Answering Calvinistic Proof Texts

Calvinists readily admit their teachings are difficult to swallow even for the most committed believer. Calvin himself refers to the doctrine of reprobation as a “dreadful decree” which leads to unfathomable mysteries. <link> And Calvinists  are known to describe their conversion into Calvinism as being a painstaking process of giving into the overwhelming evidence of scripture.  For instance, John Piper speaks of the “agony,” “torment” and “days of weeping” he went through when first grappling with these doctrines (as discussed further on THIS PODCAST.)

Considering how difficult the Calvinistic doctrines are to accept, one must think the scriptures are overwhelmingly convincing in order to persuade anyone to adopt them, right?  Well, we will let you be the judge of that as you read through these proof texts for yourself.

I would like for us to consider the various passages most often referenced by Calvinists in defense of their doctrines. For the sake of brevity I will provide a summary rebuttal to each proof text followed by a link for further study. Though some links will be provided, I will leave it to the reader to do his or her own study to find the Calvinistic defense for each of the passages referenced.

Let us begin with “the big three.”  Calvinistic apologist, Dr. James White, refers to Ephesians 1, Romans 9 and John 6 as the “classicus locus,” in an article seeking to defend the TULIP systematic. <link>  I contend that if any one of these passages did not exist in the canon of scripture that Calvinism would have never even existed.  That is how heavily Calvinistic scholars have leaned on these texts to support their foundational premise. That is not to say that these are the only proof texts for Calvinistic doctrine, far from it. It is only to say that the formation, foundation and greatest source for defense are rooted in these three passages, without which the entire system would crumble like a house of cards.

We will unpack each of them to see if they really teach what Calvinists claim:

Ephesians 1:1-11  

(Read a Calvinistic rendering of this passage HERE)

Non-Calvinistic Rendering: From the first verse of the chapter we learn that Paul is addressing “the faithful in Christ Jesus.” The theme of being “in Him” continues throughout the entire passage. The question is “how does one come to be in Christ?” The Calvinist contends that certain individuals were chosen before the world began and predestined to become believers, but that is simply not what the text says. Paul teaches that those “in Him” have been predestined to become “holy and blameless” and “to be adopted as sons,” but he never says that certain individuals were predestined to believe in Christ. Paul is speaking of what “the faithful in Christ” (vs. 1) have been predestined to become, not about God preselecting certain individuals before the foundation of the world to be irresistibly transformed into believers. In verse 13, the apostle clearly teaches his readers that it was when you “heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation” and  “when you believed” that you were “marked in Him.”

For more on this passage CLICK HERE.

Romans 9:6-24

(Read a Calvinistic rendering of this passage HERE)

Non-Calvinistic Rendering: Paul is answering the question, “Why have most Israelites rejected their own Messiah? Has God’s promise to Israel failed?” Calvinists believe Paul answers this question by saying, “No, God’s promise has not failed, because God’s plan was not to effectually save every Israelite, but only a preselected remnant.” Non-Calvinists believe Paul answers this question by saying, “No, God’s promise has not failed, because God’s plan was not to effectually save anyone on the basis of their nationality, desires or works, but on the basis of their faith (Rom. 9:30-32). And God is fulfilling His promise to bless all the families of the earth through Israel by hardening some Jews and “mercying” others from that same lump of “Israelite” clay (vs. 21).  This may seem unfair to some, but its actually quite just and gracious given that redemption is accomplish through the hardening of Israel and those hardened may eventually be “provoked to envy and saved” (Rom. 11:14).

For more on this passage CLICK HERE.

John 6:25-71

(Read a Calvinistic rendering of this passage HERE)

Non-Calvinistic Rendering: At this time the Messiah is “down from heaven” in the flesh to fulfill the will of the Father (vs. 38). While in the world, Jesus is not entrusting himself to everyone (Jn. 2:24). In fact, he has kept his identity somewhat secret for much of his public ministry (Matt. 16:20; Mark 1:24-25, 34, 43-45; 3:12; 8:30; 9:9). God only gave to Christ a few from Israel to serve the noble calling of being his “holy apostles” (Eph. 3:1-11; Jn. 17:6-19). He slowly reveals his identity and his redemptive plan to those set apart for this apostolic calling, but “to those on the outside everything is said in parables…otherwise they might turn and be forgiven” (Mk. 4:11-12).

Christ hid the truth from the “wise and learned”  and revealed it to the weak (Mt. 11:25) so as to fulfill the Father’s purpose of redemption on Calvary. And the leaders of that day would not have crucified Christ if they believed he was the long awaited Messiah (1 Cor. 2:7-8).  Therefore, the reason much of the Jewish audience in John 6 were not enabled to come to Christ was not because they were born hated by God and innately disabled due to the Fall of Adam, as presumed by Calvinists. Not at all!  God loved Israel and genuinely desired for them to repent and be saved (2 Peter 3:9; 1 Tim. 2:4; Rom. 9:1-3; 10:1,21; Matt. 23:37; Lk. 19:42; Matt. 5:44; Hos. 3:1; Ezk. 18:30-32). They were not enabled to come to Christ while down from heaven UNTIL he had fulfilled redemption on Calvary and was “raised up.” Then and only then would Christ commission the gospel to be sent to “every creature” so as to “draw all peoples to Himself” (John 12:32; Acts 1:8; Matt. 28:16-20).

For more on this passage CLICK HERE.

Other proof texts used by Calvinist in defense of their perspective:

Romans 8:28-30 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

(Read a Calvinistic rendering of this passage HERE)

Non-Calvinistic Rendering: Much debate centers on the meaning of the word “foreknew” (proginōskō). While there are various non-Calvinistic approaches to interpreting this text, the simplest and most basic reading essentially goes as follows: “For those God ‘formerly knew’ (proginosko), He previously determined them to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He might become the firstborn of many brethren.” So, instead of this passages being about some mystical divine knowledge of preselected individuals before the world began, it is actually about people God personally knew in former times (Israelites of old who loved God). In verse 29, Paul is giving an example of how God has worked out good for those formerly known in the past (proginōskō) so as to back up his claim in verse 28 that “God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (vs. 28). What better proof of this truth than looking to God’s faithfulness in the lives of those formerly known, who were conformed into the very image of the one who would come through their lineage and purchase their redemption?

For more on this passage CLICK HERE.

Acts 13:48 – When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.

(Read a Calvinistic rendering of this passage HERE)

Non-Calvinistic Rendering:  Before Christ began his public ministry there were both Jews and Gentiles who worshipped God and genuinely believed in what revelation they had been given. They were “God-fearing” men and women who sincerely loved the Lord but simply were not yet aware of the gospel of Christ. In Acts 13:16 we are shown these are the people the apostles were addressing, “Fellow Israelites and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me!”  Many God-fearing Gentiles genuinely believed in God and had not yet grown calloused in the religiosity of the Pharisaical teachings. No one could rightly describe these God-fearing Gentiles as “totally disabled, hardened or spiritually dead” individuals in need of an irresistible calling. Instead, they were “appointed” or “previously disposed” for eternal life as believers who already worship God.

For more on this passage CLICK HERE.

God’s sinless use of sinful means:

Genesis 50:20 – Joseph being sold by his brothers into slavery: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

Exodus 9:12 – Pharaoh hardened by God to accomplish the Passover: “But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said to Moses.”

Acts 2:23; 4:28 – The Crucifixion of Jesus: “This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men,[a] put him to death by nailing him to the cross…They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.”

CLICK HERE for a thorough explanation of these passages from a non-Calvinistic perspective.

Let’s examine Calvinism’s chief proof texts on God’s “sovereignty” (defined as God’s meticulous determinism over all things).

<FROM: LINK>

Ephesians 1:11 – In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.

This is a marvelous verse and tells us how great God is, but it says nothing about whether God has given man a will and to what extent he can exercise that will. It says nothing about whether a sinner can believe on Christ savingly. To say that God worketh all things after the counsel of his own will is not contrary to the doctrine that God created man with a will and with the ability to respond to God or to reject God. It is the Calvinist that creates this alleged “problem” and then answers it by his own logic rather than by the plain teaching of Scripture.

Daniel 4:35 — “And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?”

This statement was made by king Nebuchadnezzar after he was punished by God and his reason had returned to him and he had repented of his pride. This verse is stating simply that God is God and He rules ultimately over the affairs of men. The verse says nothing about whether or not man can accept or reject the gospel, about whether God’s grace is resistible. It says nothing about whether God sovereignly chooses some men to election and some to reprobation. For a sinner to refuse to repent is not to “stay God’s hand,” because God’s eternal program rolls right on regardless of what individual men do in these or any other matters.

Psalm 115:3 — “But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.”

We definitely believe that God does whatsoever pleases, and we bless His name that what He pleases is always righteous and good. Further, God has revealed His pleasure in the Scriptures, and the Scriptures tell us that it was His pleasure to send Jesus to die so that “whosoever believeth in him should not perish.” 

One need only to read vs 16 of the same Psalm to see what God was pleased to do. 

Isaiah 14:27 — “For the LORD of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?”

The context of this verse is God’s determination to judge the nations. “This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth: and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations” (verse 26). Indeed, when God purposes something His will cannot be thwarted. But this verse says nothing about Sovereign Election or Sovereign Reprobation or Irresistible Grace or any of the points of TULIP theology.

Acts 15:18 — “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.”

This verse simply says that God knows all of His works and has always known them. It says nothing one way or the other about any of the points of TULIP. That God knows all of His works from the beginning of the world is not to say that men are sovereignly elected to salvation or reprobation. It is not to say that God preordains everything that happens.

Proverbs 16:9 — “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.”

This verse does not support Calvinism, because it says that man’s heart deviseth his way. Thus it teaches that man has a will that he can exercise. The fact that God overrules man’s decisions and has the final say in all matters is not contrary to the doctrine that man has a will whereby he can accept or reject God’s dealings with him.

Proverbs 19:21 — “There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.”

Again, this verse does not support Calvinism, because it says man wills things in his heart. The fact that God’s counsel overrules man’s will is not a defense for Calvinism. Those that the Calvinist calls (usually falsely) “Arminians” believe this, as well.

Proverbs 21:1 — “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.”

The fact that the Lord overrules the king’s heart does not prove Calvinism’s doctrine of the sovereign predestination of all things nor does it prove Calvinism’s doctrine that man cannot accept or reject God’s offer of salvation. These Proverbs teach the simple and important doctrine that though man has a will that he exercises within the sphere of freedom that God assigns to him, it is God who ultimately determines whether man is allowed to act out his will or not.

Proverbs 21:30 — “There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD.”

This verse means that there is no ultimate counsel against the Lord and that He always has the final say. We know from other Scriptures that the devil and sinners have made many counsels against the Lord, but that counsel cannot stand. It does not follow that man has no will that he can exercise either for or against the Lord. He can definitely exercise such a will and he does and by so doing he hangs himself with his own rope, because God always has the final say, and He has said that “he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16).

Psalm 33:11 — “The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.”

That the counsel of the Lord stands forever, and we know that it does, does not mean that God could not have sovereignly determined to create man with a will that he can exercise and with the ability even to go so far as to believe in God or not to believe in God.

Isaiah 10 — God’s use of the Assyrians to bring judgement on Israel: CLICK HERE

Isaiah 14:27 — “For the LORD of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?”

Nothing that God purposes can be disannulled, but this does not mean that God foreordains everything that happens, even the decisions and actions of men and devils. God has purposed that “whosoever believeth” in Jesus Christ “should not perish, but have everlasting life.” That Almighty God has given sinners a choice in the matter does nothing to overthrow His sovereignty or power.

Isaiah 46:9-10 — “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.”

That God’s counsel shall stand and He will do all of His pleasure is not to say that “no actions of men, no errands can come to pass otherwise than God has eternally purposed” (Pink). For God to allow something and ultimately to work that thing into His overall program for the ages is not the same as purposing it. God’s counsel is revealed in Scripture, and there we learn that God has given man a will that he can exercise against God. We see this in the Garden of Eden, and in the case of Adam and Eve’s firstborn Cain, and in the case of the world before the Flood, and in the case of the Tower of Babel, and in the case of Israel before the coming of Christ, and in the case of Israel during the earthly days of Christ, and in the case of sinners today, and throughout history.

 

Calvinistic Proof Texts used to support the doctrine of Total Depravity:

Romans 8:7-9 — “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.”

Mankind’s inability to submit to God’s law does not prove their inability to trust in Christ who fulfilled the law for mankind.  Mankind’s inability to please God while acting in the flesh does not prove mankind’s inability to respond to the spiritual appeal of God so as to receive his spirit.

If I warn my rebellious son saying, “You cannot please me by acting selfishly,” does that suggest the child is unable to heed my warning, humble himself and repent of acting selfishly?  Of course not.  It only suggests that as long as my child continues to rebel and act according to his pride that he will not please me.  This verse says nothing of man’s inability to respond to God’s powerful truth and appeal to humble ourselves.  Each individual has the choice to remain in their flesh and pride or respond to the spirit’s call to humble themselves.  If you choose the former YOU CANNOT PLEASE GOD.

Neither side is suggesting that man can please God apart from His enabling grace.  So, the question is whether or not the grace is enabling (as John 6:65 teaches), or does this grace irresistibly cause which choice the individual will make (as Calvinism presumes)?

1 Corinthians 2:14 — “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”

So, the lost man needs someone to spiritually discern the “deep things of God” (vs. 10), right? What are the means God uses to discern spiritual truths to mankind?  Is not the very epistle that Paul is writing to the carnal believers in Corinth a means of “spiritual discernment?”  And since the “brethren” in the Corinthian church are “not able to receive” these same “deep things of God” (1 Cor. 3:1-3) one would be hard pressed to suggest that Paul was intending to teach that no one is able to understand the simple gospel appeal to be reconciled unless they are first reconciled.

Again, this text never suggests that mankind is born unable to respond to God’s clearly discerned gospel appeal.  It only affirms that that mystery of the gospel must be discerned for us, which it has been.  As Paul states, “When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.” Eph. 3:4

Neither side is suggesting that lost men can understand the deep spiritual truths of God apart from the means God has chosen to discern these mysteries. So, the question is whether God’s means of discernment through the apostles is a sufficient work of discernment that enables those who hear it to respond? More HERE.

Ephesians 2:1-3 — “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”

This passage says nothing about the sinner not being able to believe and nothing about the condition of his will in regard to the accepting or rejecting the gospel. It says the sinner is dead in trespasses and sin, walks according to the course of this world and according to the prince of the power of the air, is a child of disobedience, and is by nature the child of wrath.

But this is not the same as the Calvinist doctrine of total depravity which goes beyond the actual words of Scripture, such as those we find in this important passage, and adds the business about the sinner’s will and him not being able to believe.

Isaiah 64:6-7 — “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.”

Again, though this verse teaches us that fallen man has no righteousness that is acceptable before God and that even his alleged righteousnesses are as filthy rags before a thrice-holy God, the verse says nothing about man’s will or his ability or inability to respond to God’s grace.

That there is none that calls upon the name of the Lord or stirs himself up to take hold of God does not mean that the sinner is unable to respond to God’s grace and does not mean that he cannot believe the gospel. Left to himself, the sinner does not seek God nor call upon His name, but sinners are not left to themselves. They are given light (Jn. 1:9), convicted (Jn. 16:8), and drawn to Christ (Jn. 12:32). God has commanded that the gospel be preached to every sinner and that those who believe will be saved (Mk. 16:15-16), and there is nothing in Isaiah 64:6-7 that says the sinner cannot believe in response to God’s work of enlightenment, conviction, and drawing.

Romans 3:10-18 — “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

No one is righteous according to the works of the law.  No one is able to attain righteousness by law through works.  But how does that prove no one is able to obtain righteousness by grace through faith?  In verse 21 of this same chapter Paul introduces the means for man to obtain righteousness, which is separate from the law.  Calvinists seem to think that proof of our inability to earn righteousness through our own works likewise proves our inability to trust in the imputed righteousness of Christ.

Proving that the lost cannot seek God does not prove that they are unable to respond to a God who is actively seeking to save the lost. Proving that I cannot call the President on the phone does not prove I cannot answer the phone if the President chose to call me.

Genesis 6:5 — “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

Again, there is nothing in this verse about man’s will and whether or not he can believe in God and accept His offer of grace. Calvinists simply read their presumption into this text whereas an examination of this entire chapter hardly appears to support a Calvinistic rendering given that it also goes on to state, “The LORD regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the LORD said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.  More HERE.

Jeremiah 17:9 — “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

This verse addresses the sinner’s heart but not his will. It tells us plainly that the sinner’s heart is deceitful and desperately wicked, and no one can properly understand mankind today unless they understand and believe this teaching; but it does not tell us that the sinner cannot believe the gospel. It says nothing about the condition of the sinner’s will in regard to exercising faith.

Check back in as we add to this list as needed…

185 thoughts on “Answering Calvinistic Proof Texts

  1. Ephesians 1:1-11

    If we assume that Open Theism is false, then God 100% foreknows those who will believe in Christ. For example, from the foundation of the world, God foreknew that John Wesley would believe in Christ. When we keep our modal scopes straight, we can assert it impossible that John Wesley would not believe in Christ, under that antecedent. We would say “It’s possible that John Wesley shall reject Christ” only from a vantage point of limited foresight (and/or limited retrospect, if Wesley secretly disbelieved in the end, God forbid), or if we’re omniscient, only as part of a counterfactual or hypothetical expression to serve communication with an ignorant audience. As such, it is a corollary of foreknowledge that both salvation and reprobation are irresistible in the modal scope of a closed future. Only (1) Open Theism and/or (2) modal scope fallacies can escape this corollary.

    Romans 8:28-30

    As I commented on your article about proginosko, “It’s probably just informational knowledge — he knew something before it occurred and was thus equipped to plan accordingly. Consider 2 Peter 3’s usage. Peter writes that Paul is sometimes hard to understand, and antinomians twist and distort his theses. But if his audience knows this ahead of time, they can be equipped to plan accordingly, that is, be critical of antinomian interpretations to avoid being carried away by their error.”

    As a reminder, I am not a Calvinist, but I am a Christian deterministic compatibilist.

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    1. Only (1) Open Theism and/or (2) modal scope fallacies can escape this corollary.
      There is a third option, and that is to reject that human logic can describe all reality, thus paradoxes can be real.

