Jesus Says The Dead Will Hear Unto Spiritual Life

I want to recommend Chris Chapman’s article available at SEA called, The Extent of Spiritual Death.

Chapman’s article does an excellent job of demonstrating from Scripture that the spiritual death described in the Bible does not warrant the Calvinist spin that equates spiritual death with the inability of a physical corpse to act in any way.  However, his article doesn’t go far enough with regards to a key passage in John 5.

Chapman recounts how Calvinists will often use the Biblical narrative of Lazarus as an example of a corpse having no choice but to come alive when Christ calls, apart from any response of faith.  Likewise, Calvinists will often use the illustration of a preacher in a morgue preaching to a bunch of lifeless corpses.  They reason that none of the dead bodies in the morgue can hear or respond to the preacher until they are first made alive. 

In addressing the Calvinist use of the Lazarus narrative, Chapman rightly notes that Jesus is speaking of physical resurrection in John 11 just as He did in John 5:25-29.  Unfortunately, he fails make the very important point that John 5:25 has reference not only to a future resurrection, but to the present spiritual resurrection of those who are hearing Christ’s voice in faith.  This simple observation destroys the Calvinist insistence that those who are dead in sin are as unable to hear as a lifeless corpse.   The implications Calvinists draw from the Lazarus narrative and the analogy of the preacher in the morgue are plainly at odds with the words of Jesus in John 5:25,

“Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.” (NASB, emphasis mine)

Jesus makes it clear that the time when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God unto life is “now.”  How does this happen?  It happens through faith in Christ,

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” (John 5:24, NASB, emphasis mine)

Here Jesus plainly describes the initial movement from spiritual death to spiritual life.  The one who hears the words of Jesus in faith (i.e. receives them through faith) passes from spiritual death to spiritual life.  This clearly marks the transition from death to life and that is a perfect description of what constitutes regeneration.  Regeneration is the beginning of spiritual life, and is thereby marked by the initial transition from death to life.

In the oft repeated Calvinist analogy of the preacher in the Morgue, Calvinists insist that one cannot hear or respond to Christ or the gospel until that person is first given spiritual life.  This claim is in obvious and stark contrast to what Jesus says in John 5.  Jesus tells us that the spiritually “dead” will “hear” unto “life”, and this hearing unto life is the result of faith (verse 24). It is the “hearing of faith” that Paul describes in Galatians by which we receive the Spirit of life (Gal. 3:2, 5, 14, cf. Romans 8:1-12).

So Jesus tells us that the “dead” will “hear” (in faith) unto “life” and the Calvinist tells us that only those who are already regenerated can “hear” unto faith.  Jesus says that hearing and faith come before life and Calvinism says that life comes before hearing and faith. Calvinists say that the “dead” cannot possibly hear anything, just like a lifeless physical corpse.  Jesus tells us that the “dead” can hear (as God enables them), and this hearing by faith is what moves those who hear from the realm of spiritual death to the realm of spiritual life.

Chapman rightly points out that Jesus is speaking about a future physical resurrection in verses 28-29.  In these verses Jesus speaks only of “an hour that is coming”, but in verses 24 and 25, Jesus speaks of an hour that is coming and “now is.”  The Jews should not marvel at the authority and power of Jesus’ claim that His words can give spiritual life to those who hear and receive those words in faith (vv. 24, 25), since Jesus has the ultimate authority to judge all of mankind when He calls them out of the grave at the end of time (vv. 27-29).

Jesus is here building on the theme of His authority and power given to Him by the Father.  The Father gives Jesus the power and authority to give life to whom He wishes (vs. 21).  Jesus makes it clear in verses 24 and 25 that the Father and Jesus wish to give life to believers, those who hear and receive Christ’s words in faith.  Spiritually dead unbelievers become spiritually alive by becoming believers (vs. 24).  The only way for the spiritually dead to receive the life that Jesus has authority to grant them is to hear His words by faith (vv. 24, 25).

Jesus then moves from this authority and power given to Him by the Father to the authority and power given Him by the Father to resurrect and judge all of mankind, both believers and unbelievers.  This authority and power given Him by the Father reinforces Jesus’ central theme in His teaching (and John’s central theme in his gospel) that He belongs to the Father and is from the Father, and “…the Father has placed into the Son’s hands the entire question of human life and death.  It is with the Son we all must deal.” [1] The Jews who suppose themselves to have a special relationship with the Father are actually opposing the Father and proving that that they do not know the Father when they oppose Jesus, the perfect expression and revelation of the Father (verses 36-47, cf. John 6:35-58; 8:31-59; 10:24-38).

The difference is clear.  In verses 24, 25, Jesus speaks of an hour that is present as well as future.  In verses 27-29 Jesus speaks only of an hour that is future.  In verses 24 and 25, Jesus is speaking of spiritual life given to believers.  In verses 27-29, Jesus is speaking of resurrection life that will be given to both believers and unbelievers when all of mankind is called out of the grave by God’s appointed judge, the Son of Man (cf. vs. 22).  Therefore, one cannot discount the reality of the spiritually dead hearing and receiving spiritual life by faith in John 5:24 and 25 by appealing to verses 27-29.

Conclusion:  The Bible everywhere declares that spiritual life is received by faith.  The Bible nowhere states that spiritual life of any sort is granted prior to faith as Calvinists claim.  The Calvinist appeal to passages which refer to spiritual death is erroneous in that they draw conclusions from those passages that the passages simply do not teach [2].  Nowhere is spiritual death or man’s deadness in sin described in terms of the inability of a physical corpse to do anything (like hear or respond in faith) as portrayed in the Calvinist morgue analogy.  Rather, Jesus flatly contradicts such an interpretation when He declares that the spiritually “dead” will “hear” unto spiritual life.

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[1] Joseph Dongell, John: A Commentary for Bible Students, page 93

[2] These passages actually work against the Calvinist claims.  Ephesians and Colossians both represent spiritual life as being received upon our being united with Christ (Ephesians 2:4-7; Col. 2:13), and we come to be joined to Christ by faith (Eph. 1:13).  Ephesians further states that all of the spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3) that are in Christ, including redemption and regeneration, are received “by grace, through faith” (2:8).  Colossians makes the same point, describing our spiritual resurrection as resulting from “faith in the power of God” (Col. 2:11, 12).  Likewise, Paul makes it clear that the Spirit of life is received by “the hearing of faith” (Gal. 3:2, 5, 14, cf. Romans 8:11).  Paul also tells us that the righteousness of justification brings spiritual life and we know that justification is “by faith” (Romans 5:17, 18, 21; 8:10; Rom. 4; Gal. 3:21-24).  We become children of God through faith (John 1:12; Gal. 3:26).  All the promises of the new covenant, including new spiritual life, are received by faith as well (Gal. 3:14-22).  Many similar passages could be cited.  Truly, the Biblical evidence against the Calvinist claims that new spiritual life precedes faith is overwhelming.  Perhaps this is why some Calvinist are now moving away from this claim, just as four point Calvinists have rejected the doctrine of limited atonement due to the overwhelming Biblical evidence against it and in support of unlimited atonement.

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86 Responses

  1. I agree with this comment regarding the dead and hearing. I am currently in the process of gently pointing this out to my pastor and also other church members. The statement has always been made that a corpse cannot respond. It does sound plausible but good bible students will always look for chapter and verse to back up such an obvious fact. Strangely enough I have not found one as yet! Of course ordinary words will have no effect but we are not dealing with the ‘ordinary’. The word of God is living and when applied and accepted brings life. Faith afterall does come by hearing the word of God.

  2. Excellent points. I am sure Chris would agree no doubt.

  3. herc,

    I will not be approving your comments since they just re-assert the Calvinist standard line and do not interact at all with the post. If you want to interact specifically with the contents of the post, I would be glad to approve your comments.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  4. Andrew,

    May God grant you wisdom and patience in discussing this issue with those in your church.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  5. Excellent post! One could add to it by a discussion of the different metaphors for sinners used in Scripture. They are not only described as dead; they are also said to be sick and in need of a physician, in bondage (slaves), and imprisoned.

  6. I have read both this post and also the one you referred to by Chapman. You state,

    Nowhere is spiritual death or man’s deadness in sin described in terms of the inability of a physical corpse to do anything (like hear or respond in faith) as portrayed in the Calvinist morgue analogy.

    This is a serious overstatement at best, and it seems to me to be extremely unfair, This would be like a Calvinist saying, now where in scripture is there a passage that supports the Arminian view, This would be an unfair, and untrue statement an the part of the Calvinist just as it is on your part here. Now you and the Calvinist can disagree on the interpretation, but to say that neither is nowhere found in scripture is just not true.

    Allow me if you will to give just a few passages where I see deadness described in these terms, again you may disagree with the meaning of these text, however, to state that there is no way someone could come to these conclusions from these text is simply refusing to look at it in a different light than your own. Having said, this let me now say that, although I may disagree with your take in this post, this in no way means that I cannot see where you are coming from, or how it is that you have come to these conclusions.

    First in Eph. 1 starting in verse 19, Paul tells the Ephesians, that it took a mighty power from God to raise Christ from the dead, Later in chapter 2 he goes on to make a contrast between, Jesus being physically dead to the Ephesians being spiritually dead. He says, “as for you, you were dead in sin.” In other words just as Christ was dead, so you yourself were dead, and the same mighty power it took to raise Christ, is the same power it took to raise you. From here he goes on to tell them they were deserving of God’s wrath, and also notice that he does not say that the reason for the newness of life is because of their change of heart or mind, but rather he says it is because of God’s great love for us, and His rich mercy. He then goes on to state that God made us alive who were dead, and again the reason given is not attributed to anything other than God’s love and mercy for them. As I said, it seems clear to me that Paul in chapter 1 is making a contrast in chapter 2. In other words all that God did to and for Christ is also done for the Ephesians. Notice as well that all of this work is attributed to God. Twice Paul says “you are saved by grace” he goes on to say “you are saved by grace through faith.” However this faith is said to be not of themselves, but rather a gift from God. Finally in verse 10 he says ” For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Notice here that we are said to be God’s handiwork, and that we were CREATED in Christ Jesus. This seems to indicate that all of these things were the work of God alone. Now again, you may have a different take here on this text, however to say that, Nowhere is spiritual death or man’s deadness in sin described in terms of the inability of a physical corpse to do anything (like hear or respond in faith) as portrayed in the Calvinist morgue analogy, or to say there is no way some one could honestly read this text in this way is simply being unfair.

    Now as we turn our attention to John 5 and read it in the light of what Paul has said here in Ephesians, we could say that, when Jesus says, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.” We could say that those who are dead and hear, have been granted hears to hear by God. This seems to me to be the point in the very next chapter in John 6, where Jesus says, “All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” He goes on to say, “And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.” Finally He states ““No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.” With all this being the case, then it is certainly possible to say that those who are dead and hear, are those, and only those it has been granted to.

    Next I would simply like to point out 1 Corinthians 2:14 which I am sure you realize says,

    But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

    Again, it seems here Paul is saying someone who is a natural man cannot understand spiritual things, the reason he gives is because they are spiritually discerned, and the natural man has no ability to discern such things, because he is spiritually dead.

    Lastly I would like to point out, Ezekiel 37:1-14. Here Ezekiel is commanded to preach to dry bones, and as he speaks to these bones they begin to come to life. Now my question is, did these dry bones have the ability to come to life or respond to his preaching without the work of God? In other words did these dry bones have the ability to respond on their own, or rather was this the work of God alone, and the power of the preached word to bring the dead to life. I believe this is what Paul means when he says “the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. In other words I believe the gospel has the power to raise the dead for those it has been granted.

    My main point here is not that my interpretations are right and yours are wrong, but rather it seems ridiculous for either of us to say the other has no Biblical support, this is simply unfair and also untrue.

  7. This is a serious overstatement at best, and it seems to me to be extremely unfair, This would be like a Calvinist saying, now where in scripture is there a passage that supports the Arminian view, This would be an unfair, and untrue statement an the part of the Calvinist just as it is on your part here.

    Well, I simply disagree. For example, there are passages which unambiguously teach that Christ died for all, desires all to be saved, etc. That is what the language actually says. It is not that such things might just be implied, it is what the language says. In order for Calvinists to get around such passages, they need try to work around the plain universal language. That is not the case at all with regeneration preceding faith. The best a Calvinist can say is that regeneration preceding faith is implied by some texts (as you do below). However, I can point to many passages that plainly put spiritual life after faith. That should settle things in my opinion. And again, Calvinists are left to twist and turn in the face of plain language that says we are raised to life by faith and that the dead will hear unto life, etc., etc.

    Now you and the Calvinist can disagree on the interpretation, but to say that neither is nowhere found in scripture is just not true.

    That is not exactly what I said. I said that the Bible nowhere “states” that spiritual life of any sort is granted prior to faith in Christ.

    Allow me if you will to give just a few passages where I see deadness described in these terms, again you may disagree with the meaning of these text, however, to state that there is no way someone could come to these conclusions from these text is simply refusing to look at it in a different light than your own.

    I didn’t say that no one could come to these conclusions. Obviously, people have come to such conclusions, despite the Bible nowhere stating that spiritual life precedes faith in Christ. Again, one can argue that such things are implied, but that is not the same thing.

    Having said, this let me now say that, although I may disagree with your take in this post, this in no way means that I cannot see where you are coming from, or how it is that you have come to these conclusions.

    That’s good to hear.

    First in Eph. 1 starting in verse 19, Paul tells the Ephesians, that it took a mighty power from God to raise Christ from the dead, Later in chapter 2 he goes on to make a contrast between, Jesus being physically dead to the Ephesians being spiritually dead. He says, “as for you, you were dead in sin.” In other words just as Christ was dead, so you yourself were dead, and the same mighty power it took to raise Christ, is the same power it took to raise you.

    Fair enough, but where does it say this was unconditional? Jesus makes the same parallel you seem to be making in John 5:21 compared to John 5:24, 25, and yet He makes it very clear that the condition for being raised up is hearing (by faith). Colossians, likewise, plainly states that we are raised to new life “through faith in the power of God.” While the power of God raised Christ from the dead, it is through faith in that power that we share in that resurrection (cf. Romans 10:9). I mentioned this passage in the second footnote. Did you read the footnotes? So I have clear passages actually saying that we are raised to life by faith, and you have only vague implications. See the difference?

    From here he goes on to tell them they were deserving of God’s wrath, and also notice that he does not say that the reason for the newness of life is because of their change of heart or mind, but rather he says it is because of God’s great love for us, and His rich mercy.

    This is an argument from silence and takes this passage in isolation from the rest. Just as in John 5:21, while there is no condition immediately stated, that doesn’t mean there is no condition (vv. 24, 25).

    He then goes on to state that God made us alive who were dead, and again the reason given is not attributed to anything other than God’s love and mercy for them.

    Again, this is an argument from silence. Just because it says that this is due to God’s love and mercy, does not preclude the condition of faith to receive that life, as stated above.

    As I said, it seems clear to me that Paul in chapter 1 is making a contrast in chapter 2. In other words all that God did to and for Christ is also done for the Ephesians. Notice as well that all of this work is attributed to God.

    See above.

    Twice Paul says “you are saved by grace” he goes on to say “you are saved by grace through faith.” However this faith is said to be not of themselves, but rather a gift from God.

    That is debatable based on the Greek grammar, since the gift may refer to salvation or salvation by grace through faith. But even if faith is the gift, that doesn’t mean it is a gift irresistibly given. But that really doesn’t matter, since the language still dictates that it is by grace “through faith.” Either way, all of salvation is received by faith (as makes clear in many places) and that salvation is described here as including resurrection life.

    Finally in verse 10 he says ” For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Notice here that we are said to be God’s handiwork, and that we were CREATED in Christ Jesus.

    Good point. And how do we come to be “in Christ Jesus”? Through believing the gospel (Eph. 1:13). That is another point I made in the second footnote.

    This seems to indicate that all of these things were the work of God alone. Now again, you may have a different take here on this text, however to say that, Nowhere is spiritual death or man’s deadness in sin described in terms of the inability of a physical corpse to do anything (like hear or respond in faith) as portrayed in the Calvinist morgue analogy, or to say there is no way some one could honestly read this text in this way is simply being unfair.

    See above on why I disagree.

    Now as we turn our attention to John 5 and read it in the light of what Paul has said here in Ephesians, we could say that, when Jesus says, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.” We could say that those who are dead and hear, have been granted hears to hear by God.

    But Calvinists say our ears cannot hear until we are first made alive. In that case, Christ would be wrong to say the dead will hear. He would need to say the spiritually alive will hear. See the problem?

    This seems to me to be the point in the very next chapter in John 6, where Jesus says, “All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” He goes on to say, “And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.” Finally He states ““No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.” With all this being the case, then it is certainly possible to say that those who are dead and hear, are those, and only those it has been granted to.

    This is all beside the point. I disagree with your interpretation of John 6, but that really is not relevant to the parallel you are trying to draw with John 5. Again, Jesus says the dead will hear unto life. You say we need life first in order to hear. That is the exact opposite of what Jesus says. Nothing you have written has addressed the issue. Again, we can see a plain contrast here. You are working with what you perceive to be implications and you have to go all over the place to make it seem to work. All I have to do is state the words of Jesus and leave it at that. The language itself makes my case. The dead will hear unto life. That kills the Calvinist argument. Any supposed implications from other texts need to be understood in light of Jesus’ unambiguous words, and not the other way around. That is a basic rule of interpretation.

    Next I would simply like to point out 1 Corinthians 2:14 which I am sure you realize says,

    But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

    Again, it seems here Paul is saying someone who is a natural man cannot understand spiritual things, the reason he gives is because they are spiritually discerned, and the natural man has no ability to discern such things, because he is spiritually dead.

    And do you realize that you just called babes in Christ spiritually dead? (1 Cor. 3:1) For more on this passage see here:

    http://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2009/03/24/responding-to-dominics-second-rebuttal-on-regeneration-preceding-faith/

    Lastly I would like to point out, Ezekiel 37:1-14. Here Ezekiel is commanded to preach to dry bones, and as he speaks to these bones they begin to come to life. Now my question is, did these dry bones have the ability to come to life or respond to his preaching without the work of God? In other words did these dry bones have the ability to respond on their own, or rather was this the work of God alone, and the power of the preached word to bring the dead to life. I believe this is what Paul means when he says “the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. In other words I believe the gospel has the power to raise the dead for those it has been granted.

    And it has been granted to believers who “hear” by faith “unto life” (John 5:21-25). “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” We hear, we believe, we are joined to Christ, we live (Eph. 1:13). You have referenced a vision depicting Israel’s restoration to make your point. That tells me something. That tells me that you cannot find any unambiguous statement in Scripture that puts our receiving spiritual life prior to hearing or believing. If you could, you wouldn’t be referring to a vision to try to draw out such implications. That is exactly what I meant when I said the Bible nowhere states that spiritual life of any sort precedes faith. But even Ezekiel points to a time when God will establish a new covenant with His people. That covenant and all that comes with it (including new life) is received by faith, as I demonstrated in this post:

    http://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2009/10/27/does-ezekiel-3626-27-teach-regeneration-precedes-faith/

    Jesus is the new covenant, and Christ is received by faith. Those who receive him by faith are born again and “become” His children. (John 1:12, 13).

