539 thoughts on “John Piper Implicates God in all Moral Evil

  1. I believe Piper is a disciple of the Edwardian school of Calvinism.

    Perhaps Norman L. Geisler’s analysis from “Chosen But Free” will be useful

    -quote:
    “Jonathon Edwards’ view of free choice, which is at the heart of extreme Calvinism, is a form of divine determinism.
    The late John Gerstner and R.C. Sproul hold the same view.

    It destroys true freedom, lays the credit (and blame) for free actions on another [ultimately God], and eliminates the grounds for rewards and moral responsibility. What is more, it makes God ultimately responsible for evil; it admittedly has no answer to why Lucifer sinned since he had no evil nature to incline him to do so.

    ….Edwards overlooks the only viable concept of free will, namely that is it the power of self-determination.
    That is, a free act, whatever persuasion is placed upon it, is the un-coerced ability to cause one’s own actions.”

    – Page 272 & 269

    Its valuable to note, Geisler recognizes different streams within Calvinism, differentiated mostly by the degree/intensity to which Theological Determinism is asserted as being Universal vs. Particular in scope. (i.e, Whether it is asserted as actively determinative of all things universally, or actively determinative only of some things in particular – e.g: active for good events while passive for evil events.)

    Geisler’s position within the various debates on theological compatiblism/incompatiblism, could be seen as aligned with what is called “sourcehood”, and commonly seen as a form of “weak” compatiblism.

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      1. I agree and thanks barker’s woof!

        I don’t know if you’ll agree, but it seems to me that Calvinists avoid like the plague, admitting that they have differences of opinion in their own ranks. And it can easily be the case that those differences represent complete contradictions to each other.

        They thus play a “see no evil”, making believe there is no contradictions and making up 1001 rationalizations why there are no contradictions between each other.
        Thanks!
        br.d :-]

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  2. Anybody who is a “Berean” of the Scriptures can see strait through Prof. Flowers critique of John Piper. Flowers misrepresents Reformed theology by saying that man’s determinations/decisions/choices are not apart of God’s predetermined decree. Flowers places at enmity mankind’s free choices against God’s predetermined decree and this is simply a huge error on his part. Mankind makes free choices according his sinful nature. God is simply orchestrating all events (including man’s free choices) to accomplish His decree. However, God is ACTIVELY orchestrating these events and there’s absolutely nothing that Prof. Flowers or anyone can do to thwart these predetermined events from occurring, whether we believe this or not.
    God, in fact, ACTIVELY accomplishing His predeterminations even in the cases of rape, murder, etc. He is ACTIVELY orchestrating such events for His glorious purpose/plan/decree.
    In the case of rape, we know God ordains/desires that rapes occur because He blesses many of those unions with human conception. No conception takes place unless God Himself gives that conception a spirit since every human is made of both body and soul (spirit). A physical union alone can not produce a soul. Only God can give a living soul to a human being. Therefore, we can conclude that, if God blessed that union between the rapist’s sperm and the victim’s egg with a living soul (spirit), then God ordained/decreed/desired that rape to have occurred. Or else He would never bless the union since the fruit of the womb is “His reward”. There’s no disputing this fact. This is a clear example of God ACTIVELY working through the sinful actions (i.e. rape) of mankind and how these sinful actions are apart of His decree.
    The problem is that men like Prof. Flowers are really the opposer of Romans 9 and aren’t happy with the God of the Bible as He has revealed Himself. Prof. Flowers’ contentions are not with Calvinism at all, but with God Himself. Prof. Flowers is saying, “God who can resist your will if you have made me this way with no control over your predeterminations.” Men who mitigate against God’s predetermined and immutable decree are, in fact, resisting His will.

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    1. So following your logic, every raped woman can be comforted that that excruciating experience produced a living person. God got what he wanted, at the mere expense of her dignity and her safety, and at the lifetime expense of her peace of mind and identity as a person who has value. She will always feel used and worthless, and it will take quite possibly a lifetime of counseling to convince her otherwise. She may never be convinced. But God actively ordained it. Can you look into the eyes of a victim of rape and tell them that this was God’s plan for them all along and think they will ever be convinced that their Father in heaven really loves them? Can you tell her parents that? How can you apply this theology and expect an outcome that will cause a broken woman to run to the Father that you claim loves her? The hands that were stretched out on the cross to save her soul were the very same hands that brought forth the greatest and most demeaning pain she could ever imagine. Can you tell that to her?

      Is every person conceived from rape one of the elect? What about those conceived that are reprobate? God determined for that rape to occur so that soul could be thrown into hell forever – will that bring comfort to the woman who brought forth this life? What about the babies that are aborted due to rape? Or are you just referring to babies actually born? Do the aborted babies not have souls?

      What about all the rapes that don’t produce the a human being? How are those biblically justified?

      What about men who are raped?

      What about children who are raped?

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      1. My brother I’m sensing that behind your argument is a sense of entitlement, as if God owes us an explanation or that His mercy/grace can be demanded. God owes no man any reason or explanation for why and how He accomplishes His decree. We simply bow in humble submission and adoration to it.
        Regarding how we comfort a woman/man who’s been raped, we do it with wisdom and prudence. We would NEVER say to a rape victim that this was God’s will as they’re going through their pain. If they’re an unbeliever, we comfort them with encouraging words or provide them with counseling. If they’re a true believer, then we comfort them with God’s promises for His children and provide godly counseling for them. But you never be so insensitive to remind a rape victim, while they’re going through their pain, that it was apart of God’s decree that heinous sins (i.e. rape) happen to people.
        So I I’ll ask you my friend: If God did not decree/will/desire/determine that rape occurs, why does He bless the act with the reward of a child?
        Here’s another question: Which sin is more heinous:
        1) the murder of an innocent God/Man by His creation, or
        2) the rape of a sinner who hates their Creator and only deserves Hell?
        Remember that God is both a benevolent Deity and yet a wrathful One as well! Also, remember that the raped victim doesn’t deserve comfort; comfort is a grace of God originating from His mercy that He alone chooses to give to whomever He pleases!

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      2. I find it interesting that you would never tell a rape victim that they were raped by God’s decree, but rather reassure them with the promises of God. Hopefully they aren’t familiar with Calvinism, otherwise they would know you are hiding the truths of your belief system simply to make them feel better. Also, being raped was apparently a promise of God for them, since He decreed it before time began, which I can’t imagine would bring any comfort. On the other hand, I know that planning rape is no part of my Holy God. I can honestly say no, God did not plan this, rape is not anything that is good, pleasing and perfect, like we know His will to be. This is not heaven, where His will is done. This is earth, where the devil prowls like a lion, looking for someone to devour. If you are looking for a reason for evil, for a purpose, that’s the reason – Satan’s purpose of evil is to steal, kill, and destroy. God can bring beauty from ashes. I believe he can redeem any sin that his beloved children suffer. But if you’re looking for a purpose for sin, that purpose is evil, not glorious. Who has ever heard of “glorious sin”?

        I also find it interesting that you consider the crucifixion of the Lord of Glory to be a heinous sin; yet rape is a fulfillment of God’s decree. Jesus came to earth with a mission, and he gave the ultimate sacrifice and fulfilled something that the Scripture clearly said he would do. He fulfilled prophecy that was given from the very beginning. Now there is something God specifically determined would happen, yet you call it heinous. I call it amazing and incredibly humbling, that Christ purposefully died for the sins of humankind to bring reconciliation to God.

        And why do you think every rape victim delivers a child? Because they don’t. Why do you think every rape victim is a woman? Because they’re not. What about children that are raped? You seem very convinced that you can justify all rape by saying, well, a life was created. Should that baby be love? Of course it should. Will it? We all hope so. But babies don’t come with every rape…just devastation and brokenness.

        How would you feel if you had a beloved woman in your life that was raped? Would you hope for a pregnancy as a result of rape, a pregnancy from a man you might never know, who stole something precious and irretrievable from your loved one? What about the women and children that get raped and then murdered immediately? How do you justify that? They didn’t produce a baby, and a life was taken, so…but it was still a blessed union, right? Sex is blessed by God no matter what the circumstances as long as a baby is the result, is that what you’re saying? I’m pretty sure when a rape victim finds out she’s pregnant, she doesn’t jump up and down with joy and call her family and tell everyone she’s expecting a baby. Is being raped a blessed union just like the intimacy between a married man and woman is? According to your logic, they are one and the same, since babies do come from both.

        So, if God didn’t determine rape, WHY did he bless it with a child? Maybe because God originally created humans to give birth to more humans and to live with Him in paradise. Because His design was for a family that obeyed Him and lived in harmony with Him. But then, Eve sinned, Adam blamed her, and the first family became dysfunctional right out the gate. God didn’t take away fertility as a result of Eve and Adam’s sin. It’s still there – in fact, it would be very odd indeed if no rapes ever produced a child. And Satan continues to step in and pervert God’s design. All of the sudden a rape victim who finds herself pregnant is missing a husband who ought to be there to support her. But this child will probably never have the blessing of the father they ought to have. This child, who should have a father that provides and protects, is raised either by a single mom who’s trying to scrape enough together to support herself and her child, or her parents or other family raises the child, or the child is adopted out to another family, or she gives up and gets an abortion because she doesn’t see any way out. I can promise you, babies of rape do not always feel like a reward – quite the opposite, actually. Of course all life should be heralded into the world with happiness and love. But it’s not – because of sin. In fact, lots of babies born don’t feel like rewards, even if they weren’t conceived by rape because we live in a world that literally throws babies into the hazardous waste bin before they can draw a breath.

        Let’s apply your logic to a third-world country, where giving birth in a hospital and adopting that baby out to a loving family are unheard of luxuries: a young girl is raped, and she dies in labor because there is no one to help her and her baby dies too. But the baby was a reward, right? It resulted in a soul, so it was a blessed union? A soul that might have been purposed, according to Calvinism, for hell in the first place. And this is all decreed for the glory of God. Death and damnation to bring God glory. Well, I serve no such bloodthirsty god, but a Holy and Mighty and Righteous and Just God, who delivers His children from evil and walks with them through the valley of the shadow of death, giving His children no reason to fear.

        There is clearly a plan for how God wants a family to be. Rape is not the way God intends for children to enter the world. It provides no stability and rape is not beneficial to the precious person it happens to. It is a perversion of the gift of sex, shatters families and it is absolutely caused by Satan. God tempts no one, he has given the earth over to men, and Satan is the prince of this world. This is why we so desperately need to pray that God’s will would be done here on earth as it is in heaven.

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      3. Thank you for your passionate response MKR. But please address the specific questions that I posed to you:

        1) Why does God bless MANY rapes with conception if it was never apart of His decree/purpose/will/desire? Please stay on topic here and answer this specific question.

        2) The crucifixion was sinful on the part of mankind because they crucified they’re Creator without just cause. Of course, on God’s part, it was a TREMENDOUS sacrifice. But once again, stay on topic here. Which is worse: the unjust crucifixion of your Creator or the rape of a sinner who only deserves Hell? Please stay on topic!!

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      4. Thank you MKR for your passionate defense of God’s character! I am in no wise in Troy’s camp… Just ask him! 😉 But I do think his questions deserve a direct response, even if they are loaded. I am responding to you however, instead of him, for he is not willing to admit that Scripture nowhere clearly teaches the primary dogma of Calvinism, which is, that every event into the future forever was eternally immutably determined by God, and that this man-made dogma, if true, is based only on theological and philosophical inferences that contradict clear Scriptures and reason.

        Troy asked – 1) Why does God bless MANY rapes with conception if it was never apart of His decree/purpose/will/desire? Please stay on topic here and answer this specific question. 2) The crucifixion was sinful on the part of mankind because they crucified they’re Creator without just cause. Of course, on God’s part, it was a TREMENDOUS sacrifice. But once again, stay on topic here. Which is worse: the unjust crucifixion of your Creator or the rape of a sinner who only deserves Hell? Please stay on topic!!

        1. I think it is reasonable to admit that God does determine right before each rape happens (not eternally, immutably) to permit the rape to occur and also determines whether to permit a conception or not. This divine determination of allowing sin, does not make God complicit in the sin, for He did not plan it… though He observed the heart of the sinner as it did the planning and carrying out of that evil. And because of God’s just and gracious nature, we know He will justly deal with the sin and provide sufficient grace to the victim. But we must believe that His determination (I choose that word on purpose) to permit this wicked act to unfold was because of some opportunity for a “good” that could not have happened without Him permitting that evil act.

        2. The crucifixion is an example of God determining (not eternally, immutably) at some point to allow the sacrifice of His Son for sin to include the public display of human rejection of that sacrificial Lamb. That rejection: the scourging, mocking, crucifixion torture, etc. is not what produced the payment of redemption in my view. (OT priests did not have to abuse the lambs they sacrificed) That payment was made to the justice of God’s wrath against sin and was unseen, I believe, while Jesus was on the cross. But God allowed the cruel rapacious human abuse of His Son so that we would have a picture of our rebellion that required His sacrifice, and we would also have a picture of His attitude of forgiveness toward us, motivating us to repent and to trust Him for mercy and an everlasting love relationship with Him. Praise His Name!

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      5. Good Morning Brian!🙂 Although you have FREELY chosen not to respond to me (which, by the way, is also according to God’s predetermined decree), I will freely choose to respond to you my brother.
        Firstly, we both believe that each other’s theological systems are not biblically defensible. However, that’s never a reason to choose not to respond to the other.
        Secondly, yes I do believe that God has a predetermined and immutable decree that you nor anyone else can control, whether you believe it or not.
        Thirdly, you wrote: “1. I think it is reasonable to admit that God does determine right before each rape happens (not eternally, immutably) to permit the rape to occur and also determines whether to permit a conception or not.”
        So we have here your premise that God makes decisions in time as if He had not already decided what His action would be before creation. This presupposes that God has to “weigh the circumstances” and then decide what the best course of action should be. So, in essence, you’re admitting that God “permitted” a rape to occur that otherwise He could have prevented from occurring. But He simply does this just prior to the rape occurring. I reject this assertion for the mere fact that God already knows all future events prior to creating Adam and that His decisions were made based on His infinite knowledge and comprehension BEFORE creating mankind. God doesn’t need to “weigh circumstances” in time to make a decision as to whether He should allow or prevent a rape/childbirth to occur.
        Also, God doesn’t “permit a conception to occur”; HE INITIATES CONCEPTION BY HIS SPIRIT!! Every individual human conception is initiated by the Holy Spirit. Mankind consists of two parts – body and soul (Matt 10:28). The body can’t produce the soul; only God can produce the soul of mankind. So conception is a MIRACLE of God in which He gives a living soul to the physical union between the egg and sperm.
        So if God INITIATES conception during the heinous act of rape, then we know that the rape was, in fact, decreed because He freely CHOSE to create during the act of the rape.

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      6. Brian wrote: “But we must believe that His determination (I choose that word on purpose) to permit this wicked act to unfold was because of some opportunity for a “good” that could not have happened without Him permitting that evil act.”
        So are you saying here Brian, that God COULD not have accomplished childbirth outside the evil act of rape? In other words, He couldn’t have found a better means of bringing a child into the world apart from permitting a rape to occur? Brother I know you know better than this. Maybe you didn’t mean to say it the way you did, but I think you need to rethink your assertion if you’re asserting that God COULD not have found a better way to bring about good (i.e. human conception/childbirth) other than an evil means (i.e. rape). The fact is that God has DECREED rape to occur because He freely chooses to use these heinous acts to ACTIVELY create human life for His predetermined purposes!!

        You wrote: “That payment was made to the justice of God’s wrath against sin and was unseen, I believe, while Jesus was on the cross”
        We actually found something to agree on because I believe this to be absolutely correct brother!!

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      7. You make excellent points MKR!!

        This highlights a primary issue with Calvinist language.
        It is designed to deny, obfuscate and camouflage the dark-side of its good-evil system of moral-dualism.
        Moral-dualism is a significant constituent within Calvinist cosmology.

        The glory of God’s goodness can’t shine bring without the glory of God’s evil. (although Calvinists enunciate that using euphemistic language).

        In Calvinism, good and evil are co-equal, co-necessary, and both are equal constituents of the divine nature.
        Good and evil exist together within the deity in undifferentiated form (i.e, they are un-delineated)

        That is a major reason Calvinism remains a fringe sect within Protestantism.

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      8. MKR writes, “God actively ordained it. Can you look into the eyes of a victim of rape and tell them that this was God’s plan for them all along and think they will ever be convinced that their Father in heaven really loves them?”

        God is present at every rape. God observes every detail of each rape, and hears every word, every cry, sees every thought, and understands the pain and humiliation of the person being raped. God is able to step in and put a stop to the rape. What does God do? He does nothing. That is the decision that God made (in eternity past for BW) – that decision is His will. By that decision, God ordained the rape. If you want to argue otherwise, do so.

        So, what are we to teach women who are confronted with a rapist. We teach them to cry out to God for help. We teach them that rapists are sinners and are pathetic and pitiable people whose reward for a moment’s fleshly pleasure is an eternity in hell. We teach them to fall down in front of the rapist and beg God to have mercy on the rapist. As Jesus hung on the cross, He said, “Forgive them father, for they don’t know what they are doing.” Such is the condition of all unbelievers, no matter how vile their sin.

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    2. Troy, stuff and nonsense. You really should know better but obviously don’t. Jesus himself said woe to those who cause a little one to stumble. And temptations are bound to come but that doesn’t excuse personal responsibility for those actions. Again all we see from this kind of deficient thinking is that God makes us responsible for His choices.

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    3. Troy writes, “Mankind makes free choices according his sinful nature.”

      Let us remember that people are not born with faith (faith is conveyed to a person through the preaching of the gospel) and people are not born with the Holy Spirit indwelling them (that happens when they believe). As a consequence Paul tells us in Romans 8, “…the mind set on the flesh…does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so…” Jesus tells us twice in John 6, “…No one can come to Me…” Paul says in Romans 3, “…there is no-one who does good, not even one.” The sin nature rules over the unsaved to the extent that all unsaved people can do is sin. That situation does not change until the person receives faith, believes, and becomes indwelt by the Holy Spirit. However, even the believer still struggles against the flesh as Paul tells us in Romans 7, “I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wishes to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?”

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  3. Troy,
    How does one even begin to address such a sad, putrid distortion of God’s character and works? It demonstrates well the catastrophic damage that Calvinism’s errors do to man’s ability to understand, trust and respond to God. I know you have all your pat answers from your Calvinist script – been there, and could recite them along with you. The difference is that I can, and am willing, to consider other answers as well, and there are many that do not require sacrificing God at the alter of false ‘Sovereignty’ and ‘Glory’. I pray that the good, gracious and loving God break through the blindness that has been cast upon your mind and reveal to you the truth about who He is and how He desires good – not just for you and your select few, but for all men. ‘All’ all, not ‘some’ all.

    I cannot imagine anything more tragic than believing that God not only endorses but actively orchestrates the worst evils that man can contrive, such as rape. What a sick, twisted mind Calvinism creates. In your worldview, there is absolutely no need for Satan, for God compels men to do that which Satan can only try to deceive men into performing. Worse, he ‘punishes’ them for doing what he thought up, ordained and compelled them to do. But it’s ok, because they ‘desired’ to do as he ordained them to do. (Well of course they did – he ordained what they desire, didn’t he? And cursed them with a ‘sin nature’ before they ever drew a breath, so-called ‘Total Depravity’ – a complete inability to do anything but sin. Wow, with a god like that, you really don’t need a devil, do ya?)

    Can you even begin to perceive how evil and perverse your distortions are? Imagine telling an abused young child that the unthinkable sexual abuse at the hand of his father or grandfather was thought up, ordained, nay, compelled by God. I hope to God no one ever dares suggest such a thing to my nephew, who bears those very scars. I cannot even imagine believing such a horrendous, preposterous lie, which, if it were true, would allow no man to love God. I cannot tell you how much I truly, truly pity you and the many like you (including loved ones of my own) who have fallen for such a disgusting web of lies.

    You humbly pride yourself on your humility, your willingness to blame, er, credit God for all things, including rape, torture and genocide. Comes in real handy when all that niggling guilt for ‘your’ sin –which scripture commands you to cease from, but you prefer to just believe that it is ‘invisible’ – comes haunting you. Oh, and the rest of us still see it too. But it’s so freeing to believe that God doesn’t see any of your evil deeds, but merely sees ‘the righteousness of Christ’ – even when you lie or abuse your wife. Such priceless fire insurance. Unless, of course, you are one of the unlucky ones who didn’t get the offer of ‘the righteousness of Christ’, which leaves them burning in hell for the same things you get away with, you lucky dog.

    Nice bennies, if you can get ‘em. Of course, it’s all a roll of the dice, isn’t it? You, of course, could not care less if God just happened to reprobate your own friends and loved ones, your own beloved mother or child, right? Sorry, little Charlie, I love you bunches – too bad God couldn’t say the same. Oh well, too bad, so sad, but just think of all the ‘glory’ you are bringing God! That’s some comfort, now, isn’t it, little fella? You can think ‘Wow, toasting me for my sins while letting my Dad off for the same, or worse, is bringing that narcissistic God some real macho feelings of ‘glory’’, so I should be glad, yes, glad that I was created for everlasting torture! I only regret that I have but one life to give for my God, who loved me so.’ Good luck selling that to anyone with a brain.

    Let’s just say that your, er, limited concern for the unfortunates doesn’t exactly commend you – let alone your God – to others, including the lost, whom scripture states Jesus actually came to seek and to save. But of course Calvinists know – wink, wink – that God is just being disingenuous when he states over and over how much he loves all men, desires all to turn from wickedness, waits patiently in hopes that none will perish, etc. Wink, wink. Sorta like how you talked so prettily to your girlfriend, before you married her and revealed what a self-centered, authoritarian misogynist you really were.

    I’m sure you greet all of the visitors to your church with the message that, as far as you know, God hates them – or ‘loves’ them with that unusual sort of ‘love’ that desires them to burn in hell to make him (are you kidding?) look good. But, hey, he’s God, so them’s the breaks. And maybe, just maybe, the visitor will luck out and be one of the privileged few – like you – whom God actually ‘loves’ in a genuine, scriptural sort of way; you know, like laying down one’s life for one’s friend . . .

    There truly can be no greater corruption of the gospel that what you poor, deluded people believe. You have nothing, absolutely nothing, to offer a lost and dying world but a false, blasphemous claim that God ordains sin, compels men to perform it and then holds them responsible for what they could never have ‘not’ done. Nothing could be more reprehensible, and nothing could be more false.

    I cannot even imagine the shock of standing before God, trying to explain to him how he can’t possibly judge your sin, because you were taught that He didn’t see it. When you saw the naked, you did nothing because you knew God ordained their nakedness. When you saw the hungry, you did nothing, because you knew that God obviously intended them to starve. When you saw a girl being raped, you didn’t bother to interfere, because you knew God planned it, yes, even ordained it before the foundation of the world. (What a God!) When you saw men struggling with sin and disbelief, you offered them Judaism 2.0, a distorted, self-righteousness that makes you as sure as the stunned Jews that God would never condemn you.

    Your clever theology will be little comfort when you stand before the true, gracious, loving God who so clearly demonstrated his generous, sacrificial love that all are without excuse. Even those who beg ‘But I misunderstood. Calvinism was such a convincing system, how could I resist? Just because it was illogical, unloving, unjust and unscriptural? Just because thinking men of every stripe told me how appalling and obscene it was.’ False teachers are so very convincing. Thus, God sent not only written ‘words’, which can so easily be distorted and misinterpreted by false or ignorant men, but the living ‘Word’, who demonstrated his love in such a manner that no man could possibly not ‘get it’; unless they willingly exchange the truth for a lie.

    The truth is that when Jesus said ‘God so loved the world’ he meant ‘God so loved the world’, and not the lie that suggests when Jesus said ‘God so loved the world’ he meant ‘God so loved a select few people in the world’. The truth is that when God states that he desires that none perish, he means that he desires that none perish, not the lie that when he states that he desires that none perish he is disingenuously hiding the fact that he secretly ordained many men to perish. Because he could so easily have ‘regenerated’ them –‘Zap!’ – and turned them into super sinners like the ‘elect’, who can continue in their sin fearlessly (Sin boldy!) because God no longer sees it!

    Note that Jesus was very patient, merciful and forgiving to ‘sinners’ – the adulterers and robbers – but showed little patience to those who were sanctimoniously self-righteous and certain that God loved them, and them alone. The Jews were convinced that they alone were ‘elected’ by God for salvation, and chose to murder their very Saviour rather than consider the possibility that God loved ‘all men’ and desired that none perish.

    The layers are many, and you have been lured into a well-laid trap. I encourage you to seek the Spirit’s help in understanding scripture without the distorting lenses of preconceived notions, which is very difficult to do if you are ‘convinced’ of your ‘orthodoxy’. Such genuine seeking of understanding requires humility, openness and the willingness to surrender every single belief, idea or doctrine you have ever held, if God so leads you. Hang on, because if you come to God with such openness, you are in for the ride of your life. I know. And I am determined to hang on for the duration, even if it means losing everything I ever valued.

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    1. Ok sir I’ll pose the same questions I posed to another commenter on this thread…
      If God did not decree/will/desire/determine that rape occurs, why does He bless the act with the reward of a child?
      Here’s another question: Which sin is more heinous:
      1) the murder of an innocent God/Man by His creation, or
      2) the rape of a sinner who hates their Creator and only deserves Hell?

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      1. A lot of this topic goes under the rubric of “necessary evil”.

        Calvinists and non-Calvnists alike agree that God has created a world in which there are “necessary evils”.

        The question is then: “necessary” for what?

        The Calvinist answer, boils down to “necessary” for God to glorify himself.
        The Non-Calvinist has a different answer.

        But these answers are based upon a man-conceived hierarchy of divine attributes.

        Calvinists naturally see their answer as superior because their answer (according to Calvin’s justifications) glorifies a particular divine attribute, which Calvin’s theology places as the supreme attribute.

        But again, we understand what we are looking at here is man’s conceived hierarchy of divine attributes, which may or may not align itself with what God himself holds as his hierarchy of attributes. He may not even have a self-conceived hierarchy of attributes.

        The non-Calvinst has a different man-conceived hierarchy of divine attributes to which they attribute, the reason evil is “necessary”.

        IMHO: For either group to posture as superior to the other is simply a manifestation of co-opting God to puff-up one’s pride.

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      2. Good Morning br.d! I’m sorry but maybe I’m misunderstanding your comment. So how does your comment relate to the questions I posed and how would YOU answer those questions?

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      3. Hi Troy,
        Hope you’re well.
        Sorry if my post was presented as a direct response to yours.
        I wasn’t attempting to get into the minutia of those questions but to see some underlying conceptions.
        Sometimes getting caught up in minute details for me is like missing the forest while focusing on a few trees.
        But that’s a reflection of me more than anything else.
        If you don’t feel there is a correlation that’s ok.

        Blessings! :-]

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      4. The question appears to be based upon a libertarian conception of “deserve”.
        Which obfuscates a core concept in Calvinism (i.e. Theological Determinism).

        Let me illustrate:

        1) Thinking as a Calvinist, can you say you “deserved” to be born the gender that God designed you to be born as?
        2) Thinking as a Calvinist, can you say you “deserved” to be born on the date that God designed you to be born on?
        3) Thinking as a Calvinist, can you say you “deserved” to be born in the country that God designed you to be born in?
        4) Thinking as a Calvinist, can you say you “deserved” to be born in the domain of providence that God designed you to be born in?

        In Calvinism God determines (1-4) and everything else that every one deserves.
        So in Calvinism God designs each person born “deserving” things that are NOT UP TO to them.
        And in Calvinism, God renders certain, everyone gets what he designes for each one to deserve.
        Whether that one is Jesus or someone else – “deserves” is whatever God decrees it to be.

        Non-Calvinists don’t embrace Theological Determinism because it entails people being designed to deserve what is NOT UP TO them.
        Since I am not a Calvinist, my answer to your question wouldn’t make sense to you since you halt between two opinions.
        (1) God designed the domain of providence you were to be born in and it was never NOT UP TO YOU.
        (2) You are to go about your office AS-IF the domain of providence God designed you to be born in WAS UP TO YOU.

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      5. Br.d it appears to me that you’re avoiding my question concerning how God’s providence relates to rape and childbirth. Can you please reread the question and provide a response. Thank you brother.

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      6. Hi Troy,
        From my point of view, I didn’t avoid the question.
        I gave you a very reasoned response.
        You were looking for something in particular?

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      7. Yes sir! Does God initiate every conception and if so, why does He initiate it during the act of rape. Also, if He initiates birth during the act of rape, does this prove that rape is decretal?

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      8. Yes sir! Does God initiate every conception and if so, why does He initiate it during the act of rape. Also, if He initiates birth during the act of rape, does this prove that rape is decretal?

        Interesting Troy.
        You’re using the word “initiate” which is much more direct and consistent to Theological Determinism.
        And most Calvinists are not very comfortable using it.

        I will answer these questions from your Calvinist perspective:
        – Does God “initiate” every conception:
        Yes, in Calvinism God “initiates” ALL things which come to pass.
        So in Calvinism, God initiates every sin and every evil, so it logically follows that God “initiates” every conception.
        As a mater of fact, in Calvinism, every sin and every evil are “first conceived” in the mind of God.
        And thus, in Calvinism all sin and all evil first “bring forth death” in the mind of God.

        To your second question, why does God initiate conception in the act of rape: Calvin would say “for God’s good pleasure”

        And to your 3rd question, does this prove all things, including every sin and every evil are “initiated” by God and thus decreed, Calvin would say absolutely “yes” to that question also.
        God first conceives, then decrees, then renders certain, ALL things which come to pass.
        I assume, somewhere in that chain, you conceive of God “initiating” those things also.

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      9. Good Morning br.d! Thankfully, I’m not hung up on John Calvin and his teachings. If you’ll notice, in my comments I NEVER quote Calvin nor any other scholars. I only quote the Scriptures! It’s my assertion that the Scriptures teach that God is directly responsible for EVERY human conception as He must give every person a living soul at conception. I also assert that, if God is directly responsible for EVERY human conception, then He is directly responsible for human conception during a rape. So if He initiates conception DURING the act of rape, then He decreed that rape to have occurred because He blessed or “rewarded” (Ps. 127:3) the woman with childbirth while being violated by her attacker. If God did not want that rape to have occurred, then He certainly would not have blessed/rewarded the woman (who’s being violated) with a child. Or would He br.d??

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      10. I wouldn’t assume you would assert you were “hung up” on Calvin.
        However, I understand from that statement, you are indicating, you choose not to be “consistent” with Calvin.
        And again, I’m thankful for that degree of honesty.
        It makes perfect sense that the Calvinist’s conscience would be troubled at being consistent with Calvin.
        IMHO: Its when they posture their unique conception of “inconsistent” Calvinism, as representative of core Calvinism, that becomes dishonest.
        So I thank you for your honesty.

        My focus here at SOT101 is not to promote or defend a specific theology.
        I’m here to help SOT101 general readers learn to discern Calvinist double-think and language trickery.
        SOT101 provides an extremely rich environment for that.

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      11. I understand br.d and thank you for your willingness to engage cordially in conversation about these all-important matters! I would just respectfully request that you not “label” me as “Calvinist” (especially since I don’t hold to some of his conclusions/teachings). I’m just a Bible-believing Christian who LOVES theology and apologetics!!

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      12. Troy asks:
        Here’s another question: Which sin is more heinous:
        1) the murder of an innocent God/Man by His creation, or
        2) the rape of a sinner who hates their Creator and only deserves Hell?

        br.d’s answer:
        The question requires a judgment which is not up to me, since I’m not God.
        But there are significant problems with the question.

        Firstly: Jesus was sent by God to take upon himself *ALL* of the sins of a corrupt people, so *ALL* of the sins IN-TOTO are involved in his crucifixion not just one single sin. The term “heinous” does not relate to quantity, it relates to quality.

        Secondly: A sin is not “heinous” based upon the spiritual condition of the victim, but based upon what sin it is.
        And the question assumes “heinous” is based upon the spiritual condition of the victim.
        So the term “heinous” in the question simply doesn’t make any sense.

