Response to James White on the Atonement

In Dr. James White’s most recent Dividing Line broadcast (seen here) he critiqued my podcast with Dr. David Allen (heard here).

In the YouTube video below I present a visual illustration contrasting Calvinism’s Limited view of atonement versus the Traditionalist’s Provisional view.

Additionally, Dr. White suspiciously declared that he would like to see the quote from Dr. Phil Johnson which supported my commentary about Calvinist’s historical disagreement over this topic, so here it is:

“…don’t imagine that there is just one view for the Limited Atonement position and another view for the Unlimited Atonement position. As if there are two polar opposites here and they compete against each other. This is not really an either/or position even among Calvinists. And in fact, historically, the most intense debates about Limited Atonement have come over the past 400 years, they’ve all been intramural debates between Calvinists, among Calvinists. There are at least three major divisions of Calvinists. There are the high Calvinists. They have one opinion about how the atonement is limited; they tend to try to say it’s limited in its sufficiency. You’ve got the moderate Calvinists and you’ve got the low Calvinists and they all have different views and there are many shades and degrees in between. In fact, I doubt if you could find any two Calvinists who agree completely with one another on every text and every nuance related to this verse. You may if you scoured the world find two somewhere but I bet if you could poll every Calvinist in this room you’d find that no two of us agree on every point and every particular related to this issue. There is not just one Calvinist position on limited atonement. There are many. And when you get into individual verses like Second Peter 2, verse 1, there is no such thing as THE Calvinist interpretation of that verse. There are at least six possible Calvinists’ interpretations of it and if we have time at the end I’m going to give you three of them.

(…)

Now, how to explain limited atonement continues to be a point of contention among Calvinists of various opinions. Some of you are Calvinists and I warn you now that you may not like everything I have to say about this issue today. But I would advise all of you, Calvinists and Arminians alike, to gain some of your understanding of these complex issues by reading the historical literature on this subject, rather than by simply tuning into Internet debates on this issue. I’m a little weary of those overzealous Calvinists on the Internet who treat everything as simplistically as possible. Always trying to outdo everyone to see who can adopt the highest form of High Calvinism. And as a result, and you can actually see this trend if you watch Calvinist discussions on the Internet. 

Modern Calvinist circles seem to be filled with guys who insist that Christ’s death had no benefit whatsoever for anyone other than the elect and God’s only desire with regard to the reprobate is to damn them period. Too many Calvinists embrace the doctrine of limited atonement, they finally see the truth of it but then they think, “Oh that’s that.” Christ died for the elect and in no sense are their any universal benefits in the atonement, so the atonement is limited to the elect in every sense and it has no relevance whatsoever to the non-elect. I think that’s an extreme position and it’s not supported by many of the classic Calvinist theologians and writers if you read carefully what Calvinists have said throughout history. I want to encourage you read Andrew Fuller and Thomas Boston. Read what people like Robert L. Dabney and William G. T. Shedd and B. B. Warfield and Charles Hodge wrote on the subject of the atonement. Read John Owen too, but don’t imagine that John Owens’s book The Death of Death in the Death of Christ represents the only strain of Calvinist thought on the issue. It doesn’t. In fact, far from it. 

If you begin to study this issue in depth you will quickly discover that the classic Calvinist view on the extent of the atonement is a lot less narrow and a lot less cut and dried than the typical seminary student Calvinist on the Internet wants to admit. Historic Calvinism, as a movement has usually acknowledged that there are universal aspects of the atonement. Calvin himself had a view of the extent of the atonement that was far more broad and, and far more extensive than the average Calvinist today would care to recognize. And I’ll show you some of that if time allows. 

And, while I’m making concessions to the other side let me also admit, that this is one issue where historical theology is not overwhelmingly on the side of the Calvinists. And until really some of the later Catholic scholastics raised this question and began to debate it some time in the Middle Ages, most of the church fathers and most of the leading theological writers in the church, both orthodox and heretical, most of them assumed that Christ died for all of humanity and that was the end of that. (…)

Also, Dr. White wrongly accuses Dr. Allen of error by suggesting those non-Calvinists holding to the Governmental view of the atonement would not claim that Christ died for the sins of all humanity. Just as Dr. Allen explained in our original podcast, some Calvinists tend to conflate the intent, extent and application of the atonement when it suites their purpose, while only acknowledging the distinctions when it helps to support their case. White is guilty of this quite often in my estimation.

Hugo Grotius, the most notable proponent of the Governmental theory of atonement, argued that Christ’s death is not a strict equivalent to what man owed, but only that God accepted it as such. In other words, “Christ’s death is the equivalent of our punishment only in the sense that by it the dignity of God’s government is as effectively proclaimed and vindicated as it would have been by our punishment.” <link>  So, while Grotius would have denied the individualized penal substitution theory proposed by some, he would have no problem declaring that Christ died provisionally for every individual. This view would most certainly fit within the unlimited perspective as in stark contrast with the limited view being proposed by White and other 5-pointers — just as Allen rightly concluded.

Hopefully we can have Dr. Allen back onto the program to address some of these issues in more depth. Stay tuned.


ADDED: To watch the follow up discussions between White and Flowers on these presentations, please CLICK HERE.

659 thoughts on “Response to James White on the Atonement

  1. Br.D,

    Both Vance and Bian Wagner are displaying extreme ignorance concerning Arminian theology. First Vance argued that Arminians believe that God predetines all events. I argued against that in a post. Wagner makes the same false claim when he writes: “Vance is correct that in Arminianism everything is predestined before creation.” This is a completely false claim. Anyone who has read on this issue at any length knows that Arminians do not believe that God predestines all events. I will repeat one example that shows this to be the case: Arminians and Arminian theologians have argued for hundreds of years that if God predestines all events then that means he predestines all sin and that makes him the author of sin. If Vance and Wagner continue to misrpresent Arminian theology by claiming that Arminians believe that God predestines all events including all sins, this shows their views to be intentional misrepresentations of Arminian theology. And I should add that not only Arminians but many other non-Calvinists believe the exact same thing: that God does not predestine all events because if He did so that would include sin and mean that He is the author of sin. Check out Arminian writings on this specific issue and over and over for a period of hundreds of years, they have argued that God does not predestine every event with the best example being that God does not predestine all sin. I can understand how Vance and Wagner as open theists may disagree with Arminian theology and its affimation of omniscience, but that does not make their misrepresetation of Arminian theology acceptable. We can discuss various views here and disagee on things, but the kind of misrepresentation of other views that they are engaging in is unaccepatable.

    I note that at one point Wagner writes “Though their view is illogical because of he nonsense . . . .”

