Pelagianism: The Boogie Man

If I had a dollar for every time I was accused of being a “Pelagian” or “Semi-Pelagian,” I would have at least enough money to put my eldest through college and for that, I would be grateful. At least it would serve some practical purpose.

Typically, the accusation comes from those who are less informed about the historical use of these labels and their actual meanings as it relates to our current soteriological disagreements.[1] So, let’s get educated.

Pelagius was a 5th-century British monk who was accused of teaching that people had the natural ability to fulfil the commands of God by an exercise of the human will apart from divine assistance (grace). Pelagianism came to be known as the belief that mankind is born basically good, without a sinful nature, and is thus capable of doing good without God’s help. [2]

Because Pelagius was deemed a heretic, little of his work survived to the present day except in the quotes of his opponents (not the most reliable of sources). Many modern scholars suspect that Pelagius’ actual teachings were greatly misrepresented so as to demonize and marginalize him (this is not difficult to imagine).

Despite what is commonly known of Pelagius, evidence indicates that he and his followers taught that all good works come only by divine aid (grace), which was seen as “enabling,” not “effectual/irresistible” in nature. For instance, in a letter to the Pope defending himself, Pelagius is reported to have written:

“This grace we for our part do not, as you suppose, allow to consist merely in the law, but also in the help of God. God helps us by His teaching and revelation, whilst He opens the eyes of our heart; whilst He points out to us the future, that we may not be absorbed in the present; whilst He discovers to us the snares of the devil; whilst He enlightens us with the manifold and ineffable gift of heavenly grace… This free will is in all good works always assisted by divine help.” [3]

And in an accompanying confession of faith, he states, “Free-will we do so own, as to say that we always stand in need of God’s help,” And he affirmed, “We do also abhor the blasphemy of those who say that any impossible thing is commanded to man by God; or that the commandments of God cannot be performed by any one man.” So, while Pelagius maintained human responsibility to keep the commands of God he still seemed to maintain the need for divine aid in doing so.[4]

Augustine, a contemporary of Pelagius, was the first on record to teach the concept of individual effectual election to salvation. Even Calvinistic historian, Loraine Boettner, concedes that this “was first clearly seen by Augustine” in the fifth century. In fact, Boettner notes, not only did the earliest Church Fathers not interpret the doctrine of election “Calvinistically,” but much of their teaching stands in strong opposition to such conclusions. A great emphasis on the absolute freedom of the human will and repudiations of individual predestination to salvation are found clearly throughout the earliest writings of the church. [5] John Calvin himself acknowledged this fact when he stated:

“Further, even though the Greeks [Early Church Fathers] above the rest—and Chrysostom especially among them—extol the ability of the human will, yet all the ancients, save Augustine, so differ, waver, or speak confusedly on this subject, that almost nothing certain can be derived from their writings.”[6]

So, by Calvinists own admission, Augustine introduced much of these unique (and often controversial) doctrinal beliefs in the 5th century.[7]

Pelagius stood up against Augustine’s new doctrinal positions and even went so far as to accuse him of being under the influence of his former Manichean (Gnostic) roots, which was known to teach pagan fatalism as if it were a Christian doctrine.[8] Augustine, in turn, accused Pelagius of denying any need for divine aid in the conversion process. It is likely that both of them went too far in their accusations against the other, but history reveals that it was Augustine’s smears of Pelagius that won over in the court of public opinion.[9]

Pelagianism, therefore, has become known historically as “the teaching that man has the capacity to seek God in and of himself apart from any movement of God or the Holy Spirit, and therefore that salvation is affected by man’s efforts.”[10]

Traditionalists, like myself, wholeheartedly deny this belief and consider the label offensive and completely misrepresentative of our actual teachings (and I’m under the impression Pelagius himself would express similar sentiments if given a fair hearing today).

Here are a few reasons why this label would not rightly represent our views:

▪ We believe man has the capacity to respond willingly to God’s means of seeking to save the lost, NOT that man would seek God if left alone.

▪ We believe our gracious God is actively working in and through creation, conscience, His bride, His Holy Spirit filled followers, and his Word to aid humanity in their conversion.

▪ We believe salvation is wholly of God in that He owes no man forgiveness or eternal life, even if they freely repent and humbly submit to Him as Lord and Savior. Asking for forgiveness no more merits that forgiveness than the prodigal son’s return home merited the reception he received from his father. That was the choice of a gracious father alone.

What about Semi-Pelagianism?

First, it should be noted that the term “Semi-Pelagian” was first introduced in the late 16th century by Calvinistic theologians attempting to combat the rising popularity of Molinism, an alternative method of reconciling the problem of divine omniscience and human freedom.[11]

Calvinistic Apologist, Matt Slick, describes Semi-Pelagianism in this way:

“Semi-Pelagianism is a weaker form of Pelagianism (a heresy derived from Pelagius who lived in the 5th century A.D. and was a teacher in Rome). Semi-Pelagianism (advocated by Cassian at Marseilles, 5th Century) did not deny original sin and its effects upon the human soul and will, but it taught that God and man cooperate to achieve man’s salvation. This cooperation is not by human effort as in keeping the law but rather in the ability of a person to make a free will choice. The semi-Pelagian teaches that man can make the first move toward God by seeking God out of his own free will and that man can cooperate with God’s grace even to the keeping of his faith through human effort. This would mean that God responds to the initial effort of a person and that God’s grace is not absolutely necessary to maintain faith.”[12]

In my lengthy discussion with Matt Slick over our soteriological differences, he more than once accused me of “Semi-Pelagianism.”

First, do Traditionalists (like myself) believe that “God and man cooperate to achieve man’s salvation?” Of course not!

Let me clarify this point of contention by asking a question: Did the prodigal son and his father cooperate to achieve the son’s restoration, or was that a gracious choice of the father alone upon his son’s return?  The false belief that forgiveness is somehow owed to those who freely humble themselves and ask for it leads to erroneous conclusions such as this.

Second, do Traditionalists teach that “man can make the first move toward God by seeking God out of his own free will?” Absolutely not! I challenge anyone to find just one Traditional Southern Baptist scholar who has even come close to making this kind of claim.

Third, do Traditionalists teach that “God responds to the initial effort of a person?”  No! Belief that mankind is able to willingly respond to the gracious means of God to seek and save the lost IS NOT equal to mankind making “the first move toward God.”

If it was proven that I could not call the President of the United States on the phone, would you also conclude, based on that information, that it would be impossible for me to answer the phone if the President tried to call me? Of course not, but that is exactly what those who accuse us of Semi-Pelagianism are doing.

In their shortsighted and ill-informed effort to discredit our perspective, they have resorted to what is known as a “boogie-man fallacy.” This is a certain type of argument, which, in fact, is not an argument, but a means of forestalling discussion and erroneously labelling an opponent’s position with that of a known heresy so as to demonize and discredit it.

For example, someone in a debate might say, “Look! His view sounds like something Hilter said once, so you shouldn’t listen to him any more.” Hitler is a known “boogie man” or “bad character,” so if I can associate my opponent’s views with Hilter, then I’ll discredit him all together.  Likewise, Pelagius has become the Calvinist’s go-to “boogie man,” and many of them will stop at nothing to slap that label on us so as to marginalize and discredit anything we say.

This method bears a certain resemblance to the ad hominem fallacy, and comes from the same root motivation: Discredit and marginalize the person and their views rather than objectively evaluating and offering a sound, non-fallous biblical rebuttal.

The ad hominem fallacy consists of attempting to refute an argument by impeaching the character of its proponent, where as the boogie man fallacy seeks to associate an argument with that of someone whose character (or belief) has already been impeached (like poor ol’ Pelagius).  This would be like an Arminian calling Dr. John Piper a “Hyper-Calvinist” (those who denounce the need of evangelism) on the basis that he teaches some similar views to that of known hyper-Calvinists.

This is pure “guilt by association” and it is the lazy man’s approach to avoid an otherwise rational and informed discussion of the issues. Those who resort to such tactics either do not know any better or they are nefariously attempting to marginalize and demonize the views of those who disagree with them. Readers of this article can no longer appeal to the former as an excuse.

If Traditionalists can rightly been labeled “semi-pelagian,” then by that standard we could conclude that Calvinists are “semi-gnostic,” after all those were the two groups promoting the extremes of both views in the fourth and fifth centuries. I would rather avoid such demonizing labels altogether and actually practice the principle of SOLA SCRIPTURA (scripture alone). Rather than appealing to ancient Catholic labels created by men who were known for their often violent and extreme intolerance of dissenting views, how about we approach each other with patience, kindness and good intentions? Let us not repeat the mistakes of those who lead the church into The Inquisition and other horrific abuses of dissenters, but instead set a better example for theological discourse to all who come after us.

Added Note: Some Arminians have mistakenly joined in this accusation against Southern Baptist Traditionalists. To read my response to Roger Olson’s critique of the Traditional Statement: CLICK HERE.

And to read a more thorough historical and biblical rebuttal of those who disagree on this issue: CLICK HERE.

To listen to my discussion with an Arminian over this subject: CLICK HERE


[1] http://baptistcenter.net/journals/JBTM_10-1_Spring_2013.pdf [Note: I highly recommend reading this journal article by Dr. Adam Harwood explaining in great detail why Traditionalists are not Semi-Pelagian.]

[2] Matt Slick, CARM Ministries: https://carm.org/pelagianism

[3] Bonner, Gerald (2004). “Pelagius (fl. c.390–418), theologian”. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/21784. Retrieved 28 October 2012.

[4] Pohle, Joseph. “Pelagius and Pelagianism.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 18 Jan. 2014

[5] Loraine Boettner, Calvinism in History: Before the Reformation, web site, available from http://www.seeking4truth.com/before_reformation.htm; Internet; accessed 17 April 2015.

[6] John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion: web page: https://books.google.com/books?id=0aB1BwAAQBAJ&pg=PA259&lpg=PA259&dq=or+speak+confusedly+on+this+subject,+that+almost+nothing+certain+can+be+derived+from+their+writings&source=bl&ots=qBEMo_kr1v&sig=FjMfiVDcr7iliN31rPJ5pVSraI4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiy5YqU3P_KAhVGmIMKHZGXBgYQ6AEIHzAB#v=onepage&q=or%20speak%20confusedly%20on%20this%20subject%2C%20that%20almost%20nothing%20certain%20can%20be%20derived%20from%20their%20writings&f=false

[7]  Robert Arakaki, Calvin Dissing the Early Church Fathers: https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/orthodoxbridge/calvin-dissing-the-fathers/

[8] Augustine is known for his nine-year fascination with Manichaeism: http://blogs.record-eagle.com/?p=4705

[9] The determination of the Council of Orange (529) could be considered “semi-Augustinian.” It defined that faith, though a free act, resulted even in its beginnings from the grace of God, enlightening the human mind and enabling belief. However, it also explicitly denied double predestination (of the equal-ultimacy variety), stating, “We not only do not believe that any are foreordained to evil by the power of God, but even state with utter abhorrence that if there are those who want to believe so evil a thing, they are anathema.” The document links grace with baptism, which was not a controversial subject at the time. It received papal sanction.[Oakley, Francis (Jan 1, 1988), The Medieval Experience: Foundations of Western Cultural Singularity, University of Toronto Press, p. 64.; Thorsen, Don (2007), An Exploration of Christian Theology, Baker Books, 20.3.4. Cf. Second Council of Orange ch.5-7; H.J. Denzinger Enchiridion Symbolorum et Definitionum, 375-377; C. H. (1981) [1967]. “Faith”. The New Catholic Encyclopedia 5. Washington D.C. p. 797; Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005]

[10] Adams, Nicholas (2007). “Pelagianism: Can people be saved by their own efforts?”. In Quash, Ben; Ward, Michael. Heresies and How to Avoid Them. London: SPCK Publishing. p. 91.

[11] Named after 16th Century Jesuit theologian Luis de Molina, is a religious doctrine which attempts to reconcile the providence of God with human free will: Joseph Pohle, “Semipelagianism” in Catholic Encyclopedia 1912.

[12] https://carm.org/semi-pelagianism [Note: Ironically there is also much dispute as to whether Cassian actually taught what he was accused of teaching as well: The view that Cassian propounded Semipelagianism has been disputed. Lauren Pristas, writes: “For Cassian, salvation is, from beginning to end, the effect of God’s grace. It is fully divine. Salvation, however, is salvation of a rational creature who has sinned through free choice. Therefore, salvation necessarily includes both free human consent in grace and the gradual rehabilitation in grace of the faculty of free choice. Thus Cassian insists salvation is also fully human. His thought, however, is not Semi-Pelagian, nor do readers who submit to the whole corpus emerge Semi-Pelagians.” [see Lauren Pristas (1993), The Theological Anthropology of John Cassian, PhD dissertation, Boston College, OCLC 39451854]

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153 thoughts on “Pelagianism: The Boogie Man

  1. Wonderful article!!!
    Although I did want to tease out the term “cooperation” with God used in the article, my initial response is to the use of the Boogie-Man tactic.