        Thirdly, knowing what I know about Calvinism, the underlying strategy behind the question is a reflection Calvinist double-think.
        Here is a rendition of the question that more accurately reflects the distinctions of Calvinism:

        Which sin is more heinous:
        1) God designing someone to commit the: murder of an innocent God/Man by His creation, or
        2) God designing someone to commit the: rape of a sinner who hates their Creator and only deserves Hell?

        The very idea that a Calvinist would make a judgment call on one sin being more heinous than another, while holding to an underlying proposition that God designs all sins, simply as a means to his ends, is massive double-think and doesn’t make sense.

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      13. The answer is simple sir. The “heinousness” of the sin is in the fact that the victim is not deserving of the action dealt them. Jesus, IN NO WAY, was deserving of His fate. However, a rape victim is a sinner and is deserving of judgement. It’s quite clear to me that the more heinous crime/sin here is that which was committed against the Creator by His creation In fact, the comparison is ridiculous when you really think about it because, of course the crucifixion is more heinous than a rape!

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      14. This statement appears to have a mixture of things which make sense along with non-sequiturs for a Calvinist.

        – crucifixion is more heinous than a rape
        This, as I pointed out earlier, is a comparison of one sin to another, (irregardless of the spiritual condition of the victim)
        I don’t know of anyone who would disagree with that comparison.

        Your statements using the word “deserving” again, as I pointed out earlier, imply a denial of Theological Determinism.
        So they don’t make sense from your perspective.

        In Calvinism, God specifically determines all things which come to pass.
        So everything that God determines to happen to a person are what “from God’s perspective” that person “deserves”.

        Remember in Calvinism you have the Potter and the clay analogy.
        Where God designs one person to be a vessel of wrath and another person to be a vessel of honor.
        So if follows that from Calvin’s God’s perspective, each vessel “deserves” whatever God designs them to “deserve”.

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      15. James 1:13-15 says, not only is mankind responsible for his/her own decisions to sin, but they must NEVER blame God for their free choices to sin. While it is true that God creates us with a sin nature, we must never use this fact as an EXCUSE to blame God for our sins. God’s decree is HIS decree and within His decree He has ORDAINED that mankind sin but He never CAUSES mankind to sin according to James 1:13. God has decreed that mankind freely chooses his/her moral choices but even our moral choices are manipulated by God as He “restrains” mankind’s sinful nature from being as wicked as it could be (See 2 Thes 2:7).
        Br.d writes, “So if follows that from Calvin’s God’s perspective, each vessel “deserves” whatever God designs them to “deserve”.” I would agree with this assertion since God, post fall, creates mankind with a sin nature and all are destined for and “deserve” Hell unless they’re one of His elect.

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      16. Troy writes, “While it is true that God creates us with a sin nature, we must never use this fact as an EXCUSE to blame God for our sins.”

        The reason for this is explained by Paul in Romans 2. “…you are without excuse, every man of you who passes judgment, for in that you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.”

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      17. rhutchin writes:
        Troy writes, “While it is true that God creates us with a sin nature”
        we must never use this FACT as an EXCUSE to blame God for our sins.”

        I knew you would respond to this post by Troy!!! Very funny….how we can anticipate. 😛

        Here we have an excellent example of Calvinism’s AS-IF mode of thinking.
        Notice it is a FACT the Calvinist understands – – reflecting logic (i.e., logical entailments) of Calvinism.
        Notice it is BLAME (a function of his language) the Calvinist must prohibit
        Not reflecting his logic, but reflecting his psychology and the affect this unique psychology has on his language.

        The Calvinist understands, Calvinism’s God specifically creates people with a sin nature, as a means to his ends.
        And the Calvinist understands this as a FACT that is TRUE (reflecting his logic) .
        However, Calvin instructs the follower to go about his office AS-IF certain FACTS are not true.

        And this phenomenon is integral to the Calvinist’s psychology.
        But where it is discernible to all Christianity, is as a unique characteristic of Calvinist language.

        Great example of Calvinism’s AS-IF thinking rhutchin thanks!!

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      18. br.d
        So if follows that from Calvin’s God’s perspective, each vessel “deserves” whatever God designs them to “deserve”.”

        Troy
        I would agree with this assertion since God, post fall creates mankind with a sin nature and all are destined for and “deserve” Hell unless they’re one of His elect.

        This is an excellent example for SOT101 readers to discern why/when/how Calvinists language is strategically “uni-vocal” one minute and “equivocal” the next.

        Uni-vocal
        “God creates mankind with a sin nature and all are destined for and “deserve” Hell”.

        Equivocal:
        “unless they are one of his elect”.

        This “Univocal-Equivocal” character of Calvinist language falls into their mode of AS-IF thinking.

        E.G: “destined and deserve hell” AS-IF God did not create/design/destine what they deserve.
        E.G: “unless they are one of his elect” AS-IF God did not create/design/destine them to not be elect.

        Notice how this belief system consistently forces the Calvinist into semantic subtleties……what scripture calls an “uncertain sound”.

        Dr. Bella DePaulo Ph.D., expert on the psychology of lies and why people speak them, calls this “Altruistic Dishonesty”
        And this form of dishonesty is a hallmark of Calvinist language.

        Calvinist James white boasts of this aspect of Calvinist language, saying it is what makes Calvinism -quote: “more fully orbed”.
        But notice his language trick puts a “euphemistic” spin on a form of dishonesty.

        And this hallmark of a superior belief system??

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      19. Good morning br.d! I’ve noticed that your comments contain a lot of philosophical “fluff”. I challenge you sir to stick to the exegesis of the passages of Scripture that we or you provide as proof of our positions. All of this lofty philosophical “stuff” really doesn’t speak to what the Scriptures teach themselves. Allow your philosophy to be influenced by scripture, instead of Scripture being influence by your philosophy. Try to use Scripture to prove your points brother is all I’m saying here.

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      20. I understand an antimony to logic.
        Language is much easier to manipulate than logic.
        Logic must conform itself to standards that are used to ascertain truth from false.
        Calvinists consistently avoid such standards because it doesn’t give them wiggle-room to shift the weight of semantic meanings.
        The shifting of semantic weights produces a false balance which is an abomination to the lord.

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      21. Br.d wrote: “The shifting of semantic weights produces a false balance which is an abomination to the lord.” Where is it stated in Scripture that this is an abomination to the Lord???

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      22. Proverbs 11:1
        Of course one has to understand how weights work with balances and how that relates to standards.
        Another scripture that illustrates God’s mind on how standards are to be honored is Proverbs 22:28.

        Just imagine you are a devout Israelite from Macedonia etc – going to make a sacrifice for your family at the temple.
        You discover the temple only accepts their own minted silver coin, forcing you to see a money changer.
        This is where standards comes into the picture and how God honors them.
        The money changer tells you he needs 10 ounces of Macedonia shekels for the silver coins you will need (according to the standard).
        He takes a weight that has 10 ounces labeled on it and puts it on the scale.
        But he has shifted its weight to be 12 ounces without your knowledge.
        He has the advantage – by virtue of shifting the weight of something that you assume conforms to a standard.
        He does this without you even knowing he’s doing it.
        You conform yourself to the standard while he does not.
        Now apply that principle to semantic exchanges and you can see how it works.

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      23. br.d writes, “Now apply that principle to semantic exchanges and you can see how it works.”

        How this applies to Calvinism escapes me. Not only does br.d not do exegesis, he also fails to provide examples of the Scriptures that the Calvinist allegedly manipulate in these semantic exchanges. Who really knows what he is talking about?

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      24. So you do understand what “semantic weights” refers to.

        And on the issue of providing examples – we’ve had this conversation before.
        You provide the examples of Calvinism’s double-think and Calvinism’s language tricks – and I provide the analysis.

        Its a win-win situation!!

        Thanks for providing your part. :-]

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      25. What is important is that Christians who are unprepared for Calvinist language subtitles be alerted to how they work.

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      26. Troy writes, “Good morning br.d! I’ve noticed that your comments contain a lot of philosophical “fluff”. I challenge you sir to stick to the exegesis of the passages of Scripture…”

        br.d does not do exegesis.

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      27. Good thing to notice.
        I am content helping Christians discern how Calvinist double-think works, and how Calvinist language works.
        One can’t really understand Calvinism without understanding the subtleties of those things. :-]

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      28. br.d writes, “I am content helping Christians discern how Calvinist double-think works, and how Calvinist language works.”

        br.d does this without ever addressing the Scriptural arguments used by the Calvinists preferring instead to dismiss those arguments as “semantic weights.”

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      29. Actually Roger, Br. D. is constantly addressing a fundamental flaw in Calvinistic hermeneutics. The “as if” view that Calvinists project upon Scriptures is well established as they continue to hide behind scholarly sounding terms such as “analogical”, “anthropomorphic”, and “anthropathic” just to teach that they can communicate more clearly to this generation what they feel God chose not to communicate or was unable to communicate in Scriptures.

        It’s a shame they don’t see or feel or would admit the hubris behind such a view of themselves and their attack on the character of God and the perspicuity of His Word!

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      30. brianwagner writes, “Br. D. is constantly addressing a fundamental flaw in Calvinistic hermeneutics. The “as if” view that Calvinists project upon Scriptures is well established…”

        Who knows if that is true or just something people dream up? I read the “as if” things that br.d comes up with and often, I have no idea what they refer to. I have commented on a few to try to straighten him out. However, he avoids dealing with specifics to illustrate what he is trying to say and I think that is because he cannot. There really seems to be an issue of some people not understanding Calvinism – see Geisler’s “Chosen But Free,” as a great example. br.d is in this category given the comments he makes. Even Dr. Flowers seems to have problems, and this podcast provides some good examples.

        Then, “…they continue to hide behind scholarly sounding terms such as “analogical”, “anthropomorphic”, and ‘anthropathic’…”

        Such terms are not used absent a clear discussion of the Scriptures and an explanation for such terms. If one wants to argue against the Calvinist exegesis, he can do so because the Calvinist position is laid out. Non-Calvinists are famous for not citing the Scriptures or taking the Calvinist head-on as br.d does, taking Scriptures, and Calvinist explanations, out of context, as Geisler does, or completely ignoring Calvinist explanations. It is not the words that Calvinists use in the midst of their arguments but the arguments themselves that pose problems for non-Calvinists. You, for example, understand the consequences of omniscience in the Calvinist system and have directly opposed the idea of God being omniscient (as the Calvinist understand it). How many other people do that?? Rare, if at all.

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      31. Thank you Roger for representing fairly that I do have a view of omniscience, just not “as the Calvinist understands it”.

        But my criticism of Calvinism’s “as if” hermeneutic, used in their argumentation concerning what certain Scriptures mean, still stands, even if I haven’t provided in that post concrete examples, for we both know the terms I listed are used by Calvinists in their interpretation of historical narrative sections in Scripture, not just in poetry.

        The point remains that the normal reader using the most common rules of grammar and context would not come up with the Calvinist interpretation for those passages, and thus the Calvinist must resort to implying, or even saying – “the passage cannot mean what it sounds like it is saying”, therefore, thy say that an analogical, anthropomorphic meaning (from man’s perspective, not God’s according to the Calvinist theology) must be meant.

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      32. The “normal reader” Brian? What is a “normal reader” when Scripture says that spiritual truth must be revealed by the Spirit. So what is a “normal reader” brother?

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      33. Spiritual truth, Troy, is revealed/given by the Spirit in the Word. The Word is living and powerful in the unbeliever’s spirit. Even a child can understand the gospel! But the Spirit also brings added conviction, helping the unbeliever focus on the truth that can set them free. Don’t forget that Satan tries to take the seed out of even hard hearts, lest they believe and are saved (Luke 8:12). He must not believe in election! 😉

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      34. brianwagner writes, “The Word is living and powerful in the unbeliever’s spirit. Even a child can understand the gospel! But the Spirit also brings added conviction, helping the unbeliever focus on the truth that can set them free.”

        Makes one wonder why all are not saved. Perhaps, the Spirit pays a little more attention to God’s elect.

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      35. Or probably they freely reject the sufficient light they were given! But the idea of an unregenerate elect individual is not biblical. For individuals do not become a part of the elect until they are joined to Christ. Before that they are not His people or His beloved (Rom 9:25).

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      36. Brian wrote, “But the idea of an unregenerate elect individual is not biblical. For individuals do not become a part of the elect until they are joined to Christ. Before that they are not His people or His beloved (Rom 9:25).” Are you SURE about this Brian??!!! Can you please exegete this verse for me we’re not apart of God’s elect BEFORE regeneration: “just as He chose us in Him BEFORE the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love” -Ephesians‬ ‭1:4‬ ‭

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      37. Yep… I’m sure. That’s what the verse says. Are you saying Paul is lying and that you were one of God’s people and one of God’s beloved before you were in Christ?

        I thought I gave you the exegesis of Eph 1:4 that clearly shows Paul was not talking about an individual blessing of being chosen to be in Christ but about a corporate blessing of being chosen in Christ to be holy and blameless before God in the future. You can download it from my academia.edu page.

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      38. I remember your exegesis of Ephesians 1:4 and I also remember rejecting it. Your corporate view of election is simply ridiculous because God says in Revelation that specific names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life! Plus there can be no corporate without individuals. Also to be “blameless” refers to individuals.
        So I stand by my claims that Ephesians 1:4 refutes your position Brian! We’re elected individually to be holy and blameless before Him and this was done BEFORE creation my friend, which is certainly BEFORE my regeneration!!

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      39. You must be seeing things Troy… you need to take off those cracked theological lenses. If you can show me where it says names were written in the book of life before creation in Revelation… I’ll give you $1000!

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      40. My friend the Scriptures speak of people being damned to Hell whose “name” was not written in the book of life.

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      41. We agree… it does say that! It’s a shame they did not receive and believe the gospel so that their name could be added to the Book of Life, for there was a place in there for it (Rev 22:19).

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      42. Brian an omniscient God doesn’t have to “add” anyone to a list that He Himself planned and wrote BEFORE creation (Ephesians 1:4) brother. Those names were written in that book before mankind even had a will to believe. You are running away from truth Brian instead of bowing to it. You are, in essence, shaking your fist at God whenever you refuse to believe and adhere to His revealed Word. You are in a dangerous place brother.
        Also, am I assuming correctly that you believe Revelation 22:19 is teaching that one can lose their salvation if they add to the Word of God?? Because it’s my understanding that the Traditionalist believes in eternal security. So please clarify!

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      43. brianwagner writes, “If you can show me where it says names were written in the book of life before creation in Revelation… I’ll give you $1000!”

        Unfortunately, you only offered the deal to Troy and no one else. But you did make it easy – the challenge being to “show” and not “prove” – and there is some disagreement about the images painted and an exegetical “proof” of one unique position is not possible. However, Troy can “show” that “it says names were written in the book of life before creation in Revelation.”

        The verse under discussion:
        8 “The beast that you saw was and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and to go to destruction. And those who dwell on the earth will wonder, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come.”

        The beast represents something that has existed over a period of time since it has seven heads and “The seven heads are seven mountains…they are seven kings; five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while.” Some speculate that the beast is the Roman Empire and that helps visualize the situation (but the king yet to come could be in the last days (maybe) thus way after the Roman Empire has ceased to exist so there is room for a difference of opinion here).

        The key phrase is “…those who dwell on the earth will wonder…” These people “see the beast, that he was and is not and will come.” Thus, they are a specific people living at a specific time in history who are witnesses to the existence of the beast in the past and into the future. These people are able to wonder about the beast and this also points to a specific people living to a specific period in time.

        Those who wonder about the beast are those “whose name(s) has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world.” It would have been sufficient for the writer to say, “whose name(s) has not been written in the book of life,” as that would have made the point that it is the unsaved then living who wonder about the beast. Yet, more information about these unsaved is given – “from the foundation of the world.” The phrase, “from the foundation of the world” is odd. As the unsaved living at a particular point in time seem to be in view, then obviously, they were not saved even before they were born (or from the foundation of the world). The phrase can make sense if the names of these unsaved had never been written in an actual book of life that has existed from (or basically, at) the foundation of the world – and the names of these people could have been written in that book but were not (suggesting that they were never going to be saved).

        So, we know that there is a “book of life” and names of people could have been written in that book even before they were born. Context tells us that only the names of the elect are written in the book of life. That fits the context here. As the names of the unsaved in this verse could have been written in the book of life before they were born and were not, so the names of the elect could have been written in that book before they were born.

        Now, one must deal with the Greek word, “απο” (or APO if the Greek doesn’t come through). The word can be used in a variety of contexts but those contexts follow after a specific event. It can refer to a continuing action after that event or a completed action occurring at that event. If a person’s name was not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, then we would not think of that name not being written on a continuing basis over time but as not being written from a specific point in time – “the foundation of the world.” In this case, the context seems clear – the names of these unsaved were not written in the book of life back at the foundation of the world. Thus, applying this to the elect, we can have the names of God’s elect being written in the book of life at the very beginning or the foundation of the world.

        As Brian refers to the “creation” and not the “foundation” of the world, it is necessary to distinguish between “creation” and “foundation,” if the terms are not similes, and determine which comes first. Hebrews 4 tells us that “God’s works were finished from the foundation of the world.” Among God’s works would be the creation of the stars, sun and moon, plants, animals and humans per Genesis 1. The use of APO tells us that works follow after foundation – so the works of creation follow after the foundation of the world.

        As the book of life exists from the foundation of the world, we know that it existed at the foundation of the world. So, did the book exist before the creation or after? We are not told. However, David in Psalm 139 says, “Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, Thou dost know it all….Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Thy book they were all written, The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.” Applying this to Adam, we can conclude that the book of life existed before Adam was created.

        In conclusion, it can be “shown,” even if not “proved,” that the book of life existed before the creation was completed with the use of “foundation” telling us that the book really existed before the creation.

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      44. Wow, Roger… and you are proud of that convoluted wordy attempt to try to say one can show from Scriptures that names were written in the book of life before creation! Really!

        I wonder if you can find one pastor who will read what you wrote and say… Yes, Roger, you have shown, in your words – “that the book of life existed before the creation was completed with the use of ‘foundation’ telling us that the book really existed before the creation.” And then there were names in it before creation also!

        You really should proof read your arguments from the point of view of being a skeptic of your own reasoning. You said – “So, did the book exist before the creation or after? We are not told.” Yet not being “told” you believe you have “shown” that it did exist before creation and that names were written in it!

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      45. brianwagner writes, “You said – “So, did the book exist before the creation or after? We are not told.” Yet not being “told” you believe you have “shown” that it did exist before creation and that names were written in it!”

        The book of life is not identified with creation in the Scriptures from what I can find. The Scriptures do tie the book of life to the foundation of the world. Since your question to Troy related to creation, it was necessary to determine the relationship between the foundation of the world and creation to respond to your question.

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      46. Now you are trying to jump out of the corner your faulty reasoning has painted you into! The reader sees. And I will just let you stay there! 😉

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      47. I agree!!
        Manipulating language is the power-tool in the Calvinists toolbox.

        That is why Calvinist mentors always warn their disciples not to appeal to logic – as they will eventually paint themselves into some corner.

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      48. Ephesians 1:4 really settles this argument fellas! God had his elect already determined before creation and the Book of Life is just another way of identifying His elect.

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      49. Ephesians 1:4 really settles this argument fellas! God had his elect already determined before creation and the Book of Life is just another way of identifying His elect.

        What else did God determine before Creation?

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      50. Brian I’ve already proven that the Book of Life has specific names (indicating specific persons) written in it sir and Ephesians 1:4 supports this concept.

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      51. Of course it has specific names written in it… added to it “from the foundation of the world” when each individual is joined to salvation through faith. And Eph 1:4 does support that view I just gave.

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      52. Ok so where’s my $1000 then sir??!!! You just conceded my first premise – that there are specific names written in the Book of Life!! YES! Now I’ll have Christmas money for my kids!! Lol
        Brian wrote, ” added to it “from the foundation of the world” when each individual is joined to salvation through faith. And Eph 1:4 does support that view I just gave.” Brian are we reading the same Bible my friend??!!!! Ephesians 1:4 actually disproves your false premise that “the foundation of the world” only refers to the beginning of creation. Ephesians 1:4 says that God chose the elect “before the foundation of the world..”. I’m not sure if you remember my argument in response to your premise that the “foundation of the world” ONLY refers to the beginning of creation. But my assertion was that the “foundation of the world” can refer to that period of time BEFORE creation up until creation itself. Well Ephesians 1:4 tells me that I’m on solid ground believing that “the foundation of the world” referenced in Revelation 13:8 is referring to the same era as the “BEFORE the foundation of the world..” in Ephesians 1:4.

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      53. Rofl! The bet was to prove names were there before creation. You can’t even prove the book was created before creation! It is a creation, isn’t it?

        Eph 1:4 does not say God chose before creation who would be the elect. Read it again. It says He chose before creation that the elect would be blameless and holy before Him in the future, whoever might be in that elect group in the end.

        The word “from” never means “before” and always refers going from a starting point forward… no matter how much you might wish otherwise. Find me a grammarian that agrees with you and come back!

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      54. Brian wrote, “Eph 1:4 does not say God chose before creation who would be the elect. Read it again. It says He chose before creation that the elect would be blameless and holy before Him in the future, whoever might be in that elect group in the end”. Brian it’s hard to take you seriously when you make assertions like this my friend. The first part of the verse specifically says, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world…”. The first part of the verse reveals when and who He chose. The second part of the verse gives the purpose for why He chose us before creation. I’m telling you Brian, you’re not a very careful exegete at all sir and your arguments and presuppositions reflect this fact.
        Ephesians 1:4 proves that the Book of Life is reference to God’s chosen people BEFORE creation sir! This is simply indisputable!!

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      55. My exegesis is clear… none but the members of the Godhead existed before creation to be chosen. And there was no eternal immutable fantasy love with forever stories of individuals in God’s mind, which would mean no choice was actually made any way… for there was never a moment when their forever stories didn’t exist in His mind. Now that is hard to take seriously!

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      56. Brian you’re in denial brother and you’re so desperate to hold to a theological system that just is untenable and that’s why you and br.d give such outlandish responses such as this one. The fact is, Ephesians 1:4 refutes your assertions of God not having a specific people that He loved before He created them. You’re struggling Brian!

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      57. You must think you’re omniscient. I assure you that I’m not struggling at all… But I do think you and Roger have a very hard time letting someone else have the last word! 😂😂😂

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      58. The Calvinists are not here at SOT101 to be open minded.
        Its all about wearing a mask of dominance for them.

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      59. Also I might add Brian that your position is faulty if you just follow the pronouns back to their original subject. The original subject of “us” and “we” can be traced back to the “saints who are at Ephesus”. This is clearly identifying about specific individuals sir who are currently located in Ephesus. There’s no nebulous “corporate group” brother. Once again, you guys are DESPERATELY trying to fit the Scriptures to support your view. But, as usual, careful exegesis exposes you!

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      60. The exegesis based on grammar and logic for the anachronistic use of “us” in Eph 1:4 is sound. I hope you won’t be too embarrassed when Paul tells you that I had it right! 😉

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      61. And on that we disagree… though I don’t remember seeing your exegesis of that passage from grammar and context! 😉

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      62. brianwagner writes, “The exegesis based on grammar and logic for the anachronistic use of “us” in Eph 1:4 is sound.”

        It is still opinion based on specific presuppositions whose truthfulness is uncertain. In your short paper on v4, you write, “The grammar (semantic meaning) of “us” therefore in 1:4 must be anachronistic.” “Therefore” points to the argument you made previously. The key point you make earlier is your opinion of the meaning of “in Christ.” You choose the position that “in Christ” refers to the believer’s position relative to Christ. So, you conclude, “One cannot be in Christ, that is “in Him” before being added to that body by the Holy Spirit.” However, “in Christ” can refer to that which God would accomplish “in Christ” – by means of Christ’s death and resurrection. We can read this sense in v3, “[God] has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” Also, v19-20, “These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,…”

        There is a marriage of exegesis and eisegesis in your treatment of Ephesians 1, and when you say that the exegesis is sound, one must recognize that its soundness is built on a foundation of eisegesis. But, then, this criticism can probably be made against any commentary on Ephesians 1.

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      63. Troy writes, “just follow the pronouns back to their original subject. The original subject of “us” and “we” can be traced back to the “saints who are at Ephesus”. This is clearly identifying about specific individuals sir who are currently located in Ephesus.”

        Had Paul said, “you,” one might have some basis for pursuing the “corporate” view. However, by saying, “us,” Paul includes himself so that Paul effectively says God chose “me” before the foundation of the world and God chose each of you before the foundation of the world. By using, “us,” Paul makes the corporate view untenable.

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      64. brianwagner writes, “Or probably the freely reject the sufficient light they were given!”

        Even the Calvinists say that.

        Then, “But the idea of an unregenerate elect individual is not biblical. For individuals do not become a part of the elect until they are joined to Christ. Before that they are not His people or His beloved (Rom 9:25).”

        Of course, Paul says, “you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel,…” and then adds, “This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which God carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord…” Romans 9:25 is a prophecy God gave to Hosea about that which He would bring about in the future – but kept a mystery until that time.

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      65. Roger… there is no true “freedom to choose otherwise” is there is no ability to choose otherwise.

        Are you saying Roger that “not my people” and “not my beloved” has nothing to do with individual salvation? …or that no Gentiles were saved outside of becoming an Israelite before Pentecost? You may have to give me more explanation about what the specific meaning of “not my people” and “not beloved” meant in Hosea and in Romans. Thanks.

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      66. brianwagner writes, “there is no true “freedom to choose otherwise” is there is no ability to choose otherwise.”

        Ability to chose otherwise means what? If someone has true freedom to choose otherwise (as regards salvation) would they not first have to be given faith. Without faith, a person’s mind is set on the flesh so that he is hostile to God and does not keep God’s law because he is unable to do so (Romans 8). Absent faith, one is still able to reason and think logically. However, in this instance, people consider the gospel to be foolishness – a completely illogical conclusion to draw. So, does anyone have true freedom to choose without faith – yet no outside force prevents people without faith from choosing salvation so aren’t such people free to choose?

        Then, “Are you saying Roger that “not my people” and “not my beloved” has nothing to do with individual salvation?”

        I think God is referring to gentiles generically and not specifically to certain gentile individuals. He is referring to the salvation of gentiles that was to come after Pentecost.

        Then, …or that no Gentiles were saved outside of becoming an Israelite before Pentecost? You may have to give me more explanation about what the specific meaning of “not my people” and “not beloved” meant in Hosea and in Romans. Thanks.”

        Actually, before and after Pentecost, no one could be saved except by faith. So far as we know, very few gentiles were saved and these the Scriptures seem to highlight for us (Rahab, Ruth, and others) Paul explains in Romans 10-11 with the focus on the remnant explaining why Israel, as a whole, was not saved – with the remnant being those chosen by God (children of promise) and preserved by God.

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      67. You need to do more research Roger on the biblical teaching concerning faith. But I know that you agree that unregenerate man can and does express faith. So your argument fails that they must be “given faith”. They must be given light and exercise their faith in that light… which they have the ability to do and the freedom and ability to do otherwise.

        And you need to study more the meaning of “not my people” and “not beloved”. If those words do not have to do with your “saved elect” only… then you are introducing an interesting idea of God calling non-elect people “my people” and “my beloved”. Your explanation failed in my view. Thank you for affirming that there were Gentiles truly saved in the OT (and in my opinion many more than you might want to affirm – men of Ninevah, Queen of Sheba, Ebed-melech, Melchizedek and his followers, Moses’ father-in-law, Esau). They were truly His people and His beloved, in my view, and became a part of His elect when they expressed faith in His mercy!

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      68. Brian Melchizedek was NOT a Gentile sir (See Gen 14:18). There’s no indication that the Ninevites were saved SPIRITUALLY just because God spared the city from physical destruction. The Ninevites were responding in fear of their utter physical destruction and performed the Jewish ritual of repentance to avoid destruction. God honored this outward show of repentance by not PHYSICALLY destroying their city and lives. This is NOT an indication of a spiritual salvation Brian. I would think you’d know better than this my friend.
        Regarding the Queen of Sheba, the language of 1 Kings 10 shows that she reverenced the God of Solomon because of Solomon’s wisdom and prosperity. But this doesn’t indicate spiritual salvation at all sir. The fact is, the overwhelming majority of the human race (both Jew and Gentile) lived and died unsaved in the Old Testament Era!

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      69. Wow… it’s amazing Troy how you sit in judgment over how many were saved and lost in the OT. Melchizedek certainly wasn’t of the seed of Abraham… which sounds like a Gentile to me.

        You may have to take up some of three orget examples with Jesus, for He affirmed that the men of Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonah and will stand in the judgment… as well as the queen of Sheba (Matt 12).

        You may need to be careful that you don’t start being disagreeable for disagreement sake without looking at all the evidence first.

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      70. Good morning Brian! I actually concede to the fact that Melchizedek was a Gentile since he existed before Israel came into existence and he was not of Abraham’s seed. Thank you for pointing that out me brother.🙂
        Matthew 12:41 states, “The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.” Brian the preaching of Jonah was not salvific brother! His message was simple: if they didn’t cease from their wicked ways, God was going to destroy them. The fact that they repented at Jonah’s preaching will be a condemnation against the Jewish leadership (which is the immediate context) come judgement day. This is not to say that the Ninevites were all saved. We both know that ceasing from wickedness is never a grounds for salvation Brian. That would mean that we wouldn’t need a Savior if we could be saved by simply ceasing from our wickedness.
        Matthew 12:42 states, “The Queen of the South will rise up with this generation at the judgment and will condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.” Going to hear the wisdom of Solomon is not salvific Brian! Also, the fact that she sought after Solomon’s wisdom and reverenced God does not mean that she was saved. There are many who reverence God and will still be destined for Hell (Mat. 7:22,23). However, the fact that she sought after Solomon and revered his God will serve as a condemnation against the Jewish leadership and all of unsaved mankind come judgement day.

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      71. Still amazed you think Jesus was talking about lost people who repented and sought God’s wisdom and took a stand to condemn others at the final judgment. Are you hoping it will only be you and few others like the prophets and apostles in heaven? 😉

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      72. I’m simply conveying what I believe the Scriptures are teaching and I know that the Ninevites as a people were not apart of God’s elect because Jonah’s message was not one of Salvation. It proved that God is merciful to a heathen nation such as Nineveh. But in no way can we say that they were saved from hell fire sir. Also “seeking wisdom” is not salvation Brian!

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      73. Find me one commentator who agrees with you that the men of Nineveh Jesus mentioned are now in hell. Thanks.

        Seeking wisdom is not salvation. But are you saying a unregenerate person can do that… seek wisdom that leads to salvation?

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      74. brianwagner writes, “Find me one commentator who agrees with you that the men of Nineveh Jesus mentioned are now in hell. ”

        Where the men (and women/children) of Ninevah now reside is not revealed in the Scriptures. However, we know that repentance is necessary but not a sufficient response to salvation, and we are not told whether the people of Ninevah did anything beyond repenting.

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      75. So you won’t take the challenge, Troy! …Even to find one that is uncertain that they are not in heaven!

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      76. I mean Roger… I didn’t see you had jumped in on this challenge until after I sent the reply! Lol

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      77. Brian wrote, “But are you saying a unregenerate person can do that… seek wisdom that leads to salvation?” Absolutely not! But that’s my point exactly. The fact that the Queen of Sheba sought out wisdom from Solomon does not mean she was a true child of God. There are many who seek wisdom but are never saved.

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      78. Do you think God was pleased that Solomon’s reputation for wisdom attracted the queen? Why do you think God wanted that story recorded? I still am amazed that you don’t think she is in heaven! You are certainly in a minority on that one… though I know what it feels like to be in a minority for a view of what Scripture says… 😊

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      79. Brian wrote, “He must not believe in election!” Oh don’t be deceived Brian, for Satan has a better grasp of election than you do. He understands Scripture better than many my friend!
        Brian wrote, “Spiritual truth, Troy, is revealed/given by the Spirit in the Word. The Word is living and powerful in the unbeliever’s spirit. Even a child can understand the gospel”. So this is where you and Prof. Flowers teach that the Holy Spirit- inspired Word is powerful enough to save. While it is true that “Holy men of old wrote as the Holy Spirit carried them along”, the words are only words until they are brought alive supernaturally by the Spirit. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation only insofar as the Spirit Himself applies that Gospel message to the hearts of men who otherwise hate God and despise His message. The fact is that a child can only understand ONLY when given the understanding supernaturally by a separate act of the Spirit apart from just reading words that were inspired. Otherwise “there’s NONE that understands..” -Romans 3:11

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      80. Troy disagrees with Paul who clearly taught Scripture has the ability to make one wise for salvation that is through faith in Christ! 2Tim 3:15

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      81. Yes the Scripture makes you wise unto salvation. However, as I’ve stated to you repeatedly Brian, every verse must agree with both the immediate and broader context of Scripture. The Spirit works through the Scriptures to make us wise and this is even according to one of YOUR previous comments sir. Your belief system is just not consistent brother.

