Paul Washer: Calvinist, Arminian, or Confused?

I really have no idea.  I have just recently heard of the guy and have not personally heard him preach or teach.  However, I find this post to be particularly interesting.  I know I read a similar post on Washer recently, but I can’t for the life of me remember where.  What do you think?

A Message Charles Finney Would Have Loved

Update: The author of the post I linked to above (Rick Frueh) also authored the other post on Paul Washer that I couldn’t remember where I had read it.  Here it is:

Calmianism

 

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93 Responses

  1. I haven’t heard Washer either, but if he want to call himself a Calvinist and preach like an Arminian…that’s great!

    I’ve been listening to some old audio of Corrie ten Boom preaching, and she comes to mind as another person in this mold. She was technically a Dutch Calvinist, but wasn’t really into labels, and definitely preached like an Arminian.

  2. I have not listened to Washer either. But more generally, I think this is a problem with the Calvinist resurgence. It seems to me that the movement, basically lead in many ways by John Piper, uses much of the language of Arminianism, which is the most biblical and also true to reality / real life, but underneath, when one pulls back the veil, the foundation is actually Calvinism, with an odd way of somehow linking up the Calvinism with the rather un-Calvinistic language used. This is good and bad for Arminianism, though probably more bad than good. On the good side, as people hear language used that sounds quite Arminian, that just reinforces their natural redeemed Arminian perspective (remember, many Calvinists will admit that believers typically start out Arminian). On the bad side, people get sucked into trusting such Calvinist teachers. And so they can be sucked into their total (Calvinistic) understanding as well. Also, in a sense, such teaching implicitly communicates, “see, we can talk and act like Arminians (not that they would use the term “Arminian”, that is actually a bad word to them; so read here “like the Bible speaks” and “like reality and common sense seem”), but the base of it is actually logically contradictory to the language used.

  3. Folks, Calvinism is a salvation-by-works system disguised as Sola Fide. This is rotten fruit in sheep cloth. Salvation NOT by works. It is by faith alone. Calvinists say Sola fide and mean salvation by faith plus works. Expose that!

    Calvinism is worse than drug addiction

    Salvation is by faith alone!!

  4. Rick,

    That’s the one 🙂 Thanks.

  5. Kehrhelm,

    That is am interesting comment. Care to elaborate? How do you see Calvinism as being a salvation-by-works system?

    Thanks,
    Ben

  6. Ben,

    Calvinism = Check-If-You-Are-Saved-ism

    That’s work

  7. Well, what’s the difference between a “classical” salvation-by-works religion such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, Allahism etc. and Calvinism?

    The others must work and feel they can boast.
    Calvinists must work but SIMPLY CANNOT BOAST.

    That’s really the ONLY difference.

  8. Kehrhelm,

    How do you define “works”? How do you define “faith alone”?

  9. I let every Calvinist define these terms as he wishes.
    I didn’t invent this works-faith-dualism, so I’m not responsible for the confusion that this caused. This is how Calvinists explain it:

    Works-based religions are mostly like this:
    faith + works => justification

    Calvinism is like this:
    justification => faith + sanctification
    sanctification => works

    or put together

    justification => faith + works

    So if there are no good works in your life, meaning if you do not (as a new creature) perform good works, then you have no sanctification. And then you have no justification in the first place.

    So there is no justification without good works. Thus, calvinism holds to salvation by works. Why do many not realize that? Because in Calvinism, you must work but nevertheless cannot boast!

    That’s the real sheep cloth : “we cannot boast, can we? So it’s not by works at all”.

    No, you must do works and STILL cannot boast.
    This is not Sola Fide.

  10. Kehrhelm,

    I understand what you are saying but I am asking you how you define “faith” and “works”. Do you believe that faith that does not produce fruit is still saving faith?

    Thanks,
    Ben

  11. Calvinism is focused on sanctification by the Holy Spirit as a result of God’s saving grace. It isn’t works-based. Good works are the result and not the cause of salvation. I believe that is what Paul Washer emphasises in many of his sermons.

    It is some of the Arminians I have heard, which promote to choose God and then maintain that chosen salvation by good works. Not all Arminians stand by this, for many certainly recognise that it is only the Spirit in them by which they work righteousness.

    But most Christians, by far, are of neither doctrine but a mixed view which says we can choose God (Arminianism) and then will never lose our salvation (a twisted view of Calvinism’s Perseverance of the Saints.) Shouldn’t we worry more about them? I have seen Calvinists with wonderful fruit, and I would say by the Holy Spirit; Likewise, I know many Arminians, by the Holy Spirit and not their own works, bear wonderful fruit.

    But there are unconverted, carnal people who believe that because one time in their life they prayed a prayer, they are saved. They go through the motions and the emotions — But there is no Spirit within them. They attempt to convince themselves with a few works, but there is no repentance. No conviction. Just the terrible judgement of God awaiting them.

    “Lord, Lord!” … But He will say, “I *never* knew you. Depart from me, you workers of iniquity.”

  12. kangaroodort,

    I cannot answer this in short. I’m going to create a blog very soon, where I’m going to elaborate on this and relative issues very, very thoroughly.

  13. Fair enough. Let me know when you get the blog up.

    Thanks,
    Ben

  14. Lord, Lord!” … But He will say, “I *never* knew you. Depart from me, you workers of iniquity.”

    ———

    Well, that is very odd, as the people in that passage did exactly what Jesus Himself did: casting out demons. I’m adressing that problem in my posting series On the knowledge of good and evil (my blog “living by knowledge”)

    (There is also some stuff about the issue of sanctification on my blog on the gospel of John.)

    I do not think that Calvinists know what they’re talking about when they say, as above, “as a result of God’s grace”. How do you know whether someone does works as “in the flesh” or as a result of God’s grace.

    There is quite an esoteric element in Calvinsm.

  15. kangaroodort, concerning faith and works I guess the series on my blog “Living by knowledge” might explain some things.

  16. 1st:

    Calvinism is like this:

    Justification = Faith in Jesus by grace of God
    (Faith: Believe in God and all that He said He is)

    Sanctification = works through faith in Jesus
    (Works: Bcos i believe, bcos i have faith, I now live my life unto Christ, doing what pleases God)

    The thief on the cross is a classical example of salvation through faith alone.

    2nd:

    Its wrong to say that we can work and cannot boast.

    We boast only in the cross (Jesus came, Jesus live a perfect life, Jesus crucified on the cross, Jesus bare our sin on the cross, Jesus died for us on the cross, Jesus risen on the 3rd day and is seated on the right hand of our Father)

    In fact we boast every time we share the gospel of Jesus.

    3rd

    God did not write the bible for calvinists, God write the bible for CHRISTIANS. So if you are a christian then all that is written in the bible is for you, and so is the teaching of being honest to check your salvation. Not that whether your works are by flesh or by grace, but most importantly whether your faith is genuine. Whether you truly believe in God and what He said He is for you.

    4th

    God did not ask man to follow Calvin, but follow Him. and
    Calvin did not want man to follow him but Christ.

  17. Not that whether your works are by flesh or by grace, but most importantly whether your faith is genuine. Whether you truly believe in God and what He said He is for you.

    So this means Calvinism = Check-if-you-are-saved-ism.

    How do you check?

    Its wrong to say that we can work and cannot boast.

    You must workd to check your state of grace. You must work but cannot boast in your works.

  18. Wow Kehrhelm Kroger.

    It is very strange that you’d dismiss Calvinism is false and unbibical because it emphasizes “check yourself to see if you are saved..”

    Why?

    Because, this is *EXACTLY* what the Bible tells us to do, SEVERAL TIMES!! In other words, to dismiss the idea of “examine yourself to see if you are saved” is to DISMISS THE BIBLE ITSELF!!!!

    2Co 13:5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?–unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

    2Pe 1:5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge,
    2Pe 1:6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness,
    2Pe 1:7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
    2Pe 1:8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    2Pe 1:9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.
    2Pe 1:10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.

    What’s that? Peter commands us to “be diligent in the good works he laid out in order to make our calling and election sure?”

    Peter must be a heretical Calvinist who insists a “check yourself to see if you are saved” gospel!!

    All sarcasm aside – the P in Calvinism’s TULIP (Perseverance of the Saints) is 100% spot on with true, accurate Biblical theology and doctrine (I might add, so is the TULI, but that’s another conversation!)

  19. joseff,

    I agree that we are admonished to examine ourselves in Scripture. I am not sure Kroger was denying that altogether but I will allow him to respond to that charge.

    However, I must strongly disagree with this statement of yours:

    All sarcasm aside – the P in Calvinism’s TULIP (Perseverance of the Saints) is 100% spot on with true, accurate Biblical theology and doctrine (I might add, so is the TULI, but that’s another conversation!)

    See my series on perseverance. I welcome any feedback you might have in the comboxes of those posts.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  20. Ben, thank you for responding.

    I will gladly check out your article.

    It appears you have correctly presented the Calvinist position, which I am grateful for. Too many non-Calvinists build and attack a strawman, rather than the true doctrine.

    That being said, a quick question:

    You do understand that the reason Calvinists believe the truly saved (elect) will inevitable persevere in faith is because we do not believe salvation is man’s work, but God’s, right?

    If salvation is a work of God in a man, and not man’s cooperative work with God, then by necessity, salvation is when God is working in the man to “do and will His good pleasure”

    Since God “began the good work, He will complete it”.
    He is not only the “author” of our faith, but the “finisher” too!

    Persevering and good works is God’s work in the man, not man’s inner righteousness struggling to “earn” or “keep” salvation. That would result ultimately in salvation by works, and it should be denied.

    Do you really oppose the idea that salvation is God’s work in a man, from beginning to end? That’s sort or a rhetorical question, because you are a professing Arminian, so I know you believe that man is cooperating with God, synergism, all that jazz.

    I honestly have no idea how a Christian could believe such a thing 😦

  21. A quick follow up.

    Ben, the only thing that separates Christianity from the other world religions is that Christianity teaches salvation by grace. Take that away, and we have nothing. Every single false religion teaches man must do something to save himself or justify himself to his pagan god. They teach that man must act, do some action, do some work, to ultimately result in salvation.
    That being said:

    The Arminian doctrine of perseverance ultimately results in being saved by works. It must be the conclusion. There is no way to “wriggle” out of that statement.

    If a man is saved because *he* did something by his own power, and ‘kept” or “earned” his ultimate salvation, then that is salvation by works.

    And this is utter blasphemy. Where is “salvation by grace” in this doctrine? It’s not there. It turns into a false gospel, which the Apostle Paul condemns as heresy and anathema.

    As Paul rightly states: “If there is anything else that can justify us to God, then Christ has died in VAIN!”

    Christ’s blood *ALONE* is what saves sinners. When we say “salvation by faith alone”, we are not saying we are saved by our faith. We are saying we are saved by the object our faith is in – Christ’s finished work.

    If the Arminian view boils down to saved **BY** your faith and works, then that is a false gospel, and Christ has died in vain.

    I do not mean to sound hard or unloving, so forgive me for any tones I have presented here. I am simply concerned with the true gospel – Saved by grace alone. Unearned. Unmerited. Undeserved.

    Salvation is utterly and totally and completely FREE, or it is not grace at all.

  22. joseff,

    you wrote:

    You do understand that the reason Calvinists believe the truly saved (elect) will inevitable persevere in faith is because we do not believe salvation is man’s work, but God’s, right?

    Calvinists have different reasons for believing in P and no doubt some hold to it for the reason you mention here (though there are other reasons as well, like the necessity of the doctrine given the assumption of unconditional election, etc.).

    But Arminians do not believe salvation is man’s work either. It is entirely God’s work. Only God can justify the believer. Only God can give life to the believer. Only God can sanctify the believer. We cannot in anyway justify, regenerate, or sanctify ourselves. I believe that salvation is a monergistic work of God.

    Faith, however, is not part of salvation but the condition that must be met before God will save (and it was God’s sovereign choice to condition salvation on faith in Christ). Faith is synergistic in that God must enable us to believe before we can put faith in Christ. So faith is synergistic while salvation is monergistic. For more on this see the following posts:

    Is Arminian Theology Synergistic?
    The Nature of Saving Faith
    Examining Inconsistencies in Calvinistic Monergism Part 2: Sanctification

    Faith is not meritorious because it is total dependence on the merit of Christ. It is the receiving of a free gift. Paul explains this perfectly in Rom. 4,

    “Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness” (Rom. 4:9)

    Verse 13 tells us that we “receive the promise” by faith, and verse 16 tells us that, “…the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace…” Salvation is by grace because it is not worked for or deserved. Rather it is a gift of God that is received by faith. Faith establishes salvation by grace because faith is not a work that earns or merits salvation. Salvation is entirely gracious because it is a free gift received by faith. Since it is received and not earned we have no grounds for boasting (Rom. 3:27, 28, cf. 1 Cor. 4:7). It’s that simple.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  23. joseff,

    I just noticed your follow-up post. I believe what I said in my response will help you see that the objections you raise do not really apply to what Arminians believe about faith and works.

    Christ’s blood *ALONE* is what saves sinners. When we say “salvation by faith alone”, we are not saying we are saved by our faith. We are saying we are saved by the object our faith is in – Christ’s finished work.

    Amen! Well said. I couldn’t agree more.

    If the Arminian view boils down to saved **BY** your faith and works, then that is a false gospel, and Christ has died in vain.

    Thankfully, that is not what Arminians believe.

    I do not mean to sound hard or unloving, so forgive me for any tones I have presented here. I am simply concerned with the true gospel – Saved by grace alone. Unearned. Unmerited. Undeserved.

    Salvation is utterly and totally and completely FREE, or it is not grace at all.

    I agree with all of this.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  24. Heya Ben,

    Long time no see, I totally forgot about this forum until I accidentally stumbled upon it again! what a coincidence lol!

    I would like to continue our discussion if you don’t mind.

