Friday, May 30, 2008

This Week in Calvinism - May 30, 2008

  • A few problems with Arminianism.

  • Does Calvinism ruin missions? Yes and no, concludes Joel Borofsky. "In a way, Calvinism does ruin the modern understanding of evangelism and missions. At the same time, it upholds the call to go into the entire world and proclaim the Gospel."

  • Every Christian prays like a Calvinist.

  • Are Southern Baptists fighting 400-year-old battles? Some think so.

  • "How a Roman Catholic Anti-Calvinist Can Serve Today’s Poet-Calvinists": John Piper on G. K. Chesterton.

  • "Weekend Fisher" would like for "Calvinists to put Christ crucified in the place of honor rather than putting God's sovereignty above Christ." So, we're to believe that Christ stands apart from God's sovereignty? Not according to my Bible.
  • 48 comments:

    John said...

    "Every Christian prays like a Calvinist."

    My reformed friend and I discussed that a while back. During a prayer meeting at our non-Reformed church, I prayed that God would draw ________ in a way that they could not resist. There were several that said "amen" or "yes," yet most of them would deny irresitable grace.

    Though it goes against traditional American Southern Baptist beliefs, there's something in us that tells us that God is sovereign.

    Weekend Fisher said...

    Hi there

    You ask, "So we're to believe that Christ stands apart from God's sovereignty?"

    I'm curious, did you read the press release of Piper's that I'd linked? It had bullet points in discussing a new seminary. In those bullet points, Christ crucified was not a talking point, God's love was not mentioned, and sovereignty got top billing. That reflects distorted priorities, being my original point. Christ crucified cannot be rightly glossed over by being left unmentioned without someone calling "foul". And that is exactly what happened in that piece I linked.

    You know, if you do believe that Christ crucified and God's sovereignty are that closely related, you could just as easily put Christ crucified in first place in your theology, right?

    But I suspect it's not: I'm sure you've seen portrayals of Christ crucified. That is the Sovereign God there letting himself be spit on and beaten til he can't walk straight. That is "the weakness of God, which is stronger than man's strength". The weakness of God is much neglected in Calvinist theology; the fact that God chose to act in his weakness rather than his strength is something Paul says plainly. Yet I have never heard a Calvinist embrace the Biblical teaching that God chose to act in weakness.

    Jarring to our concept of God, the idea of a God who loves us more than he loves his own sovereignty, that the LORD would empty himself and take the form of a servant and be obedient to death, even death on a cross -- a thing like that completely remakes our thoughts about God.

    Take care & God bless
    WF

    Lee Shelton IV said...

    WF, was Christ's crucifixion merely an act of love on our behalf, or was it ultimately to glorify God? Does God do things for our glory or his own?

    Kyle said...

    Lee -

    Does God do things for our glory or his own?"

    Interestingly, Scripture actually teaches plainly that God glorifies His church through Christ. We are lifted up, and in being indwelt with Christ, we reflect His glory and are thereby given glory by grace - hence glorification (2 Corinthians 4:17, 2 Corinthians 3:18, Ephesians 3:13, Ephesians 5:27, Philippians 2:16, Colossians 1:27, 1 Thessalonians 2:20, 2 Thessalonians 2:14, Rom 8:17, 8:30).

    "Glory" in the sense of the shining brilliance of God is given to Jesus and to the church through Jesus. "Glory" in terms of praise is of course always given to God, and always in response to the wonderful things He does - in other words, we glorify Him because He's worthy of praise and worship, not because he arbitrarily displays his power to cruelly and eternally harm people.

    In terms of God glorifying Himself - He never does this in the Calvinist sense of tooting His own horn (John 8:50-54; Phil 2, 1 Peter 1:21). One member of the Trinity glorifies the other, but that is quite different - it is self-giving, other-directed love of one person to another.

    God's glory subsists in the very fact that He was willing to die a shameful and inglorious death for us all (Phil 2). He was willing to be humiliated. He is not "glorious" because He unconditionally squashes people to show off His power. Such a version of "glory" is a human creation, not a biblical conept.

    WORTHY is the Lamb (Rev 4), and for good reason. He is holy love.

    Kyle said...

    Additionally, a God who does something "for his glory" at the expense of his creatures is a selfish and tyrannical monster. Such a God is not glorious at all.

    The crucifixion glorified God precisely because it reflected His character of other-directed holy love. To suggest that Jesus died on that cross simply to toot His own horn is borderline blasphemy. And to say that God causes evil so that "good" may come (saving some from his power-centric arbitrary will) is an utterly atrocious and distorted view of the biblical God. God hates evil, so He would never use it directly for His own ends, only indirectly as His creatures abuse their freedom.

    So was it for God's glory or for us? It was done to God's glory precisely because it was for us at God's own expense, the character Christians are rightly called to imitate (Matt 5).

    Weekend Fisher said...

    Hi Lee

    So *did* you ever read that press release of Piper's that I'd linked? As I'd explained in the post, his priorities were badly off. Score: Sovereignty 1, Christ crucified 0, God's love 0.

    As you were saying: was Christ's crucifixion merely an act of love on our behalf or was it ultimately to glorify God? Does God do things for our glory or his own?

    Next paragraph I answer your question; this paragraph I ask you to listen to your own question. "Merely an act of love" -- do you hear yourself? Your question only makes sense if you have already decided that outward-directed love is a lesser motive and self-directed glory is a better one. Where did you get that idea? I'm not really expecting you to have any Scriptural basis for the idea that love is a "merely love" and glory is a higher good.

    To answer your question: according to the Bible, God's glory *is* his grace. ("To the praise of the glory of his grace"). So the question you asked, which assumes that some merciful and gracious love is a lesser "merely" thing next to glory, is not Biblical. Love is not a separate thing from God's glory.

    Or as Paul put it about God's grace and God's glory: "All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more poeple may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God." (2 Cor 4:15)

    We glorify God precisely for his love and mercy that give us hope and redeem us.

    Take care & God bless
    WF

    Lee Shelton IV said...

    Genesis 50:20
    As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

    Deuteronomy 32:39
    See now that I, even I, am he,
    and there is no god beside me;
    I kill and I make alive;
    I wound and I heal
    ;
    and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.

    Job 2:10
    But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

    Isaiah 45:7
    I form light and create darkness,
    I make well-being and create calamity,
    I am the Lord, who does all these things.

    Amos 3:6
    Is a trumpet blown in a city,
    and the people are not afraid?
    Does disaster come to a city,
    unless the Lord has done it
    ?

    Acts 4:27-28
    For truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.

    Sorry, Kyle, but scripture doesn't compel me to believe that God isn't in control of his own creation. Neither does it teach that he is constrained by some pathetic need to be freely loved. Nor does it say that he doesn't predestine anything, but rather simply reacts to what men do.

    Lee Shelton IV said...

    WF, the sovereignty of God encompasses Christ's crucifixion, his love, his plan of redemption, etc. If you have ever read anything John Piper has written, you would never act so puzzled over this.

    As to my question, I asked if you thought Christ's crucifixion was "merely an act of love on our behalf." In other words, was it ultimately only for us?

    Kyle said...

    Lee,

    Deuteronomy 32:39, Job 2:10,
    Isaiah 45:7, and Amos 3:6 are all referring to disasters, judgments, and natural evil. I, along with every other Bible-believing Arminian, affirm that God brings harm upon people for good reasons.

    Genesis 50:20 is a wonderful example of how God can and does use even the evil choices of men for His good purposes WITHOUT causing them. And Acts 4:27-28 refers to the fact that the cross was predestined by God, all of the people were put in circumstances that God knew would transpire in the death of His son. It was in this sense that it was planned for our salvation, though of course GOD DID NOT CAUSE IT (He did on your view)

    And again, like every other Bible-believing Arminian, I also believe God is in control of His creation, but I don't try to constrain God to my own unbiblical commitment to DETERMINISTIC control.

    As WF has brought out and I have brought out from Scripture, God's glory consists principally in His other-directed love. The cross was for us, and because God is self-forgetful and seeks the other is precisely why He is glorious. To "toot your own horn" and show your power off at the expense of your creatures is inglorious. The God of Calvinism really has no consistent attribute but arbitrary and seething omnipotence. To put it crudely, He is drunk with power and obsessed with getting off at the expense of His creation.

    The biblical God doesn't need to be loved (He IS love in the Trinity already), but He desires to share His love. That's what creation was all about.

    Since it has become clear that you refuse to grapple with my several lines of argumentation in these various threads, but instead desire to paste prooftexts that prove nothing, I'm not sure what else I can do in this conversation with you, brother.

    Sarah L. said...

    Kyle, you said: Deuteronomy 32:39, Job 2:10,
    Isaiah 45:7, and Amos 3:6 are all referring to disasters, judgments, and natural evil. I, along with every other Bible-believing Arminian, affirm that God brings harm upon people for good reasons.

    So, was God loving those people that He brought the disasters on? If He really loved them wouldn't He have given them another chance instead of bringing judgement on them? And if God brings harm on people, isn't that "DETERMINISTIC control"?

    "I also believe God is in control of His creation, but I don't try to constrain God to my own unbiblical commitment to DETERMINISTIC control."

    So God is not in total control of creation? If that is the case then God is not omnipotent, all powerful.

    I agree, God brings harm on people for good reasons... Though not necessarily good for the people that He is bringing the harm upon. Remember Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. all things work together for the good of those that love God, the called.

    We also need to remember that our definition of good is not the standard. God defines good. Wouldn't humans consider God, telling the Israelites to wipe out other peoples in the Old Testament, evil?

    And in regard to the above, and other comments you have made,what about Romans 9? ...(starting at verse 11) But before the two boys were born, God told Rebekah, "The older will serve the younger." This was before the boys had done anything good or bad. God said this so that the one would be chosen because of God's own plan. He was chosen because he was the one God wanted to call, not because of anything he did. As the Scripture says, "I loved Jacob, but I hated Esau." So what should we say about this? Is God unfair? In no way. God said to Moses, "I will show kindness to anyone to whom I want to show kindness, and I will show mercy to anyone to whom I want to show mercy." So God will choose the one to whom he decides to show mercy; His choice does not depend on what people want or try to do. The Scripture says to the king of Egypt: "I made you king for this reason: to show my power in you so that my name will be talked about in all the earth." So God shows mercy where He wants to show mercy, and He makes stubborn the people He wants to make stubborn. So one of you will ask me: "Then why does God blame us for our sins? Who can fight His will?" You are only human, and human beings have no right to question God. An object should not ask the person who made it, "Why did you make me like this?" The Potter can make anything He wants to make. He can use the same clay to make one thing for special use and another thing for daily use.(NCV)

    Doesn't that sound a bit deterministic?

    It is so comforting to know that God is in total control... Here are some excerpts that I like from R.C.Sproul's book, Chosen By God:

    “When we speak of divine sovereignty we are speaking about God’s authority and about God’s power. As sovereign, God is the supreme authority of heaven and earth. All other authority is lesser authority. Any other authority that exists in the universe is derived from and dependent upon God’s authority. All other forms of authority exist either by God’s command or by God’s permission.

    The word authority contains within itself the word author. God is the author of all things over which he has authority. He created the universe. He owns the universe. His ownership gives him certain rights. He may do with his universe what is pleasing to his holy will.

    Likewise, all power in the universe flows from the power of God. All power in this universe is subordinate to him. Even Satan is powerless without God’s sovereign permission to act.

    Christianity is not dualism. We do not believe in two ultimate equal powers locked in an eternal struggle for supremacy. If Satan were equal to God, we would have not confidence, no hope of good triumphing over evil. We would be destined to an eternal standoff between two equal and opposing forces.

    Satan is a creature. He is evil to be sure, but even his evil is subject to the sovereignty of God, as is our own evil. God’s authority is ultimate; his power is omnipotent. He is sovereign…


    …If there is one single molecule in this universe running around loose, totally free of God’s sovereignty, then we have no guarantee that a single promise of God will ever be fulfilled. Perhaps that one maverick molecule will lay waste all the grand and glorious plans that God has made and promised to us. If a grain of sand in the kidney of Oliver Cromwell changed the course of English history, so our maverick molecule could change the course of all redemption history. Maybe that one molecule will be the thing that prevents Christ from returning.

    …I remember my distress when I heard that Bill Vukovich, the greatest car driver of his era, was killed in a crash in the Indianapolis 500. The cause was later isolated in the failure of a cotter pin that cost ten cents.

    Bill Vukovich had amazing control of race cars. He was a magnificent driver. However, he was not sovereign. A part worth only a dime cost him his life. God doesn’t have to worry about ten-cent cotter pins wrecking his plans. There are no maverick molecules running around loose. God is sovereign. God is God.”

    Kyle said...

    Hello Sarah,

    You asked:

    "So, was God loving those people that He brought the disasters on? If He really loved them wouldn't He have given them another chance instead of bringing judgement on them? And if God brings harm on people, isn't that "DETERMINISTIC control"?"

    Those who decline God's mercy and love have only His judgment and wrath to bear. He still continues to love them as Jesus loved the rich young man who refused Him, but He cannot tolerate an obstinately wicked rebel in His world forever - they have to be judged. And no, that's not deterministic control (in the sense of causal determinism) - it's the sovereignty of a benevolent King.

    "So God is not in total control of creation? If that is the case then God is not omnipotent, all powerful."

    I'm afraid you are very mistaken. God can be and is in control without causing all things to happen. He sovereignly does whatever He wants, and He has sovereignly chosen not to causally determine all things (though He has the power to). It puzzles me that Calvinists cannot fathom a God who is powerful enough to rightly govern His world without deterministically causing all things (including evil) to happen.

    CAN God deterministically control all things? Sure, He has that power and ability (therefore He is omnipotent), but He sovereignly chooses not, and He remains sovereign because He sovereignly chooses to permit His creatures freedom to rebel. A God who can remain in control without causing all things is the truly powerful view of God.

    Sovereignty simply does not equal deterministic control. It has never meant that, and doesn't mean that in Scripture. It simply means to govern as God sees fit, permitting or causing whatever He wills. Calvinists limit God's omnipotence because they don't let Him the freedom to exercise His sovereignty in any way but through deterministic control.

    "I agree, God brings harm on people for good reasons... Though not necessarily good for the people that He is bringing the harm upon. Remember Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. all things work together for the good of those that love God, the called."

    According to Scripture, God desires the eternal good of all people (2 Peter 3:8, 1 Timothy 2:4). If they refuse His offer of love, they have only themselves to blame when they bear God's wrath.

    "We also need to remember that our definition of good is not the standard. God defines good. Wouldn't humans consider God, telling the Israelites to wipe out other peoples in the Old Testament, evil?"

    And how does God define Himself in Scripture? As faithful, loving, just, holy, and righteous - not as tyrannical, selfish, arbitrary, and cruel, which is what Calvinism makes Him out to be.