      To assert “It’s impossible to choose otherwise than you are going to choose, because that is what you are going to choose” is to deny the definition of autonomous choice altogether, by asserting the assumption that the choice was no real choice at all as defined by what we mean by choice, the ability to have done otherwise than what you had done if you were back in the same circumstances, or we could say simply “picking among options.” Does this make choice as so defined a logical impossibility? I think it does make it a paradox, and it makes free choice as commonly understood to actually be something metaphysical and supernatural; which it should be if you think about it; being sourced from a causal agent made in the image of God, who created ex-nihilio; and choices are created ex-nihilo as well. Choices are made in a non-linear realm of eternity (God has set eternity in their hearts), then brought back within the framework of space-time, and this neatly solves all logical dilemmas. This is giving the credit to God for the image that we bear of him, the Imago Dei.

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      1. Quick remark: I’d prefer to use the term “contradiction” rather than “paradox.” A paradox is an apparent contradiction that may or may not be a contradiction. This is why you’ll see definitions of the term loaded with “seemingly.”

        If you’ll indulge me to apply that swap here, we’d have, “There is a third option, and that is to reject that human logic can describe all reality, thus [contradictions] can be real.”

        To which my reply would be, “Yes, denying the laws of identity and noncontradiction is always a nuclear option against, and for, any proposal of any kind. E.g., I could say, ‘God either ontologically exists, or he does not.’ And you could reply, ‘Or we could question identity and noncontradiction, whereby God could both ontologically exist and not ontologically exist, even in the exact same senses.'”

        Very, very relevant video: Google “The Difficult Ds we Get for Free”

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      2. Some logic principles seem inescapable, but I see it as really just the limitation of our capacity for thought—that there are things beyond thinking. Logic itself ends up in a “contradiction” or paradox when attempting to demonstrate its own validity, which has to be assumed. You can then say “you assume logic to make a point,” but I can rebut by my assertion that words themselves are metaphysical, such that I’m not certain we even know what we are saying. I know this leads to a morass of incomprehensible skepticism, but it also leads to the meaning of Biblical faith.

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      3. No, but it doesn’t make God’s knowledge the cause, anymore than I know with 100% certainty some past events I did not cause.

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      4. Les,

        You must have heard the distinction between necessity and certainty before?

        If God knows it will occur, that means it will in fact occur.

        But whether it happens by necessity (it has to happen that way and it is impossible that it could have gone another way, where free will is not present) or certainty (it will happen but it was possible it could have gone another way, where free will is present): depends on the causal factors that bring the event about. There is a big difference between a chemical reaction that has to go the way it goes, and you and your wife choosing which restaurant you will go to tonight!
        🙂

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      5. Robert writes, “But whether it happens by necessity (it has to happen that way and it is impossible that it could have gone another way, where free will is not present) or certainty (it will happen but it was possible it could have gone another way, where free will is present): depends on the causal factors that bring the event about.”

        God’s knowledge of all future events renders all future events certain. God’s knowledge of all future events before and after any single future event makes that single future event necessary. This says nothing about free will – how we should define free will and how free will in involved in events that are both certain and necessary. That future events are made certain and necessary by God’s knowledge does not negate free will as a factor in bringing those events to pass as God’s knowledge encompasses all free will decisions.

        The real issue is whether God’s interference in the lives of people negates their free will. For example, when David inquires of God whether to stay in a certain city or leave, God tells him that the city elders will give him over to Saul if he stays. David, being no dummy, then leaves and that is a free will decision on his part. However, it is obvious that the information God provided left no room for any other decision.

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      6. dizerner writes, “Well they do a dance between decrees and secondary causes that I find disingenuous.”

        God decrees all things because God is sovereign. This means that God exercises absolute control over all things so that God has right of refusal on everything that occurs. Perhaps you can provide an example of something God did not decree.

        What do you mean by “disingenuous”? Calvinists are as direct and straightforward as they can be – if not, nobody would understand what Calvinism is all about. Pelagius (even before Calvinism) understood the importance of Total Depravity and argued against it. Open theists understand the significance of God’s omniscience in the Calvinist system and argue against it. People understand the significance of sovereignty in the Calvinist system and argue that God must restrain His control over people to allow for free will. If people know what they must do to argue against Calvinism, how can it be disingenuous?

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      7. Les,
        “But I agree, the event cannot NOT occur.”
        But does that event occur with certainty or by necessity, these are not the same thing. One allows for free will, one does not.

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      8. Well dizerner, whatever you think about our view of decrees and secondary causes, the fact is that God knows all things. Always has. Therefore, He knew long ago that you would believe the gospel, even down to the day and time. You could not have done otherwise. Same with me.

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      9. When you say: You could not have done otherwise

        All you are really saying is “You can’t choose the opposite of your choice” or “you can’t choose to options at once.” We decide what we choose, and we will always be locked into the fate of our choice, but that doesn’t prove nor demonstrate we never had the other option.

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      10. Les,
        You are absolutely correct that God knows everything, he knows everything that will happen before it happens (only open theists such as you know who deny that and reject that). But it does not follow that because he knows future events that we have to do them by necessity. If we had chosen otherwise, then God would have foreknown that choice. God foreknows what will in fact happen, but his foreknowledge does not cause future events. The basis of His foreknowledge is what we will in fact do. What we will in fact do depends on multiple factors (so if a choice involves free will, we could choose this or choose that, God’s foreknowledge is always what we will in fact do, always what we actually do). What we actually end up doing is not the same as what we possibly could have done.

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      11. Robert writes, “The basis of [God’s] foreknowledge is what we will in fact do.”

        God’s knowledge is not based on what we will do. God is omniscient, so His knowledge is independent of anything outside Himself contributing to His knowledge. If you really mean what you said above, then you are taking the position that God can learn lots of stuff, but He is not omniscient.

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      12. Rhutchin is a waste of time, which is why I rarely respond to anything that he writes.

        But sometimes he lays down a whopper so bad that you can’t help but respond to it. Note the following exchange:

        [[Robert writes, “The basis of [God’s] foreknowledge is what we will in fact do.”
        God’s knowledge is not based on what we will do. God is omniscient, so His knowledge is independent of anything outside Himself contributing to His knowledge. If you really mean what you said above, then you are taking the position that God can learn lots of stuff, but He is not omniscient.]]

        God’s knowledge is based upon what we will do, if it were not, then his knowledge would not correspond to what will in fact take place.

        God **********is*********** omniscient, that means he knows everything, everything that has happened, is happening and will happen. He also knows all possibilities, what could have happened but did not. God does not learn anything, as He knows everything.

        What rhutchin fails to understand and we have been through this before, so I am writing for the sake of others, not rhutchin. Is that God’s knowledge has a logical relation, not a causal relation with what He knows.

        Take the example of God knowing X will happen tomorrow (say me eating at my favorite BBQ place tomorrow). The fact I will eat there tomorrow, does not cause God to know that will occur (nor does God’s knowledge cause what will occur tomorrow, it is not a causal relation). It is a logical relation however, God’s knowledge of what will occur tomorrow/me eating at that BBQ place: has a logical relation to that event. God’s knowledge is true as it corresponds with what will in fact occur.

        It is similar to me knowing that 2 + 2 = 4. My knowing that does not cause it to be true (it is not a causal relation). My knowledge of that fact is true because what I know corresponds to that fact. Likewise God’s foreknowledge has a logical relation with future events, not a causal one.

        Rhutchin has heard this before and rejected it before, so again this is for the sake of others who may read this.

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      13. Robert writes, “God’s knowledge is based upon what we will do, if it were not, then his knowledge would not correspond to what will in fact take place.”

        Calvinists say that God’s knowledge is based on His decrees; God decrees all things; God knows all things (is omniscient). Robert and those who oppose Calvinist have been unable to conceive of a way for God to be omniscient through some other way. Sometimes, non-Calvinists just say that God is omniscient but we don’t know how. Robert denies omniscience in saying that God’s knowledge is based on what people do – God cannot know anything until He learns what people will do. We usually see this described as God looking into the future to observe the choices people will make and thus God knows what people will do.

        Robert then denies this in saying, “God **********is*********** omniscient, that means he knows everything, everything that has happened, is happening and will happen. He also knows all possibilities, what could have happened but did not. God does not learn anything, as He knows everything.”

        So, Robert seems to agree with the Calvinists here. It’s a deception. We see this in his description of God’s omniscience – “God’s knowledge is based upon what we will do,” – as not being omniscient. Robert illustrates the confusion on this issue among many non-Calvinists.

        Take Robert’s further explanation, “…God’s knowledge has a logical relation, not a causal relation with what He knows.

        Take the example of God knowing X will happen tomorrow (say me eating at my favorite BBQ place tomorrow). The fact I will eat there tomorrow, does not cause God to know that will occur (nor does God’s knowledge cause what will occur tomorrow, it is not a causal relation). It is a logical relation however, God’s knowledge of what will occur tomorrow/me eating at that BBQ place: has a logical relation to that event. God’s knowledge is true as it corresponds with what will in fact occur.

        It is similar to me knowing that 2 + 2 = 4. My knowing that does not cause it to be true (it is not a causal relation). My knowledge of that fact is true because what I know corresponds to that fact. Likewise God’s foreknowledge has a logical relation with future events, not a causal one.”

        Having lost the argument on omniscience by saying that “God’s knowledge is based upon what we will do,” Robert argues the relationship between God’s knowledge and causality. There is no dispute here. Everyone agrees, (William Craig wrote a book arguing the point) that God’s knowledge of future events is not the cause of those future events.

        The bottom line is that Robert cannot explain how God can be omniscient (but he doesn’t want to accept the Calvinist approach) and ends up arguing that God is not omniscient (apparently, not even understanding that he is doing this.). He would do better just saying that he doesn’t know how God can be omniscient. Of course, if he did that, he would have to concede that the Calvinists could be right.

        So, can anyone help Robert out and explain how God can be omniscient in a way that is different from the Calvinist explanation?

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      14. Our fate can be unchangeable yet still determined not by outside causation but rather our own internal free and autonomous choice among options.

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      15. Les,
        What you state is not logical. You say that at the moment of conversion we could not have chosen otherwise, that it was impossible for us to choose otherwise. It THAT is true, it was BY NECESSITY and we HAD NO CHOICE. By its very nature when we say we HAVE A CHOICE that means we could choose either option. If one option is impossible and one option has to be selected, then the person does not have a choice regarding those two options.

        As I have said many times before, consistent Calvinism leads to the conclusion that every event happens by necessity and that we never ever have a choice. Having a choice is completely illusory if Calvinism is true. You may go through the motions of choosing, but you NEVER HAVE A CHOICE.

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      16. Robert writes, “As I have said many times before, consistent Calvinism leads to the conclusion that every event happens by necessity and that we never ever have a choice. Having a choice is completely illusory if Calvinism is true.”

        This is a false statement. That God’s knowledge makes future events necessary does not negate free will as God’s knowledge includes all free will decisions made by people. If God gives a person faith and then the choice between eternal life and eternal death, the free will choice is obvious – the person, through faith, chooses eternal life (We are saved by grace, through faith.).

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      17. “Our fate can be unchangeable yet still determined not by outside causation but rather our own internal free and autonomous choice among options.”

        As I said earlier, God knowing does not cause. It does make it certain. We truly choose Christ. But I have not seen anyone prove from scripture that man in his natural born state is free or autonomous. That is part of what I was trying to get at with Ernest (who thinks I am unsaved ur to my Reformed theology). Why if one is truly free would he choose eternal torment and hell fire? Rhutchin has asked this repeatedly and no one has proffered a good (IMO) answer. What rational free autonomous being would choose eternal damnation when he has heaven and Jesus before him too? Reformed theology thinks there are scriptural reasons at work in lost man preventing him from choosing Jesus and heaven. Non Reformed folks just say, free will.

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      18. dizerner writes, “You assume people have to be rational, yet that’s just an assumption.”

        Not exactly. Calvinists assume that the unsaved are irrational; demonstrated by the irrational decisions to reject Christ. God then quickens the unsaved giving them a rational mind and the rational mind accepts Christ.

        Let’s look at Isaiah 5:
        1. My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside.
        2 He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well.
        Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit.
        3 “Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard.
        4 What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad?

        The rhetorical question is asked of Israel/Judah. It’s purpose was to show Judah that they had no excuse for their rejection of God and His law. There was no more that God needed to do; that which he did was sufficient. The point of this Scripture is to illustrate the depravity of people. Yet, even as obvious as this Scripture is, Judah continues to reject God – the unsaved are irrational.

        Now apply this to the NT. To the unsaved, God could say, “What more could I have done?” God has done enough for everyone to believe without God having to do anything more. So why do people reject Christ – they are irrational.

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      19. This is one of those ideas that may sound good in a philosophical discussion, but really has not practical meaning. “Man has a choice in salvation but will always choose salvation once he knows the choice.” It’s a nonsense answer. If it were true, one wonders why there are so many scriptures urging us to choose to do things God’s way. We would choose God’s way every time, unless the spirit passed us by and in that case, there is no choice. Why stop at salvation? If the Holy Spirits work always leads to salvation, why would we have a choice in sanctification?

        The crazy thing with these kind of answers, is, no one can live as if they were true. God is not the author of confusion, and he’s not playing these kinds of cute games with us.

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      20. Maybe it might help phrase it this way: “Man has a choice in salvation but will always choose salvation once he knows he has that option.” A person can have options, but what good is it to him if he does not know that they exist. Thus Paul, “…if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.” Ignorance is not always bliss.

        The conumdrum has been to explain what accounts for a person rejecting salvation (other than as the Calvinists have done). You cannot explain it, can you?

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      21. For anyone who doesn’t have your view on grace being irresistible, there is nothing to explain. There are no other options in your view, so it’s absurd to say there is any choice involved.
        Hebrews 3: 7So, as the Holy Spirit says:

        “Today, if you hear his voice,
        8do not harden your hearts..”

        Scripture over and over confirms that men are capable of rejecting or accepting salvation. “How can we escape if we ignore so great a salvation?”
        If you read the Bible the way it is written instead of imposing determinism on it, it sure eliminates a lot of supposed mystery.

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      22. wildswanderer writes, “For anyone who doesn’t have your view on grace being irresistible, there is nothing to explain. There are no other options in your view, so it’s absurd to say there is any choice involved.”

        The conumdrum has been to explain what accounts for a person rejecting salvation (other than as the Calvinists have done). You cannot explain it, can you? If there is no basis for a person to reject salvation, then the conclusion can be drawn that grace is irresistible.

        You cite “Hebrews 3:
        7 So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice,
        8 do not harden your hearts..”

        Hebrews 3 begins, “Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess…Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast…See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”

        Hebrews speaks to believers – Holy brothers – and the issue is not their salvation but living a life of faith just as it was when Israel stood across from the promised land and disobeyed God – “…to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed?” Paul addresses the problem in Romans 7.

        Then, “Scripture over and over confirms that men are capable of rejecting or accepting salvation. “How can we escape if we ignore so great a salvation?”

        The Scriptures many times identify the choice that is before people. No one disputes this What you ignore are those Scriptures that address the ability of people to choose salvation, such as:

        “…the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing…”

        “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires;…The mind of sinful man is death…the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.”

        “There is no-one righteous, not even one; there is no-one who understands, no-one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no-one who does good, not even one….There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

        We must consider the full counsel that the Scriptures give us.

        Liked by 1 person

      23. Now Roger if God is able to call to believers that, according to you, He irresistibly made believers, and they can now accept or reject His voice, according to you, He is certainly able to sufficiently call to an unbeliever so that they will be able to accept or reject His voice, and to leave the response-ability and just accountability with them, without having to force a faith decision out of them.

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      24. brianwagner writes, “if God is able to call to believers that, according to you, He irresistibly made believers, and they can now accept or reject His voice, according to you, He is certainly able to sufficiently call to an unbeliever so that they will be able to accept or reject His voice,…”

        Why is salvation so irresistible to God’s elect while so resistible to the reprobate? The answer, in the Calvinist system, is that the elect are also regenerated and the reprobate are not. Without regeneration, the gospel continues to be foolishness even though the reprobate clearly understand what is being said by the gospel. God’s elect, once regenerated, no longer view the gospel as foolishness.

        Paul describes this difference in Ephesians 2, “…you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But…God…made us alive with Christ.”

        But, then, you already knew all this and are just being playful.

        Setting aside the whole omniscience thing, how is it that anyone sufficiently called by God could reject the gospel – except perhaps, it really was sufficient for some? After all, people are not dumb and certainly not THAT dumb (given a sufficient calling).

        Then, “…and to leave the response-ability and just accountability with them, without having to force a faith decision out of them.”

        Just a nit-pick, but you know that it is spelled with an “i” – responsibility – and the “able” thing is a contrivance that we allow Pastor Flowers to use – because he’s preaching – but you need to come back down to earth and not make like it really means anything.

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      25. Sorry Roger but either you or I are freely resisting God’s will for us in this matter, even after God made us able to obey it. One of us is being foolish, in the flesh, in our resistance, and we are going to suffer for it. Are you saying that God ordained that one of us resist His will on this issue?

        It more normal to read the Scripture that He does the same with everyone, enabling them to accept or reject His will concerning salvation.

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      26. brianwagner writes, “either you or I are freely resisting God’s will for us in this matter, even after God made us able to obey it.”

        Yep. Isn’t that neat? Of course, that just means that we are different in so many ways that affect the decisions we make.

        Then, “Are you saying that God ordained that one of us resist His will on this issue?”

        Well, of course. I am the one who says God is sovereign. God ordains everything. He must or He would not be sovereign (and omniscience is not an issue in this).

        Then, “It more normal to read the Scripture that He does the same with everyone, enabling them to accept or reject His will concerning salvation. ”

        Does the same with everyone – thereby allowing unique, individual differences (education, experiences, mentors, ego, etc.) to account for one to accept (His elect) and one to reject (the reprobate) – or gives everyone the same, equal opportunity to accept or reject His will – whereby all accept or all reject? Presumably (1).

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      27. Dizerner, I know you’ve seen this but I want to copy and paste here (really for Andrew):

        “God, from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.”

        Whether one agrees with Westminster, what you see is the Reformed view.

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      28. Sure but “ordain so as not offer violence to the will nor be the author of sin” seems like a direct contradiction to me. In practice I find autonomy is denied even with the profession it co-exists with determinism.

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      29. “You assume people have to be rational…”

        Well then in your view are all rejectors of the gospel irrational? That doesn’t sound very free to me. And I don’t see that verse establishing what you think it does.

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      30. “Sure but “ordain so as not offer violence to the will nor be the author of sin” seems like a direct contradiction to me.” It would take an amazing person to be able to pull that off. Wait, God is amazing and all powerful and is certainly able to pull off something like that…that “seems” contradictory to finite beings like we are.

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      31. God says “Why would you die, O house of Israel?,” but you expect me to take this passionate and emotional plea to mean “I decreed you to die O house of Israel.” I just can’t buy it.