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      82. So, Troy, you do agree with Paul! And if you were the HS and you saw someone being made wise by their reading of Scriptures… would you encourage it or call for Satan to take that influence away? I think it is clear that the HS was encouraging the unregenerate Nicodemus and unregenerate Cornelius to keep seeking.

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      83. No my friend! The HS wasn’t simply “encouraging” Nicodemus and Cornelius. He was, in fact, effectually DRAWING them to believe the Gospel!

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      84. The HS certainly was drawing them to get a chance to hear the gospel! So you do agree unregenerate men can be drawn!

        Jesus loved the rich young ruler and gave him light which was his opportunity to humble himself and trust Jesus. But he went away trusting in his riches instead. Are you suggesting that Jesus’ love was misplaced or His light insufficient?

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      85. You are incorrect once again my friend! The HS was drawing them THROUGH the Gospel; not simply “giving them a chance” to hear the Gospel. And of course unregenerate mankind is drawn. There’s no need to draw someone who is already saved Brian! Remember the whole point of the Father “drawing” in John 6 is because the unregenerate CANT come to Christ on his/her own.
        Brian wrote, “Are you suggesting that Jesus’ love was misplaced or His light insufficient?” I’m not suggesting anything of the sort. However, I am asserting that you have “misplaced” the meaning of “light” in the Bible. Jesus certainly did give the rich young ruler “light” because He Himself is the light and whatever He spoke was the “light” since His words are the Gospel. The young man went away choosing his riches over salvation because he was not one of Christ’s sheep. Remember what Christ says in John 10:27 – “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and THEY FOLLOW ME..” So the young ruler didn’t follow Christ because he was not one of Christ’s spiritual sheep.

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      86. Thank you also Troy for confirming that Jesus/God can show love for a lost soul, desiring that person to be saved. And that Jesus does give light to lead to salvation to those that might go away.

        We are that once one becomes a sheep of Jesus they do keep listening to His voice and keep following Him. The rich young ruler did not become one of Jesus’ sheep.

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      87. brianwagner writes, “The rich young ruler did not become one of Jesus’ sheep.”

        The Scriptures are silent on this. What is said is that the rich young ruler went away with the understanding that he could not be saved by keeping the law – and he realized that he could not keep the law because he had no desire to keep the law (other than as it was convenient for him to do).

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      88. You have not told the whole story Roger about the rich young ruler and why he went away… why did you leave out the gospel author’s and Jesus’ assessment as to why? Jesus made the connection that he was trusting in his riches… why are you unwilling to see that?

        Jesus loved an unregenerate man and give Him light to help draw him to salvation. Don’t ignore the clear biblical evidence that undercuts your chosen theology!

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      89. Brian wrote, “Jesus loved an unregenerate man and give Him light to help draw him to salvation. Don’t ignore the clear biblical evidence that undercuts your chosen theology!” Brian all of God’s elect are loved before regeneration my friend. Remember Paul says in 1 John 4:10, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” God knew BEFORE creation who would be the objects of His sacrificial love (Ephesians 1:4).
        Just as rhutchin mentioned, the Bible is silent as to whether the rich young ruler eventually became saved. But the fact that the passage says Jesus “loved him” is an indication that he eventually did become saved.
        I agree that Christ did expose him to the light which were the words coming from His mouth or the Gospel. However, it was not within God’s timetable to save him yet. Therefore, the words that Christ spoke to him were not imbued by the HS.
        I would hasten to say that it would take more faith to believe in your view of what the “light” represents versus how the Bible actually describes who and what that “light” is.

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      90. Troy… you have the same task of explaining how one can be not God’s people and not beloved until they are in Christ, Rom 9:25. How about some exegesis on that verse?

        It’s easier for me to explain how God has love for everyone in the whole world and is the propitiation for all their sins before they become joined to Christ through faith and then become the one of His people and beloved as a new member of His elect. Even determinists like yourself believe God has beneficial love for the ones they call non-elect. I just believe it is sufficiently beneficial to lead everyone to seek salvation.

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      91. Brian wrote, “Troy… you have the same task of explaining how one can be not God’s people and not beloved until they are in Christ, Rom 9:25. How about some exegesis on that verse?” Romans 9:25 is revealing God’s fulfillment of Hosea’s prophecy. Instead of God showing His love and favor for only national Israel, He’s now including the whole world (Jew and Gentile) in His salvation plan. His love is now extending to a people which were formerly not His people (Gentiles).
        Also Brian, Ephesians 1:4 explains to us that, from God’s perspective, the elect have always been under the sacrificial love of God. However, from our perspective (since we don’t know who the elect are), every person is under the hatred and wrath of God UNTIL they show evidence of regeneration. But God already knows who His elect are because He personally chose them before they even had a will to choose Christ. So Romans 9:25 is teaching that now the Gentiles are included in Ephesians 1:4.
        Brian wrote, “It’s easier for me to explain..”. Brother this is the problem with evangelical Christianity today. Teachers and leaders are seeking an “easier” and more palatable way of speaking the truth, instead of just declaring the full counsel of God. Your statement here is quite telling Brian because it reveals the intentions of your heart and your mindset when approaching the Scriptures. You are not willing to accept the “hard sayings” of God because it’s not “easy” to believe or relate to others. But that’s not an excuse and we, as expositors of the Word, will be held accountable.
        Brian wrote, “..and is the propitiation for all their sins..” If this is true, then who’s in hell?? If the sin debt has been fully paid and God’s wrath is appeased (which is what propitiation means) for every human being, then who’s in hell sir??

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      92. Well Rom 9:25 is not man’s perspective… it’s God’s. You do seem to be having a hard time seeing that. And since there were Gentiles saved before Pentecost who became His people and His beloved… God could not be speaking about Gentiles generally of which now some will be discovered as having been eternally elect.

        You’re going to have to work a liitle more on exegeting that one!

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      93. brianwagner writes, “Rom 9:25 is not man’s perspective… it’s God’s.”

        So, we go back to the immediately preceding verses and establish God’s perspective.

        15 God says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”
        16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy….
        18 …God has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires….
        22 What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?
        23 And He did so in order that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy,…
        24 even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.

        Paul summarizes God’s perspective when he writes, “…whom God also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.”

        Then to establish that God’s intent had always been to save Gentiles, Paul quotes the prophecy from Hosea. Paul then continues–
        30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith;
        31 but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law – it stumbled over Christ.

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      94. So…? The passage still says individual Gentiles who were not His people or His beloved are now His people and His beloved… His elect. They were NOT His elect and now they are unless you have a different meaning for “people” and “beloved”.

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      95. Brian if you can’t see that Romans 9:25 is a fulfillment of Hosea’s prophecy in which God’s love and salvation is now being poured out on the Gentiles, then I REALLY question your approach to Scripture my friend. There’s absolutely no disputing the fact that Romans 9:25 is talking about God’s acceptance of Gentile believers as His people!

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      96. You still are missing the point Troy. Whoever is being mentioned in Rom 9:25… they were not God’s people and His beloved and now they are. Unless you have another definition for His people and His beloved than being elect, you still have the problem of explaining how something that is supposed to be eternal and immutable for those people God Himself says was not.

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      97. From God’s perspective, those Gentiles who are elect were always loved by God. From man’s perspective (especially Jewish perspective), the Gentiles were not favored or loved by God. God is now revealing to Mankind that both Jew and Gentile are beloved of God. It’s really not that difficult Brian!

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      98. Again you are not doing proper exegesis, Troy, of Rom 9:25. The verse is God’s perspective. It is in His own words. I don’t think you want to suggest He is lying. And are you saying that “beloved” is not the same love as being elect?

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      99. I don’t know how else to communicate it to you Brian that God is speaking from man’s perspective in Romans 9:25. The Gentiles were not God’s people and were not beloved as He loved Israel. Now Paul is revealing that God’s love extends to both Jewish and Gentile believers.
        However, from eternity past God has always known and loved Gentile believers. He’s now making that known to the world that He loves Gentiles salvifically. I’m really baffled as to why you’re having a hard time with this Brian.

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      100. Ditto… I’m baffled as to how you can twist God’s own words to mean the opposite – “not My people” means “eternally immutably My people” – and not be ashamed of yourself.

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      101. Troy writes, “I don’t know how else to communicate it to you Brian that God is speaking from man’s perspective in Romans 9:25.”

        God is speaking from His perspective in that He is describing how He is working out events in the world He created. God is not speaking from the perspective of eternity but within the perspective of the time frame of the world He created and thus within the perspective of the people He created. God is allowed to do that.

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      102. brianwagner writes, “how one can be not God’s people and not beloved until they are in Christ, Rom 9:25. How about some exegesis on that verse? ”

        Romans 9:25
        25 As God says in Hosea: “I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people; and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,”
        26 and, “It will happen that in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be called ‘sons of the living God’.”

        This seems an obvious reference to the gentiles and God’s intent to save gentiles – a mystery hidden from people according to Paul (Ephesians 3). This is a prophecy that God gave to Hosea and speaks to a future action that God will take. John 3 tells us that God loved the world (both Jews and gentiles) and gave His son in order to save those who believe in Christ. Thus, God’s love of gentiles precedes the giving of His son and their consequent belief in Christ. God can call His elect, “beloved,” even before He draws them to Christ.

        Your premise, “one can be not God’s people and not beloved until they are in Christ,” seems to be a false premise.

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      103. How can it be a false premise when it was Paul’s direct meaning in the context? God does love everyone in the world… which is what you suggested by saying “God’s love of Gentiles precedes the giving of His son”… But I know you don’t believe that. You believe on the elect were loved before.

        But God says they were Gentiles who were not “beloved” before. So who is right… you or God! The easier understanding which even Calvinists agree is that being “beloved” us a special love and that God has a general love for every person. I agree. That is what John 3:16 is talking about… and whoever trusts Jesus enter then into that special love/life from God which they never had before… not even as an eternal immutable fantasy love!

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      104. brianwagner writes, “How can it be a false premise when it was Paul’s direct meaning in the context?”

        It was a false premise in the argument you were trying to manufacture in response to Troy – the false premise being that God cannot love someone until they are in Christ.

        Then, “God does love everyone in the world… which is what you suggested by saying “God’s love of Gentiles precedes the giving of His son”… But I know you don’t believe that. You believe on the elect were loved before.”

        God has always loved His elect whether Jew or Gentile. When John 3 says that God loved the world, context tells us that the term, “world,” conveys the idea that God loved the Gentiles also – not just the Jews.

        Then, “But God says they were Gentiles who were not “beloved” before. So who is right… you or God!”

        God is correct – God has not loved all Gentiles – just His elect. I agree with God. The prophecy says that the Gentiles were not beloved in the time of Hosea (thus, God was not saving them, with a couple exceptions) but that they would become His beloved in the future – He would save them at that time..

        Then, “The easier understanding which even Calvinists agree is that being “beloved” us a special love and that God has a general love for every person. I agree. That is what John 3:16 is talking about…”

        No problem with me.

        Then, “…whoever trusts Jesus enter then into that special love/life from God which they never had before…”

        No problem with me.

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      105. Thanks for confirming Roger your ignoring of the evidence. It was the Gentiles who were not His people or beloved that became His people and beloved. God’s view is the correct one.

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      106. Brian it’s kind of mind-boggling to me that certain passages are confusing to you. When God is speaking of a people who were not “beloved”, He’s talking about the contrast between His choosing and loving the Jews vs Him not loving and choosing Gentiles. The Gentiles were not His people on earth as the Jews were. But now in the New Testament era we see that the Gentiles are now “beloved” as witnessed by their conversions. This shouldn’t be hard stuff for you Brian!

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      107. Beloved means saved and now the Gentiles are revealed to be apart of His chosen beloved people.

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      108. Thanks for the clarification… So the ones who were not beloved/ saved/part of the elect are now beloved /saved/part of the elect! Yep… that’s what God said in that verse!

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      109. That’s your assertion Brian. My assertion was that God has REVEALED that the Gentile believers are apart of His beloved/elect people and always have been FROM AN ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE!

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      110. I think I stick with believing God was speaking from His perspective. They were not His people and now they are… I reject what you believe, that God’s perspective contradicts what He plainly said.

        Eternal immutable people of God can not include a change from “not My people” to “My people” according to the law of noncontradiction.

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      111. They (Gentiles) were not His people because the Jews were His people. However, from an eternal perspective, the Gentile believers were always His people.

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      112. As you so often do with Scripture Brian, you’re twisting my words to fit what YOU want them to say. I’m not saying what you just said I said. This is a form of dishonesty on your part sir!

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      113. Troy… I don’t think I am twisting your words. I was trying to show how your words were contradictory to what you profess at other times. You did say – “The HS was drawing them THROUGH the Gospel …. And of course unregenerate mankind is drawn. There’s no need to draw someone who is already saved Brian!”

        I said – “Thank you also Troy for confirming that Jesus/God can show love for a lost soul, desiring that person to be saved. And that Jesus does give light to lead to salvation to those that might go away.” Any reader will see that I have not twisted your words. You had clearly put drawing before regeneration/salvation. I just reminded you we were talking about the story of Jesus drawing an unregenerate rich young ruler whom He loved and gave gospel truth to, but who went away, rejecting that drawing.

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      114. The passage mentions NOTHING about “drawing” the rich young ruler. YOU introduced that concept into the passage. Jesus was just having a conversation with him. However, we’re not told if the HS is drawing him during his conversation with our Savior. But just be advised that you eisegetically introduced “drawing” into the passage.

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      115. I introduced the examples… you, Troy, used the word “drawing” and “them” to refer to those examples. What else was I to think? However it is silly in my view to suppose that Jesus’ ministry was ever done in an insufficient way in accomplishing the clear purpose of it with anyone.

        You just have to open your understanding to the truth that God doesn’t have to do everything in an irresistible fashion according to some eternally immutable plan for everything… But He is able to permit His sufficient grace to be resisted and rejected and often He does just that! Praise His Name!

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      116. Mankind resist and rejects God’s laws and that’s why they’re in such desperate need for a Savior. But the problem is that they will always resist and reject God unless they’re regenerated. Mankind is in bondage to their sinful natures and by nature HATES his Creator!

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      117. So it’s like a woman who doesn’t want to marry me but should want to, so I give her a drug so that now she wants to marry me and can’t resist. But after we’re married the drug loses some of its effect and she can and does often resist my will for her. Does that about sum it up?

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      118. brianwagner writes, “So it’s like a woman who doesn’t want to marry me but should want to,…”

        Hardly. It’s like the druggie prostitute that you find overdosed on the street, so you take her to the hospital and clean her up. Then, you tell her that you will take care of her and love her the rest of her life and she marries you. After you are married, life is good, but her old friends come around and remind her of the good times with the drugs and after a while, she relapses back into her old lifestyle. So, you go back, clean her up again and start all over. That’s a lot closer than your non-Calvinist view of life that downplays sin.

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      119. You forgot the part Roger where she doesn’t want you to take her to the hospital, but you knock her out and take her anyway. You still have to drug her to get her to marry you. Her relapse proves she didn’t ever love you and never wanted you to clean up her life.

        I like the drug addict prostitute illustration though. And giving her aid so that she can think clearly about accepting your proposal of marriage, I agree with also. God does that with everyone. But they must freely accept and the marriage is the new birth experience.

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      120. This is a ridiculous comparison Brian because you’re relating the Gospel to a drug. But I’ll indulge you anyway. The woman doesn’t deserve to marry you because she really hates your guts. But she doesn’t realize that you’re what’s best for her because she loves her defiled life and you represent the antithesis of what she truly desires. But she also doesn’t realize that she’s killing herself by her own defilement. So, because you love her unconditionally, you administer a drug to her that will save her life. She’s now so grateful to you because she realizes that you saved her life by administering the drug.

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      121. How do I know she’s grateful to me or it is just the drug still speaking? Remember it was the drug that changed her will without her using her understanding or trust in a positive way before she got the drug.

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      122. Brian chew on this verse and allow it answer your question: “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God”. -Romans 8:16
        ‭‭

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      123. That is true. When one is born again the HS confirms that by bearing witness to it in the person’s spirit. The HS had already communicated other things to that same spirit before the new birth which was used to draw that person to repentance.

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      124. brianwagner writes, “[God] is able to permit His sufficient grace to be resisted and rejected and often He does just that!”

        If God’s grace is “sufficient” then it would not be rejected. Rejection tells us that grace was not sufficient. Grace can encompass many things, so when speaking of “grace” that is rejected, it is helpful for discussion to explain what grace is in view.

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      125. That is only by your definition Roger. For you grace has to be irresistible. But you have no Scripture to prove that definition of grace and there are many verses that show God’s grace being resisted and rejected. It’s sad your loyalty to determinism continues to trump your desire to follow Scripture.

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      126. brianwagner writes, “For you grace has to be irresistible. But you have no Scripture to prove that definition of grace and there are many verses that show God’s grace being resisted and rejected.”

        We are speaking of that grace of God that God extends to save a sinner. The clearest expression is John 6:44 – “No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.”

        The condition of man – No one can come to Me

        The grace of God in two parts:
        – the Father who sent Me draws him
        – I will raise him up on the last day.

        Together, the drawing by God and the raising up by Jesus are a combination that cannot be resisted or rejected.

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      127. Well your verse didn’t prove what you thought. The drawing and coming causes being raised up, but the verse doesn’t logically make drawing an experience only those who eventually come have. Note does it discount that there are other actions involved in coming. You should work on the rules of logic more. The drawing is not a distributed term in that verse… only the coming is.

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      128. brianwagner writes, “The drawing and coming causes being raised up, but the verse doesn’t logically make drawing an experience only those who eventually come have.”

        At least we seem to agree that the universal negative, “No one,…” means exactly what it says. Thus, No one can come to Christ – and this is the point of Total Depravity – no one is able to come to Christ. In another use of the universal negative, Paul says of the unsaved, “the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so.” (Romans 8)

        Jesus then notes one exception – “except God draw him.” God’s drawing is to salvation and is grace. So, Paul says, “By grace you are saved.” If you know of other exceptions, a citation would be helpful for discussion.

        Then, we have the one-to-one correspondence – those God draws; Christ raises. The action by Christ follows naturally the action by God. All this is by grace. That grace accomplishes its purpose and is irresistible on that basis.

        You have not really presented an alternative position preferring only to make allusions to something or another.

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      129. Looks like you really don’t understand logic and undistributed terms are. The passage also does not define drawing as equally coming but is before it. And 12:32 says it is provided to everyone, though I already know how you twist that verse. Thank the Lord for His drawing grace that He gives every one to make a decision to repent and trust or not!

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      130. Brian wrote, “And 12:32 says it is provided to everyone, though I already know how you twist that verse. Thank the Lord for His drawing grace that He gives every one to make a decision to repent and trust or not!” Here’s yet another example of a proof text that will not stand in light of tota scriptura. You keep getting hung up on universal terms (i.e. “all”) and it really makes you look bad when discussing theology Brian! When we look at the concept of “drawing” as it pertains to salvation, it’s ALWAYS an effectual act of God. You now want to try to pit Scripture against itself by trying to prove your false presupposition (that Christ made it POSSIBLE for all to repent and believe because of the cross). But Brian, no matter how much you (or anyone else) try to use this one verse to prove universal drawing, tota scriptura will ALWAYS refute you brother. John 6 is clear that ALL that the Father draws WILL COME (effectual) and ALL that come Christ will gather to Himself come judgement day.
        The “all” in John 12:32 is the same “all” in John 6:39. Christ will draw all that the Father has given Him to Himself by His sacrificial love. By the way, notice how the entire Godhead is said to be drawing people.

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      131. John 6:44 does not say “all the Father draws will come. There’s a clear example how you twist Scripture to get the meaning you want, Troy. Shame on you. And you ignore the normal meaning of “all” to support your loyalty to limited mercy. Being drawn to someone doesn’t mean you are then forced to trust them.

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      132. brianwagner writes, “John 6:44 does not say “all the Father draws will come.”

        It says that Christ will raise up those whom God draws to Christ. If God draws “all” then we have universalism; if not “all,” we have Calvinism.

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      133. Roger it also does not say “that Christ will raise up those whom God draws to Christ.” You too twist the words to try to get what you want it to say.

        It says Christ will raise up those who come to Christ that the Father also must draw. The distributed term necessary to the promise of being raised up is the coming only. Drawing is an undistributed term.

        It is true drawing is necessary to the coming, but the verse does not teach that all who are drawn will come, nor does it teach that drawing is the only thing essential before coming. Actually it also doesn’t teach that those coming are the only ones that will be raised up.

        You need to work on your logic so that stop trying to dogmatically make verses say more than they do. Ive asked you before to get a logician to critique what I’ve just said… for I’ve told you all this before. But I guess you won’t and you fingers remain in your ears against the logic I’ve pointed out to you.

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      134. Brian wrote, “Roger it also does not say “that Christ will raise up those whom God draws to Christ.”
        Brian, once again, I direct you to John 6:37 where it says, “ALL that the Father gives [draws to] Me WILL COME to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.”
        Brian wrote, “It says Christ will raise up those who come to Christ that the Father also must draw. The distributed term necessary to the promise of being raised up is the coming only. Drawing is an undistributed term.”
        This is nothing more than a bunch of semantic gymnastics that means absolutely nothing. The fact is that the Greek in John 6:37 is very clear that ALL the drawn or “given” are ALL going to come to Jesus and ALL the ones who are both drawn and do come WILL be gathered come judgement day! Praise God for the detailed nature of the original languages!!
        Brian wrote, “Actually it also doesn’t teach that those coming are the only ones that will be raised up.”
        You know Brian, sometimes you really do baffle me with some of your comments and this is one of them. So who else is raised up besides the “those coming”? I hope you’re not going to refer to Old Testament believers because they did, in fact, come to Christ as they were looking forward to His coming.

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      135. Still waiting for you to prove “giving” in 6:37 means “drawing” that doesn’t require any freewill response at the end of it. Just saying giving means drawing doesn’t make it so… for it is you theology talking, not the context and grammar.

        As for others raised up… how about the souls of infants that died before there conscience had matured? How about the fact that all the dead will be raised at the sound of Jesus’ voice, though some to condemnation (John 5)?

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      136. brianwagner writes, “Still waiting for you to prove “giving” in 6:37 means “drawing” that doesn’t require any freewill response at the end of it. Just saying giving means drawing doesn’t make it so…”

        I don’t make “giving” to mean “drawing.” They identify two separate actions by God that are part of the process of salvation. I make “drawing” the beginning of the process and “raising” the end of the process. In between, there is room for a freewill response, a point on which both Calvinists and non-Calvinists seem to agree.

        Then, “As for others raised up… how about the souls of infants that died before there conscience had matured?”

        The actions of drawing, giving, and raising are all performed by God and require no response by the person, such as an infant, God can act upon (draw and give) a baby whose conscience has not matured and Christ can raise that baby. God can save a person apart from a conscious awareness by the person of their need for salvation or that God is saving them.

        Then, “How about the fact that all the dead will be raised at the sound of Jesus’ voice, though some to condemnation (John 5)?”

        Different context, it seems to me, but some may think them to be the same context.

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      137. And I still assert that in John 6 Christ is using “drawing” and “giving” interchangeably, especially since the Father can’t “give” anyone to Christ without first drawing him/her first! The structure of both verses in question are exactly the same:
        V39 states, “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.”
        ‭‭John‬ ‭6:39‬ ‭
        V44 states, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.” -John‬ ‭6:44‬ ‭

        The terms are used interchangeably in this passage, for you cannot have one without the other AND the promise of Christ is dependent on the “drawing” or the “giving” of a specific people!

        So we’re on safe grounds to assert that ALL that are drawn/given WILL be gathered by Christ at the Judgement!

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      138. I understand how you have to force that connection between giving and drawing to remain loyal to you view of irresistible grace. Thanks for the conversation. I don’t think it’s developing any so I’m taking the last word in it. 😊

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      139. brianwagner writes, “it also does not say “that Christ will raise up those whom God draws to Christ.”

        You are reading a different verse then, because that is exactly what 6:44 says, “…the Father…draws him; and I…raise him up…”

        Then, “It says Christ will raise up those who come to Christ that the Father also must draw.”

        The verse says, “No one can come to Me,…” so “coming” cannot precede “drawing.” Christ says He will raise up the one God draws meaning that those whom God draws must also come. For some whom God draws to fail to come would negate the statement by Christ or at least, make it weird.

        Then, “The distributed term necessary to the promise of being raised up is the coming only. Drawing is an undistributed term.”

        Which makes no sense, and you are still not able to explain why it should.

        Then, “It is true drawing is necessary to the coming,…nor does it teach that drawing is the only thing essential before coming.”

        No problem with that.

        Here is the problem, “…but the verse does not teach that all who are drawn will come,…”

        It teaches that Christ raises up all who are drawn. Christ also raises up all who come to Him. Thus, all who are drawn also come.

        Then, “Actually it also doesn’t teach that those coming are the only ones that will be raised up. ”

        It says that those drawn are raised up. You seem to be saying that some of those drawn do come to Christ and some do not, but Christ raises up all of them anyway. Sounds weird to me. Looks like your logic is a little off.

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      140. We’ll have to stop again on this discussion. You reject the logic I clearly presented, because you want to believe the verse teaches that Jesus raises up the one who is drawn only and that being drawn causes salvation/coming. I’m back to challenging you to finding someone with a grad degree at least that knows logic and grammar. I don’t seem to be able to help you in this.

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      141. rhutchin writes:

        “It says that Christ will raise up those whom God draws to Christ. If God draws “all” then we have universalism; if not “all,” we have Calvinism.”

        Let the discerning Christian notice how in this case, the Calvinist language is highly univocal – (i.e, unquestionably affirming Theological Determinism)
        It would logically follow, that “All” would entail universal-ism in a world in which god “THEOS” Determines *ALL* events universally – which come to pass.

        Calvinist language will be consistently “univocal” like the above, when the Calvinist is addressing his god’s causal relationship to **GOOD** events.

        But just as soon as the context turns to the Calvinist’s god’s causal relationship to SIN/EVIL events, watch his language suddenly shift.

        In this context Calvinist language will suddenly become equivocal.
        Where his statements are strategically crafted to be duplicitous in meaning – i.e., how they will be interpreted.
        Duplicitous, in that they can be interpreted to affirm Theological Determinism and just as easily be interpreted to deny it.

        There is a reason for this switch to the strategy of obscurantism in the Calvinists language.
        And the fact that the Calvinist performs this switch in his language is, for the discerning Christian, a tell tale sign.

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      142. br.d writes, “Let the discerning Christian notice how in this case, the Calvinist language is…”

        br.d does not like the Calvinist conclusions, but he has no alternative to offer.

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      143. Brian wrote, “John 6:44 does not say “all the Father draws will come. There’s a clear example how you twist Scripture to get the meaning you want, Troy. Shame on you.”
        Brian I never referenced John 6:44 in my previous rebuttal. I actually referenced John 6:39. However, in v37 we do find that all that the Father draws (or gives) will come to Christ: “ALL that the Father gives Me WILL COME to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” Brian I told you sir that you’re not a very careful exegete. You’re just trying to prove doctrines based on false premises/presuppositions.
        Brian wrote, “Being drawn to someone doesn’t mean you are then forced to trust them.”
        I’ll repeat my earlier assertion: All “drawing” regarding salvation is effectual and WILL result in salvation. There’s no one who’s drawn that will not eventually come to Christ. Also, when one of the elect is effectually drawn, they’ll never tell you that they were “forced” to believe. They will be grateful for God’s unconditional election and His irresistible grace in saving them. They’ll never have a feeling of being “forced” but will ever exude a willingness to do the will of God.

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      144. I thought I was answering Roger… for he jumped in and mentioned John 6:44. But there is no place “giving” is defined as “drawing” though I can assume that that who respond positively to God’s drawing by personal repentance and faith are being given to Christ. Note that the giving is still going on which means they weren’t eternally immutably given already.

        And the coming to Jesus in that verse 37 probably is literally coming to follow Jesus as a disciple.

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      145. Brian you’re really sounding pitifully desperate sir. You have no meaningful rebuttal to Jesus’ teaching in John 6 and it’s very obvious brother. I’m almost sad for you.
        For you to say that “giving” and “drawing” is not used interchangeably in chapter 6 shows you’re desperately trying to defend a theology that just doesn’t comport with all of Scripture and I truly believe you know this. I really feel for you because John 6 really does expose you!
        Brian wrote, “And the coming to Jesus in that verse 37 probably is literally coming to follow Jesus as a disciple.” How can I really take you seriously Brian when you make ridiculous assertions such as this??!!! I mean come on brother!!!

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      146. It’s interesting how you resort to ad hominem when you can’t reply to the clear logic presented. I know I’ve dabbled in ad hominem some to try to stimulate further investigation to the evidence provided.

        I think the bottom line might be that you think Jesus said all those things in John 6 so that John would write them down to help support the polemics of deterministic thinking through centuries to come. I believe He said those things to spur each and every person in that crowd that day to consider if they really want to be drawn by God to trust and follow/come after Jesus as one of His disciples… The benefits of which include resurrection life.

        Now that is not a “ridiculous assertion” in my view.

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      147. brianwagner writes, “Looks like you really don’t understand logic and undistributed terms are. ”

        The problem seems to be that you cannot explain its application here.

        Then, “The passage also does not define drawing as equally coming but is before it. ”

        The issue here is not the order of events. The order is, God draws and people come – I think we agree to that. The real issue concerns Christ’s action to raise those who are drawn (which requires that those whom God draws also come).” You would need to negate Christ’s raising of those whom God draws to get your conclusion.

        Then, “And 12:32 says it is provided to everyone, though I already know how you twist that verse.”

        John 12
        32 “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”

        In 12:32, Christ is said to draw people to Him; In John 6, God is said to draw people to Christ.

        There is the issue of the meaning of “all.” “All” can mean “the gentile as well as the Jew,” and this is supported by the immediate context which has Greeks seeking an audience with Christ. As you say, you already know this and this means that we are left with two eisegetical positions.

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      148. The problem is I have ably explained this text, but you are unwilling to receive it. In the context Jesus is teaching the crowds the necessity of God’s individual drawing and of their personal reception of it as it relates to believing in and coming to Jesus. Just being born a Jew doesn’t guarantee their resurrection to everlasting life.

        And they can’t make Jesus their king to feed them on their own terms. God presents the Manna to them. They must eat it when it is offered or find out how to from Jesus. He is the one that has the words of life.

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      149. brianwagner writes, “In the context Jesus is teaching the crowds the necessity of God’s individual drawing and of their personal reception of it as it relates to believing in and coming to Jesus. Just being born a Jew doesn’t guarantee their resurrection to everlasting life.”

        Your speculation may be true, but that is not what concerns the Scripture in this verse. John 6:44 makes three (3) very specific statements:
        1. “No one can come to Me,…” The initial condition of all people.
        2. “…unless the Father who sent Me draws him;…” The exception that enables and provides salvation.
        3. “…and I will raise him up on the last day.” The guarantee of that salvation.

        That the drawing is of individuals and a personal reception of salvation occurs is fine. That does not negate the grand statement by Christ that He will raise up those whom God draws to Him. The third statement seems to be the most troublesome to you as you do not seem able to explain how it works within the system you are trying to cobble together.

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      150. Again your stated judgment that I “do not seem to be able to explain” what Scripture teaches in this passage is only your faulty opinion.

        And you also force upon the word “drawing” the necessity that it “provides salvation”. The passage doesn’t say that. The drawing is prior to salvation and a necessary part of the pre-salvation journey. But nothing in the passage says it causes the coming/the salvation! That is your eisegesis that I’m guessing you won’t admit to though it is obviously being pointed out to you.

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      151. brianwagner writes, “you also force upon the word “drawing” the necessity that it “provides salvation”.”