    "Doesn't that sound a bit deterministic?"

    Romans 9 needs to be read in the wider context of Romans 9-11 and the even wider context of Romans in general. Paul wrote more than Romans 9.

    God determines this decree: "Whoever believes will be saved, whoever does not believe will be damned." He sets the conditions.

    "It is so comforting to know that God is in total control... Here are some excerpts that I like from R.C.Sproul's book, Chosen By God:"

    It's comforting to know that God causally determines evil, predestines people directly to an eternal hell apart from anything they have done, doesn't love all people, and does all things for Himself at the expense of others? It comforts you to know these things? I think you do not understand Calvinism aright.

    God is in control without causally determining all things. Otherwise, He is the author of evil, sin, and is Himself a cruel, unloving tyrant. I fail to understand why Calvinists continue to resist the biblical witness to who God is and instead prop up their own view of God and how He acts out His sovereignty.

    The issue at stake here is not God's power and sovereignty (Arminians agree that God is all-powerful and sovereign), but the CHARACTER of God and how He uses His power and sovereignty.

    Weekend Fisher said...

    Hi Lee

    I've actually read a couple of shorts by Piper, but they've been on the usual Calvinist talking points.

    You rephrased your question: In other words, was it (the crucifixion) ultimately only for us?

    With the "only" in there, no; though it certainly was genuinely for us also and not only for God. The cross -- "the weakness of God" and "the foolishness of God" as Paul calls it -- comes from God's love for us and brings us into God's presence, which would only be a blessing from God's perspective because of his love for us. God's love is more than a generic love, but is also a love for us -- for actual real humans.

    You say "the sovereignty of God encompasses Christ's crucifixion ...". It's tempting to object on various minor grounds; but the most amazing thing is this: that you still try to justify excluding explicit mention of Christ and the cross, as if it were acceptable to pass by Christ on the cross without speaking of him. In the Bible, the four gospels' entire reason for existence is Christ. The sermons in Acts center on Christ crucified and raised from the dead. The epistles explain Christ's crucifixion and resurrection at length. And as Christ explained on the road to Emmaus when he opened minds to understand the Scripture, the Old Testament was ultimately about his crucifixion, death, and resurrection as well. What kind of theology avoids mentioning Christ, or justifies that avoidance of mentioning of Christ?

    For any theology to reflect the Bible's priorities, the love of God must be mentioned explicitly; Christ crucified and raised must be mentioned explicitly. Let the minor things be swept under a bigger rug as if they did not deserve explicit mention, but Christ crucified and the love of God cannot be rightly swept under the rug.

    "Sovereignty" is not the key point of the Gospel: God's love in Christ is the key point of the gospel. The Bible makes Christ crucified the center of theology; there is no other foundation on which we may build, there is no other way in which we know God, there is no other way in which we come to the Father. That is something that cannot be glossed over, but must be taught explicitly.

    "I resolved to know nothing but Christ and him crucified" -- Paul.

    Weekend Fisher said...

    Hi Sarah

    So the "no maverick molecules" thing is Sproul, ey? I think he has some holes in his logic, and I think the fastest way to show those problems is to leave our non-maverick molecules aside for a moment in a box on a shelf while we look at a couple of pictures that Scripture gives us of God in control.

    Picture #1: The kingdom of God is like a landowner who left tenants in charge ...

    Picture #2: The kingdom of God is like a mah who left his servants in charge of his money while he went away ...

    I'm sure you recognize the parables. Both those parables show *how* God exercises control. Does the parable say that God caused the tenants to be bad tenants? Does the parable say that God caused the unfaithful servant to bury the money in the ground?

    In the parable, God did not cause the unfaithful servant to bury the money in the ground, but decided to control by giving instructions, coming back, and bringing everyone to account.

    Now, here's the question: if God did not *cause* the one servant to bury his money in the ground, then has God lost control so that we can now say we have no assurances of God's promises, that we have lost all ground for confidence, and we are now doomed to an eternal dualistic standoff? Or is it just possible there is more than one way to be Sovereign, and that God can be sovereign by controlling starting, the ending, the judgment, and the eternal disposition (as in the parable) without actually being the one who causes the wayward fellow to be wayward?

    Or as God says elsewhere, "Judge, inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. What more could have been done for my vineyard tan I have done for it?" (Isaiah 5:3-4).

    I wonder, according to Sproul, what that passage is supposed to teach? I mean, if God didn't get the results he wanted ... does that mean we're stuck in a dualistic system where we can't trust God's promises? I think not.

    Our non-maverick molecules are in a box on the shelf still. They've been in that box -- completely under control and not going anywhere -- whether or not anyone directed their individual paths.

    Take care & God bless
    WF

    Sarah L. said...

    Kyle, First, 2 Peter 3:8(9) (You meant 9 right?) “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to US-WARD(emphasis added), not willing that any(of us)should perish, but that all(of us) should come to repentance.” KJV

    1 Timothy 2:4 (I’m quoting 2:1-4) “I exhort, then, first of all, there be made supplications, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings, for all men:
    for kings, and all who are in authority, that a quiet and peaceable life we may lead in all piety and gravity, for this is right and acceptable before God our Saviour,
    who doth will all men to be saved, and to come to the full knowledge of the truth;” Paul clarifies who ‘all’ is. It is Kings, and all who are in authority… Types of men, kinds of men. If he meant every single person, “completely all” men, then why did he say Kings, and all who are in authority? Instead of just leaving “all men”.

    You are upset about God being the author of sin. Now, we need to define author here. Did God make sin… did it come out of Him as creation did? No!! Absolutely not! But, in a sense He did ‘create’ it, so to speak. Well, not create it, but He defines it. By His own existence sin is, it is defined. Sin is the opposite of God. Sin is anything not matching up to His standards. If God did not consider everything against Himself, opposite of Himself, as sin, then there would be no sin. But there is sin, because God is who He is. And so in that sense, because of His existence, His standards, He is the author of Sin. He defines what sin is. That is ‘authorship’.

    “If by the author of sin, be meant the sinner, the agent, or the actor of sin, or the doer of a wicked thing; so it would be a reproach and blasphemy to suppose God to be the author of sin. In this sense, I utterly deny God to be the author of sin; rejecting such an imputation on the Most High, as what is infinitely to be abhorred; and deny any such thing to be the consequence of what I have laid down. But if, by the author of sin, is meant the permitter, or not a hinderer of sin, and, at the same time, a disposer of the state of events, in such a manner, for wise, holy, and most excellent ends and purposes, that sin, if it be permitted, or not hindered, will most certainly and infallibly follow;—I say, if this be all that is meant by being the author of sin, I do not deny that God is the author of sin, (though I dislike and reject the phrase, as that which by use and custom is apt to carry another sense), it is no reproach for the Most High to be thus the author of sin. This is not to be the actor of sin, but on the contrary, of holiness. What God doth herein is holy, and a glorious exercise of the infinite excellency of his nature (Freedom of the Will, vol. 1 of The Works of Jonathan Edwards.”

    God let’s the opposite of Him to be shown to us, to be us even. Is He forcing us to sin? No. But He does ‘rouse’ us to it at times… as with Pharoah, not letting the Israelites go. We need to remember that we naturally hate God. When we say that before salvation humans are totally depraved we do not mean that they are as bad as they could possibly. Not necessarily blatent badness. But because every part of us is tainted by sin. We are not perfect. there is no part of me that has not been affected in some way by the fall. Sin affects my will, my heart, my mind and my body…Total depravity is not utter depravity. Utter depravity would mean that we are all as sinful as we possibly could be. We know that is not the case. No matter how much each of us has sinned, we are able to think of worse sins that we could have committed. Even Adolf Hitler refrained from murdering his mother. –Sproul, again.

    I call to mind Romans 3:10-12. and also 3:23, “Everyone has sinned and fallen short of God’s glorious standard.” No man can meet up with God’s standard on his own. None of us is pleasing to God in and of ourselves. If it is argued that man still has some sort of good, just a tiny bit, then I refer to Ephesians 2:1 “And to you did he give life, when you were dead through your wrongdoing and sins” Not, “sick through your wrongdoing and sins” but dead. Dead does not mean that we have a little bit of life. “there is none that seeketh after God”.

    “And how does God define Himself in Scripture? As faithful, loving, just, holy, and righteous - not as tyrannical, selfish, arbitrary, and cruel, which is what Calvinism makes Him out to be.”

    Well, what is tyrannical? Cruel? Is it rightly punishing people? Remember we do not deserve God’s grace. Would God have been right not to have shown mercy to humans? Yes! Because we don’t DESERVE mercy. Mercy is God not giving us what we deserve. We deserve judgement, condemnation. But God chooses to show mercy to people “So then as through one trespass [the judgment came] unto all men to condemnation; even so through one act of righteousness [the free gift came] unto all men to justification of life.” Romans 5:18

    Mercy is God not giving us what we deserve and Grace is God giving us what we do not deserve. Why do we sing of Amazing grace? Because it is AMAZING that God would show mercy to us deserving sinners instead of wiping us all out! He had the right to! From a human viewpoint that would be tyrannical… cruel. But as you said, God is JUST.

    “God determines this decree: "Whoever believes will be saved, whoever does not believe will be damned." He sets the conditions”

    YES!!!!!! YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT!!!!!!! But Kyle, why do some men believe? Why do others not? Because some men have the goodness in and of themselves to make the right choice? Because some men want to seek God? NO! Romans 3:11 “There is none that understandeth, There is none that seeketh after God;” It cannot be that man seeks God that he is saved. Remember, salvation is a gift from God, not of works. Seeking is a work. And as we have seen, man cannot seek on his own anyways.

    So, why do some men believe then? “for by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, [it is] the gift of God; not of works, that no man should glory.” Ephesians 2:9. I know that some people say that God does 99% in salvation and man does 1%. That is, man chooses to believe, he has faith. But what does that really mean? How do we 'work up' faith? That belief, as my dad who is a pastor says, makes faith a work. People try to make faith a work. Faith is a gift of God. It is God’s work in us. Even our believing is of God!!! We would naturally not believe on our own. We can’t make ourselves believe. God makes us to want to do His will. “for God it is who is working in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13 YLT

    I like how Spurgeon puts it:

    Faith is chosen by God to be the receiver of salvation, because it does not pretend to create salvation, nor to help in it, but is content humbly to receive it. Faith is the tongue that begs pardon, the hand which receives it, and the eye which sees it; but it is not the price which buys it. Faith never makes herself her own plea, she rests all her argument upon the blood of Christ. She becomes a good servant to bring the riches of the Lord Jesus to the Soul, because she acknowledges whence she drew them, and owns that grace alone entrusted her with them.”
    - Charles Spurgeon

    Remember this; or you may fall into error by fixing your minds so much upon the faith that is the channel of salvation as to forget the grace which is the fountain and source even of faith itself. Faith is the work of God’s grace in us… “No man comes to me,” says Jesus, “except the Father who sent me draws him.” So that faith, which is coming to Christ, is the result of divine drawing. Grace is the first and last moving cause of salvation; and faith, essential as it is, is only an important part of the machinery which grace employs. We are saved “through faith,” but salvation is “by grace.” Sound forth those words as with the archangel’s trumpet: “By grace are you saved.” What glad tidings for the undeserving!

    - Spurgeon (again)

    We can’t do anything to earn our salvation. Even repenting is of God.

    “The apostles John states, everyone who sins is a slave to sin (John 8:34). Paul tells us that those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God (Romans 8:7-8). Since no one is good, and no one seeks God and is a slave to sin, a man in the flesh could never please God by performing the God pleasing act of repenting."” – James Swan

    "...Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?" Romans 2:4

    Here is a rather long quote by John Gill.

    "Nor is faith the moving cause of election; the one is in time, the other in eternity: while men are in a state of unregeneracy, they are in a state of unbelief; they are, as without hope in God, so without faith in Christ; and when they have it, they have it not of themselves, of their own power and freewill; but they have it as the gift of God, and the operation of his Spirit, flowing purely from his grace; and therefore cannot be the cause of electing grace: besides, it is the effect of that, it is a consequence that follows upon it, and is insured by it; "As many as were ordained to eternal life, believed", (Acts 13:48) it is proper and peculiar to the elect of God; the reason why some men do not believe is, because "they are not of Christ’s sheep", (John 10:26) his elect, given him by the Father; and the reason why others do believe is, because they are of Christ’s sheep, or his chosen ones, and therefore faith is given to them; which is called, "the faith of God’s elect" (Titus 1:1). Faith is not the cause of calling, and much less of election, which precedes that: the reason why men are called, is not because they believe, but they are called that they might believe; in which effectual call faith is given to them, as the evidence of their election. Once more, faith is fixed as a means, in the decree of election; and therefore cannot be the cause of it (2 Thess. 2:13). To which may be added, if faith is the moving cause of election, men might be said rather to choose God and Christ, at least first, than they to choose him; whereas our Lord says, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you", (John 15:16) the apostles had chosen him, but not first; he first chose them; so that their choice of him had no influence on his choice of them: but if faith is the moving cause of election, then men rather choose Christ than he them; for what is faith but an high esteem of Christ, a choosing and preferring him, as a Saviour, to all others? a choosing that good part which shall never be taken away; and of the way of truth, or of Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

    2b5d. Nor is perseverance in faith, holiness, and good works, the moving cause of election; but the effect of it, and what is ensured by it: the reason why men persevere is, because they are the elect of God, who cannot be deceived totally and finally, so as to have their faith subverted, and overthrown, as that of nominal professors may be; because the foundation on which they are, stands sure; sealed with this seal, "the Lord knows them that are his" (Matthew 24:24; 2 Tim. 2:18, 19). Should it be said, that it is the foresight of these things in men, which moves God to choose them; it may be replied, that God’s foresight, or foreknowledge of things future, is founded on the determinations of his will concerning them; God foresees, or foreknows, that such and such a man will believe, become holy, do good works, and persevere therein to glory; because he has determined to give faith to them, work holiness in them, enable them to perform good works, and cause them to persevere therein to the end, and so be saved; and what is this, but the doctrine contended for? it is no other than a decree to give grace and glory to some persons for his own glory, and to deny them to others.

    The truth of all this might be illustrated and confirmed by the case of infants dying in infancy; who, as soon as they are in the world, almost, are taken out of it. Now such a number as they are, can never be thought to be brought into being in vain, and without some end to be answered; and which, no doubt, is the glory of God, who is and will be glorified in them, some way or another, as well as in adult persons: now though their election is a secret to us, and unrevealed; it may be reasonably supposed, yea, in a judgment of charity it may rather be concluded, that they are all chosen, than that none are; and if it is allowed that any of them may be chosen, it is enough to my present purpose; since the election of them cannot be owing to their faith, holiness, obedience, good works, and perseverance, or to the foresight of these things, which do not appear in them.””