    This strategy – better known as the “Strawman fallacy” is a tactic in which an opponent manufactures a fabricated façade of his opponent’s position. One which is conveniently easy to knock down. And then paints his opponent with that façade in order to get his opponent to fall over with it.

    Dr, Daniel H. Cohen, expert in Argumentation Theory, and the Philosophy of Language, tells us, this strategy effectively stands up in opposition to a love for or pursuit of the truth, and is driven by a base animal urgency to win.

    What does an arguer gain from using this tactic? When it works, it reinforces his reliance upon dishonesty. His defeat over his opponent using it, provides an illusion of winning, and that illusion serves to only further corrupt his ability to discern truth from falsehood. In the long run, it turns him into the bigger looser.

    The Christian who lowers himself to using this tactic is unwittingly broadcasting to the world, that he is driven by an urgency to “win” at the unwitting sacrifice of dishonoring truth. And Paul would simply call this behavior “σαρκικοί, περιπατεῖτε κατὰ ἄνθρωπον “ (carnally minded – walking according to man’s lower nature).

    So the Christian who deflects to using it is simply revealing carnal urgencies.

    Another great article!!
    My sincere thanks – Dr. Flowers :-]

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great example Leighton of how at the foundations of Calvinism (determinism) there lies a trust in the scholarship of man and in ecclesiastically approved definitions and labels. I would not want either Augustine or Pelagius to teach in a pulpit or to give a lecture to a group of people unless there was a confrontation with them polemically, for they both taught a false sacramental gospel – that of baptismal regeneration and forgiveness through baptism.

    I am not saying that either Augustine or Pelagius was not saved, for only God knows if their trust was completely in the finished work of Christ on Calvary for the payment of their sins. But their sacramental gospel clearly disqualifies them from a teaching ministry for it “tells” the layperson in the pew to trust in the effects of his baptism and in the priestly mediation that was provided for it. Why do we trust the theological musings of anyone to be authoritative if they could not even get the gospel defined correctly?

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Thank you Leighton! Excellent article.
    When I first read your use of the word cooperation in “First, do Traditionalists (like myself) believe that “God and man cooperate to achieve man’s salvation?” Of course not!” I was a little confused. However, I realized before I read the next sentence where you were going with it. From your articles and discussions I’ve gained an understanding of how the Calvinists have conflated God’s act of salvation (First making Himself known and seeking out men through creation, the gospel, the witness of the Holy Spirit, etc and then responding to those who believe in the person and work of His Son with His mercy and grace) and man’s responsibility (simply responding to God’s call for humility, repentance, and belief in Christ, which merits us nothing) into one act of “salvation.”
    Certainly God and man do not cooperate to achieve man’s salvation.
    I might have before used the words cooperation or Synergism, even though I might mean something different when I use them, but I can now see how those words are confusing and can contribute to the conflation of man’s responsibility with God’s act of salvation. Because they can be so easily confusing, probably best to simply not to use those words altogether.

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  4. Great post, but this one comment concerns me and I would love for you to respond. I am by no means a Calvinist, however, I think you need to distinguish between ‘before’ and ‘after’ when it comes to this statement:

    We believe salvation is wholly of God in that He owes no man forgiveness or eternal life, even if they freely repent and humbly submit to Him as Lord and Savior. Asking for forgiveness no more merits that forgiveness than the prodigal son’s return home merited the reception he received from his father. That was the choice of a gracious father alone.

    What I mean by that is – and this is the best way I can think of to explain what I am saying: I hear people say, ‘Well God is sovereign and He can do anything He wants.’ Well… perhaps yes, perhaps no. God has willfully and by He eternal design written a book that has laid out a beautiful plan of salvation – to be given as a gift. Now, before Creation, yes, you could say that God was free to do anything, say anything, but really He is not. He is not by definition free to do or say anything that is contrary to His divine nature, which is perfect and Holy, and cannot be perverted. Furthermore, after God revealed Himself as He has through general revelation – Creation, and special revelation – the Word of God, He has (sorry if there’s a better word – this is not the best) ‘limited’ Himself to do everything that He has promised in His Word and by the rainbow, yes? So, now you could say that He MUST do what He has promised to do. I.e., He has made it very clear that if I repent of my sin and believe on the Work of Christ, I WILL be saved. There is no uncertainty about that promise or any promise of God, for that matter. He therefore as I see it is obligated to save me, because He would be lying otherwise, even tho the actual work of saving me is 100% God and has nothing to do with me, granted.

    I think this is therefore an incorrect statement to make and needs to be clarified. Sure, ‘asking’ forgiveness does not merit any divine merit, any more than someone in the middle of the lake who is drowning is yelling out to someone on the shore and begging to be saved merits any ‘favor’ with that person, but it DOES hold God accountable to keep His promises, which is to honor that repentance and save that person. To say anything else would be to call God a liar. He has designed it so. So in a sense, He DOES owe that person. Or, another way to say it is, God absolutely keeps His promises and His Word is true. I think there are better words to be more accurate, but that’s why I am responding to this 😊.

    I am sure that you can clarify this and re-state it to be more accurate sir.

    God bless.

    Tom Franseen

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tom, I agree with almost everything you said. It may be a nuance of difference, but I think you are saying that God “owes” Himself to be faithful to His promise. Perhaps “owes us” is a little too strong, since it infers we have “earned” something. Grace remains a gift, underserved.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It is often stunning to me how much credence Calvinists give to Mary-adoring, saint-venerating, baptismal-regenerating Augustine!

    When Boettner and Calvin say that Augustine “was the first to bring this idea” —- that should cause us concern not confidence!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. English historian, Theodore Maynard, in The story of American Catholicism writes:
      -quote:
      “It has often be charged… that Catholicism has been overlaid with many pagan incrustations.
      Catholicism is ready to accept that charge – and to make it her boast.
      The great god Pan is not really dead, he is baptized.”

      Augustine corresponded by letter to a close friend Nebridius, who praises how Augustine’s letters: “speak of Christ, Plato and Plotinus”.

      Robert Lane Fox – in “Augustine: Conversions to Confessions”
      -quote:
      “As ever, Nebridius is acute and insatiably curious. Augustine’s letters, he [Nebridius] writes, ‘sometimes speak of Christ, sometimes of Plato, sometimes of Plotinus”.

      Neoplatonism and Christianity – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoplatonism_and_Christianity
      -quote:
      “Neoplatonism was a major influence on Christian theology throughout Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages in the West. This was due to St. Augustine of Hippo, who was influenced by the early Neoplatonists Plotinus and Porphyry…….”

      The great doctrines of Plotinus are not dead – their baptized.

      Like

  6. Interesting that you mention Hitler. No man has so much slander smeared across his name than Hitler. I remember being taught how evil he was without even listening to him speak. This was done by both my pastors and teachers. I never gave him a fair chance. Funny things happen when we listen to people in context. Today, I am more silent on Hitler because I know my betheren regurgitate words taught to them. The same way people regurgitate fake news.
    Another example of this was Kierkegaard. Many Christians believe the man was a heretic. One of our pastors said he was a pagan.
    I could have just listened to his out of context quotes or I could have done some research. For those people who cannot fathom why I, a lover of God and all men seem to have no ill thoughts about Hitler, there are many sources.
    The biggest and most thorough has to be The Greatest Story Never Told.

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    1. Stefooch,
      I realize that the “winner writes the history books,” but I would tread very lightly on any defense of Hitler.

      I went to school in So Cal before you were born and had Christian friends who had numbers tattooed on their arms. They have real stories to tell.

      It is still illegal in Hungary, Romania, Austria, and Germany to deny the holocaust. These are not victim-countries with an ax to grind; they are the (alleged) perpetrator-countries who have many citizens in their 90’s who lived through those years.

      I do not think that you and I should take over this blog about this (I am not passionate about this subject like I am about the work of Christ), but I imagine that even the DVD author has ‘some’ ill thoughts about Hitler, so I urge you to avoid the “no ill thoughts about Hitler” phrase.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s not the association that matters. It’s the content of the doctrine that matters. If Prof. Flowers espouses the doctrines of Palagius, then he’s in error. It’s not about boogie-man association. It’s about truth!

    Like

    1. Troy,
      I can’t even be sure you read the article. Mainly what he said was —-Pelagius was reported to believe/say a lot of things that he didn’t.

      Like

    2. But that’s the point Troy, it is lazy and irrational to say “this guy believes X, therefore if you say X, you’re wrong”. Dr Flower’s arguments are wrong because not cause someone else you don’t like held to the same position.

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    3. I occasionally read postings from Orthodox Christian authors on the historical evidence concerning Augustine vs Pelagius.
      Unfortunately, due to the politics at the time, very little first hand writings are available from Pelagius.

      That being said, their consensus is that even with Pelagius’ emphasis on human ability – the little quantity of first-hand writings available to analyze Pelagius – reveal a much higher degree of consistency with scripture than do Augustine’s – whose doctrine was heavily polluted with NeoPlatonism and the remaining doctrinal residue he retained from Manichaeism.

      If it is true that – quote “It’s not the association that matters. It’s the content of the doctrine that matters. ”
      Then Dr. Flowers pointing out that “Semi-Gnosticism” is also a viable label for Calvinism.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. br.d

        If you go to monergism.com you will see that there are 4 pages of links to articles that venerated Augustine. He is raised to sainthood over and over. Authors are tripping over each other trying to be the one to sing the highest praise about a man who worshiped Mary and the saints, and believed in baptismal regeneration. He clearly promoted infant baptism (which is great for Sproul!) which Piper and others who sing his praises would firmly disagree with. It is amazing what people will let “theologians” get away with as long as they toe the line on determinism-fatalism.

        On the other hand Pelagius is vilified on the same web site.

        Now…..if you bring up any of this to Calvinists they will claim “we do not have enough evidence to know that Augustine worshiped Mary.” Ironic since apparently we have enough writings and evidence for Sproul and Calvin and Piper to call him the father of all good reformed theology!

        The same is true for Pelagius. Obviously (for Troy and others) there is enough “first hand evidence” to condemn Pelagius…..but when Leighton and others show otherwise….. the cry just gets louder….. “heretic!”

        Rule #1: Repeat what you read on monergism.com.
        Rule #2: Repeat louder.

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      2. Yes – I totally agree.
        These are part and parcel with Calvinism’s perennial degree of dishonesty.
        Calvinism (en mass) manifests what Paul would call a “carnal” form of Christianity.
        Hero-worship, philosophical double-speak, and intellectual dishonesty are three of Calvinism’s most observable red-flags.

        The best Greek word I know to describe Calvinism is “κατακυριεύουσιν” (a base human instinct for preeminence and the urgency to subordinate others).

        Straining at “Pelagiun” gnats, while swallowing a whole “Gnostic/NeoPlatonist” camel.

        But all their works they do to be seen of men.
        They make broad their (doctrinal) phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their (theological) garments.
        They seek after the uppermost positions, and the chief seats among you.

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  8. Dr. Flowers writes, “Pelagius….was accused of teaching that people had the natural ability to fulfill the commands of God by an exercise of the human will apart from divine assistance (grace).”

    Given that little of Pelagius’ writings have survived, and some contend that he disguised his true thinking when confronted in a formal trial setting. we are left with people’s impressions of Pelagius and his teaching. His dispute with Augustine seems to begin with Augustine’s prayer, “Grant what Thou commandest, and command what Thou dost desire.” Pelagius is said to have objected to “Grant what Thou commandest,” and this seems to form the basis for the accusations against him. This leads to the conclusion Dr. Flowers noted, “Pelagianism came to be known as the belief that mankind is born basically good, without a sinful nature, and is thus capable of doing good without God’s help.” The issue with Augustine centered on Original Sin.

    In previous blogs, Dr. Flowers has voiced problems with Original Sin and it is because of this that he might be labeled Pelagian. We see this in a blog titled “Born Dead – Dead Wrong,” where Dr. Flowers initiates discussion asking, “The analogy of being “dead” is seen throughout the scriptures, but can it be demonstrated to mean that mankind is born completely and totally unable to willingly respond to God Himself, as the Calvinists presume?” He then argues, NO! This position seems to be the same as that of Pelagius and would seem to support labeling Dr. Flowers as a Pelagian.

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    1. But not dead enough to be sent to hell for rejecting the gospel. If a dead person is held responsible (response-able) to reject the truth, then why can’t a dead person be held responsible (respons-able) to accept the truth? If both are dead in the same meaning, then why not? Being spiritually dead doesn’t equal “unable”. Just the same being able doesn’t equal being good if everyone is able.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yeah Damon…..it’s like I said.