        Not exactly (assuming I understand what you are trying to argue). I make “drawing” necessary to salvation without which there can be no salvation. The raising up of those drawn is also necessary to salvation. Combined, the two actions provide and ensure salvation – but this allows that other actions can also occur between the drawing (that begins the process) and the raising (that ends the process).

        Then, “The drawing is prior to salvation and a necessary part of the pre-salvation journey. But nothing in the passage says it causes the coming/the salvation! That is your eisegesis that I’m guessing you won’t admit to though it is obviously being pointed out to you.”

        The verse states a clear one-to-one correspondence: “… the Father…draws him; and I…raise him up…” A direct reading of Scripture is not eisegesis. You must mean that I have failed to take into account something else the Scriptures tell us concerning this issue. Unfortunately, you have been unable to explain what that could be.

        We both seem to agree that,
        (1) “The drawing is prior to salvation (and begins the process of salvation)
        (2) a necessary part of the pre-salvation journey. (but not sufficient to produce salvation apart from the raising by Christ)
        (3) nothing in the passage says it causes the coming/the salvation! (But drawing is necessary and it is an instrumental cause and begins the process of salvation).

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      152. Ok… we seem to understand and agree on the role drawing is playing as an necessary instrumental cause. We disagree in what way it is associated to the “process of salvation”. You probably have it as starting after your view of regeneration and not leading to any moment where resistance of the will is still possible, but salvation is inevitable.

        Another major disagreement we have is over your disconnection of the pronoun “him” in the phrase “draws him” from the subject of the main clause, the substantival adjective “no-one”. You want to say the pronoun “him” in the final clause (“raise him”) is only pointing to that pronoun in the phrase “draws him”. But the one raised up is the one drawn who also comes. The drawing is nowhere affirmed as a instrumental cause that must lead to one eventually coming. And it is the person who comes who must have been also drawn that is raised up.

        Think of it this way. Jesus’ payment for sins is an instrumental necessity and it was provided to sufficiently pay for the sins of the whole world. I think you hold that reformed view. But you believe it will only be only efficient in your so-called eternally elect ones. I believe the drawing is an instrumental necessity and it is given sufficiently to everyone, but it is only efficient in those that humbly submit to it until God gives them the new birth after that drawing.

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      153. brianwagner writes, “The drawing is nowhere affirmed as a instrumental cause that must lead to one eventually coming. And it is the person who comes who must have been also drawn that is raised up.”

        Let me offer an amplified rendition of John 6:44 to illustrate our positions.

        “No sinner has any ability to come to Me of his own volition, unless the Father who sent Me, by His grace, draws him to me; when a sinner comes to me as a consequence of God’s drawing, then I will raise that sinner up on the last day.”

        Both Brian and the Calvinist can affirm that statement.

        Brian has God drawing ALL people but only SOME people actually come to Christ.
        Calvinists have God drawing SOME people and ALL whom God draws will come to Christ.
        In each case, we are talking about the same people (God’s elect whether they are identified as elect through the Brian process or the Calvinist process)). The issue is whether “coming” to Christ is a synergistic process whereby God assists His elect to come to Christ by initiating contact and drawing them to Christ or a monergistic process whereby God, by drawing, irresistibly saves His elect by drawing them to Christ.

        We also read earlier in John 6 –

        36 “…I said to you, that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe.
        37 “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.
        39 “…this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.

        So, not only does God draw people to Christ, but God gives specific people to Christ and Christ will raise these people up on the last day.

        I think that Brian might quibble and say that God gives some people to Christ but others can still exercise their free will and also come to Christ I think that is an eisegetical position. Exegetically, I think that we can affirm that no sinner can come to Christ unless God draw the sinner to Christ and God draws sinners to Christ with the intent to give those (at least, some) sinners to Christ.

        Then, “Think of it this way. Jesus’ payment for sins is an instrumental necessity and it was provided to sufficiently pay for the sins of the whole world.”

        I don’t think that that is possible. If Christ’s death was sufficient to pay for the sins of the whole world, then there is no longer a basis for God to judge anyone for those sins. I think your position must be that Christ is a sufficient offering for sin but has no value for salvation unless appropriated by people to pay for their sins – God offered Christ as a propitiation for sin but did not propitiate the sins of anyone in doing so.

        Then, “I think you hold that reformed view. But you believe it will only be only efficient in your so-called eternally elect ones.”

        Both sufficient and efficient.

        Then, “I believe the drawing is an instrumental necessity and it is given sufficiently to everyone, but it is only efficient in those that humbly submit to it until God gives them the new birth after that drawing.”

        That’s interesting. You have people doing things before they are even born which implies that they know they will be born, but God cannot know who will be born (despite being the Spirit that brings birth).

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      154. Roger, the coming/arrival to Christ and the giving/reception by Christ are monergistic… but there is a synergistic element to the drawing. It can be humbly received or rejected.

        Jesus IS the propitiation… not WAS. The payment was sufficient for all sins which is also the reformed position. He does become the propitiation for an individual’s sins when the benefits of His sacrifice are imputed to that individual in the new birth.

        The individual does, before his nrw birth, freely respond with his spirit to the drawing of God with humility, repentance, and faith. Those things don’t cause his new birth, but God does when He sees those conditions filled according to His sovereign purpose. The individual only comes to know that God keeps His promises… and God “comes to know” what was always known by Him perfectly as a possibility and now is known as a reality.

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      155. brianwagner writes, “Jesus IS the propitiation… not WAS. The payment was sufficient for all sins which is also the reformed position. He does become the propitiation for an individual’s sins when the benefits of His sacrifice are imputed to that individual in the new birth. ”

        Under Calvinism, Christ’s death was both necessary and sufficient to propitiate sin. It is also efficient – Christ’s death propitiates sin without the necessity of any other action. Non-Calvinism claims that Christ’s death is necessary but not sufficient – it requires another necessary condition to be met; this is the free response of the sinner’s spirit to the drawing of God with humility, repentance, and faith without which there can be no new birth and without the new birth, no propitiation for sin.

        Then, “The individual does, before his nrw birth, freely respond with his spirit to the drawing of God…Those things don’t cause his new birth,…”

        The non-Calvinist makes this response necessary for the new birth – the new birth cannot happen until this condition is met. As you say, “…but God does when He sees those conditions filled according to His sovereign purpose.”

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      156. The Calvinist has to believe 1John 2:2 means Jesus WAS the propitiation for all the sins commited by the elect before the cross and eternally predetermined to be committed after the cross. The Scripture just doesn’t teach that. And Roger, you are denying the reformed position that Christ death was sufficient for all sins.

        God did make repentance and faith a necessary conditions before He causes the new birth. You’re argument is with His sovereignty… not me! 😉

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      157. brianwagner writes, “…you are denying the reformed position that Christ death was sufficient for all sins.”

        Let me restate what I thought I had said, “The reformed position is that Christ’s death was both necessary and sufficient as payment for all sins requiring no other conditions to be met by those for whom payment was offered.” It was God’s intent to save His elect and He offered Christ as payment for the sins of His elect.”

        Then, “God did make repentance and faith a necessary conditions before He causes the new birth.”

        Yes, unfortunately, no one was able to come to Christ under those conditions so God took the bull by the horns and saved the ones He wanted. If you want to believe that one or two spiritually dead people somehow met these conditions, do so. God is still able to save some from among the dunces who had no interest in Christ.

        Then, “The Calvinist has to believe 1John 2:2 means Jesus WAS the propitiation for all the sins committed by the elect …”

        1 John 2
        My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.’

        John here tells believers (some think a Jewish audience) that Christ is their advocate before God to deal with the sins of believers and that Christ is qualified to do this having propitiated those sins by His death on the cross. Christ advocates not just to the Jewish believers (or that audience to whom John wrote) but for believers – both Jew and gentile – throughout the world.

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      158. The reformed position is that Christ’s death is sufficient for all sins ever committed and ever to be committed. You have not affirmed that position Roger but take a different view. And you still ignore the implications of “IS the propitiation”. I prefer not to keep going around in a circle with you on this. Bye for now!

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      159. brianwagner writes, “The HS certainly was drawing them to get a chance to hear the gospel! So you do agree unregenerate men can be drawn! ”

        The issue here is whether the HS draws people to the gospel and/or draws people to Christ through the gospel. Obviously, the HS uses the gospel to draw God’s elect to Christ. Is Brian correct that the HS works absent the gospel to draw people to the gospel? Hmmm. This is an example where it helps if people support a personal belief with the Scriptures.

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      160. The stories of unregenerate Nicodemus and Cornelius and the rich young ruler are in Scripture in case you forgot! 😉 But I tire of hoping you will give up your loyalty to a theology of determinism based on scriptural examples I give. I’ll just keep praying.

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      161. God Himself is orchestrating events to ENSURE that Nicodemus and Cornelius hear the Gospel and THROUGH the Gospel the Father (by means of the HS) would draw them to Himself.
        In the case of Nicodemus, he has both heard the Gospel preached (because he refers to Christ as “Rabbi”), and he’s seen the evidence of the Gospel’s validity through Christ’s miracles (because he acknowledges that no mere man can do what Christ did lest sent by God). So the fact that he come to Jesus by night to inquire more of Him is evidence of the HS already drawing Nicodemus. And we have evidence of him later becoming a disciple of our Lord in John 19:39 when he assisted in preparing Christ’s body for burial.
        In the case of Cornelius, we see God orchestrating the events leading up to his salvation as God dispatches Peter to Cornelius in the form of a divine dream. Incidentally, God already knows what Cornelius’ response is going to be BEFORE Peter even arrives to preach the Gospel to him. It’s for this reason that I, as a compatibilistic determinist, can BOLDLY say that Cornelius COULD NOT and WOULD NOT have decided otherwise because God already DETERMINED his salvation BEFORE creation. He’s one of the ones spoken of in Ephesians 1:4.

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      162. Thank you Troy for acknowledging that Nicodemus was positively responding to God’s drawing before he was born again (see 3:7, 12). I am assuming you are saying the same thing about Cornelius… that he was responding positively to God’s drawing before he was born again by the Spirit.

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      163. Only because you say so, Troy…. but it comes before the giving of the life, the birth, which is the regeneration and the ability to receive such drawing, according to you. You cannot have it both ways. You cannot have people with no regeneration life being unable to respond to God’s drawing until they are regenerated and yet they are responding to His drawing. Is the life given before the drawing or after it? Make up your mind!

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      164. Regeneration is the act of God the HS supernaturally applying the Gospel to the hearts of men/women so as to make them alive spiritually!!

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      165. So am I to assume by that response in defining regeneration that you do agree that unregenerate man is able to respond in a positive way to God’s drawing over a period of time before regeneration life is given… which is what we were discussing?

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      166. No sir! Unregenerate man has no capacity to respond to the Gospel unless the HS is supernaturally drawing him AND gives him a foreign faith to believe. The faith to believe is also a gift of God as all men don’t possess a “saving faith”. Also, there’s no specific timetable on the drawing, but the giving of a new heart which is synonymous with regeneration I believe is instantaneous (however I’m not dogmatic in this belief).

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      167. So a positive response to any drawing by God is only after regeneration… is that what you are now saying Troy?

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      168. Thank you for confirming your view. I apply that to mean Jesus knew His drawing of Nicodemus and the rich young ruler had no positive result. And though Peter and Luke made positive comments about Cornelius’ fear of God before he received the Spirit, in your view they must have been mistaken.

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      169. brianwagner writes, “So a positive response to any drawing by God is only after regeneration…”

        Better yet, “…a positive response to any drawing by God is POSSIBLE only after regeneration…” Prior to that, the person remains hostile to God as Paul describes in Romans 8.

        Then, “Jesus knew His drawing of Nicodemus and the rich young ruler had no positive result.”

        Or Jesus knew that His drawing of Nicodemus and the rich young ruler was having a positive result. Scripture does not tell us.

        Then, “though Peter and Luke made positive comments about Cornelius’ fear of God before he received the Spirit,…”

        From what we read, Cornelius was not hostile to God, and we might conclude that God had prepared him to receive the gospel.

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      170. So you admit Roger that positive effects of God’s drawing was possibly happening in Nicodemus and probably happening in Cornelius before either was born again!

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      171. Ahhh “positive comments” Brian? What does positive comments have to do with when regeneration occurs. Please explain!
        Also, as I stated previously, Nicodemus showed signs of his conversion when responding to prepare our Lord’s body for burial. Also, the rich young ruler was loved by Christ, which is an indication of his eventual conversion.

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      172. You certainly don’t believe Cornelius was born again before he received the HS at Peter’s preaching do you? So the positive comments about his fear of God before regeneration are significant.

        And Nicodemus eventually being born again is not the point. The point is that He accepted in a positive way the light Jesus had given him before he was born again.

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      173. Brian wrote, “The point is that He accepted in a positive way the light Jesus had given him before he was born again.” How do you know this Brian? Can you tell us the specific moment of Nicodemus’ regeneration? And what’s this language you keep using that He “accepted in a positive way”? Many people accept Jesus “in a positive way” and are still Hell bound because their faith was not genuine.

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      174. True… people can accept information about Jesus in a positive way and continue to seek but end up lost, though they could have continued until they repented and put their trust in God’s mercy. Nicodemus took the information he received in a positive way and did eventually become born again, though he was not yet born again that evening.

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      175. brianwagner writes, “Nicodemus took the information he received in a positive way and did eventually become born again, though he was not yet born again that evening.”

        The Scriptures do not provide this information, so we can conclude that this is an esigetical outburst.

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      176. You really are uninformed Roger. Read 3:7, 12 to confirm Nicodemus was not yet born again. Read 19:39 to see he became a disciple. It would be unreasonable to assume that first encounter had no positive effect since it is even mentioned in 19:39. But if course you cover your eyes to avoid seeing that understanding based on grammar and context.

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      177. Brian wrote, “, though he was not yet born again that evening.” So Brian how do you know that Nicodemus was not yet born again that evening and was just seeking clarity on certain questions he had about the Gospel; especially in light of the fact that he’d already listened to Jesus’ teaching and observed His miracles. How do YOU KNOW exactly when Nicodemus became born again?

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      178. I don’t think you are reading carefully Troy the evidence I’m giving you. Jesus declared Nicodemus needed to be born again in verse 7 and he still was not a believer in verse 12. I listed those verses before. Get those fingers out of your ears and turn some pages of Scriptures! 😊

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      179. My ears are wide open sir and if you remember one of my previous comments concerning Nicodemus. I stated that there’s evidence of his EVENTUAL conversion when he responded to tend to Jesus’ body postmortem. Remember that? I was actually playing “devil’s advocate” with you my friend. I’m well aware of the fact that in John 3 the conversation with Jesus was probably apart of the drawing processs for Nicodemus.

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      180. Again you admit there is drawing and a positive response to it in someone not yet born again! Why the flip flopping?

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      181. Brian if the “drawing” is SUPERNATURAL, then of course there’s a positive response which WILL lead to conversion. There’s no flip flopping here my friend.

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      182. Using confusing terms doesn’t help, Troy… The drawing in Nicodemus to which he is positively responding is before his regeneration and his regeneration is the moment of his conversion. Yes the drawing is supernatural… just like the miracles Jesus did to draw people to believe in Him so that they would be born again/converted. It appears you just want to separate conversion from the new birth but not let readers clearly know that’s what you are doing.

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      183. Brian wrote, “The drawing in Nicodemus to which he is positively responding is before his regeneration and his regeneration is the moment of his conversion.” Who says that regeneration and conversion are simultaneous Brian?? Also, I never asserted that the supernatural drawing was not APART of regeneration. Conversion is the evidence of regeneration in a person’s life. We have no idea of the exact moment when these spiritual events actually occur, but we only see the evidences.
        However, let me make my position clear: When God is supernaturally drawing someone by the Spirit by applying the Gospel to the heart of His elect, this begins the process of regeneration. God is removing the heart of stone and replacing it with a heart of flesh. Conversion is the evidence that regeneration has, in fact, occurred!

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      184. You may want exegete Acts 3:19 where repentance comes before conversion which causes sins to be forgiven. You continue to have the problem of regeneration life before forgiveness of sins and the righteous standing before God which is only through (after) faith. How can one have Jesus and not have His righteousness? In Acts 3:19 forgiveness is after conversion, right?

        And Nicodemus was being drawn by Jesus before he was regenerated… that is plainly seen in the text… though I know you struggle to admit it out loud, Troy.

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      185. brianwagner (responding to Troy) writes, “Nicodemus was being drawn by Jesus before he was regenerated… that is plainly seen in the text…”

        “[Nicodemus] said to [Jesus], “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” This is not the attitude we would expect from one under the control of sin as we see expressed by the other Jewish leaders who vehemently deny Christ’s claims. Nicodemus is clearly different. His attitude is consistent with one who has been born again and it is possible to conclude that the Holy Spirit has been working on Nicodemus even to the point of giving him a new birth. Regardless, given how Nicodemus approaches Jesus, we should expect that the process of regeneration has already begun even if not to the point of being born again. Certainly, Jesus is drawing Nicodemus to Himself as is evident from Nicodemus’ attitude and speech.

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      186. And you still profess Nicodemus was already born again even though Jesus said – “You must be born again” – to him! Have you no honor for the clear meaning of Jesus’ words?

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      187. brianwagner writes, “…you still profess Nicodemus was already born again even though Jesus said – “You must be born again” – to him! Have you no honor for the clear meaning of Jesus’ words?”

        Jesus initially responds to Nicodemus, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” He does not personalize it by saying, “unless you are born again.” Jesus states basic facts. This generic explanation continues until 7 when Jesus says “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’” Again, we can read this as a statement of fact – It is necessary even for Nicodemus be born again. This statement of fact does not judge Nicodemus’ condition at that time (as he could already have been born again) but only applies to him the same requirement Jesus had been applying, generically, to all people. An example might be me telling you that you must have a driver’s license to operate a motor vehicle in Virginia. It is a statement of fact and does not mean that you now need to go out and get a driver’s license (as, presumably, you already have one).

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      188. Yes, as you said – “It is necessary even for Nicodemus be born again” for he wasn’t yet!

        The generic use of “you” will not get you out of this for you have verse 12 to deal with also… “yet you still do not believe.”

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      189. brianwagner writes, “The generic use of “you” will not get you out of this for you have verse 12 to deal with also… “yet you still do not believe.”

        12 “If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how shall you believe if I tell you heavenly things?

        Being born again by the Holy Spirit does not make one believe; it prepares the person to receive faith and then believe. I think the point Jesus makes is this – How can a person believe if they have not first been born again?

        In John 5, we read,
        37 “And the Father who sent Me, He has borne witness of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form.
        38 “And you do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe Him whom He sent.

        Until a person is reborn by the Holy Spirit, the word cannot abide in him. Thus, we know that these Jews had not yet been born again.

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      190. You’re diverting from the context Roger where you said Jesus was speaking to a born again man to another where there are unbelievers. Was that to hide the fact that you couldn’t explain how a born again man could resist believing the truth the Son of God was telling Him about salvation? Your loyalty to Calvinism is painting you into a corner again! Do you really enjoy having to twist the Scriptures so often to make them fit your theology?

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      191. brianwagner writes, “You’re diverting from the context Roger where you said Jesus was speaking to a born again man to another where there are unbelievers. Was that to hide the fact that you couldn’t explain how a born again man could resist believing the truth the Son of God was telling Him about salvation?”

        Under Calvinism, the “rebirth” is a change imposed on the unbeliever by the Holy Spirit – thus, irresistible – while the unbeliever is spiritually dead; it quickens the unbeliever thereby enabling the unbeliever to receive faith and then respond to the gospel using that faith. Faith is conveyed to the unbeliever – again irresistibly – but only works in those who are no longer spiritually dead and are being drawn to Christ by God – again irresistibly. You turn the illustration around having the spiritually dead unbeliever responding in faith thereby initialing his rebirth experience – this is like a baby taking actions before it is born (e.g., breathing air) where such actions cannot be taken by the baby until it is born. I can explain why an unbeliever can resist believing the truth by the Scriptures – the unbeliever, “does not subject himself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God…we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God…made us alive [through the rebirth brought about by the Holy Spirit] together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)…”

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      192. But Roger… you said all that and still did not explain how Nicodemus who was born again in your view resisted in unbelief the truth the Son of God was giving (3:12)… or was Jesus mistaken?

        The actions taken by the human spirit (humility, repentance, and faith) are indeed before the new birth and they continue in an everlasting way after the new birth changes forever that spirit. Those pre-new birth actions of the human spirit do not cause the new birth but are just conditions God looks for before granting the new birth experience. Your trying to obfuscate God’s methods by drawing false analogies from physical birth will not work and are not helpful.

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      193. brianwagner writes, “… you said all that and still did not explain how Nicodemus who was born again in your view resisted in unbelief the truth the Son of God was giving (3:12)… or was Jesus mistaken?”

        Do you really mean John 3:12?

        John 3
        12 If I have told you people about earthly things and you don’t believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?

        John 3:12 has “you” in the plural and is a question. Jesus seems to have expanded discussion to all “teachers of Israel” and asks a rhetorical question whose answer should be obvious to Nicodemus coming out of the preceding discussion – a person must be born again to understand heavenly things. That question says nothing about Nicodemus’ status as born again. It re-emphasizes the points Jesus had already made – a person must be born again in order to see and enter the kingdom of heaven (i.e., to understand heavenly things). There is no indication that Nicodemus is resisting that which Jesus is telling him – if anything, their discussion highlights Nicodemus’ confusion which should not be surprising since Jesus is turning everything the Jews understood upside down.

        Then, “The actions taken by the human spirit (humility, repentance, and faith) are indeed before the new birth…”

        And while the person is still spiritually dead??? How is a spiritually dead person able to respond in humility, repentance, and faith when he is hostile to God?

        Then, “Those pre-new birth actions of the human spirit do not cause the new birth but are just conditions God looks for before granting the new birth experience.”

        “Conditions” that are impossible for a person who is spiritually dead. And you offer no explanation for this.

        Then, “You trying to obfuscate God’s methods by drawing false analogies from physical birth will not work and are not helpful.”

        What else are you left to argue but that??? Yet Jesus clearly makes that analogy by saying, “…unless one is born of water…” and “That which is born of the flesh is flesh…” I think you dismiss it because the analogy works against you and you have no response to it.

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      194. Any normal reader would assume Jesus is including Nicodemus in the plural you of vs 7 & 12. It’s your theology that tries to take him out of it. I don’t you would find a commentator that agrees with you… does that bother you?

        You know “dead” doesn’t mean inability. You are dead to sin… do you still sin, Roger?

        Jesus is only contrasting the sources of physical and spiritual births. There is certainly no comparisons or contrasts with other aspects of physical and spiritual births being made. But you want magical words not understood or believed by the person to be the cause of the new birth… really?

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      195. Brian Jn. 3:12 does not prove that Nicodemus is resisting. Christ is simply stating a fact. Nicodemus is trying to understand Christ’s message and that’s why he’s asking these questions of his Savior. But YOU are importing YOUR perspective onto the text and your perspective is dead wrong sir!! Nicodemus CAME TO Christ to learn, not to resist.

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      196. Why did you change your name Troy to BrianAMenTroy… kinda weird? And you just repeating uourself now denying what Scriptures show without providing grammatical or contextual proof to support your theological claims.

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      197. Where in John 3 do we see Nicodemus “resisting” Christ’s words?? I see a man who’s actually SEEKING Christ!!

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      198. So you see Jesus words – “and you do not believe” 3:12 as acknowledging Nicodemus is seeking and is already born again… Really?

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      199. Brian wrote, “yet you still do not believe.”. This does NOT prove that the PROCESS of regeneration has not already started in Nicodemus. It’s a reflection of the fact that Nicodemus is not fully converted. But it’s clear to me that God has already STARTED the regenerative process in Nicodemus.

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      200. The “irresistible process” is started but already failing and being resisted because Nicodemus is not believing the truth he is being told by the Son of God. How can a person who openly professes such contradiction not be embarrassed?

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      201. Brian the passage does not suggest that Nicodemus is “resisting” Christ! He’s actually SEEKING truth brother. That’s why he came to Christ in the first place. YOU are imposing YOUR ideas onto the text without merit. Your inferences are false. God is drawing Nicodemus and this is why he’s asking these questions in John 3. Your perspective is simply wrong brother.

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      202. Amen Roger! Brian has no idea of when Nicodemus was regenerated because we’re not privy to that information. There’s a possibility that Nicodemus was already undergoing regeneration and was just seeking clarification from His Savior

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      203. Troy writes:
        “Brian has no idea of when Nicodemus was regenerated because we’re not privy to that information.”

        A quick question:
        “we’re not privy to that information” – and thus – Brian is the only one who has no idea how it works?

        Is when Nicodemus was regenerated one of those “secrets” that God only reveals to Calvinists?

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      204. Br.d I said “we’re” (including Calvinists) are not privy to exactly when Nicodemus was regenerated!

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      205. brianwagner (in responding to Troy) writes, “You may want exegete Acts 3:19 where repentance comes before conversion which causes sins to be forgiven.”

        Acts 3
        14 “But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,
        15 but put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses.
        16 “And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all.
        17 “And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also.
        18 “But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ should suffer, He has thus fulfilled.
        19 “Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

        As the phrase,”times of refreshing” appears only this one time in the Scriptures (at least, I did not find other times), it’s meaning is subject to debate. Whether this refers to conversion, as Brian seems to intimate, is not certain. By conversion, can we presume Brian means the new birth? Peter here may be saying no more than that repentance opens the door for receiving faith followed by believing and the renewing of the mind. Using this sermon by Peter, God can be calling out His elect who have already been born again by the Holy Spirit (and thereby have been made good soil ready to receive the word).

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      206. Wow… you just have to try hard to squeeze your theology into these verses, Roger, don’t you. The conversion is in the word “return” in your translation. You ignored the point however that really troubles your theology from this verse… did you do that on purpose.

        Forgiveness follows the “return” but the determinist wants the life of Christ in the new birth to exist before even hearing this promise. How can you have life of Christ without the righteousness of Christ? I’ve asked you that question before and I am still waiting for a logical, biblical reply.

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      207. brianwagner writes, “The conversion is in the word “return” in your translation. You ignored the point however that really troubles your theology from this verse… did you do that on purpose.”

        So, by conversion, you only mean to change one’s ways – turn from one’s sin. After this, a person, upon receiving faith, would then believe the gospel thereby formally receiving forgiveness for sin followed by times of refreshing. So, repentance is a conversion/change away from sin. OK, we have several conversions. The new birth is the conversion of the unbeliever by the Holy Spirit. The drawing of the unbeliever to Christ by God is a conversion in the direction the unbeliever was heading. The turning away from sin by the believer is a conversion. OK – I did not understand the point you were trying to make. My bad.

        Then, “Forgiveness follows the “return” but the determinist wants the life of Christ in the new birth to exist before even hearing this promise. How can you have life of Christ without the righteousness of Christ? I’ve asked you that question before and I am still waiting for a logical, biblical reply.”

        The new birth is not a change to the life of Christ but makes possible a change to the life of Christ. It takes the heart of stone and changes it to a heart of flesh. The new birth changes the person so that he can see and enter the kingdom of heaven. It negates the control that sin has exercised over the unbeliever’s mind. It makes the person good soil that is then ready to receive the gospel and take hold of that gospel.

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      208. So the new birth isn’t the receiving of life! Here again the Calvinist must hide behind twisting of words and meaning to hold on to their loyalty to their position. The new birth is receiving life… there is not life but the life of Christ… and with the life is His inseparable righteousness. All this life comes after conversion which is after repentance. It is sad you don’t want to follow the clear meaning of Scripture, Roger.

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      209. brianwagner writes, “So the new birth isn’t the receiving of life!”

        No. Necessarily, the new birth is the beginning of a new life. It is an act of the Holy Spirit whereby a spiritually dead person is made alive – thus receives a new spiritual life. The Holy Spirit uses the gospel to bring about new life and then that new spiritual life begins to feed on the word – likened to milk and then meat. The new birth makes possible the conveyance of faith through the gospel to a person by which one believes in Christ. The new birth is a conversion from being spiritually dead to being spiritually alive. It enables a conversion by faith to repentance and believing in Christ. That leads to the conversion from from being a slave to sin to being a slave to Christ involving the conversion from a mind set on the flesh to one set on the spirit. The new birth is not just receiving life; it is the beginning of life.

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      210. So it is the receiving of life… a beginning of life… being made alive… a new spiritual life… BUT the life of Christ and His righteousness is not present yet! Really? You really want to keep believing such contradiction to Scripture.

        He that does not have the Son of God has not life… 1John 5:12… There is no other spiritual life taught in Scripture than the life that is in Jesus!

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      211. brianwagner writes, “So it is the receiving of life… a beginning of life… being made alive… a new spiritual life… BUT the life of Christ and His righteousness is not present yet! Really? You really want to keep believing such contradiction to Scripture.”

        Let’s check out the context on this.

        10 The one who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the witness that God has borne concerning His Son.
        11 And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.
        12 He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.

        The life in view is eternal life and this is gained through belief in Christ.

        In John 3, Jesus speaks of a new birth – “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” At the very least, we should agree that spiritual birth comes first and is followed by spiritual life. The spirit gives birth; Jesus gives life. Taht life is gained through faith. Thus, we have the birth followed by the receipt of faith and the exercise of that faith as belief in Christ.

        There is no contradiction in the Scriptures for even the natural world tells us that birth is the beginning point from which life proceeds. Without birth, there can be no life.

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      212. Wow… you first say birth is life… now you say birth is before life. You really don’t mind being contradictory in you words, do you? Is the new birth a life different from the life of Christ or isn’t it? Try to be clear Roger in your answer to help the readers see your contradiction clearly. Thanks.

        And besides… in the physical realm there is none months of life before birth. It is the same life that proceeds after the birth. But Jesus is not teaching similarities between physical and spiritual births. He is teaching one contrast… The source of each.

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      213. Being born again encompasses two aspects of life. It gives us spiritual life and as a result we have eternal life.

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      214. So the spiritual life is before the everlasting life… or is it the same life…? And is it Jesus without His righteousness attached which only comes later somehow? The knots you have to twist yourself and Scripture into so God can’t be merciful to everyone is amazing!

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      215. brianwagner asks, “So the spiritual life is before the everlasting life… ”

        No, spiritual birth is before spiritual life (i.e.everlasting life).

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      216. So there possibly a period of time between spiritual birth and the beginning of everlasting life? How much time do you think would be normal in between the two… and how much time possibly could be between the two? And then how much time before the righteousness of Jesus is received after His life is after the new birth takes place? See how the ridiculous questions your view suggests.

        The new birth isn’t before everlasting life… it is the gift of everlasting life! Simple!

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      217. brianwagner writes, “So there possibly a period of time between spiritual birth and the beginning of everlasting life? ”

        As to logical order, birth comes first and initiates spiritual life providing the good soil for faith. As to timing, the spiritual birth of the sinner dead in sin and the faith expressed in Christ by the sinner now having spiritual life is likely simultaneous.

        Then, “The new birth isn’t before everlasting life… it is the gift of everlasting life!”

        Still, by virtue of Christ’s characterization of it as a birth, it comes first.

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      218. You still avoid the harder questions I ask, Roger. It is a little frustrating… but I’m still hoping and praying for you. Bye for now!

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      219. Right on!
        No other Christian social structure mentors its disciples in the use of subtle language the way Calvinism does.

        And this, for the discerning Christian, is another tell-tale sign.

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      220. Brian! Brian! Brian! The new birth is NOT the RECEIVING of new life my friend!! The new birth is the GIVING of new life!! Just as we have been GIVEN physical life (by no choice of our own I might add), we’re also GIVEN spiritual life (by no choice of our own). Both are miracles wrought by God and both were decreed by God!! Only God can make a “new creation” or give us a “new nature”! Your assessment of John 3 demonstrates your loyalty to the free will of man; whereas Christ is conveying to Nicodemus the utter impossibllty of salvation outside of the miraculous work of the HS!!

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      221. We both believe the new birth is a miracle actively given and passively received. Troy, you believe it is given to someone who doesn’t want it, and I believe Scripture clearly teaches it is given to someone who humbly repented and now wants it.

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      222. Natural man will not and cannot humble themselves to a message they find to be both foolish and reprehensible. This is simply what the Bible teaches and this is why God must draw and give a supernatural faith to believe. Otherwise mankind will hate the message and will never humble themselves to a message they find to be foolish and repugnant!