    Salvation is of God from the beginning to the end.

    Sorry this is so long… I usually have a hard time condensing things. :)

    Sarah L. said...

    Hi Weekend Fisher! I will answer your post hopefully sometime today. I'm going somewhere with my family this morning, and we're expecting visitors later today... so we'll see if I can sqeeze it in :) If not, probably tonight, or tomorrow.

    Kyle said...

    Well, Sarah l, I don't wish to enter into a long-winded debate. Suffice it to say that in Calvinism, God still causally determines evil and sin, does not love all people, does not even really love the elect, desires that many perish, and does all things selfishly for Himself at the expense of many. This is the system that you adhere to and try to superimpose upon the bible.

    Weekend Fisher said...

    Hi Sarah

    Enjoy the road trip, & may your travels be safe.

    It's almost sad to see Kyle leaving the conversation; it was interesting to see the Arminian viewpoint represented.

    So if the two who remain in the conversation are you (a Calvinist) and me (a Lutheran), then we both agree that salvation is 100% from God. There are some vital differences in the two views, though, as Lutherans hold that God's love and grace are universal, though not irresistible: "Grace and truth came through Christ".

    Take care & God bless
    WF

    Sarah L. said...

    Kyle, if you are still there, I want to ask you something. Where have I ever said that Christ does not really love the elect? I say that He does love them, perfectly, and because He loves them He saves them.

    “The love of God finds nothing in man, but creates in him what He loves. The love of man proceeds from his Well-Beloved.”
    - Martin Luther

    Because God loves the elect, He makes them pleasing to Himself. He sanctifies them.
    “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?”

    “Who shall separate us from the love of the Christ? tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (according as it hath been written--`For Thy sake we are put to death all the day long, we were reckoned as sheep of slaughter,') but in all these we more than conquer, through him who loved us;38 for I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor messengers, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present,
    nor things about to be, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans: 8:35-39

    “nor any other created thing”…I think that that includes people. The elect cannot even separate themselves from the love of God!

    If God really loved all people, then all people would be saved. Because, as first Corinthian 13 puts it: “Love never fails”. If some of the people that God loved ended up in hell, then God’s love has failed. If God has failed, then He is not perfect... As Sproul said, if God is not in full control, If God is fallible, then how can we believe any of His promises?

    Sarah L. said...

    WF,

    “I'm sure you recognize the parables. Both those parables show *how* God exercises control. Does the parable say that God caused the tenants to be bad tenants? Does the parable say that God caused the unfaithful servant to bury the money in the ground?”

    First, where is it said in the Bible that these parables were illustrating God’s sovereignty? I don’t think that the point of the parables was to show God’s sovereignty. I think that the point of Parable #2 was to show man’s responsibility. What did he do with what was entrusted to him? But let’s run with your assertion. Starting with picture #2. I don’t think that God forced the servant to hide the money, to sin. But didn’t God, at least in a sense, cause him to do it? God could have stopped him if He wanted to. He could have given him the desire to do right. Or He could have just declared that what the servant did in hiding the money was honorable, not sin. I mean, from what the story shows, the man was sincere, he had good intentions! And I don’t see the Landowner telling the servants what to do… How was he to know that what he was doing was wrong? I mean, wouldn’t what the servant did look reasonable? It was because the Landowner said it was wrong, that it was wrong. That automatically made the man a criminal. So, the Landowner knew the servant would cheat him, but he still gave him the money knowing the man would cheat Him, He didn’t give the man a desire to do right, and the Landowner didn’t stop the man from burying the money, and then the Landowner declared the servant as condemned because he did the only thing that he was going, and could do, and the Landowner didn’t stop him.

    And the point of Parable #1 was to point out what was going to happen to Israel. the kingdom of God would be taken away from those Israelites and given to the Gentiles. Although I must admit that it does show God’s sovereignty in that He will accomplish what He has planned to do.

    If this were meant to be a specific illustration of God, we would have to apply God’s attributes to this Landowner as we did with the other one in Parable #2. The Landowner knew what the tenants that they were going to kill His son, but He sent Him anyways. Because it was His plan all along.

    “Or as God says elsewhere, "Judge, inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it?" (Isaiah 5:3-4).

    I wonder, according to Sproul, what that passage is supposed to teach? I mean, if God didn't get the results he wanted ... does that mean we're stuck in a dualistic system where we can't trust God's promises? I think not.”

    I think that the word “hoped” in vs. 4, should be translated “expected” because of “hope”s usage nowadays. Besides, here is what Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary says: “a primitive root; to bind together (perhaps by twisting), i.e. collect; (figuratively) to expect:--gather (together), look, patiently, tarry, wait (for, on, upon).” Here is what the NCV says:

    “What more could I have done for my vineyard than I have already done? Although I expected good grapes to grow, why were there only bad ones?”
    I think that this verse is probably anthropomorphic. Verses 1-5 are telling how the friend did things to make the grapes grow. He did all of these thing, and now he has the right to expect good fruit. Just because God requires, or expects something of people does not mean that they have the ability to do what He requires or expects of them. Martin Luther puts it very well in his book, The Bondage of the Will (A response to Erasmus’s book defending the free will of man).

    Erasmus has cited Deut. 30:19 (I have set before thy face life and death; choose what is good) to prove that man has a free will Erasmus says “What could be more clearly stated? It leaves man freedom of choice…It would be ridiculous to say to a man standing where two roads met: ‘you see two roads; go by which you will,’ when only one of them was open.”

    Here is part of Luther’s reply: ”Here is the very thing that I said of the arguments of human reason: reason thinks that man is mocked by an impossible commandment, whereas I maintain that by this means man is admonished and awakened to see his own impotence. It is true that we stand where two roads meet, and only one of them is open – indeed, neither is open; and the law shows us how impossible is the one, that leading to good, unless God bestows His Spirit, and how broad and easy is the other, if God lets us go that way. Now, it would not be ridiculous but a serious and necessary matter, to say to a man standing where two roads met: ‘go by which you will,’ if he in spite of weakness wanted to think himself strong, or maintained that neither way was closed. So the words of the law are spoken, not to assert the power of the will, but to illuminate the blindness of reason, so that it may see that its own light is nothing, and the power of the will is nothing. ‘By the law is the knowledge of sin,’ says Paul (Rom. 3.20). He does not say: abolition,oravoidance, of sin. The entire design and power of the law is just to give knowledge, and that of nothing but of sin; not to display or confer any power. This knowledge is not power, nor does it bring power; but it teaches and displays that there is here no power, and great weakness. What can ‘knowledge of sin’ be, but knowledge of our weakness and badness? He does not say: ‘by the law comes knowledge of power or goodness’! All that the law does, on Paul’s testimony, is to make sin known.
    It is from this passage that I derive my answer to you: that by the words of the law man is admonished and taught, not what he can do, but what he ought to do; that is, that he may know his sin, not that he may believe that he has any strength.”



    Besides all of that, still regarding Isaiah 5, there are verses that prove that God’s will, will be done. He does whatever He wants to do. “Whatever the LORD please, He does, In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps.” (Psalm 125:6) “When the LORD All-Powerful makes a plan, no one can stop it. When the LORD raises his hand to punish people, no one can stop it” (Isaiah 14:27 NCV) “From the beginning I told you what would happen in the end. A long time ago I told you things that have not yet happened. When I plan something, it happens. What I want to do, I will do.” (Isaiah 46:10)
    “I will make what I have said come true; I will do what I have planned” (Isaiah 46:11) “People on earth are not truly important. God does what he wants with the powers of heaven and the people on earth. No one can stop his powerful hand or question what he does.” (Daniel 4:35)

    I showed this to my dad before I posted (that word sounds wrong :) this (he is my “proofreader”) and he made a comment that I like, and that I couldn’t seem to phrase as well as he could.. so I am just going to quote what he suggested to me:

    “To clarify that, just because God demands something does not imply that we are able to do it, was perfect. It can also be anthropomorphic to make the point that if God truly was dependent (as a man would be) on us (or Israel in the context) then what more could He do to accomplish what is required? The answer would be "nothing" which then makes the point that if "things" are going to get done, they must ultimately rest upon God alone (which then changes our aspirations to be a part of His working, not the cause or enablement of His working). He does the doing and we strive to be participants (planters, waterers but dependent on Him to give the increase (results)).”


    No one can do anything against what He has willed, even sin, because remember, God apparently wills that sin, the opposite of Him, be shown, because if He didn’t, He would stop it. If He has the power to stop things, and yet allows them to happen, them He in His omniscience knows that they must happen for His own good reasons, His own flawless purposes. As Romans 11 says, “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been able to give him advice?”

    So, if he had, instead of expecting Israel to bear good fruit, wanted, willed for them to bear good fruit, it would have happened. Remember, the LORD told Moses that Israel would break the Agreement, that they would turn away from Himself:

    “And the LORD said to Moses, “You will soon die. Then these people will not be loyal to me but will worship the foreign gods of the land they are entering. They will leave me, breaking the Agreement I made with them. Then I will become very angry at them, and I will leave them…Now write down this song and teach it to the Israelites. Then have them sing it, because it will be my witness against them. When I bring them into the land I promised to their ancestors, a fertile land, they will eat as much as they want and get fat. …They will reject me and break my Agreement. Then when many troubles and terrible things happen to them, this song will testify against them… I know what they plan to do, even before take them into the land I promised them.” (Deutoronomy 31:15-21)

    This was God’s plan all along. ) It was His will that it should happen. And it did. He knew that that Israel would reject the Messiah. He knew they would rebel. But through their rejection, salvation would come to the Gentiles. Moses sang about these things in Deuteronomy 32. And God is still isn’t done with Israel, when the fullness of the Gentiles comes in, all Israel will be saved. (Romans 11:25-26) In Moses’s (how do make that plural? :)) song he even sang about the redemption of Israel: “Be happy, nations, with his people, because he will repay you for the blood of his servants. He will punish his enemies and he will remove the sin of his land and people”

    God has not, and cannot fail in anything that He wants to do. Isn’t that sovereign?

    “God, your ways are holy. No god is as great as our God.” Psalm 77:13

    “Lutherans hold that God's love and grace are universal, though not irresistible: "Grace and truth came through Christ".

    Well I don’t really like the term irresistible grace, I would probably say something like Efficacious grace. Grace that accomplishes what it set out to do. And, by the way, I don’t necessarily consider myself a Calvinist… I like Biblicist better. Because I don’t base my beliefs on what Calvin said but what the Bible said. I like the quote that Mr. Shelton has on his front page: “Calvinism did not spring from Calvin. We believe that it sprang from the great Founder of all truth." Besides, I’m almost positive that I don’t agree with Mr. Calvin in his eschatology :).
    -Charles H. Spurgeon

    Thanks for bearing with me : ).

    Kyle said...

    "If God really loved all people, then all people would be saved. Because, as first Corinthian 13 puts it: “Love never fails”. If some of the people that God loved ended up in hell, then God’s love has failed. If God has failed, then He is not perfect... As Sproul said, if God is not in full control, If God is fallible, then how can we believe any of His promises?"

    This evinces a fundamental misunderstanding of both this passage and love in general. "Love never fails," means that it never runs out, nor is it overcome by hate. In other words, God continues to love those that even eternally reject Him. His love never fails - but we may fail to receive it and love Him back.

    If you offer your love to a spouse and they decline, would anyone in their right mind think they have "failed?" Love is not the kind of thing that is measured in "success or failure," as if it were a strength of wits or will. Love can be declined, but it can never be defeated.

    Scripture is overwhelmingly clear that God loves all people. It's also clear that many people reject God's own will for their lives. It's also clear that God does not cause evil, but permits it. It's impossible to simply read Scripture alone and become a Calvinist. One has to read them into the Scriptures. That's why virtually no early church father had Calvinistic proclivities until Augustine.

    When I said God does not really love the elect, I meant that God's "love" for the elect in Calvinism is really nothing more than refraining from squashing them. God would have no qualms about eternally damning you for His "glory" if you came out on the other end of the equation, just as He has no problem unconditionally damning the other reprobate. He doesn't really care about you, He is merely arbitrarily chosen to promote your wellbeing (though He does not necessarily love your family members, so really we have to worry whether or not we are more loving than God in Calvinism).

    The Calvinistic God is simply not worthy of worship. It is an extreme perversion of the biblical depiction of the God of holy love.

    Sarah L. said...

    Ooops! You are right Kyle! You are right! I did use the 1 Corinthians 13 passage wrong! I apologize about that. I wasn’t thinking about the whole context of the passage. And I have heard that it means that love never ends before, but my crazy brain didn’t register what I was doing when I gave you the passage. :( As my dad has emphisized, context is key. I should have looked at the verses after “love never fails”, where it talks about prophecy “ceasing” ending,, tongues ending… and such. But love endures. I am so sorry! Thank you very much for pointing out my mistake :).

    I can still prove my point though… which I will try to do tomorrow. Even using that verse in it’s correct context… which I should have done at the beginning.

    I do want to clarify something tonight though...

    “It's impossible to simply read Scripture alone and become a Calvinist. One has to read them into the Scriptures. That's why virtually no early church father had Calvinistic proclivities until Augustine.”

    As I said to Mr. WF, I don’t necessarily want to be called a Calvinist. Biblicist is better. I do agree with some things that Calvin believed because he found a lot of his beliefs in the same place that I do, in the Bible. Although I am pretty sure that I do not agree with Calvin on some things, such as eschatology, or his view of the Eucharist and baptism. I hold the Bible as my standard, not Calvin. And actually, I don’t think that I or my dad, had read any of Calvin’s works before we learned about election. We learned it in the Bible, and Calvin just happened to have read the same thing(the Bible).The Doctrines of Grace is a better term than Calvinism; and it didn’t start with Augustine, it started with God’s word.
    Thanks again :) ‘see’ you tomorrow! Well, actually it is basically already tomorrow on my clock: 11:58p.m.… I need to get to bed.

    Talk with you later today :D

    Lee Shelton IV said...

    Sarah, are you saying that it's all about God? What a novel concept! :) Wouldn't it be wonderful if all believers could come to that realization?

    In my opinion, it is only human pride that keeps us from recognizing the fact that God does indeed control his own creation. And there is no doubt that we are prideful creatures.

    Deep down, however, I think all believers know the truth. John pointed out in the first comment that "there's something in us that tells us that God is sovereign." Every Christian I know prays like a Calvinist, especially when it comes to the salvation of friends and loved ones. Isn't that a violation of their own concept of free will? I mean, if God has to do something extraordinary to get someone to repent and believe, then that person isn't really loving God freely. Calvinists, on the other hand, don't encounter that dilemma because we know it's all of God in the first place.

    (For the record, I'm with Spurgeon, who said that Calvinism is merely a nickname. The fact is, the points known as TULIP came along after Calvin's death. And I certainly don't subscribe to everything Calvin taught.)