    My main point here is not that my interpretations are right and yours are wrong, but rather it seems ridiculous for either of us to say the other has no Biblical support, this is simply unfair and also untrue.

    Again, that is not exactly what I said as noted above. If you comment further, please begin by grappling with Christ’s words in John 5. The language is plain and unambiguous, unlike the implications you draw from other texts.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  8. I have already grappled with this text above, I am sure you have heard of allowing scripture to interpret scripture, which you do yourself. Therefore if there are other scripture that teach salvation is the work of God, then you read other passages in this light. With this being said, when Jesus says the dead will hear, He is saying the dead will be granted hears to hear. You state,

    The language is plain and unambiguous, unlike the implications you draw from other texts.

    Allow me to give you some plain language if you will,

    Ephesians chapter 2 states,

    4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ

    Here the language is plain and unambiguous, we were dead and God made us alive. To refute this you will have to appeal to other scripture, to explain away the clear meaning, that it was God who made us alive when we were dead.

    John 6:65, And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.

    Acts 13:48 When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.

    Matt. 13:11, Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.

    Luke 8:10, And He said, “ To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is in parables, so that SEEING THEY MAY NOT SEE, AND HEARING THEY MAY NOT UNDERSTAND.

    Romans 9:16 It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.

    Acts 2:47 And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

    In this passage I would like you to notice that the adding to the number being saved is attributed to God, and not to those being added.

    As I am sure you know I could continue on and on, even appealing to the Old Testament. The point is all these passages are plain and unambiguous, and you will have to either refer to other scripture, and read them in that light, or you will have to twist the text to make it say what you would like it to say.

    Lastly you say,

    That is not exactly what I said. I said that the Bible nowhere “states” that spiritual life of any sort is granted prior to faith in Christ.

    I disagree, and again appeal to all the above verses, especially, Eph. 2 God made us alive who were dead. Plain and unambiguous.

    Again my point is simply that I believe there are many Godly, intelligent people an all sides of this debate, and we should consider ourselves brothers. Therefore I believe we should continue to struggle with each other, but showing mercy and grace and at the very least acknowledging, there are legitimate arguments on all sides, and praying especially for ourselves that we are each open to the truth, and the possibility of our own error. This is what I continue to strive for myself.

  9. One more point I would like to make you say,

    But Calvinists say our ears cannot hear until we are first made alive. In that case, Christ would be wrong to say the dead will hear. He would need to say the spiritually alive will hear. See the problem?

    This is why I brought up Ezekiel and the dry bones. It was the preaching that God used to bring the bones to life. The bones in the valley were dry and dead, but God brought them back to life through the preached word. In the same way when we preach the gospel to unbelievers we are preaching to spiritually dead, dry bones, However the gospel through the power of God can raise the dead, Therefore the dead hear the gospel preached and respond by the power of the Holy Spirit, The wind blows where it may, you cant control it. It is the same with those born of the Spirit. In other words their maybe numerous people who hear the same gospel, but it is only those the Spirit chooses to raise that are brought to life.

  10. Jack,

    I am disappointed that you did not address John 5 and Colossians 2:11, 12 like I asked. Again you appeal to passages that simply do not state a condition as if that makes your point against passages that do. Likewise, they do not say anything about new spiritual life preceding faith. I already mentioned to you that such is just an argument from silence. It still seems that you have not looked at my second footnote in the post, since I already addressed much of what you now write here in that footnote.

    You write,

    I have already grappled with this text above, I am sure you have heard of allowing scripture to interpret scripture, which you do yourself. Therefore if there are other scripture that teach salvation is the work of God, then you read other passages in this light. With this being said, when Jesus says the dead will hear, He is saying the dead will be granted hears to hear.

    But this doesn’t address the point I have made. Calvinists say that we must be made alive before we can hear. Jesus says the dead will hear, not the living. He also makes it clear that they will hear unto life, while Calvinists say that life is what makes hearing possible (the exact opposite of what Jesus says!). Furthermore, Jesus also says that the transition from death to life is the result of faith in John 5:24. Please address the language of this passage, as I have asked, before making further comments.

    I already addressed Ephesians 2 in the footnote. Notice that in Eph. 2 Paul says we are made “alive together” with Christ. That plainly states that our being made alive is conditioned on union with Christ. As I have already pointed out, Eph. 1:13 already made the point clear that we come to be in union with Christ through faith. The parallel passage in Colossians 2 makes the same point, as I pointed out, and also tells us that our spiritual resurrection is “by faith in the power of God.”

    As for Ezekiel, that passage works against you as well. It is a vision and it is telling that you need to make so much of it to make your case. That tells me you don’t have much else to go to. We need to be careful not to read too much into such visions. For example, Zechariah saw a vision of a woman in a basket. The angel said simply, “this is wickedness” when Zechariah was shown the woman in the basket. Will we conclude from this that women are wicked? However, in Ezekiel, we are fortunate to have the Lord explain the significance of the vision. Verse 14 is especially relevant,

    And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the LORD.” (ESV)

    Life is given to Israel through the infilling of the Spirit. This is the promise of the new covenant, and that is why I referred you to the post I wrote on Ezekiel 36:26-37. Paul explains how this happens in the new covenant in Galatians 3:2, 5, 14-22 (another passage I referenced in the footnote). The promise of the new covenant, which includes the promise of the indwelling Holy Spirit (which is what the Lord says will give them life in explaining the dry bones vision in Ez. 37:14), is received by “the hearing of faith.” So all you have really done is reinforced my point with the reference to the dry bones vision.

    As for the other passages you cite, as I already mentioned, they do not say anything about spiritual life preceding faith. Still, I will be happy to address them, but I will wait until you address John 5 and Col. 2:11, 12.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  11. I will attempt to do this knowing full well this attempt will be futile. My aim here has not been to get into a debate over what different passages of scripture mean, because it seems clear, we will more than likely never agree, rather my aim is to point out that all sides in this debate have legitimate arguments and scripture references, even if we disagree over the meanings.

    First when Jesus says the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, He goes on to say, “those who hear will live.” Now as the scripture states, the gospel is the power of God unto salvation, and as I stated above when the gospel is preached it can only have the desired effect if the Holy Spirit is involved to to bring to life. In other words the gospel has the power to bring to life the ones in whom the Holy Spirit chooses to work.

    Now you say my argument is from silence, however I could make the same argument. In other words just because Jesus does not say His voice brings to life those He chooses to bring to life to hear, does not mean this is not the way it actually happens. But my argument is not from silence, because as you look above to verse 21 here in John 5 Jesus actually says “just as the Father raises the dead, even so the Son gives life to whom He chooses.” Your only argument is that just because a condition to be met is not mentioned, does not mean there are no conditions. This seems to me, to be what would be called an argument from silence, because there are no conditions mentioned here or in Ephesians, or Colossians.

    Now if I were to ask you what condition are we to meet in order to receive life, I would image you would say faith. But my point is that Paul says basically the same thing in both Ephesians and Colossians, and that is we were dead and God made us alive. Now he does say this was done through faith, however in Ephesians he is quick to point out that this faith is not of ourselves. Now what does that mean? Not of ourselves. Plain language, this means it is foreign to us, It is not something we bring to the table, rather it is something given that brings to life. In other words as the gospel is preached to the dead God raises the dead through the preached word, gives spiritual life to whom He chooses, and with this life comes all that pertains to this life including the faith we have. The author to the Hebrews agrees, Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith, this means from first to last.

    Now if faith is the condition we must meet, and if this faith is not of ourselves, in other words foreign to us, coming from the outside of us, or as Paul says given to us, then it would seem this condition was met for us in Christ. My question then is, what condition is there we are to meet that are not met for us in the work of God through Christ? What is it that we bring to the table as far as our salvation is concerned that is not given to us in Christ? Let me phrase it like this, what conditions are you meeting as far as your salvation, and perseverance is concerned, that are not sustained totally and completely by the work of God through our Lord Jesus Christ?

    Now we could continue this on and on, to no avail, my point is that it is ridiculous to say the other side has no valid argument.

  12. Jack,

    Not sure when I will be able to respond to this. I will just quickly respond to the last part. I don’t think such a thing is ridiculous in the least. People who debate these issues say such things all the time. You have even said such things either implicitly or explicitly in other discussions. If I thought the Calvinist argument was valid, I would be a Calvinist, correct? Perhaps you would just like me to qualify it with it being my opinion. But that should be plainly implied. Still, I stand by my statement that the Bible nowhere states that any spiritual life precedes faith. Do I think people will disagree with this statement? Sure, but that is for them to demonstrate where I am wrong. That doesn’t mean I can’t say such things. Would you say that those who deny Christ’s deity have a “valid” argument? Just wondering. I will try to get to the rest as soon as possible.

  13. Jack,

    You wrote,

    First when Jesus says the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, He goes on to say, “those who hear will live.”

    That is exactly the point, the very point you seem to continually miss! Calvinism says the dead cannot hear. Only those who are spiritually alive can hear. But that plainly contradicts what Jesus says in this passage. It really seems like you are deliberately ignoring this main point, which has been made several times. Why is that?

    Now as the scripture states, the gospel is the power of God unto salvation, and as I stated above when the gospel is preached it can only have the desired effect if the Holy Spirit is involved to to bring to life. In other words the gospel has the power to bring to life the ones in whom the Holy Spirit chooses to work.

    Again, this sidesteps the issue and the language of John 5. You do not need to re-assert your Calvinist convictions to me. I already know them. What I want you to do is grapple with what Jesus actually says. I still don’t see you doing that in the least. Calvinists say that the dead cannot hear. Jesus says they can. That is the point you need to address, but you keep sidestepping it.

    Now you say my argument is from silence, however I could make the same argument.

    Not at all. Jesus says the dead will hear. Calvinists say the dead cannot hear. How is that an argument from silence on my part? It is an argument from the actual words of Jesus, words you seem to refuse to even acknowledge. If your theology will not allow you to listen to the words of Jesus, I would suggest that you abandon that theology.

    In other words just because Jesus does not say His voice brings to life those He chooses to bring to life to hear, does not mean this is not the way it actually happens.

    Of course it does! If that were the case, Jesus would be wrong to say the dead will hear unto life. If it is the spiritually alive that hear, then Jesus is simply not telling the truth when He says the dead will hear. Why are you struggling so much to understand such a simple point? I can think of no reason except that your theology so blatantly contradicts Jesus’ words that you simply cannot grapple with what Jesus is actually saying. That is truly sad.

    But my argument is not from silence, because as you look above to verse 21 here in John 5 Jesus actually says “just as the Father raises the dead, even so the Son gives life to whom He chooses.”

    Actually, it is, since you just assume that the Father and Jesus “choose” to give life unconditionally. The text does not say this. Therefore, it is an argument from silence. But Jesus does very plainly explain who receives this life and why in verse 24,

    “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My words, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”

    Of course, this was explained in the post (and my other comments), but for some reason you have chosen to ignore it.

    Your only argument is that just because a condition to be met is not mentioned, does not mean there are no conditions. This seems to me, to be what would be called an argument from silence, because there are no conditions mentioned here or in Ephesians, or Colossians.

    But there are indeed conditions mentioned, as I just demonstrated. And you have obviously not even bothered to look at Colossians, despite my quoting that Paul says that we receive resurrection life (new spiritual life) “through faith in the power of God.” (Col. 2:12). Not sure how you can possibly say this is an argument from silence. It truly seems like you are just purposely keeping your head in the sand so you can cling to your Calvinist theology.

    Now if I were to ask you what condition are we to meet in order to receive life, I would image you would say faith.

    Yup, just as numerous Scriptures attest.

    But my point is that Paul says basically the same thing in both Ephesians and Colossians, and that is we were dead and God made us alive.

    “By grace, through faith”, and it is clear from Eph. 1:13 that we come to be “in Christ” through believing the gospel. Ephesians and Colossians make it very plain that we enjoy new life through union with Christ (which is through faith). I have already explained this to you, but you just keep ignoring it. Why is that?

    now he does say this was done through faith,

    So you admit that a condition is stated. How then can you say that I am making an argument from silence?

    however in Ephesians he is quick to point out that this faith is not of ourselves. Now what does that mean?

    Actually, the Greek most likely is saying that “salvation” is “not of ourselves”, and who could deny it?

    Not of ourselves. Plain language, this means it is foreign to us, It is not something we bring to the table, rather it is something given that brings to life.

    But why do you assume it is irresistibly given? See the problem with your argument? Not the less, the fact that the language strongly suggests that “salvation” is the gift, and not faith. But even if faith is included in the gift, that doesn’t mean it is unconditionally given. That is an argument from silence, as usual. And even if we say that faith is a gift irresistibly given only to some (which the text nowhere says or suggests), it still does not help your argument that new life precedes faith. If anything, it just concedes that faith precedes new life, but simply asserts that faith is irresistibly given only to some. It is like you have forgotten what we are talking about.

    In other words as the gospel is preached to the dead God raises the dead through the preached word, gives spiritual life to whom He chooses, and with this life comes all that pertains to this life including the faith we have.

    So after all of your argumentation, you are right back to flatly contradicting what Jesus actually says. You conveniently ignore the main point once again. Jesus says the “dead” will hear, and Calvinism says the “dead” cannot hear. When will you actually deal with the main point?

    The author to the Hebrews agrees, Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith, this means from first to last.

    This requires quite a bit of exegesis with regards to what is meant by “author and finisher.” But that is not even necessary here, since you again assume that if Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith, it must be in an irresistible manner. That again, is an argument from silence, as usual. It is also an argument that simply ignores all the Scriptures that very plainly state that new life is received by faith; Scriptures that you seem to continue to pretend say nothing at all.

    Now if faith is the condition we must meet, and if this faith is not of ourselves, in other words foreign to us, coming from the outside of us, or as Paul says given to us, then it would seem this condition was met for us in Christ.

    That’s a lot of “ifs”. But no ifs are necessary if we just take Jesus and Paul at their word (or even Ezekiel, as you brought up before, but now have no interest in dealing with the point I made concerning his prophecy, which clearly contradicted the main point you wanted to make while vindicating my point!). And again, that faith is a gift of God does not mean it is a gift irresistibly given only to some. That is a plain argument from silence (a mere assumption brought to the text and read into the text), which ignores the passages which speak very loudly on the issue. Why would you want to do that?

    My question then is, what condition is there we are to meet that are not met for us in the work of God through Christ?

    This is a problematic question on multiple levels. For starters, there is nothing in Scripture that says Jesus meets the condition of faith for us (do you hold that Jesus believes for you?).

    What is it that we bring to the table as far as our salvation is concerned that is not given to us in Christ?

    First, I disagree with the “bring to the table” language. Receiving a free and undeserved gift by faith does not mean we “bring something to the table.” If I am invited to dinner and everything is provided for me, and I go and eat what is freely given to me, would we say that I “brought something” to the table? Of course not. All I did was receive what was already at the table and freely provided for me and given for me. I didn’t “bring” anything, just received what was given. That Calvinists need to speak so awkwardly to try to make their arguments seem convincing should tell you something.

    Let me phrase it like this, what conditions are you meeting as far as your salvation, and perseverance is concerned, that are not sustained totally and completely by the work of God through our Lord Jesus Christ?

    None necessarily, but I do not assume that such conditions are sustained irresistibly, especially when Scripture everywhere denies such a claim and nowhere affirms it.

    Now we could continue this on and on, to no avail, my point is that it is ridiculous to say the other side has no valid argument.

    See my other comments on this. We will most likely just have to agree to disagree. I would also suggest (again) that you start your own blog, where you can run it how you like and say things just as you think they should be said. Then maybe you won’t feel the need to continually comment on my blog concerning how you think I should express myself.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  14. Not being well versed in Greek I have to defer to those more experienced but I have been doing some thinking on Jesus’ comments in John 5:25 “the dead will hear”. The word used here is nekroi which is commonly used for dead.

    The term spiritually dead does not occur anywhere in scripture, so we have to be careful when phrasing comments using it. But it would appear that Jesus is saying a ‘dead’ person can hear! For those who are tempted to say that he is referring to verse 28 which also refers to the dead being physically resurrected we need to check out the Greek. The word used in this case is mnēmeiois which is the word for tombs.

    If you recall what Jesus said to the lame man in Luke 5:20 it was rather unexpected at the time because he said “your sins are forgiven”. He then added that in order to confirm that the Son of Man has authority etc etc “rise up and walk”.

    What Jesus is saying to those listening to him in John5:25 is that the ‘dead’ (we could say spiritually dead) will hear and live and if you (those listening) find it difficult to believe, I’m telling you that a time will come when those dead in the tombs will also be raised to life.

    It would seem that Jesus is making a distinction between being, dare I say, ‘spiritually’ dead and physically dead.

  15. Hi Andrew,

    you said:
    “The term spiritually dead does not occur anywhere in scripture, so we have to be careful when phrasing comments using it.”

    True, however in Ephesians 2 and the parable of the prodigal. We see the same Greek word used in both passages “nekros” which means dead. But obviously as we read both these passages we see that we are talking about the spiritually dead, so careful yes, but clearly this is the biblical interpretation of it. You weren’t physically dead before you became a Christian, you were spiritually dead.

    Bless you,

    Russ

  16. Thanks Russ and I’m in agreementwith you but having seen how the Calvinistic lobby get set on terms like ‘irresistible grace’ which is also not present in scripture, I feel duty bound to avoid falling into the same trap.

    If Adam had died on the spot when he disobeyed, things would have been easier from a theological point of view, but I guess he had a better plan in mind! (thankfully).

  17. @That is exactly the point, the very point you seem to continually miss! Calvinism says the dead cannot hear. Only those who are spiritually alive can hear. But that plainly contradicts what Jesus says in this passage. It really seems like you are deliberately ignoring this main point, which has been made several times. Why is that?

    The point you continue to miss is that in verse 21 before the passage you are citing Jesus plainly says He gives life to whom He chooses, plain language, no conditions. Therefore, the dead who hear are given hears to hear by God through Christ. This would be what I call a miracle, meaning the work of God, raising the dead, and not raising them because of anything in them or about them but rather in spite of them. Also notice this passage states, the dead will hear, it then goes on to state, those who hear will be given life. This seems to indicate that, there will be those who do not hear, now why would some of the dead not hear? Could it be they have not been granted ears to hear? This is a point Jesus makes numerous times here in this chapter and in chapter 6, those who hear Jesus, or come to Jesus. do so because it has been granted to them, however it has not been granted to all.

    @Again, this sidesteps the issue and the language of John 5. You do not need to re-assert your Calvinist convictions to me. I already know them. What I want you to do is grapple with what Jesus actually says. I still don’t see you doing that in the least. Calvinists say that the dead cannot hear. Jesus says they can. That is the point you need to address, but you keep sidestepping it.

