Why Do Only Some People Believe?

Article by William Birch, originally published at www.williambirch.net and reposted here by permission:

A Calvinist asks: “If all receive equal grace from God,” an implied Arminian and Wesleyan interpretation of passages such as John 12:32, “then why do only some people believe in Christ?” The question is designed solely as a means of undermining Arminian theology. The Calvinist assumes the question cannot be answered and, hence, Arminianism is discovered to be false and Calvinism biblical. So, the Arminian counters the question with one of his own, “Since all sinners are equally sinful then by what means does God allegedly unconditionally elect to save one person and not another?” The intent of this question is to expose the arbitrary nature of unconditional election theory and, hence, undermine Calvinism and highlight Arminianism as biblical. But difficult and challenging questions to an opposing worldview, theological or otherwise, do not ipso facto provide evidence in support of the counter position.

The Calvinist cannot answer the question posed by the Arminian without knowing the mind of God — an inevitable impossibility. But, merely because the Calvinist cannot answer the question in no wise discounts Calvinism as a viable, biblical system. God could reserve His own mysterious reasons or purposes for those whom He unconditionally elected to save. Granted, if He does reserve His own mysterious reasons or purposes for electing to save some and not others, then election is not unconditional. But I am now making an argument against the theory instead of addressing the main issue. Calvinism cannot be judged as false due to a difficult challenge.

Neither can Arminianism. I think the question regarding “equal grace to all” can be answered adequately, but the answers provided may not satisfy the Calvinist, and the answers are merely offerings: they are in no sense purely objective, from the exhaustive perspective of the divine mind of God, but are intended as a way of thinking through the issue from the perspective not of the Calvinist but of the Arminian and within the presuppositions of Arminian theology. In other words, if attempts by Arminians are constructed, by means of viable answers, the Calvinist is demonstrating bias if he outright disregards those answers, because he is improperly judging those answers by his own presuppositional theological system. This is unscholarly.

Calvinists, like James White,1 think that the biblical truth of total depravity, and total inability, necessitates a theory of irresistible grace (also named efficacious grace) and the notion that regeneration must precede faith. John Calvin teaches that faith precedes regeneration. (link) But neo-Calvinists have constructed an elaborate scheme by which the saving (Titus 3:5) act of regeneration (or the new birth, being born again, or being born from above) is the means by which God brings the unconditionally elect unto Himself through Christ by that savingly-regenerative work of the Holy Spirit. Calvinists, again, like White, argue that, since sinners are “dead in sins” (cf. Eph. 2:1), then what “dead” people need is “life,” and only by the granting of new life (regeneration) will a person then trust in Christ.2

But the primary issue between the Calvinist and the Arminian on this point is a proper definition and context for “dead.” The old canard reads: “Dead people cannot trust in Christ.” Well, dead people cannot reject Christ, either. The problem is conceptualizing “dead,” at places like Ephesians 2:1, as “dead as a corpse.” Granted, a sinner in his unregenerate state is incapable of trusting in Christ on his own, and thus the Calvinist is correct to highlight this truth. But at other places, being “dead” while still being alive does not carry the connotation of “dead as a corpse,” but rather as being separated from a right relationship with God (cf. Isa. 59:2Luke 15:2432). We believe the Bible clearly teaches that faith precedes regeneration (Jn. 1:123:161836Acts 16:31Rom. 3:22284:1-255:1Gal. 2:163:1-18Eph. 2:8-91 Jn. 5:13) and that the only aspect that precedes faith is the enabling grace of God. In other words, what is needed in order for someone to trust in Christ is not regenerating grace, but enabling grace. Why? Because sin has hampered one’s spiritual discernment and, being turned inward, one is incapable of desiring the universally-offered salvation of God in the Gospel of Christ. But why do some not believe?

Calvinists have a ready answer: God has not unconditionally elected for salvation the one who remains in unbelief. If God regenerates a person, that person will believe in Christ, and can then know that he or she is the elect of God. Though we believe these answers are rife with biblical problems, we are asked a question from our perspective, and we ought to offer a biblical answer. The complication, of course, is at least two-fold: 1) we can only offer what we find in the pages of Scripture from our biblical hermeneutic; and 2) we are limited by our inability to read minds. If we were to interview every non-believer, just prior to death, as to why he or she refused to believe in Christ, we may conclude with as many answers as there are interviewees, and still argue that often, throughout their lives, various graces of God were evident.

For example, Jesus encounters a wealthy man, who approaches Jesus asking what good deeds he might accomplish in order to receive eternal life. From a conservative evangelical perspective, here is the opportunity for Jesus to inform the young man to place his trust in Him as Lord and Savior, and then be baptized. But Jesus challenges the motive of the young man calling Him “good,” noting that only God is good, and then commands him to obey the commandments! What evangelical today would inform a seeming seeker to keep the Ten Commandments in order to receive eternal life? Does Jesus even know about the Plan of Salvation, the Four Spiritual Laws, or the Way of the Master? His “witnessing techniques,” at least according to conservative evangelical standards, are sorely lacking and quite heretical.

To another man Jesus commands to keep the first two primary commandments, loving God and neighbor, and he shall receive eternal life. (Luke 10:28) I have never heard that remark in any conservative evangelical church. But what do these two instances inform us about people rejecting the reception of eternal life? A Calvinist may proffer that God the Father had not unconditionally elected these two individuals and, therefore, they did not believe. But that is far too presumptuous an interpretation when considering the contexts. Both men wanted to justify themselves. (Matt. 19:20Luke 10:29) However, at least regarding the first man, Jesus genuinely offered to the man eternal life and personal discipleship. (Matt. 19:1721) Why would Jesus offer the man eternal life knowing that he was, allegedly, not an unconditionally elect person? Jesus then speaks these intriguing words: “Truly I tell you, it will be hard [δυσκόλως, with great difficulty] for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 19:2324) Difficult?

JESUS AND THE RICH YOUNG RULER

In light of the Calvinist’s presupposition of unconditional election, I find Jesus’ words here completely contradictory, since an unconditionally elect person is allegedly regenerated in order for him or her to believe in Christ. What is so “difficult” about that? The concept of “difficulty” implies an inner struggle, warring desires, and the use of reason in deliberating between two or more options. Clearly, Jesus is not thinking like a Calvinist. Granted, being asked by the disciples, “Then who can be saved?” (Matt. 19:25), Jesus answers, “For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26), but this conclusion in no sense distracts us from His two statements that rich people only with great difficulty enter the kingdom of heaven.

Concerning the young rich man, his disbelief can be attributed to his love for wealth, and his unwillingness to love the Lord instead. Regarding the other man, mentioned at Luke 10:28-29, his self-justifying pride kept him from faith and salvation. Here we find two different men, from two different contexts, and two different reasons for lack of faith. What we do not find, implicit or explicit, is any notion that lack of faith is due to lack of being one of God’s unconditionally elect persons. Was a demonstrable grace operative within each man?

St John informs us that grace and truth are in Jesus (John 1:17), and that we have all received grace upon grace (John 1:16); we are taught that Jesus, as the Light of the world (John 8:12) is the Light and Life of all (John 1:4), with an intent that by that Light “all might believe” (John 1:7); this Light enlightens everyone in the world (John 1:9), as this Light inwardly draws all unto Himself (John 12:32), through the ministry of the Holy Spirit (John 16:8-11). For both of those men to have encountered Grace Incarnate, Jesus Christ, we must confess that a demonstrable grace was evident within their hearts and minds as they encountered the Living Word of God.

If we rely on Scripture, rather than faulty presuppositions, then we are obliged to argue that the reason why some people do not believe is because of their own free rejection of the grace of God. We argue that a person must be convicted by the Holy Spirit of one’s sins (John 16:8-11), drawn by God (John 6:444565), granted the honor of faith in Christ (Phil. 1:29), bestowed with the proactive grace of God leading one to repentance and faith (Rom. 2:4) and then actually believe in Jesus (Rom. 3:25), in His atoning death and resurrection (Rom. 10:910), in order to be saved (regenerated) by God (John 3:58Titus 3:5). So, then, sinners are given a gracious enabling that allows them to freely trust in Christ. However, they must trust in Christ, for God does not trust in Christ for them. (Acts 2:214:1211:1414:222715:91116:303120:2126:18Rom. 1:516173:2225262728304:59111216225:91010:910131 Cor. 15:2Eph. 2:582 Thess. 2:101 Tim. 2:4Titus 3:5Heb. 10:39) Some believe and others do not believe. The reasons are myriad. Praise for the gracious response of the believer belongs to God, in Christ, by means of the Holy Spirit. Blame for the stubborn rejection of His grace belongs to the sinner. God’s integrity is left intact.

The response of the believer to the inner grace of God through faith in Christ is not an indication that she is “more wise” than the non-believer, in any sense “better” than the non-believer, or determined her own salvation. Recall that only God saves and He has elected to save believers. (John 3:1516364:145:24406:476:50-5820:31Rom 3:21-304:3-54:91113164:20-245:129:30-3310:410:9-131 Cor 1:2115:1-2Gal 2:15-163:2-93:113:1422243:26-28Eph 1:132:8Phil 3:9Heb 3:6143:18-194:2-36:121 John 2:23-255:10-1320) Calvinist J.I. Packer misleadingly argues that Arminianism leads us to think that salvation ultimately depends “on something we do for ourselves.”3 R.C. Sproul shrewdly states the matter thusly: “Usually Arminians deny that their faith is a meritorious work.” Actually, the apostle Paul is the one who explicitly teaches that faith is not a meritorious work (Rom. 4:4-5), so the following words from Sproul should actually be directed toward the apostle rather than Arminians [words in brackets are mine]:

If [Arminians] were to insist that faith is a meritorious work, they would be explicitly denying justification by faith alone. [Fortunately we follow the apostle Paul on that matter and avoid such a denial.] The Arminian acknowledges that faith is something a person does. It is a work, though not a meritorious one [which is exactly what Jesus teaches at John 6:29]. Is it a good work? Certainly it is not a bad work. It is good for a person to trust in Christ and in Christ alone for his or her salvation. . . . All the Arminian wants and intends to assert is that man has the ability to exercise the instrumental cause of faith without first being regenerated. This position clearly negates sola gratia [grace alone], but not necessarily sola fide [faith alone].4

Not only do Sproul’s arguments collapse in on themselves but he, perhaps unwittingly, even contradicts himself. First, he attempts to argue against Arminianism by the slight notion that faith is “a good work,” albeit not meritorious. His implication here is that, in Arminian theology, the believer can boast of her faith and, thus, salvation because she made the good decision to respond in faith to Christ. From the perspective of Packer, she saves herself, as she is depending upon herself and her faith for salvation. These statements are nonsensical and not at all related to Arminianism. Both Sproul and Packer are guilty of committing the straw man fallacy.

