Dead means Dead!

 

There has been no small amount of debate over the idiomatic use of the word “DEAD” within the New Testament. But what does that term mean in the manner that it is used in the scriptures?

If it is taken too literally it would mean that the “DEAD” could have no response, positive or negative, to the inspired truth of God’s gracious revelation. After all, an actual corpse can do nothing except passively lie there. No one takes the term quite that literally. We all affirm that the “DEAD” are at least able to respond negatively to the gracious truth of the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:51). But can the “DEAD” respond positively even in light of God’s life giving truth?

Calvinists insist, without much biblical foundation, that the term connotes an innate moral inability inherently passed down to every human being as a result of the fall of Adam. This moral incapacity from birth is of course a part of God’s divine plan from the very beginning. In other words, on Calvinism, God decreed that everyone born in this fallen condition would be morally unable to respond positively to God’s own appeals and pleas for reconciliation from that fall.

Let that sink in. 

But, what if the Calvinist is wrong? What if the biblical use of the term “DEAD” does not mean that everyone is born without the ability to desire anything other than hating and rejecting God and His clearly revealed truth?

That is my thesis here:

“DEAD” DOESN’T MEAN INNATE MORAL INABILITY 

Let’s look at the uses of the term “DEAD” in the scripture for you to decide:

1) Jesus referred to the church in Sardis as “DEAD” and called them to “wake up” (Rev 3). Given Christ’s use of the idiomatic term “DEAD” in reference to this church, should we presume that his hearers cannot respond positively to Christ’s appeal in this passage as well?

2) The Prodigal was “DEAD/lost” then “alive/found” demonstrating that the term “DEAD” is idiomatic for “separated by rebellion” not “innate moral inability” (Luke 15:24).

3) “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”‭‭ – James‬ ‭1:13-15‬ ‭

Are we born “DEAD” according to James? Or is DEATH birthed in those who sin after its “full grown?”

4) “What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead. Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death.”‭‭ – Romans‬ ‭7:7-11‬ ‭

Are we born “DEAD” according to Paul? Or was it through the commandment, after “sin sprang to life” that DEATH came?

5) “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath…And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,” -‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:1-3, 6‬

This passage says nothing about how or when they died, nor does it relate their condition to any type of innate moral inability.

It does say God raised them up with Christ. Is this meant to represent the special inner work of regeneration which effectually causes them to believe after they are raised up? Let’s observe what else Paul says about being raised up in Christ.

“In Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which *you were also raised up with Him through faith* in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions” (Col. 2:11-13).

They were raised up THROUGH FAITH, not unto faith according to Paul.

Calvinists have the burden to produce just one clear biblical example of the term “DEAD” meaning “the moral incapacity to respond willingly to God from birth.”

The strongest rebuttal I’ve heard to this argument thus far is “Leighton, you just don’t think dead means dead!”

In reality, I’m looking for the actual biblical meaning of this term while Calvinists seem to be presuming theirs.

For more on this topic CLICK HERE.

179 thoughts on “Dead means Dead!

  1. Dr. Flowers writes, “”DEAD” DOESN’T MEAN INNATE MORAL INABILITY>

    Calvinists agree. “Dead” means spiritually dead, and this means that the unsaved are not able to make a positive response to the gospel (or to God) but they are able to make a negative response. Thus, Jesus says in John 6, “No one can come to me…” and Paul, repeating the Psalm, says that “No one seeks God.”

    Then, “Calvinists insist, without much biblical foundation, that the term connotes an innate moral inability inherently passed down to every human being as a result of the fall of Adam.”

    WRONG!!!!

    The term connotes an innate moral depravity. The consequence is that people do all for the glory of man (usually themselves) and never for the glory of God. If God did not restrain totally depraved people, they would become utterly depraved and would soon annihilate themselves. People do have a moral ability that is guided by self-interest – thus, people join together to oppose murder, theft, etc because they don’t want people to kill them, steal from them, etc.

    Then, “The strongest rebuttal I’ve heard to this argument thus far is “Leighton, you just don’t think dead means dead!””

    LOL. Soooo funny!!!! You can’t make this stuff up, so someone must have said this to Dr. Flowers. However, if this is the strongest rebuttal, then Dr. Flowers has to get out more and see what happens in the real world.

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    1. // “Dead” means spiritually dead, and this means that the unsaved are not able to make a positive response to the gospel (or to God) but they are able to make a negative response.// And yet the call to repent is to the unsaved and those unsaved like Cornelius do respond just like all those who unsaved dead men have done for over 2000 years contrary to the nonsense that Calvinism teaches. I am living proof. I was made alive when I believed. Just as John wrote: John 20:31 (HCSB)
      31 But these are written so that you may believe Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and by believing you may have life in His name.

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      1. erneststrauss writes, “I was made alive when I believed.”

        What does God say? “…when erneststrauss was dead in his transgressions, God made erneststrauss alive together with Christ (by grace erneststrauss has been saved)…erneststrauss is God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,…” (Epheisans 2, amplified) erneststrauss got so turned around by Satan that he’s still a little dizzy.

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      2. Saved by Grace when I believed. Made alive when I believed. Just as John said – you may have life by believing. He does NOT say that we may believe by having life – which is the nonsense that Calvinism teaches. Calvinism errs in both in chronology and agency.

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      3. erneststrauss writes, “Saved by Grace when I believed.”

        Ephesians 2 seems clear in saying the opposite, “by grace you have been saved through faith;”

        Then, ” Made alive when I believed.”

        Ephesians 2 seems clear, “…when we were dead in our transgressions, [God] made us alive…”

        Then, “Just as John said – you may have life by believing. He does NOT say that we may believe by having life – which is the nonsense that Calvinism teaches.”

        Calvinists say that birth (born again) precedes life (eternal life). All life begins with birth. God’s grace (in the new birth) precedes man’s choice to believe.

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      4. Rhutchins says //Calvinists say that birth (born again) precedes life (eternal life). All life begins with birth. God’s grace (in the new birth) precedes man’s choice to believe.// That’s the error that Calvinism keeps promoting ” God’s grace (in the new birth) precedes man’s choice to believe” – but as shown previously John teaches that you may have life by believing. Calvinism has their chronology wrong and continues to promote it because if they agree with John all the errors of Calvinism are exposed.

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      5. erneststrauss writes, “That’s the error that Calvinism keeps promoting ” God’s grace (in the new birth) precedes man’s choice to believe” – but as shown previously John teaches that you may have life by believing. Calvinism has their chronology wrong and continues to promote it because if they agree with John all the errors of Calvinism are exposed.”

        Everyone agrees that “John teaches that you may have life by believing.” John also says that the new birth comes first if we follow the order of discussion in John 3.

        Calvinism does agree with John. In John 6, Jesus says “No one can come to Me,…” and says this not once but twice. Then, John has, “…no one can come to Me, unless it has been granted him from the Father.”

        Can you explain how you were able to conclude that the Calvinists are in error regarding the new birth and why we should not view birth coming first before life?

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      6. Rhutchin:
        Of course we all agree that no one would come unless drawn! Why is that such a go-to verse for Calvinists —like it proves something we dont know? The difference is that we believe that all men are drawn….just as Christ himself said.

        And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” John 12:32

        Not all “kinds of people”. Not the “chosen people.” Just all.

        But Matt 23 and Luke 13 (Christ again) tells us that He draws and longs ….but allows men to say no.

        …how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.

        Christ wants it; man not willing. A very common theme in Scripture….if you read it without the presupposition of R theology (like I did for 20 years).

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Fromoverhere writes, “Of course we all agree that no one would come unless drawn! Why is that such a go-to verse for Calvinists —like it proves something we dont know? ”

        The reason that “no one would come unless drawn” is that people are Totally Depraved and none seek God. Dr. Flowers, presumably speaking for the Traditionalists, has advocated against Total Depravity saying that all people have the response-ability, with emphasis on ability, to receive the gospel.

        I don’t think Dr. Flowers is all that clear on John 6 but he writes, “In John 6 Jesus is addressing a large group of people nicknamed “the elect of God” who have “grown calloused” against His clear revelation and thus are being “given over to their stubbornness” or “blinded” from seeing the truth of who He is. This contextual information is very significant when attempting to understand the author’s intention with regard to the natural inability of mankind from birth, one of the primary Calvinistic premises.” https://soteriology101.wordpress.com/2016/01/02/the-messianic-secret/ Maybe, you can figure it out.

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    2. We have dealt with Rhutchin’s playing the John 6 card many times in this string, but I will try a different way here. Here is how the conversation goes with a Calvinist:

      C will be the Calvinist

      T will be the person never instructed in Calvinism (because one HAS to be instructed) or a person like me that well-instructed in and lived and has now rejected Calvin’s philosophy of determinism.

      C: John 6 says you can’t come without being drawn.

      T: That is so true that God must draw us!

      C: Only God can draw men, they can’t come on their own.

      T: So true, and like Christ said, He is “drawing all men to himself.”

      C: If He were drawing all men, they would all come.

      T: Really? I see thousands of places in the OT where God draws His chosen Israel and they refuse to come. He says over and over (almost like He does not understand why don’t come) “Why do you refuse to turn to me when I send my prophets?!”

      C: Oh yes, those thousands of time, well they are God’s hidden will that Israel not come.

      T: Even though He sends prophets? Even though He says many hundreds of times “I wanted you to come and you would not.”

      C: Yes, because He has his spoken will and His hidden will. Even all of their disobedience and stubbornness and idolatry and child sacrifice was his sacred decree.

      T: Even though He sent prophets to beg them not to do those things?

      C: Yes, even the killing of the prophets was His will.

      T: What about the several places in Jeremiah where He says, “and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, which I did not command or decree, nor did it come into my mind..” showing that man is doing some things that He has not ordained (hidden or not) and did not even come into His mind. How else can he say that he is not behind those things in any way?

      C: Oh all those references. They dont really mean that….they are anthropomorphisms.

      T: They are what? How am I supposed to know what that means when I am reading my Bible?

      C: You know when God says He is a High Tower, or His arm is not too short. He doesnt have arms, does He? He is trying to show that He is strong.

      T: Agreed that He does not have arms, but the point is that that analogy means something. He is strong.

      C: Right.

      T: So what does He mean when He says “I did not command or decree, nor did it come into my mind”?

      C: Well that is just how we see it.

      T: What?

      C: We dont see it the way God sees it.

      T: Agreed, but what was he teaching Israel (and all future readers of these passages)?

      C: Hummm…

      T: So you still maintain that all things were sovereignly/ deterministically decreed by God, even when He says right here and in context with his own voice through the prophet that “it never entered his mind.”?

      C: Yes, and I will tell you how we solve this. Proverbs 16:33 “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.”

      T: Woah really?

      C: Yes it is one of the main verses that Piper and others give, so…..

      T: But it is a Proverb? In what way does that establish doctrine for us…especially contradicting the very words of God many times?

      C: Dude, all Scripture is equal.

      T: But they were casting lots into the lap exactly SO THAT God would give the answer. In what way does that then extrapolate out to mean that all actions, good and bad, evil and unspeakable are decreed by God.

      C: Okay, how about this. Proverb 21:1 In the Lord’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water that he channels toward all who please him.

      T: Our God is certainly powerful, and can manipulate kings without even touching their free will, that true. But is this another of those Piper verses used to extrapolate that God causes all things to happen (even though He says in many places that He does not cause some things)?

      C: Yes, because all Scripture fits together.

      T: Well yes, but why do your 2 Proverbs get to be the small little vessel that all other plain-spoken passages have to fit into?

      C: Because it has to be this way because God is sovereign and that is how we define sovereign.

      T: Does it sound in Scripture that all every disobedience of man, even when He says “you did not do my will,” is really what He wants?

      C: It does not sound that way or look that way, but we know it to be true because He has two wills.”

      T: Where is that explained?

      C: It has to be true since He is sovereign so all things are decreed by Him.

      T: So what do I say in my pastoral counseling sessions, when a husband tells me next to his crying wife that he has cheated on her multiple times over many years. Do I tell her….it was really God’s sovereign will?

      C: You tell her and him that it was not God’s spoken will.

      T: But what do I say when the man says, “But pastor, Piper says that everything that happens is God’s sovereign will and was divinely decreed.”?

      C: Well if it happened, it must have been.

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      1. FromOverHere,

        In the words of Yosemite Sam… “I’m thinking. My head hurts.”

        In Reformed thinking, all scriptural understanding is a result of God’s grace. When one becomes “reformed” they have reached the pentacle of grace. I’m mean, becoming “reformed” could only be by the outpouring of God’s grace. The more grace, the more “reformed”. The only difference between the Calvinist and non-Calvinist is due to grace.

        Since you refer to yourself as a “former Calvinist”, it must have been as the result of a removal of grace. In other words, God must have removed His grace, predetermined by Him because it pleased Him to do so, and as a result you fell from the high council of “reformed theology” and became a non-Calvinist.

        So don’t take it personally. God was the reason you were “reformed” and now God is the reason you’re not.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m trusting that was meant as a humorous response. Because it sure wasn’t a scriptural response. There’s nothing based on scripture in that whole response.
        Anyway…..cute.
        I will return now to my graceless existence.

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      3. phillip writes, “In Reformed thinking, all scriptural understanding is a result of God’s grace. ”

        The Baptist said, “A man can receive nothing, unless it has been given him from heaven.”

        Paul writes,

        “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)

        “or this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,” (Colossians 1)

        “Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.” (2 Timothy 2)

        Do you mean to argue against the idea that, “all scriptural understanding is a result of God’s grace”?

        Then, “Since you refer to yourself as a “former Calvinist”, it must have been as the result of a removal of grace.”

        Maybe he has just neglected the study of the Scriptures.

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      4. “T: So true, and like Christ said, He is “drawing all men to himself.”
        C: If He were drawing all men, they would all come.”

        At this point, C would explain that we are dealing with two different contexts – one in which God draws people and the other where Christ’s death draws people. C would then focus on the “universal negative” in John 6 and the possibility that “all” in John 12 means “Jew and gentile” and how the salvation of both Jew and gentile is a major theme in the NT and foretold in the OT.

        The hypothetical discussion then focuses on God’s relationship with Israel in the OT that is put into perspective by Paul in Romans 9-11. The conversation you constructed serves to illustrate your biases on this issue and not how a Calvinist would (or should) argue.

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      5. Rhutchin:
        the short answer to rebut this is simply that OF COURSE man would not come if the Father did not draw.

        And He does. The Bible is full of examples of that in the simple reading of it.

        We respond to His drawing. We just dont see Scriptural evidence that the drawing is limited.

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      6. “We respond to His drawing. We just dont see Scriptural evidence that the drawing is limited.”

        The verse says nothing about those drawn responding – but we seem on solid ground to conclude that they do. It does say something specific regarding Christ – “I will raise him up on the last day.” That’s a solid guarantee. And as you agree, “…man would not come if the Father did not draw.” Here we see two parts of the Godhead working together for one common objective.

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      7. “the short answer to rebut this is simply that OF COURSE man would not come if the Father did not draw….We respond to His drawing. We just dont see Scriptural evidence that the drawing is limited.”

        In John 6, The drawing is defined by Christ’s response – “…the Father…draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.” If God draws each and every person then Christ raises each and every person (Universalism). If God draws less than each and every person, then Christ raises less than each and every person (non-Universalism).