    Where is our fault finder critic Phillip on this one? If I had said of their view that it was “nonsense” Phillip would pop up scolding me for speaking like that. I say an argumet is goofy, and Phillip tantrums and must pop up to criticize. Wagner speaks of Arminian theology as “nonsense” and not a peep from Phillip about that being unacceptable. Personally I am not bothered by Wagner speaking of Arminian theology being “nonsense” as that is his opinion. And he can express his opinion all he wants. What is unacceptable however is his intentional misrepresentation of Arminian theology (or any other theology, in an earlier post he also completely misrepresented Molinism as well). We can rationall discuss things even when some find other theologies to be “nonsense”: we cannot however have rational discussions when views are being misrepresented, not presented accurately or fairly.

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    1. Good morning Robert. One simple yes or no question… Do you believe that before creation God foresaw your faith and, based on that foresight, chose you, predestined you, for salvation?

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      1. Brian you say that you want one simple Yes or No. I will be glad to answer your question when you admit that you are misrepresenting Arminian theology and Arminians when you claim “Vance is correct that in Arminianism EVERYTHING [my emphasis] is predestined before creation.”

        If you admit that error on your part I will answer your question and also give my take on Romans 8:29.

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      2. I can understand Robert how that statement – “everything is predestined before creation” taken out of context, when attributed to Arminians, could be used, as you have done, to say it implies that God is responsible for sin. I should have added that caveat, so that someone would not be able to so easily jump to that conclusion by taking it out of context.

        But in context, both Vance and I have affirmed that Arminians believe in predestination AFTER foreknowledge, which in their faulty thinking, :-), includes all man’s completed free will faith decisions and free will sin decisions.

        Then, after seeing that theoretical foreknowledge (which came from who knows where), according to Arminians God somehow predestines to salvation those who have faith and also confirms the predestination of those who did not believe. All of this happens BEFORE creation. So I think it is just to say “everything is predestined before creation” meaning the predestination to salvation of all individual He foresees will believe and to predestine by His permission all others, whose full lives He foresees, to remain in their sin. But it is all settled before creation, which means there will be no changes to His foreknowledge of all their lives after that, after creation takes place.

        And I still think it makes no sense, is nonsense, to think God can have immutable foreknowledge before creation that sees man’s free will decisions and then God decides to do some predestinating, but then to say that the foreknowledge doesn’t change from what it was! Really?

        I would love to hear your answer to my question and your take on Rom 8:29. Here’s mine – https://www.facebook.com/notes/calvinism-arminianism-pelagianism-wesleyanism-finneyism-lutheranism/7-reasons-from-context-grammar-showing-rom-829-30-teaches-combined-blessings-of-/1298329420199218

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      3. In your post recent post you clarify that you do not believe that according to Arminian theology God predestines everything (including all sin). That is making progress.

        My answer to your question is No. I hold to the Corporate Election view (for more helpful information on this go to the Society of Evangelical Arminians website and look at the writings of Brian Absciano, he is the best contemporary representative of the Corporate Election view, currently he is doing some very good material on Romans 9).

        My take on Romans 9:29 is that people are making an error when they believe that the phrase those whom He foreknew He predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ is referring to individual election. I agree with N. T. Wright and others who take that phrase “conformed to the image of Christ” as referring either to sanctification (i.e. being Christ-like, which would mean that all believers in their experience of sanctification are to become Christ like) or eschatological (i.e. being conformed to the image of Christ refers to being glorified and receiving the eternal body suited for the eternal state). In either case, it is not talking about individual election to salvation. Seems to me the text is explicit, those foreknown are predestined to what? to be conformed to the image of Christ.

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      4. Thank you, Robert for the response. Let me ask it another way, if I may. Did God, before creation, foresee your individual act of trusting in Jesus, and also, before creation, did He foresee His predestination of you individually to salvation, which I am assuming from your previous answer He saw that He was going to make that predestination decision after your act of faith? And then, did not His decision to create make your individual decision and His individual response to it certain?

        And as for Rom 8:29-30, I would be interested in your take on my take. 🙂 But one question – would you agree that in that context Paul is saying that ALL who were thus foreknown (whenever that took place) were thus predestined (whenever that took place), in other words, there were none who were foreknown that were not also predestined?

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      5. brianwagner asks, “Did God, before creation, foresee your individual act of trusting in Jesus,…”

        I think Robert’s position is that “God foreknew.” To say that God foresaw, and thereby foreknew would be a denial of omniscience. While Robert believes that God foreknows everything that will happen, he does not address the issue of “How” God knows prefering to say that such is a mystery that God has not revealed in the Scriptures.

        Then, “And then, did not His decision to create make your individual decision and His individual response to it certain?”

        I think Robert might say, certain but not necessary where certainty identifies with WHAT God knows and necessity identifies with HOW God knows.

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      6. Do you have a theological dictionary entry, Roger, that confirms the difference you are positing between foresee and foreknow?

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      7. brianwagner writes, “Do you have a theological dictionary entry, Roger, that confirms the difference you are positing between foresee and foreknow?”

        Vine’s Dictionary notes that the terms are from two different Greek words having the meanings “to see before” and “to know before.” Your question seems to be whether one can know before he sees or knows only because he sees. I have not found a source that addresses that distinction. Thus, another point on which we disagree.

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      8. I do think foreknowledge takes on a variety of nuances that foresee does not, but when we are talking about prescience, I think both Greek words can serve as synonyms.

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      9. brianwagner writes, “when we are talking about prescience, I think both Greek words can serve as synonyms.”

        In order words, synonyms relative to context. Context is always important but can be misused. So, do you have a nifty example from Scripture to illustrate your point?

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      10. Roger, the Greek word for foresee and the word foreknow in 2Peter 3:17 appear to be similes. But the use of foreknew by Paul in Rom 8:29 appears to have a relational aspect that foresee does not.

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      11. brianwagner writes, ” the Greek word for foresee and the word foreknow in 2Peter 3:17 appear to be similes.”

        We read, “Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position.”

        You lost me.

        Then, “But the use of foreknew by Paul in Rom 8:29 appears to have a relational aspect that foresee does not.”

        Sounds good to me. Of course, the nature of that relationship is the subject of some debate.

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      12. The words in your translation of 2Pet 3:17 that are translated “since …already know” is from προγινώσκοντες , proginoskontes,.the participle – “ones who are foreknowing” It is speaking about their foreknowledge of coming judgment based on revelation received from Paul and now Peter. I see that as a simile of “foresight” that these believers now have by which to live their lives.

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      13. brianwagner writes, ” I see that as a simile of “foresight””

        I think that’s stretching it somewhat to identify this with “foresee” in the context of God foreseeing, Where the Jewish believers had been warned – thus foreknew – of invading armies coming against Jerusalem, they then had the foresight to prepare to leave, as they foresaw the disaster that was to come because of that which Jesus said. However, when we speak of God foreseeing the future, we mean that God sees that future – not that someone has told Him what is to come. The question is then, whether God foreknows that future because He foresaw what was to come – thereby having learned something He did not know before. If that is the case, then God cannot be omniscient as there is much for Him to learn and to come to know. So, those who say that God looks into the future to discover who will accept Christ (and designates these as His elect) are denying that God is omniscient (contrary to their professed belief).

