Do You Agree with Tim Keller?

Here on this podcast, Tim and Kathy Keller were interviewed by Eric Metaxas.  They had an interesting discourse over the work of grace and man’s responsibility.  Do you agree with what Pastor Tim Keller says?

Below is the transcript of one small section in the interview:

Kathy Keller: …people who say their pastor is not preaching the gospel might actually just have spiritual wax in their ears.

Eric Metaxas (host): Really? Is there something they should do about it? Or will grace remove the wax?

Tim Keller: I think Martin Luther himself meditated on Romans 1:16-17 which says, ‘I’m not ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power of God unto salvation.” He said he meditated on it until he broke through. And so in a sense he would say ‘God had to show it to me,’ but he also had something to do.

Eric: See, that sounds like works.

Tim:  No, it just sounds like effort.

(laughter)

Eric: What’s the difference between works and effort?

Tim: Works righteousness means, ‘I rely on my effort, in other words, I merit my salvation by my effort.’ But works means I’m simply taking hold of my salvation, not necessarily earning it.

Eric: You have said something incredibly important just now, you realize this?

This is the exact point I have brought up countless times in discussions with my Calvinistic brethren who insist that we teach a works based salvation. Some lessor informed Calvinists insist that we teach that salvation is earned or merited by making a decision to put our trust in Christ, which is simply untrue.

Taking hold of the salvation provided by the grace of God is not meritorious.

193 thoughts on “Do You Agree with Tim Keller?

  1. Exactly! Thanks, Leighton, for providing that confirming witness from someone who probably also believes in everything being predetermined before creation. So many Calvinists teach meticulous sovereignty with no actual free-will for God and man, but then preach, or in an unguarded moment comment from the heart, on the actual free-will decision of man to accept salvation!

    Yes, only God provides the “work” of salvation in the life that freely expresses the “work” of trust (John 6:29), not because of that “work” of trusting, but in response to it, according to the promises made known by Him from His sovereign plan! Praise His Name!

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  2. The high Calvinist will say that if man has anything to do with salvation, even the choice to accept or not, that it’s man-based works. The Arminian flatly denies that as patently unbiblical. God, throughout the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, continually invites, commands, and encourages men to make a choice, to accept not reject, to repent not continue in evil and wickedness, to humble themselves not continue in pride, to enter the narrow gate instead of the wide gate, to name but just a few of God’s commands and invitations. If man is powerless to obey God and do what He commands or accept His invitation, these commands and invitations are meaningless (this is the point by the way, that the early church fathers made over and over again). Is God’s Word meaningless?

    But let’s just concede for a moment and call it a sort of work. What does God’s Word say about this issue? In John 6 Jesus is asked a question and he gives a really specific and direct answer to this very question. He just got done making a comparison of human work for material things with human work for spiritual, eternal things. He’s not saying to be lazy and not to work, but he’s comparing the incredible effort they put into the work they do for something that is temporary and decomposes and the fact that they put minimal to no work into gaining something that is eternal and will never decompose or spoil. Jesus says
    ”Stop toiling and doing and producing for the food that perishes and decomposes, but strive and work and produce rather for the lasting
    food which endures unto life eternal; the Son of Man will give you that, for God the Father has authorized and certified Him and put His
    seal of endorsement upon Him. John 6:27
    But the Calvinist tells us that there is nothing we can contribute to our salvation, nothing we can do to seek out God, no “work” whatsoever that will benefit us. The only problem is that’s not what Jesus says. He says to “strive” and “work” and “produce” for the lasting food which endures unto life eternal. He says the Son of Man will give you that very thing (the obvious implication is that the Son of Man will give you that if you strive and work and produce for it. This would be consistent with the nature of the ubiquitous invitations and commands of God throughout scripture in which God says “if” you do this (usually something like humble yourself, repent, turn from your wicked ways), I will “then” in turn do this (usually something like forgive your sins, be your God, rescue you)). So there must be a sense in which, according to Jesus, we should be striving and working for eternal, lasting food (of course, meaning salvation).
    I am not saying we can work or do anything to earn our salvation. That’s not the work and striving Jesus is speaking of here. Of course that would contradict the entire message of the scriptures. So then what kind of striving and work is Jesus speaking of here then? Jesus is speaking of responding to God’s call, invitation, command, to repent and believe.
    I believe Jesus spoke to this when he said, as recorded in Matthew,
    “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.” Matt 11:12
    To enter the kingdom of heaven is to enter the narrow gate, to go against the crowd, to go against the spirit and wisdom of the age. Sometimes a person is brought to a place of decision and he makes it quickly. Many times however, a person has to think, mull over what they’ve heard, struggle with it. It may cost them sleepless nights. It requires exertion of mind and spirit. I believe Jacob’s struggle with “the angel” that night before he crosses the Jordan is a “type,” a physical example of this spiritual struggling over the word and with God and His conviction through His Holy Spirit.
    MacArthur says:
    “Following the Lord demands earnest endeavor, untiring energy, and the utmost exertion. To be a Christian is to swim against the flow of the world, to go against its grain, because the adversary -Satan, his demons, and the world system—are extremely powerful. Those who enter the kingdom of grace through faith in Christ do so with great effort through the sovereign power of the convicting and converting Holy Spirit.”
    MacArthur, John F (1987-02-08). Matthew 8-15 MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Macarthur New Testament Commentary Series) (Kindle Locations 6457-6460). Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition.

    I believe this happens when one experiences God’s offering of His prevenient grace and responds to it, which sometimes, many times, includes a struggle and striving. The obvious implication from Jesus teaching here, as he instructs them, is that they can strive and struggle, that they do have the ability to strive and struggle, and that they in fact should strive and work and struggle. If, as the Calvinist teaches, God’s grace is unconditional and irresistible and instantly bestows upon the unconditionally elect man a new will and always instantly and irresistibly gives him faith so that he will then always repent and receive salvation, then all this talk of striving and working and struggling and taking the kingdom of heaven by violent force is meaningless and makes no sense at all. If God’s regeneration is instant and irresistible and always effective, there would be no striving, only obedience.

    But Jesus is not through yet. The people there aren’t sure what Jesus really meant when he instructed them to work and strive and produce. They asked him to be more specific. What exactly is this work supposed to be and how do we do this work?
    They then said, what are we to do, that we may be working the works of God? John 6:29a
    Jesus gave them a very straight and specific answer.
    Jesus replied, this is the work that God asks of you: that you believe in the One Whom He has sent John 6:29b

    So Jesus himself actually calls believing in Him “the work that God asks of you, or the work of God.” So, according to Jesus, the “work” of believing in Him (placing our faith in Him), which he invites and commands us to do, is the only kind of “work” that God asks a man to do as a response to His invitation that counts toward God responding back to us with His gift of salvation and righteousness and His giving us a new heart. So if the Calvinist wants to accuse me of promoting belief to be a type of “work” when I promote that a man is able to respond and can actually strive and work spiritually to respond positively to God’s offer of salvation through His prevenient grace, I say I’ll stand firmly in Jesus’ words when Jesus called belief in the work that God asks us to do.

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  3. “Tim: But works means I’m simply taking hold of my salvation, not necessarily earning it.”

    Pastor Flowers responds: “This is the exact point I have brought up countless times in discussions with my Calvinistic brethren who insist that we teach a works based salvation. Some lessor informed Calvinists insist that we teach that salvation is earned or merited by making a decision to put our trust in Christ, which is simply untrue.”

    Since the faith vs works dispute was with the Catholic Church, let’s establish the works argument of the Catholic Church. From the Catholic Encyclopedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13407a.htm

    “The Council of Trent describes the process of salvation from sin in the case of an adult with great minuteness (Sess. VI, v-vi).

    It begins with the grace of God which touches a sinner’s heart, and calls him to repentance. This grace cannot be merited; it proceeds solely from the love and mercy of God. Man may receive or reject this inspiration of God, he may turn to God or remain in sin. Grace does not constrain man’s free will.

    Thus assisted the sinner is disposed for salvation from sin; he believes in the revelation and promises of God, he fears God’s justice, hopes in his mercy, trusts that God will be merciful to him for Christ’s sake, begins to love God as the source of all justice, hates and detests his sins.

    Against the heretical tenets of various times and sects we must hold

    – that the initial grace is truly gratuitous and supernatural;
    – that the human will remains free under the influence of this grace;
    – that man really cooperates in his personal salvation from sin; …”
    ++++

    The key phrase is, “man really cooperates in his personal salvation from sin;” Salvation is by works if a person has the inherent ability to believe, fear, hope, trust and does this in cooperation with, and response to, God’s grace. Salvation is not by works if the ability to believe, fear, hope, trust are not inherent within a person but God must provide these things. Works emphasizes a cooperative effort between a person using inherent abilities and God’s grace; faith emphasizes the inability of a person to respond to God’s grace without the grace of God conveying that ability (to believe, fear, hope, trust) to His elect – that ability then exercised unto salvation.

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  4. I find the distinction is between actions that can merit and actions that cannot merit, and Calvinists will blithely insist that logically an action that produces a result *has* to mean it truly merits the results. In everyday life we consider that logic nonsense, but to safeguard a theology we will use any logic that suits us, sometimes. So once you assign any action as inherently meriting no matter what, yes you can completely defeat free will-ism, but you also run into logical absurdities. Monergism isn’t so much taught, as it is “caught,” not so much logically proven as it is dogmatically preached; to the point determinists in my estimation are literally not even thinking about what they are saying anymore, and oftentimes seeming unwilling to even do so. The idea that all human action always inherently means humans earn something from God is so completely foreign from Scripture as to seem obvious to those outside the “faith” of Calvinism. We are constantly told humans can do something that accomplishes something with God, yet in reality, it is not a meritorious system, but a system of responding to the grace of God which none can earn or deserve. Yes, I agree with Tim.

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  5. First, I am very happy to know that at least some of you listen to and probably read Calvinists. Second, I am very thankful that Tim Keller is in my denomination. I do not agree with Tim on all things, but on the essence of the gospel and the Reformed faith we are in agreement.

    Third, I listened to the entire podcast. I actually hardly ever listen to Tim’s sermons or interviews like these. But note this man’s graciousness and humility. It betrays the common refrain heard by some, perhaps many, non Calvinists that Calvinists are arrogant, tyrannical, condescending, and such.

    Fourth, I think most of us of the Reformed faith don’t think that you non Calvinists believe in works salvation or that you think that you merit anything in your salvation. Some of us do think that the implications of your theological grid could lead one to that conclusion…e.g if man’s free will response is the deciding factor in your eternal destiny then you are the ultimate responsible one in your salvation. Kind of like some non Calvinists like to tell us that the implications of our theological grid can lead one to say that our theology makes God responsible for murders, etc.

    Related to the last paragraph, the reason most of us don’t think that you think you merit anything in salvation is that the actual working out of all this in real life is the same as us Reformed folks. Examples:

    1. You look back to your salvation and give God all the credit and glory.
    2. If asked, you would acknowledge that God saved you.
    3. If asked by someone how to be saved, you would tell them something like “repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” You would not tell them to screw up their courage and/or muster up their will to effect their salvation.
    4. When you pray for the salvation of a loved one or friend, you pray to God to save them. You likely pray for God to enlighten them and to open their eyes and hearts. You likely pray to God by Hid Spirit to come upon them and convict them of sin, etc.
    You don’t pray to the person for them to just man up and strengthen their will and save themselves.

    Interestingly, here is an exchange I had the other day with a lady on another site about this very thing.

    I said to this lady, “Our salvation depends wholly on God alone. When you pray for someone to be saved, you don’t pray to that person to get with it and gin up their free will and choose Christ. You pray to God to save them. In your prayers you tacitly acknowledge that if someone is to be saved it depends on God, not on the person”

    She replied: “Not me. I pray they recognize truth. I pray they seek truth. I pray they “choose” truth. I believe humans have volition and are accountable for their beliefs, actions and are responsible for what they do or don’t do.”

    I pressed her as to who she actually prays to and she wouldn’t answer.

    Now, I don’t think most non Calvinists are like this lady. I think we all agree that as the scriptures say, “Salvation is of the Lord.”

    SDG!

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    1. Hi Les, I loved everything you have just said. Well thought out, balanced and respectful I hope you don’t mind, but just I would like to ask one question.

      You said – “Some of us do think that the implications of your theological grid could lead one to that conclusion…e.g if man’s free will response is the deciding factor in your eternal destiny then you are the ultimate responsible one in your salvation.” After the rest of what you said, I am thinking that you are not including yourself in that viewpoint. Is that the case?

      Salvation is of the Lord. The deciding factors are His plan, provision, enablement, and offer of it. Receiving or rejecting those deciding factors is indeed a decision, but is not “the” deciding factor, for God’s plan is that He fulfills His promise to give salvation to those who express their trust in Him for it. He is the deciding “Factor”!

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      1. ” … God changes a person so that they change from unwilling to willing. ”
        ………………………
        Does God change their unwillingness to willing, against their unwillingness?

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      2. “Does God change their unwillingness to willing, against their unwillingness?”

        Thankfully for all of us who are among the redeemed, yes. Else the unwilling rebel who hates God would never be saved.

        SDG!

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      3. Les writes, “Reformed theology teaches that God changes a person so that they change from unwilling to willing.”

        To be more precise, Reformed theology teaches that people are Totally Depraved and both unwilling, thereby unable, to choose salvation. Something must negate that depravity and enable a person to be willing and thereby to choose to accept. Both Calvinists and Arminians say that God negates the depravity of people through grace (disagreeing on whether God extends grace to the non-elect but agreeing that God would know the non-elect before He extended grace to them). The Pelagians were (are?) noted for saying that people were not Totally Depraved and were inherently able to make reasonable decisions regarding the gospel and had only to hear the gospel preached to exercise a willing response.

        So, what is peanutgallery’s take on this?

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    2. Hi Brian,

      Yes I said, ““Some of us do think that the implications of your theological grid could lead one to that conclusion…e.g if man’s free will response is the deciding factor in your eternal destiny then you are the ultimate responsible one in your salvation.”

      Yes I would put myself in that group that thinks the logical implications can lead to that conclusion. Now, I don’t think most NCs believe that. It is similar to Ronnie Rogers’ use of the “entailments” word when talking about Calvinism. He sees entailments in Reformed theology that he thinks many Calvinists either don’t recognize or refuse to acknowledge. He also calls them “disquieting realities of Calvinism.” At least I think that is his position.

      Hope this helps.

      SDG!

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      1. Thanks Les for the reply. Logical implications (or inferences), if you are speaking formally, do not just “can lead” to any conclusion, but they “must lead” to it. There is an excluded middle here in our discussion. Either my decision to trust Jesus is the deciding factor or it is not the deciding factor in making me “ultimately responsible” for my salvation.

        My guess was that you were using the word “implications” informally, and thus you should probably not use the word “logically” with it. In my circle, people do make the assumption when someone makes a decision of faith to trust Christ, that such a person is automatically “saved” because they feel strongly that such a public decision “implies” or infers that salvation must have taken place. That, of course, is an informal implication (inference) also, and not a logical one.

        That truly is a problem in our circles, since, as you and I know so well, the mouth can “confess” what the heart has not yet truly believed. And though Rom 10:9 does emphasize the simple actions (Aorist tense) of commitment and confession for salvation, 10:10 emphasizes that the reality will be confirmed by a continuous (Present tense) believing and confessing. I even have to remind pastors in my circle of ministry not to say someone was “saved” immediately after a decision was made, but rather, “Praise the Lord this person made a decision to trust in Christ for salvation”.

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    3. I have no idea why that lady would not answer who she prays to, but that seems far more troubling than merely a Calvinism/Arminianism issue, but the issue of a different faith altogether. I assure you that every Arminian I know prays to God the Father in the name of Jesus in the Holy Spirit. But I’ve prayed all my life and never once asked God to violate someone’s free will. I guess I could see why someone would pray that. But it does seem strange, doesn’t it, that one might think that praying to override a will is the *only* thing there is to pray for?