Arminians have, historically and at present, insisted that no one can believe in Christ unless the Holy Spirit performs an inward work that enables one to respond with faith in Christ. Contradictorily, Sproul even acknowledges as much in the very same book in which he backtracks and accuses Arminians for maintaining an inherent ability to believe in Christ: “Again it seems that Arminius is merely echoing the teaching of Luther and Calvin. He affirms the absolute necessity of grace for man to turn to the good, and he even speaks of the Holy Spirit working ‘within’ man to accomplish all of this.”5 How, then, can Sproul argue above: “All the Arminian wants and intends to assert is that man has the ability to exercise the instrumental cause of faith without first being regenerated”?6 Did the same man write both chapters?

Moreover, Sproul is calling into question the Arminian belief that a person chooses to believe, by the gracious enabling of the Holy Spirit, as already mentioned, and then adds: “But all Christians agree that faith is something we doGod does not do the believing for us.”7 (emphasis added) If this is true, then he and all other Calvinists, including J.I. Packer, are equally as “guilty” (allegedly) of saving themselves, of being able to boast in their “good decision to believe in Christ,” and their good-yet-unmeritorious work. I admit to being absolutely astounded by the double standards and the straw man arguments presented by these Calvinist scholars. Their errors are so elementary, with regard to Arminianism, and so very obvious that I am surprised that the editors and publishing houses that released their works failed to recognize them.

What is obvious from the arguments presented from Calvinists, like James White, J.I. Packer, R.C. Sproul, John Piper et al., is a reliance upon faulty logic rather than proper exegesis of Scripture. Jesus explicitly states that belief in Him is the “work” required by God in order to be saved. (John 6:29) This “work” is not meritorious, however, as explicitly taught by Paul. (Rom. 4:4-5) That one person believes and another does not believe is never mentioned in Scripture as “goodness” belonging to the former and “badness” to the latter. Had any author of Scripture, or even Jesus Himself, intended to draw such conclusions, in avoidance of someone boasting of salvation, then they forgot to do so. Our conclusion is that some people freely choose to believe in Christ, by the gracious enabling of the Holy Spirit, and that others freely choose not to believe in Christ, rejecting the gracious enabling of the Holy Spirit, and the reasons for such rejection are, without doubt, as we discover in Scripture, myriad. What we do not find in Scripture is that unbelievers remain unbelievers because God did not want to save them. That is Calvinism.

__________
1 James R. White, The Potter’s Freedom: A Defense of the Reformation and a Rebuttal of Norman Geisler’s Chosen But Free (Amityville: Calvary Press Publishing, 2000), 283.

2 Ibid., 284-85.

3 J.I. Packer and O.R. Johnston, “Historical and Theological Introduction,” in Martin Luther, The Bondage of the Will, trans. J.I. Packer and O.R. Johnston (Westwood: Revell, 1957), 59.

4 R.C. Sproul, Willing to Believe: The Controversy over Free Will (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2006), 25-26.

5 Ibid., 128.

6 Ibid., 25-26.

7 Ibid., 25.

62 thoughts on “Why Do Only Some People Believe?

  1. Not all Arminians believe “all receive equal grace from God” (there are strong Biblical arguments against that notion) and asking why people respond differently with their [b]free[/b] will, is to presume it isn’t really free, otherwise the answer is obviously in the freeness of the will (d’oh).

    Wanting to argue “because God has secret quote, unquote, conditions” therefore election can’t be unconditional, seems to be mixing up what is meant by what those conditions are. Obviously if one describes God’s arbitrary decree as the precipitant of the election, there is always the “condition” of the decree right? Without that “condition” there’s no election. We’ve just taken two entirely different uses of the word condition, conflated them, and misapplied an argument from it. The lack of conditions are on the part of human beings, not on whatever mysterious element is on the God side, so it seems nothing more than a straw man.

    The author of this article then ends up doing exactly what he condemns: “he is improperly judging those answers by his own presuppositional theological system. This is unscholarly.”

    The fact that the word “dead” doesn’t mean can’t do anything is of course a legitimate point.

    The fact that Jesus slapped potential self-righteous followers with the Law, probably won’t convince a Calvinist that “For both of those men to have encountered Grace Incarnate, Jesus Christ, we must confess that a demonstrable grace was evident.” Was the grace evident in the fact that they both walked away? For a Calvinist grace means God gets something done, not God gives someone an opportunity. Oh, I agree it’s grace for the Arminian, and the most poignant fact pointing to it was that Jesus looking on the person, loved him. But how does this prove these men didn’t just show their lack of election by their actions, no matter how weird it may seem that a vessel left in sin and created for God’s wrath get’s a little “wasted love” from Jesus. Erm, maybe he was elect down the road.

    “However, they must trust in Christ, for God does not trust in Christ for them. (Acts 2:21; 4:12; 11:14; 14:22, 27; 15:9, 11; 16:30, 31; 20:21; 26:18; Rom. 1:5, 16, 17; 3:22, 25, 26, 27, 28, 30; 4:5, 9, 11, 12, 16, 22; 5:9, 10; 10:9, 10, 13; 1 Cor. 15:2; Eph. 2:5, 8, 2 Thess. 2:10; 1 Tim. 2:4; Titus 3:5; Heb. 10:39) … Recall that only God saves and He has elected to save believers. (John 3:15, 16, 36; 4:14; 5:24, 40; 6:47; 6:50-58; 20:31; Rom 3:21-30; 4:3-5; 4:9, 11, 13, 16; 4:20-24; 5:1, 2; 9:30-33; 10:4; 10:9-13; 1 Cor 1:21; 15:1-2; Gal 2:15-16; 3:2-9; 3:11; 3:14, 22, 24; 3:26-28; Eph 1:13; 2:8; Phil 3:9; Heb 3:6, 14; 3:18-19; 4:2-3; 6:12; 1 John 2:23-25; 5:10-13, 20)”

    Wow, lol, steamroll fallacy? More references isn’t always a better thing, but yea, Calvinists do it so why not.

    “Actually, the apostle Paul is the one who explicitly teaches that faith is not a meritorious work (Rom. 4:4-5)”
    Yay, a good point.

    “Arminians have, historically and at present, insisted that no one can believe in Christ unless the Holy Spirit performs an inward work that enables one to respond with faith in Christ.”
    Uh oh, the heretical teaching of Prevenient Grace. Noice. Traditionalism listen up, yo.

    “I admit to being absolutely astounded by the double standards and the straw man arguments presented by these Calvinist scholars.”
    Lol, it’s hard not to let it get to you. We all know that. Their “the editors and publishing houses” don’t check for logic, just sale-ability.

    “What is obvious from the arguments presented from Calvinists, like James White, J.I. Packer, R.C. Sproul, John Piper et al., is a reliance upon faulty logic rather than proper exegesis of Scripture.”

    Amen. But we should argue in good faith, respect them and their system on its own presuppositional terms, not make logical fallacies or distract with bad arguments, and keep preaching the truth as we see it in God’s Word.

    “That one person believes and another does not believe is never mentioned in Scripture as “goodness” belonging to the former and “badness” to the latter. Had any author of Scripture, or even Jesus Himself, intended to draw such conclusions, in avoidance of someone boasting of salvation, then they forgot to do so.”
    Heh. True but we should also address the positive Scriptural arguments as well for unconditional election.

    “Our conclusion is that some people freely choose…”
    That’s our presupposition and how we read Scripture. I think we can make a case for autonomy from Scripture though.

    “What we do not find in Scripture is that unbelievers remain unbelievers because God did not want to save them.”
    I would only add “God did not initially to save them.”

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  2. “Grace” is merely the unmerited favor of God. It’s God’s kindness toward humanity despite the fact that we don’t deserve it. It’s a simple concept. But theologians have redefined it to mean a supernatural force that causes (or enables) human belief. This is a false and unbiblical definition. We need to get back to the simplicity of scripture.

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  3. William Birch writes, “Our conclusion is that some people freely choose to believe in Christ, by the gracious enabling of the Holy Spirit, and that others freely choose not to believe in Christ, rejecting the gracious enabling of the Holy Spirit, and the reasons for such rejection are, without doubt, as we discover in Scripture, myriad.”

    If the reasons that people reject the gospel are “myriad,” could not Mr. Birch have spent some time at least listing these reasons if not discussing them rather than go off and discuss everything but those reasons?

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    1. Why not just let the Bible tell us.

      Come, for all things are now ready.
      18 “But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him,`I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’
      19 “And another said,`I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’
      20 “Still another said,`I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’
      (Luk 14:17-20 NKJ)

      The sower sows the word.
      15 “And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts.
      16 “These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness;
      17 “and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble.
      18 “Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word,
      19 “and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. (Mar 4:14-19 NKJ)

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      1. dizerner cites Luke and Mark as examples where people reject the gospel. To that all should agree. However, can you explain why some unbelievers reject and others do not. Use the example of the seed sown on the ground. How come some unbelievers are “good ground” while others are “hard,” “stoney,” or thorny.” Can you explain how some come to be good ground while others are “hard,” “stoney,” or thorny”? What accounts for this distinction among unbelievers?

        The Calvinist explanation is that ‘hard,” “stoney,” or thorny” represent depraved humanity to whom God does not extend grace; the “good” ground represents unbelievers that God has regenerated and prepared to receive the gospel.

        We are looking for a non-Calvinist explanation from you.

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      2. Can you tell me rhutchin where the Bible commands us to explain and to know why some reject the Gospel? I’d like that chapter and verse, thanks.

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      3. dizerner writes, “Can you tell me rhutchin where the Bible commands us to explain and to know why some reject the Gospel? I’d like that chapter and verse, thanks.”

        dizerner has no answer so he deflects. That’s OK. It’s what non-Calvinists have to do.

        Calvinism offers TULIP to explain why people reject the gospel. First, people are so depraved that they have no inclination for the things of God. The gospel is a joke to such people. Then God gets involved and saves people who would otherwise be lost forever.

        You and others don’t like the Calvinist explanation for people rejecting the gospel. However, as you can see from your response, you (and all non-Calvinists) have yet to craft any other explanation – but not through lack of effort over hundreds of years. Thus, you rail against Calvinism, not because it does not offer a valid explanation, but because you just don’t want it to be that way – yet a valid alternative escapes you.

        The Scriptures tell us that salvation is in the hands of God and He saves whom He will. No one can take that away from him.

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      4. dizerner writes, ‘So you can’t give me a Scripture then, ok.”

        “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (1 peter 3:15)

        “I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace….I am set for the defense of the gospel.” (Philippians 1:7;17)

        “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” (Actas 17:11)

        It goes without saying, but here we must for some people do not see the obvious, that one gives an answer and defends the gospel and studies the Scriptures because it is challenged by those who are rejecting that gospel.