    You are getting hung up on the language here, therefore listen to the language. The dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and THOSE THAT HEAR WILL LIVE. Again this indicates there will be those that do not hear. In other words when Jesus says the dead will hear, this could simply mean that, the dead will have the gospel preached to them, however it will be only those that hear that will be given life. This is not unusual in scripture, where words are not to be taken literally, such as when Jesus says I am the door and many many other places in scripture. The point is Jesus says the dead will hear, but it is apparent that not all the dead will hear because He goes on to say, those that hear will live. In other words, how could Jesus say in the same breathe, the dead will hear, and then end by saying those that hear? Certainly you will not suggest that all the spiritually dead who have the gospel preached to them respond! And why not, because, as Jesus says, so that SEEING THEY MAY NOT SEE, AND HEARING THEY MAY NOT UNDERSTAND. Now who causes them not to see, and who causes them not to understand? Could it be as Jesus says earlier in the verse, because it has not been granted to them? And again I would point out that right before the passage you are citing here, Jesus plainly says, “The Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. From here He goes on to talk about the dead hearing, could there be a connection? In other words those that hear are those He is pleased to allow to hear?

    By the way it did seem strange to me that above when you referred to this verse John 5:21, you insert a word that is not there which is the word faith, this is not the only time you have done this, just wondering why you feel the need to insert words that are not there? Here is your comment above,

    Jesus makes the same parallel you seem to be making in John 5:21 compared to John 5:24, 25, and yet He makes it very clear that the condition for being raised up is hearing (by faith).

    I see nothing about faith, or the word condition for that matter, here only hearing.

    @Not at all. Jesus says the dead will hear. Calvinists say the dead cannot hear. How is that an argument from silence on my part? It is an argument from the actual words of Jesus, words you seem to refuse to even acknowledge. If your theology will not allow you to listen to the words of Jesus, I would suggest that you abandon that theology.

    You are simply being ridiculous here. You can say an argument is from silence and it is so, but if someone says yours is from silence it is not so. You can say that just because a condition is not mentioned does not mean that there are no conditions, and I am arguing from silence. My point was, if that is the case then why can’t we also say that just because Jesus does not outright say that the dead that hear, are the ones that have been granted hears to hear does not mean that this is not the way it actually happens, and to say any different is an argument from silence. There is no difference, both can be called an argument from silence.

    Now I certainly cannot respond to every point here I really do not have that kind of time. However you say,

    @This requires quite a bit of exegesis with regards to what is meant by “author and finisher.” But that is not even necessary here, since you again assume that if Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith, it must be in an irresistible manner. That again, is an argument from silence, as usual. It is also an argument that simply ignores all the Scriptures that very plainly state that new life is received by faith; Scriptures that you seem to continue to pretend say nothing at all.

    It seems odd that the scripture you cite is plain and unambiguous, however, the scripture I cite is not so plain, that should tell you something, it certainly tells me something. At any rate my argument is not that our new life is not given by faith, rather it is where does this faith come from. In other words are we given new life by God, and all that comes with this new life including faith? Or is there something we add to it, or something we must do, or something we must receive or be willing to receive? In other words is our salvation and faith up to us in any way? I certainly hope not, considering my condition.

    @First, I disagree with the “bring to the table” language. Receiving a free and undeserved gift by faith does not mean we “bring something to the table.” If I am invited to dinner and everything is provided for me, and I go and eat what is freely given to me, would we say that I “brought something” to the table? Of course not. All I did was receive what was already at the table and freely provided for me and given for me. I didn’t “bring” anything, just received what was given. That Calvinists need to speak so awkwardly to try to make their arguments seem convincing should tell you something.

    Your analogy of the dinner is very nice, and I love to be freely invited to dinner by others and served freely. I have happily received and taken advantage of many such invitations. Why wouldn’t someone take advantage of such an invitation? Well suppose the one giving the invitation is someone you despise and hate? This is the way we as humans are described in Romans 1. There is a long list of negative traits given to us in this chapter. One of those traits is God haters. With this being the case we despise God so much that we do not want to receive anything from Him. In other words we would rather continue to go our own way, and supply for ourselves, and starve rather than receiving something from the one we despise. Therefore God must credit our account. He must do something about our condition before we can truly see our worthlessness and need for Him. Nothing but a miracle can accomplish this. You call this irresistible, I rather call it being arrested by the love of God. In other words I believe scripture describes us as worthless, and it is only because of God’s great love for us that we are saved. I also am convinced this is the only way I could have possibly come to faith myself, being arrested by God, and my will being miraculously changed.

    Finally you state,

    We will most likely just have to agree to disagree. I would also suggest (again) that you start your own blog, where you can run it how you like and say things just as you think they should be said. Then maybe you won’t feel the need to continually comment on my blog concerning how you think I should express myself.

    I rather that we end on an agreement rather than agree to disagree. The agreement would be that one or either the both of us are wrong. It seems to me that you would rather those who respond be in agreement with you, rather than someone who may disagree and challenge. I believe that I have for the most part stuck to the topics and issues. I have tried to my utmost to use respect, in my disagreements. Where I have failed to do this I certainly beg for forgiveness.

  18. @That is exactly the point, the very point you seem to continually miss! Calvinism says the dead cannot hear. Only those who are spiritually alive can hear. But that plainly contradicts what Jesus says in this passage. It really seems like you are deliberately ignoring this main point, which has been made several times. Why is that?

    The point you continue to miss is that in verse 21 before the passage you are citing Jesus plainly says He gives life to whom He chooses, plain language, no conditions. Therefore, the dead who hear are given hears to hear by God through Christ. This would be what I call a miracle, meaning the work of God, raising the dead, and not raising them because of anything in them or about them but rather in spite of them.

    OK, so you disagree with Calvinists who say that the spiritually dead cannot hear. Otherwise, I don’t understand your argument. At best it seems you are saying that God causes the dead to hear irresistibly. If you believe that, fine; but that is not what this post is about. It is about the Calvinist claim that the dead cannot hear unless they are first given spiritual life. That claim is plainly contradicted by Jesus’ words here. No amount of claiming that it is a miracle or caused irresistibly, or even done unconditionally will change Jesus saying the “dead will hear” into the “spiritually alive will hear”. That is why I have said we need to just agree to disagree. You just keep saying the same things as if you don’t even understand what the post is about. That is why I keep asking you to specifically address what Jesus is actually saying here.

    Also notice this passage states, the dead will hear, it then goes on to state, those who hear will be given life.

    This is the point!!!! The point you just don’t seem to get. I don’t even know how to discuss this with you anymore. It is truly baffling. You confirm my point here, and yet go on and on about unrelated matters as if it somehow undoes the very point you just made, which is what I have been saying all along. You agree that Jesus says the dead will hear unto life. That means they are not alive already when they hear. Case closed.

    This seems to indicate that, there will be those who do not hear, now why would some of the dead not hear? Could it be they have not been granted ears to hear? This is a point Jesus makes numerous times here in this chapter and in chapter 6, those who hear Jesus, or come to Jesus. do so because it has been granted to them, however it has not been granted to all.

    Again, none of this is relevant to my post. Calvinists believe that God will only give some ears to hear and that irresistibly so. I get that (and disagree). That is not what this post is about. It is about the claim that God can only give ears to hear to those who have been made spiritually alive. But that contradicts Jesus’ words that “the dead will hear.” Do you still not understand the point of the post? Do you not understand the Calvinist argument I am specifically addressing in the post?

    You are getting hung up on the language here, therefore listen to the language.

    What!? Should I ignore the language? Why should I not get “hung up” on what Jesus actually says? Are you serious?

    The dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and THOSE THAT HEAR WILL LIVE.

    Amen!!!! Exactly right!

    Again this indicates there will be those that do not hear.

    Again, this is irrelevant to the point of the post.

    In other words when Jesus says the dead will hear, this could simply mean that, the dead will have the gospel preached to them, however it will be only those that hear that will be given life.

    Right, those who hear will be given life. That’s it! That is what I have been saying all along. You want to limit it to only some, but that isn’t really the issue I was addressing. I also limit it to only some, those who “hear” by faith (I explained this very clearly in the post). In other words, only those who believe are given life. But the main point is that Jesus says the dead will hear unto new life and Calvinists say the dead can’t hear until they are first given life. Apparently, you agree with me that the Calvinist argument that only the spiritually alive can hear is contrary to what Jesus says here. So what are we arguing about?

    And again I would point out that right before the passage you are citing here, Jesus plainly says, “The Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it.

    Actually, the passage right before the one I am citing says,

    “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my Word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment but has passed out of death into life.” (vs. 24)

    From here He goes on to talk about the dead hearing, could there be a connection?

    Yes, there is a connection. Those who hear in faith are those who do not come into judgment, but rather are granted life by Jesus. Through faith they avoid judgment and access the life that Jesus is pleased to give them. Jesus is pleased to give life to believers. That is His sovereign choice, to make the giving of life conditioned on believing. Why do you have such a problem with that?

    In other words those that hear are those He is pleased to allow to hear?

    No. Those who hear are those to whom He is pleased to grant life and not judge.

    By the way it did seem strange to me that above when you referred to this verse John 5:21, you insert a word that is not there which is the word faith, this is not the only time you have done this, just wondering why you feel the need to insert words that are not there? Here is your comment above,

    Jesus makes the same parallel you seem to be making in John 5:21 compared to John 5:24, 25, and yet He makes it very clear that the condition for being raised up is hearing (by faith).

    I see nothing about faith, or the word condition for that matter, here only hearing.

    See verse 24 above. This was explained in the post, and has been explained to you here in other comments I have made.

    @Not at all. Jesus says the dead will hear. Calvinists say the dead cannot hear. How is that an argument from silence on my part? It is an argument from the actual words of Jesus, words you seem to refuse to even acknowledge. If your theology will not allow you to listen to the words of Jesus, I would suggest that you abandon that theology.

    You are simply being ridiculous here. You can say an argument is from silence and it is so, but if someone says yours is from silence it is not so.

    Yes, because it is not so. Jesus actually says the dead will hear. How is that ridiculous? What is ridiculous is all the effort you have now put into ignoring and avoiding the clear words of Jesus.

    You can say that just because a condition is not mentioned does not mean that there are no conditions, and I am arguing from silence.

    You are arguing from silence because you assume that when no condition is immediately stated that means the action must then be unconditional. That simply does not follow in the least. The best we can say is that it might be conditional or unconditional. But that is not what you are saying. You are saying that it is unconditional simply because no condition is stated. How do you not see how that is an argument from silence?

    My point was, if that is the case then why can’t we also say that just because Jesus does not outright say that the dead that hear, are the ones that have been granted hears to hear does not mean that this is not the way it actually happens, and to say any different is an argument from silence.

    Again, that is not even the point of the argument. That is an issue you have brought into this discussion which avoids and ignores the actual argument. It is an issue of whether the dead can hear or not. It is not an issue of God giving ears to hear. If Calvinism is right to say that the dead cannot hear until they are first given life, then Jesus is lying when He says the dead hear. I don’t know how else to say this to you. If anyone else is following this discussion, please help me here. Am I not explaining myself well? Am I missing something?

    There is no difference, both can be called an argument from silence.

    How can my claiming the dead can hear because Jesus actually says the dead can hear an argument from silence? How is it that you do not see that when you read “unconditional” into a passage which does not say something is “unconditional”, that is plainly an argument from silence?

    Now I certainly cannot respond to every point here I really do not have that kind of time.

    That’s fine, but it would be nice if you read my responses a little more carefully before responding. That would save us both a lot of time.

    However you say,

    @This requires quite a bit of exegesis with regards to what is meant by “author and finisher.” But that is not even necessary here, since you again assume that if Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith, it must be in an irresistible manner. That again, is an argument from silence, as usual. It is also an argument that simply ignores all the Scriptures that very plainly state that new life is received by faith; Scriptures that you seem to continue to pretend say nothing at all.

    It seems odd that the scripture you cite is plain and unambiguous, however, the scripture I cite is not so plain, that should tell you something, it certainly tells me something.

    What does it tell you? For example, does “author…of faith” mean that Jesus believes for you? If not, why not? See, not so simple, is it? Are you aware of the various ways this passage has been translated based on the possible meanings of the Greek words being used? Have you looked carefully at the context to see what issue the writer of Hebrews is addressing and why it doesn’t comport with the conclusions you are drawing? We could do all that, but I would rather focus on John 5 right now, and you are having trouble enough focusing on that.

    At any rate my argument is not that our new life is not given by faith,

    So you admit that the dead hear unto life. I really feel like I have wasted a tremendous amount of time here.

    rather it is where does this faith come from. In other words are we given new life by God, and all that comes with this new life including faith?

    So now you are back to saying new life precedes faith and causes faith?

    Or is there something we add to it, or something we must do, or something we must receive or be willing to receive? In other words is our salvation and faith up to us in any way? I certainly hope not, considering my condition.

    Well, maybe this gets to the root of the issue. You don’t believe that faith is up to you in any way, because you don’t want to believe that. Personally, I would like to believe that God will cause me to keep believing, no matter what. That would be nice. I would also like to believe that there is no such thing as hell. But I don’t believe that God will cause me to keep believing no matter what, and I do believe in hell, because I am convinced the Bible teaches these things. That is why it is important to let the Bible dictate our theology, which is what this post is about. Calvinists who make the argument that the spiritually dead cannot hear are not allowing the Bible to dictate their theology, but allowing their theology to dictate how they will read the Bible. The words of Jesus make this very clear.

    @First, I disagree with the “bring to the table” language. Receiving a free and undeserved gift by faith does not mean we “bring something to the table.” If I am invited to dinner and everything is provided for me, and I go and eat what is freely given to me, would we say that I “brought something” to the table? Of course not. All I did was receive what was already at the table and freely provided for me and given for me. I didn’t “bring” anything, just received what was given. That Calvinists need to speak so awkwardly to try to make their arguments seem convincing should tell you something.

    Your analogy of the dinner is very nice, and I love to be freely invited to dinner by others and served freely. I have happily received and taken advantage of many such invitations. Why wouldn’t someone take advantage of such an invitation? Well suppose the one giving the invitation is someone you despise and hate?

    Or suppose you are too proud to receive hand outs? Or suppose you know that to do so would mean you will be held accountable for your sins, and you don’t want to be accountable. There could be all kinds of reasons for rejecting the free gift God offers. However, despite these obstacles, God graciously enables us to receive His gift so that even these obstacles cannot prevent us from receiving His free and undeserved gift.

    We can overcome our pride, fear, and whatever else, because God make it possible for us to do so. Still, even though God makes it possible, He does not irresistibly cause us to. That is the difference between resistible grace and irresistible grace. That is the difference between divine enabling and divine causation. That is not an issue I am going to get into with you again, as we have already discussed this many, many, many times, and you still can’t seem to grasp what to me seems to be a very obvious and important element of what “enable” means.

    This is the way we as humans are described in Romans 1. There is a long list of negative traits given to us in this chapter. One of those traits is God haters. With this being the case we despise God so much that we do not want to receive anything from
    Him.

    Which is why we need divine enablement.

    In other words we would rather continue to go our own way, and supply for ourselves, and starve rather than receiving something from the one we despise. Therefore God must credit our account. He must do something about our condition before we can truly see our worthlessness and need for Him. Nothing but a miracle can accomplish this. You call this irresistible, I rather call it being arrested by the love of God.

    Actually, you call it irresistible. I call it prevenient grace.

    In other words I believe scripture describes us as worthless, and it is only because of God’s great love for us that we are saved. I also am convinced this is the only way I could have possibly come to faith myself, being arrested by God, and my will being miraculously changed.

    Once again, all of this is a separate issue from what the post is about. The post is about whether God needs to give us life for us to be able to hear and believe. Jesus’ words contradict such a claim. Plain and simple. Now, you can say that faith is given irresistibly, and on and on, but that is not the subject matter of this post. That is a separate discussion altogether, one I have dealt with in many posts, and one I have had with you many times. So I wonder why you are saying the same things again now in a post that isn’t even about that.

    I rather that we end on an agreement rather than agree to disagree. The agreement would be that one or either the both of us are wrong. It seems to me that you would rather those who respond be in agreement with you, rather than someone who may disagree and challenge.

    No, I would rather that those who challenge actually address what the post is about and address the arguments I have made, rather than ignoring and avoiding them and arguing about things that are not really relevant to the nature of the post. The post is about John 5 and what Jesus says. It is about the fact that Jesus puts hearing before the reception of new life while Calvinists put the reception of new life before hearing. I also referenced other passages which do the same, but that was the main point. I have tried repeatedly to keep you on that point and address Jesus’ actual words, but you have instead made every effort to side step his words. At times you seem to plainly concede my point, but then seem to go against it, and then seem to misunderstand it, and then seem to make a point that I wasn’t even addressing. That has made for a very cumbersome and unfruitful discussion. Unfortunately, this has seemed to be a pattern with you and that is why I suggested we agree to disagree, and that is why I have a hard time understanding how you can claim the following:

    “I believe that I have for the most part stuck to the topics and issues.”

    Perhaps we need to agree to disagree on that as well.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  19. [i]Again, that is not even the point of the argument. That is an issue you have brought into this discussion which avoids and ignores the actual argument. It is an issue of whether the dead can hear or not. It is not an issue of God giving ears to hear. If Calvinism is right to say that the dead cannot hear until they are first given life, then Jesus is lying when He says the dead hear. I don’t know how else to say this to you. If anyone else is following this discussion, please help me here. Am I not explaining myself well? Am I missing something?[/i]

    He is trying to make your discussion with him about [b]Election[/b] by pointing to verse 21 and saying God first gives ears to a select dead few so they can hear and be alive, but that again have already been talked about in your Does Regeneration Precede Faith? post I guess. :)

    In other words:

    [i]If Calvinism is right to say that the dead cannot hear until they are first given life, then Jesus is lying when He says the dead hear.[/i]

    He is saying the dead cannot hear until they are first given “ears” by using verse 21.

    I think though it is still the same thing as giving life first “before” they can hear because a dead person even with ears will still not hear. :)

  20. ^ the formatting did not work lol.

    TEST

    TEST

  21. It is amazing to me that you can insert words, ideas, and or concepts to different passages, however you do not allow this liberty to others. You have done this at other times as you have here in which I demonstrated when you stated above,

    Jesus makes the same parallel you seem to be making in John 5:21 compared to John 5:24, 25, and yet He makes it very clear that the condition for being raised up is hearing (by faith).

    There are no conditions mentioned at all in this passage, along with the fact that the word faith is not there. This means you will have to appeal to other passages, and read this one in that light in order to insert this concept. However as I said you will not allow others this liberty.