      I have some questions for harmonizing the position of determinism with Scripture. I feel like Calvinism is getting close to the error of “hyper-grace” in some issues, by claiming any autonomous act is meritorious. Ironically though, I hear many Calvinists at the same time preaching a type of Lordship salvation, which calls people to a strict standard. This makes me feel Calvinism is a little bit schizophrenic and undecided on some issues. I always hear this argument “Free will makes you smarter and more spiritual and more godly and better than someone else.” I think the Scripture says it can make us wiser—Scripture constantly implores us to be wise and seek wisdom, yet determinism would say all of that is an “ineffectual” call for the non-elect. Kind of a ceremonious way to show you are not chosen by God. Christ said the “wise man built his house upon the rock,” but determinism would have to say the monorgeristically enabled foolish man; Proverbs says “How long will you foolish keep on being foolish, listen to me and turn at my rebuke,” but determinism says “You foolish elect will remain foolish until such as time as you are irresistibly caused to no longer be foolish.” I know we hear a lot “You can’t prove free will from Scripture,” but couldn’t we say the standard and bar is being set ridiculously high for “proof”? Far more, than say, there is proof for the Trinity. How can we “seek the praise that comes from God,” or be someone who is “not praised by any man, but praised by God” (Rom. 2:29), if God himself is the sole cause of our actions? God is praising then, his own grace, he is not truly praising any man. What can we make of all conditional statements (such as contain “if”) and all changing of the mind and all entreaty, warning and exhortation? Does a Calvinist really pray “God I thank you that your will is *always* done,” instead of “May your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”? And how can our lack of faith effect the answer to our prayers, if God acts monergistically? It would mean God removes our faith in our own prayers! And my how scornful Calvinists can be of the term “prevenient grace” but many I find can’t even define it or understand how to derive it from Scripture, they simply shout at the top of their longs “no such thing!!” Yet we all believe in “grace that comes before” our existence. Like many Calvinists say, that they were not persuaded by men, but by Scripture alone, I can honestly say I was open to the idea of determinism—in fact I found it quite daunting to consider. But one thing kept haunting me more than God allowing evil—and that’s God wanting evil. Why would the Lord want his own creation to die or come to harm? It may seem to the determinist inconsequential whether God wants or just allows the fall, but to me it felt very fundamental. For God to put things beyond his own control may seem irresponsible to me, but I certainly couldn’t attribute the same level of evil to it as desiring and causing the fall to happen on purpose. And another thing we get accused of is being “man-centered.” It’s cute how Leighton turns that around to the man Jesus Christ, yet even that I feel is unnecessary. God loves man. That doesn’t make God “man-centered” does it? If you say “any emphasis placed upon a thing automatically means you are centered upon it,” that seems quite some ad hoc logic to make your position seem more persuasive. I could go on; I found this four year journey studying Calvinism quite frustrating yet in the end I have much to thank for it. So even if you find these probing questions irritating know that I respect your beliefs and have given them considerable thought.

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      1. Thanks Dizerner. You said a lot. Do you have a specific question for me or were you just sort of thinking out loud. And I mean this will all due respect. I’ll try to answer something specific about my views if that’s is what you were intending.

        Blessings,

        SDG!

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      2. Maybe I’m still hoping there is some argument I just haven’t seen yet.

        In regards to praying for a person—one may pray for someone to be freed from demonic influence, for one to see the rationality of making the right choice, for one to constantly be confronted with spiritual truth and not be able to bury it or see it as unimportant, that one may see evil for what it is and God’s beauty for what it is, or have the ability to exercise faith or overcome offenses, yet I can’t see how any of those things ultimately take away that one place of the will. If I know a person had all the grace and revelation they needed to make a choice, and still said no, I would be perfectly content to never say another prayer for the rest of my life.

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      3. dizerner writes, “If I know a person had all the grace and revelation they needed to make a choice, and still said no, I would be perfectly content to never say another prayer for the rest of my life.”

        Interesting, it is with regard to such people that Calvinists say we are to pray to God. So, long as the person is saying, NO, the Calvinist is saying pray for him – never be content when a person is still bound for hell.

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      4. dizerner writes, “What about the 4 times an unpardonable sin is mentioned? or the two times in the OT?”

        The Calvinist remains optimistic. Everyone is totally depraved, so we have all probably committed the unpardonable sin. Look at Paul before his Damascus road experience. No reason to think that Paul was any different than the other Pharisees who said of Christ, “It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons,” thus blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Paul then said, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst.” Jesus said, “Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” To reject Christ – is to deny the testimony of the Holy Spirit – “prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” – so to speak against the Scriptures and reject Christ is to speak against the Holy Spirit who provided those Scriptures.

        Calvinists believe that God is in control and to God they will pray, regardless of perceived sin. Of course, there is the continuing debate about what a person does to “speak against the Holy Spirit.”

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      5. quote: The Calvinist remains optimistic. Everyone is totally depraved, so we have all probably committed the unpardonable sin.

        What?! What?!! Did you somehow lose the definition of the word? We all committed the unpardonable sin? You’re not even making sense. The *definition* of the word, is you do *not* get pardoned—ever. It’s not like “unpardonable just for a moment” sin. Scripture is even very emphatic in its description that the sin is *never* forgiven—ever. That’s the *definition* of the unpardonable sin—it is not defined as a “really bad icky sin that’s super hard for God to forgive.”

        quote: No reason to think that Paul was any different than the other Pharisees who said of Christ, “It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons,” thus blaspheming the Holy Spirit.

        What?! How can a person get this far away from Scripture and logic? I don’t understand it but constantly see it. There is *every reason in the world* to think Paul *did not* commit the unpardonable sin. He was PARDONED. Yes Paul said he was the greatest of sinners, but he also said he was show mercy because he acted *ignorantly in unbelief.* That’s the *opposite* defining mark of the unpardonable sin in regard to blasphemy—a lack of ignorance. If Paul was like “every other Pharisee” Paul would be in hell like they are. Christ didn’t ever excuse the sins of the Pharisees by saying monergistic grace would just erase all their sins. God requires repentance when his light comes.

        quote: Jesus said, “Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” To reject Christ – is to deny the testimony of the Holy Spirit – so to speak against the Scriptures and reject Christ is to speak against the Holy Spirit who provided those Scriptures.

        This is wrong and exceedingly poor exegesis. First off in the context it doesn’t just mean “any word.” In the context it clearly means attributing a miracle performed by the Holy Spirit to demons, *and nothing else.* The things people do with the verse are astonishing; they feel like they can apply just any sloppy deductions out of their own mind they want, it’s incredible. The text says what the sin is: attributing a miracle you witness of the Spirit to demons. It’s not “failure to believe Scripture, “it’s not “disbelief in the Gospel,” it’s not “rejection of Jesus,” it’s attributing miracles of the Spirit to demons. That’s what the text tells us.

        quote: Calvinists believe that God is in control and to God they will pray, regardless of perceived sin. Of course, there is the continuing debate about what a person does to “speak against the Holy Spirit.”

        There should be no debate, the text clearly tells us. However there are other unforgivable sins mentioned in other places.

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      6. Dizerner,

        I don’t want to be argumentative at all. You said, “If I know a person had all the grace and revelation they needed to make a choice, and still said no, I would be perfectly content to never say another prayer for the rest of my life.”

        I’ve seen a number of NCs say that man already has all he needs to make a decision. A choice. Others, like Robert for example, rightly recognize that a work of grace by the Spirit is necessary before man can make a choice.

        I guess I don’t really have a question. Just thoughts about your statement. First, of course, I know you would agree that we cannot ever know if another person has “all the grace and revelation they needed to make a choice.” Right? Second, if I assume the NC and prevenient grace position a moment, since we will never know when a person has all the grace and revelation they needed to make a choice, we should never stop praying for them to be saved. And here I’m sure you agree.

        Third, you all said you pray that people “have the ability to exercise faith.” Not to be picky, to whom do you pray for that ability? God? You pray to God for a person to “have the ability to exercise faith?” Why? Seriously, are toy praying such so God will act in some way so the person will “have the ability to exercise faith?”

        Genuine questions as we think out loud.

        SDG!

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      7. Dizerner,

        One more thought in general. I’m really perplexed by some of the language of prayer for salvation for others I have seen lately. It seems confusing. Yours not as confusing as the lady from the other blog. Hers was tortured it seems in an attempt to make few will king and ultimate.

        At the end of the day, I think most Christians, when we pray for the lost to be saved, pray in essence for God to save them. For God to act. For God to intervene in their lives. I cannot imagine, and have never harden my many years around Cals and Non Cals anything remotely like, “God I pray so n so will have the courage to believe or have the ability to excise his faith” or anything about the person’s will. It’s almost always, no always over 33 years as a believer, “God save so n so. Open their heart. Come upon them by your Spirit and save them!”

        I think the only place I’ve ever heard pushback to that immediate above language is on blogs where we were/are arguing about these kinds of things. In the pews of our churches, test it out. I think it will be as I’ve stated.

        Just some thoughts.

        SDG!

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      8. quote: First, of course, I know you would agree that we cannot ever know if another person has “all the grace and revelation they needed to make a choice.” Right?

        In general, yea. But Jeremiah was told to no longer pray, Ezekiel was told no intercessor would accomplish things, and 1 John says there is sin to death which kind of assumes you can know by some means. But most people I witness too, the number one objection is “It just doesn’t feel real to me, so how can I believe it? I have no reason to.” You can’t reject something you have no confirmation is true. So for me that’s prayer number one, and I think it is as Paul put it “To open the eyes of the heart and turn from the power of darkness to God.”

        quote: You pray to God for a person to “have the ability to exercise faith?” Why? Seriously, are toy praying such so God will act in some way so the person will “have the ability to exercise faith?”

        Yea, I see that as Biblical. The disciples asked the Lord to increase their faith and he did. Also it is God can give a measure of faith. The ability to have faith in my view is not intrinsically wrapped up with a decision for or against God. How can you follow or accept a God you don’t believe in? And the demons believe because they can see, but most people can’t see God. So it seems Biblical to pray for a person to have the faith they need to believe in God, so that they can then make a decision to accept that God.

        quote: “God I pray so n so will have the courage to believe or have the ability to excise his faith” or anything about the person’s will. It’s almost always, no always over 33 years as a believer, “God save so n so. Open their heart. Come upon them by your Spirit and save them!”

        That’s really interesting. To be honest, perhaps those people are not very thorough or Biblical in their thoughts about praying. Let me be clear—I think God accepts imperfect prayers. We don’t have to say everything exactly right, because God knows our intent. But that kind of praying for me assumes the person meets God—they come to know God is real and feel his power. But I couldn’t ever, nor do the circles I’ve been in, ever, see that as overriding the will completely. To be honest I think the teaching on prayer is scant and poor—and that’s a shame. We exalt a lot of theological ideas, but miss some other basics Scripture places a lot of emphasis upon.

        bless & thanks for your thoughts

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      9. Dizerner,

        You: “What about the 4 times an unpardonable sin is mentioned? or the two times in the OT?” in reply to rhutchn’s words ending with “never be content when a person is still bound for hell.”

        But who among us can know if/when a person has done such and then stop praying for their salvation? None of us knows that.

        SDG!

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      10. Well we don’t usually know that, but I think we could know it if God speaks to us somehow while we are praying. I know some denominations don’t think God ever speaks anymore, but I think God can communicate to us—he said he left his Spirit with us. I’ve personally prayed for a person and stopped when I knew for sure they at one point knew God was real and completely rejected him. How did I know? Well this person was particularly demonic and asked if I prayed for them, at one point I knew they knew—they were continually choosing darkness. It just doesn’t work like that with God. You can’t continually override his grace to change. At that point I’d see myself participating in the works of darkness by not acknowledging their choice. This is the sin unto death for me, the time God says to Jeremiah “stop praying” and the time he says to Ezekiel “even if Daniel, Noah and Job intercede,” when the blood of Christ has been trampled upon, and the Spirit of grace has been despised, when we wipe the dust off our feet. But my brother has left the faith over 20 years ago; yet I know he doesn’t see that reality. He didn’t reject something he knew for certain, he lapsed into intellectual disbelief. Same reason no one intercedes for demons—they made a choice in full light.

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      11. Dizerner,

        I totally disagree with you. Funny that the only two Calvinists commenting right now are the ones saying we’d never stop praying for someone’s salvation so long as they draw breath. Some so-called determinists we are. But rhutchin and I also agree that if anyone is going to be saved, it is all, 100% God and he will save His elect (whom we don’t know who they are, so we pray). Maybe other non Cs agree with us on that and just haven’t chimed in yet.

        Anyway, we are already off topic so I have no interest in going off on this rabbit trail of God speaking to you letting you know there’s no need to pray for some sinners anymore.

        God bless.

        SDG!

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      12. Well it would be disobedience if God tells you not to pray. I think if we put our own love for people above obedience, we’ve made an idol. That’s that Jesus taught. What’s funny to me is you are both acting like that makes you more noble and loving—that you’d just never give up. But you might be praying for a vessel created for damnation, under your Calvinist view; why don’t you love God more than vessels of damnation? It’s because I think even the Calvinist instinctively knows the love of Christ is beyond measuring. If I were a Calvinist—I’d only pray for the elect, because otherwise I’d be resisting God himself by praying for those God created to damn. So how is it more noble or loving to “never give up praying” but yet believe God created most for damnation and only damnation? How does that make you more noble and loving than I, just because I acknowledge God’s mercy and grace actually has limits and can be in vain and resisted like the Bible says? It makes me less noble and loving to put God above my own feelings? It makes me less noble and loving to stop praying for someone, but not God? Does God need to take love lessons from you and rhutchin? I think the logic is getting really messed up by you two, but in a good way that should show you both that God is indeed not less loving than you. Jesus’ love still placed conditions, from Genesis to Revelation, but under determinism there is no autonomous response, we all fall in our slots like coins in a coin machine. It’s more loving to put Christ first and obey him, for he alone is love; we are empty, leaking vessels. God bless.

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      13. dizerner writes, “What’s funny to me is you are both acting like that makes you more noble and loving—that you’d just never give up.”

        Just being realistic – “The disciples…said to each other, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.””

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      14. Dizerner,

        I apologize if what I said sounded like I think myself more noble than you or that I think I have more love for people than God or that I love people more than you. Not my intention at all.

        The scriptures tell us to pray for all men, not just the elect (whom we cannot discern anyway). If I can be shown from scripture that I should expect God to tell me to stop praying for the lost, I’ll happily fall in line.

        Anyway, I’ll not judge your prayer life. I don’t mean my comments that way. I’m sure you pray with sincerity.

        God bless,

        SDG!

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      15. I’ll rather agree with and better practice what Calvinist Spurgeon said,

        “Until the gate of hell is shut upon a man, we must not cease to pray for him. And if we see him hugging the very doorposts of damnation, we must go to the mercy seat and beseech the arm of grace to pluck him from his dangerous position. While there is life there is hope, and although the soul is almost smothered with despair, we must not despair for it, but rather arouse ourselves to awaken the Almighty arm.”

        SDG and SDG!!

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    4. “if man’s free will response is the deciding factor in your eternal destiny then you are the ultimate responsible one in your salvation”..Mr. Prouty, I could be wrong on this, but speculating about things like this seems to me to not be a focus of scripture. There is never a mention of anyone by name in scripture where it is said that “this person by name” was predestined by God for salvation. It is ALWAYS corporate (2 Thess. 2:13). Since the focus is corporate it would seem to me to be a mis-focus to then focus on an individual with regards to election when scripture doesn’t do that. Mankind by nature is curious about these types of inquiries, I understand.

      God is the author of salvation. I’ve heard Calvinists reword your statement above and talk about humility. They would say that if a non-Calvinist humbled himself in the non-Calvinist understanding of man’s will and humilty, then you could boast about humbling yourself. I would like to ask that Calvinist this question, “How can a person who is truly humble boast about being humble and remain humble while he is boasting about it. Pride and humility are opposites and cannot coexist at the same time in a person’s heart?” I would also like to ask that Calvinist, “Ok, if what you are saying is true about the non-Calvinist view of man’s will and humility could lead one to boast about humbling oneself, can you show me from Church history in any of the writings of non-Calvinists where any one of them start to boast about humbling themselves?” Our doctrine affects our life (2 Tim. 3:10). I would expect to see someone in history or even now boasting about humbling themselves. Paul reminded the Ephesian elders in Acts 20 how he had “served the Lord with great humility” (v.19). Paul was not boasting. A lover of Jesus does boast, not about how he humbled himself, but “in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Galatians 6:14).

      In Christian love.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Mr. Tracey McKinney writes, “There is never a mention of anyone by name in scripture where it is said that “this person by name” was predestined by God for salvation. It is ALWAYS corporate (2 Thess. 2:13).”

        2 Thess 1:3 has, “We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing.” Here it speaks of the individual members of the church whose love for each other is increasing.

        2 Thess 1:6-7 has, “God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well.” This speaks of some within the church who are troubled – “you who are troubled”.

        2 Thess 2:5 has, “Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things?” Paul likely refers to having preached or taught to the church as a whole but each individual would be seen as being told this.

        Then, 2 Thess 2″13 has, “But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.”

        You understand that it was the church corporately that was saved rather than the individuals who make up the church. However, it is the individual who are believes the truth who then constitute the church. When Paul says that “your faith is growing more and more,” (1:3) we understand that it is the faith of the church corporately that is growing, and is it not individuals who are to be understood as having faith?

        While the Scriptures do not identify people who are predestined for salvation (Paul might be the exception in Galatians 1, “God, who set me apart from birth…”), we are to understand that it is individuals who believe and have faith. When Paul writes, in Ephesians 1, “he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ,” the reader should understand that this refers to him individually, as a believer, and not just to the church corporately as each believer, as an individual, is adopted as God’s son.

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      2. Rhutchin, thank you for your responses. My original claim, “There is never a mention of anyone by name in scripture where it is said that “this person by name” was predestined by God for salvation”, still stands I believe. Most of the scriptures you reference are dealing with sanctification (2 Tess. 1;3), justice (2 Thess 1:6-7), and eschatology (2 Thess 2:5). You did deal with 2 Thess. 2:13 but Paul’s focus in election was corporate in contrast to the Calvinist focus of the individual which is support for my view. Of course individuals make up the church, I never said otherwise.I know this is hard to our Western individualistic minds, but not for the tribal cultures out of which the Scriptures came.

        Your write,”You understand that it was the church corporately that was saved rather than the individuals who make up the church.” This is incorrect since the topic was shifted from election to salvation. I was speaking of election.