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  4. Jesus did not blamed man’s unbelief on his lack of ability but on his unwillingness. God’s grace does not describe His changing the unbeliever in any way – all men are perfectly able to hear God’s word and respond. God’s grace refers to His salvation for all men especially for those who believe.

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    1. ernestststrauss writes, “all men are perfectly able to hear God’s word and respond.”

      That’s fine. Let’s work with your premise that all people are equally able to hear and respond to the gospel. We find that some accept and some reject. We should expect all to accept the gospel as the choice between eternal life and eternal death is a no-brainer.

      The challenge is to explain how people given the advantages you describe would then choose to reject the gospel. Can you explain how some make a choice that is completely irrational and just plain stupid when they are “perfectly able to hear God’s word and respond”?

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      1. Rhutchin, people reject the gospel for many personal reasons. It’s not because they didn’t have the light or as if the power of the gospel was not working, or that God didn’t miraculously change their hearts.

        You stated that it is irrational and stupid for a person to reject eternal life. That’s true on the surface, but people weight things differently.

        You already know why people reject god; have you ever tried to reason with someone regarding the faith?

        Many people reject God because they dont want to give up the pleasures of this life, or they CHOOSE to worship other gods or idols, others- they teeter on the fence because they’re not sure what to believe, and yet others -they just out right reject God like the atheist. What’s so hard about that to understand? We dont purport that God has a secret will or knowledge that somehow He only shares with the calvinist for their salvation.

        We non-calvinist don’t blame God for withholding the grace needed for people to believe in Him. But We can charge the Calvinist with that violation. (I don’t believe in the traditional Arminian theory of prevenient grace either. His grace and power is evident everywhere Romans 1:20.)

        What may be “rational” for you is “irrational” for other people. You believe in God, but Bill Maher believes you talk to a man in the clouds. You, the christian, is “irratioanl” in the eyes of Bill Maher. Can we blame God for creating Bill Maher as an atheist? NO.

        Can you explain why most people (whether christian or not) don’t go around raping and pillaging? It’s the same reason why people don’t go around believing in God. Because they DONT WANT TO. Romans 1:20 and God gives them NO EXCUSE.

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      2. simple writes, “What may be “rational” for you is “irrational” for other people.”

        LFW says that the person is rational in the full sense of the word – otherwise the will is not free in the “Libertarian” sense. The rational person chooses life because it is rational choice – to choose death is irrational and speaks to the absence of LFW.

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      3. Simple,

        You said, “It’s the same reason why people don’t go around believing in God. Because they DONT WANT TO.”

        It seems to me the follow up question we of the Reformed faith would ask you of the non Reformed faith is, “But WHY do they not want to?” We all agree that those who reject the gospel reject it because they don’t want to believe and don’t want Jesus controlling their lives. But why do some persist in that state of rejecting the gospel and in that state of not wanting to believe? How is their makeup different, if you agree that it is, from the one who by faith repents and believes?

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      4. Les, you said ” we of the Reformed faith would ask you of the non Reformed faith is, “But WHY do they not want to?”

        So I left out the rebuttal for “Total Deptavity” knowing full well someone would bring it up. Because your starting a circular argument again. Total Depravity in the Calvinist sense only works for your systematic. And the Arminian get around it with “prevenient grace.” Total depravity in the Calvinist sense, being totality utterly physically and spiritually dead- in my opinion, is Unbiblical.

        You said “How is their [the non-believer’s] makeup different, if you agree that it is, from the one who by faith repents and believes?”

        All humanity’s makeup is the same. All born in the flesh with the strengths & weaknesses of the flesh and with the law of God written in our hearts and conscience. All bounded in sin that all may depend on His mercy and grace. All have a mind & intelligence to believe or not believe in Him & His promises, and you answered it, to believe by faith. -not by secret election.

        So if all people are made up the same and are bounded in sin and some choose to believe and others dont, does that make the believer somehow meritorious? -No. Did they earn their salvation? [Here goes cyclical argument again]

        No. Repentance and Faith (that’s what you do when you Believe) are NOT works of the law. But they are required by God (John 6:29) And if man could not produce those works by their own power, why would Jesus tell them to do so?

        And the above article provides plenty of rebuttals for your cookie cutter questions just so this doesn’t keep going in circles.

        I’m just curious why people believe or how they’ve come to believe in God. It’s often a personal journey involving trials and tribulations and humility and surrender.

        The answers is never, he elected me from eternity past, or he gave me a heart of flesh in exchange for my heart of stone. These are cookie cutter calvinist brainwashed answers; answers which the average Joe new believer in Christ wouldn’t even have thought of.

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      5. Simple,

        At first when I read your response I thought I should reply, “Nice non answer.” But re-reading your comments, I see you actually did give an answer. You said,

        “And if man could not produce those works by their own power, why would Jesus tell them to do so?”

        And there you have the difference according to you. Your response is that man’s credit for his conversion accrues to man’s column, not God’s. Thank yourself for your ability to produce your own faith and repentance. We of the Reformed faith will continue to give all credit and glory to God.

        Enjoy your cookie.

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      6. Les, had you read my response, you would’ve realized that I rebutted your claim “meriting salvation” even before you commented.

        You said:

        “[Simple’s] response is that man’s credit for his conversion accrues to man’s column, not God’s. Thank yourself for your ability to produce your own faith and repentance. We of the Reformed faith will continue to give all credit and glory to God.”

        I do thank God for fearfully creating me with the ability to make up my own mind and choices. What ever little faith I had at the begining, was mine to give. –Faith as small as a mustard seed, but He added the growth through the years.

        And what makes you think you can claim “exclusive” ability to glorify God? Take that log out your eye. Our lives are laid bare before Him. I wouldn’t brag.

        And since when did the Ledgers of Heaven consist a column for “man” and one for “God?” Lol Are you keeping scores Les? Whether you will read this or not, the audience needs to know that calvinism is wrong. The evidence is well presented by Professor Flowers on this site.

        I’ll pray for you before things get ugly on this post. Or it’ll be a never ending cycle. Daisy 1, Tulip 0? j/k

        Like

      7. Simple writes, “What ever little faith I had at the beginning, was mine to give.”

        This is a key distinction. The Calvinist says that man has no faith and any faith he has – even the little faith of which Jesus spoke – is given to him by God. It is faith that God gave to Abraham by which Abraham believed God and that faith was then accounted to Abraham as righteousness. NoaH could not have been a righteous man except by the faith given to him by God. Paul emphasized the Psalm writing, “There is none righteous…” meaning that there are none who have faith; there are none who believe God.

        A non-Calvinist, like Simple, will say that they have an inherent faith [to believe God] that it is all theirs, and it is this faith that they are able to contribute to their salvation, and God need only cooperate with this faith and help it to grow until that faith is strong enough to believe Him.

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      8. Simple,

        “had you read my response, you would’ve realized that I rebutted your claim “meriting salvation” even before you commented.”

        Oh I read it alright. That was a rebuttal? In the words of Jake McCandles, “Not hardly.”

        “And what makes you think you can claim “exclusive” ability to glorify God? Take that log out your eye. Our lives are laid bare before Him. I wouldn’t brag.”

        I don’t claim such. Never have. Never will. Wasn’t bragging. Reformed folks understand well that we are all worms, wholly underserving of anything from God.

        “And since when did the Ledgers of Heaven consist a column for “man” and one for “God?” Lol” I didn’t make up the ledger idea. Take that up with God. But man cannot add one single thing to his own column. At least not as Reformed theology sees it.

        “Are you keeping scores Les? Whether you will read this or not, the audience needs to know that calvinism is wrong. The evidence is well presented by Professor Flowers on this site.”

        Nope.

        “I’ll pray for you before things get ugly on this post. Or it’ll be a never ending cycle. Daisy 1, Tulip 0? j/k”

        Thank you Simple. I prayed for you as I was typing the response. Perhaps we should end it here, for now.

        SDG!

        Like

  5. Rhutchin is one of the best examples of the fool, in the biblical sense, that I ever seen (i.e. according to Proverbs there is a certain type of person who believes they alone have the truth and they stubbornly reject hearing the truth from others and also reject all correction, if you engage such a person you simply end up going in circles wasting time and accomplishing nothing, they despise those who try to correct them, etc. etc. etc.)

    Rhutchin has been answered on the same questions and issues over and over and over for years. He never repents of his errors, never takes any form of correction, never.

    I first saw this years ago on this precise question: the issue of why do some believe and others choose not to believe.

    The Bible does not directly answer this question because it does not tell us why some believe and others do not believe in the billions of cases of persons who have made the decision to accept or reject (The Bible does provide some examples of why people do not believe, e.g. the parable of the sower where Jesus explains why some did not believe, but the Bible does not give a single answer to this question because there is no single answer to this question.

    Calvinists come along and demand a single answer when the Bible provides no such single answer. Dizerner alludes to this when he asks:

    “Can you tell me rhutchin where the Bible commands us to explain and to know why some reject the Gospel? I’d like that chapter and verse, thanks.”

    There is no such chapter and verse because the Bible does not give us this single answer explaining why everyone comes to believe or chooses to reject.

    Besides pointing this out to rhutchin years ago, I also (since I have a lot of experience in evangelism, including follow up) provided real life examples of why some believe and some reject. This was all ignored by rhutchin years ago. Well if the Bible provides no single answer, and we point out some of the reasons (e.g. again check out the parable of the sower) and we point out some real like examples, and yet THIS IS ALL REJECTED AND IGNORED. There is nothing more to say to this fool/rhutchin.

    Dizerner states the truth, that the Bible never gives a single answer as to why some believe and others do not believe and yet the fool/rhutchin responds:

    “dizerner has no answer so he deflects. That’s OK. It’s what non-Calvinists have to do.”

    It is **not** deflecting when in fact the Bible never tells us this.

    The fool/rhutchin then offered his “answer”:

    “Calvinism offers TULIP to explain why people reject the gospel.”

    And in which chapter and verse does it say the reason why people reject is TULIP?

    It doesn’t, in fact you won’t even find that acronym stated anywhere in a single verse in the Bible.
    The fool/rhutchin continued:

    “However, as you can see from your response, you (and all non-Calvinists) have yet to craft any other explanation – but not through lack of effort over hundreds of years.”

    Many, many non-Calvinists have given an explanation, first the Bible never gives a single answer as to why all believe or reject the gospel. Second, we have some allusions to why people believe (e.g. they are the sheep, they recognize Jesus through his Messianic miracles, etc.) and allusions to why people reject (e.g. the cares of this world, persecution, etc.).

    But again there is no single answer.

    For rhutchin to continue to push for this single answer when he has had the truth explained to him by numerous people for years that the Bible never gives a single answer but only some examples, shows not a seeking after truth, but a stubborn refusal to accept the truth, and as this has occurred over and over for years this shows rhutchin to be a fool in the biblical sense.