        They say we are “man-centered” because we believe that man can respond to God’s call. they they are just as “man-centered” in saying that man is the reason that he is condemn. Own it all guys. God save or condemns. Dont give any of it to man.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. DG writes, “But not dead enough to be sent to hell for rejecting the gospel.”

        People are sent to hell (i.e., not able to enter heaven) because they are sinners and demonstrate this by their sin. The gospel provides the means for a sinner to deal with both his nature and his sin. It is the means to escape hell and enter heaven as the sinner is already condemned to hell.

        Then, “If a dead person is held responsible (response-able) to reject the truth, then why can’t a dead person be held responsible (respons-able) to accept the truth? If both are dead in the same meaning, then why not?”

        The sinner is held responsible for what he is and what he does. He rejects God as that is his natural behavior. The issue is whether he will accept the truth and enter heaven. What does Paul write, ” …the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness,…” (1 Corinthians 1)

        Then, “Being spiritually dead doesn’t equal “unable”. ”

        Jesus said in John 6, “No one can come to me…” How do you understand His statement?

        Then, “Just the same being able doesn’t equal being good if everyone is able.”

        Able to do what?

        Like

      3. Same “tired” verses trotted out that are called upon to prove more than they teach! The so-called precious “elect” of the determinist certainly were “perishing” at one time and thought the gospel was “foolishness” (1Cor 1). And Praise to the Father that He does draw everyone sufficiently to a point of decision to seek His mercy. Without His drawing no-one could come. But the verse does not limit in any way the audience of who is drawn to a specific group (John 6).

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Brian:
        Had the very same reaction to the “those who are perishing…..foolishness” when I read it. That is supposed to be a gothca verse!!! The gospel is foolishness (at first) to those who repent also….so that proves nothing….. not a thing!!

        We are perishing…..we hear the gospel…..it is foolishness to us. Later for some it is not…it is beauty. So? The foolishness idea still applied to them (back then). They were perishing and it was foolishness!

        This only proves what you learned with John 6:44 that no matter what is said….. comparing on of their 40-50 gotcha verses to 500 other verses in Scripture makes no difference….. they will just trot out the same old stuff to the next guy who comes along.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. FOH writes, “…they will just trot out the same old stuff to the next guy who comes along.”

        To FOH, the Scriptures are “old stuff” compared to his enlightened philosophy.

        Like

      6. brianwagner writes, “Praise to the Father that He does draw everyone sufficiently to a point of decision to seek His mercy.”

        This is your personal philosophy using “sufficiently” in a very nebulous manner – difficult even for you to define.

        Then, “Without His drawing no-one could come.”

        Yes – the Total Depravity with which Dr. Flowers has problems.

        Then, “But the verse does not limit in any way the audience of who is drawn to a specific group (John 6).”

        Yes – This being inclusive of both Jews and gentiles – whomever God will draw.

        Like

      7. Not my “personal philosophy” – God’s stated purpose – “that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17), “that men should seek the Lord… and find Him” (Acts 17:27)… So since universalism is not true, and determinism reinterprets “world” and “men” to unnatural limited number, the best natural understanding of those words and His purpose is that God gives sufficient light to each person to seek Him, but not irresistibly. (John 1:9)

        Liked by 2 people

      8. brianwagner writes, “Not my “personal philosophy” – God’s stated purpose – “that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17), “that men should seek the Lord… and find Him” (Acts 17:27)…”

        You said, “Praise to the Father that He does draw everyone sufficiently to a point of decision to seek His mercy.” The key phrase being, “…draw everyone sufficiently…” Your cited verses do not speak explicitly of God’s drawing but point to that which God has done for people even prior to His drawing. Did you mean to have these verses apply after God’s drawing?

        Like

      9. Sorry Roger you didn’t make the connection! I thought you believed that God always fulfills His purposes! 😉 Where we disagree is on how He does it and what He meant when He stated His purposes so clearly. Sufficiently drawing everyone to be able to seek and find, but not irresistibly is the best explanation of how God fulfills His purposes in those verses.

        Like

      10. brianwagner writes, “Sorry Roger you didn’t make the connection!”

        Yes, and because you are the teacher here, the burden is on you to explain it..

        Then, “I thought you believed that God always fulfills His purposes! 😉 Where we disagree is on how He does it and what He meant when He stated His purposes so clearly.”

        God does fulfill His purpose. We both know that there have been people who have lived throughout history without once hearing the gospel. Thus, God speaks, in the verses cited, of mankind in general and not specifically of each and every individual. So, is it true as you claimed, “…He does draw everyone sufficiently to a point of decision to seek His mercy”? You must conclude that God draws by means other than the gospel – True? But, “sufficient” would seem to require conveyance of faith and this is only possible through the gospel. So, I find your position confusing.

        Then, “Sufficiently drawing everyone to be able to seek and find, but not irresistibly is the best explanation of how God fulfills His purposes in those verses.”

        By “not irresistibly,” you allow that people can be drawn and still conclude that the gospel is foolishness. However, such people said the gospel was foolishness before being drawn. So, your drawing appears not to have been “sufficient” for much of anything (other than to save God’s elect).

        Like

      11. He has and does sufficiently draw everyone, and faith is possible from birth to trust whatever truth/mercy/goodness God uses to lead to repentance.

        “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” – Rom 2:4 NKJV

        “But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “LORD, who has believed our report?” 17 So then faith [comes] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 18 But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: “Their sound has gone out to all the earth, And their words to the ends of the world.” – Rom 10:16-18 NKJV

        The evidence is clear and God’s purpose is being fulfilled… Men are able to seek and find Him based on what He has provided to each of them. I am sorry your loyalty to determinism blinds you from seeing this clear biblical teaching.

        Liked by 3 people

      12. brianwagner writes, “Men are able to seek and find Him based on what He has provided to each of them….”

        I am still not buying your claim that every person who has ever lived has heard the gospel. So, we disagree.

        Like

      13. I’m willing to concede Roger that they at least heard enough to enable them sufficiently to seek God and His mercy. Those who seek will find. The Scriptures are clear on God’s purpose for everyone. You just want to believe that He is unable to have conditonal purposes and a future in His mind that is not completely determined. Yours is the weaker view of God, imo.

        Like

      14. “The sinner is held responsible for what he is and what he does.”
        Since, in your system, he can do nothing that God didn’t program him to do, this is a nonsense statement. He is responsible for the sin of rejecting God when God left no other option open to him? How does that work with God not being willing that any should perish? Seems to make God more than willing that most should perish because he created them for the purpose of perishing.

        Liked by 4 people

      15. WW:
        This is one of the Calvinist-determinist “mysteries” . They are convinced that this inexplicable contradiction is true.

        God condemns and provides no way of escape (and decrees before the foundation of the world)…..yet man is responsible.

        Illogical and unbiblical.

        Of course we believe that man is responsible!!! and exactly for the reason that he CAN respond.

        Liked by 1 person

      16. FOH writes, “…he CAN respond.”

        Earlier, you said, “We are perishing…..we hear the gospel…..it is foolishness to us.” So can a person respond positively to the gospel or can’t he? FOH displays his confusion again.

        Like

      17. Hutch, I think the confusion is yours. Just because we are perishing and the Gospel sounds like foolishness to us does not mean we cannot respond to it. Does full or even correct understanding of theology preclude repentance and throwing ourselves at the mercy of Jesus?

        Liked by 2 people

      18. EK writes, “Just because we are perishing and the Gospel sounds like foolishness to us does not mean we cannot respond to it.”

        I agree. People are able to respond to the gospel, and that response is to reject it (because it is foolishness to them).

        Then, “Does full or even correct understanding of theology preclude repentance and throwing ourselves at the mercy of Jesus? ”

        Yes, as Paul explains, “…a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.” (1 Corinthians 2) In Romans 8, Paul adds, “…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.” Then, Romans 1, “…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.” Absent the influence of the Spirit of God, no person is going to conclude that the gospel is other than foolishness.

        Like

      19. Hutch, “I agree. People are able to respond to the gospel, and that response is to reject it (because it is foolishness to them).”

        But you’re equivocation of the word “respond” renders your argument invalid. “Can respond to the Gospel” and “can only reject the Gospel” are not the same thing. Indeed, “can only reject the Gospel” is not a “response”. That violates the definition of “response” and makes it equal to “react”.

        It also artfully dodges my argument. Nowhere in Scripture does it say that just because the Gospel is foolishness to the natural man (which I do not even think it says this), therefore, he cannot respond to it/can only react one way to it.

        ““…a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.” (1 Corinthians 2)”

        And if I thought the context of 1 Cor 2 showed us that Paul was talking about the Gospel proclamation and the unbelievers acceptance of that proclamation, I would agree with you. Instead, I think you just get the text wrong here because it fits your systematic.

        ” In Romans 8, Paul adds, “…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.””

        The mind being hostile to God and unable to subject itself to the law of God does not prove that man is unable to admit they are hostile to God and so throw themselves at the mercy of the One who fulfilled the Law for them. Sorry, it does not matter how many times you repeat this argument, “Cannot fulfil the law” simply does not mean “cannot respond in faith to the Gospel”. It just does not.

        “Then, Romans 1, “…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.””

        This passage does the opposite of what you think. You just interpreted 1 Cor 2 as meaning that the natural man cannot even understand the simplest spiritual truth (namely, “you are a sinner in need of a savior”) such as to be saved and yet Romans 1 says that natural men “knew God”. Which is it?

        “Absent the influence of the Spirit of God, no person is going to conclude that the gospel is other than foolishness.”

        It is shocking to me that you think that saying that the proclamation of Gospel is absent the influence of the Spirit of God is a superior position. You are literally, from your own mouth, saying that the Gospel has zero inherent spiritual power. I beg you to reconsider, brother.

        Liked by 3 people

      20. Eric:
        you sound like you just got here! Hutch has been rocking back and forth on this horse for a long time.

        You and I and most people know that having one answer “no” is not really a choice (Henry Ford: “They can buy it in any color they want as long as it’s black”)…..but Calvinists can’t see that. They bring too many presuppositions to the table.

        Brian clearly showed that saying the gospel is foolishness proves nothing since it is foolishness to all who are perishing (at first)—- even the ones who eventually turn to Christ. But ……but ……they still bring that verse out like it is a show-stopper when a new guy gets in the conversation.

        Brian has exegeted John 6:44, what, about four times…. and they still say “you never told us what John 6:44 means.”

        They have a glaze over their eyes and any answer that is not from monergism.com doesn’t count… no matter how many clear verses you stack up on it.

        Liked by 1 person

      21. OverHere, “you sound like you just got here! Hutch has been rocking back and forth on this horse for a long time.”

        I did just get here kinda! To the comments section anyway. I’ve fallen into the newb trap apparently.

        Like

      22. FOH wrutes, “Brian clearly showed that saying the gospel is foolishness proves nothing since it is foolishness to all who are perishing (at first)—- even the ones who eventually turn to Christ.”

        Brian affirms Total Depravity. No problem there.

        Then, “Brian has exegeted John 6:44, what, about four times…. and they still say “you never told us what John 6:44 means.””

        Brian has provided his take on 6:44. He thinks it implies that a person drawn by God can reject that drawing – and he must do this because the alternative is the Calvinist position. If someone understands Brian’s position on 6:44, that is fine – I suspect you don’t.

        The NET Bible offers this explanation – “The Father who sent me draws him. The author never specifically explains what this “drawing” consists of. It is evidently some kind of attraction; whether it is binding and irresistible or not is not mentioned. But there does seem to be a parallel with 6:65, where Jesus says that no one is able to come to him unless the Father has allowed it. This apparently parallels the use of Isaiah by John to reflect the spiritual blindness of the Jewish leaders (see the quotations from Isaiah in John 9:41 and 12:39-40).”

        Like

      23. EK writes, “Indeed, “can only reject the Gospel” is not a “response”. That violates the definition of “response” and makes it equal to “react”.”

        I don’t think there is a real difference between response and react in the context of hearing the gospel. A person responds/reacts to the gospel in either a positive or negative manner. That’s the way I see it.

        Then, “Nowhere in Scripture does it say that just because the Gospel is foolishness to the natural man (which I do not even think it says this), therefore, he cannot respond to it/can only react one way to it.”

        Scripture tells us that the response/reaction to the gospel is to call the gospel foolishness.

        Then, “I think you just get the text wrong here because it fits your systematic.”

        OK. You are free to suggest an alternative explanation.

        Then, “Sorry, it does not matter how many times you repeat this argument, “Cannot fulfil the law” simply does not mean “cannot respond in faith to the Gospel”. It just does not.”