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      223. God’s light is powerful enough. He spoke to Adam, Cain, Nicodemus, Cornelius, you, me, all the unbelieving readers of John, so that repentance and faith would come first… then life. Thanks for giving me the last word!

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      224. Troy writes, “Conversion is the evidence that regeneration has, in fact, occurred!”

        I would say, “is occurring,” since change continues after conversion with the renewing/regeneration of the mind that Paul speaks to in Romans 12. But certainly, sufficient regeneration has occurred to permit conversion (whatever that means).

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      225. You appear to be functioning as Troy’s language coach.
        That must be common in the Calvinist social structure.

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      226. brianwagner writes, “Jesus declared Nicodemus needed to be born again in verse 7 and he still was not a believer in verse 12.”

        And then Jesus says that this action will be accomplished by the Holy Spirit – it will be an irresistible change imposed on the person. That change wrought in the person by the Holy Spirit then enables the person to see and enter the kingdom of heaven.

        Being born again did not depend on Nicodemus taking the information that Jesus had given him and then asking to be born again. The working of the Holy Spirit is independent of any effort by the person and necessarily precedes and enables a person to act on the teachings of Jesus. A person who has not been born again has a mind set on the flesh as Paul explains in Romans 8 and is hostile to God.

        That Jesus said to Nicodemus, ‘You must be born again.’ does not preclude the Holy Spirit having already brought this change to Nicodemus. Nicodemus would not necessarily know that he had been born again and such would explain his coming to Jesus (even if at night) and the curiosity he showed.

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      227. Really Roger… Jesus might have been telling Nicodemus “you must be born again” and “still you don’t believe” after he was already born again? Really?

        The new birth is irresistible but it is after truth is humbly received through faith as John consistently shows (1:4-13, 12:35-36, 20:30-31) and this story of Nicodemus illustrates. The verse 3:8 is interesting. Jesus could be describing how those born of the Spirit act like wind. But even if He’s describing the new birth experience, I believe He is saying the Spirit speaks when He wants to and not at you bidding… so you better follow His voice to be born again and not harden you heart.

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      228. Brian wrote, “The verse 3:8 is interesting. Jesus could be describing how those born of the Spirit act like wind. But even if He’s describing the new birth experience, I believe He is saying the Spirit speaks when He wants to and not at you bidding… so you better follow His voice to be born again and not harden you heart.”

        This is eisegesis at its worst or at its best (depending on your perspective). So Brian please explain to me how Christians are like the wind that blows wherever it wants; you hear the sound of it but don’t know from where it comes or where it goes? This should be interesting!! Lol

        Brian wrote, “I believe He is saying the Spirit speaks when He wants to and not at you bidding”. Where do you get this from the text brother? The text mentions nothing about the HS “speaking” anything. The text says, He “blows wherever He goes”. This denotes His will; the Spirit provides salvation wherever He wills.

        “You hear the sound of it, but can’t discern its origins or its destination” simply means that we have no earthly idea where, when or who the HS is going to save.

        “..so is everyone who is born of the Spirit” means we have no idea or control over who is born again.

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      229. It gets so confusing for my old mind when you, Troy, and you, Roger, jump in on each other’s conversations to me. 😉

        Troy, I was saying grammatically 3:8 could be talking about the results in those born of the Spirit… especially if the first word is translated “wind” and not “Spirit”. It is grammatically possible. And the independence of believers’ actions being misunderstood be unbelievers is taught elsewhere in Scripture (cf. 1Cor 2:15).

        But Jesus was saying the Spirit breathes… which is His influence, not regeneration. The coming and going of that influence is mentioned to point out that it is available only for a certain time. We know where regeneration comes from and it doesn’t go away after it arrives.

        It is your eisegesis that forces “when and who” on to a verse that says “from whence” and “where”. So who is twisting the meaning?

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      230. brianwagner (in responding to Troy) writes, “But Jesus was saying the Spirit breathes… which is His influence, not regeneration.”

        The effects of the Holy Spirit’s influence can be part of the regenerative process. Do we have to deny that the HS’ influence contributes to the regeneration of the unbeliever?

        Then, “The coming and going of that influence is mentioned to point out that it is available only for a certain time.”

        Or that it is a one-time action by the Holy Spirit to give the new birth. The action of the Holy Spirit is imposed on the unbeliever without him knowing it and effects a change in the unbeliever without his ability to do anything about it.

        Then, “We know where regeneration comes from and it doesn’t go away after it arrives.”

        Regeneration comes from God. It is a process that God initiates and guides from beginning to end.

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      231. No one of us denies the Spirit’s influence in regeneration. But you deny the Spirit’s influence before regeneration in illumination of each unbeliever, Roger!

        And you did not deal with the description “where it is going”, for if regeneration by the Spirit is in view in Jesus’ words… then where is it going? Why is it leaving? Why isn’t it staying?

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      232. brianwagner writes, “No one of us denies the Spirit’s influence in regeneration. But you deny the Spirit’s influence before regeneration,”

        Correct, I maintain that any influence the Holy Spirit exerts on the unbeliever is part of the regenerative process. Is there an influence of the Holy Spirit that you have in mind that does not have as it’s purpose to change the unbeliever in some way? The new birth changes a person dramatically and is certainly part of the regenerative process. The Spirit’s conviction of sin is designed to change the person and would also be a part of the regenerative process.

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      233. This is where Calvinists begin to obfuscate the definition of regeneration. Is it a immediate change of nature that begins an irresistible or is it a process? You can’t have it both ways. The HS does give influence called enlightenment before the immediate change of nature that we call regeneration.

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      234. brianwagner writes, “…the definition of regeneration. Is it a immediate change of nature that begins an irresistible or is it a process? You can’t have it both ways.”

        I think it is both. The new birth is a regenerative act – an immediate change of nature – that begins a process of further continuous change brought about by the new spiritual life feeding on the word.

        Then, “The HS does give influence called enlightenment before the immediate change of nature that we call regeneration.”

        The Holy Spirit may give enlightenment prior to the new birth as the Holy Spirit uses the gospel to bring about the new birth experience. In Ephesians 2, we were dead and God quickened us. However, if the Holy Spirit is using this enlightenment to bring about the new birth, then that enlightenment always results in a new birth as the new birth is a work of the Holy Spirit . The Holy Spirit works irresistibly to bring about the new birth and the person is only aware that he has been changed after the fact when the person experiences a new desire for God and His word..

        There can be enlightenment that does not lead to the new birth or salvation and we would not associate that enlightenment with the working of the Holy Spirit.

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      235. So your saying, Roger, that the enlightenment of the HS is before regeneration but never fails to cause regeneration… But does that mean that the enlightenment of Jesus, the true Light, which is to every person is different than the enlightenment of the HS, and that Jesus’ enlightenment always fails or sometimes fails or what?

        Immediate change is not a process. In your view the change has to before the information is given… not after… the change can’t be caused by the information/enlightenment given… for it isn’t even understood in your view until after the change takes place… unless you are saying the words used in the enlightenment are like magic meaningless words that cause the new birth and then they are understood after the new birth. Is that what you’re saying?

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      236. brianwagner writes, “…that the enlightenment of the HS is before regeneration but never fails to cause regeneration…”

        I tend to think that the enlightenment of the HS – His use of the word to bring about the new birth and the giving of the new birth occur simultaneously (logically, one must precede the other) and both have a part in the regeneration of the spiritually dead person. Regeneration is a process that includes specific events – the new birth, conversion of the heart from stone to flesh, the conveyance of faith, the act of belief, etc.

        Then, “But does that mean that the enlightenment of Jesus, the true Light, which is to every person is different than the enlightenment of the HS, and that Jesus’ enlightenment always fails or sometimes fails or what?”

        Given that the new birth is attributed to the HS and not to Jesus, then, yes. Jesus is the true light meaning that He is truth and He speaks truth. Anyone to whom Jesus spoke was enlightened by the truth Jesus spoke, but that did not mean that they became born again. What was Jesus’ complaint about the Jews – they refused to believe the truth, or light, that He was giving them – “light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light….” and “There was the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man….He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.”

        Then, “unless you are saying the words used in the enlightenment are like magic meaningless words that cause the new birth and then they are understood after the new birth. Is that what you’re saying?”

        Jesus very clearly tells us in John 3 that the new birth is brought about by the Holy Spirit. Yet Peter writes, “you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and abiding word of God.” You may refer to this as “like magic meaningless words that cause the new birth” but the simple conclusion seems to be that the Holy Spirit brings about the new birth using the word even though we do ot understand how this works out.

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      237. Thank you Roger, for confirming that you believe Jesus’ giving of light has no sufficient power to enable anything unless the HS uses those words like magic words with no personally understood meaning to an individual to cause the new birth, since he is in an eternally immutably select group of those individuals in a human history already eternally immutably determined.

        But the Scripture reads differently as you know. And Jesus said His words are spirit and they are life. Man has a choice to humbly receive the truth of those words that he was brought to understand by the light in them or harden his heart against receiving that truth. Praise the Lord that He offers that enabling light and opportunity to seek and find Him to each person!

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      238. brianwagner writes, “But the Scripture reads differently as you know. And Jesus said His words are spirit and they are life.”

        Here we have you making two disjointed comments with neither having anything to do with the other. It would be nice if you provided support for your first statement.

        Let’s provide some context to the second statement above.

        John 6
        63 “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.
        64 “But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him.
        65 And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me, unless it has been granted him from the Father.”

        First Jesus affirms, ““It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing;” OK. The Holy Spirit gives new birth.

        Then, we have your citation, “the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”

        After this, ““But there are some of you who do not believe….For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me, unless it has been granted him from the Father.”

        Brian would like us to believe that Jesus words are sufficient without the work of the Holy Spirit. However, the above says the opposite – it is the Spirit who gives life and no one can come to Christ, unless it has been granted him from God. Thus, we need all three parts of the Godhead working together to bring about the new birth and then salvation. Jesus’ words are spirit and life to those to whom God has granted the ability to come to Jesus and for whom the Holy Spirit has given life.

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      239. Agreed, Roger… except the HS’s work is last not first. The Father/Jesus both use words/light about Jesus to draw… But not all the time and the crowd is being told this, not to learn about determinism… but to respond if they feel the Father’s drawing. For they can only come when it is offered… and the offer is not irresistible.

        Thus the warning… which we discussed thoroughly before 😉…Today if you hear His voice do not harden your heart. If they accept the Father’s enabling opportunity to trust the words about the Son, then the Spirit gives the life.

        They do not believe not because of being locked away in an eternal immutable predetermined inability. They do not yet believe because they either rejected the Father’s drawing in the past or have not yet experienced it. But all do get drawn at some point… Praise His Name!

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      240. brianwagner writes, “… except the HS’s work is last not first.”

        That is what the debate is all about.

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      241. Exactly… and who has the best understanding of biblical evidence in support of their view.

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      242. Brian wrote, “For they can only come when it is offered… and the offer is not irresistible.” Brian the verse doesn’t say “they can only come when it is OFFERED”. The verse says, “No one CAN come to Me unless the Father who sent Me DRAWS him..” Where is it mentioned that they can only come when it is offered??? To the contrary, the verse is stating that no man CAN come unless God Himself performs an action and that action is NOT an OFFER, it’s an irresistible DRAWING by the Father of a spiritually dead person. We know know it’s irresistible because they CANT come otherwise!!

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      243. Where does it say irresistible with no understandable offer included? The whole book of John was written to unbelievers so that might believe and the have life.

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      244. Brian wrote, “Where does it say irresistible with no understandable offer included?” Brian it doesn’t have to say this because we know from other passages that the natural man can’t understand the Gospel UNTO SALVATION. We know it’s irresistible because it says NO ONE CAN come UNLESS the Father.. draws. Plus the term “irresistible” refers, not to an active resistance on man’s part, but to God drawing a spiritual corpse that can’t resist His desire to draw him/her to Himself.

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      245. Another instance where you do exactly what uou criticized me for… adding meaning to texts that aren’t there. I’ve provided sufficient biblical evidence to demonstrate that God can and does influence the unregenerate spirit which is functioning… and He draws them to a decision about the truth He gives them by His light to them.

        They can freely accept or reject the light they are given… just like you as a believer can… and that is why I keep sharing it with you, even though you still reject it.

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      246. Yes Brian, you’re simply repeating false assertions! I simply rebut you by demonstrating that your assertions are supported by tota scriptura. The verses you give in support of YOUR view CONTRADICT many other verses of Scriptures, especially those regarding the role of the HS in salvation. You and Prof. Flowers have conflated so many passages and concepts in Scripture that it’s hard for a non-student of the Word to keep up. Flowers misinterprets passages by over-emphasizing national Israel and you misinterpret passages by applying a false view of “light”.

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      247. Still wondering about your name change Troy! If Brother Flowers and I are discussing “so many passages and concepts in Scripture” maybe you should consider that tota Scripture is on our side… since we don’t see you trying to back up your views with much evidence from Scripture. You just seem to desire just to disagree with the evidence from context and grammar we offer without showing where were are mistaken by using sound rules of logic, grammar, and context yourself.

        Liked by 1 person

      248. Another false assertion as I have used numerous scriptures to support my views and rebut your views. You are not be honest with that assertion. I’ve had dialogue with both you and Prof. Flowers using a multiplicity of texts to discredit his and your exegetical conclusions.

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      249. Of your 130 plus posts and responses, Troy, you mentioned references to texts about 70 times in about 40 posts… Mostly those references were for the texts I was discussing. Two of your posts had lists of verses which you thought proved 1.) that since God is involved in conception He must have eternally immutably predetermined every rape and 2.) that since verses show unsaved man rejecting the gospel, God must give regeneration before they can have any positive response to the gospel. Both are non-sequitur arguments that are not proven by your list of verses and your conclusions are undermined by clear Scriptures to the contrary.

        I have yet to see a thorough exegesis by you of a passage using a close look at the context and grammar to help prove your points of theology. Others will judge if your so-called “multiplicity of texts” did “discredit” the exegetical conclusions Leighton and I have provided.

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      250. Your “research” of my responses have proven that I have, in fact, used a “multiplicity” of passages to prove my point. But Brian you have given only scant “exegesis” of passages my friend and provided a lot of “proof texts” as we all have to PROVE our presuppositions.
        However, please allow me to indulge you by exegeting any passage or concept you wish sir. You name..I’ll claim it!!🙌🏾

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      251. Troy, I’d love to see your exegesis of John 1:4-13, or if you want just to focus on 12-13 specifically… that would be ok. Thanks.

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      252. As you requested Brian…

        Exegesis of John 1:4-13

        V4: “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.”

        Commentary: John is expressing the fact that Christ Himself is the source of eternal life. This “life” is “the Light of men”, meaning that Christ Himself (the source of eternal life) is the “light”. In essence, the verse is teaching that Christ Himself is the source of eternal life for mankind. So the light is associated with eternal life.

        V5: “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”

        Commentary: The Light (Christ Himself) gives light in darkness.
        “Darkness” in the Bible has multiple meanings. Let’s review three prominent connotations:

        1) “Darkness” describes our spiritual condition or depravity before salvation (Ps. 107:14; Mt. 6:23; Eph. 5:8).
        2) It describes Satan’s Kingdom ( (Jn. 12:31; 2 Cor. 4:4; Mk. 3:23,24).
        3) It also describes Hell or God’s judgement (Mt. 8:12; 25:30).

        Also Colossians 1:13 gives us further insight relating to “darkness”: “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,”. So darkness here is relating to a “domain” or a “kingdom”. When we search the Bible we find that there are only two “kingdoms”: Satan’s Kingdom (Jn. 12:31; 2 Cor. 4:4; Mk. 3:23,24) and God’s Kingdom (Jn. 3:3; Lk 11:20). Therefore, Colossians 1:13 teaches that Christ has rescued us from Satan’s kingdom or “domain” and translated us to His kingdom. When we compare the teaching of Colossians 1:13 to that of John 1:5 we see that Satan’s kingdom will not overcome Christ’s kingdom. Christ is the conqueror over Satan and so are all those who trust in Him (Rom. 8:37).

        V6-8: “There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light.”
        ‭‭

        Commentary: These 3 verses are simply identifying the book’s author, from whom (God Himself) his authority is derived, and his purpose for writing the book (“that all might believe through him”).

        V9: “There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.”

        Commentary: This verse demonstrates the importance of comparing spiritual with spiritual and the importance of harmonizing ALL of what the Bible teaches. It is my belief that God has written the Bible in such a manner as to seal unbelievers, false teachers, in their unbelief. And this passage proves this assertion. When we recognize the purpose and role of the Light, we understand that the universal phrase “every man” can’t refer to every individual who ever lived. Let’s look at some verses that reveal the purpose/role of the Light to see if it was meant for “every man” without exception:

        1) the light represents the Gospel (Mt. 4:16,17; 2 Cor. 4:4).

        2) the light exposes the wickedness of mankind (Jn.3:20).

        3) the light is hated by unsaved mankind because they LOVE their depravity (Jn. 3:19).

        4) unsaved mankind will never respond to the light in his/her natural state (Jn. 3:20).

        5) the light is ONLY seen in the elect (Eph. 5:8; 1 Thes. 5:5).

        6) the light identifies the elect (Mt. 5:14,16; Eph. 5:8).

        7) the light is Christ Himself (Jn. 8:12).

        So we see that the “Light” in Scripture has specific purposes: a) revealing man’s depravity and need for a Savior, and b) it’s power and intention to save

        The Scriptures don’t reveal some kind of “generic light” given to every human being without exception. On the contrary, we see the exclusivity of the giving of the light here in Mt. 5:14-16 and Eph. 5:8).

        So how is “enlighten” used in the Scriptures?

        1) Ephesians 1:18 gives us an excellent insight into what it means to be “enlightened”: “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints..” So we see here that enlightenment is the saving knowledge of: 1) the hope of Christ’s calling of His people to salvation and, 2) the revelation of the spiritual wealth we’ve inherited as a result of becoming saints.

        2) Ephesians 3:9 tells us that enlightenment involves the revelation of the hidden mysteries of the Gospel that Paul was to preach to the Gentiles and more specifically “to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly [high] places.

        3) Luke 11:35 expresses the change that occurs to our natures after being “illumined” or enlightened by the light of the Gospel.

        V10: “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.” -‭‭John‬ ‭1:10‬ ‭

        Commentary: This verse emphasizes the fact that the Creator miraculously entered into His own sinful creation. But the irony here is that His own creation did not know His true identity or authority.

        V11: “He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.”

        Commentary: This verse can have two connotations:
        1) The phrase “His own” can refer to His creation, since the previous verse just spoke of Him entering His creation and that “the WORLD [Jew & Gentile] did not know Him”. So we could paraphrase verse 11 to say, “He came to His own [creation] and those who were His own [creation] did not receive Him.”

        2) “His own” can also refer to His race, the Jews, since they too did not receive Him. So the verse could be paraphrased, “His own [the Jews ] and those who were His own [the Jews] did not receive Him.”

        V12: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,”

        Commentary: Let’s exegete this verse in thirds:
        1) The first third of the verse “..as many as received Him” once again could refer to either His creation or Jews. So it can be paraphrased as such, “But as many [of His creation or Jews] received Him..”
        2) The Second third of the verse expresses the fact that God gave the right to become His children to all those who receive Christ as Savior. As I’ve stated many times before, syntactical sequence doesn’t always determine logical sequence. In other words, just because the phrase “But as many as received Him” precedes “to them He gave the right to become children of God” does not determine logical order. The fact is that Ephesians 1:4,5 teach that God “gave the right to become children of God” BEFORE creation. Eph. 1:4 says we (the elect) were chosen in Christ and Eph. 1:5 says, “He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ”. So we were chosen and predestined to be adopted sons of God BEFORE creation which means that “the right to become children of God” PRECEDED man’s will to “believe/receive Him”.
        3) The last third of the verse simply re-emphasizes the concept in the first third of the verse.

        V13: “who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
        ‭‭
        Commentary: This verse reveals the origens of the new birth. The new birth is not dependent on the following:

        1) “not of blood” indicates that it’s not of human origen or of the creature. “Blood” in the Bible reflects the limitations of humanity, especially in contrast to the spiritual (Mt. 16:17; 1 Cor. 15:50; Gal 1:16). So we can paraphrase “not of blood” to say that the new birth is not from humanity or human origen.

        2) “nor of the will of the flesh” indicates that the new birth is not determined by the will of humanity as “flesh” also refers to the limitations of humanity (Jn. 6:63). “Flesh” can also refer to mankind’s wicked desires (Rom. 7:18; 13:14). So we can paraphrase “not of the will of the flesh” to say that the new birth is not determined by the sinful desires of humanity.

        3) “nor of the will of mankind” indicates that the new birth is not determined by the will/purpose/decree of mankind.

        4) “but of God” indicates that the new birth has its sole origens in the will/purpose/decree of God. He alone is the author of every person’s new birth because He has decreed it and initiates it.

        Liked by 1 person

      253. Thank you, Troy, for taking the time to give your exposition of this passage. Exegesis entails referring to the grammar of the original languages… but exposition is a good start. Others can now read both of our comments on this passage, one after the other to help them understand its truth better.
        V4 – The “light of men” phrase would not normally make people think “light of some men” which is your position, but left out of your explanation of this verse. I agree Jesus is “the source of eternal [everlasting] life for mankind].
        V5 – Exposition and exegesis often draw on how words are used in other contexts, but exegesis focuses primarily on how the speaker or author uses that word as being the most authoritative choice for the meaning. Since Jesus and John both use the term “darkness” a number of times, it would be better to stick with the meaning derived just from them. You did reference 12:31 (?) which doesn’t mention the word “darkness”, but 12:35 does, as well as the same Greek word for “overcome”. John 12:35 Then Jesus said to them, “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going.” —- And 12:36 clearly puts life before the new birth! —- John 12:36 “’While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.’ These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them.” —- The attempt to draw “Satan’s kingdom” into this context is bad exegesis!
        V6-8 – Why so little commentary on three verses? Actually you made the common mistake of confusing John the Apostle with John the Baptist. The apostle is talking about John the Baptist in this verse. And the significance of “all might believe through him” should not be passed over so quickly. The “him” is Jesus, not John the Baptist. And the “all” is inclusive, which means God’s intention is that each and every “might” believe, as further explained on how that is possible in the next verse.
        V9 – It’s shocking to read your “belief that God has written the Bible in such a manner as to seal unbelievers… in unbelief”. That is so sad that you would even say such a thing when commenting about a book written with the stated purpose so that unbelievers would “believe that Jesus is the Christ… and that by believing… might have life in His name.” (20:31). You also have stated clearly that “every man” “can’t refer to every individual who ever lived” though the verse says exactly that… The phrase “who comes into the world” is grammatically related to “each person”. All of the other NT verses you shared fit well with God giving light to unbelievers to convict them. But Jesus did not come to condemn… that is clear… but to save… (3:17) So any light of truth or conviction that He gives to each person is for that purpose. Hebrews 6:4 – “once enlightened” is another good reference pointing to those not yet saved through faith, as also is John 12:35-36 that I gave above.
        V10 – agreed
        V11 – A verse may have two or more possible “connotations”, but you need to pick the one John and the HS meant for it. Actually, the exegesis of this verse is interesting and probably means He came to His own things (creation) and His own people (Jews) did not receive Him. It is interesting that His elect people (the Jews) are said to have rejected Him, referring to them as a group, though we know individuals in that group did accept Him, as seen in the next verse.
        V12 – You make the bold statement – the syntactical sequence doesn’t always determine logical sequence – but you give no proof in support for such a rule of interpretation. Do you have any grammarian who states the same thing and offers proof? You may be confusing the idea that word order in Greek and other languages does not always flow with a consecutive order of the action verbs mentioned, but the tense of those verbs does always suggest a logical order of those actions. In this verse the past tense of receiving Christ must precede the action of being given the right to become children of God. The right to become precedes the actual becoming, logically! And that right is given to those who “received”, after they received not before they received, logically! See 12:35-36 again where Jesus clearly said – “Believe… to become children”.
        V13 – agreed

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      254. Calvinism has God declaring, ‘You must ‘have faith’ in order to be saved, when – wink, wink – he knows full well that man has no ability to ‘have faith’, and is solely dependent upon him to give it to him. This would be like the mayor, and owner of every shop in town, proclaiming that all shoe-clad people are allowed to trade freely at his stores, having previously given select friends shoes from his shoe store. True, all who ‘choose’ to wear shoes are allowed to purchase the provisions they need to survive, but it would be misleading, at best, to suggest that the problem with the starving masses is that they refuse to obey the shoe laws.

        God does not limit, even prevent, man’s access to belief, then disingenuously proclaim the ‘good news’ that all who ‘believe’ can be saved. Any thinking person who does not have a problem with such an assertion, has a far greater problem: they do not trust in the genuine, loving, gracious, self-sacrificing Creator of the universe, but a distorted, malicious caricature created by false men and institutions.

        If you choose to worship such a twisted caricature, a cruel, demanding, controlling tyrant that looks more like John Calvin of sixteenth century Geneva than the humble servant God of scripture, you are certainly free to do so. Just stop asserting that he is the one and only true God, who so loved the world that he sent his Son that all who believe his message – a voluntary choice – might be given the true gift, which is everlasting life.

        I have no desire to wage debates – merely to proclaim to all who need to hear the most precious good news that God loves them enough to die for them. Not maybe, not if they are a certain race, or one of the secret ‘elect’. Every single person, without a single exception, can receive God’s offer of abundant, eternal life, by believing wholly in his goodness and mercy, demonstrated in Jesus the crucified Christ. I publicly denounce anyone who preaches any other gospel.

        Liked by 1 person

      255. Limited atonement that says Christ’s death is not sufficient for all to be saved and not efficiently offered to all to freely accept or reject is truly another gospel!

        Like

      256. brianwagner writes, “Limited atonement that says Christ’s death is not sufficient for all to be saved and not efficiently offered to all to freely accept or reject is truly another gospel! ”

        John Owen could not have said it better.

        Like

      257. …but not another of the saving kind, but another whose preacher the apostle says should be cursed. (Gal 1)

        Like

      258. brianwagner writes, “…but not another of the saving kind, but another whose preacher the apostle says should be cursed. (Gal 1)”

        I don’t see Calvinists arguing against this. Of course, if you changed “and” to “or,” – sufficient or efficient – things would be more interesting. Of course, in Calvinism, the atonement has nothing to do with sufficient or efficient but intent – and this is what Owen made a big deal over.

        AW Pink said–

        “Want to know my view on the statement that is prevalent in many Reformed circles on the Atonement which says- “Christ’s death was of infinite worth and is sufficient for all, but efficient only for the elect”. I am personally convinced that this statement is dabbling with Amyraldian speculation. We know that Amyraldius attempted to fuse together the Arminian tenant that Christ died for all, while holding to part of the Calvinistic tenant that Christ died only for the elect.”

        Read more: http://awpink.webnode.com/news/christs-atonement-sufficient-for-all-but-efficient-for-the-elect-/

        Like

      259. Roger… the Pink article is a good example of the false gospel I was describing. He doesn’t believe Christ’s atonement was sufficient for the sins of the whole world… and he certainly didn’t believe it is efficiently offered for everyone to freely receive or reject it through faith. Pink clearly defined his false gospel in that article. So sad!

        Like

      260. Brian I’m of the opinion that Pink was a much more careful exegete than most of our day. I agree with most of what he wrote and espoused because his writings reflected a meticulous study of the Scriptures. For you to accuse him of teaching a false Gospel is preposterous!! Those who promote the autonomous free will of man over the sovereignty and holiness of God are presenting a false Gospel! In other words, those who limit God’s power to save to rely on the will of mankind, they are presenting a false Gospel. Salvation is of the Lord!!!!

        Like

      261. brianwagner writes, ” He doesn’t believe Christ’s atonement was sufficient for the sins of the whole world… and he certainly didn’t believe it is efficiently offered for everyone to freely receive or reject it through faith.”

        It’s a class of worldviews that disagree on “omniscience.” If God is omniscient, as the Calvinists claim, then the atonement of Christ was both sufficient and efficient to save those whom God intended to save (even regardless how they would come to salvation) as recognized in His omniscience. If God is not omniscience and has not determined all the future then the atonement of Christ must be sufficient and efficient to save those who might be saved but there final condition is unknown to God. So, only one view can be correct. Naturally, you are NOT going to label your gospel as the false gospel – you do have a slight bias in this.

        Like

      262. Good morning Roger! It is a clash of worldviews. But the disagreement on omniscience is because of a disagreement on how God exercises His free will. Your loyalty to determinism has you believing that God doesn’t exercise His free will, but it is eternally immutably locked into one story forever which defines His omniscience. (Of course we had the chicken/egg discussion of how does God logically make a mental choice of will before knowledge exists.)

        There is a psychological comfort in determinism, making one feel they really are not personally responsible for their sin, unless God determines to graciously make them feel that way… so the lack of prayer and compassion for the lost is really because God had not determined to give that grace yet.

        Like

      263. brianwagner writes, “…the disagreement on omniscience is because of a disagreement on how God exercises His free will.”

        Actually, it deals with God’s exercise of His sovereignty (which exercise He does freely). Having a free will does not mean that one has the power to affect that which they want. God is sovereign – He is able to affect whatever He wants.

        Then, ” Your loyalty to determinism has you believing that God doesn’t exercise His free will, but it is eternally immutably locked into one story forever which defines His omniscience.”

        However God comes to decide that which He wants, He does so freely. When you say that were “eternally immutably locked,” that means it is impossible for humans to set a point where God actually made His decisions or how His mind works in making decisions. You have identified some instances where it appears that God delays making decisions until the course of time in His creation. I don’t see that such distinction really means anything as whatever God wills is the same no matter the point where you have Him making that decision.

        Then, “(Of course we had the chicken/egg discussion of how does God logically make a mental choice of will before knowledge exists.)”

        That is because there is no point where God’s knowledge can be said not to exist.

        Then, “There is a psychological comfort in determinism, making one feel they really are not personally responsible for their sin, unless God determines to graciously make them feel that way… so the lack of prayer and compassion for the lost is really because God has not determined to give that grace yet.”

        LOL. You can be really clever.

        Like

      264. No doubt Rhutchin misread my former comment, in which I contrasted Calvinism, Universalism and the true biblical gospel, which is what I cling to. Most people could say that they would be thrilled to find out that God’s salvation, in the end, would in some manner universally convert and save all souls, even if their current understanding of scripture does not predict it. I gladly am of that number. Few, if any, would say the same of Calvinism.

        I cannot imagine anyone, in their heart of hearts hoping they are wrong about God offering salvation to all men, whosoever will believe and receive it. Few cling to the valiant ‘hope’ that God cruelly predetermined destruction, eternal punishment or whatever one’s particular conception of the destiny of Calvinism’s ‘reprobate’ is. Except for cold, cruel Pharisees, who rejoice in their own narrow escape and don’t ‘give a damn’ about others.

        But that’s because even imperfect ‘sinners’ – the totally depraved reprobates – are more gracious and loving than Calvinism allows its God to be. Most men would indeed desire that none need ultimately perish, and any who did not would be rightly suspected of cruel, evil hearts. Meanwhile, Calvinism’s God glibly consigns countless to miserable death, to get himself some of that machismo ‘glory’, and Calvinists rah, rah this cruelty without even blushing. At least I can pity the typical Calvinists (the majority) who do not really believe this in their heart of hearts, and have merely been taught to disengage logical thinking and believe whatever they are told, so that their minds are not troubled by the heinousness of their indoctrinated ideas.

        Believers of he true gospel will be able to genuinely fall to their knees and eternally worship the God who freely suffered and died that all men might have an opportunity to receive life, recognizing that in offering men a choice to reject such marvelous grace, God does not sully, but genuinely glorifies his good and gracious character. But this is the sort of extensive grace that the Pharisees murdered Jesus over. They were all over salvation for themselves – but refused to even consider that it might be freely available to the lowly heathen.

        Calvinists – modern Pharisees – were they to prove right (heaven forbid!) would be ‘forced’ (as they are somewhat reluctant to acknowledge) to praise the name of a God who loved and offered grace to a limited few, when he could have freely offered it to all, for none were more or less worthy of his love. At least the original Pharisees had a somewhat reasonable excuse for believing they were ‘chosen’ over others. Personally, I would not even want to be in that limited number, were such a God real. I never could pretend, and unless Calvinism’s regeneration makes one numb to reality, no truly gracious person could love the God who selectively redeemed them while needlessly cursing so many. It is not without reason that Calvinism is said to have created more atheists than any other philosophy demons could devise. The great challenge today is convincing the unbeliever to discount the cruel errors of Calvinism and hear the genuine, gracious gospel of scripture.