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    1. Robert writes, “For rhutchin to continue to push for this single answer when he has had the truth explained to him by numerous people for years that the Bible never gives a single answer but only some examples, shows not a seeking after truth, but a stubborn refusal to accept the truth, and as this has occurred over and over for years this shows rhutchin to be a fool in the biblical sense.”

      Oh Robert!!! People believe by faith. People do not believe because they lack faith. No one is born with faith (Total Depravity); faith is a gift of God (an irresistible grace). Do you not know the Scriptures??

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    2. Robert, rthutchin may represent “one of the best examples of the fool, in the biblical sense” but you’ve got to admit, Les pushes him hard in second place. 😉

      The two of them have cornered the market in circular arguments! This is of course only my considered opinion!

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  6. The whole question is really quite simple: Did God give man some degree of autonomous self determination or did he not? If so, it should be no surprise that “some make a choice that is completely irrational and just plain stupid when they are “perfectly able to hear God’s word and respond”

    Sure, there are all kinds of factors that figure in and it’s impossible for us to know what they all are, but it boils down to one side believing that libertarian free will really exists, and the other side insisting that God is too much of a control freak to allow true LFW.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. wildswanderer writes, ” there are all kinds of factors that figure in and it’s impossible for us to know what they all are,…”

      That is the basic non-Calvinist response – it’s a mystery.

      Then, “…but it boils down to one side believing that libertarian free will really exists, and the other side insisting that God is too much of a control freak to allow true LFW.”

      Calvinists say that God regenerates the depraved person imparting to them LFW. Any person with LFW naturally accepts the gospel – that decision is a no-brainer for the person with LFW. So how do non-Calvinists explain a person supposedly with FW rejecting the gospel – It’s a mystery.

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      1. Rhutchin writes:

        “That is the basic non-Calvinist response – it’s a mystery.”

        No, we don’t say it is a mystery as we can ask (and I have actually done this many times, I shared some with you in the past which you rejected and ignored so I will not do so here again): why people chose to believe and why they chose to reject.

        The non-Calvinists’ point about this is not that we have no idea why and so it is mystery. Rather, our point is that THE BIBLE ITSELF DOES NOT GIVE **********A SINGLE********* ONE SIZE FITS ALL ANSWER AS TO WHY PEOPLE BELIEVE OR DISBELIEVE WHEN THEY HEAR THE GOSPEL.

        Liked by 4 people

      2. Robert writes, “No, we don’t say it is a mystery…”

        Then be a helper and provide guidance to wildswanderer who said, “there are all kinds of factors that figure in and it’s impossible for us to know what they all are.” If you have gained any wisdom over the years, put it to use and help people understand.

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      3. We’ve walked in this circle before, so it seems kind of pointless to keep going over the same old ground. You have God giving a LFW that only allows one choice, which to anyone with logic, isn’t free will at all. Does God have LFW? If so, could He have have chosen not to create the world, presumably knowing what it would cost Him? Or is God’s LFW the same sort, that determines all His actions, so that God is bound by his own “free” will? How much more absurd can this conversation get and how many unicorns do you want on the head of that pin? In this world, we all make real choice with real consequences. More and more I’m seeing Calvinism as an escape mechanism to put the blame for everything on God and be smug in believing one is chosen and can do not wrong.

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      4. wildswanderer writes, “You have God giving a LFW that only allows one choice,…”

        When presented with several options, one makes one choice. In the case of salvation, the choice is so obvious that we could say that there is only one real choice. After all, if LFW is operative and the options are eternal life and eternal death, no one chooses eternal death.

        In Revelation, jesus says of the church at Laodicia, “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” So it is with men; they think they are rich (with faith, LFW, etc.) when they are not.

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      5. Except that you don’t have a single verse which is saying that God regenerates a person and imparts anything to them, let alone libertarian free will. Christians are not ‘regenerated’ period. They are ‘born again’ ‘new creations’. There is a world of difference!

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      6. barker’s woof writes, “Except that you don’t have a single verse which is saying that God regenerates a person and imparts anything to them, let alone libertarian free will. ”

        The term, “regeneration,” is like the term, “trinity.” It represents a concept drawn from a variety of verses.

        We do have the one verse, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” (Titus 3:5) This describes two actions related to salvation: washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost. NIV has this: washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. Is that correct or does the washing precede rebirth? Regardless, some equate regeneration with the new birth (born again). I think all would agree that a “regeneration” – a change – occurs; the issue is whether this regeneration is the new birth and where it fits in the process of salvation.

        There are several events that occur to the salvation of an individual.

        “God has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13-14)

        “But because of his great love for us, God…made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved.” (Ephesians 2:4-5)

        “God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.” (2 Thessalonians 2:13)

        “…you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,…” (Ephesians 1:13)

        “…faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17)

        “…it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God…” (Ephesians 2:8)

        “…you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:9)

        “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.” (Romans 3:22)

        “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation…” (2 Corinthians 7:10)

        “…So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ…” (Galatians 2:16)

        “it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” (Romans 10:10)

        “God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.” (1 Corinthians 1:21)

        ‘He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,…” (Titus 3:5)

        “if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” (Romans 8:9)

        So the actions that are part of the process of salvation (not necessarily listed in order of occurrence):
        – rescue from the dominion of darkness
        – being made alive
        – sanctifying work of the Spirit
        – hearing of the word
        – receiving the gift of faith
        – belief of the truth
        – godly sorrow
        – repentance
        – justification
        – confession of Christ as Lord
        – washing of regeneration/rebirth
        – renewal of the Holy Spirit
        – transfer to the kingdom of Christ

        The Calvinist identifies “regeneration” as “being made alive.” Some make “regeneration” the same as the new birth. Regardless, the depraved individual is changed at some point whereupon he hears the gospel, receives faith and this faith results in several responses by the individual ending with the confession of Christ as Lord.

        As to libertarian, or true free will, we have Jesus saying:

        “Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)

        Knowing the truth follows from hearing the gospel and reflects the faith imparted to the individual in that hearing and that truth sets a person free, we should expect that the person’s will is set free also.

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  7. wildswanderer,

    You are absolutely correct when you write:

    “We’ve walked in this circle before, so it seems kind of pointless to keep going over the same old ground. You have God giving a LFW that only allows one choice, which to anyone with logic, isn’t free will at all.”

    Concerning going in circles, that is again evidence that in interacting with rhutchin we are interacting with a fool in the biblical sense. One of the dead give-aways that you are dealing with a fool is that you do go in circles with them if you continue to interact with them.

    I also noticed as you have, that rhutchin completely twists and perverts the normal understanding of LFW. He argues that a person given LFW by God upon regeneration will inevitably choose to have a faith response to the gospel. But this is not LFW, it is determinism (in determinism we have to make a specific choice and it is impossible for us to do otherwise, in LFW we genuinely can choose either option, the choice is not necessitated, we can make one choice but we also could have done otherwise).

    The fact that rhutchin intentionally perverts the meaning of LFW so that it becomes determinism is more evidence that he is a fool (i.e. the fool goes only by his own understanding and will twist things so that it fits his understanding even when corrected by others, again they hate correction and hate those who correct them).

    Rhutchin repeats his perversion of LFW once again when he writes:

    “When presented with several options, one makes one choice. In the case of salvation, the choice is so obvious that we could say that there is only one real choice. After all, if LFW is operative and the options are eternal life and eternal death, no one chooses eternal death.”

    If LFW is present then there is always more than one choice and so it is false to say “the choice is so obvious that we could say that there is only one real choice.”

    Most of us understand that God made us so that we usually make our choices based upon reasons. Sometimes differing options have differing reasons associated with them (e.g. should I take this job or that, there are good reasons for this job and good reasons for that job). Since we choose for reasons we can make the wrong choice (e.g. a person chooses to kill a potential witness so that they can escape and no one can report their crime).

    And let’s take rhutchin’s claim that “the options are eternal life and eternal death, no one chooses eternal death”. This claim is both false and naïve.

    Two examples should show this. I know Satanists who know that God exists, know that the God who exists is the God of the Bible, and know their path is leading to eternal death, they also know the gospel message and yet they choose to be Satanists because they want power now during this life rather than eternal life in the presence of God. Most of us would not make this choice, but they do. I also know of some persons who know and understand the gospel and yet in one case their husband was murdered and they know he did not go to heaven so they want to go to the same place he went. Again, would most of us make this choice, No, and yet some do.

    And you can do this with all sorts of things. One person chooses to be a suicide bomber because of their commitment to certain beliefs (again most of us would not make that choice and yet some do).

    The Bible even tells us that this is the nature of sin. It says that to him who knows the right thing to do and chooses not to do it, it is sin for that person. So the person knows what the right choice ought to be and yet chooses not to do it. This is often true of believers when we sin and give into temptation we know the right thing to do, we know that we ought to resist the temptation and yet we make the wrong choice anyway. It is naïve and contrary to common experience to think that when faced with two obvious choices, one choice being the right choice and the other being the wrong choice that people will always make the right choice. Fact is, people, including believers know the right and wrong choice in a situation and yet sometimes do make the wrong choice. They make the wrong choice for reasons and because LFW is present when they make their choice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Robert writes a lot of weird stuff. However, while he writes a lot about LFW, he does not know what LFW is from what I can tell. We know this because he never defines LFW. He treats it as a magic portion that does pretty much anything and everything but mostly is the magic portion to prove Calvinism wrong. It’s not really his fault, because no one in the non-Calvinist world defines LFW. Pastor Flowers has offered that LFW involves contra-causal freedom and the ability to choose otherwise. Ask anyone if that applies to them and they will say it does – including everyone enslaved to sin. There is a lot of hand-waving in what Robert writes about LFW and nothing of real substance. If there is, maybe someone can point it out.

      Robert writes, “It is naïve and contrary to common experience to think that when faced with two obvious choices, one choice being the right choice and the other being the wrong choice that people will always make the right choice.”

      This does not apply to the a choice by one with LFW between eternal life and eternal death. No one with LFW gets that choice wrong else he does not have LFW. We will show this if Robert ever presents an accurate definition of LFW for us to work with.

      I found this pretty weird: Robert writes, ” I know Satanists who know that God exists, know that the God who exists is the God of the Bible, and know their path is leading to eternal death, they also know the gospel message and yet they choose to be Satanists because they want power now during this life rather than eternal life in the presence of God. Most of us would not make this choice, but they do.”

      What is a Satanist? Is he not someone who serves his father and is as much a liar as their father. Yet, Robert believes what they tell him. He takes the testimony of liars as truth, so should we be surprised that he might actually believe the nonsense they tell him.

      Then Robert writes, “I also know of some persons who know and understand the gospel and yet in one case their husband was murdered and they know he did not go to heaven so they want to go to the same place he went.”