    Kyle said...

    Lee,

    "Sarah, are you saying that it's all about God? What a novel concept! :) Wouldn't it be wonderful if all believers could come to that realization?

    In my opinion, it is only human pride that keeps us from recognizing the fact that God does indeed control his own creation. And there is no doubt that we are prideful creatures."

    This is the kind of dishonest and tendentious rhetoric that is simply downright untruthful. Arminians agree that it's all about God, but the question is, "What *kind* of God are we talking about?" In Calvinism it's all about God alright: all about a selfish, unloving, power-centric, tyrannical, and ultimately wicked God. In Arminianism it's also all about God: all about a holy, loving, powerful, and wise Creator.

    God is in control, but you continue to unjustifiably and reductionistically define control as an all-encompassing determinism (which makes God the author of sin, inescapably). In Arminianism nothing happens without God's direct action or His permission. In Calvinism, God causes all things, including evil.

    I know that God is sovereign - I just don't define sovereignty in the idiosyncratic and unbiblical manner that Calvinists define it. I'm glad that most Calvinists do not apply Jesus' command to imitate God consistently within their system, for I fear what kind of behavior that would logicallly encourage.

    The very fact that you have failed to engage my arguments head on strongly suggests that Calvinism is indefensible.

    By the way, I wonder how many Calvinists would be just fine with letting it be "all about God" if He chose to damn them for all eternity for His "glory." I'm pretty sure their "pride" would kick in as they begin to find it difficult to be obligated to love and worship a God who hates them. And I see nothing stopping God from doing this, even to those whom He has allowed to partake of His grace for a time (Calvin's evanescent grace / the false hope) before He withdraws it to damn you even worse. He just may do it for His "glory," and you better be ready.

    It's not "pride" that upholds biblical Arminian theology, but rather a zeal for the glory and character of God to be properly represented. If anything, it's the Calvinists who, in their unwarranted pride (since they have no idea that they are elect and no justification for thinking they are until they die in faith), think that God has "chosen them" from all eternity and therefore they feel no need to care about the people God has chosen to be unconditionally damned - since if God doesn't care about them, why should we? God loves like a Pagan (loves his friends), so we should, too. Consistent Calvinism leads to such abominable conclusions.

    Kyle said...

    "The Doctrines of Grace is a better term than Calvinism; and it didn’t start with Augustine, it started with God’s word."

    The fact is that there was no one interpreted the biblical concepts of election and soteriology in Calvinistic ways (unconditional election, and the like. Call it what you will, I'm calling it Calvinism, for "Doctrines of grace" is a slanted title that subtly implies that Arminianism is not all about God's grace) until Augustine. That is strong evidence that it is a later invention that later theologians tried to foist upon the biblical text.

    Facts are stubborn things, but thems the facts. Calvinism (and the view of God it espouses) is a human creation that does not arise out of Scripture.

    Kyle said...

    By the way, Lee, if in my "pride" I am refusing to submit to an unbiblical view of God's sovereignty that involves complete divine determinism, it was determined that I be an Arminian for God's "glory" anyway, so you should thank God for my "rebellion" against him (which was predetermined by God).

    Just like you should thank God for all of the rapes, murders, tortures, child abuse, child pornography, racism, sexism, persecution, and kidnappings. God needed them for His "glory," so He predetermined that they take place. This is the unbiblical blapshemy of Calvinism that I detest, though I love those who assert it.

    Sarah L. said...

    Mr. Shelton,

    I already figured that you don't agree with everything that Calvin says, or at least that you didn't believe in 'Calvinism' because of Calvin....Your Spurgeon quote on your main page indicated that your standard is the Bible. and I am fine with Calvinism being a nickname.
    I have read the "Every Christian prays like a Calvinist" quote before, and it is good :)

    Whenever I write something, I usually 'have' to give a quote (I collect them. It is like I 'have' to take at least one book with me wherever I go, even on quick trips, just in case. So, here is one that I think is interesting:


    "They (Believers who do not accept a definite atonement)necessarily turn away from a substitutionary atonement altogether. Christ did not die in the sinners stead, it seems, to bear his penalties and purchase for him eternal life; He died rather to make the salvation of sinners possible, to open the way of salvation to sinners, to remove all the obstacles in the way of salvation. But what obstacle stands in the way of salvation besides the sinner's sin? And if this obstacle (their sin) is removed, are they not saved?"

    Benjamin B. Warfield

    Lee Shelton IV said...

    Kyle, I have dealt with your arguments, but you keep throwing up ridiculous straw men in response. It just gets tiring after awhile.

    You keep spouting these inane statements like I should "thank God for all of the rapes, murders, tortures, child abuse, child pornography, racism, sexism, persecution, and kidnappings." Seriously, what is it with you?

    Tell what I will do. I'll praise God and thank him for keeping me from such things. I'll pray for people to be delivered from such things. And I'll praise him and thank him when he ultimately puts an end to such things.

    But according to your theology, God can't be glorified by putting an end to such things because that would give purpose to their existence. The only explanation, then, is that God doesn't really have ultimate control over his creation. He simply reacts to what unfolds. No wonder some Arminians (like Greg Boyd) eventually fall into the trap of open theism.

    Have you ever wondered why God bothered creating the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the first place? If he hadn't created it, he wouldn't have had to command Adam and Eve not to eat of it, and then he wouldn't have had to deal with all the consequences of original sin. Of course, all of that could have been avoided by not creating Lucifer.

    But maybe...just maybe...it was all part of an ordained plan. Does that mean God forced Lucifer and his minions and Adam and Eve to sin? No. Is God responsible for their sin? No. Did God ordain it to happen? Obviously, otherwise it wouldn't have happened.

    Keep in mind that we were chosen in Christ before the foundations of the world. It was predestined (to use an actual term from scripture). That to me sounds like a God with a plan, not a reactionary God who manages to stay just one step ahead of the game because he can see into the future.

    Lee Shelton IV said...

    Warfield is spot on. Thanks, Sarah.

    Sarah L. said...

    Kyle,

    O.K., I had my dad proofread this post, so it should be free of textual mistakes. (Not necessarily spelling mistakes though :)

    I agree that God’s love never ends. But, I have to disagree that God loves every single person in the world. Take Romans 9 for instance:

    Rebekah’s sons had the same father, our father Isaac. But before the two boys were born, God told Rebekah, “The older will serve the younger.” This was before the boys had done anything good or bad. God said this so that the one chosen would be chosen because of God’s own plan. He was chosen because he was the one God wanted to call, not because of anything he did. As the Scripture says, “I loved Jacob, but I hated Esau.”

    In that verse “hated” means hated. Paul is quoting Malachi 1:2-3. Here is what Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary says about the word used for ‘hated’. ” a primitive root; to hate (personally):--enemy, foe, (be) hate(-ful, -r), odious, X utterly”. And God hated Esau before he had done good or bad. He hated him before he was born. That is not love.

    So what should we say about this? Is God unfair? In no way! God said to Moses, “I will show kindness to anyone whom I want to show kindness, and I will show mercy to anyone to whom I want to show mercy.” So God will choose the one to whom he decides to show mercy; his choice does not depend on what people want or try to do.” Romans 9:14-16

    God has the right to hate those whom He has the right to hate, and to love those whom He has the right to hate. Remember, we don’t deserve His love. We deserve His hate. I know that humanly this is hard to understand. We are born with the false concept that life is about us, that we have the ‘right’ to have good things happen to us. We need the Word of God to show us what is true.

    “God continues to love those that even eternally reject Him.”

    “We know that in everything God works for the good of those whom love him. They are the people he called, because that was his plan. God knew them before he made the world, and he chose them to be like his Son so that Jesus would be the firstborn of many brothers and sisters. God planned for them to be like his Son, and those he planned for them to be like his Son, he also called; and those he called, he also made right with him; and those he made right, he also glorified.” Romans 8:28-30

    Those that eternally reject God are not the ones that He called in this passage. Because if they were, then they would love Him… and, if they were, then they were made right with God, justified, and would not be in Hell. Where does the Bible say that God loves every single person on earth?

    “’Salvation is of the Lord.’ All of it. In completeness. In perfection. The God who decrees all things saves perfectly. Salvation is a divine act, a divine work. It is centered on God, not upon man. It is God’s glory, not man’s that is at stake. The God-centeredness of the gospel is what makes the biblical teaching so fundamentally different from all the religions of men.” - James White

    God’s love for those whom He has chosen to love does not end. “Love never fails(ends)”. Who can accuse the people God has chosen? No one, because God is the One who makes them right. Who can say God’s people are guilty? No one, because Christ Jesus died, but he was also raised from the dead, and now he is on god’s right side, appealing to God for us. Can anything separate us from the love Christ has for us? Can troubles or problems or sufferings or hunger or nakedness or danger or violent death?...But in all these things we are completely victorious through God who showed his love for us. Romans 8:33-37

    God’s love is an active love:
    “The Father has loved us so much that we are called children of God. And we really are His children.”(NCV) “See ye what love the Father hath given to us, that children of God we may be called;” (YLT)1 John 3:1

    He saves those He loves. He doesn’t wait for them to choose Him, because they won’t choose Him in and of themselves. He chooses to give those He loves the desire to choose Him.

    “You did not choose me; I chose you.” John 15:16 “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as it loves its own. But I have chosen you out of the world, so you don’t belong to it. That is why the world hates you.” John 15:18-19

    They(Christ’s disciples) were chosen out of the world. That is why they were not of the world. That is why the world/people of the world hate them. If Christ loved single person in the world then he would have chosen every single person of the world. But he didn’t.

    If God ‘wills’ that anyone be saved, if He truly wants to save a person, they will be saved.

    “From the beginning I told you what would happen in the end. A long time ago I told you things that have not yet happened. When I plan something, it happens. What I want to do, I will do.” (Isaiah 46:10)

    “I will make what I have said come true; I will do what I have planned” (Isaiah 46:11) “People on earth are not truly important. God does what he wants with the powers of heaven and the people on earth. No one can stop his powerful hand or question what he does.” (Daniel 4:35)

    “…from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever!” Romans 11:36

    Life is about God not about man.

    Kyle said...

    By the way, while it may be true that for humans it's "all about God" in a sense because God is the supreme Good and knows what's best for us and the world, for God Himself it's actually NOT all about Him, according to Jesus: "I came not to be served, but to serve." Jesus cares about all human beings for their own sake, not just so He can toot His own horn.


    "Where does the Bible say that God loves every single person on earth? "

    Such a question is astounding. The evidence in Scripture for God's love for all is so unbelievably copious that I will not even begin citing the evidence here.

    Jesus also tells us to "hate our parents" - does He mean literally to hate them, in contradiction to His own holy commandment? No,it means to love less, to prefer one over another for some purpose (in the case of Romans 9, for the purpose of choosing a vehicle through which salvation would come through to the whole world). Romans 9 needs to be read in like of Romans 9-11, and the rest of Romans.

    Do we "deserve" God's love? Well no, but again, that simply does not solve the problem. The fact that we don't deserve God's love doesn't mean God therefore would ever not love anybody. His very essence, His very nature is love - He cannot help but love all people, although we can fail to receive that love and love Him in return.

    You are prooftexting scripture and using very poor hermeneutics. There are many passages that do speak of God's specific will being denied for some people (Luke 7 is just one).

    I'm glad you admit that God does not love everybody in Calvinism. Now I beg of you to live this out and to preach it in your pulpits, in contradiction to Eph 5:1 and Matthew 5, in which we are commanded to love all people as God loves all people.

    Moreoever, how do you know God loves you? Have you died in faith? Perhaps God will stop loving you before you die. Perhaps He will stop loving your children or your father. He doesn't "owe" you love at all, right? He may just choose to damn you for His "glory" before you perservere to the end and die in your faith. After all, he would have no problem squashing you for His own perverse pleasure, just as He enjoys squashing other human beings created in His image.

    The Calvinistic God is a monster. The only thing that is "glorified" by His unconditionally hatred of many men is His arbitrary, fickle, and perverse power.

    Wesley said...

    Where in Ephesians 5:1 does it say that God loves everybody? Does God love the children of disobedience that the wrath of God is coming upon?

    Kyle said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Kyle said...

    Wesley,

    You're right, Eph 1 doesn't say God loves everybody (although Matt 5 says He visits His kindness on all, and God's kindness is meant to lead to repentence - Rom 2). But it says to be "imitators of God," which on Calvinism means to hate all people but the elect. God loves like a Pagan in Calvinism - He only loves His chosen set of buddies.

    The Bible is so clear in other places that God loves the world, all men, has died for all men, etc. It takes a mind indoctrinated into Calvinism to miss it. Yes, God still loves those He visits with His wrath because He is holy and must punish impenitent sinners. But His love never ends, never fails. We just fail to receive it.

    The consistent Calvinist should imitate God and have His ends as his own - and hate everyone but the elect, rejoice at rapes, murders, tortures, and the holocaust. It all glorifies God, He predetermined it all, so we should rejoice, do evil that good may come, since God does!

    I retort, where in the Bible does it say that Jesus only died for the elect? Presenting verses that say He died for the church proves nothing, for Paul also says in Galatians that Jesus died for Him - although clearly not ONLY him. There is no verse that limits the atonement to ONLY the elect, and tons that broaden God's love for all and His death for all. It's so very clear that it makes belief in limited atonement almost irrational.

    James said...

    Just reading Lee's and Sarah's debate, makes me understand the my so-called understanding of scripture is miniscule that I laugh at my so-called wisdom and understanding, which makes me depend upon my Lord for all things. I must request of God that His wisdom and understanding be placed within me and that I learn to be quiet and listen, to love my fellow man as Christ first loved me, while I was yet a sinner.

    Sarah L. said...

    Kyle,

    By the way, while it may be true that for humans it's "all about God" in a sense because God is the supreme Good and knows what's best for us and the world, for God Himself it's actually NOT all about Him, according to Jesus: "I came not to be served, but to serve." Jesus cares about all human beings for their own sake, not just so He can toot His own horn.

