Born Haters of God? The Calvinist’s View of Humanity is Too High!

Calvinists teach that all of humanity are born God haters due to their fallen condition and can do nothing except reject the good news brought by the Spirit because of their innate animosity toward their Creator. Even God’s own appeals for reconciliation are insufficient to enable a fallen person to respond freely according to this particular kind of “Reformed Theology.”  For instance, Calvinistic scholar Albert Mohler gave his exposition on Romans 1:18-32 by teaching, in part:

“Paul’s story of universal human sinfulness and depravity is our story. In these words, we discover the explanation of how it is that we find ourselves in this condition of sinfulness… Every single human being is part of the intellectual activity described here. All descendants of Adam are involved in the suppression of ‘truth in unrighteousness’… This text is about humanity. The verb tense in the phrase ‘God gave’ is past tense — this has already happened. God has given humanity over. The apostle Paul includes everyone in the indictment as he describes the giving over of all of humanity to sinfulness”…

Theologically, this is referred to as the noetic consequences of the fall. The phrase ‘noetic effects’ refers to the intellectual consequences of sin. John Calvin said there were three great causes of this noetic disaster…<link>

Mohler continues in this message to describe Calvin’s doctrine of “Total Inability,” the belief that all of humanity is born morally incapable of responding positively to any appeal of God unless they are first regenerated by an “irresistible” or “effectual” work of grace (i.e. the “T” and “I” of the “TULIP” soteriology).

In other words, Mohler believes people must be born again (regenerated) before they can believe in God’s own appeals to be reconciled through faith in Christ (i.e. pre-faith regeneration). Mohler and other Calvinists are convinced that God’s gracious work in sending His Son, the Spirit, the Apostles, the Scripture, His Bride and the Gospel appeal needs yet another gracious work (an “irresistible work”) to be sufficient to enable a positive response.  Does God’s gracious work need more grace to work? And must God’s gracious gifts be irresistibly applied for Him to get full credit for giving them? Apparently Calvinists believe so.

What Mohler and Calvinists in general fail to recognize is that Paul is contrasting “the righteous who live by faith” in Rom. 1:17 with those who “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” in vs 18. Paul is not attempting to say that every human has continually suppressed the truth in unrighteousness, traded the truth in for lies, been given over to their defiled minds, become homosexuals and approve of all who do these sinful acts.  Paul is attempting to demonstrate how all people (both the Jews with the direct revelation of God’s law and the Gentiles with only their inborn conscience) have broken the commandments of God and thus may only attain righteous by grace through faith in God and not by meritorious deeds.

KEY POINT: Proof that no one is morally capable of attaining righteous by works of the law is not proof that no one is morally capable of believing in God so as to be credited as righteous by His gracious provision through Christ.

A common objection against our Traditional free will theology is that “it exalts mankind” because it maintains mankind’s moral ability-to-respond to God’s appeals (i.e. “responsibility”).  We regularly hear Calvinists accusing our view of “stealing God’s glory and exalting humanity,” but is this a fair accusation?  Let’s objectively examine the natural (lost/un-regenerate) man of each system and you decide which perspective really has the “lower” view of the natural man:

ON CALVINISM:

The Non-Elect Unbelievers (“reprobate”) who die in rebellion:

▪ Were born hated and rejected by God (speaking salvifically)

▪ Were born incapable of morally accepting God’s own appeals to repent

▪ Were born with a nature that could only hate God, just as he was first hated by God

▪ Live their entire lives incapable of willingly repenting in response to God’s revelation

The Calvinistic view of God in relation to those (“reprobate”) who die in unbelief:

▪ Hated and rejected the reprobates before the creation of the world

▪ Refused to grant the reprobates the ability to repent to His own appeals and then judged them for their unwillingness to repent in light of Christ’s word

One can only feel pity for the non-elect reprobate of the Calvinistic system. They are born victims of God’s eternal decree and without hope of salvation. The only thing more devastating than a lost soul is a lost soul without anyone looking for her or providing her hope of being found.

On Calvinism the reprobate (most of humanity) are born in a hopeless and helpless condition which is beyond their control. They are born rejected and unloved by their own Creator. How devastating is this!? This is not good news! This is horrific and terrible news!

The good news is that our God is good! Because He is good we know that no child is born unloved by their Creator, rejected by their Maker, or unwanted by their God.

“God is love” (1 Jn. 4:8)

“The Lord is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness. The Lord is good to all, And His mercies are over all His works” (Ps. 145:9).

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

“This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time” (1 Tim. 2:3-6).

Our God loves and wants the aborted, abandoned and unwanted children of this earth. He saves the weak and humble because He is gracious and kind (Ps 18:27).

In many ways, the reprobate on Calvinism is like the clinically insane in our own judicial system. The unfortunate people born with mental illness who literally cannot control their behaviors due to tumors, chemical imbalances or other similar ailments may be declared “insane” and hospitalized, but our judicial system still recognizes their “innocence” due to their incapacities. The court’s ruling of “innocent by reason of insanity” relates to this contrast because it points to the true nature of what makes a man responsible and thus blameworthy.

How do you feel about a judge who sends a mentally ill criminal to the electric chair for committing a crime that he literally could not have refrained from committing? How do you view that criminal? In this scenario the judge is painted in a very bad light and the criminal is seen as a victim of sorts. In contrast, if the criminal is shown to have committed a premeditated crime with malice and full responsibility as a sane person, the judge seems much more just and the criminal far more guilty.

For this reason, a good District Attorney seeking a guilty conviction would vehemently argue that the defendant was of “sound mind” and “had the capacity to refrain from the criminal behavior” for which he stands trial.

So too, the Traditionalist, like myself, stands to make a parallel argument against all unbelievers who end up in Hell. The lost unbeliever cannot resort to the defense of “Total Inability.” Those perishing in Hell cannot rightly say, “I was born hated and rejected by my Maker, unable to choose otherwise,” or “The revelation of God, even through the powerful truth of the gospel, was insufficient to enable me to willingly respond in faith.” The lost do not have any excuses for their unbelief (Rom 1:20). And I cannot think of any better excuse than that provided by the teaching of Calvinists regarding the incapacity of man’s nature to respond willingly to God Himself.

Unbelievers are guilty of unbelief because it is their responsibility (read “ability to respond”) to believe God’s gracious and abundantly clear revelation. To remove that ability (moral or otherwise) is to undermine their guilt and God’s justice. So, let’s look at the condition of the natural man on Traditionalism in contrast to the Calvinistic worldview:

ON TRADITIONALISM

The Unbelievers who die in rebellion:

▪ Were born sinners under wrath, but loved and wanted by God nonetheless

▪ Were born capable of morally accepting God’s gracious appeals to repent

▪ Were born with a nature that could either respond in love or hatred to God’s provision of self-sacrifical love and atonement

▪ Live their entire lives freely rejecting God’s revelation though they have no excuse for doing so because they had the capacity to morally respond in faith

The Traditionalists view of God in relation to those who die in unbelief:

▪ Loved and provided the means of salvation for them all

▪ Graciously granted all the ability to repent to His own appeals and then judged them for their choice to rebel or repent in light of Christ’s word (see John 12:47-48)

Those who perish only perish because the refused to love the truth so as to be saved (2 Thess. 2:11).  The lost cannot claim they were rejected by their own Maker before they were born. They cannot say they were unloved or not provided the necessary grace needed to believe and be saved! They were not born haters of God who couldn’t have chosen to do otherwise because of a divine unchangeable decree prior to the creation of the world.

Watch the video below for a quick answer to the question, “Are all people born haters of God?”


NOTICE: This is not a new argument against deterministic views, by any means.  In fact, in the first and second century we have record of the Earliest Church Fathers making this same case:

Irenaeus (AD 120-202): (He was a student of Polycarp, who in turn was traditionally known to be a disciple of John the Evangelist.)

“God therefore has given that which is good, as the apostle tells us in this Epistle, and they who work it shall receive glory and honor, because they have done that which is good when they had it in their power not to do it; but those who do it not shall receive the just judgment of God, because they did not work good when they had it in their power so to do.

But if some had been made by nature bad, and others good, these latter would not be deserving of praise for being good, for such were they created; nor would the former be reprehensible, for thus they were made [originally]. But since all men are of the same nature, able both to hold fast and to do what is good; and, on the other hand, having also the power to cast it from them and not to do it, — some do justly receive praise even among men who are under the control of good laws (and much more from God), and obtain deserved testimony of their choice of good in general, and of persevering therein; but the others are blamed, and receive a just condemnation, because of their rejection of what is fair and good. And therefore the prophets used to exhort men to what was good, to act justly and to work righteousness, as I have so largely demonstrated, because it is in our power so to do, and because by excessive negligence we might become forgetful, and thus stand in need of that good counsel which the good God has given us to know by means of the prophets. … No doubt, if any one is unwilling to follow the Gospel itself, it is in his power [to reject it], but it is not expedient. For it is in man’s power to disobey God, and to forfeit what is good; but [such conduct] brings no small amount of injury and mischief. … But because man is possessed of free will from the beginning, and God is possessed of free will, in whose likeness man was created, advice is always given to him to keep fast the good, which thing is done by means of obedience to God.(Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Bk. IV, 37)

Justin Martyr (AD 110-165)

“But lest some suppose, from what has been said by us, that we say that whatever happens, happens by a fatal necessity, because it is foretold as known beforehand, this too we explain. We have learned from the prophets, and we hold it to be true, that punishments, and chastisements, and good rewards, are rendered according to the merit of each man’s actions. Since if it be not so, but all things happen by fate, neither is anything at all in our own power. For if it be fated that this man, e.g., be good, and this other evil, neither is the former meritorious nor the latter to be blamed. And again, unless the human race have the power of avoiding evil and choosing good by free choice, they are not accountable for their actions, of whatever kind they be. But that it is by free choice they both walk uprightly and stumble, we thus demonstrate. We see the same man making a transition to opposite things. Now, if it had been fated that he were to be either good or bad, he could never have been capable of both the opposites, nor of so many transitions. But not even would some be good and others bad, since we thus make fate the cause of evil, and exhibit her as acting in opposition to herself; or that which has been already stated would seem to be true, that neither virtue nor vice is anything, but that things are only reckoned good or evil by opinion; which, as the true word shows, is the greatest impiety and wickedness. But this we assert is inevitable fate, that they who choose the good have worthy rewards, and they who choose the opposite have their merited awards. For not like other things, as trees and quadrupeds, which cannot act by choice, did God make man: for neither would he be worthy of reward or praise did he not of himself choose the good, but were created for this end; nor, if he were evil, would he be worthy of punishment, not being evil of himself, but being able to be nothing else than what he was made.” (Justin, First Apology, XLIII)

Tertullian (AD 145-220)

“In order, therefore, that man might have a goodness of his own, bestowed on him by God, and there might be henceforth in man a property, and in a certain sense a natural attribute of goodness, there was assigned to him in the constitution of his nature, as a formal witness of the goodness which God bestowed upon him, freedom and power of the will, such as should cause good to be performed spontaneously by man, as a property of his own, on the ground that no less than this would be required in the matter of a goodness which was to be voluntarily exercised by him, that is to say, by the liberty of his will, without either favor or servility to the constitution of his nature, so that man should be good just up to this point, if he should display his goodness in accordance with his natural constitution indeed, but still as the result of his will, as a property of his nature; and, by a similar exercise of volition, should show himself to be too strong in defense against evil also (for even this God, of course, foresaw), being free, and master of himself; because, if he were wanting in this prerogative of self-mastery, so as to perform even good by necessity and not will, he would, in the helplessness of his servitude, become subject to the usurpation of evil, a slave as much to evil as to good. Entire freedom of will, therefore, was conferred upon him in both tendencies; so that, as master of himself, he might constantly encounter good by spontaneous observance of it, and evil by its spontaneous avoidance; because, were man even otherwise circumstanced, it was yet his bounden duty, in the judgment of God, to do justice according to the motions of his will regarded, of course, as free. But the reward neither of good nor of evil could be paid to the man who should be found to have been either good or evil through necessity and not choice. In this really lay the law which did not exclude, but rather prove, human liberty by a spontaneous rendering of obedience, or a spontaneous commission of iniquity; so patent was the liberty of man’s will for either issue. Since, therefore, both the goodness and purpose of God are discovered in the gift to man of freedom in his will, it is not right, after ignoring the original definition of goodness and purpose which it was necessary to determine previous to any discussion of the subject, on subsequent facts to presume to say that God ought not in such a way to have formed man, because the issue was other than what was assumed to be proper for God. We ought rather, after duly considering that it behooved God so to create man, to leave this consideration unimpaired, and to survey the other aspects of the case. It is, no doubt, an easy process for persons who take offence at the fall of man, before they have looked into the facts of his creation, to impute the blame of what happened to the Creator, without any examination of His purpose. To conclude: the goodness of God, then fully considered from the beginning of His works, will be enough to convince us that nothing evil could possibly have come forth from God; and the liberty of man will, after a second thought, show us that it alone is chargeable with the fault which itself committed.” (Tertullian, Against Marcion, Bk. II, ch. vi)

HERE we also discuss the glory of God and the accusation of that Traditionalism seeks to steal it somehow.

466 thoughts on “Born Haters of God? The Calvinist’s View of Humanity is Too High!

  1. Leighton:
    Could you please re-state in a nutshell the premise of the article. I thought it was: we get accused of glorifying man (having him too high), but it is in fact (quote) “The Calvinist’s View Of Humanity That Is Too High!” Thanks.

    Like

  2. Prof. Flowers writes,
    “KEY POINT: Proof that no one is morally capable of attaining righteous by works of the law is not proof that no one is morally capable of believing in God so as to be credited as righteous by His gracious provision through Christ.”
    During his Free Will vs. Determinism Debate with Jason Mullett, Prof. Flowers was informed that the above “key point” is actually a tautology. Prof. Flowers, of course, refused to accept this fact when confronted with it.
    However, Jason stated that the second half of Prof. Flowers’ key point above is actually inherently true in the first part of his statement. In other words, believing in Christ is a response to a command of God. Any response/obedience to a command of God is a “work”. If we attempt to obey the command to believe in Christ absent the work of the Holy Spirit applying the Gospel to our heart, then our faith is inherently false. This is exactly why many who profess Christ really don’t demonstrate a drastic change in their lifestyles and seek to please God only in the flesh. The church is overrun with people who have a false faith.
    Also, Romans 8:8,9 informs us that those who are “in the flesh” cannot please God. Who are those “in the flesh”? Verse 9 tells us that they are those void of the indwelling Holy Spirit. In other words, those who are not indwelt by the Holy Spirit cannot please God. Outside of the efficacious work of the Holy Spirit, man cannot have saving faith because possession of saving faith pleases God. “So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” -Romans‬ ‭8:8‬
    Also, the Bible doesn’t teach going in/out of the realm of the flesh. The flesh refers to mankind without God’s Spirit indwelling him/her. Once one is indwelt by the Spirit, the Spirit doesn’t leave the believer and thus they return to the flesh. Scripture refers to those who act carnally (fleshly), but this doesn’t place them in the “realm of the flesh”. To be in/of the flesh means to be unsaved.
    Those who are void of the Spirit can do NOTHING to please God. This would include initiating faith in Christ apart from the Spirit’s work.
    Therefore Prof. Flowers’ key point is flawed since he assumes that faith in Christ is not a “work”. True saving faith must be wrought in mankind by God Himself as the following verses demonstrate:

    “Jesus answered and said to them, “This is THE WORK OF GOD THAT YOU BELIEVE in Him whom He has sent.” -John‬ ‭6:29‬ ‭

    “For to you IT IS GIVEN in the behalf of Christ, not only TO BELIEVE on him, but also to suffer for his sake;” -Philippians‬ ‭1:29‬ ‭

    The dichotomy taught in James between faith and works is to demonstrate the difference between true saving faith and attempting to earn righteousness through the works of the law. However, James never mentions the origins of saving faith. That’s found in other parts of Scripture.

    Like

    1. Troy:

      I’m very curious about your post.

      You said….. “In other words, believing in Christ is a response to a command of God. Any response/obedience to a command of God is a “work”. If we attempt to obey the command to believe in Christ absent the work of the Holy Spirit applying the Gospel to our heart, then our faith is inherently false.”

      This is of course a construction of your own.

      Here are the words of Paul on the matter in Romans 4. Please read the whole chapter in context.

      Rom 4:2 “If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3 What does Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.'”

      1. Paul clearly juxtaposes works and Abraham believing. Clearing showing that believing is NOT a work. Yet, you in an extra-biblical fashion, say “believing is a work.” Based on what?

      Paul goes on….

      “However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.”

      2. “Trust the Lord” is a command also. And here it is juxtaposed to works. Trusting is clearly not a work. In your extra-biblical fashion you have said that “trust is a work.” Based on what? This directly opposes Paul’s teaching here.

      Paul goes on…..

      “So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them.”

      3. Here he juxtaposes the work of circumcision against simply believing. But you says believing is a work. Based on what?

      Paul goes on…..

      “It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.”

      4. Here Paul juxtaposes the law (works) and simple faith. Righteousness comes by faith. Yet you say having faith (believing, trusting) is a work. Based on what?

      Paul goes on….

      “The words ‘it was credited to him’ were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.

      5. You said believing (following a command to believe) was a work. Yet…. Paul is quite clear that by believing one is credited with righteousness.

      Your idea about “believing is a work” is directly contrary to Paul’s entire chapter 4 in Romans.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Troy:
        I think you are taking a biblical statement—insisting on only one interpretation, and then using that verse to trump other clear teaching.

        “Also, Romans 8:8,9 informs us that those who are “in the flesh” cannot please God. Who are those “in the flesh”? Verse 9 tells us that they are those void of the indwelling Holy Spirit. In other words, those who are not indwelt by the Holy Spirit cannot please God.”

        1. Your interpretation cannot be true since Cornelius was called “devout” and God-fearing (long before hearing the Gospel). Certainly unsaved people can do things that are God-fearing, god-pleasing things (or the Bible is misleading in hundreds of places).

        2. Let’s do the same “young zeal” “sweeping-one-interpretation” approach to this idea: Those who are in Christ are “buried in Christ” and “dead to sin.” Voila! Sin has no attraction or effect on us as all…it can’t possibly…we are dead to it. Dead men can’t hear. They cant make choices. They cant be pulled in by sins’s soft call….. they are buried —underground….dead! So….(and here is the Troy-style remark)… so, if you sin you must not be dead to sin and buried with Christ.

        Troy, you can’t just grab Rom 8:8,9 out of context and say, “therefore those in the flesh cannot believe.” —especially after Paul makes it so clear (all of Romans 4) that believing and trusting are not a fleshly work!

        Like

    2. “30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.
      31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.
      32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;
      33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.”

      The conclusion of Romans 9 EXPLICITLY distinguishes faith FROM works of the law, therefore faith CANNOT be a work of the law. The Gentiles ATTAINED, literally SEIZED (in the active voice), righteousness by faith, but Israel failed. Did Israel fail because God actively preordained them to fail? That would be gross eisegesis when we are explicitly told why. Israel failed because they sought righteousness by works of the LAW and NOT by FAITH as they should have. This is Paul’s climactic point in Romans 9, and all points which precede it are used only to build up to it. If you fail to understand the climatic point then you have failed to understand Romans 9.

      It is EXPLICIT and beyond argument; very simple and straightforward unless you have a precommitment to calvinism and refuse to understand. In fact, THE major and characteristic methodological flaw of calvinism is that it rejects the explicit in favor of inference in order to prop itself up.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Tandt:

        Nice to see you join the comments.

        We see clearly that “believe” “trust” and “have faith” are all juxtaposed with “works” (Romans 4). Calvinists only make them be “a work” in extra-biblical fashion. There is no (zero) biblical evidence that “believing is a work.” And many whole chapters to the contrary.

        Your Romans 9 idea is good. Israel was commanded to do works (sacrifice, the law) and did so in faith, not receiving any special extra dose from God. That same Israel was commanded to believe in faith… and they could have ….and some did.

        But there is nowhere in Scripture that says that all persons who simply believe were given some kind of special dispensation/ dose.

        That concept is brought-to-the-text to make the rest of the Greek-based ideas work.

        Like

      2. Troy…

        That is a an interesting reply…

        “Any faith outside of the supernatural gift of faith is false.”

        Tandt and I show from Scripture how Paul in Romans 4 and 9 goes out of his way to say that faith is not a work.

        You make sweeping …”because I say it is so” ” false faith” statements about faith.

        How would we know which one is false?

        I mean….you testify of Christ to someone and call them to believe….. “Believe in Christ!” “Have faith in Christ!”

        And they respond, “Thank-you for sharing the Gospel with me! I believe.”

        Then you say…..”your faith is false!” or “God gave you faith.” How do you know?

        Like

      3. Salvation is a SUPERNATURAL event. The true believer will know that he/she has true saving faith if they experience the following:

        “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:” -‭Romans‬ ‭8:16‬ ‭

        “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.”
        ‭‭1 John‬ ‭3:14‬ ‭

        “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.” -1 John‬ ‭2:3

        Like

      4. Of course it is a supernatural event!

        So was Passover. How incredible! God would send the angel of death down to rescue His people. They were not, however, idle.

        If they did not apply the blood on the doorpost, they were dead like the rest. Supernatural yes….. conditional…..yes!

        Supernatural, Passover ——- yes, if the blood is applied.

        Supernatural, Provide manna—— yes, but only on the conditions that God makes (gathered daily).

        Supernatural, Healed from the serpent bite —— yes but only if they find the solution on the pole and “look and live.”

        Supernatural, saved in the ark—– yes but built by hand.

        All of these are images and types of Christ. All supernatural by God… All require human participation.

        There are many others that are not images of Christ:

        Part the waters (lifted staff), beat the Amalekites (If Moses’ arms are raised), Jericho (what a supernatural miracle—but only after the marching). The list goes on and on and on.

        No one is doubting that they are supernatural Troy.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. tandt writes, “If you fail to understand the climatic point then you have failed to understand Romans 9….It is EXPLICIT and beyond argument; very simple and straightforward unless you have a precommitment to calvinism and refuse to understand.”

        I don’t understand your point. You ask an irrelevant question, “Did Israel fail because God actively preordained them to fail?. This because the explicit point is clear – the gentiles achieved righteousness by faith; Israel did not achieve righteousness because they lacked faith and sought righteousness through the law. Doesn’t everyone, whether Calvinist of not, agree on that point? As Calvinism understands this point, why do you say, “…unless you have a precommitment to calvinism and refuse to understand.” Where does Calvinism refuse to understand the distinction Paul makes between faith and works of the law?? I don’t see an issue with Calvinism on the verses you reference and the explanation you provide.

        If there is a complaint, it would seem to be based on the Calvinist explanation for the introductory phrase, “What shall we say then?” that reflected the argument Paul made in the preceding verses.

        Like

      6. RHUTCHIN: “You ask an irrelevant question, “Did Israel fail because God actively preordained them to fail?””

        Nonsense. Whether or not God actively preordained something is never an irrelevant question when discussing calvinism. Ever.

        Do you as a calvinist not believe that God had actively preordained and sought that Israel would not seek righteousness by faith?

        Like

      7. Tandt,
        Oh boy….here we go. New comment-person…. same old Rhutchin roller-coaster. I wish someone had told (warned) me when I started posting.

        Like

      8. Tandt writes, “Nonsense. Whether or not God actively preordained something is never an irrelevant question when discussing calvinism. Ever.”

        I don’t see it as an issue in the Romans 9 verses you cited.

        Then, “Do you as a calvinist not believe that God had actively preordained and sought that Israel would not seek righteousness by faith?”

        Yep. Given that God is the source of faith and extends it to those He chooses.

        Like

      9. RHUTCHIN: “This because the explicit point is clear – the gentiles achieved righteousness by faith; Israel did not achieve righteousness because they lacked faith and sought righteousness through the law….Yep. Given that God is the source of faith and extends it to those He chooses.”

        You have failed to read carefully and understand Romans 9. The concluding and climactic point in Romans 9 is that Israel stumbled, NOT because they LACKED FAITH, but rather because they never SOUGHT the righteousness which is of faith to begin with. There is a significant difference, and getting it right is critical to correctly interpreting the preceding points.

        Like

      10. Tandt writes, “The concluding and climactic point in Romans 9 is that Israel stumbled, NOT because they LACKED FAITH, but rather because they never SOUGHT the righteousness which is of faith to begin with. There is a significant difference, and getting it right is critical to correctly interpreting the preceding points.”

        The key verse here seems to be v32 in which Paul gives a short direct explanation for the Jews behavior – ““Why? Because not by faith but as though by works.” Are we to read this to mean that the Jew had faith but refused to believe? Or that the Jew had no faith and thereby refused to believe? I don’t think the verse dictates one explanation or the other, so the answer must be sought elsewhere.

        Given that the gentiles, “…attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith;…” do you hold that the gentiles had faith that some exercised unto righteousness? Then, the Jews also had faith but stumbled by pursuing righteousness by the law. Or do you hold that the gentiles, on hearing the word, only then received faith and believed the word unto righteousness, and the Jews, on hearing the word also received faith but stumbled and did not believe that word (and continued to pursue righteousness through the law)?

        Not all gentiles who heard the word then believed unto righteousness and not all Jews who heard the word stumbled (as we see in Acts on Pentecost). What are we to make of this faith if all receive it? Sometimes it manifests in Jews and gentiles and sometimes it does not. Do we conclude that faith is necessary to salvation but not sufficient, or are we to believe that faith is sufficient to salvation?

        While you write with confidence, I am not sure your position is as solid as you want without further explanation.

        Like

      11. RHUTCHIN: “The key verse here seems to be v32 in which Paul gives a short direct explanation for the Jews behavior – ““Why? Because not by faith but as though by works.” Are we to read this to mean that the Jew had faith but refused to believe? Or that the Jew had no faith and thereby refused to believe? I don’t think the verse dictates one explanation or the other, so the answer must be sought elsewhere.”

        You still DO NOT understand what the verse actually says. NEITHER of your suggestions are valid. It is the STARTING POINT which is in view, and the starting point of seeking righteousness by works of the law PRECLUDES faith.

        Review any of the following scholarly commentaries, some of which are overtly calvinistic, and yet ALL agree that you are wrong and prove that you DO NOT understand what the verse says.

        Bruce, F. F. Romans: An Introduction and Commentary. Vol. 6. Tyndale New
        Testament Commentaries. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1985.

        Cranfield, C. E. B. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistle to
        the Romans. International Critical Commentary. London; New York: T&T Clark
        International, 2004.

        Dunn, James D. G. Romans 9–16. Vol. 38B. Word Biblical Commentary. Dallas:
        Word, Incorporated, 1998.

        Fitzmyer, Joseph A., S.J. Romans: A New Translation with Introduction and
        Commentary. Vol. 33. Anchor Yale Bible. New Haven; London: Yale University
        Press, 2008.

        Gaebelein, Frank E., Everett F. Harrison, W. Harold Mare, Murray J.
        Harris, and James Montgomery Boice. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary:
        Romans through Galatians. Vol. 10. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing
        House, 1976.

        Jewett, Robert, and Roy David Kotansky. Romans: A Commentary. Edited by
        Eldon Jay Epp. Hermeneia—a Critical and Historical Commentary on the
        Bible. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2006.

        Kruse, Colin G. Paul’s Letter to the Romans. Edited by D. A. Carson. The
        Pillar New Testament Commentary. Cambridge, U.K.; Nottingham, England;
        Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; Apollos, 2012.

        Longman, Tremper, III, and David E. Garland, eds. The Expositor’s Bible
        Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition). Vol. 11. Grand Rapids, MI:
        Zondervan, 2008.

        MacArthur, John F., Jr. Romans. MacArthur New Testament Commentary.
        Chicago: Moody Press, 1991.

        Metzger, Bruce Manning, United Bible Societies. A Textual Commentary on
        the Greek New Testament, Second Edition a Companion Volume to the United
        Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament (4th Rev. Ed.). London; New York:
        United Bible Societies, 1994.

        Moo, Douglas J. Romans. The NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI:
        Zondervan Publishing House, 2000.

        Moo, Douglas J. The Epistle to the Romans. The New International
        Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans
        Publishing Co., 1996.

        Morris, Leon. The Epistle to the Romans. The Pillar New Testament
        Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans;
        Inter-Varsity Press, 1988.

        Mounce, Robert H. Romans. Vol. 27. The New American Commentary. Nashville:
        Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995.

        Nicoll, W. Robertson. The Expositor’s Greek Testament: Commentary. Vol. 2.
        New York: George H. Doran Company, n.d.

        Osborne, Grant R. Romans. The IVP New Testament Commentary Series. Downers
        Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004.

        Sanday, W., and Arthur C. Headlam. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on
        the Epistle of the Romans. 3d ed. International Critical Commentary. New
        York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1897.

        Schreiner, Thomas R. Romans. Vol. 6. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the
        New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998.

        Zerwick, Max, and Mary Grosvenor. A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New
        Testament. Rome: Biblical Institute Press, 1974.

        Like

      12. Tandt writes, “Review any of the following scholarly commentaries, some of which are overtly calvinistic, and yet ALL agree that you are wrong and prove that you DO NOT understand what the verse says.”

        Perhaps you can distill the commentaries to show what they say about the Jews and faith – something beyond repeating the text to say that the Jews erred in not pursuing righteousness by faith.

        Like

      13. RHUTCHIN: “Perhaps you can distill the commentaries to show what they say about the Jews and faith – something beyond repeating the text to say that the Jews erred in not pursuing righteousness by faith.”

        I see no point in continuing when it is clear that you have not understood and engaged with what I have earnestly tried to communicate.

        I also see that this is a pattern on this discussion board; many people here have lovingly and patiently dealt with with you far better than I ever could, but you have continued in your obstinance utterly unfazed.

        I’ll leave you with the following thoughts, in hope that you might earnestly consider them.

        I often think of calvinism in a similar manner to Paschal’s Wager. Under which position, if erroneous, would one suffer the most devastating consequences?

        Now maybe calvinism is the correct position, and those who adhere to it are indeed spiritually enlightened as they claim. But for those who do not adhere to calvinism, I see no eternal consequences for rejecting it out of ignorance.

        HOWEVER, if calvinism is erroneous, then I see the consequences as far more dire for those who adhere to it. One has adopted it knowingly and actively, so could they claim ignorance? The very nature and character of God and His love has been grievously misrepresented, dare I say slandered. His gracious and GENUINE offer of salvation to ALL people has also been misrepresented in its presentation, and the consequences of doing so could be nothing short of devastating. I shudder to think of the loss of reward.

        I hope you will give this some thought.

        Liked by 1 person

      14. Tandt,

        Well said….. and I appreciate your noticing that all of the objections/ ideas / concepts referred to as “never-addressed” have been covered multiple times here.

        I especially appreciate your erudite way of explaining the consequences. I am bit simpler in that regard:

        Those who deny/ refute Calvinism lose nothing (if it is true we were decreed before time to deny it).

        Those who (in their free will) present God on their web sites as the origin and sustainer of all sin (including listing by name the Holocaust camps) (including the rape of small girls) need to realize what a massive statement they are making about a God who calls Himself Good and Love.

        Liked by 1 person

      15. Tandt writes, “I see no point in continuing when it is clear that you have not understood and engaged with what I have earnestly tried to communicate.”

        This in response to my simple request that you provide something from all the commentaries you listed to prove your point. You refuse to do so, because there is nothing there. None of the authors you list will differ from Calvin, Hodge, Gill, and others. If you really had something unique to add to the conversation (and had actually gleaned something from the many commentaries you listed), it would have been a simple matter for you to make a case. You see no point because you have no point, so you punted.

        Then, “I also see that this is a pattern on this discussion board;…”

        The pattern is that those who oppose Calvinism do pretty much as you do – claim much but support little. (The exception is Brian Wagner.) Most recently, I asked ts00 to provide a definition of “genuine free will” – a term he used in a comment An easy task if someone has a case to make.

        Then, “HOWEVER, if calvinism is erroneous,…”

        Big “if.” The argument you make here is made by people who have been unable to devise an argument against Calvinism.

        Like

  3. Troy,

    Here is another part of your post…

    “Those who are void of the Spirit can do NOTHING to please God. This would include initiating faith in Christ apart from the Spirit’s work.”

    I have already stated that scripture clearly teaches that apart from God people can still do good things (or the Bible is misleading in so many places). Even in His warning Christ tells us that people can “do good deeds.”

    Matt 6:1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

    But I want now to address the second part of your above statement.

    Who in the world is claiming that we initiate faith in Christ? No one is saying that. You setting up a straw man?

