Clarifications and Rebuttal: Responding to Paul Manata

Please follow this link to the original post at my old Blogger site since the post got jumbled somehow in the transfer to WordPress, and I don’t have time right now to try to fix it.  I hope to eventually move the post here again when I can find the time.

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41 Responses

  1. Tremedous post as usual K. You thoroughly refuted Manata’s attempt to argue against your post. And there are so many excellent posts at your blog arguing compellingly against Calvinism and for Arminianis. Kudos!

    There is much more that could be said to support your post against the weak criticism leveled against it. But I just wanted to point out something basic and simple on the concept of salvation being by faith. It is surprising that Manata objects to the idea of salvation being by faith (well, surprising on the level of biblical evidence, not on the level of trying to uphold a faulty theological system) As Calvinist commentator Peter T. O’Brien writes in his commentary on Ephesians (p. 174 note 85; in his specific comments on Ephesians 2:8), the phrase “through faith” (dia pisteos) is synonymous with the expression “by faith” (ek pisteos). The latter “appears more frequently in Paul, but he uses the two phrases interchangeably (Gal. 2:16; Rom 3:25-26, 30).” Commentator Andrew T. Lincoln (p. 111) says basically the same thing.

  2. wow.. that was really long. but i’m glad someone takes the time to respond to Calvinists like Manata who believe writing in large quantities and hoping the other side won’t respond will make the Calvinist choir he’s preaching to keep up their confidence.

    I’m glad you refuted him with detailed substance, your writing is much appreciated!

  3. No one finds it odd that the whole premise of changing the definition of a word or not taking it to mean what 99.9% of people take it to mean is a problem?

  4. No one finds it odd that the whole premise of changing the definition of a word or not taking it to mean what 99.9% of people take it to mean is a problem?

    Kinda like how Calvinists redefine words like “free will” (freedom to do what you can’t avoid doing), “apostasy” (leaving something you were never really a part of), “sovereignty” (meticulous control over every detail of someone elses life and every decision he or she makes), etc.?

  5. Perhaps the problem lies in the fact that 99.9% of people define synergism differently than you are trying to, but there is no such clear consensus on the terms you have brought up.

    I will take that to mean that you do see a problem, thank you.

  6. You can take it however you like bro.

  7. Ahh such sparse and avoiding responses from Manata (or whoever Anonymous is), its a healthy sign that he’s irritated that someone is taking the time to respond to his bulk-writings and ruining his facade of meaningful argumentation.

  8. LOL, I was not aware that I was avoiding anything. I just wanted to point out that your whole premise is based on defining a word differently than 99.9% of others do. Your response of course has other faults, but I do not have a bone to pick so I will leave it.

    BTW I am not Manata, I will let him speak for himself.

  9. Anonymous,

    Since you seem to indicate that you are not looking for an argument, then I would be happy to address your concerns if you like.

    I think the first thing that you need to do if you want me to take you seriously rather than just as someone who “has a bone to pick” is give me some indication of how you came to your 99.9% figure that you keep referencing.

  10. I came to the 99.9% figure by doing a complete survey of the literature on the word and by referencing scholars on the matter. Again, my point was that your whole premise or argument rests on your interpretation of the word synergist/ic/ism. It is always nice to be upfront with our definitions when discussing these matters, but that does not mean that we must accept said definitions. If one does not accept your definition of the word then your whole argument becomes null and void. This is the only point that I wanted to make,

  11. Ben wrote:

    “Kinda like how Calvinists redefine words like “free will” (freedom to do what you can’t avoid doing), “apostasy” (leaving something you were never really a part of), “sovereignty” (meticulous control over every detail of someone else’s life and every decision he or she makes), etc.?”

    Calvinists love to play semantic word games to make their deterministic medicine go down easier. They believe our every thought and action is predetermined so in every case we can only do what we were predetermined to do (but they call this “acting freely”, or if they want to be more sophisticated “compatibilist freedom”). We are not acting freely if we have to do every thing that we do, our every action is necessitated, and we can never do otherwise. The calvinist will then add: “but you are not coerced into doing what you do, you do what you want to do.”