      Has anything more nonsensical than this ever been written? Robert believes that such people “know and understand the gospel.” Is he really that naive? A person such as Robert describes has no understanding of their sin much less an understanding of the gospel.

      Then, we have this from Robert, “One person chooses to be a suicide bomber because of their commitment to certain beliefs…” Such people are unrighteous and sinners. They have a value system that turns right and wrong upside down. There is no real commitment to any belief among such people – they are weak people manipulated by others for evil purposes. Do we not understand that Satan is real and exerts a heavy influence in our world and on sinners?

      Finally this nonsense from Robert, “The Bible even tells us that this is the nature of sin. It says that to him who knows the right thing to do and chooses not to do it, it is sin for that person.”

      Paul writes, “…everything that does not come from faith is sin. (Romans 14) The unsaved do not have “faith” so we know that they do not believe God and do not believe what God says. There is no “right” to such people except what they say is right. When God saves a person, He gives them faith that, at the first, is only able to believe that Christ died for them and God raised Christ for their justification. In dealing with sin, the believer begins the process of renewing their mind and learning God’s truth. It is in that context that Paul tells us that anything that does not come from faith (believing God) is sin (believing what we want to believe).

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      1. One of the things that Proverbs says about the fool is that if you try to correct them they will respond with anger towards you. I must have hit a nerve with the fool/rhutchin judging by his latest response.

        I have had some very profitable discussions with some people who really know about the issue of libertarian free will and determinism. This is not true of rhutchin however: in the past when presenting things about LFW to him I have even presented standard definitions of LFW by major proponents such as Alvin Plantinga and William Hasker. He rejected them and mocked them in the past, so I will not reproduce them here (Jesus said that we should not keep trying to give truth to people who reject it: he likened it to giving pearls to swine). My comments on LFW are standard stuff nothing unique to me. And yet the fool/rhutchin writes:

        “Robert writes a lot of weird stuff. However, while he writes a lot about LFW, he does not know what LFW is from what I can tell. We know this because he never defines LFW.”

        Hmm so I don’t know what it is even though I provided standard definitions from some of its best proponents in the past. The statement that I never define it is an outright lie. I defined it alright, he just rejected it years ago and continues to do so now.

        “He treats it as a magic portion that does pretty much anything and everything but mostly is the magic portion to prove Calvinism wrong.”

        Another lie, I have a very mundane view of LFW that it is merely having and making choices. It is something we all experience every day, and even small children have no trouble understanding what we mean when we tell them that they can really choose between either option/they really have a choice and must then make a choice.

        “It’s not really his fault, because no one in the non-Calvinist world defines LFW.”

        A completely moronic statement: as if Alvin Plantinga, William Hasker, J. P. Moreland, David Hunt, etc. etc. have never defined it.

        He also continues to present his perverted and twisted understanding of LFW:

        “This does not apply to the a choice by one with LFW between eternal life and eternal death. No one with LFW gets that choice wrong else he does not have LFW.”

        I alluded to Satanists who chose Satan and power in this world over submission to Christ. Now rhutchin does not know me or these people so he makes the following statements:

        [[“I found this pretty weird: Robert writes, ” I know Satanists who know that God exists, know that the God who exists is the God of the Bible, and know their path is leading to eternal death, they also know the gospel message and yet they choose to be Satanists because they want power now during this life rather than eternal life in the presence of God. Most of us would not make this choice, but they do.”
        What is a Satanist? Is he not someone who serves his father and is as much a liar as their father. Yet, Robert believes what they tell him. He takes the testimony of liars as truth, so should we be surprised that he might actually believe the nonsense they tell him.”]]

        I know current Satanists who make this claim, and I also know some ex-Satanists who make the same claim. It did not occur to him that these are believers who have related their past experiences to me. That is how I know they made this choice in the past. As believers I would not characterize them as this fool does “He takes the testimony of liars as truth”. This fool says “so should we be surprised that he might actually believe the nonsense they tell him” well I would not characterize the testimony of genuine believers who are ex-Satanists as liars nor that what they say is nonsense. No, they speak the truth about their own experience, but rhutchin being the fool that he is, took my words and twisted them so that he portrays all of these people as current Satanists who are lying to me and I am believing their lies.

        I shared the experience of a lady who has heard the gospel various times and yet told a friend of mine (and he is convinced she understands it but really wants to see her spouse again, even if it is in hell). How does the fool describe this ladies’ testimony:

        [[Then Robert writes, “I also know of some persons who know and understand the gospel and yet in one case their husband was murdered and they know he did not go to heaven so they want to go to the same place he went.”
        Has anything more nonsensical than this ever been written? Robert believes that such people “know and understand the gospel.” Is he really that naive? A person such as Robert describes has no understanding of their sin much less an understanding of the gospel.]]

        Note the fool says” “has anything more nonsensical than this ever been written”. Hmm, again the actual testimony of someone is mocked and ridiculed by this fool because it does not fit what he wants to believe and he does not even know them. I evangelize a lot so I have lots of testimonies to share. Yet rhutchin just dismisses real life testimonies as if they are not true.

        I have a mentor and one of his favorite verses is from James 4:17: “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” I sometimes allude to this verse when teaching and preaching and did so again in my earlier post. I don’t think scripture is NONSENSE, apparently rhutchin must have forgotten this verse as check out his response to my alluding to this text:

        “Finally this nonsense from Robert, “The Bible even tells us that this is the nature of sin. It says that to him who knows the right thing to do and chooses not to do it, it is sin for that person.”

        Hmm, so I allude to a verse, almost quote it word for word, and according to rhutchin IT IS NONSENSE. The nonsense is not coming from scripture but from this fool.

        Brian Wagner considers rhutchin as his “special project”, what a waste of time. Brian’s “project” is a failure and this guy is the same fool that I first encountered years ago on the web. The same person not having changed at all. He has been banned from posting at SBC today and it is much better there without him posting there. If only we could be so lucky here at Soteriology 101.

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      2. Robert writes, “in the past when presenting things about LFW to him I have even presented standard definitions of LFW by major proponents such as Alvin Plantinga and William Hasker. ”

        People forget. How about repeating them. I would never reject something Plantinga says.

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      3. Robert writes, “I have a mentor and one of his favorite verses is from James 4:17: “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” I sometimes allude to this verse when teaching and preaching and did so again in my earlier post. I don’t think scripture is NONSENSE, apparently rhutchin must have forgotten this verse as check out his response to my alluding to this text:

        “Finally this nonsense from Robert, “The Bible even tells us that this is the nature of sin. It says that to him who knows the right thing to do and chooses not to do it, it is sin for that person.”

        Hmm, so I allude to a verse, almost quote it word for word, and according to rhutchin IT IS NONSENSE. The nonsense is not coming from scripture but from this fool.”

        Robert cited James 4 after using suicide bombers as an example immediately preceding. It is nonsense to apply Scripture wrongly. James was speaking to believers (apparently young, and/or immature believers). James assumes that they are now renewing their minds by learning the truth of God’s word. It is in this context that James tells them, “to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

        James does not speak to the lost because they do not know the truth – their sense of right is relative and worldly, not Godly. Now, perhaps Robert did not mean to tie this verse into that which he said previously in his comments. If so, then he should have transitioned away from the suicide bombers and made it clear that he was now discussing believers.

        When one takes the Scriptures and applies it wrongly – as it appeared to me Robert had done – the result is nonsense.

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      4. Robert is right about everything he’s said about you, rhutchin. You are a fool. Stop theororizing theology and go preach the gospel to the lost. We come to this site to sharpen eachother and seek the truth and nothing but the truth. If you are here to convert us to Calvinism, stop wasting our time; and space. I’m confident that the audience is not ignorant of what everything Calvinsim has to offer and non-Calvinist systematics has to offer.

        I’m tired of scrolling through your postings to get to productive dialogue.

        Thanks for playing, but you’ve worn out your welcome. …. [somebody had to say it, let it be me. A nobody.] Now where’s the BAN button! Lol

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Simple,

        “Robert is right about everything he’s said about you, rhutchin. You are a fool.”

        Seems you recognize what type of person rhutchin is very clearly.

        “Stop theororizing theology and go preach the gospel to the lost.”

        Based on his comments I doubt the guy does any real world evangelism. I say this because I have often shared testimonies of people, both those who came to faith and those who remain in unbelief, and he just rejects them all outright. He does this not knowing these people or knowing the situation or context: simply a fool declaring his opinions.

        “We come to this site to sharpen each other and seek the truth and nothing but the truth. If you are here to convert us to Calvinism, stop wasting our time; and space.”

        Well you are correct that he seems to view himself as an apologist for Calvinism, defending it at multiple web sites with lots of posts. You wonder what the guy does besides defending Calvinism. Going by his amount of posting, it suggests that he does not appear to have much of a life apart from posting on the web.

        “I’m confident that the audience is not ignorant of what everything Calvinsim has to offer and non-Calvinist systematics has to offer.”

        True, many of us are very familiar with the differing views: so rhutchin is not getting close to converting any of us! 🙂

        “I’m tired of scrolling through your postings to get to productive dialogue.”

        I believe you echo the sentiment of many people with this comment.
        Often rhutchin will get in these conversations with Brian Wagner that go on and on and on till the point that no one else cares and all you can do is scroll through these postings.

        “Thanks for playing, but you’ve worn out your welcome. …. [somebody had to say it, let it be me. A nobody.] Now where’s the BAN button! Lol”

        If he were to be banned here it would probably make for better discussions here and we would not have to keep scrolling past his comments wasting our time.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Robert writes, “I know current Satanists who make this claim, and I also know some ex-Satanists who make the same claim.”

        How easily Satan manipulates people. All Satanists know is what Satan tells them and Satan tells them lies – did we not learn anything from the experience of Adam and Eve in the garden? As for an ex-Satanist, he should know better or else he is not studying the Scriptures.

        Like

      7. Robert writes, “I have a very mundane view of LFW that it is merely having and making choices.”

        That mundane view actually defines “free will” (assuming that you did not mean to include coercive actions in your mundane view which you did not actually exclude). When “libertarian” is added, it becomes more specific usually adding language to avoid determinism and the influence of the sin nature among other things..

        Like

  8. “Brian Wagner considers rhutchin as his ‘special project’, what a waste of time. Brian’s ‘project’ is a failure and this guy is the same fool that I first encountered years ago on the web. The same person not having changed at all. He has been banned from posting at SBC today and it is much better there without him posting there. If only we could be so lucky here at Soteriology 101.”

    Talk about “the pot calling the kettle black”.