    Of course Christ initiates our faith….. He says that when He is lifted up He will draw all men to Himself. We would never come if He did not draw…. “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” The Father draws them and the ones who believe (have the “right clothes on” — see the wedding parable—) are given to the groom. Christ says the Father draws and gives to Him.

    Of course the Holy Spirit is the one convicting. Christ says, (Calvinist ESV) “…for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment…”

    I believe what Christ says….. He draws all men to Himself. I believe what Christ says: the Father draws then gives. I believe what Christ says: The Holy Spirit convicts the world concerning sin (the world…. yeah, I know, it doesn’t mean “the world”).

    Who is the knave you are referring to that says that Christ, the Father, and the Holy Spirit are not the One who initiates our faith??

    Christ draws all men…the Spirit convicts the world. Come unto me all you who labor! Choose for yourselves this day who you will serve… Seek the Lord while He may be found!

    Like

    1. FOH writes, “Of course Christ initiates our faith….. He says that when He is lifted up He will draw all men to Himself. We would never come if He did not draw….”

      I have seen two views on John 12 on who is drawn. The Universalist says that Christ draws all meaning each and every individual, thus following John 6, God draws all and all are saved. The non-Universalist says that Christ draws all meaning both Jew and gentile [the world]. Following John 6, it is then God who draws His elect to Christ from among both Jews and gentiles.

      Like

      1. Look a pink flying squirrel! Let’s call it universalism and throw it in as a distraction whenever our argument doesn’t make sense in light of the simple, clear meaning of the verse. Of course, “all men” cannot mean “all men.” That would mean one verse destroys all of Calvinism.

        Like

      2. ww writes, “Of course, “all men” cannot mean “all men.” That would mean one verse destroys all of Calvinism.”

        If you use the Universalist argument, what’s the big deal?? I don’t see your issue here.

        Like

      3. If it’s not Calvinism it must be universalism. If it doesn’t have a tail it must be an ape… Because, of course there are no other options. Lol. I choose door #3, neither of the above, along with the vast majority of believers down through the ages.

        Like

      4. ww writes, “If it’s not Calvinism it must be universalism….I choose door #3, neither of the above, along with the vast majority of believers down through the ages.”

        OK. Can you explain how door #3 works given the Scriptures in John 12 and John 6. I suspect you cannot do it (since I have not seen that anyone else has done so).

        Like

      5. ww writes, “Actually it’s been explained to you over and over and over…see FOH’s post above for example.”

        You should be able to explain a 3rd position is 25 words or less; so why have people read through the dubious stuff FOH writes,

        For example, FOH cites Matthew 6:1 as support for his position that people can do “good.” However, this is the Sermon on the Mount and it begins, “He went up on the mountain; and after Christ sat down, His disciples came to Him. And opening His mouth He began to teach them” So Jesus is teaching His disciples. So, one might argue that the disciples of Jesus can do “good” but no more.

        In the rest of his comment, FOH ignores John 6 – for obvious reasons – he knows the argument and has no counter-argument.

        So, why don’t you give it a try – in 25 words (or less) see if you can stake out a third position that actually addresses John 12 and John 6. You say it has been done – OK, it escaped me – so how about a refresher (I don’t think you have anything and are deflecting).

        Like

      6. ww writes, “Nothing in John 6 or 12 runs counter to a non Calvinist view,…”

        No one said that it did. There are two possible interpretations of the drawing in John 12 and that in John 6. Either one accepts the Universalist view that “all” drawn by Christ in John 12 are each and every individual and then make these the ones drawn in John 6, or one accepts the non-Universalist view that “all’ drawn by God in John 12 are Jews and gentiles without reference to any particular individual. You have not offered an argument against this.

        Like

      7. You start with the assumption that the calling is effectual, so you conclude there are only two options. To get there you have to ignore or reinterpret 100 s of verses that clearly illustrate God s calling is resistable. I have no clue why you would want to adopt such an obviously unbiblical doctrine.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. ww writes, “To get there you have to ignore or reinterpret 100 s of verses that clearly illustrate God s calling is resistable.”

        That’s fine – you should be able to identify a third option by now (I tend to think that Universalist and non-Universalist pretty much covers everything). If you insist there is a third option, go for it. Yet, you avoid offering anything – is there something wrong??

        Like

      9. ww writes, “the only options you gave were universalist and Calvinist, so I have no idea what you are talking about. Resistable grace is a third option.”

        Not me. I was pretty clear that there is an Universalist view and a non-Universalist view as tot he understanding of John 12 and John 6 (regarding the drawing of people).

        How do you see resistible grace coming into play in the John 12/John 6 issue?

        Like

      10. What issue? I really don’t know what you are fishing for. In John 6 for example, he deliberately tells them how hard dicipleship will be. Do you think he does this for no reason? He forces a real decision, to show who is truly willing. If his will is irresistible, what is the point?

        Like

      11. ww writes, “What issue? I really don’t know what you are fishing for. ”

        I had originally written, “I have seen two views on John 12 on who is drawn. The Universalist says that Christ draws all meaning each and every individual, thus following John 6, God draws all and all are saved. The non-Universalist says that Christ draws all meaning both Jew and gentile [the world]. Following John 6, it is then God who draws His elect to Christ from among both Jews and gentiles.”

        You said that there was a third option – “Resistable grace is a third option.” I then asked, “How do you see resistible grace coming into play in the John 12/John 6 issue?”

        Like

      12. “The non-Universalist says that Christ draws all meaning both Jew and gentile [the world]. Following John 6, it is then God who draws His elect to Christ from among both Jews and gentiles.”

        Which is exactly what I said. You have effectual drawing in either case as your only option. Universalism is just Calvinism minus hell.
        If the drawing is resistable, that is a third option.

        Like

      13. That’s right WW!

        Anyone reading the Bible would reject irresistible grace.

        How many thousands of times does God extend His grace to mankind, Israel, pagans, and enemies in the Old Testament, only to be “resisted”.

        A. If He made it resistible (and they refused) then it was a real choice (and something we can understand).

        B. If He makes His grace irresistible (and they refused) then it was His plan that they refuse and it was not a real choice (and that is something that makes Him insincere and deceptive—- not True, Good, Love).

        Of course the NT is full of verses like “Come unto me all who labor and are burdened” and “Jerusalem ….. I would have… but you would not,” that indicate that God is giving “whosoever will” the choice. Many, many resist His grace.

        This idea that those of us who do not resist think we are special, or we have “worked” is totally introduced to the Scripture by a philosophical position.

        Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)

        31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

        Believe.

        Like

      14. ww writes, “I guess we all reject irresistible grace then. Good, glad you saw the light!”

        No. Under the category of non-Universalism, we have two divisions – irresistible grace (Calvinists/Arminians) and resistible grace (Pelagians).

        As we are both non-Universlists we can identify those drawn to Christ in John 12 to be Jews and gentiles and not specific individuals as the Universalists maintain.

        Like

      15. Sorry, not seeing it. Who does Jews and gentiles not include?
        “Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. ”
        I think “Whoever” means… whoever.

        Like

      16. “Yet, Calvinists and Arminians do not reject irresistible grace.”
        Sorry if this is out of order, only way I can do it on my phone. Everything I’ve read by Arminians rejects irresistible grace, so again no clue what you are meaning here.

        Like

      17. ww writes, “Everything I’ve read by Arminians rejects irresistible grace, so again no clue what you are meaning here.”

        Arminianism includes “prevenient grace” extended by God to all sinners as the means to negate Total Depravity – it is not resistible. Arminians say that saving grace is resistible and Calvinists say it is not.

        Like

      18. “Concerning prevenient grace, Picirilli notes, “What Arminius meant by ‘prevenient grace’ was that grace that precedes actual regeneration and which, except when finally resisted, inevitably leads on to regeneration. He was quick to observe that this ‘assistance of the Holy Spirit’ is of such sufficiency ‘as to keep at the greatest possible distance from Pelagianism’ . . .”
        http://evangelicalarminians.org/is-prevenient-grace-biblical/
        Still not seeing it. Maybe you are just splitting hairs by calling regeneration saving grace, but of course it’s resistable.

        Like

      19. ww writes “Picirilli notes, “What Arminius meant by ‘prevenient grace’…”

        Arminius had a problem. He subscribed to Total Depravity and then figured out that he needed to get rid of it or no one could be saved. Since he was an advocate of free will, he then had to apply prevenient grace to all people so that all could choose whether to be saved. I’ll disagree with Picirikki, because no one resists preveient grace – they resist the gospel that prevenient grace allows them to consider. Picirilli is also quoted to say, “Because of the fall human beings are held under bondage to sin. They need God’s power in order to be able to freely choose Christ Jesus…” which I read to support my claim. Arminius also had a problem with regeneration because prevenient grace – by negating Total Depravity – was regeneration, so Arminius ended up with two regenerative actions by God.

        The article says, “Arminians maintain that prevenient grace is the activity which God employs through His Holy Spirit in convicting the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment…” Of course, if that grace is resisted, then, obviously, it was not convicting.

        Like

      20. You have never been under conviction and resisted? I was under serious, heavy conviction many times and resisted. And saw others do the same. Some of the others never did come to Christ. The grace inhabits the gospel, it’s not something separate. It’s pouring out every day in many ways for people who decide to hear it. Many will continue to close thier ears and eyes because they think God is something he’s not.

        Like

      21. WW:

        You bring up a good point. It is by the grace of God that we walk our lives in Christ. He is calling us to fix our eyes on Christ.

        Do we always? No. Because that grace is resistible.

        The grace of God was everywhere in the OT, yet Israel resisted it over and over.

        If you come to the text with an idea of how God is….. then stack a few verses on each other, you can philosophize a concept of “irresistible grace.” But if you read all the Bible through as God’s chosen message to us, you will see mankind resisting God’s grace in hundreds of places.

        Liked by 1 person

      22. FOH writes, ” It is by the grace of God that we walk our lives in Christ. He is calling us to fix our eyes on Christ.
        Do we always? No. Because that grace is resistible.”

        Your characterization here seems to apply to believers – “we [believers] walk our lives in Christ” – and not unbelievers. Paul addresses this in Romans 7 and other places.

        Then, “The grace of God was everywhere in the OT, yet Israel resisted it over and over. ”

        That grace was the law by which Israel was to obey God and in disobedience receive forgiveness through the sacrifices.

        Then, “you can philosophize a concept of “irresistible grace.””

        Apparently, you slept through another one of your Calvinist classes. Sound Scripture for irresistible grace. John 6 tells us, “No one can come to Me,…” expressing the inability of man to take the first step to salvation. Then, God’s grace is expressed, “unless the Father who sent Me draws him;” and this grace is made irresistible by the grace of Christ, “I will raise him up on the last day.”

        Then, “if you read all the Bible through as God’s chosen message to us, you will see mankind resisting God’s grace in hundreds of places.”

        This refers to God’s grace in the law and in God sending His prophets to call Israel to repentance. Even believers resist God’s grace in obeying a new command – “Love one another.”

        Like

      23. ww writes, “The grace inhabits the gospel, it’s not something separate.”

        Grace can involve several actions by God to bring a person to salvation. Under Arminianism, “prevenient” grace is an enabling grace that negates Total Depravity and provides the person the opportunity to hear the gospel and respond to it. The drawing by God and the conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit are also by grace. The preaching of the gospel is by grace, and one of several actions God initiates by grace. The opening of the heart to hear the gospel is by grace. You have summarized all the graces under one “Grace” heading which is fine but the Arminian prevenient grace is not that.

        Like

      24. Splitting hairs… All this philosophizing about different forms of grace is just words. In reality, grace is not only found in these things, but in everything that comes to us from the hand of God. Yes, grace enables, but does not force, and is resisted by even believers everyday, else we would never sin. The resistance of the human race to God’s will is why we see evil running rampant, and so much senseless violence, and it’s why many empty souls will be trying to drown their sorrows tonight, because they have allowed themselves to be caught in the enemy’s lies about who God is and how he operates. Fatalism and it’s religions tend to compound the problem, by telling the lost, that yes, whatever will be will be and nothing matters, so they might as well eat, drink and be merry for a day.
        Grace says there is something more, a real and living relationship with the living God for all eternity, and that this vale of sorrows is only a passing shadow.
        “18Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19And this is the verdict: The Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness more than light, because their deeds were evil. 20Everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come into the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
        But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”

        Men loved darkness. God did not condemn them to darkness, they chose and continue to choose it themselves. This is the truth and all your fatalism does is cloud that truth.

        Like

      25. WW writes:
        “Grace says there is something more, a real and living relationship with the living God for all eternity, and that this vale of sorrows is only a passing shadow.”

        This is the ‘good news’ that all men most want and need. This is the hope that Jesus gave to the adulteress, when, instead of condemning, he freed her from sin and the hopelessness that accompanies it. It is so tragic that so much of what passes for religion distorts the genuine love God has for men, the genuine pardon he offers and the genuine hope it gives to all who hear and believe. I can not even imagine God’s wrath upon those who deliberately distort and withhold the message of true grace, which he desires all men to believe and receive. All of the needless hairsplitting and prooftexting in order to what? ‘Prove’ that God does not love most men? Note that those who spread this dreadful lie did not embrace it until after they placed themselves in the ‘in’ group of believers – most of them coming to God under the message of the genuine gospel of unlimited love and grace, before they chose to withhold said love and grace from others.

        Liked by 1 person

      26. TS00 & WW,

        You are both right. No one “shares the Gospel” with someone in a sort of maybe-grace sort of way. “I’m only telling you this to let you know. I dont know if you are chosen, so let’s wait and see what happens.” Nope.

        When a Calvinist shares the Gospel —- he says “Look and live!” “Repent!” “God loves you!” “Believe!”

        But of course this is a mean deception if the person is no chosen.

        Yes…. People are “taught” Calvinism, but not right when they are being saved. No one does that.

        They call it “The Doctrines of Grace,” and “The 5-points of the Gospel.” But no one leads a person to Christ using the 5 points.

        Imagine…. as soon as you explain to your unbelieving friend the L of limited atonement (that Christ only died for —and ever intended to save —- 00.0015% of humanity….. that person will say eew…. and be revolted and then say “that does not look like the Christ I read about in the Bible you gave me.”

        Then they walk away disgusted ….. and the Calvinist shrugs and say “Yep…. foolishness to those who are perishing.” My job’s done here.

        Liked by 1 person

      27. ww writes, “Splitting hairs…

        This was really nice – a Calvinist can affirm everything you wrote. As always, everyone pretty much agrees on the big picture and the differences are in the details.

        Like

      28. “a Calvinist can affirm everything you wrote.”
        No, he can only affirm that it seems this way, but in reality, no one is resisting God’s will and men only choose darkness because God wills them to.
        As FOH notes above, you do not teach irresistible grace to new believers for good reason, it does not fit into the message of the gospel, “Come onto me all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.”
        Not, “I will give you rest only if you are one of the few chosen few.”

        Liked by 1 person

      29. ww writes, “in reality, no one is resisting God’s will and men only choose darkness because God wills them to.”

        Under Calvinism, people always resist God’s will. People refuse to obey God’s laws, they refuse to repent of evil and they reject Christ. Your quibble is that God ultimately must grant people freedom to disobey Him and this granting of freedom is the expression of His will.

        However, you have no objection to this, because this can be done in the present as events are unfolding and do not have to happen in eternity past. Do you really have an alternative to this??

        Then, “As FOH notes above, you do not teach irresistible grace to new believers for good reason, it does not fit into the message of the gospel, “Come onto me all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.””

        As we read in Hebrews 6, “Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity,…” Elsewhere, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3, “I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly….” People in the flesh think it is all about them, so they want salvation to be all about them and they decide. You feed them milk – Christ died to save sinners – and not meat – God is sovereign. However, that does not mean that you have to mislead them and tell them that God loves all people equally (that is Universalism) or that all people are basically reasonable (that is Pelagianism) or that people cooperate with God in salvation (that is RC teaching).

        Like

      30. “God must grant people freedom to disobey Him and this granting of freedom is the expression of His will.”

        Just the opposite. In calvinism, freedom doesn’t exist. I’m sure you’ll come back with some nonsense about man sinning willfully. But if the only option is slavery, it makes no difference if we think we choose it or are forced into it, the result is the same—damnation. And if you have to hide part of your theology from new believers, you might have a cult.
        Yes men must cooperate with God for salvation. According to Wesleyan theology: “The doctrine of prevenient grace brings balance to this debate by asserting that God initiates salvation by giving to all mankind the grace to seek God. When man by grace responds to God’s call, God gives him more grace. Salvation is all by grace, but man cooperates with that grace. Man can choose to respond to grace or to reject it.”

        This is not just Catholic theology.

        “11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, ” Titus 2:11

        Like

      31. ww writes, “Just the opposite. In calvinism, freedom doesn’t exist.”

        This because of God’s decree that the corruption incurred by Adam when he sinned be inherited by his progeny thereby enslaving them to sin. Would you deny that people are enslaved to sin and thereby, true freedom cannot exist? Are you saying that people are not spiritually dead. You oppose Calvinism, but what do you offer as a substitute. Nothing – right!! If people had a coherent alternative to Calvinism, they would offer that alternative and end the discussion. They can’t so they don’t as we see in the discussions here. We get FOH offering the thousands of verses he thinks support his view but cannot harmonize them with the alleged 50 or so verses that clearly do not support his view.

        Then, “Yes men must cooperate with God for salvation….This is not just Catholic theology.”

        That is exactly what Catholic Theology teaches and Catholic Theology is Pelagian theology.

        “11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to [both Jews and gentiles]. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, ” Titus 2:11

        “when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared,
        5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,
        6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
        7 that being justified by His grace we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3)

        Like

      32. You already know what I’m saying. Every one recieves grace, which is exactly what the verse says. If one continues to be enslaved by sin, it is by choice. The alternative is not hard to understand. Of course we cannot not save ourselves. What does the passage say? First, that salvation is offered to all, then that salvation is not by works, but by grace. Faith is not a work and of course the gift can be received or ignored.
        “How shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

        5It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 6But there is a place where someone has testified:

        “What is mankind that you are mindful of them,

        a son of man that you care for him?

        7You made them a littlea lower than the angels;

        you crowned them with glory and honor

        8and put everything under their feet.”b c

        In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them.e Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them.f 9But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

        10In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. 11Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.g 12He says,

        “I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters;

        in the assembly I will sing your praises.”

        13And again,

        “I will put my trust in him.”

        And again he says,

        “Here am I, and the children God has given me.”

        14Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17For this reason he had to be made like them,k fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”

        Like

      33. ww writes, “What does the passage say? First, that salvation is offered to all, then that salvation is not by works, but by grace.”

        The context has, “God saved us…that being justified by God’s grace we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Paul writes to believers. When Paul says, “the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people,” he does not mean each and every individual other than that the gospel is proclaimed to each and every individual. Those who respond to the gospel proclaim, “God saved me – by grace, I have been saved.” Those who reject the gospel say, “God did not save me.”

        Then, “Faith is not a work and of course the gift can be received or ignored.”

        Faith is defined in Hebrews 11 this way, “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Do you really believe that a person who has assurance and conviction can be described as ignoring faith and thereby not having assurance and conviction?? Faith is not faith if not received (meaning that it was not given in the first place).

        Then, “You already know what I’m saying.”

        I have no idea what you are saying. All you ever seem to express is what you don’t believe about Calvinism. That which you actually believe is somewhat a mystery. Look at the goofy statement you made above – “Faith…can be received or ignored.” That is said by people who have no understanding of faith. But, who knows – maybe you do know what you are talking about. If you do, take Hebrews 11 and explain whatever sense you think faith can be ignored.

        Like

      34. I never said faith could be ignored. Faith is not the gift, salvation is.
        “How shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation?”

        “When Paul says, “the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people,” he does not mean each and every individual other than that the gospel is proclaimed to each and every individual. Those who respond to the gospel proclaim, “God saved me – by grace, I have been saved.” Those who reject the gospel say, “God did not save me.”
        This is quite amusing. Paul says salvation is offered to all people, but obviously you know better than Paul. He must not have really meant all.
        Another Flip flop,( just like when you told me we are free, but then that we are not free) now we can reject the gospel? If we can reject it, then calvinism is wrong at it’s core, and I don’t know what you are debating. You have stated again and again, in essence, that we have to be regenerated before we are saved. Obviously, under your system, the person who is regenerated already can’t ignore the gospel and the one who is born damned will never understand it because God has rendered him unable to, so how can he reject it? You can’t reject what was never offered you.

        Liked by 1 person

      35. WW,
        I would like to follow up on your good talking point.

        “You can’t reject what was never offered you.”

        The L in TULIP is Limited Atonement. Calvin…. The sacrifice of Christ was never intended for all. No sacrifice whatsoever is offered or intended. And this before the dawn of time.

        What exactly is man refusing at that point? What is man rejecting?

        Calvinism: Adam sinned. You get his sin. You deserve death (for Adam’s sin: before you were born you were guilty). A sacrifice has been made, but not for you. You “reject” that non-offer.

        The dots just do not connect.

        You are held accountable for Adam’s sin, and you are “rejecting” an offer that was never made to you.

        And this is the message of the entire 66 books of the Bible? The Good News?

        Like

      36. WW writes:
        “You can’t reject what was never offered you.”

        Thus, rendering John 3 16-21, and much of the rest of the New Testament, meaningless:

        “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God.”

        What is it that men are being condemned for not believing? That God didn’t love them, but loved others enough to send his Son to redeem? Can men be condemned for not believing that Jesus came to give his life for someone else, but not them? Of course men would hate the light that has come into the world, if that light did not shine upon them, as Calvinism asserts. Or as one blogger put it: “What good is a whosoever will in a world where everyone won’t?” (Brian Yeager, http://www.wordsoftruth.net)

        It is just the most preposterous theology ever asserted, if you wrest it out of its cozy prooftext cocoon and try and apply it to the actual words of Jesus, the prophets and the apostles., Yet countless people have professed it, and people listen to, follow and revere men who proclaim it as if it was not laughable nonsense. No wonder Calvin was so furious at Servetus he had him murdered. Servetus had the nerve to point out and laugh mercilessly at the absurdity of Calvin’s preposterous claims, and Calvin made sure that all of his well-written evidence was burned along with Servetus – lest others see the wisdom of his challenge. It was much easier to force a system of theology upon a ‘bookless’ world, in which even literate people were unlikely to have a copy of The Institutes or the bible. When men like Servetus, Castellio and a few other brave men attempted to publish their challenges to Calvin’s claims they found their works seized and their lives threatened (and often taken). Then, for the next few hundred years naive and ignorant people are told how the world ‘adopted’ the teachings of the Reformation. Teachings which precious few knew or understood, let alone accepted.

        Liked by 1 person

      37. ww wrote, “You can’t reject what was never offered you.”
        TS00 responded, “Thus, rendering John 3 16-21, and much of the rest of the New Testament, meaningless:”

        If something is “offered,” it is conditioned either on the person deciding to accept the offer or meeting some requirement (such as accepting) to receive the offer. An offer is conditional; a gift is not. A gift is yours to do with as you will with no conditions on accepting – even to throw it away.

        John 3:16 is a statement of fact – those who believe in Christ have eternal life. It says nothing about how a person comes to believe. In Ephesians 2, we find out that faith is required and this is a gift from God to those who then believe.

        Then, “What is it that men are being condemned for not believing?”

        They are condemned because, “men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” Not believing is not the source of condemnation but the reason that people are not saved from the condemnation resulting from their evil deeds.

        Like

      38. Rhutchin writes:

        “They are condemned because, “men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” Not believing is not the source of condemnation but the reason that people are not saved from the condemnation resulting from their evil deeds.”

        Actually, if Rhutchin understood the gospel, he would know that ‘not believing’ IS the source of all condemnation. He would know that Jesus died to take away the sin of the world, that no man need ever be condemned as a result of his evil deeds. It is also the source of the power that frees us from the fear of sin and death, and gives us reason and hope to resist sin and turn from our former wickedness. Because God so loves all men that he seeks them, sent his Son to draw them, and longs for them to reject the lies told about him, believe in his goodness, turn from rebellion – and the wickedness it produces – and be restored to a right relationship with him. There is absolutely none of the abstract nonsense of the predestination to salvation of a limited few (concocted by Calvin et al.) proclaimed in scripture. The only genuine usage of predestination in scripture is that most blessed promise that believers will one day be conformed to the image of Jesus.

        This is the scriptural portrayal of faith in the goodness and love of God vs. believing in ‘election’ as demonstrated by the ‘works’ of circumcision, sacrifice and ritual keeping of the Law that Jesus and his disciples taught. This meaning was completely distorted by the Magisterial Reformers who sought to twist it back into a gospel of ‘works’, as in the righteous works of Jesus performed only for a chosen ‘elect’.

        ‘Mark’ my words, no one need sit in despair waiting for God to ‘draw’ on them to prove he actually loves them. Rather, Jesus demonstrated for all the world to see that God loves all men, and all who hunger and thirst for the true righteousness of being ‘like Christ’ can freely come and receive this promised, predestined hope!

        Like

      39. “This is the scriptural portrayal of faith in the goodness and love of God vs. believing in ‘election’ as demonstrated by the ‘works’ of circumcision, sacrifice and ritual keeping of the Law that Jesus and his disciples taught. ”

        Not sure this reads as intended. Jesus taught salvation by believing in the love of God, and his promise of forgiveness and life. Judaisers, old and new, insist upon the limited salvation of a chosen people, determined either by circumcision and being the recipients of the Law or the Magisterial Reformers rendition, with predestination of a chosen few accomplished by irresistible drawing, forcible regeneration, etc.

        Like

      40. TS00,

        It does read as intended.

        Calvinists say that works (circumcision, sacrifice) in the OT is the same as believing / faith/ trust in the NT unless that faith is given to you.

        Paul in Romans 4 (whole chapter) makes it clear that faith is NOT a work. Believing is not a work. We cannot boast in believing. We could boast like the Pharisee in tithing, fasting, good deeds etc….. but not believing. There is not one place (not one!) where having faith is considered a thing that we can boast in.

        Works are so OT and Roman C. Faith is not a work. Even Luther stood in front of his RC critics and juxtaposed works and faith. Salvation by grace, through faith. That is the message that many people have been killed for. Why then turn around and say “you can’t really have it.”?

        The issue is that our friends want to agree (grace through faith)…. but then say …. “Yeah but the faith is given to 00.15% of humanity, and has nothing really to do with “whosoever will” or “all” or “world” “anyone”.”

        Even in the OT we see Ruth and Rahab being added to the “chosen” by their own faith…. and Rahab’s is even re-told to us in the Faith Chapter of Hebrews 11.

        I just dont get how they wanna superimpose some impossible faith on top of a simple story like Ruth. There is not one teeeny-tiny implication in the story that Ruth had more than the simple faith that any person can have.

        By her simple faith she is grafted into the “chosen” people and even the line of Christ.

        BTW, Piper has listed 7 reasons why you should read his book on Ruth. None of the 7 is about faith.

        Like

      41. FOH, Sadly, because, like you, I know, love and respect many self-called ‘Calvinists’ I must nonetheless declare that the doctrines of Calvin are ‘doctrines of demons’. I just don’t believe that most of those who ‘claim’ to adhere to them truly understand what they affirm.

        Note the common attributes of all ‘doctrines of demons’, such as Israel as the chosen nation, patriarchal (ascriptural) complementarianism and Calvinistic predestination. All tweak the gospel a bit, this way and that, presenting God as a respecter of persons, a rather obsolete expression that essentially means ‘biased against some’ for stated or unknown reasons. This is, of course, the absolute antithesis to the gospel, the ‘anti-Christ’ message. Jesus was lifted up so that ALL men (and women – this is the ‘mankind’ version of ‘men’) could see the clear demonstration of God’s love for them ALL, the ‘good news of a great joy which will come to all the people’.

        Doctrines of demons deliberately distort and disguise the real message of the incarnation, twisting it into all sorts of divisive, exclusive messages that at their core proclaim: ‘Some are loved, but you may not be, because God is cruel, arbitrary and untrustworthy.’

        This is the anti-Christ gospel of Satan, a doctrine of demons.

        Like

      42. TS00,

        I hear ya bro, but I would add some words of caution.

        They think they are honoring God. And think we are bringing Him down. So…. they think we are making Him a man-sized tool and we think they are making Him a rape-multiplying-delighting beast.

        They don’t want to clap their hands and applaud that God ordained/ willed/ delighted in/ planned/ decreed the Holocaust…. but they must since they have scaffolded one half-verse on another —built on a wrong foundation. But still in some “mysterious” way (using a mysterious compatibalism) they think that giving Him the “credit” for all sin fully honors Him.

        Okay…so we dont get that.

        They dont get how we read the Bible and see a not-all-controlling God. They think that we make Him small (Of course we answer that Jesus looked pretty humble (“small”) in the cradle, at the temple, walking with disciples and getting abused and slain …. but this conversation is not about that right now).

        So, in the same way that young Troy has backed away from zealously flinging the ‘heretic’ and ‘apostasy’ labels at us Christ-followers who see God’s “smallness” and not so much His Holocaust-ness… perhaps you should avoid the demonic label.

        I think they show the Holocaust-loving, ugly side of their philosophy all by themselves.

        Like

      43. FOH, I take your admonition to heart. I do not throw out the charge lightly, nor do I, with the Magisterial Reformers, believe that ‘heresy’, ‘apostasy’ or ‘demons of doctrines’ call for cruel torture and murder of those one perceives as perpetrators. I do believe, however, that the one essential need for believers, as we are charged by Paul, is to openly, publicly dispute with all who proclaim any but the genuine gospel of God’s goodness, love and mercy.

        I can overlook (and well I might, as I am guilty along with all others) of much ignorance, arrogance and wrongheaded thinking. We all look through a glass darkly, and perceive of the truth only slightly. But what cannot be allowed is the one error that Calvinism perpetrates – discounting the love and grace of God, leaving lost sinners for whom Jesus suffered and died, with no hope.

        I don’t care what others think about the Trinity, the Eucharist or Eschatology. I believe myself willing and able to tolerate a good deal of ignorance and error, as I said, because I live with it in myself. But, my friend, I do not believe that we can allow the true nature of God to be blasphemed without speaking up for the truth. (Again, note that I am not professing a desire to physically repress or harm others, but merely address their claims.) I attempt to not throw out the terms ‘heretic’ or ‘apostasy’, and I cringe to have to point out ‘doctrines of demons’, but at least this has precedent in scripture.

        The apostles did warn of doctrines of demons, and did call for them to be called out and discounted. I seek no trials, no condemnations, no excommunications, and no tortuous death by slow fire. I will even grant that calm demeanor and voice is preferable to heated dispute. However, at this point – and I am open to correction – I believe that Calvinism is the greatest detriment to the teaching of the true gospel. And even for those who claim ‘Calvinism’ with their lips, but believe in their hearts in the true God of scripture, I have lived and seen too many testimonies of the grave damage that Calvinism’s caricature of God does to those who hold it and other’s whose lives they intersect. It was only with great turmoil and after a very painful journey was I able to finally confront the monster that I, and so many others, have discovered Reformed Theology to be in the hearts, lives, families and churches it controls.

        I can truly say that I can understand the turmoil that Paul felt, with a deep love and compassion for those who were his brothers according to the flesh, but his enemies in respect to the gospel.

        Like

      44. FOH writes, “Calvinists say that works (circumcision, sacrifice) in the OT is the same as believing / faith/ trust in the NT unless that faith is given to you.”

        Calvinists say that faith was the same in the OT as in the NT – people looked with faith to the coming Christ in the OT and to the resurrected Christ in the NT and today. Works have always been the product of faith.

        Maybe you might read Romans 1, “Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning His Son,…” and 1 Peter, “As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful search and inquiry, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.”

        Like

      45. ts00 writes, “Jesus taught salvation by believing in the love of God, …”

        Jesus taught salvation by believing in HIM!!! One can believe in the love of God and have nothing to do with Jesus.

        Like

      46. To believe in Jesus is to believe in the love of God. Jesus is the manifestation of God’s love for and to mankind. Believe in him, and the gift of life he came to offer, and you believe in the love of God. It is marvelous, and doesn’t require a single book or class on doctrine.

        Like

      47. TS00,

        You mean the love of the Creator to all men offering them an open invitation to look at nature and see Christ (Rom 1), or specifically hear the gospel and know Christ……. or the love of God that planned before time that 99.85% of humanity (created in His image) was never included in his plan for good (only destruction)?