    It is obvious that both Calvinists and Arminians believe that men are justified by faith alone. Men are justified, and declared just in God’s legal system, through faith, and faith alone. Faith is what links us to Christ’s finished work on the cross so that Christ’s righteousness becomes our righteousness.

    That being said, here is where the two camps differ:

    Calvinists believe that ultimately, even a Christians faith is a gift from God. Therefore from start to finish, salvation is of the Lord. God initiates, sees it through, and completes it. It is in full, an act of grace. Every facet, every “step”, every “phase” of salvation, is ultimately God’s work and God’s doing.

    Arminians on the other hand do not view faith quite like this. They view faith as man’s contribution. They view faith as man’s own creation, which he somehow conjured up while unregenerate. Thus, every aspect of Salvation, God can be given credit for, except faith!

    I am not saying that you believe faith is meritorious, but if man A is in heaven, and man B is in hell, what makes them to differ? What inclined man A to believe while man B did not? What makes man A different? You cannot say “God’s grace”, because in the view of Arminianism, God’s grace is equally given to all. Therefore the difference ultimately is in the men themselves.

    Man A must have had some innate quality that man B lacked or refused to improve upon. Was man A smarter, more spiritual, more inclined towards God? If so, how? Was he more inclined towards God because God was working to incline him? If so, then that’s more Calvinistic than it is Arminian, in that God is ultimately what causes men to become inclined to repent and believe.

    There really is no way to answer this question other than to acknowledge that somehow, the difference between the saved and the lost in Arminianism lies within the men themselves and not solely in God’s grace.

    All of that being said, there is Biblical support for the Calvinists view of faith, that it is ultimately a gift from God, a result of regeneration, and not the cause of it.

    The obvious first passage is John 6 where Christ explains that it is impossible, for men, by their own powers, to “come to Him” or, in other words, have saving faith in Him.

    “No man can come to me unless it is given to him of the Father” (v44, 65).”

    But in this same passage Christ states..”All that the Father gives me, will come to me” (v37)

    In other words, no man can, of their own power, believe in Christ, but every single person that the Father “gives to the Son” WILL, most certainly without a doubt, believe in Christ!

    So we see that when men willingly and freely accept Christ as Saviour, it is ultimately God’s work from the beginning, because it was his active involvement of “Giving people to the Son” so that they would embrace Him, and in the end God gets all the credit.

    Of the Arminian view of faith, the Synod of Dordt says this:

    “For this does away with all effective functioning of God’s grace in our conversion and subjects the activity of Almighty God to the will of man; it is contrary to the apostles, who teach that we believe by virtue of the effective working of God’s mighty strength (Eph. 1:19), and that God fulfills the undeserved good will of his kindness and the work of faith in us with power (2 Thess. 1:11), and likewise that his divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3).”

    Please, I urge you to look at the passages cited in the above statement. Eph 1:19 clearly states that we believe “according to” (or because of) His power. Paul in Eph also states that we were chosen “in order” to become blameless, not because we already were! Anyone with faith is justified and blameless, and Eph clearly states that we are chosen in ORDER for that, not because of it!

    Peter says of the recipients of his letter (2 Pet 1:1) that they “obtained their faith”. Does your theology allow room for a faith that is “obtained” or received from an outside source? I do not see how it can. Two verses later, Peter says that everything we have for life and godliness was given to us as a gift. Does this include everything but faith? Are we to stand before God and say “God, I owe you credit for every part of my salvation, except my faith, that was my doing!!”

    Also see: 2 Chronicles 30:11-12; Phil 1:29, 2 Tim 2:25, Acts 13:48, Rom 9:15-18; John 1:13; 1 John 5:1

    In closing, the Calvinist sees faith as something that has no meritorious quality of its own. We are not saved *by* faith. Rather, we are saved *by* grace, yet *through* faith.

    We are not saved “on account of” faith. The Bible does not say “If you create some faith within yourself, while unregenerate, you will become born again and then saved on that basis”.

    What I’m getting at is that faith is simply the ordained method that God links His people to Christ’s finished work. It is by human logic, and not the Scriptures, that puts forth the idea that faith is somehow the creation of fallen men, rather than an externally received gift from God.

    That being said, we could spend hours talking about regeneration 😉 But a key point of reformed theology and how it differs from Arminianism is that we believe the Bible clearly teaches that regeneration precedes faith.

    This means that saving faith which justifies is the result, and not the cause, of the new birth (being born again).

    There are three major passages that support this idea.

    The first is John 1:12-13. Of Christ it is said that “His own were not receiving him”. But those that did receive Him, it is said of them “They were born…not of the flesh, nor the will of man, but of God”. So we see that the reason any at all receive Christ is because of being born of God.

    The only thing that made those that received Christ differ from those that rejected him, was not some good, innate quality in the men, but as a result of God’s gracious work of regeneration.

    Next, Eph 2 states “You were dead in sins…and God made you alive…by grace you have been saved…and this is not your own doing, but a gift from God, so that no man can take credit”

    Again, it is God’s miracle of spiritually resurrecting men that results in their willing acceptance of Christ. Of being saved by grace through faith, this passage says “it is not your own doing, but a gift from God”. Is this not enough to end the debate?

    In 1st John, John issues several “if, then” statements. For example.

    1 Jn 3:9 “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning…he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God”

    1 Jn 4:7 “whoever loves has been born of God”

    1 Jn 5:4 “Everyone born of God overcomes the world”

    Ben, you, nor anyone else would say that men “cease to sin in order to become born again”, would you?

    Likewise, you would never say that you become born again as a result of having love, right?

    Finally, you would never say that what John meant to portray was that you “become born of God by overcoming the world”, right?

    If you follow me, I direct you to the next statement of John’s that follows this same “if, then” structure:

    1 John 5:1 “Everyone that believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God”

    Astounding! The reason men believe in Christ is the result of, and not the cause, of being born of God! How can you say otherwise in light of the exact same arguments the Apostle John puts forth in the same book?

    So we see that even a Christians faith is not something he can take credit for. There is not a scintilla of a facet of salvation that men are directly responsible for. Yes, men actively repent and believe, but they do so as a result of God’s grace, and not a cause for it, for God’s grace cannot be earned, especially by unregenerate men who are “in the flesh and cannot do anything to please God” (Rom 8:7-8).

    Looking forward to hearing from you!

    Joe

  25. Joe,
    Thanks for the clear, Scriptural response. It is so easy for us to get embroiled in arguments based on our own ways of thinking. I encourage ALL my fellow Brethren to read and study these verses and let them say what they say. God is mighty! HE ALONE SAVES, and He alone deserves all of our praise and thanks.

    Speaking for myself, once I understood from Scripture how every aspect of my life was depraved/corrupt, and that ONLY God could give me the ability to have faith in Him…it caused me to cry out to Him. I had “tried” to muster faith in God on my own for 15 years, but to no avail. When I finally saw that I could literally do nothing, that my only hope was in Him–even to have faith to believe–HE gave me faith.

    Looking to Him,
    Shannon

  26. Joe,

    You wrote:

    Calvinists believe that ultimately, even a Christians faith is a gift from God. Therefore from start to finish, salvation is of the Lord. God initiates, sees it through, and completes it. It is in full, an act of grace. Every facet, every “step”, every “phase” of salvation, is ultimately God’s work and God’s doing.

    There really is no Scriptural support for the idea that faith is a gift from God (as Calvinists understand it) though I do believe that faith is a gift in the sense that faith is impossible outside of God’s enabling grace.

    It also needs to be pointed out (again) that faith is not part of salvation. Salvation is God’s gift that is received by faith, but faith alone is not part of salvation.

    Arminians on the other hand do not view faith quite like this. They view faith as man’s contribution. They view faith as man’s own creation, which he somehow conjured up while unregenerate. Thus, every aspect of Salvation, God can be given credit for, except faith!

    Again, it is not correct to say that faith is a “contribution” to salvation. The Bible plainly tells us that we are saved by faith but that simply means that the gift of salvation is received by faith. If someone gave you a gift would you say that you “contributed” to that gift by receiving it? Of course not. That would be absurd, and so is your contention that faith is a “contribution” to salvation.

    God gets all the credit for salvation because He alone can save and He alone can make the provision for our salvation. We simply trust in Him to save us and God responds. If my daughter trusts in me to protect her in a certain situation, and I protect her, does she get credit for being protected? Did she protect herself or did I protect her? Did you bother to read the links I left for you? I think they would have helped you better understand the Arminian position.

    Really, I am just repeating myself here. I already explained all of this in my responses to you above. It is like you didn’t bother to read anything I wrote or refuse to allow me to define my own theology. It is like you have heard me say what I believe and you just respond with, “no you don’t believe that; let me tell you what you believe…”

    I am not saying that you believe faith is meritorious, but if man A is in heaven, and man B is in hell, what makes them to differ? What inclined man A to believe while man B did not? What makes man A different? You cannot say “God’s grace”, because in the view of Arminianism, God’s grace is equally given to all. Therefore the difference ultimately is in the men themselves.

    Do you think I have not heard this argument before? Your argument begs the question of determinism and irresistible grace (assumes those things to be true which it tries to prove). Arminians believe that man has been created as a personal being with the power of self-determination. With regards to salvation we are unable to surrender to God due to our depraved nature, but when God enables us to respond, we respond as persons made in God’s image who have the God given power either to receive the free gift of God or reject it.

    If you don’t think this is the case then I would like you to explain 1 Cor. 10:13 which tells us that God provides a way of escape whenever we are tempted and gives us the power to “endure” that temptation and not give in to it. Yet we know that not all Christians resist temptation, even though God has given them the grace to resist it! So what makes the one who resists different from the one who does not? It can’t be that one had grace and the other did not since both were given sufficient grace. I explained this in the third link I gave you in one my first responses to you. I wonder if you read it?

    Man A must have had some innate quality that man B lacked or refused to improve upon. Was man A smarter, more spiritual, more inclined towards God? If so, how?

    Does Christian A (according to 1 Cor. 10:13) have some innate quality that Christian B lacked or refused to improve upon that he was able to resist temptation while Christian B did not resist? Can Christian A then boast over Christian B because he resisted temptation while Christian B did not? I would be very interested in your answer to that question. When you can answer that question you will have the answer to yours.

    This is why simple trust is the perfect condition because anyone can trust. You don’t have to be super smart or good to trust.

    And please notice that this argument of yours is not exegetical but philosophical. The Bible never makes this argument, probably because the Bible knows nothing of determinism or irresistible grace. The Bible defines faith as the receiving of a gift through simple trust and for that reason alone calls it non-meritorious, and not because it is an irresistible gift given only to a lucky few. As I quoted before,

    Faith is not meritorious because it is total dependence on the merit of Christ. It is the receiving of a free gift. Paul explains this perfectly in Rom. 4,

    “Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness” (Rom. 4:9)

    Verse 13 tells us that we “receive the promise” by faith, and verse 16 tells us that, “…the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace…” Salvation is by grace because it is not worked for or deserved. Rather it is a gift of God that is received by faith. Faith establishes salvation by grace because faith is not a work that earns or merits salvation. Salvation is entirely gracious because it is a free gift received by faith. Since it is received and not earned we have no grounds for boasting (Rom. 3:27, 28, cf. 1 Cor. 4:7). It’s that simple.

    You wrote:

    All of that being said, there is Biblical support for the Calvinists view of faith, that it is ultimately a gift from God, a result of regeneration, and not the cause of it.

    Not at all. The idea that regeneration precedes faith is completely unbiblical. I have written several posts explaining why this is so and why the typical C proof texts do not work. All of your proof texts below fail to give you what you want when considered in their proper contexts.

    I really don’t have the time to deal with all of your proof texts below but you can click on “irresistible grace” or “regeneration” or “dead in sin” under “categories” in the left side bar for numerous posts that deal with this subject. I also recommend you read some of the links I have provided on John 6 to see why I do not agree with the way you are interpreting those passages. Since you rely so heavily on 1 John I will direct you here for my response to how Calvinists abuse those passages.

    Next, Eph 2 states “You were dead in sins…and God made you alive…by grace you have been saved…and this is not your own doing, but a gift from God, so that no man can take credit”

    Again, it is God’s miracle of spiritually resurrecting men that results in their willing acceptance of Christ. Of being saved by grace through faith, this passage says “it is not your own doing, but a gift from God”. Is this not enough to end the debate?

    The “gift” in that passage is salvation and not faith. Do you really think Paul meant, “and this faith is not of works”?

    Please, I urge you to look at the passages cited in the above statement. Eph 1:19 clearly states that we believe “according to” (or because of) His power.

    It says nothing of the sort. What it says is that the benefits of salvation are for those who believe and we share in those benefits through Christ. But this promise is only for believers and the passages does not say that God causes us to believe. Not even close.

    And Eph. 1:4 tells us that we are chosen in Christ. The “us” is believers. Believers come to share in all of the spiritual blessings (including election) that are in Christ (1:3). [And notice that the passage does not say that certain sinners were chosen “to be” in Christ.] We come to be in union with Christ through faith (Eph. 1:13) and Christ dwells in us “by faith” (Eph. 3:17, cf. 2 Cor. 13:5). We receive the Holy Spirit “by faith” (Gal. 3:2; 3:14) and we become His children through faith as well (Gal. 3:26). So faith joins us to Christ and only then can we enjoy the spiritual blessings that reside in Him alone (which includes atonement and regeneration). This alone kills the Calvinist ordo salutis. Calvinists have sinners being regenerated prior to union with Christ through faith. Calvinists have God granting spiritual life to sinners prior to being forgiven and justified (justification is by faith). That is big trouble for Calvinism.

    The first is John 1:12-13. Of Christ it is said that “His own were not receiving him”. But those that did receive Him, it is said of them “They were born…not of the flesh, nor the will of man, but of God”. So we see that the reason any at all receive Christ is because of being born of God.

    Not at all. This passage is big trouble for the Calvinist ordo. It says that those who receive Him (i.e. “believe on His name”) are given the right to become children of God. One must receive Christ through faith (believing) before that person can have the right to become a child of God (i.e. “born of God”).