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      14. Roger, not sure why you are disagreeing with me on this one. I am not saying He foresees and then foreknows… That’s Arminian and then they throw in some divine decision making based on the foresight that changes what is foreknown, which could not be changed.

        I said foreknow is equal to foresight for God in the prescience sense, though foreknow is used for other meanings. I thought you would actually agree with that, though we disagree on what He foresees/foreknows as to the whether it is of a settled future or a partially determined future.

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      15. I had said, “To say that God foresaw, and thereby foreknew would be a denial of omniscience.

        You responded, “Do you have a theological dictionary entry, Roger, that confirms the difference you are positing between foresee and foreknow?”

        Then, now, “not sure why you are disagreeing with me on this one. I am not saying He foresees and then foreknow. That’s Arminian…”

        I am agreeing with the Arminian that God foresees and then foreknows – else there is no denial of omniscience. My disagreement is over your contention that the two terms are similes as that would not enable the conclusion that the Arminian denies omniscience.

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    2. Cottrell says, “For [Calvinists], predestination always precedes foreknowledge; for [Arminians], at least regarding human deeds and destinies, foreknowledge precedes predestination” (Perspectives, p. 108). Do you believe this foreknowledge-based predestination pertains to individuals? If so, does it pertain to “human deeds and destinies [plural]”? I read too much, Robert. That’s why I’m such an ignoramus. 🙂 In any case, I get the impression that some Calvinists believe that the “predestination always precedes foreknowledge” idea is not that simple, and that P&F work together without one necessarily preceding the other. Thus, if God allows something (foreseen) to occur, it is God’s will that it occur (it is predestined), and there is some purpose for it, even if we can’t see what the purpose is. Needless to say, if God directly causes something to occur, it is His will for it to happen.

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      1. Vance you ask “Do you believe this foreknowlede based predestination applies to individuals?” That is the same question Wagner is asking. When he admits his error I will answer the question which will also answer your question here (I will kill two birds with one stone in doing so).

        You bring up the calvinist view of predestation and its connection with God’s purposes. I think James White summarizes this view very well and succinctly when he says and has said repeatedly like a broken record: “whatever happens God ordains and for a purpose.” White believes there is no such thing as gratuitous evil. So he argues that every evil that occurs since it is ordained/predestined by God is purposed by God. That may make him feel better, but it does not work very well in the counseling office. When someone comes to you having suffering a real and awful evil, telling them that God purposed it, preplanned it, desired it to happen in exactly the way that it happens makes you into one of Job’s comforters. Not very helpful and even at times cruel.

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      2. Vance writes, “Cottrell says, “For [Calvinists], predestination always precedes foreknowledge;….”

        Calvin defined predestination this way: “Predestination we call the eternal decree of God, by which He has determined in Himself what would have to become of every individual of mankind. For they are not all created with a similar destiny; but eternal life is fore-ordained for some, and eternal damnation for others. Every man, therefore, being created for one or the other of these ends, we say, he is predestinated either to life or to death.”

        Calvin’s “predestination” is not that “predestination we find in the Scriptures which pertain to believers and not unbelievers. It comprises God’s election, or choosing, of some to save and some to ignore and leave to their own devices. So Cottrell should have written, “For [Calvinists], election always precedes foreknowledge;….” God elects, or chooses, whom to save and thereby He knows whom He will save. It is those whom God has chosen to save that He then predestines to conform to Christ.

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    3. By predestination as it pertains to ultimate destinies, I have this dictionary definition in mind: “to destine (someone) for a particular fate.” You elsewhere said that God freely chose to create humanity, but before He created humanity, He knew who would be saved. Did He not, by His free choice of creating humanity, secure the destiny of those people? Is that not predestination? And if He predetermined that all who (***by their own choice***) did wickedly would be eternally separated from Him, did He not actualize that destiny by freely choosing to create them? I do NOT believe God is the author of sin, and it is absolutely NOT my intent to misrepresent Arminianism. I’m merely trying to analyze it and put its claim of being consistent to the test. But I realize that may be too big a task for a confused hard-head like me. 🙂

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      1. Vance,

        You are bringing up your if God foreknows that people will end up in hell and chooses to create that world anyway, isn’t he then to blame for them ending up in hell argument. I dealt with this argument extensively in an earlier post, one which you made no response to at all. Go back and examine that post and interact with that one as I deal with your argument and show the problems with it. I will not repeat what I already said there. If you are interested in genuine dialogue then you will interact with that earlier post. If you do not interact with that post where I direclty dealt with your argument, then you really are not interested in genuine dialogue. And by the way, the way that I deal with your argument in that earlier post is not unique to Arminians, many non-Calvinists will respond to that argument in the same way, showing the same problems with it, whether it is presented by an atheist, calviinist, open theist or whoever.

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      2. “You are bringing up your if God foreknows that people will end up in hell and chooses to create that world anyway, isn’t he then to blame for them ending up in hell argument.”

        No, Robert, it’s not. I’m commenting on the meaning of “predestination.”

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      3. Vance,

        You say you are not bringing up that argument again, when it seems by your own words that in fact you are.

        Look at what Vance said:

        “but before He created humanity, he knew who would be saved. Did He not, by HIs free choice of creating humanity, secure the destiny of these people? Is that not predestination? And if He predetermined that all who (**by their own choice**) did wickedly would be eternally separated from Him, did He not actualize that destiny by freely choosing to create them?”

        I dealt with this argument already and you refuse to interact with what I said about it. I said in the earlier post and will repeat it again, atheists make this exact same argument. Here is an example of an atheist making this same argument at a Catholic blog, I want everyone to compare what the atheist says and what Vance says, they make the very same points:

        “It’s very straightforward.
        Catholics believe God knows everything that will ever happen.
        God knows that before he even creates the person, that they will either choose heaven or hell.
        God creates that person anyway,
        knowing full well they will choose to spend eternity in Hell.
        If God did not create them they wold not go to hell.
        Therefore, God creates earthly finite creatures who he knows will spend infinite in hell.”

        After others respond to him, he makes the same argument again, this time bringing in babies to make it more emotional:

        “God knows that the baby he just created is going to one day end up for eternity in hell but God created that baby anyway.
        God created a person to live for a short time period of time on earth, knowing that that person will spend eternity in Hell.
        That’s just cruel in my view.”