        You introduce a limiting factor – “We respond to His drawing.” What you now need to do is provide a supporting justification. How do you introduce the need for man’s response into this verse or out of the surrounding context. Others have suggested this restriction, but I don’t remember anyone being able to explain how it can be imposed in this verse.

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      8. Rhutchin:
        You dont get to pluck a verse out of context any more than someone else.

        Let’s look at the close context and broader context.

        Verse 26 “Jesus answered, ‘Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.'” —-Jesus admits that they are looking for him, seeking him….for whatever reason they CAN seek him.

        Verse 27 “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” —-Jesus tells them all (even the ones seeking for bad motives) that they should work correctly (implying that it is possible) and the the Son of man WILL give it to them.

        Verse 28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”

        Verse 29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” —-That is what Jesus tells to the massive crowd following for their own reasons. Done. Believe. You can repeat all day that they could NOT believe (after he tells them to) but to a simple reader it looks like they could. Again, one has to be taught the reformed position that believing is not possible.

        Verse 35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. —-Whoever believes. All those who believe are the ones the Father give him. I would much rather see a few verses this way than deal with the thousands that you just ignore.

        Verse 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” —-That is the Father’s will….everyone who looks to the Son (like those who looked on the serpent on the pole) will be raised up.

        Verse 47 Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. — Yes the drawing is from God, and his will is that all who look to the Son in faith have eternal life.

        Verse 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” —Are you Catholic? Do you eat his flesh every Sunday? The passage does have some symbolism in it!

        Verse 53 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. —-That is 3 or 4 times he repeats that and yet you do not do it. You allow yourself to “understand” what he means. Just like we understand that the Father draws and requires belief, then gives eternal life.

        That is the close context.

        The broader context is that Christ is not even resurrected yet. Leighton Flowers very effectively deals with that idea here. https://soteriology101.wordpress.com/2016/09/20/john-6-the-drawing/. You asked me to deal with it…but I doubt you will read it. And if you do, I doubt you will choose to believe it. you will choose to believe what you want…because even that is a choice!!

        The even broader context is that there are thousands of verses (We dont have to repeat 3,4 verses all the time, there are thousands) where God is calling men to Himself and people say no.

        Cain “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

        OT: “How long will you destroy the prophets I send to call you?”

        NT: (Christ) Jerusalem Jerusalem…….how I longed…but you would not.”

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      9. “You dont get to pluck a verse out of context any more than someone else.”

        I agree, so why did you ignore the verse (v44) you say I plucked out of context?? That verse should have been the focus of your analysis. If that were not bad enough, you then avoid dealing with other verses.

        36 “But I said to you, that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe.” So, they have seen Jesus up front and personal and the miracles He performed – especially the feeding of the 5,000. So, how does Christ explain this phenomena of not believing?

        37 “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” Only those that God gives to Christ will actually come to Him. Who is the one who believes? The one given to Christ by God.

        43 “Jesus answered and said to them, “Do not grumble among yourselves.” What are they grumbling about – Jesus claim that, “I have come down from heaven,…” So, how does Jesus respond to their grumbling?

        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.” Jesus does not personalize this for those before Him and say, “You cannot come to Me.” Instead, Jesus broadens it beyond His immediate audience and drives home the point with a universal negative, ““No one can come to Me,…” Again, we see Jesus describing why people believe in Him, “Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.”

        You chose to ignore the most critical verses in this discussion dismissing them by claiming that I “pluck a verse out of context” but then refusing to address that context while feining that you do. Why should anyone now take you seriously??

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      10. Rhutchin
        Man you sure can get testy!

        I did what I said I was doing: gave a close, broad, and broader context. I never said I would exegete v 44, but I did give the link to a great long exegesis of that verse.

        Dont worry about anyone ‘taking me seriously”….I am confident in my walk with Christ and my family.

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      11. “The broader context is that Christ is not even resurrected yet. Leighton Flowers very effectively deals with that idea here. https://soteriology101.wordpress.com/2016/09/20/john-6-the-drawing/. You asked me to deal with it…but I doubt you will read it.”

        I read it before and I re-read it again. It is an opinion piece that offers no exegesis of John 6 beyond stating the presuppoitions of the Traditionalists.

        “The Traditionalist’s interpretation of John 6 does not…assume that mankind lost the moral ability to willingly respond to God’s clear revelation due to the Fall…There would be nothing preventing the natural man from understanding and believing Jesus’ teachings from our perspective.”

        What response does Dr. Flowers offer for John 6:44 when it says, “No one can come to me…”? Absolutely nothing!

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      12. Rhutchin:

        We all start with presuppositions. When I was a Calvinist I presupposed the Reformed definition of sovereignty. I assumed that every time I read the word “chosen” “draw” “give” that meant —for salvation. I assumed that ‘dead’ meant T in Tulip and not just unable to save myself (the “dead” son in Luke 15 helped a lot with that; also I am dead to sin, but manage to do it!). For some reason (because I wanted it to be) this dead was different.

        I presupposed that God decreed, willed, ordained every heinous act ever committed because it must be so.

        I presupposed lots of things. We all do!

        I think Dr Flowers had a similar experience. Came to Christ in non-Calvinist setting/ denomination/ church. Jumped on the massive wave (was taught Calvinism) that started as a trickle when I joined in the 70’s-80’s (and now is still going through blogs and web sites), but then through reading and listening to the word found other answers to the few Calvinist proof text that we had so aggressively shoved on others.

        Anyway, the Calvinists I know disagree on ecclesiology, eschatology, baptism, creation, spiritual gifts, women in ministry, ordination, and many other things, so I consider this issue just like that.

        All the new Calvinists on the mission field where I serve are non-paedobaptists. Sadly, new people coming into their churches who were baptized as babies (by evangelical parents) are NOT allowed to be members or serve unless they get baptized again. Ironically these new Calvinists do not realize that Calvin actually forbade people to be re-baptized (even torturing them). He said that even his catholic baptism was enough.

        Signing off here. I need to be done with this thread. The research has helped me understand better my non-Calvinist position.

        God bless you.

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      13. “I presupposed that God decreed, willed, ordained every heinous act ever committed because it must be so.”

        That presupposition was based on the doctrine of the omniscience of God – wasn’t it? So long as you hold to God being omniscient, then it must be true that God “decreed, willed, ordained every heinous act ever committed” simply by creating the universe because all that would then happen must necessarily agree with His omniscient knowledge. To reject the above presupposition, you must reject omniscience.

        Then, “I presupposed lots of things. We all do!”

        But not without an understanding of the arguments for the presuppositions – right? Isn’t it when people accept presuppositions without understanding those presuppositions that problems begin?

        Then, “…through reading and listening to the word found other answers to the few Calvinist proof text…”

        “…few…”??? The complaint against Calvinism – one that Brian Wagner properly makes – is not that Calvinism relies on a “few” proof texts but that it does not adequately consider all the tests (a list of which he has provided on occasion).

        Then, “…the Calvinists I know disagree on ecclesiology,…”

        Most people seem to identify as Calvinist only as it relates to soteriology. Beyond that, you don’t find much more.

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      14. Rhutchin:
        The same example you give of Romans 9-11 (not Jews only but Gentiles too) is the very argument that I give for why those go-to verses in Romans 9 DO NOT apply as individually choosing. Who are we to doubt the potter? he can “chose” or open this up to Gentiles also. That very logic (that you provided) is the solution to those Rom 9 verses that drew me to Calvinism int he first place.

        In the context of Rom 9-11 it is easy to see that the argument is being made to Israel to not whine about Gentiles being let it. It is not about choosing individuals.

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      15. “In the context of Rom 9-11 it is easy to see that the argument is being made to Israel to not whine about Gentiles being let it. It is not about choosing individuals.”

        There are several themes in Romans 9-11. The first that stands out is Paul’s statement, “they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel;” An incredible statement for those focused on national Israel. This explains Paul’s thought about the remnant and then the grafting in of the gentiles and then His later statement, “thus all Israel will be saved;” that, in context includes the remnant plus the gentiles grafted in. A second theme is the sovereignty of God in choosing Isaac and then Jacob to be children of promise – and then the remnant, His work through Pharaoh and then the potter example. National Israel would not understand what Paul was saying but the remnant would.

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      16. Rhutchin,

        One believer reads the bible and becomes reformed. Another believer reads the bible and rejects the reformed theology.

        What makes them differ? Is it grace? Or is it something else?

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      17. phillip writes, “One believer reads the bible and becomes reformed. Another believer reads the bible and rejects the reformed theology.
        What makes them differ? Is it grace? Or is it something else?”

        One has done his homework, like the Berean, and the other has not.

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      18. Great role play conversation, FOH! I especially liked – C: Yes, because all Scripture fits together. T: Well yes, but why do your 2 Proverbs get to be the small little vessel that all other plain-spoken passages have to fit into?

        Both sides might claim they have the clear teaching of Scripture on their side… but the Calvinist clearly has no verse proving the “secret will” for the eternally immutably determination of all things… which undermines the integrity of myriad times of His spoken will for every unsaved person. And the few verses they lean on, some flavored in Calvinistic translation that is not supported by the grammar or context… can be shown to fit the integrity of spoken will and revelation about Himself.

        I’m more and more convinced that there is often an underlying psychological reason for the Calvinist’s choice to read his definition of sovereignty into Scripture. Either he is making God into the image of a micromanaging control tyrant because hi father was like that, but he wants to believe his father really loved him… or he is like that and he wants to justify why he doesn’t have to love and pray for the lost souls of everyone. It also can unfortunately be tied to trying to find a justification for his continued failure of a habitual sin, but still wanting to believe he is safely elect. Any thoughts?

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      19. Brian:
        I did not have any of the reasons you mentioned while I was a rabid cage-Calvinist.

        I was very precisely instructed piece by piece in the puzzle. Most of it starting with “Dont you want to give God the glory?” or “Dead men dont make choices,” and then built one presupposition after the other on a faulty (but accepted!) premise/ foundation.

        I think this is happening most of the time and I would not attribute it to maleficence.

        Liked by 1 person

      20. FOH, I wouldn’t say – “maleficence”. I don’t see as conscious “evil” motive in my Calvinist friends. And I didn’t name all the possible subconscious reasons for choosing to teach and defend Calvinism. The flesh is also very competitive and there also is a subtle pride in being in an elite intellectual minority. Trusting impressive leadership is also a reason.

        But didn’t your spirit ever make you feel convicted about that so-called Scriptural certainty that you professed for your presuppositions or about your manner is defending them against brothers who you could sense really wanted only to follow the sense of Scripture and reason? Wasn’t it that conviction that led you back to rereading the Scriptures and studying them more indepth for yourself?

        And didn’t you have to come to the place that no matter what a favorite teacher or majority opinion might be, you are going to defend the Scriptures as read normally by a layperson?

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      21. Brian:
        Precisely.

        I went into it as a generic Bible-church kid off to college in So Cal in the 70’s. Just as I have seen Bible churches and non-denominational churches being invaded one by one, I was slowly pulled in by the high road of “Give God the glory.”

        I crushed the spirit of the gal I was dating by telling her that I could not pray for her father’s salvation since I was not sure it was God’s will (and who are we to ask Him to do something He has purposed against from the beginning?). I was an aggressively prideful person trying to serve a gentle, humble Christ.

        I began a one-year program of Bible reading putting aside books in order to have time to do that (even my Greek and Hebrew).

        As I have stated elsewhere the sheer inundation of verse after verse, and story after story, and God-spoken-phrases after God-spoken phrases…led me to wonder and to look for alternative answers. That has been one of my pastimes for the last 30 years.

        This is why I tell young people who say “I dont really think about it much,” that they need to read volumes of scripture and see multiple interpretations or they will not have the resources at the ready when the wave hits them.

        Many of my colleagues living peacefully their walk with Christ for 20-30-40 years have been pulled in by one simple book or web site. They did not even bother to push back. They do not see the determinist philosophy at the end; they only see the “give God glory” teaser at the start.

        And, yes, it has caused me great pain to question my esteem for certain pastors and leaders since I thought “this must be right if so-and-so believes it.”

        I am now intrigued to see MacArthur and Sproul debating and disagreeing strongly on infant baptism.

        I am now intrigued to see MacArthur and Piper debating and disagreeing strongly on the gifts.

        I am now intrigued to see MacArthur and many debating and disagreeing strongly on eschatology, lordship, etc.

        Now I see this (Calvinism) (like the doctrines above) as one of several possible positions for brothers. Unfortunately, more and more our Calvinist friends are NOT seeing anything but TULIP as an option and the cry of “heretic” and “un-sound doctrine” can be heard more and more frequently.

        Should the day come, I will cheerfully say to them: “Burn me at the stake as a heretic (as Calvin did) but surely you must agree that my non-acceptance of TULIP was decreed from all time!”

        Liked by 1 person

      22. FOH… your testimony is so very encouraging! Keep sharing it. The Lord will use it to free others from the harmful teachings of Calvinism!

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      23. “I was dating by telling her that I could not pray for her father’s salvation since I was not sure it was God’s will…”

        Chalk that up to immaturity. “[Jesus] said to [His disciples], “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.” (Mark 16)

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      24. Preach to him sure. I would preach to him. but she asked me to pray for him and I was going to have to beseech a stern God who had already decided on that matter. No way! That is not the same as preach to!

        All my Calvinist mentors agreed. That shipped has sailed. In the ‘preaching to’ you were heaping coals on his head or others nearby were hearing, but in the praying for you were knocking at a stone door—-and beside….it was none of my business. It was His call!

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      25. “Preach to him sure. I would preach to him. but she asked me to pray for him…”

        Who preaches to anyone without first praying? Stop making excuses. Your Calvinist mentor seems to have been somewhat lacking.

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      26. Rhutchin:
        If I follow your position correctly I should chalk that up, not to my immaturity, but to God’s predetermined ordained will.

        Since it is what happened was it not what He had planned that I do? Crushing her spirit is certainly less dramatic than most of the other heinous deeds that you ascribe to God’s will.

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      27. “If I follow your position correctly I should chalk that up, not to my immaturity, but to God’s predetermined ordained will.”

        I agree. It would be wrong for you to say, “God caused my immaturity.” You serve a God who tells you to ask for wisdom and He will give it to you. However, if you don’t ask for wisdom, you don’t get wisdom. Whether you ask for wisdom of not, you would still conclude that it was “God’s predetermined ordained will.” Some people use the excuse of “God’s predetermined ordained will” blame God for everything bad that happens to them. If everything is “God’s predetermined ordained will,” then we ought to take advantage of that and view all God’s promises to as as absolutely certain – “…this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.” (1 John 5)

        Then, “Since it is what happened was it not what He had planned that I do? Crushing her spirit is certainly less dramatic than most of the other heinous deeds that you ascribe to God’s will.”

        God has planned that you do everything He tells you, including asking for help when you need it. Your immature mind tells you to do what you want and blame the consequences on God.

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      28. Rhutchin:
        Did God ordain that I crush the spirit of this gal? And all other sin of the world?

        Simple questions but hard to get answers from you.

        Liked by 1 person

      29. “Did God ordain that I crush the spirit of this gal? And all other sin of the world?”

        Of course, He did. God is sovereign and you are absolutely subject to God’s rule, as is everyone else. God gave you the freedom to crush the spirit of your girl and you took that freedom and ran with it. Had you been more mature, I think you would have taken a different path. We all go through the young and dumb stage of life and hope to become older and wiser without leaving a lot of carnage behind us.