        Like

      265. “Few cling to the valiant ‘hope’ that God cruelly predetermined destruction, eternal punishment or whatever one’s particular conception of the destiny of Calvinism’s ‘reprobate’ is. ”

        Am I right to presume that you don’t buy into God being omniscient – thereby knowing who would be saved and who would not when He created the universe at Genesis 1?

        Like

      266. Rhutchin, I know you like to play this little game over and over, but it seems rather pointless. Omniscience means ‘knowing’ all things, and only man’s (faulty) assertion demands that it requires being the determinate cause thereof. Does scripture assert that God ‘knew’ who would choose to believe and receive his free offer of grace before it was even made? Yes. Does scripture assert that God in any manner compels, ordains, controls or determines each man’s foreknown response to his revealed grace? No, this is the mere assertion of men, who choose to interpret scripture’s foreknowledge as if it was fore-ordination.

        That being said, God most definitely woos men, granting them life and providing for their daily needs, even though Satan has deliberately led men to corrupt God’s perfect creation in many needless ways, individually and corporately, which is then ‘blamed’ on God. (For instance, the ‘germ theory’ of disease, which ‘won’ out over more realistic explanations in the early days of ‘science, falsely so-called’, whereas recent research suggests – surprise, surprise! – ‘germs’ or ‘viruses’ are not the ‘outside’ enemy long asserted, but an inherently beneficial part of the human body, corrupted through toxins, nutritional deficiencies and/or human tampering. Official ‘science’ still seeks to keep such knowledge from the masses, and perpetuates the God-denouncing germ theory, with ‘Medicine’ the Savior.)

        God also demonstrated his incomparable, sacrificial love through the incarnation, life, teaching, death and resurrection of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ that all men may be forgiven of past sin and receive the gift of eternal life. Obviously, exchanging the truth of this event – and its message of hope – for the lie that it is not so, or that it was only intended for a select few, who must wait passively in hopes of having it ‘given’ to them, renders the gift a moot offer, inaccessible to those who have no faith in it or he who makes it.

        In sum, God loves all men, revealed this love to all men in the form of an undeserved pardon for man’s chosen rebelliousness, and set as the sole, and obvious, condition that men must believe such an amazing offer in order to partake of it. Just as we must have ‘faith’ in our chair to be able to take advantage of its ability to hold us, or faith in the value and nourishing ability of food in order to live and thrive by partaking of it. All men who have no faith that food will sustain life, may freely choose to abstain from eating – and will surely die. There are no recorded instances, unlike modern ‘Medicine’, in which God hooks men up to a tube and forces food into their bodies against their will. Nor does God ‘prevent’ obesity by forcing us to eat well, or ‘prevent’ disease by forbidding us to tinker with matter and create toxic chemicals and ‘fake’ food. All of genuine reality demonstrates that men have a free ability to choose whether or not to pursue life in a productive, God-inspired manner, or whether to follow the deceits of the ruler of this world, that distort, corrupt and destroy.

        Paul explained in great detail to those who believed similar errors to Calvinism that ‘faith’ is not a ‘work’ that merits wages, or something that must be passively received by a lucky few. Faith, or the lack thereof, is the freely chosen response of man to God’s sole work of atonement, which God himself set as the condition of salvation or condemnation. Did and does God foreknow the free choices of men before they are made? Scripture asserts that he indeed foreknows all things, even while setting forth ‘possibilities’ which will be determined by men’s choices, about such things as Cain being mastered by sin, Pharaoh releasing the Israelites, the turned-from destruction of Ninevah, the recanting of Hezekiah’s immediate death and each man’s eternal destiny. Was there no opportunity for man’s beliefs and actions to affect his eternal destiny, all of life – including and most especially the cross – is meaningless, a pointless distraction from Calvinism’s determined, fatalistic world in which men merely perform as irresistibly preordained.

        Yes, the omniscient God foreknows the free choices of men before they have been made, without rendering them any less genuinely free. Although some philosophers insist that to foreknow is to determine or cause, there are no indisputable grounds for such an assertion.

        The message, the gift of creativity that God has given to man is not a farce, not a pretense of human autonomy that masks God’s domineering, tyrannical control of each minute aspect of creation. Man is actually responsible for what he does with that which God has given to him, whether he multiplies his talents or buries them in a hole in the ground. This is the promise, the beauty the purpose of life as God designed it, rather than the meaningless, fatalism of Pharisaistic, Calvinistic determinism. Pharisaism today is as contemptible as it was in Jesus’ day, a cruel, destructive caricature of God’s promised redemption which led its ‘chosen’ holders to be condemned.

        Like

      267. Omniscience in the form of being an observer?
        Or omniscience in the form of being the author of evil – as Calvin asserts – quote “by his good pleasure arrange it”?

        Like

      268. br.d writes, “Omniscience in the form of…”

        Omniscient meaning that God knows all events including all events that will occur in the future. Calvinists add that God knows all events because He has decreed all events.

        Like

      269. rhutchin writes:

        First:
        Omniscient meaning that God knows all events including all events that will occur in the future.

        This is “omniscience” SIMPLICITER as defined/embraced by orthodox Christianity.

        Then:
        *** CALVINISTS ADD *** that God knows all events because He has decreed all events.
        This is “omniscience” QUALIFIED as defined by John Calvin, and is a distinctive only within Calvinism.

        Thus if follows, the Christian’s belief in orthodox “omniscience” simpliciter, is not hampered by a rejection of John Calvin’s qualified “omniscience”.

        This would be the case for William Lane Craig, Peter Van Inwagen, Alvin Plantinga and Ravi Zacharias …etc, who hold to the orthodox view of “omniscience’ SIMPLICITER.

        Like

      270. br.d writes, “This is “omniscience” QUALIFIED as defined by John Calvin, and is a distinctive only within Calvinism.”

        Distinctive in that Calvinism proposes to explain how God can be omniscient. All others appeal to mystery to explain how God can be omniscient (except, of course, for those who, realizing the import of omniscience even if specified only as SIMPLICITER, have determined that God cannot be omniscient in a free-will scheme).

        Like

      271. Rhutchin writes:
        br.d writes, “This is “omniscience” QUALIFIED as defined by John Calvin, and is a distinctive only within Calvinism.”

        Rhutchin responds.
        Distinctive in that CALVINISM PROPOSES TO EXPLAIN HOW [its] god CAN BE OMNISCIENT. All others appeal to mystery to explain how God can be omniscient (except, of course, for those who, realizing the import of omniscience even if specified only as SIMPLICITER, have determined that God cannot be omniscient in a free-will scheme).

        Calvinism has its own subset of mysteries and ethical/moral conundrums which Calvinists are psychologically conditioned to accept and never question. And this can be observed in the thought-stopping techniques they teach to prohibit their own critical thinking.

        Additionally, the moral problems which are manifest, brought about by Calvinisms “supposed” explanation, are quite obviously on display within Calvinism’s language, which is saturated with equivocations, euphemisms and obscurantisms.
        A language Calvinists are mentally conditioned to accept as normalcy.

        So Calvinism’s dishonest language serves as a very accurate barometer of the Pandora’s box it opens.

        Like

      272. br.d writes, “So Calvinism’s dishonest language serves as a very accurate barometer of the Pandora’s box it opens.”

        Many opinions, no examples.

        Like

      273. To consistently ask for the very examples which one readily provides is an interesting mental state. 😉

        As previously noted:
        You provide the examples, I provide the analysis.
        Its a win-win situation!!

        Like

      274. Rhutchin, perhaps, misread my former comment, in which I contrasted Calvinism, Universalism and the true biblical gospel, which is what I cling to. Most people could say that they would be thrilled to find out that God’s salvation, in the end, would in some manner universally convert and save all souls, even if their current understanding of scripture does not predict it. I gladly am of that number. Few, if any, would say the same of Calvinism.

        I cannot imagine anyone, in their heart of hearts hoping they are wrong about God offering salvation to all men, whosoever will believe and receive it. Few cling to the valiant ‘hope’ that God cruelly predetermined destruction, eternal punishment or whatever one’s particular conception of the destiny of Calvinism’s ‘reprobate’ is. Except for cold, cruel Pharisees, who rejoice in their own narrow escape and don’t ‘give a ****’ about others.

        But that’s because even imperfect ‘sinners’ – the totally depraved reprobates – are more gracious and loving than Calvinism allows its God to be. Most men would indeed desire that none need ultimately perish, and any who did not would be rightly suspected of cruel, evil hearts. Meanwhile, Calvinism’s God glibly consigns countless to miserable death, to get himself some of that machismo ‘glory’, and Calvinists rah, rah this cruelty without even blushing. At least I can pity the typical Calvinists (the majority) who do not really believe this in their heart of hearts, and have merely been taught to disengage logical thinking and believe whatever they are told, so that their minds are not troubled by the heinousness of their indoctrinated ideas.

        Believers of he true gospel will be able to genuinely fall to their knees and eternally worship the God who freely suffered and died that all men might have an opportunity to receive life, recognizing that in offering men a choice to reject such marvelous grace, God does not sully, but genuinely glorifies his good and gracious character. But this is the sort of extensive grace that the Pharisees murdered Jesus over. They were all over salvation for themselves – but refused to even consider that it might be freely available to the lowly heathen.

        Calvinists – modern Pharisees – were they to prove right (heaven forbid!) would be ‘forced’ (as they are somewhat reluctant to acknowledge) to praise the name of a God who loved and offered grace to a limited few, when he could have freely offered it to all, for none were more or less worthy of his love. At least the original Pharisees had a somewhat reasonable excuse for believing they were ‘chosen’ over others. Personally, I would not even want to be in that limited number, were such a God real. I never could pretend, and unless Calvinism’s regeneration makes one numb to reality, no truly gracious person could love the God who selectively redeemed them while needlessly cursing so many. It is not without reason that Calvinism is said to have created more atheists than any other philosophy demons could devise. The great challenge today is convincing the unbeliever to discount the cruel errors of Calvinism and hear the genuine, gracious gospel of scripture.

        Like

      275. “Few cling to the valiant ‘hope’ that God cruelly predetermined destruction, eternal punishment or whatever one’s particular conception of the destiny of Calvinism’s ‘reprobate’ is.”

        In other words, you maintain that few continue to hold that God is omniscient. Maybe so.

        Like

      276. Thx… McMahon’s false gospel… though I wouldn’t bet against the idea that Pink taught the same false gospel.

        Like

      277. The Greek civilization curing the days of Socrates had Greek gods in their belief systems.
        These deities were depicted as motivated by two primary urgencies
        (1) Exercising their good pleasure
        (2) Exercising their sovereignty.
        This theological view was actually quite common among numerous human representations of deities.

        This view of the deity of a deity is THE PRIMARY STIGMA with Calvinism.
        Because those two urgencies, Calvin attributes to the God of the bible.

        In Calvin’s day, earthly rulers were frequently motivated by the same to urgencies.
        We have the doctrine of the divine right of kings, in which the ruler cannot be held accountable to any earthly standard of morality.
        And this doctrine asserted – ruler acquired this “divine right of un-acountability” from God.
        So we see this as a model in Calvin’s day and which Calvin it is a model Calvin assumed as divine.

        Societies have changed, and authority figures operating off those urgencies are now perceived in a negative light.
        Thus Calvinists are driven to obfuscations, equivocations, and double-speak, in the attempt to put a benevolent face on Calvin’s diety.

        We understand, many products on the market would utterly fail if it weren’t for highly ingenious advertising strategies.
        And this is the sad condition we find in Calvinist incentives to promote and defend their product.

        Like

      278. br.d., I not only second this, I raise the suggestion that, wittingly or not, (I have my own suspicions, but only God can truly discern men’s hearts) Calvin’s introduction of this philosophy officially enabled the very tyrannies that he and future ‘Divine Right’ rulers perpetrated. Sadly, Protestant Christianity is so saturated with indoctrination that even non-Calvinists do not question the legitimacy or justice of rule by force, cleverly disguised as ‘necessity’.

        If not well-grounded in truth, so-called ‘Christians’ can be convinced that torture, murder of civilians and various tools of force are not only acceptable, but necessary for the welfare of mankind. In spite of the many past Government atrocities that have been exposed through the centuries, too few believers ask what today’s lies are, and how future apologists will conveniently justify them.

        A few scary acts of terrorism, with raw, emotional media coverage, are all it takes to persuade the reluctant that it is necessary to murder millions of innocent people in order to ‘prevent’ further terror. Out the window go all of the supposed virtues of democracy, such as a right to a fair trial on clearly stated charges before a jury of peers. Oddly, the vast majority of Christianity can be persuaded to deny the self-sacrificial concepts that their ‘faith’ is built upon, including individual liberty, in the pursuit of personal safety. ‘Thou shalt not murder’ is subtly modified to ‘unless some ‘pagan’ is said to have committed an act of terrorism’. Dogmatic fundamentalists don’t grasp the difference between ‘Thou shalt not kill’ and ‘Give ‘em hell, Harry!’ People are indoctrinated from birth, until they do not realize that the very term ‘bomb’ suggests the randomness and injustice of all weapons of mass destruction (bombs of any sort). The way has been cleverly paved by the faulty claims of Calvinism, which presents God as punishing the entire human race for one man’s transgression. ‘Give ‘em hell, God!’

        The thinking person might begin to suspect that the deception by the ‘gods of this world’ is about something more than the profit and power that are usually presumed to motivate evil. I suspect that wealth and power are merely the tools our true ‘enemy’ uses to entice us to not think too hard, to not ask inconvenient questions. Such enticements can persuade us to remain in darkness when the light switch is clearly within reach. Satan desires, more than anything, to deceive and corrupt those who genuinely desire to know and do what is right, as the lovers of darkness are already in his grasp. In convincing men to exchange the truth for a lie, again and again, he can lead the unwary into the paths of sin and destruction that rejection of truth always produces.

        Like

      279. Yes!
        Great points.
        It is ironic and sometimes downright demonic now humans exercise authority in an evil and label it good.
        Calling good evil and evil good is part of the fallen condition.
        And claiming my party is the “right” party and your party the “wrong” party is all of that fallen condition.
        Calvinists unwittingly are caught up in the hype of their own making.

        Like

      280. truthseeker00 writes, “Calvinism has God declaring, ‘You must ‘have faith’ in order to be saved, when – wink, wink – he knows full well that man has no ability to ‘have faith’, and is solely dependent upon him to give it to him.”

        People are truly is sorry shape.

        Like

      281. Brian wrote, “The “light of men” phrase would not normally make people think “light of some men” which is your position,”. The Bible is not to be read “normally” Brian. The Bible is words from the mind of God. Therefore, it’s not a “normal” book. Having said that, we must interpret “light of men” as it relates to ALL of what the Bible says about “light”. I have given you ample exposition of what the purpose/role of the light and it can not be associated with all men without exception.
        Brian wrote, “Since Jesus and John both use the term “darkness” a number of times, it would be better to stick with the meaning derived just from them.” This is why your exegesis is flawed brother. The Bible is its own commentary and dictionary. We are to search out how a word or phrase is used throughout the Scriptures (not just how one author uses it) because God Himself is the author. Also, John’s words are Jesus’s words my friend as John was writing under the inspiration of the HS. The entire Bible is Jesus’ Word! So having said that, we are to search the entire Bible in an effort to define “darkness” and how Jesus uses it THROUGHOUT Scripture. Remember that there must be harmony in both the immediate and broad contexts.
        Brian wrote, “And 12:36 clearly puts life before the new birth!” I’m not sure why you mentioned this since there’s no mention of “life” in Jn. 12:36.
        Brian wrote, “—- The attempt to draw “Satan’s kingdom” into this context is bad exegesis!” Once again, this statement reveals why you fail to come to truth because you refuse to allow the entire Bible to define its own terms! John 1:5 can EASILY refer to the fact that Satan’s kingdom will not “overtake” the Kingdom of God or prevent the light from accomplishing its purpose!
        Brian wrote, “Actually you made the common mistake of confusing John the Apostle with John the Baptist.” I stand corrected for you are absolutely correct! Thank you brother!
        Brian wrote, You also have stated clearly that “every man” “can’t refer to every individual who ever lived” though the verse says exactly that… The phrase “who comes into the world” is grammatically related to “each person”. Once again Brian, you’re being tripped up by universal terms my friend! The light has the specific purposes of revealing wickedness and saving Christ’s sheep. That’s it!!! So the light CANNOT be for “each person” without exception if we know how tota scriptura defines “light”. Universal terms MUST agree in BOTH immediate AND broader contexts in order to harmonize with tota scriptura.
        Also, Jn. 1:4 says, “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.” If we compare this verse with Jn. 14:6 we find that “life” in Jn. 1:4 refers to spiritual life or eternal life. So if we allow the verse to speak for itself, we find that the “Light” is the essence of spiritual life and this spiritual life cannot be for each person. But we can see this only if we allow the Bible to define its own terms. So Brian your failure to define universal terms in light of all that Scripture teaches is what leads you to false premises and ultimately false doctrines.
        Brian wrote, “And the “all” is inclusive, which means God’s intention is that each and every “might” believe”. Another instance of you failing to allow the entire Bible to come to bare on a single verse. You’re trying to fit this verse within YOUR presuppositions on what you believe the Bible teaches. However, your presuppositions just don’t stand under the scrutiny of the entire Bible. We all know that it was NEVER God’s intention to save ALL of mankind. His intentions were ALWAYS to save only a predetermined elect people (Eph. 1:4; Mt. 1:21; Jn.10:26). So why even use this verse to attempt to prove this Brian? Once again, the universal terms are simply killing your arguments brother. Also, once again, if you’re defining terms ONLY by how a particular writer of a book(s), instead of how the term is used throughout Scripture, then, more often than not, you’ll fail to come to truth. Remember the Bible is its own dictionary and commentary!!
        Brian wrote, “It’s shocking to read your “belief that God has written the Bible in such a manner as to seal unbelievers… in unbelief”. Yes! God has written the Bible in such a manner that those who want to believe only portions of what the Bible teaches or who read the Bible in their fleshly nature, they will be given a strong delusion to believe a lie. And yes I believe that God’s use of universal terms in the Bible is an example of this fact.
        Brian wrote, “That is so sad that you would even say such a thing when commenting about a book written with the stated purpose so that unbelievers would “believe that Jesus is the Christ… and that by believing… might have life in His name.” (20:31).” I must correct you here Brian. John (and the entire Bible) was written for SPECIFIC unbelievers who were predestined to here Jesus’ voice.
        Also Jn. 20:31 is only for the elect. That’s why we read in Jn. 10:26, “But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep.” The salvation message of the Bible is ONLY for Christ’s lost sheep!
        Brian wrote, “All of the other NT verses you shared fit well with God giving light to unbelievers to convict them.” The proof texts I provided clearly demonstrated that the “light” is a revealer of sin (conviction), but it’s also the agent that saves! We’re not only convicted by the light of God’s Word. He uses the light of the Gospel to actually save. This is a specific function of the light and therefore it can’t be associated with some general enlightenment. This idea of a “general enlightenment” is foreign to Scripture; especially as we unpack what the purpose/role of the light is in salvation.
        Brian wrote, “But Jesus did not come to condemn..” Brian Jesus did not come to condemn because the world is ALREADY under God’s condemnation (Jn. 3:18; Eph. 2:3). So of course Christ’s only purpose for entering His creation would be to seek and to save that which is lost.
        Brian wrote, “So any light of truth or conviction that He gives to each person is for that purpose.” So if this is true, then why would he state in Jn. 10:26, “But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep.”?? Christ is flat out telling the Jewish leadership that the reason they’re not believing in Him is because they’re not one of His elect sheep. Here Christ is clearly teaching that saving faith is predicated on whether they’re elect or not. But according to your doctrine Brian, Christ gives each person “light” for the purpose of conviction which should lead to salvation. Jn. 10:26 refutes this claim as saving faith is determined by a pre-planned choice of who Christ’s sheep are.
        Brian wrote, ”
        In this verse [v12] the past tense of receiving Christ must precede the action of being given the right to become children of God.” Brian I’m telling you sir that, even though syntactically the “receiving” comes prior to the “given the right”, logically speaking, the right to become children of God was already given BEFORE creation when God ALREADY adopted us as sons (Eph. 1:5). The fact that they received Christ is only evidence of the fact that they were already given the right to become His children. John 1:12 is simply an indicative statement telling us what God does for those who receive Him. The verse is not meant to give a sequential order of events here.

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      282. Thank for the reply. I will no respond further then thus final post. The reader has our two understandings of John 1:4-13 and with the HS they will discern who is representing God’s truth in this passage the best.

        Let me just ask if this correctly represents what you think the original unbelieving elect (from you perspective) reader would have understood when reading 1:12, before they themselves were born again from reading it! —- As many as received Jesus by faith sometime during their human life experience, God had already given them the right to become His children through the new birth somehow when He eternally immutably played out the story of their everlasting existence in His mind before creating them physically, and then He gave them that new birth after He created them but before they received Jesus through faith. — Is that the meaning and “logical” order the reader should understand from that verse?

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      283. No Brian because God uses the Word as He sees fit to regenerate His people and it’s not necessary for a new believer to understand ALL that the Bible teaches upon conversion. That was too easy to answer brother. But thank you for your indulgence sir!

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      284. Excellent point Roger about the entire Godhead being involved in our Salvation. Jesus is also telling them that His words are “spirit” and that because they (his audience and anyone not of His sheep) were not given by the Father to receive His message, His words would be uneffectual to bring them salvation!

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      285. Jesus says His words are “spirit” and “life” because they convey a spiritual message and they produce spiritual life in the life of His sheep! If His words ALONE were effectual, then every person under the hearing of them would have “life”. Remember only His sheep (the elect) hear His words anyway (Jn. 10:27).

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      286. Romans 10:18… All hear. But Jesus describes that those who become His sheep are recognized by continuing to listen to His voice and to follow Him. Why do you think He was teaching that truth to unbelievers in John 10?

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      287. brianwagner (Responding to Troy) writes, “Romans 10:18… All hear.”

        Of course, the issue is, What do they hear? Paul gives an answer in 2 Corinthians 2 –

        “…we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life.”

        Then 1 Corinthians 1 –

        “…the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” and

        “…Jews ask for signs, and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”

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      288. The parallelism is clear A B A B in 2Cor 2 … we are an aroma of life to those perishing! And God gives light and mercy that is sufficient enablement for each to seek and find if they don’t resist!

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      289. brianwagner writes, “The parallelism is clear A B A B in 2Cor 2 … we are an aroma of life to those perishing! ”

        15 For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;
        16 to the one [who is perishing] an aroma from death to death, to the other [who are being saved] an aroma from life to life.

        Is Paul saying that his preaching was “an aroma from death to death” to those being saved and “an aroma from life to life” to those perishing? The A B A B structure that Brian supports
        or
        Is Paul saying that his preaching was the “aroma from death to death” to those perishing and “an aroma from life to life” to those being saved? The A B B A structure that I support.

        Let the reader decide.

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      290. Exactly! And the reader can keep reading chapters 3 & 4 where Paul encourages them to be an attractive light to unbelievers while he misses for them the dying of Jesus in his body.

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      291. Are you really using Roman’s 10:18 Brian to prove that everyone EFFECTUALLY hears Christ’s voice???!!!! Please tell me that you really meant to quote another verse because the context of Romans 10:18 is light years apart from the context of Jn. 10:27. Romans 10 is referencing those who hear the Gospel preached, whereas Jn. 10 is referencing the elect who EFFECTUALLY hear their Master’s voice. This is why Brian, at times, I find your reasoning from the Scriptures to be quite baffling!!

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      292. And you criticize me for adding words that aren’t in the text! 10:21… He is holding out His hands all day long to the stubborn and rebellious. God is doing that to everyone. In your false theology they is no need to plead with the stubborn and rebellious until after they are sapped with regeneration against their will!

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      293. You are conflating contexts my friend and that’s one reason why you’re not coming to truth. The passage in Romans does not relate to the My passage in John at all. My passage in John says that SOME of those “stubborn and rebellious people” WILL hear Jesus’ voice and respond. However, Romans 10 is speaking of the proclamation of the Gospel go forth to a “stubborn and rebellious” world! It’s truly astonishing that you would make such a blatant error such as this.
        Also Brian, the Gospel is more of a command than a “pleading” (Acts 17:30).

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      294. It’s both as you have recognised… even if you think it is more one than the other. The gospel is both God’s command and desire for all people!

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      295. God decreed what He desired and that decree and desire does not include the salvation of every individual brother Brian!

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      296. You’re right BrianAMenTroy! But He did decree and is working out each of His plans to give everyone the opportunity to repent and seek His mercy! Praise His Name! The Sculptures clearly represent God as more merciful than you do! Take the last word if you think you can’t stand not to! 😉

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      297. Brian wrote, “But He did decree and is working out each of His plans to give everyone the opportunity to repent and seek His mercy!” Sir why do you make assertions that are easily refuted??!!! We all know that many people are born and then die without knowing even so much as the concept of a “Gospel”. So why do you insist on making these empty, blanket theological statements when you KNOW, not only that they’re false, but that they CANT be true according to history?? There have been entire civilizations Brian that have existed without having any concept of a Gospel sir! So, once again you’ve made a false assertion with no biblical support. And PLEASE don’t bring up the concept of “natural revelation” as a show of God’s mercy because that has never saved anyone!

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      298. Troy writes, “God decreed what He desired and that decree and desire does not include the salvation of every individual brother Brian!”

        Even under Brian’s system, God could step in and save those who refuse to believe (using a direct in-your-face approach as He did with Paul on the road to Damascus) and even Brian seems to believe that God will not save all. The real issue is to explain why some come to salvation and others do not.

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      299. Thank you Robert for your comment brother. However, my point to Brian was that God desires what He decreed and if He wanted everyone to have an opportunity to be saved he would have built that into His decree.

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      300. Troy writes:
        “God desires what He decreed and if He wanted everyone to have an opportunity to be saved he would have built that into His decree.”

        That is consistent Calvinism! :-]

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      301. The real issue is to explain why some come to salvation and others do not.

        Calvin would say – quote “the secret predestination of God”.

        “Adam fell by the SECRET PREDESTINATION OF GOD, and dragged his posterity headlong after him……. Of course, I admit that in this miserable condition wherein men are now bound, all of Adam’s children have fallen BY GODS WILL. And….we must always at last return to the sole decision of God’s will, the cause of which is hidden in him.” – (Institutes)

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      302. br.d wwrites, “The real issue is to explain why some come to salvation and others do not.
        Calvin would say – quote “the secret predestination of God”.”

        Yes, and there you must stop for no one else has been able to offer another explanation.

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      303. rutchin writes”The real issue is to explain why some come to salvation and others do not.

        br.d responds”
        Calvin would say – quote “the secret predestination of God”.

        rutchin writes
        “Yes, and there you must stop for no one else has been able to offer another explanation.”

        No!! We are instructed to not stop – for we must EXAMINE ALL THINGS and hold fast ONLY to that which is good.

        It is up to Calvin to prove beyond a shadow of doubt, the “secrets of God” which he claims God revealed only to him are of god.
        Until then, they are of the spirit of error.
        And by their fruits (i.e., double-think) we shall know them.

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      304. br.d writes, “No!! We are instructed to not stop – for we must EXAMINE ALL THINGS and hold fast ONLY to that which is good.”

        Great!! But it is still true that no one else has been able to offer another explanation. You have not been able to find one, have you?

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      305. The question implies Calvin offers some kind of “explanation” AS-IF what Calvin has to offer provides something beneficial.
        Christian Gnosticism and Christian NeoPlatonism and Calvinism all have the same claim-to-fame.
        They all claim they offer an “explanation” that others do not provide.
        So you’re in good company here. :0

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      306. This is where Calvinists begin to obfuscate the definition of regeneration. Is it a immediate change of nature that begins an irresistible or is it a process?

        Could this be likened to “shifting semantic weights” ? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      307. br.d writes, “This is where Calvinists begin to obfuscate the definition of regeneration. Is it a immediate change of nature that begins an irresistible or is it a process? ”

        Regeneration begins with the new birth brought about by the Holy Spirit – that is a one time event. There follows a new life initiated through faith and a continuing change brought about through the process of sanctification. Some will limit regeneration to the new birth; some won’t.

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      308. Brian wrote, “The HS does give influence called enlightenment before the immediate change of nature that we call regeneration.” This is simply a sub-biblical statement and I believe you have utterly failed in your attempts to prove it biblically.
        Yes we receive a new nature as a result of regeneration. However, exactly WHEN we receive that new nature is unknown since it’s a spiritual manifestation. Conversion is the evidence of both regeneration and the new nature.

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      309. The evidence of which of us is best explaining the truth of Scripture speaks for itself. How about we make my comment on this thread the last word? 😊

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      310. Amen Roger to the fact that regeneration is a process and conversion is the completion of the process! Brian seems to think that regeneration can be narrowed to a millisecond, when God just “zaps” the person and they just believe. But this isn’t expressed anywhere in Scripture.

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      311. Troy writes:
        “But this isn’t expressed anywhere in Scripture.” so therefore Brian doesn’t know what we Calvinists know.

        I think we are getting treated to a consistent picture of how Calvinists acquire their “insider information” of how every minute detail of divine activities work. And how they just happen know – without question – how/when/where/why God determines everything he determines.

        There’s a whole lot of “insider information” goin on!! 😉

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      312. br.d writes, “…how Calvinists acquire their “insider information” of how every minute detail of divine activities work….”

        Calvinists get their insider information from the Scriptures. If the Scriptures say it, Calvinists proclaim it.

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      313. Troy writes “Nicodemus was not be receiving HS inspiration he was being given HS inspiration”

        br.d asks: “from where do Calvinists acquire all of the vast “insider information” of how every minute detail of divine activities work so that they know the how/when/where/why of everything God decrees and doesn’t decree in the most minute detail?”

        rhutching responds:
        “Calvinists get their insider information from the Scriptures. If the Scriptures say it, Calvinists proclaim it.”

        Its not what Calvinists know the gets em in trouble.
        Its what they THINK they know FOR SURE…..that just aint so!

        One part scripture – 10 parts imagination!! 😛

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      314. br.d writes, “Its not what Calvinists know the gets em in trouble.
        Its what they THINK they know FOR SURE…..that just aint so! ”

        What you think you know about Calvinism seems to be derived from your very active imagination.

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      315. What you think you know about Calvinism seems to be derived from your very active imagination.

        Yeah right! You call people self-powered dominoes that fall over all by themselves – you call yourself right and William Lane Craig, Alvin Plantinga and Peter Van Inwagen wrong – – You’re always right and if they disagree with you they are wrong.
        You magically always know exactly what god decrees and what he doesn’t decree –
        Your the authority on what God determines and what God doesn’t determine.

        And you think I have an active imagination!!

        Wooo That’s called reverse attribution error! 😉

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      316. brianwagner writes, “…unregenerate man is able to respond in a positive way to God’s drawing over a period of time before regeneration life is given…”

        The issue is whether unregenerate man must be regenerated before he can respond in a positive way to God’s drawing. John 3 tells us that a person must be born again before they can either see or enter the kingdom of heaven. A person who is born again would be able to respond positively to God’s drawing so we can conclude that being born again can precede God’s drawing.

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      317. That is faulty conclusion based on forcing a meaning of “seeing” and “entering” and “kingdom of heaven” not common in Jesus teaching or what Nicodemus would have understood. The more common understanding would be future seeing and entering God’s physical kingdom either on earth or in heaven. And the new birth must proceed that.

        Personal faith in light/truth given must proceed the new birth as clearly evidence as the purpose of John’s gospel (1:4-13, 12:35-36, 20:30-31) and Jesus’ purpose with this unregenerate Nicodemus!

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      318. brianwagner writes, “The more common understanding would be future seeing and entering God’s physical kingdom either on earth or in heaven. And the new birth must proceed that.”

        So, an exegetical understanding not being available, we are reduced to eisegetical paths.

        Then, “Personal faith in light/truth given must proceed the new birth as clearly evidence as the purpose of John’s gospel (1:4-13, 12:35-36, 20:30-31) and Jesus’ purpose with this unregenerate Nicodemus!”

