repentance and Christ)

    Brian down below is very import for you so you will not keep misrepresenting us, please read carefully and slowly!!!

    In regeneration, God changes our hearts. He gives us a new disposition, a new inclination. He plants a desire for Christ in our hearts. We can never trust Christ for our salvation unless we first desire Him. This is why we said earlier that regeneration precedes faith. [R. C. Sproul, Chosen by God, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale Publishers, 1986), p. 118]

    Only God can bring life to dead souls to enable them to believe. He does this when and where and how He pleases by His Spirit, who regenerates, or gives life leading to faith…As a reformed Christian, the writer believes that counselors must not tell any unsaved counselee that Christ died for him, for they cannot say that. No man knows except Christ Himself who are His elect for whom He died. [Jay Adams, Competent To Counsel, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1970), p. 70]

    Brian I believe the above statement completely, the non-calvinist keeps telling him/her that Christ died for them and they do not know who the elect are, John 3:16, Christ did not die for “whosoever”, no he died for those in a present continuous state of believing in Christ. Believing ones. In the Interlinear Bible Whosoever does not even exist.

    We witness, teach and preach and tell individuals that Christ died for sinners indiscriminately and let God do the discriminating.
    I do not know who the elect are, or who is an actual propitiation for other than the children of God scattered scattered across the whole world. 1 John 2:2

    John 11; But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. 50 Nor do you understand that xit is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” 51 He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but also o gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.

    Verse 52 talks about sinners who are called the children of God scattered abroad who have yet come to faith.

    But one of them, Caiaphas,who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. 50 Nor do you understand that xit is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” 51 He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.

    Verse 52 talks about sinners being called the children of God who are the elect in Christ yet to come to faith in the future.

    Also Brian, you have never mentioned anything about JOHN THE BAPTIST BEING FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT FROM HIS MOTHER’S WOMB. I WOULD LIKE AN ANSWER PLEASE. HOW CAN THIS BABY NURSING FROM HIS MOTHER BE REGENERATED RECEIVED THE NEW BIRTH, TO YOUNG TO MAKE A CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD TO E SAVED BUT STILL HE IS BORN AGAIN. BORN AGAIN BEFOR FAITH IN CHRIST BRIAN? PLEASE EXPLAIN THAT ONE PLEASE.

    Ephesians 2:1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins
    2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—
    3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body[a] and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.[b]
    4 But[c] God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,
    5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—
    6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
    7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
    8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
    9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
    10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

    Says above we were quickened when we were dead in trespasses (same as verse 1) made us alive together with Christ, by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:5

    John 3:3: “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
    I Pet. 1:23 these words: “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.”

    These two verses above say we are born again, (experience the new birth the means of the Spirit and the World of God. But in all my Post I have always included the word of God in connection with the Holy Spirit.

    As I have said before,Ephesians 6:17……… and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,

    The sword of the Spirit is the word of God.

    The Holy Spirit takes the Word of God, the Word of Truth, and plants it in the heart of the sinner whom He will save; and that seed, that Word, watered and nurtured by the Holy Spirit, springs up into eternal life.

    Thus your answer Brian——-1 John 5:12 -1English Standard Version (ESV)
    12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

    John 3:8 -The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know from where it comes and where it goes. Thus is everyone having been born of the Spirit.”

    The work in the heart of man is performed by the Holy Spirit in His own way and in His own time, for He is sovereign.

    I think the Christ dwells in us by means of the person and work of the Holy Spirit. I also think the receiving of eternal life happens as quick as the wink of the eye in connection with the new birth. Although there could be exceptions to that rule.

    Brian, help me out, when one receives Christ by faith, have you found anywhere in Scripture where it is called a new birth?

    James 1:18 – Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

    1 Peter 1:3 English Standard Version (ESV)
    Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
    John 3:3-8English Standard Version (ESV)

    3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again[a] he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.[b] 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You[c] must be born again.’ 8 The wind[d] blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

    It is not cut and dry as Brian want it to be read below

    Which member of the Trinity is the one who causes regeneration? When Jesus speaks of being “born of the Spirit” (John 3:8), he indicates that it is especially God the Holy Spirit who produces regeneration. But other verses also indicate the involvement of God the Father in regeneration: Paul specifies that it is God who “made us alive together with Christ” (Eph. 2:5; cf. Col. 2:13). And James says that it is the “Father of lights” who gave us new birth: “Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures” (James 1:17–18).1 Finally, Peter says that God “according to his abundant mercy has given us new birth… through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3, author’s translation). We can conclude that both God the Father and God the Holy Spirit bring about regeneration.

    Brian read it below, so important, just what i have been saying, “quick as the wink of the eye”

    Using the verses quoted above, we have defined regeneration to be the act of God awakening spiritual life within us, bringing us from spiritual death to spiritual life. On this definition, it is natural to understand that regeneration comes before saving faith. It is in fact this work of God that gives us the spiritual ability to respond to God in faith. However, when we say that it comes “before” saving faith, it is important to remember that they usually come so close together that it will ordinarily seem to us that they are happening at the same time.

    As God addresses the effective call of the gospel to us, he regenerates us and we respond in faith and repentance to this call. So from our perspective it is hard to tell any difference in time, especially because regeneration is a spiritual work that we cannot perceive with our eyes or even understand with our minds.

    Yet there are several passages that tell us that this secret, hidden work of God in our spirits does in fact come before we respond to God in saving faith (though often it may be only seconds before we respond). When talking about regeneration with Nicodemus, Jesus said, “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). Now we enter the kingdom of God when we become Christians at conversion. But Jesus says that we have to be born “of the Spirit” before we can do that.7 Our inability to come to Christ on our own, without an initial work of God within us, is also emphasized when Jesus says, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44), and “No one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father” (John 6:65). This inward act of regeneration is described beautifully when Luke says of Lydia, “The Lord opened her heart to give heed to what was said by Paul” (Acts 16:14). First the Lord opened her heart, then she was able to give heed to Paul’s preaching and to respond in faith.

    Brian said; “he life the Spirit starts in a new birth but is not everlasting, and the life Jesus starts is everlasting but not the same as the spiritual life caused by the Spirit! Do I understand you correctly?”

    Never said that, don’t know where you got it from, sorry if I was not clear enough, but the new birth and receiving christ by faith happen almost simultaneously, which to us seems like a the same time. No I don’t think you understand me correctly. Down below is a good example of what I believe.

    But God had to spiritually regenerate Lydia by opening her heart so she could receive and understand the things spoken of by the apostle Paul. It may be seconds but regeneration does procede faith.

    Roles and functions in the Godhead Brian, it was Jesus that gave us the Spirit. Now the Spirit sovereignly in due time applies the atonment of Christ to those who embrace him by faith

    Brian the Godhead are three persons, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, different roles and functions in our salvation but THEY ARE THE SAME IN THE ESSENCE OF DEITY. THAT YOU REALLY NEED TO REMEMBER

    IF YOU REMEMBER THE GODHEAD IS THE SAME IN ESSENCE CONCERNING DEITY

    it will keep you from asking questions like the one below, but I think your open theism is affecting you somewhat

    You said and I quote: “When the spiritual life that is given by the Spirit at the new birth causes Jesus to be received, and HIs everlasting life begins, does that spiritual life that is given by the Spirit get absorbed or does it get replaced by the everlasting life of Jesus or does it just end?”

    Brian said and I quote: Does the Spirit give this spiritual life at the new birth but does not yet indwell the person Himself until Jesus and His life is received, or does the Spirit indwell with His life and then causes repentance and faith so that Jesus and His life is received so that now both the Spirit and Christ, with both of their lives, are together in the spirit of the believer?

    The order would be the new birth (as quick as the blink of the eye) then immediate faith and embracing Christ, resulting in the Holy Spirit applying the atonement and benefits and blessings of Christ. Then Christ taking up residence inside of the believer in the person and indwelling and power of the Holy Spirit. I think that is why in Roman 8 it says:

    Romans 8:9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

    10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

    Notice the connection of the Spirit of Christ and the ‘Still indwelling of the Holy Spirit” in the believer in Christ.

    I think that answers you question Brian. Did it teach you anything respectfully Sir? Other than Sarcarism

    The Spirit is life Brian we have already established John 6:63 – The Spirit is life and the flesh profits nothing

    What do you expect to accomplish in your salvation apart from the Holy Spirit in the flesh and is can do nothing pleasing to God Romans 8

    Brian is logical and cannot be denied that at the New Birth when there is (regeneration) when, The Holy Ghost quickens and makes you alive WHILE YOU WERE STILL DEAD AND WALKING TRESPASSES AND SINS, that the sinner was given spiritual life. The Spirit is life. Did we not read that in John 6:63.

    I ask was the Apostle Paul regenerated like John the Baptist who filled with the Holy Spirit from His mother’s womb. Nursing from the nip and filled with the Holy Ghost and never had spoken words of faith or had heard as of yet to receive or embrace Christ in faith.

    Was the apostle Paul’s experience the same, “he was set apart before he was born” What if these Apostles and prophets did not want to or Paul’s mother brought was strict in her libertarian free-will and would not allow Paul to follow His calling. He could have said no right Brian He had Libertarian free-will. Funny how those with all this Libertarian free-will and God’s keeps working all things after the council of His will. Paul probably was not regenerated but God did set him apart to be his apostle in the future. How did he know paul would follow through with all the variables involved. Paul could have just said no.

    It is less confusing to restrict expressions like regeneration and new birth by adopting the sense of the immediate impartation of new life to the spiritually-dead soul, the work of the Holy Spirit in which the sinner is passive, while it is conversion in which the Word is the instrument through which saving faith is begotten, or better, brought to birth. This representation harmonizes both with the language of Scripture and with the use of the word ‘regeneration’ in the narrow sense.