    If the dead can hear, and if the dead can respond, on their own, then their is nothing for Jesus to say “do not be amazed” about, because there would be nothing to be amazed about. If the dead can hear and respond, then when Jesus calls Lazarus from the grave, and Lazarus being dead and can indeed hear, and respond either to obey or stay in his deadness then there is no big deal here right……… Wrong! Lazarus is brought to life by the voice of the Son of God. Lazarus was not asked if he would like to be raised, it says nothing about him being given, prevenient grace, (which by the way is nowhere mentioned in the bible) rather it says he was called forth. Therefore when Jesus says, “the dead will hear” there is something miraculous going on here, because the dead cannot hear, and the dead cannot respond, rather they are brought to life by His voice. Notice also the language here, Jesus does not say the dead can hear, rather He says “they WILL hear.” This is the miraculous part, not that they can, but that they will.

    Now as I stated before there is a definite contrast in Ephesians between the mighty power it took to raise Christ and it was the same power that raised the Ephesians. It goes on to say God made you alive who were dead. There are no conditions mentioned, it simply says “through faith” which is said to be not of themselves. You cannot be spiritually alive without faith, therefore those without faith are dead and cannot possibly realize their deadness in this state, therefore as Ephesians states, to be brought to life this faith must be given, a faith that is not of themselves it is foreign to them coming from someone else.

    With all this being said, as we go back to John chapter 5 there is a connection between verses 21 and 25. My translation actually says,”the Son gives life to anyone He wants to. This means that the dead that Will hear (not the dead that can hear) are the ones the Son wants to give life to. So then Jesus is not lying when He says the dead will hear, because the dead will hear. The miraculous part about this is that the dead cannot hear, unless it has been granted to them to hear. Again let me stress, there is a huge difference between saying the dead can hear, and the dead will hear, one is miraculous the other is not. If the dead can hear then there is no big deal, however if the dead cannot hear but will hear then this can only be by the power of God.

  22. There are no conditions mentioned at all in this passage, along with the fact that the word faith is not there. This means you will have to appeal to other passages, and read this one in that light in order to insert this concept. However as I said you will not allow others this liberty.

    Jack, what are you talking about? As usual, Jesus explains things as He goes. This post was about all that Jesus said in these passages, not just verse 25 (though verse 25 is the main focus). There is an obvious connection between verse 24 and verse 25. That connection was spelled out clearly in the post. In verse 25 Jesus tells us the dead will hear unto life. That is the main point of the post. The point you still don’t seem to get for some reason. However, verse 24 gives us more information, and that imformation actually precedes and explains verse 25. It describes how this transition from death to life happens. It happens by faith (you do know that “believe” is just the verb form of “faith”, right?). So I do not need to appeal to other passages like Eph. 2 or Ezekiel as you have done. These verses go together. All we have to do is allow Jesus to explain Himself, rather than reading foreign concepts (like unconditional election) into verses (like verse 21), that say nothing about unconditional election, and then try to avoid the plain language of what Jesus says next due to what we have wrongly read into the previous verses. If we want to know who Jesus is pleased to give life to, we don’t need to guess or assume. All we need to do is keep reading. He isn’t keeping it a secret. He plainly tells us in verse 24.

    I also never said I would not allow you the liberty to go to other passages (for example, you have gone to other passages, like Ezekiel 37 and I went with you. I then showed how your interpretation was inaccurate and worked against you. That was met with silence on your part). You have also ignored “other” passages I have brought up which specifically address the issue (like Col. 2:11, 12). Why is that OK?

    What I have said is you need to address these passages (in John 5), as well. When you ignore the plain language of Jesus and appeal to passages which don’t even say the things you claim for them (arguments from silence), that is a problem. That is a backwards hermeneutic. If that is the only way you can deal with what Jesus is saying, that would seem to be an obvious weakness in your argument.

    Therefore when Jesus says, “the dead will hear” there is something miraculous going on here, because the dead cannot hear, and the dead cannot respond, rather they are brought to life by His voice.

    I never said it wasn’t miraculous. Since I hold to divine enabling, I hold to the need for a miracle. But this gest us to the main point, once again. In Calvinism, the miracle that makes hearing possible is regeneration. That means that regeneration comes first and then hearing. That is why Jesus’ words bear directly on the Calvinist argument. It contradicts it. Jesus doesn’t say there is no miracle that must happen for the dead to hear, but he does rule out that miracle being regeneration! Again, that is the main point!! But the emphasis of the passage isn’t even on the miracle of the dead hearing, but the miracle of the dead being given life by Jesus. Hearing Jesus’ words alone isn’t enough. We need to believe as well. That is why verse 24 informs verse 25. It explains what kind of hearing is being described in verse 25 that leads to life and marks the transition from spiritual death to spiritual life. It is a specific kind of hearing, a hearing that is coupled with faith. In other words, “the hearing of faith.” Either way you slice it, hearing and faith come before the giving of new life in these verses.

    All you can claim is that this faith is irresistibly given only to some. You can say that and believe that, but the passage certainly doesn’t say that, and it isn’t even the point of my argument. It never was. Since you concede that hearing and faith come first, there is nothing more to discuss.

    If the dead can hear and respond, then when Jesus calls Lazarus from the grave, and Lazarus being dead and can indeed hear, and respond either to obey or stay in his deadness then there is no big deal here right……… Wrong! Lazarus is brought to life by the voice of the Son of God. Lazarus was not asked if he would like to be raised, it says nothing about him being given, prevenient grace, (which by the way is nowhere mentioned in the bible) rather it says he was called forth.

    Here we go again. Please re-read the post. Verse 24 is obviously not addressing physical resurrection. When Jesus addresses physical resurrection in John 5, he makes it clear that all will be raised, both believers and unbelievers. So Lazarus’ physical resurrection isn’t even relevant to how spiritually dead people become spiritually alive (and never was relevant, which was part of the point of this post and Chapman’s). Again, you need to go to an unrelated text to try to make your point when Jesus explains things for you right here in the text we are discussing.

    As far as the difference between can and will, you miss the point yet again (and read into the text yet again). Calvinists say the dead cannot hear until they are given life. Jesus says they “will hear”. If the dead will hear, then that means the dead can hear (in contradiction to what Calvinists say). Furthermore, it proves that what causes hearing cannot be regeneration (though it doesn’t rule out prevenient grace, since prevenient grace is not regeneration). But whether hearing is a miracle or not; how this miracle is accomplished, whether those who hear will hear irresistibly or unconditionally vs. conditionally and resistibly, is all besides the main point of this post. If it is even true that only a few can hear because God makes them hear, it is still true that for those few, hearing comes before life. That contradicts the Calvinist argument, even if we fully grant your argument about unconditionality and irresistibility. Case closed.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  23. You are missing the point!! Just because they will hear does not mean they can, as I said this is the miraculous part, as you say yourself above. You cant have it both ways. Either the dead cannot hear and the fact that they will hear is an act of God or it isn’t. You are speaking out of both sides of your mouth. You say,

    Jesus doesn’t say there is no miracle that must happen for the dead to hear

    If this is true that a miracle must happen before the dead can hear, then it must be a fact that the dead cannot hear before such a miracle.

  24. This type of comment belongs in the “wonderful things in the Bible I see, some put there by you, others by me” category. Basically , it is possible to make the text say anything you like if you put your own spin on it.

    When Jesus says “the dead will hear” I tend to take it at face value unless there is a good reason not to. Saying that a corpse can’t hear is nothing more than applying human thinking to a spiritual truth and is certainly no basis for not accepting the simple straightforward reading of this passage.

    Jesus says “the dead will hear” and who are we to disagree?

  25. The original post is wrong because the author completely misunderstand what truth Jesus is attempting to teach us. The author makes an inference that Jesus refers to spiritual life when He says, “The hour is coming, and now is when the dead will hear, and those who hear will live.” However, many people disagree with this position because it would appear from the context that Jesus is referring to the physical resurrection. This is clear when Jesus repeats what He is trying to say in verses 28-29:

    Do not marvel at this ” which very clearly conveys the idea that Jesus is repeating something He has already said.

    He continues, “For an hour is coming in which all are in tombs will hear His voice, and come forth; Those who did the good to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil to a resurrection of judgment.”

    When is there a resurrection of judgment? Even my NASB has the title “Two Resurrections” for the section containing verses 25-31 in John 5. I know the subsection titles are not inspired, but it helps reveal the contextual consideration of the greek scholars who produced this fine translation.

    I would also point out that in 5:21 Jesus has already reinforced my theological position by saying that “the Son gives life to whom He wills ” Not if people will, but His choice, His sovereign and gracious decision. A similar idea is echoed throughout the whole of John’s gospel (and the New Testament for that matter). (Jn 1:12-13, 3:8, 6:37, 44, 63, 65, 8:43-44, 47, 10, 13, 15, 17, and so on, and so on). There are many ways for an arminian to twist the plain meaning of scripture, and indeed I have seen many attempts. And probably will see more in the replies to come.

    I appreciated Jack Hanley’s attempt to motivate the author towards acknowledging that the reformed is plausible in light of scripture. But I was disheartened by the author’s replies. He reveals that he is not a reliable interpreter of scripture because he is dangerously prejudiced against the reformed position. It reminds me of what Roger Olson said when a student asked him, “If it was revealed to you that the Calvinist position was the correct view of God, would you worship Him? Roger Olson answered, ‘No'” What a wicked and carnal reply, that I hope does not reveal his heart.

    You cannot use an inference driven by your theological commitments to overturn the numerous clear and didactic statements about this topic elsewhere in the Old and New Testament. It is not my intention to have a dialog here, but I only wanted to express my reply so that individuals new to the reformed faith would not be hindered by the conclusions of the author.

  26. SBG,

    Your comments are unfortunate. It is obvious by your comments that you did not read the post and likely did not read through the comments. The point you make which you seem to think is a major oversight by me that means I am an “unreliable interpreter of Scripture” and have a dangerous prejudice are points I specifically addressed in the post! In fact, probably half of the post was about why verse 25 is speaking about more than just the end times physical resurrection and why it is erroneous to make the claim you just made here in these comments based on verses 28-29.

    That should tell us something. You call me an unreliable interpreter, and “dangerously prejudiced”, and yet you do not even bother to read the post before jumping in to say the post is “wrong” in an attempt to prop up someone who agrees with you and smear someone who doesn’t. If that doesn’t reveal a dangerous and unfair prejudice, I don’t know what does.

    So I look forward to an apology since the whole basis of your comments about me was that I ignored a portion of the text and its supposed implications, when I actually carefully addressed that portion of the text in my post.

    Your comparing me to Olson is likewise unfair and completely unrelated to the topic here or the substance of my discussion with Jack.

  27. Jack,

    I really don’t know what else to say to you, so I will just thank you for sharing your view.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  28. Andrew,

    I appreciate your comments and I agree with you.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  29. Dear sir,

    I will not apologize for my comments because my reproof stands uncorrected. As I said, You take an inference from one verse and then try to overturn the masses of scripture that plainly tell us the opposite My only hope is that my mild reproof would cause you to repent your carnal thinking.

    Also, I will not apologize for my comparing you to Roger Olson because you support him, and thus his teachings, by referencing 6 of his works on your homepage, along with 2 articles.

    I anticipate that this site and its contents cause you much blushing at the resurrection.

    My comments are related to your post.

    You take an inference from the above text and use it to overturn the masses of texts that clearly state the opposite.

  30. I would also mention that:

    (quoting you) “The point you make which you seem to think is a major oversight by me that means I am an “unreliable interpreter of Scripture” and have a dangerous prejudice are points I specifically addressed in the post!

    You are completely wrong in saying this. If you would have read my reply as closely as you want me to read you post, then you would have understood that my classification of you as a “unreliable interpreter of Scripture” stemmed from the fact that you cannot even admit that Calvinism is a plausible position in light of revealed Scripture. Jack Hanley extended the olive branch, but you would not accept.

    Thus it is my inference that you are a prejudiced and unreliable interpreter of the Scriptures.

    This post is to correct your reply, which I believe incorrectly characterizes the contents of my initial reply.

  31. SBG,

    You seem to have forgotten what you wrote in your comment. Your comment starts with:

    “The original post is wrong because the author completely misunderstand what truth Jesus is attempting to teach us.”

    All the rest plainly “stemmed” from this initial statement.

    I trust that you are an honest person and would not lie, even though it seems you are being deliberately evasive and trying hard to avoid admitting that you rushed to judgment concering a post you did not even read fully (if at all). So I will ask you a simple question: Did you read the entirety of my post before making your initial comments? Yes or No?

  32. I understand, you are ready to end this conversation, however yesterday when I posted my last comment I was extremely pressed for time, and did not have the opportunity to make all the points I would have liked. Therefore I would like to do this now that I have more time. You state in the article that,

    @ Nowhere is spiritual death or man’s deadness in sin described in terms of the inability of a physical corpse to do anything (like hear or respond in faith) as portrayed in the Calvinist morgue analogy. Rather, Jesus flatly contradicts such an interpretation when He declares that the spiritually “dead” will “hear” unto spiritual life.

    You have also stated numerous times in the article and in our conversation that the dead can hear, such as these two comments,

    @ This simple observation destroys the Calvinist insistence that those who are dead in sin are as unable to hear as a lifeless corpse.

    @How can my claiming the dead can hear because Jesus actually says the dead can hear an argument from silence

    Now as I have already pointed out, you are incorrect here in stating that Jesus says, the dead can hear. What He actually says is the dead will hear, and I have explained above the difference, between can and will, so then now allow me to respond to this comment of yours,

    @ This simple observation destroys the Calvinist insistence that those who are dead in sin are as unable to hear as a lifeless corpse.

    Above you seem to contradict this statement when you say,

    @I never said it wasn’t miraculous. Since I hold to divine enabling, I hold to the need for a miracle.

    If this is true then, you are acknowledging, that the dead in fact cannot hear, until or unless, as you say God enables them to hear. Therefore the, Calvinist insistence that those who are dead in sin are as unable to hear as a lifeless corpse, would be correct. The only difference here then, is that you believe that the dead are given the ability to hear and respond, while the Calvinists, believe they are given life along with the ability to hear. The main point I am making here is that I think we can now agree that the dead cannot hear, and the only way they WILL hear, is if they are acted upon by God. Now if you will recall this was my initial, point in my very first post here on this thread, I stated,

    # Nowhere is spiritual death or man’s deadness in sin described in terms of the inability of a physical corpse to do anything (like hear or respond in faith) as portrayed in the Calvinist morgue analogy

    I responded to this by saying,

    .
    This is a serious overstatement at best, and it seems to me to be extremely unfair, This would be like a Calvinist saying, now where in scripture is there a passage that supports the Arminian view, This would be an unfair, and untrue statement on the part of the Calvinist just as it is on your part here. Now you and the Calvinist can disagree on the interpretation, but to say that neither is nowhere found in scripture is just not true.

    Now as I stated above, you now have, (willingly or not) acknowledged that the Calvinists are correct in saying the dead cannot hear.

    I could be wrong on this next point and if I am then please correct me, but I can only assume you believe God enables all the spiritually dead to hear. If this is not the case, and you believe there are those who will not be given the ability to hear, then I see no difference, in your view and the Calvinist view. However, if you believe all will be given this ability then I see a problem in this text we have been discussing, because Jesus states, “Those that hear will live.” This would seem to indicate that all the spiritually dead would hear and live.

    At any rate I ended my first post by saying,

    My main point here is not that my interpretations are right and yours are wrong, but rather it seems ridiculous for either of us to say the other has no Biblical support, this is simply unfair and also untrue.

    Also at one point I said,

    I will attempt to do this knowing full well this attempt will be futile. My aim here has not been to get into a debate over what different passages of scripture mean, because it seems clear, we will more than likely never agree, rather my aim is to point out that all sides in this debate have legitimate arguments and scripture references, even if we disagree over the meanings.

    This is still my main point, and I am saddened by the fact that we are divided. I have been divided from worshiping with friends and family that I dearly love over these issues, and it is not something I am proud of, rather it has caused great anguish. As I said above, I do not believe we should side step these issues, I believe we should continue to struggle with each other, however showing grace and mercy, and acknowledging, that even though we cannot as of yet agree, we still believe we are brothers in search of truth, while also acknowledging that we can see how the other side has arrived where they are.

  33. To Jack Hanley:

    Dear Jack,

    I think you are overstating your case somewhat in believing you have answered the question about the dead hearing. For those coming after, I have put your comments under # and previous comments from another contributor as @K

    #You have also stated numerous times in the article and in our #conversation that the dead can hear, such as these two comments,

    @K This simple observation destroys the Calvinist insistence that those who are dead in sin are as unable to hear as a lifeless corpse.

    @KHow can my claiming the dead can hear because Jesus actually says the dead can hear an argument from silence

    #Now as I have already pointed out, you are incorrect here in stating #that Jesus says, the dead can hear. What He actually says is the #dead will hear, and I have explained above the difference, between #can and will, so then now allow me to respond to this comment of #yours,

    Where you have gone wrong is in assuming it is correct to reword what Jesus said in terms of Calvinist thinking.

    So you are basically re-writing the sentence as follows … the dead, when they have being given the ability to hear, will be able to hear. But nowhere does Jesus put any such qualification on the words he uses. He simply states that the time is coming and now is when the dead will hear. All that you are doing is interpreting the sentence to fit in with Reformed theology. You have no right from the text to do this. The word used for dead is the same word Jesus uses when he says let the dead bury the dead. But it is different to the words later on in John 5 which talk about the physically dead being raised to life. The text here uses the word …. those in the tombs!

    You cannot simply change Jesus’ words just because it suits your argument so to do. If Jesus said the dead will hear, then they will, whether or not you like it!

  34. Andrew,

    You said,

    @Where you have gone wrong is in assuming it is correct to reword what Jesus said in terms of Calvinist thinking.

    Please show me where I have reworded the words of Jesus. The fact is that I have stuck to the exact wording continually through out. Jesus’ words are “The dead WILL hear” I have never used any other word but the word, WILL. However Ben, and possibly others have changed this word WILL, to CAN. If you do not believe this just go back and look. I have given a couple of examples above, however there are more and if you can’t find them let me know and I will be glad to point them out. So then it is not me who has reworded, but others, if not then please show me where I have actually changed the wording. I would greatly appreciate this.

    Allow me to explain it in this way. If I were in an accident and confined to a wheelchair, and the doctor told me, you WILL walk again. Does this mean I can now walk? No it simply means that I WILL at some time. In the same way when Jesus says “The dead WILL hear” this does not therefore mean the dead can hear. As I said, this is the miraculous part, the fact that the dead cannot hear, and yet Jesus says they will. At any rate, you go on to state,

    So you are basically re-writing the sentence as follows … the dead, when they have being given the ability to hear, will be able to hear.

    Now let me ask you, are you saying that the dead can hear apart from, being given the ability? In other words, are you saying that God is not evolved in allowing the dead to hear, and they can hear apart from God’s enabling? As far as I can tell this is not Ben’s position. You really need to be careful in how you answer this question.