        “…as clearly evidence…” Tat seems a favorite argument of non-Calvinists. Geisler used it frequently in his “Chosen but Free.” Maybe you will write a paper, if you have not already done so, laying out the evidence as clearly as it can be done.

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      319. The exegetical understanding is available, Roger, and you can look it up, Roger, unless you wish to call the view you shared an “eisegetical path” too.

        You can read the clear evidence of light and belief before life which is found in the three passages from John I shared. It is supported by the clear example I shared from John 3 where Jesus gives light to draw The unbeliever Nicodemus toward salvation.

        But your fingers stay in your ears. I never see you call on those same passages as clear evidence that faith is after regeneration. Why? In fact I don’t think you ever list a number of scriptures to show that faith after regeneration is clearly taught.

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      320. brianwagner asks, “if you were the HS and you saw someone being made wise by their reading of Scriptures… would you encourage it or call for Satan to take that influence away? ”

        The issue here is whether a person could be made wise absent the involvement of the HS. Paul writes, “our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction…” (1 Thessalonians 1) and “God saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,…” (Titus 3) and “my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 2) and “those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.” (Romans 8) These verses point to the significant influence of the HS in salvation allowing us to conclude that no one is made wise by reading the Scriptures without the HS helping him – thus not just observing someone reading the Scriptures as you describe it.

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      321. And why Roger did you avoid the obvious point I was making from my question – “if you were the HS and you saw someone being made wise by their reading of Scriptures… would you encourage it or call for Satan to take that influence away?”

        Pointing to things we agree on is a clever way of avoiding the point I made! Though I don’t think you and I would agree on the meaning of “that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.” It does clearly seem to me that Paul is teaching that man’s personal faith is being given something to rest upon before he is regenerated!

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      322. brianwagner writes, “the obvious point I was making from my question – “if you were the HS and you saw someone being made wise by their reading of Scriptures… would you encourage it or call for Satan to take that influence away?”

        We both answer the same, “we can also reasonably guess that though the Scripture can produce this wisdom alone… the omnipresent Spirit, watching His written Word as it does this work, often encourages and aids this production of wisdom with added personal illumination.” We just disagree on the extent of the “…encourages and aids this production of wisdom with added personal illumination.”

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      323. Roger we don’t just disagree on the so-called “extent” of the influence of the Word or with added influence of the HS to produce wisdom in an unregenerate person… we disagree on the possibility of that influence. You do not think any positive influence… which wisdom is… can be produced by the Word or the HS in an unregenerate mind or spirit. I believe every person has that wisdom produced to some extent.

        I don’t know why you are feigning agreement when there is none between us on this matter.

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      324. brianwagner writes, “Paul…taught Scripture has the ability to make one wise for salvation that is through faith in Christ! 2Tim 3:15”

        Here we see that the Scriptures are necessary to make one wise for salvation. At issue is whether they are sufficient of themselves to do this or must be combined with the working of the HS.

        Relative to your arguments about enlightenment, Paul, by this Scripture, makes any enlightenment dependent on the Scriptures.

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      325. You really are a little weak, Roger, in your interpretation of grammar in Scripture sometimes. Paul said the Scriptures are able to make one wise for salvation… he did not “necessary” for it. And any normal reader would conclude that having that ability, the Scripture would not need any other outside help to produce that wisdom. However, we both agree it is God alone through the HS that causes the new birth after that wisdom is achieved. And we can also reasonably guess that though the Scripture can produce this wisdom alone… the omnipresent Spirit, watching His written Word as it does this work, often encourages and aids this production of wisdom with added personal illumination.

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      326. Excellent point Brian!!

        Great example of how Calvinists shift semantic weights by the use of “qualifiers”.

        Ex-Calvinist Dan Gracely warns:
        Always look for the Calvinist to introduce “qualifiers” into his language.
        These allow him to:
        (1) Assert A in one statement
        and then
        (2) Deny A in the next statement – by introducing subtle “qualifiers”.

        Liked by 1 person

      327. brianwagner writes, “Paul said the Scriptures are able to make one wise for salvation… he did not “necessary” for it. And any normal reader would conclude that having that ability, the Scripture would not need any other outside help to produce that wisdom. ”

        Yet all who hear the Scripture preached do not seem to be saved meaning that some were not made wise unto salvation. So, sometimes the Scriptures are able to make one wise unto salvation and sometimes not. That suggests that something else is going on – unless the Scriptures are making all who hear them wise unto salvation even if such salvation is not physically observable by others. So, what exactly is the normal reader to conclude?

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      328. Wow are you really that weak in understanding, Roger. You finally must have recognized your previous blunder saying you thought Paul was teaching Scripture was “necessary” to make one . wise. Now that you admit it is not necessary you can’t figure out why some are made wise by Scripture and some are not. If you think hard enough you may figure out why… The answer may be very similar to why you are not made wise by the truth I’m sharing with you… which is able to make you wise! 😉

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      329. brianwagner writes, “And we can also reasonably guess that though the Scripture can produce this wisdom alone… the omnipresent Spirit, watching His written Word as it does this work, often encourages and aids this production of wisdom with added personal illumination.”

        Yet, when I say the same thing, you respond, “You really are a little weak…in your interpretation of grammar in Scripture sometimes.”

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      330. Now you think, Roger, that you said the same thing I said… really? You will have to show me the two quotations side by side, yours then mine, so I can try to understand why you think we are saying the same thing. I’ll admit you’re right in this if you can show it that way.

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      331. Brian you keep using the phrase ” normal reader” to assist in proving your point. As I’ve pointed out to you before, we don’t base truth from YOUR concept of what a “normal reader” would say because the Bible is a divine message that must be revealed to us via supernatural means (i.e. the HS). So i would suggest you abandon the “normal reader” argument and just exegete the passage sir.

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      332. Troy you are ignoring the plain fact that God addressed almost all the books of the Scriptures to laypeople and some even to the unsaved! If you take the position that the needed truths for salvation and spiritual growth can not be learned and understood like information is from any book… using normal objective rules of grammar and context… then you will end up promoting the idea that Scriptural authority can be based on private interpretation with the most influential charismatic cultish leaders convincing the masses of the “very important hidden meanings” they have found that must now be followed.

        I have exegeted passages and pointed to meanings based on grammar and context. I’m still waiting for you to do the same.

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      333. Once again you have absolutely TWISTED what I’ve said to mean something totally non-applicable to my argument. The fact is my dear sir is that the Scriptures are NOT just a regular book that the “normal reader” can understand. The Scriptures say that the natural man can’t understand spiritual things. This means that, in order for any man to understand spiritual truths, it must be given to him from above. Yes it is true that the unsaved can understand spiritual truths/facts, but it will not lead to their salvation UNLESS the HS actually applies that word to their heart.
        Also, you appeal to the original languages to prove your point (which I LOVE), but the “normal reader” doesn’t normally appeal to the original languages. So to use “normal reader” as part of your defense for your position is really a moot point since the concept of “normal reader” is subjective based on varied criteria.

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      334. brianwagner writes, “The point remains that the normal reader using the most common rules of grammar and context would not come up with the Calvinist interpretation for those passages, and thus the Calvinist must resort to implying, or even saying – “the passage cannot mean what it sounds like it is saying”,…”

        What the Calvinist actually says is that any one Scripture must be understood consistent with all other Scriptures. Where it is possible to understand one Scripture in different ways, we should take that understanding that is consistent with all other Scriptures.

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      335. rhutchin writes:
        What the Calvinist actually says is that any one Scripture must be understood consistent with all other Scriptures. Where it is possible to understand one Scripture in different ways, we should take that understanding that is consistent with all other Scriptures.

        Two things to note:
        Firstly, there is nothing about that practice that would make Calvinism’s tradition of interpretation unique.
        So any differences in interpretation between Calvinism and other traditions must be attributed to other factors.

        Secondly, discerning Christians know – what the Calvinist says is not necessarily what really is.

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      336. br.d writes, “So any differences in interpretation between Calvinism and other traditions must be attributed to other factors.”

        Yeah, not taking all Scriptures into account.

        Then, “Secondly, discerning Christians know – what the Calvinist says is not necessarily what really is.”

        But one can easily search the Scriptures to see if it is.

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      337. Rhutchin you are so funny!
        This is an excellent example of how logic is the Calvinists weakness
        So he simply restates tautologys AS-IF doing so settles the matter

        So funny!!! smile 🙂

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      338. Thanks Brian,
        And this again confirms my consistent point here at SOT101.
        Calvinism is 99% language – 1% theology. 🙂

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      339. You guys are so hung up on “isms” that you can’t see the whole of Scripture. Romans 9 and Brian’s view of “light” are two indications of a false hermeneutic. And you br.d are only spewing philosophy my brother. There very little biblical references or exegesis in your perspectives.

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      340. It is well understood from John Calvin’s writings that his approach to truth was primarily reliant upon the presumption that his conceptions were inspired. However, he relied implicitly upon the philosophical notions of Augustine, who relied implicitly upon the religio-philosophical notions of Plotinus.

        https://projectaugustine.com/theology/confessions-by-st-augustine/the-philosophy-of-plotinus-and-his-influence-on-augustine-and-christian-theology-excerpts-from-diogenes-allens-philosophy-for-understanding-theology/

        Knowledgeable Christians understand the processes that Calvin’s followers deploy to resolve their own self-contradictions.

        But for the Calvinist who attacks philosophy – there is very little wisdom in biting the hand that feeds you.

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      341. br.d writes, “…Augustine, who relied implicitly upon the religio-philosophical notions of Plotinus.”

        The key word being “implicitly.” Nonetheless, the test for Augustine’s or Calvin’s or anyone’s theology is it’s consistency with the Scriptures. Following the example of the Bereans, people are to receive the word with all readiness of mind, but search the scriptures daily, to determine whether those things were so.

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      342. Perhaps this one doesn’t know what “semantic weights” refers to: (which was explained such that a teenager could understand it).
        Or one is simply shadow boxing.
        No skin off my teeth.
        Live goes on! :-]

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      343. br.d writes, “an underlying proposition that God designs all sins”

        I think we can give credit to sinful people in the design of sins. God merely has to restrain the sins people contrive.

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      344. I have no idea where br.d gets the idea that God “designs” sin. But just as you said rhutchin, He does restrain man’s sinfulness to keep/maintain order

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      345. Its Calvinism’s interpretation of the potter and the clay – of course.

        Obviously Calvinists conceive the potter as the “designer” of the clay.
        Again, where the potter designs a vessel of “wrath”, it obviously follows that sin and evil are part of that design.
        And that, in fact, is consistent throughout all of Calvin’s enunciations of sinful evil events which come to pass.

        But I understand that some Calvinists are half Calvinistic and half Arminianistic.
        When it comes to vessels of “honor” they like to look through Calvin’s lens.
        When it comes to vessels of “wrath” they like to look through Arminius’s lens.

        That, of course would be an manifestation of a Calvinist’s psychology, not his theology.

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      346. Br. D. The Calvinist continues to misunderstand the teaching of the Potter analogy for they cannot fathom that God exercises free will. The want Him safely locked behind their view of eternal immutable determination of all things.

        But no-one is formed initially to be a vessel of wrath! They may become “fitted” for that if they refuse His offer of mercy. But God doesn’t plan to “mar” the vessel as He is forming it to be His faithful servant… But if it becomes marred in His hand, He then freely decides what to do next in forming the vessel, as seems good to Him (Jer 18:4).

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      347. Brian writes, “Br. D. The Calvinist continues to misunderstand the teaching of the Potter analogy for they cannot fathom that God exercises free will. They want Him safely locked behind their view of eternal immutable determination of all things.” This is just being dishonest Brian and you know it sir. This is nothing more than theological “jargon” that just isn’t meant to arrive at truth. Now you know that Reformed believers believe that God is totally “free”. In fact, He is the only autonomously free being to ever exist. So to say that we don’t believe that God exercises His free will is misrepresentative of the Reformed position and frankly dishonest on your part brother. God has a predetermined and immutable decree that He FREELY DETERMINED before He created mankind and He’s simply accomplishing that decree in time. What God is doing now in interacting with His creation has all been decreed. He doesn’t have to wait for mankind to make decisions before He makes decisions. God’s decisions were planned well in advance because He ALREADY knew what every person would decide BEFORE He created them. We are all just witnessing the unfolding of God’s plan.
        An omniscient God never has to decide amongst available options because, not only does He ALREADY KNOW all options, He Himself created the options and is ACTIVELY working all options for His purpose/glory.
        Brian writes, “But no-one is formed initially to be a vessel of wrath!” Brian have we forgotten these verses:
        “Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were BY NATURE CHILDREN OF WRATH, even as the rest.” –
        Ephesians‬ ‭2:3‬

        “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe HAS BEEN JUDGED ALREADY, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” -John‬ ‭3:18‬ ‭

        These and many other verses teach that mankind is created as “vessels of wrath”. This is why we need a Savior sir – to save us from the wrath of God!

        Brian writes, “They may become “fitted” for that if they refuse His offer of mercy.” But John 3:18 above says that they’re “ALREADY JUDGED” if they don’t believe; not that they may “become” under His wrath. Unsaved mankind is already “fitted for destruction” unless they believe the Gospel.

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      348. Troy writes, “God’s decisions were planned well in advance because He ALREADY knew what every person would decide BEFORE He created them.”

        This is true because God is intimately involved with sinful humanity having to always restrain them such that they are Totally Depraved but not Utterly Depraved. God knows the thoughts of people before they think those thoughts and God has to restrain the thoughts or the actions arising from those thoughts and God’s decrees promote the accomplishment of His plan (His will). Thus, the Jews are not restrained – until the time appointed had arrived – as they sought the death of Jesus and then Stephen and James but were restrained as they sought the death of Peter. Paul was not restrained until God’s appointed time whereupon, God made Paul His servant.

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      349. rhutchin writes
        Troy writes, “God’s decisions were planned well in advance because He ALREADY knew what every person would decide BEFORE He created them.”

        rhutchin:
        This is true because God is intimately involved with sinful humanity having to always restrain them such that they are Totally Depraved but not Utterly Depraved.

        This is another excellent example of Calvinism’s AS-IF mode of thinking.
        And how Calvinist language switches back and forth from being “Uni-vocal” to “Equivocal”.

        Uni-vocal and consistent with Theological Determinism:
        “God’s decisions were planned well in advance”

        Equivocal and inconsistent with Theological Determinism:
        “because He ALREADY knew what every person would decide BEFORE He created them”

        Notice how the equivocal statement strategically facilitates both a “deterministic” and a “non-deterministic” interpretation.
        That is why it is equivocal and inconsistent with Theological Determinism.

        Here is what it would be in an AS-IF language:
        “Calvin’s God already knew [sins] every person would decide before he created them AS-IF Calvin’s doctrine of foreknowledge is not true.
        i.e. (God’s foreknowledge is DETERMINED by God’s fore-ordination via decrees).

        And after the THEOS DETERMINES [sins] every person would decide, the THEOS “restrains” them in their process of doing what the THEOS DETERMINED they would do – quote “well in advance”. – AS-IF the THEOS was not restraining his own decree.

        However, we’ve also been treated to yet another qualifier.
        “Total” depravity is qualified differently than “Utter” depravity.
        What we can expect from this, is that both of these terms will have a never ending evolution of ad-hoc qualifiers.

        This is why ex-Calvinist Daniel Gracely in his book “Calvinism a closer look” states:
        “Every statement I made as a Calvinist was contradicted by a later statement. And these contradictions are disguised behind qualifiers. That is why, when you read a Calvinist writer long enough, you will never see any declarative statement that is not later equivocated by the use of qualifiers.”

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      350. brianwagner writes, “The Calvinist…cannot fathom that God exercises free will. The want Him safely locked behind their view of eternal immutable determination of all things.”

        Behind God’s immutable determination of all things is God’s free will. The point at which God determines all things – whether in eternity past per the Calvinists or in the course of time per BW – is irrelevant. In either system, the determination arises from the free will of God and that determination is immutable once made.

        Then, “…no-one is formed initially to be a vessel of wrath! They may become “fitted” for that if they refuse His offer of mercy….”

        I think this is meant to address the issue of babies/children/incapacitated who are granted salvation until they are able to refuse God’s mercy after they become cognizant of sin and that they have sinned. It also reflects BW’s future theism system in which being fitted for wrath is an option and not a reality.

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      351. Thanks Rhutchin for this statement.
        Its an excellent example of Calvinist double-think for our SOT101 readers!

        God: -quote “first conceives” the sins – and then he -quote “merely has to restrain the sins people contrive.”

        Good example thanks! 😉

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      352. br.d writes, “Its an excellent example of Calvinist double-think for our SOT101 readers!
        God: -quote “first conceives” the sins – and then he -quote “merely has to restrain the sins people contrive.””

        In the comments above, br.d advocates the “’first conceives’ the sins” concept. I don’t know of a Calvinist who promotes this idea.

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      353. rhutchin writes:
        In the comments above, br.d advocates the “’first conceives’ the sins” concept. I don’t know of a Calvinist who promotes this idea.

        Actually it was you who affirmed it in a previous post.
        I’ll have to go back and find it for you.

        It was a conversation in which I referenced James 1:15 and asked you the question: Is sin first conceived in the mind of God?
        You answered with an affirmative. :-]

        Obviously it would not be an idea that a Calvinist would promote.
        Since they are very careful to hide the dark-side of Calvinism’s cosmology of good-evil dualism.

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      354. br.d writes, “Actually it was you who affirmed it in a previous post.
        I’ll have to go back and find it for you.
        It was a conversation in which I referenced James 1:15…”

        I did several searches – e.g., “James” “conceiv” – and did not see anything. If you can find it, that would be nice. Maybe in another discussion?

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      355. Yes, I think it was one of our first discussions.
        I was curious to see if a Calvinist would actually acknowledge that in their system sin is first conceived in the mind of god.
        That would be an obvious logical entailment of the system so I thought it would be interesting to see it confirmed.
        I’ll did around for it.

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  4. I went to a lot of trouble to craft a second, thoughtful response to Troy, but it really looks like he is just trying to use the old strategy of distract and deflect rather than seek genuine understanding. A gentleman does not insist, after respectful demurral, that others engage in his debate, and on his terms. Br.d. politely suggested that he chose to address the genuine issues rather than be led off down Troy’s chosen minefield of ‘try and answer my loaded questions’. He brings to mind the Pharisees, who were always coming to Jesus with their clever traps, hoping to ‘catch’ him in what they thought were no-win situations. At least they had the grace to sulk away when they were exposed.

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    1. Troy, are you suggesting that we can ‘overlook’ God’s alleged ‘sin’ of compelled rape – what a blasphemous thought! – because it is less heinous than man’s sin of killing Jesus? You can’t be serious.

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      1. I’m not “suggesting” anything of the sort truthseeker. I’m adamantly asserting that the rape of a human being is nowhere near as heinous as the crucifixion. Human beings are not “innocent” and deserve only hell. Anything beyond this is mercy. God, on the other hand, is innocent but yet subjected Himself to His sinful creation who heinously murdered Him unjustly, but this was done according to His own predetermined decree. The Cross was heinous only in the sense that mankind murdered His Creator without just cause. Sinners don’t deserve and therefore can’t demand God’s mercy!

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    2. Good Morning truthseeker! Thank you for your response sir. However, with all due respect, you are absolutely incorrect in your assessment as to why I’m asking these questions. I’m challenging someone’s theological position by getting them to think about Scriptural teachings that mitigate against that theological position.
      Now most non-Reformed thinkers espouse the belief that God has not decreed that heinous sins (i.e. rape) occur to certain people. This is espoused in an effort to disprove God’s meticulous and immutable decree.
      Therefore, I’ve requested that those who oppose God’s decree, give an answer as to why He would “reward” that heinous act with human conception/creation. And heretofore, I’ve yet to receive a meaningful theological response to this question.
      Perhaps you, truthseeker, can provide a theological/biblical response to why God creates during such a heinous event as rape if that rape was not apart of His predetermined decree/purpose/will/desire??

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      1. Troy I don’t understand exactly where you are coming from with this child question. Can you explain more as to why this is important? It really seems like you have a lot of false assumptions about God “rewarding” an activity because someone became pregnant from sin. I’m not sure why you would think that God is approving an activity because someone became pregnant. In my biblical understanding, men and women have been given the ability to procreate, and while it is something that God sometimes intervenes in, it is also a responsibility that has been given to His creatures. So just because someone procreated in the wrong way (i.e. outside of marriage) doesn’t mean now that God is approving the sin that produced the child. While yes, a child is a blessing, it seems logically wrong to then assume God is blessing my sin because I procreated outside of what He has deemed good and appropriate. Again, maybe I am misunderstanding your question…but I’m not really sure how this helps us understand whether or not God has decreed the sin to happen.

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      2. Good Morning Travis and thank you for your comment brother. Here’s my premise:
        The union of the egg and sperm is not enough to produce life. This is why so many couples who are fertile don’t procreate because God Himself must give that physical union a living soul (spirit) which produces life. Mankind is made up of two parts – body and soul (See Matt. 10:28). God Himself is ACTIVELY creating THROUGH the physical union of the egg and sperm. Every birth therefore is a MIRACLE of God because He gives life to a physical union which is conception of life. Incidentally, this is also why abortion is such a heinous sin because mankind is murdering a creation that God Himself initiated.

        Now let’s see if the Scriptures support my premise:
        -God’s Spirit is ACTIVELY and CONTINUALLY creating: “You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; And You renew the face of the ground.” -Psalms‬ ‭104:30‬

        -God opens and closes the woman’s womb, meaning that He’s in control of conception:
        “Then God remembered Rachel, and God gave heed to her and opened her womb.” -Genesis‬ ‭30:22‬ ‭

        “”Did not He who made me in the womb make him, And the same one fashion us in the womb?” -‭Job‬ ‭31:15‬

        “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.” -Psalms‬ ‭139:13‬ ‭

        “Yet You are He who brought me forth from the womb; You made me trust when upon my mother’s breasts.” -Psalms‬ ‭22:9‬ ‭

        -Children are a gift and reward from God:
        “Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward.” -‭‭Psalms‬ ‭127:3‬ ‭

        God purposefully creates:
        “Now, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the sons of Israel instead of every firstborn, the first issue of the womb among the sons of Israel. So the Levites shall be Mine.” -Numbers‬ ‭3:12‬ ‭

        “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.” -Jeremiah‬ ‭1:5‬ ‭

        “But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased” -‭Galatians‬ ‭1:15‬ ‭

        So if God is actively and continually creating through every human conception and children are His reward, then how does this relate to God’s providence and rape? In other words, if rape is not decreed/predetermined by God, then why does He actively create during the process of this heinous sin and reward it with a child?

        God is demonstrating that He’s meticulously working out His decree and that He uses the sinfulness of mankind to do so. What mankind meant for evil (i.e. rape), God meant for good (i.e. childbirth). But we know that both the rape and childbirth were decreed because God CHOSE to INITIATE conception during the rape to accomplish His purpose and His purpose is ALWAYS good!

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      3. Troy I don’t think this concept really proves your point of determinism. I can just as easily assert that God has decreed that people have freewill and that he uses both good and bad choices to initiate conception during either of those times for His purpose. So God is using men’s choices to accomplish His purposes…He doesn’t have to preordain a sinful act like rape. Why does God work actively during men’s heinous sin? Because He is good…even when we are not. Again we can come at this from different presuppositions, but I don’t think it’s getting us anywhere in the freewill/determinism discussion. And I don’t think it’s logically sound to say that because I produced something good by doing something sinful, God had His hand in it. I would answer your proposed question, “why did God produce a child from sin?” by saying that God gave us the ability to reproduce and instruction on how to do it properly. Just because someone did it improperly doesn’t mean that God still doesn’t want or value the potential life that has been produced.

        Your premise seems to me is that because God creates life, He decreed the means. My premise is that because God decreed freewill in humans, He will use both good and bad decisions to create life.

        There are other verses which you didn’t seem to take into account, such as Gen 1:28, “God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

        and again in Gen 9:1 “Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.”

        Why would God be commanding people to do this if it was only up to His decrees? I would argue that people have responsibility in the act of procreation. And that except for one time when God impregnated Mary, men and women have been doing their fair share of the effort to be fruitful (whether in a holy act, or a sinful act). I would argue that having children is just as much a physical/natural process that God has designed in all of his creatures. Though you certainly spent a lot of time outlining some spiritual ideas which I can appreciate. But none of them leave me siding with determinism. I can just as easily presuppose human freewill as I already mentioned.

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      4. Good Morning Travis! Though it is true that God did give mankind the mandate to “be fruitful and multiply”, it doesn’t preclude the fact that God Himself must bless the act of sex with a living soul or there will be no “fruit” to multiply. Also, God has decreed/ordained that men and women make “free choices” as we freely choose our sex partners and we freely choose to engage in sex. However, it’s through these “free choices” that God is accomplishing His will. So God’s mandate to “be fruitful and multiply” was issued so that He, through mankind’s obedience to that command, could replenish the earth since He Himself had just destroyed most of mankind during the flood. In other words, it’s through the command that God uses human agency to procreate.

        I would really like to reiterate that God’s decree involves the “free will choices” of men/women. However, those choices aren’t autonomous in the sense that they’re free without a cause and that cause is his/her sinful nature. Jesus said that “he who commits sin, is a slave to sin”. This means that sin has rulership over us, which means that we’re not “contracausally free”. We will ALWAYS choose what is most desirable for us at the moment of choice. The choice can be as innocent as choosing which pair of socks to wear today or as heinous as to which person we’re going to rape today. The point being, that mankind is in bondage to his/her sinful nature, which produces sinful desires, which produces sinful choices, which produces sinful actions.
        Having argued for human free will in the natural/physical realm, this is not say that mankind has free will choices in “spiritual choices” (i.e. Salvation). Mankind, post fall, became spiritually dead (Gen. 2:17). So what does spiritual death entail?
        1) Mankind is estranged from God: “They [Adam and Eve] heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife HID THEMSELVES from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” Genesis‬ ‭3:8‬ ‭

        2) Mankind’s heart became extremely wicked:
        “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” -Genesis‬ ‭6:5‬ ‭

        “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” -Jeremiah‬ ‭17:9‬ ‭

        3) Mankind hates the God of Scripture:
        “He who hates Me hates My Father also.” -John‬ ‭15:23‬ ‭

        “The world cannot hate you, but it [the world] hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil.” -John‬ ‭7:7‬ ‭

        4) Mankind (who were never elected to salvation) is under the hatred of God:
        “The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes; You hate all who do iniquity.” -‭‭Psalms‬ ‭5:5‬ ‭

        “The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked, And the one who loves violence His soul hates.”
        ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭11:5‬

        “I then will destroy your high places, and cut down your incense altars, and heap your remains on the remains of your idols, for My soul shall abhor [hate] you.” -Leviticus‬ ‭26:30

        5) Mankind is born under the condemnation/wrath of God:
        “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe HAS BEEN JUDGED ALREADY, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” -John‬ ‭3:18‬ ‭

        “Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were BY NATURE CHILDREN OF WRATH, even as the rest.” -Ephesians‬ ‭2:3‬ ‭

        6) Mankind finds the Gospel to be foolishness:
        “For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” -1 Corinthians‬ ‭1:18‬

        “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.” -‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭2:14‬

        7) Mankind is blinded by Satan:
        “in whose case the god of this world [Satan] has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that THEY MIGHT NOT SEE THE LIGHT OF THE GOSPEL of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” -2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:4‬ ‭

        “These are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately SATAN comes and TAKES AWAY THE WORD which has been sown in them.” -Mark‬ ‭4:15‬ ‭

        8) Mankind CANNOT understand spiritual things (i.e. the Gospel):
        “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and HE CANNOT UNDERSTAND THEM, because they are spiritually appraised.” -‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭2:14‬ ‭

        9) Mankind is utterly helpless without the effectual working of the Spirit to save them:
        “No one CAN come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.” -John‬ ‭6:44‬ ‭

        “The wind [Spirit] BLOWS WHERE IT WISHES and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” -John‬ ‭3:8‬ ‭

        Just as the Spirit has to initiate physical birth, He likewise must initiate spiritual birth! Only God Himself can create a heart that freely wants to love and serve Him as expressed in the following verses:
        “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” -Psalm 51:10

        “And I WILL GIVE them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I WILL TAKE the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh,” -Ezekiel‬ ‭11:19‬ ‭

        “I WILL GIVE them a heart to know Me, for I am the LORD; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart.” -Jeremiah‬ ‭24:7‬ ‭ Notice that mankind will return to Him with their whole heart AFTER God has given them a new heart.

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      5. Troy have you read the posts on this site? I think Dr. Flowers has addressed every verse that you have quoted here, whether through his podcast, or through his blog. I’m not really sure how to reply to this, except to say that the calvinist systematic in my opinion tends to prooftext verses and then use logic to make a tenable system. I personally have always tried to avoid systematics due to this problem I have observed in them…they inevitably bend certain texts to fit the system. I will just be honest, from what I’ve heard from Dr. Flowers I feel that he is handling these texts in a more appropriate way, that is to say I think his hermeneutical approach is better. But I really do appreciate your differing approach, because I am not one to just blindly follow anyone’s interpretation, but very diligent in seeking wisdom from God. I will look at these verses in my personal study and weigh them out.

        Thanks for your reply and your time.

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      6. Travis i would really encourage you to reconsider how Prof. Flowers approaches and interprets Scripture as He very often conflates contexts and concepts to support his Traditionalist perspective instead of allowing the text to speak for itself. For example, in Romans 9, Flowers identifies the “lump of clay” as only pertaining to national Jews. But when one CAREFULLY exegetes the passage, the reader will see that Romans 9:24 informs us that the lump includes both Jewish AND Gentile believers. His approach to Romans 9 simply doesn’t adhere to sound hermeneutics. I challenge you to be like a “Berean” and check Prof. Flowers’ teachings to see if they comport with ALL of Scripture. Take care my brother!

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      7. Ok then…let’s have a look at these passages:

        Troy said: “I would really like to reiterate that God’s decree involves the “free will choices” of men/women. However, those choices aren’t autonomous in the sense that they’re free without a cause and that cause is his/her sinful nature. Jesus said that “he who commits sin, is a slave to sin”. This means that sin has rulership over us, which means that we’re not “contracausally free”. We will ALWAYS choose what is most desirable for us at the moment of choice. The choice can be as innocent as choosing which pair of socks to wear today or as heinous as to which person we’re going to rape today. The point being, that mankind is in bondage to his/her sinful nature, which produces sinful desires, which produces sinful choices, which produces sinful actions.”

        Troy, first of all, I would like to take this issue from a practical standpoint. Can people who are not saved do good things? I would say yes, absolutely, people can and do meet aspects of the Law (if that will be our moral standard) when they are not saved. However, Romans makes it clear that they are unable to be justified because they can’t keep it perfectly. So in this regard I would say that yes, men are contracausally free, and are capable of moral good even without the Holy Spirit living in them. The flesh does produce sinful desires, and many people before knowing Christ are able to resist their flesh for a variety of reasons and perform good moral actions. So I feel like the way you are handling the Biblical text is quite extreme and contrary to real life experience.

        Also I don’t really understand your position here of freewill. Because earlier you were saying that God has preordained a sin like rape, but now you are saying that people have freewill and are autonomous but not contracasually. So why are you calling that freewill? If I can only choose what God preordained, in what way am I making an autonomous decision, or a freewill decision. If I can’t choose otherwise…and can only follow God’s preordained decrees…I think you are defining autonomous and freewill in a different way than I would understand it.

        Troy said: “Having argued for human free will in the natural/physical realm, this is not say that mankind has free will choices in “spiritual choices” (i.e. Salvation). Mankind, post fall, became spiritually dead (Gen. 2:17). So what does spiritual death entail?
        1) Mankind is estranged from God: “They [Adam and Eve] heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife HID THEMSELVES from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” Genesis 3:8”

        Yes, I agree spiritual death means seperation, but not a corpse-like state unable to respond to God.

        Troy said: “2) Mankind’s heart became extremely wicked:
        “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” -Genesis 6:5
        “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” -Jeremiah 17:9”

        Again I agree with you, though if you read these verses…in the flood narrative, God actually finds someone who is righteous. And Jeremiah passage is right in the middle of a warning passage about the sins of Judah. Talking about their sins, how they have upset God and how He will punish them, while also explaining the blessing that come to those who trust God. I find verse 10 helpful too, which says “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds.” So really, while it’s true that the heart is sick, God is clearly warning the people to not give in to the wickedness of their hearts, but instead to trust Him (my understanding upon examination of the passage in question).