    Well that helps a lot if God also predetermines my desires as well so that “He chooses our choices” and so we only do exactly what He wants us to do. Sometimes I think calvinists do not themselves understand what exhaustive determinism mean and logically entails. It means that everything with no exceptions is predetermined by God and so whatever happens is exactly what God wants to occur in every detail. So if to take just one example, a Christian has sinful thoughts and desires, he/she is having exactly the sinful thoughts and desires that God wants him/her to have, predetermined for him/her to have.

    Calvinists **want to believe** that many are eternally condemned by God and hell bound before they were ever born, before they set foot on this earth or committed any sin, and irrespective of their chosen rebellion against God (and it should be noted that in their view since God cannot foreknow a future freely chosen action by us, He only foreknows the future if he predetermines it and so of course His exhaustive plan of predetermined events includes the sinful actions of the reprobates, actions they will do, actions they have to do, because God wants them to do these sinful actions).
    Instead of being honest and forthright and consistent (a notable exception is Vincent Cheung who is consistent with the logical entailments of calvinism) admitting that God makes this choice **actively** and **wants** to damn these poor people. They are not forthright or honest about this as people who heard them tell their unvarnished version would reject the system of calvinism for the gruesome and unbiblical teaching that it is. The calvinist seeking to downplay their true belief by means of semantic word games comes along and says:: “well God **actively** has mercy on the elect [the lucky ones] but he **merely passes over** the reprobates [the unlucky ones]”. Being damned to hell before birth which is a gruesome and unbiblical doctrine invented by the determinists becomes: “merely passed over”.

    That does not help much if you look behind the curtain of the wizard to see what they are actually claiming. What is surprising is that they will present their gruesome doctrine of reprobation and try to make it palatable and then when someone sees through the semantic tricks and sees what they are really claiming and is bothered by this false doctrine, the calvinist is shocked and surprised that someone could possibly have a problem with such a belief!

    Fact is, if he actively chooses and predetermines the people who are the elect, then he also actively chooses and predetermines the reprobates to be reprobates as well.

    A friend of mine calls these semantic games by calvinists “softening language” as it is intended to soften the blow, make the gruesome and erroneous claims easier to swallow for the unwary.

    And of course we all already know about the semantic tricks with regard to the word “all” (i.e. for the calvinist all means all unless it goes against the system with regard to some key soteriological passages, then it is switched to mean “all kinds” or “all without distinction”. Eisegetical gymnastics are then engaged in to protect and defend and maintain their deterministic system.

    Robert

  12. The argument anonymous employs is similar to one I saw from some oddball on the Tektoonics screwball awards:

    In 1 Peter 2:11is says “dear friends, as aliens and strangers in the world…” and thus peter thought he was writing to extra-terrestrials from another planet. How can we trust a book cobbled together by people who thought that they were writing to aliens?

    When confronted with how stupid such an argument was, the guy responded,

    So the word alien could mean ‘a person of another family, race, or nation’ So couldn’t we go through the bible and make it say whatever we want? The word Jesus could be referring to the film Jesus but you’d be stupid to think so. The point is that 99% of the time the word alien is used to mean extra-terrestrial so when used in the bible it musty be 99% likely to also mean ET….

    Brilliant.

  13. LOL, equating those two things shows how shallow you truly are J.C.

    Robert, surely you realize that by posting stuff like that you are preaching to the choir here. Yet you still feel the need to post it, you must need to be congratulated on a daily basis. I am sure that you will get some pats on the back for that and some amen’s from this group. Good job!