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      32. dizerner writes, “God says “Why would you die, O house of Israel?,” but you expect me to take this passionate and emotional plea to mean “I decreed you to die O house of Israel.””

        God asks a simple direct question, ““Why would you die, O house of Israel?” The question is cold, hard logic devoid of passion or emotion. We might ask the same question of the unsaved today. It can mean, “Given my grace to you, O house of Israel, why would you reject Me and die?”

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      33. Dizerner, no I don’t think scripture indicates a confused…baffled and puzzled God. You realize what you’re saying? That indicates a lack of knowledge. No, it only SEEMS that way to you. Think of the implications if God is indeed baffled, puzzled, confused. Nope. I’m not buying that at all.

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      34. You’re equating emotions with knowledge—obviously God doesn’t directly correlate with a human being’s experience, but he created us in his image.

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      35. dizerner writes, “…obviously God doesn’t directly correlate with a human being’s experience, but he created us in his image.”

        When we say that “God created us in his image,” we mean that even as God is a spirit, we are also spirit (encased in flesh and blood). God has also made us a soul similarly encased in flesh and blood whereby we have a mind and a will (like God) and emotions (but whether God has emotions like people do is debated.). The spirit part of us died when Adam sinned and the soul was corrupted becoming sinful and this explains what Paul says in Romans 8 – “…the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.” Thus, the need for regeneration (quickening the spirit and providing a new nature) if a person is to be able to accept God’s salvation.

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      36. “You’re equating emotions with knowledge—obviously God doesn’t directly correlate with a human being’s experience, but he created us in his image.”

        Oh, if what you’re doing is talking about emotion and not lacking knowledge, then I can agree with you. Kind of like when my wife refuses to eat Spam. She hates it. I am likely to say, “I don’t get it. Why won’t she put that goodness in her body?” Well I know why, but I still say that out loud.

        Similarly, God knows that natural man hates Him yet may state an emotional phrase such as that. It’s not lack of knowledge. He knows we are all born God haters.

        I get it. Thanks.

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      37. Robert,

        For the record I would choose a steak restaurant.

        Yes, I’m aware of the distinctions. I was really just making a simple statement in agreement with Stanrock. “If we assume that Open Theism is false, then God 100% foreknows those who will believe in Christ…Only (1) Open Theism and/or (2) modal scope fallacies can escape this corollary.”

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      38. Robert,

        “What you state is not logical. You say that at the moment of conversion we could not have chosen otherwise, that it was impossible for us to choose otherwise. It THAT is true, it was BY NECESSITY and we HAD NO CHOICE.”

        I get what you are saying. But I see these things working out in God’s sovereign providence. This analogy may not work, IDK. But Jesus was tempted. I agree with many other theologians that jesus could not have sinned. But the temptation was real according to the bible. So could He have chosen otherwise to sin? I don’t think so. But was the temptation real? I think it was.

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      39. Les,

        I don’t think that the issue of whether or not Jesus could sin is the best example here. This is a complex issue and I believe that rather than getting into that issue. A better way to approach it is to recognize situations where Jesus himself says he could this or do that, but he chooses to do one of them (and his choice is not coerced nor dependent on his impeccability). Here is such an example, he is about to be arrested and he says he has two options, he can allow them to do so. OR he says he can call a legion of angels to deliver him. Now if he had free will he could choose either option, but as he intended to go to the cross he chose to allow them to arrest him. There are a few examples of this in the life of Jesus on the earth, clearly indicating he had choices.

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      40. Robert,

        “What we will in fact do depends on multiple factors (so if a choice involves free will, we could choose this or choose that, God’s foreknowledge is always what we will in fact do, always what we actually do). What we actually end up doing is not the same as what we possibly could have done.”

        That only seems like a theoretical possibility. Anyway, I’m out the door for a while. Back later.

        Liked by 1 person

      41. Dizerner,

        Access to the particulars of Biblical faith is gated hereby. Logic (which is to say, identity and noncontradiction, syllogisms and corollaries, etc.) is a predicate for exegesis. That is, you can’t uphold both pyrrhic metaphysical skepticism and the Bible’s capacity to communicate.

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      42. But stanrock, you have to employ logic to even use that argument, right? Or can you prove that logically? No, I don’t think you can, so you are basically saying something with no logical proof or support, but just an assumption and presupposition out of the blue. If you merely assume your point without proving it, why can’t I assume mine without proving it? (Of course, I don’t think proof is a logically coherent idea anyway.)

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      43. Dizerner, you said, “But stanrock, you have to employ logic to even use that argument, right?”

        That’s indeed the case, but it’s because you asserted a logical contingency in your prior post: It was asserted that reaching the meaning of Biblical faith is contingent upon pyrrhic metaphysical skepticism. This is an appeal to logical predicates, is it not?

        If you really want to fall off the wagon into pyrrhism, you might be charitable to folks with which you engage online, by which I mean, save them some time and effort by posting full-bore gibberish like “aisjdlaslqpwoeiq” and “vm,xzmxcad91-1209sdajk.” This way you don’t — through the veneer of English words, proper sentence construction, and what look like arguments (a practice of logic) — accidentally trick people into thinking you’re reasoning.

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      44. Can you prove that what you write is not “full-bore gibberish”? Can you prove that you are not attempting to trick me—through the veneer of what looks like English words, proper sentence construction, and what looks like arguments?

        Because I don’t think you can, really, and that’s just the standard philosophical of knowing that we know and the problem of verifying anything at all.

        You want to have your cake and eat it too, when it comes to the assumptions that favor your own argument. You can’t prove what you assert any more than I can, nor demonstrate that your logical arguments are any more or less veneer than mine.

        So how is it more charitable for me to let you get away with an unproven assumption you never bring to the light?

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      45. When you commit to pyrrhic metaphysical skepticism you are no longer arguing at all. I will always be assuming that pyrrhic metaphysical skepticism is false whenever I argue (or communicate at all). You can criticize me for having an unproven assumption; that’s fine. But you are self-admittedly noncommittal to “reason itself.”

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      46. So you’re just going to always assume your unproven assumptions are right, and expect me to be wowed and convinced by that.

        See it’s ironic that you straw man my view of metaphysical words by saying I can literally type any letters and they always mean something; that was not even my claim.

        It’s also ironic that under my view is the only real way words CAN have actual meaning, and not be gibberish, Because under your view is a foundation of sand, everything dissolves in a self-refuting recursive self-defeating paradox, yet you use that soap box to call my arguments gibberish.

        Amazing.

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      47. Les Prouty,

        You reason correctly by saying these are theoretical possibilities only. Much of the loudness in this debate comes from a few facts:

        (1) It is very confusing to people that a future or past hypothetical with a necessarily false antecedent can be true.

        (2) Necessity and possibility have distinct meanings on different modal scopes. People in general, but especially common advocates of libertarian free will, commit horrifying modal scope fallacies as a modus operandi.

        (3) “Choice” has several philosophically distinct meanings that are all spelled the same: c-h-o-i-c-e. Any discussion that doesn’t recognize this will get caught in a noisy spin cycle.

        Google “stanrock cup” for an article about how possibilities work under a closed future. You might find it interesting.

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      48. Stanrock,

        “Google “stanrock cup” for an article about how possibilities work under a closed future. You might find it interesting.” I did read it. Not being schooled in philosophy or formal logic, it’s a bit hard for this country boy from Alabama. But if I understood it correctly I think you are right on.

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    2. Can’t see why you need to describe yourself as a deterministic compatibilist. All compatibilists are deterministic, it’s just that some haven’t realised it yet! You seem to also discount the possibility that God can hold the beginning and the end in his hands and let the intervening ‘time’ be as free as He wants it to be. There is no reason to assume that God foreknowing all that happens can be equated to God causing something to happen. If God gives mankind a choice which is genuinely an either or choice, then the result is down to the individual not God. God has not relinquished any of his sovereignty in doing so, but neither has God determined the outcome.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You said, “All compatibilists are deterministic, it’s just that some haven’t realised it yet!”

        I don’t know what you mean by that. Obviously deterministic compatibilists are deterministic, in the same way that Ford F150s are Fords.

        You said, “There is no reason to assume that God foreknowing all that happens can be equated to God causing something to happen.”

        The syllogism above does not need this assumption at all. I’m not at all banking on that assumption (and in fact go out of my way to avoid it, because it forces the conversation into the toxic libertarian muck).

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      2. barker’s woof writes, “If God gives mankind a choice which is genuinely an either or choice, then the result is down to the individual not God. God has not relinquished any of his sovereignty in doing so, but neither has God determined the outcome.”

        Paul says in Romans 8, “the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.” He explains this further in Ephesians 2, “…you used to [follow] the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.” Thus, we can conclude that the unsaved are not given a choice which is genuinely an either/or choice. God, however, must give genuine choice to a person if that person is to be able to believe and this God does for His elect.

        God has determined the outcome of all things because He is not just sovereign but absolutely sovereign. No person acts contrary to his nature. The unsaved have a sinful nature and do what the ruler of this kingdom tells them to do. When God quickens the unsaved and gives them a new nature, that new nature irresistibly leads them to salvation. Regarding inanimate objects, God dictates the path each takes.

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      3. Stanrock: You can stay with your deterministic rubbish then!? 😉 I could make the question easier for you I guess. Can you cite me a compatibilist who is not deterministic? (it was a small dig at those compatibilists who think they aren’t deterministic in their thinking).

        Your assumption that Open Theism is false leads you to conclude that the only viable option is ….
        “As such, it is a corollary of foreknowledge that both salvation and reprobation are irresistible in the modal scope of a closed future.” What I am simply suggesting is a rather less polarised approach, where God is seen as the beginning and the end, the one who holds everything together and who knows the end from the beginning, BUT, does not require that everything between the beginning and end has to be determined be it meticulously or by adopting compatibilism. To hell with reprobation and welcome to salvation freely offered to all who will receive it.

        This does mean of course that your deterministic compatibilism (determinism) becomes rather superfluous at best and that you will have to get your hands dirty with some “toxic libertarian muck”. Welcome to the real world! 🙂

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      4. Barker’s Woof,

        You wrote, “What I am simply suggesting is a rather less polarised approach, where God is seen as the beginning and the end, the one who holds everything together and who knows the end from the beginning, BUT, does not require that everything between the beginning and end has to be determined be it meticulously or by adopting compatibilism.”

        As I already told you — in fact, this is basically a rephrasing of my prior post — the initial syllogism has nothing to say about determinism. The syllogism is wholly true irrespective of what goes into events as they unfold.

        Let me put it a third way. It is a corollary of foreknowledge that both salvation and reprobation are irresistible in the modal scope of a closed future. This is true no matter by what means that future unfolds. This is true independent of any question about human free will, or anything else.

        I am a determinist. My determinism has nothing to do with that syllogism. Libertarian free will doesn’t undo that syllogism. It doesn’t “do” what advocates would like it to do.

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      5. Stanrock: A couple of points.

        1. You say “It is a corollary of foreknowledge that both salvation and reprobation are irresistible in the modal scope of a closed future.” Your going to have to explain what you mean by foreknowledge then, in this instance.

        2. On what basis do you say the future is closed and has it always been closed, if indeed you are saying that the future is closed?

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      6. 1. You say “It is a corollary of foreknowledge that both salvation and reprobation are irresistible in the modal scope of a closed future.” Your going to have to explain what you mean by foreknowledge then, in this instance.

        2. On what basis do you say the future is closed and has it always been closed, if indeed you are saying that the future is closed?

        Hi Barker’s Woof,

        (1) By “foreknowledge” I mean “knowing what shall occur,” whether God is in time (such that “shall occur” is relative to both God and man) or beyond time (such that “shall occur” is relative to man). Everything after “whether” is an issue I leave unresolved. No matter whether someone believes in an open future or a closed future, almost everyone agrees in a closed, single past. As such, “shall occur” is “which future prospect shall resolve to become the single past,” and yields a definition that should be acceptable under both ideas.

        (2) I’m not — at this time — arguing for a closed future. Rather, I am offering a syllogism: IF closed future AND foreknowledge, THEN human irresistibility on that modal scope. Since Prof. Flowers shares my belief in both antecedents, he should also share my belief in the consequent, and begin to explore compatibilistic theology and how it can be syncretized with traditional Arminianism.

        It’s similar to how, since Prof. Flowers and I share a belief in God, I would not — at this time — feel a burden to argue for the existence of God. It is an antecedent we share, so we can limit our explorations to corollaries therefrom.

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      7. Stanrock: I think we will also need to pare down on what we mean by ‘shall’. If by foreknowledge you are referring to what shall as in ‘must’ occur then that’s a whole lot different to thinking of shall in terms of what ‘does’ or possible ‘can’ occur. Personally, I don’t see why accepting a closed future has to mean any adoption of ‘human irresistibility’ due to God’s foreknowledge. This is to my mind accepting a rather limited stance on God’s ability to work with and effect change without having to absolutely decree such and such. God knows us through and through and is able to work with us on that basis in such a way that there is no need to adopt the compatibilism you appear to favour.

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      8. A closed future means that future events perfectly known shall, and must, occur. If anything else occurs, then “perfectly known” is disproved. As such, foreknowledge (future events perfectly known) and a closed future yield irresistibility (since successfully resisting what is foreknown would be counter to what is foreknown; the foreknowledge would be shown in error).

        The only way “out” of ultimate irresistibility is to deny foreknowledge and/or a closed future (or deny the use of logical deduction in theology altogether).

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      9. I don’t see that you’ve made your case. Scripture is quite clear that God knows the end from the beginning. But it is also quite clear that we have responsibility to make choices. Hence I would argue that the final outcome is fixed, ie God knows ‘the’ end, but that we have flexibility inbetween then and now. God is ‘working’ his purposes out. He has not ‘worked’ everything out but knows that he is going to achieve what he wants to achieve. At least, that’s how I see things!

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      10. Barker’s Woof,

        I agree that Scripture is clear that we make choices and are held responsible. But there are coherent articulations of choicemaking and responsibility even under compatibilism; indeed, it can be argued that choicemaking and responsibility are even MORE coherent under compatibilism. As such, “Scripture talks about making choices” and “Scripture talks about being held accountable” aren’t even incompatible with determinism, let alone incompatible with ultimate irresistibility. Something beyond this — something inarguably incompatibilistic with ultimate irresistibility — would need to be shown.

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      11. I fail to see how something like choice making and being responsible for ones actions can be made more coherent. They either are coherent or they’re not. I don’t see this as a half-way house. There just is no need to introduce compatibilism when a ‘true’ choice has already been found to be acceptable.

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      12. Adequate determinists, including compatibilists, don’t consider libertarian free will acceptable, that is, we don’t think it’s coherent. In fact, we’d assert that it has never been positively defined in a coherent way, and that this ambiguity has made it utile in rhetoric, including philosophical and theological rhetoric. We’d assert that “true choice” is the actualization of one among several prospects in one’s mind (and one can do this under determinism), and “true responsibility” is ascribing effects to their causal cofactors, in service of repairing or encouraging those cofactors in the future (and one can do this under determinism). I have a lot of material about all of this, if you’re interested.

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      13. I suspect that the reason ‘freewill’ has never been “positively defined an a coherent way” (according to those who don’t hold to it) may be down to the fact that they are free to think otherwise. From a scriptural point of view, I see the Bible saying “choose” all the time and hence I take this pretty much at face value and believe that God is not offering me something which doesn’t exist, even if neither you or I can quite pin it down philosophically!

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      14. Barker’s Woof,

        The face-value of “choose” is “actualize among prospects in mind.” The baggage of libertarian feelings are extraneous, that is, they are a proposal beyond the basic action.

        Consider the Jewish theological factions we find in the first century. The Sadducees were wholly about libertarian free will, the Pharisees saw a limited context for it, and the Essenes rejected it. All three sects read the word “choose” in Scripture but did not necessarily impute the aforementioned extranea upon it.

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      15. There’s no justification in equating or associating the word ‘libertarian’ with feelings, extraneous or otherwise. In a situation which is perfectly balanced from the point of view of any ‘extraneous feelings’ the person is left with a straightforward either or. You choose, one or the other. In practice of course, we normally do ‘feel’ one way or the other and therefore use to to make up our minds. But you can’t write ‘feelings’ out of it as though they mean nothing. They are part of the equation.

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      16. Barker’s Woof,

        The debate is about our feelings and perceptions — phenomena — and what can and cannot adequately explain those feelings/perceptions, even if the explanation is complicated and counterintuitive. I’m not being dismissive of phenomena in general, but sometimes phenomena can be deceptive, and we must use tools to stay open to criticism about what phenomena appears “obvious.” Optical illusions, like the “starry sky dome,” are some of the best examples of this.

        It’s important to point out that, when confronted with mutually exclusive prospects (e.g., “have some dinner” vs. “have no dinner”), we choose one XOR the other. “XOR” is a term borrowed from software engineering that captures the exclusivity. English “or” is ambiguous, because it could mean inclusive-or, but could mean exclusive-or, and as such can be very confusing unless we’re careful to explicate with philosophical rigor.

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      17. Sorry, but I can’t readily relate what you’re saying to the topic in hand. I’m not interested in discussing off topic so unless you can bring this back to

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      18. Barker’s Woof,

        You inferred that I was writing-off feelings as if they’re irrelevant. I replied that I wasn’t doing this — feelings are what we’re trying to explain — but that sometimes the easiest, “gut” explanations are poor.

        If you’d like to go back to the mainline discussion, reply again to my comment beginning “The face-value of ‘choose,'” this time knowing that in talking about feelings, I’m not writing them off; I’m simply saying that they are extraneous to what “choice” means. Note again my remark about the first century Jewish factions and how, reading the same Scripture replete with the word “choice,” nonetheless had very different ideas about free will and fate.

        In brief, the Bible containing the term “choose” is not a champion for libertarian notions of free will. “Choose” at its most basic just means “actualizing from among prospects in mind” and is perfectly compatible with determinism.

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      19. You said: “Choose” at its most basic just means “actualizing from among prospects in mind” and is perfectly compatible with determinism.

        I’m happy with that as a statement. But the same could also be said to be true of a freewill choice. I really do think the onus is on those who want to go down the compatibilist route to show how deciding between options in mind is any different from making a simple freewill choice. Can’t see it myself! 🙂

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      20. bring this back to the matter in hand then I don’t think this is going to go any further. I’ve seen plenty of comment lampooning ‘freewill’ but in truth most of it amounts to little more than bluff. The ability to make an either or choice where there is no or very little obvious reason to choose one option over another may be deemed to be simply intuitive thinking, but I think the onus is on those who disagree with freewill to come up with a reason for NOT accepting what is intuitively right! After all, it may ‘feel’ right because it ‘IS’ right.
        apologies for the half comment BTW 😉

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      21. Barker’s Woof,

        You wrote, “The ability to make an either or choice where there is no or very little obvious reason to choose one option over another may be deemed to be simply intuitive thinking, but I think the onus is on those who disagree with freewill to come up with a reason for NOT accepting what is intuitively right!”