        Like

      48. I mean the hope that comes to you at the bottom of the deepest pit, when you do not see any way out; and you remember that God sent Jesus to tell you that he loves you, that he has not left you to muddle through on your own. And suddenly, in spite of the hopelessness of your circumstances, and the knowledge that you may lose everything that you have ever cared about on this earth, your heart is flooded with peace and joy. A song slips from your trembling lips, a song you haven’t thought of in decades, and in your faltering, tear-soaked voice your cry, ‘Abba, Father, I trust you.’ And nothing is ever the same. No night is ever so dark again.

        Liked by 1 person

      49. ts00 writes, “To believe in Jesus is to believe in the love of God.”

        Among other things. However, the point here is that salvation is received by believing in Jesus; not believing in the love of God.

        Like

      50. Technically, it is true that God draws his elect from both Jew and gentile. But you failed to add the condition-faith. I’m not sure if your statement was meant to be miss leading or it was just incomplete. But it sounded like you were saying the only two options are universalism or calvinism.

        Like

      51. ww writes, “But it sounded like you were saying the only two options are universalism or calvinism.”

        When people seek to harmonize the drawing by the cross of people to Christ in John 12 and the drawing by God of people to Christ in John 6, there are two options. Either one takes “all” in John 12 to mean each and every individual (the Universalist view) or one takes it to mean Jew and gentile (the non-Universalist view that is consistent with Calvinism). Taking one position or the other into John 6 to apply to God’s drawing then gives one of the two outcomes.

        Like

      52. In John 6 Messiah is repeating the same talking points He used in the previous chapter 5. In chapter 5 He points out that Israel was unable to “hear” or “see” Messiah through the myriad of word pictures and metaphorical imagery of the Hebrew Scriptures through which the Father “hath borne witness” (v. 37) of Messiah (note the ironic jab in 37b) because instead they sought a method of self justification by works of the law.

        “37 And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.
        38 And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.
        39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
        40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.”

        This same point from chapter 5 is reintroduced and receives further development in chapter 6 verse 37:

        “37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

        So the “giving” of the Father was through the witness which the Father had borne of the Son through the Scriptures. Those who receive the witness of the Father, seeing and hearing through the word pictures and metaphorical imagery of the Scriptures, come to the Son.

        And then this receives further development in verses 44 and 45:

        “44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
        45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.”

        Now the newly introduced aspect of “drawing” in light of Jn. 12:32, I believe, refers specifically to the cross, in which the love of the Father for all will be made manifest, while at the same time all will be drawn to Jesus and His resurrection.

        With the cross now in view, in the following verses after v. 45 Messiah further develops the concept of bread (the central topic of the whole chapter really) to show that it is a word picture/metaphorical image for His flesh and blood, which must be eaten(!). Again, nothing has changed, and the word picture/metaphorical imagery is neither “heard” nor “”seen”; is not received as it was intended.

        Like

      53. Tandt writes, “In John 6 Messiah is repeating the same talking points He used in the previous chapter 5.”

        That was a nice explanation. When people explain the Scriptures, we should always looks to see what they left out. In this case, you do not address the phrase “I will raise him up at the last day,” and you need to do so as it is the elephant in the room for the Calvinist explanation of the drawing by God.

        Like

      54. RHUTCHIN: “That was a nice explanation. When people explain the Scriptures, we should always looks to see what they left out. In this case, you do not address the phrase “I will raise him up at the last day,” and you need to do so as it is the elephant in the room for the Calvinist explanation of the drawing by God.”

        I honestly don’t understand what you are getting at here; could you please elaborate?

        I do think much if not all of Messiah’s discourse in John 6 is spoken in anticipation of His yet future crucifixion, resurrection, and glorification, and must be understood in light of those events. Those who have heard and learned from the Father will come and be united with Messiah, partake of His nature by eating His flesh and drinking His blood, and therefore they likewise will be resurrected and will receive a glorified body (i.e. raised up at the last day) just as He is to be resurrected and will receive a glorified body (which from the vantage point of John 6 is in the very near future).

        Like

      55. Tandt writes, “I honestly don’t understand what you are getting at here; could you please elaborate?”

        John 6:44
        No one can come to Me,…
        unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and…
        I will raise him up on the last day.

        A Calvinist reads this as:
        No one can come to Me,… – expresses the inability of a person to believe in Christ – his Total Depravity
        unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and – expresses the necessity for God to draw a person to Christ to save the person
        I will raise him up on the last day. – The action by Christ to raise up the person drawn by God ensuring his salvation.

        The person drawn by God is then, following your words, “Those who have heard and learned from the Father will come…”

        Like

  4. Dr. Flowers writes, “[Calvinism says that people are] judged them for their unwillingness to repent in light of Christ’s word.”

    Under Calvinism, people are judged for their sin and properly so. That they are unwilling to repent and cannot do so without God’s grace, is not relevant.

    Like

  5. I grew up among the “holy rollers”, so I learned two things early: nothing happens, not conviction, not salvation, with out the holy Spirit. And I learned that one can resist the Spirit. Imagine my shock, finding out many years later, that some Christians call his leading irresistible.
    We called ourselves Wesleyans, but I never heard the term ” prevenient grace” But I did experience and resist his leading, and saw others repent or resist.
    I believe in prevenient grace, but it takes many forms. Calling grace irresistible is simply absurd. As absurd as calling faith work. Biblically and experientially, the spirit convicts but doesn’t coerce.

    Like

    1. WW:
      The Bible is full of examples of “the Lord God” extending His grace….only to be rejected. Surely it is resistible.

      Ez 18:31 Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.”

      Ez 33:11 Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?

      Joel 2:12 “Yet even now,” declares the Lord,
      “return to me with all your heart,
      with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
      13 and rend your hearts and not your garments.”
      Return to the Lord your God,
      for he is gracious and merciful,
      slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;
      and he relents over disaster.
      14 Who knows whether he will not turn and relent,

      —————————-
      These are not cherry-picked half-verses trying to put together a presupposition! This kind of speech from “declares the Lord” is everywhere to be found!!! Thousands of verses in God’s word…. the “all of the Bible.”

      He extends His grace…..implores them to return…even saying He will relent from the disaster He is planning. Yet they resist.

      How did man come up with the idea that God’s grace is not resistible? Surely this is brought-to-the-text to support a presupposition.

      Like

  6. Fromoverhere said, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.’” The key words here are “believed GOD.” The Calvinist today believes the Bible and believes the gospel. What they don’t believe is God in His command to “repent.”

    Abraham believed God when God told him to leave Ur for the “land I will give to you.” The unbeliever, likewise, believes God when he or she repents in the name of Jesus Christ unto salvation.

    Like

  7. You see .. Abram bot only believed in the “promised land” and that God could give it to him. He also believed what God said he must do to receive the land!

    Like

    1. RB writes, “Abram bot only believed…”

      Hebrews 11 tells us “By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed…” The issue now is to determine how Abraham had faith – was he born with faith or did God give him faith?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. WW:

    You said …. “If it’s not Calvinism it must be universalism….I choose door #3, neither of the above, along with the vast majority of believers down through the ages.”

    To which you got a black-n-white reply that no one can explain a third option.

    No one will blame you if you don’t even bother. It is clear for many Calvinists…. only two options…. as in Calvinism or Universalism —–and double down…. no one has ever been able to explain a third way!! What an arrogant response!

    As you said it has been explained over and over and over. The whole blog itself is an explanation. Besides any explanation will just be twisted as my words about Matt 6 were twisted. It is not a sincere question, so dont worry about it.

    Celebrate in stead these days our Lord Christ with your family as I will be doing with my immediate family of nearly 30 people! Some, by the way are Calvinists, Pentecostals, Baptist, Nazarene……

    Like

    1. FOH writes, “To which you got a black-n-white reply that no one can explain a third option.”

      I actually said, “I have not seen that anyone else has done so.” Perhaps, someone actually has explained a third option (maybe, even a fourth). If so, ww’s task is easy. I still don’t think anyone has done this – certainly you have not and are no help to him.

      Then, ” Besides any explanation will just be twisted as my words about Matt 6 were twisted.”

      I twisted nothing – only supplied context. You can certainly explain how you adhered to context – but if you could, you already would have.

      Like

  9. My daily reading has me in Zechariah 6-7.

    6: 15 People will come from distant lands to rebuild the Temple of the Lord. And when this happens, you will know that my messages have been from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. All this will happen if you carefully obey what the Lord your God says.

    ——————– Here is a picture of the Sovereign Lord saying He will do something and they will remember previous words and they will know it is Him doing it. Great! That means that He is identifying what will happen as something He did……. which of course distinguishes it from thousands of other events (that He did not do!!).

    Also…..look at how Zechariah finishes this declaration of the Lord. “All this will happen if you carefully obey what the Lord your God says.”

    But if you dont obey…… it wont. One of the thousands of if/then passages in the Bible where “the Lord of Heaven’s Armies” declares that His action will be based on man’s response/ action.

    7: 8 Then this message came to Zechariah from the Lord: 9 “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Judge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another. 10 Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor. And do not scheme against each other.

    ——————— Here, a personal God says to His people….. This is what I want you to do! You can do these things! You should do these things! Then He tells them.

    7: 11 “Your ancestors refused to listen to this message. They stubbornly turned away and put their fingers in their ears to keep from hearing. 12 They made their hearts as hard as stone, so they could not hear the instructions or the messages that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies had sent them by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. That is why the Lord of Heaven’s Armies was so angry with them.”

    ———————–What? These people were “chosen”, then redeemed from Egypt with the blood of the lamb, then told to do good! But they refused to listen. They turned away…. made their hearts as stone…. not listening to prophet after prophet. And in doing this they angered the Lord.

    My friends….. my Calvinist friends….. in what way does that remotely sound like they are doing what God wants in their disobedience? God has not decreed/ willed/ desired/ planned/ ordained their disobedience so that He could warn them over and over with prophets…. so that He could scold them for being disobedient! Then get angry at them for doing what He ordained! That is folly!

    Who give any human (Augustine, Calvin, the divines, or Piper) the right to say—– these thousands of passages do not mean what they say. God really ordained all their sin from the beginning because He “takes glory” in getting angry with them!

    He finishes off this section with …….

    7: 13 “Since they refused to listen when I called to them, I would not listen when they called to me, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

    ————————- He called…. and they did not listen. He did not get what He wanted. Again making it clear that He would have listened to them if they had listen to Him.

    Signed: The Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

    Like

    1. FOH writes, “That means that He is identifying what will happen as something He did……. which of course distinguishes it from thousands of other events (that He did not do!!).”

      God saying what He will do with regard to certain of His activities says nothing about any other activities in which He might engage.

      Like

    2. FOH writes, ” These people were “chosen”, then redeemed from Egypt with the blood of the lamb, then told to do good! But they refused to listen. They turned away…. made their hearts as stone…. not listening to prophet after prophet. And in doing this they angered the Lord.”

      Israel was chosen to be God’s people and were to do so by keeping His law. God gave Israel freedom to choose not to keep His law.

      Like

  10. Through the Bible reading gets me to Malachi 1 and 2

    1:7 “You have shown contempt by offering defiled sacrifices on my altar.

    “Then you ask, ‘How have we defiled the sacrifices?’

    “You defile them by saying the altar of the Lord deserves no respect. 8 When you give blind animals as sacrifices, isn’t that wrong? And isn’t it wrong to offer animals that are crippled and diseased? Try giving gifts like that to your governor, and see how pleased he is!” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
    ————————————–

    The Israelites were bringing lame sacrifices to the Lord. They knew better and were making these choices. We are constantly told by Calvinists (who are determinists but still dare to say “The Lord allows”) that the Lord allows people to do disobedient things. But here we see clearly that they were “allowed” to do obedient things too. Meaning: they could have obeyed. It is even what God wanted and expected (proved by saying many times “I brought you up out of Egypt and you still did not obey Me.”).

    The choice of bringing good animals or bad was entirely up to them. To say it any other way would mean that He wanted them to bring lame animals so that He could blame them for doing it and judge them. That’s a deceptive and somewhat sadistic scenario.

    1:9 “Go ahead, beg God to be merciful to you! But when you bring that kind of offering, why should he show you any favor at all?” asks the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
    ————————————–

    Man it looks like God really wanted them to bring the right offerings! His favor even depended on it.

    I’m not making this stuff up! I mean, of course you can wave some magic philosophical wand and say…. “Oh my these verses dont mean that!” But that gets so tiresome after 2000-3000 times. I got tired of re-writing so many verses! And felt arrogant in the process!

    Switching to the Calvinist ESV for next verses. It is a bit hard to understand (keeping an archaic form) but I dont want anyone saying this is just interpretation:

    1:10 Oh that there were one among you who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire on my altar in vain! I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord of hosts, and I will not accept an offering from your hand.
    ——————————————-

    Here the Lord wishes that someone would shut the doors (other translations use “wish” —- ESV says “oh that”).

    But He is very clear here (even the ESV cant hide it!) that He has no pleasure in what they are doing.

    No pleasure. Of course, an “untrained” person would understand that He has no pleasure in that —but once you have been taught Calvinism-determinis you “understand” that He doesnt really mean that since He ordained / decreed/ willed/ planned their disrespectful sacrifices.

    1:14 Cursed be the cheat who has a male in his flock, and vows it, and yet sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished. For I am a great King, says the Lord of hosts, and my name will be feared among the nations.
    ———————————————-

    Interesting here that the Lord says people are cheating Him….. and yet He calls Himself a “Great King.”

    So He apparently has room to be King and Great….. and still allow people to cheat Him. Not His plan…. He is not behind it…. I mean He is clearly not sovereignly ordaining that they cheat Him (says He doesnt like it), but yet He is still Sovereign. Once again, not Calvin’s definition of sovereignty.

    2:17 You have wearied the Lord with your words.

    “How have we wearied him?” you ask.

    By saying, “All who do evil are good in the eyes of the Lord, and he is pleased with them”
    ———————————————-

    Wow….. those are interesting words! Sounds a bit like what is happening today. When web sites say that Holocaust camps were really God’s will ….. that sounds a bit like saying “all who do evil are good in the eyes of the Lord.”

    Haven’t we clearly heard our determinist friends say that “everything that happens is God’s ordained will”?

    Sounds to me from this passage that this idea is wearisome to the Lord.

    Like

    1. Apparently FOH doesn’t know how to play prooftext battles.

      No one can stray from the lifted out of context verse, partial verse or verses. No one can actually read the bible as if it was written as a whole, one verse leading to another verse, explaining and amplifying a concept. No, no, you must only address the isolated fragment, and pretend as if it stands alone as a universal, irreducible truth. Ignore all else scripture says concerning the subject, but don’t forget to appeal to ‘scripture in toto’ so it appears as if you actually are not willy-nilly pulling verses out of context. (Don’t worry, most people don’t do their homework; they just take you at your word, so you can say anything.) Insist that concepts be distilled into, say 25 words or less, as we all know that God never took more than 25 words to teach anything.

      You really must learn to play the game, or you will never see how Calvinism is always right. Simple minded fools, always reading their bibles as if God intends people to study it as a whole, learning the simple, similar lessons conveyed throughout.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. ts00 writes, “No, no, you must only address the isolated fragment, and pretend as if it stands alone as a universal, irreducible truth.”

        Yet, the Scriptures are the truth, in whole and in part (or in fragments, as you describe it) are they not?? What “fragment” of Scripture would you suggest is not truth – and is not universal, irreducible truth??

        Then, “Insist that concepts be distilled into, say 25 words or less, as we all know that God never took more than 25 words to teach anything.”

        If you mean by concepts, that which a person thinks God is telling us in the Scriptures, then 25 words seems more than sufficient – this because we find that even God is brief in saying many things. Is that not why people are encouraged to memorize specific verses – so that they might meditate on major doctrinal truths in their minds at all times. John 3:16 has 25 words. Romans 3:23 has 12 words.

        Like

  11. The Calvinist wants his “regeneration” to be like a drug given to a woman who consistently refused the proposal of a man, even hated him… but when the drug is given, she immediately and irresistibly accepts his next proposal. That doesn’t sound like how a true love relationship is formed to me.

    Even if everyone is born with a disposition to eventually hate God if God does not ever intervene, that does not mean God is impotent to make Himself sufficiently desirable to each person, giving them a free-choice whether to pursue a relationship with Him or not. That He does make Himself sufficiently desirable to each person, giving them a free-choice whether to pursue a relationship with Him or not, sounds like how a true love relationship is formed to me. And it is consistent with what Scripture teaches about love. Praise His Name that God does reach out sufficiently like that in love, willing to be rejected, to each person a few times in their lives (Job 33:14-30, John 1:9, Acts 17:26-27, Rom 1, 2, 10:18, 11:32, Heb 3:7-8, 2Pet 3:9).

    The Calvinist just cannot believe God would be able to suffer any kind of relational loss or rejection like that. The Calvinist wants to believe that if God He wanted the love of His creature He would sovereignly make it certain to happen before even creating the will of the creature. The Calvinist has a hard time believing God can even experience grief, which is related to loss. But the Scripture clearly teaches God can suffer loss and has suffered loss to make such a free-will love relationship possible! And He does grieve when He is rejected! Praise His Name!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. brianwagner writes, “The Calvinist wants his “regeneration” to be like a drug given to a woman who consistently refused the proposal of a man, even hated him… but when the drug is given, she immediately and irresistibly accepts his next proposal. That doesn’t sound like how a true love relationship is formed to me.”

      The better analogy would be to have a blind man whose sight is regenerated allowing him to see. Perhaps, you just misremember Calvinism.

      Then, “…that does not mean God is impotent to make Himself sufficiently desirable to each person, giving them a free-choice whether to pursue a relationship with Him or not.”

      OK. Now you remember. That God “…make(s) Himself sufficiently desirable to each person…” is what Calvinism call regeneration followed by the revealing of Christ – who is the most desirable of all to those who can see.

      Then, “The Calvinist just cannot believe God would be able to suffer any kind of relational loss or rejection like that.”

      It is human to respond to rejection by giving up. God never gives up – God does not accept rejection as defeat but pursues His elect to the end and victory.

      Then, “[God] does grieve when He is rejected!”

      Thus, Paul, “…do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” To this, Barnes adds, “We are not to suppose that the Holy Spirit literally endures grief, or pain, at the conduct of men. The language is such as is fitted to describe what men endure, and is applied to him to denote that kind of conduct which is fitted to cause grief; and the meaning here is, “do not pursue such a course as is fitted, in its own nature, to pain the benevolent heart of a holy being. Do not act towards the Holy Spirit in a manner which would produce pain in the bosom of a friend who loves you. There is a course of conduct which will drive that Spirit from the mind as if he were grieved and pained–as a course of ingratitude and sin would pain the heart of an earthly friend, and cause him to leave you.”

      I hope you have a Happy New Year with great prosperity in the Word.

      Like

      1. So Roger… it’s literally a blind date that gets the drug, opening her eyes… she still hated the person before that moment and then did not hate him after the drug gave her sight. It still is a magical result that bound her will in one direction with no ability to act otherwise. That is not how love is formed.

        Relationships are not games to “win”. God does “give up” after pursuing those He loved and their constant rejection. That is definitely how the Scripture reads.

        But those who accepted freely His love and trusted in His promise, He never forsakes even when they sometimes fall into unfaithfulness… again by their own free will.

        Thank you for the clear example of how reformed theologians like Barnes had to reject the meaning of Scripture to remain loyal to their neo-platonic definitions of God. My God can and does grieve. My Bible clearly says so.

        I wish the best for you too Roger in 2018, which, as you know, includes coming to greater loyalty to the clarity of God’s Word over the manipulations of man!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes Brian and all…. a prosperous year to you all in God’s word!

        May I suggest to all readers here a through-the-Bible plan which “forces” us to read ALL of Scripture. Read those huge chunks every day and listen to the message of God about Himself.

        We will all more likely be willing to hear that the Bible says that we can grieve the Lord….. rather than listening to man say “Nah…. that verse, and that verse, and those hundred verses, and those thousand verses don’t really mean what they say. Let me tell you what we have decided God is like.”

        Liked by 1 person

      3. brianwagner writes, “it’s literally a blind date that gets the drug…”

        Bad analogy. Let’s use the physically dead as a picture of the spiritually dead. Such people live “…lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind,…” per Ephesians 2. Regeneration of (giving life to) the spirit then allows a person to see and enter the kingdom of heaven. Then, let’s recognize Romans 8, “…the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Through regeneration, let’s introduce faith. I don’t think likening the regeneration of the spirit or introduction of faith to giving a drug is either accurate or helpful.

        Then, “God does “give up” after pursuing those He loved and their constant rejection.”

        I don’t see it that way. God introduces His law as the means for people to be saved or receive forgiveness for disobedience. God continually sends prophets to call the people to repentance and to serve God. God leaves it up to people to decide what they will do. Then God pursues His elect by drawing them to Christ – He does not lose any as He gives them to Christ for safe-keeping.

        Then, “But those who accepted freely His love and trusted in His promise, He never forsakes even when they sometimes fall into unfaithfulness… again by their own free will.”

        That’s fine. It is those who reject God’s love and who refuse to trust in His promise that are the concern of the Calvinist. Of these reprobate, God chooses whom He will save while passing over the remainder.

        Then, ” My God can and does grieve.”

        God may “grieve” but not in the sense that people do. People grieve because they cannot control life – e.g., friends die or encounter calamity and they are powerless to change this. God grieves because people refuse to trust Him who does control all things and thereby, they have to deal with death, face calamity, etc. that they cannot control.

        Thank you for your prayers; I always appreciate them.

        Like

      4. Sorry Roger… we discussed how “dead” doesn’t mean inability in Scripture meaning that God can’t positively influence to enable each and every person to freely seek Him. Praise His Name that He does!

        We’ve discussed also how the mind of the flesh cannot satisfy God before or after regeneration! The magical “regeneration” of Calvinism just doesn’t fit the Scripture’s description of God’s development of true love with His creation in His image. Thanks for the conversation. Hope in my prayer for you continues.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Brian:

        You are one sweet guy, being willing to dialog even after the ol’ faulty “dead men don’t make choices” argument is brought up again for the hundredth time. Your drugged, blind date was a better analogy. And so true…. “that’s not how love is formed.”

        Imagine that blind date woman being regenerated (given sight) and now can see her suitor. What if she still doesn’t want to “love”?

        No but she has to since it is irresistible! This idea was formulated by a man who had a pretty puny view of love, or marriage, or his bride.

        It certainly did not work for Hosea. Gomer resisted pretty well ….as did “chosen” Israel to thousands of God’s pleas.

        I dont even see biblical examples of these man-made ideas “dead men dont make choices” and irresistible grace. They just made ’em up!

        Especially since you and I are dead to sin, buried with Christ…. and we still make the choice to sin (at least I do!).

        Liked by 2 people

      6. brianwagner writes, “we discussed how “dead” doesn’t mean inability in Scripture meaning that God can’t positively influence to enable each and every person to freely seek Him. ”

        LOL! “Dead” just means that which Jesus said, “No one can come to Me…” However, we seem to agree that God can influence people to enable people to seek Him, “…unless the Father who sent Me draws him;…” We seem to disagree on the guarantee that Jesus gives, “I will raise him up on the last day.”

        Then, “We’ve discussed also how the mind of the flesh cannot satisfy God before or after regeneration!”

        But after regeneration, it is able to do so – it just needs the application of the gospel and the gift of faith. I think we disagree on the power of faith and its role in salvation.

        Like

      7. We’ve also been over John 6:44, Roger, where it is not proven that “draw” guarantees coming. In fact, the evidence of the same word being used in the LXX in Neh 9:30 shows drawing doesn’t guarantee coming. Drawing makes no inward changes, just a change in opportunity to make a decision based on new circumstances. Only those who come are raised up… and of course they were also draw and well as experienced other things before coming.

        And you are just wrong about the mind of man’s flesh! It is never able to satisfy God after salvation… only the mind of man’s spirit… which is what God appeals to in the unregenerate and the regenerate.

        Liked by 3 people

      8. Brian:

        As far as the drawing goes there are many verses we can quote, for instance…… Mt 11:28 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

        But let’s look at this in context (“lest we” be guilty of yanking a verse out of context and scaffolding a whole world view on it!).

        Mt 11:20 Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.” (Calvinist ESV)
        —————————————–

        Christ denounced Jewish cities “because they did not repent.” Of course most readers would thinks…. looks like they could have repented— which is why He denounced them.

        He held up Gentile cities, saying they would have repented had they seen the mighty works Christ did in Galilee. This is partly His way of preparing the thus-far-singled-out Israelites for the idea that He is gonna open this up to all people.

        11:25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
        —————————————————-

        Of course these verses are often yanked out of context, but in the context He is again saying that Israel (or the one who doesnt think he needs a doctor) has not accepted Christ (and will now have the truth “hidden”) and the little children are the “anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Then His invitation…..

        11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
        —————————————————

        Fantastic words of Christ where he calls “all who labor” (Chorazin! “little children”) to come to Him. Not just Galilee….not just Judah. All who labor.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. I’m sorry but I just had to break my silence on this comment. Those who try to disprove the plain meaning of John 6:44 really sound desperate. The fact is, those who come to Christ are drawn by the Father and all those who are both drawn to Christ and eventually believe in Him are guaranteed by Christ to experience the second resurrection. John 6:44 is one of the clearest, most strait forward verses in the Bible, yet so many come up with so many ways around it because they sadly don’t want the God of the Bible and conjure up a god that’s more palatable to the flesh.
        Also, I’m not seeing the connection AT ALL between John 6:44 and Nehemiah 9:30.

        Like

      10. And 6:44 is not a gotcha verse if one recognizes that the one drawn is not logically guaranteed in that grammatical construction to either come or to be raised up just because he is drawn. Only the one drawn and who comes is promised to be raised up.

        Even if “drag” is used here or in John 12:32… the meaning is only to drag to a location… There is no change made in the person just by being drawn. Once they are brought to the location or before the person, like Christ… they have to make a decision what to do next and how to respond to the options they have in that location or before that person!

        The same Greek word for “drawn” is used in the LXX in Neh 9:30… and that group of Israelites, though drawn by God to the opportunity to obey Him, did not do it. The Hebrew word for “drawn” used in Neh 9:30 is also used in Hos 11:4-5, which again is showing that Israel was “drawn” by God with love to Himself, but they refused Him. Paul recalls this kind of drawing with love, using the words of Isaiah where God said – “All day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and contrary people” Rom 10:21. Does God only play act His love already knowing it will only be rejected? Not my God.

        Paul and Silas were “drawn” before the rulers of Philippi and then thrown into prison (Acts 16:19)… there they were free to either groan and complain or pray and sing! We know what they freely chose to do! I actually prefer the idea of “drag”. God graciously “drags” us to a place of decision. We cannot escape that “grace”, and we are responsible for how we freely respond to it… making us clearly without excuse at the final judgment of God!

        Like

      11. brianwagner writes, “We’ve also been over John 6:44…it is not proven that “draw” guarantees coming.”

        No one should have made that argument (at least not a Calvinist). The drawing is a marker. We could just as well read it as “…unless the Father who sent Me marks an X on him…” The drawing is an identifier. That person “drawn” or “marked with an X,” is then given this guarantee by Christ, “I will raise him up on the last day.”

        Then, “Drawing makes no inward changes, just a change in opportunity to make a decision based on new circumstances.”

        This verse does not tell us this, so maybe you just made it up – or perhaps you think it says something like that elsewhere in the Scriptures. Nonetheless, there is an issue as to what God’s “drawing” entails.

        Then, “Only those who come are raised up… and of course they were also draw and well as experienced other things before coming.”

        However, we have the earlier guarantee by Christ, “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” Thus, God decides who to give to Christ, draws, the person, and Christ then raises the person up on the last day.

        Then, “And you are just wrong about the mind of man’s flesh! It is never able to satisfy God after salvation… only the mind of man’s spirit… which is what God appeals to in the unregenerate and the regenerate.”

        OK – with the Calvinist claim following Ephesians 2 that the spirit of the unregenerate is dead and unresponsive to any appeals.

        Brian – I did not get your message by email but only found out through Troy’s response. I generally get most comments by email but not always. This one fell through the cracks (so to speak).

        Like

      12. Rhutchin writes:
        “No one should have made that argument (at least not a Calvinist). The drawing is a marker. We could just as well read it as “…unless the Father who sent Me marks an X on him…” The drawing is an identifier. That person “drawn” or “marked with an X,” is then given this guarantee by Christ, “I will raise him up on the last day.”

        Then, “Drawing makes no inward changes, just a change in opportunity to make a decision based on new circumstances.”

        This verse does not tell us this, so maybe you just made it up . . . ”

        Let’s see, which appears more ‘made up’ – drawing creating a change in opportunity, or drawing being a literal ‘drawing’ of an X on men?

        Can a serious claim be made that scripture is suggesting a ‘drawing’, as with a magic marker, rather than the ‘pull of love’ suggested by Jesus when he said, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.”? When Jesus was ‘lifted up’ did the elect suddenly feel the burning ‘X’ placed, unsought, upon their soul; or did the consciences of all men burn with the marvelous message that here was a ‘Saviour’ who was willing to die to reveal his love? While one MIGHT make the claim that this draw is an irresistible pull, that would lead merely to Universalism, but not magic markers. I hope that readers see the affront to the gospel that this teaching truly is.

        Like

      13. Not sure Roger, why you were not sent an email notice. Sometimes I get one that has all the replies in one thread and I miss what someone has replied because it among the earlier ones in the number in that email.

        But I am glad you pointed to the fact that the Father “gives” to the Son (present tense) affirming that He is looking for certain prerequisites to be met before giving someone to the Son… and rejecting the idea that they were already given to the Son before creation! 😉 For it is certainly contradictory to give something to someone that you have already given it to.

        Like

      14. brianwagner writes, “I am glad you pointed to the fact that the Father “gives” to the Son (present tense) affirming that He is looking for certain prerequisites to be met before giving someone to the Son…”

        I don’t see anything to suggest prerequisites – other than that the person is a sinner in need of salvation. As Paul reminds us, it is God “…who began a good work in [the elect]…” not the person. I see that denying any prerequisite on the part of the sinner.

        Then, ” For it is certainly contradictory to give something to someone that you have already given it to.”

        That God decreed to give His elect to Christ in eternity past does not contradict God’s execution of the decree to give His elect to Christ in the course of time. This emphasizes that it is God who gives to Christ that which is rightfully Christ’s.

        Nonetheless, Christ said, “…this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.”

        Like

      15. Of course some had already been given… but not before creation and then again as if they had not been given. The double speak is very clear. No one talks that way about giving twice the same thing.

        And the prerequisites of drawing and believing and being taught by God before He gives someone to the Son were mentioned amd are clear in John 6. Praise His Name for His clear Word given to unbelievers in that chapter! It’s a shame Calvinists continue to twist it from its original context to try to make it teach their deterministic theology! Very sad.

        Like

      16. brianwagner writes, “Of course some had already been given… but not before creation and then again as if they had not been given.”

        Maybe, we should describe God as promising to give Christ his elect in eternity past and then fulfilling that promise in the course of time – through drawing, teaching, etc.

        Then, “And the prerequisites of drawing and believing and being taught by God before He gives someone to the Son…’

        Maybe better to describe drawing, teaching His elect as the means employed with Christ assuring that He would lose none.

        Then, “It’s a shame Calvinists continue to twist it from its original context to try to make it teach their deterministic theology! ”

        How do you see the Calvinists twisting context with Christ’s assurances?

        Like

      17. The context in John 6 is Jesus appealing to unsaved minds to see Him as more than one to provide food that perishes. Praise His Name that He loves unbelievers so much that He explains how salvation works through faith and that He is going to give His life for the world!

        Like

      18. Brian:

        When you say things like “He is going to give His life for the world!” it makes me think of the many times I have heard Calvinist friends say, “If Christ died for all, all would be saved.” Another version of this is “Did Christ die to save His people or only make salvation possible?”

        And … you know, when you are in a shark tank and all the people around are YRR….there is a lot of “yeah, yeah…. pass the ale…you showed him!”

        But really? Do they read the Bible? The Old Testament is full (stuffed) with places where God makes the escape possible— but people dont take Him up on it.

        The Bible is full of places where God’s “chosen people” are not all saved from a given situation.

        When they say these things to me….my mouth drops open.

        I have absolutely no problem saying that Christ died to “make salvation possible” to all people….like that is some kind of atrocious statement. It is a beautiful statement! Compare it to “Christ died to make salvation sure for 00.0015% of humanity—- and seal the damnation of the rest.”

        Christ died to “make salvation possible” to all people (knowing that rejecting Him is possible). It is a beautiful statement! They say it makes him weak… low ….. uh, yeah, He was meek and lowly… that’s the point!

        Christ stretches his arms out and says it Himself…..’Oh Jerusalem…how I would have loved to gather you ….but you would not.”