    Joe,

    You have mangled numerous passages in order to try to find some justification for your Calvinism. I urge you to consider these passages carefully in their proper context and see if they don’t in fact work against the doctrines you seem to believe they support.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  27. Shannon,

    You wrote,

    I encourage ALL my fellow Brethren to read and study these verses and let them say what they say.

    Amen! Read them in their proper context and be careful not to force Calvinistic presuppositions into passages where they do not belong (as Joe has done).

    God is mighty! HE ALONE SAVES, and He alone deserves all of our praise and thanks.

    Amen! Arminians agree completely.

    When I finally saw that I could literally do nothing, that my only hope was in Him–even to have faith to believe–HE gave me faith.

    What a powerful testimony of God’s prevenient grace. His grace enabled you to believe by making you see that you could do nothing to save yourself but needed to rely on Him completely (which is what faith is).

    God Bless,
    Ben

  28. I guess we have the answer in the last part of the following comment.

    Do you think I have not heard this argument before? Your argument begs the question of determinism and irresistible grace (assumes those things to be true which it tries to prove). Arminians believe that man has been created as a personal being with the power of self-determination. With regards to salvation we are unable to surrender to God due to our depraved nature, but when God enables us to respond, we respond as persons made in God’s image who have the God given power either to receive the free gift of God or reject it.

    Let’s be honest… If Person A is saved but not Person B, then Person A did something that person B did not do. Person A exercised his God given power in a way that differed from Person B. Though God gave each the choice to make.

  29. SJC,

    You wrote,

    I guess we have the answer in the last part of the following comment.

    Do you think I have not heard this argument before? Your argument begs the question of determinism and irresistible grace (assumes those things to be true which it tries to prove). Arminians believe that man has been created as a personal being with the power of self-determination. With regards to salvation we are unable to surrender to God due to our depraved nature, but when God enables us to respond, we respond as persons made in God’s image who have the God given power either to receive the free gift of God or reject it.

    Actually there was more than just that and the part about 1 Cor. 10:13 (which you left out) bears directly on the question you seem to be asking,

    Let’s be honest… If Person A is saved but not Person B, then Person A did something that person B did not do. Person A exercised his God given power in a way that differed from Person B. Though God gave each the choice to make.

    Honestly, yes, Person A did something that Person B did not do- trust in Christ. Not sure what your point is, but feel free to elaborate.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  30. SJC said: “Let’s be honest… If Person A is saved but not Person B, then Person A did something that person B did not do. Person A exercised his God given power in a way that differed from Person B. Though God gave each the choice to make.”

    ****The tone of your question seems to be implying that this is wrong, that person A did something that person B did not. Is that correct? Hopefully not if you believe in justification by faith. Are you saying that people who are saved did not do anything different than those are not saved? Are you saying that it is not the case that those who are saved believe while those who are not saved do not believe? Hopefully you see how invalid that would be.

  31. Thanks for being candid when you said…

    “Honestly, yes, Person A did something that Person B did not do- trust in Christ. ”

    I agree Person A trusted in Christ. But here is the real distinction.

    Did his trust in Christ happen as a result of supernatural new birth?
    -or-
    Did he his trust in God result in a supernatural new-birth?

    Analogy…
    Does a baby cry as a result of natural birth from his mother’s womb?
    -or-
    Or is a baby’s natural birth caused by crying?

    We both admit Christians trust Christ and babies cry. But what is the cause vs. the result relationship between natural birth and crying as well as new-birth and trusting Christ?

    The answer to this question is the dividing line between Real Calvinism and Real Arminianism in regard to the new birth and saving faith/trusting Christ.

  32. SJC,

    Faith definitely precedes regeneration. This is very clearly taught in Scripture in numerous places. I am familiar with the Calvinist arguments and proof texts for regeneration preceding faith and have dealt with them in numerous places on this site. You could start with these:

    https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2007/07/27/does-regeneration-precede-faith/

    https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2007/08/20/does-jesus-teach-that-regeneration-precedes-faith-in-john-33-6/

    https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2007/08/30/examining-a-rather-strange-proof-text-for-irresistible-regeneration/

    https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2007/09/20/fletcher-on-being-dead-in-sin-part-2/

    https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2008/05/15/what-can-the-dead-in-sin-do/

    https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2009/03/17/the-arminian-and-calvinist-ordo-salutis-a-brief-comparative-study/

    God Bless,
    Ben

    BTW, your analogy is not biblical nor does it properly represent the new birth. The new birth is not compared with physical birth since the new birth has to do with the beginning of spiritual life. In the physical realm, life begins at conception (not birth), so any unbiblical analogies about crying babies fails to make the Calvinist case. For more on that please see my post (linked above) on John 3:3, 6.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  33. Fair enough… You assert then that trusting in Christ results in a supernatural new-birth.

    Therefore, all a sinner has to do is exercise some free-will and become a Christian. Kinda like flipping a light switch. God won’t flip the switch for you. But, if you are wise enough to flip the switch then LIGHT shines forth. And, you are made new.

    That is a man-activated gospel, you must admit – in that God does all the work after that initial activation. Just like the electric company delivers all the power. But man can turn it on (in fact he has to according to your gospel in order to get saved). And of course, if man can turn it on. He can just turn it off when he has had enough God for a while. OK, I get it, at least that is consistent with your gospel’s lack of guaranteed perseverance of the saints.

  34. If you handle the rest of God’s word like you handled John 6:44 then you are in need of some godly training, indeed.

    I must agree with the comment made by this person…
    “You did not answer it, all you said is that they are wrong. LOL

    If Jesus were to draw all men to him as you claim then would you say that all people throughout time have been drawn to Jesus? Even the ones that never hear of Him? If that is not the case then all men can not mean what you say. Otherwise you would have the Lord not speak the truth when He said that He will draw all men to Himself.

    I fear that it is your Arminian perspective that has lead you astray. I doubt that this will convince you as well, but keep studying and learning. May God Himself one day teach you.”

  35. …in that God does all the work after that initial activation.

    Actually SJC, you’re missing the factor of prevenient grace entirely. Man cannot believe unless God draws him, hence it’s entirely inaccurate on your part to characterize God as working only after some ‘initial activation’ by man.

    While it’s true that both of us reject the idea of inevitable perseverance due to overwhelming admonitory biblical evidence against it, weak analogies don’t constitute substantial objection.

  36. SJC,

    Please notice how you have bi-passed the Biblical data and are completely relying on your philosophical assumptions and arguments. Notice also how you do not explain, exegetically, why you think I am wrong, but just use strong rhetoric like, “If you handle the rest of God’s word like you handled John 6:44 then you are in need of some godly training, indeed.” That is nothing more than assertion and rhetorical bluster. If you agree with the commenter, then why don’t you make your case instead of just asserting it as he did? You will notice that I answered his assertion and he did not reply back.

    As far as this question,

    If Jesus were to draw all men to him as you claim then would you say that all people throughout time have been drawn to Jesus? Even the ones that never hear of Him? If that is not the case then all men can not mean what you say. Otherwise you would have the Lord not speak the truth when He said that He will draw all men to Himself.

    I have already answered it numerous times on this blog. If you want, I can paste in a few of those answers from various threads (and I think it may have even been answered in the thread about John 6:44). Anyway, again you rely on philosophical arguments, rather than sound exegesis. If you want to discuss the text, then I would be happy to do so. If you are just basically going to say, “I disagree because your interpretation doesn’t fit my philosophical presuppositions”, then I don’t really have time for that right now. I hope you will take the time to read through all the posts I recommended.

    BTW, my views on perseverance are based on exegetical studies and not on any particular philosophy. I did a 13 part series on perseverance which digs into various texts on the subject. I would be happy to believe in eternal security, if the Bible taught it. The problem is that the Bible nowhere teaches it.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  37. Ben,

    I am so glad that you pointed out how SJC is arguing from philosophical presupposition, basically his own opinion, while you are arguing from the word of God. That was something that struck me when reading this thread, and I thought it should be brought up; and you went and brought it up. Good job. It is all about what God’s word says, not appealing to our own opinions about the way we think things should be. That’s one big reason why I am an Arminian.

    It is ironic sometimes to see C’s arguing from opinion rather than the word when they so often say we have to submit to what the Bible says. They are right that we need to submit to what the Bible says. But it seems that very often when knowledgable Arminians show that the Bible supports A and is contrary to C in specific exegesis of Scripture, that C’s quickly begin appealing to their presuppositions and opinion rather than letting Scripture dictate our doctrine. It’s something to keep an eye out for.

  38. I have read enough to realize that this whole debate comes down to one thing and one thing only.

    Does the sinner control in any way shape or form whether or not he is found to be in Christ at the time of his physical departure from this world?

    You say the sinner has some sort of determinative role via prevenient grace. That is obviously your conclusion. The sinner gets saved and stays saved in some way by his own efforts (prevenient grace enabled).

    I say that is synergism (God and man working together) to accomplish something (i.e. heavenly bliss for the sinner).

    I believe the gospel of Jesus Christ as presented by Paul. God has provided both the means and the work in total for those He intends to save. Christ did not atone nor die for in any way those whom the Father did not intend to be Jesus’ bride. Only the elect will be saved! Why? Because that is the way the Sovereign Lord wanted it. Jacob He loved! Essau He hated!

    If you don’t accept that, then you need to quit blogging and start repenting. You have been warned. REPENT. And believe the Truth! May God have mercy on your soul!

  39. SJC,

    I am truly saddened by this response. You wrote,

    I have read enough to realize that this whole debate comes down to one thing and one thing only.
    Does the sinner control in any way shape or form whether or not he is found to be in Christ at the time of his physical departure from this world?

    Actually, the “one thing” that this debate comes down to is “what saith the Scriptures?”

    You say the sinner has some sort of determinative role via prevenient grace. That is obviously your conclusion. The sinner gets saved and stays saved in some way by his own efforts (prevenient grace enabled).

    He is saved by faith, and not by his own efforts (at least not in a meritorious sense- faith is essentially trusting in the “work” and “effort” of Christ). Faith is not works, but it is something we must do (i.e. we must trust in Christ, cf. Acts 16:30, 31). BTW, I wonder what you think Christ meant when he said, “‘Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.” (Luke 13:24)?

    I say that is synergism (God and man working together) to accomplish something (i.e. heavenly bliss for the sinner).

    What you say is incorrect since faith is not a work (Rom. 4:4, 5).

    I believe the gospel of Jesus Christ as presented by Paul.

    So do I. For example,

    “But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation- if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel.” (Col. 1:21-23)

    God has provided both the means and the work in total for those He intends to save.

    He desires to save all and has made provision through Christ to save all as Paul says elsewhere,

    “This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all men- the testimony given in its proper time.” (1 Tim. 2:3-5)

    And here,

    “…we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.” (1 Tim. 4:10)

    And here (in the context of Romans 9 that you appear to be quoting below),

    “Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience (the same “reprobated” Jews discussed in Rom. 9), so they to (same “reprobated” Jews) have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy (What?) as a result of God’s mercy to you. For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on all. (Rom. 11:30-32)

    Christ did not atone nor die for in any way those whom the Father did not intend to be Jesus’ bride. Only the elect will be saved! Why? Because that is the way the Sovereign Lord wanted it. Jacob He loved! Essau He hated!

    More Calvinist philosophy without any Biblical support, and of course you have badly misunderstood the reference to Esau and Jacob in Rom. 9.

    If you don’t accept that, then you need to quit blogging and start repenting. You have been warned. REPENT. And believe the Truth! May God have mercy on your soul!

    Do you not see how arrogant and condescending this comment is? Are you really suggesting that anyone who does not agree with you or your Calvinism is in need of repentance and in danger of damnation? I hope that is not the case, and it is truly sad if that is what you believe.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  40. That is my understanding of the Gospel. You must stop this rebellion and quit asserting free-will as having any role in obtaining salvation (whether meritorious or otherwise).

    I don’t mean to be condescending… I am begging you (hoping your are elect and will one day repent). Do not trample the blood of the new covenant.

    Christ did not die needlessly for anyone! Those who died without Christ were doomed by the law (which they broke). They have only themselves to blame. And Christ did not see fit to pardon them. He will have compassion on whosoever he will choose. Let God be God!

    For if you assert that Jesus has suffered for all people without exception then Jesus’ death must only be a part of what justifies. Logically, this has to be the case with your gospel (which is no gospel at all).

    You cannot avoid this equation in what you affirm…
    Jesus’ death on the cross + something else = Legal satisfaction (no charges can be levied against the one He was a substitute for)

    Call the “something else” – faith (and not a work) if you will (it does not matter). It is either Christ’s death at Calvary alone or it is a false gospel!

    How is what you preach “Good News”? How is it “Good News” for me to know that the death of God the Son is in-and-of-itself NOT sufficient to save me? How is it good news to know that I (the worst of all sinners) can somehow screw up by not doing something (a work or otherwise – however you define that something else)?

    I have no faith in myself! I am a loser and a screw-up. And if there is even the most remote possibility that I might not do what is required to enter heaven, then I will find a way to go to hell. If it depends on me in any way I am doomed forever!

    If you feel differently, then what you trust in is mostly God (great) put partly you (although by God’s common/prevenient grace).

    I don’t trust anything in me. If I am to be saved from my rebellion. God will need to sweep me off my feet irresistibly.

    AMEN!

    If God does that, then that is GOOD NEWS, indeed! Everything else is just OK NEWS! Just enough OK to make me a legalistic Pharisee like the average “false christian”.

    Please REPENT of your very self! God have mercy!

  41. SJC,

    Christ did not die needlessly for anyone!

    Quite to the contrary, everyone needs Christ, just not all accept Him.

    Jesus’ death on the cross + something else = Legal satisfaction

    It’s actually faith -> legal satisfaction through Christ’s death on the cross. If His death provided legal satisfaction apart from believing, this would be justification apart from faith, which is completely unscriptural.

    How is what you preach “Good News”? How is it “Good News” for me to know that the death of God the Son is in-and-of-itself NOT sufficient to save me?