        I have the reason for you, with some diagrams. Google “stanrock cup” and Ctrl-F for the phrase “equally plausible options.”

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      22. Barker’s Woof,

        You wrote, “I’m happy with that as a statement. But the same could also be said to be true of a freewill choice. I really do think the onus is on those who want to go down the compatibilist route to show how deciding between options in mind is any different from making a simple freewill choice. Can’t see it myself!”

        This is a nice breakthrough. If you’re happy with a statement about choicemaking that has it compatible with determinism, then I’m happy with our agreement.

        Typically, libertarian free will is defined in a negative way in order to be “incompatibilistic.” In other words, libertarian free will is typically “that about choice which doesn’t work under adequate determinism.” I don’t know of a more precise definition than that, and different people have different proposals. When I say “libertarian feelings,” I refer to the fact that (1) my thoughts/behaviors, and those of others, can surprise me and feel absolutely spontaneous, (2) I lack the sensation of the emergence of my thoughts from what causes them, giving me the sense that they ‘come from nowhere,’ and (3) when I think about the future, I vividly imagine prospects across an array of ‘parallel worlds.’

        1 + 2 + 3 yield an impression that seems incompatible with determinism at first glance, but when we noodle it out, we discover that 1 + 2 + 3 are totally explainable feelings/perceptions under determinism.

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      23. I think you jump for joy too soon. I certainly don’t define my ‘freewill’ in terms of what doesn’t work under determinism! As I said, for me, freewill is about the ability to make an either or choice even when the outcome is not crucial. The world is not going to fall to bits because I choose strawberry ice cream when plain vanilla is on offer. I like both, but I can choose which ever and I don’t need or require compatibilism in any shape to make that choice, or indeed to justify making it!

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      24. I believe the same thing under determinism. Given vanilla and chocolate and an affinity for both, I choose which one I slightly prefer in that moment. Or I could choose to commit to the future result of a coinflip. These things are all “cool” with determinism.

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      25. This is why I don’t see the need to adopt compatibilism. It doesn’t in the end do any more than ‘freewill’ plus, as far as the Christian side of compatibilism goes, it still leaves God as the primary selector of who’s elect and who’s not which is not what I see in scripture. So, all in all, that’s why I reject it, cool though it may be!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pastor Flowers writes, “Calvin himself refers to the doctrine of reprobation as a “dreadful decree” which leads to unfathomable mysteries.”

    Not exactly, as I understand Calvin.

    Calvin wrote, “I again ask how it is that the fall of Adam involves so many nations with their infant children in eternal death without remedy unless that it so seemed meet to God? Here the most loquacious tongues must be dumb. The decree, I admit, is, dreadful; and yet it is impossible to deny that God foreknow what the end of man was to be before “he made him, and foreknew, because he had so ordained by his decree. Should any one here inveigh against the prescience of God, he does it rashly and unadvisedly. For why, pray, should it be made a charge against the heavenly Judge, that he was not ignorant of what was to happen?”

    The doctrine of reprobation refers to predestination to damnation and is the the reverse side of the coin of the doctrine of election. That is not what Calvin spoke of as the “dreadful decree.” The dreadful decree was the condemnation of ALL people to eternal death without remedy except as God provided. He added, ““For as it belongs to His wisdom to foreknow all future events, so it belongs to his power to rule and govern them by his hand.” He then quotes Augustine, ““Let us confess…what we believe with the greatest truth, that the God and Lord of all things…both foreknows that evil was to arise out of good, and knew that it belonged to his most omnipotent goodness to bring good out of evil, rather than not permit evil to be, and so ordained the life of angels and men as to show in it, first, what free-will could do; and, secondly, what the benefit of his grace and his righteous judgment could do,”

    God provided Christ for salvation and following Augustine, God has shown “first, what free-will could do; (i.e., only reject salvation) and then “secondly, what the benefit of his grace and his righteous judgment could do,” (bring a person to salvation).

    The dreadful decree is that all are condemned by Adam’s sin and no person can be saved saved by their own efforts and when God provides a means to be saved, people freely reject God’s offer of salvation.

    So, predestination may present unfathomable mysteries but but these would be different that those presented by the “dreadful decree” wherein God decreed to create Adam/Eve knowing that they would sin and plunge all of mankind into condemnation.

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      1. dizerner writes, “Seems to be Calvin simply confuses causation with foreknowledge, then calls it ‘the decree.’”

        The cause, as Calvin noted, was Adam’s sin. The decree was that Adam should freely sin if he wanted and God would not intervene even though God knew that Adam’s sin would condemn mankind.

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    1. Rhutchin: You quote …… “Not exactly, as I understand Calvin.” Then maybe…. you just don’t understand Calvin?!

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      1. Barker’s woof, “Then maybe…. you just don’t understand Calvin?!’

        Perhaps. Given that you were unable to offer an explanation of Calvin, maybe it is you who does not understand Calvin.

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      2. Not sure what you mean there rhutchin. I have plenty of explanations for Calvin; young, intelligent but inexperienced, failed to peer review his work and relied on an inexperienced greek scholar aka Augustine who had never fully shaken off his Manichaeism; who then proceeded to systematically rubbish anybody who opposed him and if that didn’t work, he physically had them terminated. Kind of sums Calvin up. What part did I get wrong? (rhetorical … I don’t really want an answer thanks)

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      3. barker’s woof writes, “Not sure what you mean there…What part did I get wrong? (rhetorical … I don’t really want an answer thanks) ”

        You get an answer anyway. Pastor Flowers wrote, “Calvin himself refers to the doctrine of reprobation as a “dreadful decree” which leads to unfathomable mysteries.”

        I said that Calvin was NOT referring to the “doctrine of reprobation” as the dreadful decree. The “dreadful decree” was the condemnation of the human race by Adam’s sin. It has nothing to do with predestination or God’s choices of whom to save and whom not to save. I quoted that which Calvin wrote when he mentioned the dreadful decree and I see nothing in what Calvin wrote in that section that has anything to do with predestination or the doctrine of reprobation

        You responded, “Then maybe…. you just don’t understand Calvin?!”

        So, if you think that I have misunderstood Calvin on this point how about showing how you think Calvin’s use of the term, “dreadful decree,” refers to predestination as Pastor Flowers stated.

        Here is what Calvin wrote, “I again ask how it is that the fall of Adam involves so many nations with their infant children in eternal death without remedy unless that it so seemed meet to God?…The decree, I admit, is, dreadful…”

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  3. Pastor Flowers writes, “Considering how difficult the Calvinistic doctrines are to accept, one must think the scriptures are overwhelmingly convincing in order to persuade anyone to adopt them, right?”

    Let’s look at the major Calvinistic doctrines in view here. They are:
    1. God is omniscient and knows all that will happen from day 1 in Genesis to the last day in Revelation. Thus, God knows with certainty those who are to be saved and those that will be lost eternally.
    2. No person is ever saved without help from God, first to make salvation possible through Christ’s death, and second to provide such grace and faith as is necessary for a person to choose salvation.

    Relatively few people have a problem with God being omniscient. A greater number believe that people are born inherently good and have the capacity to understand their lostness and accept Christ and that God need only send Christ to the cross for their sins thereby allowing them to make their own free, personal decision about salvation.

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  4. Pastor Flowers writes, “Ephesians 1:1-11

    Non-Calvinistic Rendering: …Paul is speaking of what “the faithful in Christ” (vs. 1) have been predestined to become, not about God preselecting certain individuals before the foundation of the world to be irresistibly transformed into believers.”

    I don’t think this is the issue with the Calvinists. The key point by White is, “…the time of this choice by the Father is likewise important: before the creation of the world.” v4 says, “he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” So, something happened before God created the world. What happened? – “God chose us” where “us” includes Paul plus the Ephesian believers. Chose for what purpose? – “…to be holy and blameless in his sight.” To be holy and blameless is to be saved.

    So, in objection to the Calvinist understanding of this verse, you must object to one of the following:
    1. That something related to to salvation happened before God created the world.
    2. That something was that God made a choice related to salvation of certain individuals before He created the world.
    3. That the choice God made was that certain people (knows to Him by omniscience) would be holy and blameless (or become holy and blameless in the course of time).
    4. That the term “holy and blameless” refers to salvation.

    If you do not object to one of these points, then you are not arguing against that which Calvinism takes from this verse.

    When you say, “The Calvinist contends that certain individuals were chosen before the world began and predestined to become believers, but that is simply not what the text says,” I think you misunderstand the Calvinists. Dealing with this verse alone, the Calvinist concludes that God chose certain people to be holy and blameless (i.e., to be saved). You introduce a strawman by bringing “predestination” into the argument at this point. Those chosen by God were then predestinated to certain outcomes.

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  5. Here in the first part of Ephesions Paul is sketching in broad strokes, the great and glorious plan God had to redeem his people and creation and in verse 13 we are told how one becomes one of the kingdom people who are part of that redemption, by believing. He is praising God for the grace he freely gives and yet Calvinists want to reduce this down to God arbitrarily choosing sides for His Chess match, “You over there with the black pieces and you over here with the white.” Seems like a classic case of missing the forest because of trying to segregate the trees.

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  6. Leighton,

    This is a very good and helpful post here. Providing these “proof texts” and examples of how they can be addressed is useful for non-Calvinists. I have slight disagreements with a few of your points, 🙂 but this is a very good article, thanks for sharing it.

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  7. How can all of you, my friends, Stan, Les, Roger, David, and Robert, carry on this conversation without me? I am glad you at least gave a nod to the assumption of Open Theism, before ignoring it! 🙂 How’s this for an acrostic for Open Theism? –
    O – Omniscience Scripturally Delimited
    P – Partially Determined Future
    E – Eternal Sequential Reality
    N – Non-contradictory Theodicy
    And if you need a flower, change the letters around and add a Y – PEONY – Y – Yielded Dogmatism to Scriptural Clarity

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      1. Hi David, I don’t think my response will satisfy you, since I do not think that you hold to the law of non-contradiction in logic. But based on the eternal sequential reality, if at creation, God freely allowed for the future to be only partially determined, then Adam’s sin and every sin following his has their personal causation and their blame tied directly to the individuals who commit them even if God’s permissive will and delayed justice in each instance is also true and often hard to understand.

        The Calvinist determinism is contradictory because it is has tied up God’s free-will within a wrong view of perfection and an unbiblical immutable omniscience borrowed from Plato. So God for the Calvinist had to create this world that had Adam’s and every other sin all predetermined before any individual person’s will was even created to function on its own.

        The Molinist gets rid of the eternal determinism, but then still chooses to believe that God determines one particular human history, which still has every sin determined as settled before any human will is created to function on its own. And we must take the Molinist’s word for it that God picked a completed human history that has man responsible for his own sin that he would also freely commit. It doesn’t bother him, or his Calvinist brother, that the Scripture reads as if man truly has counter-causal freedom for much of his decisions, or that there is nothing in Scripture that suggests that God had to limit His freedom by making all His choices for human history ahead of creation.

        The Arminian subscribes to the same settled human history as the Calvinist and Molinist, and just decides to accept a contradiction that knowledge of the future somehow comes to God from an outside source. But knowledge of any future must be created by God Himself from within His own infinite understanding of all possibilities that the future can hold, which are consistent with His nature. Continuing to make determinations sequentially consistent with His nature does not cause God to be any less perfect.

        That’s about the best I can do to respond to your curiosity. 🙂

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      2. Of course I hold ot the law of non-contradiction, just not universally in all realities. Much of logic is framework dependent.

        I understand your argument that God can’t do certain supernatural things you don’t understand, but how does that solve the problem of evil better? I really cant make that connection.

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      3. Good morning David! I am sorry that I was unable to explain in a satisfying way how the O, P, E help make the N in my understanding of the problem of evil.

        I am glad you hold to the law of non-contradiction. I would think it may be better to say the Scripture only reveals one reality with different dimensions. “In Him we live and move and have our being.” God is the ultimate reality and the source of all the dimensions we experience in it. And there are dimensions to that reality that we will never experience. However, it breaks the law of non-contradiction to say two dimensions that are opposite can exist in the same reality together. For instance, it is a contradiction to have reality be both eternally sequential and eternally non-sequential.

        I am not sure how I was making the argument “that God can’t do certain supernatural things [I] don’t understand.” God does the supernatural, and I don’t always understand how He does it. But the ability to suspend, circumvent, or amplify the laws of the natural is not illogical.

        You will have to give me an example where reality has to be contradictory for Him to do the supernatural. You will also have to give me some Scripture revelation to prove multiple disconnected “realities” unless you agree there are only dimensions of one reality. Thanks.

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    1. You still didn’t make one supporting argument for your theodicy having less contradictions. That’s what I care about, not you misrepresenting my other arguments.

      I’m sad too, as it sounded interesting. O well.

      Bless anyway!

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  8. Thanks for this. Of your major three verses: Rom 9, Eph 1, and John 6; 2 are by Paul. John’s dialogue is not clearly Calvinist.

    But note the irony. The grand themes of both Romans and Ephesians are that the Gentiles are included God’s salvation plans. The kingdom is not restricted to the Jews, it is for everyone. This is the revealed mystery in the last days (Eph 3:6).

    And the Calvinists take a few verses from these books about how the kingdom is so much more inclusive and expansive than the Jews ever imagined, and teach that the salvation is restricted to the few that God selectively chooses.

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    1. bethyada writes, “And the Calvinists take a few verses from these books about how the kingdom is so much more inclusive and expansive than the Jews ever imagined, and teach that the salvation is restricted to the few that God selectively chooses.”

      Actually everyone (aside from the Universalists) teach that God selectively chooses His elect. The issue is how God comes to make those choices (whether conditional or unconditional).

      Calvinists do not teach that salvation is restricted to the few that God selectively chooses. Salvation is available to each and every person even under the Calvinist system. Salvation is not restricted by God’s election but by the person’s depravity.

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      1. In Calvinism, God “elects” to impute depravity for Adam’s sin upon innocent souls.

        Actually, the Calvinist won’t admit it, but God’s mind didn’t actually make any choice about anything… for it was immutably stuck from all eternity on creating this human history that lasts forever and, according to them, makes the Scripture read mostly anthropomorphically, for God really doesn’t have any freewill to make any choices. It only appears that way, and certainly man doesn’t!

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      2. brianwagner writes, “Actually, the Calvinist won’t admit it, but God’s mind didn’t actually make any choice about anything… for it was immutably stuck from all eternity on creating this human history that lasts forever…”

        No one knows how God thinks and makes decisions – God says, “..my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways…” and then God does not explain further. Such things cannot be known. Some Calvinists speculate to say that God has always known what He would do. Of, course, could there have been a point when God did not know that He would create an universes? Deciding such rests completely in His will.

        Nonetheless, there is nothing preventing God knowing that He would create an universe and this came about through His free will. I tend to doubt that you can add anything substantive to the discussion of these things – who really can?

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      3. Just one quick comment Roger.

        You said – “God says, ‘..my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways…’ and then God does not explain further.”

        Actually, God does explain further… He says they are “higher,” which casually infers that there is some lower level of correspondence in His thinking that totally agrees with ours.

        Otherwise, we would have to say God does not speak truly, univocally, at all in Scripture. And when He says, “Come let us reason together,” to the unregenerate mind, He is really deceptively inviting that person to do something He knows full well that person cannot do. I choose not to believe God is so deceptive in His Words.

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      4. brianwagner writes, “Actually, God does explain further… He says they are “higher,” which casually infers that there is some lower level of correspondence in His thinking that totally agrees with ours.”

        8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.
        9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

        Not that casual. The term “higher” is relative to people – God’s thinking is higher than that of people.

        Then, “Otherwise,…”

        One mistake leads to another – there is no “otherwise.”

        Then, “…we would have to say God does not speak truly, univocally, at all in Scripture.

        Many people say that the Scriptures can have more than one meaning. Nonetheless, God is consistent in all He says and does not contradict Himself. Even you probably believe this.

        Finally, “And when He says, “Come let us reason together,” to the unregenerate mind, He is really deceptively inviting that person to do something He knows full well that person cannot do. I choose not to believe God is so deceptive in His Words.”

        God moves through His prophets to speak to the people. He does not dictate but takes advantage of the personalities of the prophets, who inspired by the Holy Spirit to speak, do so in their own words reflecting their education and experience. That God says, “Come let us reason together,” speaks to the person’s attitude toward Him and it is man’s attitude toward God that keeps him from reasoning with God.

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      5. brianwagner writes, “We will have to continue to disagree on this one!”

        Yeah, and one of us gets to be in error. Isn’t that exciting! As James says, “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” Of course, it doesn’t mean that either one of us loses our salvation; it just means that life becomes less fun for one of us – of course, the one who is wrong will probably never know the difference; it’s like having alzheimer’s, I think.

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      6. “Salvation is available to each and every person even under the Calvinist system.” Rhutchin, great to hear you now believe that Christ died for the whole world.

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      7. Don Johnson writes, “(Quoting me)“Salvation is available to each and every person even under the Calvinist system.” Rhutchin, great to hear you now believe that Christ died for the whole world.”

        That salvation is available to all does not say that Christ died for all, so you have drawn a false inference from my statement. Certainly, if we believe that God is omniscient, then we believe that God knew the names of those who would be saved and those who would not be saved before He created the world. In creating the world, God set in motion those events that would bring about the salvation of those known to him and none other. In sending His son to die for the sin of the world, God’s purpose was to effect the salvation of His elect and none other. Nonetheless, that salvation provided by God for His elect was equally available to the reprobate who rejected it (and this outcome was known to God).

        Are we to presume from your statement that you side with brianwagner on the issue of omniscience?

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  9. Calvinism: Romans 8:7-9 = Total depravity

    Your response: Mankind’s inability to submit to God’s law does not prove their inability to trust in Christ who fulfilled the law for mankind. Mankind’s inability to please God while acting in the flesh does not prove mankind’s inability to respond to the spiritual appeal of God so as to receive his spirit.