  14. Anonymous,

    Your entire point of,

    “If one does not accept your definition of the word then your whole argument becomes null and void.”

    is flawed. Using terms in a context that gives them a different meaning that is commonly associated with them does not nullify an argument. For instance, one could argue that the word ‘gay’ to describe a homosexual is something of a misnomer given the statistics about people who lead such an immoral lifestyle — even though a large proportion of the population would probably disagree. In a similar grain, the word ‘homophobe’ has also been ripped from its actual definition and thrown into common use as an inaccurate way to describe anyone who thinks homosexuality is wrong, whether the person they describe actually has any sort of phobia or not.

    All that, and you’ve still not specified exactly how Ben has misused the term, nor how his technical clarifications involving it are incorrect. You’ve also not cited any specifics from the “complete survey of the literature on the word” to back your claims. Till then, your foggy allegations of error fit in fairly well with the “99% of people think it means ET” canard.

  15. Anonymous,

    Do you have a name? I am a two finger typer so if your real name is shorter than “anonymous”, could you please use it?

    You wrote:

    I came to the 99.9% figure by doing a complete survey of the literature on the word and by referencing scholars on the matter. Again, my point was that your whole premise or argument rests on your interpretation of the word synergist/ic/ism.

    I wonder how many scholars, and what theological literature, you surveyed and what theological persuassions were represented.

    The point I was trying to make with regards to your 99.9% figure is that I would tend to think, based on my own investigation, that it would be closer to 99.9% in the other direction [i.e. the majority would use the word as I have done in this post. That is, only a minority (maybe .1%?) would tend to use the word synergism in it’s strict sense within evangelical Christianity.

    “Synergism” is primarily used within the context of “cooperation” in evangelical cirles. “Cooperation” can be used in a variety of ways. It could mean to literally “work” with someone, or it could mean to cooperate by “meeting a condition”, or even with respect to “Non-resistence”. Meeting a condition and surrendering, submitting, yielding, etc., are all proper ways to understand and use “cooperation”. That is the way that evangelical Christians who call themselves “syngergists” use the word. If you are resisting then you are not cooperating, and if you are cooperating, then you are not resisting, agreed?

    The literal meaning of the word is more strict, however, and I only brought it up and addressed it because I knew that some Calvinist would seize upon it and try to make a show of it, which is exactly what has happened. No surprise there.

    Now about your 99.9%. It is not surprising to me that Calvinists use “synergism” in a sense that Arminians do not in order to try to slam their theology (just as they generally insist that Arminians are Semi-Pelagians, etc.). However, one cannot properly criticize someone elses position if they do not work with the same definitions that the opposing theology uses.

    Calvinist know (or should know) that Arminians don’t use “synergism” in the sense of working for salvation. That is not the historical theological use of the word (generally, and esp. within Arminian thought).

    If I were to argue with a Calvinist and say that he or she denied free will, that person would quickly retort, and unless we defined our terms, the conversation would go nowhere. The difference being that the Calvinist definition of “free will” is novel and very few people (probably none outside of Calvinist circles) would understand “free wiil” in the sense that some Calvinists do. That is not the case with synergism.

    If you can find me a single Arminian scholar who uses “synergism” in the context of “working for salvation”, then maybe we will have something to talk about. If all you can produce is Calvinists trying to paint Arminians in a bad light by using words in ways that Arminians do not, or strict definitions of the word that do not reflect normal theological useage, then you have hardly made your case.

    Regardless, I defined my terms and provided links which addressed why Arminians don’t understand synergism in the strict sense of “two working”, and the person who decided to criticize what I wrote did not work with the definition of the word I assigned to it. Therefore, he was not criticizing my position. If you really think the fact that he wants to use the word differently than I do ruins my argument some how, then you are entitled to your opinion.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  16. Would it be fair to say that synergism and monergism are not truly equal in the two systems? Let me see if I can make that a bit clearer. To the Calvinist when he hears the word monergism he thinks of regeneration, when a true Arminian hears the word synergism he thinks of faith. It seems that the Arminian should have no problem with re-birth being monergistic and the Calvinist should have no problem with faith being synergistic. The problem is when these two things occur and where does one get/come to faith. The debate, as I see it, is more when does the monergistic event take place and does it precede the synergistic event. The Calvinist will say that the monergistic event takes place first and the Arminian will say that the synergistic event takes place first. If we take what you wrote on your post “Is Arminian Theology Synergistic” you would say that the human response cannot be ruled out of faith, if I understand that then it would appear that man plays the pivotal role in his/her salvation

  17. Paul,

    You are totaly ignoring “Prevenient grace”.