        This atheist is making the same exact points that Vance makes in talking about predestination, yet Vance says he is not making that argument again. In both cases they are playing off God’s foreknowledge of the people’s eternal destinies, and His choice to create them anyway thus sealing their destiny so they have no chance to avoid hell. And who is to blame in these arguments? God is, becaue had He not decided to create them, they would not end up in hell as He foreknew they would. So He is to blame for their goig to hell. I dealt with this blame shifting argument extensiively and others need to see he is avoiding interacting with what I said about his argument. I don’t mind if he shows problems in my argument against his argument, but to claim he is not restating it, to refuse to deal with where I dealt with it, that is not doing the right thing. That also suggests that he really does not want to genuinely dialogue on these issues.

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      4. Robert writes, “This atheist is making the same exact points that Vance makes in talking about predestination,…”

        Excusing the misuse of the term, “predestination,” the issue on which atheists agree with most theologies concerns WHAT God knows while issues of free will and the problem of evil concern HOW God knows. You are complaining about an apple while arguing in favor of oranges (to use a metaphor).

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    4. Hi Robert,
      Thanks for your post. I responded to Brian, and feel its important for us all, as we dialog on theological issues, to carefully differentiate between: A) What a believer of a theology says. B) What the primary voices of a theology say. C) The logical entailments within a theology as we analyze them.

      These are three very different things, and in our posts, we are vulnerable to confuse them with each other. This makes us all vulnerable, to raising the level of negative emotions, antagonistic to each other, in a way I would prefer we avoid whenever possible.

      I think Arminians themselves bemoan the lack of philosophical expertise that exists in their social structure. They are much more likely to take a relaxed attitude to the rational foundation which underpins their faith. I appreciate Roger Olson, and Jerry Walls in this regard. I have Walls’ “The Theistic Foundations of Morality” on my books to read, but haven’t had the time to get to it.

      It would be nice if we could actually address logical arguments made by leading Arminian thinkers like Olson or Walls.

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    1. Thank you Brian!! This is excellent.
      I think it summarizes the difficulties well, and outlines the differences and yet unexpected similarities in the different views (in regard to the logical entailments of the views).

      I want to read it again, but in a cursory review, I was surprised (or if the writer is Calvinist – not surprised) that it is somewhat misleading in regard to Calvinism’s embrace of compatibilism. In the Calvinist section, the article seems to firstly state that Augustine rejected compatibilism, and then points to a number of leading Calvinist thinkers, AS-IF they also reject compatibilism, inferring that Calvinism generally rejects compatibilism.

      However, Paul Helm, Tom schreiner, both espouse compatibilism.
      D.A. Carson and J.I. Packer are noted for espousing compatibilism implicitly.
      Bruce Ware, interestingly though, espouses what he calls “Compatiblist middle knowledge”

      So the “Deficiencies” as stated in the article, concerning compatibilism, do apply, (as the rule and not the exception) within the society of Calvinism.

      And I was totally shocked to find out that Norman Geisler embraces Molinism!!

      Thanks for that posting!! 🙂

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      1. You’re welcome Br. D. I saw some of those same strengths and weaknesses in the article, but enjoyed its attempt at balanced – thoroughness. I, of course, disagreed that open theism should be represented as not knowing the possibilities of the future, or at least that is how I read it, in my first quick scan. I believe God knows fully all the possibilities for the future, just not which one will become the actuality unless He predetermines it to be so. I also appreciated his call for what I would see as theological calm between the positions.

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      2. Thank you Brian. :-]
        Would you sight a difference between OT and Calvinism, where CAL holds all divine predestinations as occurring within a time-window: “the foundation of the world”, while OT holds that divine predestinations can occur at any time?

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      3. Br. D. I’ve never heard Calvinism’s predestinations as being referred to as “occurring within a time-window”. The would, I think, state that any reference to predestinations at or after the foundation of the world would be anthropomorphic expressions, for all divine predeterminations are a part of the divine decree, which is/was eternal. But you are correct that most op’s or open futurists believe God has and can continue to make determinations since the foundation of the world, which His omnipotence guarantees.

        As I read your question again, if you are talking about the events themselves which were predestined, then yes, I have heard of some Calvinists (including Roger) holding to all predestined events are within a finite created time frame, and it will come to an end. Then there will be, I guess, in their view, a return to a non-sequential reality. Craig, I believe, thinks reality changed forever at the foundation of the world and will be everlasting sequences. Op’s believe in a succession of events from the everlasting past into the everlasting future.

        The idea of an everlasting sequence into the future does add a conundrum, in my view, to the idea of foreknowledge of a “completed future”.

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      4. brianwagner writes, “…all predestined events are within a finite created time frame, and it will come to an end.”

        To be precise, it is all ordained events, a subset of which are predestined events, that are within “a finite created time frame,” and this because ordained events deal with the world God created and that world exists within “a finite created time frame,” and “it will come to an end.”

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      5. Do you have any major quotes from other mainstream Calvinists that support this view of yours Roger? – “ordained events deal with the world God created and that world exists within ‘a finite created time frame,’ and ‘it will come to an end.’”

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      6. brianwagner writes, “Do you have any major quotes from other mainstream Calvinists that support this view of yours Roger? – “ordained events deal with the world God created and that world exists within ‘a finite created time frame,’ and ‘it will come to an end.’”

        They all agree, as far as I can tell, that God ordains all that happens in human history. Then, Genesis 1 tells us that the universe had a beginning and 2 Peter 3 tells us that the universe has an end. Appealing to the Westminster Confession:

        “I. God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass;..” (Chapter III). “whatever” would include those events in the world.

        “I. It pleased God the Father,…in the beginning, to create, or make of nothing, the world, and all things therein whether visible or invisible,…” (Chapter IV) Thus, a beginning with Peter describing an end.

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      7. Roger, the question was mainly about your view that there are mainline Calvinists that believe the physical creation with everything preordained for it will come to an end.

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      8. brianwagner writes, ” the question was mainly about your view that there are mainline Calvinists that believe the physical creation with everything preordained for it will come to an end.”

        I don’t read that much about the end times, but I kinda thought that Calvinists leaned amill – are you saying that some Calvinists do not think that this present universes will be destroyed??

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      9. There will be new heavens and a new earth. There are different theories as to what is done with the old ones completely replaced or just renovated, but all I have heard contain a sequential reality with us living in physical resurrected bodies forever.

        I think based on 1Cor 15:28 and EO theories of deification, with perhaps a smattering of hinduism thrown in, some see an eventual see an eventual dissolving back into deity of all things… but that is certainly not a mainstream view of any group, that I am aware of. 🙂

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  2. Br.d.,

    Brian Wagner stated that “Vance is correct that in Arminianism everything is predestined before creation.”

    I gave you one clear and good reason to reject this claim (i.e. if God predestines all events then he also predestines all sins, that makes Him the author of sin, a notion that all Arminians have rejected as they believe that He does not predestine all events).

    I want to give you another good reason to reject this claim. Not only does God predestinating all sin make Him the author of sin, and it also makes all sin necessary. If God predestines all events, including all of our choices then libertarian free will is eliminated. Both Calvinists and Arminians have been aware of this for centuries (with calvinists rejecting LFW and holding to a compatibilist view of free will and Arminians rejecting calvinism as it leads to the elimination of LFW). If you are aware of these realities, you would never claim that Arminians believe that “everything is predestined before creation.”