  35. SBG,

    Since you refused to answer a direct question and instead made some more rude comments about me and my site, your comments have been deleted. You are no longer welcome to comment at this site. The only way I will allow you to comment further is if you answer the question I asked before with a “yes” or a “no”. If you can’t handle that, do not comment anymore. Here is the question again, in case you have forgotten it:

    “So I will ask you a simple question: Did you read the entirety of my post before making your initial comments? Yes or No?”

  36. Jack,

    This conversation is getting pretty ridiculous at this point, so I will not be commenting further unless you can answer some fairly straight forward questions.

    1) Do you believe that those who are dead in sin cannot hear unless first regenerated (given spiritual life)?

    2) If you do believe that the dead must first be given life to “hear”, then would you say that those who have been give life so they can hear are “dead” or “alive” when they “hear”?

    3) If they are alive when they hear, then how is it that Jesus says they are dead when they hear?

    4) If Jesus says they “will” hear, would you then agree that when they do hear (as they certainly “will”), they “can” hear?

    Notice that I am not asking you about any miracle or God giving the ears to hear only to some, or anything like that. So please don’t go off on those topics again. Rather, just answer the questions.

    Thanks,
    Ben

  37. 1) Do you believe that those who are dead in sin cannot hear unless first regenerated (given spiritual life)?

    I believe the dead cannot hear.

    2) If you do believe that the dead must first be given life to “hear”, then would you say that those who have been give life so they can hear are “dead” or “alive” when they “hear”?

    I believe they are dead when they hear this is the miracle, the dead will hear.

    3) If they are alive when they hear, then how is it that Jesus says they are dead when they hear?

    I believe I have answered this above, the dead will hear.

    4) If Jesus says they “will” hear, would you then agree that when they do hear (as they certainly “will”), they “can” hear?

    Yes I agree that the dead will hear. However I am in agreement with you, that they can hear because of an act of God as you have stated above.

    I never said it wasn’t miraculous. Since I hold to divine enabling, I hold to the need for a miracle.

    You say,

    Notice that I am not asking you about any miracle

    However as above you admit,

    I never said it wasn’t miraculous. Since I hold to divine enabling, I hold to the need for a miracle.

    Therefore you cannot say, Notice that I am not asking you about any miracle, because you have already brought that into the equation yourself.

  38. I believe the dead cannot hear.

    But Jesus says they will hear. If they will hear, how can you say they cannot hear?

    I believe they are dead when they hear this is the miracle, the dead will hear

    So you agree with my post against the Calvinist claim hat the dead cannot hear. Good to know.

    I believe I have answered this above, the dead will hear

    So you deny that regeneration precedes hearing and faith. Good to know.

    Yes I agree that the dead will hear. However I am in agreement with you, that they can hear because of an act of God as you have stated above.

    Yes, I stated it above, but I also stated that it is not the emphasis of what Jesus is stating in this passage. Indeed, Jesus says nothing about it. Still, you concede that the “miracle” cannot be regeneration. Therefore, you agree with the main point of my post. Good to know.

    Therefore you cannot say, Notice that I am not asking you about any miracle, because you have already brought that into the equation yourself

    Nope, you brought it up. I only acknowledged that my theology also says a miracle must take place (prevenient grace). However, I also made it clear that this passage is not dealing with that, and even if it was, it would specifically rule out the miracle being regeneration. Since you agree with that, there is nothing more to discuss.

    Thanks for stopping by.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  39. Dear Jack

    I believe that you really can’t see where Calvinists go wrong. But I will try to explain. Calvinism is fixated on explaining everything about salvation. Evrything has to make sense. So when Jesus says the dead will hear they have to explain it. Taken at face value this is not only sensible but laudable. So why is there a problem? Because they then start to apply human logic and thinking to a spiritual truth.

    It fascinates me how people can quote scripture on the one hand and not let it really become part of their thinking. We all do it to one degree or another but this is a classic for the Calvinist camp. So when a person holding Calvinistic views looks at Jesus’ words “the dead will hear” they immediately have a reaction along the lines of , well that’s not possible, a dead corpse can’t hear and so they seek to explain the process. The result is normally …. “I know, we’ll give this person a helping hand and enable him to believe. Then everything will be fine. God will do this enabling so there’s no cause for that person to feel they have done anything to earn or merit their salvation and then they can believe”! The problem is that it’s all based on human logic and reasoning and has no firm basis in scripture.

    Of course naturally speaking it is not possible for a dead person to hear, we all recognise that. But to understand Jesus when he says the dead will hear there’s no point in apply human reasoning, it just doesn’t work. I think this is a classic case of God hiding truths from the wise and revealing them to babes. I fear you are well entrenched in your views, as of course am I , but I do hope this helps to explain in part the nature of your problem.

  40. Really, Ben you can twist this any way you like, however, it still will not change the facts. You say,

    But Jesus says they will hear. If they will hear, how can you say they cannot hear?

    You yourself agree that the dead cannot hear. If the dead could hear, why would they need to be enabled to hear? This explains why Jesus says the dead WILL hear. You go on to state,

    Yes, I stated it above, but I also stated that it is not the emphasis of what Jesus is stating in this passage. Indeed, Jesus says nothing about it. Still, you concede that the “miracle” cannot be regeneration. Therefore, you agree with the main point of my post. Good to know.

    You say the main part of the post was that the “miracle” cannot be regeneration. This may be the case, I really do not know, what I do know is that you also stated,

    Nowhere is spiritual death or man’s deadness in sin described in terms of the inability of a physical corpse to do anything (like hear or respond in faith) as portrayed in the Calvinist morgue analogy.

    Now this was my main point, and you can go back to my first response to determine this. My point was that the Calvinists are correct in saying that the dead cannot hear and respond, if they could there would be no need for any sort of enabling, that is what enabling means allowing someone to do something they cannot do. So then you can say that your main point was whatever you like. however this was my main point, and that is the Calvinists are correct to say the dead cannot hear.

  41. Jack,

    I am sorry you think I am trying to twist things. That is not the case at all.

    You say the main part of the post was that the “miracle” cannot be regeneration. This may be the case, I really do not know,

    How can you possibly not know? If you read the post and thought about what I wrote, you would know this. This is why this discussion has gotten so silly; you still haven’t grappled with the point of the post.

    what I do know is that you also stated,

    Nowhere is spiritual death or man’s deadness in sin described in terms of the inability of a physical corpse to do anything (like hear or respond in faith) as portrayed in the Calvinist morgue analogy

    That is true, but that is taken out of context. In the morgue analogy, the dead cannot hear until they are given life. I am not arguing against the idea that real dead people cannot hear nor do anything until they are given life. I am arguing that when the Bible speaks of spiritual death it is not speaking of the inability of a corpse to do anything, like hear or believe. It never draws that correlation (and as you quote me above, it never describes it in those terms). That is something Calvinists have read into the Biblical concept of being spiritually dead. That is why Jesus’ words are so relevant.

    First, Jesus says the time is “now” that the dead will hear. That means that spiritually dead people are hearing. That means Jesus does not equate spiritual death with the inability of a corpse to hear.

    Second, Jesus puts hearing before the reception of life. That also contradicts the Calvinist argument. The whole point of the Calvinist argument is to put life before hearing. We know this is wrong for two reasons:

    1) Jesus says the “dead” will hear, not the living, which means that He does not believe that a “spiritual corpse” needs to be regenerated before he can hear.

    2) Jesus say the dead will hear and then live as a result of hearing. That is the opposite of what Calvinists say.

    I don’t understand how you didn’t get all of this from the initial post, or from the numerous times I have repeated it and explained it in this discussion, but hopefully now you get it.

    The whole reason Calvinists draw the correlation between spiritual death and the inability of a physical corpse is to force the idea that regeneration precedes faith. But if the dead will hear (even if it is by a miracle), then “spiritual death,” as the Bible describes it, cannot be correlated with the inability of a physical corpse. Just as the Calvinists say, a corpse cannot hear or do anything unless it is given life first. Since Jesus makes it clear that the spiritually dead can hear without being given life first, that means that the strict Calvinist parallel between spiritual death and the inability of a physical corpse is inaccurate. It also means that regeneration does not precede “hearing” or faith, which contradicts the main point of Calvinists drawing the correlation in the first place. The point of my post was to specifically address this Calvinist argument. Your comments have not addressed the Calvinist argument specifically, or my direct response to it. Rather, you have taken things I have said out of context and gone on tangents. I have continually tried to get you to actually address the post and the argument I made there, but you are not interested in that.

    Now this was my main point, and you can go back to my first response to determine this. My point was that the Calvinists are correct in saying that the dead cannot hear and respond, if they could there would be no need for any sort of enabling, that is what enabling means allowing someone to do something they cannot do.

    This may indeed be your main point, but it misses the point of my post, and it misses the point of the Calvinist argument. That is what I have been trying to get you to see throughout this discussion. Obviously, we are talking past each other. However, during our discussions, you have conceded more than once that the reception of life comes after the dead hear, and not before (though you make a big deal of this being a miracle). Since you suggested earlier that we should end on a point of agreement, maybe this is a good place to end it. You have made your point, and I understand what you are saying. Thanks for sharing your view, and thanks for agreeing with me that regeneration is not what makes it possible for spiritually dead people to hear.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  42. SBG,

    I saw your angry rants. They are saved in my spam queue. That is part of the reason you are not allowed to comment here. Your posts are filled with anger and laced with insults and condescending jokes directed towards me, and Arminians in general. That is hardly the way to extend an “olive branch.”

    Now it seems you are especially angry because you say you did answer my question. Here is the problem with that. You left several separate posted comments that evaded the issue before supposedly “answering” my question. You finally inserted a short little, “And, yes I have read your post, and other posts.”

    But that is not the question I asked of you. I didn’t ask you if you read my post and other posts. I specifically asked you if you read my post in it’s entirety before your initial comments criticizing my post about not addressing or considering verses 28-29, when in fact it addressed them in detail. Just saying, “yes, I have read your post” doesn’t answer that. The main part is missing…when did you read my post? See the problem?

    Unfortunately, your posts are filled with so much anger and disdain; I don’t think I can approve any of them even if you do answer the question. This is not a new thing with you. In the past you have been very uncharitable towards Arminians on this site, even suggesting they are not saved. Now you call me childish, but somehow do not seem to see how comments like the following are childish and completely unhelpful to fruitful conversation:

    SBG: “I was at relative’s house, and he was not a Christian, but he said this prayer. I never thought it was fitting for the occasion, but it is actually very fitting for your site.

    He said, “Dear Father, bless this mess… In Jesus name, amen.”

    May the Lord be merciful, and bless this mess.”

    Now, why on earth would I want to have a conversation with someone who says such things? Sorry, but I will not tolerate that sort of thing here, even if it makes you very angry.

    However, if you answer my question as to when you read my post (before or after your initial claim that the post was “wrong” because it ignored vv 28-29), I will be sure to make that known to anyone who may be reading these comments.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  43. SBG wrote,

    You are completely wrong in saying this. If you would have read my reply as closely as you want me to read you post, then you would have understood that my classification of you as a “unreliable interpreter of Scripture” stemmed from the fact that you cannot even admit that Calvinism is a plausible position in light of revealed Scripture. Jack Hanley extended the olive branch, but you would not accept.

    It would seem that SBG is rankled because he thinks it uncharitable for someone not to at least admit that the opposing view (in this case, Calvinism) is “plausible.” He commends Jack for extending the olive branch, despite my supposed intolerance of his view and unwillingness to even admit that Calvinism is a plausible view. But what about the Arminian view? Does this only work one way? Would SBG say that Arminianism is a plausible view? Let’s consider some comments that were interwoven in his response to my interaction with some very long comments he left at my site long ago (though the first quote comes from a different discussion with another person). Do they reveal the spirit of tolerance? Do they reveal the extending of an olive branch? Do they reveal a humble spirit? Do they suggest that SBG thinks Arminianism is a “plausible view”?

    SBG quotes:

    “And calling arminianism theological skubalon, is just my objective view. You can put make-up on a pile of skubalon, but it is still stinky! You can use bubblegum and and shoelaces to hold together a rusty scaffolding, but its still decaying.”

    “Anyone who separates the two HIM pronouns in verse 44 in a magician and a deceiver. They are talking about the same person.”

    “Sorry, but your view of God is too human and you make Him puny and impotent in salvation. Frustrated my man’s will again! Sorry, I don’t think so.”

    “It amazes me that a person can read this and not see perseverance of the saints. Then they say, “Well you can take yourself out of His hand!” How foolish. “NO ONE” is a universal negative. As soon as someone denies perseverance you know that they believe that salvation is the work of man and not God.”

    “How weak and how ineffective the blood of Christ is in your view!”

    “[you] have no idea about the High Priesthood, which is why you don’t understand atonement. Unless you are a universalist, which makes more sense then this clumsy view of atonement that you are spouting.”

    “Its because you must not understand the basics of the words that you are applying. You don’t understand the Levitical priesthood, therefore, you don’t understand the Priesthood of Christ. We are simply coming from far different levels of understanding about the sacrifice system in Lev 16, which is the copy of Christ’s High Priesthood.”

    “Yup, if only Jesus could actually save anyone, that would be a monumental leap for you and your theology. For you, its all about the man, all about the free will, all about the decision of man. So perhaps Christ will feel a little better for hanging on the tree. HOGWASH!”

    “Now from pelagian back to arminian… You just cant decide! You have made a God in your own image! You made a God that is just a supersized human being! This is not the God of the Bible,”

    “I thank God that you didn’t continue, it would have been more torture. Again, you simply haven’t refuted anything. You only have demonstrated that you are a mere dabbler and have perhaps entrenched yourself with literature that is written by Christians that remained just as ignorant as you now are.”

    “Unfortunately, it seems that you turn from an arminian to a pelagian when you need to cope with the text!”

    “You almost make me want to cry. I honestly don’t even know what to think. I have not seen anyone seemingly hate the Bible so much and call themselves a Christian.
    This is incredible. I have never seen such a denial. You make the Bible your slave.”

    “Yes, but it is because you are not a servant to the Bible but a servant to your tradition.”

    “You are contradicting yourself to cope with Isaiah 10, you should just repent completely.”

    “An embarrassing treatment of the text.”

    “It would not surprise me if my hair turned grey after reading these links to your horrendous views of regeneration, rank semi-pelegianism, and contradictory logic.”

    And from some more recent comments in this thread:

    “My only hope is that my mild reproof would cause you to repent your carnal thinking.”

    “I anticipate that this site and its contents cause you much blushing at the resurrection.”

    “There are many ways for an arminian to twist the plain meaning of scripture, and indeed I have seen many attempts. And probably will see more in the replies to come.”

  44. This conversation will not end until, you either do to me what you have done to SBG, OR until you stop saying things that are not true. Such as,

    ” you have conceded more than once that the reception of life comes after the dead hear, and not before.

    I have no where conceded this, the fact is I purposely avoided commenting on this so as to keep the discussion on point as to whether the dead can hear or not. So then I have not conceded this. The fact is I am not in agreement with you that the dead receive life after they hear. If the Calvinists believe as you say, that the dead are given life before they hear, then I am also not in agreement with the Calvinists, rather I believe the dead receive life WHEN they hear, in other words the exact moment they hear. This is why I believe the raising of Lazarus is a good analogy here, not necessarily, because he was raised to demonstrate when the spiritually dead hear but rather, because I believe it is a good parallel. In other words Lazarus was not given life before he heard the voice of Jesus, he also was not given life after he heard, rather he was given life the exact moment he heard. In the same way the spiritually dead are given life WHEN they hear, not before, and not after.

    So then you assumed that just because I stated,

    I believe they are dead when they hear this is the miracle, the dead will hear

    and also when I said.

    I believe I have answered this above, the dead will hear

    that I have conceded that I believe, they are given life after they hear. This is not the case, and I think if you go back and look carefully, you will see that, as I said, I purposely avoided commenting on this, because I realized, this would just muddy the water, and get us off the point.

  45. This conversation will not end until, you either do to me what you have done to SBG, OR until you stop saying things that are not true. Such as,

    ” you have conceded more than once that the reception of life comes after the dead hear, and not before.

    I wasn’t trying to say anything that wasn’t true. I was just going by what you wrote as any normal person would have understood it. Here are the things you have said that made me think you agreed that hearing preceded life (and remember, we are talking about logical order, not chronological, so you can’t just say it happens at the same time. One must come logically first, even if they happen at the same time. I also believe that life is given the exact moment one believes, not before or after, but hearing comes “logically first”). Here are your comments, and my comments in brackets,

    Me: “That is not exactly what I said. I said that the Bible nowhere “states” that spiritual life of any sort is granted prior to faith in Christ.”

    You: “I disagree, and again appeal to all the above verses, especially, Eph. 2 God made us alive who were dead. Plain and unambiguous.”

    [If you disagree, then it would seem plain that you think spiritual life does come before faith.]

    “Therefore the dead hear the gospel preached and respond by the power of the Holy Spirit, The wind blows where it may, you cant control it. It is the same with those born of the Spirit. In other words their maybe numerous people who hear the same gospel, but it is only those the Spirit chooses to raise that are brought to life.

    “First when Jesus says the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, He goes on to say, “those who hear will live.” [Me: notice that hearing logically precedes the giving of life] Now as the scripture states, the gospel is the power of God unto salvation, and as I stated above when the gospel is preached it can only have the desired effect if the Holy Spirit is involved to to bring to life. In other words the gospel has the power to bring to life the ones in whom the Holy Spirit chooses to work.”

    [So hearing the gospel logically precedes bringing to life.]

    “In other words just because Jesus does not say His voice brings to life those He chooses to bring to life to hear, does not mean this is not the way it actually happens.”

    [Confusedly, you here seem to say that life comes before hearing, though you now deny even believing that]

    “But my point is that Paul says basically the same thing in both Ephesians and Colossians, and that is we were dead and God made us alive. Now he does say this was done through faith, however in Ephesians he is quick to point out that this faith is not of ourselves. Now what does that mean?”

    [Here you seem to plainly put faith logically before life, though hold that faith is irresistibly given only to some.]

    “In other words as the gospel is preached to the dead God raises the dead through the preached word, gives spiritual life to whom He chooses, and with this life comes all that pertains to this life including the faith we have.”

    [And now you are back to saying life comes before faith.]

    “Also notice this passage states, the dead will hear, it then goes on to state, those who hear will be given life.”

    [Exactly, “those who hear will be given life.” You can’t get much more plain than that. Again, even if you deny temporal order, you cannot deny logical order, and anyone reading what you wrote here would assume that you think hearing comes first, at least logically]

    “You are getting hung up on the language here, therefore listen to the language. The dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and THOSE THAT HEAR WILL LIVE.”

    [Once again, that seems like a very obvious order of events. It should also be pointed out that this is basically just a quote of Jesus words, which shows how obvious Jesus’ meaning is as well. Hearing logically precedes the giving of life]

    “In other words when Jesus says the dead will hear, this could simply mean that, the dead will have the gospel preached to them, however it will be only those that hear that will be given life.”