    Prevenient grace = monergy

    It is only after Prevenient grace that one can talk about Synergy in Arminianism.

    So

    Prevenient grace = monergy

    And this monergy turns into synergy when the person believes.

    JNORM888

  18. JNORM,

    I was not ignoring “prevenient grace” I was just trying to flesh out the use of “synergism” and “monergism” that is all. I understand that your side has “prevenient grace” I call it “common grace”:)

  19. Hi Ben!

    http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2008/02/roo-stew.html

    Came it at roughly 3 pages shorter than yours too. So, no complaining about how long it is. Enjoy.

    ~PM

  20. Kangaroo said:
    Kinda like how Calvinists redefine words like…”apostasy” (leaving something you were never really a part of)

    I’m curious as to how you would interpret 1 John 2:19. Would you deny that these “defectors” are, in fact, apostates? You appear to be insinuating that it’s not possible to leave something you’re not really a part of in the first place. But notice John’s nuanced conception of apostasy as defecting from outward participation rather than defecting from inward identity.

    “They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.”

    1) The apostates “went out” from the true believers. The phrase “they would have remained with us” indicates that they were with the true believers in one way or another.

    2) And yet they “didn’t really belong to” the group of true believers. Their apostasy demonstrates they never belonged to that group to begin with.

    Please address John’s concept of apostasy displayed above in light of your charge.

  21. Kangaroo said:
    Kinda like how Calvinists redefine words like…”apostasy” (leaving something you were never really a part of)..”

    *********

    Hi Ben!

    I should add that this isn’t my conception. Indeed, why would I think that they *left* something they were not part of? If you’re going to say that we don;t think they were ‘part of’ it, then why imply that we think they were part of it (since that’s the only way you can *leave* a place is if you are there!).

    Ben’s posts are like a 50’s B-rated horror movie: Attack of the 50 Foot Straw Man!

    And, I should add that I am a paedobaptist and so I have a detailed and refined view of apostacy.

    ~PM

  22. Paul,

    Thanks for letting me know that you responded. I appreciate that. I will check it out when I get the chance and also address the 1 John 2:19 passage that you a BB seem to think makes your case regarding the meaning of “apostasy”.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  23. I dunno Ben, looks to be a landslide victory for Manata…though I hate to admit that. I think “Out of your league” is the term that applies here.

  24. I have to respectfully agree that in this case Manata won just because you failed to prove your point. It is the same as when J.C. was debating them. They successfully refuted his assertion which in a debate format is key. It seems that both of you in these individual instances were stating things that you could not substantially back-up or in other words you bit off more than you can chew.

  25. not arminianorcalvinist,

    That is a ver intersting choice for a name. If you are not a sock puppet then I appreciate your very objective opinion 🙂

    Tom M.

    Thanks for the input.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  26. Not ArminianorCalvinist & Tom W.,

    I find your comments really surprising. I read through the exchange and truly believe that Ben completely won the debate. From exegesis to logic Ben consistently established his own position and refuted Manata.

    “Jason A.”

  27. Jason A.

    That is why it is just my opinion. What I think happened here is that Ben’s initial premise was too big and Manata showed that there is no inconsistency where Ben claimed there was one.

    No worries though, it’s not like the end of the world or anything like that. In debates you win some and you loose some. I am sure that you are not the only one that believes that Ben won, but I would wager that most would say on this point he failed.

    BTW, I did not see much exegesis from either side on this so it is odd to me that you would think that Ben proved his point exegetically.