    Like

    1. Phillip writes, “He has been banned from posting at SBC today”

      I was banned for pressing people to deal with the omniscience of God. Only Brian Wagner has ever faced that issue squarely and dealt with it honestly – even though I don’t agree with him. Between the two of us, we have identified the only two realistic views on omniscience.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Dizerner,

      “eh guys i understand we can make each other mad arguing but i don’t think it’s right to use insults and name calling”

      Speaking for myself, I have not become mad while arguing against anyone in this thread. Nor have I engaged in “name calling”. And “Simple” agreed with my assessment completely: ““Robert is right about everything he’s said about you, rhutchin. You are a fool.” As did Barker’s woof: “Robert, rthutchin may represent “one of the best examples of the fool, in the biblical sense” but you’ve got to admit, Les pushes him hard in second place. 😉 The two of them have cornered the market in circular arguments! This is of course only my considered opinion!”

      Not sure how well you know or understand the book of Proverbs Dizerner, one of the ways the writer tries to instruct us in living a wise life is in telling us about ***certain types of people***. Sort of an ancient form of profiling if you will. These profiles include “the wise”, “the fool”, “the scoffer”, “the slothful person” etc. This was not “name calling” but describing a certain type of person and contrasting him/her with what a wise person ought to be like.

      I don’t think people have changed that much over time so I believe these same type of persons exist today.

      If you look at the profile for the fool just consider the traits that the fool has. The fool wants everyone else to hear his words (the wise person in contrast does not want to express his views to everyone and in some cases will even not share what he thinks with others, and in some cases will refuse to speak with a fool). The fool thinks he alone is right about things, that everyone else is wrong (the wise person knows that he errs and so desires for others to correct him and keep him accountable, the wise person learns from mistakes while the fool makes the same errors over and over and never changes, some of the more humorous references to fools in Proverbs describe how they are so resistant to change, they rather be tortured than change, etc.). The fool does not want to be corrected (the wise person enjoys correction knowing that it is important and crucial to becoming wise), in fact they hate being corrected by others. You know you are engaging a fool not by their lack of intelligence (they can be very intelligent or educated) but by the ***mentality they display*** (if they are never wrong, always right in their own eyes, no one can tell them anything, they hate being corrected, never admit they are wrong, etc. etc.). Practically speaking when engaging a fool you end up going in circles where they keep saying the same things no matter how much you correct them, no matter how many errors they make.
      Now I do not lightly use the term fool nor would I ascribe it to many people, and yet some people do fit this profile perfectly. Rhutchin is one of them.

      Now I understand that we all need to be on guard against being fools ourselves situationally (i.e. some of us can act like fools in a specific context, we can act like a fool and refuse to change in a certain area, refuse to hear correction, etc.) but that is not the same as the type of person who is a fool continually. You can learn a lot from Proverbs about both how to act and how not to act. We don’t want to act like the fool or the scoffer or the slothful person and yet there are some of these types of persons around us.

      Designating a person a fool in this sense is not name calling: unless you want to say that Proverbs is a bunch of name-calling when it is not. If for the sake of being politically correct you refuse to use the categories of Proverbs that is just a form of compromise and not taking the Bible seriously.

      Unfortunately, there are some fools among us today who merit the term. And the same things said thousands of years ago by Solomon apply just as much today.

      Like

      1. ➡ Designating a person a fool in this sense is not name calling: unless you want to say that Proverbs is a bunch of name-calling when it is not. If for the sake of being politically correct you refuse to use the categories of Proverbs that is just a form of compromise and not taking the Bible seriously.

        I’m not sure many of us have the measure of sanctification needed to use the appellation “fool” on another human being with no impure motivations or reasons. I also don’t think it’s right to call atheists “fools.” If the Bible does—and for me that issue is not completely clear cut—but if it does, it is enough to say the Bible says it, without me using that term. I will say certain acts are foolish, but I don’t want to judge a heart unless God shows me.

        Rest assured it is not because I “don’t take the Bible seriously” nor because I am being “politically correct” that I shy away from name-calling. Rather it is because, knowing my own heart, and how often I myself am a fool, knowing my heart is desperately wicked beyond knowing, and knowing that every word I speak I will have to give an account for on the day of judgment—including this one to you—and knowing that merely calling someone “empty-head” was in some sense condemnatory to hell-fire when done wrongly—I prefer to err on the side of caution.

        Yes, I love Proverbs. I have spent entire days on my knees reading it and praying everything it says to pray. Perhaps that is, I hope, some small measure of wisdom I now have, to use my words more sparingly and respectfully, and to understand that, sometimes it’s not just what we say, but the spirit with which we say it.

        A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.

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      2. Dizerner,

        I really did not expect you to respond: I mean, how were you going to continue to argue for an unsustainable position: that Solomon was engaging in “name calling” regarding things he said in Proverbs when he described people as fools, slothful, scoffers (and the corollary that when we use these same categories we are not engaging in “name calling” either). Your words also appeared to be a bit sanctimonious:

        “I’m not sure many of us have the measure of sanctification needed to use the appellation “fool” on another human being with no impure motivations or reasons. I also don’t think it’s right to call atheists “fools.” If the Bible does—and for me that issue is not completely clear cut—but if it does, it is enough to say the Bible says it, without me using that term. I will say certain acts are foolish, but I don’t want to judge a heart unless God shows me.”

        Did Solomon have “the measure of sanctification needed to use the appellation “fool” on another human being”?

        Was the Spirit inspiring his words when he spoke of folks who were “wise, foolish, slothful, a scoffer”?

        Is Proverbs a closed book meaning that Solomon could write those things but we are not allowed to apply those things today (including the categories he explicitly speaks about)?

        Should we pick and choose the verses in Proverbs that we like and leave out the rest?

        And WHO decides about this so-called “measure of sanctification needed” that you bring up?

        Are we told that we are supposed to have a certain “measure of sanctification” before Proverbs applies and can be applied?

        And if the standard for applying the biblical principles found in Proverbs (and other Bible books) is that we are first perfectly pure in our motivations and reasons then none of us will ever apply any scripture because none of us is perfect (nor will we be in this life). Reminds me of those who say “don’t judge unless you are perfect”. Well none of us is perfect so we will never judge anything or anyone. Yet Jesus tells us to judge wisely (Jn. 7:24) as does Solomon all over Proverbs (The Bible never says we have to be perfect before we can evaluate persons or actions or events). If we wait until we are perfect before we apply and live out scripture (whether it be Proverbs or James) we will never do anything.

        Dizerner do you even teach at a local church?

        Or are you a loner who just studies the Bible for himself and discusses it on internet blogs?

        Seems it would be difficult, if not impossible, for you to teach the book of Proverbs in a local church setting based on your comments here.

        Regarding atheists being called fools. David explicitly wrote that atheists were “fools” and Paul follows suit in Romans 1 saying that those who reject God and engage in idolatry profess to be wise but become foolish. Paul says these people are without excuse because God has clearly showed them the truth and they have rejected it.

        Regarding “judging the heart” in looking at Proverbs is Solomon doing that when he teaches us about being wise and avoiding certain types of persons, not being like them? The same people who argue that we ought not ever judge unless we are perfect are the same people who speak of “not judging the heart”. And yet if we actually look at the Bible, there are numerous times when a person’s heart/motives/intentions are being judged (e.g. in describing the qualifications of elders some of the things said refer to their heart/motives/intentions; in the epistles many things are said about evaluating motives and intentions.)

        “and knowing that merely calling someone “empty-head” was in some sense condemnatory to hell-fire when done wrongly”

        I don’t think that you are suggesting that the Spirit contradicts Himself when He inspired Solomon to speak out forcefully and explicitly against fools and Jesus says not to say “raca”/”fool” to a person in anger. And yet you bring it up as some sort of argument that the categories of Proverbs should not be applied to modern day persons. Seems to me that if we interpret these texts properly and in context, Jesus is talking about doing things when angry, including declaring someone to be “raca”: while Solomon is not speaking in anger and is giving profiles of certain kinds of persons. Jesus is talking about saying things inappropriately in anger, while Solomon says one of the things that gives away fools is their anger, especially at those who attempt to correct them. These are very different contexts.

        “Yes, I love Proverbs. I have spent entire days on my knees reading it and praying everything it says to pray.”

        Then would you love it enough to teach those categories as a Bible teacher in a local church?

        Or would you avoid those categories and instead just teach the verses that you like in Proverbs (e.g. “A gentle answer turns away wrath . . .”)?

        I think I understand your concerns and yet seems to me that you are putting inappropriate standards on our application of scripture. If we wait till we are perfect we will never apply any of the Bible. Instead it seems that we ought to be applying it all as best as we can and growing through the process of applying all of it. Again, Proverbs and the categories of persons discussed in it apply just as well today as when Solomon first wrote them. That is one of the great features about scripture, it is timeless and so when properly interpreted can and should be applied today.

        The way you speak of the categories of Proverbs suggests that it has no application to today because none of us is worthy to use these categories until we are perfect (and since we will never be perfect in this life, never achieve that “measure of sanctification needed” we will never apply those categories to people today). You have effectively closed the book of Proverbs for today, except for the verses that you like, those are OK, they can be applied today. This is totally subjective and not at all the way we ought to be handling scripture.

        Like

      3. Robert I wrote a post but it was just out of hurt feelings, so I asked Flowers to delete it. I’ve had a lot of loneliness in my life and calling me a loner really hurt me. It’s not been my choice and I’ve tried to reach past my emotional wounds.

        If you feel I got out of line I apologize. I was just sharing my heart, and how I think people get sucked into fighting alone and lose the spirit of Christ. Maybe I was being prideful trying to correct you on it. I will be praying about it and I hope you can forgive me.

        bless

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  9. Guys, maybe the reason Hutch keeps on and on (and on) is because he’s trying to prove to himself that he’s (Calvinistically) elect. After all, if Calvinism is true, you can’t know you’re elect until you’re dead. It’s possible you may THINK you’re saved, but actually you’re self-deceived and unchangeably hell-bound, because Calvy-god has “sovereignly decreed” your self-deceit, the better to damn you. So, maybe Hutch thinks his relentless (though sadly vain) attempts to defend Calvinism prove he has Calvy-god’s favor.

    I say this because I spent years debating Muslims before I started debating Calvinists. Calvinism is like Islam in so many ways. Muslims and Calvinists worship a god created in man’s cruel, sinful image – a fatalist cosmic prankster who cannot be trusted. When the gods are similar you can trust that the human reactions to the gods will be similar.

    Hutch reminds me of every hardened, stiff-necked Muslim dawagandist (AKA taqiyyagandist) I’ve ever come across. They do the EXACT same thing Hutch do — they go to chat forums to attack Christianity and promote Islam. They persist in this effort no matter how many times they’re proven wrong. They repeat the same arguments again and again, no matter how many times the arguments are exposed as fallacious. The repeat the same proof-texts no matter how many times they are shown that the context doesn’t support their interpretation. A lot of the times they’re not even trying to convince the person they’re addressing, but are deliberately saturating the string with their comments, lest anyone come along and think the conversation is being dominated by the Christians.