        Come unto me all you who labor….

        Seek first the kingdom of God

        Knock and it will be opened to you.

        Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.

        I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.

        Follow!

        Liked by 1 person

      19. 1Tim 4:10 For to this [end] we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is [the] Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.

        If I pay for a farm filled with slaves with the intention of wanting them all to be free, am I the savior of all those slaves? They had become slaves because of their crimes and were facing execution for those crimes as well.

        If I make a condition of their freedom that they humbly admit their crimes that caused them to become slaves and to trust me by doing exactly what I tell them to help change their lives so they don’t do those things again, am I still the savior of all those slaves?

        If the head slave tells them I am lying and not to trust me, and that they should enjoy the relative “freedom” they have now as slaves, that they won’t really die, and a better offer will come along later, am I still the only savior for all those slaves?

        If some trust me and I free them, telling them to try to convince all the others who are still slaves that freedom is available for them too, am I still the only savior for all those remaining slaves?

        1John 2:2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

        Jesus also prayed – John 17:20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”

        So ask yourself… “Why would Jesus want the world to believe any truth… like believing He was sent by God?”

        And don’t those verses prove He was indirectly praying (interceding) for the world too, the world that God loved (3:16), the world for which Jesus gave His body in death for that it might have life (6:51). Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world, but that world through Him might be saved (3:17).

        John the Baptist knew that He clearly came to take away the sins of the world (1:29). The woman at the well came to believe Jesus was the Savior of the world. (4:42). Why don’t Calvinists?

        Liked by 1 person

      20. Brian:
        But you forgot these slaves are dead! What is a dead slave anyway? Can we be a slave to sin and dead?

        You also said, “If I make a condition of their freedom….”

        I was listening to a pastor on the internet today. He kept using that word “conditions”…

        Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…… He is near but there are conditions.

        That applies all over the place.

        The Israelites did not save themselves from Egypt—- but there was the condition that that those “dead slaves” apply the blood on the doorpost.

        So do we accuse them of “working” for their salvation? Hardly.

        Liked by 1 person

      21. brianwagner writes, “Why don’t Calvinists?”

        They do. Calvinists dug down deeper and sought to explain why any person would reject eternal life. If people are truly free and thinking rationally, isn’t it incredible that any would choose eternal death and torment over eternal life and living with the eternal God forever.

        Your comment is nice, but has nothing to do with the whole Calvinist/non-Calvinist debate.

        Like

      22. People can freely choose not to believe a promise… it may irrational if the promise is true… but that’s the point… they freely choose to believe the promise is not true and choose instead to believe a lie. The Calvinist chooses to believe the lie of determinsm in spite of clear biblical evidence to the contrary. That is irrational too!

        Liked by 1 person

      23. brianwagner writes, “The Calvinist chooses to believe the lie of determinsm in spite of clear biblical evidence to the contrary.”

        So, when the man sets out to the bank to rob it, you don’t believe that God has the final say in whether the man will rob the bank and God could step in and prevent the robbery if He wanted to do so?

        Like

      24. Not according to Calvinism, Roger! He took away His freedom for a “final say” after “the man sets out to the bank” because He, according to them, predetermined everything before creation. It would be impossible for Him to go against His predetermined will and “say” something different as a “final say”.

        You are just playing games because you know my logic is sound that “The Calvinist chooses to believe the lie of determinism is spite of clear biblical evidence to the contray.” So sad.

        Like

      25. brianwagner writes, ” It would be impossible for Him to go against His predetermined will and “say” something different as a “final say”. ”

        God ordained all things in eternity past. However, God must execute specific actions in the course of time – for example, God must impregnate Mary, confront Saul on the road to Damascus, etc. So, with the man setting out to rob a bank, God is able to execute his will – to stop the man or keep out of his way.

        Let’s assume your position that God really doesn’t know the future. In the course of time, a man sets out to rob a bank. Is not God able to bring about His will to stop the man if He wants – thereby determining that the man will not rob the bank?

        Or a nice example from Scripture. “Now a certain man drew his bow at random and struck the king of Israel in a joint of the armor. ” (1 Kings 22; 2 Chronicles 18). God takes the arrow shot at random and directs it to the chest of Ahab. God brought about that outcome – it was God’s will that Ahab die. Correct?

        Like

      26. Correct, Roger… but you can’t take the Scripture’s view of a partly open, and a future still to be partly determined by God’s freewill cause or permission, to prove the contradictory view that determinism has of a completed future in God’s mind by His decree! Determinism makes God the author of all evil if He wrote out in His mind and by His decree a completed future, including all sin, before any other will was created by Him to play out that script He wrote for those other wills. It’s a real shame your loyalty to determinism will not allow you to admit how illogical and unScriptural a fully deterministic future is in God’s mind and how disrespectful of His righteousness and mercy.

        Like

      27. brianwagner writes, “you can’t take the Scripture’s view of a partly open, and a future still to be partly determined by God’s freewill cause or permission, to prove the contradictory view that determinism has of a completed future in God’s mind by His decree!”

        What we can do is still allow for God to ordain all things simply because God is omnipotent and able to influence any event in the open future scenario. God acts consistent with His will – and there is no reason to conclude that an open future affects change in God’s will. So, whether we have an open future or God decreeing His actions in eternity past, the results are the same – nothing changes if we go from a fully determined future to a partly open future.

        Then, “Determinism makes God the author of all evil if He wrote out in His mind and by His decree a completed future,…”

        Yet, if we have a partly open future, God still acts in the same way as His control over events is absolute under either scenario.

        Then “It’s a real shame your loyalty to determinism will not allow you to admit how illogical and unScriptural a fully deterministic future is in God’s mind and how disrespectful of His righteousness and mercy.”

        The issue is not determinism. The issue is whether God is omnipotent and exercises absolute control over events whether the future is determined fully or still partly open.

        Like

      28. We’ve been around that “barn” before, Roger. If God only has one “perfect” choice before creation for each so-called possibility in the future, as determinism requires, then perhaps the outcome would be the same in determinism and my view of a partly open future. But God is not limited to “one” choice for each outcome to maintain the definition of a “perfect” future. Sorry!

        And God is omnipotent and exercises absolute supervisory control over events to cause or permit each one in a future that is partly determined already and partly yet to be determined. There is no other way to keep God from being the author of sin as defined by determinism and confirmed by all who hold to settled foreknowledge in God before creation.

        Liked by 1 person

      29. brianwagner writes, “God is not limited to “one” choice for each outcome to maintain the definition of a “perfect” future.”

        We seem to agree that God has a choice and He makes the final choice – thus we both agree that God determines the outcome by His choice (regardless when that choice is made. I think we also agree that God learns nothing new that would direct His decision into another direction, that He has perfect understanding of that which He knows, and He exercises perfect wisdom in making choices. If we stopped there, we should agree that the choice God makes is not influenced by the timing of the choice and that God’s choices are consistent with, and promote His will.. Where we differ is that you throw in an assumption (without which, you would have no argument) – that more than one “perfect” choice is available for God to make. As both choices are perfect, they promote God’s will equally – if they did not, one would be perfect and one not perfect. What we see is that you are forced to throw in an assumption to substantiate your claim. That’s fine as we both know that you do it and why you have to do it.

        Then, “God is omnipotent and exercises absolute supervisory control over events to cause or permit each one in a future that is partly determined already and partly yet to be determined.”

        Thus, God is the one who “exercises absolute supervisory control over events to cause or permit each one.” I like your introduction of the modifier, “supervisory,” as you try to carve out a distinction that would actually make a difference.

        Then, “There is no other way to keep God from being the author of sin as defined by determinism and confirmed by all who hold to settled foreknowledge in God before creation.

        Of course, strict determinism is not personal and has random events effecting outcomes that have no ultimate purpose. By introducing God, we change from strict determinism to theological determinism and do a 180 – now we have a personal God who is effecting His plan and working all things according to the counsel of His will and in particular, ensuring the welfare of His elect. To say that God is the “author” of sin has an entirely different meaning than to say that impersonal forces determine sin. To say that impersonal forces “author” sin is somewhat an oxymoron as impersonal forces can’t really author anything – at least, not in the sense that God is said to author something..

        Liked by 1 person

      30. You have evaluated my understanding pretty well. I do think God learns by experience without adding to His infinite understanding. And my assumption that there is often more than one “perfect” choice is just a viable and I believe biblical as compared to your assumption that there was eternally immutably only one “perfect” choice for every event, Roger.

        Like

      31. Hey Brian….

        I am just about to post my reading from today where it says 2 times that The Lord is going to Sodom “to see whether it is true,” and He says, “if not He will know.”

        Have a look in a minute.

        Liked by 1 person

      32. brianwagner writes, “my assumption that this is often more than one “perfect” choice is just a[s] viable and I believe biblical as compared to your assumption that there was eternally immutably only one “perfect” choice for every event.”

        My “assumption” of one perfect choice is not based on immutability. It is based on God’s infinite understanding to parse options to the extent that one always prevails over any other as the perfect. However, if two options would both be “perfect” choices, they must be neutral in their effect on God’s plan as expressed in His will. I think we can throw out all choices between A and ~A. I would also think that any options that are substantially different could also be excluded. It would seem that we are looking for trivial differences if anything is trivial to God. Regardless, it is an assumption that needs a supporting Scriptural argument. Let me know when you put something on Academia.edu.

        Like

      33. Oh… and thank you too for confirming that theological determinism personally makes God the “author” of all sins! That logically includes then culpability for all sins in most normal people’s thinking… for like a mob boss, in Calvinism God provided the plan and the finance for each crime.

        Like

      34. FOH writes, “I have absolutely no problem saying that Christ died to “make salvation possible” to all people….like that is some kind of atrocious statement.”

        Would you have a problem with God sending Christ to die on the cross with the purposeful intent to save certain specific individuals and then allowing anyone else who wants to be saved to believe in Christ and be saved?

        Like

  12. Start your year off right with Genesis and Matthew!

    Amazing that God tells us right off that man was created in His own image (Gen 1:27)

    Isn’t that a thought that He would do that (create man in His image) …. and then willfully choose to not-love 99.85% of humanity? Create them willfully and cheerfully for their perpetual sin and damnation. Kinda puts a blemish on the “His own image” idea.

    Oh….. Calvinists can say man sins and rejects God and “deserves” damnation all they want….. but in their teaching and philosophizing they defend to the death (well it’s actually the Calvinists that kill their opponents) the idea that this 99.85% of humanity created in God’s image was never intended by God for anything but destruction and agony.

    To a Calvinist (who believes that God now creates man with a dead-only sinful nature), in what useful, practical, biblical way was man created in God’s image?

    Like

    1. FOH writes, “Isn’t that a thought that He would do that (create man in His image) …. and then willfully choose to not-love 99.85% of humanity?”

      LOL! Sleeping in class again, I see. You left out the part about the man made in Giod’s image choosing not to obey God. Then God chooses a people (Israel) to serve Him, instructs them in minute detail in what they should do, and they choose not to do so – despite God sending multitudes of prophets to call them back (killing a lot of them). Finally, God sends His son, and they kill Him. Now, today, God sends His prophets (preachers and evangelists) to a world that continues to reject Him – so God becomes personally involved in order to save a remnant, and people complain about that.

      Like

      1. Perhaps what I have most learned from the Calvinist commenters on this blog is that Truth is consistent Calvinism’s greatest enemy.

        All of the euphemisms, double-talk, borrowing of concepts from non-Calvinist theology in blatant opposition to Calvinism’s self-stated premises point to the same basic fact: diehard, consistent Calvinists seeks desperately to disguise Calvinism’s genuine, most abominable assertions. It seems silly, since a little independent research lays bare the non-negotiables of Calvinism, yet even many of these have been rendered somewhat incoherent by multiple, conflicting claims of prominent Reformed theologians.

        When Calvinism’s abhorrent Divine Determinism is honestly defined and described, in all of its ‘glory’, it typically leads to one of three responses:

        1) The naive ‘casual’ Calvinist, upon seeing what they had unknowingly embraced, runs screaming as fast as he can in the other direction.
        2) The sincere Calvinist, including pastors and teachers, when confronted with the full truth of his system, embarks on the frequently slow and painful journey of holding up that which he once loyally defended to the full expression of God’s revelation to man, and is reluctantly compelled to admit that the God of Calvin looks little like the God of scripture.
        3) The ideologically bound Calvinist fights tooth and nail to defend his system, however illogical, inconsistent and abhorrent it proves to be. This frequently leads to such cognitive dissonance that he becomes nearly schizophrenic as he seeks to uphold, in his own mind as well as to others, the cruel, hopeless, morally repugnant assertions of Calvinism while at the same time claiming to believe in a good and loving God. This forces him to seek shelter in euphemism, carefully crafted nonsense and, most of all, the well-rehearsed defenses handed down by similar dogmatic Calvinists.

        To those looking in, the desperate attempts of the dogmatist to maintain logical coherence and moral consistency are in turns astounding, annoying and pitiful. ‘Why’ we cannot help but wonder, ‘would any one with a sound mind fight so hard to preserve this hope-killing image of a God who is cruel, despotic and unloving when countless intelligent, biblically astute and godly men have offered alternative explanations of the scriptures they insist present this galling portrait which they must, however personally unattractive they find it, accept?’

        What could possibly motivate such dogmatic blindness, when so many, after a perhaps painful and humbling journey, have joyfully embraced the beauty and hope that is restored with trust that God is a rewarder of all who seek him, with no mumbo jumbo caveats about his having disabled some from being able to seek him while nonetheless holding them responsible for not doing so.

        God does not merely love all men, God IS love, mercy, grace and goodness; thus, it is impossible that he could hate and predetermine any man to a tortuous, hopeless future with no hope of escape. As much as I pity any who are bound to such an unthinkable and scripturally unsupportable view of God, I must, for the sake of the gospel, count them enemies of God, for they withhold, as did the Judaists, the offer of God’s love to the vast majority of lost men to whom it is sincerely, graciously offered.

        Like

  13. The new year has me starting over in Genesis.

    Of course we all see that sinless Adam chooses to disobey God (because God baked in the ability to choose). What does not make any sense to me is that a branch of Christianity says that “Adam chose that” —- but really they teach that God decreed/ willed/ desired/ ordained/ planned/ delighted to have Adam sin (no option whatsoever on man’s part. He could not have done otherwise).

    Yep….Adam can have any color he wants, as long as it’s black.

    Today is Gen 3 and 4.

    3:7 At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.
    ———————————-

    So much for the idea that “fallen man can do no good.” Right away we see Adam noticing his nakedness and shame, and properly covering it up.

    3:12 The man replied, “It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it.”
    ———————————

    Once again fallen man does a good thing….. in telling the truth.

    Whoever came up with this idea that fallen man can do no good thing?

    3:14 Then the Lord God said to the serpent,

    “Because you have done this, you are cursed
    more than all animals, domestic and wild.
    You will crawl on your belly,
    ———————————–
    Once again The Sovereign Lord saying “because you have done….” These are all real-time decisions. God never says….. yep all this is what I planned all along.

    Pain in childbirth. Earn by the sweat of the brow. Results of decisions made. Planned from before time? Where does it ever indicate that? This is just brought to the Bible and presupposed onto it.

    22 Then the Lord God said, “Look, the human beings have become like us, knowing both good and evil. What if they reach out, take fruit from the tree of life, and eat it? Then they will live forever!”
    —————————————–

    Why does the Lord God say “what if”???? Doesn’t He know?

    Let’s see what the Calvinist ESV says here.

    “22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand…”

    That “has become like one of us” does not sound very eternally planned.

    The “lest he” (archaic—cuz old is best for ESV) sounds like it was a possibility, so God had to stop it.

    4:6 The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”
    ———————————————

    The Lord God says to Cain that he could and should do better… and that he could and should dominate over sin. Rule over it! Could have, but didnt. A different outcome was possible.

    Already on January 2 and by Genesis 4 Calvinism is being rapidly dismantled.

    But wait….. I know….. I fell asleep in all my Calvinism classes, right? I am supposed to read these passages knowing that they don’t mean what they say.

    I need to come with (Mary-worshiping) Augustine’s answers TO the text so I can better understand it.

    26 To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time people began to call upon the name of the Lord.
    ———————————————

    What? People called on the name of the Lord? I thought they could do no good thing?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. FOH writes:
      “At that time people began to call upon the name of the Lord.”

      That one always leaves me speechless. How, just how can any honest, sincere seeker of truth read anything into such a statement other than that people began to call upon the name of the Lord? (Dead people, according to Calvinism who have no desire or ability to seek or call upon God due to the Total Depravity he cursed them with.)

      What could these ‘dead’ people have possibly wanted? How dare they call upon the name of the Lord? What were they ‘calling’ for? Surely not grace? Mercy? Help or instruction in the face of frightening and destructive evil?

      Is there some Calvinist explanation for this passage that I have not yet heard, which asserts that this was the result of a peculiarly secretive regeneration of ‘elect’ persons, the beginning of God’s ‘drawing’ of his secret, select chosen ones from the race of mankind? And where does this leave their definition of atonement and salvation, with no mention whatsoever of God’s wrath, inability to look upon these inherently sinful men, the need for a magic robe of righteousness, etc.? It is almost as if God continued to treat men on a one-on-one basis, in direct proportion to their desire to know and follow him. As if they believed in his goodness, mercy and love in spite of their cursed inability to comprehend who God is and his will that men turn from wickedness and do what is right.

      It strikes me as odd that for some obscure reason such an important aspect of salvation as the need for regeneration before one can believe was ‘revealed’ to John Calvin, but never actually described or even referred to in any of the countless passages in which such a secretive, mystical, selective process would have had to taken place for any of the narratives of scripture to correspond to Calvinism’s Total Depravity and it’s resultant TULIP? (Wow, that was a long sentence, even for me!)

      Is it any wonder none of the early Church Fathers believed Calvinisitically? Who can blame them for believing that scripture actually meant what it says? That God actually so loved the world – all of it – that he sent his only Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish . . . – that means ‘anyone’ to ‘whosoever’ is not dogmatically determined to deny it for their own reasons.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. TS00
        Long sentence or not, you got the point across!

        You know they were at first just 1-2 generations away from the folks who walked with Him in the garden so “calling out to Him” was real.

        Then, next chapter lots of time and people….. until eventually (Gen 6:6) “And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.”

        But …”Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.”

        None of this can be read as-is by a Calvinist (without a bunch of stuttering “it does not mean what it says!”)…. even though I am quoting the Calvinist ESV.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. FOH, and stutter my Calvinist pastor did when I sought his explanation for scripture’s description of Noah, etc. This was not a combative approach, as I had not yet caught on, and was still fully under my pastor’s sway. And it was before I realized that consistent Calvinism demands that God predetermined the wicked acts of the people God was now determined to punish. I was just trying to understand the logic of all men being desperately wicked (as I had been repeatedly told), yet Noah was declared blameless and was alone (with his family) spared from God’s wrath upon the wickedness of men. My pastor had no explanation, and literally just told me that it didn’t mean what it said. In a very angry voice. I didn’t get an answer, but I was too intimidated to bring such a question to him again. For a long time. So I struggled with my increasing questions on my own, which was probably the best thing that could have happened.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Agreed!

        I have never heard a Calvinist give an answer to all the of “righteous before God” situations.

        How about this one…..Luke 1:6 about Zechariah and Elizabeth.

        “And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord.”

        Cornelius, devout, God-fearing gentile.

        The list of these kinds of reference is very long. All of them wipe out the “fallen man can do no right” idea.

        But…. no answer. No way to explain these references. They attempt a “Well, we know that men can’t obey unless God gives them faith ….so that must be the case.”

        Yeah. Annnnndddd once it again….. it never says that, or implies that it was anything different than the ability that God has given to every person.

        Like

  14. Received notice today of a blog post by Dr Roger Olson addressing the issue of why so many Protestants and evangelicals are heading to the Roman C church. In it he says….

    “One of my best students converted to the RCC. When I asked him why he was doing that he said because he did not want to make his own decisions about Christian belief; he wanted someone else to do that for him.
    Read more at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rogereolson/2018/01/4992/#Jzg9K1sjsb8QXB7p.99

    Makes me think of young YRR types who are so sure that the “Reformers” got it right (all things reformed are good: old-sounding ESV, old hymns, posting creeds and confessions on church websites as their statement of faith). Somehow, there is the idea that heretic-burning Calvin and his gang did all the thinking that is needed. Man, I am glad I am not in the defenders-of-Reformers camp —- they got so much wrong!

    So, this new craze wants to go further and say the RCC is the original “right” church. Great. Just decide / choose who you want to do your thinking for you and jump in….. it’s your “choice” (pun intended!!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. FOH – very sad! That is why a proper teaching on Christian History is so important… getting back to the real Church Fathers – Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Barnabas, James, Peter and Jude and rejecting the magisterial, sacramental slant of Christianity that has ruled for centuries but constantly calls for people to “trust” their leadership’s understanding of the Scriptures instead of their own using normal grammar and context rules.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. FOH, this is not merely sad, but inevitable. It is the defense given by many Calvinists when cornered by the inconsistent, contradictory claims of their theology vs the teaching of scripture. Instead of seeking for truth with all of their hearts, as commanded by scripture, they prefer to abdicate their God-given responsibility and leave it to others. Is it a defense mechanism? Is it not easier, and mentally more comfortable, to believe your are ‘humbly’ trusting the ‘experts’, when in reality you are merely refusing to fight the good fight? And is this not taught and affirmed by nearly every branch of the Institutional Church, as they assert their authority over ‘some other’ authority? In every case, whenever it is being asserted that ‘We are the True Church’ is not the subtle (and sometimes blatant) claim being made that the work has all been done, and ‘all you have to do is trust us’?

      This is why, for me, what began with concerns about Reformed Theology led me to serious study, which led to concerns about Protestantism, which led to concerns about the entire ‘Institution’ known as ‘Christianity’. Ah, yes, I know, I am a ‘heretic’. In truth, it was just these sentiments that led to the abuse and murder of most of those called ‘heretics’ throughout history. They dared to not submit to the self-claimed ‘authorities’, be they Catholicism, Protestantism, or the latest ‘independent’ denomination that nonetheless set itself up as the authority over its parishioners.

      We have a long way to go before we can begin to erase centuries of false authority claiming the right to control the beliefs, thoughts and actions of men, in the name of God. New Calvinism is merely the logical result of such error.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Satan cares little, btw, which false authority we submit to, as long as we refuse to use our God-given responsibility to seek truth as it has been plainly revealed, in creation, the written word and, most of all, its manifestation as the Living Word.

        Like

      2. ts00 writes, “This is why, for me, what began with concerns about Reformed Theology led me to serious study, which led to concerns about Protestantism, which led to concerns about the entire ‘Institution’ known as ‘Christianity’. Ah, yes, I know, I am a ‘heretic’.”

        Properly so, don’t you think?

        Like

  15. Brian:
    Yes and “context” for RCC is filter everything through our teachings.

    Context for neo-Calvinist YRR is filter everything through catechisms “every particle of dust”. If you must use scripture…. well, then by all means use 40-50 verses to be the filter by which all the rest of Scripture must pass.

    There is no way that a person finds the Roman CC by reading his Bible!

    Just like there is no way someone comes up with TULIP by reading the Bible! What a wild idea!

    Like

  16. Brian:

    Years ago I studied under MacArthur. He was not a Calvinist at the time….and many of us got on the wave around the same time.

    I just read a long sermon (does he do any other kind?) where he shows how to systematically build one wrong idea upon another starting with a wrong foundation. He is sure to sprinkle in there that “the church has always believed what I am telling you now,” and “anything outside of this idea is heresy.” Nice.

    In his degradation of any position but his own he describes one…..

    “This view would say Christ died to make salvation possible, not actual. He died to make it possible, the sinner then makes the choice. He didn’t really purchase salvation for anyone, He actually died on the cross and in some way removed a barrier to make salvation a potential.”

    All throughout the message he trash-talks any ideas that Christ did not get exactly what He wanted at all times.

    This is, as I said, coming to the Bible with Augustinian views (who MacArthur holds in great honor in the message!). If saint-worshiping, Mary-adoring, Augustine was alive today MacArthur would bash him as a Roman CC Lackey (or maybe he would get a pass (?) since he was so deterministic?).

    What about the thousands of times God plans for redemption for His chosen people and they just turn away?

    Which leads me to another point. You dialog with Roger and often he says “why would anyone who is ‘alive’ (thinking rationally) turn away from an offer of grace?”

    That shows his prejudice. The Scripture is FULL of people doing just that!

    I mean you can always say “yeah, but God planned for them to turn away.” But that just shows that person coming to the text with the answers and smashing the Scriptures into a tiny presupposed mold.

    David was a man after God’s own heart and he turned from clear teachings and even murdered.

    Adam was born sinless (thinking rationally) and still disobeyed.

    Cain was told by the Lord himself to dominate over imminent sin— and still turned away.

    Peter spent three years with Christ…..still denied Him.

    It is utterly senseless to say that anyone “thinking rationally” would always accept an offer of grace. Not a logical idea nor a biblical one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I asked (sort of), “…why would anyone who is ‘alive’ (thinking rationally) turn away from an offer of grace?”
      FOH naively commented, “That shows his prejudice. The Scripture is FULL of people doing just that!”

      FOH was sleeping through another class under Macarthur. The issue is whether a person who is “‘alive’ (thinking rationally)” would reject salvation. The answer from the Calvinist, like Macarthur, is that he would not. People who reject salvation are not thinking rationally. FOH does not explain why rational people could reject salvation – this because neither he nor anyone has an explanation – it doesn’t happen.

      Like

      1. How is this different than saying: ” No believer who understands grace would ever sin? Because, rationally, sin should be impossible for one who has been redeemed.. and yet we do the irrational and sin, even when we know better. I’ll tell you why. Pride. We know, but some part of us still says with Satan, ” Did God really say…?” People who are enlightened are still only people, and in the real world, God is not forcing us to choose him.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. WW,

        What you say is true and of course logical and biblical.

        I have offered several examples from the scripture showing where people who were thinking rationally still managed to choose sin and rebellion.

        There is no reason to say that any person thinking rationally would never choose rejection and rebellion. That is just straight opinion.

        Take for instance the chosen people of Israel who the Lord had redeemed (with the blood on their door) from slavery in Egypt. They must have been thinking rationally when they accepted his offer and applied the blood and accepted his escape from slavery. It did not take them long to start sinning. All of that to say that it continues to be a silly question to ask ‘why would anyone thinking rationally or who is alive not accept God’s offer?’

        That is once again not a scriptural example or a logical example … just a presupposition that is brought to the conversation.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. FOH writes, “I have offered several examples from the scripture showing where people who were thinking rationally still managed to choose sin and rebellion.”

        This distinguishes you from the Calvinists who say that people who choose sin and rebellion against God are not thinking rationally.

        Like

      4. It is a silly question that really ends up being meaningless. Sometimes the gospel seems like the most irrational idea possible. Whether some thing seems rational or not doesn’t make it true or false.
        “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified….”

        Like

      5. ww writes, “Sometimes the gospel seems like the most irrational idea possible.”

        John 6 tells us, “Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to [Jesus].” When God teaches, irrationality disappears.

        Like

      6. I don’t think John 6 means what you think it means. Was Judas one of the elect? Jesus chose him, and he followed, and was a disiple, so surely Judas could not have resisted God’s irresistible drawing, could he?

        Like

      7. WW,
        That’s right. There are lots of “chosen” people who do not continue with God’s plan.

        King Saul was chosen and The Lord God even said “I would have made you king for ….. but you did …..”

        There is no explanation whatsoever —- ever attempted —by any leading Calvinist on why a “deterministic” God would say “I would have XY but you (human) did not YZ —so now I will …..”

        There is no explanation for this from their world view. Nor the chosen-ness of Judas

        Nor all these types of verses (and there are many):

        James 1:14-15 ESV
        But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

        2 Peter 2:20-22
        For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”

        Hebrews 6:4-6 ESV
        For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.

        2 Peter 3:9 ESV
        The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

        Ephesians 5:5 ESV
        For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

        Acts 17:30 ESV
        The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, (Not all “kinds of people”)

        …..so that by following them you may fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith. Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.” (1 Tim 1:18-20)

        1 Tim 4:1 God’s Spirit clearly says that in the last days many people will turn from their faith. They will be fooled by evil spirits and by teachings that come from demons.

        it goes on and on.

        Like

      8. ww writes, “I don’t think John 6 means what you think it means.”

        That’s fine. Tell us what you think it means – Just deal with v44.

        Then, “Was Judas one of the elect? Jesus chose him, and he followed, and was a disciple, so surely Judas could not have resisted God’s irresistible drawing, could he?”

        Judas was unique. In John 17, we read, ““While I was with [the disciples], I was keeping them in Your name which You had given Me; and I guarded them, and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.” Judas was chosen because his heart would lead him to betray Jesus. So, we read of all those involved in the death of Jesus in Acts 4, “For truly in this city there were gathered together against Thy holy servant Jesus, whom Thou didst anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Thy hand and Thy purpose predestined to occur.”

        However, believers can resist God, so Paul instructs in Ephesians 4, “do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Also, Hebrews 3, “Take care, brethren, lest there should be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart, in falling away from the living God.”

        Like

      9. John 6 illustrates preveniant grace. No one can come to God without his drawing. And there is a promise that God will raise that person who does come up on the last day. However, that does not mean that the person is locked into his belief, or that he can’t later reject God’s continued drawing. In other words, the promise is conditional. I happen to believe that God was not actively pursuing all the Jews that Jesus was speaking to here, for two reasons. Many were already hard hearted and had rejected God’s will for them. God is not obligated to endlessly pursue those who reject him. In fact, scripture indicates elsewhere that God will give people over when they have completely rejected him. I also happen to believe this is what blaspheming the Spirit means, to finally and totally reject him. However, Paul also says they did not fall away so far that they couldn’t be restored, so perhaps many of these same Jews who are so stubborn in rejecting Jesus’ message in John 6, later became converted at Pentecost. We don’t know. But there is nothing here that leads one to the conclusion that God is determining who will finally reject him and who won’t. You have to read that into it. I have consistently stated that God must convict us for us to come to him, so I don’t see why you think verse 44 is some kind of deal breaker?

        Liked by 1 person

      10. WW,
        The reason you believe those things is because you seen them said in the Scriptures.

        We have a few choices when we see passages about, say, hardening their hearts.

        We can (A) ignore them, (B) make them the lens (show-stopping filters), or (C) see how they fit with the rest of the Bible.

        The problem that I faced while I was a Calvinist was that I was having to filter ALL Scripture through a 40-50 verse lens (which was taught to me). It became so tiring every day to re-define what Scripture was clearly saying.

        Of course John 6:44 is not a deal-breaker and has been dealt with many time in this blog and elsewhere. Same as Romans 9 and Eph 1:11. It aint hard to make a list of the filter-verses.

        But…… what has not been dealt with…. are the thousands of verses where God Himself says, “I did not want you to….” “I did not tell those prophets to tell you ….” ” Why do you insist on X when I am telling you …..” “if you do this…. I will do this…. but if you do this….. I will do this….” ” O Jerusalem….. I would have gathered you ….but you would not…”

        This list goes on and on and takes many forms (“come unto me all who labor” “Cain you must dominate over sin” “God rewards those who seek Him”)…. yet no explanation.

        Some kind of rocking-horse (very Arminian-sounding) explanation will be offered. But, nope…. I’ve been there as a Calvinist and there is no answer. “Compatibility” “Mystery” is the best anyone can do.

        MacArthur says they are both true: God determined everything before time (unchangeably, immutably, irresistibly) and man is still making decisions and responsible for his actions.

        No wonder the world calls it foolishness.

        Liked by 1 person

      11. ww writes, “No one can come to God without his drawing. And there is a promise that God will raise that person…on the last day.”

        If you can substantiate the rest of your conjecture, please do so. John 6:44 is clear, “No person can come to Christ; God must draw a person; Christ will raise that person (the one God draws) on the last day.” That is why the verse is a deal breaker – there is nothing in the verse that says anything about the person (except that he cannot come to Christ) – it is God does X; Christ does Y – all the work is done by God and Christ. Even you don’t deal directly with the verse and offer an alternative understanding. This verse says nothing about “blaspheming the Spirit,” yet you throw that in – a good indicator that you don’t know how to deal with the verse so you just throw out whatever comes to your mind.

        Like

      12. This is why no one takes one verse and builds a theology on it. Oh, wait, apparently they do!
        If we read the rest of the chapter, let alone the rest of the Bible, we find there are plenty of conditions to being raised up on the last day.
        “28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”

        29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
        45″Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me.”