        I Galations 1 of which you referenced Paul was describing his being chosen by Christ to be an apostle to bring the message of redemption to the world. Again, the focus of Calvinists is misdirected. Paul recounts this experience to the authorities in Acts 26:14-19 and told King Agrippa, “I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.” I take those words in their plain meaning and not try to read some mysterious meaning where what Paul really meant according to the Calvinist view was that he could not have been disobedient to the heavenly vision.

        In Eph 1 it is clear that the predestination to “adoption” is the glorification of the people of God in the resurrection that Paul addresses in Romans 8; not a predestination unto salvation. The phrase “in Him” all throughout Eph. 1. The question is how are we to be “in Him”? Verse 13 answers that is through faith, not by being chosen for faith.

        I was a Calvinist for 10 years and I read all those passages like you currently do, through Calvinistic lenses. Of course, I know that I am not blind from traditions and I have to keep coming back to the scriptures and question if what I believe is really true.

        God bless!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Mr. Tracey Mckinney writes, “My original claim, “There is never a mention of anyone by name in scripture where it is said that “this person by name” was predestined by God for salvation”, still stands I believe. Most of the scriptures you reference are dealing with sanctification (2 Tess. 1;3), justice (2 Thess 1:6-7), and eschatology (2 Thess 2:5). You did deal with 2 Thess. 2:13 but Paul’s focus in election was corporate in contrast to the Calvinist focus of the individual which is support for my view. Of course individuals make up the church, I never said otherwise.”

        I agree on the sanctification, justice, and eschatology focus, but this is irrelevant to the issue at hand. That issue is whether Paul speaks to the church (corporate view) or to individuals within the church where each person making up the church shares a common characteristic – that of growing faith, being persecuted, and having heard Paul preach of the coming of Christ.

        When Paul says, “the love every one of you has for each other is increasing,” does “you” refer to the corporate church or the individual? Likewise, does “you” refer to the church or individuals in the other verses? You express an opinion – Paul’s focus in election was corporate – cries out for an explanation that you do not give. The issue in 2:13 is whether Paul speaks of God choosing to save the church or the individuals who then make up the church. You seem to ignore this by saying, “Of course individuals make up the church…”

        You then say, “This is incorrect since the topic was shifted from election to salvation. I was speaking of election.”

        I don’t see how that makes a difference. Do you mean for the act of election to follow the act of salvation of the person? So, do you see the election of Ephesians 1:4 to follow after the salvation of the individual? Do you see the election of the individual occurring before the foundation/creation of the world? How would you say that God knows those whom He elects if not because He chooses/elects them to save them?

        You write, “I know this is hard to our Western individualistic minds, but not for the tribal cultures out of which the Scriptures came.”

        This observation needs support from the Scriptures – I have heard this before, so someone has probably done the research on this; do you have a citation (hopefully available on the internet). This is needed, otherwise, we have people making up their own rules for understanding the Scriptures when the Scriptures are to be their own interpreter. God is the ultimate author of the Scriptures and is immune from cultural influences.

        Then you write, “In Galatians 1 of which you referenced Paul was describing his being chosen by Christ to be an apostle to bring the message of redemption to the world. Again, the focus of Calvinists is misdirected. Paul recounts this experience to the authorities in Acts 26:14-19 and told King Agrippa, “I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.” I take those words in their plain meaning and not try to read some mysterious meaning where what Paul really meant according to the Calvinist view was that he could not have been disobedient to the heavenly vision. ”

        I don’t see your point here. Paul just states the truth. He had a vision on the road to Damascus and was obedient to Christ from that point on. In Galatians, Paul says that He was set apart from birth for this purpose and then called by grace on the road to Damascus. There is nothing mysterious here. In being set apart at birth, we can conclude that God predestined Paul to salvation and also to be the apostle to the Gentiles. There was no way that Paul could have been disobedient to Christ after the Damascus road, was there?

        Finally, you write, “In Eph 1 it is clear that the predestination to “adoption” is the glorification of the people of God in the resurrection that Paul addresses in Romans 8; not a predestination unto salvation. The phrase “in Him” all throughout Eph. 1. The question is how are we to be “in Him”? Verse 13 answers that is through faith, not by being chosen for faith.”

        Again, I am confused by your argument. If God has predestinated some to adoption, then it must also be true that those same people were predestined to salvation. Do you mean to suggest that some unsaved with also be adopted but not saved?

        I agree that believers are in Christ through faith – faith being the gift that God gives to His elect by means of which they believe and become “in Christ.” However, this was settled before the creation of the world. What is your point?

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      4. Rhutchin, my brother/sister (I cannot tell by your name) unfortunately this will have to be my last response since I realized in my last two posts that it takes far more time to type responses than I am willing to give to this. Please don’t take it the wrong way. I love these types of discussions when done in Christian love and civility. I will only respond to the corporate debate between Calvinists and non-Calvinists since the other topics that came up in our discussion are fascinating but require too much space to give it here. Please forgive me if you see this as my dodging topics, this is not my heart. I would rather verbally talk about these things since more can be accomplished in that forum.

        You say, “That issue is whether Paul speaks to the church (corporate view) or to individuals within the church where each person making up the church shares a common characteristic – that of growing faith, being persecuted, and having heard Paul preach of the coming of Christ.”

        In this quote above you commit the Either-or-Fallacy where you posit that it is either “corporate” or “individuals”. There is a third alternative…it is BOTH! When Paul writes to the Thessalonians or when he addresses any church corporately he is addressing the body (corporate) as a whole, and in so doing he is addressing the individuals who comprise that body. So far so good? That does not prove that each of those individuals were chosen before they did anything good or bad to be saved. That is question-begging. They become part of the body through faith, and when they become part of the body as Eph.1 states they partake of all of the blessings that God has PREDESTINED for them and PREPARED for them that love Him (2 Cor. 2:9). For 10 whole years as a Calvinist I made the same exact inferences you make now with those texts, so I understand where you are coming from. Believe me; I know the arguments, though you may think I do not. 🙂

        You also say here, “When Paul says, “the love every one of you has for each other is increasing,” does “you” refer to the corporate church or the individual? Likewise, does “you” refer to the church or individuals in the other verses?”

        Again, you commit the Either-or-Fallacy here. It is both–see above.

        You said, “The issue in 2:13 is whether Paul speaks of God choosing to save the church or the individuals who then make up the church.” Either-or-Fallacy again. See above where I explain how a person comes into the body and partakes of it’s benefits that God has predestined for those that love Him.

        I want to correct one of my statements in my last post. When I said, “I know that I am not blind from traditions”, I meant to say that I know that I am not immune from traditions. I have tendencies to follow ideas and systems that upon further reflection from the scriptures and testing those systems have been found wanting. No matter how much I love a particular tradition I have to test it over and over again scripturally. Even what I believe currently about predestination and election–I have to “test all things” ( 1 Thess. 5:21), and that even includes my non-Calvinism.

        Blessings my friend! May you and I keep “searching the scriptures daily to see whether those things are true” (Acts 17:11).

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Mr. Tracey McKinney writes, “n this quote above you commit the Either-or-Fallacy where you posit that it is either “corporate” or “individuals”. There is a third alternative…it is BOTH!”

        In saying that “both” incorporates individuals you leave yourself with nothing to argue.

        Then, “When Paul writes to the Thessalonians or when he addresses any church corporately he is addressing the body (corporate) as a whole, and in so doing he is addressing the individuals who comprise that body….That does not prove that each of those individuals were chosen before they did anything good or bad to be saved. That is question-begging. They become part of the body through faith, and when they become part of the body as Eph.1 states they partake of all of the blessings that God has PREDESTINED for them and PREPARED for them that love Him (2 Cor. 2:9).”

        It means that Paul is speaking to each person individually. So, Paul says to each person, “…from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.” That applies to each one of us today for God uses Paul to say this to us.

        One comes into the body by faith – a faith given to the person by God for that purpose. Paul says in Ephesians 1, “…he chose us in him before the creation of the world…” Before the beginning of the world means “…before they did anything good or bad to be saved.”

        All this is done in Christ meaning that nothing is left for us to do; Christ did it all. God sent Christ to save His elect and Christ did exactly what He was supposed to do – as a consequence, the salvation of God’s elect is certain and each of God’s elect comes to realize this in the course of time; maybe not as dramatically as Saul of Tarsus but not far from it.

        Finally, you write, “I realized in my last two posts that it takes far more time to type responses than I am willing to give to this.”

        It can be tedious, but the discipline of writing down the things you have come to believe helps to clarify what you believe and solidifies a foundation on which to grow. Hope you can engage in writing of your beliefs in other venues.

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  6. BTW, I would love to see others here interact with this I said earlier:

    “I said to this lady, “Our salvation depends wholly on God alone. When you pray for someone to be saved, you don’t pray to that person to get with it and gin up their free will and choose Christ. You pray to God to save them. In your prayers you tacitly acknowledge that if someone is to be saved it depends on God, not on the person”

    She replied: “Not me. I pray they recognize truth. I pray they seek truth. I pray they “choose” truth. I believe humans have volition and are accountable for their beliefs, actions and are responsible for what they do or don’t do.”

    Is this the way most NCs practice prayer for the lost? If not, how do you NCs pray for the lost?

    SDG!

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    1. “If not, how do you NCs pray for the lost?”.
      ………………………………………………………………..
      Confessing that God alone searches the heart of man and He alone is able to lead them to the truth.

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      1. peanutgallery writes, “Confessing that God alone searches the heart of man and He alone is able to lead them to the truth.”

        A fine Calvinist response. But the NC’s know to pray like Calvinists – what purpose would be served for a NC pray consistent with his theology?

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    2. Les,

      As the preconversion work of the Holy Spirit must occur for a person to be able to make a choice to trust in Jesus for salvation. I pray for the Spirit to work in the hearts and minds of people leading them to recognize Jesus and know who He is and what He has done for them. If I am preaching a message or doing some message I also pray that the Spirit would work through what I say. Incidentally, seems to me that if people understand that the Spirit must work in the person for them to be saved, it is these kinds of prayers that any Christian can pray, whether they are non-Calvinist or Calvinist.

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      1. Robert,

        I agree with you. Cals and non Cals alike acknowledge that God must do something pre conversion to be saved. Of course we differ as to whether or not that pre conversion work is effectual or not. But the fact remains that we agree that God must act first.

        I think the person I referenced above who wouldn’t acknowledge that she prayed to God for the person to be saved is trying too hard to defend man’s free will. To acknowledge that we pray for God to save people does not negate the non Cal position on LFW.

        SDG!

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    3. I’m really not seeing your problem with this women’s answer. If I pray that a nonbeliever “recognize truth. I pray they seek truth. I pray they “choose” truth.” then I am praying that God will open their eyes. It’s not an “either/or” it’s both God working and man responding. Prevenient grace is the starting point where a person begins to see, even if it’s dimly seeing, that they need saving. From there, a spiritual battle for this person’s soul usually takes place, and there is not a guaranteed result, because God will not over ride the will. We do one thing in our salvation, we accept the light that is shone onto us by God and we keep growing in it, or we reject it and we continue dying.

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      1. Then according to her words why pray to God? Why not just plead with the person. Unless she, or you, believe God needs to do something. Like give them understanding or discernment or clarity. Her words, which you have no problem with, are meaningless aimed at God if the person is the one who can just bring more clarity or understanding or discernment to himself.

        Otherwise it would seem to be more biblical to pray to God to do His pre conversion work.

        Or simply pray for God to save them.

        SDG!

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      2. Les, well, we agree then. God does have to do something, because, as I stated, one can not choose truth, unless God first shows them their condition. That doesn’t mean that once one begins to see, he ceases to do anything. We are told to confess and repent. That’s not what we would call a work, but it’s doing something.

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      3. wildswanderer writes, “Prevenient grace is the starting point where a person begins to see, even if it’s dimly seeing, that they need saving. From there, a spiritual battle for this person’s soul usually takes place, and there is not a guaranteed result, because God will not over ride the will.”

        Actually, the result is guaranteed – God is omniscient and knows the outcome and knew the outcome at Genesis 1 – unless you have figured out the obvious and have joined with brianwagner to deny God knowledge of future salvation decisions.

        God does not override a person’s will, but grace (prevenient or effectual) conveys to the person that freedom from depravity required if a person is to exercise the will to salvation.

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      4. God knowing the outcome isn’t the cause of the outcome, so it’s kinda pointless to appeal to God’s foreknowledge, as if it somehow causes the event of makes the spiritual battle less real.

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      5. wildswanderer writes, “God knowing the outcome isn’t the cause of the outcome, so it’s kinda pointless to appeal to God’s foreknowledge, as if it somehow causes the event of makes the spiritual battle less real.”

        Can we all agree that God’s omniscience does not “cause” anything to happen??

        God’s omniscience encompasses all those causes/influences behind outcomes – including His involvement. There is a guaranteed result (simply by omniscience) but also because God knows all results and has the final say on those results – either to intervene to change the natural course of sin or to stand aside and let sin reign. God can be said to “cause” all outcomes because it is His active or passive involvement in all outcomes that ultimately determines all outcomes.

        Jesus said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.” The sparrow falls to the ground because of disease, starvation, or other natural cause – Yet not without God decreeing that it should be so and decreeing not to intervene to give the sparrow longer life. So it is with man – no person is born except by God’s decree and no person dies except by God’s decree.

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  7. In all of my last ten years of teaching and encouraging others to see the harmful effects that certain Calvinistic teachings have on evangelism and prayer (or even in 50 years of ministry), I had not seen this verse and its implications!

    Mark 7:14 When He had called all the multitude to [Himself,] He said to them, “Hear Me, everyone, and understand: (NKJV)

    Praise the Lord that He wants EVERYONE in the crowd to be hearing Him and understanding Him and He is calling all of them to Himself! And the context here is the opportunity for Him to give them a message of conviction concerning the nature of their sin!

    Would Jesus call all of them to hear and understand His message if He knew some of them were unable to hear and understand His message? That would be like saying “All of you, even those of you who can never hear and understand, I am commanding you all to hear and understand!” Does our God ever act in such a ridiculous way!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. rhutchin:
    “So, what is peanutgallery’s take on this?”
    ……………………..
    Scripture is correct in that all are totally depraved; however, how does that translate to able to reject, yet unable to believe? God provides grace: creation testifying, law written in our hearts, conscience bearing witness, Holy Spirit reproving, the gospel which is the power of God unto salvation to all who believe. That grace is what enables a person to believe or reject God’s witnesses.
    ……………………..
    Just a note here; the layout of the posts makes it possible to miss some of the posts, since it is not linear. Just saying, lest one think I ignore posts.

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    1. Peanutgallery writes, “Scripture is correct in that all are totally depraved; however, how does that translate to able to reject, yet unable to believe?”

      The person who is totally depraved always rejects the gospel – the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (Colossians 1) – thus being unable to believe. You were half right in saying, “That grace is what enables a person to believe …” but got it wrong with, “…That grace is what enables a person to…reject God’s witnesses.” Grace is not necessary for one to reject the gospel – it comes naturally. God’s grace may testify through creation but this is not enabling a person to reject the gospel – it only provides something to reject. To “enable” a person to reject the gospel, God need do nothing to the person; to enable a person to accept the gospel, God needs to negate the depravity of the person.

      It appears to me that you are arguing that people are inherently able to respond to the gospel without God having to deal with their depravity. Do you buy the RC teaching that man is inherently able to cooperate with God and this not prevented by the sin nature?

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      1. rhutchin:
        “The person who is totally depraved always rejects the gospel” …
        RE: Until they have godly sorrow, being convicted; all are totally depraved, yet it is the totally depraved who believe and repent.

        rhutchin:
        “Grace is not necessary for one to reject the gospel – it comes naturally.”
        RE: Good point

        rhutchin:
        “It appears to me that you are arguing that people are inherently able to respond to the gospel without God having to deal with their depravity. Do you buy the RC teaching that man is inherently able to cooperate with God and this not prevented by the sin nature?”
        RE: Is ‘respond’ being equated with ‘cooperate’?

        God’s witnesses do deal with our depravity and sin nature, as I stated earlier; God also tells the totally depraved ungodly sinful enemies of God to come and reason.

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      2. rhutchin:“The person who is totally depraved always rejects the gospel” …
        Peanutgallery: Until they have godly sorrow, being convicted; all are totally depraved, yet it is the totally depraved who believe and repent.

        Everyone basically agrees to this. However, there are at least two ways that this happens. RCs say that people have an inherent ability to respond in godly sorrow on hearing the gospel preached and they cooperated with God whose part is to provide the gospel witness and forgiveness of sin. Cals and Arms say that God must also enable the depraved person to express godly sorrow. As only God’s elect express godly sorrow, there is debate regarding the non-elect as to whether God enables them at all.
        +++++

        rhutchin:“It appears to me that you are arguing that people are inherently able to respond to the gospel without God having to deal with their depravity. Do you buy the RC teaching that man is inherently able to cooperate with God and this not prevented by the sin nature?”
        Peanutgallery:: Is ‘respond’ being equated with ‘cooperate’?
        God’s witnesses do deal with our depravity and sin nature, as I stated earlier; God also tells the totally depraved ungodly sinful enemies of God to come and reason.