    And which is more in line with what Paul has just said in Romans 7!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Thank God for the revival and resurgence of the Doctrines of Grace in the Southern Baptist Denomination/Convention!!!!!!! By the Grace of God, Through Faith in Christ, Because of Christ, To the Glory of God. It is just a matter of time before this site becomes a ghost town/site. Not rejoicing sinfully. Just knowing I have been for a few weeks revived by the Spirit of God to contend earnestly for the faith. Not that I will be posting often on here (maybe from time to time) but the time is coming when I will be making a big challenge to Soteriology101 and who I feel are the two main scholars here, that being Professor Flowers and Professor Wagner. I am working industriously even now on one point of Reformed Soteriology that will dismantle it and cause it to self-destructive. Not just I, but others present and from the past and that anointing Brian Wagner my friend in Christ reminded me of. This site will continue to exist, but will not be taken seriously. The brothers in Christ here I know are sincere godly holy men of God. (non-calvinist) That does not mean their belief system is closer and more pure to Holy Divine Revelation of Holy Scripture than the Reformed Faith or I should say what they like,the nickname of Calvinism. Leighton Flowers and Brian Wagner are in my estimation the two most influential people on here. Leighton writes the blogs that I feel are easily refuted and Brian defends them with one or two paragraphs and a few proof texts. That is what this site has come to. Proof texting, and a few witty sentences, especially from the non-calvinist. Notice the Calvinist Post are longer and more in depth. I have on my own wordpress site some deep in depth work that will challenge the non-calvinist at their weakest point and surprisingly the Calvinist’s strongest point. I am working about 6 hours a day on this project. The work is on my own wordpress site. Let’s just say as a teaser, Brain is about to learn the true meaning of 1 John 2:2 that he thinks supports his position so strongly. I am also going to offer so many Calvinist proof texts that it will blow the minds of the non-calvinists that visit this site. Since Professor Leighton seems to like Cavlinist proof texts.
    This is not a war, we are discussing this in the love of Christ. Believe me I know as Brian has openly rebuked me for my tone a few times and rightfully so. I am suprised Professor Leighton has not booted me off here, he has a Pastor’s heart I think waiting to see in patience if I will practice longsuffering and patience in the love of Christ. Thank you Professor Leighton. Remember, Professor Leighton and Professor Brian Wagner are godly and holy men of God. I may say, even more so than many of their opponents. But their doctrine is definitely faulty and in error. So do not do as I have done in the past and be disrespectful, speak the truth in love and reverence when correcting those who are in opposition
    It will be some time before I release the IED’s, the cruise missiles, and the atomic bombs and the nuclear weapons, but believe me with the humility in Christ, it is coming..

    Even more important than all of this is that our Salvation be brought to its ultimate conclusion, Christlikeness. An outward manifestation of the inward beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ. I think in some way God is using this soteriology101 to stir up the gift of God within me, not just toward Calvinism, but the whole counsel of God. I have told Brian if it comes down that Calvinism is wrong I will immediately begin cultivating a Christ Like mind in the truth of God’s Holy Word by allowing the Holy Spirit to renew my mind. Let God be true and every man a Liar. Let your truth be true to me Lord and all my brothers and sisters in Christ.

    God bless to all and may we all grow in the grace of holiness and in the knowledge of knowing Jesus intimately in our everyday life touching everything

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  11. Definite atonement and something a little extra from your truly: Definite Atonement. Limited Atonement, Particular Redemption and Something Extra From Yours Truly

    Quote: The atoning work of Christ was not designed to make men savable but to actually purchase their salvation by His own precious blood ( 1 Peter 1:19).

    Limited Atonement is the answer to the question, “For whose sins did Christ atone?” The Bible teaches that Christ died for those whom the Father gave Him to Save (Matt. 26:28, John 17:9). Specifically, Christ died for the elect, which refers to all who will be born again (John 3:3, Ephesians 5:25) Belief I the doctrine of a redemption provides an incentive for evangelistic zeal and undergirds and presentation of the gospel. With confidence the soul-winner can share the Scripture, which promises that Christ will not lose an that the Father has given to Him.
    “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37)

    The death of Christ was not one of potential atonement for all people through it is ample to save all. (Efficient to save all yes, but not it’s purpose as proclaimed from Divine Revelation, Efficient and Effectual only for the elect in Christ, Ephesians 1:4) Rather, Christ died to accomplish a real redemption for His people. On the night of the Lord’s birth, the angels declared that Jesus had come to “save His people from their sins (Matt. 1:21). The atoning work of Christ was not designed to make men savable but to actually purchase their salvation by His own precious blood ( 1 Peter 1:19). While the work of the Cross is sufficient for all, it is effectual for the the elect only and not for the non-elect. At Calvary Christ accomplished that which was real and lasting. The gospel message goes forth that Christ died for sinners and none will perish for whom he died. Therefore, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31) Stanford E. Murrel

    PS. My own personal add on. When the Reformed (Calvinist) preacher boldly stands and preaches the gospel of saving grace and mercy calling sinners to repentance, the Calvinistic preacher does this indiscriminately because he does not know who the elect or chosen in Christ is. The Calvinistic Preacher commands while preaching indiscriminately to all sinners in the sound of His voice, “He that ears to hear” (speaking of the Holy Spirit’s inner calling of the sinner in connection with the external calling, making it effectual, the gospel, the word of God, the instrument of regeneration) Not all are given ears to hear, “what thus says the Lord”. But the Calvinistic Preacher indiscriminately preaches the saving gospel to all sinners in the sound of his voice commanding them to repent of their sins, to turn to God and flee in faith and embrace Christ as the one who will save them from the wrath of God who is a consuming fire. Because it is a terrible thing to be a “Sinner in the Hands of an Angry God, Johathan Edwards) and As it is said, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” The non-calvinist will say, why do you have to exhort the sinner not to harden his heart if the Effectual power and calling of the Spirit is Irresistible. Easy, because God works all things according to the council of His will, and He has determined the instrumentality of the word, the very Sword of the Holy Spirit, which is the word of God, the preaching of the gospel, as part of the means in saving His elect or Chosen in Christ before the Foundation of the World, that being in mind of God from all eternity. The Calvinistic Preacher will also let God do the discriminating, as God knows which individual sinners are the ones he personally gave to Jesus (John 6:37) and none will be lost, because it is impossible for Jesus not to do the will of the Father, but as they are drawn by the Almighty effectual irresistible power of the Holy Spirit, they will be raised up on the last day (John 6:44). Meaning those Christ came to save will persevere in holiness and faith will be preserved by the power of the Father Himself. Who can thwart or defeat His purpose who works all things according to the council of His Holy Will. There is no “getting up and walking down the isle to be saved” (started around 1830 or 1832 by Charles Finney, man-made doctrine usurping the doctrine of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.) There will be no “repeat after me “the sinner’s prayer” which is non-biblical and these two man-centered traditions have produced an infinite (used figuratively) amount of false conversions to Christ. You ask, “if they did not get up from the pew and walk down the isle and repeat the “sinners” prayer how are they saved. Salvation is of the Lord, (Jonah 2:9) he is well able through the Spirit and the Word to do His work of Saving People. When one is brought to the place of conviction of sin, fear of the wrath of God and hell, he will cry out for saving grace and mercy as God’s word says:

    Romans 10:19 – For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

    How did the church know if anyone was saved. First of all they kept praying God would bless the word of the Gospel to the sinner’s heart. If the sinner was truly born again and by faith embraced Christ, who would continue to come to church, not neglecting the assembling of himself with the brethren whom he/she now has come to love. And there would be seen within them a slow but gradual growing in holiness, in the fear of the Lord, in all the virtues of Christ. A careful listening to the teaching and preaching of the principles of the word of God, and a diligence through prayer to apply those principles to his/her life.

    We need to take our hands off of God’s work, because Salvation belongs to the Lord, because:

    Psalms 65:4 – Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple!

    You see “Blessed, Highly Favored, Spiritual Prosperous” is the one God “CHOOSES AND BRINGS (ANOTHER TRANSLATION SAYS CAUSES). Look at the benefits and blessings of being blessed, chosen, caused to be brought near.

    God is well able to save the souls of sinners without Pastors trying to persuade sinners to “walk that isle” and repeat that “sinner’s prayer” Just faithfully preach the Gospel and watch the Almighty’s word not return to him void, and the Son, Jesus, will be satisfied (Isaiah 53) when he sees all His spiritual seed saved that the Father has given to Him, (John 6:37). Some sow, some water, but only God can give that increase in manifold blessings. It is by the Grace of God, through faith in Christ, because of Christ, to the Glory of our God for now and ever. Amen. So let it be O’ God. Let us see the salvation of souls in the thousands glorified in Christ Jesus.

    Ephesians 1:11 – In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will. Just a missile cruise. Maybe some IED’s later

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    1. Good morning Kevin – I agree with these four statements from what you have quoted or written!
      “The death of Christ …. Efficient to save all yes…”
      “…the work of the Cross is sufficient for all…”
      “The … Preacher commands while preaching indiscriminately to all sinners in the sound of His voice, “He that ears to hear” (speaking of the Holy Spirit’s inner calling of the sinner in connection with the external calling, making it effectual, the gospel, the word of God, the instrument of regeneration)”
      “…[he] indiscriminately preaches the saving gospel to all sinners in the sound of his voice commanding them to repent of their sins, to turn to God and flee in faith and embrace Christ as the one who will save them from the wrath of God who is a consuming fire.”

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      1. Hey he is back.!! 🙂 Yes efficient for all I allow, but do think or believe Divine Revelation is saying, it can be efficient for individuals without exception, and do not think that is what the the Holy Mind of God the Father’s intention was. It’s holy divine purpose, is to be efficient and effectual only for the elect those chosen in Christ before the foundation of the World Ephesians 1:4 1 John 2:2. So that you will better understand 1 John 2:2 without a couple of paragraphs and few proof texts, hop on over to my wordpress site and engage with every word, every sentence every paragraph, the entire argument. ( challenge you in Christ) for a better understanding of 1 John 2:2. Here is the link below:

        https://reformedsoteriologyblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/06/1-john-22-definite-atonement-particular-grace/

        A lot more to come on 1 John 2:2, so much confusion and misunderstanding from the non-calvinist on this particular verse. It is as if they refuse to see what the reformed scholar has to say on this verse. (are you scared to engage it in depth :)) Your right is does not have to be a reformed or Calvinist preacher (at least I think that is the point you are trying to make) but I said Reformed or Calvinist because I am basically defending Definite Atonement, which I believe is the Calvinist Strength and the non-calvinist weakness. So,Efficient to save all yes, the Calvinist will admit, God’s purpose and intent we so no and do not allow. You shall call His name Jesus and He shall save His people from their sins. “His people, those scattered abroad”. And he is not talking about the possibility of salvation, The word of God is guaranteeing the Salvation of those the Father gave to Jesus who he also guaranteed those the Father gave to him will will come to HIm in Faith believing (John 6:37) and i no wise will cast or drive them out.

        Welcome back Brian, good response, sounds like we some things in common on this one any way 🙂

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      2. Kevin, I am a little confused, which is often of my own making! 🙂 It sounds like you are saying that Christ’s death is “efficient for all” but that this universal efficiency was NEVER the “Father’s intention”? Please explain why God would make, or permit, something to become universally efficient but not intend to use it universally in some way. Thanks.

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      3. If I made that mistake I was in error, I am saying Christ’s death is efficient and effectual only for those in John 6:37 . Brian, I just re-read what I wrote and there seems to be no confusion to me. I am only saying that Christ’s death :could be” efficient for all individuals. but that was not the intention or purpose of Holy Scripture or the Holy Mind of God. Christ died only to secure the salvation of the elect. I only said I allow for it,(in theory) that Christ’s death could be for all individuals without exception, but it was never the Father’s intention for Christ to secure the death of all individual without exception (1 John 2:2.) In reality Christ’s death only secures the salvation for those he died for, the elect. In that sense the Father’s intention is that the death of Christ is efficient and effectual only for the elect (1 John 2:2) Does that make better sense. The challenge at my site still stands with two more scholarly works coming.

        https://reformedsoteriologyblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/06/1-john-22-definite-atonement-particular-grace/

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      4. So was the following information in parentheses yours or part of the quote from Murrel? (Efficient to save all yes, but not it’s purpose as proclaimed from Divine Revelation, Efficient and Effectual only for the elect in Christ, Ephesians 1:4)

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      5. I think I probably meant sufficient rather than efficient Brian, thanks for the help.

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      6. No believing in a diminished human god of open theism is confusion. Hey you’re playing hard ball Brian not me. I wanted to be polite and cordial, but you are still my brother in Christ. We can be firm if you want to, but the challenge stands, the next scholar will be a contemporary, coming soon on 1 John 2:2. Will Sotereriology101 be silent or will they accept the challenge and engage. If I was a betting man. I am saying this site and it’s non-calvinist will not engage. Just to give you a heads up, Gary D Long is next on Definite Atonement 1 John 2:2

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      7. We’ve already engaged to the limit of my ability concerning 1John 2:2. The phrase “whole world” must mean the same thing in 2:2 and it does in 5:19 in my view. I am sorry if my words sounded like “hard ball”. I was just seeking clarification.

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      8. Thats ok, I still think you are backing out of actually engaging with another scholar. You like staying on the defensive. Your view is wrong if you will let Pastor and Scholar Abrhaham Kuyper show you. I see you as backing out and wanting to stay in the safe zone Brian. Trust me you cannot handle the hard hitting treatment he and Gary D Long (ForthComing) gives 1 John 2:2. No problem my friend in Christ. Just wanted to see if you wanted a real challenge instead of dealing daily with us amateur school boys. Put yourself to a real test, to see if your heart truly wants to know the reality and nature of what God is saying. But I was right, I knew you would not accept the challenge or Leighton.

        God bless

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      9. Kuyper knows the truth now about God’s salvation plan… including the unbiblical teaching of infant baptism that he espoused while he was alive! I am sure he will not read my reactions to his thoughts on Calvinism. 🙂

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      10. You are so big on the infant baptism, Brian where they Brother and Sisters in Christ. I think so considering the terror error you have fallen into which others have called it a fatal flaw or the “H” word.

        These are smoke screens that I can see though so easily Brian. “Infant Baptism, Kuyper will not read my reactions to his thoughts on Calvinism.” You’re trying to be witty, but it is very ineffective and weak tonight. We, the amateur school boys, who you have been debating daily want to see how you handle yourself with a real Bible Holy Gifted Scholar. Please don’t respond to me unless you are ready to accept this challenge. If you don’t, as I said, the Calvinist win by default and no show by Scholar Professor Brian Wagner. Believe me Kuyper is not a amateur schoolboy, which I think you would find out real quick.

        The challenge is there, you been playing defense with us amateur school boys for a long time, now we want to see your reactions not Kuyper. Every church has in some form or another it’s unbiblical teaching. Don’t use that as a smoke screen. I feel now as if you are running from this challenge and hiding. Take all the time you want and need with it. We amateur schoolboys will be patient and longsuffering with you. As you interact with Kuyper and Gary D Long. Is that not what we are asked to do on Soteriology101. Flowers writes this long article and says still none of these verses have been refuted. I am just asking the same thing. An article is posted now refute it.

        https://reformedsoteriologyblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/06/1-john-22-definite-atonement-particular-grace/

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      11. brianwagner writes, “The phrase “whole world” must mean the same thing in 2:2 and it does in 5:19 in my view.”

        Is “…must mean…” necessarily the case?

        5:19 – “We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.”

        Do you understand “whole world” to include believers so that believers are under the control of the evil one?

        Liked by 1 person

      12. Brian,

        You said and I quote:“The death of Christ …. Efficient to save all yes…”

        I ask, then why are not all saved?

        and again you said: the work of the Cross is sufficient for all”

        Again I ask, why are all not saved?

        Until you engage my nuclear bomb at my wordpress site engaging every sentence, every paragraph, the entire argument, your argument above is insufficient. Let’s face it. The Calvinist have been coming here on the defense. I go now on offense. I will still engage here, but I want to see what you and Leighton Flowers can do with the Heavy Weights. I have been told not to give my mind to the scholars. That I have an unction, an anointing abiding within me that can teach me all things. I have used that plenty of times on this site and even in my recent comments. What you really mean is give my mind to the Soteriology101 and the non-calvinist scholars on here. That I respectfully my friend cannot and will not do. My consciounse is slave to the word of God.

        Once again what I posted at my site answers sufficiently your questions and you will not be able to overcome what is written.
        There is more scholarly work on 1 John 2:2 coming also. I Praise God for His Holy Word.

        The link again below, will you and Lieghton Flowers accept the challenge. Leighton I think you will not, it will be to tough for you. I have at least two more scholary works to add and I may send some Definite Atonement IED’s Scripture Verses your way.

        https://reformedsoteriologyblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/06/1-john-22-definite-atonement-particular-grace/

        God bless

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      13. Hi Kevin, I think it is a little unfair to require me to be – “engaging every sentence, every paragraph, the entire argument,” that you might present somewhere, when you will not try to clear up a simple confusion I asked about. But to answer your question posed above – All are not saved because, though Christ’s death is sufficient for all and offered to all, God has sovereignly planned to only give the benefits of the salvation, that He paid for, that is His forgiveness and everlasting life, to those who freely place their trust in His Son.

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      14. I thought I did try and clear it up Brian, I think I meant sufficient, rather than efficient. And I do not think it is unfair of me to ask you to engage something you feel so confident about when I have a really have a very good feeling you are wrong and may be trying to back out. Calvinist have been on this site daily answering and defending Calvinism. I think you just do not want to go on the defensive and see that you Just may be wrong. And I did send a message trying to clear up the confusion Brian, not sure why you did not get it. I said I think I meant “sufficient” instead of “efficient” What is unfair is the one or two paragraphs and 2 0r 3 proof texts. I am asking you to get real and engage another real scholar and you go crying foul!!!! Please Brian, if it is too much for you, and you know you can not handle it, just say so. No ill-will from me at all. But don’t falsely accuse me of not trying clear up my confusion when I did. It may have been a mistake on my end. But once again, you answer me with a short paragraph you know I am going to disagree with. The challenge still stands. I don’t think you have the answers to refute this post or the ones that are coming. I say with respect Brian, you are comfortable with one or two paragraphs with added proof texts with no exegesis. You don’t want to go on the defensive with the Heavy Weights. We can continue to play with a few words or get real and engage. So what’s it gonna be Brian my friend?

        https://reformedsoteriologyblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/06/1-john-22-definite-atonement-particular-grace/

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      15. Hi Kevin! You did sort of clear up my confusion, but it was after I mentioned my disagreement with your request for fuller interaction. And I did answer your main question. No foul here, though others may have to convince you of that. 🙂

        If it was not you but Murrel that used the word efficient first, and I guess he influenced you. He should have been more careful since he is influencing such followers as you.

        But changing to just “sufficient” does not still answer my question which I gave trying to clear up my confusion! Why would God have something universally sufficient and not use it somehow in a universal way, like offering it to everyone?