        Wait a minute! We have to believe? We have to learn? I thought he was just dragging in whoever he chose. But it gets “worse”…
        “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. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven.”

        I have to do something to remain in him? I have to partake of Jesus, not just mentally acknowledge that he’s who he says he is? What happened to him just dragging me to heaven?

        Like

      13. ww writes, “If we read the rest of the chapter, let alone the rest of the Bible, we find there are plenty of conditions to being raised up on the last day.”

        OK. Let’s add the following that support John 6:44.

        “Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”” (John 6) “…[God] who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1)

        “…this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.” (John 6)

        “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand.My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” (John 10)

        “In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose…in order that by two unchangeable things…we may have strong encouragement, we who have fled for refuge in laying hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 6)

        “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” (Romans 8)

        “…as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1)

        “…Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior,…” (Jude)

        The conditions to which you appeal are not such as would cause God to change His mind.

        When we read, “29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” we also read a conclusion by Jesus, “36 But I said to you, that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe.” This is followed by “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.”

        Then, “I have to do something to remain in him? I have to partake of Jesus, not just mentally acknowledge that he’s who he says he is? What happened to him just dragging me to heaven?”

        The issue here is whether a person can reject God’s drawing to Christ. Philippians and john 10 and other verses tell us that this will not happen. To support your contention, John 6 would have to read something like this. ““No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him; so that I could raise him up on the last day.” The actual language is clear and certain – Those whom God draws, Christ raises.

        Like

      14. You are very good at pulling various verses out of their context and slapping them together, but I find nothing there that says grace can’t be rejected. How about a simple question. Why would Jesus even bother to repeatedly tell them they needed to believe in him, if they had zero choice in the matter? He starts here:
        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.”

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

        29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

        30 So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’[c]”

        32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

        34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”

        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.

        What does he mean, whoever comes? The whole thing is pointless if they can’t choose to come. He tells them they must work for the food, you tell me they can do no such thing…

        Like

      15. ww writes, “You are very good at pulling various verses out of their context and slapping them together, but I find nothing there that says grace can’t be rejected. ”

        That means you have to use a definition of grace that allows for the outcome you want. However, even with a less demanding definition of grace, there is no rationale for any person receiving God’s grace to reject that grace. You want that outcome to be possible, but it’s a mystery even to you why anyone would reject grace.

        Then, “Why would Jesus even bother to repeatedly tell them they needed to believe in him, if they had zero choice in the matter?”

        Because it was His purpose to save those whom God had given Him and those would understand what He was telling them.

        Then, “What does he mean, whoever comes?”

        Just that. Yet, no one can come to Him except God draw them and whoever God draws, Jesus will raise up.

        Like

      16. It should have been a very short conversation if Jesus was teaching Calvinism.

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

        “There is nothing you can do. If it’s meant to be it will be. Let’s all go fishing.”

        But no, he starts with belief, not regeneration. They had the scriptures that taught of his father and he tells them they must learn from the father in order to come to him. Again, they are not being dragged irresistibly, they are being taught of God what they need to know to enter the kingdom.

        It’s no mystery why they didn’t want to believe in him. Paul tells us why, they were clinging to their birth place and their works to get them eternal life.

        Liked by 3 people

      17. yes WW!

        Christ’s sermons and any Sunday sermon.

        “God decreed all that you did last week and will do this week. Class dismissed.”

        Liked by 1 person

      18. ww writes, ““There is nothing you can do. If it’s meant to be it will be. Let’s all go fishing.”

        Or, “No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.” That kinda says the same thing.

        Like

      19. ww writes, “It’s no mystery why they didn’t want to believe in him. Paul tells us why, they were clinging to their birth place and their works to get them eternal life.”

        Or as Jesus said, “…you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep.”

        Like

      20. They were not his sheep, due to their own rebellion. As Jesus tells the pharisee in the previous chapter,:41Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.”
        if he were blind, he would have an excuse for not believing. In your theology, 90 percent of the people in the world are blind through no fault of their own.

        Like

      21. ww writes, “In your theology, 90 percent of the people in the world are blind through no fault of their own.”

        That is what Calvin called the horrible decree – God’s decree that everyone would inherit Adam’s corruption. We recall what Christ said to the church at Laodicia, “you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,” This was to presumed “believers.” Are we not surprised at the behavior of the unbelievers – “…even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.” (Romans 1) and “…to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient, and worthless for any good deed.” (Titus 1)

        Like

      22. WW,

        Yes….we have been over this more than 30 times and nothing changes.

        They insist that man cannot make any decision that Qadr (oh sorry, that’s the Islamic version of determinism, “fate”) has not already written in stone before time….. and yet…. and yet…. that person is not coerced.

        You tell them that is schizophrenic —- but they just pull out their “the truth is foolishness” card. And therefore your inability to understand how God can decree all sin before time and yet not be the author of sin is your problem— and “foolishness” to you.

        And ’round and ’round it goes. Same non-answer, convoluted answers.

        Like

      23. FOH writes, “They insist that man cannot make any decision that Qadr (oh sorry, that’s the Islamic version of determinism, “fate”) has not already written in stone before time….. and yet…. and yet…. that person is not coerced. ”

        Determinism deals with “fate” fate is impersonal, random, and has no purpose. Theological determinism deals with “God” – God is personal and all things work according to His plan and all things serve God’s purpose. FOH apparently snoozed through another class.

        Like

      24. ww writes, “you think God decreed that the believers in laodicia be blind to thier sins, and then chastised them for that blindness? ”

        Yes, because I also believe that God is omniscient. However, God, in decreeing that the believers be blind to their sin, does not coerce or force such blindness on the people and and does not have to be the direct cause of that blindness.

        Like

      25. Makes no difference if he is the direct cause or not. If he leaves you no other option but sin, he is the cause of that sin. Of course what scripture actually says, is that he always leaves you another option other than sin. 1 Cor 10 :13

        Liked by 1 person

      26. ww writes, “If he leaves you no other option but sin, he is the cause of that sin.”

        That’s fine – so long as we understand that, where sin is involved, the person is not forced against his will to sin. That which a person is “caused” to do is consistent with that which the person wants to do.

        Then, “Of course what scripture actually says, is that he always leaves you another option other than sin. 1 Cor 10 :13”

        Yep. There is also James 1 concerning wisdom, Hebrews 4, etc. God knows what a person will do, and the person pursue his desires, and it is those desires that prevent the person choosing a different option.

        Like

      27. One passage that stood out to me in a fresh way this year was Simion’s prophecy about Jesus. Especially the latter part: “He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. 35 As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”

        Of course, no one could oppose him if Calvinism was true. However, the part about revealing what is really in the hearts of the jews is right in line with what happens here in John 6. Jesus gives this hard to understand truth about himself to reveal hearts and force them to reveal what they really believe about who he is. It’s incomprehensible that any one would read it as God doing thier choosing for them. I believe he is also planting seeds in hard hearts, some of which will soften when his Godhood is revealed by the resurrection. Evangelism of any sort is meaningless in a predetermined world. We all know that to be true, because deep down no real Christian embraces determinism as a lifestyle. It’s pretty much impossible.

        Liked by 1 person

      28. Yes WW….

        There are many many Bible verses about God searching the heart of man. Very hard to reconcile this with the idea that God has irresistibly, unchangeable programmed the heart of man. Why search it? Or even give the impression you are “searching” for anything?

        Psalm 139:23
        Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts;

        Jeremiah 17:10
        “I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds.

        Romans 8:27
        and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

        1 Chronicles 28:9
        “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever.

        Revelation 2:23
        ‘And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.

        Psalm 139:1
        O LORD, You have searched me and known me.

        There are lots like this!!!

        Then plenty like this………

        2 Chronicles 16:9
        For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.

        And then there are the ones that say that “He rewards those who diligently seek Him….”

        No explanation ever given.

        Liked by 2 people

      29. ww writes, “I believe he is also planting seeds in hard hearts, some of which will soften when his Godhood is revealed by the resurrection. ”

        More than planting seeds. From Ezekiel 36, “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”

        Like

      30. Yes, wonderful promise! And in the same chapter we have God reacting to his people’s actions.
        37 “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Once again I will yield to Israel’s plea and do this for them: I will make their people as numerous as sheep, 38 as numerous as the flocks for offerings at Jerusalem during her appointed festivals. So will the ruined cities be filled with flocks of people. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”

        Yield? How can there be any yielding to human’s pleas for an immutable God that never changes his mind?

        Liked by 2 people

      31. WW,

        Great section there… 37 “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Once again I will yield to Israel’s plea and do this for them…”

        Notice that He takes the time to say “Sovereign Lord” so many times when He says a sentence like this (“yield”).

        I think it is to teach what He is like. What He means by Sovereign Lord. His kind of sovereignty… not man’s definition.

        It is very curious how —-despite the hundreds of verses like this —- that some people bring their understanding of what “God has to be like” to the text and ignore these many statements from the Lord.

        They try to grab the “spiritual high ground” and say “preposterous that you say that about the Lord!” (a kind of “we elevate Him but you don’t!” attitude) … when actually it is not you or me saying these things…. The Lord says them Himself.

        Then they challenge us to interpret these thousands of verses by the “all of Scripture” (which really means their 40-50 verses).

        This IS the “all of Scripture!”

        Liked by 1 person

      32. ww writes, “Yield? How can there be any yielding to human’s pleas for an immutable God that never changes his mind?”

        This illustrates a promise of God – if Israel does X (here, cries out to God), God will do Y (bless them). We should remember Paul’s instruction in 1 Corinthians 10 – “these things happened as examples for us, that we should not crave evil things, as they also craved….they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” Israel is an example to us that we can call out to God and God will respond – Thus, “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.” (Hebrews 4)

        Like

      33. WW,

        I am afraid you are gonna have to get used to the idea of bringing up good, multiple (hundreds of the same kind) examples/ verses from Scripture that disprove a deterministic, static, immutable, irresistible God….. only to see a response like this.

        This constant quoting of verses that show that God has not immutably, irresistibly fixed man’s response (if/then verses) to actually “prove” determinism is illogical, incomprehensible, and is what is called the rocking-horse effect (one minute a Calvinist, one minute an Arminian). But using Arminian-esque verses to “prove” Calvinism is really quite humorous.

        Liked by 1 person

      34. WW….

        You know that all those verses do not make sense under Calvinism, and I know it, and anyone coming to Word without an agenda knows it…. but get ready for some non-sensical, Arminian-esque verse-quoting response (if you get one at all).

        The other response you will get it the “He’s omniscient” magic wand.

        And then there is “mystery.”

        Or ……. compatibility.

        Here is the standard conversation:

        God decreed all actions ahead of time.

        But what about the thousands of “if you do this… I will” or ” I would have done this if you had…” verses?

        Yes there are many if/then verses, which is why Paul says we must…. (insert quote here that disproves determinism).
        ———

        What?

        Liked by 1 person

      35. ww writes, “There can be no X or Y, there can only be one course of action. Which makes God’s talk about yielding nonsense.”

        There are X and Y situations even when God knows how we will choose. The person is never forced to act against his will – because of Total Depravity, no one wants to yield to God.

        Like

      36. Buzzer please. Arminian answer, not allowed! God’s knowledge is not the issue. If everything is his decree, there is no X to your Y. Also, every one who is convicted wants to submit to God. He may have conflicting desires, but the desire for God is certainly present.

        Liked by 2 people

      37. ww writes, “every one who is convicted wants to submit to God. He may have conflicting desires, but the desire for God is certainly present.”

        Not according to what we read in Romans. Are you just making this stuff up or have you read some Scripture that you think says this.

        Like

      38. Roger, is a man only his “flesh” before regeneration, or does he have a functioning spirit too? Your appeal to Rom 8:7-9 falls flat if you begin to accept that the Scripture teaches that man has a functioning spirit besides the flesh. And when God appeals to that mind of the spirit, like He did in Adam, Nicodemus, and Cornelius, don’t you think His appeal will have a positive effect? The flesh and its mind will never submit to God before or after regeneration, for nothing good dwells in it.

        But God doesn’t not give His influential light to everyone in vain. It has its positive effect on everyone. It does not fail to sufficiently enable the will to make a free choice to seek or reject its truth. It’s sad that you don’t want to believe that God is that loving or His light that powerful to enable everyone to enter a love relationship with Him based on free-will instead of an irresistible compulsion that was wanted or asked for.

        Like

      39. brianwagner writes, “Your appeal to Rom 8:7-9 falls flat if you begin to accept that the Scripture teaches that man has a functioning spirit besides the flesh.”

        The issue is not whether a person has a spirit but the condition of the spirit. When Ephesians 2 tells us, “you were dead in your trespasses and sins,” we don’t understand this as being physically dead since we are still breathing. We see this as spiritually dead. Supporting this is John 3 where Christ tells us we must be born again. In 2 Corinthians 6, Paul tells believers, “…let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”

        Romans 8:7-9, speaks to the corruption of the mind as one who is spiritually dead is said to be in the flesh or controlled by the flesh. But then v10, “if Christ is in you…the spirit is alive because of righteousness.” There is obviously a spirit within the person – the issue is the degree to which that spirit is really functional – a dead spirit would not seem to be very functional, certainly not for righteousness.

        Then, “And when God appeals to that mind of the spirit, like He did in Adam, Nicodemus, and Cornelius, don’t you think His appeal will have a positive effect?”

        I lean Calvinist – I am the one who thinks God gets what He wants.

        Then, “The flesh and its mind will never submit to God before or after regeneration, for nothing good dwells in it.”

        OK. So, regeneration is giving life to the dead spirit. It is the spirit that is the vehicle for receiving the gospel and faith.

        Then, “But God doesn’t not give His influential light to everyone in vain. It has its positive effect on everyone. It does not fail to sufficiently enable the will to make a free choice to seek or reject its truth. It’s sad that you don’t want to believe that God is that loving or His light that powerful to enable everyone to enter a love relationship with Him based on free-will instead of an irresistible compulsion that was wanted or asked for.”

        That’s fine. In the scenario you describe, let’s assume some seek truth and some reject truth. It is easy to understand why someone would seek truth – it is a rational choice. How do we explain those who reject seeking truth – did they really receive light or maybe just lesser light than God gives to His elect?

        Like

      40. Unless you begin to see that a dead spirit is not a spirit that is functioning but just separated (dead) from the life of God, you will misunderstand the meaning of “dead” in Scriptures and continue to think inability every time you think of the unregenerate condition.

        But that God’s light is sufficiently enabling to that “dead” spirit to make a free conscious decision, whether rational or irrational is not an issue if you give up the idea that all the events of reality are eternally immutably set before creation. The “elect” is not a known quantity as completed before creation, only as a known quantity of what’s possible after creation and could include every single soul that will be sufficiently enabled to make that free choice for or against it.

        Liked by 1 person

      41. ww writes, “…every one who is convicted wants to submit to God. He may have conflicting desires, but the desire for God is certainly present. ”

        I misread this. Of course, ” “…every one who is convicted wants to submit to God.” Obviously, they are convicted. Not sure where my head was on this one. Thanks Brian for straightening me out on this.

        Like

      42. I would add that I believe many people are under conviction for much of their lives. There is a young man who has been in our house many times, gone to church with us, dated our daughter, and my son was having a conversation with him last night how about the nature of God and reality. And he’s trying some new age concept of God being part of the universe, or the universe being God. It’s not that he doesn’t know the truth, and I don’t believe for a moment that the Holy Spirit has never revealed it to him, so the only answer is the stubbornness of the human will, which directly contradicts the calvinist concept of irresistible Grace.

        Like

      43. WW,
        This great post illustrates my point that even Calvinists don’t live like it’s true.

        They can’t know who is “chosen” or when regeneration is taking place/ has taken place… they tell everyone “God loves you” (when certainly he may not!), or “Christ died for you” (when certainly under their Greek philosophy He most likely did not!!).

        Troy told us that one gets the Spirit at regeneration (cuz how could they “seek” without Him?)… but Roger informs us that we get the Spirit at conversion. Yikes! Which is it? I asked them to clarify. Silence.

        They can’t be at the same time since …. non-biblical motto coming….. “regeneration precedes faith!”

        So….if Troy is right…. then your young man, with help of the Spirit is “seeking” (certainly for them not possible for a person w/o some drawing from God) and has been or is being regenerated ( we need to ask Troy how long you can be Spirit-given regenerated before you move to Roger’s Spirit-given conversion).

        But let’s say the young man does not convert after years of Bible study and prayer. In that case, for them, he was not “seeking” even if he asked very direct, pointed questions about the person of Christ, with (what appears to all persons looking on) a very sincere attitude.

        Nah…. he wasn’t seeking (no good thing from that flesh), he was just bluffing. And (for them) God decreed from before time that we would become attached to this person, love this person, share the Gospel with this person, pray for this person, but that He would not chose this person…. so that He could better “demonstrate His grace.”

        Liked by 3 people

      44. ww writes, “…so the only answer is the stubbornness of the human will, which directly contradicts the calvinist concept of irresistible Grace.”

        Paul, who had this testimony, “…you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure, and tried to destroy it;” expressed a different view, “…when He who had set me apart, even from my mother’s womb, and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me, …” (Galatians 1-2)

        Like

      45. Paul was called to be an Apostle, he was set apart, no one is contesting that. I really don’t see how it has anything to do with whether grace is resistible. I get the feeling that determinists read scripture in sort of a backwards manner. You start by assuming that if someone is called to a task, they couldn’t do other wise. If you want to be consistent in your view, you would also have to say Paul was called by God to persecute the church, since everything that happens is God’s will. All of us who come to scripture without pre supposing that God’s will is irresistible, see many verses that say things like:” 6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all.” and we realize that a lot of what is in the Gospels is there to encourage us to persevere, because it is entirely possible to throw away the grace we were given and fall into unbelief. And we see people all the time who are disobeying God and we ourselves disobey and hopefully we repent of it. Irresistible grace just has no place in the reality we experience.

        Liked by 1 person

      46. WW,

        Determinists DO read the Scripture backward. They start with the answers (all that Mary-worshiping Augustine, and people-burning-Calvin set as truth) and they force that perspective into every passage (the thousands of verses that don’t fit get: “we know this passage does not mean what it says.”)

        What you said here is key, “You start by assuming that if someone is called to a task, they couldn’t do other wise.”

        Being called or drawn does not mean you cannot refuse. The Bible has many examples (Jonah!!) but take King Saul. He was hand-picked by The Lord God. Then later he rebelled/ disobeyed and God un-chose him—– even saying “I would have made you, but you….”

        There can be no room whatsoever in the determinist world for “I would have….” spoken by God.

        Liked by 2 people

      47. FOH writes, “Being called or drawn does not mean you cannot refuse. The Bible has many examples (Jonah!!) but take King Saul….”

        FOH caught snoozing in class again. He slept through the discussion distinguishing between God’s commands and God’s calling and drawing.

        Then, “There can be no room whatsoever in the determinist world for “I would have….” spoken by God.”

        In the world of the Theological determinist, there is plenty of room.

        Like

      48. ww writes, “If you want to be consistent in your view, you would also have to say Paul was called by God to persecute the church,..”

        Actually, Paul was decreed/ordained to persecute the church; and called by God to serve Him.

        Then, “…it is entirely possible to throw away the grace we were given and fall into unbelief.”

        We have specific promises from Christ and God–

        “God who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1)
        “…the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” (John 6)
        “…this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.” (John 6)
        “No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6)
        “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6)

        It is these verses that provide the foundation for “irresistible” grace. There is also a general grace that God extends to all – preserving a person’s life from day to day, providing rain (and food) for the just and unjust, providing His law. Then God blesses without regard to salvation – by giving one the winning lottery ticket but not another. God’s calling of one to salvation and not another is grace. Grace applies to things other than salvation – without God’s grace, there would be no reality for us to experience.

        Like

      49. As a non-believer in hell, I’m not sure what comfort there would be in the thought that my garden got rained on…I was never given a chance to experience saving grace, but, hey, I had really nice cucumbers one year!
        What was Paul warning the Galatians about?
        “6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel.”
        Impossible! Unless all those promises you quoted above are just that,, promises that he will not abandon us, not that we are the bride drug into the basement and locked in a cage. But that the heart of the father and the son is always to welcome the repentant heart. We might be The Prodigal Son, and he will always welcome us back, but not drag us into the kingdom by force.
        Love this Brennan Manning quote; ” ” “What is my response to his second call, whispering to me ” You have my love. You don’t have to pay for it. You didn’t earn it and can’t deserve it. You only have to open up and receive it. You only have to say yes to my love–a love beyond anything you can intellectualize or imagine”? That’s grace.

        Liked by 1 person

      50. WW writes:

        “As a non-believer in hell, I’m not sure what comfort there would be in the thought that my garden got rained on…I was never given a chance to experience saving grace, but, hey, I had really nice cucumbers one year!”

        I’m with ya. I love me some cucumbers, but pretty sure they could not make up for an eternity apart from God.

        Liked by 1 person

      51. WW and TS00,

        Both you guys are talking about something that I have commented on many times.

        I go to Sproul, Piper, MacArthur sites now and again to see what they say about certain verses. It is amazing.

        1. They say God does not love the world in the same way He loves the elect.

        2. But He does love the world (refer to your “rain on my nice cucumbers” idea). They take that “suns shines on the wicked” part and say that —- this is the “love” He has for the world. I mean they really say that God loves the world ….just paragraphs away from saying Calvinly (that is my new adverb for: say it with the kind of authority that says “I’m right and I will burn you at the stake if you disagree”) “God did not plan to redeem most people.”

        It’s one thing to say “See how nice a life people have here in the Southern California sun with their pools and their nice gardens?” —- See God loves these people.

        But a huge portion of the people (throughout history) who were “loved”-but-purposely-not-redeemed” by God spent their lives in squalor, pain, sex slavery, poverty, sickness, or bondage.

        Now it is very hard to apply the “at least they had the sun and rain on their lives and saw God’s love” band-aid in that case. No these poor not-chosen, not-loved people had misery on earth AND they get a non-negotiable, immutable, God-planned-for-your-demise eternity.

        It is impossible and indefensible, in any way, to say that God loves those people.

        No skirting it with…. “God loves His elect in a different way.”

        No, a girl sold into sex-slavery at 5 and dead at 21 with diseases and violence was not loved. Period.

        Liked by 3 people

      52. I can never get away from scripture’s own definition of love:

        “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

        Who would dare suggest that men display a greater love than God? If this is the ‘greatest’ love, my understanding of God demands that he be the epitome of such love. Thus, if God ‘loves’ men, he will lay down his life for them. This he did, and let none be guilty of denying it.

        Liked by 3 people

      53. ww writes, “I was never given a chance to experience saving grace,…”

        What!! God gave you the freedom to do what you wanted…and you still want God to bail you out??

        Like

      54. Freedom? Lol, seriously? In this scenario “I” am forever damned simply because God did not deem my soul worth saving. He gave his salvation to a selected few, but I was fated to spend my few miserable days chasing desires that could never satisfy the hunger in my soul. Then I was sent to hell for doing exactly what he chose for me to do. You seem to be under the mistaken impression that sinners live happy, fulfilled lives apart from God…

        Liked by 1 person

      55. WW, perhaps Calvinists could hand out little consolation cards to the non-elect, with a slogan to console themselves in hell:

        “At least we got cucumbers.”

        I mean, it’s the least they could do for those who didn’t win the love of God lottery.

        Liked by 1 person

      56. ww writes, ““I” am forever damned simply because God did not deem my soul worth saving.”

        Not to mention that you didn’t deem your soul worth saving.

        Like

      57. WW writes:

        “? How could I have anything to do with it? I was born with out the ability to make a choice leading to salvation.”

        Besides, who are you to argue with God, O man, if he says your soul isn’t worth saving?

        But it’s still your fault. For choosing to pursue the desires God placed within you in order to bring his eternal decrees to pass. And now, you are going to face God’s wrath for daring to do that which he decreed you irresistibly must in eternity past. Why not just man up and admit to your devious crimes, O unloved reprobate, and obviously not one of the privileged, elite, Calvinist elect? God calls the shots, and you were born to burn. Get over it.

        Such a delightful theology. I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t want to follow it.

        Like

      58. ww writes, “I was born with out the ability to make a choice leading to salvation.”

        You have the physical ability to choose salvation – the gospel message is understandable to all as even a child can understand it in terms of physical ability to hear – and people can desire the gospel on purely physical or selfish terms (i.e., no one wants to spend an eternity in torment). What you lack is any spiritual desire for the gospel – the lack of spiritual desire being the product of a depraved nature.

        Like

      59. Gobblygook. You don’t really believe this nonsense, do you? How do any of these hair splitting distinctions have any meaning, when I am destined for hell from before the beginning of creation? And this solely based on God’s secret decree, not anything that I will or won’t do… And why do you think you are not the same as me? There is no possible way to know you are one of the chosen few.

        Liked by 2 people

      60. WW writes:

        ‘Gobbleygook.’

        Pretty much sums it up. There is nothing but stuff and nonsense displayed repeatedly. Makes you wonder what the goal is – I guess just to dominate the thread with pointless rabbit trails. Truth is, history demonstrates how completely the doctrines of Calvinism were rejected, and we really are all just wasting our time rehashing silly, meaningless debates that Calvinists lost long ago. It is a waste of time to pretend as if this logically absurd and morally reprehensible theology is defensible.

        Like

      61. TS00 and WW,

        If you get an answer it will be some disconnected idea that God decrees that He wont save you….. just let you continue in your sin (as if sinning was not part of His decrees-everything decrees).

        There is disconnect there in that they state that He decrees that He wont save you (Limited atonement), but they always skirt the idea that decree everything means …. everything. Our sin too. I mean anyone can see that saying “He decrees everything” means not just “decrees not to save you.”

        Well almost everyone.

        Liked by 2 people

      62. FOH writes, “There is disconnect there…”

        The disconnect is that no one has been able to frame an alternative to Calvinism (with a couple of exceptions. brian wagner who throws out omniscience and the Unievrsalists who say God will save everyone).

        For those who come to the conclusion that some will be saved and some lost, Calvinism best explains how this comes about. Despite all the bickering by non-Calvinists, they have yet to come up with a better explanation.

        Like

      63. Rhutchin writes:

        “The disconnect is that no one has been able to frame an alternative to Calvinism (with a couple of exceptions. brian wagner who throws out omniscience and the Unievrsalists who say God will save everyone).

        For those who come to the conclusion that some will be saved and some lost, Calvinism best explains how this comes about. Despite all the bickering by non-Calvinists, they have yet to come up with a better explanation.”

        And with the stroke of a few keys, he erases century of scholarship and church history, which both exposed and rejected Calvinism as scripturally unsupportable and morally reprehensible. Whatever good fruit has been produced by a frequently misled body of believers in the name of ‘science’ (theology) and authority (Church) has mostly been the result of rejecting the false assertions of Calvinism. It is fairly simple, and anyone who reads his bible minus the distorting lenses of various man-made traditions can see its manifold witness to a loving God creating people with the power of reason and choice, the consequences of their rebellious choices and God’s response of love, sacrifice and redemption.

        Calvin’s assertions of predestination and limited atonement – creating a cruel, tyrannical monster in the place of God – were despised and rejected from the start by most God-fearing men and women, and it was only among the political powerbrokers that any sort of real debate was necessary. Today, Calvinism uses a different toolset of indoctrination and threats to convince people that they must submit to its odious assertions, or more commonly, hides its offensive doctrines behind euphemism and doublespeak.

        Liked by 2 people

      64. TS00,

        Yes….. as I imagined the response was going to be …… “no one has ever explained it but Calvinists.” A very sectarian approach.

        But remember…. NO one lives like it! We all live like what we do matters. We all (should) “buffet our bodies” (“strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize”) and become all things to all men to win some, and persuade men…..

        In addition, we know that helping our kids with homework, limiting junk food, flossing our teeth (!!), exercising, “using strategies” (look in most of Piper’s books for that idea!) are all good things that make a positive difference. But these are (a)moral choices. Not commands… just good choices. Do it….better. Dont do it….. results not as good.

        Fret not on all these (repeated, talking points) shots across the bow. No one lives like that!

        What we do matters.

        Liked by 1 person

      65. I also suspect that as long as we view the theological implications of Calvinism separate from their political implications, we will never have a proper understanding of their true meaning and import. My admittedly limited understanding of church and political history nonetheless suggests that the two are indelibly intertwined, with literature, the printed word and even modern media the medium through with rival powers seek to influence the thoughts and behavior of the masses.

        A closer examination reveals the delicate interplay of church and state throughout history, and the danger of speaking against existing powers led to much cloaked language, which doubtless continues today. It is not without import that a playwright’s ‘fool’ could protest against kings or political institutions, and a theologian’s academic gloss might suggest ‘interpretations’ of scripture, but an individual citizen expressing the same ideas might be quickly condemned and executed. Thus, political and civil protest has long been cloaked in literary and religious robes. I admit my own ignorance in such matters frequently leads to faulty and misinformed assumptions. Add to this the control of what is dubbed ‘official’ history and one soon becomes humbly aware of how little he truly understands of the great spiritual battle that has waged since the beginning of time.

        Like

      66. FOH writes, “Yes….. as I imagined the response was going to be …… “no one has ever explained it but Calvinists.” A very sectarian approach.”

        I there were a viable alternative to Calvinism, you wouldn’t see people appealing to Open Theism or an open future in an effort to challenge Calvinism’s understanding of salvation.

        Like

      67. Some people always appeal to the truth found in Scripture and reason when providing a viable alternative to errors, like Calvinism! 😉 Those loyal to Calvinism just seem to have a hard time rejecting their loyalty to it and choosing rather to become loyal to the logical and Scriptural alternative when its offered. Many times its because they like staying surrounded by the Sadducees and Pharisees who hold the power in society and they fear being labeled with those “heretical reformers” who keep appealing to the Bible as the only authority. So sad!

        Liked by 1 person

      68. The free will option has been around since the earliest church fathers. I’m not sure why you think it’s not a viable option when it has been the main option down through church history. From Irenaeus, a disciple of polycarp who was a disciple of John:

        “2. But if some had been made by nature bad, and others good, these latter would not be deserving of praise for being good, for such were they created; nor would the former be reprehensible, for thus they were made [originally]. But since all men are of the same nature, able both to hold fast and to do what is good; and, on the other hand, having also the power to cast it from them and not to do it,-some do justly receive praise even among men who are under the control of good laws (and much more from God), and obtain deserved testimony of their choice of good in general, and of persevering therein; but the others are blamed, and receive a just condemnation, because of their rejection of what is fair and good. And therefore the prophets used to exhort men to what was good, to act justly and to work righteousness, as I have so largely demonstrated, because it is in our power so to do, and because by excessive negligence we might become forgetful, and thus stand in need of that good counsel which the good God has given us to know by means of the prophets.”
        5. And not merely in works, but also in faith, has God preserved the will of man free and under his own control, saying, “According to thy faith be it unto thee; “611 thus showing that there is a faith specially belonging to man, since he has an opinion specially his own. And again, “All things are possible to him that believeth; “612 and, “Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee.”613 Now all such expressions demonstrate that man is in his own power with respect to faith. And for this reason, “he that believeth in Him has eternal life while he who believeth not the Son hath not eternal life, but the wrath of God shall remain upon him.”614 In the same manner therefore the Lord, both showing His own goodness, and indicating that man is in his own free will and his own power, said to Jerusalem, “How often have I wished to gather thy children together, as a hen [gathereth] her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Wherefore your house shall be left unto you desolate.”615”

        Liked by 1 person

      69. WW,

        Those freewill examples in history are true and good.

        The Scripture has plenty too: calling random people “righteous” “good” “God-fearing Gentile”.

        Or in Cain or Nineveh or other examples expecting/allowing/calling them to choose God’s reveal path (some did: Nineveh, some didn’t: Cain).

        These are not “believers” as we know it……just random examples of how God makes it clear that people have the freedom to listen to Him or not.

        Like

      70. FOH writes, “just random examples of how God makes it clear that people have the freedom to listen to Him or not.”

        God doesn’t necessarily reveal His involvement in the situation. Sometimes He does as with Saul on the road to Damascus or with Lydia. There is nothing “random” in the world as God’s providence extends to all people in every situation.

        From Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology – “Providence, then, is the sovereign, divine superintendence of all things, guiding them toward their divinely predetermined end in a way that is consistent with their created nature, all to the glory and praise of God. This divine, sovereign, and benevolent control of all things by God is the underlying premise of everything that is taught in the Scriptures.”

        Like

      71. ww writes, “And this solely based on God’s secret decree, not anything that I will or won’t do…”

        Coincidentally, along the way, you would choose to sin and love doing so. Thus, your condemnation would be based on your sin. God’s secret decree would have been not to intervene to save you. However, isn’t that what you want for everybody – that each person be able to save himself without God’s help??