  28. I don’t see how anyone could say Paul won. He seemed way too angry to me. Paul did alot of blaming and finger pointing. Ben was calm and he made his points……but hey, to each his own.

    JNORM888

  29. I didn’t really notice any actual refutation of my assertions by Manata. As was indicated in the original challenge, there is still lacking a decent Calvinist explanation as to why the apostle Paul can warn us against being cut off as a means to perseverance, but it is sinful for us to believe or teach the same thing. Add to that things like his attempts at proving universals by examples, and about all you have left from him is some goofy names he called me.

  30. I think I know what Tom is saying.

    I think he is soley talking about “Prayer” and “consistency”.

    Paul did prove his point by saying that God ordains the means(prayer) as well as the end(saving a lost soul).

    I think a different set of arguments have to be used in order to combat that view.

    Paul could easily say that he prays for the lost because his prayers are part of the process for them to get saved.

    So in this regard I could see why Tom would say that.

    But Paul is so mean and his posts are so long …..that he makes it too easy not to read his whole post.

    But a different set of arguments will have to be used against that view.

    JNORM888

  31. Tom W. said: “That is why it is just my opinion. What I think happened here is that Ben’s initial premise was too big and Manata showed that there is no inconsistency where Ben claimed there was one.”

    My response: I think Manata failed in his attempt to refute Ben, and that Ben had showed his claim originally and then effectively refuted Manata’s response.

    Tom W. said: “No worries though, it’s not like the end of the world or anything like that. In debates you win some and you loose some. I am sure that you are not the only one that believes that Ben won, but I would wager that most would say on this point he failed.”

    My response: Interesting. I think that most people approaching it with some objectivity would think Ben proved his point. In fact, Ben’s criticism is a vey=ry common argument against Calvinism. It seems to be a very common natural thought when people hear Calvinist theology. It is probably one among many reasons that most Christians have not been and are not Calvinists. The system is just logically incoherent when considered against Scripture (because it has to hold various scriptural principles in which they agree with Arminianism, but then its own theology is not consistent with these).

    Tom W. said: “BTW, I did not see much exegesis from either side on this so it is odd to me that you would think that Ben proved his point exegetically.”

    My response: Well there were some exegetical points considered, such as whether salvation is by faith or not, and whether salvation is conditional on faith or not. Ben addressed this exegetically, and I think proved his point definitively.

    “Jason A.”

  32. JNORM,

    But Ben addressed the argument that God ordains the means, and I think he did so effectively. His basic point seems to be that this argument is a mere charade in the case of intercessory prayer if all has been predetermined since intercessory prayer has influencing God as its focus. So to iilustrate: if someone decides that he will irresitibly cause someone to accept his offer to accept a free check from him (suppose he administers a drug that makes him willing to do whatever he is told), but that he will only do this upon irresitibly causing someone else to ask him to irresistibly cause the other person to accept his offer, that person asking him cannot properly be called a means used to bring that person to accept the check. It does not genuinely influence the check giver except that he wants to cause the intercessor to ask him to do something he was already set on doing. It does not actually affect the check giver who is determining everything everyone is doing in the situation. And it does not affect the check receiver. It would be different if the check giver irresitibly caused another to go and ask the person to receive the check and then irresistibly caused ther person to receive the check. In that case, the check offerer would really be a means used to give the person the check. But the situation that relates to intercessory prayer is more like someone who decides he is going to brush his teeth, but he will only brush his teeth after he first says “bonzo”. Saying “bonzo” is not a means to brushing his teeth. It is simply something he has determined he wants to be a prerequisite, though it is arbitrarily chosen as a prerequisite. It is not necessary for it to be so.

    So I think that Ben has showed that in the case of intercessory prayer in a monergistic system, prayer cannot be properly considered a means to the accomplishment of what is prayed for, since God has already decided to certainly cause such and such to happen and to certainly cause someone to ask him to make it happen.