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      30. Now are getting somewhere!

        You say “ordained” and “decreed”….but you really mean (as you said above) “allowed”.

        Right?

        God allows man to chose to sin or not, but He does not decree it. So, He does not decree all things.

        Phew! I thought you were saying that all things were decreed by God before the foundations of the world (in fact I thought you did say that).

        Liked by 1 person

      31. “You say “ordained” and “decreed”….but you really mean (as you said above) “allowed”. Right?”

        By “allow,” is meant freedom for man to act without interference from God (up to a point).

        Then, “God allows man to chose to sin or not, but He does not decree it. So, He does not decree all things.”

        Thus, you are saying that God is not omniscient. On this, we disagree as I think God is omniscient.

        Then, “Phew! I thought you were saying that all things were decreed by God before the foundations of the world (in fact I thought you did say that).”

        I did. You have just broadened the discussion to involve the issue of omniscience.

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      32. Rhutchin writes… “One has done his homework, like the Berean, and the other has not.”

        So grace (or God) has nothing to do with it? One is just more wise or prudent than the other?

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      33. phillip writes, “So grace (or God) has nothing to do with it? One is just more wise or prudent than the other?”

        It is the grace of God that makes one a Berean while passing over another, is it not?

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      34. Rhutchin:

        Man has no responsibility at all? We are to “draw near” “resist” “flee” “be kind” “be patient” “endure”…..and on and on.

        YES God gives us the grace for these (praise to Him).

        But friend….that means that when a believer does cheat on his wife, look at porn, cheat on his taxes….. he can simply say that God did not give him grace, right?

        Liked by 1 person

      35. “Man has no responsibility at all? We are to “draw near” “resist” “flee” “be kind” “be patient” “endure”…..and on and on.
        YES God gives us the grace for these (praise to Him).”

        That’s the point, God does give grace and absent God’s grace, no person could “draw near” “resist” “flee” “be kind” “be patient” “endure”…..and on and on. I am glad you agree to this. An associated issue is whether the new birth initiates a person’s ability to do these things.

        Then, “But friend….that means that when a believer does cheat on his wife, look at porn, cheat on his taxes….. he can simply say that God did not give him grace, right?”

        He can review Romans 7 to remind himself that there is a war going on within him. He might then be reminded that God has given him grace – “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.” and “Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.” – and he decided to forgo that grace and go off on his own.

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  2. Thanks Leighton… Very important discussion. It’s interesting how many “dead” people God spoke directly to and they understood what He said. (Adam, Cain, Israel, Balaam, rich young ruler, Nicodemus, Cornelius). Even to ones who never responded positively, He still pleaded and expressed His desire that He wished would. (Rom 10:21).

    It is sad that Calvinists believe God does so many fruitless things with His positive desires and His giving of light to each person… just so as loyal Calvinists they can believe God only shows irresistible mercy to a preselected number with whom He had an eternal immutable fantasy love before creation.

    Just like a believer is dead to sin but still is morally able to sin, the unbeliever, though spiritually dead in sin is morally able to respond to God’s offer of grace. The offer is the opportunity that makes him morally able and morally responsible.

    It may be easy to nit pick at the rhetoric of your post… but your argument is Scriptural and very sound!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. brianwagner writes, “Just like a believer is dead to sin but still is morally able to sin, the unbeliever, though spiritually dead in sin is morally able to respond to God’s offer of grace.”

      Of course, the proof of that is the hard part. Paul explains how the spiritually alive believer is still able to sin in Romans 7. However, the Scriptures never speak of the spiritually dead unbeliever being able to respond to God’s offer of grace – it even says the opposite. In John 10, Jesus explains, “…you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep.” Paul, in 1 Corinthians 1, “…the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness,…” and 2 Corinthians 4, “…if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing…” That one is given light by the grace of God does not mean that God also gives the person faith to respond to that light – “…the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.” (Hebrews 4)

      Then, “It may be easy to nit pick at the rhetoric of your post… but your argument is Scriptural and very sound!”

      “…very sound!” Oh, Brian – how do you so easily ignore egregious errors.

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      1. It is an egregious error, Roger, to boldly state “the Scriptures never speak of the spiritually dead unbeliever being able to respond to God’s offer of grace” when really you mean you don’t accept all the biblical evidence that has already been shown to you that unbelievers can and do and are taught to respond in faith before salvation life is given. The whole purpose of the book of John and its teaching backs this truth clearly (20:30-31, 1:4-13, 3:1-21, 12:35-36).

        Why do you think Jesus was teaching the unbelieving crowd that His sheep constantly listen to His voice and constantly folliw Him? He wasnt wasting His breath on those unbelievers was He? He certainly wasn’t condemning them for not believing… for He came not to condemn but to save.

        But the Calvinist doesn’t want everyone saved because He believes God doesn’t want everyone saved and falsely believes that of God did He would have to determine everyone to be saved. He doesn’t believe God is willing or able to suffer any kind of loss.

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      2. brianwagner writes, “It is an egregious error, …”

        The context concerned your “very sound” comment related to Dr. Flowers assertions regarding Calvinism where some pretty obvious errors were made. You ignore this. Strip Dr. Flowers commentary of the gratuitous comments made about Calvinism and your “very sound” description probably works with that which is left.

        Then, “The whole purpose of the book of John and its teaching backs this truth clearly (20:30-31, 1:4-13, 3:1-21, 12:35-36).”

        These are nice Scriptures, but they do not speak of a specific ability of people to respond to the light that is given. At the same time, there are strong statements by Jesus to the contrary on this. You know them but ignore them.

        John 6,
        “…this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life;…No one can come to me…”

        “…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.”

        John 3
        “…this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.”

        John 10
        “The Jews therefore gathered around Him,…Jesus answered them, “…you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these bear witness of Me. But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep.”

        John 12
        “…though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.”

        Then, “…the Calvinist doesn’t want everyone saved because He believes God doesn’t want everyone saved and falsely believes that if God did He would have to determine everyone to be saved. He doesn’t believe God is willing or able to suffer any kind of loss.”

        Calvinists are perfectly willing for God to save everyone – they just don’t think the Scriptures support that conclusion.

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      3. All those passages, Roger, that you pointed to in John were teachings given to unbelievers. The Calvinist wants to believe that Jesus was teaching unbelievers Calvinistic things they couldn’t understand, about how God is sovereignly rejecting them… things they really didn’t need to know for any good reason! But every passage chosen but an author fits with the purpose of his book…. (20:31) Jesus was giving those teachings to unbelievers so that they would seek to believe that He is the Christ and through believing have life in His name.

        His warnings were about being hardened if one shuts their eyes to the truth… and they were given for the same purpose! I’m glad Jesus had a more merciful purpose in His preaching than you give him credit for!

        You can have the last word in this thread if you wish… I don’t feel like I should discuss these things further with you here.

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      4. brianwagner writes, “All those passages, Roger, that you pointed to in John were teachings given to unbelievers. ”

        OK. You and I are now believers and we understand what those verses say, don’t we? Did we understand those verses before we became believers? Did we even care?

        Then, “The Calvinist wants to believe that Jesus was teaching unbelievers Calvinistic things they couldn’t understand, about how God is sovereignly rejecting them… things they really didn’t need to know for any good reason! ”

        No, The Calvinist believes that God is always telling everyone the truth through His prophets. God certainly knows how His truth is perceived by unbelievers as He prompted Paul to write, “…the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness…” It is not until God quickens the unbeliever that His truth has any force on the unbeliever – as we discern from Ephesians 2 – “…by grace you have been saved…”.

        Then, “But every passage chosen by an author fits with the purpose of his book…. (20:31)”

        We know that God is the real author – “…men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God….” So, truth is necessary to God’s purpose – “…these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name,” where, “these” encompasses the entire Scriptures even if only stated once in John. However, that does not mean that the Scriptures are alone sufficient to produce belief which we understand is not the case from the Scriptures.

        Then, “Jesus was giving those teachings to unbelievers so that they would seek to believe that He is the Christ and through believing have life in His name.”

        Of course, but what does Jesus also say, “…light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil.”

        Then, “His warnings were about being hardened if one shuts their eyes to the truth… and they were given for the same purpose!”

        Paul disagrees with you saying, “…it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. God has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.” God may use the Scriptures to harden people. As Jesus explained, ““Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” And they were even more astonished and said to Him, “Then who can be saved?” Looking upon them, Jesus *said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”

        Then, “I’m glad Jesus had a more merciful purpose in His preaching than you give him credit for!”

        I give credit to the entire Godhead – God, the Son, the Holy Spirit – in salvation understanding that each has a role in the salvation of the unsaved. Christ did His part; God and the Holy Spirit then came in and sealed the deal.

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  3. In my discussion with many to find answers to how exactly God’s sovereignty and man’s freedom interact I find that the argument typically follows as such: If men have a sin nature and are slaves to sin, dead in the their transgressions, then they will never choose God, and are unable to choose God. In their sin nature they have freedom but it always leads ultimately to sin. Because God first has to provide some kind of means to unblind them, change their hearts, open their ears, or make them alive (did I cover all the scriptural analogies?). Only then does a person have true liberty to act apart from their sin nature and then will always choose God because He will not do a work like this and not see it through to it’s logical end, which is salvation. This is to show us that Ephesians 2:8, Faith is a gift of God, God must do all the work in salvation otherwise people will boast in their own action. If people have any part of their salvation then this undercuts the work of God and enables boasting, for we are to boast in Christ, not in our decision.

    In my personal reflection, though not a Biblical passage, I think of my salvation process. My older brother was saved, and began to share with me about the Bible, God, but mostly the creation and the need for a creator. Because i was agnostic, the part that mostly impacted me in the beginning was scientific data and the arguments for a creator. I respected my brother, and began to ponder these things from time to time because of that respect. After about 6 months, I met another Christian who also challenged me on my beliefs. I also found that I was a slave to sins and that they were affecting my life negatively. As an 18 year old I was addicted to pornography and spent my time very selfishly always playing video games, seeking something to entertain and get me through life. But when I laid my head down at night my life felt empty, meaningless, and I hated it. But here is what I decided to do, on my own, not by suggestion of any Christian’s influence. I stopped looking at pornography, focused more on school, and took a general interest in others, rather than spending all of my time selfishly. I wanted to try living a better life, because I didn’t like the outcome I was getting currently, which was depression, anger, hate. So after about a month of this new lifestyle, I started feeling better, I had a new and better perspective, and I realized what a hold those things had on my previously. At the end of this month, a Christian advised me to read the book of James, so one night I was feeling depressed because of some relational issues, and decided to read the Bible. God spoke to me through these passages, and I confessed during my reading that ‘God was real.’ Upon this verbal confession, a feeling of peace, warmth, love rushed over me and took me by great surprise. Not being sure what to think of this, I decided to further investigate the Christian faith and started attending a church. God continued to speak to me through the preaching of the word both in a youth group and in a Sunday service. After about two weeks I asked the youth pastor how to follow Christ, because I decided that I wanted to know more about this God who kept speaking to me through His word.

    So I made a decision (actually many decisions over about 6 weeks), which lead to me hearing a gospel presentation, and then I prayed in faith to follow Christ. I didn’t fully understand what I was doing, but I knew that I wanted to follow the God of the Bible. After this, I began to read the word daily, sometimes for hours, to understand more about God. I began praying when I felt depressed and I would immediately feel better. Baptism followed after about a month, my life changed drastically, and I thank God for saving me.

    So the question is…did God give me the ability to stop sinning a month and a half before I actually confessed Christ? How did that happen? Because of the way in which I came to faith, I have always had a leaning toward a freewill systematic (for all of these things seemed like very real choices to me, and I don’t know that we could categorize them outside of ‘genuinely good’ decisions), and have always had difficulty with Calvinism. Though I have attended many Baptist churches, even a reformed baptist church for some time. It is an issue that I find mostly unimportant, because my focus has been on sharing the Gospel. But lately I find the issue of God’s sovereignty and man’s freewill quite vexing, as I have been studying in this area lately. I appreciate this blog, for an alternative perspective…but really the greatest difficulty for me in committing to a traditionalist perspective is the idea of saying that men aren’t totally depraved, because of Romans 3, 1 Cor 2, Rom 7-8, and the problem of choosing. Are there Bible texts about men choosing God? The difficulty is that every time Paul talks about believers he always calls them chosen by God…how do we square these together?

    The other issue is this of deadness, how do we deal with something like Acts 16:14. Is that how we would describe something like my conversion? Did God work in my life so that I would pay attention to the Gospel? I have been thinking in the logic like this: God brought His truth to me through two Christians. I felt some conviction (either because I didn’t like the way my life was going, or because God was supernaturally drawing me) to honestly evaluate the claims of the Gospel. After realizing my sin problems, and seeking God’s help in my life, he enabled me through reading His word and hearing the preaching of His word to make a freewill decision. The light of the Gospel and the Word enabled me a chance to see my sin problem and the only solution. I prayed in faith for Jesus to save me and to commit to follow God. But this creates the issue…how does that square with Romans 3…if there are none that seek God, then how was I seeking God? To use this logic on this blog, it puts salvation in my control, yes it was all of God’s grace, but I still chose it in such a way that my will determined the outcome. Where can we support this with scripture? Again the example I quote of Acts, Lydia didn’t seek God, God sought her (sending the Gospel), and opened her heart…it seems to support the idea that God is doing it all, that men can’t choose God unless he does something to enable them to see the truth (on a level stronger that just sending the Gospel).

    I would appreciate anyone’s efforts from either side of the debate.

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    1. Travis, it was a great blessing to wake up and read your testimony and understanding of the debate. A Calvinist would have a hard time pin pointing in your story when they believed their “regeneration” of your will happened and then everything flowed irresistibly after that. But they always have the problem of defenfing tge notion of two kinds of spritual life… one at that strange view of regeneration and one later when Christ and His righteous life is received.

      It is clear that God gives enabling enlightenment before regeneration to every person at some point in their life like He did to you. Job 33:14-30, John 1:4-13, Acts 17:26-27, Rom 1, 2, 10:18, 2Pet 3:9. But that light is not irresistible.

      I like pointing to Heb 3:7-8 where the warning for those once enlightened but who not yet entered salvation is – “Today if you hear His voice do not harden your heart.” This warning can not be for the Calvinist “elect” for they cannot harden their heart once they hear. And the warning would be a lie that will never come true. The warning cannot be for the Calvinist “reprobate” for they can never hear and they need no warning for they can only harden their heart.

      We have some tenacious Calvinist friends on this site… so you will now see some of their reasoning as they try to combat this scriptural evidence and twist passages to maintain their loyalty to their position of regeneration life to some …then irresistible grace … then receiving the righteous life of Christ.

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    2. Thanks for sharing your testimony brother. All of the passages you listed as concerns are covered on this blog and the podcast so keep digging in and searching.

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    3. Travis writes, “I find that the argument typically follows as such:…”

      That was a very good summary. You listen well and understand better than many.

      Then, “I think of my salvation process….But here is what I decided to do, on my own, not by suggestion of any Christian’s influence. I wanted to try living a better life, because I didn’t like the outcome I was getting currently…God spoke to me through [the Scriptures],…I decided to further investigate the Christian faith and started attending a church. God continued to speak to me through the preaching of the word both in a youth group and in a Sunday service. After about two weeks I asked the youth pastor how to follow Christ, because I decided that I wanted to know more about this God who kept speaking to me through His word.”