        Like

      72. Your first sentence is wrong, based on scripture and relationships with sinners.
        Again you claim that sinners are happy in their sin.
        “1Blessed is the one
        who does not walk in step with the wicked
        or stand in the way that sinners take
        or sit in the company of mockers,
        2but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
        and who meditates on his law day and night.
        3That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
        which yields its fruit in season
        and whose leaf does not wither—
        whatever they do prospers.
        4Not so the wicked!
        They are like chaff
        that the wind blows away.
        5Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
        nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
        If you spend anytime around people who are wallowing in their sin, you will find out very quickly that they do not love sinning, they are victims of it, yes, they are are trapped by their desire, yes, and again that desire, in your system is given to them by God

        Liked by 1 person

      73. Rhutchin writes:

        “What!! God gave you the freedom to do what you wanted…and you still want God to bail you out??”

        Naughty Rhutchin, sometimes omits pointing out that the freedom Calvinism grants that God has given men to ‘do what they want/desire’ has been irresistibly determined and orchestrated by God. Let me chart it out, just in case he got confused:

        1) God decides, ordains, decrees (etc.) whatsoever comes to pass in eternity past.
        2) Man is born.
        3) Man has whatever ‘desires’ or ‘wants’ that God has instilled, caused (etc.) in order to bring about his predetermined ‘decrees’.
        4) Man ‘chooses’ what God has irresistibly put within him to ‘desire/want’.
        5) God says ‘Gotcha! Now you are going to hell for doing what I decreed you would irresistibly ‘desire’, ‘choose’ and ‘do’.

        It kinda, sorta changes the picture a bit, wouldn’t ya say, when you admit what Calvinism is actually asserting while trying to deny it? So, yeah, one might demand God ‘bail us out’ from the ‘wants’ and ‘desires’ he made sure we would irresistibly have, so that we would ‘choose’ what he ordained us to irresistibly choose so we would do what he irresistibly determined we would do so that we could face eternal punishment so that he could get some more of that glory stuff.

        Liked by 1 person

      74. ww writes, “What was Paul warning the Galatians about?
        “6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel.”

        Galatians deals with the issue of circumcision. The Jews were having a hard time giving it up – here it is 50 AD and they are now just calling a council to resolve it – but the Jewish Christians still don’t like it. think how hard it was for them to give up the sacrificial system – God had to reduce the temple to rubble in 70 AD to get that point across. It is hard for people to grasp what God is doing – many still think it’s all about them; that they fulfill God’s hopes.

        Like

      75. Paul makes it abundantly clear that it is possible to turn to a false religion even after coming to Christ and be severed from Christ. Gal 5:4 This is impossible under Calvinism.

        Like

      76. ww writes, “Paul makes it abundantly clear that it is possible to turn to a false religion even after coming to Christ and be severed from Christ.”

        Or just to be suckered in by false prophets. Paul was mindful that young believers were vulnerable to false teaching. He says in Galatians 2, ” it was because of the false brethren who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage.” Also, 2 Corinthians 11, “such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.” Calvinism is with Paul on this concern.

        Like

      77. ww asks “What happened to perseverance of the saints?”

        Nothing. Just because a person is saved does not guarantee that he cannot be snookered by bad doctrine even not understanding how he came to be saved in the first place. Just read 1 Corinthians.

        Like

      78. That’s not what it says. It says a person can be severed from Christ, not that he can be snookered. “4You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.”

        Like

      79. ww writes, “It says a person can be severed from Christ, not that he can be snookered.”

        Paul is here speaking, presumably, to believers. He now addresses those within the church who seek salvation by works rather than faith if that is what they are doing. This shows the attractiveness of salvation and also the desire of some to obtain salvation by their works. Later, Paul says, “I have confidence in you in the Lord, that you will adopt no other view; but the one who is disturbing you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is.” (v10) So, we have a serious situation where people have come into the church and sought to deceive people to seek salvation by works. This would serve to separate those whom God has saved from those who seek to save themselves.

        We can be certain that God will preserve His elect. Ephesians 2 tells us that it is God who saves believers and this by grace and that believers are God’s workmanship. Philippians 1 tells us that it is God who begins the work of salvation in a person and that He will perfect the believer. Galatians must be read within the context of the entire Scriptures which make it clear that God will ensure that His elect are preserved.

        Like

      80. Dancing around the clear meaning of the verse does not negate the meaning. He is clearing not speaking to the deceivers here, but those who are deceived. He states that they were running a good race, up to the point of being led away by false teachings. Of course, you have to believe the elect can’t fall away, or you lose the l and P of TULIP. None of the verses you mention tell us that the believer can not “divorce” God, only that God will not divorce them.

        Like

      81. WW,

        It does not matter how many verses against (or flaws) you show in the logic, line of thinking, or Bible-based-ness of Calvinism….. when all else fails…… hail Mary pass….. “no one has shown an alternative to our way.” (I just had one of those ….yawn…same old, same old)

        Of course this is an infantile way of thinking….. kind of an “ours may be wrong but yours is ‘wronger!'”

        Or an “ours may be wrong but there just aint nothing else out there!'”

        Brian and Leighton (with a whole blog entry) have explained 6:44 only to be told over and over “Nanny nanny, you never ‘splained it!”

        I stayed in Calvinism (despite the massive majority of of Scripture that does not look Calvinistic or deterministic) because “I didnt see an explanation for our 40-50 key verses.”

        There was a reason for that. I was only reading Pink, Van Til, and Boettner!!!

        Once you get out and smell the coffee, it is so refreshing to find good explanations for the 40-50 verses and see how they fit beautifully with the rest (99.5%) of the non-Calvinistic Bible!!

        Liked by 2 people

      82. FOH writes:

        “I stayed in Calvinism (despite the massive majority of of Scripture that does not look Calvinistic or deterministic) because “I didnt see an explanation for our 40-50 key verses.”

        There was a reason for that. I was only reading Pink, Van Til, and Boettner!!!

        Once you get out and smell the coffee, it is so refreshing to find good explanations for the 40-50 verses and see how they fit beautifully with the rest (99.5%) of the non-Calvinistic Bible!!”

        Hear, hear! Grab that cup of coffee, scroll through scribd or some other site and be amazed at the vast array of pamphlets, books and sermons that have provided biblical, scholarly and frequently morally acceptable alternatives to Reformed Theology from the very days it was first posited. Even though the likes of Calvin and Edwards get all the press, the dusty tomes rejecting their propositions yet exist, and the offerings of men well-schooled in the bible, literature, history and classical languages will astound and delight you. No one has to rely merely on a few modern bloggers – this subject has been thoroughly debated by the greatest minds for centuries.

        Liked by 1 person

      83. Here are a couple of quotes from some familiar names, just to show that Calvinism was well known and well understood long, long ago:

        “God has infinite wisdom, goodness, and power; he created the universe; his duration is eternal, a parte ante and a parte post. His presence is as extensive as space. What is space? An infinite spherical vacuum. He created this speck of dirt and the human species for his glory; and with the deliberate design of making nine tenths of our species miserable for ever for his glory. This is the doctrine of Christian theologians, in general, ten to one. Now, my friend, can prophecies or miracles convince you or me that infinite benevolence, wisdom, and power, created, and preserves for a time, innumerable millions, to make them miserable for ever, for his own glory? Wretch! What is his glory? Is he ambitious? Does he want promotion? Is he vain, tickled with adulation, exulting and triumphing in his power and the sweetness of his vengeance? Pardon me, my Maker, for these awful questions. My answer to them is always ready. I believe no such things. My adoration of the author of the universe is too profound and too sincere. The love of God and his creation — delight, joy, triumph, exultation in my own existence — though but an atom, a molecule organ- ique in the universe — are my religion.

        Howl, snarl, bite, ye Calvinistic, ye Athanasian divines, if you will; ye will say I am no Christian; I say ye are no Christians, and there the account is balanced. Yet I believe all the honest men among you are Christians, in my sense of the word.”

        – Letter from John Adams to Thomas Jefferson, September 14, 1818

        “Dear Sir, The wishes expressed, in your last favor, that I may continue in life and health until I become a Calvinist, at least in his exclamation of `mon Dieu! jusque à quand’! would make me immortal. I can never join Calvin in addressing his god. He was indeed an Atheist, which I can never be; or rather his religion was Daemonism. If ever man worshipped a false god, he did. The being described in his 5 points is not the God whom you and I acknolege and adore, the Creator and benevolent governor of the world; but a daemon of malignant spirit. It would be more pardonable to believe in no god at all, than to blaspheme him by the atrocious attributes of Calvin.”

        – Letter from Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, April 11, 1823

        Like

      84. Rhutchin writes:

        “Actually, Paul was decreed/ordained to persecute the church; and called by God to serve Him.”

        If I actually believed such a thing, I would curse God and die. Were it true that God irresistibly ordained me to be a sinner, perhaps a child abuser and murderer, yet held me accountable to a ‘call’ to serve him that was a cruel hoax, this God would be a demonstrable monster. He ‘decreed’ my sin, so that it was set in stone for all eternity before I was ever born, sent his Son to die for others’ sin – but not mine – yet nonetheless insisted that I ‘believe’ in . . . what? His goodness . . . to others? His redemption . . . for others? His ‘grace’ that granted me fresh air and sunshine for a few decades before an eternity of torture kicked in?

        Rhutchin may be able to smilingly embrace such a ‘God’. I cannot, and am so thankful that such an evil, horrible caricature of God is the exact opposite of the all-loving, all-merciful, all-gracious God of scripture, my heavenly Father, who genuinely offers love, grace and eternal, abundant life to all who will answer his call and come freely. All who hunger and thirst, all who desire righteousness over wickedness are called to come and drink freely of the water of life. I am truly sorry for Rhutchin if he actually believes what he posits.

        Liked by 1 person

      85. ts00 writes, “If I actually believed such a thing,…”

        Consequently, you had to give up the idea that God is omniscient and knows the future perfectly. Others have done it, also, basically expressing the same sentiments that you do in this comment.

        Have you been able to develop a definition of “free will”? Here is a start to help you out: “For ts00, free will exists where God is not able to know or predict the future choices a person will make prior to the time the person makes those decisions.”

        Like

      86. Rhutchin writes:

        “Have you been able to develop a definition of “free will”? Here is a start to help you out: “For ts00, free will exists where God is not able to know or predict the future choices a person will make prior to the time the person makes those decisions.””

        Ah, the Calvinist secret to distorting scripture into whatever they wish it to mean: write their own definitions.

        Actually, I don’t even recall using the term ‘free will’, but that’s not going to stop ol’ Rhutch from trying to reshape the conversation to get back to his script. Where is br.d, he’s the resident expert on this doublespeak? Maybe he got ‘cut off’ from notifications, as I did. I thought y’all were raptured and I got left behind . .

        Liked by 2 people

      87. ts00 writes, “Ah, the Calvinist secret to distorting scripture into whatever they wish it to mean: write their own definitions.”

        No, I merely tried to help you develop your own definition of “free will” and that based on your problems with God decreeing all future events. I think it obvious that you have avoided developing a definition of free will – perhaps, you played with it for a while – as you probably realize you would have the same problems as every other non-Calvinist.

        Like

      88. ww writes, “…rationally, sin should be impossible for one who has been redeemed.. and yet we do the irrational and sin,…”

        You get the gold star for staying awake while FOH snoozed – “…we do the irrational and sin,.. Only FOH would think that disobeying God is a rational action.

        Like

      89. To assert that man irrationally rejects God because he has been cursed by God to be unable to do anything else is apparently asserting that all men are born irrational, that is, not in their right mind. It would be utterly unjust for God to create ‘irrational’ (apparently a synonym for ‘dead’?) men, then punish them for their irrationality, i.e. inability to choose wisely.

        To equate the ability to choose good over evil with ‘rationality’ is a complete corruption of the definition of the word, as well as life as we know it. Most men, apart from mental disability, are born rational, able to think and reason, albeit some appear more capable than others. Scripture does not equate sin with irrationality, but with greed, covetousness, lack of self-control, etc. If rational men could not sin, there would be no sin in the world, apart from the mentally impaired. But, in reality, Calvinism’s Total Depravity does suggest that all are born mentally impaired, by God’s design. This is a great travesty of truth and reality, not to mention against the pure justice of God, who would never impair men and then punish them for an impairment over which they had no choice.

        Liked by 1 person

      90. TS00,

        You said…
        “It would be utterly unjust for God to create…”

        How true! A Calvinist thinks that the “Doctrines of Grace” or TULIP describe the beauty of God and His grace (I mean if you dont focus on the “horrible decree”), but followed to its logical end, God did in fact create 99.0085% of humanity (created in His image, and originally created sinless in Adam) for damnation and hell.

        Your job, grasshopper, is not to whine about it or look for justice as we know it in human perception, but to just suck it up and accept this “horrible decree” — and perhaps re-define “justice” while you are at it.

        Like

      91. Brian writes:
        “Are these conversations just games to you, or do you want readers to see the clear differences in each passage we discuss?”

        It would appear, Brian, that your suspicion is correct. These conversations appear to be mere games to some, or worse, attempts to deceive. The honest Calvinist should state clearly what his theology demands, and not pretend to abide by suppositions that his doctrines absolutely forbid as possibilities.

        The point of this blog is not to provide a playground for manipulating the naive or bashing one another bloody with their bibles. It is an attempt to set forth the genuine distinctions between the necessary assumptions that authentic, consistent, historical Calvinism demands vs. the wishy-washy, uninformed, and misinformed who have succumbed to the ongoing assault of modern, disguised Calvinism to retake primacy in Protestant circles.

        I have no problem with people stating their opinions, as honestly and consistently as possible. However, I have little stomach for are those who punt again and again to euphemism, false assertions, inconsistently defined terminology and so forth in order to win over those who are unclear and looking for greater understanding.

        It would be a much finer place, disagreement and all, if people would strive to be honest about what they believe and consistent with their terminology so that confusion does not permeate the air.

        Liked by 2 people

      92. FOH writes, “followed to its logical end, God did in fact create 99.0085% of humanity (created in His image, and originally created sinless in Adam) for damnation and hell. ”

        While the percentage can be debated, no one can disagree with this statement – other than the Universalist. Even FOH doesn’t seem to be disagreeing with it – he’s just stating the facts.

        Like

      93. ts00 writes, “To assert that man irrationally rejects God because he has been cursed by God…”

        Can you provide another explanation for a person to reject God other than that he has been cursed by God? If God stands by while a person rejects Him and does nothing to change the person, that is God’s curse on the person isn’t it??

        Like

      94. Rhutchin writes:

        “ts00 writes, “To assert that man irrationally rejects God because he has been cursed by God…”

        Can you provide another explanation for a person to reject God other than that he has been cursed by God? If God stands by while a person rejects Him and does nothing to change the person, that is God’s curse on the person isn’t it??”

        Perhaps Rhutchin never read Romans 10:21 which says: “But of Israel he says, ‘All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.'”

        Was God powerless, so that all he could do was hold out his hands and ‘hope’ that Israel would come? Did he, as Calvinism would assert, hold our his hands even though (wink, wink) he knew Israel could not come until and unless he reversed the curse of Total Depravity? Or, as non-Calvinists would suggest, did God hold out his hands in a genuine desire for Israel to come, with a genuine offer of pardon if they had so chosen to come? Nor does Paul ever suggest that Israel did not come because they were not ‘elect’ but because they were proud and arrogant, and trusted in their own righteousness.

        Will God someday visit his wrath upon all who resist his offer of grace and refuse to believe in the pardon His Son freely offered to them? That is what scripture appears to suggest, but not without first asserting that God desires that none perish; indeed, he tarries that more will come. God does not inflict ‘wrath’ upon anyone because Jesus did not die for their sin and offer them grace and life.

        Liked by 1 person

      95. ts00 writes, “Romans 10:21 which says: “But of Israel he says, ‘All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.’”

        My claim is that this describes a people who are irrational.

        Then, “Was God powerless, so that all he could do was hold out his hands and ‘hope’ that Israel would come?”

        Absolutely not – thus, for God to do nothing to enable Israel to come to Christ is for God to curse Israel.

        Then, “Did he, as Calvinism would assert, hold our his hands even though (wink, wink) he knew Israel could not come until and unless he reversed the curse of Total Depravity?”

        This illustrates the distinction between Calvinists and non-Calvinists. Calvinists say, people are depraved and need God’s help (God must draw them) to be saved. Non-Calvinists say that people are not depraved and can hear the gospel preached and respond without further help from God.

        Like

  17. Brian:

    I have a question for you.

    Adam was born sinless right?

    Was he “thinking rationally”? Was he indeed positioned to walk and talk with The Lord God Almighty forever in the garden?

    Did he have a rational choice to receive God’s on-going grace and walk with Him or reject that offer and disobey?

    Like

    1. FOH …The freewill ability to do otherwise for Lucifer and Adam is beyond dispute by all theologies… it seems… but the determinists hide behind mystery and stl stay loyal to determinism. It’s a loyalty to manmade theology above Scripture. I’m going to stick with Scripture.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. brianwagner writes, “…the determinists hide behind mystery and stl stay loyal to determinism.”

        LOL! Even you don’t believe that disobedience to God is rational behavior.

        Like

  18. Brian:
    It is almost as though there is some commitment to an ideal or philosophy.

    As I have said…. they think we are bringing God down when we say that He does not always get what He wants, or that Christ would allow someone to reject the payment He has made for them.

    But that is in fact exactly what Christ showed us in His humility. I mean, God coming in the flesh to be rejected, tortured, and killed is one of the central themes of the Bible! That IS the message: God cares, loves, humbles Himself… suffers rejection. He suffers rejection thousands of time in the Scriptures.

    I have been an overseas missionary for 30+ years. This message —that we adore a God who is “that weak” is exactly what turns off most of those we work with. They cannot understand or appreciate a God who would do that. A God who would sacrifice His Son. That “weakness” —which is pure beauty to us — is the very things the makes so much of the world laugh at us.

    So why…. oh why would we want to follow a man-made idea that teaches that —- “No, you are right. Our God is just like the god of Islam….He crushes all opponents…. He makes men reject Him, then tortures them for it. Forces them to obey by the edge of the sword. No one can resist His will….. it is irresistible.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. FOH writes:

      “So why…. oh why would we want to follow a man-made idea that teaches that —- “No, you are right. Our God is just like the god of Islam….He crushes all opponents…. He makes men reject Him, then tortures them for it. Forces them to obey by the edge of the sword. No one can resist His will….. it is irresistible.””

      Why, indeed? Such a gospel can only produce fear and hopelessness. Compare that to the fruit of the true gospel, that presents to each and ever man, woman and child the good news that God loves them and died for them just as they are, in hopes that they would believe in, trust in and be remade in the power of that marvelous, transformative love. This is a message that can bring hope to all, even in the direst of circumstances. I would be sad and ashamed to be a servant of God that could only offer the ‘possibility’ that God ‘just might’ desire to redeem and grant new life to the needy, hopeless people that fill our hurting world.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. All who effectively point out the class Calvinist’s inconsistencies, lack of logic and obvious doublespeak are of course the ones ‘at fault’. We have been ‘snoozing in class’, stifling conversation, and oh so many foolish and confused errors. Because it could not possibly be that we are right, that Calvinism is inconsistent, illogical and necessarily deceptive in its desperate attempts to defy being exposed.

        Calvinists like to claim the vast superiority of Calvin and his ilk, when in reality the likes of Servetus, Castellio and countless godly theologians, pastors, teachers and laymen have seen through the contradictions and absurdities of Calvin’s false system. Doubtless this is what provoked Calvin’s murderous rage at Servetus and others, who were likely pointing out the exact same things that are pointed out repeatedly here. So much so that Calvin sought to repress, murder and have destroyed these dissenters and their revealing writings. But to no avail, because even the unschooled of Geneva saw through the lies, however frightened they were to say so boldly. Instead they sang mocking songs, dared to leave scornful messages on Calvin’s pulpit and laughed under their breath as he walked down the streets. It really isn’t rocket science to spot the errors of Calvinism.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. FOH writes:

      “they think we are bringing God down when we say that He does not always get what He wants, or that Christ would allow someone to reject the payment He has made for them.”

      Rather, they – if by ‘they’ you mean the scholars – ‘claim’ we are bringing God down. Those who know the p’s and q’s of Calvinism are not confused in their understanding – they are deliberately dissimulating. They average, Calvinist in the pew I’ll cut some slack – but the scholars know what they are doing.

      Like

  19. Reading through the Bible…

    Gen 14:23 that I will not take so much as a single thread or sandal thong from what belongs to you. Otherwise you might say, ‘I am the one who made Abram rich.’ 24 I will accept only what my young warriors have already eaten, and I request that you give a fair share of the goods to my allies—Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre.”
    —————————–

    Abraham knew how The Sovereign Lord worked. He wanted everyone to know that The Lord had made him rich. He did not want anyone to think it was through a person or human plan. Which of course means that people and human plans can make people rich (and God is not always behind that).

    Abraham understood that not everything that happens is what the Lord wants to happen. Some people become rich and powerful and the Lord has nothing to do with that.

    Gen 15: 5 Then the Lord took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!”

    6 And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith.
    ————————————

    This is the often-quoted verse where Abraham has faith. The Lord gives him a picture…… but He doesn’t give him the faith.

    Are we to believe that every time the Lord asks someone to believe that He either renders it possible (irresistibly, unalterably) or impossible? Why? Why read that into the Scripture all those thousands of times?

    Gen 15:8 But Abram replied, “O Sovereign Lord, how can I be sure that I will actually possess it?”

    9 The Lord told him, “Bring me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.”
    —————————————-

    So, Abraham believes Him for the descendants but not so sure about the land. And what does the Lord do??? He has patience and tells him more to help his feeble human faith. He doesn’t foist unnatural faith on Abraham. Just gives him more details….. just like we have the details of the Gospels and the whole Bible to help our faith.

    Remember Gideon and his fleeces? I am glad God is patient when we have little faith. But of course if He is the giver all this faith, irresistibly, unnaturally, unalterably, then all this makes no sense.

    Soon Abraham is going to negotiate with God for Lot and Sodom. Because God is personal, reachable….. not deterministic.

    Like

    1. FOH writes:

      “Gen 15: 5 Then the Lord took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!”

      6 And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith.

      This is the often-quoted verse where Abraham has faith. The Lord gives him a picture…… but He doesn’t give him the faith.”

      Beautifully put – ‘The Lord gives him a picture . . . but He doesn’t give him the faith.’ Indeed, Abraham was perfectly capable of laughing in disbelief, saying to God ‘Who are you trying to kid? Even if I could manage to know my wife, she is too old to conceive. Stop pulling my leg.’

      Instead, as scripture immortalizes for all time:

      “For what does the scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.’” (Rom 4:3)

      “Thus Abraham ‘believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.'” (Gal 3:6) and

      “‘Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness’; and he was called the friend of God.” (James 2:23)

      Abraham is held up as a hero of faith because he chose to believe; not a mere, ‘Yeah, sure God, if you say so’ kind of belief, but an active living out of this belief in God’s promise to somehow, miraculously provide him with heirs. It is this sort of belief, along with other like examples, that are held up to us as examples, extolling us to likewise trust in God.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. TS00:

        You said….
        “It is this sort of belief, along with other like examples, that are held up to us as examples, extolling us to likewise trust in God.”

        That is the point. I have asked our Calvinists on this site…. what is the point of the Bible showing many, many people —by name— having faith? Hebrews tells us that Abel is “still teaching us.” Teaching us what? Have faith.

        Now, I get that people want to outdo each other and really dig deep and honor God and say, “man, He is awesome… He did everything…. and I want to honor God.” I get that. Really.

        But the truth is that we outrun Scripture. We make it say…. make God say more than He does —- in our effort to honor Him.

        1. The Scripture has many chance to make the “God give faith and when He does you cant resist it” idea plan… but it never does (and we have discussed that thousands of times it looks to be exactly the opposite).

        2. All of the robotic faith makes all the Abraham’s faith and “Abel still teaching us” passages …..just redundant and deceptive.

        Like

      2. FOH writes, “Teaching us what? Have faith.”

        No. To ask for faith. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;” “And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”

        Like

  20. Reading through the Bible….

    Gen 16:2 So Sarai said to Abram, “The Lord has prevented me from having children. Go and sleep with my servant. Perhaps I can have children through her.” And Abram agreed with Sarai’s proposal.

    Was that God’s will? That Abraham take Hagar?

    Many Calvinists are very clear this was lack of faith and sin on Abraham’s part.

    “… every Jew since then has paid the price …of Abraham and Sarah’s sin.” –MacArthur

    But he does refer to Abraham’s faith referencing Hebrews 11 (denying Sarah’s eventual faith) and says …

    “The faith wasn’t Sarah’s it was Abraham’s. And you see what God can do. God does the miraculous, doesn’t He, by faith? He does miracles by faith.

    Oh there is so much in the Bible that talks about the faith. Then verse … the faith of men and in response God works miracles.”

    “….And that all came because he believed God. Hey, faith is powerful.”

    “I think there were two things here;

    Abraham’s faith and God’s will in conjunction. Are you with me? Okay.” (MacArthur message on his site).

    —————————————

    Later in chapter 17 God makes a covenant (v7) “I will confirm my covenant with you and your descendants after you, from generation to generation. This is the everlasting covenant: I will always be your God and the God of your descendants after you.”

    But…… but ….. as usual, there are conditions.

    17: 9 “Then God said to Abraham, “Your responsibility is to obey the terms of the covenant. You and all your descendants have this continual responsibility.”

    And He makes it clear that man’s responsibility in the covenant can make-or-break the deal. God’s miracles and salvation —but with conditions.
    ——————————————-

    Then Abraham is gonna have a doubt….

    17:17 Then Abraham bowed down to the ground, but he laughed to himself in disbelief. “How could I become a father at the age of 100?” he thought.

    This is the human being that “believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.” But a little later, not so much. Does he have to get a new injection of divinely given faith? Or does this just illustrate how human faith is?

    —————————————

    Over to the NT part of the daily reading…. Matthew 6….

    Here Jesus is talking to the massive crowd that is following Him out of curiosity (and for bread like He says).

    Matt 6:1 “Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven.”

    This is one of the many places where the Bible teaches that non-believers can “do good things.” They are not so dead as to be incapable of doing a good deed.

    So here is Christ saying when you do good deeds, don’t show them off (meaning, lots of people can do good deeds). This is not Christ teaching his disciples, but to “a great multitude” (many of whom will not continue with Him).

    ———————————————-

    6:20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

    Here Christ is teaching that the desire in one’s heart is not always evil. How can it be? He is telling them to store treasures in heaven—-NOT telling them that it is impossible for you to store treasures in heaven.

    ————————————–

    Over to the Psalm part of the daily reading….

    Ps 7:8 Declare me righteous, O Lord,
    for I am innocent, O Most High!
    9 End the evil of those who are wicked,
    and defend the righteous.
    For you look deep within the mind and heart,
    O righteous God.

    10 God is my shield,
    saving those whose hearts are true and right.
    11 God is an honest judge.
    He is angry with the wicked every day.

    12 If a person does not repent,
    God will sharpen his sword;
    he will bend and string his bow.

    Wow….David says “for I am innocent”—- “defend the righteous” —– “you look into the mind and heart” — “saving those whose hearts are true and right” —– “if a person does not repent, God will……”

    There is no hint of the idea that everyone is so wicked they cannot even see a good God and repent. It is just the opposite!

    There is no hint that God will “give repentance” ….No —-He requires it from everyone! But “God is an honest judge” and allows anyone to repent.

    The Bible teaches this day after day after day………

    No cherry-picking verses…. just reading the message of the Bible….. in context.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. FOH writes, “Was that God’s will? That Abraham take Hagar?”

      God was executing His plan. Abraham jumped in and started doing things his way. Abraham wanted his way and rejected God in the process – so we can conclude that Abraham sinned against God. At the same time, God could have stopped Abraham in his tracks and Ismael would never have been born. God had decreed not to intervene to stop Abraham from asserting his will – God’s decree was His will – God would also bring about the child of promise (Issac) according to His timetable according to His will. So, we see that God is pursuing His plan and His will while willingly allowing people to pursue their own – even contradicting – wills. Nonetheless, God has a plan and His plan always prevails.

      Like

    2. FOH writes, “But “God is an honest judge” and allows anyone to repent.
      The Bible teaches this day after day after day………”

      Even Calvinists agree with this. So, what is the issue here (or were you snoozing in class again)?

      Like

      1. Anyone read or watch any of the Harris/Shapiro debate?
        Shapiro: “You’re using a lot of active verbs for a person who is a product of environment and genetics.”
        Shapiro: “But why are you giving me those reasons? Again, you’re giving me a lot of active verbs for a guy who has no capacity to choose himself. You’re using my language and then you’re building a house using the bricks that I’m giving you.”
        What he’s saying here, fits exactly into the Calvinist/ freewill debate. When R says God allows anyone to repent for example, we can’t help laughing at the absurdity of some one who believes everything is determined using words that require free will to mean anything.

        Like

      2. WW:

        We spend plenty of time scratching our heads at the Calvinist rocking horse…

        Yesterday he said some thing like….

        “However, believers can resist God, so Paul instructs in Ephesians 4, “do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. ”

        1. Of course “believers resisting God” goes against all things determinist….. or is just deceptive or schizophrenic. In dozens of other places he has made it abundantly clear that he teaches no one can resist God (that would make man “in charge” and mean God was “not sovereign.”)

        2. And of course he has already said that we cannot really grieve the Spirit. It doesnt really mean that.

        Remember the Calvinist rule: Scripture only means what it says when they say so, and that is very seldom!

        Like

      3. FOH writes, “1. Of course “believers resisting God” goes against all things determinist….. ”

        Can we just admit that Calvinists believe God is omniscient and you do not.

        Like

      4. ww writes, “What he’s saying here, fits exactly into the Calvinist/ freewill debate.”

        Not exactly. Calvinism says that people exercise free will in pursuing their desires. Calvinists add that man’s will is subordinate to God’s will – God’s will always prevails.

        Like

      5. If God’s will always prevails, then my so called free will is only real in my mind. Perhaps someone programs a computer with the information to allow it to make certain responses to certain stimuli. It is still the programmer who it determining exactly what the computer’s response will be to each stimuli, which makes the computers “free will” an illusion. It can respond however it wants, as long as it’s response is the one that has been programmed into it. Which leaves us at the exact same place we would be if we believed that the universe and prior events were all that determined our every action, like many atheists believe.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. WW,
        I have elsewhere shared the (painful, personal) story of of my nephew. He was (17 years ago) a baptized leader in his youth group when a young, zealous, newly-minted Calvinist came as youth director.

        The new Calvinist youth director pounded home the determinism so much that my nephew is now a fatalist-atheist.

        The determinsit position (while not fitting with what the Bible says) fits very closely to the Qadar (fate) of Islam. Que sera, sera…… it’s all gonna be the way the higher power determined and there aint nothing you can do about it.

        We can expect some shot-across-the bow, simple response like “he wasnt a real Christian, your nephew,” or “That was not a good Calvinist youth director,” but really…. honestly if you teach anyone that everything that will every happen has already been decided by a power higher than you….. you just really get fatalism.

        Get ready…. now we will hear from Calvinists that the truth is “foolishness” to others.

        Like

      7. FOH writes, “The new Calvinist youth director pounded home the determinism so much that my nephew is now a fatalist-atheist.”

        What does Paul say in Philippians 1, “…God who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” As is generally the case, you make flippant statements that ignore the Scriptures. Too much snoozing in your early years and now, you find yourself making things up on the fly.

        Like

      8. ww writes, “If God’s will always prevails, then my so called free will is only real in my mind.”

        Not really. You make real choices and pursue your personal agenda. Where your choices are consistent with God’s plan, we say that God opened the door for you to proceed. Where your choices are not consistent with God’s plan, we say that God closed the door for you to proceed. You exercise free will – in every sense of the word (unless you know something I don’t) – but you don’t know when, or how, God shuts the door on some of your options or when God helps you to make right choices.

        Then, “Perhaps someone programs a computer with the information to allow it to make certain responses to certain stimuli….”

        In this case, we know that God made you in His image, distinguishing you from animals by giving you the ability to think and reason. The major stimuli affecting your decisions is the sin nature and corrupted mind that you inherited from Adam because of his sin.

        Then, “It can respond however it wants, as long as it’s response is the one that has been programmed into it.”

        If that applied to people, then all people would make the same decisions or God would have programmed each person differently. Yet, we are told simply that God made man in his image telling us that people will differ based on what they know, what desires they have, and their experiences. Because people differ in knowledge, experience, and goals, people make different decisions in similar circumstances. God gave each person programming that adapts to their personal characteristics.

