More On the Authorship of Sin

A few weeks ago I wrote on a fallacy common to Calvinist apologetics, namely, that they often claim that while they teach exhaustive determinism, they still claim that God isn’t the author of sin. It garnered substantially more responses than I expected. To clarify things and answer some common questions/objections, I’m putting together a synopsis of the relevant arguments (this is part 1).

Moral problems?

I often see Calvinists attempting to establish that the Arminian view of God isn’t superior to their “God decreeing all sin” doctrine by implying that the former also has ‘moral problems.’ The argument in a nutshell essentially says that, “God knew when He created man that His creation would fall into wickedness, He also has power to prevent it from occurring, yet instead allows it to happen, therefore God is morally responsible for not preventing said evil.” Paul Helm expresses this objection in a response to Peter Byrne,

“…is God’s end not sullied and dirtied by Him permitting and upholding evildoers? …. Is not God flawed by the most terrible deception because He could not tell Himself that He did not allow the death camps as an evil but only as part of an outweighing good? …. In my view, Byrne’s deployment of the principle of double effect has failed to show that God’s responsibility for sin and evil is significantly morally different in the case of libertarian theism than it is in that of compatibilist theism.” (Helm, P. “God, compatibilism, and the authorship of sin:Theodicy,” par. 9)

The problem with Helm’s logic is that there isn’t anything in the scriptures or logical analysis of the facts indicating that God is somehow responsible for preventing people from committing evil of their own accord.

Exhaustive determinists will sometimes intuitively appeal to the fact that people have some extent of moral obligation to prevent wickedness when possible. While this is often true, it has to do with one’s level of obligation to stop the act from occurring, so would naturally not apply where no such obligations exist. For instance, a common parenting technique for stubborn young children who don’t take correction is to sometimes let them have what they think they want (e.g. eating too many cookies) with the inevitable unpleasant result of their disobeying mommy and daddy following. For such situations, parents aren’t obligated to stop their kids from disobeying them. They have the responsibility from God to teach their children to do right (which often entails discipline), but can’t be called morally responsible for not preventing the act of disobedience to begin with. So preventing evil from occurring isn’t an absolute moral imperative.

To get around this, some Calvinists raise dramatic counter-examples about a man not actually committing, but allowing (for example) a mass-murder to take place while not preventing it when he has power to. Indeed this would generally be wrong for people, but this ultimately tells us nothing about God. We as people aren’t God, we don’t hold the absolute power of life and death, therefore it’s generally not our place to decide who dies even by way of passivity, and thus we’re under general obligation to save human life if we can, except in cases such as just execution by higher authorities. God, on the other hand, has absolute power over life and death from the littlest babe to the mightiest warrior to the loftiest king to the oldest sage. He’s not required to prevent death, harm, pain or destruction without authorization by some higher authority, because He is the final Authority. I do believe that God’s attribute of justice does compel Him to settle the accounting of sin, but there’s no evidence of any principle of obligation making Him morally responsible to prevent us from harming each other or ourselves.

On a personal level, this strikes me as among the most ridiculous of assertions. Trying to hold another (God, no less) responsible for one’s own self-induced stupidity is the pinnacle of absurdity. Your own wrongdoing really is your choice, God didn’t make you do it, didn’t tempt you to do it, and isn’t subject to some immutable law that says He has to stop you from doing it. The one responsible is you. This Calvinist attempt to highlight ‘moral problems’ in Arminian theodicy is nothing more than a smokescreen and lame excuse for their own unsalvageable theodicy. It’s more or less a “your theology is kind of like mine” defense that relies upon taking the concept of God allowing people to commit sin for a period prior to their judgment, and trying to morally equate it with God masterminding all their sin!

Such a defense is little more than trying to apply an arbitrary standard to God to justify the ridiculous notion of Him being the author of everything He finds abominable. Despite their attempts to confuse the issue, it boils down to the options of God leaving men to their own wicked devices (a good method of discipline and/or justice) versus God Himself producing their wicked devices for them (to quote Dordt, “a blasphemous thought”), and there simply is no comparison. Logically, it can only be concluded then that there is no moral problem with God allowing libertarian agents to commit evil of their own accord.

“Authorship” through prior knowledge?

A related assertion is that God in the Arminian view still is the de facto author of sin, because He created the world as it is [set the initial conditions] knowing that there would be evil in it due to peoples’ choices. Essentially stating that God knew the results of His creating the world, and is therefore still the author of evil in some sense. For starters, the sinful thoughts, intentions etc aren’t generated by God; their existence (and hence God’s knowledge of them as well) are from within and are entirely contingent upon His creations, hence God can’t rightly be called the author of what doesn’t proceed from within Himself.