      Where you conclude “…I decided…on my own…” Paul corrects you and says, “…I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus….it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”

      Then, “…it was all of God’s grace, but I still chose it in such a way that my will determined the outcome.”

      Exactly the way a Calvinist could (but maybe wouldn’t) describe it. By determined, you mean that you acted of your own free will to follow Christ.

      Finally, “I would appreciate anyone’s efforts from either side of the debate.”

      Just get involved in the discussions that arise here and ask in small pieces; not books all at a time. Looks like you are pretty astute at discerning the different sides of issues and need only pursue what the Scriptures say on the issues.

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    4. Travis,
      Good questions.

      I un-became a Calvinist after simply reading the Bible over and over and putting aside my Sproul, Piper, vanTil, Packer etc who had showed me how to piece together the Reformed view.

      As I read massive passages each day, the Bible “sounded” like God enables all men, calls all men (Christ said he would call all men to himself), and wants all men, but He leaves that to them (didn’t He do that thousands of times with his chosen people in the OT?).

      The Bible shows God calling men, sending prophets etc over and over and men over and over refusing Him or choosing Him (“choose for yourselves today whom you will serve.”)

      Romans asks us “What does Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.'” again and again attributing some kind of meaning to man’s faith (see Hebrews 11 and the ‘hall of faith’). Speaking of Hebrews 11 …6 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

      Of course the Scripture talks a lot more of seeking God (Christ announces to a hill full of non-believers: “Seek ye first..” “Seek and you shall find”) —-then it does about “unable to seek.”

      Way too much mileage has been made out of the poetic language of Romans 3 (look that passage up in context: we dont ALL have viper venom under our tongues or ALL kill people with our feet). But even Arminians will agree that is true that we do not (would not) naturally seek God, but He enables us —-all men— even as Christ said he would draw all men to Himself.

      God does draw and lead, but He lets people stray or refuse. Look at the “chosen” of the OT. Thousands and thousands of them were chosen and yet still denied God and fled in rebellion. Other “non-chosen” (think Rahab and Ruth) became chosen by their faith. So, please dont let that “chosen” word trip you up. Christ is the Chosen One. Any one in Christ (like those in the ark, or those in the house with blood on the door) is chosen.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Since the fall of Adam I see God speaking to sinners in a way that you would expect, if they had the ability to respond! When Jesus said “repent or perish ” he did not follow with “oh, never mind you can’t repent until I regenerate your heart”, when God’s word says ” turn from your wicked ways” it is not followed by “but you cannot turn until I make you able”, when God says ” you will find me when you seek for me with all your heart” He does’t really mean your heart ( the one you have right now) but a future heart He will give you, really? God does not speak as if we are so dead we cannot respond. If sinners are that dead, someone should have told God before He wrote the Bible. It would seem to me, God wasted a lot of words talking to dead people. The word of God shows people their sin and need of a Savour . They can then respond in faith or reject the message of salvation.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “If sinners are that dead, someone should have told God before He wrote the Bible.”

      OK. So, why does God also describe in great detail the spiritual deadness of people and the results of that spiritual deadness? Are you advocating that spiritually dead people can respond to God without first receiving faith?

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      1. RHutchin:

        First of all, which description of dead are you referring to? Is it Luke 15 where twice Christ himself refers to the prodigal son as “dead” and yet the passage also says “when he was in a far away land… he came to his senses.”? Did the Father bring him home? Did he impose faith on him? No, he waited.

        Second, we truly believe that we are dead in our sins. There is NOTHING we can do to save ourselves. We hear exactly what the jailer heard in Acts 16 when he asked “what must I do to be saved?” Believe.

        Scripture’s response is not: “If God gives you faith….you can.” Paul did not say “Apparently God has given you faith…”

        Nope. Just believe.

        We see that he needs to simply believe, not the idea that he has been given faith.

        Thirdly, yes, we are advocating that anyone can respond to God’s offer, since Christ said he would call to ALL men when lifted up.

        It is ironic that you (and many Calvinists) use so easily and quickly these terms that do not appear in the Bible: “receiving faith.” That is not even a phrase anywhere in the Bible, and one must really “want” to see it, to make some verses “say” it. That is what I did for years and years when I approached the Bible (Reformed books in hand) to find the verses I needed.

        Scripture is so good to us and so clear to show us Christ’s pathos …

        “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” (Mattew/ Luke)

        Christ offers. He wants. He is longing. But people don’t believe.

        If He is the withhold-er of the faith they need, then so much of Scripture makes no sense (or worse, Christ’s pathos here deceives us).

        Liked by 2 people

      2. “First of all, which description of dead are you referring to? ”

        Let’s work with Ephesians 2.
        “you were dead in your trespasses and sins,…and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.”

        Here Paul explains that God remedies the situation, “…when we were dead in our transgressions, [God] us alive…(by grace you have been saved)”

        I take the prodigal son and the jailer descriptions to be subordinate to Ephesians 2 meaning that Ephesians 2 provides the overall action that takes place even in the cases of the prodigal son and the jailer. How do you harmonize Ephesians 2 with the prodigal son and the jailer?

        Then, “We see that he needs to simply believe, not the idea that he has been given faith. ”

        Again Ephesians 2, “…by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;…” How does that work in your system.

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      3. Rhutchin:

        You are making all the parables from Christ own mouth subordinate to a few verses in the epistles that you “interpret” the way you want to hear.

        No Greek scholar I have ever met / read takes Eph 2:8,9 to say that the faith is the gift of God. The Greek does not support that.

        That fact that you are willing to take some verses in the Epistles (that have alternate interpretations available) to override (make subordinate) the words of Christ is indicative of how far you will go to make Calvinism true. No shame there. I did the same for years.

        But reading the Bible through every year and seeing the God of the OT (and Israel “the chosen” constantly refusing Him) and the Christ of the NT, I kept stumbling on …..hummmm….say the Wedding Parable where the Master prepared the feast ….“But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business.”

        Once again, for the hundredth time, I saw that God calls and invites but people can resist (wondering why in the world I was believing in “irresistible grace” when we see thousands of examples of people resisting God in the Word).

        So I gave up my 30-40 proof text verses (that can actually be interpreted differently anyway and are really not R-theo proof texts).

        I encourage you to stop focusing on the few verses, that are so often repeated, and listen to the sound of the Bible.

        I know that requires a lot since you—–like I was—– are convinced that starting with your definition of “sovereignty” and your definition of “dead” gives God the most glory. That is honorable.

        I struggled with that, but reading the whole Word over and over convinced me that He has the most glory when I see Him as he presents Himself —- in Christ (1) calling all men when lifted up (2) calling out “O Jerusalem …but you were not willing” (3) inviting people to the wedding feast only to see them refuse (4) telling the multitude to “seek first the kingdom” and seeing many of them refuse to do that.

        His invitation rings hollow if there is no way that they can accept.

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      4. “No Greek scholar I have ever met / read takes Eph 2:8,9 to say that the faith is the gift of God. The Greek does not support that.”

        I don’t believe this. I have heard that, because of gender issues, “faith” by itself is not identified as the gift, instead the entire phrase, “…by grace you have been saved through faith..” is the gift of God. Since “grace” is by definition a gift, then faith also is being described as a gift.

        Then, “That fact that you are willing to take some verses in the Epistles (that have alternate interpretations available) to override (make subordinate) the words of Christ is indicative of how far you will go to make Calvinism true. ”

        All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is truth. Ephesians 2 proclaims God’s truth as much as that which Jesus preached. This is not an issue of alternate interpretations but of harmonizing truth form different parts of the Scriptures. Calvinism just seeks to harmonize different truths. You are free to disagree with the conclusions Calvinism arrives at and offer another way to harmonize these truths. So, tell us how you harmonize them – if you cannot do so, that’s OK.

        Then, “I saw that God calls and invites but people can resist (wondering why in the world I was believing in “irresistible grace” when we see thousands of examples of people resisting God in the Word). ”

        The preaching of the gospel is an outward call by God whereby people are commanded to repent and believe the gospel. All God’s commands can be resisted, for God has granted people the freedom to willfully disobey any or all of His commandments. The work of the Holy Spirit results in an inward change of the individual. Read John 3, where you will see that the new birth affected by the Holy Spirit is not resistible. The conveyance of faith through the gospel is also not resistible.

        Then, “I encourage you to stop focusing on the few verses, that are so often repeated, and listen to the sound of the Bible.”

        “…the sound of the Bible.” Sounds like new age stuff to me. How about taking the entire Scriptures and harmonize the whole even if we have to work on a few verses at a time – you have to start somewhere.

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      5. Even Calvin did not support the faith-as-gift idea. http://chafer.nextmeta.com/files/v12n2_4is_faith_a_gift_from_god_according.pdf

        Of course Ligonier Ministries and others —working backwards from the idea that it HAS to be a gift—- will put up some argument about this, but the Greek does not support it. I had all my Greek and Hebrew at a Reformed school, so I once also used that start-with-the-answer argument.

        I will ignore your spiteful “new age” comment. I will simple ask once again, what do we do with all the sincere-sounding calls of Christ to follow Him—when no one can unless He gives faith?

        There are many, many passages in either the OT (with God’s chosen people) or in the NT (with Christ’s clear, broad calling for pagans to follow Him/ seek Him) where it is clear that God WANTED them to do it but they did not.

        You keep asking how we reconcile your few verses: we know that God is the enabler!!! All the verses about Him initiating etc are true (we very comfortably harmonize Scripture), but He does not “force”. He calls dead men to Himself and makes faith possible to all.

        Please tell me how you harmonize the multitude of passages (many times more passages) where sincerely Christ calls all men to Himself (when lifted up), when He tells the multitude to seek the kingdom, when He prepares the wedding feast for them (and they dont come). Are they resisting, or is this invitation hollow, since it is not possible?

        When I was a Calvinist I was not harmonizing the hundreds of passages where God clearly calls/ wants/ enables, but man clearly resists.

        To say that man cannot respond unless God quickens, and once quickened cannot say no….. is not the definition of faith, or love, or any kind of personal relationship.

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  5. Faith is a part of human reality. God created all people with the ability to believe. If you fly in an airplane you do it because you have faith it will land you safely. We work because we have faith we will receive payment for our labors. We drive our cars because we believe we will arrive safely without a crash. We eat food because we trust it is free of poison. We marry because we have faith in someones faithfulness to us. Would you sit in a chair you believed would collapse? Humans are religious because they believe in something, even an atheist. If man was no longer a believing creature the world as we know it would cease to exist. Some will say, “that is not saving faith, ” and they are right . What we put our faith in must have the power to actually save us. The Gospel is power of God unto salvation. It is clear that man can have
    faith in any belief system, but when it comes to the Gospel some will say he has no ability to respond in faith. I accept what Bible says , man is called to believe the Gospel as to be saved and he can if he will !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Faith is a part of human reality. God created all people with the ability to believe…What we put our faith in must have the power to actually save us. The Gospel is power of God unto salvation….when it comes to the Gospel some will say he has no ability to respond in faith. I accept what Bible says, man is called to believe the Gospel as to be saved and he can if he will!”

      The Bible says, “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.” Those who are perishing would be those without faith and those being saved would be those with faith. Some have faith; some don’t. So, where does faith come from? “…faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10) This is the incentive for missionary activity – the realization that no one can be saved apart from the hearing of the gospel, so the expediency for sending people throughout the world to proclaim the gospel.

      Yet, all who hear the gospel preached are not saved. What do we make of this? This Paul explains in Ephesians 2 – salvation requires the quickening of God to prepare the good soil in which faith can flourish.

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  6. Rhutchin writes…

    “Here Paul explains that God remedies the situation, “…when we were dead in our transgressions, [God] us alive…(by grace you have been saved)”

    Now in context….

    Ephesians 2:4-5 (NKJV)…..
    But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)

    First, “even when we were dead in trespasses” refers to when He (God) loved us (John 3:16) and not with when he “made us alive”.

    Even Charles Spurgeon understood this when he wrote…

    “God loved us even when we were dead in sins. His love does not depend upon what we are; it flows from his own heart. It is not love of something good in us; it is love of us because of everything good in him. Here you see the greatness of his grace, in that “he loved us, even when we were dead in sins.”

    Second, notice how “made us alive together with Christ” is also associated with having “been saved”. Thus, those who have been “made alive together with Christ” are indeed saved.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. phillip writes, “First, “even when we were dead in trespasses” refers to when He (God) loved us (John 3:16) and not with when he “made us alive”.

      I agree. In context, “us,” refers to the “the saints who are at Ephesus,” which we can properly extrapolate to include all the saints (i.e., God’s elect) by the description of these as “faithful in Christ Jesus.” God loved His elect even when they were dead in their trespasses and sins – before He saved them. So, in John 3:16, God gave His son so that those believing in Christ (or His elect) would have eternal life. In this passage, Paul does not speak of God loving or quickening each and every individual.

      Then, “Second, notice how “made us alive together with Christ” is also associated with having “been saved”. Thus, those who have been ‘made alive together with Christ” are indeed saved.'”

      But some identify it with “born again” of John 3. As Paul later says, “…by grace you have been saved through faith;…” we can conclude that the quickening was necessary and sufficient to the expression of faith by the individual and that the quickening by God together with the expression of faith by the individual produce salvation.

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      1. John 3:16. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

        Some Calvinists, like Rhutchin, have to replace “cosmos” with “eklektos”. While it is true that eternal life is only for the believer, God’s salvific love was for “the world”.

        Rhutchin writes…

        “In context, ‘us’, refers to the ‘the saints who are at Ephesus’, which we can properly extrapolate to include all the saints (i.e., God’s elect) by the description of these as ‘faithful in Christ Jesus.’ God loved His elect even when they were dead in their trespasses and sins – before He saved them.”

        There is a debate within Christendom on exactly who the “us” is referring to. That said, while Paul is clearly writing to “the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus”, God’s love for them was while they were still lost (dead in trespasses in sin) so this would be *before* they became “the faithful in Christ Jesus”. So Rhutchin’s attempt to blur “dead in trespasses and sin” with “made alive together with Christ” is in error.

        Rhutchin writes… But some identify it with “born again” of John 3. As Paul later says, “…by grace you have been saved through faith;…” we can conclude that the quickening was necessary and sufficient to the expression of faith by the individual and that the quickening by God together with the expression of faith by the individual produce salvation.

        Pointless.

        “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ/born again/quickened by the Spirit (by grace you have been saved).”

        “Made alive together with Christ” or “born again” or “quickened by the Spirit” all represent having “been saved”. Once someone is saved the process of salvation is complete. Nothing else is require.

        Yes, Paul writes… “For by grace you have been saved through faith”, but Paul also relates being “made alive together with Christ” as having “been saved”.

        So putting the verses together it would read….

        “For by grace you have been made alive together with Christ/born again/quickened by the Spirit (saved) through faith”.

        And like brother Brian so aptly states, we will let the reader decide whose understanding is based on scriptural evidence.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. phillip writes, “Some Calvinists, like Rhutchin, have to replace “cosmos” with “eklektos”.”

        Not I. However, Arthur Pink makes an interesting argument for doing such – you might argue against that in the future. I think the context of John is all about God saving gentiles and not just Jews and a Jew would define the world to mean Jews and gentiles. I see that as a major theme in the Scriptures – that God loves both Jews and gentiles.