    The word of God is clear in its requirements of faith and patience to inherit the promises (see Hebrews 6:12). If you have trouble with calling a way to eternal salvation in Christ under such a light yoke ‘good news,’ I suggest you take it up with the Author.

    How is it good news to know that I (the worst of all sinners) can somehow screw up by not doing something (a work or otherwise – however you define that something else)?

    Did you miss the fact that scripture already warns believers against falling away unto perdition? Again, all you’re tendering is mere philosophical pleading with no scriptural support.

    If you feel differently, then what you trust in is mostly God (great) put partly you (although by God’s common/prevenient grace).

    Please fill in the gaps for this leap of logic: how exactly is the idea that it’s possible for me to not endure constitute ‘trusting in myself,’ since ‘perseverance,’ in soteriological terms, by definition entails continued trust in Christ?

    If God does that, then that is GOOD NEWS, indeed! Everything else is just OK NEWS!

    A subjective and unsupportable outburst. Assertion does not amount to proof.

    Still nothing in your rhetoric that fits the context of scripture, just more (apparently) emotional outbursts rooted in your own philosophical presuppositions and prejudices, insinuating that anyone who disagrees with your philosophy needs to repent of believing a ‘false gospel.’

  42. SJC,

    You wrote,

    That is my understanding of the Gospel.

    Fair enough, and it is my understanding that your understanding of the gospel is not correct. Should I then call on you to repent? Do you see how counter productive that is? Should we just call each other heretics and say the other person needs to repent, or should we try to teach and understand each other through Scripture? Have you ever considered the possibility that Calvinism may be in error?

    You must stop this rebellion and quit asserting free-will as having any role in obtaining salvation (whether meritorious or otherwise).

    Well, if the Bible teaches that God has given His creatures a measure of free will, then I am not in rebellion by affirming what He teaches, correct? See how you just assume you are right and then call me rebellious because I do not agree with you?

    I don’t mean to be condescending…

    Perhaps you do not mean to be, but your responses are still very condescending as I just explained. There does not seem to be any humility or willingness to consider other’s perspectives or Biblical arguments in your comments. They are very dismissive. Surely you realize that.

    I am begging you (hoping your are elect and will one day repent).

    Why should you hope I am one of the elect? What if I am a reprobate? Wouldn’t that mean you would be hoping against God’s sovereign decision to damn me?

    Do not trample the blood of the new covenant.

    O.K., let’s say that I am a reprobate and Christ did not die for me. How then could I trample the blood of a covenant that was never intended for me nor shed for me? How could I be condemned for not placing faith in the blood (Rom. 3:25) that God neither provided for me nor intended for me? I wrote about this problem in detail concerning that passage in Hebrews that you seem to be incorrectly quoting (and you will notice that the one who “tramples underfoot the Son of God” and “has treated as unholy the blood of the covenant” was also “sanctified” by that same blood!). I can give you the link if you like.

    Christ did not die needlessly for anyone! Those who died without Christ were doomed by the law (which they broke). They have only themselves to blame. And Christ did not see fit to pardon them. He will have compassion on whosoever he will choose. Let God be God!

    God will have compassion on whoever He chooses, but He has chosen to have compassion on believers and has chosen to provide atonement and the opportunity to believe for all (as I mentioned in my last post). Will you not allow God to do such things if He so chooses?

    For if you assert that Jesus has suffered for all people without exception then Jesus’ death must only be a part of what justifies. Logically, this has to be the case with your gospel (which is no gospel at all).

    Again, notice how condescending your comments here are. You say that what I believe is no gospel at all, but you have yet to support that claim with Scripture. That is very bold. Christ made a provisional atonement that is applied to those who trust in Him. If you want to say that one does not need to put faith in Christ to be justified, then you are clearly contradicting Scripture. If you want to say that “the elect” were justified at the cross, then you must have been born justified (assuming you are elect), and not born under the wrath of God (which plainly contradicts Eph. 2:3 among other passages). Even Calvinists must acknowledge that the atonement was provisional.

    You cannot avoid this equation in what you affirm…
    Jesus’ death on the cross + something else = Legal satisfaction (no charges can be levied against the one He was a substitute for)

    Notice how your theology seems to be based on some sort of equation, rather than on what the word of God affirms. I hope that you will also realize that the meeting of a condition (faith) in order to receive a free gift is not the same as “adding” or “contributing” to that thing received. Have you ever received a gift from someone? Did you add to that gift or contribute to it by accepting it? Did you congratulate yourself for giving the gift to yourself or earning the gift simply because you accepted and received that gift? Again, I would direct you to Rom. 4:4, 5.

    Call the “something else” – faith (and not a work) if you will (it does not matter).

    Well, the Bible is what calls it faith, not me. Again, the “something else” is a condition met, not an addition or contribution to that thing (salvation) being received by faith. Are you saying that God does not have the sovereign right to make salvation conditioned on faith in His Son?

    It is either Christ’s death at Calvary alone or it is a false gospel!

    It is Christ’s death on Calvary alone. No one is denying that, as explained above.

    How is what you preach “Good News”? How is it “Good News” for me to know that the death of God the Son is in-and-of-itself NOT sufficient to save me? How is it good news to know that I (the worst of all sinners) can somehow screw up by not doing something (a work or otherwise – however you define that something else)?

    The good news of the gospel is that Christ died for all, so that anyone can come to God through faith in Christ. That is good news for everyone since no one is excluded. Can we do that on our own, apart from God’s empowerment and grace? No. No one here is suggesting that. Can we continue in faith without God’s empowerment and grace? No. No one here is suggesting that.

    However, if what you believe is true, then the gospel is only good news for the elect since the reprobate is doomed from birth by an unchangeable eternal decree. How is that good news?

    I have no faith in myself! I am a loser and a screw-up.

    Hence the need to trust in Christ rather than yourself.

    And if there is even the most remote possibility that I might not do what is required to enter heaven, then I will find a way to go to hell.

    Sounds like you don’t trust God that He has given you all that you need to continue in faith and godliness (2 Peter 1:3-11).

    If it depends on me in any way I am doomed forever!

    It depends on Christ. All you have to do is trust in Him and He has given you all the power you need to do that (see above).

    If you feel differently, then what you trust in is mostly God (great) put partly you (although by God’s common/prevenient grace).

    Not at all. I am trusting in God and His enabling power. If He says He will provide all that I need to keep trusting in Him, then I believe Him.

    I don’t trust anything in me.

    Nor should you. You need to trust in Christ.

    If I am to be saved from my rebellion. God will need to sweep me off my feet irresistibly.

    You may believe that, but it is a matter of what the Scriptures teach, and the Scriptures do not teach irresistible grace.

    AMEN!

    If God does that, then that is GOOD NEWS, indeed! Everything else is just OK NEWS! Just enough OK to make me a legalistic Pharisee like the average “false christian”.
    Please REPENT of your very self! God have mercy!

    It is truly sad that this supposed “doctrine of grace” you think you are defending has apparently filled you with so much pride. Are you adding a belief in Calvinism as a requirement for salvation? Is it “Christ” plus “Calvinism” = salvation? You seem to be saying that faith in Christ is not enough, but that we need faith in Calvinism to be saved. Is that what you believe?

    Nothing that you have said in this post fairly represents what I believe, and you have yet to grapple with what the Scriptures actually say. I understand that you may have some emotional reaction to the idea that we are responsible to persevere in the faith through the grace and power God gives us, but we need to build our doctrines on the testimony of Scripture, and not our emotions. I assume you would agree with that.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  43. I am not prideful except in one thing Jesus (the real Jesus)! Of that I make no apology.

    If it would be God’s will to help you repent by my humiliation, then I would let you torture me for days/weeks/months.

    Let’s focus on something you said…

    Let’s just use your gift example, because it fits the situation perfectly.

    You get a gift from your dad. Say it is a flashlight. OK?

    Your gospel is… This is good news all you have to do is use the flashlight. Dad will help you 99.9% to use it, too. Even better news, right? But you have to do something with the common grace that is available to you. Dad has already prepared you so that you can actually succeed with very little effort on your part. But Dad choose not to guarantee that you will be sensible about this super easy thing for you to do.

    But my gospel (the one I trust – the one of the Bible) is Dad is not just giving you the flashlight. Dad is going to ensure that you use it by His authority as your Dad. You need not fear that you might not use it as intended. Dad says that though He may have to spank you often and hard He will cause you to use the flashlight! And you will eventually thank Him for doing that. No exceptions for His children. Why is Dad so insistent!!!? Not for the adopted sons (the Christian’s) sake! Oh no! Dad will not let the precious blood of His Only Son go to waste on his adopted kid’s account! It cost Him way too much to have some creature kid’s will (or lack of will) get in the way. The blood price He paid for it will be applied legally! By Dad’s Total Power for His real Son’s sake!!!

    You trample the blood of the Covenant by your declaration that it is common to all. Anything common in the Bible is by definition unholy! Thereby, you judge yourself unworthy of it! And you will die in your sins if you do not REPENT of that attitude toward it! You may be elect! And you will indicate if you are if you REPENT of this foolishness before you are finished in this temporal world that you think Jesus loves so much!

    You have been officially warned! Go on like you are! And, you will regret I have wrote to you, forever! I beg you for Christ sake alone (if you can) REPENT! I don’t think you can. I don’t think you have the freedom (yet) to embrace this even if you wanted to. Thus God has to free you! That is why He get’s more glory from a Calvinist than He will ever get from an Arminian. That right there should be your first clue that you believe a false-gospel. But you cannot hear with your idol ears can you?

  44. SJC,

    I am away from my computer on the weekends, and I don’t have the time to respond right now. I will respond sometime next week. However, if you are going to continue to evade the Scriptures and points I have made in this discussion, and continue to demand I repent simply because I do not agree with your Calvinism, or suggest that I am likely not one of the elect because I don’t think the gospel amounts to faith in Christ + faith in Calvinism, then you will no longer be welcomed here.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  45. “But my gospel (the one I trust – the one of the Bible) is Dad is not just giving you the flashlight.”

    And exactly where in the Bible did you glean this ‘Dad making you use the flashlight no matter what’ business?

    “You trample the blood of the Covenant by your declaration that it is common to all. Anything common in the Bible is by definition unholy!”

    That’s equivocation by the way. ‘Common’ is a term sometimes used to denote something unholy, but its homonym used to express universality doesn’t carry such a connotation. Were you under the impression that ‘common grace’ was ‘unholy grace?’

    “That is why He get’s more glory from a Calvinist than He will ever get from an Arminian.”

    At least he’s not conceited…. Of course, in the Determinist paradigm, didn’t God make me a Synergist because that glorifies Him more than if He’d made me a Calvinist?

    “Thereby, you judge yourself unworthy of it! And you will die in your sins if you do not REPENT of that attitude toward it!”

    This, folks, is a little thing called ‘Neo-Gnosticism.’

    “And, you will regret I have wrote to you, forever!”

    Um…yeah….

    “But you cannot hear with your idol ears can you?”

    I don’t ever recall seeing Ben attempt to worship his ears, but I assume it would make bowing difficult.

  46. Look, I came here to proclaim the true gospel. I have done that. You have been warned. Now, may God have mercy on you. If he wills we will rejoice in heaven.

  47. SJC,

    Since J.C. answered your last comments well enough, and since you have made it clear that you are not willing to learn or consider other view points, I think this conversation has come to an end.

    I just want to remind you to base your doctrines on Scripture and to be careful not to hold any theologian’s or popular teacher’s opinion above a careful study of Scripture. One of the reasons that Luther and the Reformers broke from the Roman Catholic Church was because the RCC held that they alone were able to properly interpret Scripture. Unfortunately, I see that same attitude among many Calvinists. If you do not agree with their opinions or theologians, then you are a heretic, since only Calvinists can properly interpret the word of God. Many Calvinists have nearly an idolatrous commitment to such men. It is very sad. It reminds me of the papist exclusivity that the Reformers fought so hard to break free from.

    I see that you have been highly influenced by Piper and other popular Calvinists. While such men as Piper are usually careful not to condemn non-Calvinists, I see more and more that those who are influenced by them are quick to condemn all those who do not hold to the 5 points of Calvinism. As far as I am concerned, that is a feature of hyper-Calvinism (believing that only Calvinists are truly saved). Again, it is in direct contrast to the battle cry of the reformation (faith alone in Christ alone). Instead it has become “faith in Christ and Calvinism alone”.

    You have called on me to repent, and warned me that I may be on my way to hell if I don’t embrace the TULIP. I appreciate the concern, but I will not be judged by TULIP; rather, I will be judged by the word of God. When I read the word of God, I do not see Calvinism. Instead, I see that the word of God contradicts Calvinism at every turn. That is my honest conviction as I study God’s word and do my best to allow the Spirit to lead and direct me into His truth. I am sorry if you cannot respect that and have no desire to investigate that word with me as a fellow believer who sees the word differently than you.

    I would caution you to reconsider what you believe is the “true gospel”, turn aside from your favorite Calvinist teachers and theologians and the philosophies they represent, and take a close and honest look again at God’s pure word. Maybe if you do that, you will at least come to understand why Arminians like me find Calvinism to not fairly represent the overall testimony of Scripture.

    Any further responses that amount to calls to repentance, or proclamations that you are the herald of the “true gospel” will be promptly deleted.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  48. SJC,

    It might do you well to consider what a prominent internet Calvinist thinks of your apparent stance that non-Calvinists are condemned heretics:

    http://evangelicalarminians.org/calvinists-lets-calm-down-birch

    http://evangelicalarminians.org/Jackson-on-Patton-on-Calvinists-Unloving

    God Bless,
    Ben

  49. I would just point out that once again SJC offers no Scripture for his position, but just claims that he has preached the true gospel and implies that Arminians are not saved. But Arminians prefer to base our doctrine on the word of God, which declares, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:16-17) and “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). Since hyper-Calvinists like SJC seem to contradict simple faith in Christ as the God-ordained condition and means for salvation, but add belief in Calvinism as part of what is necessary for salvation, they call into question their own salvation. Are they trusting in something other than Christ for salvation, namely belief in Calvinism? It is a dangerous thing to add to what God requires for salvation and to deny the salvation of his children, practically joining the accuser of the brethren in attacking the chldren of God. Arminians and Calvinists are generally brothers and sisters in Christ, adhreing to the same basic gospel. But any Arminian or Calvinist who teaches that either view is necessary for salvation and denies the salvation of the other group treads on very dangerous ground and should repent.