    [Notice again how you plainly put hearing before life. It’s just basic language, and anyone would draw the conclusion from such statements that hearing comes first]

    I could go on, but that should be enough.

    Now you can say I wasn’t being truthful, but I was only going by what you said. I also admitted in another comment that I was confused as you seemed to go back and forth (as indicated in some of these quotes), but it seemed that statements like the ones above were the most clear, so that is why I said you seemed to concede that particular point.

    If I have misunderstood you, then I apologize, but I don’t think anyone could blame me for drawing such a conclusion.

    I have no where conceded this, the fact is I purposely avoided commenting on this so as to keep the discussion on point as to whether the dead can hear or not.

    See above. And notice how you say you wanted to keep the conversation on point about whether or not the dead could hear, as if that is all my post was about. That is why this has been frustrating and unfruitful. The point you tried to keep it on evaded the main point of the post. In other words, you latched on to one aspect of what I was saying and ignored the rest. I tried to get you to address the rest, and you never would. And so it continues…

    So then I have not conceded this. The fact is I am not in agreement with you that the dead receive life after they hear. If the Calvinists believe as you say,

    There is no question that Calvinists believe this. They also understand that it is an issue of logical order, which you apparently didn’t realize.

    that the dead are given life before they hear, then I am also not in agreement with the Calvinists, rather I believe the dead receive life WHEN they hear,

    Notice the plain logical order here. You say they receive life WHEN they hear. That means that hearing comes first. To help you see the difference, what if I said they hear WHEN they are given life. See how this changes the logical order? It doesn’t matter if it happens simultaneously in time, there is still logical order. One must logically precede the other. Your language here and in other places (see above) seem to plainly concede that the logical order is hearing and then life, or hearing unto life, as my post said and as you said when you wrote,

    “Also notice this passage states, the dead will hear, it then goes on to state, those who hear will be given life.”

    This is why I believe the raising of Lazarus is a good analogy here, not necessarily, because he was raised to demonstrate when the spiritually dead hear but rather, because I believe it is a good parallel. In other words Lazarus was not given life before he heard the voice of Jesus, he also was not given life after he heard, rather he was given life the exact moment he heard. In the same way the spiritually dead are given life WHEN they hear, not before, and not after.

    But Jesus is not talking about physical resurrection. He is talking about spiritual resurrection. That is quite a different thing, as was noted in the post. When Jesus speaks about spiritual resurrection, He makes it plain that hearing comes first, and then life. Now even in John 5:28-29 when Jesus speaks of end time resurrection, He puts hearing His voice before being resurrected. So the best we can say is that the physically dead can somehow hear without being alive, but that certainly does not support the Calvinist argument that life comes before hearing (though you apparently do not agree with them either).

    So then you assumed that just because I stated,

    I believe they are dead when they hear this is the miracle, the dead will hear

    and also when I said.

    I believe I have answered this above, the dead will hear

    that I have conceded that I believe, they are given life after they hear. This is not the case, and I think if you go back and look carefully, you will see that, as I said, I purposely avoided commenting on this, because I realized, this would just muddy the water, and get us off the point.

    If you will just look at your comments quoted above, you will see that I based it on much more than what you say here, and had good reason to think you conceded the point. But again, I apologize if I misunderstood.

    But it still amazes me that you say you didn’t want to talk about which came first, life or hearing, because you didn’t want to “get off the point”- when that was the main issue being addressed in my post! Even the title of the post gives this away: Jesus Says the Dead Will Hear Unto Spiritual Life.

  46. Let me put it this way with your own words,

    Jesus Says the Dead Will Hear Unto Spiritual Life.

    Notice, as you say the dead will hear unto life, not believe unto life, or have faith unto life, but rather hear unto life. So then it is the hearing that brings to life.

  47. Kangaroodort – Excellent handling of the scripture and of those who oppose your interpretation. The dead will hear unto spiritual life. Seems pretty clear to me as well.

    I am grateful to God for His grace which allows me to hear, otherwise, I would still be dead to God but alive in my sinfulness.

    Friendship with the world is enmity with God.

    Keep up the great work :-)

  48. OK Jack. God Bless.

  49. Thanks Dr. Wayman.

  50. So then, can the Dead Hear or Not?

    *LOL back to Start. :D

  51. Okay, I can’t find where I originally posted my comments way back in November before the election (that has soooo grieved me) so here’s my long “waited for” response to Kanga. Sorry, I cleaned out my emails. No, I haven’t even read this posting.

    Kanga said: “Again, statements like this have little meaning when you hold to the belief that God decreed our corrupt nature, our every thought, desire and action in such a way that we have absolutely no control over what we are, what we think, or what we do. In such a scheme God essentially punishes His creatures for no other reason than they are His creatures.”

    You’ve reached a conclusion based on assumptions about God and the extent of His operations. Many do this, yes, even Calvinists. But, God does and allows whatever He chooses not what is necessarily “rational” to the little minds of men. You have entered into what I would call, the mystery of providence (i.e.God’s governance of His world and people), which not even the Bible goes into in any great length etc. After all, God’s thoughts are higher the our thought and His ways etc (Isa 55:8) I don’t get into conversations that are speculative or philosophical in nature. Philosophy, though many find interesting, is but man’s wisdom on display and as the Bible says, vanity. I stopped reading The Bondage of the Will for this reason. I have the proof of Scripture, I don’t need man’s “deep, philosophical insights.” However, from Scripture we/I know the following about God:

    1. God is sovereign in ALL things:
    Acts 4:27,28 “Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.
    Eph 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will
    Pro 21:1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

    2. Man, after the Fall, is totally depraved:
    Romans 3
    9 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;
    10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
    11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
    12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

    ***That includes the “good” of choosing God and having faith.***

    3. Man operates on his desires and God overrules:

    Pro 16:9 The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.

    4. God elects and reprobates based on nothing in the person:

    Romans 9:
    11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)
    12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.
    13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
    14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.
    15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
    16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

    4. God does cause some people to deny Him even in a fleshly way for even Pharoah would have been frightened and bowed to Moses God out of fear, but even this was denied him:
    Exodus 9:12
    New King James Version (NKJV)
    12 But the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh; and he did not heed them, just as the Lord had spoken to Moses.
    Deuteronomy 2:30
    New King James Version (NKJV)
    30 “But Sihon king of Heshbon would not let us pass through, for the Lord your God hardened his spiritand made his heart obstinate, that He might deliver him into your hand, as it is this day.

    and of course Romans 17-18: 17 For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.”[g] 18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.

    Because God knew/ordained there’d be Arminians and Roman Catholic, etc. (for heresies come that the church may be weeded out and grow in knowledge) this was added:
    Romans:
    14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! 15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.”[f] 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.”[g] 18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.
    19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” 20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?
    22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

    Finally, give me your clear proof texts that universal, restorative prevenient grace actually exists as I have given you my texts. You as Wesley and all Arminians rob God of His saving power. For if Arminianism were true salvation is all in the hands/minds/wills of men. Christ/God has done all He can. Not only that but even the maintaining of your salvation (for pure Arminians) is in the hands of men and their sovereign wills. Congratulations, you have made man a god! :-)

    Happy New Year!

  52. Dee,

    I will point you to your other comments when I get the chance, and you can interact with them. I am anxious to see you address my responses.

    But let me ask you what you hope to gain here? Are you trying to convince me that Calvinism is Biblical, or trying to convince yourself? Are you looking for a very long debate on the subject? I’m not really interested in that. I don’t really have the time for it. Are you trying to rightly understand what Arminians believe, rather than continuing with the typical Calvinist misrepresentations? I can point you to many resources on the subject. This site is full of of posts and articles. Just look at the left side bar under categories and you will likely find numerous posts that Biblically address your questions.

    Also, please think carefully about your rhetoric. The last sentence is really out of line in my opinion, and clearly violates my blog rules for commenting. Such rhetoric certainly does not create a very good environment for fruitful discussion.

    http://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/important-blog-rules/

    God Bless,
    Ben

  53. Dee,

    Below you will find my responses to your previous comments:

    http://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2011/09/06/does-erwin-lutzer-offer-false-hope-to-calvinist-parents/#comment-8503

    (This begins with one response, but if you scroll down you will find a longer and more detailed response to your initial comments.

    http://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2011/05/09/paul-washer%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%93-%E2%80%9Cdoctrine%E2%80%9D-of-election-an-arminian-critique/#comment-8564

    (This takes you directly to my response of some of your comments on that thread).

    God Bless,
    Ben

  54. I think if all my comments be reviewed you will see that I have given you my answers. You and I are at an impasse.

    Why did I come here, I like the exercise and you never know whose mind may be changed, though I’ve NEVER seen/heard/read of it happening.

    I’ve at least seen it here admitted that God sends the gospels to those who will believe (they must be more moral than everyone else), and that salvation is up to man because God has done all he can. Yet, where find you this fiction called prevenient grace?

    I have a question for you:

    Are the lives of men by chance or is everyone predestined who lives? Is any life an accident of man’s freewill choices? What of deaths and the manners thereof? Was the Holocaust out of God control? Did anyone ever die by any means outside of God’s will? Is history out of God’s control? That would be very close to deism.

    Kanga asked: “But let me ask you what you hope to gain here? Are you trying to convince me that Calvinism is Biblical, or trying to convince yourself? Are you looking for a very long debate on the subject? I’m not really interested in that.”

    Unfortunately when you have such a site you invite comments and perhaps discussion.

    Best wishes,
    Dee

  55. Dearest Dee,
    the scriptures you quoted earlier would on the surface seem to convey a Sovereignty of God that has every choice and action of man preordained. However there are a multitude of scriptures that make very clear reference to Man having to make a choice too. Your understanding (interpretation ) of God’s sovereignty brings to light a human logic.
    Consider these two understandings of sovereignty.

    Firstly Yours, as stated above for God to be able to bring about His will and purpose he needs to control every facet of live in all human beings !

    Secondly God is able to bring about His will and purpose while He grants Man completely free will !

    I must admit your interpretation seems very logic to my human understanding, because if I want to achieve a goal I must control all aspects to bring about that outcome.

    However a God who is able to bring about His perfect plan without having to predetermine every action, giving His creatures complete free will, actually will bring harmony to all of the verses you quoted ,and all the ones you omitted that clearly speak of mans free will. So we do not have to ignore any to justify our understanding.
    I must be honest here, the second option I mentioned above, blows my mind, I can not comprehend how God is able to bring about His perfect will while granting us complete free will !
    Dearest Dee you tell me which one of the two options represents more of a God that is based on our human understanding ?

    Sincerely in the love of Jesus

    Rudi

  56. Rudi said: “Secondly God is able to bring about His will and purpose while He grants Man completely free will !”

    However I just posted statements from the Bible and as I read this morning in Micah 5:11-12: Now also many nations have gathered against you, who say, “Let her be defiled and let our eye look upon Zion.”

    12:”But they do not know the thoughts of the LORD nor do they understand His counsel: For He will gather them like sheaves to the threshing floor.”

    See, they gather according to their will to destroy, but God gathers them to destroy them.

    and that is just my reading for this morning. I didn’t search out such evidence. I can’t help but find it as a constant thread/theme.

  57. Rudy,

    I think if you check my other posts you’ll see that I do believe man has a will. What I deny is that it is totally free and capable on its own of doing anything pleasing to God. What I argue against here is this idea that if you’re a Calvinist, God is responsible for your sinful thoughts and deeds because you have no will of your own. That is a lie. Man has a will, however it is a perversion since the fall and desires nothing but evil for we are born (not created) after Adam’s fallen image.

    Ex. Man has a will, it is only against and hates God. Man operates according to his will, but God is in control. Assyria and Babylon didn’t desire to judge Israel for their apostasy against God, they wanted power, God directed their wicked desires and aimed them at Israel.

    God has determined EVERYTHING that comes to pass. Sometimes God even creates in man a hardness to fulfill His will. That’s God’s right, its His world. God creates/predetermines some men to be destroyed (Judas, Pharoah, etc.). God even creates good and “evil” Is. 45:7.

    Have a good day.

  58. Did I say some men? I mean God created most men to be destroyed. Only a remnant shall be saved.

  59. Dee,

    You wrote,

    I think if all my comments be reviewed you will see that I have given you my answers. You and I are at an impasse.

    Sorry, I can’t find your answers. Could you point them out to me? For me it seems that you are long on questions, criticisms and misrepresentations, but awfully short on answers when challenged.

    I’ve at least seen it here admitted that God sends the gospels to those who will believe (they must be more moral than everyone else), and that salvation is up to man because God has done all he can.

    Where did you see such things “admitted”? Certainly not by me. All of this is a misrepresentation of what Arminians believe. Why do you insist on misrepresenting what we believe even when you have been corrected?

    Yet, where find you this fiction called prevenient grace?

    Where do find the fictions of unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, inevitable perseverance, or decretal exhaustive determinism? See how that works?

    I have a question for you:

    Are the lives of men by chance or is everyone predestined who lives? Is any life an accident of man’s freewill choices? What of deaths and the manners thereof? Was the Holocaust out of God control? Did anyone ever die by any means outside of God’s will? Is history out of God’s control? That would be very close to deism.

    How about we get a few more answers from many of the questions that have been posed to you before I take the time to answer any more of your questions. I think this “discussion” has been pretty one sided up to this point.

    Unfortunately when you have such a site you invite comments and perhaps discussion.

    True, but the nature of your comments does not lend themselves to “discussion”, especially when you continue to ignore correction, refuse to read articles and posts you have been pointed to in answer to many of your questions, and refuse to answer difficult questions that are posed to you. That is why I wonder what you are hoping to accomplish. I would be happy to take the time to have an actual “discussion”, but I don’t have time for games.

    For example, when a philosophical system (like Calvinism) involves itself in hopeless logical contradictions, that reveals error, not truth. Since we know that God is truth, we can be sure that a system that is logically inconsistent is not of God. But when you are confronted with logical problems, you just hide behind “mystery.” I have no problem with mystery, but contradictions are not mystery. Likewise, you still try to discount and disprove Arminiansim on logical grounds. Now how is it that logic is suddenly very important to you? When you reject logic as a means for discovering truth (even interpreting Scripture involves a great deal of logic), you forfeit the right to criticize any other belief system on logical grounds. But you don’t play by your own rules. So how can we possibly have a fruitful or productive “discussion” if that is going to be your tactic?

    You also poo poo philosophy, but the majority of your questions are entirely philosophical in nature (like your questions about the Holocaust, chance and control, etc.). Again, why is that fair? It must be nice to be able to frame the debate in a way that your view is impossible to falsify, but you can still somehow use the same tactics you decry to criticize and falsify my views.

    You also just quote various Scriptures as if they cannot be understood any other way, and offer that as proof for your view. That is fine, but discussions of this nature take a little more effort. I could likewise quote all the passages that say Christ died for all, that God loves the world, desires all men to be saved. etc. There is nothing wrong with that, but that certainly wouldn’t settle things for you, would it?

    You quote Romans 9, and I already directed you to posts that would help you see why I don’t have any problem with those passages as an Arminian. No Arminian ever did. We just do not interpret them as you do. Indeed, I think they support Arminianism rather than Calvinism, and actually create problems for Calvinism in their proper context.

    Likewise, you asked me about inevitable perseverance and I pointed you to a 13 part series on why I find the Calvinist perseverance doctrine unBiblical. Did you read those? You certainly don’t have to, but if you really want to understand what Arminians believe on the subject (and especially what I believe), that would be a good place to start.

    If you want to have a discussion, let’s narrow the focus and have a genuine dialogue. I would love to do that. You can even decide on the topic. Do you want to talk about Romans 9? Perseverance? How about Ephesians 1:4? Let me know.

    By the way, I am not a dispensationalist and I have high regard for the OT as well as how the OT is used by NT writers like Paul in Romans 9 and other places. That is one of the main reasons why the Calvinist interpretation of Romans 9 is untenable and their understanding of election is something that Paul would never have recognized. For more on that, you might want to start here:

    http://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/corporate-election-quotes/

    If you take the time to read that, it would save us a lot of time in misunderstandings and clarifications as we move forward.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  60. Dearest Dee,
    I actually agree with your statement here,

    “God has determined EVERYTHING that comes to pass. Sometimes God even creates in man a hardness to fulfill His will. That’s God’s right, its His world. God creates/predetermines some men to be destroyed (Judas, Pharoah, etc.). God even creates good and “evil” Is. 45:7.”

    Yes even if you change some men to most men!

    Now , it is possible that God is able to predetermine these things while at the same time granting Man complete free will !

    How is this possible , you may ask ?

    Well I am sure you have seen Paul mentioning God’s foreknowledge! Instead of God determining the future before it has happens, Him being outside of time He can foresee the choices we are going to make. So if a person decides to reject Him tomorrow or in 1000 years,
    He says, so it shall be I accept your choice and will not intervene in any way to alter this decision. Now You have chosen with a completely free will and yet God 1000 years ago has preordained your fate.

    Only now can wee see that God does mean it when He says that He desires all men to be saved, for that is His true desire !

    However if Man has a limited free will, that can not be free at all, by definition something can not be free and at the same time be limited!

    It is true we can do nothing in works or actions that is pleasing to God in our flesh, this is not the same as understanding what is good and evil! I knew the difference between good and evil (everyone is borne with a conscience) before I became a Christian. Even then the things I knew where right I could not do but I did what I knew was wrong.
    Sounds familiar doesn’t it Rom.:7
    I did do the evil not because my desire to do right was not there as such, I did it because I was addicted to my fleshly lust’s to which I was in bondage too, which I inherited from Adam. Now it is like most long term smokers they know it is killing them but they also know, many have tried, that they can not kick the habit.
    I also know I am a sinner but I cannot but sin, this is where Christ enters the picture, like a smoker may have told himself and others, for countability, that he will give up, I am able to cry out to God to deliver me from my sinful nature and save me! This I can say and even truly mean , even before I am saved, the doing of it now must be Christ’s, it is He alone that can deliver our lives from our bondage to sin.
    The Bible talks often about our bondage to sin, this signify s, like a slave can not do what he wants to do but only what his master tells him to do, showing He has not lost his ability to wish he could do other things, he just lost the actual ability to do it, because he is restrained by chains !
    So the will is free as such, it is just the ability to do it that is lacking. Paul put it this way,
    Rom.7:18
    “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to WILL is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

    By the way, yes God did not create good, He is good, but He did create evil .
    In which way did he create evil or make it possible for it to come in to the world ?

    Was it not because He chose to create Man (and Angles) with a free will so they where able like Lucifer and Adam, to rebel against Him !?

    In the love of Jesus
    Rudi

  61. Rudy,

    I have to say that you have a very pleasant way about you and I appreciate your arguments and as I used to be an Arminian, though I didn’t know it at the time, I also rationalized the passages in the same manner. Here’s the passage:

    29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

    I’ll have you note that nowhere in this passage does it speak of man doing anything or meeting some sort of requirement. Instead what is on display is God’s dealings with His elect. The term “knowledge” or “know” or “knew” is a term used in the Bible many times to denote an intimate, affectionate relationship (Adam knew his wife, Eve, etc.). So here foreknowledge could be seen/should be seen as the intimate, affection God has for His elect from eternity. Those He foreknew affectionately.