But God still knew the outcome of creating this world, wouldn’t that make Him the author in some sense? Not at all. Prior knowledge of some agent authoring a thing doesn’t constitute authorship by the one who knew it. Even if I know with absolute infallibility that the next Twilight novel will be sophomoric and shallow, this doesn’t imply that I’m somehow making Stephenie Meyer develop one-dimensional cliche characters and idiot plots. Consider the example of a chess master who can (by whatever means) perfectly anticipate an opponent’s move. He sets up a gambit knowing the counter-move his opponent will make as a result. Did the chess master ‘author’ his opponent’s move by virtue of knowing it and setting a condition by which it would occur? Hardly. The opponent’s own move is still his own move; neither the chess master’s knowledge nor his own moves are relevant to who actually authored his opponent’s moves. To declare that God in framing the world (analogous to His ‘initial move’ with respect to us) somehow makes Him the author of what He knew would be our resulting free choices would be falls into this same trap of illogicality and equivocation.

To reiterate the definition, the author of a thing is the one in whom a concept originates; one who is the sole determiner of a thing can be none other than its author. Salvation for instance, was God’s idea, hence God is the author of the faith of Christ and salvation through Him (Heb 5:9, 12:2), but not the author of sin. Amusingly, in response to my article, more than one Calvinist cited the preceding verses to prove that the definition of author ‘backfires’ against my view of conditional election, because, you know, like,

sole-determiner -> author
clearly means that,
author -> sole-determiner

(Discerning the obvious fundamental flaw in the above logic is left as an exercise to the reader.)

A relevant counter-example

This is a slightly modified example I gave in the combox to demonstrate the inoperability of the exhaustive determinist arguments to real situations:

Suppose programmer P works for the FBI and is (with the bureau’s approval) laying a trap for a cyber-terrorist suspect S. Let’s say he’s deduced from the suspect’s postings on a message board that the suspect wishes to destroy government databases and would do so once he finds opportunity. Let’s also say he writes database maintenance utility T, and on that message board offers it to S, anticipating that he’ll use the utility to break into one of their databases and wreak havoc. P, anticipating an attack, securely backs up the system so he can restore it in case of failure, and (again with authorization) leaves the database unsecured and vulnerable to attack. In spite of numerous built-in clear warning messages and safeguards within the utility, S misuses T and writes a script that destroys the unsecured database (effect E), but is caught red-handed in the process by P (who is monitoring the situation as it occurs). The location of S is pinpointed, and agents sent to arrest him shortly afterward. P restores the database, good guys win, all is well. Are there any viable objections to P’s actions or anything to implicate him as the actual author of E?

Did the programmer allow the attack? Yes.
Is the programmer breaking the law in allowing this to occur? No, he is authorized to do so in this example.
Did he provide the suspect with the means to break the law? Yes.
Could the attack have occurred without the programmer making his utility? S doesn’t have the know-how by himself; assume ‘no’ for sake of argument.
Did he know the suspect would use it for that purpose? Given S’s postings, we can assume ‘yes’ for sake of argument; note also that P watched the crime occur.
Was the criminal act inherent or necessary to the design of the programmer’s utility? No.
Who misused the utility for an evil purpose? The suspect.
Is the programmer then responsible for the suspect’s misuse of his utility? No.
Can the programmer then truly be called the “author of the suspect’s crime?” Not at all.

P could have been somewhat morally responsible (undue endangerment of government property) for the results if he didn’t have authority to leave the database vulnerable; but since he did, then he can’t be culpable for the crime in any sense. Why is P not responsible for suspect S’s crimes? E did come about because P created T, right? Doesn’t matter. Crime E wasn’t inherent to P’s design of T; committing E or refraining from doing so was strictly up to S -P’s correctly anticipating his move beforehand doesn’t change that fact.

By the same logic:
Did God allow sin to occur? Yes.
Is God committing some moral wrong by allowing sin to occur? No, God is free to allow anything He wishes (take it up with Him if you disagree).
Did God give men and angels power to rebel? Yes.
Could we have rebelled if God had not chosen to create us? No.
Did God know sin would come about due to free agents’ choices? Yes.
Was their rebellion inherent/necessary to His design? No.
Who misused free will for an evil purpose? Satan, the angels who joined him, and later Adam & Eve.
Is God then culpable for our misuse of free agency? No.
Can God then truly be called the “author of sin” in a free will theodicy? Not at all.