  50. calvinism is not the truth and not Christianity but a cultic erroneous system and therefore cannot save you – the power of the gospel is revealed and testified in the holy scriptures that bear record directly (in John gospel) that Jesus the Lamb of God shed his blood on the cross for redemption sake – he gave his life to be the sacrifice of atonement for the sin of the world NOT FOR THE ELECT -but for the sins of the whole world – you are not saved because you are elect you are elect because you have been saved

  51. Again you have made huge assumptions about who I am. Don’t trust any theologian Calvinist or otherwise. Don’t trust TULIP, either! Don’t even believe in Calvinism, either. For that is not your main problem. Your problem is that you worship the will of man! Although, you deny it. You are just like an alcoholic! The last person to know that he has a huge problem is the person with the problem it seems. So, logically anyone could be under a great delusion. Especially me. Don’t trust me, either. It is absolutely impossible to become a Christian without God having decree it for these very reasons. Our heart is so corrupt we don’t even know ourselves – let alone the gospel (even if we trip over it – ah the rock that cause men to stumble).

    I agree read the Bible. And pray God gives you eyes to really see it. And if He has mercy on you. You’ll see it! May God bless you with the gift of repentance! cya in heaven – God willing!

  52. calvin was a murderer in his heart…………wake up you calvinists

  53. SJC,

    I asked you not to comment further if you were going to continue with your calls to repentance. I am disappointed that you did not honor that simple request. I will address what you wrote here, but you are no longer welcomed to leave comments at this site, since you have demonstrated a total lack of respect for me in refusing to abide by my request (therefore, you will have to consider my questions rhetorical).

    You wrote,

    Again you have made huge assumptions about who I am.

    I haven’t made any assumptions about who you are. I simply pointed out that you have been influenced by Calvinists and their teachings. I also pointed out that people like Piper, that you seem to admire, do not generally go as far as you in questioning the salvation of those who disagree with them. I also cautioned you to make the Bible your priority in developing doctrine. That’s it. I said nothing about who you are, though you have essentially called me a heretic who is likely not even saved and needs to repent. You have also called me an idolater, both in your last response, and in this response.

    Don’t trust any theologian Calvinist or otherwise.

    I won’t, but do you not trust in them? If not, then why is your web-site full of such Calvinists like John Piper, and James White? Why do you share their You Tube videos with others under the banner of “The Gospel Truth Channel” if you do not trust them and do not think they are teaching the “Gospel Truth”?

    Don’t trust TULIP, either! Don’t even believe in Calvinism, either.

    I won’t.

    For that is not your main problem. Your problem is that you worship the will of man!

    So now you know me well enough to tell me what my main problem is? Remember earlier when you got upset because you thought I was making assumptions about who you are? Well, what do think of calling me an idolater and insisting that I worship free will? Where did you get that idea? Where did I say or suggest that I worship free will? I believe in free will (since I find clear evidence of it in Scripture), and reject determinism, but that hardly means I worship free will. You obviously believe in determinism. I suppose I could just as easily say that you worship determinism, correct? Maybe I should say that is your main problem or something like that?

    Although, you deny it. You are just like an alcoholic!

    And there you go making assumptions about who I am again. I thought you had a problem with such behavior. Please note that I could just as easily say the same things about you. I could say that you worship John Calvin and determinism. I could say that you bow down to TULIP and put Calvinist teachers and philosophies above the word of God, though you deny it- just like an Alcoholic. Would you appreciate that? Would you say that was accurate?

    The last person to know that he has a huge problem is the person with the problem it seems.

    That is often the case, and may be the case with you as much as with me.

    So, logically anyone could be under a great delusion. Especially me. Don’t trust me, either.

    So now I shouldn’t listen to you or trust you, yet you still insist on calling me an idolater and questioning my salvation. So let’s review. You have now told me that I shouldn’t trust Calvinism or Calvinists and that I shouldn’t trust anything you say either, and I have made it clear to you that I am trusting in Christ for my salvation. With that in mind, how is it that you feel comfortable telling me I need to repent, accusing me of idolatry, and questioning my salvation?

    It is absolutely impossible to become a Christian without God having decree it for these very reasons. Our heart is so corrupt we don’t even know ourselves – let alone the gospel (even if we trip over it – ah the rock that cause men to stumble).

    Again, your conclusions are based on philosophy and not on Scripture. Notice also, that you have completely cut off all grounds for your own salvation assurance (which is a common problem for those who hold to Calvinism).

    I agree read the Bible.

    I do and will.

    And pray God gives you eyes to really see it.

    I do and will, and I believe He has answered that prayer and continues to answer it.

    And if He has mercy on you.

    God has had mercy on me through faith in His dear Son.

    You’ll see it!

    See what? Calvinism?

    May God bless you with the gift of repentance!

    Repentance of what? Not believing in Calvinism? Rejecting determinism? Again, you seem to assume you are right to the point of suggesting I need to repent, despite the fact that you have called yourself untrustworthy and told me I shouldn’t listen to what you say (since you might very well be delusional). Baffling.

    cya in heaven – God willing!

    God isn’t willing that any perish, and desires all to come to repentance; so if we do not make it to heaven, God’s will is not to blame.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  54. timothy,

    You wrote,

    calvin was a murderer in his heart…………wake up you calvinists

    One could make that case, but it has little bearing on whether or not Calvinism is true.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  55. calvin was a murderer and not a follower of Christ -surely it would occur to you that if the man had false doctrine it would be concluded that he wasnt a christian because he was denying christ by his actions….

  56. timothy,

    I am aware of that argument, but I think it is rather weak. Are you suggesting that if Calvin was a murderer, he was wrong about all things spiritual? Have you read his works? Are you saying he was wrong about everything? Was he wrong to affirm the deity of Christ? Was he wrong to affirm the Trinity? Was he wrong to affirm justification by faith? If he wasn’t wrong about those things, though a murderer; how can you say he was wrong about election or predestination simply because he was a murderer? There are many people who affirm and teach right doctrine while failing to live according to that right doctrine.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  57. BTW, I am pretty sure Calvin developed his doctrines long before he was in any position to “murder” anyone.

  58. calvinism or reformed theology is man – made and it is heretical doctrine calvin believed : some are doomed for the womb – he believed that God arranged the fall of man, that God predestines people to a fiery abyss he believes that God isnt willing to save all people ..and further more paul washer has reformed calvinist theology- not matter how on fire he is for God- he is still in error.I heard his sermon online 2002 he doesnt have tact ,self control, and honour – he acts like a hireling

  59. timothy,

    You don’t seem to be interacting with anything I am saying.

  60. all I am saying kangeroodort is that calvinism isnt what God has revealed in the scriptures..calvinist’s have a false view of His sovereignty

  61. Hey all!

    Just reading through here and thought I’d interject a few things. First of all, to “kangaroodort,” who wrote, “Are you suggesting that if Calvin was a murderer, he was wrong about all things spiritual? Have you read his works? Are you saying he was wrong about everything? Was he wrong to affirm the deity of Christ? Was he wrong to affirm the Trinity? Was he wrong to affirm justification by faith? If he wasn’t wrong about those things, though a murderer; how can you say he was wrong about election or predestination simply because he was a murderer?”

    Kangaroodort, YES, I AM saying that Calvin was wrong–totally wrong. He is absolutely wrong, and not to be trusted in any points made in his Institutes. Have I read them? Yes. All the way through. Calvin did not have any special understanding of justification by faith, the Trinity, or any other essential doctrine. Those doctrines were not systemetized by him–the (so-called) doctrines of grace WERE taken directly from Augustine, and systemetized by Calvin. The other doctrines you mentioned above had been understood centuries prior to Calvin and his worthless ideologies.

    The fact is, everyone, that Jean Calvin did not author any of the aforementioned orthodoxy of the church (i.e., the Trinity, justification by faith, the deity of Christ, etc.). Therefore, we know he was not wrong, because he echoed others. In things related to the sovereignty of God, he was absolutely wrong, and IMHO, his doctrines are anathema. He proved his utter unqualification in the area of theology by his own actions in Geneva, which will forever go before him in perfect time with the drum of totalitarian brutality. If unrepentant, he is suffering the fires of Hades today.

    As for Paul Washer, I have never heard someone so passionate for people to be truly born again. However, I disagree with Washer’s Calvinistic theology, wholeheartedly. Then again, I’m not sure even Washer agrees with Calvinism wholly. He says he is a Calvinist, but he preaches sometimes like an Arminian. He misrepresents God’s prevenient grace, by calling it, “common grace.” He continues the trek into holiness preaching, for which he has no banner, no experience, and no apparent motive. Why would any Calvinist preach holiness? It doesn’t make sense to me! If God is wholly sovereign, then he doesn’t need to operate His “irresistible grace” through the “foolishness of preaching.” Yet, Washer and others preach on.

    I agree with Washer about the dangers of “easy believism” and “decisional regeneration.” I believe in the cooperation of repentance and faith, wrought by man’s response to prevenient grace (Titus 2:11), leading to a lifelong profession of faith in Jesus Christ. And I like a theology that doesn’t require two degrees from MIT to clearly understand. I guess I’m just your average, old-fashioned, Wesleyan-Pentecostal, with a serious axe to grind–I HATE for people to go to hell because of bad doctrines that lead them into a false sense of (eternal) security. And I believe Calvinism is responsible for EVERY BIT of the lukewarm carnal Christianity that exists on planet earth today.

    Now, do I believe all of Calvinism should be invalidated? Yes. All of it.

    Al Christian, Pastor
    FUEL, Inc.
    Lawton, Oklahoma

  62. Al,

    I agree that there was strong historical Christian precedent for the things that Calvin got right. The point is that he didn’t deviate from those things and articulated them correctly. He did, as you noted, deviate in the areas of election and predestination. However, Timothy seemed to be suggesting that since Calvin was a “murderer” we know that he must have been wrong in his theology. That is a very weak argument in my opinion. If being a murderer means you will be wrong on doctrine, then why wasn’t Calvin wrong about everything? Your point is really no different. We can just as well ask why he didn’t deviate from everything.

    The other point is that Calvin wrote and systematized his theology prior to being in any position of power whereby he was able to cause or approve of the death of anyone. One could say he was already a murderer at heart, but that is impossible to prove. So the “Calvin was a murderer, therefore his theology is totally wrong” argument just doesn’t hold up. It fails on several fronts.

    I agree with both of you that Calvin was wrong about a great many things (obviously), and I see those things as potentially harmful to believers and a possible hindrance to unbelievers. However, I think the way to prove that is through solid exegesis, and not through any “Calvin was a murderer” type of polemic. I am not saying that it shouldn’t be pointed out that Calvin had a role in murder and approved of the execution of heretics. I am only saying that it is weak to use that as an argument against the actual theology known as Calvinism.

    Also, you may want to define what you mean by “decisional regeneration”. Are you suggesting that there is no aspect of decision making in a faith response to the gospel? I suspect you are referring to the idea that once someone makes a “decision” to receive salvation, nothing more is needed. Is that the case? If so, then I agree that such a teaching is in error, but to suggest that a faith response has nothing to do with making a decision is in error as well.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  63. all I am saying kangeroodort is that calvinism isnt what God has revealed in the scriptures..calvinist’s have a false view of His sovereignty

    I agree. I just don’t think the “Calvin was a murderer” argument is the best way to demonstrate the errors of Calvinism.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  64. you see it is simple being a true christian those who follow christ identify with him which is authentic -the scriptures in no way whatsoever say that it is good thing for anyone to murder BOAST about it(which calvin did) and frame a theology around that fact around the assumption that God predestinates everything that Goes on in the world- God does not predestinate everything that goes in the world so- ergo HE obviously DID NOT PREDESTINATE THE FALL OF MAN nor ARRANGE IT TO HAPPEN…..God is not a conspirator

  65. Timothy,

    You seem to be suggesting that Calvin framed his theology around justification for murder. As I already mentioned, his work on predestination predates any such murderous actions or boasting on his part, so the argument just doesn’t hold water. There are better ways to argue against Calvinism. I would suggest that you drop this faulty line of argumentation and rather discredit Calvinism through careful exegesis of the Biblical data, and sound reasoning.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  66. Ben,

    I agree with you a hundred percent. Calvinism must needs be examined in light of a solid exegesis of scripture, not upon Calvin’s character alone. Any doctrine should be examined this way. However, Calvin’s actions reflect the ideoligies to which he is faithful, previously shaped by theology and philosophy.

    If I were to write a book (which I might), people would certainly be looking for my academic credentials, Ben. No doubt about it. However, they would also be looking into my life for anything that proved my character, integrity, and consistency–not only with regard to my book, but in general. Wouldn’t it indeed be acceptable to judge a book that I penned not only upon its content, but also upon the overall qualification of the author? If I wrote a book about computer networks (which I might), having a great deal of experience with networks, but having left every single networking job with more broken equipment than I fixed, would I truly be qualified to write the book? Perhaps! Maybe the title of my book would be, “How to sucessfully break a computer network.”

    The fact is, Calvinism (and certainly others) cannot be taken in light of their substance alone. Not only do the scriptures clearly refute Calvin’s (so-called) doctrines of grace, they also clearly refute the means by which he connects these damnable doctrines to our good orthodoxy. These “connections” taint the goodness of the whole, stifling the rarest of opportunities to glean a truth from the “Institutes.” And, to take a man’s work apart from his character is riduculous. We don’t apply that standard to anyone else. Would you like to go to a doctor who is a known alcoholic? How about a mechanic who is a known crook? Would you listen to a sermon given by a pastor who is a misanthrope? Of course not. Likewise, you wouldn’t draw your theology from a tainted well. Calvin is an example of a tainted well. And his theology should be questioned in light of his character right along with his exegesis.