    “The fact that Christ died for us is not in question here, what is in question is whether our salvation was the primary end for which Christ died. We live in a day and age where the secular mindset prevails. And according to the secular mindset, humankind is the centre of reality. The biblical mindset, however, is quite the opposite. The biblical mindset is that God is the centre of reality…
    The answer the Bible gives, is that, at its core, Jesus died for the glory of God. Or, as John Piper puts it, 'Before the cross can be for our sake, it must be for God's sake.'
    Our self-centred nature, I suspect, has trouble comprehending that salvation is not all about us--it is about God. Salvation is about God and the demonstration of His glory . This is not some new concept, it is a truth that is affirmed throughout Scripture. In Psalm 79, verse 9, the psalmist prays, "Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of Thy name; And deliver us, and forgive our sins, for Thy name's sake."
    We also find this in Romans 3:21-26, "But now", Paul writes, "apart from the law, the righteousness of God has been manifested". How is the righteousness of God been manifested? Paul's answer is that the righteousness of God has been manifested in the death of Jesus. Paul tells us in verse 25 that "God put forward (Christ) as a sacrifice of atonement by His blood, effective through faith." This was done, Paul writes, "to demonstrate the righteousness of God, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus"(Rom. 3:25, 26)….
    And this theology is not simply something that Paul cooked up on his own--Jesus spoke in these terms as well. In John 17 we hear Jesus praying, "Father, the hour has come; glorify Thy Son, that the Son may glorify Thee . . . I glorified Thee on earth, having accomplished the work which Thou hast given Me to do. And now, glorify Thou Me together with Thyself"(Jn. 17:1,4,5).
    Both in His life and in His death, the primary concern of Jesus was for the glory of His Heavenly Father. Where we fit into the equation is that the manner Jesus brought glory to the Father was by taking upon Himself the punishment that was due us. In other words, the vindication of God's glory is the ground of our salvation.
    What a blessed equation! By the death of Christ, God gets the glory due His name and we receive the deliverance from sin that we so desperately need.
    God's concern for His own glory is our good news . This is an amazing truth. When human beings act in a self-centred fashion it is almost always to the detriment of someone else. This is not the case with God. God's passion for His glory, rather than opposing love, is the foundation of it. God has chosen to manifest His glory by loving us and by giving us His righteousness.” – (?)


    Yes, I agree, Christ died for the benefit of His people. But why? He died for our sake for the glory of God.

    Jesus was serving humans because in serving humans he was serving God. He came to do God’s will. “Mt 26:39 And he went forward a little, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass away from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.” “ Jesus saith to them, `My food is, that I may do the will of Him who sent me, and may finish His work;” John 4:34

    Joh 14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

    He didn’t say that He would do what people ask in His name for their own sake, but that “the Father may be glorified in the Son.”


    “Such a question is astounding. The evidence in Scripture for God's love for all is so unbelievably copious that I will not even begin citing the evidence here.”

    Please show me the evidence. If God’s word says that Christ has died for every single person then I will have to believe it. As Martin Luther said: “My conscience is captive to the word of God.” I like how Sproul put it:

    “YOU ARE REQUIRED TO BELIEVE, TO PREACH, AND TO TEACH WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS IS TRUE, NOT WHAT YOU WANT THE BIBLE TO SAY IS TRUE.”

    I must live according to God’s word. Not what I think God’s word says, but what it actually says. Not by what I desire God’s word to say but by what it says. Even if I don’t like what it says.

    And of course we won’t like what the Bible says! At least at first. It is totally against human nature to realize that life is about God. We naturally think that it is about ourselves. The Bible is the ‘lens’ through which we must see life.

    “Jesus also tells us to "hate our parents" - does He mean literally to hate them, in contradiction to His own holy commandment? No,it means to love less, to prefer one over another for some purpose (in the case of Romans 9, for the purpose of choosing a vehicle through which salvation would come through to the whole world). Romans 9 needs to be read in like of Romans 9-11, and the rest of Romans.”

    Kyle, if it really means to love less, then apparently God’s love is not perfect. Does God have degrees of love? Of agape love? I believe that when God loves it is to the fullest extent. And the passage in Malachi does not mean loved less. It means hated “a primitive root; to hate (personally):--enemy, foe, (be) hate(-ful, -r), odious, X utterly.”

    Even if we use the Greek text, it says “Jacob I loved (agapao) Esau I hated (miseo).”

    1. Miseo means “to hate, pursue with hatred, detest
    2. to be hated, detested
    New Testament Greek Lexicon

    If it had meant “love less” then I think a word similar to a word denoting love would have been used. Besides, if it really meant love less, I think that the translators have done a bad job at rendering the word into the English language:

    NIV “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

    NCV “I loved Jacob, but I hated Esau.”

    ALT “"Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."

    KJV “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”

    TCNT “-'I loved Jacob, but I hated Esau.”




    Besides, it doesn’t make much sense why Paul would then say “Is God unfair?” I mean, if God only loved Esau less, He still loved him.

    And why in the world is Paul quoting what God said to Moses? “I will show kindness to anyone to whom I want to show kindness, and I will show mercy to anyone to whom I want to show mercy.” So God will choose the one to whom he decides to show mercy; his choice does not depend on what people want or try to do.”

    If God only loved Esau less, then He still loved him and would show kindness to him and mercy. So why is Paul defending God? Why is Paul defending God’s freedom to show mercy and kindness on who He wants? If he loved both men then He would be showing both of them mercy, kindness. It just doesn’t make sense.

    Now, if you take it as Jacob I loved but Esau I hated. Then it makes sense.

    “So what should we say about this? Is God unfair? In no way. God said to Moses, “I will show kindness to anyone to whom I want to show kindness, and I will show mercy to anyone to whom I want to show mercy.” So God will choose the one to who He decides to show mercy; his choice does not depend on what people want or try to do. The Scripture says to the king of Eygpt: “I made you king for this reason: to show my power in you so that my name will be talked about in all the earth.”(Sounds a bit like God wants to ‘toot’ His own horn) So God shows mercy where he wants to show mercy, and he makes stubborn the people he wants to make stubborn. So one of you will ask me: “Then why does God blame us for our sins? Who can fight his will?” You are only human, and human beings have no right to question God.” NCV



    “His very essence, His very nature is love - He cannot help but love all people, although we can fail to receive that love and love Him in return”

    If God cannot help but love all people then He didn’t choose to do so, He was unable not to do so. And If that is the case then why did God say to Moses that He would show mercy to any that He chooses to have mercy on? And if you take God as love, that is as something He cannot help, then He would love sin and Satan too. God is different from humans. God’s emotions do not control Him. He controls His emotions.

    Besides God is not just love. Just because He has the attribute doesn’t mean that that is all that He is. Isn’t God just? Isn’t God Holy? I like this definition of Holy by Wayne Grudem: “God’s holiness means that he is separated from sin and devoted to seeking his own honor.” Hmmm… but that would be tooting His own horn. But let me ask you this: Where does the Bible say that it is wrong for God to “toot” His own horn? I mean, who actually gave us the Bible? God. Who is the Bible focused on, praising? God.

    Isn’t God righteous? I mean, He punishes the wicked doesn’t He? That is not love that is directed at them. Why is He angry with sinners? Because they are against Him, they are saying NO to Him. Isn’t that selfish of God? To get mad at people for not living the way HE wants them to live? To put them in eternal Hell? To condemn them for eternity????? The love of God is not exactly like the love of human beings. If it were then God wouldn’t send anyone to Hell. You think that the “Calvinist” God is mean, well look at yours! He burns the people He LOVES for eternity just because they don’t like Him and don’t obey Him. That sounds horrible! Your ‘god’ is unable to save all of the one’s that he loves. Your ‘god’ is dependent on humans for His will to be done. What kind of ‘god’ is that?

    Our God, the God of the Bible, saves every single person that He loves. Our God has the Freedom to do what He wants to. He is not dependent on humans to get His will done. He does it Himself.

    So apparently God does not love every single person. Why can’t God hate people???????????????? He has the absolute right to! From our perspective He should! It would not be sin in God! Where does the Bible say that God cannot hate people? The Bible does say that He does love some people, but it doesn’t say that He loves every single person on earth. God’s freedom is in question here. We need to care more about the freedom of God than the freedom of man. Man has external influences, his actions are based on those. Thus he is not totally free. God’s actions, on the other hand, are not influenced by the external.. what is outside God?

    “There are many passages that do speak of God's specific will being denied for some people (Luke 7 is just one).”

    I am assuming that you mean vs. 30. “ But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.” KJV

    Here is what Albert Barnes says: “The counsel of God - The counsel of God toward them was the solemn admonition by John to “repent” and be baptized, and be prepared to receive the Messiah. This was the command or revealed will of God in relation to them. When it is said that they “rejected” the counsel of God, it does not mean that they could frustrate his purposes, but merely that they violated his commands.”

    Thus, I think that the CEV puts it better: “But the Pharisees and the experts in the Law of Moses refused to obey God and be baptized by John.”


    “I'm glad you admit that God does not love everybody in Calvinism. Now I beg of you to live this out and to preach it in your pulpits, in contradiction to Eph 5:1 and Matthew 5, in which we are commanded to love all people as God loves all people.”


    I am glad that I admit it too because that is what the Bible teaches. My dad preaches it in the pulpit at our church, I don’t preach it in the pulpit, 'cause I am a girl. Now, I am assuming that what you mean by begging us to “live” it out, is for us to hate and love people that God loves and hates. Well, we have a problem here. For one thing, as you mentioned, Eph 5:1 and Mathew 5 don’t allow for that. We do not know who is or is not elect and thus regard every person as a child of God or a possible child of God. We have no authority to make judgments on individual people. Only God can do that.


    Ephesians 5:1 Starts out by saying “You are God’s children whom he loves, so try to be like him. Reading on to verse 2 clarifies that: It tells us to love “just as Christ loved us”. “us” meaning the elect, God’s children. He didn’t love us because we had anything good in us or about us, but simply because He wanted to. His love was sacrificial.
    Thus we humans are to love. As in Romans 12:1 “ I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”

    Again, I quote Barnes:
    “It implies that he who offers it presents it entirely, releases all claim or right to it, and leaves it to be disposed of for the honor of God. In the case of an animal, it was slain, and the blood offered; in the case of any other offering, as the first-fruits, etc., it was set apart to the service of God; and he who offered it released all claim on it, and submitted it to God, to be disposed of at his will. This is the offering which the apostle entreats the Romans to make: to devote themselves to God, as if they had no longer any claim on themselves; to be disposed of by him; to suffer and bear all that he might appoint; and to promote his honor in any way which he might command.”

    In Mathew 5 we are told to love our enemies. Yes we are to love our enemies. But just because we are supposed to love all of OUR enemies doesn’t mean that God loves all of His. We are to love our enemies as He loves the enemies that He loves. Again, we don’t know who the elect are, we were once God’s enemies, and they could be God’s children as we are. Paul certainly didn’t look like a prospective Christian did he? But It was God’s choice that he be God’s servant. We are to love all people as prospective children of God. I like this quote of a quote by William Gurnall:

    “O ye saints, when reproached and persecuted, look farther than man, spend not your wrath on him. Alas! They are but instruments in the devil’s hand. Save your displeasure for Satan, who is thy chief enemy. These may be won to Christ’s side, and so become thy friends at last. Now and then we see some running away from the devil’s colours, and washing thy wounds with their tears, which they have made with their cruelty. It is a notable passage in Anselm, compares the heretic and the persecutor to the horse, and the devil to the rider. Now, saith he, in battle, when the enemy comes riding up, the valiant soldier ‘is angry not with the horse, but horseman; he labours to kill the man, that he may possess the horse for his use; thus must we do with the wicked, we are not to bend our wrath against them, but Satan that rides them, and spurs them on, labouring by prayer for them as Christ did on the cross, to dismount the devil, that so these miserable souls hackneyed by him may be delivered from him.’


    “Moreoever, how do you know God loves you? Have you died in faith?”

    I know that God loves me because I love Him. I wouldn’t love Him if He didn’t love me. “We love him, because he first loved us.” 1John 4:19

    “Perhaps God will stop loving you before you die. Perhaps He will stop loving your children or your father. He doesn't "owe" you love at all, right? He may just choose to damn you for His "glory" before you perservere to the end and die in your faith. After all, he would have no problem squashing you for His own perverse pleasure, just as He enjoys squashing other human beings created in His image.”

    Kyle, remember, we talked about this before. God’s love never ends. 1 Cor 13. He will never stop loving those whom He has chosen to love.

    If God had wanted to squash me He could have rightyly done it of His own free-will. Again, what is wrong with God destroying the wicked? With inflicting judgement on those who have violated His commands? If He had squashed me, it would have been for His own “good” pleasure: And yes, I probably would have hated God if He had done that, but that doesn’t mean that God is not right or good in what He chooses to do.

    “I might rather ask 'Who are you who are arguing with God?' Does a thing which a man has molded say to him who has molded it 'Why did you make me like this?'
    Has not the potter absolute power over his clay, so that out of the same lump he makes one thing for better, and another for common, use?’ TCNT Romans 20-21


    I will end with a quote by Mathew Henry:

    “Whatever God does, must be just. Wherein the holy, happy people of God differ from others, God's grace alone makes them differ. In this preventing, effectual, distinguishing grace, he acts as a benefactor, whose grace is his own. None have deserved it; so that those who are saved, must thank God only; and those who perish, must blame themselves only, Hos_13:9. God is bound no further than he has been pleased to bind himself by his own covenant and promise, which is his revealed will. And this is, that he will receive, and not cast out, those that come to Christ; but the drawing of souls in order to that coming, is an anticipating, distinguishing favour to whom he will. Why does he yet find fault? This is not an objection to be made by the creature against his Creator, by man against God. The truth, as it is in Jesus, abases man as nothing, as less than nothing, and advances God as sovereign Lord of all. Who art thou that art so foolish, so feeble, so unable to judge the Divine counsels? It becomes us to submit to him, not to reply against him. Would not men allow the infinite God the same sovereign right to manage the affairs of the creation, as the potter exercises in disposing of his clay, when of the same lump he makes one vessel to a more honourable, and one to a meaner use? God could do no wrong, however it might appear to men. God will make it appear that he hates sin. Also, he formed vessels filled with mercy. Sanctification is the preparation of the soul for glory. This is God's work. Sinners fit themselves for hell, but it is God who prepares saints for heaven; and all whom God designs for heaven hereafter, he fits for heaven now. Would we know who these vessels of mercy are? Those whom God has called; and these not of the Jews only, but of the Gentiles. Surely there can be no unrighteousness in any of these Divine dispensations. Nor in God's exercising long-suffering, patience, and forbearance towards sinners under increasing guilt, before he brings utter destruction upon them. The fault is in the hardened sinner himself. As to all who love and fear God, however such truths appear beyond their reason to fathom, yet they should keep silence before him. It is the Lord alone who made us to differ; we should adore his pardoning mercy and new-creating grace, and give diligence to make our calling and election sure.”



    Soli Deo Gloria

    Kyle said...

    Sarah,

    1) In consistent Calvinism, God DOES seek His own "glory" at the expense of people - the reprobate!

    2) Romans 9 is using a famous Hebrew idiom, the same idiom Jesus uses (unless you want to make Jesus command something that is against the commandments of God). Additionally, as Romans 9-11 *goes on* to say (Paul wrote more than Romans 9) at the conclusion of his grand argument, God "bound up all men under disodedience so that he might have mercy on them all" (Romans 11:32). So much for Calvinism! Paul is arguing against Jews who, like the Calvinists, want to *limit* God's mercy to a certain group of people, in this case the Jews. Paul is saying, "God can have mercy on who He wants, not on who *you* want! And He will have mercy on all!" If you come up with something other than Paul's conclusion, you have failed to follow his reasoning.