        It says (1) [the mind set on the flesh] does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; and (2) those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Would not a person “please” God if they responded in faith to the gospel? However, absent the hearing of the gospel, there can be no response – to which we both seem to agree, while disagreeing on the meaning of “hearing” the gospel.

        Then, “You just interpreted 1 Cor 2 as meaning that the natural man cannot even understand the simplest spiritual truth (namely, “you are a sinner in need of a savior”) such as to be saved and yet Romans 1 says that natural men “knew God”. Which is it? ”

        Both. People can know about God through observation of the creation – that God is omnipotent, eternal, sovereign, etc. However, Romans 1 tells us that people reject God at this level. Then we come to a person’s understanding of the gospel and Christ’s death on the cross. More than just rejecting God, this says that people call the gospel foolishness (a person can understand the basic concepts stated in the words since they call it foolishness) and cannot do otherwise because such is a spiritual understanding.

        Then, “You are literally, from your own mouth, saying that the Gospel has zero inherent spiritual power.”

        The option here is to say that the gospel has true spiritual power and saves (as I do) or the gospel has a watered down power that can try to persuade but not save.

        Like

      24. Hutch

        “I don’t think there is a real difference between response and react in the context of hearing the gospel. A person responds/reacts to the gospel in either a positive or negative manner. That’s the way I see it.”

        Then you are knowingly, willingly adhering to a logical fallacy. I suspect this is in service of a greater truth that somehow MUST be true even if you must hold to fallacies to get there. Please allow me to show you: You know full well that a response and a reaction are not the same things. To equate them is a logical fallacy called “equivocation”. Yet you feel able to say the phrase “in the context of hearing the gospel” as if that relieves you of the logical fallacy of equivocation. I suspect you know it doesn’t, you know you’re asking for a special pleading that will allow you to maintain this irrational defence, but hey, as long as you’re able to type a response, right? It works great too, it enables you to sound biblical when you use the word “response” when you really mean “react” and your reader doesn’t know you irrationally equate the two.

        “Scripture tells us that the response/reaction to the gospel is to call the gospel foolishness.”

        Sigh. I see what is going on here. You read my words but you’re not really trying to understand what I’m saying. You read my words with the purpose of grasping onto one of the words/phrases I use and using it to respond. For instance, I argued that seeing the Gospel as foolishness does not preclude responding positively to it, neither rationally nor biblically. You ignored this argument wholesale and then reasserted “calling the gospel foolishness is the same as rejecting it”. Let’s try again: Your argument does not follow and there is no biblical evidence that supports it.

        1 Cor 2: Paul is talking about the nature of spiritual wisdom, not salvation. He starts the chapter by saying “I didn’t come with superior wisdom but with spiritual power” and then in the next paragraph (v. 6) says “But spiritual wisdom is still important” and then goes on in the rest of the chapter to discuss the nature of this spiritual wisdom and why it is important. The paragraph in question is his conclusion of the discussion on spiritual wisdom:

        “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. 15 But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. 16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.”

        Paul is contrasting the “natural man” who is a fool with the “spiritual man” who appraises all things. He’s not contrasting believer vs. unbeliever and is not discussing how salvation is obtained at any time in this context. This is plainly evidenced by his reason for why believers are spiritually mature, “But we have the mind of Christ”. He’s talking to believers about the spiritual wisdom they should value because they have the mind of Christ.

        You just plain read your systematic into something that is not there because it SOUNDS like it can provide evidence for what you already believe to be true.

        “It says (1) [the mind set on the flesh] does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; and (2) those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Would not a person “please” God if they responded in faith to the gospel?”

        No. The “please God” in that context is equated with “subject itself to the law of God”. It means pleasing God in the sense of earning salvation. Responding in faith to the Gospel is not meritorious of salvation. Faith does not EARN you righteousness. Honestly, Hutch, brother, do you read Flower’s articles and watch his broadcasts or do you just go on his blog to argue with us? He’s addressed this objection of yours literally hundreds of times. Disagree with it all you like, but please do not act as if this blog you are arguing on does not contain a rebuttal to it repeated dozens of times over.

        I said, ““You just interpreted 1 Cor 2 as meaning that the natural man cannot even understand the simplest spiritual truth (namely, “you are a sinner in need of a savior”) such as to be saved and yet Romans 1 says that natural men “knew God”. Which is it? ”

        You replied, “Both. People can know about God through observation of the creation – that God is omnipotent, eternal, sovereign, etc. However, Romans 1 tells us that people reject God at this level but…people call the gospel foolishness”

        I guess you’re saying that knowing God and His attributes is not “spiritual truth” (so the unbeliever can understand it) yet knowing that that same God provided a way for them to be saved is “spiritual truth”? Where is that in the Bible?

        “The option here is to say that the gospel has true spiritual power and saves (as I do) or the gospel has a watered down power that can try to persuade but not save.”

        But that’s not what you said. You said, “Absent the influence of the Spirit of God, no person is going to conclude that the gospel is other than foolishness.” Whether you realize it or not, you are saying that the Gospel is powerless without a separate working of the Holy Spirit. Left alone, the Gospel has no spiritual power to save. Those are your words. So no, it is not your position that “the gospel has true spiritual power and save”, it is your position that God saves independent FROM the Gospel message.

        Liked by 1 person

      25. Sorry Eric,

        I thought since you were a guest writer for Leighton once that you knew what was going on here, but I see by your statement below that I was wrong.

        “Sigh. I see what is going on here. You read my words but you’re not really trying to understand what I’m saying”

        I try to warn no comment-ers to not waste their time, since there is absolutely no effort on his part to dialog/ understand (but I assumed you knew). He is constantly telling Brian that he did not exegete a passage (simply cuz the exegesis did not fancy him), and reserves nothing but ad hominems for me.

        Like

      26. fromoverhere, yea, whenever I took a peek I found his comments section to be overwhelming so it was usually just a glance. But I’m learning how to navigate it better and want to try to manage it for him a bit more.

        I’m certainly seeing his tactics first hand. Even if you had warned me I probably still would have engaged anyway. I like to run into brick walls to find out for myself. I’m that kinda guy. Thanks for looking out!

        Like

      27. EK writes, “You know full well that a response and a reaction are not the same things.”

        Not so. Miriam-Webster defines “response” as “something constituting a reply or a reaction.” That makes response and reaction to be the same thing. You seem to have in mind a particular definition of “response” and a particular definition of “reaction” that make them mean different things. We need your definitions of these words so that we are on the same page. So, how about giving your definitions and apply your definitions to the issue of salvation.

        You say, “You read my words but you’re not really trying to understand what I’m saying.” Actually, I really don’t know what you are trying to say because I don’t have your definitions of these terms. My ignorance of your terms is not on purpose – you need to define your terms or else I go to the dictionary to define them for you – and that does not seem to be working.

        Then, “I argued that seeing the Gospel as foolishness does not preclude responding positively to it,”

        No, you expressed this opinion. I want to see your argument for this. It seems illogical to me that a person would respond positively to that which he deems foolishness. Can you give an example where a person does this in ordinary life?

        Then, “Paul is contrasting the “natural man” who is a fool with the “spiritual man” who appraises all things. He’s not contrasting believer vs. unbeliever…”

        I see the terms, “natural man,” and “fool” and “wicked” as used throughout the Scriptures to be synonyms for the unbeliever. Then, what is the “spiritual man” if not a believer? What are your definitions of “natural man” and “spiritual man” if not believer and unbeliever? Nonetheless, I agree that Paul is speaking to the maturity of believers – we seem to disagree that Paul is doing this by contrasting the believers with unbelievers.

        Perhaps, we can straighten out definitions and then proceed on to your other comments. Little steps.

        Like

      28. ww writes, “Since, in your system, he can do nothing that God didn’t program him to do, this is a nonsense statement. ”

        No programming here. There are, however, collateral impacts from Adam’s sin – but you can disagree.

        Then, “Seems to make God more than willing that most should perish because he created them for the purpose of perishing.”

        That is the Universalist argument.

        Like

      29. Universalists may use that argument but that doesn’t mean that it is exclusively a Universalist argument. Basically your whole the argument is that Adam had free will but nobody else does, which of course is pure supposition and actually not calvinism. The whole calvinists system is based on everything happening because of a decision God made before creation, so that nothing happens on a free-will basis, and “programmed”is the right word.

        Liked by 2 people

      30. ww writes, “Basically your whole the argument is that Adam had free will but nobody else does, which of course is pure supposition and actually not calvinism.”

        Not exactly. The Calvinist system says that Adam’s freedom of will was not tainted by sin but everyone else’s is tainted because of Adam’s sin. You have a different system.

        Then, “The whole calvinists system is based on everything happening because of a decision God made before creation, so that nothing happens on a free-will basis, and “programmed”is the right word.”

        Not exactly. Calvinism says that God is sovereign and rules over His creation, and you can disagree with that. Of course, your statement requires a definition of “free will” that distinguishes itself from Calvinism. Have you developed a definition, yet?

        Like

      31. Until as you explain how”free will” can have any meaning in a predetermined universe, any talk of man’s will is meaningless. Saying men are influenced by sin when God is already completely controlling them, what does that even mean?

        Liked by 2 people

      32. ww writes, “Until as you explain how”free will” can have any meaning in a predetermined universe, any talk of man’s will is meaningless.”

        People whose actions are foreknown by God act with free will where they choose those actions according to their desires.

        Then, “Saying men are influenced by sin when God is already completely controlling them, what does that even mean?”

        It means that God controls but does not coerce any person to an action contrary to their desire.

        Like

      33. Appealing to foreknowledge again…same old, same old. Foreknowledge is not the question. Predetermined means they only have one choice, the one God chose for them. God chose the choice and the desire before creation, so man’s will is irrelevant in your system.

        Liked by 1 person

      34. That’s exactly right!!
        Calvinist double-think goes like this:
        Calvin’s god first-conceived and then renders-certain *EVERY* human sin *AS-IF* he didn’t

        Liked by 1 person

      35. ww writes, “Predetermined means they only have one choice, the one God chose for them.”

        Predetermined means that a person’s strongest desire determines that which he chooses. To say that God also chooses means that God does not intervene to prevent that choice.

        Like

      36. Dance much? Let me put it this way, if God is predetermining the desire, as the confession states, whose desire is it really? Since God is the one designing your mind, and he has determined that the non-elect individuals mind and heart will never accept him, just how ridiculous is it to claim that that person has free will? He can choose only one thing in response to God and that is to reject him.

        Liked by 1 person

      37. ww asks “if God is predetermining the desire, as the confession states, whose desire is it really?”

        That God determines the desire means that He exercises absolute control over the desires of people – it does not mean that God causes those desires.

        Then, “Since God is the one designing your mind, and he has determined that the non-elect individuals mind and heart will never accept him, just how ridiculous is it to claim that that person has free will?”

        God designed people in His image. This means, among other things, that people have the ability to gather information, learn from their environment, think logically, have wants and desires and choose how to satisfy their wants and desires. The person, because of Adam’s sin, is born with a corrupt heart and seeks to satisfy selfishly his wants and desires. God did not make his heart corrupt but decreed that the person inherit Adam’s nature as corrupted by his sin. Thus, a person is born a slave of sin and therefore not free, but within the confines of that slavery to sin, he is able to pursue freely his selfish desires.

        Then, “He can choose only one thing in response to God and that is to reject him.”

        That is because he is hostile to God and desires only to reject God.

        Like

      38. ww asks “if God is predetermining the desire, as the confession states, whose desire is it really?”

        rhutchin responds
        That God determines the desire means that He exercises absolute control over the desires of people – it does not mean that God causes those desires.

        br.d
        Calvin’s god first-conceives those sinful desires millennia before the person is born and then renders-them certain as that person’s unavoidable fate – but he doesn’t “cause” them – yeah right! 😉

        Liked by 3 people

      39. If embracing a direct contradiction works for you, have at it. If I exercise absolute control over someones desire, then, yes, I choose for them what they can want and what they can’t. Anyone with an iota of common sense can see that truth, but you have to deny it because of a silly Calvinist contradiction caused by a mangled reading of scripture.

        “Thus, a person is born a slave of sin and therefore not free, but within the confines of that slavery to sin, he is able to pursue freely his selfish desires.”

        God: “I created you for hell, but look on the bright side, you still get cucumbers!”

        No thanks, I’ll stick with the loving God of scripture who really does desire everyone’s salvation.

        Liked by 1 person

      40. ww qrites, “If I exercise absolute control over someones desire, then, yes, I choose for them what they can want and what they can’t.”

        That you control a person’s desires does not require that you cause those desires. As an analogy, your ability to drive a car and control the speed of the car goes and where it goes is not the same as manufacturing the car so that it can do certain things.

        Then, “I’ll stick with the loving God of scripture who really does desire everyone’s salvation.”