    This question provides a transition to the subject of faith as an element of conversion. Many questions could be raised about faith, but we may concentrate our attention on its nature and on its relation to repentance. Two questions about the nature of faith may be considered. 1. Is faith simply the act of believing, or is it first of all a state or habit of the soul? 2. Is faith simply assent to the truth, or is it in part or entirely the consent of the will?

    Brian said and I quote:This sounds very confusing to me! How does it all fit with Paul’s words – Rom 8:9-10, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness”

    I understand what it is saying, it surprised me to see that I had just posted it above explaining your mixed up jargle. If you need help understanding this let me know. I believe it and it fits perfectly in my system of belief,

    Brian said and I quote: “The enlightenment is not regeneration, but enables the person to trust, and if they trust, God gives the new birth of everlasting life, which is the same as the presence of Jesus by the Holy Spirit to dwell in the believers’ spirit forever!”

    Assertions and opinions from a scholar and a Professor without exegesis of some type. At least your usual Text proofs.

    1.What is the enlightenment that is not regeneration

    2.Once again what is this enlightenment that enables one to the person to put their to trust, and if they trust (if they possess libertarian free will) Libertarian free will being the sinner can accept or reject from any two things, why do they need enabling if their will is free as you say. Would not “enabling their will against their Libertarian free will be a violation against their Libertarian free will. But the big question is this, if the sinner’s will is free, then why does it have to be made free or enabled to do something when it possess that great power already with Libertarian Free will? Hmmmmmmm

    Brian said and I quote: …..and if they trust, God gives the new birth of everlasting life, which is the same as the presence of Jesus by the Holy Spirit to dwell in the believers’ spirit forever!

    I agree with you on this except the part “if they trust” As you know in my system of belief, they do trust as they are enabled by the grace of the Holy Spirit. And the rest you mentioned I had already said above which I don’t think you believed I knew about. Us amateur school boys can surprise you sometimes.

    You say the Holy Spirit will dwell in the believer’s spirit forever. How do you know that Brian. How do you know Jesus will stop loving the Father and start hating him.

    How can the Libertarian free-will through faith and repentance get a person saved but once saved always saved. What becomes stronger than Libertarian free-will Brian? I am curious? Does keep them willing? I am sure you will say no to that but I am interested what is in that intelligent mind of yours. With all the variables and things that could happen to the believer down through human history, how do you know through his libertarian free will he will stayed saved. Brian are you part Calvinist? lol 🙂

    Brian said and I quote: Enlightenment is not life, but it is enablement. But it just does not need to be an irresistible enablement, because God does not have to force His salvation life on anyone. God is willing and able to suffer loss and still be perfect. And He has paid of more than enough of man’s iniquity. Praise His name! When He see a man’s act of trust in His Son, He just fulfills His promise to give that salvation life to all who receive His Son as an act of faith enabled by the Holy’s Spirit’s enlightenment.

    Enlightenment is not life, but it is enablement.

    Shame on you Professor for just making mere assertions and opinions of a fallen sinful man apart from the word of God. If you show me from the word, you know me by know I will change and believe it, but not just mere assertions, and not where you are coming from as a whole anyway. yes I am learning and growing

    But it just does not need to be an irresistible enablement, because God does not have to force His salvation life on anyone. ”

    He is forcing some type of enablement on individuals who have Libertarian free-will, or do they get the chance to accept or reject it and where is that found in God’s word.

    “God is willing and able to suffer loss and still be perfect.”

    But he will not suffer the loss of those who become saved somehow through your system of belief and keeps them saved. How does he do it without violating and forcing it on their Libertarian free-will?

    “And He has paid of more than enough of man’s iniquity. ” True but I believe in God’s extent of the atonement 1 John 2:2 Those he died for will be saved. I don’t believe in your possibility salvation. Jesus came to actuality and in reality to save His people from their sins. And the ultimate decision is not up to the Libertarian free-will of man.

    Yes I do Praise his Holy Name and all to the praise of his glorious grace. His will will be done.

    Acts 2:39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.

    All the elect in their divine time who have been predestined to be saved in Christ will be effectually called.

    “everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself”

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    1. Kevin – These sites I think function better if discussions are not long tomes but easier to digest more quickly. I think you might think about spending such literary energy more wisely on your book idea. Your last post here was 13 pages in Word! If you want, maybe I could pretend to be against your good book project and you could respond to my feigned attacks… You would have a good size book written in no time since you seem to enjoy writing a lot in response to my posts! 🙂

      I certainly will not respond to everything you said in the last post… but I will try to deal with those things you directly asked me to –
      You asked – “Which is it Brian? Can those who get themselves [saved] by their libertarian free will get unsaved, by choosing to reject Christ and apostasy? That would be libertarian free will, being able to choose from the two, right, that is, accepting or rejecting? Or are they now irresistibly saved? Wouldn’t that be libertarian free will being violated and forced to continue to believe in Christ? How can you determine something that has a libertarian free will without violating its rights and forcing it to do something it does not want to?” [I edited your words a little]

      My answer – I never said I believed in libertarian free-will as many have defined it. Everyone’s will, even God’s is limited by their nature. No one can freely go against their nature. I have defined enlightenment as God’s enabling of man’s nature to make a freed choice for or against the presentation of His grace to draw him. Regeneration is not necessary, nor is an irresistible drawing. God can certainly do irresistible things to man, and when we get our new bodies after the resurrection we will both still have a freed will to some extent, but are nature will be changed to make sinning impossible for us. I also believe that even now, after regeneration, a believer’s will is still free to sin, but it is not free enough to stop trusting in Christ and to then to apostatize.

      You also asked – “about JOHN THE BAPTIST BEING FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT FROM HIS MOTHER’S WOMB…. HOW CAN THIS BABY NURSING FROM HIS MOTHER BE REGENERATED and have RECEIVED THE NEW BIRTH, being TOO YOUNG TO MAKE A CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD TO BE SAVED BUT STILL HE IS BORN AGAIN… BORN AGAIN BEFORE FAITH IN CHRIST BRIAN?

      My answer – The passage says only “filled with the Holy Spirit”. One has to make an assumption that only those who are regenerated can be filled with the Holy Spirit. Though that would be a reasonable assumption, the fact that being filled is not a continuous thing, and the fact that infants, in my view, are not lost before the age of accountability, and the fact that being filled basically means being influenced but not irresistibly, in my view, I have no reason not to believe that John the Baptist was filled but not regenerated from his mother’s womb. I believe he became regenerated when he put his trust in God’s mercy for the salvation of his soul.

      Finally – Kevin, I have given you a few times before the passages about God’s promised enlightenment of everyone. John 1:9, Gen 6:3, Job 33:14-30, Heb 4:12, John 6:63. God loves the world! His word has power and when He calls, within that call there is a freeing influence that makes the hearer responsible. God warns him that when he hears God’s voice he should not harden his heart! (Heb 3:7-8) That warning is not needed in the Calvinist system, for in his system, the elect will not harden his heart after hearing God’s voice and the non-elect cannot hear that voice, so the warning is superfluous in the Calvinist system! But God’s word is never superfluous!

      One extra thought… I wish, Kevin, you would see how it is VERY unreasonable to think that the phrase “the whole world” in 1John 2:2 means an entirely different group of people then it does in 1John 5:19, You need to choose only one group of people to fit both verses, for it is the exact same phrase. If you want it to be the elect throughout the world in 2:2 then it is the elect throughout the world that lies under the wicked one in 5:19. If you want it to be the reprobate in 5:19 then it is the reprobate in 2:2 whose sins Jesus was the propitiation for. Of course, I think it is everyone currently lost in the whole world in John’s day that he says lies under the influence of the wicked one, but they are also those for whose sins Jesus was the propitiation, just as much as He was for current believers.

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      1. Yes Brian, did you read my post under Regeneration precedes faith, It is the very last one. I think you will like it and it is not a booklet. Very short

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      2. I have so explained this to you as least twice now but here goes again,

        Joh 1:9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
        Joh 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.

        Why do you always leave verse 10 out. It says, “the world did not know him”

        it is best therefore to understand these words of the light of nature, and reason, which Christ, as the word, and Creator and light of men, gives to every man that is born into the world;

        It is not talking about in a saving sense Brian. So please no longer use that verse when the very next verse, verse 10 says, the world did not know him.

        Gen 6:3 has nothing to do with the subject

        Hebrews 4:12 is powerful In the hands of the Spirit of God, the word of God being the sword of the Spirit, operates powerfully on those being saved and those saved. But it is also called the aroma of death to some. Hmmmmm
        Speaking of the Gospel

        o one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?

        2 Corinthians 2:16 o one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?

        and only God’s sheep given to Jesus hear his mighty voice

        John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

        I have seen your Hebrews 4:12 verse have no affect on a full grown man in church as he played on his smart phone, with no concern with the Gospel,. but that is why Jesus said,

        John 3:8 – Joh 3:8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit

        John 6:63, Yes the Spirit does give life, I have used that verse several times myself with you avoiding it or ignoring it. What does this have to do with everyman getting your man-centered made up enlightenment. Your verses and arguments are very weak here Brain, Has nothing to do with everyman without exception being enlightened by the gospel.

        Sorry but you have a misunderstanding about the warning of scriptures in the Reformed Belief. We are to make are calling and election sure and to take all the warning passages seriously. Don’t miss represent what the calvinist say or try and speak for them sir, because you always get it wrong I have noticed on here. God loves the world but in John 17 it clearly says Jesus did not pray for the world but for those those the Father had given them and those who would believe through the Apostles Preaching of the Gospel. JESUS DID NOT PRAY FOR THE WORLD.