    But Scripture portrays God as actually influneced by prayer. This only seems to be possible in a synergistic system. So I don’t think that Paul proved even that point about God ordaining the means.

    “Jason A.”

  33. Jason A

    No idea why you are all worked up about this and why you seem to keep coming to me, but like I said that is my opinion. BTW, it seems that JNORM sees my point as well. I doubt that he would side with Manata if it were not obvious that he refuted the claim.

    As for the exegetical comment, most Calvinist will agree that salvation is by faith, but they will also tell you that faith is a gift. What Ben did with his Ephesians “exegesis” does nothing to show the Calvinist wrong. In fact, if you look at standard Calvinist work on these verses they will tell you that the gift is salvation, but that it is “all” of salvation and that the “all” includes faith. In fact if you look at one of Ben’s old post, I forget which one, but in the replies section he and someone address this and Ben agrees with it. Now that is not an issue with me on this because Ben was not arguing for that, nor was he doing an exegetical analysis of Ephesians (at least I hope he wasn’t).

    Anyways, like I said some will say Ben won and others will say Paul won. I will just leave it at that.

    BTW, my last initial is M not W. No worries though man.

  34. Tom M.,

    Thanks for pointing out that I had your last initial wrong.

    I am not particularly singling you out. It’s just that you replied to me, and I am replying to you.

    JNORM might see your point. But I have pointed out to him why I think your point is not correct, or at least why even the point he thinks Manata might have proved actually went unproved. I look forward to seeing what he thinks about what I said.

    As for the exegesis point, it seems strange that you jump to what most Calvinists will say when one of your big point has been that the issue is the specific arguments of Paul and Ben. Paul claimed that salvation is not by faith. Ben proved that wrong. As far as this debate goes, that leaves Ben’s point proven and Paul’s disproven on a an issue of dispute. That most Calvinists would agree with Ben on the matter only shows how thoroughly Ben refuted Paul on that point.

    But in any case, I think we both agree that Calvinism is unbiblical and Arminianism biblical in general, no matter who we think won this particular debate, correct?

    Thanks for the discussion.

  35. Jason A,

    Thank you for the discussion. Of course I think that you are wrong and that the claim of inconsistency is refuted:)

    When it comes to the exegetical that was a side issue that was not relevant to the initial claim that is why it is irrelevant to who won. The reason I brought it up was because you said that Ben proved his point exegetically, again the charge was about prayer and monergism being inconsistent, not salvation or faith.

    While I am on it though, if you agree with the point that the gift is “all of salvation” including faith, I think that in itself refutes Arminianism. Sometimes it is hard to see the forest for the trees when we agree on things.

    As for your last point, no I do not think that Calvinism is unbiblical. In fact I hold more in common with Calvinism then I do Arminianism. I do appreciate Arminianism and have read some of its great theologians, in fact I have read more of the works of Arminius than I have of Calvin.

    Anyways, I have to go it is getting very late. Good luck to you and all of you here in all your endeavors.

  36. Tom M.,

    Ah, thank you for your comments. I had the impression that you had indicated that you were an Arminian or were in basic overall agreement with Ben and Josh against Calvinism, but thought they had lost their debates with Manata on technical grounds. I thisnk I especially had that impression from comments you made back when Josh and Paul were debating. I remember thikning it strange back then that you thought Paul won the debate against Josh, when I thought Josh came out on top. But that puts things into perspective a bit that you are closer to Calvinism than Arminianism. I don’t think that one cannot correctly judge a debate just because he is committed to one position or another. I have seen many Arminians argue poorly against Calvinists and lose specific debates against them even though I was basically on their side. There are good and poor arguments for Arminianism, and there are good and poor arguments for Calvinism. But in the debates between Josh, Ben, and Paul, I have found Josh and Ben to have made their case and to have successfully refuted Paul. And I think most people coming at it somewhat objectively would agree. And as I said before, I think that is probably reflected in that most Christisans have not and do not agree with Calvinism (though numbers is certainly not the determiner of truth).