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    1. Hi Robert, I hope you didn’t get the idea that I said “Arminians believe that everything is predestine before creation”. I don’t know any reason (based on what I currently know about Arminianism,) that to be the case. But again, I’m concerned that we are not clearly differentiating between “what Arminans say” and “what logical entailments we think are unavoidable within Arminian theology”.
      I definitely agree with you that Arminians typically express a belief in LFW.

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    2. Arminians (maybe not all of them) most decidedly *do* teach that God predestines individuals to both salvation and damnation. If you say that’s false, you’re misrepresenting Arminianism. This predestination, however, is based on foreknowledge.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Vance,

        You explicitly claim that “Arminians (maybe not all of them) most decidedly *do* teach that God predestines individuals to both salvation and damnation.”

        That is a FALSE CLAIM. Calviists teach double predestination individuals to both heaven and hell) but not Arminians. This was one of the first things that turned off Arminius himself about calvinism, he could not accept double predestination. And later Arminians followed suit. Where do you get this claim Lance? Again, you claimed that you had heard all of the arguments before and interpretations of scripture, but you repeatedly demonstrate a lack of knowledge about Arminians and Arminian theology.

        You went on to say “If you say that’s false, you’re misrepresenting Arminianism.”

        It is you who keep misrepresenting Arminianism.

        There is an easy way to verify your claim, produce an Arminian who holds to double predestination.

        You are pretty desperate in your defense of open theism if you have to keep misrepresenting what others believe. If you had read as much as you claim you would not keep making these kinds of mistakes. In order to fairly and rationally discuss various views minimally you have to at least accurately represent what others who hold other views than your own actually hold to. If you don’t do that then interactions with you become a total waste of time. One of the most common fallacies and errors is the straw man fallacy (ie. you create a false representation of the other view, wipe that out and then conclude that you have refuted the other position, in reality all you “refuted” is a creation from your own imagination). A good way to avoid this is to consider the strongest exponents of a position, deal with that and you avoid creating paper tigers that are easy to destroy. If you had quoted Arminius to show he held double predestination or Roger Olson or . . .: then you would have a case. Most Arminians when speaking of election to salvation and others being damned for their unbelief will make reference to the antecedent/consequent will of God distinction. I am guessing that you are not even aware of the antecedent/consequent distinction commonly made by many Arminians. All you have now is a completely unsupported claim that also happens to be false.

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      2. “Article I — That God, by an eternal, unchangeable purpose in Jesus Christ, his Son, BEFORE the foundation of the world, hath DETERMINED, out of the fallen, sinful race of men, to save in Christ, for Christ’s sake, and through Christ, those who, through the grace of the Holy Ghost, shall believe on this his Son Jesus, and shall persevere in this faith and obedience of faith, through this grace, even to the end; and, on the other hand, to LEAVE the incorrigible and unbelieving in sin and under wrath, and to CONDEMN them as alienate from Christ…”

        That is the from the first article of the Arminian Remonstants. Vance was correct that most Arminians believe this relates to all individuals, and was a pre-creation determination based on foreknowledge. Maybe you do not understand Arminianism as well as you think.

        You are certainly overlooking Vance’s constant affirmation of Arminian’s view of foreknowledge of free will before predestination in your swift and harsh critique. How about providing your own evidence of what most Arminians believe that is contrary to what Vance and I have said?

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      3. “Article I — That God, by an eternal, unchangeable purpose in Jesus Christ, his Son, BEFORE the foundation of the world, hath DETERMINED,…to save…those who,…shall believe on this his Son Jesus, and shall persevere in this faith…”

        Arminians believe that God determined to save “those who believe.” This was to contrast with Calvinism that said that God determined to save some that God would bring to belief. The problem with the Arminian position is that they also believe that God knows the identify of those who would come to belief and then they believe that God knows this without learning it by looking into the future (I think). It is a confusing position.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I think your summation here, is pretty accurate rhutchin. However, it might appear to be “a confusing position” given your exposure to Calvinism, which has historically been harshly critical towards alternative views, and especially Arminianism.

        If you review the interviews which Robert Lawrence Kuhn has with leading theologians on divine omniscience and free-will (“closer to truth” series). you will hear them assert that the determinism-compatibilism view, out of all views, is the most logically problematic of them all.

        However, to be fair, they do also acknowledge, that LFW has logical problems that are so far unresolved. LFW, is so intuitive in the human daily living, that it is difficult to reject it without cognitive dissonance. Social psychologists indicate that children start to conceive LFW conceptions of life by around 8 years of age.

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      5. br. d writes, ” LFW, is so intuitive in the human daily living, that it is difficult to reject it without cognitive dissonance.”

        What is intuitive is that people make choices. That such choices evidence “libertarian” freedom is not intuitive but conjecture.

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      6. br.d writes, “sorry that is not the way the social science people see it.”

        Yeah, that must be why the social science people have so many theories about free will and how it works and it remains fodder for even more journal articles,

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      7. br.d writes, “Yeh…those scientific thinkers are so [insert pejorative here].”

        Yeah, that’s why they call it a “social” science; they can be so flexible.

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      8. Robert’s challenge: “There is an easy way to verify your claim, produce an Arminian who holds to double predestination.”

        “But I reject Pinnock’s central thesis that biblical election is *corporate* and *vocational* to the practical exclusion of individual predestination to salvation and damnation. The Bible’s teaching on this subject is not a matter of either/or, but both/and” (Jack Cottrell, Perspectives on Election: Five Views, p. 318).

        Liked by 1 person

      9. yes, ….. I see another quote in this book by Dr. Cottrell “Before the world ever exists, God CONDITIONALLY predestined some specific individuals to eternal life, and the rest to eternal condemnation, BASED UPON his foreknowledge of their freewill responses…..to his grace.

        So I stand correct. Cottrell, speaking on behalf of what he considers to be “core” Arminianism, is saying that A FORM of predestination to salvation/damnation, is present in Arminian theology.

        Liked by 1 person

      10. Br. D. and that “conditional predestination” before creation based on foreknowledge does not mean that God’s foreknowledge “back then” will later change because of some theoretical condition being met or left unmet that wasn’t foreknown. What happens is that Arminians have to retreat into “timeless” “unsequential” reality so that “before creation” does not really mean “before”.

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      11. What happens is that Arminians have to retreat into “timeless” “unsequential” reality so that “before creation” does not really mean “before”.

        I’m not certain what you mean when you say “before creation” does not mean “before”?