This analogy was similar in nature to my ‘who authored the crime’ post. Also of note is the fact that if the misdeed in the analogy above had been somehow inherent or necessary to the design of the programmer’s utility, then the programmer himself could in fact be rightly charged with authoring the crime.

Bottom Line:

* There’s no evidence of God having any obligation to stop us from sinning (and incurring its consequences).

* One being’s prior knowledge of another being authoring a thing doesn’t constitute the knower being the author.

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90 Responses

  1. J.C.

    Do you believe it possible to believe in libertarian free will and still be a 5 point Calvinist? I think I remember you saying yes once, but my computer crashed and I lost all so I cannot go and look it up.

    If yes, any that have written on it and how they view the sovereignty of God at work?

  2. JC, I love when someone gets some incidental Twilight bashing into one of their posts. Brilliant!

  3. My first question is, who declared absolutely that authorship of sin = DOER of sin?

    If by author of sin it is meant that God decrees sin for His own reasons and purposes, then I of course have no problem with that, because it’s what the Bible clearly teaches.

    But why do non-Calvinists bring author of sin to mean the same thing as “doer of sin”

    God cannot sin, he cannot be a “doer” of sin. He cannot commit sins.

    In all of these author of sin articles, nobody ever stops to define it. It’s just a scary sounding word that is tossed out there to add dramatic effect. Sort of like adding “hyper” at the beginning of something.

  4. If God comes up with particular sins for someone else to do, that seems to be sinning.

  5. I mean saying God being the author of a sin means He is not actually doing a sin is like saying a puppeteer using a puppet to rob a bank isn’t the puppeteer’s doing.

  6. “Was their rebellion inherent/necessary to His design? No.”

    I disagree.

    I firmly believe that Christ and His glorification was the supreme goal behind God’s creation of the universe. The Bible says that salvation is “to the praise of His glorious grace”. I believe this was plan A, not plan B. So Christ being glorified as the saviour, and God’s mercy and grace being glorified necessitated that sin exist.

    To say anything else is to say that Christ’s glory and God’s glory was “plan B” and wasn’t the supreme Goal of the universe”

    In other words, sin didn’t necessitate grace’s glorification – grace’s glorification necessitated sin.

  7. PS, I don’t think you even read the post, since it deals with what you’re saying. Hard to learn when you don’t read.

  8. As I showed in this post using second causes doesn’t abdicate responsibility for something. If God is the author of sin, then He alone is responsible for that sin, and placing the blame on creatures who sin incidentally due to a decree of God would truly make Him a morally questionable being.

  9. Did God come up with the particular sin of Christ being murdered, by certain people?

    The act itself was determiend by God: evil things done to Christ

    And not only that, but the persons who did the act were determined by God as well; “Herod, Pilate, Jews and Gentiles”

  10. Boss, I would agree; he’s just exhibiting the standard knee-jerk reactions.

    1. The word ‘doer’ appears nowhere in the article.

    2. The Bible never teaches that God decrees sin itself (though He obviously makes use of its results when men commit it).

    3. I did define author of sin in the previous article and reiterate it in this one.

  11. We’ve discussed this already. He didn’t author the intents of the individuals; He authored a situation. God can’t author murder, because murder is an explicit contradiction of His nature, as seen in the ten commandments. God authored a just punishment for sin in the crucifixion of His Son, but not the murderous actions of individuals.

  12. So God wanted Christ to die, but who killed him, and how, wasn’t part of the plan?

  13. I bet you already know how I’d answer that, since I’ve done it about a billion times. Instead of running down these rabbit holes in your thinking, read the post and focus on that. Mull it around in your mind, and then react to the point in the post, not these red herring/straw men that you constantly return to.

  14. “1. The word ‘doer’ appears nowhere in the article. ”

    That’s irrelevent.

    Until you can show how author of sin is the same as actually actually committing sin, there is no moral dilemma at all.

    God can do anything, except sin, and everything he does is just and right.

    If authoring sin isn’t “doing sin”, then you have no argument. You’d only have an argument is if “authoring sin” is a sin itself.

    So I guess that leaves the question, is authoring sin itself a sin?

    It didn’t seem to be in Acts 4:27-28

  15. “God can do anything, except sin, and everything he does is just and right.”

    If God is simply acting in the world through proximate causes, then He is sinning. Authoring sin is doing sin, albeit through a secondary cause. Just as the author of a book is responsible for the book’s content, so too would be the author of a sin.