        Then, “Which leaves us at the exact same place we would be if we believed that the universe and prior events were all that determined our every action, like many atheists believe.”

        Except that atheists deny God and the idea that people are made in the image of God – BIG difference.

        Like

  21. Hey Brian,

    Reading a book today and it is discussing some ideas on faith.

    ———————–
    Mark 6: 4 Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” 5 He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6 He was amazed at their lack of faith.

    A. Very interesting Christ (the creator of all we know) “could not do any miracles” —- except some small ones.

    It appears that Christ’s power is limited by man’s lack of faith. As I have stated many time: God does the miracle, with conditions. ((notice my recent quote from MacArthur saying God’s will and man’s faith working together. That is so “man-centered” of MacArthur!!!))

    B. It also interesting that is says He was “amazed at their lack of faith.”

    What can this mean?

    Well, it can mean that The Sovereign God of all creation decided to create His world in such a way where men make choices (or lack faith) in ways that are amazing to Him. That would surely settle the idea of how “rational man would see God’s grace and still not choose it.”

    Even Christ was amazed that they lacked faith—- “why would they pass up this opportunity? I am standing right here ready to heal them!”

    Of course if Calvinists are right that no one would pass this up….then why is Christ amazed?

    Perhaps in order to hide the idea of Christ being amazed/ puzzled…… the Calvinist ESV says “And he marveled because of their unbelief.”

    I marvel that they do see how marveling it is that Christ marvels.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. FOH – The parallel passage in Matt 13:58 says clearly it was “because of their unbelief.” I believe in that story it was a divine determination to allow their unbelief to be the determining factor whether Jesus would do more miracles there or not. It is much like James 4:2 – “You have not because you ask not.” And, of course, people don’t ask because they choose not to believe, though the light is bright enough and their hearts able enough for faith to be expressed. That is why Jesus was surprised!

      He knew they were able to humble themselves and ask in faith for mercy, and they had certainly heard of all the miracles that their hometown “son” had done elsewhere! The main miracle they were left thinking about was “how did He just walk away when the mob was ready to throw Him over the cliff the first time He was here?” (Luke 4:14-30)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. brianwagner writes, ” I believe in that story it was a divine determination to allow their unbelief to be the determining factor…”

        WOW!!! That is the point that I have been making and that you have been denying elsewhere.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Actually it is not… for you reject the present tense determinations of God, (as in that story), or at least contradict the idea of them, by your loyalty to a fully predetermined future, settled before creation. WOW!!! indeed. 😉

        Like

  22. Brian:

    Here is another one on faith.

    ———————————-
    Matt 9:20 And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, 21 for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.” 22 Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well.

    Of course the “faith movement” has taken verses like these and run past their meaning. But ….Calvinists take them and make them a senseless waste of ink on parchment.

    She has faith to touch His garment.

    Jesus feels it, turns, and sees her and says her faith has made her well.

    The fact that the whole scenario starts with the woman’s action, then her self-discourse showing her faith…. and THEN mentions Christ’s cognizance of the situation is no doubt part of the intention of the passage.

    How in the world does this passage teach anything in the Reformed world? There is no indication that Christ is the origin of that faith…. and in fact every indication that He is not! To teach the contrary just makes a mockery of the simple message of this passage.

    We might get some silliness like “God planned it all along and Christ is amazed during ‘the execution of it'” ….. but that just leads us to a deceptive God (who plans everything and then acts surprised when it happens).

    And besides what does that even teach us?

    The passage teaches us to have faith in Christ and His power and goodness like this woman.

    But….. the Calvinist brings to the text: if you dont get that faith given to you…. oh well… too bad. But if you divinely get this faith you will irresistibly have to use it —- so nothing to see here. Class dismissed.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I wanna believe ya man!

        I just dont see it in the Scriptures Troy!!

        The Scripture just has hundreds of places talking about a person’s faith….. or Christ encouraging his men to have “faith like a mustard seed” —and none of that makes sense if it is some kind of divinely given then-irresistibly used potion.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Troy,

        Do we get it in doses?

        ———————————————-
        18 And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly. 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” 20 He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

        If what you say is true….. then Christ gave them faith……just no enough.

        Was it their job to make up for what He didnt give, or does He give them more?

        Like

      3. FOH yes it is true that Christ gives faith in the measure that He wishes and when He wishes. We don’t all have the same measure of faith brother.

        Like

      4. Troy:

        How about this great story…..

        Matt 8:5 “When he had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, 6 “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” 7 And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 8 But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10 When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. 11 I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, 12 while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment.”

        1. This is a God-fearing Gentile (not a Jew —or part of the chosen).

        2. This man initiates the encounter (Scripture gives no indication otherwise).

        3. Jesus marvels (the ESV loves to use “marvel”). No matter how you slice it, there is a sense of amazement (a faith not planned by Christ).

        4. “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith.” What? Jesus is “finding” (seeing) his faith not giving it to him!!!!

        5. Jesus juxtaposes this Gentile’s faith to those who “should have ” gotten it. Same message in Romans 3 and Romans 9— that there are no “automatically-in” people now. He is opening up to everyone.

        6. “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed” What? Not…. “let it be done as I have planned from all times”?? A simple reading of this passage (without presuppositions) leaves us very much with the impression that a God-fearing Gentile had the faith to ask Christ and Christ responded to that faith.

        To teach any of the presupposed idea that Christ gave this Gentile his faith and then marvels at it….. demonstrate the extent that Calvinists are willing to defend a man-made philosophy.

        Bro…. He isnt gonna give the faith to him and then marvel at it…. and tell us all that He is just now finding/ seeing it!!

        Like

      5. FOH writes, “Bro…. He isnt gonna give the faith to him and then marvel at it…. and tell us all that He is just now finding/ seeing it!!”
        By this statement you’re revealing that you’re not considering the whole of Scripture in trying to understand “saving faith” vs “natural faith”. We’re all born with the ability to believe and we exercise that ability everyday. However, “saving faith” is a miracle that God Himself must perform if one is to be truly saved.
        Now regarding the Centurion, we see that he’s displaying faith in Christ’s ability to heal. This would be a display of his own “natural faith” (unless the HS is already drawing him, which is quite possible too) based on his knowledge of what Christ has already done in the past in healing people.
        But I reiterate, “saving faith” that perseveres to the end, MUST be supernaturally given by the Savior. Any other faith cannot and will not persevere because it’s not wrought by God.
        Also, of course Christ will show amazement or marvel because He’s the God-Man, which means He’s fully human and fully God. This means that He will display all the emotions that His creation will show (including amazement, crying, anger, etc).
        Please stop using the fact that Christ displays amazement, grief, etc as an argument against His decree. It’s a very poor argument because it doesn’t take into account that He’s fully human and will thus react emotionally. He’s STILL the omniscient and omnipotent Creator who simply chose to enter His own creation to save His people from their sins.

        Like

      6. Troy,

        It’s very nice to be working this through with you!

        1. “….the whole of Scripture in trying to understand “saving faith” vs “natural faith”.”

        I think I have been showing on an almost-daily basis how the “whole of Scripture” teaches that God has equipped everyone with the ability to have faith. It is humorous to hear you accuse me of not looking at all of Scripture. Starting over now in Genesis/ Matthew etc to show the simple message of the Bible. The one you believed when you first believed, and before you were taught the reformed doctrines.

        2. You are making your own distinctions between saving faith and natural faith, with no reference to Scripture….. just the way you want it to be. Some types of faith are for everyone and some types are for only 00.0015% of humanity…. but no indication of that in Scripture.

        So for instance ….on the hillside with maybe thousands listening to Him….. Christ tells them all “Seek first the kingdom of God.” Some of them have natural faith to do so…. and they seek Him….. but uh, no, you dont have “saving faith” sorry. What an insincere invitation to all who heard those words (and have read them ever since!!).

        God tells Cain to dominate over sin….. but no, He didnt give him “saving faith” and that is why he did not do what God told him to do. God withheld the power, the faith, the ability. On what are you basing that?

        3. How quickly you dismiss the Centurion!

        3A. So you are saying that God did not give him that faith? Since it is not “saving faith” you have decided that God did not give it to him, right? So, he made that decision on his own? It wasn’t planned/ ordained/ decreed?

        3B. And do you see the amazing aspect of this?!!! Christ, the Creator of the universe is declaring in His word (for all to read) that He is going to do a supernatural act at the behest of a “Non-saving-faith” Gentile. Here is clearly a “man-centered” action from Eternal God. He says, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.”

        And now….. here….. you are telling us that this faith is somehow “an inferior faith” to your “saving faith” ?

        So a person can have enough “natural faith” to ask the Creator of the universe to do a supernatural act…. and the Creator will do it…. but that person is incapable of asking that same Creator to be his Savior?

        Do you see how far you are willing to go to defend an idea that is not even one time in Scripture?

        3C. You regularly post in all caps that NO GOOD THING can come from the flesh etc…. it is too dead.

        And yet, you tell me now that the Centurion has, on his own, this “natural faith” and enough of it to get the Creator of the universe to say that He has never seen such faith in all of Israel.

        That is an extremely high commendation from Christ for a man who is capable of no good thing, isn’t it?

        3D. Were not His “saving faith” disciples standing right next to Him when He said that? Are these the “saving faith” disciples that were told “if you only had faith the size of a mustard seed”? So, they have “saving faith” but it is less amazing (Christ’s word) than the Centurion’s?

        4. “…Christ will show amazement or marvel because He’s the God-Man…this means that He will display all the emotions that His creation will show (including amazement, crying, anger, etc).” Amazement / marveling/ surprise indicate more than crying.

        So you are saying that His God-ness is omniscient but humanness is surprised by things, is not omniscient? When do each of the parts take precedence?

        There are times in Scripture where The Sovereign Lord expresses the same kind of surprise about His people:

        Is 5: 3-7 What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad?

        Jer 3:6-7 During the reign of King Josiah, the Lord said to me, “Have you seen what faithless Israel has done? She has gone up on every high hill and under every spreading tree and has committed adultery there. 7 I thought that after she had done all this she would …

        Jer 3:19-20 “I myself said, “ ‘How gladly would I treat you like my children and give you a pleasant land, the most beautiful inheritance of any nation.’ I thought you would call me ‘Father’ and not turn away from following me. 20 But…..”

        Are you saying these are because of the God’s “humanness” also?

        I look forward to hearing from you!

        Liked by 2 people

      7. FOH writes, “I think I have been showing on an almost-daily basis how the “whole of Scripture” teaches that God has equipped everyone with the ability to have faith.”

        This is the prevenient faith position of the Arminians.

        Like

      8. FOH do demons have faith? In others words do demons believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior? If they do have faith that Jesus is the Christ, then why aren’t they fated for salvation?
        The only faith that will prevail and cause mankind to persevere to the end is the faith that God gives supernaturally. Any other faith will eventually fail for even the demons believe and tremble (James 2:19).
        This is why God says in Ezekiel: “And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:” -‭‭Ezekiel‬ ‭11:19‬ ‭
        Faith comes from the heart and God MUST give us a new heart so as to produce saving faith.

        Like

    1. As is often the case, much of Calvinism’s error stems from, in my opinion, faulty definitions. ‘Faith’ is not a mere mental assent to some sort of truth statement; it is a life-changing, fruit producing belief that cannot exist apart from works, as James so carefully explains. Calvinism, in its confusion/deception, desires to turn a relationship with the living God into some sort of one time, forensic, legal transaction, like getting a passport. Get the passport, you are allowed in, no passport, no ‘entrance’.

      In reality, God is not handing out ‘faith’ passports to chosen aliens, (maybe the one’s who don’t come from ‘shithole’ countries, as our President so graciously expressed it?). He is calling, seeking, drawing all men to enter into a trusting, personal, interactive relationship with him. Knowing that we were all ‘illegal aliens’, under threat of deportment, we were formerly afraid to draw near to God, for fear of the punishment of the law. Jesus came to offer general amnesty, to all who desired it, trusted in it and were willing to follow the conditions – that is, turn from wickedness and pursue God’s ways.

      We are drawn to God by the offer of amnesty Jesus came to announce, the promise that we are no longer under the condemnation of the law, because the law has been done away with. That doesn’t mean that the naturalized citizen – or born again believer – cannot ever again break any law, as in run a red light, and face due punishment. It does mean that he can never again be deported as an illegal alien, because he is now a genuine citizen of the kingdom, with all of the rights of the natural born.

      The terms of scripture have been given faulty definitions by historical, Calvinist Christianity; so much so, that until one throws them off, it is very difficult to arrive at a true understanding of what scripture means. This was accomplished for the most part by Calvin’s Systematic Theology, imposing many faulty definitions and interpretations on words, phrases, passages and concepts contained in scripture. It is fairly simple to wrench whatever meaning one wants by patching together words taken out of the broader context.

      The solution, as FOH often points out, is by applying a Narrative Theology, in which the narratives of scripture provide test cases by which one judges interpretations of so-called prooftexts. If narrative after narrative disproves one’s preferred prooftext, the narratives must be the standard. It is much more difficult to misinterpret a narrative, with multiple supportive narratives, than to twist a phrase into meaning something never intended. This is the amazing, unsurpassed wisdom of God’s revelation, telling his ‘story’ in stories that are simple enough for even a child to understand.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ts00 writes, “As is often the case, much of Calvinism’s error stems from,…”

        No, you think the error is that Calvinist’s think God is omniscient and knows the future perfectly. If God did not know the future, your complaints would disappear.

        Calvinists define faith as that described in Hebrews 11. Why are you purposing confusing the issue here??

        Like

  23. RHUTCHIN, TROY, or anyone reformed: At what point in the reformed ordo salutis does the Holy Spirit begin to take up residence and indwell the elect? Can you please quote a confession or theological work which supports your position? I am unable to determine just what the reformed position(s) is/are in this matter. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tandt thank you for your question. I will only appeal to Scripture, for it supersedes any creeds of other theological works.
      Romans 8:9 states, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”
      If you’re not indwelt by the HS, then you’re not saved. The indwelling of the HS occurs at regeneration. The HS gives life and indwells the believer at the point of regeneration. No true believer can become regenerated absent the indwelling HS. Romans 8:9 is quite clear on this point.
      Also John 3:5-8 confirms that the cause of regeneration is the HS.

      Like

      1. Tandt:
        Gal 3:2 “The only thing I want to learn from you is this: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law or by believing what you heard?” — Paul clearly taught faith before receiving the Spirit.
        Acts 15:7-9 “And when there had been much dispute, Peter rose up and said to them: “Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as [He did] to us, and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.” — Peter clearly taught faith before receiving the Spirit and forgiveness!
        1John 5:10-12 “He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” — John clearly taught faith before receiving the Spirit of Christ and life!

        Only determinists want to teach a weird “regeneration” life received before faith and everlasting life, calling it a “new birth” from God that does not immediately make one His child. It is very sad how Scriptures are twisted in dishonor of God’s plain speaking just to remain loyal to their neo-platonist determinism!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Brian,

        Great post and so scriptural!

        Those who are taught Calvinism need to learn that there is an “extra step” in the process. They need to have regeneration before faith.

        Now we are told that you get this Spirit at regeneration (which as we all know according to Sproul’s loud declaration “Regeneration precedes faith!” comes before faith).

        So, Troy says we get the Spirit at regeneration (which of course precedes faith). What is the Spirit we get when we believe? At the time of conversion?

        Oh, Troy must be Pentecostal, believing that we get the Spirit again after being born again.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. brianwagner writes, “Only determinists want to teach a weird “regeneration” life received before faith and everlasting life, calling it a “new birth” from God that does not immediately make one His child.”

        I think Scripture makes these events simultaneous. Calvinism puts them in a logical order.

        Like

      4. Brian writes, “Seeking faith and understanding are before the moment when regeneration is given “through” faith. Faith has to be in place before the saving grace of regeneration is given.”
        John 3:19 states, “For every one that doeth evil HATETH the light, NEITHER COMETH TO THE LIGHT, lest his deeds should be reproved.” Unregenerate man will not “come to the Light” or “seek faith and understanding” because they LOVE their depravity. Brian gives too much credit to mankind because he wants to preserve mankind’s free will which is a form of idolatry since he’s attempting to place man’s ability above what it should be. This also ignores the teaching that mankind, left to himself, hates his Creator and will not TRULY seek God on His terms.
        ‭‭

        Like

      5. It’s so sad that people think God’s is so unloving to so many and His light to each man is so weak that it can not accomplish its purpose to point the world toward salvation.

        But we have a good example of taking a verse out of context to try to prove too much. Remember… the context of John 3:19 is Jesus witnessing to an unregenerate man, Nicodemus.

        Thankfully, I know why Jesus was explaining so many things and giving so much light to an unregenerate mind! 😉 But look at the verses before and after John 3:19 which determinists quote so often! Especially look at vs 17 and 21 and ask yourself what do you think Jesus wanted unregenerate Nicodemus to understand and do?

        John 3:17 “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

        Like

      6. Your response is inadequate to explain what the truths are in vv 19 and 20. You’ve only made assertions. Please exegete vv19 and 20. Thank you

        Like

      7. brianwagner writes, “I know why Jesus was explaining so many things and giving so much light to an unregenerate mind!”

        Sure – God gave Nicodemus to Christ and Christ was not going to lose him.

        Like

      8. Brian writes, “Only determinists want to teach a weird “regeneration” life received before faith and everlasting life, calling it a “new birth” from God that does not immediately make one His child.”
        I must say that this comment actually made me chuckle after reading Brian’s use of the word “weird” considering his understanding of how “light” is used throughout Scripture. Brian uses ONE VERSE from John 1:9 to teach a false doctrine, namely a “generic enlightenment” that’s given to every creature born that may or may not lead to more enlightenment. This is simply heresy. A serious bible student will compare how “light” is used throughout Scripture and discover that it only refers to Christ Himself or His Gospel. We learn that natural man, in relation to this “light” or “Light”, will only hate the Light and would therefore never desire to come to it because he loves his sin (Jn 3:19,20).

        This leads to why both Brian and Prof. Flowers cannot understand the doctrine of regeneration. They both refuse to believe that mankind LOVES his sin/depravity and will therefore never effectually choose and follow Christ. Mankind HATES the Light because it reveals their depravity and they love their depravity. This is why God must do what He says in Ezekiel 11:19: “And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:”

        Notice how God Himself is doing every action in the above passage. He has to because, otherwise, mankind hates Him and His message (Jn 3:20).

        Now let’s address the verses that Brian provided:
        Galatians 3:2 simply reflects the fact that the Galatians received the Spirit through faith and not by any works that they’ve done. However, when we HARMONIZE Scripture, instead of proof-texting, we find that the Spirit gives us the faith to receive the Gospel. 1 Cor 12:8,9 states, “For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; TO ANOTHER FAITH BY THE SAME SPIRIT; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;”‭‭

        Acts 15:7,9 doesn’t AT ALL relate the order of faith and the giving of the Spirit. The passage is simply relating the fact that the Gentiles are also apart of God’s salvation plan along with the Jews. The evidence of this fact is their faith AND the receiving of the Spirit which was demonstrated supernaturally via the sign of speaking in tongues.
        Also verse 9 teaches that God Himself is “purifying their hearts by faith”. In other words, it’s His gift of faith that He’s using to purify their hearts.
        I would also call your attention to verse 14 which demonstrates God’s intention to save a specific people from among the Gentiles.

        1 John 5:10-12 shouldn’t have been cited because there’s no mention of the Spirit here. The word “witness” could refer to either the Spirit or the Gospel. But the passage doesn’t prove any order of salvation. The passage is simply teaching that one of the true tests of salvation and having eternal life is that a true believer will believe Christ and His message.

        So none of these passages “clearly” teach faith before regeneration as Brian comments. When we search the Bible, we find that saving faith is both a gift and an evidence of salvation. The passages that Brian has provided simply demonstrate the evidence of the gift of saving faith and this gift comes from the Spirit (1 Cor 12:9). And anyone who’s not of the elect WILL NEVER possess this faith (Jn 10:16,26).

        ‭‭

        Like

      9. Very sad… An example of clear disregard of the verses teaching the order of faith before the giving of the Spirit, which was dogmatically confessed as happening at regeneration… and clear misrepresentation of previous conversations which included a number of passages of that teach Light then Faith then Life. Very sad that one’s loyalty to determinism makes them so obviously reject the evidence of Scripture and misrepresent others.

        Like

      10. Wow Brian, sounds like you have one angry youngster on your hands there! Always shouting…sounding arrogant.

        And apparently nothing you say makes sense.

        And you are once again “refusing” to believe (but how can you if you are not gifted with it?)

        And once again…or twice I should say, young Troy is flinging the heresy word around.

        My only wonder is why —if it is heresy— does he say it makes him chuckle.

        Liked by 1 person

      11. I am happy and willing to wait to see Brian’s answer.

        As Tandt and others have said he is kind and an inspiration to all (and nicer than I am).

        Beside I sent many about faith to you, and silence.

        Many about “The Lord God says when I expected this….I got this” “I would have done this” “If you do this, I will do this, but if you do this…”

        All those hundreds and hundreds of verses in the “all of Scripture” and you have never answered me one time.

        Cain was told to dominate over sin…..silence.

        “Jerusalem I would have ….but you would not” …… silence.

        “Seek first the kingdom” called out to a mountainside of pagans….. silence.

        “The Lord rewards those whole diligently seek Him.” ……..silence.

        Hundreds more………….. wanna take them one at a time or in bunches of 50?

        Like

      12. Thank you, Troy. Just to be clear: you maintain that the Holy Spirit is received and indwells at regeneration, and regeneration must precede faith; otherwise faith would not be possible. So logically that would mean that the Holy Spirit indwells the elect prior to their having faith? Is this correct?

        Like

      13. Remember that faith is both an evidence of the Spirit (Gal 5:22) and a gift of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:9). Regeneration is the process by which God draws and eventually gives His elect saving faith to believe in their Savior. One cannot be saved unless the Spirit both gives spiritual life and indwells the believer. There’s no such thing as regeneration without the indwelling of the Spirit. This is an impossible idea!

        Like

      14. Troy writes, “The indwelling of the HS occurs at regeneration.”

        This plus Galatians 3 and Ephesians 1 suggests that regeneration and believing are pretty much simultaneous events and both are brought about through the preaching of the gospel – Romans 10, “…if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation….How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?…So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”

        Like

      15. TROY: “I must say that this comment actually made me chuckle after reading Brian’s use of the word “weird” considering his understanding of how “light” is used throughout Scripture. Brian uses ONE VERSE from John 1:9 to teach a false doctrine, namely a “generic enlightenment” that’s given to every creature born that may or may not lead to more enlightenment. This is simply heresy. ”

        In John 12:36 Messiah said, “While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light.”

        You might want to rethink calling it heresy, Troy.

        Like

      16. One of the most precious ‘losses’ from the Reformed error of making ‘faith’ God’s contribution, given irresistibly to those arbitrarily selected by God while passing over so many others, is the transformative power of the gospel. Under the fatalistic determinism of Reformed Theology/Calvinism, everything runs according to a predetermined script, written by God and irresistibly followed by men. What this overlooks is the real power that overcomes sin and evil, which is the power of undeserved, unlimited, sacrificial love.

        The marvelous beauty of the true power of God to transform lives is that it overcomes all barriers. Indeed, even the seemingly destructiveness of false teaching is superceded, as the distortion of the gospel nonetheless nearly always requires the telling of the story of God’s love and offer of grace. Even when distorted, mangled and buried under all manner of errors and false additions, the true gospel message shines through and changes lives. This is why Jesus bade his disciples leave false teachers alone, for, in spite of their selfish and greedy motives, they were nonetheless spreading the message that God sent his Son.

        There is no similar, life-transforming power in the deterministic message of a God who loves some, and passes over others. There is no ‘draw’ to a God who is all about his own ‘glory’, as there is in a God who loves. There is no appeal, other than fear, in a God who cruelly curses men with an inability to seek and know him, then ‘punishes’ them for this same inability.

        The real ‘draw’ that calls lost souls to God is the genuine message of genuine, undeserved, limitless love. That is why it is so essential to once again counter the resurgence of a false gospel (Calvinism) that, in spite of repeated rejection throughout the ages, has disguised itself in new terms and once again sought to confuse and deceive men. This faulty gospel will never draw men to God – it merely confuses many who fill the halls of the Institutional Church that passes for the Body of Christ.

        Liked by 1 person

      17. ts00 writes, “The marvelous beauty of the true power of God to transform lives is that it overcomes all barriers.”

        In the end, all people eventually espouse Calvinism. This is a great Calvinist statement.

        Like

    2. Tandt writes, “At what point in the reformed ordo salutis does the Holy Spirit begin to take up residence and indwell the elect? ”

      Ditto to Brian. Plus, Ephesians 1, “…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, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance,…” In addition, the Holy Spirit is involved apart from His indwelling per John 3, ““Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” and “…unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God…unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”

      Then, “Can you please quote a confession or theological work which supports your position?”

      The Scriptures are sufficient for this.

      Then, “I am unable to determine just what the reformed position(s) is/are in this matter.”

      Someone does not read the reformed writers. You might start with Sproul – there are several short free books at ligonier.org that will help.

      Like

      1. Hey Brian: yeah I kind of figured when you liked my original post before anyone had ever replied that you knew exactly where it was heading, and I suspected as well you had already been down this road with them before.

        Truly it is sad; they are willingly blinded by a philosophical system that is a distortion of what Scripture teaches, with a most rabid devotion and attachment to it; “covenant” theology indeed.

        You are gentle, scholarly, and gracious in your responses, and a model and example for all.

        Liked by 2 people

  24. Reading through the Bible and now in Genesis 18.

    In verse 20 it says that the Lord heard a great outcry from Sodom.

    20 Then the Lord said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, 21 I will go down to see whether they have done altogether[b] according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know.”

    Why does the Lord use phrases like this “I will go down to see whether”? Why does he say “and if not I will know”? Calvinists are very happy to tell us that the Lord learns nothing new in order to make his decisions… Ironically that was just said today to Brian.

    Here is God’s Eternal Word and it is written very much looking like He is going down there to know something. Now this is ESV, Calvinist version and even that version cannot hide this statement made from the Lord in this passage.

    Why does he use this terminology that makes it look like He’s going down to “see something” or “to see whether” or “to know something.” Why does He choose this deceptive language? (if He is not going “to see whether”).

    Then starting in verse 23 for the next 11 verses we see Abraham negotiate with God: first 50 the 45, 40, 30, 20, then 10. This is a very personal conversation. This is a very indicative conversation. This shows that God is willing to listen to man and change His mind. What else can it possibly be saying to us? Why else would the Lord include this in His scripture? What can we learn from this? How is someone going to do a message on Sunday on this passage and say Abraham didn’t really have this conversation or God didn’t really mean what He said? Or the Lord did not really change His mind?

    You’ll notice also that every time the Lord give a number He says “if I find righteous in the city.” How can this be possible? Why does the Lord use the term “righteous in the city”? If Calvinism is true God would be saying “there are no righteous at all. Why are we even having this discussion? I’m going to find zero righteous.” That leaves another big wide open hole for Troy to explain…..how it is that no one in their flesh can do anything good, but God indicates there might be righteous there…. and Lot is called righteous.

    ———————-
    Matt 6/7

    Here is the passage where Christ says to a huge multitude on the hillside to seek first the kingdom. Then He goes on to say this…

    7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

    That is a general invitation to all who are listening (and reading in years to come). Jesus is saying this to a huge diverse crowd and it sounds very much like (A) He wants them to do it, and (B) they can do it.

    If Calvinism is true then His invitation is only possible to the 00.0015% that will respond. To the rest—the invitation is insincere.

    ———————
    13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

    Why does the ESV say “find it”? That implicates some effort on man’s part. Why not say “those who are carried (drug) through it”? The Bible just keeps giving us the impression day after day that we have some responsibility in the matter.

    ——————
    Today’s Psalm is 8.

    what is man that you are mindful of him,
    and the son of man that you care for him?

    5
    Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
    and crowned him with glory and honor.
    6
    You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
    you have put all things under his feet,

    The Lord has crowned man with glory and honor. That sounds very “man-centered.”

    There are several places in the Word where God says man has dominion/ sovereignty over certain things. Made in God’s image. Believers are the bride of Christ. Not puppets with irresistible per-determined good-and-bad decisions foisted on them.

    Like

    1. FOH – the Sodom story is a great example, in my opinion, that God knew some hearts could still be “flipped” towards repentance by a personal visit of His angelical messengers. That included physically visiting and giving Abraham an opportunity to plead for the lost of the city and physically visiting Lot to encourage him to plead with his family.

      God’s experiential knowledge does increase, and His understanding knowledge does change, without becoming imperfect. When He says that He “now knows” it is because He has come to observe and experience how free will choices of others responded to Him, those who were still able to intercede or repent and not hardened beyond recovery. He waits on determining the timing of His judgments until He knows (reveals) these choices in man.

      Jesus told His disciples to pray that their flight from the fall of Jerusalem would not be on the Sabbath or in winter. The fall was certain, but the timing evidently was not, and that timing could be influenced through prayer. The future is only partly determined!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m sorry but I just find it repugnant when professed Christians denigrate God and bring Him down to the level of His own creation by teaching that He has to “ learn” things about His own creation. It’s really a ludicrous idea!! Also the passages you provide to prove your point have been properly explained by comparing Scripture with Scripture.
        The fact that God chooses to interact with His creatures does not disprove the fact that He has a preordained decree. He has decreed even the conversations with mankind, as well as, the events. This stuff is not hard to grasp at all!

        Like

      2. Then apparently He has decreed that we quote this hundreds of verses in a way that is repugnant to you.

        We cant do anything He has not decreed right?

        Like

      3. That is absolutely correct and I yield to that decree 1000%. But I’m also happy to say that His decree may include you and Brian coming to truth eventually.

        Like

      4. How about the millions of other believers like us?

        How about the ones that disagree with you on….

        infant baptism
        women in leadership
        women with head covering (I hear that is all the rage in the YRR blogs!)
        tongues
        gifts
        eschatology
        ecclesiology
        hamartology
        etc etc.

        are they all wrong and you right?

        How about this…. Piper and MacArthur are fighting about “the gifts” ? They can’t both be right. Did God decree that these two Calvinists hold completely opposed positions.

        Before Sprou’s passing he had the same with MacArthur on infant baptism. Very, very different opinions. Neither position will change. did God decree that they go at each other and remain in disagreement?

        If there is only one right answer on this, God sure has “decreed” a lot of confusion in His church.

        Like

      5. FOH God states in Romans 3:4: “God forbid: yea, let God be true, but EVERY MAN a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.”
        Now we can glean several truths from this one verse.
        1) There is objective truth
        2) God is the source of objective truth
        3) Mankind are all liars when compared to the truth of God’s Word
        4) We are to believe God over man

        I don’t care how great a person may be or how faithful they may appear. We must study to show ourselves approved unto God. Salvation is NOT dependent on how sound your doctrine/theology may be. Salvation is of the Lord and He will lead us into truth at His own pace and in His own timetable.
        The fact that there are differences of opinions or beliefs within the Church is indication of both man’s depravity and God’s decree that not all will believe the same things at the same time. However, I will say that one of the evidences of a true believer is that he/she WILL HAVE an ongoing and earnest desire to DO the will of God. Part of that earnest desire will manifest itself in a love for the truth of God’s Word. They will hunger and thirst after righteousness. But this does not mean that they will have a perfect understanding of the Bible.

        Like

      6. Troy,

        These things are repugnant to you. I get that. I was there.

        But I have two sincere questions for you:

        1. You said that what is repugnant is that we take “God and bring Him down to the level of His own creation…” Troy, isn’t that what Christ did? Did He not humble himself to the lowness of man? Did He not let sinful man spit on Him and beat him and mock Him? Die the deat that was reserved for the worst of mankind? Why is it so repugnant to you that God would put Himself at man’s level when He demonstrated that very thing in Christ? For me….. It was because I came to the Scriptures with a presupposed idea of how “God must be” and I did not care the Word said…. I knew better!

        2. When I was a Calvinist, I used to read all these hundreds of passages where God is being rejected, mocked,— where He expresses amazement and said “then I will know” and I said they cannot possibly mean what they say (according to my definition of “sovereign”) . But then one day I asked myself “what in the world do they mean?”

        I mean it looks like it means what it says and I spend my whole quiet time saying—- this passage does not mean this. Then what is the purpose? What is the purpose of the literally hundreds of passage where God says “if you do this, I will do this….but if you do this, I will do this?” I got so tired of saying everyday it cant mean that….. and being satisfied with “negating the Scriptural passage.” But on a positive side what in the world are they all there for!?