        Then, ” So Rhutchin’s attempt to blur “dead in trespasses and sin” with “made alive together with Christ” is in error.”

        How so?? “dead in trespasses and sin” is a reference to the total depravity of believers before they were saved. “made alive together with Christ” is a reference to the new birth of John 3. I don’t see how these could be understood as blurred.

        Then, ““Made alive together with Christ” or “born again” or “quickened by the Spirit” all represent having “been saved”. Once someone is saved the process of salvation is complete. Nothing else is require.”

        That just means that a person is saved when born again by the Holy Spirit. I have no problem with that. The real problem is what to do about faith. Brian has taken the position that faith can be exercised after a person has been enlightened. I don’t think faith can be expressed until the person has undergone the inward change of new birth.

        Nice comments Phillip, even if they started with a little confusion regarding cosmos and eklektos.

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      3. Rhutchin,

        Sorry for the confusion related to John 3:16. I see “the world” relating to both the elect and non-elect (thank God!).

        You wrote/asked…. “How so?? ‘dead in trespasses and sin’ is a reference to the total depravity of believers before they were saved. ‘made alive together with Christ’ is a reference to the new birth of John 3. I don’t see how these could be understood as blurred….. I don’t think faith can be expressed until the person has undergone the inward change of new birth.”

        My “blurred” comment was to disprove your stance that God “made us alive together with Christ” related to “dead in trespasses and sin” as an attempt to prove an “order of salvation”. The point was, as Spurgeon agreed, that “dead in trespasses and sin” relates to *when* God loved us. Your attempt to use these verses to prove an “order of salvation” fails.

        Also, I know you believe “made alive together with Christ” relates to the “new birth”. However, in Ephesians 2:4-5, Paul related “made alive together with Christ” with having “been saved”. In other words….

        Made alive together with Christ/New birth = have been saved.

        That is how the text reads. Now take that and insert it with “been saved” in verse 8 and it reads…

        “For by grace you have made alive together with Christ/born from above via the new birth through faith.”

        That aligns itself perfectly with Galatians 3:26….

        “For ye are all the children of God (via the new birth) by faith in Christ Jesus.”

        Hope this helps.

        God bless.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. phillip writes, ” I see “the world” relating to both the elect and non-elect (thank God!).”

        That gives us this: “God so loved the [non-elect], that He gave His only begotten Son, that [the elect] should not perish, but have eternal life.” The non-elect are those that God knew before He created the world would not be saved. So, the need is to explain how God loves the non-elect if they will not be saved – God’s purpose in giving Christ is to save only the elect (those believing in Christ). The difficulty I see here led me to conclude that the term, “world,” means Jew and gentile – with the salvation of both Jews and gentiles being a common theme in the OT and NT.

        Then, “My “blurred” comment was to disprove your stance that God “made us alive together with Christ” related to “dead in trespasses and sin” as an attempt to prove an “order of salvation”. The point was, as Spurgeon agreed, that “dead in trespasses and sin” relates to *when* God loved us. Your attempt to use these verses to prove an “order of salvation” fails.”

        No order of salvation!! Are you saying that those “God quickened” were not “dead in sin”? Certainly, we can agree that God loved His elect even when they were dead in sin. However, it must be true that people were dead in sin at the time God quickened them. I don’t think you mean to say that God quicken them and later they became dead in sin – Do you? I don’t understand your objection.

        Then, “Made alive together with Christ/New birth = have been saved.
        That is how the text reads. Now take that and insert it with “been saved” in verse 8 and it reads…
        “For by grace you have made alive together with Christ/born from above via the new birth through faith.”
        That aligns itself perfectly with Galatians 3:26….
        “For ye are all the children of God (via the new birth) by faith in Christ Jesus.”’

        Your point being that faith precedes the new birth. Let’s add some more information:

        “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation–having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,…” (Ephesians 1:13)

        “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.” (Romans 3:28 )

        “…to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness,” (Romans 4:5)

        “…having been justified by faith, we have peace with God…” (Romans 5:1)

        “…did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?” (Galatians 3:2)

        “…you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26)

        “…unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God…he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3)

        Putting all this information together, we have the following events:

        (1) The original condition of people is that of being dead in sin (Total Depravity). (Ephesians 2)
        (2) Then comes listening to the gospel (Ephesians 1) (the hearing of Romans 10),
        (3) The person receives faith (Romans 10)
        (4) The person believes, (Ephesians 1)
        (5) The person is justified by that faith (Romans 4-5)
        (6) The person is sealed by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1)
        (7) The person receives new birth/is made alive with Christ. (John 3/Ephesians 2)
        (8) The person can see the kingdom of God and enter the kingdom of God. (John 3)

        Everything after faith occurs simultaneously and immediately after the expression of faith.

        Does that work with what you are arguing?

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      5. Ephesian 2 says nothing about total depravity. Its about separation from God. Look at the language used: Ephesians 2:11-14 (HCSB)
        11 So then, remember that at one time you were Gentiles in the flesh—called “the uncircumcised” by those called “the circumcised,” ⌊which is done⌋ in the flesh by human hands.
        12 At that time you were without the Messiah, excluded from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.
        13 But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah.
        14 For He is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. In His flesh,

        Romans 10 says nothing about receiving faith. It says faith comes to the hearer. Man is the agent of his faith. This is seen throughout the New Testament where men are commanded to believe and commended for their belief.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. erneststrauss writes, “Ephesian 2 says nothing about total depravity. ”

        “1 …you were dead in your trespasses and sins,
        2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.
        3 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.
        4 But God,…made us alive…”

        The remedy for the deadness of the person was the active intervention of God.

        Then, “Romans 10 says nothing about receiving faith. It says faith comes to the hearer.”

        I agree. Nothing said about receiving. The gift of faith is one of the graces of God and is irresistible.

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      7. Earlier Rhutchin wrote…..

        “Made alive together with Christ is a reference to the new birth of John 3….I don’t think faith can be expressed until the person has undergone the inward change of new birth.”

        Now he writes…

        “No order of salvation!!”

        Confusing.

        Then he writes….

        “Your point being that faith precedes the new birth.”

        Exactly. And rhuthin’s point, if I understand him correctly, is the new birth precedes faith.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Phillip:

        That is Rhuthin’s point.

        Sproul has said it many times “regeneration precedes faith.”

        Now, MacArthur and others balked at that, since they had always taught “Justification by faith”….but they are coming around one by one to this interestingly awkward position. After doing the math they cannot have us justified by faith, since we are “dead”.

        So they have to regenerate (which is so often associated with new birth, justification, etc) first.

        So it looks like this I think (dont want to set up a straw man now so I’ll let them correct me if I am wrong).

        Dead– regenerated (new birth, made alive in Christ, or just alive…no not the “in Christ” part)….rats, let me start over.

        Dead — regenerated (made alive) — given faith — repent in faith — justified — in Christ.

        I’m not sure I have it right but no matter how you slice it they are justified twice! And none of this is controllable by them, stoppable by them, or reversible by them.

        I get scolded for saying the 2nd justification is forced on them. They say “Oh no, once we are made alive, we willingly and gladly respond in faith.” Oh, so you exercise your free will? “Yes!!” Could you exercise it to not accept salvation? “No, it is irresistible.”

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      9. “I get scolded for saying the 2nd justification is forced on them. They say “Oh no, once we are made alive, we willingly and gladly respond in faith.” Oh, so you exercise your free will? “Yes!!” Could you exercise it to not accept salvation? “No, it is irresistible.””

        It is grace that is irresistible, not faith. Grace initiates the new birth – identified with the good soil of the parable – and this sets the stage for faith to be conveyed to the person. Faith is that described in Hebrews 11 – the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Paul adds in Colossians 1, “…the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel,…” The new birth frees the person from slavery to sin so that a person can receive faith and respond positively to the gospel. As a matter of free will, a person who has experienced new birth could reject salvation but with the introduction of faith, Christ becomes irresistible and we don’t find faith rejecting Christ.

        I don’t think that the new birth conveys justification. The new birth only allows one to see and enter the kingdom of heaven. Does it do anything beyond that?

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      10. Rhutchin:

        By your OWN post above you have new birth at #7 long after receiving faith and being justified. Which one are you really advocating?

        —-(rhutchin) The new birth frees the person from slavery to sin so that a person can receive faith and respond positively to the gospel.

        —-(rhutchin) Everything after faith occurs simultaneously and immediately after the expression of faith. ((new birth is listed in the things that follow, see your #7 above)))

        No wonder a person has to be instructed (by another person) in the ways of Calvin!!

        Liked by 1 person

      11. “By your OWN post above you have new birth at #7 long after receiving faith and being justified. Which one are you really advocating? ”

        I was trying to put Phillip’s system in the order he would have it. My ordering would have the new birth first. I think you might have reading comprehension issues.

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      12. phillip writes, “Exactly. And rhuthin’s point, if I understand him correctly, is the new birth precedes faith.”

        Correct.

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      13. Correct because Calvinists just say so. Not because the Bible does.

        The phrase is “justification by faith” not “justified then given faith.”

        Rom 4:3 (NT quoting OT) What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

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      14. “The phrase is “justification by faith” not “justified then given faith.”

        New birth, then faith, thus justification.

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      15. FromOverHere,

        Thanks. I am all too familiar with Sproul and the Calvinistic teaching of “regeneration precedes faith” and their “Ordo salutis.”

        But, in their defense, it all makes sense if you read their material over and over again and allow them to define terms. There was even a time when I felt its pull.

        Regarding the topic of this thread I have had Calvinists tell me that because man is totally depraved he is spiritually dead like a corpse and a corpse can’t believe anything. Man must first be “made alive” before he can believe anything.

        I then took them to 2 Thessalonians 2:11….

        “And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie…”

        I asked “Wouldn’t God have to regenerate them first so they could believe the lie?”

        Speechless.

        Then the Calvinist back-peddled (I assume after consulting other Calvinists) and said “Well, the unregenerate can respond to God, but only in a negative way.”

        But isn’t a “negative way” still a response? How can a corpse respond at all? Isn’t any kind of response (even a “yes” or “no”) a sign of life?

        Crickets.

        Liked by 1 person

      16. Phillip:

        Fantastic concept.

        I usually refer them to Luke 15 and a very popular parable. Twice Christ calls the son “dead” and yet while still in a far off land he “comes to his senses” (dead?—-yes still “dead”).

        MacArthur called this the Parable of the Seeking Father until a couple years ago when his book came out. I think he realized that the father did not seek anything. Just waited.

        I also refer to the fact that we are dead to sin yet still manage to do it. We are even buried in Christ, hidden in Christ, (For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God, Col 3:3) and yet….we are alive enough to sin.

        Why is the other “deadness” so dead it cannot respond to the Gospel?

        Only because they say so.

        Liked by 1 person

      17. “I usually refer them to Luke 15 and a very popular parable. Twice Christ calls the son “dead” and yet while still in a far off land he “comes to his senses” (dead?—-yes still “dead”).”

        Let’s not forget the motivation for the son to return home, “‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! ‘I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him…make me as one of your hired men.”’” Never discount the self-interest that can drive people to action.

        Then, “Why is the other “deadness” so dead it cannot respond to the Gospel? ”

        Jesus said, “No one can come to me…” (John 6) Paul said, “…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) What is the remedy, “…when we were dead in our transgressions, [God] made us alive…” Contrast the active intervention of God in the lives of sinners with the passive action of the father of the prodigal son.

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      18. Rhutchin:

        The point is that he is “dead” and still chooses life and to go to the Father.

        Of course there is self-interest and Christ appeals to it in the “repent or be like the people that a tower fell on!” You make no point at all saying there is self-interest in responding Christ.

        I have dealt the the John 6 part many times (pre-cross, talking to his disciples; post cross “will draw all men to myself”) —and besides, we believe that no one can come him unless drawn —and we are!

        As for the other verses we believe them also just looked at a different way.

        Liked by 1 person

      19. phillip writes, “I then took them to 2 Thessalonians 2:11….
        “And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie…”
        I asked “Wouldn’t God have to regenerate them first so they could believe the lie?”
        Speechless.”

        Prior to v11, we read, “…the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.”

        So, the focus is on those who perish because they refuse to accept the truth of the gospel – they are unregenerate. We are then told that “God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.” Seems like piling on.

        So, what is going on? Do you know? My thinking is that the unregenerate are normally indifferent to the gospel considering it to be foolishness per 1 Corinthians 1. But in the 2:11 context, they will actively embrace a false gospel in order to set the stage for their judgment. I think you need to sort out what is happening in these verses before you can introduce Calvinism.

        Then, “Then the Calvinist back-peddled (I assume after consulting other Calvinists) and said “Well, the unregenerate can respond to God, but only in a negative way.”

        But isn’t a “negative way” still a response? How can a corpse respond at all? Isn’t any kind of response (even a “yes” or “no”) a sign of life?”

        The unregenerate are able to respond to the gospel – they respond by calling it foolishness. The metaphor of a corpse is to illustrate the inability of the spiritually dead person to initiate any move toward Christ. “No one can come to me…” Jesus says in John 6. However, a spiritually dead person is physically alive and has faculties of thinking and reasoning that have been so corrupted that he considers the gospel foolishness and always respond to the gospel by rejecting it.

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      20. Rhuthchin:
        You have provided proof here that Calvinists believe that man (though dead) can respond (good/bad) to EVERY other situation in life except Christ. Why? Because Calvinists declare it to be.

        1. There is no Scriptural basis for this disconnect (we are alive-resonse-able in every way, but dead in this one way).

        2. This always seems to be based on the the John 6 “no one can come to me” verse. To which I say:

        (a) We BELIEVE that (even when Calvinist take it out of context)!!! God IS the one drawing men to Himself. This verse is not a Calvinist-owned verse alone—being plucked out of context at will to trump all other teachings.

        (b) Christ is speaking here to His disciples in his pre-cross mode of not-yet-fully-revealed. He promised later that He will drawn all men to Himself when lifted up (John 12:32).

        Why oh why are not the words of Christ (speaking of his cross) the go-to words for Calvinists? Even the Reformed ESV is clear:

        And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

        Liked by 1 person

      21. “You have provided proof here that Calvinists believe that man (though dead) can respond (good/bad) to EVERY other situation in life except Christ. Why? Because Calvinists declare it to be.”

        This can be easily observed in normal life situations. People will be completely rational in making non-salvation decisions looking at the pros and cons and coming to a rational decision based on the evidence. What happens when people are confronted with their need for salvation? They go crazy and become completely irrational. You need to get out more.

        Then, “1. There is no Scriptural basis for this disconnect (we are alive-resonse-able in every way, but dead in this one way).”

        “…the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness…” (1 Corinthians 1)

        Then, “2. This always seems to be based on the the John 6 “no one can come to me” verse. ”

        This is a clear, direct expression of an universal negative. No logic can deny what Jesus said and meant.

        Then, “To which I say:

        (a) We BELIEVE that (even when Calvinist take it out of context)!!! God IS the one drawing men to Himself. This verse is not a Calvinist-owned verse alone—being plucked out of context at will to trump all other teachings.”

        If it were out of context, you could take the universal negative head-on. You don’t.

        Then, “(b) Christ is speaking here to His disciples in his pre-cross mode of not-yet-fully-revealed. He promised later that He will drawn all men to Himself when lifted up (John 12:32).”