        That’s fine. You say God can desire a perosn’s salvation but is impotent in bringing about the person’s salvation. Calvinism says that God desires a person’s salvation and is omnipotent to bring about the perosn’s salvation.

        Like

      41. rhutchin
        That you control a person’s desires does not REQUIRE that you CAUSE those desires

        br.d
        Here the Calvinist plays a shell-game with the term “CAUSE”.
        1) In Calvinism, Calvin’s god is, (per Calvinist philosopher James Anderson) the ULTIMATE SUFFICIENT CAUSE of every sin and evil.
        2) In Calvinism, Calvin’s god is the SOLE NECESSARY CAUSE of every sin and evil.

        Even though it may not be the case that Calvin’s god is the DIRECT CAUSE of a given sin or evil.
        For example, Calvin’s god throws a baby into the fire of Molech.
        The Calvinist can argue that gravity and the laws of motion were the CAUSE the baby’s death in the fire of Molech.

        Calvinist shell games are the same exact game we find with Bill Clinton who gamed term “sexual relations”.
        These shell games allow Calvinists to speak half-truths – while withholding the hole-truth.

        Liked by 1 person

      42. I’m glad you agree that my position is scriptural. But I see you couldn’t help setting up the strawman. Obviously I don’t believe that God is impotent to save anyone, but that there is a condition for salvation, namely faith, that God requires, not a secret choosing of a few for salvation.

        Liked by 1 person

      43. WW,
        Yes…. note straw men in abundance for them……

        Imagine this:

        Onlooking Egyptians mocking Israelites saying….. “Their God is impotent to save them by Himself. He needs them to mark which doors to pass over with blood! Ha! He cannot even save them without their participation!”

        It is interesting (and sad) that Calvinists label God as impotent for a condition that He Himself put on the situation.

        Liked by 1 person

      44. ww writes, “…that there is a condition for salvation, namely faith, that God requires,…”

        God conveys faith to His elect as a gift. God desires the salvation of His elect; His elect are saved.

        Like

      45. How to make Calvinist cool-aid

        1 parts Gnosticism (doctrine of good-evil)
        3 parts NeoPlatonism (doctrine of divine immutability)
        6 parts Christianity

        Blend until thoroughly mixed – (i.e., one can no longer discern the different parts). :-]

        Liked by 1 person

      46. If this is true, then it follows that God with holds faith from most people, that he doesn’t desire their salvation, and in fact, hates most of humanity. Yet he tells us to even love those who hate and mistreat us. Is the Calvinist more loving than God?

        Liked by 1 person

      47. WW,
        Yes…. at the end of the day, God is withholding faith…. but He has condemned them from before time anyway….so no big deal.

        Oh….. but…… but….. gotta throw in a “but they deserve hell!” and that smooths it all over.

        Liked by 1 person

      48. ww writes, “If this is true, then it follows that God with holds faith from most people, that he doesn’t desire their salvation, and in fact, hates most of humanity.”

        Apparently so, since it does not appear that all will be saved. If God does not save a person, what hope does that person have.

        Then, “Yet he tells us to even love those who hate and mistreat us. Is the Calvinist more loving than God? ”

        I like the Universalist approach on this. I just think there will be people who will not enter heaven.

        Like

      49. “Apparently so, since it does not appear that all will be saved. If God does not save a person, what hope does that person have.”
        So, most likely, we are not saved. Or at best, maybe we can be what? Maybe 20 percent sure we are one of the chosen?

        Of course there will be people who don’t enter heaven. Because they will reject God’s will for them.

        Like

      50. ww writes, “Of course there will be people who don’t enter heaven. Because they will reject God’s will for them.”

        It is those who reject God’s offer of salvation with which Calvinism deals. Calvinism says that God can freely choose some of these to save while passing over all others.

        Like

      51. “It is those who reject God’s offer of salvation with which Calvinism deals. Calvinism says that God can freely choose some of these to save while passing over all others”
        “What more was there to do for My vineyard that I have not done in it? Why, when I expected it to produce good grapes did it produce worthless ones”

        “Yet I planted you a choice vine, A completely faithful seed How then have you turned yourself before Me Into the degenerate shoots of a foreign vine?”

        “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

        God seems awfully upset at people for doing exactly what he created them to do. I could go on for pages with these kinds of verses. If Jesus was a Calvinist, I wonder what he would have said the woman who touched the Hem of His robe?” The faith (which I irresistibly imparted to you before the creation of the world,) has nothing to do with your healing. You were healed only because you were predestined to be healed.”

        Liked by 1 person

      52. ww wrotes, “God seems awfully upset at people for doing exactly what he created them to do. I could go on for pages with these kinds of verses.”

        Those verses have God presenting His case. He has given people all they need to decide freely to serve Him. Should a person decide freely not to serve God, then God is under no obligation to save that person. No person has any complaint against God.

        ww writes, ” If Jesus was a Calvinist, I wonder what he would have said the woman who touched the Hem of His robe?” …you were healed only because you were predestined to be healed.””

        He very well could have. He could have told the woman that He knew her before the creation, that God had begun a good work in her, and that He would raise her up at the last day. He chose not to do so, but He does tell believers those things, doesn’t He.

        Like

      53. WW,
        Great passages! Of course the Calvinist commentator starts by telling us what these verses do NOT mean…… (it can’t mean that!! …says us).

        Then they say that God has two wills….. the one He tells men not to do (command) and the one He makes them do (sovereign).

        What they never manage to get to in all the nonsensical, logic-defying winding around is why “The Lord God” ever says things in His eternal word like “I expected this, but got this… ”

        And yet…….and yet……. Someone will double-down with some non-answer answer….. and the YRR groupies will shout Amen Amen!

        Like

      54. Yep one of my biggest frustrations with the calvinist God is his dishonesty. One of the first things I ever heard a calvinist say that really Disturbed me, was that God creates some people solely to damn them. Being raised Wesleyan I knew that was wrong, but didn’t really know how to express that at the time. This double dealing God is like a mobster who smiles in your face and promises reward, then stabs you in the back. And he acts nothing like Jesus.

        Liked by 1 person

      55. WW,
        The last part is the key —-in what way does this resemble Jesus?

        Did they forget that Christ is on earth as the very image of God? Christ is constantly inviting people (rich young ruler) “follow me” and they dont. So if He has really all along designed them for damnation, what kind of an insincere lie is that “invitation”?

        Like

      56. ww writes, “God creates some people solely to damn them.”

        What is the difference between “God creates some people solely to damn them,” and “God creates some people knowing they will reject Christ.”.

        Like

      57. The answer is obvious. A sincere offer can’t be made if God predetermines the out come. The question doesn’t make sense unless you are assuming God’s knowledge somehow determines a persons response.

        Like

      58. ww writes, “A sincere offer can’t be made if God predetermines the out come. The question doesn’t make sense unless you are assuming God’s knowledge somehow determines a persons response.”

        William Craig says that God’s foreknowledge of a future event does not cause the event. So, let’s go with that. Given that, What is the difference between “God creates some people solely to damn them,” and “God creates some people knowing they will reject Christ”?

        Like

      59. I guess you either get it or you don’t. As has been spelled out numerous times, in your system, God’s decree is prior to his decision to create. For Arminians, God hates sin, for calvinists, God decreed every sin. For Arminians, God allows people to reject him, but desires thier salvation, for calvinists, God decreed most people to reject him and created them for that purpose. Since you insist God can’t know the future with out decreeing it….

        Like

      60. ww writes, “you insist God can’t know the future with out decreeing it….”

        If God knows the future, then that future has been decreed, and because God is sovereign, He necessarily decrees all things – no one else can, as no one else is sovereign.

        Like

      61. If God is sovereign, then he can create a future where free choices shape that future. He could, if he wished, start a world where he did not control any of man’s actions. What we are actually shown in scripture is a combination of man’s actions and Gods actions shaping history.

        Like

      62. ww
        [Calvin’s] god creates some people solely to damn them.”

        rhutchin
        What is the difference between “God creates some people solely to damn them,” and “God creates some people knowing they will reject Christ.”?

        br.d
        The first statement is clear and not deceptive. The second statement is equivocal and misleading and therefore deceptive because it strategically hides two facts:
        1) Obviously “they will reject Christ” – Calvin’s god allows then no Alternative Possibility.
        2) Obviously he knows he has fated them to reject Christ – and he knows he does not allow them to DO OTHERWISE.
        The second statement is duplicitous on both points and that’s why it is dishonest.

        Like

      63. br.d writes, “1) Obviously “they will reject Christ” – Calvin’s god allows then no Alternative Possibility.
        2) Obviously he knows he has fated them to reject Christ – and he knows he does not allow them to DO OTHERWISE.”

        In other words, we could write these this way–

        1) Obviously “they will reject Christ” – and Calvin’s god will pass over them.
        2) Obviously he knows he has fated them to reject Christ – he knows he will pass over them.

        Like

      64. ww
        [Calvin’s] god creates some people solely to damn them.”

        rhutchin
        What is the difference between “God creates some people solely to damn them,” and “God creates some people knowing they will reject Christ.”?

        br.d
        The first statement is clear and not deceptive. The second statement is equivocal and misleading and therefore deceptive because it strategically hides two facts:
        1) Obviously “they will reject Christ” – Calvin’s god allows then no Alternative Possibility.
        2) Obviously he knows he has fated them to reject Christ – and he knows he does not allow them to DO OTHERWISE.
        The second statement is duplicitous on both points and that’s why it is dishonest.

        rhutchin
        In other words, we could write these this way–

        1) Obviously “they will reject Christ” – and Calvin’s god will pass over them.
        2) Obviously he knows he has fated them to reject Christ – he knows he will pass over them.

        br.d
        Thank you rhutchin for further exemplifying that equivocal/misleading/dishonest double-speak ( Calvinism’s *AS-IF* language).

        Obviously Calvin’s god will “pass over them” – given he fated them to be passed over. – DUH!

        Or it can be written using Calvinism’s *AS-IF* language
        1) Calvin’s god “passes over them” *AS-IF* he didn’t fate them to be passed over.
        2) And *AS-IF* he wasn’t the one who fated them to “reject him”.

        More great examples of Calvinist double-speak rhutchin – thanks. 😉

        Like

      65. br.d writes, “Or it can be written using Calvinism’s *AS-IF* language
        1) Calvin’s god “passes over them” *AS-IF* he didn’t fate them to be passed over.
        2) And *AS-IF* he wasn’t the one who fated them to “reject him”.

        This si wrong. God had decreed from eternity those He would intervene to save and those He would pass over. So, we have–

        1) Calvin’s god “passes over them” *AS-IF* He decreed to pass over them
        2) And *AS-IF* he was the one who always knew them to “reject him”.

        Like

      66. br.d
        Or it can be written using Calvinism’s *AS-IF* language
        1) Calvin’s god “passes over them” *AS-IF* he didn’t fate them to be passed over.
        2) And *AS-IF* he wasn’t the one who fated them to “reject him”.

        rhutchin
        This si wrong. God had decreed from eternity those He would intervene to save and those He would pass over. So, we have–
        1) Calvin’s god “passes over them” *AS-IF* He decreed to pass over them
        2) And *AS-IF* he was the one who always knew them to “reject him”.

        br.d
        You almost have it correct – but your number (2) is more Calvinist dishonesty
        1) He decreed/fated them to be passed over therefore they were passed over.
        2) He always knew they would reject him because before they were born he decreed/fated them to reject him.

        Remember – Calvin’s god knows future events NOT BY OBSERVATION but by decreeing/fating them before they occur.

        Like

      67. br.d writes, “1) He decreed/fated them to be passed over therefore they were passed over.”

        1) He decreed/fated them to be passed over (i.e., He would pass over them) in eternity past therefore they were passed over in the course of time.

        Then, “2) He always knew they would reject him because before they were born he decreed/fated them to reject him.”

        2) He always knew sinful humanity would reject him because before they were born he decreed/fated them the freedom to reject him.

        Like

      68. br.d
        “1) He decreed/fated them to be passed over therefore they were passed over.”

        rhutchin
        1) He decreed/fated them to be passed over (i.e., He would pass over them) in eternity past therefore they were passed over in the course of time.

        br.d
        Again – your statement only affirms the original point.

        “2) He always knew they would reject him because before they were born he decreed/fated them to reject him.”

        rhutchin
        2) He always knew sinful humanity would reject him because before they were born he decreed/fated them the freedom to reject him.

        br.d
        Lying by omission, otherwise known as exclusionary detailing, is lying by either omitting certain facts or strategically failing to correct a misconception. – https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Lying_by_omission

        Here what is omitted is the fact that in Calvinism the ONLY “freedom” given is the freedom to do ONLY what Calvin’s god determines – and NO freedom to DO OTHERWISE. This is the second time you’ve lied by omission. It must be getting easier for you. :-]

        Like

      69. br.d writes, ‘Here what is omitted is the fact that in Calvinism the ONLY “freedom” given is the freedom to do ONLY what Calvin’s god determines – and NO freedom to DO OTHERWISE.”