    Ben, my understanding of “decisional regeneration” is that is speaks to the “one-time decision” people are invited to make in order to be born again. This is closely related to “easy believism.” The evangelist creates an environment where there is no great conflict in making a decision to turn their lives over to Christ. Sounds good, but it’s not (IMHO).

    Being born again is a step from death into life. It’s also a step into controversy and persecution for most. This “decision” is not an easy one-time deal, as most evangelicals have made it out to be, but a continuing, living faith in Jesus Christ. This continuing, living faith in Jesus Christ MUST include repentance, and ultimately must result in confessing (not denying) Jesus Christ in public (the essence of easy believism).

    Therefore, I am convinced that nothing short of repenting of one’s sin and putting one’s faith in Jesus Christ, and that these actions have a start-point, but should ever have an end-point untill death, cause a person to be born again. I’m also convinced that this process is interrupted or outright derailed when evangelists use techniques like “pray a little prayer and you’ll be saved and never again lost,” or “take the hand of this pastor and be saved,” or “with every head bowed and every eye closed just slip up a hand and put it right back down . . . no one will see.” Ridiculous! Where’s the broken and contrite heart that the Lord will not despise? Where’s the repentance? Where’s true faith in Jesus Christ?

    That’s what I intended to convey earlier, Ben.

    God bless you, sir!

    Al Christian, Pastor
    FUEL, Inc.
    Lawton, Oklahoma

  67. Al,

    I still think you are missing my point. First, Calvin’s persecution of heretics came after he wrote his Institutes. Your examples, therefore, are not quite accurate. But again, the main point is that Calvin’s actions alone, do not speak to the accuracy of his theology. Even today, many pastors preach on issues that they are struggling with, and yet their sermons are very sound. I am currently struggling with consistency in personal devotions, yet I know what I need to do to improve in that area and could teach others the same, even though I am not currently doing a good job of practicing what I preach (so to speak).

    Paul was distressed that people were preaching Christ from selfish ambition, and yet he rejoiced that Christ was still being preached by these selfish people, who were even trying to stir up trouble for Paul. That would seem to indicate that these people were preaching the gospel accurately to such an extent that it was a good thing for people to be exposed to their preaching, even though their hearts were not right in the very motive for their preaching!

    If you don’t want to read Calvin, then that is your right. I have personally been blessed by some things he has written and believe that I have received sound spiritual insights from some of his writings. I think his exegesis of many texts is very solid and beneficial to anyone who may read them. That doesn’t mean people need to read him, but it speaks to the issue at hand. The main point is that the argument that Calvin was necessarily wrong about election and predestination because he later persecuted heretics is simply in error (as I mentioned in my last post). This is obvious because Calvin was right about a great many spiritual things, despite what anyone may think of his character or behavior. If he could be right about those things, despite a flawed character and sinful behavior, then he could also be right about election and predestination on those same grounds. Of course I am convinced he was wrong about election and predestination, but not because he persecuted heretics. That would simply be flawed reasoning, and that is the only point I am trying to make.

    I basically agree with your comments on decisional regeneration, though I would hesitate to say that people have never gotten saved or remained saved by some of those methods you mentioned. I think the main problem is follow-up discipleship.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  68. Hey Ben,

    I believe I understand your point. And I respectfully disagree with it. Calvin is not still alive, so I don’t believe placing a timeline on him is appropriate or fair. His actions, whether latter or earlier in his life all go together to prove the character of the man. The fact that he committed these deplorable acts later in life go to show his spiritual state at the time. His very “Institutes,” rife with philosophy that is not backed up by Scriptures in any way, shape, or form is proof he was a false teacher, also proving his spiritual state at that time. Neither Jesus, nor the Apostle Paul EVER suggested a false teacher be heard, nor his teachings be adhered to. The comparison of Jean Calvin with those Paul was referring to in the passages you alluded to is simply incongruous.

    The fact is, Ben, there’s really no way to convince me that Calvin’s “Institutes” were anything more than a philosophical justification for his later treatment of those who were obliged to serve him. Likewise, there is no way you could ever prove to me that Calvin was ever born again–truly born again. In fact, what fruit of the Spirit can you find ever described in any historical prose about Jean Calvin at any point in his life? Piety? Discretion? None, Ben. There is none.

    MY point, my precious brother, is that there is no good fruit that can come from a bad tree. I appreciate that this fallen unbeliever wrote some very exalted words about a God he never knew. I appreciate that he had some wonderful doctrine to regurgitate and from which to extrapolate more wonderful doctrine. The problem is, he didn’t do it! He didn’t extrapolate anything good, at all. Aside from very valid praises, exalting the high sovereignty of the Almighty, he did nothing but add philosophy that was based in humanistic ideologies, using orthodox Christian doctrines from the Bible wildly out of context as proof texts. In fact, Ben, there’s more eisegesis built into the “Institutes” than any doctrine statement I have ever read. And I’ve read a few of them.

    So, we’re not talking about people preaching Christ with “selfish ambitions” or out of another malaise of the heart. They were still preaching truth, even though they weren’t living it. Jean Calvin was NOT preaching truth–he was building unscriptural philosophy. And when walked out by Calvin, it was plainly obvious by his display of ill character, ill motives, and dispicable actions, that he is forever disqualified from the realm of true theologians, and SHOULD NOT BE TRUSTED.

    Ben, I appreciate that you have been able to glean some grains of truth from Calvin’s works. I believe it was not the writing of Calvin that provided you with these grains, but the Holy Spirit inside you, which could quicken you to life through “Schindler’s List” or nearly any work in any form, any time He wants. I’ve received a number of wonderful grains of knowledge through Charles Stanley, R.C. Sproul, Hank Haanagraph, and Arthur Pink, even though I disagree vehemently with their theology and their view of mine. But, it was only because the Holy Spirit quickened the words on those pages to life inside my spirit. It was NOT because any of their touted theology is correct.

    Again, I believe we SHOULD look at a person’s character before deciding whether or not to allow such a person to help shape our personal beliefs. No matter how hard you try, Ben, you can’t separate a man’s works from his faith. And Calvin proved his unsaved state at the latter part of his life. If the good people of Geneva had known in advance that the man they were to be led by was bereft of the character of Christ, doubtless they would have been rioting in the streets. The majority of people in the mid 16th century could not read or write, so they had not read his work. They did not know. They had excuse!

    Calvin’s dead. We can know with pretty fair certainty that he was not born again when he wrote the false teachings called the “Institutes of the Christian Religion.” And we know when he was ruling in Geneva, he was not born again because he presided over more turture and persecution than I like to read about. The Apostle Paul did the opposite. His character changed when he was born again. He was torturing and persecuting earlier in life, and repented and was tortured and persecuted, himself, later in life, for Jesus’ sake. We listen to Paul because we note the change in his character.

    Sorry, Ben, but Jean Calvin simply doesn’t fit into the realm of the qualified when it comes to writing theology. I like for my theologians to be, at the very least, born again.

    On another note, certainly I believe some have come to true faith in Jesus Christ as a result of the techniques of modern evangelism. However, I believe the false decisions are much more numerous.

    God bless you!

    Al Christian
    FUEL, Inc.
    Lawton, Oklahoma

  69. Sorry, Ben, one more thing.

    I am talking about taking into consideration a person’s life AFTER they are born again. Or, in Jean Calvin’s case, presumably his whole life after becoming a so-called theologian. The disciples of Jesus, for example, we wouldn’t be concerned about before they became disciples of Jesus. After they became disciples, their character became as important as their content.

    Thanks,

    Al Christian, Pastor
    FUEL, Inc.
    Lawton, Oklahoma

  70. Al,

    You wrote,

    I believe I understand your point. And I respectfully disagree with it. Calvin is not still alive, so I don’t believe placing a timeline on him is appropriate or fair. His actions, whether latter or earlier in his life all go together to prove the character of the man. The fact that he committed these deplorable acts later in life go to show his spiritual state at the time.

    Exactly, at the time. You have nothing to go on prior to those acts, so suggesting that his spiritual state prior to those acts was the same as when he persecuted Christians is nothing but speculation. If it is not “appropriate or fair” to place a time line on his life, how is it fair to judge his spiritual state while writing his Institutes (and various commentaries) based on things he did later in life?

    His very “Institutes,” rife with philosophy that is not backed up by Scriptures in any way, shape, or form is proof he was a false teacher, also proving his spiritual state at that time.

    Really? So if someone is not 100% correct in their theology, they are not saved? Are you then suggesting that all Calvinists are unsaved? Are you suggesting that if someone is not totally correct on their view of election and predestination, they are not saved?

    Neither Jesus, nor the Apostle Paul EVER suggested a false teacher be heard, nor his teachings be adhered to. The comparison of Jean Calvin with those Paul was referring to in the passages you alluded to is simply incongruous.

    Perhaps you would care to explain how it is incongruous.

    The fact is, Ben, there’s really no way to convince me that Calvin’s “Institutes” were anything more than a philosophical justification for his later treatment of those who were obliged to serve him.

    That’s fine. I don’t need to convince you of anything, but I can still point out why I think your reasoning is flawed. To suggest that Calvin’s intentions in writing his Institutes were purely so he could justify future sins is beyond unfair or inappropriate in my opinion. It’s unfair and inappropriate to put a time line on his life, but it is fair to make such unsubstantiated claims about a man’s intentions in writing his theology based on behavior that took place long afterward?

    Likewise, there is no way you could ever prove to me that Calvin was ever born again–truly born again. In fact, what fruit of the Spirit can you find ever described in any historical prose about Jean Calvin at any point in his life? Piety? Discretion? None, Ben. There is none.

    I don’t need to prove to you that John Calvin was born again, but unless you can prove that he wasn’t, at any point, a true believer, you should not make such claims. I would call that unfair and inappropriate.

    MY point, my precious brother, is that there is no good fruit that can come from a bad tree. I appreciate that this fallen unbeliever wrote some very exalted words about a God he never knew. I appreciate that he had some wonderful doctrine to regurgitate and from which to extrapolate more wonderful doctrine. The problem is, he didn’t do it! He didn’t extrapolate anything good, at all. Aside from very valid praises, exalting the high sovereignty of the Almighty, he did nothing but add philosophy that was based in humanistic ideologies, using orthodox Christian doctrines from the Bible wildly out of context as proof texts. In fact, Ben, there’s more eisegesis built into the “Institutes” than any doctrine statement I have ever read. And I’ve read a few of them.

    You’re entitled to your opinion, but the Institutes contain far more than just eisegesis and philosophy.

    So, we’re not talking about people preaching Christ with “selfish ambitions” or out of another malaise of the heart. They were still preaching truth, even though they weren’t living it.

    Exactly my point. If they could preach truth while not living it, then why couldn’t John Calvin?

    Jean Calvin was NOT preaching truth–he was building unscriptural philosophy. And when walked out by Calvin, it was plainly obvious by his display of ill character, ill motives, and dispicable actions, that he is forever disqualified from the realm of true theologians, and SHOULD NOT BE TRUSTED.

    This really gets back to the heart of the discussion. Despite your claims, Calvin was right about many things. He was right about those things despite his later actions. Therefore, it is not reasonable to discount his thoughts on election and predestination based on his later actions. Calvin’s later actions simply cannot disprove his thoughts on election and predestination. Here you talk about eisegesis and philosophy polluting his writing. Now, if that can be shown concerning predestination and election (and I believe it can), then that is the proper way to demonstrate that Calvin was wrong about predestination and election, and not by suggesting that he had to be wrong based on later sinful actions.

    Let me give you a counter example. John Wesley was a much better example of Christian character, would you agree? Would you say he was born again? I hope you would. Did you know that John Wesley held to infant baptism? Now, based on Wesley’s good Christian character, should we infallibly trust him that infant Baptism is the correct Scriptural view? After all, a good tree cannot produce bad fruit, can it? Surely you see how wrong it would be to assume that because Wesley was born again and had a good Christian character, that we should therefore assume he was right about all things pertaining to Scripture. If Wesley can be wrong, though born again, then Calvin can be right, even if his spiritual character is in question. The bottom line is that it is false to say that Calvin must have been wrong about election and predestination because he later persecuted heretics. Do you agree with that? If you do, then we are on the same page.

    Ben, I appreciate that you have been able to glean some grains of truth from Calvin’s works. I believe it was not the writing of Calvin that provided you with these grains, but the Holy Spirit inside you, which could quicken you to life through “Schindler’s List” or nearly any work in any form, any time He wants.

    The Holy Spirit can certainly speak to us through many things and in many ways, but he cannot turn a lie into truth. The reason I have been blessed by some things Calvin wrote was because they were truth, and the Holy Spirit used that truth to minister to me.

    I’ve received a number of wonderful grains of knowledge through Charles Stanley, R.C. Sproul, Hank Haanagraph, and Arthur Pink, even though I disagree vehemently with their theology and their view of mine.

    Were those grains of knowledge true or false? BTW, would you say that those people were born again even though they were wrong about certain aspects of theology?

    But, it was only because the Holy Spirit quickened the words on those pages to life inside my spirit. It was NOT because any of their touted theology is correct.

    Did the Spirit quicken to life words that were false? I would suspect you would say not. Therefore, despite their being wrong about certain areas of theology, they were right about what the Spirit quickened to life (since the Spirit will not quicken to life things that are false). So if the Spirit quickened to life things John Calvin said, as you seem to concede He can, then those things must have been true, which proves that Calvin was right about certain aspects of theology and did engage in sound exegesis at times. If he was right about those things, then he may have been right about predestination and election as well, and if he was right about those things despite his questionable character, then his questionable character alone cannot determine the truthfulness or faleshood of any of his writings.

    Again, I believe we SHOULD look at a person’s character before deciding whether or not to allow such a person to help shape our personal beliefs. No matter how hard you try, Ben, you can’t separate a man’s works from his faith.