    If you insist on treating this passage with the presupposition that it involves God’s knowledge of what we will do regarding Him (not found anywhere in the text or context), then you have destroyed salvation by grace alone for now you have a gospel of synergism. God does His part and man must do his (have faith and repent or for some just have faith). In fact, man has the final say. Arminians must then admit that those who are believers are so because they were morally superior, or smarter or luckier than unbelievers and this in and of themselves fore prevenient grace operates the same in one man as in another… but then again, does it? Based on the fact that God already knows who by nature will believe/or by help believe…? Does He give more or less or equal part of His grace? It makes my head spin!

    It could be just as easily interpreted that God foreknows EVERYONE and wants/predestines everyone to be conformed to His image etc., but because of freewill, God doesn’t actually get what He wants. Or you could say that it’ll happen, salvation, whether you actually come to faith in Christ in this or not (Billy Graham/Robert Schuller). This was taught by some in my Southern Baptist Convention churches.

    The context of the Epistle to the Romans as a whole makes the passage clear:

    Total Depravity:

    1. Man by nature hates God and the things of God.
    2. He is not subject unto the law of God nor indeed CAN he be (in and of himself)

    Paul does not paint a pretty picture of mankind at all and this teaching he is apply to the New Testament age as well.

    Unconditional Election:

    11 (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), 12 it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.”[d] 13 As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.”[e]

    Rudy, please explain to me the necessity of Paul’s stating “before they born” if indeed “predestination” is dependent on some future meritorious event? The whole purpose was to show that there was NO merit.

    Please explain the argument Paul assumes on the part of his hearers:

    14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! 15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.”[f].

    and

    19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” 20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?
    22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

    Paul/God already knows that people will by nature object to His mode of salvation (election).

    Rudy said, “However if Man has a limited free will, that can not be free at all, by definition something can not be free and at the same time be limited!”

    That’s just the way it is my man. I’ve already shown it at work in the Scriptures in previous posts and in the passages quoted above. Your presupposition that man must have entire freedom of will to have ANY independent will is just wrong. Btw doesn’t the operation of prevenient grace also prevent man’s pure exercise of his necessary, autonomous will? Sounds like some’s interfering with our free will! :-)

    If you start to explaining away the passages above as relating to nations and not individuals I’m gonna have to argue: Aren’t nations just groups of individuals exercising their free wills? Dispensationalism has had a disastrous effect on the churches of Christ. Two peoples of God? The church and Jews, give me a break! There are only two kinds of people in the world the elect and the reprobate. The Dispensationalists also have to have a few different resurrections when the Bible only mentions one day of resurrection.

  62. Dee,

    You really need to do some reading. Until then, you are just unnecessarily spinning your wheels. Please take some time to read the posts and articles I referred you to about corporate election. They will help you see that your arguments concerning Romans 9 are not very sound. You need to get over the whole dispensational thing as well. That is not an Arminian doctrine. There are Arminians who hold to it and Arminians who reject it (I personally reject it), just as there are Calvinists who hold to it and Calvinists who reject it.

    For the record, I do not think Rudi would consider himself an Arminian, though he is a non-Calvinist. There is a big difference. So I disagree (as all Arminains would) that a free will cannot have limitations (unless I am misunderstanding him). It is only free where it is not limited. But a free will certainly has limits and is far from “absolutely” free. True Arminians hold that our wills are definitely limited, both before and after prevenient grace. Here is a good post to get you started on that:

    http://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2010/01/26/some-excellent-and-concise-comments-on-free-will-the-bondage-of-sin-and-prevenient-grace/

    And these posts should quickly help you get a firmer grasp on Arminian theology in general:

    http://evangelicalarminians.org/Outline.FACTS-of-Arminianism-vs-the-TULIP-of-Calvinism

    http://evangelicalarminians.org/?q=Are_You_an_Arminian_and_Dont_Even_Know_It

    http://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2011/04/23/nelson%E2%80%99s-dictionary-of-christianity-gets-it-wrong-examining-the-so-called-%E2%80%9C15-major-tenets-of-arminianism%E2%80%9D/

    May God bless you as you seek Him and His truth.

  63. You do realize I was a modified Arminian for several years and argued much the same as you (though never having heard of “prevenient grace). I’ve done MUCH reading and now you expect me to do MORE! :-) Total Depravity is the issue. I can prove it simply from Scripture. Can you not provide a couple paragraphs with supporting verses to support prevenient grace?

    I will read though, just to see if what you provide is better than John Wesley. Yeah, I have an issue with John Wesley!

    BTW, here’s a review of a book on Wesley by some of my favorite people the PRCA. The writer of the book is a Wesley fan.

    http://www.cprf.co.uk/articles/johnwesley.htm

    Best wishes

  64. Kanga,

    Well, I’ve actually read you recommendations, except the one about being an Arminian and not knowing it. I’m not. I think you were very gracious in your last post and so I read everything with an “open” mind.

    I was really hoping for SOMETHING that proved prevenient grace or at least argued for it using Scriptural proofs and not just treating it as a given fact.

    As I said, I was an Arminian and am familiar with all the statements made, for, let’s face it, most of the churches in America are some sort of Arminian. That goes for “Christian” radio and television too. I, being on the obsessive side when it comes to religion and politics (though much less politics now as there is no hope in man), read, listened and watched as much as I could. My favorites were J. Vernon McGee (got all his commentaries), Charles Stanley, Jerry Falwell, etc. Not exactly your type, but still Arminian.

    I would love to read something proving Prevenient Grace. I’ve searched soooo long.

    I would give you my comments on the various aspects I disagreed with, but really it amounts to your/our preconceived notions about foreknowledge, election, chosen, man and his personhood, etc. and in the end I’ll have to say we’re at an impasse.

    Best wishes,
    Dee

  65. Dearest Dee,
    thank you for your long reply. It got a bit long, but I know how easy that can happen.
    You quoted,
    Rom 8: 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
    I am in complete agreement with you in regards to the word “know” and having experienced His immeasurable love I can agree that that is how He meant it. However in the case here in connection with “fore”, it does need one to know God in the way I have mentioned above to conclude that. It foremost means what it says .
    Now you see, I do insist on this interpretation . You say I rationalize doing that, however I know this to be the truth , the truth needs no rationalizing!
    As I mentioned in my last post , all of scripture must harmonise together , we cannot ignore ( squeeze) some into our presuppositions. I do confess that this is also for me the greatest trap to fall in to . I am ever seeking God for His revelation of His Word.
    So it was with Rom.3:10 and 11. about 4 years ago God had led me to a very reformed Church. There I met a Gentleman with whom I had some long discussions, in particular about these Calvinist doctrines. In our first conversation I challenged Him saying that I was only too happy to wrestle with him in these matters, as long we both where truly willing to put our strongly held views on the alter and where willing to afresh seek God’s face that He may show us the truth in these matters ! I must admit I felt completely save having come to my understanding from my personal seeking God’s face in these things. After some lengthy discussions he brought me across these verses in Romans. Especially the verse 11 “no one seeks after God” ! There are plenty of verses where God makes it clear that He wants men to seek after Him like,
    Acts 17:27
    That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:

    So in my struggle with this verse 11 ( for all of God’s word must be in harmony together , even if one word seems contradictory , I have my interpretation not His revelation) I could not truly put what I believed to be the truth on the altar , did not He reveal it to me ! However now He showed me that if I was not willing to let go of them I would instantly become a Pharisee. Only now was I able to understand the verse John 5: 39Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
    for to hold on to what I perceived to be true was more important than to want to know Him for who He truly is ! Only now was I able to say ,” O.K. Lord I will accept Calvinism, but this means you have at the same time show me how all (and there are huge numbers)the verses that clearly contradict this doctrine how they can, without straining them, be in harmony!
    Only now did He open my understanding and confirm the truth of what I already knew. Now you may think this impossible, but I assure you that I was on a knifes edge of turning my back on God by proving in this situation ,if I chose wrong , that it was more important for me(Pride) to be secure in what I believed to be true, than to want to know Him at all cost, ultimately showing that I loved the darkness rather than the light John 3:19 !
    This verse is also the answer to why some chose Him and some reject Him !
    Now Dearest Dee, why have I shared this, you may ask ? Only to ask you if you truly are seeking to know Him at all cost, and if that means to let go of Calvinism ,are you really willing?
    Since my experience above I now do no longer have God’s written Word as my highest priority ! His word now is always subject to me wanting to know my Sayviour Jesus Christ at all cost for who He truly is , based on all of God’s Word, revealed only by the Holy Ghost !
    So if you are, I am only too happy to wrestle together with you as we earnestly are seeking Him in these matters, for I am sure you agree, if we both truly seek, with all our hearts, His revelation, He will not show you one thing and me another !
    However the Gentleman I mentioned above was not able to let go and God showed me that He had become a Pharisee .
    These are weighty matters and it behoves us to as Phil.2:12 says Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

    In the love of Jesus
    Rudi

    P.S. I fear the Biblical evidence for what one may call Prevenient Grace is too obvious to see it !

  66. Rudy: P.S. I fear the Biblical evidence for what one may call Prevenient Grace is too obvious to see it !

    REALLY!!

    You can find a universal, restorative deposit of God’s spirit in EVERY man enabling him to withstand his hatred of God and believe without one verse of Scripture that clearly states it?! AMAZING!

    Yet I can find clear statements saying otherwise and have stated them.
    God has a right to command unable creatures to do His will as it is not due to anything He did that causes them to reject Him except that He gave Adam and Eve complete, free will. That’s what freewill will get you.

    Why talk to me as though I just biased on the side of Calvinism when I’ve explained that I was a very happy Arminian for many years until God rescued me from their deception. Line upon line, precept upon precept. It was when I stopped listening to men and let the Bible speak that my eyes were opened.

    We are at an impasse.

  67. Though really, I think I win! :-) Because I have the verses and you don’t.

  68. I crack myself up! :-)

    You should see me when I play cards; no mercy! No, I don’t play poker or gambling games. Canasta, nertz, gin, cribbage

  69. Dee, you wrote: “God has determined EVERYTHING that comes to pass. Sometimes God even creates in man a hardness to fulfill His will. That’s God’s right, its His world. God creates/predetermines some men to be destroyed (Judas, Pharoah, etc.). God even creates good and “evil” Is. 45:7.”

    You just made God to be the author of sin. You should know that the word translated “evil” means calamity and not sin. What you said is close to, if not blasphemy to assert that God “creates” sin and it goes against the whole tenor or Scripture. God is Holy and God is love but you think that he is hate and the creator of sin.

    All you have done in your ramblings is accomplish two things:

    1. False accusations against Arminians by asserting things that they do not teach. I counted 5 in this quote alone: ” (1)You as Wesley and all Arminians rob God of His saving power. (2) For if Arminianism were true salvation is all in the hands/minds/wills of men. (3) Christ/God has done all He can. (4) Not only that but even the maintaining of your salvation (for pure Arminians) is in the hands of men and their sovereign wills. (5) Congratulations, you have made man a god!” You said you used to be an Arminian but with responses like that I truly have to question how sound your doctrine was while an “Arminian”

    2. Massive amounts of proof-texting to try and prove your philosophical teaching of Calvinism/Augustinianism over and against the Biblical responses that Kangaroodort has been trying to point you to.

    Also, you wrote “Man has a will, it is only against and hates God.” while also stating that “God has determined EVERYTHING that comes to pass”, which must include those same hateful thoughts that you attribute to mans will! That sounds like compatiballism which is really contradictionism. You can’t have it both ways. You want to be a Calvinist by attributing “everything” including sin to God, but when faced with your logical conclusions you appeal to Arminian responses.

    You also said that “Why did I come here, I like the exercise and you never know whose mind may be changed, though I’ve NEVER seen/heard/read of it happening.” Just so you know this website has helped me see the errors in Calvinism and strengthened my faith with sound Biblical teaching. Keep up the good work Kangaroodort and JCT!

    You also keep ranting about wanting to see Biblical proof for prevenient grace. I hold to the conviction (or drawing, though not irresistible) of all men through the preaching of the Gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit. Want proof? Jesus said “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all [men] unto me.” John 12:32 and regarding the Holy Spirit said “And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” and regarding the preaching of the Gospel (which means good news but to you it means bad news to most) Jesus said “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15. Regarding the ability to resist, Stephen says in Acts: “Ye stiff necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do you.” Acts 7:51. There it is, Biblical prevenient grace!

  70. Dearest Dee,
    yes you are right, there is no need to talk any more,
    not because of our difference in doctrine but because of your heart attitude.
    I know this to be warfare, as I mentioned before, to you it is a card game !
    I fear that the false security of you believing yourself to be of the elect, has blinded you to the reality of your own heart not showing forth the reality thereof !
    According to your doctrine, this would make you a professor ! The sad thing about that is, you will only truly find out whether you are one or the other on judgement day .

    If you take anything away from our conversation I would hope it would be this, “it is not what you know that saves you, it is WHO you know !”

    Sincerely with the love of Jesus

    Rudi

  71. Rudy, What you know determines who you know, Many cults have “a Jesus” who’s done… something. Its having the right one that matters.

    You are right, we shall see on the day of Judgement who are the sheep and who are the goats. No one ever really believes that they are the goats even myself, though sometimes I wonder.

    JPC, my regards. At least you tried to answer my question. I disagree with your interpretation, but so it is. I’d say;

    1. …but He hasn’t drawn ALL men unto Him so he must mean something other than what you think. It doesn’t say He’ll TRY to draw ALL men unto Him.
    2. Yes, His crucifixion judged the whole world guilty of sin and saved the elect (justice/justified).
    3. Most Calvinists believe in preaching to everyone they can.
    4. All unregenerate people are stiff necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears and reject the truth. You must first be regenerated and given a new heart before you can love the truth. I agree.Afterall, can one circumcise themselves? Ouch!

    Best wishes,

    Dee

    P.S. I am ashamed of my attitude too. I always come off like this, forgive me. :-( Quite snarky of me.

  72. Dee, you said you wanted Biblical proof so I gave you Biblical proof but now you say that you don’t believe my interpretation. I figured that is what you would say since it seems that you are fixed on your interpretation of said passages (which I believe to be incorrect and gross eisegeses in order to uphold a doctrinal system especially in regards to the verses which clearly teach unlimited atonement).

    In regards to your numbered points:

    1. Yes all men do not come which are drawn but I already accounted for that which you conveniently overlooked. All who come are drawn but not all who are drawn come irresistibly. As the verse in Acts prove you can resist the Holy Spirit. It is right there in the verse, you can’t deny it.

    2. But how are we justified? It says clearly that we are justified by faith. Now in the great commission Jesus said to preach to all creatures. Then he says that those who believe will be saved and those who do not believe will be condemned. And he says that all men will be drawn and the Holy Spirit will convict the world so we have a genuine choice to believe the Gospel or not.

    3. You said you believe in preaching to all but you are really giving most an insincere offer. This does not coincide with the God of truth. He says to preach to all because the provision was for all. There are so many verses that teach unlimited atonement which is why many Calvinists become 4 point because they cant deny the overwhelming Biblical proof regarding this.

    4. No where in that verse in Acts does it say they were not given the gifts of regeneration and faith, you import that into the verse. The Bible does not teach regeneration before faith as this is a common fallacy among Calvinists. There is a lot written on this site regarding this and you can find it on the left side of this blog under regeneration. Not sure what the reference to circumcision is but if it is the spiritual one you are referring to yes God does that, but we have to believe first as it is through faith. Many Calvinists hate faith (though they will not admit it) because all they talk about is grace and they very often leave faith out. Don’t get it twisted, faith in Christ is the central teaching of the New Testament and all the blessings that are in Christ come to us as we are joined to him through faith. “Without faith it is impossible to please God”

    Also, you have not answered my charge regarding you making God the author of sin. What is your response to that?

  73. Of course I don’t/won’t agree with you, I thought that was a given. I came here in hopes of challenging and you come here in hopes of challenging me or convincing me you are right. Again, that won’t happen, I see for either of us, but at least we’ve mad ourselves clear on what we believe and why.

    I thought I was quite polite in my last post, even asking forgiveness for my sinful attitude on a site that attacks everything I consider true. It seems the mission of the site to challenge Calvinists and Calvinism.

    I have indeed answered your statement that God is responsible for our sins in other posts. You should be able to find them and they’re not too verbose. If you scroll up you’ll see them with “proofs.”

    That God demands of His fallen creatures, that have a will, to obey Him, the fact that they don’t/won’t only shows that they are worthy of Hell and damnation. Their hearts don’t desire the things of God. Romans makes it clear. You must prove universal moral/freewill restoration to overcome what the Scripture says and there is no such evidence of this restoration, in my opinion. We are at an impasse.

    BTW you are just as stubborn to me as I to you, though you may be a better person than I. Which I freely admit. I need much work. Oh wretched woman I am, who can save me from the body of this death? I thank God in Christ that He can and I believe has, despite myself, done so.

    Best wishes and may we see eachother in perfection in eternity.

    Dee K.

  74. Dee, you said: “It seems the mission of the site to challenge Calvinists and Calvinism.”

    I would say the mission of this site it to proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and to positively teach what the rightly divided word shows us. A by-product of that would be combating Calvinism as Kangaroodort and JCT as well as many commenters (including myself) believe that this system is extra-biblical and can be very damaging to the Body of Christ. They can correct me if I am wrong.

    I do not believe that you answered my direct question, is God the author of sin?

    You stated “That God demands of His fallen creatures, that have a will, to obey Him, the fact that they don’t/won’t only shows that they are worthy of Hell and damnation. Their hearts don’t desire the things of God.”

    You see this is where Calvinism falls apart. They always use fallen man as the starting point and work from there. If left unchecked it could seem plausible. However, once you go back further to the fall of Adam and the origination of sin, Calvinists have no answer and appeal to “mystery”. Where did sin come from? The answer is simple, the free will that God gave man. Was Adam predestined to sin? If so, then God is the author of sin. But Scripture says that man was made “good” and dwelt in the presence and glory of God so he had no sin nature. He had to have genuine free will to fall and God did not predestine that which is why he gave him the command to not eat. So man can have genuine free will without being Sovereign over God or being greater than God or any other false accusation Calvinists charge Arminians with.

    Therefore, if it can be proven that prevenient grace brings man to a place where they can make a genuine free will choice (to believe or not believe in the Gospel), then we have no need of Calvinism as the fallen nature of man has been overcome but not in such a way to turn men into robots. They can still resist the Holy Spirit or turn away from the faith which is why there are so many warnings in the New Testament.

  75. JPC said, “Therefore, if it can be proven that prevenient grace brings man to a place where they can make a genuine free will choice (to believe or not believe in the Gospel), then we have no need of Calvinism…”

    And you have not PROVED prevenient grace.