        If you mean to limit God’s actions to the efforts of God’s witnesses and God telling depraved sinners certain things – and thereby God does not directly change the nature of the person as the Cals and Arms say, then you appear to be subscribing to RC philosophy. Is that your intent? Do you have an RC background?

        Like

  9. Just about missed this post also.
    …………………….
    rhutchin
    December 4, 2015 at 1:13 am

    peanutgallery writes, “Confessing that God alone searches the heart of man and He alone is able to lead them to the truth.”

    A fine Calvinist response.
    …………………………………….
    One can lead a horse to water, but can one make him drink?

    Like

    1. Wilds wanderer,

      No he’s not a closet Arminian. He may be inconsistent as a Calvinist, since none of us is perfectly consistent in whatever theology we hold. You and me included.

      But I actually listened to the entire podcast. Listen to his closing remarks even as he was being reminded that he only had seconds to talk. He made clear what he was saying about works.

      SDG!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Speaking of the person who is not posting as “peanutgallery” (whom I suspect is actually the same person who has posted as “Phillip” and “wingedfootedone” in the past here) rhutchin wrote:

    “If you mean to limit God’s actions to the efforts of God’s witnesses and God telling depraved sinners certain things – and thereby God does not directly change the nature of the person as the Cals and Arms say, then you appear to be subscribing to RC philosophy. Is that your intent? Do you have an RC background?”

    It is not that “peanut” has an RC background or philosophy, it is that in the past “peanut/Phillip/wingfootedone” denied total depravity and espoused what appeared to be more like Pelagian beliefs (i.e. that the sinner can come to faith without the pre-conversoin work of the Spirit merely by hearing the gospel).

    If this is the same person who posted under these different names in the past, his problem is his denial of total depravity and his hatred of both Calvinism and Arminianism on the issue of depravity. In the past this person has created his own terminology (e.g. he once mistakenly labelled me a “one point calvinist” since I affirm total depravity). This same person was told in the past to study things a bit more so that they would not make these mistakes and create these idiosyncratic labels.

    Like

    1. Robert: …
      “Speaking of the person who is not posting as “peanutgallery” (whom I suspect is actually the same person who has posted as “Phillip” and “wingedfootedone” in the past here)

      It is not that “peanut” has an RC background or philosophy, it is that in the past “peanut/Phillip/wingfootedone” denied total depravity and espoused what appeared to be more like Pelagian beliefs (i.e. that the sinner can come to faith without the pre-conversoin work of the Spirit merely by hearing the gospel).

      If this is the same person who posted under these different names in the past, his problem is his denial of total depravity and his hatred of both Calvinism and Arminianism on the issue of depravity.”
      ………………………..
      Nope; never heard of “Phillip” and “wingedfootedone”.
      What is this called?
      Ad Hominem, Strawman?

      Like

      1. Peanutgallery wrote:

        “Nope; never heard of “Phillip” and “wingedfootedone”.
        What is this called?
        Ad Hominem, Strawman”

        Glad to hear that you are not Phillip/wingedfooted1, thanks for the clarification.

        This other persons has real problems with the biblical doctrine of total depravity: hopefully you do not share his denial of it.

        Like

  11. rhutchin:
    “RCs say that people have an inherent ability to respond in godly sorrow on hearing the gospel preached and they cooperated with God whose part is to provide the gospel witness and forgiveness of sin. Cals and Arms say that God must also enable the depraved person to express godly sorrow.
    Do you buy the RC teaching that man is inherently able to cooperate with God and this not prevented by the sin nature?”
    RE: God delivered me out of RCC; are you saying RC philosophy is hindering me from understanding Cal/Arm philosophy?
    I don’t believe that we ‘cooperate’ with God, neither do I believe that the word of God is not quick enough, not quite powerful enough, not quite sharp enough, not quite able enough to divide asunder the soul and spirit, and not quite able to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart.
    ………………..
    “If you mean to limit God’s actions to the efforts of God’s witnesses and God telling depraved sinners certain things – and thereby God does not directly change the nature of the person as the Cals and Arms say, then you appear to be subscribing to RC philosophy. Is that your intent?”
    RE: You mean as opposed to Cal/Arm philosophy?
    I do not limit God’s action; however, God can limit himself to what is quick enough, powerful enough, sharp enough to divide soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart.

    Like

      1. Depends on how one defines ‘cooperate’; thus, the enclosed apostrophes. The danger is that cooperating with God may imply that God could not quite complete the task of salvation without our assistance.
        One could consider a broken and contrite heart a form of cooperation; I don’t.

        Like

  12. dizerner:
    Do you think we “receive” Christ like someone “receives” a bullet to the brain?
    ……………….
    You lost me; self-inflicted bullet to the brain, someone else inflicts the bullet to your brain?
    Either way, your dead; not made alive.

    God graciously saves those of godly sorrow, saves those of contrite and broken spirit.

    Like

      1. Still not sure where this is leading; you mean:
        a) salvation is zapped into a person?
        b) regeneration is zapped into a person?

        Like

      2. Dizerner,

        Gotta jump in and call foul. No, the Calvinist does not say both. Study Reformed theology before making pronouncements about what we believe so as to save you from making mistakes like that.

        SDG!

        Like

      3. I literally just had a Calvinist say those exact words to me. I’m going to have to call in the head referee to dispute this red card.

        I’d appreciate an more detailed explanation if you will make a really drastic claim like “you completely misrepresented my position!” I need to really see the evidence to believe that claim, because it’s an easy out. Can we list all the Calvinist quotes that sound both for and against this and examine them?

        Like

      4. Dizerner,

        Ok now an illegal substitution penalty…Substituting me to have the burden of proof when it is you. 🙂

        So you found a random person who claims to be a Calvinist who you say said, “a) salvation is zapped into a person?
        b) regeneration is zapped into a person?” in so many words. I said study Reformed theology.

        So here’s the deal. Show me from Reformed confessions where in so many words it says, “a) salvation is zapped into a person?
        b) regeneration is zapped into a person?”

        See it is really not about what a so called Calvinist says. If one is to critique Reformed theology, critique what Reformed theology actually teaches, found in Reformed confessions.Not quotes by people claiming to be Calvinists.

        So, back to you.

        SDG!

        Like

      5. Hey Les… what does monergism mean, unless it means man passively receives God’s saving work, like a bullet to the brain?

        Jonathan Edward said – I put repentance and conversion together, as the Scripture puts them together, Acts iii. 19, and because they plainly signify much the same thing. The word metanoia (repentance) signifies a change of the mind; as the word conversion means a change or turning from sin to God. And that this is the same change with that which is called regeneration (excepting that this latter term especially signifies the change, as the mind is passive in it), the following things do show…. (Original Sin, p. 362).

        Liked by 1 person

      6. … is John Calvin not “random”? But there is no one official “Calvinist” that all Calvinists agree with. I’m not trying to make a “random Calvinist off the street” the final authority, but I will make the claim that the so-called “common” Calvinist reflects a lot of practical beliefs that get taught and held. The burden of proof—is in reality on whoever cares more to make it, lol. But I can’t follow logically that I can object to any claim in any manner I want and insist the burden of proof is always on the other to disprove me.

        I will admit the exact wording of “zapped” was clearly a hyperbole… I didn’t mean to insinuate by that that Calvinists use such anti-intellectual terminology. Imagine the word “zapped” in the most sophisticated and advanced terminology you can.

        Like

      7. Brian,

        When Reformed theologians talk about monergism, we are talking about regeneration, not conversion. As Reformed confession WCF says,

        “1. All those whom God hath predestinated unto life, and those only, he is pleased, in his appointed and accepted time, effectually to call, by his Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death, in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation, by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God, taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them a heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and, by his almighty power, determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ: yet so, as they come most freely, being made willing by his grace.

        2. This effectual call is of God’s free and special grace alone, not from anything at all foreseen in man, who is altogether passive therein, until, being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit, he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it.”

        SDG!

        Like

      8. So Les, you do agree with me! The bullet in your view would be regeneration, and the brain would be man’s will. If that man we’re asked do you want God’s regeneration, he would say no, in your view. He must be shot in the head with God’s bullet!

        Like

      9. Dizerner,

        Last one for the night.

        The Reformed faith teaches that regeneration (the new birth) is monergistic. But the Reformed faith does not teach, nor is it accurate to say, that salvation is monergistic. Salvation is much more encompassing than just regeneration.

        In sum, the Reformed faith teaches that man actually does have a part to play, eg repentance and faith, in his salvation…in the sense that God does not repent nor believe for man.

        Have a good night, and SDG!

        Like

      10. Brian,

        “So Les, you do agree with me! The bullet in your view would be regeneration, and the brain would be man’s will. If that man we’re asked do you want God’s regeneration, he would say no, in your view. He must be shot in the head with God’s bullet!”

        I refuse to agree with a “bullet in the head” analogy. I will stipulate that if that man were asked prior to God’s regenerating activity if he wants God’s regeneration, his true heart answer would be no.His “fire escape” answer may be yes, but not his heart answer…since he is a God hater and is at enmity with God. If that man is to be regenerated, it must necessarily be against his derived and sin bound will.

        SDG!

        Like

      11. You, Les, may not like how the analogy fits your view, but you have admitted that the old will, in rebellion, in your view, must be removed, so destroyed or killed fits well.

        That God is able to enable that old will through enlightenment and conviction to made an active reception of the Gospel, or reject it, is Scriptural. It doesn’t require the twisting if the Scriptures’ meaning of regeneration.

        Liked by 1 person

      12. Brian,

        “That God is able to enable that old will through enlightenment and conviction to made an active reception of the Gospel, or reject it, is Scriptural. It doesn’t require the twisting if the Scriptures’ meaning of regeneration.

        No dispute. And those whom God has chosen will certainly not ultimately reject the gospel. God accomplishes all, 100%, or His purposes. He doesn’t swing and miss.

        And I agree it doesn’t require the twisting if the Scriptures’ meaning of regeneration. I really wish non Calvinists would rightly understand regeneration.

        SDG!

        Liked by 1 person

      13. Hi Les, There are no clear Scriptures that has God electing individuals for salvation out of a complete list of all possible individuals that could be created or from a complete list of all the individuals that He might be able to create. He chose Christ before creation from members of the Godhead, who were the only ones available to choose from. And He also chose that all who would be joined to Christ would be presented holy and blameless before Him at the judgment.

        But individuals only become part of the chosen in Christ, after their calling (Matt. 22:14) at the moment of their regeneration, when they are joined to Christ! Regeneration is new birth is reception of life is reception of Christ, all at the same moment, and after God’s enlightenment and conviction is freely received, and not freely rejected, by anyone who is presented with those graces that God has promised to all to be given at sometime.

        You are right Les that “God accomplishes all, 100%, or His purposes. He doesn’t swing and miss.” The problem is that Calvinists believe that there can be no free choice between multiple good things for God, but that there was only one immutable created history for Him to make as a necessity, including a completed list of elect individuals to be saved. I believe His purpose, as revealed in Scripture, includes permitting all to be enlightened and convicted, at some point, and freely enabled to trust or reject His saving grace, and that 100% of His purpose was to design it to work out that way!

        Like

  13. Les Prouty:
    “As Reformed confession WCF says,

    1. … yet so, as they come most freely, being made willing by his grace.

    In sum, the Reformed faith teaches that man actually does have a part to play, eg repentance and faith, in his salvation…in the sense that God does not repent nor believe for man.

    RE: The elect, who would otherwise resist the Holy Spirit, is made willing and made to repent by God’s decree; I suppose the Holy Spirit’s conviction and the gospel, the power of God, are not quite powerful enough to convict.

    Like

    1. peanutgallery,

      You: “The elect, who would otherwise resist the Holy Spirit, is made willing and made to repent by God’s decree; I suppose the Holy Spirit’s conviction and the gospel, the power of God, are not quite powerful enough to convict.”

      Me: No, the elect person, who apart from the work/action of the Holy Spirit is a God hater by nature and has no interest in the things of God and in fact cannot spiritually hear or understand the gospel, is rescued by God who by His action on that rebellious God hater enables the God hater to have a new nature and be able to spiritually see and thus understand that he is a depraved sinner and can for the first tie see the beauty of Jesus and thus make decisions to repent and believe.

      The “Holy Spirit’s conviction and the gospel, the power of God, are ABSOLUTELY quite powerful enough to convict, and in fact He does just that as I just described.

      SDG!

      Like

      1. Les Prouty:
        “The “Holy Spirit’s conviction and the gospel, the power of God, are ABSOLUTELY quite powerful enough to convict, and in fact He does just that as I just described. ”

        RE: ABSOLUTELY quite powerful, only after one is first regenerated to irresistibly believe and repent.

        Time zone: GMT -6; currently 8:08am

        Like

      2. “only after one is first regenerated to irresistibly believe and repent.”

        Yep, thankfully, else no one would ever repent and believe. Thankfully God rescues those who cannot rescue themselves.

        So, SDG!

        Like

      3. Oh and peanutgallery,

        You: “RE: ABSOLUTELY quite powerful, only after one is first regenerated to irresistibly believe and repent.”

        Seems you are saying that my view has God “quite powerful ONLY after one is first regenerated.’ emphasis mine. If that is what you are saying/implying, nope. God is all powerful at all times to do all His holy will. He is quite powerful enough before and after regeneration. It becomes a matter of who He decides to regenerate. And I think we can all agree that He decides NOT to regenerate every person who ever lives (universalism) when we all agree He is able to do that (powerful enough) but chooses in some cases not to.

        SDG!

        Like

  14. Les Prouty:
    Yep, thankfully, else no one would ever repent and believe. Thankfully God rescues those who cannot rescue themselves.

    RE: Holy Spirit and gospel not powerful enough unless one is first regenerated.

    Like

    1. peanutgallery,

      You: “RE: Holy Spirit and gospel not powerful enough unless one is first regenerated.”

      Nope. Holy Spirit completely powerful enough before and after, and completely powerful enough to actually regenerate and thus overcome man’s derived and sin bound will, man being a God hater and at enmity with God.

      SDG!

      Like

      1. Les Prouty:
        Holy Spirit completely powerful enough before and after, and completely powerful enough to actually regenerate and thus overcome man’s derived and sin bound will, man being a God hater and at enmity with God.
        ……………………….
        RE: Not talking about being powerful enough to regenerate; rather, Holy Spirit and the Gospel being not powerful enough to save anyone, unless they are first regenerated.

        Like

      2. peanutgallery,

        “RE: Not talking about being powerful enough to regenerate; rather, Holy Spirit and the Gospel being not powerful enough to save anyone, unless they are first regenerated.”

        Nope. Holy Spirit, being God, is all powerful. He can do anything He wills to do. He CAN save people without them being born again. The question is not one of ability of God. But His word says he births people…quickens them. Man doesn’t quicken himself. He is unable and unwilling to give himself new life. Man cannot rescue himself. He must be rescued. I feel like I’m repeating myself.

        Do you believe man can regenerate himself?

        Gotta run. Heading out to worship. Here’s our bulletin FYI. You’ll see it’s just chock full or Calvinism. Not! http://static1.squarespace.com/static/511bff9fe4b08a64867f9e1d/t/5661bab8e4b05bfc47a19d36/1449245368030/12-06-15+AM_web.pdf

        SDG!

        Like

  15. Les Prouty:
    Holy Spirit, being God, is all powerful. He can do anything He wills to do. He CAN save people without them being born again.

    RE: Are these two statements synonymous:
    a) God CAN save people without them being born again.
    b) God CAN save people without them being regenerated.

    ………………………
    Les Prouty:
    Man doesn’t quicken himself. He is unable and unwilling to give himself new life. Man cannot rescue himself. He must be rescued. I feel like I’m repeating myself.

    Do you believe man can regenerate himself?

    RE: I never said man can quicken himself, give himself new life, rescue himself, regenerate himself.
    The question is whether the Holy Spirit with the gospel is powerful enough to save one who is not regenerated.
    ……………………
    Ketcha later.

    Like

    1. peanutgallery,

      You: “RE: Are these two statements synonymous:
      a) God CAN save people without them being born again.
      b) God CAN save people without them being regenerated.”

      Me: Yes, but both are untrue.

      You: “The question is whether the Holy Spirit with the gospel is powerful enough to save one who is not regenerated.”

      Me: Powerful enough is not in dispute. God is powerful enough to do anything He wills to do. His will is not to save people w/o regeneration. See John 3 for His revealed will about this.

      SDG!

      Like

      1. PG:
        a) God CAN save people without them being born again.
        b) God CAN save people without them being regenerated.”

        Les Prouty:
        Yes, but both are untrue.
        Les Prouty in prior post:
        Holy Spirit, being God, is all powerful. He can do anything He wills to do. He CAN save people without them being born again.

        RE: You stated an untrue statement?
        …………………..
        Les Prouty:
        His will is not to save people w/o regeneration. See John 3 for His revealed will about this.

        Without first being regenerated, which I think you implied.
        John 3 speaks of the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration, not that one needs to be first regenerated in order to believe on the Son.

        Like

      2. PG,

        You wrote, where you quoted me:

        “Les Prouty:
        Yes, but both are untrue.
        Les Prouty in prior post:
        Holy Spirit, being God, is all powerful. He can do anything He wills to do. He CAN save people without them being born again.