        John 17:2-2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

        You always cop out and never deal with this verse.

        John 17: 9…I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them.

        John17: 20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,

        Theses are all that the Father gave to Jesus, they will come to him, he will lose none, and raise them up on the last day, John 6

        I see your still having problems with 1 John 2:2. I will write a book on my blog site for you to read…. 🙂

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      3. Hi Kevin, I will only respond to your view that John 1:9 is not about Jesus being the “Light” that leads everyone to an opportunity of salvation. I agree with you that the context does not mean that as the Light everyone automatically gets saved from its influence. And I agree that the world, during the time Jesus was in it, as a whole did not “know” Jesus was the Light that had been enlightening them all along. And I agree with you that Jesus was using creation and conscience (Rom 1, 2) as the enlightenment in John 1:9. Where we disagree is that such enlightenment is God’s intentional plan to give everyone enough to be drawn towards a decision to trust in Him as their creator for His mercy.
        [Job 33:29-30 NKJV] “Behold, God works all these [things], Twice, [in fact], three [times] with a man, To bring back his soul from the Pit, That he may be enlightened with the light of life.

        Let look quickly at the whole context in the first chapter of John –
        [Jhn 1:4-10 NKJV]
        4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
        5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
        6 There was a man sent from God, whose name [was] John.
        7 This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe.
        8 He was not that Light, but [was sent] to bear witness of that Light.
        9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.
        10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.

        It is impossible for me to believe that John is not strongly emphasizing how Jesus is the Light and how that Light is connected to salvation Life, See verse 4. And that the Light was given to produce faith! Look at verse 7. And that Light is enlightening everyone! See verse 9. To assume from this passage that God does not want everyone to believe, but has planned to give enlightenment that can produce faith only in some, is not reasonable,

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      4. No, don,t think I will be doing the book idea any time soon unless something changes, thanks for your concern though? I am not really writing in response to your post as I told you so (maybe indirectly) but in a sense talking out loud and trying to work my way through your tough questions. Does that help you understand better? Hope so. I told you to only respond in my last post to what you think is relevant, because I was only thinking out loud, and I would direct you back if you jumped over something that was relevant. Most of it was me rambling, some good stuff though. 🙂 Brian I am going to a You said and I quote: I never said I believed in libertarian free-will as many have defined it. ” What does it mean Brian, and does man have Libertarian free will or not. If he does not, please without writing a book as you have ask me, just simple to me what what kind of will he has? So you believe in no kind or form of Libertarian free-will right? God has the most free-will in the universe or all of eternity. He cannot sin in my world. i am not so sure about yours, Cause in your Jesus could stop loving the Father and start hating him right? You said everyone will is limited by it;s nature. What is the nature of man and how it it limited or does that depend on the individual? A sinner’s nature is sin, so everything he does will be sin, even what we as society would consider his works as good are filthy rags to God, because they are sin from defect. God’s word says, whatever you drink or whatever you eat, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. That is what i mean by “sin by defect” A person could be a good mother, father. son. employee ect in the eyes of the world and still be filthy rags in the eyes of God, because he sins from defect, he does not strive to be a Godly father, mother son, employee ect to the glory of God. But you are telling me you believe in no form of libertarian free will? You said and I quote: I have defined enlightenment as God’s enabling of man’s nature to make a freed choice for or against the presentation of His grace to draw him.” Then you better get to work on showing this from God;s word!!! And yes you have to!!!! You said and I quote: God can certainly do irresistible things to man,” What kind of irrestible things can God do to man and yes you have to use scripture to support your argument. If you don’t want to, it will not be accepted. You said and I quote: and when we get our new bodies after the resurrection we will both still have a freed will to some extent,: Please show and support from scripture” I am sorry Brian but you do not get to assert half a book with no scriptural proof, you are a scholar. That is not enough, it just won’t do!! Say they previous words really slowly and with emphasis. What can of will does the sinner have and what kind of will does the Christian have Brian? Yes, I have already told Leighton on here that when I receive the finality of my salvation, glorification, I will be delivered from the presece of sin forever. How do you arrive at this and i quote: a believer’s will is still free to sin, but it is not free enough to stop trusting in Christ and to then to apostatize.” His will can reject salvation and keep him from getting saved, but now that he is saved, there is something “keeping his not free enough that keeps him saved. His will is no longer free Brian, you sound like a Calvinist. You need to quit making assertions and put some scripture where your mouth is because that last quote makes not sense. You sinner boys are free to say no to salvation, but now their wills in some sense are violated and forced to stay willing and saved.

        Psalms 58:3 The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies.

        Sorry Brian but God disagrees with you, your innocent babies, God calls wicked and estranged from the womb speaking lies. Speaking of the sin of depravity they are contaminated with,

        So that is your view, I will leave God His prerogative and knowing he will do all things according to the council of his will and not Brian’s will. As far as John the Baptist goes, your argument sounds reasonable enough so I agree. But I will look deeper into it. I just wonder why he was filled from his mother’s womb with the Spirit. Only God knows for what future reasons I guess. Hey I only responded to you because you directed your post to me. Don’t respond to my post if you don’t want to

        Have a good day

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  22. 13 pages wow, I can’t help it, I just let my thought flow, but I did end up agreeing with you that i posted it some other place on here. Don’t know if you read it or not

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  23. Hi brianwagner,
    I think you earned two weeks wages on this topic!!
    That’s a WHOLE LOT OF GRACE my friend!! 😀
    I know your probably trying to make exegesis light and somewhat easy to understand.
    But the times you do go deeper into the Greek construction I’m reading with interest.
    Thanks!
    br.d

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    1. LOL… you really are a glutton for punishment if you waded through all my conversations with Roger and Kevin, and a miscellaneous few others, on this page! Thank you again for your kind encouraging words. If there is some verse you especially would like my thoughts concerning the Greek construction, I would love giving a stab at it for your sake. Please always feel free to ask. I would like becoming more sharp in exegesis of the Scriptures, and such requests help me to focus on that and I like serving others that way. Thanks.

      Like

      1. brianwagner writes, “It is impossible for me to believe that John is not strongly emphasizing how Jesus is the Light and how that Light is connected to salvation Life, See verse 4. And that the Light was given to produce faith! Look at verse 7. And that Light is enlightening everyone! See verse 9. To assume from this passage that God does not want everyone to believe, but has planned to give enlightenment that can produce faith only in some, is not reasonable,”

        I think all agree “…that John is…strongly emphasizing how Jesus is the Light and how that Light is connected to salvation Life,”

        Let’s agree that “..the Light was given to produce faith!” Paul then adds, “Faith comes by hearing [the gospel].” So, your statement, “Light is enlightening everyone!” must be constrained at least to, “Light is enlightening everyone [who hears the gospel]!” Then, we have the warning of Hebrews 6, “It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened,…if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.” We then read of a distinction among those enlightened being compared to good soil and bad soil recalling Matthew 13 and the parable of the seed. We could reasonably ask whether enlightenment produces faith in all those who are listening. It appears not to do so.

        Your conclusion, “To assume from this passage that God does not want everyone to believe, but has planned to give enlightenment that can produce faith only in some, is not reasonable,” would seem to hold if God then provides for everyone to hear the gospel. If all do not hear the gospel preached, then we could reasonably assume that God did not plan to give enlightenment to all else we would see evangelists being sent to all people (which is why many denominations endeavor to send evangelists to all people).

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      2. Good morning Roger. You did not ask any specific questions, but I can see from your response that I may not have been clear enough on what I meant by “the Light was given to produce faith.” I also think you have been a little unclear on what you believe about what the enlightenment accomplishes in every man and for what purpose it is given to every man.

        As you know, I believe in the enablement of the temporary exercise of faith in the unregenerate that can be expressed as a commitment to trust God’s mercy. When God sees that commitment of faith, He gives the new birth which changes the nature and makes that trust for mercy permanent. What you may not understand from my view of what Scripture teaches about these things is that God gives previous enlightenment to every man at various times which provides an opportunity to trust that enlightenment and to begin to seek, a seeking, if the heart does not harden, that will eventually lead to that opportunity for a faith commitment in God’s mercy.

        I think you may remember that I have in the past pointed to Gen 6:3 (the Spirit striving) and Job 33:14-30 to show that this has always been God’s method, which John 1:9, 12:32, Acts 17:26-27, etc confirm.
        See – Job 33:29-30 “Behold, God works all these [things,] Twice, [in fact,] three [times] with a man,To bring back his soul from the Pit, That he may be enlightened with the light of life.”
        See also Job 33:26-28 “…he shall pray to God, and He will delight in him, he shall see His face with joy, For He restores to man His righteousness. Because looking at men he said, ‘I have sinned, and perverted [what was] right, And it did not profit me. He will redeem his soul from going down to the Pit, And his life shall see the light.” Almost sounds like one praying the sinner’s prayer and receiving salvation, God’s righteousness, doesn’t it!

        Even the hard soil gets some enlightenment from the Word to enable seeking. Satan knows this power of the Word and thus, when he can, he “takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved” (Luke 8:12). There are those non-Calvinists, and even Calvinists, that believe such rejection of such enlightenment is sufficient to judge those who never become part of the elect, that they are “without excuse” (Rom 1:20), even if they disagree on what enablement such enlightenment provides to seek, or not. I am satisfied with the possibility that God only gives the enablement and opportunity to seek, because of the promise, if they seek they will find, and because of the warning, if they harden their hearts when they hear God’s voice, they are without excuse.