        God determines that people do exactly that which they want. If a person cannot do otherwise, it is not because God prohibits him doing otherwise but because the person does not want to do otherwise. God, by His omniscience, knows the heart of the person and knows the sin (generally speaking) that they want to commit. God does nothing to prohibit a person pursuing the sin he loves. God does not force the person to do otherwise.

        Like

      70. FOH writes, “Then [Calvinists] say that God has two wills….. the one He tells men not to do (command) and the one He makes them do (sovereign).”

        Another example of FOH snoozing in class. God does have two wills. His will is to give people freedom to choose whether they will choose freely to serve Him. It is also God’s will to save some from among those who choose freely not to serve Him. Yet, God does not force, impel, or coerce anyone either to serve Him or to accept His offer of salvation. To the one, He gives His commands and says, “Choose what you will do.” To the other, he removes their spiritual blindness, so they can see an irresistible Christ. You should know this – Do you purposely distort these things or were you actually snoozing in class? I have given you the benefit of the doubt in saying that you were snoozing and can be clueless, at times, about Calvinist doctrine. I guess I should be saying that you stayed awake and now purposely distort Calvinist doctrine.

        Like

      71. rhutchin
        [Calvin’s] god does have two wills. His will is to give people freedom to choose whether they will choose freely to serve Him.

        br.d
        The interesting thing is this Calvinist actually believes people can be taken-in by that double-speak.
        The only freedom Calvin’s god gives people is the freedom do think/say/do what he determines them to think/say/do.
        He gives them NO freedom to DO OTHERWISE.

        Like

      72. br.d writes, “The only freedom Calvin’s god gives people is the freedom do think/say/do what he determines them to think/say/do.”

        What God has determined is that the wicked be free to think/say/do whatever they want – God even tells us in the Scriptures what they will think/say/do.

        Like

      73. br.d writes, “The only freedom Calvin’s god gives people is the freedom do think/say/do what he determines them to think/say/do.”

        rhutchin
        What God has determined is that the wicked be free to think/say/do whatever they *WANT* – God even tells us in the Scriptures what they will think/say/do.

        br.d
        Wonderful! More great examples of Calvinist double-speak. :-]

        Everyone at SOT101 already knows – in Calvinism people are ONLY free to think/say/do what Calvin’s god determines them to think/say/do – and he does not allow them to think/say/do OTHERWISE.

        That Calvin’s god also determines what they *WANT* – is a logical equation an elementary school student can calculate.
        But the Calvinist tries to present things Calvin’s god determined *AS-IF* he didn’t determine them.

        This follows the instructions of John Calvin who teaches his disciples that EVERYTHING is determined IN EVERY PART.
        But the Calvinist is to:
        -quote “go about his office *AS-IF* nothing is determined in any part.”

        Another good lesson in Calvinist double-speak. :-]

        Like

      74. br.d
        We have all seen this a hundred times!

        For them, God determines everything. Period. Double full stop.

        Then later they say He only “does not stop” man from doing what he would naturally do. These comment pages on every topic of the blog are full of this nonsensical stuff which does not help the discussion at all.

        Only the blind determination (no pun intended!) of a Calvinist who comes to the Bible with presuppositions will continue to double-down on this and repeatedly say “nothing to see here.” That is why I make no further effort to respond to that nonsensical position. There is just nothing further to say. A = A, and not-A = A. Whatever.

        I say let the Bible speak! When God was imploring/asking men (throughout the Bible) to turn/ repent/ return/ resist He meant it!!! They could have! Cain could have listened to God speaking directly to him….

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

        The Calvinist preaches by all of his theology that this invitation by God (in Genesis– foundational book!) was insincere and just a mockery to Cain.

        Why even respond to these folks who quote the Bible with gotchas (usually the same 40-50 verse) but ignore so much of it!

        Like

      75. br.d writes, “in Calvinism people are ONLY free to think/say/do what Calvin’s god determines them to think/say/do – and he does not allow them to think/say/do OTHERWISE. ”

        God’s determination is that people be free wot act consistent with their wants and desires. God may restrict what a person is able to think/say/do and this is to restrain the sin they would do.

        Then, “That Calvin’s god also determines what they *WANT*

        However, God does not cause that which they want. This is determined by their sin nature which God determined should be free to desire sin.

        Then, “the Calvinist tries to present things Calvin’s god determined *AS-IF* he didn’t determine them.”

        Calvinism clearly says that God determines/ordains all things. The distinction is that God can determine all things without directly causing all things.

        Then, “But the Calvinist is to:-quote “go about his office *AS-IF* nothing is determined in any part.”

        Bad advice from Calvin. Hopefully, Calvinists don’t follow that advice.

        Like

      76. br.d
        “in Calvinism people are ONLY free to think/say/do what Calvin’s god determines them to think/say/do – and he does not allow them to think/say/do OTHERWISE. ”

        rhutchin
        God’s determination is that people be free wot act consistent with their wants and desires.

        br.d
        Your losing your touch rhutchin – the original statement is correct and you response simply affirms it – howbeit with a seasoning of your normal subterfuge.. :-]

        Like

      77. ww
        “Of course there will be people who don’t enter heaven. Because they will reject God’s will for them.”

        rhutchin
        It is those who reject God’s OFFER OF SALVATION with which Calvinism deals. Calvinism says that God CAN freely choose some of these to save while passing over all others.

        br.d
        This is a great example of Calvinist double-talk through duplicity.
        Calvin’s god, millennia before people are born, determines their eternal fate.
        Not only that he determines every neurological impulse they *CAN* ever have throughout their life time.
        The Calvinist then wants to say that Calvin’s god gives to those he has already fated for damnation a -quote “OFFER OF SALVATION”

        This is a great example of Calvinism’s *AS-IF* speak….he gives them an OFFER OF SALVATION *AS-IF* he hadn’t already determined their damnation.

        Notice also how the Calvinist frames the statement – Calvin’s god *CAN* freely chose to save some while passing overs *AS-IF* there is some possibility he doesn’t do exactly that.

        And Jesus looked at the lawyer who had tempted him and said:
        “which one exemplifies the God of heaven? The one who passed over? Or the Samaritan?”

        Liked by 1 person

      78. br.d …

        The Good Samaritan story shows the priest and scribes are ridiculed for “passing by” a man in need. Isn’t that the same term….’God passes over’ the person that is not His elect. So for a Calvinist, God is not a Good Samaritan, He is a insincere religious worker.

        Liked by 1 person

      79. Yes! That’s exactly correct.
        The Calvinist god is the epitome of what Jesus hates.

        Also, take the narrative in scripture of King Solomon with two women standing before him – both claiming to be the biological mother of the same baby.

        Solomon, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit says “cut the baby in half”. He’s testing both of these women to see how they will respond.

        One woman says “go ahead and cut the baby in half – at least I’ll get my part”.
        The other women is willing to sacrifice her sovereignty over the baby in order that it may live.

        Which woman exemplifies the Father of Jesus, and which woman exemplifies the god of Calvin?
        I think the answer is obvious.

        Like

      80. br.d writes, “Not only that [God] determines every neurological impulse they *CAN* ever have throughout their life time.”

        This does not mean that God gives them certain neurological impulses but that He restricts the neurological impulses that they can have to some and not all possible impulses

        Psalm 10 tells us, “The wicked, in the haughtiness of his countenance, does not seek Him. All his thoughts are, “There is no God.” In the natural state of man, he always thinks, “There is no God.” God does not have to make the wicked think this way, they do so naturally. In Isaiah 65, we read, ““I have spread out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, Who walk in the way which is not good, following their own thoughts,…” The thoughts that the people of Israel think are not thoughts God has to give them.

        Like

      81. br.d writes, “Not only that [God] determines every neurological impulse they *CAN* ever have throughout their life time.”

        rhuchin
        This does not mean that God *GIVES* them certain neurological impulses but that He restricts the neurological impulses that they can have to some and not all possible impulses

        br.d
        Sorry – this is more Calvinist double-speak.
        Everyone here already knows – according to Calvinism, At the foundation of the world, before humans exist, Calvin’s god “FIRST CONCEIVES” every neurological impulse a person will have throughout their life-time. And according to Theological Determinism, they CANNOT have any alternative neurological impulses other than what he determines them to have.

        That fact is one Calvinists always seek to double-talk around.

        Whether or not that entails that he -quote *GIVES* them those neurological impulses or not is another irrelevant red herring.

        The point is – Calvin’s god is the obvious SOURCE and ORIGIN of every human neurological impulse – given the fact that they are first-conceived in his mind – before humans exist. Unless you want to argue that Calvin’s god doesn’t us his mind to makes decrees.

        To then try to say he -quote “restricts” certain of those neurological impulses – is simply more Calvinist subterfuge-speak.
        Welcome to your course in Calvinist double-talk 101 :-]

        Like

      82. br.d writes, “Everyone here already knows – according to Calvinism, At the foundation of the world, before humans exist, Calvin’s god “FIRST CONCEIVES” every neurological impulse a person will have throughout their life-time. And according to Theological Determinism, they CANNOT have any alternative neurological impulses other than what he determines them to have.”

        Of course, Calvinism says that God is omniscient and knows (FIRST CONCEIVES) all that is possible. Even non-Calvinists say this. By reference to determinism (specifically theological determinism), a person will have thoughts unique to himself unless God affects some change in his naturally occurring thoughts. Normally, God does not have to affect a change in a person’s thoughts but only direct those thoughts as we read in Proverbs 16, “The plans of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.” and Proverbs 21, “The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes.”

        Like

      83. br.d writes, “Everyone here already knows – according to Calvinism, At the foundation of the world, before humans exist, Calvin’s god “FIRST CONCEIVES” every neurological impulse a person will have throughout their life-time. And according to Theological Determinism, they CANNOT have any alternative neurological impulses other than what he determines them to have.”

        rhutchin
        Of course, Calvinism says that [Calvin’s] god is omniscient and KNOWS (FIRST CONCEIVES) all that is POSSIBLE.

        br.d
        Now this is instructive – as it is as close as rhutchin typically dares – to approach asserting an outright lie.

        Lying by omission: Otherwise known as exclusionary detailing, is lying by either omitting certain facts or by strategically failing to correct a misconception. – https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Lying_by_omission

        The fact that is omitted here is that Calvin’s god FIRST-CONCEIVES and fate *EVERYTHING* that comes to pass.
        Notice here also how the Calvinist uses the phrase “all that is POSSIBLE”
        This tactic is designed to mislead – by imply that things are POSSIBLE that Calvin’s god doesn’t FIRST-CONCEIVE as your fate.

        These quaint little examples of Calvinist subterfuge are wonderful rhutchin – thanks. 😉

        Like

      84. br.d writes, “The fact that is omitted here is that Calvin’s god FIRST-CONCEIVES and fate *EVERYTHING* that comes to pass.”

        This is not unique to Calvinism. By omniscience, God conceives all things both possible and then actual. By God’s omniscience, all things are necessarily determined. br.d says that God is not omniscient, so he disagrees.

        Like

      85. br.d
        “The fact that is omitted here is that Calvin’s god FIRST-CONCEIVES and fate *EVERYTHING* that comes to pass.”

        rhutcin
        This is not unique to Calvinism. By omniscience, God conceives all things both possible and then actual. By God’s omniscience, all things are necessarily determined. br.d says that God is not omniscient, so he disagrees.

        br.d
        1) Whether it is unique to Calvinism or the reverend Sun Myung Moon is irrelevant.
        2) You can’t provide any quote from br.d asserting that God is not omniscient – so this is more Calvinist dishonesty.
        3) You have clearly stated that Calvin’s god’s omniscience (logically follows) his decrees to create the world – making it the case that prior to his decrees he did not have omniscience. So in fact your position on omniscience is aberrant and a rejection of the orthodox doctrine that omniscience is an “essential” attribute of God – and further makes it the case that there was a point in eternity/time in which he had none.

        So much for your fallacious appeal to omniscience.
        And at this point – we’re still left with all of your previous examples of Calvinist double-speak and dishonesty. :-]

        Liked by 1 person

      86. br.d writes, “2) You can’t provide any quote from br.d asserting that God is not omniscient – so this is more Calvinist dishonesty.”

        If you say that God is omniscient, then what is your complaint against Calvinism?? If God is omniscient, then necessarily, all things are determined.