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      16. Brian, I cannot read or know the exhaustive infinite mind of God who did not “offer it up to everyone”? (1 John 2:2, John 6:37) When he came to the Gentiles you know he only came to “take out of them” a people for His name. Revelation 5:9 -Then they sang a new song, “You deserve to take the scroll and open the seals on it, because you were slaughtered. You bought people with your blood to be God’s own. They are from every tribe, language, people, and nation. Brian Jesus bought all types of people from every nation tribe and tongue with His own blood. He did not secure the salvation of all with His death.

        Read comments past next passage

        Isaiah 53:10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him;
        He has put Him to grief.
        When You make His soul an offering for sin,
        He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,
        And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.
        11 He shall see the labor of His soul,and be satisfied.
        By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many,
        For He shall bear their iniquities.
        12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great,
        And He shall divide the spoil with the strong,
        Because He poured out His soul unto death,
        And He was numbered with the transgressors,
        And He bore the sin of many,

        The word of God in Isaiah says Jesus will see His seed, I believe as we will see further into the passage it means His spiritual seed, (John 6:37. 1 John 2:2) Because in John 6:37 Brian I have told you over and over with no comment from you that all the Father gives to Jesus will come/believe to Him. John 17:2 Jesus is given authority over all flesh and he gives (SALVATION TO ALL THE FATHER HAS GIVEN TO HIM.)

        Isaiah continues “pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand” The gospel of grace and salvation shall succeed and prosper and will not return void, all that Jesus shed his blood for, the elect in Christ will be saved.

        Isaiah continues, Jesus shall see the labor of His soul and be satisfied, because every sinner his death secured salvation for and His Holy blood purchased redemption he will see and be satisfied. What if no one was saved, would the gospel had been prosperous, would Jesus had seen his spiritual seed and the labor of His soul which is His holy death on the Cross that he died to secure the salvation of the labor of His soul, His Spiritual Seed.

        Because He poured out His soul unto death,
        And He was numbered with the transgressors,
        And He bore the sin of many,

        You see, Jesus was numbered among the transgressors, BUT HE ONLY BORE THE SINS OF MANY, AS THE GOSPELS SAY , HE GAVE HIS LIFE A RANSOM FOR MANY.

        But remember back in Revelation he bought, purchased with is own spilled precious holy blood people from or out of every tribe, tongue or nation.

        Like I said this is the weakest point of the non-calvinsit belief system and I believe it will cause this site to self-destruct and come crumbling down (not completely, but it will lose some credibility )if the Calvinist will quit defending and start making the non-calvinst go on the offensive. If they refuse Calvinist wins by default or or because the light shines in the darkness and darkness overcomes it not

        If you really want to know, stop sending these little paragraphs to keep the Calvinist on the defensive and go to my website and accept a real challenge, not from an amateur schoolboy like me. Someone on your level and maybe even succeeds you. The challenge stands, stop being on the defensive and go on the offensive, the opportunity is there. Will you accept or reject. You have sufficient free will to do either.

        John 11: 49 And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, 50 nor do you consider that it is expedient for us[e] that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish.” 51 Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad.

        Here again we read Brian, that Caiaphas, the high priest prophesied that Christ would die for the nation,

        but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad.

        That’s not everyone Brian. So you will have to ask God on that question, Scripture has answered it for me. I do not think I can personally help you, but indirectly I can at my website.

        The challenge stands: Leighton and Brian.

        Time for you two to quit putting lotion on your hands and put the gloves on 🙂

        https://reformedsoteriologyblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/06/1-john-22-definite-atonement-particular-grace/

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      17. So, Kevin, you agree that Jesus did die for the whole nation of Israel, including for Caiaphas?

        And I do not think you understand how offense and defense work in a discussion. I have placed my views with Scripture offensively (sometimes too offensive for some 🙂 ) on this site. And I have answered defensively (sometimes with too much defensiveness 🙂 ) any questions I have been asked as best I know how using Scripture and reason.

        I will continue to do so. I am sorry it has not been satisfactory for your edification, my friend.

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      18. brianwagner writes, “If it was not you but Murrel that used the word efficient first, and I guess he influenced you.”

        The statement in parenthesis was SR101 (to which he refers in the last comment on this page (April 8, 2016 at 7:16 pm )). Murrel is consistent in his use of efficient and sufficient from the material I read on his website.

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  12. I just noticed I had a comment awaiting moderation, I immediately made a copy of it and will post it at my own website. Usually my comments go straight through, I think my interaction on Definite Atonement with Professor Brian Wagner set the Soteriology101 on edge somewhat maybe. I may just be reading it all wrong, but I do consider it my strongest post, response and refutation to Professor Brian Wagner Yesterday,

    Name of the Post on my site: Christ’s Death Secured the Salvation of Those He Will Save

    Link is below:
    https://reformedsoteriologyblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/09/christs-death-secured-the-salvation-of-those-he-will-save/

    Waiting comment or comments from Professor Brian Wagner.

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  13. Thank you for RHUTCHIN for the backup I feel Definite Atonement is the non-calvinist weakest link and I plan to expose it. Brian made a couple of comments on the article I had at my website but I do not think he defeated the argument by Abraham Kuyper.

    Like

  14. Blog Post REFORMEDSOTERERIOLOGY101
    APRIL 8, 2016 AT 8:09 PM

    Can now also be found at my website, I consider it very strong, (although I always so I can be wrong) but Brian was very non-convincing yesterday and felt I made some strong arguments that must be preserved and scattered throughout the internet along with Abraham Kupyer’s Understanding of 1 John 2:2 that I still know has not been refuted as of yet.

    Link Below:
    https://reformedsoteriologyblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/09/christ-shall-see-the-labor-of-his-soul-and-be-satisified/

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    1. rs101 begins the linked article, “This was another interaction with Professor Brian Wagner at Soteriology101 who asked if Christ’s death on this Christ is sufficient…”

      Did you mean to write, “…Christ’s death on the cross…”?

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  15. Rhutchin, I made clear to Brian I believe (in theory only) Christ’s death could and would be sufficient if the Holy Mind of God had purposed it. But in actually, we know John 6:37, John 17: and many other verses from Divine Revelation that Christ died only to secure the Salvation of the Elect. As in Revelation 5, says Christ spilled his holy precious blood to to “redeem: (purchase, buy) individuals (the elect) “OUT OF” all tribes nations and tongues. There is no such thing as possibility salvation. Not every individual. Right now there are 6500 people groups in the earth who have never heard the gospel. There is only one way of Salvation and that is through Christ. Can you imagine how many individuals from these people groups have died in their sins and they will be judged and burn in the Lake of Fire in Hell and the Wrath of a Holy God is Fuel for the punishing Fire. For our God is a consuming Fire

    John 6:37 – All the Father gave to Jesus will come to Him and he will in no wise cast them out.

    John 17:2 – Jesus promised in the Divine Revelation of God’s Holy word to give Salvation only “to those the Father gave to Him.

    In time I will show 1 John 2:2 is a Calvinist Verse, although you can read some articles on my site already confirming it.

    Brian does not have a leg to stand on.

    He will not comment on these verses above or on any universal limited verses I give to him

    This is the non-calvinist kryptonite.

    Christ did not come to just make salvation possible for me, Christ is a real and actual and perfect Savior, and none of His elect will be lost John 6

    So no, the death of Christ is not for the non-elect, it only secures the salvation of the elect.

    Blessings

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    1. Kevin – This may not satisfy you, but I feel giving some answer is better than nothing, especially since you seem to feel that your thoughts are not even being considered, as if your views are too strong for a reply. Actually, many of these verses I have already supplied answers to you before, which makes your statements that they haven’t been replied to a little disappointing. 😦

      1John 2:2, 4:10 – Jesus is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world. Jesus is the Savior of the world (4:14).

      John 6:37 – You keep misquoting this verse! It is about “all that the Father IS GIVING” to Jesus. How He is giving them is through each of their personal responses of faith to His personal drawing of each.

      John 17:2 – The context of Jesus prayer is for His twelve apostles. They were given to Jesus and the intention was that they SHOULD all get everlasting life. Judas was one of those “given” (vs 12), but he will not get everlasting life. This verse, 17:2, does not say when they were given to Christ or how they were given. It does not have to mean they were given before creation, nor does it have to mean that the giving of them was not partly based on their previous decision of faith in God as OT saints expressed it. They were given to be Christ’s twelve apostles.

      Acts 13:48 – This verse has been translated in a slanted fashion when they used the word “ordained” for τεταγμενοι. The context which shows that all the other verbs in this verse are done by the Gentiles, that the Jews were rebuked for having “judged themselves unworthy of everlasting life”, and that this word – τεταγμενοι can be grammatically understood as middle voice, this verse is saying that all those Gentiles who put themselves in line for everlasting life made a public commitment of faith that day.

      Rev 5:9 – The problem is one of logic. Saying “many” does not make “all” untrue. Jesus was the ransom for many and the ransom for all. And saying “redeemed us … out of” does not make the possibility of offering redemption to all impossible. Jesus’ redemption was sufficient for all and all are being drawn to at least seek for it, but those in heaven will certainly be able to say, “He has redeemed us… out of every tribe…” Maybe comparing Paul’s use of “all” and “many” on another issue will help you. (Rom 3:23, 5:19)

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      1. “My views are too strong for a reply” LOL Never meant it to that extent Professor. only what I meant earlier, this is that Definite Atonement is the non-calvinist’s weakest point and and I striking where the iron is hot. So calm down and do not put t0 much thought into it. I never, never said, my arguments were so strong that you Professor would not be able to reply. I am meant and still mean that Definite atonement is the weak point of the non-calvinist and in the long run you will have no leg to stand on. Could I be wrong, most definitely. In the utmost humility I admit that. But you need to calm down a little I think and not take things so personally on here. Remember the problems I have had with that. Never, ever said my thoughts were not being considered, are you being a little disingenuous? Professor Brian. My mind is calm and I will not lose my concentration and focus on this project I have started. So your strategic verbal comments will not work this time my friend. I did mention and it is the absolute truth, and you know it that some of the proof texts I mentioned were being ignored or avoided or just simply disregarded. You read too much into what I wrote. I apologize and ask for forgiveness in advance if I have misunderstood you. “Not so concerning the many answers on the verses you said you answered earlier.” I just recently started focusing in on Definite Atonement. I am sure you could find a few. But at this time I am not ready to engage you in this subject. It will be you and me. I will not ask you to refute my articles on my site, although i may ask you to respectfully read them as we engage and interact each other. The word”world” is universal in 1 John 2:2 and in John 3:16. That is where the non-calvinist put all their focus and think that is where the battle is won. There is more to it than what the non-calvinist is seeing. I will be revealing that soon. So in all actuality, it is your statements that are disappointing, mine to probably, but we both are not perfect. You’re dead wrong on John 6:37, it says all the Father gives me will come to me….. Not sure what version you are reading, Respectfully not meant to offend.

        But John says:

        39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.

        Verse 39 says they have already been given to Jesus, he will lose none of them, but raise them up on the last day.

        Sounds past tense to me. And you read a lot into verse 6:37 that you know it not there. Walk through the passage Brain and just read out of it what it is saying, don’t read your tradition into it.

        There responses of faith is after the “giving of the father” The “giving” proceeds the coming/believing, the two which are synonymous So it is “All that the Father giveth me” You have turned this verse upside on its head.

        The context for Jesus Prayer in John 17:2, yes is for the 12 disciples, but God extends it to others who believe which I will show you in the same chapter.

        But first:

        “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.

        Notice Jesus does not pray for the “world” but for those the Father gave Him. And don’t forget Jesus was given many more back in John 6:39, the Father hath given, Jesus will lose none, but raise them all up on the last day, That is a perfect Savior. Glory be to God.

        Now:
        John 17:20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will[ believe in Me through their word;

        Jesus includes in His high priestly prayer the “other given to Him by the Father, (John 6:39)

        Remember Jesus does not pray for the world in John 17:2, just for the disciples and those who believe in the message of the gospel (John 6:37)

        Your Acts 13:48 is exactly what I thought it would be, they disposed themselves. “No, everyone appointed to eternal life believed.” I am not sure why this has to be so twisted, read into, and exegetical gymnastics to the max. I expected this interpretation Does not matter what interlinear bible you look at,it says they were appointed to eternal life, not appointed to believe. This is the context, An amateur schoolboy can see it 🙂

        Revelation 5:8 – ……“You are worthy to take the scroll,
        And to open its seals;
        For You were slain,
        And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
        Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
        10 And have made us[d] kings[e] and priests to our God;
        And we[f] shall reign on the earth.”

        First this no word “all” is not in Revelation 5:8. Romans 3:23 needs to be understood in context right. You seem to have forgotten that because this verse does not illuminate Revelation 5:8 or is meant to give any help to understanding it whatsoever.

        The verse once again!!! Christ spilled his blood, to redeem, which means purchase. Christ bought with His blood individuals “out of” or “from” every place mentioned in this verse.

        Let me add verse 18 with verse 19 of Romans 5
        18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

        Let’s interpret the two many’s in context and not just post them as a proof text.

        In the first many, The many are Adam’s posterity(all mankind, humanity) and all of them are under condemnation. This is all of humanity. Every single individual without exception.

        Then we read: “also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.”

        Talking about understanding the word “all” in context, here is a good place.

        It reads again: one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.”

        This is a guaranteed statement made by Paul, “ALL” Christ represents will result in justification and life. We know it cannot be all people without exception Brian right. The many (all the Father giveth him) will be made righteous.

        Many were made sinners by Adam’s disobedience, under God’s wrath and condemnation, that being the many that Adam represented, all of mankind

        And many were justified and given life and made righteous, that many were all those “out of” the mass and whole of mankind/humanity that Christ represented.

        Brian I am not ready to engage in this yet, so I will try and refrain from making any more comments

        God Bless

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      2. Thank you, Kevin, for reading what I wrote, and for your response. Your rejections of my evidence from context, grammar, and logic were unconvincing, basically being without anymore proof of your own, other then saying my interpretations of those verses are wrong and yours are right.

        You did offer some good insights from John 17, that Jesus was praying for the unity if future believers… He was not praying for their salvation. And Jesus was including the world in His prayer. Did you catch why Jesus was praying for their unity… “that the world might believe…”? Is God just doing things just to tease the world, but He really wants to keep them lost?

        Let me recommend a good book on logic by a well known Calvinist, if you haven’t read it yet. Gordon H. Clark’s, God and Logic.

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      3. Brian, your Response is appreciated also. At first glance admit you make me gasp until I open the Scriptures and begin to meditate and see the fallacies of your arguments. Not that you’re completely wrong, because you helping me to refine my argument for Definite Atonement and that I appreciate I also find your your LOGIC to be very unconvincing. Actually there is something we both missed in John 17. Let’s look at it together.

        We know this is Jesus starts in John 17 with his high priestly prayer to His Father and He is desirous to be with the Father again as he says in Verse 5,
        5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

        But here is where your logic was wrong (I know through your tradition and desire for definite atonement to be wrong)

        Jesus is praying for Himself from John 17:1-5, and what you missed with your logic, (some good lectures on logic for you would be Greg Bahnsen)

        Jesus prayed that the “Father had given Him “authority over all flesh” (What a wonderful, precious and powerful gift given by the Father) the whole mass of humanity, mankind,

        and that Jesus should give eternal life out of all flesh, the whole mass of humanity, ETERNAL LIFE TO ALL THE FATHER HAS GIVEN HIM.

        You can say I am illogical brother all you want, but my dog will bark all day and night. It is the correct understanding to the verses mentioned.

        Jesus will give eternal life to all, everyone the Father has given him. I like to call them, yes the elect, but the given ones by the Father whom He will give eternal live to by grace through faith.

        Jesus goes on to to describe eternal life in verse 3.

        3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

        So your “dog just will not bark’ that the first 5 verses is pertaining or talking only to the disciples It is illogical if you follow that train and flow of thought of John and and not stay consistent. He is referring back to:

        John 6:37 – Everyone whom my Father has given me shall come to me, and whoever will come to me I shall not cast out.”

        John 6:39 -And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.

        John 10: 26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you.

        27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.

        28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.

        John 6:44 – No one is able to come to Me unless the Father, the one having sent Me, draws him, and I will raise him up in the last day.

        29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.

        30 I and My Father are one.”

        Notice the LOGIC from which I am speaking here my friend. This is John chapter 10 where Jesus says he lays down His life for His sheep the the Father has given him (v.29) before they have even believed and and have eternal life.

        But Jesus tells us that His sheep know Him and hear His voice and they follow Him (John 6:44) and it immediately says he gives them eternal life (John 17:2, John 10:28)

        John 10:28 And I give them eternal life….

        John 10 My Father, who has given them to Me, (the sheep)

        Now compare with John 17:2 Brian;

        John 17:2 as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.

        Jesus talks of Salvation in John 10 and 17 concerning those given to Him by the Father, those he will give eternal life to. The given ones by the Father.

        John 10:10 – The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

        John 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

        Jesus speaks of eternal life for the “given sheep by the Father and the “given people” and in both places Jesus says “HE WILL GIVE THEM ETERNAL LIFE”

        There is no chance of this not happening. John 6:37 – All the Father has given to Jesus will come/believe and he will in no wise cast them out.

        Jesus does not start praying directly for the disciples until John 17:6 (and he is not praying for them to be saved, but yes for the immediate possession of Salvation they have, as he did for others who will believe in John 17:20.)

        John:20 -I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;

        So Jesus was not praying for them to be saved as we have established that the future believers in John 17:20 is certain (I like that word) and a guaranteed thing from previous scriptures we have shown, but let’ look at them again, shall we.

        John 6:37 -“Everyone whom my Father has given me shall come to me, and whoever will come to me I shall not cast out.”

        John 6:39 – And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.

        John 10:26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you.

        27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.

        28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.

        29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.

        30 I and My Father are one.”

        Now moving on, Brian, of course I am saying your interpretations are wrong (and they are as the my last post strong bore witness to that very fact), and yes I do believe mine are correct but with humility I am teachable and willing to admit and will admit if I am wrong. But you been illogical in your arguments and have not shown me I am wrong. Then you offer me to read a book by Gordon H. Clark (who I know BTW), I have a few of his books already. That is why I mentioned Greg Bahnsen, I am more of Van Til guy. Clark is known more for his controversy with Van Til than his books. I have heard one well known Calvinist say he has no use for Clark. (but that is besides the point, they are always fighting amongst themselves, i. e. Leighton, White) I am sure the book is good though, but i will pass. I have an anointing, and unction that abides within me that is teaching me all things. Plus, yes I am reading others. Put I do not have to explain myself to you for that. Not that you have asked, just anticipating, like Paul; who are you O’ man?