    It has been nice to have a civil discussion about these things. I don’t know how much you have looked at Triablogue, but they seem to be quite rude and nasty in their interactions. Is that the kind of fruit Calvinism produces? I don’t think it has to. But in these debates, it does give that much more appeal to Ben and Josh’s arguments that they are far more civil and respectful (even if they have not been perfect; Paul seems qucik to try and point out small offenses they have made when he acts outrageously, like calling people stupid and accusing them of lying; it’s sad; hopefully the World is not watching; whether it is or not, God is. May he have mercy on us all and help us all to be filled with his love and grace).

    God bless you.

  37. Jason A,

    You said:

    “But Ben addressed the argument that God ordains the means, and I think he did so effectively. His basic point seems to be that this argument is a mere charade in the case of intercessory prayer if all has been predetermined since intercessory prayer has influencing God as its focus.”

    True, so on the surface it would seem as if Paul made his point but if one looks beneath the surface one will see that “intercessory prayer” in a calvinistic scheme doesn’t influence God at all. So Ben’s argument still stands.

    You said:

    “So to iilustrate: if someone decides that he will irresitibly cause someone to accept his offer to accept a free check from him (suppose he administers a drug that makes him willing to do whatever he is told), but that he will only do this upon irresitibly causing someone else to ask him to irresistibly cause the other person to accept his offer, that person asking him cannot properly be called a means used to bring that person to accept the check. It does not genuinely influence the check giver except that he wants to cause the intercessor to ask him to do something he was already set on doing. It does not actually affect the check giver who is determining everything everyone is doing in the situation.”

    True,

    Most of Paul’s examples ignored this fact.

    You also said:

    “”It would be different if the check giver irresitibly caused another to go and ask the person to receive the check and then irresistibly caused ther person to receive the check. In that case, the check offerer would really be a means used to give the person the check. But the situation that relates to intercessory prayer is more like someone who decides he is going to brush his teeth, but he will only brush his teeth after he first says “bonzo”. Saying “bonzo” is not a means to brushing his teeth. It is simply something he has determined he wants to be a prerequisite, though it is arbitrarily chosen as a prerequisite. It is not necessary for it to be so.””

    True,

    You said:

    “”So I think that Ben has showed that in the case of intercessory prayer in a monergistic system, prayer cannot be properly considered a means to the accomplishment of what is prayed for, since God has already decided to certainly cause such and such to happen and to certainly cause someone to ask him to make it happen.””

    I agree, but if it can’t properly be called a means then what can it be called?

    You said:

    “But Scripture portrays God as actually influneced by prayer. This only seems to be possible in a synergistic system. So I don’t think that Paul proved even that point about God ordaining the means.”

    This is the tricky part for some Calvinists believe that the process of Sanctification is synergistic.

    If so is “prayer” in the “category” of Sanctification?

    How can it be synergistic if it’s been unconditionaly preordained before the World began?

    How can some of them only see monergism as only dealing with Justification and not sanctification.

    But I agree with what you said.

    JNORM888

  38. I’d like Jason A to actually show how Manata lost. By my lights, the inconsistency was removed. Manata gave a detailed argument to that effect. Jason A’s remarks would need to offer detailed interaction in order to show how, precisely, Manata didn’t utterly remove the inconsistency as far as the east is from the west. 🙂