    This is my view of Hutch and other Calvygandists. I engage them for awhile, but I end the conversation the SECOND I see them for what they are. Better to kick the dust from your sandals and leave them in the hands of the TRUE God, may He bless and mercy them and us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. amyrabatya writes, ‘if Calvinism is true, you can’t know you’re elect until you’re dead. It’s possible you may THINK you’re saved, but actually you’re self-deceived and unchangeably hell-bound, because Calvy-god has “sovereignly decreed” your self-deceit, the better to damn you.”

      Your complaint is true of non-Calvinist philosophies also. This because of Matthew 7, ““Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'”

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    2. amyrabatya,

      “Guys, maybe the reason Hutch keeps on and on (and on) is because he’s trying to prove to himself that he’s (Calvinistically) elect. After all, if Calvinism is true, you can’t know you’re elect until you’re dead. It’s possible you may THINK you’re saved, but actually you’re self-deceived and unchangeably hell-bound, because Calvy-god has “sovereignly decreed” your self-deceit, the better to damn you. So, maybe Hutch thinks his relentless (though sadly vain) attempts to defend Calvinism prove he has Calvy-god’s favor.”

      I guess what you say here is possible, but I continue to maintain that he “keeps on and on (and on)” because he is a fool who is completely committed to an ideology (in this case the ideology is calvinism).

      “I say this because I spent years debating Muslims before I started debating Calvinists. Calvinism is like Islam in so many ways. Muslims and Calvinists worship a god created in man’s cruel, sinful image – a fatalist cosmic prankster who cannot be trusted. When the gods are similar you can trust that the human reactions to the gods will be similar.”

      I believe that you are correct in what you say here. This sadly is another indication that Calvinism is false, it has parallels to another man made religion/Islam. Both end up with a conception of God that is very different than the God who is revealed through the Bible and in the incarnation when God became flesh.

      “Hutch reminds me of every hardened, stiff-necked Muslim dawagandist (AKA taqiyyagandist) I’ve ever come across. They do the EXACT same thing Hutch do — they go to chat forums to attack Christianity and promote Islam. They persist in this effort no matter how many times they’re proven wrong.”

      Again these parallels are not good, and a person who is “hardened, stiff-necked” and keeps doing these things over and over perfectly fits the profile of the fool in Proverbs.

      “They repeat the same arguments again and again, no matter how many times the arguments are exposed as fallacious. The repeat the same proof-texts no matter how many times they are shown that the context doesn’t support their interpretation.”

      And these actions again show them to be fools in the sense explained by Solomon in Proverbs. A wise person would not keep doing this over and over. A wise person learns from correction and if need be, will correct and modify and change or even get rid of their arguments and points when they need to.

      “A lot of the times they’re not even trying to convince the person they’re addressing, but are deliberately saturating the string with their comments, lest anyone come along and think the conversation is being dominated by the Christians.”

      And this is why I have also said in the past of rhutchin that he acts like a calvinist troll. He really isn’t interested in the truth, he is hardened against it. But he keeps posting all over the internet defending and maintaining and trying to convert others to calvinism.

      “This is my view of Hutch and other Calvygandists. I engage them for awhile, but I end the conversation the SECOND I see them for what they are. Better to kick the dust from your sandals and leave them in the hands of the TRUE God, may He bless and mercy them and us.”

      The interesting thing you state here is that you end the conversation “the SECOND I see them for what they are”. And what is that? I would say it is when you recognize you are dealing with a fool. Your reference to what Jesus said is also interesting. He said when presenting the gospel that if we present it to someone and they understand it and then reject it, that it is best that we move on to the next person and leave them to God’s judgment. It is significant that he says that a common reaction of people who reject the truth is to act like pigs with pearls (i.e. they don’t appreciate the value of the truth, but instead turn and attack you in anger). This is exactly what Solomon says of the fool as well, that when you try to correct them they will respond in anger towards you.

      Now I believe that what Jesus was talking about was specifically in reference to sharing the gospel. And yet the points can also be applied in other situations as well. A mistake that we sometimes make is that we present some truth to someone and since we really want them to accept it we keep presenting this truth to them despite the fact they have clearly shown they reject it. So we keep presenting it and we don’t make the situation better we just get them angry and more hostile to it and us then they were before. This is where Solomon’s advice in Proverbs kicks in as he tells us that at times we need to stop presenting it to them. Back off, don’t say anything else, and sometimes don’t even say anything at all. And this takes wisdom, to know when to keep going, when to stop, when to say nothing, etc.

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  10. Leighton I’d like to see sometime an article on something I believe occurs with Calvinists that psychologists call “cognitive dissonance.”

    In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time, performs an action that is contradictory to one or more beliefs, ideas or values, or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values

    For example, I noticed it in Rich Pierce, when reviewing your Romans 9 debate; he seemed really struck by your comment about Paul being more loving than Jesus. It felt to me like he couldn’t escape the real implication of that, but had to reconcile it with himself somehow.

    Another article I’d like to see is on “wasted love.” It seems to me, that Calvinists imply it’s a waste to love someone that doesn’t love you back. Yet I don’t think any sinner saved by grace feels worthy of Christ’s love. Didn’t he in reality waste it on us too?

    Just things I’ve been pondering, maybe they have no more exploratory value.

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  11. Dizerner,

    Truthfully, you have no reason to apologize. Any honest observer of your comments and the quote from Proverbs knew exactly what you were alluding to. And correctly so.

    Everyone, that is, other than Robert.

    Sadly, this is precisely what Robert does and has a long history of doing so. This is also just one of the reasons he was banned, although temporarily, at SBC Today (which is really quite an accomplishment for a non-Calvinist). The portion of scripture you posted was just a gentle reminder that we are all flawed brothers/sisters in Christ and none of us have a monopoly on the word of God. Sadly, Robert used your comments and that portion of scripture to attack you personally. This is what he does.

    Anyone who disagrees with Robert will quickly be labeled a “fool” or a “bigot” or a “troll”. So, welcome to the club.

    Again, Dizerner, you have no reason to apologize. You wrote nothing that many of us have not already felt. It is you that deserves an apology. But, good luck with that.

    God bless, brother.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Phillip,

      You always pop out of nowhere to engage in these attacks of me, which shows that you really hate me. You have said nothing in this thread until now, again trying to use it to attack me.
      I write this because I want you publicly exposed for the hateful person that you are.

      I remind you that the Lord whom you supposedly follow is witnessing all of your actions and hatred.
      You wrote:

      “Truthfully, you have no reason to apologize.”

      This comment is completely off base as Dizerner/David wrote a really harsh post towards me and he said some things that were really wrong and he asked Leighton to remove it (I did see it however and will reference it when I respond to Dizerner/David in another post).

      You repeatedly like to bring up that I was once temporarily banned at SBC today (but you do not tell the real reason why nor are you privy to the discussions that I have had with the moderator there, nor do you mention that rhutchin is banned there and has been for a while):

      “This is also just one of the reasons he was banned, although temporarily, at SBC Today (which is really quite an accomplishment for a non-Calvinist).”

      I will say it again I was banned from SBC today for saying that Rhutchin and Les Prouty were acting like Calvinist trolls and ought to be banned.

      Since then rhutchin *****has been banned***** for *****acting like a troll**** and Les Prouty has been warned by the moderator to change his manner of posting (I have seen the moderators comments to him on this and he has improved). These are the facts and for you Phillip to keep bringing this up as an attack is wrong as I am allowed to post at SBC today (while rhutchin is not and Prouty is being closely monitored).

      Phillip also engages in extreme exaggeration when he writes:

      “Anyone who disagrees with Robert will quickly be labeled a “fool” or a “bigot” or a “troll”. So, welcome to the club.”

      Again this is not true at all and Phillip knows it.

      I have only labelled two persons, rhutchin and Les, as calvinist trolls and as fools. Rhutchin continues to act like the fool which is why he is still banned at SBC today. Les has improved in his manner of posting and anyone who has seen my recent interactions with him at this site will see the difference.
      Regarding the term “bigot” I used this only in reference to Phillip who has an extreme hatred of Arminians as manifested by his comments (do I need to quote them here to prove my point, I don’t think so, Phillip has argued that Arminians are one-point Calvinists and he has argued against depravity showing his Pelagian beliefs).

      I have engaged many others on this blog and have not called them trolls, fools or bigots (again I used the terms troll and fool in reference to TWO people here, and bigot for only ONE person).
      “Again, Dizerner, you have no reason to apologize. . . . It is you that deserves an apology.”

      Phillip is completely wrong on this (about Dizerner/David having no reason to apologize) as will be shown when I respond to dizerner/David in another post.

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      1. Philip’s treated me more like Christ than you ever have Robert. Maybe in all your “self-righteous” anger you’ve forgotten what it even means to be a Christian.

        Not just to always be right, but to be loving and caring. You got upset I said, not even a direct attack on you, but I just said “I don’t think Christians should call others fools.” So you called me a sanctimonious loner with a blog. Did you know I was bullied in school to a severe degree that’s haunted me all my life? No of course not.

        Now tell me how saying “I feel people shouldn’t call people fools” hurt you, Robert. Did that hurt you so badly you had to call me a sanctimonious loner with a blog? Did that just “hit” you so personally and deeply, not calling a fellow a fool that you had to get personal? Than take my pain-ridden response to further give me the pain of all your blathering self-righteous accusations, that don’t even take into account that you hurt me for no reason?

        Did I hurt you by saying “I don’t think we should call people fools”? Did I? I didn’t say “You’re sinning for doing it,” I said I don’t think we should.

        Your perspective on this is completely skewed and out of line.

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      2. Dizerner,

        “Maybe in all your “self-righteous” anger you’ve forgotten what it even means to be a Christian.”

        In your earlier post you questioned whether or not I was saved claiming that I am not, and you continue to do so: “Maybe in all your “self-righteous” anger you’ve forgotten what it even means to be a Christian.” You need to apologize for making this false claim.

        “Not just to always be right, but to be loving and caring.”

        It is impossible to hear someone who calls you a serpent and says you are unsaved, talk about being “loving and caring”.

        “You got upset I said, not even a direct attack on you, but I just said “I don’t think Christians should call others fools.””

        Actually I did not get upset, I disagreed with you, and you are the one who is getting upset to the point that you respond by attacking me as a serpent and unsaved.

        “So you called me a sanctimonious loner with a blog.”

        Here you are conflating two different things that I said. I said that you words seemed sanctimonious to me (you talk about us being incapable of applying the categories of Proverbs, you talk about not judging other people’s hearts, etc. those words appeared to be sanctimonious).