        But I personally lean towards the view that God mercifully overcomes the hardness, shallowness, and choking influences in everyone’s life at least once to provide them with the enablement and opportunity to cry out – “God be merciful to me a sinner.” To me, that is trust in the gospel – i.e., that God’s mercy is sufficient for my salvation. Jesus said in different words that the tax collector believed this gospel when he prayed that prayer from his heart, and “went down to his house justified” (Luke 18:13-14). I believe this because of verses such as Rom 10:18, where the context of gospel teaching, Paul answers the question, “Have they not heard… yes”. See also Col 1:6.

        I hope that clarifies things for you. All, at least, get enlightenment, which if trusted will lead to further enlightenment, which if trusted will lead to an opportunity of repentance and trust in God’s mercy.

        One challenge, that I have been thinking about for you Roger, is the challenge of doing what Leighton did, if you haven’t already. Pretend you are on a debate team and that you must defend the opposite view, trying to find the strongest arguments that support that view which you don’t initially agree with and trying to discern the weaknesses of the view that you presently believe is the best. It may help you see some of the presuppositions of both views more clearly, that I think we have talked about, but perhaps should focus on more. You may see more clearly the presuppositions that seem to underpin your loyalty to your chosen view and to judge how contextually and grammatically supported those assumptions are by Scripture without needing philosophy to force less contextual and grammatical meanings onto Scripture. Have a good day, my friend.

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      3. brianwagner writes, “…I believe in the enablement of the temporary (ability to?) exercise of faith in the unregenerate that can be expressed as a commitment to trust God’s mercy (and confess Christ as Lord?). When God sees that commitment of faith, He gives the new birth which changes the nature and makes that trust for mercy (i.e., faith?) permanent.”

        A couple of clarifying inserts above. Do I understand you correctly?

        Regardless, enablement is required (without which salvation is not possible) and effects a change in the way a person is able to make decisions. You agree with the Calvinist regeneration (you call it enablement) and recognizes that the prior condition of the person is one of Total Inability. Nonetheless, your statement includes much speculation – does God enable faith in those who continue to reject salvation? Are there really a temporary and permanent faith? Could the enablement be part of the new birth process? Peter says, “you have been born again…through the living and enduring word of God.” So, both faith and the new birth are through the word – but in what order?

        Then, “…God gives previous enlightenment to every man at various times which provides an opportunity to trust that enlightenment and to begin to seek, a seeking, if the heart does not harden, that will eventually lead to that opportunity for a faith commitment in God’s mercy.”

        What is required is a sound exegesis of the issue and the verses you cite. Gen 6:3 is not straightforward in the translation as to the idea that is being conveyed. Job 33 can be taken to deal with physical death.

        You write, “‘…He will redeem his soul from going down to the Pit, And his life shall see the light.’ Almost sounds like one praying the sinner’s prayer and receiving salvation, God’s righteousness, doesn’t it!”

        This is what the person says to other people. Outside the KJV/NKJV, the translation is akin to the MSG, “But God stepped in and saved me from certain death. I’m alive again! Once more I see the light!” So, what is actually going on here? Your brief comments require expansion to sort out the confusion among the translations.

        Then, “Even the hard soil gets some enlightenment from the Word to enable seeking.”

        There are three soils in play and we can conclude that man’s depravity is the source of the rejection of the word. This recalls Hebrews 4, “we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.” Do the three soils really incorporate even the temporary faith that you advocate? It’s speculative.

        Then, “I personally lean towards the view that God mercifully overcomes the hardness, shallowness, and choking influences in everyone’s life at least once to provide them with the enablement and opportunity to cry out – ‘God be merciful to me a sinner.’”

        You agree with the Calvinists that God must act and unless God act, none could be saved. Are all equally enabled by God? If yes, what then accounts for different outcomes?

        Finally, “Pretend you are on a debate team and that you must defend the opposite view, trying to find the strongest arguments that support that view…”

        To do that, one must identify the arguments that are used to defend the opposite view. In your case, it is easy – God is not omniscient with regard to the future. Pastor Flowers is a little harder as he will walk a line between Calvinism and non-Calvinism and emphasize generalities rather than specifics. What is a person to do with other defenses where the objector starts out agreeing with the Calvinists that God is omniscient and then inexplicably argues as if God is not omniscient? If I am ever able to sort out what the opposing arguments are saying, then I can do as you suggest.

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      4. Well, there was one fellow posting 20 page documents as responses to you.
        And one certainly can’t be expected to follow something like that in forum of this nature.
        I have my Kindle for reading books. :-]
        But the thread was interesting!
        And I appreciated your patient, teaching manner! 😀
        It does highlight the significant role that the HUMAN ELEMENT plays in the interpretation of data.

        Years ago, a pastor used the story of 3 blind men who went to the zoo to see an elephant.
        The first man declared the elephant was a trunk, the second declared it was a tree, the third declared it was a hairy rope.
        The 3 men soon became mortal enemies, each one declaring his understanding inspired by God and the others heretical.

        Its my perception that as a scholar grows in maturity, he increasingly recognizes the HUMAN ELEMENT, and the role it plays in theologies.
        While the young spartan warriors, all full of testosterone, see everything as black and white……like the 3 blind men.
        And want to go out and chop-down all whom they view as enemies.
        Blessings!
        br.d

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I agree with you Duane, though I’m not a big fan of the elephant illustration. 😊 I think it has been used too often to support relativism against the perspicuity of important truths.

        Each of those blind guys would have probably spent more time investigating the whole elephant, and discovered more of the same information that each found. That’s what blind people do… and not so blind people too.

        But it is true, and I think for other reasons then what they discovered in common, that the weigh the findings differently and even dismiss some evidence as unimportant or needed to interpreted mystically, to fit their overall view.

        I tend to think they do this to maintain loyalty to and privilege in a system they have defended, like Spartans, 😉, and to avoid having to admit they may have gotten some major things wrong.

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  24. Since the assertion of non-Calvinist person’s not believing that God is “omniscience” is so frequently made.
    And since that assertion always seems to come, curiously, with complete omission of the fact that the Calvinist’s definition is unique.
    It might be valuable for readers to better understand what the Calvinist means when he appeals to the term “omniscience”.

    Understanding the hidden meanings for terms used within an argument, tends to even the odds for a recipient who would otherwise be tricked. The arguer understands how the recipient defines the term, and he also understands his altered and undisclosed definition for the term, while the recipient is left unaware. The recipient can then be lured into agreement by the ruse.

    To help enable the reader in this regard, here is an examination of the Calvinistic definition for “omniscience”, from a non-Calvinist perspective.

    The Theory Behind Omniscience, the Ugly Side of Calvinism:
    https://craigcfisher.wordpress.com/2014/02/09/the-theory-behind-omniscience-the-ugly-side-of-calvinism/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. br.d writes “Since the assertion of non-Calvinist person’s not believing that God is “omniscience” is so frequently made.”

      The assertion is that the non-Calvinist claims to believe that God is omniscient and then frames a theology in which God is not omniscient. For example, by omniscience, God knew who was to be saved and who was to be lost when He created the world and these outcomes cannot change. The non-Calvinist will then say that God desires each and every person to be saved even when they claim to believe that God created a world in which He knew that many will not, and cannot, be saved. It is the lack of consistency in the non-Calvinist’s application of omniscience that is the issue. Brian Wagner understands that one cannot subscribe to omniscience (where God has perfect knowledge of the future) and argue against Calvinism – to argue against Calvinism, one must deny God’s perfect knowledge of the future.

      Then, “And since that assertion always seems to come, curiously, with complete omission of the fact that the Calvinist’s definition is unique.”

      There is nothing unique about the definition of omniscience used by the Calvinists. It is the same that everyone else uses. The complaint in the cited article is not on the definition but about how God can be omniscient. The Calvinists has identified one way God can be omniscient – God ordains everything. No one else has put forth a different way for God to be omniscient.

      Finally, “It might be valuable for readers to better understand what the Calvinist means when he appeals to the term “omniscience”.”

      In the cited article, we have the two primary verses that Calvinists, and others, frame a definition of omniscience with the author’s comments on the verses.

      +++++
      Isaiah 46:10

      Declaring the end from the beginning,
      And from ancient times things that are not yet done,
      Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
      And I will do all My pleasure,’

      My favorite verse, God knows the end from the beginning. This verse does not mean God knows everything in between. How does he know the end, because his counsel that which God will bring about will happen because God will make it happen. Like a chess master who always wins, God is smart enough to accomplish his goals. God does not have to meticulously control the digestive tracts of small animals to accomplish his future goals.

      Isaiah 42:9

      Behold, the former things have come to pass,
      And new things I declare;
      Before they spring forth I tell you of them.”

      Does God declare all future things that will happen. Even Calvin believes in the secret things of God. Search the Bible, it does not declare if I will have strawberry jam on my toast on Monday. There are certain new things which God will declare and these things will happen but not all things.
      +++++

      Rather than offer a logical argument against the Calvinist take on these verses, the author offers his personal opinions writing:

      1. [I believe that] This verse does not mean God knows everything in between.
      2. [I believe that] God does not have to meticulously control the digestive tracts of small animals to accomplish his future goals.
      3. There are certain new things which God will declare and these things will happen but [I believe] not all things.

      The author offers no argument against that which we may take the verses to say:

      1. God declares the end from the beginning, There is no restriction on what God declares.
      2. Before anything happens, God knows it – whether God tells us what will happen is a separate matter.

      To avoid confusion, let’s use the definition found at Theopedia: The omniscience of God deals with what God knows. The term literally means “all-knowing”, understanding God’s knowledge to be exhaustive of both the past, present, and future.