        RE: You stated an untrue statement?”

        I stated a bare possibility. God is powerful to do anything He chooses to do. So in theory, He could “save people without them being born again.” I went on to say, “The question is not one of ability of God. But His word says he births people…quickens them.”

        You: “Without first being regenerated, which I think you implied.
        John 3 speaks of the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration, not that one needs to be first regenerated in order to believe on the Son.”

        Yes I implied because regeneration is but one aspect of salvation. John 3 speaks of the necessity of regeneration to see the kingdom of God. See my reply shortly to Brian for more.

        SDG!

        Like

  16. Brian I’m moving down here. Yu said,

    “Hi Les, There are no clear Scriptures that has God electing individuals for salvation out of a complete list of all possible individuals that could be created or from a complete list of all the individuals that He might be able to create. He chose Christ before creation from members of the Godhead, who were the only ones available to choose from. And He also chose that all who would be joined to Christ would be presented holy and blameless before Him at the judgment.”

    We have different definitions of election I suppose and choosing.

    You: “You are right Les that “God accomplishes all, 100%, or His purposes. He doesn’t swing and miss.” The problem is that Calvinists believe that there can be no free choice between multiple good things for God, but that there was only one immutable created history for Him to make as a necessity, including a completed list of elect individuals to be saved. I believe His purpose, as revealed in Scripture, includes permitting all to be enlightened and convicted, at some point, and freely enabled to trust or reject His saving grace, and that 100% of His purpose was to design it to work out that way!”

    Brian we will shortly be back on the merry go round. Here’s the deal. You and I have radically different views of man and his spiritual ability and spiritual desire prior to being born again.

    Me: Man has no spiritual desire to be saved nor does he have any spiritual ability to repent and believe without God changing his heart first.

    You: Man does have spiritual desire and spiritual ability to repent and believe without God changing his heart first.

    So long as we have these radical different views on man’s natural spiritual desire and ability, we will never yield to the other. The rest of the conversation is just fun and enlightening.

    peanutgallery, this radically different view also applies to us.

    SDG!

    Like

    1. Actually our views Les, are not that “radically” different! I am surprised that you have not noticed. I agree with you – “Man has no spiritual desire to be saved nor does he have any spiritual ability to repent and believe without God changing his heart first.”

      I just believe the change enables temporarily, providing a true opportunity to understand, be convicted by, and trust in the Gospel. But if that grace is rejected, and it can be, than the warning stands – “Today if you hear His voice do not harden your heart.”

      Once hardened again, it will take God to provide another opportunity to be enabled by enlightenment and conviction. I think Elihu indicates that God gives every man normally three such opportunities (Job 33:14-30). Yet I believe in answer to our prayer He can provide even more opportunities. But no one gets saved without God taking this initiative.

      I hope you will think more about where we do disagree… that God does have free-will and is not locked in by His nature to an immutable omniscience or immutable minutely ordained plan for human history. There are things in His moral nature, like truth, love, and righteousness that are indeed immutable.

      Like

      1. Job 33:14 For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not.
        Job 33:15 In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed;

        Num 12:6 And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.
        Num 12:7 My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house.
        Num 12:8 With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?
        ……………………….
        God spoke in dreams and visions, God spoke mouth to mouth; Today, God continually speaks through his inspired living words.

        Heb 1:1 GOD, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
        Heb 1:2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

        Like

      2. Hi PeanutGallery, Would you mind giving me a first name to respond to? I enjoy discussing these important things more when there is less a feeling of anonymity, especially between professing Christian brothers and sisters.

        The NT shows clearly that even though God gave revelation through His Son directly in the last days, it was not the only way. The book of Revelation is a clear example. I believe He still is using various methods to enlighten mankind to seek Him and His righteousness, including those listed by Elihu, and those by Paul in Romans 1 and 2. Though what has been written in Scripture is always the final judge of any revelation, general or special (1Cor 4:6), until Jesus returns.

        Like

      3. brianwagner:
        Hi PeanutGallery, Would you mind giving me a first name to respond to?
        ………………………….
        First name: Guy ; in French: pronounced Gee (hard G)

        I had an invitation from another forum, under the name PeanutGallery, to visit Soteriology 101; thus the reason for using PeanutGallery.

        Like

      4. BRIANWAGNER:
        Hi PeanutGallery, Would you mind giving me a first name to respond to?

        First name: Guy ; pronounced in French: Gee (hard G)

        Received invitation at another forum, while under the name PeanutGallery; so I kept it here.

        Like

      5. Thanks Guy! I really appreciate it! Does your birth certificate have Gui? But I will pronounce it correctly in my head anyway! 🙂

        Like

      6. Quote: The context can not be twisted to fit the Calvinist’s elect, just as Hebrews 6:4 also cannot be twisted to mean one can lose their salvation. The warnings are for those not yet saved!

        Oh, Brian, Brian… I’m truly surprised in your desire to make Scripture say what you already you assume it to mean, you call the plain meaning “twisting” while hypocritically and ironically calling out rhutchin for doing the exact same thing. I admit, for example, that Romans 9 sounds deterministic in places; I have to read in other Scripture teachings to clarify something that could be take two ways or even sounds one way. For you to make the claim that these warnings are clearly and forcefully *not* applying to actual believers or Christians is incredible disingenuous in my opinion. Please think seriously about at the very least maintaining Christian integrity in Scriptural debate—to simply always say Scriptures are being “twisted” that don’t match what you *want* them to say or the presumptions you come to the text with—the very same thing determinists do—while not admitting the case—is very much disobeying the Scriptural admonition to be honest in character. Let’s handle holy texts with holy hands and holy hearts. Blessings friend!

        Like

      7. I appreciate your rebuke, David! And I should have been more conciliatory in dealing with that context. Thank you for calling me out.

        When I said – “The context can not be twisted to fit the Calvinist’s elect, just as Hebrews 6:4 also cannot be twisted to mean one can lose their salvation. The warnings are for those not yet saved” I should have conceded that on first reading the Heb 6 and also the Heb 10 warning passages both sound like one losing salvation if they are read only in their immediate contexts.

        My view is that the context of all five warning passages of Hebrews, especially the author’s largest warning section in chapter 3:7-4:11, make an appeal to those not yet really saved. Hebrews 4:1 and 11 are significant for this view from that warning passage.

        Hebrews 4:1 (NKJV)
        1 Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.

        Hebrews 4:11 (NKJV)
        11 Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of [being unpersuaded].

        The words – “come short” and “fall” (failing to enter) both point clearly to people not yet saved whom others should look out for and to try to help them enter salvation. Then the word “fall” helps define “fall away” in 6:6.

        This coming short is the same as the hardening of hearts that OT Jews had (3:7), who heard the gospel but did not mix what they heard with faith (4:2) and therefore they could not enter God’s rest.

        Like

    2. Sorry Brian to have misunderstood and thus misrepresented your views. So you believe in an act of God which enables a free will choice set before man…temporarily enlightening man enough to repent and believe, but still left up to man…man is the final arbitrar of his eternal destiny in your view as God has decided that to protect man’s free will is more important to God and man than to save man from his sin. Is that fair?

      SDG!

      Like

      1. Actually Les, It’s not fair! 🙂 You have God arbitrating His forgiveness, I believe, after man expresses his supposedly “regenerated” free-will in believing in the gospel (though we could argue if it is truly free if he is unable to reject), so I am just saying the same kind of thing and agreeing that God is the final arbitrator. After seeing man’s expression of freed-up will by God’s grace in trusting His gospel, He fulfills His plan to give him forgiveness (and everlasting life which is regeneration) at that moment.

        In the Calvinist’s view, there is nothing more or less important to God. If He desires to plan out His salvation this way as I have described, which I believe best fits the normal reading of Scripture, then He is not “protecting” anything at the expense of anything else!

        Like

      2. Brian, I have a few more minutes before I leave for a few hours. But this:

        “Actually Les, It’s not fair! 🙂 You have God arbitrating His forgiveness, I believe, after man expresses his supposedly “regenerated” free-will in believing in the gospel (though we could argue if it is truly free if he is unable to reject), so I am just saying the same kind of thing and agreeing that God is the final arbitrator. After seeing man’s expression of freed-up will by God’s grace in trusting His gospel, He fulfills His plan to give him forgiveness (and everlasting life which is regeneration) at that moment.”

        Would you please take a shot at restating that paragraph? I’m not getting what you’re saying.

        Thanks, SDG!

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      3. I can be a little unclear in my discussion of things! If you have regeneration (God’s work) followed by faith (man’s free-will response) followed by forgiveness (God’s work) then I am saying my view is similar with enlightenment (God’s work) followed by faith (man’s freed-up will response) followed by forgiveness (God’s work). I just add regeneration, plus a number of other salvation works, as God’s work at that final moment also. You probably add other works also, except for your definition of regeneration.

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      4. Brian,

        I just can’t find in scripture where God interacts with man to open his spiritual eyes, temporarily, and then if/when man rejects Jesus, God shuts man’s spiritual tuner back off until maybe 2 more times you said? What scriptural support do you have for this on again/off again work of God?

        And why would He operate that way? If God’s greatest or nearly greatest desire is the salvation of all people, why do it that way? Why leave man’s eternal destiny completely in man’s free will hands? Is man’s free will the zenith of creation?

        SDG!

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      5. Hi Les,

        I had mentioned to you specifically the reference Job 33:14-30. See verse 29 especially. In the context it lists dreams, sickness, and messengers as the three ways God can draw man to His righteousness to save man’s soul from the pit.

        I also mentioned Mark 7:14 on this blog page – “When He had called all the multitude to [Himself,] He said to them, “Hear Me, everyone, and understand:” (NKJV) It is a recent discovery for me, illustrating clearly another expression Christ’s will and expectation that all in the crowd can be enlightened with information necessary to decide for salvation (cf. Gen 6:3, John 1:9, John 16:7-8).

        But my favorite verse, that I also quoted for you, but without the reference – “Today if you hear His voice do not harden your heart” (Heb 3:7-8) That verse cannot be for the Calvinist’s non-elect, for they cannot hear, nor can it be for the Calvinist’s elect, for they cannot harden when they hear. The warning is clearly for those who really hear and who can really harden themselves. God is not playing games with His warnings, or with His universal invitations.

        You asked – “And why would He operate that way? If God’s greatest or nearly greatest desire is the salvation of all people, why do it that way?” But why question the way God has done it and has clearly revealed that He has done it that way?

        You asked – “Why leave man’s eternal destiny completely in man’s free will hands? Is man’s free will the zenith of creation?” Those questions introduce a straw man argument, for you know that man’s eternal destiny is not “completely” in man’s free will hands in my opinion, nor is man’s free will the “zenith” of creation in my opinion. But as I have outlined, and to which you did not concede openly, God has included man’s free-will decision in both of our ordus salutis viewpoints.

        Both of us, I believe are motivated in discussions like these by a desire to help our professing Christian brothers accept teachings that each of us feel bring more honor to God and to the self-revelation of His character. I believe I am honoring His ultimate sovereignty in His planning, paying, offering, and enabling for His salvation to be received or rejected. I also believe the Calvinist is not honoring God’s free-will, mercy, and truthfulness by their unwillingness to believe that God would want to suffer loss, or is able to suffer loss, in the display of those characteristics of His nature that i just mentioned. And therefore He truthfully does not really mean that He has suffered those things even though His Word says He has.

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      6. brianwagner writes, “I also mentioned Mark 7:14 on this blog page – “When He had called all the multitude to [Himself,] He said to them, “Hear Me, everyone, and understand:” (NKJV) It is a recent discovery for me, illustrating clearly another expression Christ’s will and expectation that all in the crowd can be enlightened with information necessary to decide for salvation (cf. Gen 6:3, John 1:9, John 16:7-8).”

        The preaching of the gospel enlightens all who hear it but all who receive that enlightenment do not then seek salvation. What’s up? If all are enlightened by the gospel but all are not subsequently saved, then we can conclude that enlightenment is part of the process God uses to save His elect but it is not sufficient to produce salvation. John 1 says–

        “Christ was the true Light, which lights every man that comes into the world.” We understand that Christ lights every person through the preaching of the gospel (however that is accomplished). Thus, the urgency to evangelize the world. Are all who hear the gospel, and therefore enlightened, saved?

        Paul writes, in Ephesians 3–

        “Unto me…is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:”

        Were all to whom Paul preached saved?

        Then we have Jesus preaching, “Hear Me, everyone, and understand:”

        Obviously, the preaching of the gospel contains everything that is needed for all who hear the gospel to be saved. Yet, all are not saved.

        We read in Hebrews 6:

        “…it is impossible for those who were once enlightened,…If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.”

        Why this warning?

        All of this points to the necessity of the gospel being preached to bring salvation. Yet, we discover that the preaching of the gospel is not sufficient, by itself, to bring about the salvation of all who hear it.

        How does one explain this? Calvinism delves into this and offers TULIP as the explanation. No one has come up with a better explanation. While some get excited about “free will,” we find that “free will,” like enlightenment, is necessary to salvation but not sufficient to produce salvation.

        Did Jesus know all this when He said, “Hear Me, everyone, and understand:”? Should we think Him ignorant?

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      7. rhutchin:
        How does one explain this? Calvinism delves into this and offers TULIP as the explanation. No one has come up with a better explanation.
        …………………………………..
        God graciously saves those of a broken and contrite spirit, those of a humble heart.

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      8. Peanutgallery writes, “God graciously saves those of a broken and contrite spirit, those of a humble heart.”

        Yes, all agree to that. How do we explain that one person comes to a broken and contrite spirit and another does not? Again TULIP offers and explanation. Are there other explanations?

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      9. rhutchin:
        How do we explain that one person comes to a broken and contrite spirit and another does not? Again TULIP offers and explanation. Are there other explanations?
        ………………….
        The fear of the Lord.

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      10. peanutgallery writes, “The fear of the Lord.’

        Again, one person fears the Lord, another does not.

        How do we explain that one person fears the Lord and another does not? Again TULIP offers and explanation. Are there other explanations?

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      11. rhutchin:
        How do we explain that one person fears the Lord and another does not?
        ………………..
        Choice:
        Prov 1:29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:
        Psalm 15:4 In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.

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      12. peanutgallery writes, “Choice.”

        All agree that people have choices. What needs to be explained is why one person chooses Christ and another does not. Why does one person hate knowledge and another does not? TULIP in one explanation. No other explanation exists.

        So far, you keep identifying differences in people – some behave one way; some behave another way. You have made no effort to explain how one comes to be one way and not another way. That is because, outside TULIP, no explanation exists. If you could provide an explanation, you would have done so; instead, you keep deflecting.

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      13. Roger, must I keep calling you on the fallacy of begging the question! It is easy for you to say there are no alternative explanations when you reject all the reasonable, Scriptural ones that are offered to you! What if I just posted the same thing? “Outside my view no explanation exists!” How does that move the conversation forward?

        Are there really no alternatives just because you say so? You are a smart man, Roger. Do you get a kick out of being so dogmatic in behalf of Calvinism?

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      14. brianwagner writes, “Are there really no alternatives just because you say so?”

        No, there are no alternatives because no one has devised any. If you have an alternative, why not just say so and present it. What is the purpose of a comment like this if it is true that you actually can present an alternative? Why waste everyone’s time with a comment like this? Present an alternative and move the discussion forward.

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      15. You know well, Roger, the alternative that I have presented already. Asking for it as if nothing has been presented in disingenuous. Why would you do such a thing if you want to move the conversation forward?

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      16. w that rhutchin/roger acts like a Calvinist troll. Brian Wagner and Phillip disagreed with me on this in the past and said it was wrong to label him as a troll. Well He keeps acting like a troll which is why he has been banned from posting at SBC today. Rhutchin really is not interested in a rational discussion of differing views, he just wants to promote his cherished Calvinism no matter what it takes (and that involves constantly and repeatedly misrepresenting non-Calvinists and what they believe, constantly ignoring correction/i.e. he brings up a point, that point is refuted and yet he keeps bringing up that point over and over again from blog to blog, he never changes his views and keeps presenting the same arguments over and over and is set in them no matter how often they are refuted or shown to be problematical, he keeps twisting what others say with no conscience, is dishonest about his comments and the comments of others, etc. etc. etc.).

        Now Brian Wagner apparently in exasperation writes:

        “You know well, Roger, the alternative that I have presented already. Asking for it as if nothing has been presented in disingenuous. Why would you do such a thing if you want to move the conversation forward?”

        Other non-Calvinists have presented reasonable alternatives at this blog and others, which rhutchin/roger just keeps rejecting in a very dishonest way. He is disingenuous and it has taken a long time for Wagner to recognize this and explicitly express this as he now has.

        And in answer to Wagner’s question about “Why would you do such a thing if you want to move the conversation forward?”

        Does anybody here with any prior experience with rhutchin/roger really believe that he cares about moving things forward or interacting honestly?

        No, if you read him at all, it is all about defending and promoting his Calvinism at all costs, in any way that he can regardless of being honest, regardless of how he twists things. You could almost think this guy is a machine by his posts. No emotion, no personal sharing about himself. Just a guy who acts like a Calvinist troll on every blog where he posts.

        To Brian and Phillip, I told you so.