  16. Part of God’s book was Herod and Pilate doing evil against Christ.

    = God’s a sinner?

  17. You’re just ignoring my already stated solution to that, which shows that you have nothing here. Thanks for trying.

  18. Well, thanks for your time.

    At least ONE of us brought scripture into the debate.

  19. J:”Until you can show how author of sin is the same as actually actually committing sin, there is no moral dilemma at all.”

    The very idea that sin proceeds from God is itself scripturally problematic. God planning Christ’s death and employing the sins of Herod/Pilate/Caiaphas/etc says nothing about Him decreeing their sins.

  20. I’m glad that at the end of the day, Christ being glorified as Saviour was plan A, not plan B.

  21. “God planning Christ’s death and employing the sins of Herod/Pilate/Caiaphas/etc says nothing about Him decreeing their sins.”

    So Herod and Pilate were going to kill Christ anyways, and God then employed it as His plan?

    If they were going to do it anyways, what more does God need to do? What “employing” is needed at this point? None whatsoever.

    What you’re saying is that God employs someone Else’s plan as his own,and then passes it off as his own plan.

    That makes God a liar.

  22. “2. The Bible never teaches that God decrees sin itself (though He obviously makes use of its results when men commit it).”

    Isaiah 53:10 “Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;” Who killed Christ? God did. Was it God’s intention from the very beginning to propitiate his wrath on Christ or not?

    You guys act as though God simply foresaw the situation, and decided to react to it and use it for good. Of course God makes use of sin’s results when men commit it… that’s isn’t even debatable. The question is, why do the men commit it in the first place? Why did men kill Christ? Christ was killed because God determined Christ would be murdered at the hands of his creation. God himself defined the acceptable criteria for atonement. “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” – Heb. 9:22 God decided that it takes the slaughter of a life to atone for sins. It didn’t just happen to work out this way. Therefore, God determined that Christ would act as that atoning sacrifice, and in order to do that he must be murdered and his blood must be shed. How in the world would that ever be possible without determining the actual situation and people that would accomplish it? Do you guys seriously think God centers all of his plans around what his creation does? So weak…

  23. Joseff, they could not have killed Christ is God had not sent Him and given them power to do so. It’s quite common to factor in and employ an enemy’s action (or reaction) into one’s own plan. Your foregone conclusion that this would make God a liar is quite incoherent.

  24. I’m only concerned with making God’s predestined plan of Christ being murdered by Herod and Pilate, ACTUALLY his predestined plan. Not his plan that was formulated only after he learned what creatures would do.

  25. Nothing in God’s plan being predestinated would exclude the employment of His foreknowledge.

    “Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death…” (Acts 2:23)

    It’s all there in the book.

  26. But then again, this all assumes that what is meant by foreknowledge is what you say it means.

    If it doesn’t mean what you say it means, then that changes things a lot doesn’t it? It’s the foundation of the entire worldview.

  27. What else would ‘foreknow’ mean other than to know before in this context?

  28. Brandon,

    BG:Was it God’s intention from the very beginning to propitiate his wrath on Christ or not?

    Yes.

    BG:You guys act as though God simply foresaw the situation…

    No, we believe He arranged the situation and players involved accordingly without having to mastermind the evil motives of the sinners involved.

    BG:why do the men commit it in the first place?

    Because they choose to.

    BG:Why did men kill Christ?

    Because He was righteous and they weren’t.

    BG:Christ was killed because God determined Christ would be murdered at the hands of his creation.

    Yes, and He was also killed because of men’s own murderous intents. A thing can have more than one cause behind it.

    BG:It didn’t just happen to work out this way.

    No one’s arguing that.

    BG:How in the world would that ever be possible without determining the actual situation and people that would accomplish it?

    Middle knowledge.

    BG:Do you guys seriously think God centers all of his plans around what his creation does?

    No, but I also don’t believe God authors sin, therefore the wickedness of men that He turns to His own ends originates in corruptible creatures, not the Holy God.

  29. JC, Sorry but your one line answers are careless and shoddy to say the least.

    “No, we believe He arranged the situation and players involved accordingly without having to mastermind the evil motives of the sinners involved.”

    So God arranged the situation and the people involved to kill Christ. Does that mean they would’ve killed Christ without God arranging it? Since according to Arminians God doesn’t will sin on any level, did God arrange the situation and people involved to kill Christ and at the same exact time think “If they do exactly what I have arranged them to do THEY WILL BE ACTING AGAINST MY WILL TOTALLY I HOPE THEY DON’T DO IT.”