  39. JNORM said: “I agree, but if it can’t properly be called a means then what can it be called?”

    My response: I don’t think it matters what one calls it. If it is not a means, then Paul’s argument unravels. And I think it is pretty certain it cannot be properly called a means. I don’t know if there is a one word label one could call such things. But one could describe it by saying that it is something that the agent wants to do (or have done) before he accomplishes the end, but is not necessary for the accomplishment of that end. To illustrate again, If someone purposes to stop and get a cup of coffee on his way to work because he wants one, going to get a cup of coffee is not a means to him getting to work. It is just something he wants to do before he goes to work or on his way to work. The car however is a means of him getting to work. In the case of intercessory prayer, which is basically a person asking God to do something, if God determines the end (saving soemone or healing someone), and then determines that someone is going to ask him to do this thing, their request is not a means helping accomplish the end. God irresitibly caused it all in that circumstance, and the request did not influence him whatsoever. It’s just something he wants to make happen before he accomplishes the end, but not something he has to make happen to accomplish the end or is in any way integrally involved in him accomplishing the end (it’s about as much so as stopping to get a cup of coffee is for the end of gooing to work; granted, some people find coffee necessary to get their day going!, but even that exalted status of coffee in our culture doesn’t really raise it to the level of a means for people getting to work!).

    JNORM said: This is the tricky part for some Calvinists believe that the process of Sanctification is synergistic.

    If so is “prayer” in the “category” of Sanctification?

    How can it be synergistic if it’s been unconditionaly preordained before the World began?

    How can some of them only see monergism as only dealing with Justification and not sanctification.”

    My Response: I think you have asked some good questions prompted by inconsistencies in Calvinistic/monergistic logic. But they’re not really for me to answer. They are a problem for the Calvinists. I can imagine various responses by various Calvinists.

    BTW, I think I saw you still granting the “prayer as a means to the end” point in Paul’s argument at his blog. Was that a mistake? You have agreed with me that in a monergistic understanding such as Paul is arguing for, prayer is not really a means to the end of accomplishment of the action.

    “Jason”

  40. Ken said: I’d like Jason A to actually show how Manata lost. By my lights, the inconsistency was removed. Manata gave a detailed argument to that effect. Jason A’s remarks would need to offer detailed interaction in order to show how, precisely, Manata didn’t utterly remove the inconsistency as far as the east is from the west. 🙂

    My response: I don’t know why I would have to offer detailed interaction. Ben has already been doing that quite effectively, and I was just addressing a specific point or two in the debate that arose in discussion of the exchange between Paul and Ben. One in particular is a fundamental point of Paul’s presentation that, if false, would unravel is overall case. And that is his claim that prayer is a means to the end of accomplishing what is asked for. I believe I have shown that this claim is false in a monergistic system such as Paul is representing. Now I am not saying that if his claim were true, then his case would be established necessarily. But it is true that if his claim is false, then his case falls apart. And it is false. As I pinted out to JNORM, prayer cannot properly be called a means to the end of accomplishment of what the prayer asks for in a monergistic system, in which God purposes to irresistibly cause the end, and then therefore purposes to irresistibly cause someone to ask him to accomplish the end.

    Rather than remove the inconsistnecy as far as the east is from the west, Paul has helped show that it is tightly bound up within Calvinism, an inconsistency that Ben has helpfully exposed in his posts.

  41. Jason A,

    At first I did, but after seeing what you told me about what Ben said and after rereading Ben’s first two posts and going back and rereading Paul’s post again I changed my mind.

    I later saw his “point” as a “technicality”.

    On the surface it would seem as if Paul proved his point but if he holds to the idea that God unconditionaly pre-ordains both the end as well as the means then beneath the surface Ben’s point still stands.

    Thus Paul’s point was “superficial”

    He didn’t like it when I called all the personal benefits an “illusion”

    So yeah, I later only saw his point as a technicality.

    Ben saw the Calvinistic view as being pointless

    And I think in Paul’s mind all he needed to do was to show “a reason”(any reason) for the calvinistic view.

    It didn’t matter if his “reasons” didn’t have anything to do with what Ben was getting at. To him in order to “win” the argument all he had to do was “show a reason”.

    So it was only on that bases that I saw him as “proving” his point.

    But only as a “technicality”.

    I may be wrong but I don’t think Paul cared about the “meat” of Ben’s argument. He didn’t care about what Ben was trying to show.

    So yes, Paul proved his point but it was surface level only. It was “superficial”

    I don’t know if that makes sense, but that’s how I see it.

    JNORM888

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