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      12. Be. D. I have found that Arminians don’t like to be pushed to explain what “before the foundation of the world hath determined” from the first article of the Remonstrants means in relation to simple foreknowledge. It appears they want to say that God’s foreknowledge in time (in creation) is what is true from the perspective of the moment – looking back, in the moment, and into the future. So the future is foreseen as incomplete with true possibilities for free will to be exercised.

        But they have to acknowledge that before creation started everything was foreknown as completed, and the article says even the destinies of those seen as believing and enduring hath been determined. They have to admit that the same foreknowledge of a completed future that existed before creation still exists in God’s mind today, but they mollify themselves by conjuring this other from-within-time perspective of foreknowledge of an incomplete future as if the other outside-of-time foreknowledge of a completed future is consistent with it and not contradictory.

        But the outside-of-time one was “before” any inside-of-time one and should take priority in being their true perspective of foreknowledge. So they have to get rid of the meaning of “before” to feel comfortable with their in-time view of foreknowledge as being compatible with the-outside-of time view.

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      13. The more we drill down into the minutia of each belief-system, it appears the delta (proportional increase) of contradictions become logarithmic. I suspect this is why Peter Van Inwagen today asserts that the compatibility of divine foreknowledge and creaturely freewill is a mystery.

        Rutchin, in a recent post, alluded to the theoretical nature of conceptions of time, and I think he was correct in discerning that. However, that discernment speaks to the high degree of human vulnerability. The scriptures are not academic text books on physics, or metaphysics. To assume to interpret scripture’s texts through the lens of a given philosophy, creating a manufactured theology, and then declaring it “bible based” is all to likely, that theology’s self-reinforced delusion.

        Liked by 1 person

      14. br. d writes, “To assume to interpret scripture’s texts through the lens of a given philosophy, creating a manufactured theology, and then declaring it “bible based” is all to likely, that theology’s self-reinforced delusion.”

        Yeah, those arminians are delusional!

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      15. It can be said that both the Calvinist’s matrix and the Arminian’s matrix both require continual self-reinforcement. So to remain faithful to one’s matrix, one must repeatedly take its blue pill.

        He keeps taking the blue pill of determinism, and all of its logical contradictions magically appear as the other guy’s illusions. And he wakes up each morning in his bed, and believes whatever the matrix has predestined him to believe. 😉

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      16. Robert writes, “Again, you claimed that you had heard all of the arguments before and interpretations of scripture, but you repeatedly demonstrate a lack of knowledge about Arminians and Arminian theology.”

        I’m not going to go back over all my previous posts, but if memory serves, I believe I said that I have heard “all the arguments” against open theists’ interpretations of the many scriptures stating that God grieves, waits to see, hopes, etc. (I was trying to prevent you from re-presenting them in a lengthy post, but you did it anyway.) I think I have elsewhere acknowledged that I’m a little blurry on some of the issues within the different soteriological schools of thought, largely because different writers within these schools offer views that differ somewhat from one another. I’m not an expert on anything, but I’m not as ignorant as you say I am.

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      17. Br. D. Did you read the portion of the first Article of Remonstrance that I posted for Robert? Would that be an example that you are looking for?

        “Article I — That God, by an eternal, unchangeable purpose in Jesus Christ, his Son, BEFORE the foundation of the world, hath DETERMINED, out of the fallen, sinful race of men, to save in Christ, for Christ’s sake, and through Christ, those who, through the grace of the Holy Ghost, shall believe on this his Son Jesus, and shall persevere in this faith and obedience of faith, through this grace, even to the end; and, on the other hand, to LEAVE the incorrigible and unbelieving in sin and under wrath, and to CONDEMN them as alienate from Christ…”

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      18. Yes, thanks Brian,
        That and the book Vance referenced with Jack Cottrell speaking for Arminianism both make it pretty clear there is a form of determinism and a form of predestination of both the saved and damned. However, it is said to be “conditional” based upon foreknowledge of future free decisions.

        I stand corrected. Muchas Gracias my friend! :-]

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  3. Here is one Calvinist web-site on the time-window ( if that can be inferred from its text) of the decrees.

    They are eternal. God makes no decrees in time, but they were all from eternity. So the decree of election is said to have been “before the foundation of the world,”

    http://www.puritansermons.com/boston/bost7.htm

    The problem with many Calvinist statements is the degree of ambiguity in terms. Here we have a decree, said to be “eternal”, while at the same time it is “from eternity”, and the decree is not “made in time”. This statement seems to infer that “time” does not exist as a component of “eternity”. I find the language way to ambiguous!

    I’m going to make a guess…since I understand that Augustine’s solution for resolving the problems of divine foreknowledge and human moral culpability via free-will, asserted the theory that god is “OUTSIDE” of time. Peter Van Inwagen, in his interview at “Closer to truth” addresses how Augustine’s “outside of time” solution fails. But I believe, it is too entrenched in the Calvinist system for them to let it go.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. br. d writes, “The problem with many Calvinist statements is the degree of ambiguity in terms. Here we have a decree, said to be “eternal”, while at the same time it is “from eternity”, and the decree is not “made in time”. This statement seems to infer that “time” does not exist as a component of “eternity”.”

      “Time” is an issue that has energized philosophers to sort out and the reason seems to be to understand how God can know the future. The “time” issue has no affect, as far as I can tell, on issues of salvation which can be comfortably argued without concern for “time” prior to Genesis 1. If Calvinists are ambiguous in sorting out a position on “time,” it reflects the ambiguity shown by everyone on this issue.

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      1. You should really look into this issue, if you want to approach a maturity in sound reasoning. No true scholar would ever attempt to defend statements that are unsound, no mater if the statement came from one of their own theology or not. Paul Helm, for example, is very careful to ensure his statements are clear and precise and lack ambiguities, equivocations and vagueness.

        I recommend an excellent book for you on this subject: “A practical study of argument – Trudy Govier”

        This book especially because it puts a greater focus on unsound argumentation based on semantic and lexical errors in the language of argumentation. My observations are not based on a bias against Calvinism, but the recognition of so much of its equivocal jargon. But if one is predisposed to “see no evil” in his chosen theology, then truth is sacrificed on the alter of that theology.

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    2. Br.D wrote, “Thanks for this post Vance. Can you provide a quote or two from leading Arminians that explicitly state this?”

      Robert E. Picirilli, whom I would regard as a leading Arminian scholar, wrote, “The term ‘predestination’ serves the Arminian, like the Calvinist, as a heading for the overall subject of the decrees or plan of God respecting salvation, with ‘election’ and ‘reprobation’ its two main subdivisions” (Grace, Faith, Free Will, p. 48).

      “Predestination: Arminius defined in the simplest terms possible, as ‘the Election of men to salvation, and the Reprobation of them to destruction.’ This leaves his theological emphasis for the definitions of election and reprobation, although sometimes his definition of predestination takes the positive slant otherwise reserved for election” (ibid).