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      17. You may want to rethink, Robert, how much your evaluations of how other people post on this site move those conversations forward.

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      18. brianwagner writes, “You know well, Roger, the alternative that I have presented already.’

        I just don’t remember your position – perhaps I did not understand it. Anyway, it would take who knows how long to sort through old comments to dig it out. So, how about a little grace and repeat it for me so we can start with a clear focus.

        Ignore Robert’s comments. I was excommunicated from SBC for pressing omniscience which the non-Cals simply cannot deal with – as you saw with Ronnie Rogers effort.

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      19. The alternative, once again for Roger – God is still making decisions. He decided before creation to have the future after creation to be partly planned and partly open for free-will interaction between Himself and mankind in His image. All this perfectly conforms to His infinite understanding and His eternal, sequential, existence from everlasting to everlasting.

        He expresses part of that divine freedom when demonstrating His desire that all be saved and when accomplishing His plan to enlighten all and give them all an opportunity for repentance and faith.

        He paid for all their sins through Christ’s propitiatory sacrifice and they only end up dying in their sins because they do not ever begin to trust in Jesus as their Savior and in His salvation. God gives every one (after the age of accountability) the opportunity to choose to put their trust in God’s mercy.

        This alternative to Calvinism represents a more normal reading of Scripture by laypeople with a typical literacy, but does also recognize that some translations have demonstrated a Calvinistic bias in a few verses, not reflecting the more normal meaning of the context and the original words.

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      20. brianwagner writes, “The alternative, once again for Roger – God is still making decisions.”

        The goal here is to explain why one person accepts salvation and one person rejects salvation. I don’t understand how “God is still making decisions,” explains this. Free-will interaction does not explain it. Giving everyone an opportunity for repentance and faith does not explain it. That God gives every one (after the age of accountability) the opportunity to choose to put their trust in God’s mercy does not explain it.

        Here’s your problem – “This alternative to Calvinism …” Apparently, you have not kept up with this conversation.

        I still maintain that TULIP explains why one person accepts salvation and another does not. No one has ever presented an alternative explanation. You could not apparently because you didn’t grasp the issue.

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      21. That’s OK, Roger, you are free to reject that my alternative is a reasonable one, just like I am free to reject that determinism is not a reasonable alternative to my explanation of how God does not irresistibly draw only a few people to salvation.

        But men reject that adequate divine drawing just like you freely reject my reasonable, biblical explanation. I’ll keep praying for you my friend!

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      22. brianwagenr writes, “you are free to reject that my alternative is a reasonable one, just like I am free to reject that determinism is not a reasonable alternative to my explanation of how God does not irresistibly draw only a few people to salvation.’

        You clearly presented an alternative to Calvinism (as opposed to the real issue) and then did not express the details of that alternative to explain why one person accepts Christ and another does not (further suggesting that you did not understand the issue under discussion). But who really cares! What matters is that your alternative still is not really offering an explanation.

        Then, “But men reject that adequate divine drawing…”

        Do they? Are they not rejecting the gospel even before your alleged drawing of God (else why is the drawing even necessary)? You have no definitive way of knowing that God is drawing a person except when they accept salvation – which is the Calvinist explanation (regardless whether we call it irresistible or just effective or something else). The point is that people who accept the gospel do so only after being drawn by God which is what the Calvinists say and to which you seem to agree. So, this is not a true alternative to Calvinism.

        The issue is whether the person who continues to reject the gospel does so even after allegedly being drawn. You are presuming that such people are being drawn which you cannot show this to be true so it is not really an explanation.

        TULIP still stands as the only real explanation; the depraved reject salvation; those drawn by God accept salvation.

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      23. Well Roger, I have shown it in the clear universal promises of God’s Word, many times. No presumption here! But just your saying I haven’t doesn’t make it so… All are enlightened, all are convicted, all are given an opportunity for repentance. The Gospel is for all throughout creation!

        The Scriptures proves all this true whether you can understand it or not. Neither of us can see exactly what God sees going on in someone’s heart, but we can trust His Word that it truly does happen according to His Word!

        Others can umpire between us and determine who is striking out! 🙂 You will continue to think I am, and I am hoping that some day you finally get on base! 🙂

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      24. brianwagner writes, “I have shown it in the clear universal promises of God’s Word, many times….All are enlightened, all are convicted, all are given an opportunity for repentance. The Gospel is for all throughout creation! ”

        You are saying that the promises are for everyone. That’s fine, but universal promises are not an explanation for the opposite choices made by those receiving the promises. You keep saying, “all.” You need statements that say, “some,” accept because…

        How about if we let the Scriptures umpire this dispute? What basic Scriptures do you see describing why some accept when others do not?

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      25. I have already shared with you the verses, Hebrews 3:7-8 Roger, that some do not accept because after they heard God’s voice they harden their heart. Or how about after they heard the gospel, they did not combine what they heard with faith (Heb 4:2)? Or how about as Paul says if the heart should turn (not be turned) to the Lord when it hears the Word, the veil is taken away (presumably by God in fulfillment to His promise to give the new birth to those who receive Him!) 2Cor. 3:16?

        Of course, you need not answer, Roger, for I am guessing that you will not take these verses at face value, that they prove why some reject after they hear, or that they clearly show that they were able to accept but didn’t! You know you can’t because you would have to knock out the biggest prop in your system of divine pre-determinism of all things, where there is no such thing as free-will in God or man, during human history at least!

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      26. brianwagner writes, “I have already shared with you the verses, Hebrews 3:7-8 Roger, that some do not accept because after they heard God’s voice they harden their heart.”

        v7-8 refers to Israel in the wilderness (doesn’t it? – v16: “Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt?”). We are then told (4:2), “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…those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience.” If you agree with the assessment of Hebrews, then the question is whether you agree with the Calvinists that disobedience is the result of their depravity (unless your view is that the Israelites were saved at that point in time). Regardless, we have one example of those who reject the gospel that is the Calvinist position – arising from their depravity.

        2 Cor 3:16 says, “whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” This is a statement of fact and we both seem to agree that the drawing of God precedes turning to the Lord. Again, I don’t see a distinction from TULIP.

        We know that some people hear the gospel and reject the salvation offered and some hear the gospel and accept. Those who reject choose disobedience and those who accept respond to the drawing of God. So, does God draw all? These verses don’t tell us. Are all who reject depraved? Yes, as evidenced by their disobedience.

        If your point is that these verses describe some difference from TULIP (i.e., the T and I), then what is that difference you see? Are those who reject something other than depraved? Do those who accept do so absent the drawing by God?

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      27. rhutchin:
        I still maintain that TULIP explains why one person accepts salvation and another does not. No one has ever presented an alternative explanation.
        ………………………………..
        You still maintain philosophically not biblically; you have yet to show scripture in its proper exegetical context that all without exception are unable to believe God’s witnesses, that all without exception cannot freely choose life or death, that all without exception cannot come, that all without exception cannot look, that all without exception cannot have godly sorrow; unless God decrees that all without distinction are first regenerated.

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      28. rhutchin:
        All agree that people have choices. What needs to be explained is why one person chooses Christ and another does not. Why does one person hate knowledge and another does not? TULIP in one explanation. No other explanation exists.
        …………………
        RE: TULIP provides a philosophical answer; does scripture provide a response as to why one person chooses Christ and another does not. Why does one person hate knowledge and another does not.

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      29. rhutchin:
        OK. You don’t have an answer. Fine.
        ……………………………
        Enlighten me; where does scripture provide a response as to why one person chooses Christ and another does not?

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      30. peanutgallery asks, “where does scripture provide a response as to why one person chooses Christ and another does not?”

        Romans 8 – Paul describing the reprobate who reject Christ and conditions that produce this result.

        5 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires;…
        6 The mind of sinful man is death,…
        7 the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.
        8 Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. [without faith it is impossible to please God – Hebrews 11]
        9 …if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.

        Ephesians 2 – Paul describing the believer who accepts Christ explaining how this comes about.

        4 …because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,
        5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved…
        8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God…
        10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

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      31. rhutchin:
        peanutgallery asks, “where does scripture provide a response as to why one person chooses Christ and another does not?”

        Romans 8 – Paul describing the reprobate who reject Christ and conditions that produce this result.
        Rom 8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

        Ephesians 2 – Paul describing the believer who accepts Christ explaining how this comes about.
        Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
        Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
        …………………..
        RE:
        Rom 8 speaks of those who walk after the flesh; does not answer why they did not choose Christ.
        Eph 2 speaks of those saved through faith; does not answer why they did choose Christ.

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      32. peanutgallery writes, “Rom 8 speaks of those who walk after the flesh; does not answer why they did not choose Christ.
        Eph 2 speaks of those saved through faith; does not answer why they did choose Christ.”

        This is a joke, right!!!

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      33. Roger, You must realize you are stacking the deck when you say – “If all are enlightened by the gospel but all are not subsequently saved, then we can conclude that enlightenment is part of the process God uses to save His elect but it is not sufficient to produce salvation.” I could say that Christ’s death on the cross is not sufficient to produce salvation with that argumentation!

        So we both agree His universal redemption payment and His universal enlightenment are necessary parts, but not sufficient in and of themselves to produce salvation. But God produces salvation when all these things are received freely by man’s active faith enabled by enlightenment and conviction. Jesus is commanding everyone in the crowd to exercise that trust in God’s Word, concluding that at that moment He knew everyone in that crowd was sufficiently enabled to do so!

        But even man’s freewill trust is not sufficient in itself to produce salvation. God alone must produce according to His promise and plan to do so for all that express such trust.

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      34. brianwagner writes, ” I could say that Christ’s death on the cross is not sufficient to produce salvation with that argumentation!”

        Apples and oranges, again. Christ’s death on the cross was a transaction between God and Christ which purpose was to gain the salvation of God’s elect. While God’s elect were effectively saved through Christ’s death, the manifestation of that salvation in the lives of God’s elect was through a separate process involving enlightenment through the preaching of the gospel, regeneration, conviction, etc. Two processes here and they are different. Thus, you cannot extrapolate from that process which brings the person to a confession of Christ to that process which makes such a confession possible.

        Then, “So we both agree His universal redemption payment and His universal enlightenment are necessary parts, but not sufficient in and of themselves to produce salvation.”

        We don’t agree. Christ paid for the redemption of God’s elect – their salvation is certain. Had Christ’s death on the cross been accepted by God as a universal redemption payment, then the salvation of all would be assured – as the Universalists claim and forcefully argue.

        Also, “Jesus is commanding everyone in the crowd to exercise that trust in God’s Word, concluding that at that moment He knew everyone in that crowd was sufficiently enabled to do so!”

        “Sufficiently enabled”? If so, then all would believe Christ. Logically enabled is correct. The rational person who heard Christ’s words would believe Him. The irrational person – enslaved to sin – would have called it all foolishness and turned his back showing that they had not been “sufficiently enabled.”

        Finally, “But even man’s freewill trust is not sufficient in itself to produce salvation. God alone must produce according to His promise and plan to do so for all that express such trust.”

        Such clarity following the earlier confusion. Free will was lost when Adam sinned and man became slave to sin. Thus, that freedom of will must be regenerated. Also not every person has faith – so God must give the person faith. Also, the Holy Spirit must convict of sin. After all is said and done and the necessities provided, a sufficiency is gained – the decision is a no brainer – the person submits to Christ as any rational person would naturally do.

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      35. Your sufficiency is not sufficiency for a free-will decision for or against anything. As always Roger you continue to ignore the normal contextual understanding of words to defend a theology that is not based on the clear testimony of Scripture.

        Paying for a gift that can be rejected is not something you think God is able to allow. God suffering loss of any kind, you think is impossible, in spite of what Scripture says happened in the incarnation. God allowing a free-will decision, though you admit to it for Adam, you can not believe it is possible for God to enable any one else to have such a freed-will to make such a choice.

        Sufficiently enabled is logically enabled. In your view, it should have been a no-brainer for Adam to obey God. In your view it should be a no-brainer for every regenerated elect person to constantly obey God. But your view does not want to face these inconsistencies when you try to say it is a no-brainer for one sufficiently enabled to accept the gospel to irresistibly accept it and be unable to reject it.

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      36. brianwagner writes, “God allowing a free-will decision, though you admit to it for Adam, you can not believe it is possible for God to enable any one else to have such a freed-will to make such a choice.”

        You seem to be saying that the circumstances under which Adam choose to disobey God are the same circumstances under which unbelievers to whom God restores free will are the same. I maintain that they are different and you are comparing apples with oranges. I’ll guess and say that you have not figured out why Adam choose to disobey God and I suspect that you don’t understand why a person would reject salvation. Thus, your only recourse is to argue against everything until you figure out something to argue for.

        Then “Sufficiently enabled is logically enabled. In your view, it should have been a no-brainer for Adam to obey God. In your view it should be a no-brainer for every regenerated elect person to constantly obey God.”

        I guess this depends on your definition of “sufficiently,” and that which a person is “sufficiently enabled” to do. So, isn’t it a no-brainer for every regenerated elect person to constantly obey God? The issue here is to identify obstacles to doing this. Paul addresses this in Romans 7.

        Finally, “But your view does not want to face these inconsistencies when you try to say it is a no-brainer for one sufficiently enabled to accept the gospel to irresistibly accept it and be unable to reject it.”

        I think any inconsistencies arise from your misapplication of “sufficiently.” If a person is “sufficiently” enabled, he will find himself irresistibly attracted to the gospel. If not, then we might reasonably conclude that the person was somewhat enabled, at best, but not sufficiently enabled.

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      37. You can keep claiming ownership of definitions, if you like Roger. But so can I. What authority do we appeal to in determining what “sufficiently” means? It definitely is not necessary to take it to mean sufficient to cause. Was Adam’s will sufficient enabled that he was caused to sin irresistibly!

        Also, I recall you not knowing why Adam sinned freely. So I could say you cannot argue against God’s inability to bring everyone back to the same level of free-will that Adam had to accept or reject, unless you feel God made Adam so that he had to sin!

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      38. brianwagner writes, “What authority do we appeal to in determining what “sufficiently” means? It definitely is not necessary to take it to mean sufficient to cause. Was Adam’s will sufficient enabled that he was caused to sin irresistibly!”

        I don’t claim to determine the definition of “sufficiently.” I just want to know your definition and what impact you allow that sufficiency to have on the final outcome. It appears to me that “sufficiently enabled” as you use it means only that a person has all those things necessary to making a decision about salvation but these things do not guarantee what decision is made – that a person while choose to be saved. Thus, under your definition, the purpose of enabling the person is only to allow him to chose and not to produce a particular end result. When you add, “sufficiently,” to the term, you don’t really mean to say something different and could just have said “enabled.” We are trying to communicate with each other and communication requires that we understand what each of us means by the terms we use.

        Then, “Also, I recall you not knowing why Adam sinned freely. So I could say you cannot argue against God’s inability to bring everyone back to the same level of free-will that Adam had to accept or reject, unless you feel God made Adam so that he had to sin!”

        I agree that neither one of us knows what led to Adam’s decision to sin. So, now we seem to have to sort out the differences between Adam and post-Adam humans and then decide what God does to post-Adam humans to bring them to the point where they can make decisions and whether these are the same circumstances as Adam enjoyed. I don’t think God makes post-Adam humans equivalent to Adam in terms of decision making. At this point, I don’t see that we need to get into that. We just need to communicate to each other that which God does to “enable” a person to choose and what we then mean by saying that God has “sufficiently enabled” a person to choose.

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      39. You can say, Roger, sufficiently enacted salvation, whereas I am saying sufficiently enabled to freely receive or reject salvation. If it is freely, actively received by faith (that was enabled to be so expressed) then it will be sufficiently enacted by God according to His promise to do so.

        God enlightens and convicts to sufficiently enable!

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      40. brianwagner writes, “God enlightens and convicts to sufficiently enable!”

        I simply do not understand your point here. It would seem that you need only say, “God enlightens and convicts to enable!” Yet, you seem compelled to exaggerate the need here, so that it is not enough for God to enable but God must “sufficiently” enable. What are you seeking to communicate by adding the term, “sufficiently.” Do you basically think you are saying the same thing, or are you purposely choosing to use more extreme language to drive home some point? If so, what is the point you are seeking to make by inserting “sufficiently”?

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      41. brianwagner writes, ‘You can say, Roger, sufficiently enacted salvation, whereas I am saying sufficiently enabled to freely receive or reject salvation.”

        No. To distinguish properly our positions, you should just say, “enabled,” and I would say, “sufficiently enabled.” The difference would then consist of those things that you think enable a person to freely receive or reject salvation and for me, those things that not only enable but are sufficient for a person to choose salvation.

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      42. No Roger, you are trying to claim “sufficient” as a term that only fits your soteriology. Do you feel Christ’s redemption was sufficient for all but only efficient for the elect, as many Calvinists do? That is how I am using it in this case… universally sufficiency, enabled to believe, but that ability is not efficient towards receiving salvation until it is personally exercised, that is – one placing their faith in Christ. Once exercised, God efficiently responds according to His promise, and brings regeneration, everlasting life, to that new believer.

        You said – “To distinguish properly our positions, you should just say, ‘enabled,’ and I would say, ‘sufficiently enabled.’ The difference would then consist of those things that you think enable a person to freely receive or reject salvation and for me, those things that not only enable but are sufficient for a person to choose salvation.”