    “Because they choose to.”

    Why do they choose to? Please don’t tell me I’m begging the question.

  30. “No, we believe He arranged the situation and players involved accordingly without having to mastermind the evil motives of the sinners involved.”

    Furthermore, did God “mastermind” the whole notion of atonement and what that looks like? Did God not decide that atonement would require killing something? Was God hoping that Christ would die by some other means like a heart attack? How do you say that God determined the crucifixion without saying that God determined the sin that was required to execute the crucifixion?

  31. Brandon,

    BG:Does that mean they would’ve killed Christ without God arranging it?

    That would be difficult since they had no power to. I can’t even make sense of that reasoning.

    BG:”THEY WILL BE ACTING AGAINST MY WILL TOTALLY I HOPE THEY DON’T DO IT.”

    No, God hates sin, but has a higher priority of people being saved. When you can quit fabricating dumb caricatures and actually try to understand the issue, you might get somewhere.

    BG:Why do they choose to?

    You’re begging the question of determinism.

    BG:How do you say that God determined the crucifixion without saying that God determined the sin that was required to execute the crucifixion?

    I already told you: middle knowledge. Thank-you for providing firm proof that you have no grasp of the issue.

  32. “No, God hates sin, but has a higher priority of people being saved.”

    Ok, well I’m glad you’re willing to admit that God wills sin in order for people to be saved. I’ve actually never seen an Arminian admit that before.

    “You’re begging the question of determinism.”

    I’ve read your article before. The problem is your whole argument assumes that LFW is true. So yeah, on that basis you could say I’m begging the question, but unfortunately LFW doesn’t exist, so no, I’m not begging the question.

    It’s completely absurd to say that ‘free will is subject to influence’, for that contradicts the very definition of freedom. To the degree that your decision was influenced by an external factor, to that same degree your decision wasn’t made from a state of indifference. Every decision you make is preceded by a decision to make that decision all the way back to the very first decision in the sequence of decisions made ad infinitum, and unless you can prove that very first decision was made from a state of autonomous self-determination, you have nothing but unfounded assumptions. So yeah, I guess if we all assume LFW, I’m begging the question. But like I said, a universe with LFW doesn’t exist. Therefore, you have no argument.

  33. Bossman, to answer your question, “to know before” is just fine. All you did was provide the definition. The issue is “what does it mean for God to know a person?”

    The word “foreknow” in Greek is also the same as “foreordained” (see proginosko in 1 Pet 1:2 and 1:20)

    In other words, God’s knowledge is an active, determining thing, not a passive intellectual gathering of information.

    God’s foreknowledge of individuals resulted in their justification and glorification (Rom 8)

    God’s “definite plan and foreknowledge” resulted in Christ being killed by Herod and Pilate. (Acts 2 and 4)

    We are elect according to God’s foreknowledge for obedience (not because of our obedience). In other words, being foreknown resulted in obedience, not vice versa.

    God’s foreknowledge in these verses is a verb, not a noun.

    For more info:

    http://www.icstc.com/bg/will/fore.html

    http://www.smallings.com/LitEng/Essays/Foreknowledge.html

    There’s simply no exegetical evidence that foreknowledge means mere prescience. Every single time in the Bible that persons are the object of God’s “knowledge”, it never, ever refers to prescience, but always means an intimate relationship.

    “I never knew you”
    “The Lord knows those who are His”
    “You only have I known…”
    “I know my own and my own know me, just as I know the Father”

    When God knows a person, it is an action on God’s part, not a passive intellectual gathering of some kind of information.

  34. Joseff, that’s incorrect. 1 Peter 1:2 is referring to prescience, not foreordination. I address some of the common Calvinist fallacies about foreknowledge here and here.

    J:There’s simply no exegetical evidence that foreknowledge means mere prescience.

    That is its base meaning of the word prognosis, the burden of proof is on you to prove that it means otherwise in a given context.

    J:Every single time in the Bible that persons are the object of God’s “knowledge”, it never, ever refers to prescience, but always means an intimate relationship.

    “But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you.” (John 5:42)

  35. “You’re begging the question of determinism.”

    Even though I’ve already demonstrated this accusation is based on a huge unproven assumption, you can accuse me of this all you want… but at the end of the day, since according to you God’s grace in salvation is merely necessary and not sufficient to bring a person to saving faith in Christ, you must admit that the difference between you and the unbeliever who perishes in hell is you. Even if you determined the choice yourself, you still made the difference.