        So, who does the drawing, God or Christ?? Perhaps, we have two unique and separate contexts that you don’t consider.

        Then, “Why oh why are not the words of Christ (speaking of his cross) the go-to words for Calvinists? Even the Reformed ESV is clear:
        And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

        So, by “all people,” does Christ mean the Gentile as well as the Jew or does He mean each and every individual ever born. Are you really going to argue that Christ is, or has, drawn each and every person to Himself? Who knows, maybe your universal salvation theology will turn out to be true.

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      22. Rhutchin:

        It appears that you have used the “perishing ….foolishness” verse over 20 times in this string alone.

        1. It seems to trump all other examples. I suspect that you filter all verses of the Bible through the T in TULIP lenses that you wear.

        2. When I first started seeing chicken-scratch, musical notes on a page I thought it was stupid, even foolish. Then I learned more and understood and accepted the rules that govern the system.

        3. Of course those who dont know Christ think the whole blood-on-a-cross idea is foolishness. But even thinking THAT they are responding. They are not dead. You cannot ipso facto say that because we thought it foolishness pre-Christ, that proves we were dead and incapable. You are making “second-class” a ton of verses and parables and concepts based on one interpretation that “foolishness means dead/ incapable.”

        All Paul is saying is that those who dont know Christ think it foolishness, but we know it to be beauty and truth and power. Nothing more.

        4. He is telling them “Expect that people will think this is foolish (like they did with me in Athens when I reasoned with them every day but they called me a babbler). But even if they start thinking it is foolishness, keep reasoning…. and persuade men (2 Cor 5:11).”

        Why do “made alive” “given faith” people have to be persuaded by Paul???

        Why so many verses saying Paul was persuading men? That “gives a lot of glory to Paul” or “human rhetoric”. God goes out of his way to say that men can and should be persuaded. Acts 17:4, 18:4, 19:8, 28:23, 2 Cor 5:11.

        Why this deception, making us think that we are persuading when we actually have nothing to do with it and the decision was made before time?

        Why “persuade” and not just “proclaim” or “announce”?

        It is to persuade them that it is not foolishness.

        Liked by 1 person

      23. “It appears that you have used the “perishing ….foolishness” verse over 20 times in this string alone.”

        Yes. It is a Scriptural truth that is clear to all who read it. Even you, right!!

        Then, “1. It seems to trump all other examples. I suspect that you filter all verses of the Bible through the T in TULIP lenses that you wear.”

        All Scripture is truth, therefore, consistent with each other. That is the case here. Right!!!

        “3. Of course those who dont know Christ think the whole blood-on-a-cross idea is foolishness….They are not dead. You cannot ipso facto say that because we thought it foolishness pre-Christ, that proves we were dead and incapable. You are making “second-class” a ton of verses and parables and concepts based on one interpretation that “foolishness means dead/ incapable.”

        They are spiritually dead – dead in sin. Even you seem to agree saying, “Paul is saying is that those who dont know Christ think it foolishness,. Of course, those who don’t know Christ are dead in sin – spiritually dead – aren’t they??

        Then, “Why do “made alive” “given faith” people have to be persuaded by Paul???”

        The simple answer is that Paul had every expectation that they could be persuaded. The people have been quickened and are no longer “dead in sin.” Yet, their minds are still screwed up. Thus, Paul says, in Romans 12, “…do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,…” In his preaching/teaching, Paul is helping people to come to truth and has every expectation that God will give the increase.

        Then, “God goes out of his way to say that men can and should be persuaded. Acts 17:4, 18:4, 19:8, 28:23, 2 Cor 5:11.”

        If people could think rationally regarding Christ, all would be saved, The sad truth is that only those that God draws, makes alive and provides faith will actually think rationally, believe, and be saved. All others are consigned to thinking irrationally and will consider the gospel to be foolishness.

        Then, “Why this deception, making us think that we are persuading when we actually have nothing to do with it and the decision was made before time?”

        Well, it is God who gives the increase.

        Then, “Why “persuade” and not just “proclaim” or “announce”?”

        Not much difference. To proclaim the gospel to one whom God is drawing to Christ is to persuade.

        Then, “It is to persuade them that it is not foolishness.”

        I agree. Yet, only those prepared by God to receive the gospel will be persuaded.

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      24. This is hilarious.

        When I was a Greek and Hebrew and Reformed theology student and Calvinist and encountered these passages (“I persuade men” “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” 1 Cor 9:22) I struggled long and hard with them.

        You see, I had come to Calvinism through the “book” door (books at that time not web sites). Many books on my shelf scaffolded and pieced together the human logic that makes up Calvinism. Then I started devouring Scripture and put the books aside.

        I posit that very few if any people come to know the 5 points of Calvinism by scripture alone. they must be instructed in it. I was.

        Then I came across EVERY day verses that make no sense. Tons of them! They cannot be ignored!

        You missed my point. Paul did expect they could be persuaded (like you said), and we have every reason to believe he thought this about EVERY person he met.

        But the point is why did God in his eternal word give us the impression that we can persuade men. Do you see what that makes us think? Why does He not make it clear that we DO NOT persuade men, but He does it all. That is so misleading of Him if Calvinism is true.

        It makes us think we persuade and it makes the other person think he is persuaded, when, apparently it was God’s intention all along to make everyone KNOW that it was only Him. So misleading!

        Liked by 1 person

      25. “I posit that very few if any people come to know the 5 points of Calvinism by scripture alone. they must be instructed in it. I was.”

        I have the opposite experience. The Scriptures were leading me to conclusions that I then discovered were the same as the Calvinists had arrived at.

        Then, “Then I came across EVERY day verses that make no sense. Tons of them! They cannot be ignored!”

        I agree. The task, then, is to put it all together so that it all makes sense.

        “Paul did expect they could be persuaded (like you said), and we have every reason to believe he thought this about EVERY person he met.”

        I agree. At the same time, Paul was convinced that God was working through Him and that He would persuade people only because of that which God was doing. For example, Paul would write, “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.” It was those “who are being saved” who are persuaded. While Paul uses the passive voice, we could frame it in the active voice as, “whom God is saving.” So, can you explain at least these two concepts – the effort to persuade and the ridicule of the lost as foolishness – and describe what is happening.

        Then, “But the point is why did God in his eternal word give us the impression that we can persuade men. Do you see what that makes us think? Why does He not make it clear that we DO NOT persuade men, but He does it all.”

        One thing we might think is that we are working with God to bring people to salvation. So Paul in 1 Corinthians 3, says, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.” What do you see to be so misleading here??

        Then, “It makes us think we persuade and it makes the other person think he is persuaded, when, apparently it was God’s intention all along to make everyone KNOW that it was only Him. So misleading!”

        I find that to be the most incredible statement regarding God’s role in the salvation of His elect. “So misleading!” REALLY??? That requires further explanation especially as you see God’s role in the process of salvation and bringing people to Christ. Will you accept the challenge or quietly fade away as non-Calvinists are prone to do.

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      26. At Rhutchin’s request, further explanation to the “misleading” idea.

        God spends a lot time in His word saying:

        Because you done this, I will…

        For David’s sake I will…

        If you do this, I will do this….

        Do all things to persuade men…

        Their blood is/isn’t on your hands…

        I could go on with a list a mile long and each phrase might be used by God in His word numerous times, resulting in thousands of verses that give us the impression that what we do matters.

        Joshua “Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve….”

        But with the application of Calvin’s deterministic philosophy we are asked to believe in a determinism that rivals the In sha’Allah fatalism of Islam (it has all been decided and you are only doing what was predetermined).

        And yet every day many of us make decisions not to covet, to lust, to lie, to steal.

        If none of these decisions are being made (in any way) by us, then it is misleading for God to make us think they are.

        It is misleading to make us think our prayer our witnessing our persuading makes a difference if it does not.

        Liked by 1 person

      27. “But with the application of Calvin’s deterministic philosophy we are asked to believe in a determinism that rivals the In sha’Allah fatalism of Islam (it has all been decided and you are only doing what was predetermined).”

        God is omniscient. Thus, when God creates the world, He knows (and knew) everything that was to happen – everything that was to happen in the newly created world was determined at creation. It sounds like you are Open Theist or something similar to that. Why not just say so. Otherwise, the issue is to explain how those determined events come about and this relates to God’ sovereignty and control over all that would happen. Here, you are against the Calvinist deterministic philosophy. That’s fine – so how about you explain your philosophy on this. My thinking is that you have none.

        Then, “…every day many of us make decisions not to covet, to lust, to lie, to steal.”

        Under Calvinism, God knew these decisions in eternity past. However, that’s not the issue. The issue is to explain how these events came about under God’s control yet not caused by God (except as God is the first cause by creating the system).

        Then, “It is misleading to make us think our prayer our witnessing our persuading makes a difference if it does not.”

        OK. You definitely appear to be Open Theist or a Brian Wagner devotee. So, what is it?

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      28. Classic!
        Here is comes, right on cue!

        If you dont believe TULIP as we define it you are a pagan, un-sound heretic!

        And we all know what Calvin did with those!

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      29. “There were many true saints however! ”

        Classic non-Calvinist – unwilling to go near the concept of omniscience. No one even mentioned TULIP. Think omniscience!!! Brian has an interesting view; perhaps he will allow you to associate with him.

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      30. Arrrrrrgghhh!!! Drop the Brian quote and insert, “If you dont believe TULIP as we define it you are a pagan, un-sound heretic!”

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      31. FromOverHere,

        John 8:1-9a (NKJV)…..
        But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.

        **Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last.**

        Strange “response” for a bunch of totally depraved, dead like a corpse, unregenerate sinners.

        Liked by 1 person

      32. Oh yes…..there are many, many scriptural examples of “dead” people responding with their conscience…. and even benevolently (fortunately!—imagine this world without that!)

        But Calvinists would say there is a distinction between all those other things and being able to respond to the gospel. Why? Because they say so.

        Once you have man being their kind of “dead”—you must revive him to make the decision for Christ. He (while “dead”) can obviously —we can all see that daily— respond (good or bad) to EVERY other situation but not that one. Why?

        Because they set that up as rule #1 (that’s why it is the T!). No where does Scripture say it. Rom 3 says we dont seek God (it also says we have viper venom under our tongue) but does not disallow responding to a pro-active seeking Christ (I have come to seek and to save).

        Scripture nowhere says we are so dead we cannot respond to the Gospel, and in fact an impartial reading of hundreds of passages would fairly clearly appear to indicate that a “dead” man can!

        Liked by 1 person

      33. “But Calvinists would say there is a distinction between all those other things and being able to respond to the gospel. Why? Because they say so.”

        Are you arguing that the salvation decision is no different than any other decision??

        Then, “Once you have man being their kind of “dead”—you must revive him to make the decision for Christ. He (while “dead”) can obviously —we can all see that daily— respond (good or bad) to EVERY other situation but not that one. Why?”

        The decision to accept salvation is a no-brainer. Why don’t people approach the salvation decision just like they do all other decisions?

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      34. I like sharing how Jesus is clearly teaching truth to a man that He recognizes as needing to be born again and is still in unbelief (John 3:7, 12). Why would Jesus waste His explanations and “light” on a dead man who would be unable to respond positively if Calvinism were true?

        Jesus also appeals to the unsaved crowd to believe in the light “to become” children of light. (12:35-36) That sounds like teaching faith before regeneration to me! The purpose of John is clearly stated as belief before life (20:31).

        But it is Calvinists loyalty to determinism that forces them to believe only the so-called preselected eternally immutably get irresistible faith… for you can’t have everyone, in their faulty view, being truly able to believe and be saved.

        The evil one however must have missed Calvinism class in heaven… or is so self-deceived that he rejects determinism… for he tries to take the seed of God’s truth out of hard hearts “lest they believe and are saved.” Luke 8:12.

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      35. Yes all good examples.

        Nicodemus would be born again when he believed (he is not re-born TO believe).

        Here’s an example similar to your example that the crowd believes then becomes sons. Christ on the mount is telling a huge crowd (no doubt a mix of Calvinists’ elect and non-elect) to “seek first the kingdom” and “seek and you shall find.” No doubt that crowd (and the billions who have read those verses since) believe that they can freely seek God (a God who pro-actively sought them all first).

        It appears to all readers as a sincere invitation to all.

        This is not an epistle-level teaching to believers. It is a sincere invitation to all.

        But somehow, (because of forced-scaffolding stacked on the T of TULIP) we are to make ourselves think that even though the invitation sounds open to all there are only .0005% (or so) that are pre-re-generated enough to really seek. Another insincere invitation indeed.

        It just all seems so unnecessary —-even though I admit I was a disciple and rabid proponent of it myself.

        Liked by 1 person

      36. “It appears to all readers as a sincere invitation to all. ”

        “…the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness…” (1 Corinthians 1)

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      37. brianwagner writes, “But it is Calvinists loyalty to determinism that forces them to believe only the so-called preselected eternally immutably get irresistible faith… ”

        Actually, it is loyalty to the doctrine that God is omniscient that leads to their conclusion that all things were determined the moment God created the world.

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      38. lol…. saying “determined the moment God created” … to avoid looking like you agree Roger with “determinism… eternally immutably”. It can’t be determined at a moment before creation and be eternally determined too… that’s contradictory… but I am well aware of your loyalty to such contradictions. It would just be nice if you presented them more consistently with deterministic language instead of free will language. You made it sound as if God’s determinism followed His omniscience… which you do not believe.

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      39. brianwagner writes, “…saying “determined the moment God created”…”

        “…had already been determined….” The issue is still omniscience.

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      40. But not a “issue” about omniscience that means it influenced what you say was eternally immutably determined… but an omniscience that is somehow “logically” caused by what is eternally immutably determined, according to you, Roger… though that premise itself is illogical!

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      41. brianwagner writes, “..but an omniscience that is somehow “logically” caused by what is eternally immutably determined, according to you,…”

        Even you allow God to have determined some things in the future and to have done this in eternity past – thus you have that God is almost omniscient.

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      42. phillip writes, “**Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last.**

        Strange “response” for a bunch of totally depraved, dead like a corpse, unregenerate sinners.”

        They sought salvation through their works. They probably left to offer the proper sacrifices, so they could come back and throw stones. Just think what might happen if Jesus had said, “Let him who believes I am God cast the first stone.” They would have been stampeding over the woman to stone Jesus.

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  7. Brian/FromOverHere,

    I would caution against suggesting Nicodemus would be “born again” when he believed. I am under the persuasion that no one prior to the cross was “born again”. From what I see in scripture, believers are only declared righteous in the sight of God prior to the death, burial, and resurrection. We have to remember, there was a reason believers were denied immediate access to heaven prior to the cross.

    It is odd that the Calvinist runs to John 6 as their “proof text” of “regeneration precedes faith”, when in fact in contradicts it.

    John 6:52….
    Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, *you have no life in you*.”

    How much life? “No life”. And notice the condition (unless) that one must meet *before* we are given life. “Unless” or “except” we believe His word and put faith in his blood, we have no spiritual life. None. The eating of his flesh and drinking of his blood is symbolic for believing his word and putting faith in his blood.

    God bless.

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    1. Agreed.
      Let’s just say that Christ was close to crucifixion at that point. I can agree that in a matter of months Nicodemus will be born again when he believe (post-cross). Christ’s teaching would “go into effect” very soon. No argument with you there.