        I think you have just said again that we agree about something! 🙂 Whether I use the word “sufficient” with “enable” or not, when God enlightens (and he does that for all) they are enabled “to choose salvation” as you just said! But enabled to choose, means there is a choice between at least two options, otherwise there is not choice. The options are to believe or reject.

        If I cannot use the word “sufficient” you cannot use the word “choose”… “receive”, “take”, “ask for” all might work… but not “choose” for your theology.

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      43. brianwagner writes, “If I cannot use the word “sufficient” you cannot use the word “choose”… “receive”, “take”, “ask for” all might work… but not “choose” for your theology.”

        OK. Is that an issue?

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      44. Oh Brian!!!! You are using the term, sufficiently, unnecessarily so in my opinion. I am not aware that Calvinists really throw around the term, “choice.” I don’t really see it but it could be used of the regenerate having libertarian freedom but this is unnecessary as the “choice” is a no-brainer such that there is no real choice to speak of. I don’t mind if you use the term, “sufficiently”: just use it so that it is relevant to your argument and not window dressing (meaning that if it is deleted by a vigilant editor as extraneous, the argument is unaffected).

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      45. Just to maintain context, we are dealing with your application of the term, “sufficiently enabled,” in the statement you make – “Jesus is commanding everyone in the crowd to exercise that trust in God’s Word, concluding that at that moment He knew everyone in that crowd was sufficiently enabled to do so!” The issue is what you meant to communicate by saying “sufficiently enabled” and not just “enabled.’

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      46. brianwagner writes, “But my favorite verse, that I also quoted for you, but without the reference – “Today if you hear His voice do not harden your heart” (Heb 3:7-8) That verse cannot be for the Calvinist’s non-elect, for they cannot hear, nor can it be for the Calvinist’s elect, for they cannot harden when they hear. The warning is clearly for those who really hear and who can really harden themselves. God is not playing games with His warnings, or with His universal invitations.”

        As the audience for this is the elect – those who are saved – then it is for the Calvinist’s elect. If for the elect, the the hardening is not related to salvation. Later we read, “encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” The issue here is obedience. The writer of Hebrews is writing to believers and encouraging believers to obedience.

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      47. I am surprised Roger that you do not recognize when you twist one passage from its context to support your theology, but then uphold the proper meaning from the same context to support another aspect of your theology.

        You pointed to Heb 6:4 in a previous post as using the word “enlightenment” to show that it is not sufficient in itself to produce salvation. The warning is clear in that passage for those who think they are saved but have not truly entered into it, and are in danger of falling away from the opportunity, even to taking a public stand against Christianity by returning to Judaism.

        But the warnings in Hebrews chapters 3 and 4 are to the same audience, those professing Christianity. But like OT Israel, that audience includes some who are not possessing salvation since they have not mixed the gospel they heard with personal faith.

        So the warning is clear in 3:7-8. It is to those who will miss salvation if they harden their hearts after having heard the voice of God! The context can not be twisted to fit the Calvinist’s elect, just as Hebrews 6:4 also cannot be twisted to mean one can lose their salvation. The warnings are for those not yet saved!

        Yes, the command to encourage each other against being hardened (3:13) is for all professing believers. All who profess Christ as savior are to make sure that not only themselves but all are also possessing Christ. Every congregation has false brethren, and thus we have the warnings found in the NT like here in Hebrews.

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      48. brianwagner writes, “…the command to encourage each other against being hardened (3:13) is for all professing believers. All who profess Christ as savior are to make sure that not only themselves but all are also possessing Christ. Every congregation has false brethren…”

        The audience is professing believers. We agree – the key term, “professing.” There is no a priori reason to think that the author of Hebrews thinks less of them. In Hebrews 6, the author says–

        9 Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in your case–things that accompany salvation.
        10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.
        11 We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure.
        12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.

        The point of that instruction from ch 3 to this point is this, “We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end.” What diligence? “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.”

        The author of Hebrews is writing to professing believers and the issue is not whether they are truly saved but of their perseverance in that salvation in obedience to the end.

        The argument begins – “We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?”

        Drift away from what? A commitment to Christ. How? Through disobedience.

        Look at the focus on Christ – “it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering,” and “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”

        Then, “Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus…whom we confess.”

        Hebrews is not a call to salvation; it is a call to perseverance in the salvation already present by one’s confession of Christ but who are facing harsh times and are suffering. The point of the letter is to encourage believers for the long haul. The point is not to make them doubt their confession of Christ.

        You say, “But like OT Israel, that audience includes some who are not possessing salvation since they have not mixed the gospel they heard with personal faith.” This is your opinion, but it does not fit the book. The illustrations of Israel in ch 3 and of those who hear the gospel but make no profession of faith in ch 6 are just that – illustrations involving the unsaved. The author makes clear in ch 6 that his audience is not in that category – “You share in the heavenly calling. Now, fix your thoughts on Christ.”

        This recalls John 3 – “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert (and all who looked on that snake were saved), so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him – who similarly fixes his eyes on Christ – may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him – fixes his eyes on Christ – shall not perish but have eternal life.”

        Finally, the author of Hebrews ends the letter, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by ceremonial foods, which are of no value to those who eat them…Brothers, I urge you to bear with my word of exhortation, for I have written you only a short letter.”

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      49. There you go again, Roger, getting my hopes up by telling me when you actually agree with me! 🙂

        And you do agree that professing believers can be unsaved and that the unsaved are being used as examples in chapter 3 and 6. But look at the warnings again and see what these professing believers are being warned might happen to some in their midst!

        How shall we escape… [escape what]
        Harden not your heart … [why]
        Impossible… to be renewed to repentance… [for whom]
        Fiery indignation that consumes… [for whom]
        Consuming fire … [for whom]

        I am sorry that you can not see that these warnings are for professing believers to test themselves to see if they are in the faith and for looking out for others in their congregation that may not yet be truly saved!

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      50. brianwagner writes, “And you do agree that professing believers can be unsaved…”

        Not professing believers – professing people. To be a believer and unsaved is an oxymoron. Anyone can “profess” Christ but only professing believers are saved. Professing unbelievers are unsaved. There are selfish reasons for professing Christ – there is such a thing as a false profession.

        Then, “…the unsaved are being used as examples in chapter 3 and 6.”

        I think we can all agree that the unsaved are being used as examples – that is because there are no examples of believers behaving this way. Hebrews is written to believers; it makes its points by using examples of unbelievers (excellent examples they make).

        Finally, “I am sorry that you can not see that these warnings are for professing believers…”

        I think we can all understand that the warnings are for professing believers as it is these who are the audience for the book.

        “…to test themselves to see if they are in the faith…”

        That the audience consists of professing believers necessarily means that they “are in the faith.” Could a professing believer not be in the faith? Absolutely not, else he would not be a professing “believer.” They are not to test their faith but to hold fast to their faith (presumably in the face of persecution).

        “…and for looking out for others in their congregation that may not yet be truly saved!”

        I guess we always should be doing that. However, that situation is not being addressed by the author of Hebrews.

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      51. I am surprised Roger that you are unfamiliar with this common expression “professing believer” for someone who professes to be a believer but may or may not truly be a believer. I understand how you were looking at the phrase, but I have never heard it used that way before, that a professing believer must be a true believer. Do you have quote from well known theologian that agrees with your usage of that phrase?

        I see it as similar to Paul’s use of the phrase “named a brother” (1Cor 5:11), or how many today call themselves (profess to be) “Christian”, but have never been born again!

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      52. brianwagner writes, “…I have never heard it used that way before, that a professing believer must be a true believer.”

        To avoid confusion, should it not be, “…a person professing to be a believer…”? A “professing believer” means a “believer” described by the adjective “professing.” A “believer” is a “believer” whether we label him “professing” or “true.” Is not the term, “true believer” redundant?

        You then provide proper context when you say, “how many today call themselves (profess to be) “Christian”, but have never been born again!” They are not professing believers; they profess to be believers.

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      53. You did not give me, Roger, a reputable example were “professing believer” is taken to mean only a true believer that professes that he is one, or professes something else. I think my understanding is the normal one, but I am willing to be swayed, and can see your option as grammatically possible. I will try to remember to use “professing person” when talking to you. 🙂

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      54. brianwagner writes, “You did not give me, Roger, a reputable example were “professing believer” is taken to mean only a true believer that professes that he is one,…”

        I suggest we apply the ordinary rules of English grammar treating “professing” as an adjective to the noun, “believer.” Thus, the term, “professing believer,” is a believer who is characterized as professing something. Examples of that which believers professes:

        Hebrews 4:14 ….let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.
        Hebrews 10:23 … Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess…

        Why are you making an issue of this? Are you bored??

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      55. Not bored, Roger, my friend. You were the one who called me out on my use of “professing believers”. 🙂 I was used it as it is commonly understood, one making a statement that may have no reality to what is professed. It is grammatically ok to use this participle this way, where as an adjective it further defines the noun modified.

        But even you understand that the word “believe” does not guarantee salvation, for demons believe certain things, nor does the word “Christian”. But as I said, I will be more careful in my use of the term “believer” in my conversations with you.

        If you Google “professing believers” you will find only sites, I believe, that use the term as I have been using it. It is a common understanding, meaning someone who could be truly saved or not truly saved, but they are professing to believe the true gospel.

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      56. brianwagner writes, ” I was used it as it is commonly understood, one making a statement that may have no reality to what is professed.”

        The term is commonly used but I am not sure there is a common understanding. It can be a derisive term – He is a professing believer but does not live that which he professes. Perhaps an immature believer – he is a professing believer but not active in the church. Perhaps a judgmental term – he is a professing believer and does X. The idea is that a professing believer is a true believer but the term is used by some as a derisive term or a judgmental term because an anomaly is observed but context usually makes it clear how one is using the term.

        You confused the issue, in my opinion, in saying, “And you do agree that professing believers can be unsaved and that the unsaved are being used as examples in [Hebrews] chapter 3 and 6….” I don’t think the term, “professing believer,” is ever used in the sense of being unsaved. It might be used to compare and contrast – a “professing believer” is presumed to be saved and then to behave in a certain way. Otherwise, we tend to find a qualifier – He is a professing believer based on his baptism.

        When exegeting Hebrews, you should say, “…those professing to be believers can be unsaved…” for no other reason than that is what you mean. Whether those people used as examples in Hebrews actually professed to be believers is another issue that we don’t need to get into here.

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      57. Roger, baptism is a profession of salvation… but you don’t believe that every baptized person is truly saved, do you? But you said basically that every baptized person “is a professing believer.”

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      58. Every person who is baptized professes to be a believer. The presumption is that baptized people are saved, based on that profession so such people are called professing believers. The presumption is not that people who have been baptized are unsaved; the presumption is that they are saved. I have been going through the google search on “professing believers” and my sense is that professing believers are viewed as saved and then comes a BUT – generally based on some factor (such as behavior) after the profession. Thus, a person claiming to be a professing believer based on his baptism might be asked to explain better that which they have professed (as one might suspect that they do not understand what it means to be a professing believer).

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      59. Good morning! You’re almost there, Roger… but you still haven’t answered fully my question. Do you believe a baptized person could actually be still unsaved, though you are calling them a “professing believer”?

        It seems to me that you infer that since they are baptized, they must be saved, but just “do not understand what it means” as seen by their “behavior”. Is that what you believe?

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      60. biranwagner writes, ” Do you believe a baptized person could actually be still unsaved, though you are calling them a “professing believer”?

        It seems to me that you infer that since they are baptized, they must be saved,…”

        One who gets baptized is presumed to be saved and only then does one engage the BUT…. We both know that baptisms are given out like candy in some churches, especially at revivals, but the presumption is always that the baptism is legitimate until demonstrated otherwise. Hebrews offers good sermon material when addressing “professing believers” across the board to strengthen them in their walk of obedience or demonstrate to all that baptism does not save. However, if all you know about a person is that they are a “professing believer” and have been baptized, then the presumption should be that they are saved.

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      61. Ok Roger, so we have the presumption that a professing believer in the audience of Hebrews is saved, but then a number of them from a Jewish background had stopped fellowshipping with other professing believers and had returned to Judaism, publicly taking a stand with Judaism once again.

        I am guessing you would then admit that their actions have shown (“there were not truly of us”) that they were never truly saved.

        So those apostates are still influencing others who in the audience of the book of Hebrews are also from a Jewish background and professing Christianity, and even persecuting those professing believers. Some more might leave their profession and return to Judaism. The sermon of Hebrews with its warnings that such who return, never were saved, and may not get another opportunity to get saved is truly appropriate for that audience. All professing believers in the audience of Hebrews are to make sure each other’s profession is a bona-fide one in the midst of such apostasy taking place.

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      62. brianwagner writes, “Ok Roger, so we have the presumption that a professing believer in the audience of Hebrews is saved,…”

        More than presumption. In 3:1, “Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.” This is a description of people whom we should view as saved. It is definitely not the description of the unsaved.

        Then, “…but then a number of them from a Jewish background had stopped fellowshipping with other professing believers and had returned to Judaism, publicly taking a stand with Judaism once again.’

        How do you tease this out of the text?

        Also, ‘I am guessing you would then admit that their actions have shown (“there were not truly of us”) that they were never truly saved.”

        You lost me on this one. What verse? By “their actions” are we talking about the Israelites in the wilderness?

        Finally, “All professing believers in the audience of Hebrews are to make sure each other’s profession is a bona-fide one in the midst of such apostasy taking place.”

        Why do you say, “…make sure each other’s profession is a bona-fide one…”? As 4:1 says, “Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no-one will fall by following their example of disobedience,” the issue seems to be not a bone-fide profession but disobedience and the need to build on one’s profession through obedience. From which verse are you getting your position?

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      63. I am truly sorry Roger that you don’t see it. I hope and pray that the Lord enlightens you further on these things. And I hope that if He has already, you are not willfully rejecting what He has shown you!

        You did skip the “of you” in Heb 4:1. 😉 Merry Christmas my friend!

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      64. quote: I just can’t find in scripture where God interacts with man to open his spiritual eyes, temporarily, and then if/when man rejects Jesus, God shuts man’s spiritual tuner back off until maybe 2 more times you said? What scriptural support do you have for this on again/off again work of God?

        There’s lots of Scriptures describing the decision making process of humans enabled by God’s grace. Let’s look at this passage only for now:

        35 So Jesus said to them, “For a little while longer the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. 36 “While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light.” These things Jesus spoke, and He went away and hid Himself from them.

        Here is the “on again/off again” work. There is a Light. While the Light is present someone can “believe in the Light.” Obvious implication: a person cannot believe on the Light if that Light is not present. There is a time limit: “a little while longer” and “while you have the Light.” Now Calvinists would say these people already had no Light at all, because they are “spiritually dead.” Yet how can “darkness overtake” someone who is *already* in darkness. That’s a non-sequitur. Darkness cannot overtake someone already in complete darkness—thus the light of prevenient grace. So we can describe this as “Light” thus affecting “apiritual eyes.” We can describe this as “temporarily” because it’s a “little while longer.” And “if/when man rejects… turner is shut off” is clearly described by “that darkness will not overtake you.”

        quote: And why would He operate that way? If God’s greatest or nearly greatest desire is the salvation of all people, why do it that way? Why leave man’s eternal destiny completely in man’s free will hands? Is man’s free will the zenith of creation?

        It’s a complete non-sequitur arugmentation; it doesn’t logically follow that if God includes man’s will, that logically means man’s will is “the zenith of creation” or “all important” or “man centered” or “worshiping man.” Why do it that way? Because God made us in his own image and God values real autonomous love.

        regards

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      65. Dizerner, it’s almost midnight in my neck of the woods. So sorry, just a parting comment until tomorrow. Brother, that’s one of the worst attempted explanations for the John 12 passage you cited that I have ever seen. I’m tempted to think you were just kidding when you put that up as an example of what I cited as a supposed on again off again opening the spiritual eyes of unbelievers. You can spend the rest of the “darkness” (pun intended) to walk that back and take another stab at it, before light comes.

        God bless and SDG!

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      66. Les Prouty, I’m sorry you think that—but can you see from my perspective just saying “Well that argument is so dumb and bad, try again!” is what immature kids do to try to look like they won with no actual effort to prove anything.

        I assure you I was 100% serious. I don’t see anything “worst” about it; it’s clearly just exegeting what the text says. Maybe you Calvinists aren’t used to actually doing that to a text other than Romans 9 and John 6.

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      67. Dizerner,

        My apologies. It was late and I admit to be a bit taken back at your comments. My reply words and toe were uncalled for.

        You wrote:

        “There is a Light. While the Light is present someone can “believe in the Light.” Obvious implication: a person cannot believe on the Light if that Light is not present. There is a time limit: “a little while longer” and “while you have the Light.” Now Calvinists would say these people already had no Light at all, because they are “spiritually dead.” Yet how can “darkness overtake” someone who is *already* in darkness. That’s a non-sequitur. Darkness cannot overtake someone already in complete darkness—thus the light of prevenient grace. So we can describe this as “Light” thus affecting “apiritual eyes.” We can describe this as “temporarily” because it’s a “little while longer.” And “if/when man rejects… turner is shut off” is clearly described by “that darkness will not overtake you.”