    I am not trying to separate a man’s works from his faith. I am simply making the point that people who are wrong about some things are not necessarily wrong about everything, and a person’s character alone does not make them wrong about a certain thing. The simple fact is that Calvin was right about some things, and therefore it is incorrect to assume he was wrong about election and predestination simply because he later persecuted heretics.

    We could come up with numerous similar examples. Luther was certainly right about many things though he later treated Jews with ungodly disdain. You concede that you have gleaned truth from Hank Hanegraaff. Are you not aware of the many lawsuits that have been filed against him and the many instances of fraud that he seems to be involved in? Even if he has not been convicted (I am not sure if he has been), he may be in the future. What if he is convicted? Will you say that he could not have been born again while writing many of his books? Will you say that he was wrong about everything he ever wrote on Scripture or spiritual matters? Will you say that the knowledge you gleaned from him was false, though the Spirit somehow quickened that falsehood into life? Do you see the problem here?

    And Calvin proved his unsaved state at the latter part of his life. If the good people of Geneva had known in advance that the man they were to be led by was bereft of the character of Christ, doubtless they would have been rioting in the streets. The majority of people in the mid 16th century could not read or write, so they had not read his work. They did not know. They had excuse!

    Calvin’s dead. We can know with pretty fair certainty that he was not born again when he wrote the false teachings called the “Institutes of the Christian Religion.” And we know when he was ruling in Geneva, he was not born again because he presided over more turture and persecution than I like to read about. The Apostle Paul did the opposite. His character changed when he was born again. He was torturing and persecuting earlier in life, and repented and was tortured and persecuted, himself, later in life, for Jesus’ sake. We listen to Paul because we note the change in his character.

    Again, I am not defending any wicked thing that Calvin did. All I am saying is that his later actions do not necessarily testify that he was wicked while writing his Institutes, nor do they necessarily mean he was wrong about predestination or election.

    Sorry, Ben, but Jean Calvin simply doesn’t fit into the realm of the qualified when it comes to writing theology. I like for my theologians to be, at the very least, born again.

    Above, you said you couldn’t be sure if he was born again or not, but here you plainly say he was not born again. Which is it?

    Some of your comments seem to suggest that you believe that if someone is ever born again, they cannot fall away from the faith or ever do wicked things. Your statement of faith, however, says that you reject that doctrine. If you hold that a true believer can later abandon the faith, then you have no solid ground for affirming that Calvin was lost and unregenerate prior to the time when he began to persecute heretics. Calvin may have been truly regenerate, though mistaken about certain aspects of theology and philosophy, while writing his Institutes, and only later fell away upon allowing pride to infect him to the point of unbelief. We simply cannot know for certain, so I would advise you to be more careful in asserting that Calvin was never a saved man or a true believer. And if you want to say that his theology proves him unsaved, then you must also affirm that Calvinists, in general, are unsaved as well since they follow Calvin in his theology. I hope you would not suggest such things.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  71. I am talking about taking into consideration a person’s life AFTER they are born again. Or, in Jean Calvin’s case, presumably his whole life after becoming a so-called theologian. The disciples of Jesus, for example, we wouldn’t be concerned about before they became disciples of Jesus. After they became disciples, their character became as important as their content.

    Was Judas a disciple of Jesus who was designated, by Christ, an apostle? (Mark 3:13-19) Did Jesus not commission him to preach the gospel? (Matt. 10) Later he became swollen with greed and betrayed the Lord (John 12:4-6; Luke 6:16), but that does not falsify the gospel he preached along with the other disciples prior to his sprirtual defection.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  72. Hey Ben,

    I will try to respond to all of this. Forgive me if I leave some things out. You seem angry, brother. I’m not trying to provoke you, simply to explain my point of view, which you obviously disagree with. I’m glad we’re on the same theological side regardless!

    I’m gonna try to blockquote what you wrote to help me respond.

    You have nothing to go on prior to those acts, so suggesting that his spiritual state prior to those acts was the same as when he persecuted Christians is nothing but speculation. If it is not “appropriate or fair” to place a time line on his life, how is it fair to judge his spiritual state while writing his Institutes (and various commentaries) based on things he did later in life?

    It is indeed both fair and appropriate to judge Calvin’s spiritual state after he supposedly came to faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus said in Matthew 7, “15 “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. 16 You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. 19 So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. 20 Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.”

    He said we could identify THEM by THEIR fruit. Jean Calvin’s works are not simply theological commentaries, although he wrote commentary. Those “Institutes” are works of theology proper, and have been used to shape church doctrine since the mid 16th century. This is not simply a matter of some error mixed in with some truth. It is the purposeful, intentional perversion of truth by interjecting man-made, unbiblical philosophy. This is a biblical definition of false teaching (or false prophecy), and goes to the character of the source of the perversion: Calvin, himself.

    So if someone is not 100% correct in their theology, they are not saved? Are you then suggesting that all Calvinists are unsaved? Are you suggesting that if someone is not totally correct on their view of election and predestination, they are not saved?

    I didn’t make any of the assertions here. Please, brother, don’t put words in my mouth. No one has perfect theology. No one is suggesting that simply believing some of the pervasive false teachings of Calvinism prevents saving faith in Jesus Christ. Doctrine is important to Jesus, or He wouldn’t have mentioned it. But, being deceived is a completely separate matter from being a deceiver, which is accursed.

    Perhaps you would care to explain how it is incongruous. (This was a request to explain how a comparison between Jean Calvin’s teachings can be disqualified by the condition of his own life, while the Apostle Paul spoke of individuals who were ministering the gospel of Christ with a corrupt heart, and were not disqualified.)

    I would love to explain. The folks Paul was referring to were not creating ideology-shaping doctrines, but were sharing the truth. They were NOT false teachers, Ben. They were selfish. They were haughty. But, they were sharing the truth of the gospel. There is no comparison.

    I don’t need to convince you of anything, but I can still point out why I think your reasoning is flawed. To suggest that Calvin’s intentions in writing his Institutes were purely so he could justify future sins is beyond unfair or inappropriate in my opinion. It’s unfair and inappropriate to put a time line on his life, but it is fair to make such unsubstantiated claims about a man’s intentions in writing his theology based on behavior that took place long afterward?

    Ben, I appreciate that you are consistent. He was supposed to be a Christian at the time he wrote these false teachings. Having read them (which took way longer than it should have), I can tell you they are self-contradictory, hyper-philosophical, and maintain God as an impersonal, impatient, capricious, arbitrary, unloving Father. His actions in Geneva later did not go to disprove what he taught in the Institutes. On the contraray! He lived his life exactly as he had written in the Institutes. In fact, Ben, if you’ll cover American history carefully, you’ll find that slavery remained on this continent about 100 years longer than anywhere else in the world PARTLY because of the influence of Calvinistic doctrines surrounding God’s sovereignty and man’s total inability. In short, Calvin lived out his own doctrine, and it made him who he was. He wasn’t saved when he wrote the Institutes, and he wasn’t saved when he went on a totalitarian rampage in Geneva, if we’re measuring his life by his actions (fruit), which is a biblical measure.

    I don’t need to prove to you that John Calvin was born again, but unless you can prove that he wasn’t, at any point, a true believer, you should not make such claims. I would call that unfair and inappropriate.

    Ponder this. False teachers are described this way in the Scriptures:

    • They are ravenous wolves (Matthew 7:15-16)
    • They are practicers of lawlessness (Matthew 7:22-23)
    • They are hypocrites ( Matt 15:7-9)
    • They are thieves (John 10:1)
    • They are slaves of their own appetites (Romans 16:18)
    • They are men of flesh (1 Cor 3:1-4)
    • They are peddlers of the word of Christ(2 Cor 2:17)
    • They are accursed (Galatians 1:6-8)
    • They are tricksters and schemers (Ephesians 4:14)
    • They are deluders (Ephesians 4:14)
    • They are deceivers (Colossians 2:8)
    • They are defrauders (Colossians 2:18-19)
    • They are teachers of strange doctrine (1 Timothy 1:3)
    • They are blasphemers, and have been handed over to Satan (1 Timothy 1:19-20)
    • They are teachers of myth (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
    • They are paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons (1 Timothy 4:1-3)
    • They are liars (1 Timothy 4:1-3)
    • They are conceited and understand nothing (1 Timothy 6:3-4)
    • They have gone astray (1 Timothy 6:20-21)
    • They are evil men, deceiving and being deceived (2 Timothy 3:13)
    • They are empty talkers, after sordid gain (Titus 1:10-11)
    • They turn away from the truth (Titus 1:13-14)
    • They are false prophets, false teachers, greedy exploiters (2 Peter 2:1-4)
    • They are stains and blemishes, greedy, loving of wages of unrighteuosness (2 Peter 2:13-15)
    • They are slaves of corruption (2 Peter 2:19-20)
    • They are ungodly (Jude 4)
    • They are rebellious people (Isaiah 30:9)

    These previous statements describe Jean Calvin and all other false teachers. Do they sound saved to you?

    You’re entitled to your opinion, but the Institutes contain far more than just eisegesis and philosophy.

    And you are entitled to yours! Point out one thing that is authored by Calvin, himself, not something that is regurgitated from another source, that is properly exegeted. Everything he wrote goes to try to prove his bogus theology. I reject it all!

    Exactly my point. If they could preach truth while not living it, then why couldn’t John Calvin? (Again, the “they” refers to those Paul referred to who preached Christ out of wrong motives or a corrupt heart.

    Well, Ben, if the qualification here is that they must preach “truth,” you have your answer! Jean Calvin DID NOT PREACH TRUTH. He was a false teacher. Therefore, he should not be trusted. You want me to trust Calvin’s judgment and exegesis on the basis of what he got right instead of what he perverted? And I should be able to simply trust that? I don’t think so.

    This really gets back to the heart of the discussion. Despite your claims, Calvin was right about many things. He was right about those things despite his later actions. Therefore, it is not reasonable to discount his thoughts on election and predestination based on his later actions. Calvin’s later actions simply cannot disprove his thoughts on election and predestination. Here you talk about eisegesis and philosophy polluting his writing. Now, if that can be shown concerning predestination and election (and I believe it can), then that is the proper way to demonstrate that Calvin was wrong about predestination and election, and not by suggesting that he had to be wrong based on later sinful actions.

    Let me give you a counter example. John Wesley was a much better example of Christian character, would you agree? Would you say he was born again? I hope you would. Did you know that John Wesley held to infant baptism? Now, based on Wesley’s good Christian character, should we infallibly trust him that infant Baptism is the correct Scriptural view? After all, a good tree cannot produce bad fruit, can it? Surely you see how wrong it would be to assume that because Wesley was born again and had a good Christian character, that we should therefore assume he was right about all things pertaining to Scripture. If Wesley can be wrong, though born again, then Calvin can be right, even if his spiritual character is in question. The bottom line is that it is false to say that Calvin must have been wrong about election and predestination because he later persecuted heretics. Do you agree with that? If you do, then we are on the same page.

    John Wesley did not AUTHOR or SYSTEMETIZE the doctrine of infant baptism, Ben. He simply did not have the revelation at the time to properly understand a theology that contradicts sacramentalism. That’s like saying Paul was wrong to refer to “the last trump” in his writings, when John, in Revelation would refer to seven more trumpets that Paul didn’t know about when he wrote. Paul simply did not have all the information (revelation). Jean Calvin perverted the teachings of St. Augustine, which I believe were an appropriate response to Pelagian overreaction, by interjecting the philosophy of man. And, again, I believe history reveals that he did this NOT as a result of deception or lack of revelation, but purposely and intentionally.

    The Holy Spirit can certainly speak to us through many things and in many ways, but he cannot turn a lie into truth. The reason I have been blessed by some things Calvin wrote was because they were truth, and the Holy Spirit used that truth to minister to me.

    I doubt it! As I have stated, everything in Calvin’s writings need not be a lie in order for truth to be perverted. Why do you go on defending the musings of an unrepentant false prophet? I don’t get it!

    Were those grains of knowledge true or false? BTW, would you say that those people were born again even though they were wrong about certain aspects of theology? (This question refers to Hank Haanagraph, R.C. Sproul, Arthur Pink, and Charles Stanley.)

    The grains of knowledge, when quickened by the Holy Spirit, are true. And, yes, I believe these men are born again. Inasmuch as they’re not false teachers, then, yes, they are born again. But, again, I don’t credit their works for having provided me with grains of truth, but the Holy Spirit inside of me. I could have (and should have) received that truth from sources untainted by false teachings. At the time, I didn’t know better. Now, I do.

    Did the Spirit quicken to life words that were false? I would suspect you would say not. Therefore, despite their being wrong about certain areas of theology, they were right about what the Spirit quickened to life (since the Spirit will not quicken to life things that are false). So if the Spirit quickened to life things John Calvin said, as you seem to concede He can, then those things must have been true, which proves that Calvin was right about certain aspects of theology and did engage in sound exegesis at times. If he was right about those things, then he may have been right about predestination and election as well, and if he was right about those things despite his questionable character, then his questionable character alone cannot determine the truthfulness or faleshood of any of his writings.

    I have never said Calvin’s questionable character alone is enough to judge his theology. There is always the requirement to measure theology according to the teachings of Scripture. And I never conceded that the Holy Spirit “used” Calvinistic teachings to bring truth. The Holy Spirit didn’t quicken the words on the page, Ben, but the words inside your spirit. That’s what I said, if I’m not mistaken.

    I don’t see any redeeming quality whatsoever in Calvin’s works. He clearly did not have any deeper understanding of grace than anyone else. And, I contend that he was NOT right about theology, regardless of what modicum of truth he may have used to support his fallaceous doctrines of grace.

    I am not trying to separate a man’s works from his faith. I am simply making the point that people who are wrong about some things are not necessarily wrong about everything, and a person’s character alone does not make them wrong about a certain thing. The simple fact is that Calvin was right about some things, and therefore it is incorrect to assume he was wrong about election and predestination simply because he later persecuted heretics.