        Like

      87. br.d
        “2) You can’t provide any quote from br.d asserting that God is not omniscient – so this is more Calvinist dishonesty.”

        rhutchin
        If you say that God is omniscient, then what is your complaint against Calvinism?? If God is omniscient, then necessarily, all things are determined.

        br.d
        DUH! Your the one who asserts the aberrant un-orthodox position on omniscience – along with your fallacious appeal to it.
        And its obvious you can’t provide a quote from br.d asserting God is not omniscient – so you’ve simply affirmed your dishonesty. :-]

        Like

      88. br.d writes, “its obvious you can’t provide a quote from br.d asserting God is not omniscient ”

        So, clear the air. If you say that God is omniscient, then what is your complaint against Calvinism?? If God is omniscient, then necessarily, all things are determined. You may not have openly revealed your position on omniscience to this point, but I think I have correctly understood your position – that you do not believe God is omniscient. Even now, you are unable to state that you believe God is omniscient. You will bob and weave on this issue and never state what you believe. However, your complain against Calvinism amounts to a complaint against omniscience even if you don’t want to admit it.

        Like

      89. brianwagner “God is omniscient and all things are not determined!”

        Your “omniscient” is actually “omniscient***” a downgrade to avoid determinism. So the question is whether br.d holds to “omniscience” or “Omniscience***.”

        Like

      90. brianwagner
        “God is omniscient and all things are not determined!”

        rhuthcin
        Your “omniscient” is actually “omniscient***” a downgrade to avoid determinism. So the question is whether br.d holds to “omniscience” or “Omniscience***.”

        br.d
        I think this is called the “blowing smoke” fallacy. 😀

        Like

      91. br.d writes, “I think this is called the “blowing smoke” fallacy. ”

        No. It is pointing out that people have different definitions of the term, “omniscient.”

        Like

      92. br.d writes, “I think this is called the “blowing smoke” fallacy. ”

        rhutchin
        No. It is pointing out that people have different definitions of the term, “omniscient.”

        br.d
        No – there is a consistency to your strategy – its blowing smoke. :-]

        Like

      93. We both agree, Roger, that God knows all things as they truly are in His mind… we just disagree on what He knows as true. My definiton of what He knows about the future is defined by Scripture. Yours is defined by Greek philosophy which undermines the normal meaning of Scripture about what God knows in His mind about the future. It really is your omniscience that should have the astericks. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      94. Brian,
        Great. What you say is true, but I think it is a problem for more than rhutchin. I think many on this blog (even die hard non-calvinists) are still bringing definitions to the Scripture (we all do to a certain degree).

        Two of the hardest things to “give up” for me leaving Calvinism were sovereignty and omniscience (I am sure you notice them being a recurring theme in these comments).

        We bring to the Bible our definition of omniscience….I mean…. “God is outside of time”… right? We all get told that and swallow it without thinking. I looked and looked for such and idea in the Word — nope. Greek philosophy, sure.

        Sovereignty is much easier. Hundreds of times……God says “I the Sovereign Lord…..” followed by some kind of the following…

        “Why did you not…”
        “If you will…. I will…”
        “You did not….so I did not…”
        “If you do that I will repent of what I plan to do…”

        We can easily debunk the Calvinist “He controls everything or He controls nothing” idea. He says so clearly states in so many places that He leaves some things up to man. Didn’t He let David decide from the 3 types of punishment He offered? Why would the Lord even do that if His goal was to show everybody that He has already made all the decisions? This all-controlling presupposition and definition of sovereignty makes thousands of verses misleading or downright deceptive.

        Anyway, we should all be willing to submit our beliefs to the Word of God and be ready to change them if we see that we are caught in a philosophical system that is not supported by the Word of God.

        Liked by 1 person

      95. The “outside of time” is a big one! What they mean is outside of creation… which I have no problem with. But they also want it to mean outside the sequence that defines reality and eternity… befores and afters… from everlasting to everlasting (Ps 90:2), who was and is and is to come (Rev 4:8).

        The want to put God in a “simulataneous box” that their philosophy has created for Him, for He is much easier to manage there, they think. But it has caused so many contradictions with clear Scriptures, let alone also with logic.

        If God is right now (in His now) still in our past and already in our future, then logically we are still there too! I choose not to believe in such contradiction to Scripture and reason.

        Liked by 1 person

      96. briabwagner writes, “The “outside of time” is a big one! What they mean is outside of creation…”

        Of course, for Calvinists one of the major Scriptures is Psalm147:5 as it encompasses all things that He can do and then, naturally, all things that He will do. As God’s understanding of all things He can do extends into eternity, so all things He will do follows for who will explain to God something He does not know about the past, the present, or the future or provide counsel to God.

        Like

      97. brianwagner writes, “My definiton of what He knows about the future is defined by Scripture.”

        Actually, we both claim the high road each of us saying that his position is defined by Scripture.

        Like

      98. rhutchin
        So clear the air…..

        br.d
        *AS-IF* my pointing out your aberrant position on divine omniscience didn’t clear the air a long time ago!
        At this point you’re simply attempting to retain an appearance of integrity.
        You’ve already blown your cover and shown your tactics to be both fallacious and dishonest.
        But you’ll continue on with the same-old trickery.
        Its good for people to have real examples of the rhetoric games Calvinists play :-]

        Like

      99. br.d writes, “*AS-IF* my pointing out your aberrant position on divine omniscience didn’t clear the air a long time ago!”

        br.d can call something aberrant but cannot explain what makes it aberrant – or how he defines “omniscience.” No attempt to clear the air here. My guess is that he will never tell us how he defines “omniscience.”

        Like

      100. br.d writes, “*AS-IF* my pointing out your aberrant position on divine omniscience didn’t clear the air a long time ago!”

        rhutcin
        br.d can call something aberrant but cannot explain what makes it aberrant – or how he defines “omniscience.” No attempt to clear the air here. My guess is that he will never tell us how he defines “omniscience.”

        br.d
        You can lead a mule to water – but you can’t make him drink. 😀

        Like

      101. br.d
        “You can lead a mule to water – but you can’t make him drink.”

        rhutchin
        Yep. The mule still cannot tell US how he defines “omniscience.”

        br.d
        There is no “US” in this case – you’re chasing your own tail again. :-]

        Like

      102. ww
        “If this is true, then it follows that God with holds faith from most people, that he doesn’t desire their salvation, and in fact, hates most of humanity.” “Yet he tells us to even love those who hate and mistreat us. Is the Calvinist more loving than God? ”

        rhutchin
        I like the Universalist approach on this. I just think there will be people who will not enter heaven.

        br.d
        Notice here how the Calvinist totally evades the points made based on what is found emotionally palatable.
        1) Calvin’s god withholds saving grace from “most of humanity”
        2) Calvin’s god doesn’t desire their salvation – by no attribute ‘good or bad’ of the person – according to Calvinist doctrine
        3) Scripture depicts the opposite conception – the god of scripture wills all men to be saved.

        “people will not enter into heaven” the Calvinist says – his mind having been conditioned to block out points (1-3).

        Liked by 1 person

      103. ww writes, “Predetermined means they only have one choice, the one God chose for them.”

        rhutchin responds
        Predetermined means that a person’s strongest desire determines that which he chooses.
        To say that God also chooses means that God does not intervene to prevent that choice.

        br.d
        Rhutchin always provides excellent examples of Calvinism’s *AS-IF* double-speak

        Here are some samples:

        6) Predestined-total-depravity-AS-IF-not-predestined:
        This is where every person’s sinful thought, choice, and action, are first conceived in the mind of Calvin’s god, and then predestined to occur as that person’s fixed, inevitable, unavoidable fate. But in such a way that these sinful thoughts, choices, and actions are not predestined. So this is a very special type of total depravity, because it has the miraculous quality of being predestined-AS-IF-not-predestined.

        8) Unfree-AS-IF-free:
        This is where Calvin’s god decrees and thus infallibly foreknows Cain will murder Able, as Cain’s fixed, inevitable, unavoidable fate. But here Cain has a special type of FREEDOM (to act in accordance with his evil desires) – with the caveat, that Cain’s evil desires are also first conceived by Calvin’s god, and decreed as Cain’s fixed, inevitable, unavoidable fate. So this is a very special kind of “free” where Cain is “free” to follow his desires, but only those choices and desires that Calvin’s god’s decree and foreknowledge fates to occur.

        9) Determinism-AS-IF-un-determinism:
        This is where Calvin’s god determines the Calvinist’s every thought, choice, and action. But where Calvin instructs his disciples to -quote “go about one’s office AS-IF nothing is determined in any part”.

        10) Forced-AS-IF-not-forced:
        This is where John Calvin asserts: “evil men, thieves and murderers are FORCED to do God’s service”. But this is a special FORCE where men are FORCED, with a FORCE that does not FORCE them.

        14) Theological-Determinism-AS-IF-not-determinism:
        This is where Theological Determinism doesn’t have the logical entailments of determinism, because Theological Determinism is a special kind of Determinism that is non-deterministic by virtue of it being theological.

        5) Half-truth-AS-IF-the-whole-truth:
        This is where the Calvinist asserts things like “Cain murdered Able because of Cain’s own evil desires”, and this half-truth is recited AS-IF it where the whole truth. While the Calvinist secretly holds to another truth – that Calvin’s god first-conceived Cain’s murder, and conceived all of Cain’s evil desires, and then made those things Cain’s fixed, inevitable, unavoidable fate. But the Calvinist has a very special obligation to evade that truth AS-IF it is NOT truth. As a result, many half-truths are very special kinds of truths, which function in Calvinism as half-truth-AS-IF-the-whole-truth.

        Don’t you just love Calvinist double-speak! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      104. ww writes,
        “Until as you explain how”free will” can have any meaning in a predetermined universe, any talk of man’s will is meaningless.”

        rhutchin responds
        People whose actions are foreknown by God act with free will where they choose those actions according to their desires.

        br.d
        *AS-IF* Calvin’s god didn’t first-conceive and then render-certain their every desire before they were born. 😉

        In Calvinism people are:
        – FREE to think/say/do/be ONLY what Calvin’s god determines them to think/say/do/be.
        – NOT FREE to think/say/do/be otherwise than what Calvin’s god determines them to think/say/do/be.

        Calvinist’s obfuscate this aspect of their definition of the FREE while leading people to assume something else.
        And that – as Paul Harvey would say – is THE REST OF THE STORY. :-]

        Like

      105. ww writes:
        Then, “The whole calvinists system is based on everything happening because of a decision God made before creation, so that nothing happens on a free-will basis, and “programmed”is the right word.”

        rhutchin responds
        Not exactly. Calvinism says [insert evasive euphemism here]….. 😉

        Liked by 3 people

      106. rhutchin writes
        No programming here [in Calvinism]. There are, however, collateral impacts from Adam’s sin…..

        br.d
        Like Calvin replaced the word “FATE” with the word “LOT” Calvinists replace the word “PROGRAMMING” with the word “PLAN”
        These are all aspects of of Calvinism’s double-speak language. :-]

        Like

      107. rhutchin writes
        [In Calvinism] People are sent to hell (i.e., not able to enter heaven) because they are sinners and demonstrate this by their sin.

        br.d
        This is an excellent example of Calvinism’s *AS-IF* thinking.

        Calvin’s god at the foundation of the world, determines:
        Who will be a sinner and will demonstrate sin – so he can send them to hell
        But he did this *AS-IF* he didn’t.

        Liked by 1 person

      108. br.d writes, “Calvin’s god at the foundation of the world, determines: Who will be a sinner and will demonstrate sin…”

        This is not unique to Calvinism.

        Like

      109. br.d writes,
        “Calvin’s god at the foundation of the world, determines:
        Who will be a sinner and will demonstrate sin – so he can send them to hell
        But he did this *AS-IF* he didn’t.”

        rhutchin:
        This is not unique to Calvinism.

        br.d
        Yeh – right 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Further more – If “Pelagian” can be pinned down to belief of “the ability to respond” then all Calvinists are pelagian as well due to them also believing that people are sent to hell for responding in rejection to the gospel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. DG writes, “If “Pelagian” can be pinned down to belief of “the ability to respond” then all Calvinists are pelagian as well due to them also believing that people are sent to hell for responding in rejection to the gospel.”

      No. Calvinism says that people are excluded from heaven because they are sinners and they sin, and this is true even if God never exercised mercy by providing a means to enter heaven (i.e., the gospel). Rejection of the gospel does not make the person a sinner or make their sin more abhorrent to God. It is because the person is a sinner that he rejects the gospel.

      Like

  10. That’s not true Rutchin. I am a sinner and that’s why I accepted the gospel. If being a sinner equals rejection of the gospel no one would accept it. I accepted the fact that Jesus Christ has paid the sin debt on the cross for my sin. If I must have no sin for me to able to accept the gospel – well then what am I accepting?