        My comments will be in ALL CAPS.

        There is a Light. AGREE. JESUS IS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. While the Light [JESUS] is present someone can “believe in the Light.” Obvious implication: a person cannot believe on the Light if that Light is not present. HERE IS WHERE I THINK YOU GO OFF BASE. JESUS IS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. HE IS ALWAYS AND EVER PRESENT IN THE WORLD. IN THIS PASSAGE, HE IS SPEAKING ABOUT HIS IMMINENT DEPARTURE AS GOID MAN FROM THIS WORLD. THE JEWS HAVE HAD JESUS AND HAVE AND WILL REJECT HIM. THE GENTILES WILL BE FORMALLY BROUGHT IN AS THE JEWS ARE FORMALLY SET ASIDE. THERE IS A SENSE HERE IN WHICH JESUS IS GIVNG AN INVITATION FOR THEM TO TURN TO HIM. YES. AS IN EVERY PREACHER SHOULD GIVE AN INVITATION FOR PEOPLE TO COME TO CHRIST BECAUSE TODAY IS THE DAY OF SALVATION. BUT THERE IS NO INDICATION IN THIS PASSAGE THAT JESUS HAS SPIRITUALLY OPENED THEIR EYES AND EARS AND HEARTS TO ACTUALLY RECEIVE HIM. QUITE THE OPPOSITE AS YOU READ ON A BIT FURTHER AND SEE ISAIAH’S PROPHECY FULFILLED. ““He has blinded their eyes
        and hardened their heart,
        lest they see with their eyes,
        and understand with their heart, and turn,
        and I would heal them.””

        There is a time limit: “a little while longer” and “while you have the Light.” Now Calvinists would say these people already had no Light at all, because they are “spiritually dead.” EVERYONE IS ALREADY SPIRITUALLY DEAD. Yet how can “darkness overtake” someone who is *already* in darkness. That’s a non-sequitur. Darkness cannot overtake someone already in complete darkness—thus the light of prevenient grace. NO, IT’S THE WORD OF GOD. THIS PASSAGE IS A STATEMENT OF DIVINE RETRIBUTION ON THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL. GOD HIMSELF HAS CLOSED THEM TO THE TRUTH (ISAIAH MUCH?) AND DECLARES IT HERE AGAIN. AS WAS DESCRIBED IN MATTHEW 13 AND ACTS 28 IN MUCH THE SAME WAY. PEOPLE HEARDEN THEIR HEARTS AND GOD HARDENS THEIR HEARTS. So we can describe this as “Light” thus affecting “apiritual eyes.” We can describe this as “temporarily” because it’s a “little while longer.” And “if/when man rejects… turner is shut off” is clearly described by “that darkness will not overtake you.”

        THE POINT IS THAT THIS PASSAGE SAYS NOTHING ABOUT GOD TEMPORARILY OPENING A PERSON’S SPIRITUAL EYES SO THET CAN MAKE A FREE WILL DECISION AND THEN SHUTTING THEIR EYES AGAIN AND THEN WASH AND REPEAT. YOU CAN CERTAINLY HAVE THAT INTERPRETATION, BUT I DON’T THINK YOU’LL FIND ANY, OR MANY, COMMENTATORS WHO WILL AGREE WITH YOU.

        ANYWAY, I HAVE A FULL DAY AND MAY BE ABLE TO POP IN AND OUT AS TIME PERMITS. TIME NOW IS 9AM CST.

        SDG!

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      68. Les,

        I gotta say some things about your comments here because you have said the same things in the past and I responded to them and yet you repeat them again here.

        “So you believe in an act of God which enables a free will choice set before man…temporarily enlightening man enough to repent and believe, but still left up to man…man is the final arbitrar of his eternal destiny in your view as God has decided that to protect man’s free will is more important to God and man than to save man from his sin. Is that fair?”

        The preconversion work of the Spirit enables (gives them the understanding they need to know that Jesus is the way of salvation, that they are guilty of sin, etc. thus giving them the ability to make a choice to trust Jesus for salvation) but does not necessitate (this work of the Spirit can be resisted, eg. the person is enabled to make the choice to trust but can still choose to reject) a response of choosing to trust by the person.

        Now Les you speak of how “man is the final arbitrar of his eternal destiny in your view”. But we have been through this before. If God ultimately decides the nature of salvation (how a person is saved) and **He** decides that a person will be saved by a freely made choice to trust (the human person must believe and trust) combined with the actions of God (justifying the person, forgiving the person, giving the person the Spirit, raising/glorifying the person): then God is the ultimate decider of salvation. If this is true then it is false to claim as you do that “man is the final arbitrar of his eternal destiny” because he is not. The final decision is made at the final judgment by God himself. And as I pointed out to you in the past the decision to initially trust God to save you is not what actually saves you: it is God’s actions of justification, sanctification, glorification that save you not the decision to trust God to save you (the analogy that I used with you in the past is like a person who is about to undergo major surgery that is necessary to save his life, he gives permission to for the surgery, but it is the work of the surgical team ALONE that saves him, he is unconscious and does nothing in the surgery to save himself, who ULTIMATELY saved him? Not his permission that he gave for the surgery but the work of the surgical team alone. Likewise faith in itself is not what saves us, it is God’s actions in response to faith that ALONE save us).

        “as God has decided that to protect man’s free will is more important to God and man than to save man from his sin. Is that fair?”

        That is not a fair representation of the non-Calvinist’s position because it is not about God protecting free will, it is about God saving people in line with His own plan of salvation (which involves a freely made choice to trust Him, you don’t accept that, but that is what non-Calvinists believe). As God himself has designed it so that the person must freely choose to trust Him, God is not going to contradict His own plan and force the person to believe against their will or force them to believe by taking control of their will so that they have to believe and cannot choose to reject. God’s plans include both human persons having the capacity for having and making their own choices (i.e. free will) and human persons freely choosing to trust Him to save them.

        Now you may not like these things or accept these things, but if you are going to interact with non-Calvinists you need to represent our beliefs fairly and accurately (i.e. which means not claiming that in our view the decision to trust is what ultimately saves us, or claiming that God is protecting free will and other such claims that you are making here that are not accurate) just as you want your own views fairly and accurately presented as well.

        Liked by 1 person

      69. Hi Robert. Yes we’ve been down that road in the past.

        Maybe I can clear this up. I don’t think that most NCs think that man is the final arbitrar of his own salvation. My statement to Broan was really a question about his particular views.

        If you will read my comments at DECEMBER 3, 2015 AT 3:40 PM and following, you will see that I don’t think NCs really believe in man contributing a “work” to his salvation.

        The lady I referred wouldn’t say that she prays to God for God to save them. I replied in part, ““Our salvation depends wholly on God alone. When you pray for someone to be saved, you don’t pray to that person to get with it and gin up their free will and choose Christ. You pray to God to save them. In your prayers you tacitly acknowledge that if someone is to be saved it depends on God, not on the person.”

        I suspect that you Robert when you pray for a person’s salvation that you pray for God to save them. You have been involved in evangelism for many years. I have as well. Often when I have shared the gospel with someone, and they refuse the invitation to come to Christ or just delay their decision (not hostile visibly, just not sure), I will ask them if I can pray for them right then and there. I will then pray that God will take the scriptures I have shared with them and use His word to open their heart by His Spirit and enlighten their mind and spiritual understanding and save them. I will do that out loud with them. I have seen some even come under deep conviction during that pray and shortly thereafter profess Christ as Lord.

        Anyway, I really wasn’t trying to paint all NCs that way. Just was trying to get clarification from Brian.

        Les

        Liked by 1 person

      70. Les Prouty now you are bringing in the concept of judicial hardening in your defense—should we go over what judicial hardening really is and why it happens? I don’t see it as a monergistic decree to harden some people according to the decree of God, but rather a punishment for resisting prevenient grace (which they resisted in the very passage you cite).

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  17. Les,

    Thanks for the clarification.

    “Maybe I can clear this up. I don’t think that most NCs think that man is the final arbitrar of his own salvation. My statement to Broan was really a question about his particular views.”

    Ok, so you were not speaking of non-Calvinists in general but of Brian Wagner in particular. That makes sense as his false and strange views (including open theism and rejection of all Christian denominations, etc.) could lead you to suspect that he has other false and strange views as well.

    “I suspect that you Robert when you pray for a person’s salvation that you pray for God to save them. You have been involved in evangelism for many years. I have as well. Often when I have shared the gospel with someone, and they refuse the invitation to come to Christ or just delay their decision (not hostile visibly, just not sure), I will ask them if I can pray for them right then and there. I will then pray that God will take the scriptures I have shared with them and use His word to open their heart by His Spirit and enlighten their mind and spiritual understanding and save them. I will do that out loud with them. I have seen some even come under eep conviction during that pray and shortly thereafter profess Christ as Lord.”

    I have had similar experiences as those you present here. And as with you, I often pray things similar to your statement that “God will take the scriptures I have shared with them and use His word to open their heart by His Spirit and enlighten their mind and spiritual understanding and save them.”

    “Anyway, I really wasn’t trying to paint all NCs that way. Just was trying to get clarification from Brian.”

    Thanks for the clarification. With Brian’s false and strange views, it makes sense that you are asking for clarifications from him.

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  18. Hey Les, I am thinking you may have missed my response given above. So I am pasting it here for you. Sometimes when I read responses on my phone, I do not scroll down to catch others that were meant for me. But if you saw it and did not want to reply, that’s ok too! 🙂 There are always a couple interlopers that love replying for others to keep one busy!

    Hi Les,

    I had mentioned to you specifically the reference Job 33:14-30. See verse 29 (ESV) especially. In the context it lists dreams, sickness, and messengers as the three ways God can draw man to His righteousness to save man’s soul from the pit.

    I also mentioned Mark 7:14 on this blog page – “When He had called all the multitude to [Himself,] He said to them, “Hear Me, everyone, and understand:” (NKJV) It is a recent discovery for me, illustrating clearly another expression Christ’s will and expectation that all in the crowd can be enlightened with information necessary to decide for salvation (cf. Gen 6:3, John 1:9, John 16:7-8).

    But my favorite verse, that I also quoted for you, but without the reference – “Today if you hear His voice do not harden your heart” (Heb 3:7-8) That verse cannot be for the Calvinist’s non-elect, for they cannot hear, nor can it be for the Calvinist’s elect, for they cannot harden when they hear. The warning is clearly for those who really hear and who can really harden themselves. God is not playing games with His warnings, or with His universal invitations.

    You asked – “And why would He operate that way? If God’s greatest or nearly greatest desire is the salvation of all people, why do it that way?” But why question the way God has done it and has clearly revealed that He has done it that way?

    You asked – “Why leave man’s eternal destiny completely in man’s free will hands? Is man’s free will the zenith of creation?” Those questions introduce a straw man argument, for you know that man’s eternal destiny is not “completely” in man’s free will hands in my opinion, nor is man’s free will the “zenith” of creation in my opinion. But as I have outlined, and to which you did not concede openly, God has included man’s free-will decision in both of our ordus salutis viewpoints.

    Both of us, I believe are motivated in discussions like these by a desire to help our professing Christian brothers accept teachings that each of us feel bring more honor to God and to the self-revelation of His character. I believe I am honoring His ultimate sovereignty in His planning, paying, offering, and enabling for His salvation to be received or rejected. I also believe the Calvinist is not honoring God’s free-will, mercy, and truthfulness by their unwillingness to believe that God would want to suffer loss, or is able to suffer loss, in the display of those characteristics of His nature that i just mentioned. And therefore He truthfully does not really mean that He has suffered those things even though His Word says He has.

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  19. Thanks Leighton. Tim Keller is an excellent teacher but this is an example of what some would call a “felicitious inconsistency.” He is unofficially correcting the Calvinistic over-correction of Rome. In a 2009 Sermon on the Parable of the Lost Sheep Tim said:

    A sheep contributes nothing to its salvation.
    The Shepherd has to do everything for the sheep.

    To this bit of error/hyperbole we must note the validity of the biblical question “What must I do to be saved”? (And it’s biblical answer.) Jesus holds many glorious titles but He is never called our “Believer” or our “Repenter. An irresistible repentance would be no repentance.

    Q: By what rule of logic must there be only one deciding factor in our salvation from sin?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Doug you shared a past incident involving Tim Keller:

      “In a 2009 Sermon on the Parable of the Lost Sheep Tim said:

      A sheep contributes nothing to its salvation.
      The Shepherd has to do everything for the sheep.”

      I have always thought these kinds of comments by calvinists are just so off-base and misleading.

      We understand that the calvinist/monergist wants to believe that God alone saves people. And is true that God alone saves people.

      However, one can (and should) believe both that God alone saves and that a person is saved through faith.

      A “sheep” that contributes nothing to its salvation IS NOT SAVED! Because a genuine believer, a real sheep will have a faith response to the gospel. A real sheep will also repent of sin. Without faith and repentance no one can become a genuine sheep. So Keller’s comments here are totally off base and misleading. What zealots like Keller don’t seem to appreciate is that if they really believe that the sheep contributes nothing, then they are denying justification through faith. This is ironic because the reformers like Luther believed that God alone saves but they also understood that the genuine sheep does contribute faith and without faith cannot be saved nor be a true sheep.

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      1. Actually Robert, if I may clarify your words further, Luther did not believe in a pre-regeneration free-will response of faith, but that faith is first given and passively received in the elect, and is even present in an elect infant when it is baptized, who then receives salvation life in that baptism, according to him!

        More clarity is needed when talking with those from reformed circles for they DO believe salvation is after faith is irresistibly expressed, but they also believe that such faith is first passively received either at the moment of their idea of regeneration (change of will) or right after. Luther has it before regeneration for infants, for he equates regeneration with the moment of baptism.

        It’s been some time since I studied Luther’s view of baptism, so I may have some minor details out of place, but the main idea is there.

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      2. brianwagner writes, “More clarity is needed when talking with those from reformed circles for they DO believe salvation is after faith is irresistibly expressed, but they also believe that such faith is first passively received either at the moment of their idea of regeneration (change of will) or right after.”

        Everyone believes that salvation is after faith – a consequence of one’s expression of faith in Christ. Calvinists say that Christ is irresistible to a person with faith. Others say that a person can have faith but not find Christ irresistible. Faith is received consequent to hearing the gospel and is a passive transfer. A person is able to “hear” the gospel following regeneration – before regeneration, the gospel is foolishness to the hearer.

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      3. Thank you Roger for confirming my clear understanding of the Calvinist view on passively received faith. Have you ever heard of Luther’s view that elect infants receive it passively before baptism through which they receive regeneration life?

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      4. Regardless what Luther or Calvin reasoned, their positions have been fleshed out over the years. It does not matter what Luther said if what he said has nothing to do with what people believe today. So, on the view that infants receive faith on baptism, I think the prevailing view today is that faith is conveyed through the preaching of the gospel. Of course, that then leads to the discussion about the salvation of infants and we don’t need to get into that. Luther also wrote a book on the Bondage of the Will and people still apply his arguments in discussions of free will.

        So, what do you mean by “actively received faith” or whatever term you propose as an alternative to the “passively received faith” expressed in Calvinism?

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      5. Robert writes, “Because a genuine believer, a real sheep will have a faith response to the gospel.”

        This is what Calvinists maintain. The terms, “genuine,” and “real,” identify those who are God’s elect who naturally will have a faith response to the gospel. If a person does not have a faith response to the gospel, then they cannot be sheep.

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      6. Robert writes, “Without faith and repentance no one can become a genuine sheep.”

        One must be a sheep to express faith and repentance. If not a sheep, the gospel is foolishness to them. The transition from non-sheep to sheep is accomplished when the gospel stops being foolishness and becomes irresistible.

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    2. doug sayers writes, “…The Shepherd has to do everything for the sheep. To this bit of error/hyperbole…”

      The sheep contributes nothing inherent to it or anything that it calls its own. Sheep express a faith given to it by God by which faith, the sheep believes. Sheep repent at the conviction of the Holy Spirit. The sheep will not come to Christ for salvation unless they know His voice. The sheep do not know Christ’s voice until God makes it known to them.

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      1. When I read some of the comments on the post. Some seem to not understand that 1. God has given man a free will 2. The Holy Spirit convicts man of sin 3. Man decides to accept or reject God’s invitation to salvation (this is NOT works).

        The sole concept the God has predetermined who will go to Hell and Heaven, out of His “Sovereinty”, is not only preposterous but a blasphemous attack on the character and nature of God.

        Yes, God knows who will go to Heaven and Hell, but not becuase He predetermined it (planned it, divised it), but because of His Foreknowledge. Which means that He know the end from the beggining. This is very different.

        Anyone that dares to say that God predetermined people to Heaven and Hell has a very poor understanding of God’s Word and Person.

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      2. Joe writes, “3. Man decides to accept or reject God’s invitation to salvation (this is NOT works).”

        OK. Do you mind that God saves some from among those who reject God’s invitation as the Calvinist maintains that He does?

        Then, “Yes, God knows who will go to Heaven and Hell, but not becuase He predetermined it (planned it, divised it), but because of His Foreknowledge. Which means that He know the end from the beggining. This is very different.”

        So, you reject the notion that God not only has foreknowledge but is also omniscient?

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