    We could come up with numerous similar examples. Luther was certainly right about many things though he later treated Jews with ungodly disdain. You concede that you have gleaned truth from Hank Hanegraaff. Are you not aware of the many lawsuits that have been filed against him and the many instances of fraud that he seems to be involved in? Even if he has not been convicted (I am not sure if he has been), he may be in the future. What if he is convicted? Will you say that he could not have been born again while writing many of his books? Will you say that he was wrong about everything he ever wrote on Scripture or spiritual matters? Will you say that the knowledge you gleaned from him was false, though the Spirit somehow quickened that falsehood into life? Do you see the problem here?

    I sure do. The problem, Ben, is that none of these men compare to Jean Calvin, in scope or context. Martin Luther was certainly not right in everything he did, however, he did not provide false teachings, that I am aware of. In fact, his was the boldness to nail the Theses to the door, however, to my knowledge, he represented a larger constituency than just himself. There’s historical record to prove that Luther acted consistently with being born again, committing many brave acts of valor in the name of the Lord. Certainly, I’m no historian and no expert on the life of Luther. However, I have NEVER read anything about Calvin that leads me to believe he ever was born again, much less a man of action for the Lord’s work!

    Hank Haanagraph has judged Pentecostal and Wesleyan things very, very harshly in his writings. It is sad that he is as deceived as he is. However, Hank has not provided the church with any doctrines or beliefs, on his own. His books may be filled with stereotypically hyped-up examples and eisegeted scripture (which is accursed in itself), but he’s not attempting to shape generations–just sell books. Do I know if he’s saved? No, I’m not sure. When I was younger I read a couple of his books, and I learned some things that were true that I did not know prior. And I learned some things I had to forget because they were lies. Indeed, I do not include any of Hank’s books in my library, because they are not trustworthy. And, indeed, I do know about what’s been happening in Hank’s legal world. It ALL plays into my ability to trust what he has written. The same goes for Jean Calvin. Not only is his theology really, really bad, but his character was such that I need to look no further for any “grains of truth” in his writings.

    Again, I am not defending any wicked thing that Calvin did. All I am saying is that his later actions do not necessarily testify that he was wicked while writing his Institutes, nor do they necessarily mean he was wrong about predestination or election.

    True. That’s very true. I take into consideration his life as a whole, since we have that ability with an accurate historical record and his own writings. It is clear to see that he was not a Christian in the former or the latter.

    Above, you said you couldn’t be sure if he was born again or not, but here you plainly say he was not born again. Which is it?

    Some of your comments seem to suggest that you believe that if someone is ever born again, they cannot fall away from the faith or ever do wicked things. Your statement of faith, however, says that you reject that doctrine. If you hold that a true believer can later abandon the faith, then you have no solid ground for affirming that Calvin was lost and unregenerate prior to the time when he began to persecute heretics. Calvin may have been truly regenerate, though mistaken about certain aspects of theology and philosophy, while writing his Institutes, and only later fell away upon allowing pride to infect him to the point of unbelief. We simply cannot know for certain, so I would advise you to be more careful in asserting that Calvin was never a saved man or a true believer. And if you want to say that his theology proves him unsaved, then you must also affirm that Calvinists, in general, are unsaved as well since they follow Calvin in his theology. I hope you would not suggest such things.

    I never said I did not know if Calvin was saved or not! I believe he was not. It’s as simple as that!

    Ben, simply because I know Calvin was not a Christian is absolutely no indication whatsoever that I believe in the heretical doctrine of Once Saved Always Saved! Many have been born again and have fallen away. In Calvin’s case however, I really do believe he was NOT born again, at least from the point he wrote the false doctrines of his “Institutes” forward.

    And, again, I never said Calvinists are accursed, Ben. However, I do believe those who hear the truth and refuse to accept it, even though it’s obvious and they know better, may indeed find their salvation in jeopardy. No doubt about it!

    You admonished me to “be careful.” I am, brother. I am very careful with my words. You should probably be more careful about whom you defend. Jesus, when he spoke about false teachers, did not defend them. He did not say we should find whatever truth we can inside a false teacher’s musings. No, indeed! We are to stay away from them. And, that’s what I encourage you to do! Stay away from Calvin. He’s a false teacher, proven in his exegesis AND his character.

    Was Judas a disciple of Jesus who was designated, by Christ, an apostle? (Mark 3:13-19) Did Jesus not commission him to preach the gospel? (Matt. 10) Later he became swollen with greed and betrayed the Lord (John 12:4-6; Luke 6:16), but that does not falsify the gospel he preached along with the other disciples prior to his sprirtual defection.

    Was Judas an apostle? Yes. Did Jesus commission him? Yes. Would we take Judas at his word today? No. Judas fell away from the faith. He was indeed saved. Then, through greed and betrayal, he fell away. Did he preach the gospel? Yes. Should we believe the gospel? Yes.

    Calvin did not preach the gospel. He was a FALSE TEACHER. We should not be listening to him. That’s scriptural.

    God bless!

    Al Christian, Pastor
    FUEL, Inc.
    Lawton, Oklahoma

  73. Al,

    I just noticed this and do not have time to respond right now, nor will I have opportunity to respond until at least next Monday (as I will be away from the computer until then). You mentioned that I sounded angry, and I just want to assure you that I am not angry. This is not something that gets me emotional. Maybe you are assuming that if someone strongly disagrees with you, that must mean they are angry. I don’t know, but I am not sure where you would get that idea otherwise. Anyway, I do intend to respond when I get the chance.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  74. Ben,

    Forgive me for not citing my source for the bulleted points in Paragraph 13 of my previous post. Those points were pulled from the following website: “http://thefoolishgalatian.wordpress.com/2007/06/18/what-the-bible-says-false-teachers-and-how-to-identify-them/”. I intended to cite that in the post. Thanks!

    Al Christian, Pastor
    FUEL, Inc.
    Lawton, Oklahoma

  75. Ben,

    I look forward to your response. And I am enjoying the debate. It sharpens my skills–which I’m sure could certainly use some sharpening.

    God bless you, brother.

    Al

  76. Ben,

    As a Calvinist I appreciate your rather rational treatise of the Servatus account-balanced and fair. I too have had my share of Calvinists consigning Arminius and said company to hell based on a subjective predilection contra Arminianism.

    I was directed to your comments when Josh and I were discussing the incident regarding Servatus. Blessings in Christ brother.

    -Scribe

  77. Al,

    Unfortunately, I will probably not get to your comments till later this week.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  78. Scribe,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Feel free to comment any time.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  79. the scriptures of the prophets bear record that Jesus is the messiah in isaiah 53 – the jews are the chosen people..Christ came for the lost sheep of the house of israel …. can calvinism get around this- no – though they the jews are the chosen people they still need to receive christ – if that doesnt get anybody out of the elitest minded cult of calvin- ..what will…?

  80. Hey Ben,

    I don’t need a response to those comments, brother. I have gone through a lot of your previous posts, refuting Calvinism from a biblical perspective–the best way to do it, in my opinion. My only point has been to take Calvin’s life into consideration when giving his message credence. It’s really not that important. I value greatly the wisdom and scholarship God has gifted you with, and would never dream of questioning what He has done through you.

    Be encouraged, brother, and keep up the most excellent work here. If I can help you in any way, please consider me a friend!

    God bless!

    Al Christian, Pastor
    FUEL, Inc.
    Lawton, Oklahoma

  81. Salvation is by faith alone, but salvation is also transformation. Works (however pitiful they may be in the eyes of God) are evidence of the transformation.

  82. http://ggg-123.blogspot.com/2009/10/paul-washer-predestination-and.html

    “God does not know the future because He’s looked ahead and seen it… God knows the future because He’s Lord over it, and directs every molecule, every fiber of being, every bit of matter towards the purpose He has ordained.”

    I have just read this and I couldn’t believe it. Has any support in the scriptures? It’s heresy isn’t it?

  83. sorry to disinform ..read pls Jacob! Salvation is by faith,but is followed by good works!! If u don’t have works and wothout the fruit of the Spirit,how can u say u are saved? U’re deceiving yourself!

  84. In simple mathematical form,
    Arminianism says this:
    Christ’s Atonement+Man’s Reception=Salvation

    Calvinism says this:
    Christ’s Atonement=Salvation

    The only donctrine that can truly claim to be “solely the work of God” is Calvinism, and the true biblical answer. No matter how it’s spun, an Arminian HAS to admit that SOMETHING is of themselves, namely their faith and belief. It cannot be spun any other way. Calvinists are forced to say that NOTHING is of themselves, not even that faith or belief.

    The confusion comes because Arm’s fail to recognize that WITHIN that “gift” IS faith and the belief in Him. So your reception of the gift is really a moot point. The analogy of a “gift” only goes so far- the point is to say it’s given to you, and not “earned”. So to take the analogy to the point of the “reception” being key in salvation is to rape the text of it’s purpose and intent.

    Having been a staunch Arminian for many, many years, it was not until I asked God to erase all that I THOUGHT I knew about the Word, and just READ IT, that He opened my eyes to many truths I had, for so long, blocked in my heart. Thank God that he is sovereign even over my false beliefs so that I can remain humble in my interpretation!
    -Tyler

  85. To add to my previous comment, the problem I came to was this: For the Arminian, the problem is explaining how it is not themselves earning, or even keeping their salvation, as God is the author and finisher of it.
    For the Calvinist, the problem is defining how it is not God, by eternal decree, forcing men to sin by His sovereign will.
    Hence, the crux.
    Luckily, we know from Isaiah that his ways are higher than ours, and his thoughts are above ours as high as the heavens are above the earth. I do not have to answer every doctrinal paradox, but I simply have to read the word and accept what it says. I cannot accept that I help earn my salvation, but I also cannot accept that I have no responsibility. But I simply have to trust that God is infinite in his justice and wisdom, and can sort this out in divine wisdom that I lack. If His word says I must believe, then I must. If it says I am predestined, then I am. If it says that I must do good works, then I will, and if it ways that the Spirit is a deposit, GUARANTEEING what is to come, then He is. PRAISE GOD!
    -Tyler

  86. Tyler,

    Thanks for stopping by. You wrote:

    In simple mathematical form,
    Arminianism says this:
    Christ’s Atonement+Man’s Reception=Salvation

    Calvinism says this:
    Christ’s Atonement=Salvation

    Our salvation is based on a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and the dynamics of relationships cannot be easily broken down into mathematical equations.

    However, while it is true that mans’ God enabled belief is part of the equation with regards to the application of God’s redemption, it does not follow that man’s God enabled faith is a meritorious work that “earns” salvation; nor does it follow that it is a “contribution” to salvation since God alone can ultimately save.

    Furthermore, your Calvinist equation, without qualification, would lead to the conclusion that the “elect” are saved even before putting faith in Jesus Christ, which is plainly unbiblical.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  87. Having been a staunch Arminian for many, many years, it was not until I asked God to erase all that I THOUGHT I knew about the Word, and just READ IT, that He opened my eyes to many truths I had, for so long, blocked in my heart. Thank God that he is sovereign even over my false beliefs so that I can remain humble in my interpretation!

    So “just reading” passages like John 3:16; 1 Tim. 2:4; 4:10; 1 John 2:2; Heb. 2:9, etc., led you away from your staunch Arminianism and into Calvinism? Fascinating.

  88. Self-proclaimed humility is not humility at all.

  89. Hello Ed,

    Is your above comment a response to Tyler when he wrote:

    “Thank God that he is sovereign even over my false beliefs so that I can remain humble in my interpretation!” ?

    Just wondering since you didn’t reference anything in particular.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  90. Ben,

    Sorry for not referencing that, but yes, I was responding to Tyler’s statement.

  91. Just some thoughts on the whole eternal security question
    from my meager understanding.

    Yes, it is possible to lose one’s salvation but it is
    very difficult. Someone who is truly born again and
    adopted can and should have assurance of their salvation,
    as scripture states.

    That doesn’t mean that a person won’t or can’t stray from
    the faith though. If it weren’t possible then we wouldn’t
    be encouraged to endure until the end.

    The marvelous thing about those who do stray though
    is that God will woo that person back, will chastise
    them and correct them through His spirit. Who among
    you haven’t felt the Lord’s chastening rod?
    I certainly have. Who among you can’t say, as Paul
    did, that you are indeed prisoners of Christ?
    If you are Christ’s, then you can indeed hear His voice.

    So how can you lose your salvation then? If someone
    persistently and defiantly walks away, grieves the
    Holy Spirit incessantly and truly abandons Jesus, then
    they have committed the only unforgiveable sin: the blasphemy
    of the Holy Spirit. Charles Templeton comes to mind
    as a tragic example of just such an occurrance.

    Now such people, who have tasted fully of Christ and
    then rejected Him cannot again be restored. After all,
    what could draw them back to the Son after they’ve fully
    tasted of His goodness and grace…but then rejected it?
    The ‘salt’ would have lost it’s flavor. As Jesus said,
    how can it again be salted? [Matthew 5:13].

    Jesus would never appear precious to Charles Templeton
    again, despite his profound knowledge of the scriptures
    and of God’s love. Charles Templeton died in 2001,
    having rejected the deity and atoneing work of Jesus.

    I’m no theologian but this is how I harmonize the scriptures
    reassurances, warnings and finally, the blasphemy of the
    Holy Spirit together. It’s the only way that all three
    of those can be fitted together.

    Anyway, If I’m wrong, then please point out my error
    and guide me to the truth. If I’m right, then put on
    the whole armor of God and resist the temptation to
    stray with all your heart, mind and strength. Heed the
    scripture’s warnings and fight the good fight,
    as Paul called it. Fight!

    In Christ alone,

    David

  92. Paul Washer is obviously a Calvinist without doubt. His teaching clearly reveals it. He is from reformed background. He preaches as we all should preach: with passion for God’s glory. This passion is indepdent from our Calvinism or Arminianism, as he also notes when he says: Calvinism is not the issue.

    Regards

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