        Like

      7. No… He is still making decrees… not just executing ones already made. Read and believe the Scriptures and you will deny the false premise of the determinism of all things before creation.

        Like

      8. brianwagner writes, “Read and believe the Scriptures and you will deny the false premise of the determinism of all things before creation.”

        OK. Whether God decreed all things in the past or waits to make some decrees in the course of time, the result is the same. This is because there is no new information that would affect a different decree. God has the ability to make every decree in the past, but if you insist that He waits on some decrees, have at it. It changes nothings.

        Like

      9. “It changes nothing.” Wrong. It changes everything, because it allows for free will choices between various goods and evils for man and for God’s free will responses between various goods each time. Lucifer, Adam’s and man’s ability for counter-causal free will response is negated by determinism of all things before creation. You know it, Roger, but refuse to admit it.

        True love between God and man is made impossible by the determinism of all things before creation. What is called love is just a sham. You know it, but refuse to admit it. Maybe some day!

        Liked by 1 person

      10. Brian,

        This is so true. If anyone were to say to a Calvinist whose wife is pregnant, that the Calvinist’s child will be the wife of another person (not of their choosing, nor of the unborn child’s choosing) they would certainly object.

        Even if they agreed to this in the “arranged-marriage” sort of way, they would not call it love as we and the Scriptures define love.

        Love cannot be forced. “Something” can be forced but not love. It is amazing that men think that the “story of the Bible” is that before time God decreed that He would love 00.0015% of humanity and create the rest for torture. Amazing.

        Liked by 1 person

      11. brianwagner writes, ““It changes nothing.” Wrong.”

        God’s decrees do not change. God does not need to respond to what men or angels do – as you even concede that God knows all future possibilities. So, God knows that a person can choose A or ~A for any given event. God can take that choice which does not accomplish His will and close the door on it That choice which accords with God’s will proceeds. God can act before the act or after. Regardless what happens, it has been anticipated by God and God’s decree is either a closed door or open door, before or after the act. God is also actively intervening in the affairs of men – flooding the world, destroying Sodom and Gomorrah, closing the door on Joseph’s brothers’ plans to kill Joseph, closing the door for the Jews to kill Peter, opening the door for Lydia to respond to Paul’s preaching, etc. As God knows all future possibilities, He never learns new information that would change the counsel of His will or His decrees.

        Then, “True love between God and man is made impossible by the determinism of all things before creation.”

        This is fluff and means nothing. True love is expressed by God in saving a person; true love is expressed by man in worshiping God – even when he needs God’s help to do so. That God has determined to save people does not mean that He does not express true love; that God helps a person worship Him does not mean that the person expresses less than true love for God.

        Like

      12. Once again you skate past the real issue and also try to affirm that God is limited to only one response to man’s freewill choice. But the fact that He waits to see what man’s choice will be is necessary for that love relationship as described in Scripture and impossible in determinism. And that God is not limited to one “perfect” choice is clearly taught by the meaning of “good” in Scripture and differing wills in the incarnate Christ.

        Like

      13. brianwagner writes, “Once again you skate past the real issue…”

        Let me know when you sort all this out and add some meat to your opinions. Maybe you can put up a paper on Academia.edu.

        Like

      14. Wow! It’s so ironic how we all accuse each other of falsehoods. But somebody is wrong and somebody is right.
        It’s utterly preposterous to believe that an omniscient and omnipotent God decided to create a world in which He would have to “learn” things. It’s really a non-sensical idea. But praise God that, in spite of His creatures’ frailties and finite wisdom, He still controls all things by His perfect and immutable decree!

        Like

      15. Troy,
        Here you demonstrate your need to have God “be a certain way.”

        It is “utterly preposterous to believe that an omniscient and omnipotent God decided to” come as a baby and let His creation, reject, torture and kill Him also. And yet it is true.

        That —-as I have posted before—- is the main preposterous idea that people object to when we have shared the Gospel with them overseas for 30+ years. Yet we know it to be try.

        My friend…. you are really, really letting your bias show here.

        Like

      16. Troy:

        I am very interested in your response. That is your motivation? It is “preposterous?”

        Surely you know the story of Hosea….. where it was “utterly preposterous to believe that an omniscient and omnipotent God decided to” send Hosea back to his cheating wife…. and use that as an illustration of God’s love for His people!!

        That story is disgusting and downgrading!

        And exactly God’ point.

        What I am afraid you are doing it taking an image of what “God has to be like” and making all other ideas impossible.

        Well I think that the Scriptures make it pretty clear that the most heinous crime of all time —the most preposterous idea — the most disgusting idea— was that God Himself would come in the flesh and make Himself “lower” than His creation, and allow that despicable, created, sinful mankind despise Him, reject Him, torture Him, and kill Him. Preposterous, but true.

        Indeed that is the whole beauty of it.

        The Hosea story shows God being humiliated by the very people (wife) that should have acted differently.

        No, I am afraid just because a person thinks that it is “preposterous to believe” something does not disqualify it from being true.

        Liked by 2 people

  25. Brian:

    I am often humored watching Calvinists try to put together a time-line.

    They add the extra step regeneration-before (since that has to happen before faith).

    Troy says you get the Spirit at regeneration and RH tries to comes to his rescue saying they are at the same time (regeneration and belief).

    But it has to precede faith. So ….. wait… it doesnt precede faith?….it is now at the same time as faith?

    So wait….. if a person is (a) searching through the Scriptures or (b) attending a Bible study as a non-believer (c) listening in his parents’ home and asking searching questions (therefore “seeking”) has he been regenerated?

    I mean they say we cannot seek God and will not seek Him until regenerated, right? But if regenerated we have the Spirit (according to Troy) ….. but what if the beginning of the “seeking” and the moment of faith are like 6 weeks or 6 months apart?? Did we have the Spirit all that time?

    So wait….in order for the timing of the Spirit to work they have to be at the same time? Right? So where is the regeneration precedes faith?

    It gets so confusing! When all else fails….go look it up…. in the Bible (I mean monergism.com)

    In the Reformed camp, the ordo salutis is 1) election, 2) predestination, 3) gospel call 4) inward call 5) regeneration, 6) conversion (faith & repentance), 7) justification, 8) sanctification, and 9) glorification. (source: Monergism :: Ordo Salutis

    Oh, great, now I have some other steps to understand: gospel call and inward call…… then regeneration (get the Spirit, right?), then conversion, (get the Spirit again?), then justifcation (wait, get the Spirit here?)……

    Here’s another one from Sproul’s site:

    “The Bible tells us repeatedly to seek after God. The conclusion we draw from these texts is that since we are called to seek after God it must mean that we, even in our fallen state, have the moral capacity to do that seeking. But who is being addressed in these texts? In the case of the Old Testament, it is the people of Israel who are called to seek the Lord. In the New Testament, it is believers who are called to seek the kingdom.”

    I mean it. I’m not making this stuff up!

    Whoooosh! That is the sound of all of the many Bible verses disappearing just because Sproul says so! People of Israel my eye! Did he ever read the book of Jonah! Many more people are told to turn to God than Israel in the OT.

    As for the NT…… right….. all the hundreds of people on the mount in Matt 6 hearing Christ say “seek first the kingdom of God” are believers. Wow 100% of them. That’s a good average!

    This is not serious exegesis …this eisegesis. Just making the Bible say whatever you want!

    But wait…… this just in……. on the very same Sproul web site….

    “Although he was sent primarily to the covenant people of Israel, Jeremiah was also appointed to deliver the oracles of the Lord to the Gentiles, to those who were not a part of God’s covenant with Israel through Moses.

    To a greater or lesser degree, this was true of all the prophets of Israel. Some prophets had messages that focused more specifically on nations other than Israel, such as Obadiah’s words for Edom and the ministry of Jonah and Nahum to Nineveh (Assyria). Other prophets, such as Haggai and Ezekiel, spoke primarily to the Israelites and less to the Gentile nations. But all of the prophets had words that could be applied both to Israel and to the other nations. What John Calvin said about Jeremiah could well be said about all the prophets of God: “Though he was given as a Prophet especially to his own people, yet his authority extended to heathen nations.””

    Why does anyone listen to these guys??

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It gets sad after a while and reminds me of those whom I knew in Catholicism who were well read enough to understand the various Scriptural arguments against their traditional theology… but remained loyal to their tradition and theology, often, I assumed, because repenting would cost too much of their reputation.

      Like

      1. Agreed, but I think it is more than reputation.

        It is a preconceived notion of what “God must be” and then —-no matter how many thousand verses you chuck at me, I am gonna filter them all through the preconceived notion (perhaps based on a few verses interpreted a certain way).

        It is hard to back away from that.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. But that’s the point… their reputation is one of steadfast loyalty to a tradition and not to Scripture. It is sad when they appeal to “comparing Scripture with Scripture” or the “tenor of all of Scripture” and yet have a hard time responding to specific Scriptures given to them that are contrary to their view or posting any clear Scriptures that just plainly restate their view of determinism.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. brianwagner writes, “…have a hard time responding to specific Scriptures given to them that are contrary to their view…”

        And you don’t do the same?? LOL!

        Like

      4. There is not a verse I feel I “have a hard time responding to”. I am surprised, Roger, that you still think that of me, for I have responded with grammar and context to almost every favorite Calvinist proof text.

        Is there one specific verse that comes to your mind that I have appeared to have a “hard time responding to”. Or do you mean, you just do not accept, like Troy, the clear responses that I give each time, and have determined in your mind that since my exegesis doesn’t agree with yours, I must be having a hard to responding? 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      5. brianwagner writes, “There is not a verse I feel I “have a hard time responding to”.”

        You haven’t exactly shown a lot of enthusiasm in responding to the last part of John 6:44 – “I will raise him up on the last day,” this accounting, perhaps, for “almost every favorite Calvinist proof text.”

        Like

      6. We have gone through this verse before a number of times, I thought. But if not… here it is again –

        And 6:44 is not a gotcha verse if one recognizes that the one drawn is not logically guaranteed in that grammatical construction to either come or to be raised up just because he is drawn. Only the one drawn and who comes is promised to be raised up.

        Even if “drag” is used here or in John 12:32… the meaning is only to drag to a location… There is no change made in the person just by being drawn. Once they are brought to the location or before the person, like Christ… they have to make a decision what to do next and how to respond to the options they have in that location or before that person!

        The same Greek word for “drawn” is used in the LXX in Neh 9:30… and that group of Israelites, though drawn by God to the opportunity to obey Him, did not do it. The Hebrew word for “drawn” used in Neh 9:30 is also used in Hos 11:4-5, which again is showing that Israel was “drawn” by God with love to Himself, but they refused Him.

        Paul recalls this kind of drawing with love, using the words of Isaiah where God said – “All day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and contrary people” Rom 10:21. Does God only play act His love already knowing it will only be rejected? Not my God.

        Paul and Silas were “drawn” before the rulers of Philippi and then thrown into prison (Acts 16:19)… there they were free to either groan and complain or pray and sing! We know what they freely chose to do! I actually prefer the idea of “drag”. God graciously “drags” us to a place of decision. We cannot escape that “grace”, and we are responsible for how we freely respond to it… making us clearly without excuse at the final judgment of God! He doesn’t make the choice for us or “drug” us, after He dragged us to that place of decision, so that we can only make one choice.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Brian,

        Yeah, don’t worry too much them saying we never answer them. We do it all the time. It’s just not an answer that they like.

        In fact one whole long post from Leighton on this blog is dedicated to John 6:44. It is here. https://soteriology101.wordpress.com/2017/08/13/john-644/

        It is just silly of them to say we never address their 40-50 key verses. That’s the easy part!! They have so few!!

        You said a gem here….. “Does God only play act His love already knowing it will only be rejected?”

        So many —-in the hundreds or thousands of time in Scripture, God “lowers” Himself to say He is stretching out His arms, or waiting faithfully for His cheating wife….. and yet they dont come.

        1. That is resisting a drawing if I ever saw one!!

        2. Since their disobedience was apparently His plan…. it is inconceivable that He “play act His love” all those hundreds of time— while in the meantime decreeing their disobedience all along. That is just mind-boggling to believe—- or “preposterous” as Troy would say!

        Maybe we could even say “Does God only play act His love having already decreed in advance that they would irresistibly reject it?”

        Liked by 1 person

      8. FOH writes, “In fact one whole long post from Leighton on this blog is dedicated to John 6:44. It is here….”

        Poor FOH, he seems to have snoozed through Dr. Flowers article. If he had stayed awake when reading the article (if he even read it at all), he would have noticed that Dr. Flowers mangled the last part of John 6:44 writing:

        “The Greek sentence structure allows for the author to be referencing “them” who come, not necessarily all those drawn. For instance if the sentence translated in English were structured in this manner the intention might be more obvious: Only those drawn by the Father may come, and I will raise up them (those that come) at the last day.”

        He says nothing more about it – so, even if he did not mangle it as I claim, we can never know because he expresses the above opinion and walks away, saying nothing more about it.

        Like

      9. brianwagner writes, “And 6:44 is not a gotcha verse if one recognizes that the one drawn is not logically guaranteed in that grammatical construction to either come or to be raised up just because he is drawn.”

        You still do not address the last segment of the verse – “I will raise him up on the last day.” – and its relationship to the first part of the verse – this is the focus of the Calvinist. So, my claim about you still stands.

        There is no issue with the word translated as “drawn.” You do a fine quickie analysis and any Calvinist would agree with you. You don’t identify an issue with the Calvinist regarding, “Draw.” So, now move on to the point of contention.

        Then, “Does God only play act His love already knowing it will only be rejected? Not my God.”

        That is the same conclusion by the Calvinist. Because of this, we have Philippians 1, “God who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Thus, the promise of Christ in John 6:44, “I will raise him up on the last day.” God’s love for His elect tells us that God will not begin something that He does not finish. Only those whom God passes over can, and will, continue to reject Him.

        Like

      10. Very funny, Roger! You said I did not address the last segment “I will raise him up on the last day” just after quoting from me where I address the “raise up” issue! It is just like I had said… unless my response agrees with you, you don’t consider it even a response!

        And I did address the is Calvinists make concerning “draw”… the insist that only the elect are drawn and with an irresistibility that makes a person come to faith. I demonstrated that the word does not guarantee coming, therefore it is not irresistible unto salvation every time.

        And you might not call it play acting… But if God gives everyone an invitation for His salvation while supposedly knowing He only makes it possible for some to accept it, then He is play acting that He loves all those others, in my reasonable opinion.

        Like

      11. brianwagner writes, “You said I did not address the last segment…”

        I’ll guess and say you are referring to this, “…if one recognizes that the one drawn is not logically guaranteed in that grammatical construction to either come or to be raised up just because he is drawn.” If so, are you really claiming that this addresses the last part of the verse. You expressed your opinion and made important claims about the grammar of the verse. If one of your students did that, you would probably flunk them (or give them an F). In BIG red letters, you would admonish them to provide some meat to the sparse skeleton of opinion. I have seen a couple examples where you exegete the Greek (look at what you did for “draw” and that’s not even contentious) and this ain’t one of them.

        Like

      12. Well, I thought you were quicker to see the logic supporting my statement – “…if one recognizes that the one drawn is not logically guaranteed in that grammatical construction to either come or to be raised up just because he is drawn.” But let me go ahead and try to help you see it. You didn’t ask for exegesis, but just to “address” a verse that you thought I “have a hard time responding to”.

        You even said “any Calvinist would agree” with my “fine quickie analysis.” So read again what I said that does tie the last part of the verse with the first part… “the one drawn is not logically guaranteed in that grammatical construction to either COME [first clause] or to be RAISED UP [last clause].” If that doesn’t tie the two clauses together in my explanation and address Calvinism’s biggest premise which they try to prove from this verse, I don’t know if a more in-depth view of the verse will convince you. But here goes.

        John 6:44 ουδεις δυναται ελθειν προς με εαν μη ο πατηρ ο πεμψας με ελκυση αυτον και εγω αναστησω αυτον τη εσχατη ημερα
        John 6:44 No one is able to come to Me unless the Father who sent Me should draw him; and I, I will raise him up [in] the last day.

        I gave my more literal translation. lol. Tell me which of the following statements you do not agree with and why.
        1. The “him” raised up is the one who is assumed in Jesus’ words as having come to Him, it is not just anyone who is drawn (as I mentioned in my “fine quickie analysis” with which “any Calvinist would agree” according to you.
        2. The mention of the Father drawing those that do come, is not logically meaning that He only draws those who eventually come (also as I mentioned in my “fine quickie analysis” with which “any Calvinist would agree” according to you.
        3. That coming to Christ requires drawing by the Father is clear, but it does not logically mean there are no other requirements tied to coming to Christ.
        4. That coming to Christ guarantees being raised up by Christ in the last day is clear, but it does not logically mean that others might not also be raised up to Christ who didn’t come.

        The real issue is not trying to make the passage say more than it does. But Calvinists do just that, trampling all over the rules of logic. To get exactly what they want from this verse in a very clear way, Jesus would have had to say it this way. “Only those the Father draws are able to and will eventually come to me, and the one He draws I will raise up in the last day.”

        I know the Calvinist thinks he hears Jesus saying those very words, because he has his special Calvinist headphones on that distort what’s being said to make it fit his deterministic theology. But Jesus is speaking to a crowd of unbelievers, telling them how important it is to see Him as not just someone to give them food that perishes, but that He is giving His flesh for “the life of the world”. He is telling them how important it is to come to Him and believe in Him, and that the Father is personally involved in making that possible. The context is wooing an unregenerate crowd, not teaching a bunch of reformed theologians!

        Liked by 2 people

      13. You’ve done it again Brian,

        “The real issue is not trying to make the passage say more than it does.”

        This is so often the case. Piper takes a Proverb (!!!) about rolling dice in our laps and uses it to teach that God ordains all evil. Now that is getting the passage to say more than the author intended!!

        “Jesus would have had to say it this way. “Only those the Father draws are able to and will eventually come to me, and the one He draws I will raise up in the last day.””

        Yes…. and he could have easily said clear statements like this. But the ones He says do not say what the Calvinist makes them say.

        “I know the the Calvinist thinks he hears Jesus saying those very words, because he has his special Calvinist headphones on….”

        This shows that they sincerely think it…. and to a degree I respect them for that. The problem is the headphones, lenses, or filter that they pass the message through.

        I got a New Years letter today from a close Calvinist friend who is pastor of a big US church. He wrote the most incredible letter about impacting people’s lives, making a difference, making wise choices. It was a sweet letter! It was also once again proof that we all live like what we do makes a difference.

        Liked by 1 person

      14. brianwagner writes, “…the one drawn is not logically guaranteed in that grammatical construction to either COME [first clause] or to be RAISED UP [last clause].” If that doesn’t tie the two clauses together in my explanation…”

        That, of course, is a contentious opinion that requires explanation extending to the exegesis of the verse if required.

        Then, “Tell me which of the following statements you do not agree with and why.
        1. The “him” raised up is the one who is assumed in Jesus’ words as having come to Him, it is not just anyone who is drawn (as I mentioned in my “fine quickie analysis” with which “any Calvinist would agree” according to you.”

        The “him” God draws is the “him” Jesus says He will raise. The Calvinist agrees that God does not draw just anyone – (adding to your point) but only His elect, passing over the rest.

        Then, “2. The mention of the Father drawing those that do come, is not logically meaning that He only draws those who eventually come (also as I mentioned in my “fine quickie analysis” with which “any Calvinist would agree” according to you.

        This point needs support – probably needing discussion of the grammatical construction to which you referred earlier – especially your opinion, “…not logically meaning that He only draws those who eventually come…”. You ended that paragraph earlier with, “Only the one drawn and who comes is promised to be raised up.” It could mean what you wanted or the Calvinist wanted. You seemed to be saying that the verse does not say, or imply, that God draws all people.

        then, “3. That coming to Christ requires drawing by the Father is clear, but it does not logically mean there are no other requirements tied to coming to Christ.”

        I don’t see a problem. The promise by Christ says that someone, God or Christ, will make certain that those requirements are met – “…God who began a good work (with the drawing) in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

        Then, “4. That coming to Christ guarantees being raised up by Christ in the last day is clear, but it does not logically mean that others might not also be raised up to Christ who didn’t come.’

        That’s fine. The Calvinist says that God draws His elect to Christ. You want to believe that others not so drawn by God “might” also come to Christ – no problem. Had you said, “will,” that would be different.

        Bottom line: You want the verse to suggest that those drawn by God may not necessarily be raised. To get that conclusion, you need to show that coming to Christ is not only optional but qualifies the draw – raise connection.

        Then, “…Jesus would have had to say it this way. “Only those the Father draws are able to and will eventually come to me, and the one He draws I will raise up in the last day.”

        Not really. All we need are the three statements in the verse:
        1. No one can come to Me,
        2. unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and
        3. I will raise him up on the last day.

        The need is not to restrict the meaning by the use of a term like “only” but to show how the grammatical construction allows for the expansion you seek.

        Like

      15. Thanks Roger for confirming you were wrong when you said, “any Calvinist would agree” with my “fine quickie analysis” and thanks for confirming that the verse doesn’t confirm as necessary the Calvinist position, but only possible, and I agree that it doesn’t as a verse standing alone make the Calvinist position impossible either.

        But the study of the word “draw” as I had already provided before, and the context analysis of John 6 that I just provided (which you ignored commenting on) both make the Calvinist interpretation (which you finally affirmed does not agree with mine) impossible for this verse.

        God does draw people who do not eventually come! Choose to believe it based on the Scriptural evidence, and you might stop automatically trying to make John 6:44 say more than it does.

        But rest assured that I don’t feel uncomfortable with any proof text the Calvinists lean on.

        Like

      16. Brian,

        I received this by email.
        +++
        commented on Born Haters of God? The Calvinist’s View of Humanity is Too High!.

        in response to rhutchin:

        brianwagner writes, “You said I did not address the last segment…” I’ll guess and say you are referring to this, “…if one recognizes that the one drawn is not logically guaranteed in that grammatical construction to either come or to be raised up just because he is drawn.” If so, are you really claiming that … Continue reading Born Haters of God? The Calvinist’s View of Humanity is Too High!

        Reply Like
        +++
        It was missing your actual comment. This happens every now and then. In addition, sometimes, I don’t receive the comment at all. Such is life.

        Like

    2. FOH writes, “[Calvinists] add the extra step regeneration-before (since that has to happen before faith).”

      Not just the Calvinists. Arminians did the same with prevenient grace. To oppose this position, one must deny Total Depravity.

      Like

  26. Troy,

    I usually try to post from a daily Bible reading —-showing that the overwhelming portion and tenor of Scripture points to an interactive God who created man with a free will and interacts with him.

    There is a magic wand that makes all these many simple scriptures go away. This wand that determinists use is not from the Bible but from a predisposed, presupposed definition of the word “omniscient” (which is not found in the Scriptures).

    A simple question that I asked myself while a Calvinist —-and I ask to you with no response all the time —- is why we have so many “misleading” passages in the Bible if God is this static, immutable, unchangeable, impassible, decree-before-time-making, impersonal God. I mean if God decreed before time every action we would do…. then ….well….. what is the point of anything?

    Some will say, “Don’t say that FOH, we are to be ……” but whatever is said is moot since God has decreed what we do anyway right? Or are Calvinists saying that if we choose to make a wise decision we are retroactively changing God’s decree??

    If not, that means that all unwise decisions, sins, and “refusing to see” (as you Troy like to say) are actually from His hand and I am powerless. Ironic that you accuse us of “refusing to see” and then give us no free will!

    Much of this is based on the Greek understanding of omniscience that is brought to the Bible by Calvinists. No matter how many Scriptures they see….the Greek understanding of how “God must be” wins out. It is normal….we want to honor God. So we make Him…… well we just make Him what we want/ need Him to be.

    Then I must ask myself –and you— why He communicates to us using such personal means? What is the point? What are we to make of all the passages where He …..

    A. Shows regret or disappointment. Ez 22:28-31; 1 Sam 15; Gen 6.

    B. Shows surprise or amazement (this is not the “humanness of Christ”). Isaiah 5. Jer 3 (look at -6-7 and 12-20).

    C. Shows Himself changing His mind. Amos 7, Jonah 1 and 3, Ez 20, Jer 26, 2 Kings 20, 1 Chron 21, 1 Sam 2, Deut 9, Nums 14, Ex 32…. or places where he said he would change “His mind if” (Jer 18, Ez 33). Joel 2 even says this is one of the special things about God.

    D. Asks questions about the future that are not rhetorical. It “may or may not” happen…. Ez. 12:1–3; Jer. 38:17–18, 20–21; 23Exod. 3:18–4:9, 13:17; Num. 14:11; Hos. 8:5

    E. Tests to see if people will be faithful. Judges 2:20–3:5; Deut. 8:2; 13:1–3; Gen. 22:12; Exod. 16:4; 2 Chron. 32:31

    It is one thing for you to try to establish “the moral high ground” and bluster at how repugnant I am….. but still this is part of God’s message.

    It is one thing to continual say —- “these verses do not, indeed cannot (!!) mean what they say” (please got to monergism.com and see that the explanations for these verses all start that way) but then you need to ask, what ARE they there for? What even do they teach us if it is not what it looks like they teach us?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. FOH writes, “if God decreed before time every action we would do…. then ….well….. what is the point of anything? ”

      The point is that it’s all about God and not man.

      Like

    1. ww writes, “he caused all those choices. ”

      Not exactly God certainly ordains all that happens and this is the case because God is omniscient. If by “cause” you mean that God coerces unwilling people to make choices against their will, then God does not ’cause” all those choices.

      Like

      1. We’ve been over this about 30 times. Determinism demands that God cause everything, by leaving no other options open to his creations. If I choose every move of your life, I caused all your choices. Again, God claims to be re acting to human choices, but your philosophy doesn’t leave him any room to react to anything, let alone have a real relationship with his creation.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. ww writes, “Determinism demands that God cause everything, by leaving no other options open to his creations.”

        Technically, we are talking about Theological Determinism because we introduce God into the equation. I think we both understand that. IF we say that God causes you to do X, we don’t mean that God coerces you to do X against your will. Correct??

        You are correct, though – God does not “generally” react to the actions of people; people always are reacting to the actions of God. There are occasions where God promises to do X if a person does Y – promises you can take to the bank.

        Like

      3. ww writes, “I guess the hundreds of verses about God wanting people to do something they didn’t are just in there for filler?”

        They are designed to reveal to people the extent of their depravity. Thus, no one will stand before God complaining because they did their own thing knowing that it was in disobedience to God. God gives believers many promises of His help, but I suspect that even you will reject God’s help and do whatever you want. We are to learn about ourselves as we often consciously ignore God when making decisions.

        Like

      4. What’s there to learn? Whatever will be will be. Eat, drink and be merry, because nothing you do matters! Again, totally irrational. If you complain before God it’s only because he decrees that you will. Decisions? There are no decisions, only decrees.

        Like

  27. Brian,

    I imagine that in your particular Bible college you dont see a lot of theological diversity (no offense intended). But as you know in my 30 years of missions and pastoral work I have hung around with lots of types of Christians. In fact my present situation requires me to fellowship with believers of lots of denominations ….. even from a broad variety of countries.

    So, I have studied the differences people hold.

    There are some that no matter what you say…. the verse that says “repent and be baptized for the remission of sin” is more important than all other verses about that topic. They need baptism as a part of salvation and they can tell you that “you are not dealing with that verse” all day….no matter how many times you compare it to the “all of Scripture.”

    There are some that no matter what you say…. the verse that says “when they were filled with the Holy Spirit they spoke in tongues” is more important than all other verses about that topic. They need tongues to be part of every person’s life and they can tell you that “you are not dealing with that verse” all day….no matter how many times you compare it to the “all of Scripture.”

    There are some that no matter what you say…. the verse that says “they met by the river of the Sabbath” is more important than all other verses about that topic. They need Saturday to be the Lord’s day and they can tell you that “you are not dealing with that verse” all day….no matter how many times you compare it to the “all of Scripture.”

    There are some that no matter what you say…. the verse that says “women should be covered and not talk” is more important than all other verses about that topic. They need women’s position in the church to be their way and they can tell you that “you are not dealing with that verse” all day….no matter how many times you compare it to the “all of Scripture.”

    There are some that no matter what you say…. the verse that says “the trump shall sound ….the dead in Christ shall rise first” is more important than all other verses on the topic. They need the rapture as the only end-time scenario and they can tell you that “you are not dealing with that verse” all day….no matter how many times you compare it to the “all of Scripture.”

    The same can be said about infant baptism (hard time finding a verse for that though—-but Sproul did battle defending it!).

    The same can be said about a lot of denominational differences.

    So, no matter who and how anyone deals with 6:44—- sorry, not the whole verse, just the half-verse —- there are certain people that say that all of Scripture should be translated through their version of that verse….. and no one ever covers it but them.

    Of course that then requires them to take the many verses with all, everyone, world, all men, whosoever, etc and make them all say what they want to say also. So there is always a “you do not cover this verse” out there to be had.

    I have challenged people to tell us why The Lord God, The Almighty says in so many hundreds or thousands of verses “I did not want…” “I did not expect…” “I planned….but” “If you do this I will do this” but never an answer.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. FOH, I agree with your sentiment that some people’s loyalty to their position on a Scripture makes them spiritual “tone deaf” to listen to reasonable and even better exegesis based on context and grammar for the same verse. It may not be that their view isn’t possible or suggested by those verses (though often that is a stretch) it is that they are unwilling to ask themselves what is the strongest most natural meaning based on the most normal rules of grammar and context that one would use for any book.

      1. There are good grammatical reasons to connect “for the forgiveness of sins” in Acts 2:38 to “Repent” and “on the basis of the name of Jesus Christ” instead of just the word “baptism”. It is very similar to how people think a church wedding makes someone married in God’s eyes, when actually it is leaving, cleaving, and conceiving (or wanting to) that forms the bond, yet the public testimony is expected if the inward commitment really exists.
      2. Demanding obedience to Scriptural examples, like tongues and Sabbath keeping, is in direct disobedience to the injunction not to place traditions of men above the Word, which gives no such commands for those examples. In fact, we are commanded not to be judged by whether we keep Sabbaths or not (Col 2:16).
      3. There are also good grammatical reasons to show how the command for wives to have a “sign of authority” on their head is not the same thing as a fancy hat! 😉 And that silence, doesn’t mean she cannot pray, “prophesy”, or sing solos that teach and admonish in a church gathering where their husband is present.
      4. Now there is going to be a rapture! One cannot read 1Th 4 or 1Cor 15 according to normal grammar rules and context without seeing that… but when the rapture will take place is not as clear, because there is no clear verse that says before the Antichrist signs a 7 year treaty to bring peace in Israel and the rebuilding of their temple Jesus is going to rapture His church.
      5. And infant baptism is a dogma created out of whole cloth stringing spiritually sounding ideas together for Scriptural examples but no teaching given, and it undermines the clear teaching of baptism being an answer of a good conscience to God (1Pet 3:21) and makes the new disciple disobedient in following His Lord after his new birth.

      If only people would be willing to look more carefully at the passages they think support “clearly” their dogma, and be willing to admit that when the strongest rules of grammar and context were applied their view doesn’t seem to shine forth. At least then I would respect them more if they still held on to their view, believing it is what God really meant in those verses.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Well Brian,

        I was not expecting an elder-statesman, pastoral response from you on all that….but I do appreciate it. I think all the readers here see your dependence on Scripture and your gentle spirit.

        I was really only using those ideas as examples of what people get “non-negotiably” attached to!

        I may have shared the sad personal example about Calvin and baptism. The national pastor we had worked with for years became a Calvinist through his son, and the newly translated Sproul books. What was sad is that he made some gifted people in our church drop their great involvement in the church when he found out they had been baptized as infants. Of course that eventually pushed them out of the church.

        Now someone may agree that he was right to “hold the line on that” but the irony is that he talks constantly of Calvin now. Calvin not only would have recognized their infant baptism, but would have prohibited them from be baptized again!

        Indeed the only baptism that Calvin himself ever experienced was his Roman Catholic infant baptism. He made it very clear to all who followed him (that was pretty much everyone since it was follow or get pitched in the river) that their infant, Catholic baptism was sufficient and should NOT be re-done (under great penalty from him!).

        Why is he their hero again, I forget?

        Like

      2. FIH writes, “What was sad is that he made some gifted people in our church drop their great involvement in the church when he found out they had been baptized as infants.”

        This happened before the pastor became a Calvinist (He must have been a Baptist). Your account was confusing.

        Like