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    2. Something to think more about, Philip! Thanks. I still lean on regeneration and indwelling of believers in the OT (circumcision of the heart), though not the baptizing work of the Holy Spirit of believers into one body. I do agree that the passion and resurrection had to take place before other benefits could be experienced, like literally approaching God in heaven or being resurrected physically themselves… though OT saints still await the realization of that resurrection benefit.

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      1. Brian,

        As always, I could be wrong, but this is how I read it.

        John 3:3… Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

        Now while I lean towards this referring to the earthly kingdom (the Abrahamic Covenant, which, by the way, I think Nicodemus would have understood it), let’s say, for the sake of argument, this is the heavenly home.

        According to our Lord, the only prerequisite for entering the kingdom is being “born again”. “You must be born again.”

        If the OT saints, including up to the thief on the cross had indeed been “born again”, then why were they denied immediate access into heaven?

        From the way all scripture reads, the OT believers were only “declared righteous” and not “made righteous” until the blood was spilt at cavalry. And it is not until they were “made righteous” they we were “made alive together with Christ” via the indwelling of the Spirit who is the source of spiritual life. As shown below…

        Romans 8:10 (NIV)…..
        But if Christ is in you (via indwelling of His Spirit), your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive (born again) because of righteousness (the righteousness of Christ; we have none).

        If I have missed something brother, please let me know.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I could be wrong, Philip… but we will sure find out when we get to heaven or in the new earthly kingdom and find out how it all worked out on what were the benefits of salvation experienced by OT saints prior to the cross, after the cross, and by the church before resurrection and after resurrection! But we both agree it is all only because of Jesus and has always been through personal faith being expressed in God’s mercy and not by works! Praise His Name!

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      3. phillip writes, “According to our Lord, the only prerequisite for entering the kingdom is being “born again”. “You must be born again.””

        It could be a necessary condition but not sufficient – faith is also required.

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      4. Previously I wrote regarding John 3:3….. “According to our Lord, the only prerequisite for entering the kingdom is being ‘born again’.”

        Rhutchin wrote…. “It could be a necessary condition but not sufficient – faith is also required.”

        Here’s why rhutchin believes being born again was/is not sufficient (in the context of John 3:3).

        The calvinistic order…..

        Regeneration/Born again…..Faith…..Justification.

        The reason being born again is not sufficient for rhutchin is because both faith and justification are still required.

        The biblical order…..

        Faith…..Justification…..Regeneration/Born again.

        The reason Jesus said being born again was/is sufficient is because faith and justification have already transpired.

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      5. phillip writes, “The reason Jesus said being born again was/is sufficient is because faith and justification have already transpired.”

        What Scriptures led you to this conclusion?

        Nonetheless, it seems that we both agree that being “born again” is part of the process of salvation but not the only action in that process.

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      6. Rhutchin writes/asks…. “What Scriptures led you to this conclusion?”

        Which reminded me of our Lord’s words (John 10:25)….

        “I told you, and you do not believe.”

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    3. phillip writes, “It is odd that the Calvinist runs to John 6 as their “proof text” of “regeneration precedes faith”, when in fact in contradicts it.”

      John 6:52….
      Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, *you have no life in you*.””

      John 6:44;65 is a proof text for the inability of the reprobate to come to Christ of their own volition. The issue then becomes definign the “drawing” of God and what it entails. This is where regeneration comes into play.

      I say, “life,” refers to eternal life and eternal life requires the expression of faith and not just the new birth.

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      1. Thanks for sharing your beliefs, rhutchin. It helps to show a distinction between what Calvinists teach and what the bible teaches.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Yes, Philip… did you clearly see that Roger believes in new birth then faith then everlasting life? The Calvinist continues to try to defend believing yhe contradiction of that the life of their “new birth” is not the everlasting life of Christ received through/after faith is expressed.

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      3. brianwagner writes, “The Calvinist continues to try to defend believing yhe contradiction of that the life of their “new birth” is not the everlasting life of Christ received through/after faith is expressed.”

        The new birth does not convey life – it qualifies one to receive life (to see and enter the kingdom). Faith is also required.

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      4. So you admit Roger that the new birth doesn’t make one “alive” at the moment of the new birth itself … I doubt you would admit that. I doubt there would be any Calvinists that would say there is a new birth with no life conveyed then faith then life conveyed. You are really struggling my friend.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. brianwagner writes, “…the new birth doesn’t make one “alive” at the moment of the new birth itself … I doubt you would admit that.”

        John 3 seems pretty clear, “…whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” A person receives faith with faith expressing itself in belief after which a person can be said to have eternal life. I don’t see any way to avoid that conclusion. So, if we accept the position that the new birth also conveys life, we would understand that this “life’ would not be eternal life. I am not sure what point you are trying to argue.

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      6. Just trying to get you to admit Roger, which you seem to have a hard time doing, that you believe in a new birth spiritual life which is from God in your view but is not the everlasting spiritual life of Jesus! Why is it so hard to make that admission Roger… is it because it is so embarrassing to have to admit such a belief in something that naturally seems so illogical and twisted into Scripture?

        Your loyalty to determinism still amazes me… especially how you let it trump the meaning of words in Scripture. New birth…. but not immediately into the family of God or with the everlasting life of Christ… Really?

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      7. Brian,
        That is so true. There must be two of something in Calvinism whether it’s two new births or two justifications or two regenerations there has to be two of it. They need one to get them alive and regenerated and then given faith and then the second one is after they exhibit Faith they get that second new birth or birth or justification or regeneration whatever you want to call it it’s the second one because they already had one to give them alive in the first place.
        It is complicated as I came to admit when I was a calvinist so many years ago and left it.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. brianwagner writes, “you believe in a new birth spiritual life which is from God in your view but is not the everlasting spiritual life of Jesus!”

        Scripture tell us–

        Ephesians 2
        4 But God…because of His great love with which He loved us,
        5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
        6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus,
        7 in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

        11 Therefore remember, that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh,…
        12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
        13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

        Colossians 1
        13 For [God] delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,
        14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

        So, the new birth makes the person alive – which we can call spiritual life as the person is no longer spiritually dead. This prepares and enables the person to receive faith and through faith, eternal life. There is a change wrought in the sinner by the new birth such that they are no longer dead in sin and unable to respond to the gospel.

        Then, “…especially how you let it trump the meaning of words in Scripture. New birth…. but not immediately into the family of God or with the everlasting life of Christ… Really?”

        Are we not told that there are unique events in the process of salvation among which are the new birth, the receipt of faith, and the expression of faith as belief in Christ? The dispute seems to be the ordering of these events.

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      9. brianwagner writes, “there is no birth life before everlasting life taught by God… sorry!”

        Are we to believe that people must first gain eternal life and only then experience the new birth as you seem to maintain?

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      10. What? Are you really interested in logical discourse? I’m not sure Roger, after all of our respectful discussion together, why you would want to misrepresent my words so badly except that your illogical defence of birth then faith then life was adequately exposed, and you now feel you must attempt to divert attention towards a strawman.

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      11. brianwagner writes, “What?”

        Using half the words, you could have said something substantive – like your true position. Did you forget it?

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      12. brianwagner writes, “Deflection again… you and the reader know my position a clearly stated above! ”

        You said, “there is no birth life before everlasting life taught by God.” Doesn’t that make your position to be “after”?

        All you have done in this discussion, that I see, is harp on the position I took. I never saw anywhere that you laid out your position. I went back and reviewed your responses and all I saw was your incredulity over my contention that new birth precedes eternal life. If there was more than that, it escaped me. Was it wrong for me to assume that you have the order of events to be (1) eternal life followed by (2) new birth since you reject my opposite ordering? I can’t read your mind, you now.

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      13. Roger… your memory is better than that, or am I to assume that you really don’t know the ordo salutis that I have discussed with you many times. Oh well… if for a young man like you I need to refresh your memory…

        John 1:4-13, 12:35-36, and 20:31 clearly teach light, and faith in that light, precede regeneration. And remember that Jesus was teaching an unregenerate unbelieving Nicodemus the same thing. Jesus certainly wasn’t wasting His breath.

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      14. brianwagner writes, “John 1:4-13, 12:35-36, and 20:31 clearly teach light, and faith in that light, precede regeneration. And remember that Jesus was teaching an unregenerate unbelieving Nicodemus the same thing. Jesus certainly wasn’t wasting His breath.”

        OK. So, regeneration = new birth?

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      15. What did you put in your coffee this morning Roger that you would ask such a silly question? Do you have any quote from a Calvinist authority that you respect that says – Regeneration is not the same as “new birth”! I’d love to see if you could find one and on what basis they would come to such a silly conclusion in the Gospel of John.

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      16. Brian,

        Yes, indeed. But, again, Rhutchin’s contributions are a blessing. No “straw man” required. And, ironically, his beliefs demonstrate “free will”. People can believe whatever they want to believe.

        Again, look at John 6:53….

        “Then Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have NO LIFE in you.’”

        Now “no life” means none. Zero. No life whatsoever.

        But rhutchin begs to differ.

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      17. phillip writes, ““Then Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have NO LIFE in you.’”
        Now “no life” means none. Zero. No life whatsoever. ”

        To eat and drink is done through faith – as Peter shows, ““Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. And we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.” I agree with that. Of those who did not believe, Jesus said, “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.”

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      18. Rhutchin writes….. “To eat and drink is done through faith – as Peter shows, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. And we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.’ I agree with that.”

        Really? You do know who the “we” Peter was referring to…

        John 6:70-71…. Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve.

        Judas was one of the chosen twelve and part of the “we”.

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      19. phillip writes, “Really? You do know who the “we” Peter was referring to…
        Judas was one of the chosen twelve and part of the “we”.

        Peter says, “…we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.” I think he believed that Judas was on board with this. Jesus then corrects Peter saying, ‘Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?'” I doubt that Peter grasped the situation.

        What point are you making?

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      20. Rhutchin:
        Now that you have brought it up….

        Jesus did say, “Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve,” ….

        So once again we see that “chosen” word….and yet once again it does not pertain to individual choosing for salvation. Way too much mileage is made out of that “chosen” word by Calvinists (see the rebellious “chosen” of the OT).

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      21. “So once again we see that “chosen” word….and yet once again it does not pertain to individual choosing for salvation.”

        I think all of us agree on the context of Christ “choosing” Judas to betray Him.

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      22. One of the early responders in this string was struggling with the “chosen” word. Israel was chosen but not individually. Ruth and Rahab got into the chosen by their faith.

        my point is simply that chosen should not be used (as I did so many times as a Calvinist!) as a prooftext.

        Liked by 1 person

      23. “my point is simply that chosen should not be used (as I did so many times as a Calvinist!) as a prooftext.”

        But there are verses that contain truth that we should use to explain what God is doing. For example —

        “That which Israel is seeking for, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened;” (Romans 11)

        “I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2)

        Using a second Greek word –

        “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him.” (Ephesians 1)

        Using a third Greek word –

        “God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.” (2 Thessalonians 2)

        Can we not take these Scriptures that use words, translated as chosen, in developing sound doctrine?

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      24. Rhutchin:

        Curious. Do you see the verse you quoted??

        —“That which Israel is seeking for, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened;” (Romans 11)

        If the thing obtained was (grace, life, salvation) then it says clearly here that Israel was SEEKING it. We are told by Calvinists that only those God wants will seek —-and if they can, they will find it cuz God makes them able to seek. But you cant even see that contradiction to Calvinism when you quote it.

        —“I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2)

        Your next verse has Paul enduring something (acting, making a difference) so THAT they MAY obtain. What if he didnt endure? Maybe those chosen would be like the chosen Israel above…..and not find it?? Why does Paul have to endure anything if they are U in TULIP?

        —“He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him.” (Ephesians 1)

        Absolutely “in Him” all those “in Him” —just like those “in the house with the blood” at Passover (they were not chosen individually, but had to by faith be in the house). Christ is the Chosen One.

        —“God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.” (2 Thessalonians 2)

        This verse is preceded by “because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.” The ones who did not refuse to believe where chosen. That is the logical order of the passage.

        You present nothing new here.

        Liked by 1 person

      25. Rhutchin,

        Again, thanks, for displaying your calvinistic, determinism hand.

        But let’s let the Lord say why Judas was chosen, “being one of the twelve”….

        Matthew 10:1-7 (NKJV)…..
        And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him. These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’

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      26. phillip writes, “But let’s let the Lord say why Judas was chosen, “being one of the twelve”….”

        To learn more, we can add–

        John 6
        70 Jesus answered them, “Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?”
        71 Now He meant Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray Him.

        John 12
        4 But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, *said,
        5 “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii, and given to poor people?”
        6 Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it.

        Acts 1
        15 And at this time Peter stood up in the midst of the brethren (a gathering of about one hundred and twenty persons was there together), and said,
        16 “Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus.
        17 “For he was counted among us, and received his portion in this ministry.”

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  8. As a gentle reminder, the “ordo salutis” (simplified) in Calvinism is….

    Regeneration (new birth)….faith…. justification.

    The biblical order is…

    Faith….. justification…. regeneration.

    Romans 4:5….
    But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.

    Notice here that God justifies, or declares righteous, the ungodly (the wicked). The ungodly, or wicked, are not those “born of God” or “made alive together with Christ”, but they are the unregenerate or those “dead in trespasses and sin”. And notice the ungodly, or wicked, do have faith (his faith).

    For Calvinism to be true, Romans 4:5 would have to read…

    “But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the regenerate (via the new birth), his faith is accounted for righteousness.”

    More scriptural proof?

    Colossians 2:13 (KJV)…
    And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, *having forgiven you all trespasses*.

    Order?

    Dead in sins….forgiven thru faith in His blood….quickened together with Him.

    Romans 8:10 (NIV)…..
    But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, *yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness*.

    Order?

    Dead because of sin….imputed righteousness because of Him (via faith)….spiritual life.

    The biblical fact is, not only does regeneration *not* precede faith, it doesn’t even precede justification.

    Blessings to all!

    And I mean “all” 😉

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    1. phillip writes, “Romans 4:5….
      But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.”

      This establishes the faith – justification order. The new birth does not change the ungodly. It just makes the ungodly good soil in which the word can thrive and God uses that word to convey faith for justification, and the descriptor righteous. God justifies the ungodly through faith.

      Then, “And notice the ungodly, or wicked, do have faith (his faith).”

      Which is not that faith conveyed through the word and defined in Hebrews 11.

      Then, “More scriptural proof?
      Colossians 2:13 (KJV)…
      And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, *having forgiven you all trespasses*.

      13 And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions,
      14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

      “…nailed it to the cross.” Then, “…dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive…” establishes that the person is “dead in sin” at the time he is made alive.

      Then, “The biblical fact is, not only does regeneration *not* precede faith, it doesn’t even precede justification.”

      It is clear that the person is dead in sin when God quickens him. You just have those dead in sin exercises faith before he can be made alive.

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      1. Again, rhutchin, your distinctions and beliefs show the difference between what Calvinists believe and what the scriptures say.

        Thanks for sharing, brother!

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      2. phillip writes, “your distinctions and beliefs show the difference between what Calvinists believe and what the scriptures say.”