    You say – “No. Calvinism says that people are excluded from heaven because they are sinners and they sin”.
    Calvinism is wrong. The bible says the reason people do not go to heaven is because they hath not believed in the only begotten Son of God to pay for their sin. The bible says He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

    Brd – you are right with Rutchin playing the other side “as if” God never provided the gospel or as if it was an after thought or something like that. But Rutchin, God did provide the gospel.

    Rutchin – It is in fact because the person is a sinner that he accepts the gospel, not the other way around.

    Like

    1. Here at SOT101 rhutchin deflects by reciting Calvinist double-speak mantras – and he has a few entertaining routines.

      The dancing boxer routine:
      This is where he toy’s with a person in dialog who takes him seriously – dancing around topics – waiting for an opportunity to get in a jab until the person realizes he’s being lead around in circles.

      The greased pig routine:
      This is where he evades, deflects, throws out red herrings, and goes down rabbit holes in order to escape his own logic.

      When you get to know rhutchin’s routines – you can stand back and watch him chase his own tail.
      Its actually entertaining. 😀

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Thanks Brd for the heads up. I can see the contradiction in all of a Rutchin’s replies. I’m not sure if he he realizes he is being contradictory or if he knows and doesn’t care. I have found that in the end they realise it but still believe it anyway due to thinking that God is contradictory in his word.

    Calvinism measured by 2 Corinthians 11:3-4
    “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him”

    “Beguiled” – synonyms: charm, attract, enchant, entrance, win over, woo, captivate, bewitch, spellbind, dazzle, blind, hypnotize, mesmerize, seduce, tempt, lead on, lure, entice, ensnare, entrap.
    No one can deny that the belief in Calvinism comes at some time after conversion through the teaching of someone else who “wins over” or “woos” their converts into believing that Calvinism is what the bible teaches. Most if not all professing Calvinists say they came to the realization of Calvinism after they believed the gospel.

    “Subtilty” – synonyms: delicacy, delicateness, subtleness, elusiveness, faintness.
    The doctrine of Calvinism is taught using subtilty. Even their own church Confessions say to use delicacy when delivering this doctrine – “The doctrine of this high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence and care” (Westminster Confession).

    “Simplicity” – synonyms: clarity, clearness, plainness, simpleness, intelligibility, comprehensibility, understandability, lucidity, lucidness, coherence, directness, straightforwardness.
    The doctrine of Calvinism is not simple or clear. Proponents of Calvinism boast that it is not intelligible to us humans. The doctrine is not straightforward and is confusing being unintelligible as Calvinists like to boast. – “I can’t answer the apparent paradox. So what am I left with? I want to make you comfortable with your inability not to get it. Okay? That’s my objective, okay? I just want you to be completely happy that you don’t get it. Okay? (John MacArthur – GTY Website)

    “another Jesus, whom we have not preached”
    The Jesus Calvinists were first converted to died to save the whole world that whosever believes may have everlasting life.
    The new Jesus after their conversion to Calvinism only died to save the elect that whosever is elect may be a believer.

    “or if ye receive another spirit which ye have not received”
    The spirit the Calvinist received when he first became a believer before his introduction to Calvinism testified with the Spirit of God that anyone can be saved through the gospel.
    The new spirit testifies that only the elect can be saved through the gospel.

    “or another gospel, which ye have not accepted”
    We are back to the start. Just about all Calvinists if not all confess they came to Calvinism at a time after they believed the simplicity of the gospel, before they were taught Calvinism by someone – “which ye have not accepted”

    Paul says – “ye might well bear with him”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Great post Damon!
      I especially appreciated your details.

      Yes, I’m thoroughly convinced Calvinists are mentored in double-think.

      In a previous topic here at SOT101 I posted quotes from 5-6 books authored by ex-Calvinists or scholars analyzing Calvinism.
      All of them emphasizing at some point in their book – how prevalent double-speak is in Calvinist language.

      The obvious question: If a doctrine REALLY is Holy Spirit inspired – why would it need to be promoted and defended with intellectually dishonest double-talk? Calvinism is a system of rhetorical masks. That fact serves as huge red-flag.

      Like

    2. DG writes, “I can see the contradiction in all of a Rutchin’s replies.”

      Fell free to point out the contradictions in Calvinism and explain what makes them contradictions.

      Like

  12. Damon made a great catch – providing a quote from Calvinist John MacArthur

    Twin Truths: God’s Sovereignty and Man’s Responsibility

    -quote:
    I can’t answer the APPARENT PARADOX. So what am I left with? I want to make you comfortable with your inability not to get it. Okay? That’s my objective, okay? I just want you to be completely happy that you don’t get it. Okay? -end quote

    Contradiction:
    A logical contradiction is the conjunction of a statement S and its denial not-S. In logic, it is a fundamental law- the law of non contradiction- that a statement and its denial cannot both be true at the same time.

    Paradox:
    A paradox is a surface contradiction that is merely verbal, but not real.
    A paradox often occurs when terms are used equivocally.

    Double-Think:
    The mental acceptance of or mental capacity to accept two contradicting propositions, opinions or beliefs at the same time, especially as a result of indoctrination.

    Like

    1. br.d and Damon,

      You can expect a Calvinist to play the “The Tri-Unity of God is a paradox!” card.

      They may also play the “Christ is both God and man!” card.

      These two things truly are “contradictions” in a human understanding sort of way. But neither of them concern man. They concern only the nature – being of God.

      The contradictions we are talking about deal with the thousands and thousands of Bible verses that show men and women making choices…. then saying that the WHOLE message of the Bible is that these are not real choices—-only pre-determined actions in a pre-determined world.

      Now…..someone might further argue that this paradox is about God also since it deals with His sovereignty. But of course that requires a presupposed definition of sovereignty. Or His omniscience. But that requires a presupposed definition of omniscience.

      Both of these presupposed definitions MacArthur et. al. bring to the Bible. If you bring to the Bible presupposed ideas….. you can make it say what you want (or cry “paradox!”). But if you let the Bible and the “Sovereign Lord” Himself tell you what sovereignty means you will not need to run around saying “paradox! paradox!” all the time.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes I totally agree with you FOH!

        I think however, the “author of evil” problem and the logical entailments of “determinism” are where I’ve tended to observe their highest degree of double-talk.

        Dr. Tomis Kapitan – Professor Emeritus, Ph.D., of metaphysics, philosophy of language, and international ethics
        -quote:
        “To locate an inconsistency within the beliefs of a deliberating determinist now seems easy.
        For as a deliberator, he takes his future act to be yet undetermined.
        But as a determinist, he assumes the very opposite – that his future is already determined and fixed in the past, such that everything he does was previously determined by factors beyond his control.
        Thus the ascription of rational-inconsistency within the mental state of the deliberating determinist is secured.”

        Dr. William James – Philosopher and psychologist,
        -quote
        “Compatibilism can be seen as a quagmire of evasion – it steals the name of freedom in order to mask its underlying determinism. ”

        Immanuel Kant:
        -quote:
        “Compatibilism is a wretched subterfuge and not much more than word jugglery”.

        I think we see the language patterns Kapitan, James, and Kant are referring to in Calvinism – pretty clearly.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks FOH,

        Yes I’ve found the Calvinist always appeals to the “contradiction” of the Trinity in defence of their so called “contradiction” in the way God saves. I always say that it doesn’t even compare, and it’s like comparing apples with oranges. To say that God being 3 yet being 1 cannot be compared to God being merciful yet unmerciful, or double minded yet not double minded, or unjust in our understanding yet just, or saying one thing yet not meaning it, two wills, two loves, etc, etc, ……….that’s why John MacArthur can confidently say on his website – “that’s one of the reasons I know the bible is written by God, because men would fix it. If I wrote a book that had those contradictions, Phil (MacArthurs editor) would edit them all out” – John MacArthur GTY Website. (Bracketed mine)

        Liked by 1 person

  13. WW,

    Calvinists accuse us of having an impotent God since (straw man-ly speaking) He is not capable of saving us without “our help”. I believe Leighton should do an article on this false, straw man accusation Calvinists make that we have an impotent God!

    I have noted (elsewhere on this page) that Passover is the primary debunking of this faulty and unbiblical nonsense.

    Let’s look for more:

    God is “impotent” to save Noah and start mankind over….. since He needed Noah to build that ark (also an image of Christ and salvation).

    God is “impotent” to save snake-bitten Israelists ….. since He needed them to locate and look-upon the serpent on the pole (also an image of Christ and salvation).

    God is “impotent” to save Nineveh ….. since He needed Jonah to go preach to them (also an image of Christ’s three days).

    Others…..uh….dozens…..hundreds (?) of others…..

    Israelites army beating Amalek ….. Aaron and Hur keeping Moses arms up (apparently God was “impotent” to act unless Moses’s arms were up?)

    Rushing Jordan waters parting ….. waiting for the priests to take a step in the water (“Impotence!!”)

    Wall of Jericho …..waiting for the people to walk 7 times around it… (Calvin cries “Impotence!!!”)

    and on and on……. Calvin’s lackeys accuse God of impotence at every turn since — for them— God can’t seem to manage it without men doing something first.

    Is that any way to do bibical interpretation?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This was an excellent list!!
      I would also add in these examples,
      – Moses holding up his rod and the red sea parting
      – Moses holding up his rod and Joshua winning in the battle
      – Joshua marching around Jericho etc and the walls come down
      – Elijah saying a prayer and fire consumes the wood and water
      – A cripple obeys Jesus command to stand up and walk and as he obeys he is healed

      Do, in fact seem to appear as some form of cooperation between God and man as a condition required by God for the manifestation of supernatural power. There is a definite consistency in these examples.

      The question might then be raised:
      Doesn’t “Believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved” follow the same divine pattern.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. br.d

        These are all cases where God puts conditions on what He asks people to do. (“Impotence” cry the Calvinists)

        What about the amazing ones where people meet Christ’s conditions before He even says them!!!

        Mark 5: 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

        30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

        31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”

        32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

        (a) She is unclean and should not approach him. She does.
        (b) She thought to herself (no mention of divine forcing-non-forcing)
        (c) Jesus realized it when it happened (no mention of beforehand)
        (d) Jesus asks a question of who (does that not imply to the crowd that He is wondering?)
        (e) Jesus kept looking for who had done it.
        (f) He tells her …in His words…… “your faith has healed you.”

        One would have to completely eisegete (read into, re-write) this passage to say there was no participation on the part of that woman. And they do!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Awesome examples!!!
        I hadn’t thought of those – but you’re absolutely right.

        That’s why Calvinists have to use double-speak.
        They want to hold to their presupposition that Calvin’s god meticulousy arranges the movement of every atomic particle – using that as their golden standard against which they measure others – and then obfuscate the logical “author of evil” entailments of their own doctrine. While at the same time APPEAR to be consistent with the non-deterministic tenure of scripture.

        They’ve been trained to recite double-speak mantras in order to play both sides.

        Like

  14. WW,

    I would like to take the Calvinist God-dishonoring accusation of impotence one step further.

    Calvinists straw man-ly accuse us of an impotent God since they say we claim He cannot save without participation. We only claim that God Himself has divinely established (after the counsel of His will) conditions. This is not just our position….examples of it are found everywhere in the Word.

    Can you imagine the scorn and cries of impotence that God must have heard when He “needed” a young boy to take 5 stones and fight Goliath?! “Impotence….. He cannot save….. He needs a boy’s help!”…. cry the Philistines.

    Note this important point:

    Not only did a young boy go out against Goliath but for the remainder of his lifetime that young boy shared in that glory. He was always known as the one who slayed Goliath.

    Later, the Lord says ……For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David. (Is. 37:35; 2 Kings 19:34; 20:6).

    Hezekiah hears that the Lord will spare Jerusalem from the threat of invasion for the sake David.

    I am amazed and saddened to what lengths Calvinists will go to re-write Scripture. In their effort to “defend” and glorify God, they try to re-define and adjust the way He sovereignly established the world (after the counsel of His will).

    They won’t let man participate…..but God does. (In fact, God regularly insists on it!)

    They won’t let man have any “sake” in the matter….. but God does.

    Too bad!!! It shows clearly that they come to the Bible with an idea of “how God ‘must’ be” in stead of letting Him define Himself.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There was a dog food jingle years ago that went like this:

      My dogs better than your dog, my dogs better than yours, my dog’s better cuz he eats [brand x], my dogs better than yours.

      Every time I hear a Calvinist say “my gods better/bigger/etc than your god” – it makes me laugh
      Because they are unwittingly manifesting “child-think”. :-]

      Like

  15. WW,
    You asked a good question here that has been asked multiple times on this blog.

    “Then, Yet he tells us to even love those who hate and mistreat us. Is the Calvinist more loving than God?

    There is never an answer…..only deflection. The only answer is…..”you are nothing but a universalist”

    Liked by 1 person

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