  36. “Bossman, to answer your question, “to know before” is just fine. All you did was provide the definition. The issue is “what does it mean for God to know a person?””

    This passage isn’t even about election! There’s no possible way that it could have that meaning when speaking about knowing what people would do beforehand. And 1 Peter 1:2 is translated ‘foreknowledge.’

    “There’s simply no exegetical evidence that foreknowledge means mere prescience. ”

    There is right here in the passage we’re talking about.

  37. In this passage you have Jesus “delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God.” Luke separates the knowledge and the pre-planning. Furthermore, the passage says about the pharisees, “YOU nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.”

  38. “Even though I’ve already demonstrated this accusation is based on a huge unproven assumption, you can accuse me of this all you want”

    Where’d you do that?

  39. “you must admit that the difference between you and the unbeliever who perishes in hell is you”

    Wow, it’s almost like free will, by definition, means you determine what you yourself will do…

  40. Let me assume for the moment that the person is the self-determinate cause of all his actions (making him libertarian free), could we not say that the person *IS* the problem? That the source of choosing has been corrupted and it yields only evil?

    What I struggle with is that the while the choice matters the thing that matters more seems to be the motive behind the choice. So Blake can choose to have his kid eat all the cookies he wants, if his motive is to teach and instruct then it is good but if his motive is he is to lazy to fix them a proper meal and lets them fend for themselves then it is bad.

    Another problem I’m grappling with when it comes to LFW is that it is all based on the actualization of a choice, yet the Bible tells me that I need not actualize a choice for me to be found guilty. Example, say Blake has been fantasying about a co-worker, they have been flirting and seem on the verge to sleep together. At the last minute Blake decides that it is not worth it and does not follow through on the actual adultery. The way I understand libertarian free will we would have to conclude that Blake is innocent of adultery, yet in the eyes of God he is counted as an adulterer.

    That is why I’m thinking that while the actualization of the choice is important the more important thing is the motive behind it and I do not see how libertarian free will addresses that.

    Any help would be appreciated.

  41. “Wow, it’s almost like free will, by definition, means you determine what you yourself will do…”

    So, since you’re the difference between you and a person who goes to hell, how can you claim that you’re saved by grace alone? You’re not saved by grace alone. You’re saved by grace + you. Grace isn’t sufficient to do anything. All grace does for you is make salvation possible. You can’t deny this when you just admitted that you made the difference in your salvation.

    I know for me personally, I would not believe the gospel and see my desperate need for Christ if God didn’t make the difference. It’s because of grace that I have faith. Grace necessitates faith in my case. I’m thankful that I’m totally dependent on God for my salvation because I know that I have absolutely nothing to offer. I’m also thankful because when God saves me, he gets all the glory. He even gets glory for the faith I have right now as I type this because he’s supplying it! I can’t even believe or have faith unless God changes my heart and gives me faith and causes me to persevere.

    I gotta give you props man… I can’t produce faith like you can. I need God for everything. Give yourself a pat on the back. You deserve it!

  42. “So, since you’re the difference between you and a person who goes to hell, how can you claim that you’re saved by grace alone?”

    How couldn’t I? Couldn’t gifts be offered to people on the provision that they accept the gift? Would that mean you somehow earned the gift? That makes no sense.

  43. Brandon, you’d think you’d get a new game after all this time. You’re still using the same tired pop-Calvinista arguments, and the same emotive rhetorical techniques, from when you first started arguing with me. Get some actual arguments.

  44. Mitch…choosing to fantasize in one’s mind and then carrying that fantasy to the brink of an actual physical sexual act would still be committing adultery in the heart…Where did you get your ridiculous notion from? It wasn’t from any Arminian on this planet.

  45. Brandon,

    BG:The problem is your whole argument assumes that LFW is true.

    It’s in reply to a question assuming LFW for sake of argument, hence such an assumption is only fair.

    BG:but unfortunately LFW doesn’t exist….

    Yes it does. We’ve been over this before Brandon, 1 Cor 10:13 plainly does establish that believers do have contrary choice to avoid sinning; this was shown repeatedly to you and you were left with no rebuttal -from your wording you apparently agreed with me.

    BG:It’s completely absurd to say that ‘free will is subject to influence’, for that contradicts the very definition of freedom.

    False. ‘Independence’ isn’t the same thing as ‘indifference.’ Further proven ludicrous in that freedom allows one to follow one influence over another.