  76. JPC: “Was Adam predestined to sin? If so, then God is the author of sin.”

    In MY opinion and I’m just a lay-woman, I’d say, yes God did decree the fall. I’d say yes God even sent Satan in there to be the instigator. However, I would say God did not work in Eve or Adam to sin, but that He indeed decreed it as He did decree, in MY opinion, from the beginning to exalt Christ over a people. But that’s just my opinion.

  77. Dearest Dee,
    I have a question in regard of your last post. What do you understand the word “decree” to mean in your usage of it ?

    What is the difference between decree and predestinate ?

    If the following is it,

    “one of the eternal purposes of God, by which events are foreordained.”

    then there is no difference! However you do agree at the same time that Adam and Eve did sin from a complete free will you said,
    ” I would say God did not work in Eve or Adam to sin”
    and “except that He gave Adam and Eve complete, free will. That’s
    what freewill will get you.”

    So you cannot have God decree, foreordain,predestinate the fall and then give Adam free will !

    Except if God did so only based on His foreknowledge!
    Having knowledge of Adams sin before it occurred, and jet not intervening to alter it, He too has foreordained, decreed, predestined it !
    The scriptures tell us that God is the same yesterday, today and forever ! This would mean your God must be a different God because after Adam He changed ,now He predestinates according to His good pleasure causing (interfering) some to accept and some to reject Him.

    In the love of Jesus
    Rudi

  78. Rudi asked, “What is the difference between decree and predestinate ?:

    What He decrees certainly will come to pass, it must. There is no real difference.

    Rudi: So you cannot have God decree, foreordain,predestinate the fall and then give Adam free will!

    I think He can.

    Rudi “:Except if God did so only based on His foreknowledge!”

    Foreknowledge of what choice a man will make? Sounds like God is a reactionary God then and does all He does based on what man will do.

    Doesn’t sound so sovereign to me.

    Rudi said: “The scriptures tell us that God is the same yesterday, today and forever ! This would mean your God must be a different God because after Adam He changed ,now He predestinates according to His good pleasure causing (interfering) some to accept and some to reject Him.”

    Howso did He change if determined to allow Adam to fall? And use that fall to fulfill His will of glorifying Himself in the redemption of a people by grace alone?

    We are at an impasse.

  79. Rudi said “This would mean your God must be a different God….”

    I have always maintain that Arminians and Calvinists worship different Gods. God predestinates all things while using/knowing the sinful inclinations of men, even ordaining that they fall by their own sinfulness.

    We are at an impasse.

    Best wishes,
    Dee

  80. I was really hoping for SOMETHING that proved prevenient grace or at least argued for it using Scriptural proofs and not just treating it as a given fact.

    What would constitute “proof” for you? I can offer you passages of Scripture, but you will just say they don’t mean what I say they mean. I don’t mind doing that, I just want to understand what you are really looking for. I mentioned before that there are numerous posts here dealing with the subject to various degrees. Here is a pretty concise and short article on prevenient grace:

    http://www.fwponline.cc/v18n2/v18n2witzki.html

    That article deals with standard Scriptures that Arminians see as teaching prevenient grace and why (though there are more). Basically, I generally take two approaches when a Calvinist wants to know about prevenient grace. First, I ask them for passages that prove irresistible grace. Of course, I don’t think there are any such passages, but the passages they typically come up with are the same ones I would use for prevenient grace, and it is instructive to then show the Calvinist how their passages actually support resistible prevenient grace, rather than irresistible grace. We could do that if you like.

    Prevenient grace is also plainly implied in other Biblical doctrines, but you typically reject those doctrines, so there isn’t much point in going that route at this time.

    As I said, I was an Arminian and am familiar with all the statements made, for, let’s face it, most of the churches in America are some sort of Arminian.

    “Some sort” is a stretch in my opinion. Rather, I would say that most churches are non-Calvinist, not necessarily Arminian. For someone who supposedly used to be an “Arminian” it is hard to understand how you can still manage to misrepresent Arminianism in almost everything you say regarding Arminianism. That is why I directed you to those posts (including the one you didn’t read, which was not to suggest you might be an Arminian, but to help you see what Arminianism is and what it is not, I still strongly suggest you read it). Since you read (most of) them, I guess I won’t see those same misrepresentations coming from you any longer. That is good to know. Did you read the posts and articles about corporate election yet? That would really help with your questions and assertions about Romans 9

    I would give you my comments on the various aspects I disagreed with, but really it amounts to your/our preconceived notions about foreknowledge, election, chosen, man and his personhood, etc. and in the end I’ll have to say we’re at an impasse.

    You keep saying we are at an impasse, but you also keep posting. As I mentioned before, you also did not address many (most?) of the questions I asked of you in response to your comments in other posts (There are specific links to those comments above). Is saying “we are at an impasse” your way of saying you just don’t have any good answers?

    I would be happy to discuss this further with you, but not if you are just going to dismiss everything I say and fail to interact with it. That is a waste of both of our time.

    You can find a universal, restorative deposit of God’s spirit in EVERY man enabling him to withstand his hatred of God and believe without one verse of Scripture that clearly states it?! AMAZING!

    I find it amazing that Calvinists can find irresistible grace and say that regeneration precedes faith without a single Scripture that clearly states it. If you read the end notes at the end of this post (the one you didn’t read), you will see why. Likewise, most Calvinists hold to limited atonement, again without a single passage of Scripture that says the atonement is limited to the elect alone, and while ignoring or twisting the many passages that actually specifically address the extent of the atonement, and make it clear that it is for “all”, the “world”, the “whole world”, etc.

    Why talk to me as though I just biased on the side of Calvinism when I’ve explained that I was a very happy Arminian for many years until God rescued me from their deception. Line upon line, precept upon precept. It was when I stopped listening to men and let the Bible speak that my eyes were opened.

    That experience goes both ways: http://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/x-calvinist-corner/

    1. …but He hasn’t drawn ALL men unto Him so he must mean something other than what you think. It doesn’t say He’ll TRY to draw ALL men unto Him.

    That’s because the drawing is resistible, and your comments here prove that. You basically just proved that God draws all in a resistible manner. His drawing enables faith, but does not irresistibly cause it. Also, notice how you just dismiss this passage because it doesn’t comport with your Calvinism. All you have said here is, it can’t mean what you say it means because that would contradict what I hold to be true concerning Calvinism (that the drawing must be irresistible). Well…Yeah, that’s the point. If you are going to dismiss it, dismiss it for exegetical reasons (which would make for a better discussion). If you are just going to dismiss it because it doesn’t comport with the other Calvinist stuff you believe, then you should at least admit this is a good passage for prevenient grace, though you don’t like it because it doesn’t fit your Calvinism.

    2. Yes, His crucifixion judged the whole world guilty of sin and saved the elect (justice/justified).

    Is this a response to John 16:8-11? If it is, it is hard to tell, since your comments don’t seem to have much at all to do with that passage. Here are some comments on the passage from the article I pointed you to above:

    “In John 16:8-11 we see that the ongoing ministry of the Spirit is to convict (elencho) the entire fallen world of mankind of their sin of unbelief. The Spirit’s motive for this work is to steer the guilty party toward redemption. Elencho means: “to show someone his sin and to summon him to repentance” [Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, 2:474]. The ultimate goal of this conviction is to restore relationships between persons (Matt. 18:15; 1 Tim. 5:20; 2 Tim. 4:2; Titus 1:13; 2:15; cf. John 8:46) or between a person and God (e.g., John 16:8; Heb. 12:5) [The Complete Biblical Library, Greek-English Dictionary, 12:373]. People would never see their need for a Savior without the Spirit convicting them of their sin that separates them from a holy God.”

    3. Most Calvinists believe in preaching to everyone they can.

    True. Most Atheists believe in morality and that it is important to be moral people as well, they just can’t make sense of it based on their presuppositions. Neither can a Calvinists make sense of preaching the “good news” to everyone, since there is no “good news” for most of humanity (according to Calvinism).

    4. All unregenerate people are stiff necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears and reject the truth. You must first be regenerated and given a new heart before you can love the truth. I agree.Afterall, can one circumcise themselves? Ouch!

    No Arminian would ever make the claim that we circumcise our own hearts. God must do that, just as God alone can justify us, regenerate us, etc. That is not the issue. The issue is whether God does such things unconditionally/irresistibly orconditionally/resistibly.

    As I said before, there is not a single passage of Scripture which places spiritual life of any kind before faith. Not one. Yet the Bible over and over say that spiritual life is received by faith. So why are you so quick to believe a doctrine that hasn’t a shred of Biblical “proof?” A good passage to examine is one that deal with spiritual circumcision. That is a good place to start to show how Calvinists tend to proof text and miss the fact that such passages actually contradict their claims and support Arminianism instead:

    Col 2:10 and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;

    Col 2:11 and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ;

    Notice that we are circumcised “in Him.” Only through union with Christ do we receive this “circumcision”. We come to be joined to Christ by faith (Eph. 1:13)

    Col 2:12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

    Uh oh. This is big trouble for your regeneration precedes faith claims. This passage plainly says that we are “raised up” (in new spiritual life- regeneration) through faith, not “to” faith. So being raised up with Christ is through faith, the opposite of what Calvinism says.

    Col 2:13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions,

    Two things to note here. First, once again we see that being made “alive” is based on being united to Christ (we are made alive “together with Him, just as we are raised up “with Him”). As noted above, we come to be joined to Christ “by faith.” Also, you will note that this new life is the result of being forgiven of sin. Forgiveness is an aspect of justification and justification is “by faith.” Likewise, Peter says that forgiveness is the result of “repentance.” (Acts 2:38). So faith and repentance come logically before forgiveness and justification, and forgiveness results in being made alive with Christ. That means faith precedes regeneration (being made alive “together with” Christ).

    Col 2:14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

    Again, the cancelling of the debt of sin (justification/forgiveness) is prior to and leads to (results in) being “made alive together with Him.” All spiritual blessings, including election, forgiveness, and regeneration, are “in Christ” (Eph. 1:3, 4) and we come to enjoy those blessing only by being “in Him.” We come to be in union with Christ through faith (Eph. 1:13).

    The Calvinist ordo salutis in placing regeneration before faith not only contradicts numerous Scriptures (see footnote 1 in this post, the one you didn’t read), but leads to numerous theological absurdities. See this short post for more detail on that: http://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2009/03/17/the-arminian-and-calvinist-ordo-salutis-a-brief-comparative-study/

    Really, John 1:12-13 is definitive in showing that faith precedes the new birth. That passage alone settles the issue.

    Yet I can find clear statements saying otherwise and have stated them. God has a right to command unable creatures to do His will as it is not due to anything He did that causes them to reject Him except that He gave Adam and Eve complete, free will. That’s what freewill will get you.

    You really need to expound on this comment as it undermines at least two major tenets of Calvinism, unless you mean something other than libertarian free will when you say “complete free will”. But if you do not mean free will in the libertarian sense, it is hard to see what your point is supposed to be here.

    I thought I was quite polite in my last post, even asking forgiveness for my sinful attitude on a site that attacks everything I consider true. It seems the mission of the site to challenge Calvinists and Calvinism.

    That is basically the mission, but it is more defensive than anything. It is a response to so many aggressive Calvinists, especially on the internet, who are looking to not only attack and discredit any theology that is not Calvinism, but even claiming that Calvinism is just a nick name for the gospel. Sorry, but I take serious issue with that. But let’s not overlook your “attack” on Christmas and those who celebrate it in the other thread, an attack that was entirely unprovoked.

    There is much more that can be said, but that is all I have time for right now. I hope to address some of your other comments soon. If you want to continue discussing things, we should narrow the discussion to one subject at at time, or one or two Scriptures at a time.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  81. Dearest Dee,
    you said,
    “God predestinates all things while using/knowing the sinful inclinations of men, even ordaining that they fall by their own
    sinfulness.”

    Are you saying that now God knows (foreknows) man’s sinful nature and decided (ordained) to let them by their own free will reject Him , fore knowing that they can not chose any different !

    You are saying exactly what I am saying, God predestines on accord of His foreknowledge . It seems to me on the negative side, for man’s damnation it suits you, but for the positive side for their salvation it makes God no longer Sovereign !

    It is my hope that you may be able to see your plain inconsistencies, seeking to make scripture fit with your doctrines, instead to ever be ready to adapt(change) any doctrine if one becomes aware of scriptural inconsistencies !

    Oh dearly beloved Dee,
    you are in great peril, not so much because of your Calvinist doctrines, but because instead of being willing to change them to bring them in to harmony with the word of God you make the word of God fit them. Your doctrines are above all, in them you think you have eternal live.If any of them turn out to give you a wrong understanding of who Christ really is , why would you want to hold on to them ?
    You are right that it is through knowing the true doctrines that we know Him. But if it is your desire to truly know Him, than you must be ever seeking God and at the slightest scriptural disharmony lay your understanding afresh on the alter , for it is about knowing Him , not about winning an argument or a card game !

    Never forget, this is about life and death, eternal life and death !

    Most sincerely in the love of Jesus

    Rudi

  82. Back at you! :-)

    Best wishes,

    Dee

  83. @and that salvation is up to man because God has done all he can.

    kd Where did you see such things “admitted”? Certainly not by me. All of this is a misrepresentation of what Arminians believe. Why do you insist on misrepresenting what we believe even when you have been corrected?

    Okay, so you say, this is a misrepresentation of what Arminians believe. Well allow me to remind you of something, you may have forgot. Your Arminian brother Roger Olson stated,

    If God is love He would not draw some and leave others out, So it must be ULTIMATELY UP to US, if God is love.

    Now how is this a misrepresentation of what Arminians believe? Olson is an Arminian, who is at least willing to drive all the way down the road of Arminianism. which leads to salvation being ultimately up to us.

    Now do you realize how strong of a word ultimately is. Please look up the definition. Ultimately, of course is a form of the word ultimate. If you are THE ULTIMATE then you are God. Would you not agree that God is THE ULTIMATE?

    My 1st question for you then is. Do you now totally disagree with Olson, “that it is ULTIMATELY up to us?”

    I would ask that you not dodge, and duck the question, please just answer it straight forward, afterward you can qualify. In other words is Olson wrong?

  84. JCP, you say,

    You see this is where Calvinism falls apart. They always use fallen man as the starting point and work from there. If left unchecked it could seem plausible. However, once you go back further to the fall of Adam and the origination of sin, Calvinists have no answer and appeal to “mystery”. Where did sin come from? The answer is simple, the free will that God gave man. Was Adam predestined to sin? If so, then God is the author of sin. But Scripture says that man was made “good” and dwelt in the presence and glory of God so he had no sin nature. He had to have genuine free will to fall and God did not predestine that which is why he gave him the command to not eat. So man can have genuine free will without being Sovereign over God or being greater than God or any other false accusation Calvinists charge Arminians with.

    I do not believe the Calvinists contend, that Adam did not have free will before the fall. I also believe they understand that Adam had no sin nature before the fall. Therefore the problem is not his free will before the fall, rather it is that he acquired this sin nature after the fall. In other words Adam, had a free will before he chose to sin, however after this choice his will, along with all his descendants, are in bondage to sin. Therefore, God did not have to predestine this sin, rather the sin can be squarely placed on Adam and his free will. So then when you say,

    So man can have genuine free will without being Sovereign over God or being greater than God or any other false accusation Calvinists charge Arminians with.

    This would be a true statement on your part. Man could have a free will and not be Sovereign over God or be greater than God, before the fall. However after the fall we are in need of salvation, from ourselves. Would you not agree that if we are left to ourselves and our own will that we would perish?

    Allow me to ask it in this way. Do you really believe you could come to acknowledge your need for a savior on your own free will, apart from the work of The Holy Spirit?

  85. Jack,

    I was just looking through some of your older comments and it has been very interesting to see how things have seemingly changed and how you seem to forget things that have been discussed with you. In looking back I saw these comments here about Olson. I remember seeing you leave a few comments here back when this thread was active, but I didn’t think they were addressed to me. No I see that they are addressed to me, and you brought up the Olson quote again.

    First, I would really like you to provide some context for this Olson quote. Something more than just saying around the 15 minute mark of a recorded conversation with Michael Horton, Olson said something like…..

    Second, I will direct you back to when I answered this question the last time here (along with links to posts that further address your question), even though I did not have the full context:

    http://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/does-jesus-teach-unconditional-eternal-security-in-john-1027-29/#comment-7551

  86. Jack, you said “I do not believe the Calvinists contend, that Adam did not have free will before the fall. I also believe they understand that Adam had no sin nature before the fall. Therefore the problem is not his free will before the fall, rather it is that he acquired this sin nature after the fall. In other words Adam, had a free will before he chose to sin, however after this choice his will, along with all his descendants, are in bondage to sin. Therefore, God did not have to predestine this sin, rather the sin can be squarely placed on Adam and his free will.”

    Now you prove my point with your response. One of the pillars of Calvinism is that God can only foreknow what he has decreed to come to pass. Look at the Westminster confession:

    “I. God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.

    II. Although God knows whatsoever may or can come to pass upon all supposed conditions; yet has He not decreed anything because He foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions.”

    Notice these words…”He not decreed anything because He foresaw it as future” yet you are saying that God allowed Adam to fall and did not unchangeably decree it. Now I ask, did God foreknow that he was going to fall? If he foreknew as Calvinists define it then he must have decreed it and if he decreed it then Adam had to sin and he had no free will. Whether he had a sin nature is irrelevant because he did not have any genuine options. He had to sin. God decreed it, not because he foresaw it, but in order to foresee it (according to Calvinists). You see I agree with your response but it aligns perfectly with Arminianism but presents serious problems for consistent Calvinism. Do you not see this? That is why many Calvinists claim “mystery” on this point. I commend you for your Biblical view of the fall but it sure appears to me that you are starting as an Arminian up until the fall and then you embrace Calvinism after the fall.

    You said ” Man could have a free will and not be Sovereign over God or be greater than God, before the fall. However after the fall we are in need of salvation, from ourselves. Would you not agree that if we are left to ourselves and our own will that we would perish?

    Allow me to ask it in this way. Do you really believe you could come to acknowledge your need for a savior on your own free will, apart from the work of The Holy Spirit?”

    We are in complete agreement here. I could say what you did verbatim and it would be in complete agreement with Arminianism (although not with Pelagianism or Semi-Pelagianism). You acknowledge man can have a free will. It’s possible as you admitted before the fall. Now I ask you, if God could bring man to a place where he could make a genuine decision regarding the Gospel, whether to accept or reject it, would that not be consistent with your description of Adam before the fall? That, I believe is exactly what the Scripture teaches and it is prevenient grace. Without the drawing and conviction of the Holy Spirit at the preaching of the Gospel we would be hopeless as we can never make the first move to God. But God desires a relationship not robots, so he calls and draws but he will not force us to believe. That is why we love God, because we respond in faith to his amazing offer of salvation to all.

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