    3) Doing something for God's glory means to do something that reflects God's character, whether that's something righteous/just or something loving. That is precisely what God does on the cross, and what we do when we glorify Him. His glory is that He cares about all people and about His holiness (shown forth in the cross). To prop up the name of God is to declare to all people the kind of God is: amazingly holy, and amazingly loving

    4) People in Scripture (and we) praise God because God is praiseWORTHY. He deserves our praise becuase of who He is and what He does - unlike the Calvinistic view of God.

    5) Obviously God does not love sin, since His love is a holy love. But He loves all the things He has made, which include all persons, even Satan. Does that mean they (or Satan) will be saved? No, because many fail to receive this love.

    6) Yes my (and the biblical) God punishes those whom He loves because He is also holy. He loves them even though they refuse to love Him back and as a consequence suffer misery. But He still loves them, which shows His glory, unlike the Calvinist god who simply hates them for no good reason but a display of his perverse, arbitrary and fickle power.

    Let's see, do I prefer a God who loves all men but some men don't love Him back, or a god who hates most men arbitrarily? I choose column A, the biblical option.

    7) In your system, which shows itself to be unbiblical in the face of Matthew 5, God commands us to do something He Himself fails to do: love all men! So we out-love God! Clearly something is wrong if in your system, men are more glorious (loving) than God Himself. In the passage, our love for our enemies is GROUNDED in God's love for them!

    8) It is not God's freedom, but God's *character* that is in question here. It seems that on your view, God has no consistent character whatsoever. He simply does whatever He wants, predetermining sin, rape, the holocaust, and unconditionally damning most men to Hell.

    9) Please spare me the frequent quotes from Calvinist authors. I don't need to hear what uninspired men have to say about the unbiblical system of Calvinism. I prefer to engage your own personal arguments and responses to my arguments. I don't need to be lectured by Reformed theologians.

    10) As for unlimited atonement, here is a small taste of the multitudinous passages of the NT: John 1:29, John 3:16, John 4:42, 1 Timothy 2:3-4, 1 Timothy 4:10, Titus 2:11, Hebrews 2:9, 1 John 2:2 , Romans 5:18, Romans 11:32, 2 Peter 2:1


    Soli Deo Gloria indeed, which is why Calvinism must be false - it destroys God's glory and turns it into a rank perversion.

    Kyle said...

    I would add that since God is free to do what He wants, which includes creating creatures who can say yes or no to Him. God has a consistent character, which sets the bounds within which He acts - He is holy, loving, righteous, and good. Otherwise, He is just an arbitrary monster who values little more than perverse displays of power - much more akin to Islam.

    Sarah L. said...

    Kyle,

    God "bound up all men under disodedience so that he might have mercy on them all" (Romans 11:32).
    I can see that we are not going to get anywhere because we are not arguing on the same ground.


    In our Wednesday night Bible studies we have been going through Romans. We have just dealt with that verse. There is a Greek Article that is left out when that verse is translated into English. It is supposed to say “theall”…a specific ‘all’, a specific group. A Robertson’s Word Pictures says: “All (tous pantas). "The all" (both Gentiles and Jews). That he might have mercy (hina--eleêsêi). Purpose with hina and aorist active subjunctive. No merit in anyone, but all of grace. "The all" again, who receive God's mercy, not that "all" men are saved.”
    So the verse would be better rendered: “God “bound up the all under disobedience so that He might have mercy on the all.”


    “Romans 9 is using a famous Hebrew idiom, the same idiom Jesus uses (unless you want to make Jesus command something that is against the commandments of God).”

    Kyle, in Luke 14 the word, as you say, does indicate ‘love less’. But in the sense that the love for father, mother, brother, sister, is no comparison to the love that we should have for God. It is as if we hate everybody else in contrast to God. It might even seem like hate to other people. Not as actively hating them, doing violence to them, but because we actively love God. Because we put God first, we put Him over the lives of our family members.

    I still think that, in context, the verses in Romans 9:13 and Malachi 1:3 that the word miseo and the word śânê mean hate'. But I will give you the point: Let’s say that it does mean loved less.

    Whether in Romans 9 God hated Esau or not isn’t the point. The point is God’s choosing. God makes a choice with His own free-will. He chooses Jacob over Esau. Whether He chose to love Jacob more, or whether He chose Jacob to be the one through whom the Messiah would come, it doesn’t matter. God chose one for something over the other. God will have mercy and kindness on whomever He chooses to show mercy and kindness. Taken exegetically, the passage is stating that God has free-will and that man has no right to question what He does.


    “Paul is arguing against Jews who, like the Calvinists, want to *limit* God's mercy to a certain group of people, in this case the Jews.”

    As I said to Mr. Shelton, In Romans 9, Paul starts out with Israel. National ethnical Israel. (vs.1-5) And I don’t think that Paul stopped speaking about the physical descendants of Abraham at any point in the chapter when referring to Israel. I maintain that whenever God speaks of Israel in this chapter that He always means ethnic Israel. “It is not that God failed to keep his promise to them. But only some of the people of Israel are truly God’s people, and only some of Abraham’s descendants are true children of Abraham. But God said to Abraham: “The descendants I promised you will be from Isaac. This means that not all of Abraham’s descendants are God’s true children. Abraham’s true children are those (those physical descendants of Abraham) who become God’s children because of the promise God made to Abraham.” (vs 6-8) Not all of the descendants of Abraham are Israel, the chosen people. He did not choose every single descendant of Abraham. God goes on to demonstrate His right to choose whatever Israelite He wants to save. Was God unfair not to save all of Israel? Absolutely not! He will have mercy on whoever He wants to show mercy. And later on, the passage says that He also shows mercy to the Gentiles, of His own free will.(vs 24).

    “Paul is saying, "God can have mercy on who He wants, not on who *you* want! And He will have mercy on all!" If you come up with something other than Paul's conclusion, you have failed to follow his reasoning.”

    I agree totally, God will have mercy on who HE wants to show mercy to. Do you think that I naturally don’t want God to have mercy on every single person? My point is that I can’t find it in the Bible. Where did God say that He would have mercy on every single person? He just said that He would have mercy on whoever He wants to show mercy to. Not that He would show saving mercy to all people. God has the freedom to do want He wants, I can’t dictate what He does.

    “People in Scripture (and we) praise God because God is praiseWORTHY. He deserves our praise becuase of who He is and what He does - unlike the Calvinistic view of God”

    I am sorry, but how is our God not praiseworthy? Because He freely chooses those He wants to show mercy to? Because He condemns those worthy of condemnation? Because He is not just love but just and holy? Because He is All-Powerful?

    “Obviously God does not love sin, since His love is a holy love. But He loves all the things He has made, which include all persons, even Satan. Does that mean they (or Satan) will be saved? No, because many fail to receive this love.”


    Where does the Bible say that Christ died for Satan? If God loved Satan then I am pretty sure that He would have provided atonement for him as well as for human beings.

    “unlike the Calvinist god who simply hates them for no good reason but a display of his perverse, arbitrary and fickle power.”

    God hates because the things that He hates are hateWORTHY. You don’t think that human beings are worthy of God’s hate? Then why did Christ die for people if they were not hateworthy? Why does God condemn people if they are not hateworthy? Does not God hate sin? Are not people SINNERS? God doesn’t throw sin in Hell, he throws sinners in Hell.


    “In your system, which shows itself to be unbiblical in the face of Matthew 5, God commands us to do something He Himself fails to do: love all men! So we out-love God! Clearly something is wrong if in your system, men are more glorious (loving) than God Himself. In the passage, our love for our enemies is GROUNDED in God's love for them!”

    Excuse me, but where does the Bible say that God has to do all that He commands us to do? God doesn’t have to repent and believe in Christ to wash away His ‘sins’… God doesn’t have any sins. God doesn’t have to love all men because He has free-will as demonstrated in Romans 9. Besides, men have not sinned against us, they have sinned against God. We love because God commands it. God has the right to hate or love those that have sinned against HIM.

    It is not God's freedom, but God's *character* that is in question here. It seems that on your view, God has no consistent character whatsoever. He simply does whatever He wants, predetermining sin, rape, the holocaust, and unconditionally damning most men to Hell.

    “Whatever the LORD please, He does, In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps.” (Psalm 125:6) “When the LORD All-Powerful makes a plan, no one can stop it. When the LORD raises his hand to punish people, no one can stop it” (Isaiah 14:27 NCV) “From the beginning I told you what would happen in the end. A long time ago I told you things that have not yet happened. When I plan something, it happens. What I want to do, I will do.” (Isaiah 46:10)
    “I will make what I have said come true; I will do what I have planned” (Isaiah 46:11) “People on earth are not truly important. God does what he wants with the powers of heaven and the people on earth. No one can stop his powerful hand or question what he does.” (Daniel 4:35)


    We are not the judge of God’s character, God is the judge of our character. We should not be angry at God for not saving those who deserve to be damned. We should be in awe, in amazement that God saved ANY of those deserving damnation

    .
    “Otherwise, He is just an arbitrary monster who values little more than perverse displays of power - much more akin to Islam.”

    The people of the Islamic belief, ‘earn’ their salvation. We believe that salvation is of God alone. To the secular humanist God will always appear to be a Monster. God will never be fair in their eyes, no matter what scenario.

    As for unlimited atonement, here is a small taste of the multitudinous passages of the NT: John 1:29, John 3:16, John 4:42, 1 Timothy 2:3-4, 1 Timothy 4:10, Titus 2:11, Hebrews 2:9, 1 John 2:2 , Romans 5:18, Romans 11:32, 2 Peter 2:1

    John 1:29. It can’t mean what you take it to mean because if Christ took away the sins of every single person then every single person would be saved. “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” If the Lamb truly takes away the sin of the whole world then the sin of the whole world would be taken away. And everybody would be saved.

    As for the other verses, the issue isn’t CAN the whole world be saved. The issue is WILL the whole world be saved. And you know that the whole world will not be saved.

    I believe that “whosever will may come”. Whoever wants to be redeemed by the atoning work of Christ alone will be saved. Whoever believes in Him will be saved. The question is why do they want to be saved by Christ alone? Why do they believe in Him?

    We differ on why they want to.

    Kyle said...

    Dear sister Sarah,

    Before I respond, let me issue you a challenge: Have you ever tried to put down your Calvinist goggles and interpret the Bible as a non-Calvinist? Clearly, anyone can deflect myriads of passages that don't fit one's pre-set, pet theological position. Everyone brings presuppositions to the text - the problem with Calvinistic presuppositions is that they force one to turn the Bible on its ear on every page to fit it into the TULIP system. So many passages need to be devalued and "decoded" that there is probably something wrong with the system itself. This is evident in your outright dismissal of the many passages on the universal possibility of salvation and unlimited atonement.

    1) I checked my Greek NT, and Romans 11:32 uses "tout pantes" for those upon whom God shows mercy, *and* for those upon whom He bound up under disobedience. In other words, if you limit the universal scope of God's mercy, you limit the universal scope of sin - clearly unbiblical. Does this mean all are saved? No, because some spurn God's mercy. It's quite simple. But the text couldn't be more clear that God extends mercy to all men, though some spurn it. If you miss this conclusion, you have made a mistake in following Paul in Romans 9-11. Every Jew and Gentile is bound up under disobedience (the first "the all," just as every Jew and Gentile receives the extension of God's salvific mercy (the second "the all." This verse is enough to topple the Calvinistic system by itself!

    2) Indeed, the passage says that God chose whomever He wanted for the seed of the Savior to come through. But again, Paul's point is not to prove unconditional election, but rather to *refute* it, since the Jews thought they were unconditionally elect vis a vis being ethnic Jews. Paul is saying, "No, I chose you as the bearers of the promise in the first place, but since you do not have faith, I am casting you out. I have the sovereign right to condition salvation on *my* terms (faith), not yours (being an ethnic Jew). God's chosen people refused Him (so much for Calvinism's view of election!) "I have the right to show mercy to the Gentiles and the whole world if I so choose!" is the essence of Paul's argument, which fits nicely with Paul's own clear conclusion in Romans 11:32.

    3) Human beings are worthy of judgment. But mercy is always offered before judgment falls in the Scriptures. And the Bible is also clear that God loves us all even though we are His enemies. Another reason why He is so worthy of our adoration. =)

    4) You completely missed my point about Matt 5. We are commanded to love our enemies because *God* loves His enemies according to the Bible (indeed, all people). Thus, our love is grounded in God's love for all people. Again, this verse is enough to topple Calvinism. If God does not love His enemies, why should we? Because of our ignorance? But that's not what the text says - rather, our love for our enemies is grounded in God's love for them. Thank goodness, or we'd be outloving God, which has to be impossible!

    5) Why is the Calvinistic God not worthy of worship? Because I would be more loving than He would be (and more righteous, for I would not pre-determine sin). Of course God is holy as well as loving, but that doesn't mean He can choose not to be loving or not to be holy at whim - do you realize you are arguing with your view of "divine freedom" that God can do wicked actions and be unholy? God's actions spring forth from His character, not from arbitrary fiat.

    6) I don't judge God's character, I judge the human creation that Calvinists prop up. God's character is very clear from Scripture: He is holy, and He loves all men and offers salvation to all. That is precisely why He is worthy of worship, because of who He has revealed Himself to be in the Scriptures.

    7) You didn't explain John 1:29, you merely dismissed it and made it say nothing. What Calvinists can't grasp is that the cross made salvation possible for all, but it becomes actual when it is applied to us through our faith. Otherwise, you need to rip this passage out of your Geneva Bible.

    8) Indeed, the other verses prove that all can be saved - it is possible for all to be saved because all get the grace they need (otherwise it is not possible, in contradiction to these Scriptures). Of course not all are saved, but that's because many refuse that grace (not because God doesn't make salvation possible, which I have shown to be unbiblical).

    Either all can come (Arminianism, and the Bible) or they can't (Calvinism). If some don't it's because they refuse grace. If some do, it's because they receive grace through faith. It's quite simple, and quite biblical.

    God does not hate people. He does not use them as means to His ends. He treats them as ends, and in that He glorifies God. Those who bear His wrath and judgment are those who have refused His love.

    Kyle said...

    By the way, the deeper truth to the fact that we deserve judgment due to the Fall is that *we are made in God's image" - therefore we have intrinsic value that God has infused into us all. It would make absolutely no biblical and theological sense for God to just waste most people when He made them in His image in the first place. It would be a dishonor to Himself.

    Sarah L. said...