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    3. Roger Olson writes, “Again, Arminius defined predestination in his ‘Letter Addressed to Hippolytus A Collibus’: ‘It is an eternal and gracious decree of God in Christ, by which He determines to justify and adopt believers, and to endow them with life eternal, but to condemn unbelievers, and impenitent persons'” (Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities, p. 181).

      “For [Simon Episcopius], as for Arminius, predestination breaks down into two categories—election (of some to salvation) and reprobation (of some to damnation). God decreed both but limited himself, so he does not unilaterally decide which particular individuals will fall into which category. And yet God foresees those choices without determining them” (ibid, p. 186).

      In his book Against Calvinism, Olson has a chapter entitled “Yes to Election; No to Double Predestination,” but it is clear that he is taking issue with the Calvinistic doctrine of electing some and “passing over” others without regard to foreseen faith. He is not suggesting that Arminians do not apply the term “predestination” to both election and reprobation.

      Brian and I have accurately described the Arminian view. Robert has either turned a deaf ear to what we’ve actually said or simply cannot admit his error.

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      1. Br.d.,

        Are you watching this? Brian Wagner and Vance have claimed that Aminians believe in DOUBLE PREDESTINATION. I have said that this claim is false and is a misrepresentation of Arminians and their beliefs. Roger Olson is the best contemporary scholar with regards to Arminian theology and beliefs. I quited him, did you see the quote BR.d?

        “Rather, Arminius’s and arminians REJECTION (my emphasis) of absolute monergism and ESPECIALLY DOUBLE PREDESTINATION (to say nothing of supralapsariannism which is what Helm’s soteriology amounts to) was based on their vision of the biblical portrayal of God’s character as loving and good.”

        It cannot be stated more clearly or explicitly, and this coming from the top scholar on Arminian historical theology. Did Wagner or Vance even deal with this citation? No, instead they continue to argue that Arminians hold to DOUBLE PREDESTINATION. Vance and Wagner have simply decided that the facts do not mean a thing to them, they will keep making their false claim no matter what. This is not intelligence nor scholarship, this is just being obstinate (i.e. you want to believe something and the facts mean nothing to you, the facts are ignored or reinterpreted, anything but an acceptance of the facts). And Vance’s commments are even comical: he claims that Arminians hold to DOUBLE PREDESTINATION and then he even quotes Olson who in his book opposing calvinism Vance himself says that “Olson has a chapter entitled “Yes to Election; NO TO DOUBLE PREDESTINATION (my emphasis).” So Olson explicitly says that Arminius and Arminians reject DOUBLE PREDESTINATION. Olson even titles one of the chapter in his book opposing calvinism making THE SAME CLAIM, that Arminians reject DOUBLE PREDESTINATION. Now Br.d. you need to ask yourself who is a better source on Arminian historical beliefs, Roger Olson or Wagner and Vance???

        And to preempt a possible response by these two, appealing to Olson as a scholar on Arminianism is not the fallacy of appealing to authority. It is not fallacious to cite the best scholar in a particular field to support your claim. Now I offered evidence from the top scholar on this, Vance in trying to avoid this evidence even quotes himself a chapter title where Olson makes the same claim. All we can do is provide reliable and relevant and available evidence for our claims. If others simply make up their minds agaisnt the facts there is nothing else that you can do. And why are these two rejecting the facts, because they are motivated to promote and defend an unorthox and false theology of open theism. It is literally “open theism uber alles” for these two. Now Br.D if you have any discernment at all I challenge your exercise your discernment to discern who is presenting facts here and who is ignoring the facts. I am not going to provide any more facts on this and waste them on those whose mind is made up against the facts. For me it is sad to see this kind of thing from professing Christians as I have seen quite a bit of this from cultists and unbelievers

        A.J. Hoover in his classic little book on logic calls this the “ultimate fallacy.” “The ultimate fallacy is not a logical but a moral error. We call it **pigheadnedness**. You commit it when you refuse to accept a proposition that has been proved by adequate evidence. . . . Just as theologians can speak of ‘willful sin’, so the logician can speak of ‘willful fallacies.'” P. 117-118. Jesus spoke of this pigheadnedness as well when he used the metaphor of giving pearls to a pig who then angrily turns on you. When he told his disciples to present the gospel, but when people made it clear they were rejecting it, to wipe the dust off their sandals and move on to the next town. We can all be pigheaded at times, and unfortunately no argument or evidence can lead a person committing the ultimate fallacy to change their minds.

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      2. I see these as some of the chapter headings in Olson’s book “Against Calvinism”
        YES to election No to DP.

        4 – Yes to God’s Sovereignty; No to Divine Determinism
        5 – Yes to Election; No to Double Predestination
        6 – Yes to Atonement; No to Limited Atonement / Particular Redemption
        7 – Yes to Grace; No to Irresistible Grace / Monergism
        8 – Conclusion: Calvinism’s Conundrums

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  4. Vance correctly observes that I gave a challenge to produce evidence of Arminians holding to DOUBLE PREDESTINATION. Brian Wagner tried to do this by quoting from the Remonstrants. Vance tried to do this by quoting from Jack Cottrell in his essay in the five views on election book. Neither quotation shows an Arminian espousing DOUBLE PREDESTINATION. I understand Vance getting this wrong as he is just a person who reads in this area, but Wagner is a New Testament Professor and he ought to know better.

    DOUBLE PREDESTINATION is a calvinist doctrine rejected by Arminians and other non-Calvinists (including ironically both Vance and Wagner).

    Jack Cottrell in the very essay that Vance quotes from speaks of Arminius rejecting the doctrine of DOUBLE PREDESTINATION : “When Arminius himself made the transition from Catholocism to Protestantism, he was exposed to strict Calvinist views, especially those of Beza in Geneva; but he personally rejected both the supralpasarian and the sublapsarian forms of Calvinism. (p. 71) And what specifically was the view of Beza that Arminius was rejecting? DOUBLE PREDESTINATION. Evidently neither Vance nor Wagner is familiar with Arminius’s thinking on DOUBLE PREDESTINATION nor his experience of rejecting the beliefs of Beza (which was primarily a rejection of Beza’s view of DOUBLE PREDESTINATION).

    In thinking about this I am trying to figure out how Vance and Wagner could be believing that Arminians teach or believe in or espouse DOUBLE PREDESTINATION? I think what is happening is that they are confusing two different ideas here. One idea is the CALVINISTIC doctrine of DOUBLE PREDESTINATION. This is the idea that God decided before anyone existed and independent of anything they did, to choose some to be saved and to choose some to be damned (usually referred to as reprobates). This is the doctrine Beza promoted and Arminius rejected. The other idea that Vance especially is confusing with the calvinistic doctrine of DOUBLE PREDESTINATION is the idea that some such as Cottrell holds to (i.e. Cottrell believes that God foreknows who will freely choose to believe and who will freely choose not to believe and that in God’s plan he elects those who believe to salvation and with those who do not believe they will end up eternally separated from God). This second idea is that God has a plan for the eternal destinies of people based upon how they freely response to the gospel and Him (in this sense virtually all non-Calvinists hold to this kind of idea, eg. God’s plan is to save those who freely choose to trust HIm and believe the gospel, or in Cottrell’s case he believes that whom God foreknows will freely choose to believe they are the elect while those whom God foreknows will freely choose to reject the gospel are unbelievers who will end up in hell). The citations by Vance and Wagner are examples of the second idea, not examples of DOUBLE PREDESTINATION which is a calvinist doctrine (note Calvinists debate among themselves how this double predestination works out with some taking the supra lapsarian view and others taking the infra lapsarian view).