        Brian, Jesus limits who he is praying for here, and who he is giving eternal life to, and you still want to say that the word “world” here in this verse means all individuals from the beginning of time until the end of history without exception, that continues to be your understanding of the word “world” even though Jesus limits who he prays for and who he gives eternal life too. The non-calvinist can see 1000 definite atonement verses but as soon as they see the word “world”, they are like a chicken on a bug, with a gotcha. It makes them lose focus of context completely as it has done here to you my friend.

        And they mean by “world” the meaning I gave it above, ‘EVERYBODY FROM THE BEGINNING OF TIME TO THE END OF HISTORY, ALL INDIVIDUALS WITHOUT EXCEPTION”

        You are saying this when at this very present day and time Brian as I have told you before, there are 6500 people groups that have never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. Think of how many millions have died in their sins under the wrath of a Holy God and are now in Hell burning in the Lake of Fire for all eternity.

        But how can they hear:

        Romans 10: 14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?

        And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?

        15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:

        “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,[h]
        Who bring glad tidings of good things!”

        We know whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:13)

        There is no other way of Salvation and there is no exceptions for this 6500 people groups where million have died not calling upon the Lord to be saved

        There is no other way of salvation and no exceptions other than the exception of Christ himself. Read below that Christ is the only way to the Father and Salvation.

        John 14:6 – Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

        Jesus is the only way of Salvation and no one, I mean no individual out of the “world”comes to the Father “except”through Jesus

        You missed verse 9 in Chapter 17 Brian

        Jesus refuses to pray for the world but only for the ones given to him by the Father

        John 17:9 -9 “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.

        If we go by your understanding of “world” Brian, and Jesus is desirous to save all individuals without exception, why does he not pray for the world in John 17:9? Is he teasing us?

        Trust me when I say Jesus is thinking and praying only for those who were given to Him in the eternal decree of election, the given ones.

        Now back to your misunderstanding of the word “world” here. My friend and brother in Christ I will need you to take you non-calvinist glasses off for this.

        In John 17 :21, Jesus prays for the “oneness” of those who are believers are predestined to salvation, to be believers in Christ.

        John 17:20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;

        21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us,

        In John 17:21, Jesus also prays that these believers in Christ present and future may be one in US. The Godhead.

        The oneness of the Father and Jesus is a model of the oneness of the believers in Christ that makes what I just said possible. It is patterned after it, but not identical or eternal like it in the same manner.

        The reason Jesus prays for this oneness for present and future believers with each other and in some sense with the Father and Jesus is for this glorious purpose as stated below:

        John 17:…that the world may believe you have sent me.

        Not for their Salvation, remember my past articles please, there is no way Jesus who refused to pray for the “world” (John 17:9) is now doing just that. What a contradiction that would be. No it is though the unity and oneness of the believers in Christ with each other and the Father and Jesus so that, “THE WORLD MAY BELIEVE YOU HAVE SENT ME”

        Not for Salvation. Even the demons believe and tremble. They know in due time he is coming for them.

        But to continue: When believers are united in faith, being the fruit of saving grace, and present a common front to the world, they exert power and influence. They become salt and light. That preserving influence from evil and wickedness in society. They become a city set upon a hill shining the light of Christ dispelling the darkness. And we see more Holy and Godly communities.

        And as I just read from one commentary: (William Hendriksen, much insight in this post from him) when the church of God, purchased by the blood of Christ is torn asunder by strife and dissension, the world (ethical sense: mankind in need of salvation) will not know what to make of them, nor how to interpret their so-called “testimonies.”

        Is that not what happened in the early church, it was said, here comes those who have turned the world upside down.

        John 17:6 – And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also,

        What influence, what impact they had.

        John 5:13 – None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high esteem.

        Once again the outside world, the unbelievers held them in high esteem, maybe just speaking of the apostles but I believe it extended to the early church, it grew and expanded rapidly as if God was involved, as if the Lord was adding to the Church daily those who are being saved.

        Acts 2:47 – praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

        This is what I want the world to see in all its power and glory Brian:

        Habakkuk 2:14 – the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

        Was Jesus teasing us for not praying for the world? No, I trust Divine Revelation, Let God be true and every man a liar.

        I am more of a Van Til guy than a Clark guy, although I do read Clark sometimes,

        One more and I will be done:

        John 17:25 O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me

        In verse 25, Jesus says of the world that “he refuses to pray for, that they do not acknowledge the Father, then Jesus says He acknowledges the Father and the disciples who the Father gave to Jesus and Jesus gave to them eternal life have come to acknowledge the Father.

        And it has continued that way to this very day, no man comes to the Father except through Jesus, and all past, present and future believers in Christ, given ones that Christ will give eternal life to will acknowledge the Father. And the same love the Father has for Jesus will be extended to all the given ones that Christ gives eternal Salvation to,

        Now here comes the hard part I know you will not like.

        Brian, this may not suit your fancy, but like I said and I know I am proving this is the weakest point for the non-calvinist.

        You more or less just brushed my argument aside and said, “this amateur schoolboy is teaching me, a Bible Scholar”

        That is the way I feel, but I know how blogging can be so forgive me if I am wrong. But you did not engage or interact much at all and failed to be consistent in John 17.

        You were a little strong in the beginning of your post but in love.

        So I use a little Sarcasm here in love.

        Welcome to class, I’m your new teacher 🙂

        In Christ with Love

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      4. Woof, Woof, Woof, Kevin, my teacher! My dog is still barking and we will just have to let others read what you wrote and what I wrote and to let them decide who is interpreting correctly according to grammar and context the passages of Scripture that we have been discussing!

        There is nothing I can add, except I do want to repeat that John 6:37 does not say “Everyone whom my Father has given me.” Please translate it correctly with the present tense in this verse even though other verses use the past tense. Those other verses clearly prove that some were given in the past, though not necessarily before creation, but this verse proves some are still be giving. In other words… they were not all given in the past. And how they are given, meaning after their decision of faith, is mentioned in this passage.

        Also, Jesus is talking about how His sheep are recognized (John 10), not how someone becomes His sheep. The Pharisees were obviously not His sheep because they were not believing in Jesus. Jesus statement does not logically exclude that an act of faith is still necessary to becoming a sheep. And once made a sheep, that sheep will keep trusting Jesus because of the new birth.

        Have a wonderful day worshiping our great Savior!

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      5. I will respond in full later, but two verses later in John 6, Jesus clearly says “those the Father has given me” Past Tense. Not sure if you are making that big of a dent in my argument with that. Never said John 10 is talking about how someone becomes a sheep, The Sheep are the elect, the given ones, of the Father. If you would have read my article carefully and fully out of respect, and taken a closer look at John 10, (and 17 for that matter) you will see the “sheep” are “wicked sinners” (given to Jesus by the Father) that he (will give eternal life too) (I pasted tthat passage of scripture down for ya) Read my article in full and more carefully please sir. You’re really struggling and disregarding so much that causes your system of belief to seem weak and be self destructing. Where is the substance in your arguments for unlimited atonement. I noticed your not mentioning the word “world” anymore in John 17. Woof Woof my dear student 🙂

        John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep

        John 10:16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.

        The Gentiles are the other sheep that Jesus will give eternal life too.

        and again: meditate on this please, no one is trying to make sheep

        26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you.[b] 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me,

        You know what I do not think a fuller response is necessary. My last argument still stands unrefuted, your going to have to really try Professor. This ain’t gonna be easy cheesy!!! 🙂

        You seem to have made it clear “you just know it” and for the love of God, do not ask you to read a reformed scholar. It was like pulling teeth getting you to read the article on my website the other day. You don’t know it all Brian. Others can teach you, because you come across very touchy at times.

        Going to spent the day with the wife,

        In Christ, see ya next week sometime my friend, but it seems are discussion on this issue has come to an end. That is ok. We are still friends and I will still continue on my own site with Definite Atonement referring to the false teaching of Leighton Flowers and Soteriology101 I’m otta here 🙂

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      6. My last response to you on this subject;

        I call it a draw on John 6:37 due to verse 39

        and though Christ here expresses this act of his Father’s in the present tense, “giveth”, perhaps to signify the continuance and unchangeableness of it; yet he delivers it in the past tense, in John 6:39, “hath given”;

        Have a great one Brian, it was fun discussing this subject with you but I desire to build more atomic and nuclear bombs on Definite Atonement at my website and that I cannot do engaging you when I feel your half-hearted towards it all. Not meant to offend. As always I know your a busy man and you said yourself it is time for us both to move on. But who know what the future holds, it is in the hands of the one who works all things according to His will.

        God bless

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      7. So far your “atomic and nuclear bombs” seem like duds to me Kevin. Sorry. But if “giving” is still going on to Jesus, then logically all were not given before creation, unless they were given, taken away and then given again, which seems really like a stretch being made of the biblical material. It is more natural to think of some were given when they trusted and some are continuing to be given when they put their trust in Jesus. God bless you too.

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      8. Does “elected and “given” have the same definition Professor Scholar Brian? I think a little Keach Or John Gill or even maybe John Owen(the death of death) might do yo some good or maybe even a refresher course in Greek. I am not saying I am right Professor. I am exploring this now and studying this and thus far Definite Atonement is prevailing. If I am ultimately wrong you know you have my word I will say I am wrong and move on. If they were elected before or chosen before the foundation of the world, that does not mean they were “given”. But like I said, you have verse 37 that says present tense “gives” and then two verses later it says “has given” meaning past tense. Which I sent that to you yesterdat. But being elected and given are two different words with different definitions Professor Wagner. Even an “amateur schoolboy” knows that.

        Hey don’t let this destroy our friendship ok, we are having fun with a little sarcasm. You have taught me that, not to be so easily offended. Like Paul says, Love barely notices…..

        You always make me laugh with your sarcasm though, about the “dud” above. Then you go and write something like you following the “dud” sarcasm. Just calling them duds and not proving them duds are two different things, but you are through with this subject you said and I believe you to be a man of your word.

        God bless

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      9. I am glad Kevin that you like when I play off your sarcasm and it makes you laugh. That was the intention! 🙂 Let me know though if you think my sarcasm is getting to personal sounding and hurtful. I have a tendency that way without wanting to because of old habits from as far back as high school!

        I don’t know if it’s for laughs or respect that you call me “Professor Scholar Brian”. But if you wouldn’t mind, I really do prefer just “Brian” because of Jesus’ exhortation in Matt 23:8-10. We are all brothers. Though I can understand if you are just making a joke using those titles because of all our previous discussion about Scholarship.

        You know where I stand on election before creation. It cannot be of individuals for there were no individuals to choose from. Think about it… How did God choose Kevin or Brian before creation? Did He see completed human history with our full lives finished in it and then chose us for salvation. That would be illogical! For He would see that He already saved us, so no choice would need to be made.

        The Calvinist doesn’t realize it but even though He loves to see anthropomorphism in a lot of Scripture… he must make “election” an anthropomorphic idea, for God doesn’t actually choose anyone before creation, He just decides to create a completed human history with some saved and many lost in the story, like an author writing a book. We say He “chose” but that is only from the perspective of the reader of the story.

        Liked by 1 person

      10. brianwagner writes, “How did God choose Kevin or Brian before creation?”

        God creates Adam and Eve. God then opens the womb of Eve so that she has children. God can direct which sperm will enter the egg to produce a male or female child. Fast forward and God arranges for Noah to have three sons and softens the hearts of three women to be their wives. When Lot’s daughters get their father drunk, it is God who determines that they become pregnant. Is it coincidence that their children are male and they name them Moab and Benammi. Is Ismael born apart from God’s decision (or decree). Can Moab become a nation of people without God prospering him with children and wealth?

        The challenging part is to identify the extent of God’s direct involvement in His creation. If God wanted, He could be intimately involved in His creation to the point of determining everyone who is born, whether they are male or female, and even their names. Your response is that God “waits” on that involvement and does not get involved as intimately as He could. Nonetheless, it is possible for God make decisions without waiting and to be intimately involved, so God could know Kevin and Brian before creation and could choose them. The disagreement is whether God did this – leading the Open Theists to deny outright that God can know the future or say that God chooses not to know the future.

        If God could not choose Kevin and Brian before creation, even you would not need to develop your system.

        Liked by 1 person

      11. I don’t disagree with you Roger of what God “could” have done before creation, but you disagree with me on what He could have done. We both disagree with each other on what God did and did not do before creation. 🙂 The question is how does the Scripture read?… It does not read that God decreed all His decisions and intimate involvement before He created anything. It reads that He did decree some things before creation, and He has decreed some things after creation before those events took place or will take place… and that He is still free to decree some things in the future.

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      12. brianwagner writes, “We both disagree with each other on what God did and did not do before creation. :-)”

        Not exactly. The issue between us is whether God’s actions, if taken after creation rather than before, would make a difference. I say it would not. You appear to believe it could but I don’t see you presenting an argument to explain and support this.

        Then, “The question is how does the Scripture read?… It does not read that God decreed all His decisions and intimate involvement before He created anything. It reads that He did decree some things before creation, and He has decreed some things after creation before those events took place or will take place… and that He is still free to decree some things in the future.”

        I think you have to go further than this. If you allow God to decree all things whether before or after creation, then nothing changes if God makes all His decisions/decrees before creation. You need for certain things to happen after creation that God could not have anticipated before creation but this requires that you become full-blown Open Theist and deny that God is omniscient. You don’t seem to want to do this.

        Liked by 1 person

      13. I am what I am in Christ and through His enlightenment in His Word. Others may label me as they wish, but they can read for themselves or ask to find out if my views fit their definitions for the labels they like.

        Liked by 1 person

      14. Brian said and I quote:How did God choose Kevin or Brian before creation? Did He see completed human history with our full lives finished in it and then chose us for salvation. (Not really ready to interact with this right now as you know we’ll both just disagree) later maybe.

        This sounds illogical to me also. That is not even the way I or any Calvinists look at it. It will be “Brian” (that I call you) out of respect for you. I don’t want to joke or tease too much, because the scripture says “to put away all foolish jesting, and we are to be sober-minded in Christ. We get to focused on this Calvinism and Non-Calvinism we quit reading the word to know how to behave worthy of the gospel. But I know you are just teasing a little, I have learned and also learned to give back a little 🙂 I know the “before creation” is a big thing for you. I still feel very strongly about Ephesians 1:4 (although I could be wrong) but it sure sounds right to me and many hundreds of other Bible scholars (and to the Apostle Paul and the Holy Spirit who inspired him to write it) before me. And Christ we know was slain before the foundation of the World as Revealed to us in the Book of Revelations and other places in the New Testament. The Calvinists also has 2 Timothy 1:9 that I KNOW is devastating to the non-calvinist, although you have to give it that ignorant (not meant to offend, just my opinion) twist that you do with Ephesians 1:4

        2 Timothy 1:9 -He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not because of our own works, but by His own purpose and by the grace He granted us in Christ Jesus before times eternal.

        There is that effectual holy inward CALLING of the Holy Spirit, that is involved and inclusive in our becoming saved through faith in Christ. Everyone is called through the external call of the gospel, preaching. The Holy Spirit uses the external call (instrumentality of the gospel in connection with the Holy Spirit, Regeneration) of the gospel with an internal call , resulting in sinner being born again and ultimately clinging to Christ in faith for salvation and repentance of sin toward a Holy Wrathful God.

        And if you will check your interlinear it does say “before time eternal” just like it is translated in the verse above.

        It also said we were called “according to his (purpose) and (grace)

        No one or anything Brian can defeat or thwart the purpose of God. No one!!! Nobody!!! Nothing at all!!

        Job 42:2 – I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.

        First of all, let’s establish in our minds again, this is Divine Revelation, the Holy Word of God that will not return to Him (GOD) Void. It will accomplish all that God has determined.

        Psalms 147:15 – He sends out his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly.

        The same verse says in Job 42:2 – “I know Lord you can do all things:

        Is there anything to hard for the Lord

        All things are possible with God. For he is omnipotent and omniscient. I know this goes against your OT, That is what is bad about this we have an OT debating an Orthodox Christian or will cry out “infant baptism” We are not going to agree.

        But back to 2 Timothy 1:9, the audience Paul was talking to was “called according to God’s “purpose!!”

        God’s “PURPOSE” which nothing or no one can “thwart”, which means to prevent or oppose something successively. God will execute His divine decree and his command will run swiftly and His holy word will not return void, it will yield up the fruit it was sent out for.

        The audience Paul was talking to, the elect, the beloved, the given ones, the “coming/believing ones were and are guaranteed to be saved.

        But then at last it says, “GRACE WAS GIVEN BEFORE TIME ETERNAL.” (BEFORE TIME BEGAN). The Divine Will of Decree to the Elect a Certain People Chosen in Christ before time began, was executed in time and the Father would give His only Begotten Son, whom Jesus would give Salvation to all the Father had given Him (John 17:2) it all started “Before Times Eternal” It was the eternal decree in the mind of God from all eternity.

        All of this is God’s Eternal Purpose being executed and worked out according to the Holy Council of God’s will in Time. Ephesians 1:11
        John 6:37-39,44,65. John 17:2

        Read the passage of scripture below carefully Brian and I will show you something that I think is right.

        Ephesians 3: 8 To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,

        9 and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ;

        10 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places,

        11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord,

        In verse 8 the Apostle Paul talks about preaching the unsearchable riches of Christ to the Gentiles.

        Then in verse 9 he mentions: “and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; ”

        Notice the Apostle Paul says, :which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; ”

        Now to break it verse down one more time: “from the beginning of the ages”

        Pulpit Commentary: Which from the beginning of the ages hath been hid in God. The counsel itself was πρὸ τῶν αἰώνων, before the foundation of the world; the concealment of it ἀπό τῶν αἰώνων, from the beginning of the ages, when there were intelligent

        John Gill Commentary:Which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God; in the heart of God, in his counsel and covenant; which shows the original and source of the Gospel, and expresses the richness and valuableness of it, as well as its safety and secrecy: that many ages before the creation of the world it was written and left, , “in the bosom of God

        Jamieson-Faussett- Brown Commentary: from the beginning of the world—Greek, “from (the beginning of) the ages.”

        and:in God—”hidden in” His counsels (Eph 1:9).

        Remember back in verse 8 Paul was preaching the “unfathomable riches of Christ” ( I really like that 🙂 , which one Scholar has called the “unfathomable riches of Christ” Paul was preaching as “riches that cannot be tracked or traced, the illimitable resources of the grace of God in Christ, ocean depths that can never be plummeted, treasure stores that are inexhaustible. Eph. 1:7, 3:17-19

        BTW, in John 1:9 when it says to enlighten all, it means Jews and Gentiles, it in no way means everyone without exception when we consider 2 Timothy 1:9. God’s “purpose” will be done Job 42:2 and grace was given to “the elect before times eternal.:

        2 Timothy 2:10 -Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

        There is that word “eternal” again”

        God’s purpose is to save the elect, and there is nothing that can prevent it, for he can do all things, being Almighty, omnipotent and all-powerful, Job 42:2

        Job:23:13 – But he is unchangeable, and who can turn Him back? What he desires that he does,

        Ephesians 1:11 – In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,

        Matthew 19:26 – But Jesus looked at them and said, with a man, this is impossible, BUT WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.