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      1. Thank you rhutchin,
        Can you provide the link to the text at Theopedia which specifically details how the Calvinistic decrees are associated with omniscience?
        That part of the Calvinistic framing of “omniscience” is critical for people to clearly see, and should not be omitted.

        Also, I noticed the “Notable Theologians” section of that web-sight has a number of names listed. Is it safe to assume they are all Calvinists? That would help people understand the information on that web-site is framed in accordance to Calvin’s system.
        Its only honest for us to be up front about those things.

        Thanks.

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      2. br.d writes, “Can you provide the link to the text at Theopedia which specifically details how the Calvinistic decrees are associated with omniscience?”

        Not necessary. The issue is the definition of omniscience. The definition provided at Theopedia is agreeable to Calvinists and not unique to Calvinism. If that definition is agreeable to you, then we have nailed down a key issue and can move forward. If not agreeable to you, we can engage in an interesting discussion, I think, about your disagreements.

        So, is the Theopedia definition of salvation agreeable to you?

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      3. Roger, if your definition of omniscience includes that “God has perfect knowledge of the future” then I do subscribe to that definition, as you very well know. What we disagree about are the definitions of “perfect” and “future.” You believe that God can only know a future that is completely settled. I believe God would be knowing a lie about the future if that were the case, for the future was not eternally determined as settled in His nature or infinite understanding. (That even smacks of pantheism in my thinking).

        The partly determined, partly undetermined future that is perfectly known by God is clearly seen by the way God describes the future in the Scripture with conditions still open for it, and how He describes His activity in Scripture as including His making determinations that He says were not previously made. You are free, Roger, to hold onto your popular Platonic inspired definition of God’s omniscience, traditionally promoted by RC and Calvinism, that undermines the clarity and authority of Scripture in my view. We actually agree on the parts of that definition that relate to God’s knowledge of the past and present though I think you might not agree that God’s knowledge of things as being past is increasing. If that denial is the case, it is because of a false philosophical definition of perfection, in my view.

        But I just wanted to confirm that I believe God has perfect knowledge of the future. It is interesting that though Arminians and Molinists also wrongly believe the future is known as settled and make that a part of their definition of God’s omniscience. But they also have different definitions of God’s omniscience in other respects to the Calvinist that are very significant. I wish we all could get back to allowing the normal, contextual, grammatical teachings of Scripture about God’s nature be the source of our meanings for words and phrases such as “perfect”, “future” and “knows all things”.

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      4. brianwagner writes, “You are free…to hold onto your popular Platonic inspired definition of God’s omniscience, …”

        O, Brian!!!! My definition is inspired by Isaiah and I don’t even have to cite the verses that do it as you know them. In Romans 1, Paul writes, “since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” We should not be surprised then that Greek philosophers who were pretty smart guys would come to the same understanding of God’s omniscience as we find portrayed in the Scriptures. Truth is always truth whether stated directly in the Scriptures or extrapolated from the truths found in the Scriptures.

        Then, “I just wanted to confirm that I believe God has perfect knowledge of the future….I wish we all could get back to allowing the normal, contextual, grammatical teachings of Scripture about God’s nature be the source of our meanings for words and phrases such as “perfect”, “future” and “knows all things”.”

        Some day, you will write a book using clear, concise arguments to explain your unique (from my perspective) take on the issue of “omniscience” and how definitions are important and then we will really be able to have fun.

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      5. The supporting evidence for the future as being partly determined and partly undetermined would not be any less true or more biblical just because it gets published. And I don’t that having it in another public source for you to read would not become a factor in helping to change your mind.

        We’ll have to let others decide from reading this discussion of ours about the defining of omniscience and who actually is more biblical with the definition as it relates to knowing the future perfectly as it is, either fully determined or partly determined.

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      6. brianwagner writes, “The supporting evidence for the future as being partly determined and partly undetermined would not be any less true or more biblical just because it gets published. ”

        The idea is that you would lay out the argument for your position allowing everyone to consider whether it makes sense and accurately reflects that which we find in the Scriptures.

        If someone has already done that, I have not run across it. I have read Pinnock a little and his argument seems to be that people require free will and then he builds on that presumption to define omniscience. While God could know everything about the future, God must voluntarily limit His knowledge to provide for people to have free will. So, the whole issue of omniscience gets wrapped up in the free will issue.

        Perhaps, you are doing the same thing. Maybe not. Pinnock wrote a book to lay out his system; while not you?

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      7. I have laid out my position and biblical evidence for omniscience to you often. It doesn’t have to be in book form. If you are interested in how others will respond to it, I am sure you can guess intelligently at their reactions based on what theological loyalties they have.

        I may write a book sometime. Too busy serving the Lord in other things He wants me to do right now!

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      8. brianwagenr writes, “I have laid out my position and biblical evidence for omniscience to you often.”

        A little bit here; a little bit there. The advantage of a book is that it lays out your position; walks through the Scriptures to show how it fits, and then evaluates opposing positions – all in one neat, orderly volume. Patching together the things you write in this venue is neither neat nor orderly – not to mention that I have not even been trying to put in all together.

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  25. Thanks brianwagner,
    Do you believe it is truthful to say that Calvin’s decrees don’t influence Reformed conceptions of biblical things such as “omniscience”?
    Thanks,
    br.d

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    1. Hi Duane, In my view, reformed theology continued promoting some of very unsound doctrine from its Roman Catholic roots, calling it orthodox, and not judging it adequately against the teachings of Scripture. As the article documents, which you listed above, we have a clear lineage (Plato – Plotinus – Augustine – Calvin) of one such unsound doctrine – the non-sequential reality of God, or as it is popularly known – the timelessness of God, or eternal present, or outside/above time reality.

      This unsound doctrine overthrows the clarity of Scripture to say anything logical about God’s reality, since it posits the contradiction of non-sequential reality for God and the sequential reality of Scripture for God’s experience as the same time. Once you overturn the law of non-contradiction, anything goes! Augustine even admitted the contradiction.

      It is not truthful to say that Calvin’s dogmatic teachings did not influence the Reformed conception of omniscience. And Calvin was influenced by the historical theology that evolved in RC.

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      1. Thanks,
        I was just reading a little of Ken Keathley – Senior Associate Dean of Southeastern Baptist Seminary, in “Journal of Grace Evangelical Society – Spring 2006”.

        He points out in that document that Zwingly, Luther and Calvin were all supralapsarians. And that the Reformed movement, over the years has sought to distance itself from that.

        He states:

        “Most subsequent decretal theologians have not followed the Reformers down the supralapsarianism path but rather have opted for infralapsarianism. Infralapsarianism attempts to avoid some of the obvious ETHICAL dilemmas inherent in supralapsarianism. Theologians generally agree that supralapsarianism has fewer LOGICAL problems while infralapsarianism has fewer MORAL ones.”

        Roger Olson appears to indicate the same….that Calvinists are trying to distance themselves from the decretal aspects of the theology.

        He states: “The rest of the Reformed world has by-and-large shifted away from “decretal theology” and divine determinism to a highly modified, often paradoxical (dialectical) view of God’s sovereignty that leaves room for human freedom. British Reformed theologian (who taught also in Germany) Alasdair Heron (d. 2014) stated in his article on Arminianism in The Encyclopedia of Christianity that much Reformed theology has come around to embrace the basic impulses of Arminianism.”

        Olson sites Calvinist Emil Brunner’s – Chapter 22 of the first volume of his Dogmatics about what many Americans call “Calvinism” and “the Reformed doctrines of grace”

        quote:
        “If there is any point at which it is urgent that the Church should re-examine the content of the Christian message, it is certainly at the point of the doctrine of the Divine Decree, and of Election” (p. 306)

        Perhaps this is enlightening! And would explain some of the dynamics of the back and forth I’m seeing here in these dialogs?
        To me, the decrees are the heart and sole of the Calvinist system. And they color every conception the Calvinist has of God.

        But if Calvinists today are trying to distance themselves from the decrees…..I can see how my asserting the decrees as the heart and soul of the system would cause great animosity. Has this been your observation?

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      2. Thanks for the information. I enjoy your opinions and research.

        Most self-identified Calvinists that I run into do not seem to have a problem holding fast to the eternal determination of all things. I think you will catch most Calvinists not being consistent in how they discuss their view unless you purposefully back them into a corner to admit immutable omniscience and the eternal determination of all things, and then ask them to defend it from Scripture.

        If you are saying that they no longer like to discuss the logical order of the determinations, which is behind the supra, sub and infra differences, I think that is probably true. I think it may be because even though they say it is only a logical not temporal order issue, the three views shout the need for sequential thinking in God’s omniscience, and that undermines the foundation of eternal determinism.

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      3. brianwagner writes, “…the three views shout the need for sequential thinking in God’s omniscience, and that undermines the foundation of eternal determinism.”

        They may shout for the “…sequential ordering…” of God’s decrees in His omniscience but say nothing about how God thinks. God can certainly think of events sequentially but is not constrained to thinking only sequentially.

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      4. Roger, “…sequential ordering…” also shouts of sequential thinking, even if you can not see it. If “ordering” is about putting things into an order, choices are being made which takes those things not previously in that order and putting them into that order. Any choice logically causes a change in God’s thinking from His knowing something as unchosen to chosen.

        Now I know your loyalty to simplicity and immutable eternal determination (that never has anything actually determined) as defining God’s nature allows you not to be bothered by this illogical use of words and against their normal meanings. Remember, we are talking about events in God’s mind before creation.

        I choose to believe that God used language in Scripture in a truthful manner normally understood by most. God is not illogical and He cannot lie. The law of logic that is called the law of non-contradiction makes it impossible for God to be in two contradictory realities at the same time, one without sequential thinking and one with sequential thinking. And the Scripture clearly only represents the one reality.