        Tory said: “3) Mankind hates the God of Scripture:
        “He who hates Me hates My Father also.” -John 15:23
        “The world cannot hate you, but it [the world] hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil.” -John 7:7”

        John 15:18-27. This is an interesting passage, it starts talking about Disciples being persecuted because they follow Christ. That men are rejecting Christ and therefore also rejecting the Father. To me this seems pretty general…the passage finishes with the promise of the coming Holy Spirit who will help the Disciples testify. Why are they testifying? So that people can believe. I’m not sure this is the best passage to speak of all mankind hating God…but instead that those who reject the Gospel are rejecting God.
        John 7:7, while yes generally people do not like having their sins exposed, Jesus is talking about His time not being ready to reveal Himself publicly and preach against the Jews who want to kill Him. When we read the narrative we come down to John 7:37-39: 37 Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “bIf anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’ ” 39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” To me Jesus is making a free offer here…really if you keep reading through chapter 8, he makes several more offers for life. In John 8:31 and following, He calls on the Jews to do the work of Abraham (to believe God), and they don’t believe Jesus, I think when we keep reading in John 9, there is this whole thing about Jesus healing a blind man and the Jews not beliving. then in John 9:39-41: 39 And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” 40 Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, “We are not blind too, are we?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.

        I think this whole block of passages, John 7-9, really speaks into the judicial hardening that Dr. Flowers presents as part of this struggle between the Jewish leaders and Jesus.

        Troy said: “4) Mankind (who were never elected to salvation) is under the hatred of God:
        “The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes; You hate all who do iniquity.” -Psalms 5:5
        “The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked, And the one who loves violence His soul hates.”
        Psalms 11:5
        “I then will destroy your high places, and cut down your incense altars, and heap your remains on the remains of your idols, for My soul shall abhor [hate] you.” -Leviticus 26:30”

        I think your idea of the non-elect seems incorrect from these passages. This would be what I mean about systematics leading to proof texting. The whole psalm mentions nothing of election or the reprobate. Starting in Ps5:5 it is saying that God hates wrongdoers, but this is going to be used as an imprecatory prayer of David against his enemies. He is crying out to God to judge them for their sin and hold them accountable because of God’s holiness. David still has to call on the favor and love of God because he certainly knows that he too is sinner. This Psalm really fits into the idea that it is the humble who God lifts up, and from my understanding doesn’t appear to be assigning the reprobate into damnation. Read the whole Psalm to see what I mean.

        Ps 11: Defintely speaks of God’s wrath for the unrighteous. But again, it seems easiest to understand the passage not as some are non-elect and some are elected, but as God will judge you if you do not seek His righteousness.

        Lev 26:30 is even further away from the elect or not elect idea. The curses on the nation of Israel are conditional. Meaning if they choose to follow God they will be blessed. If they choose to hate God they will be cursed. This sounds like an offer of choice to me.

        Troy said: “5) Mankind is born under the condemnation/wrath of God:
        “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe HAS BEEN JUDGED ALREADY, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” -John 3:18
        “Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were BY NATURE CHILDREN OF WRATH, even as the rest.” -Ephesians 2:3”

        Yes this is true that our sinful state does lead to God’s wrath. However, we know that God is also actively pursuing people through general and special revelation, calling for repentance and all people to humble themselves. We are condemned because God is just, but He is seeking us with mercy if any would turn and believe. I think Luke 19:1-10 is a good story, where Jesus declares one of His purposes is to seek and save that which is lost. The entire ministry of Jesus is clearly the love of God extending to His creatures that they might be healed from their sin. If we backup one veres in John3:17, “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” Yes God will condemn men in the end, but it is based on their belief, not one some preordained election of God.

        Trory said: “6) Mankind finds the Gospel to be foolishness:
        “For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” -1 Corinthians 1:18
        “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.” -1 Corinthians 2:14”

        First, 1 Corinthians 1:18 is explained in verses 19-25. And my understanding is that it is foolishness because it’s a stumbling block for the Jews, because they killed their Messiah, and foolishness to Gentiles because the Greeks seek for wisdom. But it says God is pleased through the foolishness of the message to save those who believe. This is why I would agree with Dr. Flowers, the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation, it is a message brought by God for the purpose of enabling mankind to repent and believe.

        Second, 1 Cor 2:14 I don’t think this means exactly what you are wanting it to mean. Paul is talking about a secret and hidden widsom of God revealed by the Spirit, which He has imparted to the mature in faith. He then says in verse 3:1 that the immature in Christ are not spiritual people but of the flesh, he goes on to continue contrasting wisdom of the world/wisdom of God, and their problem of boasting in men (their connections). So I see this instead as part of Paul’s admonition that these Corinthian believers move on from their divisions of trying to follow a certain teacher or faction, but instead they should be more focused on the spiritual blessings that they are receiving and become focused on the things of the Spirit of God. Now Paul himself is the one who is teaching these believers how to do this very thing, so that those who he descibes as fleshly might grow into a quality building that will be tested by fire. So even though these fleshy people may not be able to understand spiritual things, Paul at length teaches them what they should be striving after. So I think this passage has a lot more to do with spiritual maturity of believers, not necessarily a prooftext that God has to regenerate people before they can believe as you go to in point 8.

        Troy said: “7) Mankind is blinded by Satan:
        “in whose case the god of this world [Satan] has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that THEY MIGHT NOT SEE THE LIGHT OF THE GOSPEL of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” -2 Corinthians 4:4
        “These are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately SATAN comes and TAKES AWAY THE WORD which has been sown in them.” -Mark 4:15 “

        Yes Satan indeed is working to keep people from God. Many people simply refuse to even consider the creation as evidence of the Creator. However, 2 Cor 3:12-18, seems to be linking this idea of a veil that is blinding those who cling to Moses. How is the veil removed? Through Christ, by turning to the Lord. But then supposing if some don’t turn it is because they are UNBELIEVING…I would bold a different section of that verse. They are following the world…the wisdom of the world…the ruler of the world…however you want to slice it, but they are blidned because they are unbelieving. Not everyone is guarenteed to hear the Gospel message 100 times…some people have a fleeting oppurtunity and close themselves off from it by not believing.

        Troy said: “8) Mankind CANNOT understand spiritual things (i.e. the Gospel):
        “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and HE CANNOT UNDERSTAND THEM, because they are spiritually appraised.” -1 Corinthians 2:14 “

        I addressed this already in point 6. I would just go on to say that Paul is the one spiritually delivering this message to the ‘natural men’ or ‘fleshly men’ of Corinth. And that this is part of his admonition for believers, to turn from their fleshliness. If they couldn’t understand the Gospel, and are still being called fleshly, why is Paul calling them immature in Christ? I don’t think this verse means what you are wanting it to mean.

        Troy said: “9) Mankind is utterly helpless without the effectual working of the Spirit to save them:
        “No one CAN come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.” -John 6:44
        “The wind [Spirit] BLOWS WHERE IT WISHES and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” -John 3:8
        Just as the Spirit has to initiate physical birth, He likewise must initiate spiritual birth! Only God Himself can create a heart that freely wants to love and serve Him as expressed in the following verses:
        “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” -Psalm 51:10
        “And I WILL GIVE them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I WILL TAKE the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh,” -Ezekiel 11:19
        “I WILL GIVE them a heart to know Me, for I am the LORD; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart.” -Jeremiah 24:7 Notice that mankind will return to Him with their whole heart AFTER God has given them a new heart.”

        Dr. Flowers has some really insightful approaches to John 6, I highly recommend you give them a listen. I would say that I have heard many calvisnist types try to make this connection between birth and not having a say therefore God also has to do a spiritual birth without your say. However, in John 3, that’s not the explanation that Jesus gives to Nicodemus. Jesus tells him in John 3:14-15 “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.” So how does one see the kingdom of God? By being born again…and how is one born again? Believing. And it is clearly God in His power who works out the new birth, but it is initiated at belief.

        Ps 51…Are you suggesting that David is not yet saved and yet is requesting God to regenerate him? Seems to me that David is already saved, has sinned, and is repenting to God. He is humbling himself, which I believe is why God continued to bless him as king.

        Ez 11: The offer is still conditional…vs 18, “When they come there, they will remove all its detestable things and all its abominations from it.” then the good part you mentioned in vs 19 happens. But in vs 21 21 “But as for those whose hearts go after their detestable things and abominations, I will bring their conduct down on their heads,” declares the Lord God.” So I definitely agree a new heart is the work of God, but who is being given a new heart? Those who humble themselves and believe. I beleive this is attached to the promise of Jesus above…he is lifted up for all…so that they can believe and receive this new birth (or heart).

        Jer 24 seems to me to be a prophecy, about who God will spare during the captivity. He certainly does show an elective purpose to continue the nation of Israel in this passage. But i’m not sure that we can just apply this to everyone that has ever believed for all time. I mean God specifically says that this is the way He is regarding the good captives of Judah whom he sent to the land of the Chaldeans. I wouldn’t go as far as to claim this was meant for all mankind.

        Troy said: “Travis i would really encourage you to reconsider how Prof. Flowers approaches and interprets Scripture as He very often conflates contexts and concepts to support his Traditionalist perspective instead of allowing the text to speak for itself. For example, in Romans 9, Flowers identifies the “lump of clay” as only pertaining to national Jews. But when one CAREFULLY exegetes the passage, the reader will see that Romans 9:24 informs us that the lump includes both Jewish AND Gentile believers. His approach to Romans 9 simply doesn’t adhere to sound hermeneutics. I challenge you to be like a “Berean” and check Prof. Flowers’ teachings to see if they comport with ALL of Scripture. Take care my brother!”

        I think that 9:24 reveals that the part of the lump which is vessels of mercy are both Jews and Gentiles. But that does not seem to indicate that the other part of the lump he is also talking about are also Jews and Gentiles. Romans 11 goes on to continue to explain the intricate plans of God, that through the Jew’s transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles. Then Paul explains that faith is the determiner of who can be grafted into the tree. That if the Jews don’t continue in unbelief they can be grafted back in. This reminds me of Jer 18: Where God shows with a lump of clay that He can both carry out his plans of destruction or blessing, dependent on how the nations respond to him. That He can relent His destruction if they humble and repent. That he can abstain His blessing if they turn away to evil. Also I think Paul is using verse 24 as a turning point from his focus on the nation of Israel to his main point, which is that God desires all to be saved through faith, even the Gentiles. I’m not sure I would call it a hermenuetical error, as i can clearly follow this line of reasoning. I mean, the rest of chapter 9 starts talking about the Gentiles…is it so absurd to say that the vessels of mercy include those in faith, both Jews and Gentiles, and that the vessel of wrath are parts of Isreal which God is enduring to accomplish His plans in Christ?

        Well that’s my thoughts from my studies. I hope that these make sense, I went to each passage, read in context and explained my interpretation. Given this was not super in depth study, but I think it hopefully shows you many points in your logic where you have prooftexted something to fit into your systematic way of thinking that doesn’t necessarily agree with the intent of the passage.

        This is the good news, that a loving God has made a way for His sinful creatures who deserve His wrath to be saved, restored, and to live with Him forever, and that through the preaching of this Gospel message anyone can turn from their unbelief and embrace the promises of God.

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      8. Travis I say this with all due respect brother, but you are simply repeating the way Prof. Flowers explains his perception of Scripture. You are not allowing the Word of God to speak for itself. My friend you’re clearly manipulating the Scriptures to support Prof. Flowers’ method of interpretation which forces you to not see the meaning of certain passages. You even use the same language he uses to convey your understanding of these passages, which is indicative of his influence in your hermeneutic. There are SO MANY errors in the way you have responded to the passages that I’ve provided that I really don’t have time to write out a full rebuttal.

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      9. Travis writes, “Can people who are not saved do good things? I would say yes, absolutely, people can and do meet aspects of the Law (if that will be our moral standard) when they are not saved.”

        The question depends on your definition of “good.” If we take the first commandment, “You shall have no other gods before Me,” then “good” means to glorify God as god. In keeping the law, the unsaved do not do this, so Paul is correct in quoting the Psalm, “…there is no-one who does good, not even one.”

        Then, “So in this regard I would say that yes, men are contracausally free, and are capable of moral good even without the Holy Spirit living in them. ”

        Paul argues otherwise in Romans 8, “…the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so;…”

        Then, “The flesh does produce sinful desires, and many people before knowing Christ are able to resist their flesh for a variety of reasons and perform good moral actions.”

        Can you support this conclusion from the Scriptures – given that which Paul tells us. Rather than being the source of sinful desires, Jesus said, ““Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin,” and “…‘A slave is not greater than his master.’” Thus, the sin nature rules the flesh where you seem to suggest that it only influences the flesh.

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      10. Ok here is my view of Romans 7-8:

        First is that Paul is making this comparison in Romans 7 of the inner being/mind and the members/flesh. He is saying that the Law even though it is good, is continually bringing forth sin, and that sin is not controllable by people who even want to follow the Law (like the Jews). It is corrupting the mind which seeks to carry out the Law so that in the attempts to follow the Law sin still results. Then in Romans 8 he gives the solution, Christ, whereby one who has faith can now have their minds renewed by the Spirit of Christ (even though the body is still dead in sin). So Romans 8:7 is the mind set on the flesh, that is the law of sin controlling the mind, it is hostile to God’s Law, and in fact cannot submit. i think those who try to pursue righteousness by works is what is being talked about here, even if they want to serve God, they cannot because of the law of sin reigning in their flesh corrupting their minds.

        But can people do something good in the law while not fulfilling the law? Mt 23:23-24 – 23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. 24 “You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!”

        Here is an example of Pharisees who followed the Law on one point but neglected other points. They were able to tithe, which is one aspect of the Law.

        In Philippians 3: 3-9: “3 for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh, 4 although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.
        7 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of aknowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, 9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith…”

        Paul outlines that he was pursuing a righteousness from the Law before he believed in Christ. Are we to understand that the Jews who were not only trying to follow the Law, but were in their minds blameless were not actually successful in resisting sin from time to time?

        What was the problem with the law? Two things, it brings boasting and condemnation. 2 Cor 3:4-14 “Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
        7 Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? 9 For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. 10 Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. 11 For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory.
        12 Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, 13 not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. 14 But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. ”

        Although the law brought glory, it was always fading. It’s called the ministry of condemnation because it’s the law of sin. The law of the spirit is lasting, permanent. Keeping the law here and there is not good enough to be justified before god. The other problem was that it brought boasting and pride in the flesh. I think the Philippians verse above speaks to this, also Romans 3 does.

        To say that romans 8 means no one has therefore has ever done anything that is a part of the Law seems to be an exaggeration of the meaning. But instead I am suggesting that attempts at obtaining righteousness (justification, salvation) from working out the Law are not possible because of our corrupted natures.

        How about an example of lying: I remember very clearly when I was in 9th grade. I decided to skip school one day. The next day I came in, and had to report to the office. The front desk lady asked me why I missed, was I sick or something? I remember deciding that I would tell the truth, because I felt that lying would be the wrong thing to do. So I told her, “I just didn’t feel like coming in yesterday.” And that certainly created a problem, I had two days of in-school suspension. Even though I knew nothing of Christ at this age, I still was presented with a choice, to lie or to tell the truth and I chose the truth. Why? Because in my thinking it seemed like the right thing to do. Is that culture? Is that my upbringing? The Bible actually speaks to this type of thing happening.

        Romans 2:14-16: For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

        Even some gentiles who don’t have the law understand the goodness of the law and try to adhere to it. Again, this is the whole problem, a general adhering to the law on at least some points, which many Jews and apparently some Gentiles were able to accomplish, is not really what God intended.

        What did God intend? Matthew 5. Not murdering people is pretty easy, actually probably everyone reading this has refrained from that sin. But how does Jesus expound upon that? The bar is set impossibly high.

        
Was Paul doing good things according to the Law? Yes sometimes, otherwise he wouldn’t call himself blameless. In my example of me deciding to not lie, did I do something good according to the law? yes, at least for that one decision. That’s my point, people can and do make good decisions to obey the Law (whether knowingly like Paul, or unknowingly as in Rom 2) but even those who are intentionally trying to follow the Law ultimately cannot fulfill the Law because their of their sin nature. What I am saying is that people have contracausal freewill to do things that are not sin, at least momentarily. But those good things do not transform their minds, the mind is still corrupted by sin and therefore ultimately unable to submit to God’s Law and unable to please God.

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      11. Troy writes, “His approach to Romans 9 simply doesn’t adhere to sound hermeneutics.”

        An example is Romans 9:6-13 where Paul begins his argument, “not all who are descended from Israel are Israel…it is not the natural children who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring.” Paul then cites Issac and Jacob as examples of “children of promise.” The reader easily understands Paul’s point – Issac and Jacob were each the child of promise. Extrapolating this out, the children of promise are the remnant (as Paul later argues) and not ALL Israel. Dr. Flowers argues that the children of promise are ALL Israel and that the “promise” was that Israel was chosen for service. However, Paul arguments follows clearly from concern for the salvation of ALL Israel to God’s word has not failed because of the remnant that God has reserved for salvation.

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      12. Travis writes, “I think Dr. Flowers has addressed every verse that you have quoted here, whether through his podcast, or through his blog. I’m not really sure how to reply to this,…”

        One way to reply would be to bring up specific examples of verses to demonstrate that Dr. Flowers has addressed them adequately and accurately.

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      13. Troy writes, “this is not [to] say that mankind has free will choices in “spiritual choices” (i.e. Salvation). Mankind, post fall, became spiritually dead (Gen. 2:17). So what does spiritual death entail?”

        We can add that people are not born with faith. From Hebrews 11, “…without faith it is impossible to please God,…” So, Paul in Romans 8, “…those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Paul then argues in Romans 10, ““Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

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      14. “Have they not heard? Yes, indeed!” Rom 10:18.

        Man has the ability to exercise belief/trust in anything from birth, and is able to receive, before regeneration, the light God gives him, which is essential to, and is enabling to him, to choose to seek for God’s mercy. He can choose to trust that light and seek or to reject that light and not to seek.

        This trusting is not an activity of his fleshly mind, but of his spirit, which God confronted with that light, just like He did in confronting unregenerate Adam, Cain, Nicodemus, and Cornelius. It is necessary to express that faith in God’s light, while one has it, if one is going to satisfy God’s conditions before He grants regeneration.

        The Malachi quote (love/hate) and choosing of Isaac and Jacob used by Paul in Rom 9 is not about being chosen for personal salvation but to father nations that would symbolize God’s favor and rejection. No one is individually “beloved” by God until joined to Christ. (9:25) Before then we are all children of wrath, and non-elect.

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      15. Brian writes, “Have they not heard? Yes, indeed!” Rom 10:18.” But HOW did they hear Brian?? Deuteronomy 29:4 tells us that God Himself must give us ears and eyes to see and understand spiritual things (i.e. the Gospel). So yes indeed they heard because God gave them ears to hear!
        Brian writes, “Man has the ability to exercise belief/trust in anything from birth,”. How can man have the ability to exercise belief/trust in ANYTHING from birth when Jesus says no man CAN come (believe/trust) in Him unless supernaturally drawn by the Father. Or how can man believe in a spiritual message that they can’t understand apart from the Spirit’s supernatural work. Mankind HATES God and will never desire Salvation on God’s terms outside of regeneration. Traditionalism just will not stand in the light of tota scriptura!

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      16. You guys are over-complicating the passage because it just doesn’t fit your theology! It fits supernatural revelation PERFECTLY!! During the 40 years in the wilderness, God was just leaving them to their own spiritual depravity. However, the point here is that God Himself must give mankind spiritual eyes/ears to understand spiritual matters. Man, left to himself, cannot understand spiritual matters (including the Gospel). God must do exactly what He does in Deut 29:4 in every instance of individual salvation!!

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      17. Poor Joshua and Caleb and Aaron and Miriam and all the rest of Israel… none if them had an understanding heart for forty years in the wilderness! 😉 I think the evidence in Scripture counters that idea!

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      18. My statement does not preclude a remnant that God preserved. In fact, He has always preserved a remnant!

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      19. So Deuteronmy 29:4 was not for those already saved, Troy? Thanks for confirming that God gives light to those not yet converted! 😉

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      20. brianwagner writes, “Thanks for confirming that God gives light to those not yet converted!”

        All agree that it is God who gives light to the unsaved. The issue is whether God gives light only to His elect or God’s purpose for the light if God gives to all people.

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      21. God’s gives light to each person so that they can seek and find Him, to become a part of His elect! No-one is a member individually of His people or His beloved, the elect, UNTIL they are joined to Christ. Rom 9:25. And once a member, nothing can separate them from His love in Christ (8:35f).

        The Scriptures does not teach that individuals were eternally immutably loved in some kind of fantasy love before creation, only then to become children of wrath from their birth until their new birth (so much for being immutably loved), and then they are supposedly loved again forever into the future after their new birth. That scenario arises in Calvinism.as another blatant inconsistency with clear Scriptures

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      22. But that is all discounted if as Calvin teaches, the believer is one who is deceived by God into believing he is saved, -quote “for a time” so that God can magnify his torment in the lake of fire. That would be a VERY SPECIAL type of love. 😉

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      23. And we already know rhutchin that the “light” spoken of in Scripture has a SPECIFIC PURPOSE (i.e. salvation) for a SPECIFIC PEOPLE (i.e. the elect). It’s not some “general enlightenment” as Brian and Prof. Flowers profess! This is just not taught anywhere in Scripture! They must extrapolate this view of “light” based on a faulty understanding of John 1 and other passages mentioning the “light”. The “light” is identified as either Christ Himself or His Gospel.

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      24. Praise His Name… the True Light is the one who personally gives the light to each person! I’m glad He didn’t leave that responsibility just to those who don’t understand how merciful our God is to everyone made in His image!

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      25. Brian my friend what you’re teaching simply isn’t biblical and if you insist on teaching that to people, you will be held accountable for your heresy brother. I say this in love and respectfully.

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      26. Once again Brian, the problem with your hermeneutic is that it just doesn’t jive with tota scriptura. You’re being tripped up by universal terms (i.e. all, any, every, world) and you’re making them contradict many other passages in Scripture.
        Romans 11:32 is a prime example of this fact. For example, we know for a fact that “all” in this verse is referring to two different categories of people and that the first “all” is referring to national Israel; whereas the second “all” refers to Gentiles. But neither “all” can mean all-inclusive for two reasons:
        1) there has ALWAYS been a remnant within national Israel that was saved and are being saved even today.
        2) regarding the second “all”, God doesn’t have mercy on every Gentile in a salvific sense.

        Universal terms must be interpreted in light of ALL that the Bible teaches. Both the immediate context AND the broader context must be in total agreement sir. The same applies to John 1:9.

        I perceive the Traditionalists DESPERATELY attempting to force verses to fit their theology. But thankfully careful exegesis of passages reveals the error in their method of interpretation.

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      27. The immediate and broader contexts, Troy, are in agreement. I’m not twisting the universal meaning of the plural “all” in Rom 11:32 to mean – all those in the nation of Israel except the remnant… and… all the nations but really only the predetermined elect in those nations. You are doing that twisting, Troy, to remain faithful to your chosen theology of eternal determinism that has no clear Scriptural support.

        Read 11:30 and 31 again and see if you still think Paul had your view in mind. Even Calvin taught this verse means each and everyone is guilty and each and everyone is offered mercy.

        Calvin – “For he makes the Jews equal in guilt with the Gentiles, that both might understand that the avenue to salvation is no less open to others than to them. For it is the mercy of God alone which saves; and this offers itself to both…. It is indeed true that this mercy is without any difference offered to all, but every one must seek it by faith.”

        And please, Troy, do not ignore that the True Light, Jesus, is the one giving the light to each person. His purpose for doing so is clearly revealed in the context of John 1:4-13. He wants all to believe through Him, vs 7, and receive Him, vs 12. Remember that is the purpose of the whole book of John written to unbelievers (20:30-31)… “that you might believe…” and then be given life in His name. What a wonderful Savior!

        Why wouldn’t you want that too? Why are you so willing to believe that God does not want to give everyone sufficient ability and opportunity to seek and find Him, but not irresistibly? Why, without clear Scriptural evidence, are you willing to believe God creates millions of babies who will never be able to receive any grace drawing them towards Him but whom He planned and knows will only live and die and burn forever in hell? Why?

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      28. My friend the phrase “that He might have mercy upon all” in v32 CANNOT mean all-inclusive or you would be espousing universalism. I would agree that the first “all” could include every individual Jew since “all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.” But to declare the second “all” as all-inclusive mitigates against other passages (i.e. Rom 9:15). This is why we must do CAREFUL exegesis brother and harmonize Scripture!
        Now the rest of your comment simply appeals to emotion and emotion can’t not be considered in determining truth. This is GOD’s decree; not yours nor mines, and if He wants to send the whole mass of humanity strait to hell, then He would be PERFECTLY just and right to do so. God is under no obligation to save ANYONE (including babies in the womb)! God’s grace can never be demanded sir.
        Sure I would LOVE for EVERY human being to enjoy paradise. But that isn’t what God decreed and I bow I humble obeisance to His predetermined and immutable decree which He FREELY chose before you and I were conceived. No matter how much you assert/argue to the contrary, His decree will be meticulously accomplished! Praise God for His wonderful and well-thought-out plan!!!

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      29. Calvin agrees with my universal meaning of the second “all”. He avoids universalism by suggesting that God’s mercy offered to each and every person is only obtained by faith, and of course he believes that such faith is only given to the eternally immutably predetermined elect. I avoid universalism because I do not believe mercy has to be irresistible when given to all.

        Yes, God is not under obligation to save anyone. His grace cannot be demanded. But those are red herrings and diversions from the truth that God is under obligation to His own nature and promises. Your argument is with the sovereignty of God and the conditions He set in place for man to accept or reject the mercy he is shown by God.

        The problem, Troy, is that you think your idea of God’s plan that has no clear Scripture is the right one and mine which is based on clear Scriptures like the two I just shared is not the right one. Your loyalty to your theology is undermining your loyalty to the authority of God’s Word!

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      30. This is correct!

        Calvinism’s classic “you would be espousing universalism” is a straw-man argument predicated upon the presupposition of Universal Divine Determinism (i.e., the philosophical notion that *ALL* things Universally which come to pass are decreed by god).

        Side Note: Except for those things the Calvinist decides on the spur of the moment are not.

        As William Lane Craig points out, Calvinist theology is founded upon the philosophical notion of Universal Divine Determinism.
        Obviously the Calvinist is going to argue that God is the source of his truth.
        But this argument is predicated on the presupposition that Calvinists don’t see through a glass darkly.
        Or less boldly – the presupposition their glass is the least dark.

        YEA RIGHT!! 😉

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      31. br.d writes, “As William Lane Craig points out, Calvinist theology is founded upon the philosophical notion of Universal Divine Determinism.”

        Actually, Calvinist Theology is founded on the sovereignty of God and the depravity of man.

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      32. rhutchin writes:
        Actually, Calvinist Theology is founded on the sovereignty of God and the depravity of man.

        And let the discerning Christians recognize how/why/where Calvinism relies upon doublethink in regard to that! :-]

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      33. Brian wrote, “…God is under obligation to His own nature and promises…” But what you don’t want to admit Brian is that God’s promise of salvation was predetermined for only His people, the elect.
        There’s no red herring here at all. You are demanding grace when you essentially blame God for sending to hell who YOU believe deserves grace (i.e. babies). Frankly, none of us know the spiritual destiny of every baby and we are not to act as if we do. Neither of our positions can answer this dilemma with any certainty. The Judge of all the earth will do right!
        Also, I’m not bound to Calvin or his “ism”. I’m constrained only by what the Bible teaches. So please stop quoting Calvin to me because I’m NOT one of his disciples. I’m a follower of Jesus and His Gospel alone. So please refrain from associating me with Calvinism. Thank you!
        Brian wrote, “Your argument is with the sovereignty of God and the conditions He set in place for man to accept or reject the mercy he is shown by God.” I will NEVER argue with the Sovereignty of God because I freely and gladly bow to His meticulous and immutable Decree. But you, on the contrary, reject God’s decree and choose to believe heresy. An omniscient God could never be the God you expect mankind to believe.

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      34. No clear verse for a meticulous immutable decree of everything set forever… which is a view that violates the sovereignty that God has clearly revealed which includes His use of conditions to add to the elect. His foreknowledge perfectly includes all the possibilities God has sovereignly left undecided. It continues to be a shame that your loyalty undermines what you should clearly see in Scripture.

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      35. Brian wrote, “His foreknowledge perfectly includes all the possibilities God has sovereignly left undecided.” Please show me in Scripture where God has sovereignly left some possibilities undecided??!!!!

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      36. I thought I showed this to you before also… but you must have your “fingers in your ears” when I give you clear Scriptural evidence, Troy.

        Jesus told His disciples to pray that their flight from the fall of Jerusalem would not be in winter or on the Sabbath because, though the fall had been predetermined, the date of the fall had not been. Of course I am not too hopeful you will take your fingers our of your ears to believe this evidence that the future is not fully decided by God yet.

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      37. So Jesus asked his disciples to pray that their flight would not be in winter or on the Sabbath because the date was already set… Are you really that stubborn Troy when given evidence from Scripture?

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      38. Brian the date was set. Jesus just chose not to reveal it to them. This stuff is not hard to understand brother!

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      39. If it is not so hard to understand, Troy, then you must have a simple reason why Jesus asked them to pray that date of their flight would not be on the Sabbath or in winter! What is that simple reason?

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      40. My friend when God commands us to pray that something occurs, this is not an indication that He doesn’t already know when it will occur. Your statements are really troubling to me Brian because, although you SAY that you believe God to be omniscient, you often make statements to the contrary.
        A command to pray about when a future event will occur is not license to say, “well God did not know when the event would occur”. This is just absurd if we believe in an omniscient God.
        Now here’s the simple reason Brian: God commands us to pray because He has both ordained the means (i.e. prayer) and the outcomes (i.e. the temple’s destruction). God gives us a roles in His decretive plans, and those roles include prayer and declaring the Gospel.
        Also, in Matthew 6:10 Jesus taught us to pray in this manner, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.”‭‭ God is commanding us to pray that His will be done event though we know that He’s already working all things according to His will (including the coming of His kingdom). So a command to pray doesn’t mean that we assert God doesn’t already have a timetable for when future events will occur.

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      41. Troy… I thought I had explained to you that I do believe in God’s omniscience. I just choose to define that term from Scripture alone and not according to man’s philosophical definition.

        You and I agree that God can not know a false future. We disagree on the nature of the future God knows. You believe it can only be known as a settled future, with every event eternally, immutably determined, even though you have no verse that proves that, and you build it upon unnecessary reasonings from other verses.

        I believe, from Scripture, it is a future that is partially determined and partially undetermined with many possibilities for God’s free will to cause or permit, all of which He infinitely understands. I have clear verses to show it was not all determined before creation.

        So I would appreciate in the future that you represent that I do believe in God’s omniscience, just defined differently than the majority of theologians in Christianity. Thanks.

        And to say – “God commands us to pray because He has both ordained the means (i.e. prayer) and the outcomes (i.e. the temple’s destruction)” is just strange reasoning, especially in this example. God’s power accomplishes the outcome. Prayer is not a means for it to be accomplished unless you are thinking maybe Christians praying out loud about the coming fall of Jerusalem would make the Jews mad, causing public unrest which invites the Romans to come, spurring Jewish resistance followed by Roman devastation of Jerusalem. But I don’t think you meant that by their prayer being a means! 😉

        And the prayer was about their flight not having to happen on a certain day of the week or time of the year! How does that play into being a means and for what outcome? It is just silly NOT to take at face value that Jesus exhorted this prayer so that they would be part of the means of God’s decision as to when then the Fall would take place, for that decision had not been made yet. If the prayer was to fit the outcome, Jesus would have exhorted, “Pray that your flight will be in the late summer after harvest when you hear that the Roman soldiers are marching towards Judea” …or something like that!

        It just escapes me why you don’t want to believe in God still making free will decisions based on His infinite understanding and His desire to personally interact with man who is created in His image and with a relatively free will to exercise in submission to God’s will!