    Arminians reject the calvinist doctrine of DOUBLE PREDESTINATION and this is clearly shown in such statemets as this one by Roger Olson (Perspectives on the Doctrine of God – 4 views)

    “Rather, Arminius’s and Arminians rejection of absolute monergism and especially double predestination (to say nothing of suprlapsarianism which is what Helm’s soteriology amounts to) was based on their vision of the biblical portrayal of God’s character as loving and good.” (p. 55)

    Note that Olson says it is ESPECIALLY DOUBLE PREDESTINATION that is rejected by Arminius and Arminians. As I know this from having some familiarty with Arminian theology, with Arminius’ own views and his experience of rejecting Beza’s views especially DOUBLE PREDESTINATION: when I see someone come along and declare as both Vance and Wanger do, that Arminians hold to DOUBLE PREDESTINATION. I know they are wrong on this. I also know that they could only make this error if they are not that familiar with Arminian theology or Arminian beliefs. What Cottrell believes about foreknowlede and election accordinig to foreknowledge is not DOUBLE PREDESTINATION. Arminius explicitly rejected DOUBLE PREDESTINATIO as did the Remonstrants.

    I am becoming more and more convinced that some have not done the research, have not read Arminius, are not even familiar with what contemporary Arminians like Roger Olson say about DOUBLE PREDESTINATION. Unless you folks do better research you are going to continue to misrepresent Arminian theology and beliefs. And that will make for unhelpful discussions in which the actual views of Arminians, etc. are not being discussed. Again, I am not troubled or offended if someone presents Arminian views accurately and then rejects them, but to repeatedly misrepresent them and argue against these straw men that is uncceptable and not conducive to rational and frutiful dialogue.

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    1. Robert writes, “DOUBLE PREDESTINATION is a calvinist doctrine rejected by Arminians…”

      The doctrine of double predestination has two parts:

      1. God acts to save those whom He chooses.
      2. God does nothing for all others allowing them to decide freely if they want salvation.

      Non-Calvinists do not object to (2) – they espouse free will where the unsaved decide if they want to be saved. The issue is, and has always been, whether God must intervene, not just to make salvation available but, to bring a person to salvation against their depraved will, a will that must first be regenerated before it will accept the gift of faith that leads to salvation.

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      1. I’m always amazed at the expertise at which Calvinism couches things in subtle euphemistic language!

        This mode of action is consistent with the ones who “Passed Over” the bleeding and dying man on the Jericho road. Jesus points out …..they “did not intervene”.

        But the Samaritan who “did intervene” Jesus calls “good”, and thus states his action as a true manifestation of the TRUE God.

        In the story of the Exodus, God “passes over” those covered by the blood of the lamb, so that they CAN escape the punishment.

        The Calvinist version is the opposition, where god “passes over” souls so that they CANNOT escape the punishment.

        In Calvinist language, god, at the foundation of the world, sovereignly “RENDERS CERTAIN” the eternal punishment of the many. Welcome to the dark side of the force. :-]

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Very true, Br. D., but also the Arminians and Molinists render everything certain before creation by God’s decision, though all three render God blameless for man’s sins through different illogical premises, imo, just so they all can have God still know the future as completely settled in His mind, protecting their “orthodox” definition of omniscience. The “unorthodox” but more biblical alternative, imo, of open-futurism provides fior a more logical theodicy in my view.

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    2. Robert, you are the one that accused Vance and me of teaching double predestination by our statement that Arminians believe – that based on foreknowledge before creation God determined all who would be saved and to let the rest perish. We never agreed with you that Arminians teach double predestination. That was just your misrepresentation of our view of Arminianism as we stated it. Now you accuse us of not offering proof that Arminians believe in double predestination. You have probably seen such bait and switch tactics you are using on us, being used by cults! “Prove to me that you have stopped beating your wife!” 😉

      I would prefer that you respond to the wording of the first Article of the Remonstrants that I gave you, especially how you think most Arminians understand the phrase – “BEFORE the foundation of the world, hath DETERMINED” and of course, Vance and I both have affirmed that Arminians believe this determination/predestination is based on foreknowledge… which to the Arminian is immutable and complete in agreement with their view of divine omniscience.

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    1. br.d writes, “Take a look at this document on free will and God’s omniscience.”

      I think his third solution should have been worded:

      “However, determinism is not incompatible with [libertarian] free will.”

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  5. This is a reply to Robert’s post of JANUARY 8, 2017 AT 1:46 AM:

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like this. Brian and I acknowledge that Arminians do not believe in Calvinistic double predestination. We have said that Arminians DO believe in predestination (based on foreknowledge) to both election and reprobation. I have quoted Cottrell, Picirilli, and Olson, who quotes Episcopius and Arminius himself to prove this. Then Robert calls my statements “comical” and goes on to quote Olson to prove Olson rejects Calvinistic double predestination, as if Brian and I were arguing that Arminians believe in Calvinistic double predestination.

    Robert, you DO know what you’re doing here. You know full will what Brian and I have said. You know we are not claiming that Arminians believe in double predestination in the Calvinistic sense. You KNOW that! Yet you continue this tirade against a situation that exists only in your imagination. I recently met a poor deluded fellow who believed he was Jesus reincarnated. He was serious—but he was off his medication. I felt sorry for him; his imagination was out of his control. But that’s not the case here. You, Robert, KNOW FULL WELL what you’re doing!

    This is a good illustration of my view of free will. I have said that I believe in free will, but not free will in the absolute sense. Robert, you know the right thing to do is stop this bait and switch tactic, admit your error, and apologize, but some force within you strongly opposes your doing that. You CAN change this, but you’re going to have to swallow a bucket of pride, and that’s not going to be easy.

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    1. Robert, let’s go back to what I originally posted about what Arminians believe. I said, “Arminians (maybe not all of them) most decidedly *do* teach that God predestines individuals to both salvation and damnation.” You replied, “That is a FALSE CLAIM.”

      Really? Do you still say the above statement is false, even after you’ve seen the proof that Arminians do in fact affirm it? Notice that you will not find the expression “DOUBLE PREDESTINATION” anywhere in the statement. YOU added that.

      Like

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