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      5. brianwagner writes, “…we are talking about events in God’s mind before creation.”

        More than that, we are talking about God’s involvement in bringing about those events.

        You have said that God knows all the possible events that can occur in the future. What you do not allow is for God to know the resolution of all those events – e.g. whether David would actually choose to bed Bathsheba. I say that God can determine every outcome by His involvement in man’s affairs – e.g. David beds Bathsheba because God chooses not to stop him. Then any decision God makes in time can be said to have been made in eternity past.

        When God created the world, He ordered all events as they were to occur in the passing of time. Adam and Eve had children etc. That God can order things sequentially in this world and even understand how sequential ordering works – God can think sequentially – does not limit God to only thinking sequentially.

        Then, “The law of logic that is called the law of non-contradiction makes it impossible for God to be in two contradictory realities at the same time, one without sequential thinking and one with sequential thinking.”

        There would be a contradiction if events were ordered in one way in God’s mind and then played out in a different order in reality. That would be contradictory. God’s ability to think sequentially and non-sequentially is not a contradiction. Reality is what God creates. That God creates a reality that follows a sequential order does not contradict God’s ability to think of these events non-sequentially. In either case, the actual events unfold as God determines.

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      6. Roger, you continue to be imprecise, which I think is not what you wish for yourself. If you reread what you just wrote you make it sound like God is ordering and determining after creation begins. That is not true according to Calvinism’s definition of omniscience and decrees.

        You said – “When God created the world, He ordered all events.” You should have said – “He had already ordered all events previous to creation.” You said – “…the actual events unfold as God determines.” You should have said – “… as God had already determined.” You affirm biblical concepts without revealing the contradictory concepts you also hold to them.

        You affirmed the law of non-contradiction must be upheld. Great! Are you saying that God stopped being in a non-sequential reality after creation (like Craig postulates)? Or are you saying that God exists in two contradictory realities at the same time, one sequential and one not (typical Calvinism)? Or are you saying that God does not actually exist in this created reality but only outside of it (full Platonism)? I am not convinced of any of those positions, but I am convinced that God is reality. I believe that His eternal nature as expressed clearly in Scripture is relational and expressed by sequence of thought and action. “From everlasting to everlasting”, “who was, and is, and is to come.”

        You did not respond directly to my points about the necessary sequential nature in meaning for words like “determine” and “ordering” for activities within God’s mind before creation. You pointed instead to expressions of those activities by God as you see it after creation. The foundation of Calvinism is what happened in God’s mind before, not after creation. And even though it is true “that God can determine every outcome by His involvement in man’s affairs”, that ability does not prove He did just that before creation (Molinism). You need Scripture proof to back up that is what He did. None is found in any clear statements of Scripture. And extrapolations of passages to try to prove that idea, overthrow the clear tenor of Scripture that the future is partly undetermined.

        Nor does God having the ability to predetermine every outcome prove that every outcome was eternally set in His mind before creation (no sequential thinking – Calvinism). Being eternally set in His mind means that He has no free will to think sequentially to make any decision, at least not before creation. And any sequential thinking after creation would not be free to choose differently than what was eternally set for that expression of sequential divine thought throughout human history. The Scripture just does not read this way!

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      7. brianwagner writes, “You said – “When God created the world, He ordered all events.” You should have said – “He had already ordered all events previous to creation.”

        Agreed. Sorry for any confusion.

        Then, “Are you saying that God stopped being in a non-sequential reality after creation (like Craig postulates)?”

        Did Craig said this? I think Craig has said that, before creation, God is timeless. God is immutable so His thoughts are not sequential. When God creates the universe, He creates time and a world in which events are designed to occur in a sequential manner. God now interacts with the world He has created and does so in a sequential manner – God brings about events one after another. When God creates the universe, that universe sits in His hand (to use an illustration). God is still timeless, but the universe He created is not. So, when we humans speak of God being present, blessing one while cursing another, opening the womb of a women, etc., we are describing how God interacts with us. We do not mean to describe anything about God, His attributes or essence. I am not aware that Craig said that God stopped being one thing and started being something else. I think Craig means that God started interacting with His creation in a manner consistent with the way He made His creation.

        Then, “Or are you saying that God exists in two contradictory realities at the same time, one sequential and one not (typical Calvinism)?”

        I don’t understand your question. Necessarily, God exists in one reality in which God is and all that is, is God. Then God creates the universe and that universe changes over time and these changes follow a sequential order. God exists in the universe – being physically present – but nothing changes about God. What changes is that God interacts with His creation.

        How do you get two contradictory realities?

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      8. Thank you Roger for agreeing to the more precise language. You still did not comment on the imprecise use of decreeing and ordering for God before creation, which would be impossible for Him to do before creation in a non-sequential reality. All things eternally set with nothing left to decree or order before creation would be more precise when talking about God from a Calvinist view.

        Craig does believe in such a change in God’s nature, if I have read him correctly. I can send you the article that gave me that view. For you are postulating God is in a non-squential reality that somehow has a sequential part within it at the same time and God is there also. That still upholds the contradiction in my view. Remember, the non-sequential part goes on forever according to Scripture. And I don’t think you believe God, in His non-sequential reality can access the future already do you? For that would be another contradiction… that is a future that exists with us in it, even though we are not there yet.

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      9. brianwagner writes, “You still did not comment on the imprecise use of decreeing and ordering for God before creation, which would be impossible for Him to do before creation in a non-sequential reality. ”

        I guess because I do not understand what makes it impossible. Your complaint seems to be that the Scriptures are not written the way you think they should have been written. The way in which the Scriptures are written is on purpose and done to accomplish God’s purpose. That purpose is to save His elect and they accomplish that purpose.

        Then, “All things eternally set with nothing left to decree or order before creation would be more precise when talking about God from a Calvinist view.”

        OK. Isn’t that the way you and I are talking about God even if you are disagreeing – and this based on what we read in the Scriptures. Who else but those such as us would be discussing God’s attributes? When the 72 returned (Luke 10), Jesus said, ““I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.” Given that you are wise and learned (even if only relatively speaking), perhaps that makes me a child. Or not.

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      10. Scriptures are written that even a child can become wise unto salvation through faith. And God is always truthful in His revelation of Himself. He doesn’t need scholarly “little children” or “wise and learned” to explain things He has clearly revealed. And He especially wouldn’t want anyone to explain things He has revealed by saying, “Well this passage doesn’t mean what the context and grammar normally support for its meaning.”

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      11. brianwagner writes, “Scriptures are written that even a child can become wise unto salvation through faith.”

        I guess that’s why the Universalists conclude that God intends to save everyone.

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      12. And that’s why Calvinists think God only was able to think eternally about being able to create and save only a set group.

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      13. brianwagner writes, “…that’s why Calvinists think God only was able to think eternally…”

        Who else but God can think eternally? What can limit God to thinking only eternally? No one and nothing – as the Calvinists really think.

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      14. Not sure Roger why you would respond with taking my words out of context to support your view, but do not respond to the contradiction that I had pointed out in your words. You can have the last word in this conversation, if you want it, for I do not know if we can make more progress in it. Blessings my friend.

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      15. brianwagner writes, (1) “…taking my words out of context to support your view,…” and (1) “…but do not respond to the contradiction that I had pointed out in your words.”

        I don’t see the point you are trying to make in these instances. (1) I don’t understand how I took anything you said out of context – if this is about that which Calvinists really think. (2) I did not see any contradiction – if this is about my use of the term, “infer.”

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      16. brianwagner writes, “You did not respond directly to my points about the necessary sequential nature in meaning for words like “determine” and “ordering” for activities within God’s mind before creation.”

        What response is required? The determining/ordering of events points to the necessary sequential nature of those events – it says nothing about God. God can “think” of something He can create and think about the nature of the thing He can create.

        Then, “And even though it is true “that God can determine every outcome by His involvement in man’s affairs”, that ability does not prove He did just that before creation (Molinism).”

        Ephesians 3 speaks of “God’s eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.” An eternal purpose would seem to require thinking in eternity past.

        Romans 8, “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” This would begin with Adam, at least. As it refers to purpose, we extrapolate to conclude that God formed this purpose before He enacted it.

        Romans 1, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made,…” Was this coincidental or fortuitous? No. It suggests that God created the universe in such a manner as to exhibit His eternal power and divine nature – this would seem to require think about such things before He created.

        2 Timothy1, “God has saved us and called us to a holy life–…because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus,…”

        Ecclesiastes 3, “God has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” This attributes “everything” to God; does God act without purpose?

        Proverbs 8, “2“The LORD brought me (wisdom) forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old; I was appointed from eternity, from the beginning, before the world began… before he made the earth or its fields or any of the dust of the world. I was there when he set the heavens in place…” Pointing to God’s consideration of such in eternity.

        These verses seem clear in saying that God had a purpose for creating the world and for everything He would do in that world. Thus, no person is born without God opening the womb, no person lives from day to day without God sustaining his life, and no person dies until God removes life from the person. All this is according to His purpose which we must conclude is an eternal purpose.

        Then, “Being eternally set in His mind means that He has no free will to think sequentially to make any decision,…”

        No, it means that God exercised His free will to make decisions in eternity past. That God exercises his will to make decisions does not negate the continuing exercise of that free will when required. As God makes decisions with perfect wisdom, there is no need for God to reconsider those decisions at a later point.

        Finally, “And any sequential thinking after creation would not be free to choose differently than what was eternally set for that expression of sequential divine thought throughout human history. The Scripture just does not read this way!”