    BG:…you must admit that the difference between you and the unbeliever who perishes in hell is you.

    Discounting of course that whole process of actual ‘salvation’ that happens after one receives Christ.

    BG:…how can you claim that you’re saved by grace alone?

    ‘Grace alone’ refers to its standing apart from merit, it doesn’t preclude willing belief any more than it precludes the cross.

    BG:…I know that I have absolutely nothing to offer.

    Get

    BG:…he gets all the glory.

    some

    BG:I can’t even believe or have faith unless God changes my heart

    new

    BG:I can’t produce faith like you can.

    material.

  46. “How couldn’t I? Couldn’t gifts be offered to people on the provision that they accept the gift? Would that mean you somehow earned the gift? That makes no sense.”

    Boss, you know as well as I do you’re ignoring the elephant in the room. You have said on many occasions that faith in not a gift. You believe faith is something you produce and offer God. Therefore, your salvation from beginning to end is not 100% God’s grace. Sure, God’s grace plays a vital part, but you by your self-wrought faith complete it. Again, I say congrats!

    “You’re still using the same tired pop-Calvinista arguments, and the same emotive rhetorical techniques, from when you first started arguing with me. Get some actual arguments.”

    No, I’m still exposing the gross logical conclusions of your theology. I’m sorry you don’t like the sound of it. I don’t either. But responding like this doesn’t refute anything I’ve said… this is all just subjective opinion you’re giving me. So, why don’t you take your own advice and get some actual arguments?

  47. Boss,

    Boss,

    Where did I get that “ridiculous notion from?”

    I’m asking a question about how the libertarian action theory of the will accounts for motives? Do you disagree that in the example that under libertarian view the person would be innocent?

    In the end isn’t LFW all based on actualizing the choice, but if that is not the deciding factor of guilt or innocence then how does LFW help?

    Do you agree that motives are more important? Also what are your thoughts on the view that the person is the problem when it comes choosing? I said that the person is the originator of his thoughts and actions, but that he is corrupted or damaged to only go one way.

    Not sure why my post was deleted, but hopefully since I’m interacting with you instead of J.C. this will stand.

  48. JC:

    “It’s in reply to a question assuming LFW for sake of argument, hence such an assumption is only fair.”

    It’s not fair, because I never assumed LFW. You did.

    I don’t quite understand why you continue to quote 1 Cor. 10:13. What are you suggesting? That humans are able to live perfectly sinless lives if they desire to? Do you not agree that all humans must sin by necessity? If so, how do you reconcile that with 1 Cor. 10:13? Obviously that verse is not speaking in view of God’s eternal decree. It’s speaking in human terms from a human perspective. When faced with a situation whereby I have a decision to make, whether to sin or not to sin, there is always a way out. For example, say there’s a new movie that my flesh is tempted to go see, but I believe that God would not have me go watch this movie because it’s full of sinful activity. Do I have a way of escape? Absolutely. If I go against my conscience and watch the movie anyway, then am convicted afterward and repent of my sin, I can look back and say “Yep, there was a way out and I didn’t take it.” Your whole argument that in the determinist’s view I didn’t really have a choice since God determined I would fall into that sin from eternity past is no better than saying a person who perishes by God’s eternal decree really didn’t have a choice to be saved.

    “Discounting of course that whole process of actual ‘salvation’ that happens after one receives Christ.”

    I believe I understand properly, and correct me if I’m wrong, that you say salvation is 100% grace, if we define salvation as starting at the point of death. But if we define salvation’s starting place as the moment a person places saving faith in Christ, you cannot say salvation is 100% by grace alone. Grace is necessary, but not sufficient. Grace can only bring you up to the door, but does not bring you through the door. You must bring yourself through the door. Right?

  49. Brandon,

    BG:It’s not fair, because I never assumed LFW.

    Then your question is rhetorically irrelevant –besides assuming without warrant that choices must have some external predetermining factor.

    BG:What are you suggesting?

    That God allows believers to escape each temptation they face (regardless of whether or not they employ it), which exhaustive determinism implicitly denies.

    BG:It’s speaking in human terms from a human perspective.

    And exactly what purpose would deceptively making Christians think they can escape from our various temptations (despite being irresistibly decreed to fall to many) serve?

    BG:Obviously that verse is not speaking in view of God’s eternal decree.

    It’s speaking in terms of what God does for us.

    BG:…I can look back and say “Yep, there was a way out and I didn’t take it.”