    Kyle,

    I don’t try to interpret the Bible as a Calvinist, I try to interpret the Bible by what it says, whether I like it or not. Interpreting Scripture by Scripture. If Scripture says that God does whatever He wants to then I must believe that. If Scripture says that it is God who works in Christians to will and do of His good pleasure then I must believe that. If Scripture says that God will save every single one of the people that He loves perfectly then I must believe that. And I must infer that because all people are not saved that not every one is elect or loved by God.

    Yes everyone brings presuppositions to text of the Bible, but I think that basically everyone will bring Arminian presuppositions to the text. What person, when they first ‘accept Christ’ is ever a full fledged ‘Calvinist’? I believe that most people are saved as Arminian and as they grow, as they study the scriptures exegetically, they become ‘Calvinists’. Man naturally would think that he is what life is all about (after all this is the core of secular humanism). Man naturally thinks that he has to do something to ‘earn’ his own salvation, and he naturally wants to earn his own salvation, or have some kind of tiny active part in saving himself. Man naturally thinks that if God has mercy on some undeserving people that He must have mercy on all undeserving people. I would even say that all non-Christians are Arminian to some extent. They all start out with human beings as what life is all about. So if they hear that life is about God, or that God chooses to save some undeserving sinners but not all undeserving sinners, then they are furious. I mean, check out what this atheist says: http://atheism.about.com/b/2003/11/10/does-god-love-everyone.htm# . If an atheist did want to believe in a god he would naturally want an Arminian god. Men naturally want the ‘right’ to choose God. To choose salvation and to have God fit their idea of what a god should be.

    Indeed, the passage says that God chose whomever He wanted for the seed of the Savior to come through. But again, Paul's point is not to prove unconditional election, but rather to *refute* it, since the Jews thought they were unconditionally elect vis a vis being ethnic Jews. Paul is saying, "No, I chose you as the bearers of the promise in the first place, but since you do not have faith, I am casting you out. I have the sovereign right to condition salvation on *my* terms (faith), not yours (being an ethnic Jew). God's chosen people refused Him (so much for Calvinism's view of election!) "I have the right to show mercy to the Gentiles and the whole world if I so choose!" is the essence of Paul's argument, which fits nicely with Paul's own clear conclusion in Romans 11:32.

    So then, you are saying that God failed with His chosen people, the Israelites.

    “It is not that God failed to keep his promise to them. But only some of the people of Israel are truly God’s people(The chosen people), and only some of Abraham’s descendants are true children of Abraham. But God said to Abraham: “The descendants I promised you will be from Isaac.” This means that not all of Abraham’s descendants are God’s true children. Abraham’s true children are those (physical descendants of Abraham) who become God’s children because of the promise God made to Abraham. God’s promise to Abraham was this: ‘At the right time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.” And that is not all. Rebekah’s sons had the same father, our father Isaac. But before the two boys were born, God told Rebekah, “The older will serve the younger.” This was before the boys had done anything good or bad. God said this so that the one chosen would be chosen because of God’s own plan. He was chosen because he was the one God wanted to call, not because of anything he did. AS the Scripture says, “I loved Jacob, but I hated Esau.” Romans 9: 6-13

    God is saying that it is not their ethnicity that saves them, but He is also saying that it is His choice that saves them. Contextually Paul is speaking of Israelites here (not that it doesn’t apply to all people). He is basically saying “you who are saved are not saved because you are Jews, and you are not saved because you wanted (wills) to be saved or tried (runs) to be saved, you are saved because God wanted to save you.” The illustration that Esau was not saved or rejected because of ethnicity is used and to prove that all pivots on His choosing (as in the purpose statement).

    So then it is asked, “Is God unfair (not to save every single ethnic Israelite?”. Absolutely not! God will have mercy on whoever He wants to show mercy to.

    And later Paul brings the Gentiles in: “He called us not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles.”… all people are saved the same way.. (See, I am using ‘all’ as ‘all’ that are saved) All people are saved by God’s effectual grace. By God’s calling them, by God’s choice.

    If Paul meant all men then I think that He would have said “all men”. Every single person. He didn’t have to say THE all, if He meant all men. I think that it is a specific all. Besides, the verse is speaking about GOD ‘shutting’ “to shut together, that is, include or (figuratively) embrace in a common subjection to: - conclude, inclose, shut up. (Strong’s)” the all to disobedience, or unbelief. God is ‘doing’ it.

    Actually, (I am starting to get into a little eschatology here) talking with my dad, and looking at the context of the passage again, I think that the first THE all might be Israel, and the second THE all, the Gentiles.

    Remember the verses before this: “God doesn't take back the gifts he has given or forget about the people he has chosen. At one time you Gentiles rejected God. But now Israel has rejected God, and you have been shown mercy. And because of the mercy shown to you, they will also be shown mercy.” CEV

    We are going to look into that more…

    But, whichever it is, the all meaning the elect of Jews and Gentiles, or of specific nationalities, it is still a specific group.

    But mercy is always offered before judgment falls in the Scriptures. And the Bible is also clear that God loves us all even though we are His enemies. Another reason why He is so worthy of our adoration. =)

    I just want to comment that God did not offer mercy to Satan and his angels, they were thrown out of Heaven and the Lake of fire was prepared for them.

    You completely missed my point about Matt 5. We are commanded to love our enemies because *God* loves His enemies according to the Bible (indeed, all people). Thus, our love is grounded in God's love for all people. Again, this verse is enough to topple Calvinism. If God does not love His enemies, why should we? Because of our ignorance? But that's not what the text says - rather, our love for our enemies is grounded in God's love for them. Thank goodness, or we'd be out loving God, which has to be impossible!

    Actually, I think that you missed my point. We love not because of our ignorance but because God commands us to. We love as He loves the people that He loves. We do not have the right to hate people because we are on the same level as they are. We are all naturally sinners. I have sinned against God as all other humans have sinned against God. Thus I do not have the right to make a judgment call on their salvation. God is not naturally a sinner. He is the offended, we are not. He has the RIGHT to have mercy on whom He wants to have mercy. WE do NOT. God is God not us. He saves who He wants to save. He is not dictated to by me. Who am I to talk back to God?

    As for out loving God… Well, let me put it this way. We outdo Him in other things as well. For one we ‘out repent’ God. And for humans repenting is good right? God doesn’t need to repent because He has never sinned. God never makes a mistake so that He would need to repent. But we are commanded to repent. So we do it.

    Nu 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie, Neither the son of man, that he should repent: Hath he said, and will he not do it? Or hath he spoken, and will he not make it good?

    It is the same way with love. We humans are all on the same level. We have all sinned and thus are alike in our starting point. As Christians we are commanded to love and so we do it. God does not have the same starting point as humans. We are all creation, but God is creator. God does not need to love humans. He does not have to love humans. He chooses to love some humans. He loves whoever He wants to love.

    Just because we love every single person and God doesn't mean that we are outloving God. I mean, we will never match up to His love for His elect even by loving every single person! God’s love is perfect, ours is not. When He loves it is 1 Corinthians 13 love. When I love it is always flawed, I am usually not always patient with people, expecting good of people, or always doing all of any of the attributes of agape love. God is the perfect ‘lover’. I am not. So when He loves it is perfect love. And thus I am not out loving God.

    Besides, God does not love people who reject Him, who are cast into the Lake of Fire. Remember 1 Corinthians 13: “Love isn't selfish or quick tempered. It doesn't keep a record of wrongs that others do.” If God loved even those that reject Him, then He wouldn’t be holding their rejection or sin against them. They are condemned because they have wronged God. If He loved them then He wouldn’t be holding them to account for their sins, for wronging Him. And Thus He wouldn’t condemn them.

    “You didn't explain John 1:29, you merely dismissed it and made it say nothing. What Calvinists can't grasp is that the cross made salvation possible for all, but it becomes actual when it is applied to us through our faith. Otherwise, you need to rip this passage out of your Geneva Bible.”

    I don’t really have a Geneva Bible… well, I guess I do on PowerBible… But I don’t really use it. . I have looked at it sometimes, but it is rather hard to read because the letters and spelling are not all similar to the letters and spelling of today. I usually use other translations.

    Anyways, what you are saying when you are referring to John 1:29 is that God made all men savable, not saved. I believe that God does not make men savable, I believe that He saves them. That is why I cannot believe that ‘cosmos’ means every single person individually. I believe that God is the one who works in His people, saving them. God is not passive in our salvation, He is active.

    Php 2:13 “ God is working in you to make you willing and able to obey him. CEV”

    Eph 2:4-9 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved-- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” ESV


    We are not choosing to be saved, God is savING us. He gives us the gift of faith. Again, I am not saying that God’s elect do not choose Him. I am saying that they choose Him because God is ‘causing' them to choose Him. They are not compelled to choose Him, God ‘causes' them to WANT to choose Him. He makes them willing. They are not saved against their will. If they are savED then they want to choose Him.

    “Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, everyone who lives in sin is a slave to sin. A slave does not stay with a family forever, but a son belongs to the family forever. So IF(emphasis added) the Son makes you free, you will be truly free.” John 8:34-38 NCV

    “Jesus said to them, “If God were really your Father, you would love me, because I came from God and now I am here. I did not come by my own authority; God sent me. You don’t understand what I say, because you cannot accept my teaching. You belong to your father the devil, and you want to do what he wants…If I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me? The person who belongs to God accepts what God says. But you don’t accept what God says, because you DON’T (emphasis added) belong to God.” John 8:42-47NCV


    And in John 17 Jesus is praying not for the world but for those that the Father has GIVEN Him.

    We are truly debtors to God’s grace in everything. Not for making it possible for us to be saved, but for SAVING us. We are not made able to do good works… God DOES them in us and through us. Every single part of SALVATION, our wanting, our believing, our repenting, our confessing, including our changed nature, our changed desires, values, is of God.


    Indeed, the other verses prove that all can be saved - it is possible for all to be saved because all get the grace they need (otherwise it is not possible, in contradiction to these Scriptures).

    Again, I am not disputing whether all can be saved, I am disputing whether all WILL be saved. Is the offer of salvation to all… yes! I believe that this lends to the unregenerate's condemnation ("having trampled under foot the son of God"), but clearly, all are not saved. If God wanted to, He could certainly save every single person. But He chooses not to. Even in your view He chooses not to. He made salvation possible for the whole word but He does not choose to actively SAVE every single person. He is content with passively saving some if they want to be saved.

    and more righteous, for I would not pre-determine sin
    I am sorry but Arminian also believe that God determined sin. He resolved that sin would happen. He knew that it would happen in the Garden of Eden and yet He didn’t stop it. If God didn’t stop it then He determined it. He resolved that it should happen. He decided that it would happen. Because if He decided against it, then He would have stopped it. I believe that God determined it to show us how great He is, how sovereign He is, how powerful, how right, how just He is. Not that He couldn’t have done it another way, but it is the way that He has chosen. You believe that God determined sin so that man would have ‘free-will’. Which really isn’t free because a truly free will does not have external influences. Man is not outside of God.

    In neither view did God MAKE sin. It did not come out of Him. It is the opposite of Him. It exists because He exists. He determined it. He determined that it would happen. Whatever way you look on it, it has to be determined. Either you believe that it is the opposite of God, and that He decided(determined) to let it be shown, or you believe that God created sin as an option besides what is right, for man to choose so that he could have ‘free’will.


    Either all can come (Arminianism, and the Bible) or they can't (Calvinism).

    Either all(every single person) might come (Arminiansim) or they(the elect) will (The Bible)

    “The People said, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Then Jesus said, “I am the bread that gives life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you before, you have seen me and still don’t believe. The Father gives me the people who are mine. Every one of them will come to me, and I will always accept them…I must not lose even one whom God gave me, but I must raise them all on the last day.” John 6:35-39


    Those who are Christ’s will come to Him, but who are those that come? “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him to me, and I will raise that person up on the last day.” John 6:44

    Those that come are drawn by the Father. And if you say that the Father draws all men then that means that all men are COMING to Him and that Christ will raise ALL of them on the last day.


    By the way, the deeper truth to the fact that we deserve judgment due to the Fall is that *we are made in God's image" - therefore we have intrinsic value that God has infused into us all. It would make absolutely no biblical and theological sense for God to just waste most people when He made them in His image in the first place. It would be a dishonor to Himself.


    Where does the Bible say that He have intrinsic value to God because we are made in His image? Where does the Bible say that it would be wrong to “waste” His creation. Where does the Bible say that condemning sinners is wasting His image…. Even if it is, He is wasting His image in your view too, because parts of ‘His image’ are still going to be burning in the Lake of Fire. And also, if it is that some of the people God loves will reject Him, my dad has brought out that Christ’s death would be a waste because He didn’t accomplish what He came to do. He didn’t save all of the people that He loves. His ‘people’ reject it (or simply don't utilize it). Now, that is a waste!

    God does not waste anything. Of course why God does doesn’t make absolute sense to US! WE are only human, and thus should not talk back to God or question what He does. I am sorry, but I am going to ‘sneak’ a quote in here :) We need to “Let God be God” - Augustine .

    Lee Shelton IV said...

    "We love not because of our ignorance but because God commands us to. We love as He loves the people that He loves. We do not have the right to hate people because we are on the same level as they are."

    Two things: First of all, unlike God, we don't know who the elect are. We love all people. We proclaim the gospel to all people. As Spurgeon once said, "God has called me to preach His word and if I knew that all the elect had a yellow stripe painted down their backs, then I would give up preaching the gospel and go lift up shirt tails!"

    Secondly, we aren't God. He does as he pleases, and his ultimate punishment of sin cannot be described as love except perhaps in the sense that he is permanently removing sin and death from his elect.

    Kyle mentioned in an earlier post that God still loves the people he punishes. Does that love extend into all eternity as those souls are punished for all eternity? I don't see how anyone can make that case scripturally.

    Sarah L. said...

    Mr. Shelton

    First of all, unlike God, we don't know who the elect are.

    Right!!! I have already mentioned that in an earlier post. That is why we were saying 'ignorance'. Meaning, our ('Calvinsts') ignorance of who the elect are.

    Oh, and I love the Spurgeon quote!!!! :)

    Kyle said...

    1) "And I must infer that because all people are not saved that not every one is elect or loved by God"

    The inference is patently false. It shows how you are pre-committed to Calvinistic presuppositions. On an Arminian view (and the biblical view), if someone is not saved, it's not because God fails to love them, but because they fail to receive that love.

    2) "Man naturally would think that he is what life is all about"

    If this is what you think Arminianism is all about, I'm afraid you are quite frankly ignorant of Arminian theology. Arminians are so concerned about God that they find Calvinism impossible because of what it does to God. The idea is not to give man more "airtime," but to make sure God has all the proper airtime to be glorified by having His character properly understood. Our "part" in salvation is the passive reception of grace. Faith is not a work, it is not an active acheivement, it is merely the passive openness and receptivity to God and His work. Arminians affirm this biblical concept wholeheartedly.