        The Scripture speaks of God acting with purpose and that His purpose does not change – why should it? Thus, according to this eternal purpose, God creates the universe, creates humans, places them in a garden, grants Satan freedom to enter that garden to tempt the humans, does not intervene to protect the humans from sin, expels the humans from the garden, destroys the world with water, confuses the languages, calls Abraham, etc. At what point would God decide to do something different than He had decided in eternity past and what occurs on earth that occurs independent of God?

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      17. Thanks Roger for pointing to Scriptures in your reply. But first, before I respond to those, let me reply to a confusing thing you said –
        You said – “What response is required? The determining/ordering of events points to the necessary sequential nature of those events – it says nothing about God. God can “think” of something He can create and think about the nature of the thing He can create.” I am surprised you are not seeing the issue of logic and that you are able to see the response required. If you want to use the words “determining” and “ordering” for God’s activity BEFORE creation, then you are truly saying SOMETHING about God, that He is using sequential thinking BEFORE creation. I don’t like using all caps . I’m not shouting… just trying to point out the issue of logic I am trying to point to.

        Even the word “thinking” assumes sequential activity. And you affirm God does think before creation. Perhaps the word “sees” or “observes” used for His immutable omniscience in which everything is eternally set would be a better choice of terms to explain your view.

        The verses you chose that use the word “purpose” do not reveal how set or conditional the future might be, only that God has a purpose. That word could fit immutable omniscience as you see it, or it could fit a perfect infinite omniscience that experiences changes as I see it fit with what the Scripture teaches.

        And if you think Rom 1 proves God is revealing that He is explaining His divine nature in an understandable way through creation, then you must accept the sequential nature of reality and the thinking in His mind as a given!

        Eccl 3:11 is a very interesting verse. I just exegeted it for myself this past year for the first time! Let me just suggest you look at Young’s Literal Translation for an interesting alternative to all major translations. We can talk about this verse more sometime if you wish. But for our discussion, I agree with you that God does not act without purpose… I just believe His purpose includes freedom for Himself and man to make decisions that fill in the details of the future that is only partially determined at this point.

        What really confuses me is that you speak like you reject your view of immutable omniscience and of non-sequential thinking in God before creation when you say things like – “No, it means that God exercised His free will to make decisions in eternity past. That God exercises his will to make decisions does not negate the continuing exercise of that free will when required. As God makes decisions with perfect wisdom, there is no need for God to reconsider those decisions at a later point.”

        God doesn’t make “decisions” in the Calvinist scheme of understanding God’s eternal purposes. Nothing goes from undecided to decided, so that it can truly be called a “decision” in God’s mind before creation, according to Calvinism. Are you beginning to reject Calvinism for Molinism, Roger?

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      18. brianwagner writes, “I am surprised you are not seeing the issue of logic and that you are able to see the response required. If you want to use the words “determining” and “ordering” for God’s activity BEFORE creation, then you are truly saying SOMETHING about God, that He is using sequential thinking BEFORE creation.”

        I think we might both agree that God designed the universe, and especially one unique planet, that would be the site fore the life He would bring into being. God “determined” that He would do this and He determined it according to His purpose. We might both agree that God’s design of the universe included an “orderly” arrangement of the heavenly bodies and of the life that would inhabit the earth. The orderly arrangement of life was accomplished through the design of DNA. So, God had purpose and determination leading to order. All this certainly happened before God actually created the universe. We might also agree that God would create in a sequential order – Day 1, Day 2… As God had planned for Christ to come, He knew that He would loose Satan on the first humans and that they would sin. God’s design of the universe involved the sequential ordering of events that were to occur. As a designer, God is able to conceive of a sequentially ordered universe – God is able to think sequentially.

        OK. So what? That God can think sequentially does not limit God to thinking only sequentially. I don’t see an issue here, logically or otherwise.

        Then, “Perhaps the word “sees” or “observes” used for His immutable omniscience in which everything is eternally set would be a better choice of terms to explain your view.”

        “Sees” and “observes” indicate that God discovers something He did not know before seeing and observing – God learns through seeing and observing. This would allow God to know many things but would not be omniscient as there is always one more thing out there that God could see or observe – one more thing in the sequence. In being omniscient, God knows without learning – without having to see and observe. This is why the manner in which God is omniscient is critical. The Calvinists see God’s omniscience arising from Himself – His decrees. Non-Calvinists don’t agree but have been unable to describe another way for God to be omniscient.

        Then, “The verses you chose that use the word “purpose” do not reveal how set or conditional the future might be, only that God has a purpose.”

        The verses tell us that God acts with purpose and purpose points to an end goal. A God of purpose necessarily achieves His goal – He accomplished this in Christ. The OT is filled with talk about Christ describing who He is, what He would do, and when He would come – not once but twice. Even more is revealed in the NT. We can easily conclude that God was carrying out His plan. God’s purpose is carried out from the beginning when God created two people, planted a tree that they were not to eat, and then loosed Satan on them. To conclude that God had a purpose and nothing more cannot stand in view of all that we are told about Christ and God’s intimate involvement in bringing everything to pass.

        Then, “t could fit a perfect infinite omniscience that experiences changes as I see it fit with what the Scripture teaches.”

        Omniscient that experiences changes might be indicated by and ” * ” as “omniscience*” indicating not absolute knowledge but relative knowledge. I don’t see how that which is infinite could experience change suggesting an addition to knowledge and such additions would deny that the knowledge was infinite.

        Then, ” I just believe His purpose includes freedom for Himself and man to make decisions that fill in the details of the future that is only partially determined at this point.”

        “partially determined at this point” means partially known which means that God will know more in the future than He does now – especially if God is bound to sequential events as they play out. This again would mean that God can know a lot but is not omniscient.

        Finally, “God doesn’t make “decisions” in the Calvinist scheme of understanding God’s eternal purposes. Nothing goes from undecided to decided, so that it can truly be called a “decision” in God’s mind before creation, according to Calvinism. Are you beginning to reject Calvinism for Molinism, Roger?”

        For purposes of discussion, we can think of God purposing to create before He creates – thinking sequentially as we humans think. However, we have no basis to limit God to thinking sequentially, so Calvinists will conclude that there was never a point where God did not think all things. God has complete knowledge and infinite understanding of His creation and there was never a point when He did not. Molinism is interesting because it all occurs pre-creation and in the mind of God. I have no problem with Molinism that I have come across.

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      19. It appears Roger that you approve that Scripture teaches sequential thinking in God before and after creation, but you still want to hold on to God having nonsequential thinking at the same time, which is illogical, and with no clear Scriptural support.

        Thanks for the asterisk! 😉

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      20. brianwagner writes, “It appears Roger that you approve that Scripture teaches sequential thinking in God before and after creation, but you still want to hold on to God having nonsequential thinking at the same time, which is illogical, and with no clear Scriptural support.”

        The Scriptures teaches that we live in a world where events are ordered by God sequentially. We correctly infer from this that God understands sequential order and can think of events occurring sequentially. So, how does God “think”? I don’t see anything in the Scriptures that give us insight into how God thinks – other than that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts. I don’t see any reason why thinking sequentially or non-sequentially would be a problem for God – He could do both at the same time and we cannot say otherwise.

        How God thinks would seem to be an exercise for the philosophers to gather all the truths we know about God and and determine if additional truths can be inferred.

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      21. Roger… do you proof read? You said – “We correctly infer from this [teaching in Scripture] that God understands sequential order and can think of events occurring sequentially…. I don’t see anything in the Scriptures that give us insight into how God thinks.”

        Maybe if you make your own statements less contradictory you might start understanding how God is not contradictory in His nature, both sequential and non-sequential in His thinking at the same time! Your loyalty to this contradiction is amazing! I wonder why?

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      22. brianwagner asks, “…do you proof read? You said – “We correctly infer from this [teaching in Scripture] that God understands sequential order and can think of events occurring sequentially…. I don’t see anything in the Scriptures that give us insight into how God thinks.”

        The key word here is “infer.” I don’t see anything in the Scriptures that give us insight into how God thinks thus we “infer” how God thinks from what the Scriptures do tell us. Nonetheless, I don’t always proof read, so I am glad that you are looking to keep me straight.

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      23. So, Roger, I am going to assume that you do believe inferences give insight. Glad to help keep you “straight” in your presentation of your position, and appreciate when you ask for clarification of mine.

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      24. brianwagner writes, ‘ I am going to assume that you do believe inferences give insight.”

        Using the definition of “infer,” to mean “to derive by reasoning; conclude or judge from premises or evidence:” then inferences that are sound logically and derived from truth premises will produce truth statements, i.e., insight. If that is what you meant, then, yes, that is what I believe.

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      25. brianwagner writes, “It is not truthful to say that Calvin’s dogmatic teachings did not influence the Reformed conception of omniscience. And Calvin was influenced by the historical theology that evolved in RC.”

        What’s with the double negatives??? Anyway, let us not forget that Calvin was a pretty smart man as were those who developed the historical theology that “evolved in RC” and that evolution was not necessarily for the better.

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  26. Hi rhutchin,
    Did you forget to indicate that the theopedia web-site was a Calvinist site?
    I was forthright about that when I provided the link and web-site I provided.
    Its the honest thing to do.
    Thanks

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    1. br.d writes, “Did you forget to indicate that the theopedia web-site was a Calvinist site?”

      I did not know it and see it as irrelevant. You are avoiding the issue. That site provides a definition of omniscience. The question to you is whether you agree with that definition. If not, tell us how you would define omniscience.

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  27. I might have to post this in two snippets….it doesn’t seem to want to take

    Omniscience is most often sighted within Mainstream Christianity as describing one of God’s intellectual attributes. Etymologically, the
    word is from the Latin: “Omni” = “all” + “science” = “knowledge.” And generally referred to as “all knowledge.” A subset then of “all”
    knowledge would be “Foreknowledge”.