        His power is omnipotent, He is almighty and all powerful, Jesus was given all power in heaven and in earth and commanded the Apostles to make disciples out of all nations, teaching them all things that Jesus had taught the Apostle.

        So I don’t think there will be a problem with God saving the “given ones, coming/believing ones to Jesus, whom he will give eternal life to, John 17:2 He accomplishes all his purpose and there is nothing he cannot do and nothing and no one can thwart the Divine Decree of Almighty God.

        Isaiah 46:10 – My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.

        Ephesians 1:5 -He predestined us for adoption as His sons through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will,

        Notice the word pleasure in the last two verses Brian in connect with the word predestination and just before being “chosen or elected” in Him (Christ) before the foundation of the world that we should be Holy and blameless before Him. This happens through the death He dies to secure the salvation of the elect.

        It is just too consistent, elect before the foundation of the world, predestined in time. Just as God decreed from all eternity.

        Luke 22:22 -The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed. But woe to that man who betrays him!”

        Think of all the variables, wills etc involved for this to come about.

        Christ death just did not happen by chance. First of all it was the Divine thought or idea in the mind of God from eternity, and it being His own Holy Divine Decree and Holy Will and Purpose, happened even as it was foretold in the Scriptures.

        Revelations 13:8 – And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

        Acts 2:23 Then God delivered Christ Himself to to wicked sinners to be slain upon the cross, it was also Divine Decree, thought, idea in the mind of God from all eternity, who works all things after the council of His own Holy Will. Not the fickle sinful slaved to the love and pleasure of sin, will of man.

        Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

        2 Timothy 1:9…..and by the grace He granted us in Christ Jesus before time eternal.

        Now back to 2 Timothy 1:9 and I will finish up.

        “the mystery which for ages had been hidden in God who created all things”

        Col: 1:26 illuminates this verse somewhat

        the mystery having been hidden from the ages and from the generations, but now having been manifested to His saints,

        “From the ages and generations” From the beginning of time the mystery has been kept secret or hidden in God (his bosom) but now from the beginning of creation the unfathomable riches of Christ are now being proclaimed to this day.

        Charles Hodge Commentary on Ephesians 3:

        Hodge says and I quote: The mystery which had been hid from ages and from generations. In all these places the mystery spoken of is God’s purpose of redemption, formed in the counsels of eternity, (v. 11), impenetrably from the view of men until revealed in His own time.

        “this exhibition of the manifold wisdom of God, was contemplated in the original conception of the plan of redemption; for the apostle adds, “it was “according to the purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus”

        “according to the purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus”

        It all goes back to God’s eternal purpose Brian, His holy Divine Decree, idea, thought from all eternity, before time began.

        I mention 2 Timothy 1:9 again for you to to compare and see it does illuminate with what I have been saying. Comparing Scripture with Scripture.

        2 Timothy 1:9 – who saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before times eternal,

        Now God is executing that eternal purpose in time through Christ who is the light, and His light-bearers, the preachers of the Gospel, as Paul said,

        2 Timothy 2:10 – He is enduring all things for the elect that they might obtain salvation

        This is what was decreed from eternity, kept secret and hidden in God from the ages,and is now being executed in time: I will let Charles Hodge sum it up:

        “The purpose of God to make redemption for the provision of men has been fulfilled in the incarnation of His Son.

        Does this mean all men, I will not list all the verses to show it does not mean all individuals without exception. Verses above prove that assertion as “it was according to His purpose and grace before time eternal”

        God knew Jeremiah before he even formed him in His mother’s womb, he always knew Jeremiah. Just like he always knew the elect, who grace was given before times eternal. The elect, chosen, beloved, given ones, coming,believing ones were elected in Christ before the foundation of the world. Just like Jeremiah, it was His divine decree, thought or idea. You say he did not know Jeremiah before the foundation of the world. That is because of your OT. I believe God’s knowledge is exhaustive in all things and in every way. Your understanding of God’s infinite understanding which absolutely implies Exhaustive Knowledge of God and we just read about the manifold wisdom of God. I think we have come to a passe on this subject for the time being Brian. All you really have is “not before creation” and you really do not even have that.

        I won’t reflect again about this being eternal and His purpose being effectual and not returning to Him void and fact that grace was given to the elect before times eternal.

        Revelation 5:9 – And they are singing a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the scroll and to open its seals, because You were slain, and You purchased to God by Your blood, out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,

        Noticed the word “purchased” meaning (redemption or redeemed bought) not all individuals without exception,

        once again, don’t forget about the 6500 people groups that have never heard the gospel to this day and millions of them have died.

        then Revelation 5:9 mentions Jesus purchases with His spilled Holy Precious Blood to “take out” individuals from every tribe, tongue , nation etc.

        Christ’s death will secure the Salvation of those he died for and their predestination to salvation will come to fruition in in God’s divine providential time. So let it be to the glory of God, whose is the glory, power and dominion forever and always. Amen.

        Brian I am actually studying the Divine Decrees right now. I have not left Definite Atonement, that is my central focus, but I am understanding how God’s Divine Decree, thought or idea is the undergirding and stability of Definite Atonement.

        So forgive me if I do not respond for a while, I am in more in a intake mode right now instead of an output mode. Flexing my muscles and making them stronger. Tricky and you have to be careful and study the instruction manual constructing these Hoy Spirit Filled Word of God Bombs. You be careful trying to defuse them too, I know you said they are duds, but I am really not sure how carefully you read and interacted with what I wrote. But I have some medical stuff over here if you get hurt. Many Definite Atonement Scriptures. Not really, just the Love of Christ who died for the both of us and gave Himself for us.

        God bless

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      15. Thank you, Kevin! I enjoy greatly reading all the verses you list even if we disagree with each other on what the teach! God’s Word is so beautiful! I look forward to the day we see Jesus and we are taught more fully how to understand and to do His will!

        Liked by 1 person

      16. Ephesians 3:7-11King James Version (KJV)

        7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.

        8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;

        9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

        10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

        11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:

        Praise God for the “effectual working of His power” though Paul (Verse 7)

        If something is effectual it will bring about its intended results

        The effectual working of God’s power through the Apostle Paul ministering and preaching the riches of Christ that are incomprehensible and past finding out, (verse 8)

        Paul preaching the riches of Christ that was the mystery hidden in God (his bosom and his purpose) “from the beginning of the world”

        But it all began from eternity, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:
        2 Timothy 2:10 – Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

        The effectual working of God’s power through Paul preaching the riches of Christ’s will bring about that which he endures all things for, that the elect obtain salvation. It is effectual, it will not be void, Christ will see the Labor of His soul and be Satisfied, Isaiah 53. Because even today God’s ministers and preachers of the gospel, have God’s grace working in them mightily and His purpose in saving the elect will be a realized fact as we see it materialize before our very eyes in God’s own providential timing!!! To God be the Glory.

        Just one last IED. Improvised Explosive Device for the truth of Definite Atonement and the Effectual working of God’s mighty power in saving lost sinners. Those elected to salvation of course 🙂

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      17. Had to share this wonderful orthodox Divine Revelation verse in God’s word with you:
        “Man’s days are determined; you (God) have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed” (Job 14:5)

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      18. Is it ok, Kevin, if I guess, and tell you of my guess, that I think you will not like or accept my understanding of the verse you shared Job 14:5? 🙂

        In Job 14:5 the Hebrew starts with the word אִם which should have been translated “if”. Job is not making a dogmatic statement about how God does things, but Job is saying “if God sets the limit of a life, no one is going to force God to change that limit.” I agree with Job’s view!

        Of course, Hezekiah’s situation comes to mind, which proves that God was not forced but He did freely change the limit of a man’s life because He wanted to.

        Actually I believe God does form a detailed plan for every person when they are conceived (Ps 139:16), and it is man’s responsibility to become obedient to that divine plan. If man rejects it, God alters the individual’s life plan as seems good to Him to do to fit with His overall plan for mankind and His glory (Jer 18:4).

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      19. When you said woof woof woof, I laughed and was so tempted to say, good doggy, lol 🙂

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  16. Does anyone know if Leighton is ok? Haven’t heard from him since my comments back and forth on March 22, when he disappeared. Posted a couple of posts but not since March 24. I had simply asked Leighton several times,

    “Ok, so chance and luck. And what about the Billy Graham quote which he based on scripture? “Man’s days are determined; you (God) have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed” (Job 14:5)

    Do you have an alternative idea on this scripture?””

    And then he went dark. Does anyone know if he’s ok?

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  17. Brian
    I think Rutchin asked you a question below :

    He said to you

    Do you understand “whole world” to include believers so that believers are under the control of the evil one?

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  18. Another wonder Old Testament from God’s Holy Divine Revelation for Definite Atonement, that Christ Death Secured the Salvation of the ones given to Him by the Father.

    Malachi 3:16–18 (NASB)

    16 Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who esteem His name.

    17 “They will be Mine,” says the LORD of hosts, “on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.”

    18 So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.

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  19. To Professor Flowers in Christ whom I respect much for His character in Christ.

    Alert!!! Alert!!! Reformed Calvinist Mortar Attack on the ill-advised and misunderstanding o Psalms 115:3!!!!!! Sound the Non-Calvinist alarm and run for NC Bunkers.

    Leighton Flower said and I quote:Psalm 115:3 — “But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.”

    We definitely believe that God does whatsoever pleases, and we bless His name that what He pleases is always righteous and good. Further, God has revealed His pleasure in the Scriptures, and the Scriptures tell us that it was His pleasure to send Jesus to die so that “whosoever believeth in him should not perish.”

    One need only to read vs 16 of the same Psalm to see what God was pleased to do.

    Kevin says quoting God’s words and His own comments: “Psalms 115:3
    3 Our God is in the heavens;
    he does all that he pleases.

    This is very notable expression of God’s sovereignty!!

    Psalms 115:16
    God created the earth and it belongs to him (in what sense has he given it to the children of men) Along with the gift of the earth comes the responsibility to work and serve God faithfully. From the heavens, especially the third heaven the Apostle was caught up in and seen things not to be uttered, this is the place executes his eternal decree or decrees, but to the elect, the given ones, the coming/believing ones his beloved, his own chosen special children he gives heaven, the kingdom of heaven, eternal glory, bliss and heavenly happiness. Matthew 25:34

    The greatest need ever and always is the blessing of God on everything we touch and do (all your hands find to do, do it with all your might) that graced blessing is found only in the Lord Jesus Christ through faith in Him, Faith which is a fruit of grace.

    It all began back in the beginning, I am going to let God’s word do most to the talking here.

    Genesis 1:1 – In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth;

    Genesis 1:28 – And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

    God did give the peoples of the earth through Adam and Eve a responsibility to tend to it and subdue for the glory of Almighty God. Whatever we do, whether eat or drink, do all to the glory of God. In that sense again I repeat the earth has been given to the children of men. Just like someone who rents an apartment or home, it is theirs, but ultimately it belongs to the owner they are making monthly rent and mortgage checks to.

    Genesis 3:17-18
    17. And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
    18. thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field.

    Even after Adam’s fall into sin, wanting to be self-governed. God still spelled out His responsibility that he has given to the “children of men (Psalms 115:16), but notice it would be hard, difficult work. God once again intervenes in what is rightfully and ultimately His by cursing the ground.

    1 Chronicles 29:11 – 13
    11. Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all.
    12. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.
    13. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.

    Psalms 24:1 – The earth is the Lord’s and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein (the inhabitants that dwell in and upon the earth,

    2 for he has founded it upon the seas
    and established it upon the rivers.

    Daniel 4:34-35 “Is God trespassing on someone else’s property, I don’t think so. It all belongs to Him, and rightfully so as He is the Creator and all things for Him. See Colossians 1:16 Below and Romans 11:36

    34. At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation;
    35. all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”

    Colossians 1:16 – For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.

    Romans 11:36 – For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

    1 Corinthians 10:26 – For “the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.”

    Psalm 50:12 – “If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine.

    Psalms 89:9 – You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, you still them.
    Why is God messing with the Earth that according to Soteriology101 does not belong to Him. Because all things are for Him, through Him and for His glory. It is His (ownership) Creation
    Wow. Awesome, the Glory and Power of the Living Sovereign God. Of course even Jesus commanded the raging waves of the sea and violent wind to be still and they were immediately calmed. I stand In reverence, holy fear coupled with love and holy awe of the Sovereign God of my Salvation.

    Psalms 89:11 – The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours;
    The world and all its fullness, You have founded them.

    Psalms 104:5 – He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved.
    God’s connection and ownership of the earth is from the beginning until the end of time

    Exodus 9:29 – So Moses said to him, “As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will spread out my hands to the Lord; the thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, that you may know that the earth is the Lord’s.

    Exodus 19:5 – Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine;
    Deuteronomy 10:14-15
    14. Behold, to the LORD your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it.
    15. Yet the LORD was devoted to your fathers and loved them. He chose their descendants after them–He chose you out of all the peoples, as it is today.

    Job 41:10-11
    10. No one is so fierce that he dares to stir him up. Who then is he who can stand before me?
    11. Who has first given to me, that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine.

    Exodus 19:5 – Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine.

    Job 41:11 – Who has preceded Me, that I should pay him?
    Everything under heaven is Mine.

    1 Corinthians 10:26 – for “the earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness.

    Ok, you can come out of your NC Bunkers now, the Reformed Calvinist Mortar Attack is over. The ill-advised and misunderstood reasoning of Psalms 115:3 has been corrected.

    Come and receive the healing grace of God’s word, be strengthened, comforted, edified and built up in the Lord knowing the truth of His Holy Word

    This understanding of this verse has been refuted….

    Blessings in Christ

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    1. Hi John, Great question.

      1Pet 1:2 elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.

      I believe Peter in this introduction is glorifying the Lord by mentioning some of the major aspects of how each of these professing Christians living as pilgrims on earth among the Jewish Diaspora became joined God’s saved elect.

      Foreknowledge is a tricky word in the NT, with most thinking only about prescience in the mind of God. But almost every verse where this word is used is about knowing persons, in other words, there is a relational aspect to that knowledge. I personally believe Scripture teaches clearly that God did not predetermine the entire future of human history, including all His choices within it, before creation. I think Psalm 139:16 is best understood as God fashioning a plan for each human during conception, while in the womb, when they are a real person. I believe He foreknows that plan from that point on as having some things predetermined unconditionally and some things left to be conditionally decided later.

      Sanctification of the Spirit was also involved in how the became part of God’s elect. This is not talking about being set apart for God after regeneration, but being drawn apart by the HS enlightening of the human spirit to be brought to a moment of repentance and faith, which are prerequisites to becoming joined to the elect. The word “sanctified” is used this way in 1Cor 7:14 for an unbeliever and other NT passages.

      Obedience in this context is the obedience of faith, the HS sanctifying work just mentioned is to provide the result of obedience to the Gospel call which is also necessary to becoming one of God’s elect. It also provides the opportunity for the sprinkling of the blood, or washing away of sin’s guilt, by the application of Christ’s redemption when personal faith is exercised.

      So briefly – God’s elect ones became so according to the plan God thought up for them before they were born (but not before creation). That plan included the HS pulling them apart from their own way of disobedience to be given the opportunity to obey the Gospel (or light leading to the Gospel) and the opportunity to be purified by Christ’s redemption.

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      1. Thank-you Brian, just a follow-up for clarification.j justbto let you know where I’m coming from. I have been following Prof Flowers line of thinking etc. On Romans 8-11etc so I am not a Calvinist and not Arminian so I follow what he calls the traditionalist view as he does. The 1 Peter 1-2 is never really discussed anywhere so I thank you very much for taking the time to answer. So with that said is the term elect here in 1 Peter referring to the fact that they are elect because they are believers. Thats their title as it were just as being called saints etc royal priesthood etc. Just as we are we are part of the elect upon belief in Christ. Do Calvinist use 1 Peter 1: 1-2 as part of their ” proof texts”

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      2. You’re welcome John. Yes, I agree with your assessment. The elect only had one member before creation… our Lord. We become part of the elect by faith. It is after receiving the call.

        Matt 22:14 is in the present tense… It is just the same as if Jesus said – Many are being called and few are being chosen. The reason that was His assessment was because though the harvest was plentiful, the laborers were few.

        Israel had failed in its task to be the light to the nations. Now it is our turn in the harvest field.

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      3. brianwagner writes, “1Pet 1:2 elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.”

        The issue here might be to understand 1 Peter 1:1-2 in any sense (without regard to theology). “Petros…eklektois parepidamois diasporas…kata prognosin theou…” So how are we to understand Peter’s train of thought?

        Does Peter mean to say,
        “…to the strangers, scattered …, elect according to the foreknowledge of God through sanctification of the Spirit…” as most translations have it

        or could we read this as “…to the elect – strangers…according to the foreknowledge of God through sanctification of the Spirit – unto obedience…”

        Later, Peter speaks of their heaviness through manifold temptations and trial by fire. This context would support Peter telling them up front that they have been dispersed according to the foreknowledge of God so that they are exactly where God wants them. Thus, Peter means to encourage them and does so at the beginning by addressing them as the elect who have been dispersed by God according to plan.

        Since you have some experience with the Greek language, perhaps you could weigh in.

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      4. Hi Roger, Both “elect” and “pilgrims” are adjectives without definite articles to tell us which is substantival acting as the subject. I would lean towards your choice “elect pilgrims” instead of “pilgriming elect” because of how Peter uses these two words elsewhere in this epistle.. However, I think the phrase – “in sanctification of the Spirit” would be hard to be seen as an explanation of how the came to be “pilgrims” though it would fit apostolic understanding as to how they became “elect”.

        Compare with 2Thess 2:13 “But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth,”

        Also the results – “for obedience and sprinkling” would be awkward connections with why God sent those elect pilgrims to live in those provinces. So I am sticking with all theses actions of verse two, including “foreknowledge” as explanations of how they became elect pilgrims not how certain elect became pilgrims.

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      5. brianwagner writes, ‘Both “elect” and “pilgrims” are adjectives without definite articles to tell us which is substantival acting as the subject. I would lean towards your choice ‘elect pilgrims’…”

        OK. Your explanation sounds reasonable. I guess reading the text in a literal manner works best as is generally the case.

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