        Not sure why you said this. I supplied more context for the Scriptures that you originally cited that tells us when certain events happened – e.g., “…having nailed it to the cross.” tells us that some things were accomplished at the crucifixion. Paul, in Romans 4, agrees, saying, “He who was delivered up because of our transgressions” where “our” would be those to whom he wrote the letter. Do you see Colossians 2:13-14 saying something different? Maybe we need to nail down what Paul meant by these verses.

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  9. Numbers 21:7-9 (NIV) (referred to by Jesus in John 3:14)….
    The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the LORD and against you. Pray that the LORD will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. The LORD said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.

    Just as the Israelites had to look in order to live physically, we must believe if we want to live spiritually.

    Scripture….

    “Look/believe” and “live”.

    Rhutchin…..

    “Made alive together with Christ” and “believe”.

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    1. Phillip:
      Not only does that show the order: believe, act in faith, live, but it is instructive in another way.

      All OT types and parallels to the NT cross require acts of faith.

      Calvinists will say “Did Christ save or only potentially save?”

      I ask about the main OT examples that are used in the NT to demonstrate Christ and the cross.

      Noah
      The serpent on the pole
      Passover

      God saved His people —by grace, and by His mighty hand— on all accounts.

      But He required that they act.

      Passover is particularity instructive in that blood was shed and you had to be “in” the blood. But what put you in the blood? (faith) How many could be in the blood? (anyone) What would happen to even a chosen of Israel if he was not covered by the blood? (not chosen).

      No Israelite walking out of Egypt the next day thought he had saved himself. All he had done was apply the blood in faith.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I like also pointing to the Day of Atonement where the sacrifice is said to take place – “to make atonement for the priests and for all the people of the assembly… for the children of Israel, for all their sins, once a year.” (Lev 16:33-34) But of course, though available and sufficient for all, and for each individual’s sins, they were all told – “you shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all”, which sounds to me like there was the necessary condition of repentance and personal faith!

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      2. brianwagner writes, “…which sounds to me like there was the necessary condition of repentance and personal faith!”

        Yet, Israel was just following the rules and seeking salvation by their works rather than by faith.

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      3. Only those Roger who trusted their pharasaic scholars who told them as laypeople they couldn’t understand the Scriptures as normally read… but should trust in traditional interpretations. There were many true saints however!

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      4. brianwagner writes, “There were many true saints however! ”

        They are called the remnant and that by the grace of God. Perhaps not “many.” The 7,000 God had reserved for Himself in the time of Elijah would have been from a population of several million.

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      5. brianwagner writes, “Not the main point of concern… deflection again!”

        Call me dumb then. Seems to be over my head.

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      6. “God saved His people —by grace, and by His mighty hand— on all accounts.
        But He required that they act….
        No Israelite walking out of Egypt the next day thought he had saved himself. All he had done was apply the blood in faith.”

        Faith always follows God’s action. Intuitively, believers know, and understand, that God saved them and then gave them the faith whereby they believe and by which they live.

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      7. Rhutchin:
        This is incredible!

        —(you said) “Faith always follows God’s action.” But we see in Hebrews 11 God’s word talking about their faith, not His action….over an over.

        —(you said) “Intuitively, believers know, and understand, that God saved them and then gave them the faith whereby they believe and by which they live.”

        That is absolutely not what happened with me. I was like the Philippian jailer.

        He did not say “I have been given faith” or “I have been made alive”. He asked what he must do to be saved? (that does not sound like God has given him anything). Believe. Okay, I will.

        I cannot believe you say “Intuitively believers know….” We read Hebrews 11 where God promotes individual faith and we “intuitively know” that individual faith matters!

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      8. “—(you said) “Faith always follows God’s action.” But we see in Hebrews 11 God’s word talking about their faith, not His action….over an over.”

        So, their faith being that defined in v1, where does their “hope” come from? Do you think such “faith” as Hebrews defines is something innate to the person?? Do you really see nothing of God in their faith?

        Then, “—(you said) “Intuitively, believers know, and understand, that God saved them and then gave them the faith whereby they believe and by which they live.”
        That is absolutely not what happened with me. I was like the Philippian jailer.”

        The jailer was about to commit suicide because he saw that his life was forfeit (thinking that the prisoners had escaped). Were you really driven to such despair? If not, you were not like the jailer. However, such despair would have prepared you well to hear the gospel.

        Then, “I cannot believe you say “Intuitively believers know….” We read Hebrews 11 where God promotes individual faith and we “intuitively know” that individual faith matters!”

        You seem to have no concept of sin. Where do you think faith comes from, if not from God?

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      9. In 30 years of discussing this issue, I find that it comes so often to this same double speak.

        Of course the ability to have faith comes from God!! And he gives that to all men.

        You continually play the moral high card by saying things like “even if the whole chapter is about their faith….He gave it to them.” Agreed. He gave them the ability to have faith. But then the chapter tells of the ones who exercised the faith available to them—to encourage us to do the same. Otherwise Heb 11 should read “God gave faith to Abel and he had no choice and he…..God gave faith to Enoch and he had no choice and he….”

        But what does it say?

        By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.

        You have to have a peculiar hermeneutic to think that Abel had no part in that. What is the point of it being in the Scriptures if not to “still speak” to us?

        God gave the victory to Moses and Israel over the Amalekites when Moses raised him arms. No arms up, battle goes against them. Arms tired, men hold the arms up. Battle goes in their favor.

        OF COURSE God gave the victory. Your moral high card of asking “dont you see God in their faith?” is not enough, my friend.

        Tell that to the families of the men who died that day. They died that day winning the victory. It was not all just grace.

        Do you not see the effort and faith of individuals at all? Nothing? We play no part? Whether those men fought or not, irrelevant? Whether we are faithful or not, irrelevant? Whether we choose to not look at other women or not, irrelevant?

        Whether we “search the Scriptures” or not, irrelevant ((one minute you say reformed thinkers have more grace, the next minute it is because they ‘searched the scriptures.’ Which is it??? Grace or some effort on man’s part?))

        The next time the Lord gives you a victory over sin, praise Him!

        Then next time you fall to sin, don’t say “He did not give me the grace.” You have a part to play too.

        That’s why it says “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

        That does not take away from God’s glory of sovereignty. He chose to create the world that way.

        Liked by 1 person

      10. ” [God] gave [His elect] the ability to have faith.”

        This is wrong. God gives His elect faith and His elect then choose when to exercise that faith. All people exercise that faith to believe in Christ – simply because people are not dumb – but after that, they go goofy and try to do things by themselves and stop using the faith that God gave them.

        Then, “You have to have a peculiar hermeneutic to think that Abel had no part in that. What is the point of it being in the Scriptures if not to “still speak” to us?”

        Of course, Abel had a part – his part was to exercise the faith that God gave him. The point of this Scripture is to remind us to always apply the faith that God gives us and not let it go to neglect.

        Then, “one minute you say reformed thinkers have more grace, the next minute it is because they ‘searched the scriptures.’ Which is it???”

        One of the graces is a hunger and thirst for righteousness.

        Then, “Then next time you fall to sin, don’t say “He did not give me the grace.” You have a part to play too.”

        That part is to say, “I tried to do it on my own, without God’s help, and failed miserably.

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      11. Rhutchin:
        —(you said) “God gives His elect faith and His elect then choose when to exercise that faith. All people exercise that faith to believe in Christ – simply because people are not dumb – but after that, they go goofy and try to do things by themselves and stop using the faith that God gave them.”

        1. He gives but they chose when to exercise it. Can they choose not to exercise it? If not, it is not really choosing right?

        2. Oh, they do to it cuz they “are not dumb.” Doesnt that give them some of the glory? I thought it was cuz of grace alone? Why do you rob God of some of his glory by attributing part of it to their smartness?

        3. So, the regenerated, quickened, given-faith, elect who are justified, can “go goofy” and THEN they can resist the faith that God gave them? It is irresistible when they are pagans, but once saved they can resist the faith and grace He gives? Unless they work real hard “by searching the scriptures”.

        You have a lot of works in your “doctrines of grace.”

        Liked by 1 person

      12. “1. He gives but they chose when to exercise it. Can they choose not to exercise it? If not, it is not really choosing right?”

        The person whom God has saved is spiritually alive but not a spiritual genius. He now begins to take Paul’s advice, “…do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12) and “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2) and “…let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom…whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus…” (Colossians 2)

        Then, “2. Oh, they do to it cuz they “are not dumb.” Doesnt that give them some of the glory? I thought it was cuz of grace alone? Why do you rob God of some of his glory by attributing part of it to their smartness?”

        Where the person had been spiritually dead so that the gospel was foolishness to him, now he is spiritually alive and “…to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1) “…it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” (Romans 1) People who reject the gospel act illogically because they are dead in their sin. I think we can describe them as dumb.

        Then, “3. So, the regenerated, quickened, given-faith, elect who are justified, can “go goofy” and THEN they can resist the faith that God gave them? It is irresistible when they are pagans, but once saved they can resist the faith and grace He gives? Unless they work real hard “by searching the scriptures”.”

        No. No one resists the faith God gives them. Faith is irresistibly conveyed to a person by God. The person may fail to use that faith and this through immaturity and ignorance of the Scriptures. People cannot “resist” the grace of God or the faith He gives to them. They can fail to take advantage of that grace and faith.

        Then, “You have a lot of works in your ‘doctrines of grace.’”

        That is because God is so intimately involved in our lives,

        Like

      13. Sorry Rhutchin:
        You are talking in circles.

        Read what you said. You said people ACCEPT the gospel because they are not dumb.

        That is what I was referring to. Read it again please. You attributed some of their acceptance of the gospel to them not being dumb.

        Liked by 1 person

      14. “You said people ACCEPT the gospel because they are not dumb. That is what I was referring to.”

        Great!! Now we can start to define “dumb.” People with faith are not dumb. People without faith are dumb.

        Like

      15. Rhutchin:
        I am teaching soon on John 11. Christ says “do you believe?”

        Two times he says he did certain things “so that they may believe.”

        Why? Why does Christ Himself say that the things He is doing will help people believe?

        If faith was not possible (God gave no faith) then His words mean nothing.

        If the faith-believe-irresistibly is true He does not need to talk and act like their belief is a “maybe.”

        Why do we get the impression in the Bible that Christ is doing thing “so that we may believe.”?

        So many verses made no sense to me when I was a Calvinist. To appreciate the whole counsel of the Word I had to let that man-made philosophy go by the side.

        Liked by 1 person

      16. “I am teaching soon on John 11.”

        I think context matters in this case (as in all cases).

        Then, “If faith was not possible (God gave no faith) then His words mean nothing.”

        Faith is only possible by the grace of God. I don’t see any way to avoid that.

        Then, “Why do we get the impression in the Bible that Christ is doing thing “so that we may believe.”?

        Because the “we” Christ has in view is God’s elect. “In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice.” Romans 11)

        Then, “So many verses made no sense to me when I was a Calvinist. To appreciate the whole counsel of the Word I had to let that man-made philosophy go by the side.”

        Seems to me that you didn’t like God being in absolute control and wanted to give a bigger role to people.

        Like

      17. God never says He is in absolute control. Quite the contrary.

        Even from the beginning He told man, “fill the earth subdue it, and rule over it.” (that is giving man some control).

        Then He told him to not eat of the tree, but eating was possible (that is giving man some control).

        Then the Lord brought every animal to “see what man would name them” and whatever man called them that was their name. (that is giving man lots of control).

        Then the Lord told Cain, “Sin is crouching at your door, but you must master it.” (that is giving to man and requiring a lot of control from man).

        The Bible is FULL of the thousands of verses where God’s says “if you do this I will do this.”

        David had the choice of 3 kinds of punishments. (control)

        Joshua announced “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.” (control)

        Honestly Rhutchin do any of those thousands of verses indicate that God has chosen to created in a way that gives man some control?

        Liked by 1 person

      18. “do any of those thousands of verses indicate that God has chosen to created in a way that gives man some control?”

        When God gives man control over events in his life – generally, the freedom to act this way or that, or make choices – man is always subordinate to God’s control and will. God has given commands – “fill the earth subdue it, and rule over it.” – and then gives people the freedom to disobey God. God plants a tree and then tells Adam not to eat its fruit but gives Adam freedom to eat the fruit. Of course, God then opens the gate so that Satan can enter the garden to play with Adam.

        Then, “The Bible is FULL of the thousands of verses where God’s says “if you do this I will do this.”

        If this is all you mean by “control” then that is not a problem.

        Then, “David had the choice of 3 kinds of punishments. (control)”

        Of course, God listed the choices from which David could choose.

        The, “Joshua announced “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.” (control)”

        Yeah, choose this false god or that false god.

        Then, “Honestly Rhutchin do any of those thousands of verses indicate that God has chosen to created in a way that gives man some control?”

        To me, those verses illustrate the freedom God gives people primarily to disobey Him.Generally, God limits the choices people have by His commands. If you want to call that “control” OK, but never does man exercise such control as to overrule God or accomplish anything but God’s purposes.

        Like

      19. Rhutchin:

        I mentioned that the Word says that we are to “draw near to God and he will draw near to us” and that we have some responsibility.

        Calvinist double speak says that Hebrews 11 (and hundreds of other passages) talks about people, people people, but we are supposed to read that they had not one tiny thing to do with it.

        Why do we get the message from Scripture that “To whom much is given, much is expected in return.” ?

        Do we do anything? Does anything we do matter at all? It is expected, but could we NOT do it?

        what if we don’t search the Scriptures like we should—-we wont receive grace? (that is what you are saying)

        If we dont cheat on a test it is all of grace!

        But if we do cheat, it is because….hummm… grace was withheld?

        Or did we just make a decision to sin even though we are dead to sin?

        Let’s read the whole Word and listen to it!

        Liked by 1 person

      20. “I mentioned that the Word says that we are to “draw near to God…”

        Are you now disagreeing that it is all by God’s grace that one can do this?

        Then, “Why do we get the message from Scripture that “To whom much is given, much is expected in return.” ?”

        Yes. To whom grace is given, much is required.

        Then, “Do we do anything? Does anything we do matter at all? It is expected, but could we NOT do it?”

        We take advantage of God’s grace and exercise faith in God at every turn.

        Then, “what if we don’t search the Scriptures like we should—-we wont receive grace? (that is what you are saying)”

        No, it is by God’s grace that we hunger and thirst for righteousness and thereby, we search the Scriptures.

        Then, “If we dont cheat on a test it is all of grace!”

        Boy, that’s for sure.

        Then, “But if we do cheat, it is because….hummm… grace was withheld?”

        No, just us exercising our will to do things our way. The battle with the old man rages on.

        Then, “Or did we just make a decision to sin even though we are dead to sin?”

        Paul said, “consider yourselves to be dead to sin,…” If we would do as Paul instructed, much heartache would be avoided.

        Then, “Let’s read the whole Word and listen to it!”

        Amen!!!!!!!!

        Like

    2. phillip writes, “Scripture….
      “Look/believe” and “live”.
      Rhutchin…..
      “Made alive together with Christ” and “believe”.”

      Let’s make it, “Made alive together with Christ” and “Look/believe” and “live”. That agrees with Scripture, doesn’t it?

      Like

      1. Rhuthin writes… “Let’s make it, ‘Made alive together with Christ’ and ‘Look/believe’ and ‘live’. That agrees with Scripture, doesn’t it?”

        Nope. But it does agree with calvinists’ writings.

        Alive (but not living)…..Look…..Live.

        Hilarious.

        You’re a hoot, brother!

        Liked by 1 person

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