    It's the biblical revelation that tells us that God loves all, died for all, and gives all the grace they need to be saved.

    3) "So then, you are saying that God failed with His chosen people, the Israelites."

    This is *exactly* the question that Paul is answering in Romans 9 for the Jews (and by extention, the Calvinists) who believed in a form of unconditional election! Read Paul for his answer: "It is not as though God's word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel." God's sovereign decree that "all who believe will be saved, all who don't believe will be damned" is never controverted, and those Israelites who fail to be saved are not *true* Jews because they do not have faith.

    "The illustration that Esau was not saved or rejected because of ethnicity is used and to prove that all pivots on His choosing (as in the purpose statement)"

    Yes, God chooses upon whom He will have mercy - it is not the man who wills or runs; in other words, it's not the man who decides on what conditions he will be saved, and it's not up to the man to acheive salvation. It's up to God's sovereign right to condition salvation on faith. This passage says nothing about unconditional election of individuals.

    4) "But, whichever it is, the all meaning the elect of Jews and Gentiles, or of specific nationalities, it is still a specific group."

    Paul does not qualify "the all." It's "the all people." If I apply your logic, then all people are not bound over to disobedience - i.e. not all men are under sin, and not all men need salvation, clearly unbiblical. The only consistent position is to say that "the all" in both clauses is referring to "the all men."

    By the way, the definite article "the" does not limit the scope of "all" at all. "All" is an adjective that is simply being used substantivally (as a noun), so it has a definite article. So your grammatical point does not help Calvinism at all. "All" is all men who are shown mercy, just as it is all men who are bound under sin. If you come up with a different conclusion, you have misconstrued Paul's early arguments, and you are wrong.

    5) "I just want to comment that God did not offer mercy to Satan and his angels, they were thrown out of Heaven and the Lake of fire was prepared for them."

    They were not offered mercy because their choice of evil in the direct presence of God was a decisive choice that was irrevocably, so mercy would have done nothing to those who decisively choose evil directly in God's presence.

    6) Your comments about love and confused and unbiblical. The biblical fact from Matt 5 is that we are told to love others perfectly because God loves them all perfectly, even all of His enemies. Thus our love of others is grounded in God's love for them. His commandment for us to love all men is not blind, but springs out of His perfect character. Your point about us "out repenting" God is erroneous, because the fact that we are not righteous (and therefore need repentence) is a *lack* in us (for God is righteous and we are not). We *lack* righteousness and moral perfection. But we cannot be more loving or more righteous than God. And if that's true, Calvinism is false.

    7) The Bible commands us, not God, to repent and believe. Repentence believe are us merely openning up for God to do work in us so He can work in and through us. None of the passages you have quoted present a problem for biblical Arminians

    8) No, on Calvinism, all cannot be saved. God does not make it possible, which I have shown to be unbiblical. If God makes it possible for all to be saved, then Arminianism is true.

    9) On Arminianism, God *permits* sin (He doesn't determine or cause it) because He gives creatures true freedom. You can't logically make someone freely do something. That's not causal determinism. In any circumstance man finds himself in, he may choose for or against God. In Calvinism, *God causally determines that people sin.* He made sin *necessary* in every situation in which people sin (in contradiction to 1 Cor 10:13), which means He is the ultimate sufficient cause of it.

    To say that God causally determines sin in order to show that He is holy is an oxymoron. God is only exhonerated if His creatures choose to sin under His allowance. If He causes it, He is wicked.

    10) You have still failed to deal with these passages which show Calvinism to be biblically untenable.

    11) The cross made salvation possible for all, thus it served its purpose. If all failed to receive it, God's love would not be in question, for His love does not depend upon man's response or even man's existence.

    12) So you are saying that God can "unconditionally waste" people that He made in His image? God's image must not be that important in your view, then. If people refuse God's love and incur His wrath, that's their problem, but to say that God unconditionally squashes people in His image is to say that God's image doesn't matter. That's an affront to God's glory.

    13) Let's "let God be God" to be sure. Let's just not let God be the Calvinist God.

    ------

    Lee,

    The problem is that the Bible doesn't ground our love for all people in our ignorance of God's decrees. It grounds it in God's love (agape, one kind of love) for all people (Matt 5).

    The Bible says that God's love never ends (1 Cor 13). Where does it say that God stops loving people? If they incur His wrath, it's because they have failed to receive that love and so only experience His holy justice.

    Moreover, the idea of loving people that God Himself fails to love means (1) we outlove God (2) God is commanding us to offer something to someone that He makes impossible for them to receive, which is a hateful act indeed. So, on Calvinism, God is actually commanding us to do a hateful action.

    A while back I responded to your various defenses, Lee, and you have yet to respond back.

    Kyle said...

    Well guys, as much as I am enjoying the debate, I have other commitments that require my time, so I have to exercise some self-discipline and bid you adieu. Hope I offered some food for thought =)

    In Him,

    Kyle

    Lee Shelton IV said...

    "Where does it say that God stops loving people? If they incur His wrath, it's because they have failed to receive that love and so only experience His holy justice."

    God pours out his wrath on those he loves? Where do you come up with such nonsense? Well, you did say in an earlier post that God loves those he sends to Hell. What, like a loving father disciplining a child? So, does that mean Hell is one, big eternal spanking rather than a wrathful punishment for sin?

    Lee Shelton IV said...

    Kyle on God's love:

    "We are commanded to love our enemies because *God* loves His enemies ..."

    "God loves Satan..." (from June 6 thread)


    Should we love Satan as God loves Satan?

    Sarah L. said...

    Kyle,

    The inference is patently false. It shows how you are pre-committed to Calvinistic presuppositions. On an Arminian view (and the biblical view), if someone is not saved, it's not because God fails to love them, but because they fail to receive that love.

    So you admit that salvation pivots on the will of man. Thank you for making it clear! That is an Arminian presupposition…or I should say, a supposition that basically everyone has(at first) regarding salvation. Who, besides the ‘Calvinist’, has the ‘presupposition’ that salvation depends totally on God? Please tell me where the Bible says that man has the ability to choose salvation on his own. All people were dead in sin, they did not seek God, they couldn’t and did not want to seek God. Let’s put it this way: I do not believe that a corpse can make a choice, or that a corpse has a will. A dead person will not ask someone to save him. Once the once dead person is resuscitated by someone then he will take a breath, and he might cry out in a panic, “save me!” to the person that ‘brought’ him back to life. But the person was not saved because he cried out. The only way that he was able to cry out is because, he was already saved. He did nothing and could do nothing to save himself. Someone else did it to him. That is how it is with salvation. All men are dead in sin unable to save themselves or make right choices.(Ephesians 2) The only way that men will live is if God breaths life into them. When God gives a person faith , then they will ‘take a breath’ and see what is really going on, and they will probably cry out “save me God!” but they only cried out because they were already saved. As they are alive longer, then they will realize what transpired. That they did nothing and that God did everything. Now that they are alive, they do not act as though they are still dead. They are alive(they have faith) they now do good works, but not, of course, to make themselves alive, but because they are already alive. (Rom 6:11)

    Man is not saved by works, by actions. Active receiving is a work. If man could DO faith, then, he would be DOING it. it would be a work of himself, it would be an action. What does man DO that is not a work?
    “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Eph 2:9
    If faith is a work at all, it is not our work, it is God’s work in us. Faith is a gift from God. We possess it, but we are not doing it, it is being done in us.

    Our "part" in salvation is the passive reception of grace. Faith is not a work, it is not an active achievement, it is merely the passive openness and receptivity to God and His work.

    Yes, like a dead person is passive. “Passive is the opposite of active” – Wikipedia. Passive means that something is done TO us. A dead person will not stop someone trying to bring him back to life. They will not be able to resist. They will ‘receive’ whatever the life giver is doing to them without a struggle.

    A passive person is not an active person. In salvation people are passive. They do not choose, or will to be saved. They are saved. It is not a person’s passivity that saves them. It is God’s working in/on them that saves them. If it is by choosing to be passive that salvation is gained, then that would make the choice to be passive a work. Because choosing is an action. We cannot ‘work’ up faith. God gives it to us.

    It's the biblical revelation that tells us that God loves all, died for all, and gives all the grace they need to be saved.

    So God gives them the ability to save themselves? Because apparently, God isn’t saving them. In your view God made man savable, that salvation is a cooperative effort. ‘Calvinists’ believe that God saves His elect, that salvation is God’s work alone.

    This is *exactly* the question that Paul is answering in Romans 9 for the Jews (and by extention, the Calvinists) who believed in a form of unconditional election! Read Paul for his answer: "It is not as though God's word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel." God's sovereign decree that "all who believe will be saved, all who don't believe will be damned" is never controverted, and those Israelites who fail to be saved are not *true* Jews because they do not have faith.


    So you are saying that Paul believed in conditional election. You are saying that Paul says that it is not by works but by man’s choosing, that men are ‘elected’. Again, choosing is a work. It is an action. IF man is saved by choosing, then he has something to brag about before God. “I chose to be saved. Those other guys didn’t”. And salvation would not be by grace. Because if you say that man chooses to receive salvation, then you are saying man merits salvation. Salvation is given to a person because he has done something that the others haven’t done. They didn’t merit it, so they don’t get to be saved. Salvation is NOT by any work of man’s. Salvation is not by man’s choosing or receiving, salvation is TOTALLY of God.

    As to Israel… well, I don’t remember the Israelites choosing to become God’s ‘chosen’ people… I thought that God chose them.

    You miss the point. “not all who are from Israel are Israel.” Not all the people who are descended from Abraham are the descendants of Abraham that God has chosen. Esau’s descendants were not known as “the chosen people”. Jacob’s were. God chose Esau for something over Jacob. Unconditionally. “Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad – in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by HIM (emphasis added) who calls – she was told “the older will serve the younger.” Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated. What shall we say then? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” God have mercy on whoever He wants to have mercy UNCONDITIONALLY.

    Yes, God chooses upon whom He will have mercy - it is not the man who wills or runs; in other words, it's not the man who decides on what conditions he will be saved, and it's not up to the man to achieve salvation. It's up to God's sovereign right to condition salvation on faith. This passage says nothing about unconditional election of individuals.


    “it does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.” Romans 9:16 Or as you have it ‘wills’. Doesn’t will mean what I want, what I desire? Or even what I determine to do? If salvation depends on what I desire then salvation depends on an action, a work of mine. Salvation doesn’t depend on whether someone wants it or not, it depends on God’s mercy. Salvation is not conditioned on faith. Salvation is conditioned on what God wants. Our faith is not what saves us, it is the object of that faith that saves us. Christ. We have faith because we are saved. Again, if faith were a work that man could do, even a work that God made us able to do, it would still be a work, an action on the part of man. God’s action is what saves us, not our actions.

    The passage does say that election is unconditional. As I said above, Esau and Jacob had not done anything, they did not meet any conditions, God chose Jacob over Esau.
    The point of the passage is not that God chose whole groups, but that God chose individuals from the group(s). He has the right to do whatever He wants.

    Besides, the passage says that God does what He wants with the same lump of clay. People are clay in His hands. He makes whatever He wants with that clay. He can do whatever He wants with people, even with people of the same lineage.

    “One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who resists His will?” But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?” Romans 9:19-21


    Paul does not qualify "the all." It's "the all people." If I apply your logic, then all people are not bound over to disobedience - i.e. not all men are under sin, and not all men need salvation, clearly unbiblical. The only consistent position is to say that "the all" in both clauses is referring to "the all men."

    If Paul had meant all, then I am pretty sure that he would have said all, not THE all. I don’t think that he would need a definite article. It seems to be a specific group of people. And remember, Paul is speaking of specific groups right before that verse. Also, it says that God is the one binding the first THE all. So I think that that THE all, is probably Israel. Paul quoted Deu 29:4 earlier in the passage: “But to this day the LORD has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear.”(speaking of Israel). So God is restricting, is binding Israel. They are ‘shut in’. And I still think that the second THE all is probably the Gentiles.

    Again, even if it means The all, the elect all of both Jews and Gentiles, I still believe that it is talking about a specific group(s).

    No, on Calvinism, all cannot be saved. God does not make it possible, which I have shown to be unbiblical. If God makes it possible for all to be saved, then Arminianism is true.

    I do not believe that God makes salvation possible for the elect, I believe that God makes salvation certain. I believe that the rest will ‘reject’ it without any regrets. The unelect do not want to be in Heaven where God will be praised forever. Where God will be the focus of attention. They want to be in a ‘heaven’ where they would be praised forever, where they can live life for themselves.


    “On Arminianism, God *permits* sin (He doesn't determine or cause it) because He gives creatures true freedom. You can't logically make someone freely do something. That's not causal determinism. In any circumstance man finds himself in, he may choose for or against God. In Calvinism, *God causally determines that people sin.* He made sin *necessary* in every situation in which people sin (in contradiction to 1 Cor 10:13), which means He is the ultimate sufficient cause of it.”


    “To permit sin, when one has all power to stop it is to determine it. If I consciously allow something, I am determining it to be because I could determine it not to be if I did not allow it.” – My dad

    Again, God’s existence, God’s commands, determine what sin is. If God determined that what is the opposite of Him is not sin, then it would not be sin. So in a sense He did cause it. He did not create it. It did not come out of Him. But He caused it in the sense that what He determines as sin is sin. If God said there is no such thing as sin, then there would be no sin. But He said that there is, and so there is.

    To say that God causally determines sin in order to show that He is holy is an oxymoron. God is only exhonerated if His creatures choose to sin under His allowance. If He causes it, He is wicked.

    Who says? Where does the Bible say that? Where do Arminians say that sin comes from? I say that God defines it and therefore He determines it. If He didn’t define it, then it wouldn’t exist.

    What do you do with Romans 11:36 “For from him and through him and to him are all things.”


    The cross made salvation possible for all, thus it served its purpose. If all failed to receive it, God's love would not be in question, for His love does not depend upon man's response or even man's existence.

    Salvation does not depend on man’s response. If it did then it would depend on an action of man. A work of man.

    So you are saying that God can "unconditionally waste" people that He made in His image? God's image must not be that important in your view, then. If people refuse God's love and incur His wrath, that's their problem, but to say that God unconditionally squashes people in His image is to say that God's image doesn't matter. That's an affront to God's glory.

    You say that in my view God unconditionally wastes his people. In your view God conditionally wastes His people. Either way, God is still wasting His people. And thus He is not perfect.

    I believe that you are wrong about my view. I do not believe that God wastes. I believe that even the punishment of the wicked glorifies God. God wastes nothing.


    Please answer one question before you go (My dad really wants to know your answer). Why do some men believe and some men don’t? Yes, I believe that men do choose salvation, but why do they choose it and others don’t? Why do some men believe and some men do not?

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