        The comment about being a loner is based on an observation that I have noticed on the web. I am very strong on local church involvement and always have been (i.e. if God gives you gifts they are to be used in a local church context to build up other believers, so if you have a lot of Bible knowledge that needs to be passed on to other believers in a local church context). I have seen folks on the web who seem to study the Bible a lot, but from their comments they are only studying the Bible for themselves and they are not sharing any of this in a local church context. That is wrong in my thinking, as God gives you things, including knowledge, so that it can be shared with others. To use myself as an example I have lots of books, but I am always lending out books to others (sometimes they never come back!). I don’t hoard my books so that only I can study the Bible and know the Bible. I have lent out commentaries to others doing studies and I hope they come back but often they do not!

        Recall what I originally asked you: “Dizerner do you even teach at a local church? Or are you a loner who just studies the Bible for himself and discusses it on internet blogs?” From reading your posts you do not appear to be involved in a local church, and yet you clearly study the Bible a lot. If you were sharing what you know in a local church setting, that would be great. But if you are just studying the Bible for yourself and discussing it on blogs, that is not right.

        “Did you know I was bullied in school to a severe degree that’s haunted me all my life? No of course not.”

        This unfortunate background may explain why you are reacting with such sensitivity here. Sorry that you were bullied. And sorry if I have offended you with something that I wrote. I used to beat up bullies so I actually protected people like you in the past (I was literally attacking bullying years ago before it become fashionable). My words about being a loner were not based on your past experience but on the present (you seem to study the Bible a lot and have lots of knowledge, but are you sharing this in a local church setting or only on blogs?).

        “Now tell me how saying “I feel people shouldn’t call people fools” hurt you, Robert.”

        It did not hurt me, I just disagreed with you, and continue to disagree with you believing that using the categories of Proverbs is not name calling.

        “Did that hurt you so badly you had to call me a sanctimonious loner with a blog?”

        I said your words seemed sanctimonious to me. You haven’t hurt me badly with anything you have said (having worked in counter cult ministry I have had much worse attacks than anything you have said, I have had lots of people attack in all sorts of ways, including putting public curses on me). It is also hard for me to be hurt by words such as yours as I have such great relationships with the most important people, the people that really count (including spouse, family, friends, etc.) and I am very secure in my relationship with Christ. And the loner thing is again in reference to having all this knowledge but it appears you do not share it in a local church context. I never called you “a sanctimonious loner with a blog” you made up that line yourself.

        “Did that just “hit” you so personally and deeply, not calling a fellow a fool that you had to get personal?”

        I don’t think I got that personal with you, you overreacted to what I said.

        “Than take my pain-ridden response to further give me the pain of all your blathering self-righteous accusations, that don’t even take into account that you hurt me for no reason?”

        Your “pain ridden response” appeared to be an outright personal attack (calling me names/serpent and claiming I am not saved). I have not engaged in “self-righteous accusations”. I have not called you names nor said that you were not saved.

        “Did I hurt you by saying “I don’t think we should call people fools”?”

        No.

        “Did I?”

        No, I am pretty sure that I am not a “serpent” or I would not have the great and quality relationships that I have with my wife, family, friends, ministry associates, believers in the local church I attend, pastor friends, etc. etc.

        “I didn’t say “You’re sinning for doing it,” I said I don’t think we should.”

        Right and I disagree with you, there are a few people who do in fact fit the profile of the fool in Proverbs (so the same things Solomon said then apply to them now).

        “Your perspective on this is completely skewed and out of line.”

        I don’t think so, again we disagree on whether those categories in Proverbs may be applied to individuals today. I have not called you names or questioned your salvation, and I would appreciate if you would respond in kind. If you are going to apologize to someone, don’t then agree with someone else who says there was no reason to apologize, that makes your apology appear to be insincere and not genuine at all. What I said earlier still applies:

        “When we are wronged or hurt by other believers our response ought not to respond with name calling/serpent, nor should we attack others by questioning their salvation. Dizerner needs to learn to respond more appropriately when he is hurt by others.”

        I see you have also written another post, not sure if I will respond to that one, I will check it out and then decide.

        Like

  12. Dizerner/David engaged in a really mean spirited and unjustified post (he asked Leighton to remove it, unfortunately for him I did see it).

    Dizerner/David then “apologized” for this post.

    My first choice was to let it go at that. Hope that his apology was genuine and move on from that.

    But then Phillip writes this post claiming that Dizerner had no reason to apologize (and Dizerner/David then wrote that he appreciated Phillip’s comments!!!).

    So I am going to respond after seeing that Dizerner’s “apology” was phony and not genuine at all. Here is dizerner/David’s reply to Phillip:

    [[dizerner commented on Why Do Only Some People Believe?.
    in response to Phillip:
    Dizerner, Truthfully, you have no reason to apologize. Any honest observer of your comments and the quote from Proverbs knew exactly what you were alluding to. And correctly so. Everyone, that is, other than Robert. Sadly, this is precisely what Robert does and has a long history of doing so. This is also just one […]
    Thanks Phillip, I appreciate that.]]

    Dizerner appreciates that. Look at Dizerner’s apology:

    [[Robert I wrote a post but it was just out of hurt feelings, so I asked Flowers to delete it. I’ve had a lot of loneliness in my life and calling me a loner really hurt me. It’s not been my choice and I’ve tried to reach past my emotional wounds.
    If you feel I got out of line I apologize. I was just sharing my heart, and how I think people get sucked into fighting alone and lose the spirit of Christ. Maybe I was being prideful trying to correct you on it. I will be praying about it and I hope you can forgive me.
    Bless]]

    Note that dizerner/David says “If you feel I got out of line I apologize.”

    Dizerner/david said that I was wrong to use the labels in Proverbs that Solomon gives us, he claims this is “name-calling” and wrong. Dizerner also argued that we should not judge people’s hearts. Now note the same person who claimed we ought not to use labels and judge people’s hearts engaged in exactly that in his comments towards me:

    [[“Applying Scripture” is not calling people fools?!?!

    “What?! Your logic is preposterous.”

    “Frankly you sound manipulatively controlling and judgmental.

    “It’s not that I won’t accept fair dialogue but you show yourself a serpent to me, who cares not for the truth.”

    “If you feel no conviction maybe all your religious works you are trusting in don’t illustrate that you know the Person of Christ. Have you talked to him lately? When is the last time you personally addressed the Lord Jesus Christ?”

    “I don’t think I look up to you anymore, I rather question your salvation. Don’t sit on your past experiences with God and trust in a life of works.”

    “I think somewhere along the line, in all your religious thinking and works, you’ve drifted away from Jesus.”]]

    So dizerner/david says engaging in name calling is wrong and he says I am wrong in using the biblical category of fool: and yet he says that I am a “serpent” (this is totally hypocritical). He also claims that my logic is “preposterous”, that I sound “manipulatively controlling and judgmental”.

    He then claims that I am not even a saved person “all your religious works you are trusting in don’t illustrate that you know the Person of Christ”. Sorry dizerner/david, I don’t trust in my works to save me, I, like anyone else is saved solely because of what Jesus does. My works don’t save me, but for a genuinely saved person they are evidence that they are saved. I have never said I trust in my works to save me.

    And then dizerner/david asks:

    “Have you talked to him lately? When is the last time you personally addressed the Lord Jesus Christ?’ again suggesting that I am not saved.

    He then says explicitly “I rather question your salvation”.

    And this from the guy who said we were not supposed to judge someone else’s heart!

    He also writes: ““I think somewhere along the line, in all your religious thinking and works, you’ve drifted away from Jesus.”

    Dizerner/david says his feelings were hurt and he apologized. I have been upset with people, but my response is not to then question their salvation and call them serpents.

    Dizerner/david engaged in the very things that he says we ought not to do (name calling/serpent; judge other people’s hearts/questioning my salvation and claiming I trust in works rather than Christ). This is all completely out of line and he should have apologized.

    And I would have left it alone at that.

    But then he appreciates Phillips words which were that he had no reason to apologize. I don’t believe dizerner’s “apology” to be sincere or genuine at this point.

    When we are wronged or hurt by other believers our response ought not to respond with name calling/serpent, nor should we attack others by questioning their salvation. Dizerner needs to learn to respond more appropriately when he is hurt by others.

    Like

    1. I’m not sad you saw it. Robert where’s your apology for your post that caused me to write in pain? Were you in pain when you attacked me?

      It’s pretty rotten to post something someone expressly apologized for. Where is the love in your posts brother I don’t feel any. Have you gotten this used to arguing online you can’t show any love?

      Nothing I did justified your behavior. And the hypocrisy first of all doesn’t even matter to the point of what I say-if I say don’t overeat and I do, it doesn’t mean it’s suddenly ok to overeat.

      You call my post mean, but it wasn’t. Yours was mean and unjustified in spirit. If I say “do you have a real relationship with Christ” why don’t you show me that by turning the other cheek. Don’t pass it on me-you called me a loner with a blog and sanctimonious. I said that “sounded” like the voice of the serpent (it did I felt a cruel spirit).

      I feel no love from you, but a man whose been with Jesus will show real concern and love, not self-righteous indignation.

      It takes a lot to make me snap on here, I try extra hard to be gracious.

      Congratulations, only you and rhutchin ever have.

      Like

      1. Dizerner,

        Just a suggestion and you can take it for what it is.

        I quit reading Robert’s comments addressed to me (or comments even about me) long ago. I haven’t read a single post addressed to me in well over a year. And I have been blessed by it.

        You’ve been posting here longer than I have, but you’ve seen firsthand how Robert interacts with anyone who disagrees with him about anything. Brian has been more than patient with him and he has received no grace in return. Your comment…. “you seem to care more about being right than being humble, gracious and loving” was spot on.

        I warned Brian/Leighton back in April that Robert’s comments can be “laced with chicanery and venom”. So your “serpent” analysis wasn’t too far off.

        All that said, and it is ultimately up to you, my suggestion is to simply ignore his comments going forward. At least those addressed to you, or about you, personally. You really won’t be missing much anyway and it will save you gobs of time. The guy does have a gift of writing a lot while not saying much. If anything.

        Blessings, brother.

        Like

  13. Dizerner (and anyone else not named Robert),

    I’ve posted this before, but it bears repeating….

    Troll: a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion, often for their own amusement.

    As I have said before and will repeat here again. Robert is an opportunist. He is more than willing to argue with anyone about anything.

    He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

    Like

  14. Phillip,

    Thanks for sharing the definition of troll: we’ll all be on the lookout now for such persons.

    “As I have said before and will repeat here again. Robert is an opportunist. He is more than willing to argue with anyone about anything.”

    This is not true at all, I don’t have the time nor the desire to “argue with anyone about anything”.

    I will tell you this however, I will especially look for any posts that you write at this site so that I can comment on whatever you choose to share.

    Like

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