    Mainstream Christianity may sight verses such as Psalm 139:1-6, Isaiah 41:21-24, and Proverbs 15:3 as explicit representations of Gods’
    omniscience. In philosophical terms, God’s omniscience can be defined in terms of truth-knowledge or propositional-knowledge, by stating: For any true statement or any true proposition, God knows and believes that proposition and he does not known or believe any false proposition. God knows my every thought before I was born, and He knows every free choice I will ever make.

    Some theological traditions however have construed God’s omniscience, (more specifically, God’s foreknowledge) into doctrines of necessity using medieval modal logic. EG: Where God foreknows [P] then [P] must occur of necessity. And if [P] occurs of necessity, then [P] is fated to occur. But this resolves to a form of theological fatalism, which is rejected by Mainstream Christianity.

    Quote:
    “Theological fatalism is the thesis that infallible foreknowledge of a human act makes the act necessary and hence unfree. If there is a being who knows the entire future infallibly, then no human act is free.” – – Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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    1. br.d writes, “God knows my every thought before I was born, and He knows every free choice I will ever make.”

      I’ll take that as the condensed version of the definition of omniscience with which you agree. I don’t see a difference between your definition and that advanced by the Calvinists.

      So, now, I am confused. Why did you describe the Calvinist definition as unique as if it was different than the ordinary, common definition that you describe?

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    2. br.d offers this quote :
      “Theological fatalism is the thesis that infallible foreknowledge of a human act makes the act necessary and hence unfree. If there is a being who knows the entire future infallibly, then no human act is free.” – – Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

      I believe this is in error. It should read, “…infallible foreknowledge of a human act makes the act certain…” I don’t think the certainty of a future event precludes it being and act of a free will. Infallible foreknowledge of a future event is not the cause of that event. William Craig dealt with this in his book, “The Only Wise God: The Compatibility of Divine Foreknowledge & Human Freedom.”

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      1. rhutchin writes:

        br.d offers this quote :
        “Theological fatalism is the thesis that infallible foreknowledge of a human act makes the act necessary and hence unfree. If there is a being who knows the entire future infallibly, then no human act is free.” – – Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

        I believe this is in error. It should read, ……..

        There is always the possibility that the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is wrong, and you are right in this regard. If that is the case, it would be well that they are corrected concerning it. :-]

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  28. As Mainstream Christianity’s rejection of this type of modal construal, a quote from A.W. Tozer is not uncommon:
    “God sovereignly decreed that man should be free to exercise moral choice, and man from the beginning has fulfilled that decree by making his choice between good and evil. When he chooses to do evil, he does not thereby countervail the sovereign will of God but fulfills it, inasmuch as the eternal decree decided not which choice the man should make but that he should be free to make it. If in His absolute freedom God has willed to give man limited freedom, who is there to stay His hand or say, ‘What doest thou?’ Man’s will is free because God is sovereign. A God less than sovereign could not bestow moral freedom upon His creatures. He would be afraid to do so.”

    Where Augustinianism – hence Calvinism, differs from Mainstream Christianity concerning omniscience is in the use of NeoPlatonic modal
    logic. Generally speaking, Calvinism defines God’s Foreknowledge as being PRECEDED BY or the RESULT OF God’s Foreordinations. It is because God makes a thing happen that He has omniscience of it.

    Quote:
    Foreknowledge means MORE than intellectual precognition (prescience) and implies God’s WILL concerning the DESTINIES of people (predestination). – – The Westminster Handbook of Reformed Theology.

    That then is the association within the Augustinian – Calvinistic system that associates a doctrine of necessity with divine omniscience.
    So when the non-Calvinist doesn’t make the connection of Augustine’s doctrines of necessity with omniscience, the Calvinist may assert the non-Calvinist doesn’t BELIEVE in omniscience, which is strategically misleading, when one understands the differences in theological
    traditions.

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    1. br.d writes, “That then is the association within the Augustinian – Calvinistic system that associates a doctrine of necessity with divine omniscience.
      So when the non-Calvinist doesn’t make the connection of Augustine’s doctrines of necessity with omniscience, the Calvinist may assert the non-Calvinist doesn’t BELIEVE in omniscience, which is strategically misleading, when one understands the differences in theological
      traditions.”

      This is confused. That omniscience implies God’s will is basically an opinion – that it “implies.” The quote adds nothing to the discussion.

      Let’s use the Scriptures as our starting point. We have:

      “Who can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come?” Lamentations 3

      “I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.” Isaiah 45

      “When disaster comes to a city, has not the LORD caused it?” Amos 3

      In Calvinism, necessity is tied to God’s omnipotent power to accomplish whatever He wills. Thus, Ephesians 1, “God works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.”

      The Calvinist and non-Calvinist do not disagree on the definition of omniscience. The issue is that the Calvinists say that omniscience derives from God’s decrees with which the non-Calvinist disagrees (thus, the Westminster use of “implies”) but offers no alternative. At that point, the non-Calvinist has an issue with God decreeing all things, and this is not an omniscience issue.

      Obviously, if God decrees all things, He thereby knows what He has decreed and is omniscient. There is nothing wrong with the Calvinist position. At issue is whether there is another way for God to be omniscient and as far as I know, no one has posited a second way for God to be omniscient.

      Then, quoting Tozer, ““God sovereignly decreed that man should be free to exercise moral choice, and man from the beginning has fulfilled that decree by making his choice between good and evil.”

      We need to add that man’s choices are biased by his sin nature such that he does nothing for the glory of God but for his own glory – thus, the Scriptures say, “There is no-one righteous, not even one;…there is no-one who does good, not even one.” In addition, the freedom God gives man to choose is subordinate to God’s will, and men are constrained in their actions by God’s will.

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  29. I should make a correction to one of the last statements to be more precise:

    That then is the association within the Augustinian – Calvinistic system that associates a doctrine of determinism (i.e. Universal Divine Determinism) with divine omniscience. So when the non-Calvinist doesn’t make the connection of Augustine’s doctrines of determinism with divine omniscience, the assertion is made that he doesn’t believe in omniscience….etc.

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  30. rhutchin writes:
    “The Calvinist and non-Calvinist do not disagree on the definition of omniscience. The issue is that the Calvinists say that omniscience derives from God’s decrees with which the non-Calvinist disagrees.”

    An excellent summation.
    This of course highlights the epistemic nature of things. i.e., How a person “conceives” of X and how that person “defines” X have a degree of inter-relatedness.

    But I also refer back to my original concern. “Attack the Problem and Not the Person” is a well understood principle in issues of human interaction. And it is a principle embraced by thoughtful and ethical Christians. In lieu of that, I do not attack a person for posting “argumentum ad hominem vindicta” posts against another poster. But rather I would attack the practice of doing so, based on a concern for Godly ethics.

    One can argue that asserting: “If a believe doesn’t believe X the way I do ,I can accuse that believer of not believing X”, is not an attack on a person. And if one is predisposed to that type of behavior, then certainly they are going to craft rationalizations to support it.

    I choose to let the thoughtful ethical Christians in this environment make their own decision about that. I personally will refrain from posting attacks on people, in order to minimize the appearance of unethical behavior. But I certainly can’t control how others act, and justify their actions in this environment.

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  31. brianwagner writes:

    “Excellent survey br. d, of Augustine’s views. IMO I wish people would see how these views have been used to establish themselves as so-called orthodoxy that undermines the truth about the sequential reality as taught clearly in Scripture.”

    I agree with you, but from a different viewpoint. You have an expertise in the Greek, through disciplined study, which I can’t come close to touching. Where I approach these issues is more from a point of intellectual dishonesty which unwittingly dishonors Jesus in order to have its way. So my focus is on Christ honoring ethics.

    Its well understood, and presented, in any course materials on critical thinking and argumentation, when a party has to rely upon equivocating on words/terms, and refined semantic illusions, this reflects a “WIN-LOOSE” mode of thinking, where truth gets crucified by a spirit of domination. And for me, that spirit of domination, (as stated in 2 Corinthians 4:4…..the god of this world), is a spirit antithetical and antagonistic to Christ. You can recognize it, because It works to sit on the divine throne, always asserting itself as divine.

    Jesus teaches us to look for patterns (Luke 12:54). And I’m sure as you’ve studied Calvinism historically and currently, you clearly see the patterns in what I’ve just described.

    I think the Lord is focusing my attention on the power of language and how it relates to the serpent being the most subtle beast in the field. (Genesis 3:1). Not so as to accuse anyone of being demonic, but to reflect Paul’s concerns: “But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning” and “blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning craftiness of ἀνθρώπων (i.e., religious flesh). So the connection for me, is gaining spiritual discernment, by gaining an expertise in how language is used to mislead! The magician tricks people with slight of hand, making things appear and disappear . The serpent tricks people with slight of words. making illusions appear real, and making underlying assertions temporarily disappear, for the sake of expediency.

    As Jesus teaches us to find wisdom in patterns…by examining the patterns you find in the language, you discover the true spirit that is at work behind that language. Language therefore is a highly powerful tool for discerning honesty vs dishonesty. By learning how language can be used to deceive, we grow in discerning the spirit of truth, from the spirit of deception.

    Blessing!
    br.d 😀

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  32. Another interpretation, which I believe to be the most credible, is that Paul is making a case for gentiles being included in Christ. He starts out by saying “we” and “us”, defining we as “the first to hope in Christ” (Jewish believers) in v. 12. Then in v. 13 he says “and you also” (gentiles) and goes on to describe how the gentiles were also included in Christ, using words like “you”and “your” throughout chapter 2.

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