    Not from a determinist perspective; if the event is divinely necessary, you might as well be tied to the chair, because there is no truly possible way of escaping at all.

    BG:But if we define salvation’s starting place as the moment a person places saving faith in Christ, you cannot say salvation is 100% by grace alone.

    As opposed to salvation by merit, I very well can.

    BG:Grace is necessary, but not sufficient.

    It requires faith and perseverance. The scriptures command us, “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled….” (Heb 12:14-15). Earlier, the reference is made in ch 10 about men insulting the Spirit of grace. Grace doesn’t compel one to be saved, it can be rejected.

  50. “Then your question is rhetorically irrelevant –besides assuming without warrant that choices must have some external predetermining factor.”

    You and I live in two different worlds. In my world, LFW doesn’t exist. Therefore, in my world I am not begging the question because I don’t assume LFW to be true in the first place. If I lived in your world you could properly accuse me of it. Since I reject LFW, you can safely assume from now on that nothing I say assumes LFW is true.

    “which exhaustive determinism implicitly denies.”

    Determinism also denies something you believe, which is that things in this universe happen apart from God’s will.

    “And exactly what purpose would deceptively making Christians think they can escape from our various temptations (despite being irresistibly decreed to fall to many) serve?”

    There’s nothing deceptive about it. You seem to find fault with me because I believe that all men by necessity must sin, or as you put it all men are irresistably decreed to fall. So, can I safely assume you’re a closet case Pelagian who believe men are born innocent and can live sinless lives?

    “Not from a determinist perspective; if the event is divinely necessary, you might as well be tied to the chair, because there is no truly possible way of escaping at all.”

    This is just dumb fatalistic rhetoric. Nothing contrary to God’s sovereign decree can happen from a determinst perspective… so I guess in that sense I can do nothing but be a believer in Christ. I have no problem with that. I still willingly do the things I do. If you have a philosohpical problem with that discuss it with God.

    “As opposed to salvation by merit, I very well can.”

    Just like Boss, you’re ignoring the elephant in the room. I find it so amazing that Arminians love to toot the “I’m 100% saved by grace” horn alongside the Calvinists, and use all the same lofty God-glorifying language Calvinists use giving God 100% of the credit for their being a believer in Christ and at the same exact time will fight tooth and nail to defend the fantasy that they produced the faith that is saving them out of self-determination. You know as well as I do in your system grace only brings you to a certain point, and then it’s up to you to provide the decisive impulse that brings you from lost to saved. You cannot give God credit for that because you demand you did it yourself. Please just do everyone a favor and be honest.

  51. Brandon,

    BG:In my world, LFW doesn’t exist.

    Then your asking me what causes it to choose one way or another is pointless, since you’re essentially asking me about a view that isn’t my own.

    BG:…which is that things in this universe happen apart from God’s will.

    Apart from God’s permission, no. Apart from what He ideally wants, yes. “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality….” (1 Th 4:3)

    BG:Nothing contrary to God’s sovereign decree can happen from a determinst perspective

    Including believers having any hope of escaping their predetermined sins. My point is thus proven.

    BG:You know as well as I do in your system grace only brings you to a certain point…

    Ignoring the scriptures I cited about resisting grace and the relevant argument that grace alone necessarily wouldn’t preclude willing belief. You can’t deal with the scriptures or fact, you’re simply repeating the same fallacies.

    BG:So, can I safely assume you’re a closet case Pelagian who believe men are born innocent and can live sinless lives?

    I didn’t even make mention of the unsaved. Can the straw men.

  52. “Including believers having any hope of escaping their predetermined sins. My point is thus proven.”

    Is it predetermined that all humans will sin?

    “Ignoring the scriptures I cited about resisting grace and the relevant argument that grace alone necessarily wouldn’t preclude willing belief. You can’t deal with the scriptures or fact, you’re simply repeating the same fallacies.”

    You’re really going to try and disprove irresistible grace by referring to a verse where we’re told not to resist it?

  53. Oh, and you’re still ignoring the elephant. I don’t blame you though. I would too. It’s scary to think you actually contributed something to your salvation.

  54. The Scriptures are equally clear that (1) none of us can be saved apart from grace; (2) there’s nothing in terms of MERIT that sinful human beings can add to the perfect work of Christ; (3)none of us can ‘conjure up’ faith and repentance on our own without the prevenient work of the Holy Ghost in our lives; and YET also (4) we must actually RECEIVE the gift of salvation by (a) exercising faith once enabled by the Holy Ghost, and (b) are held responsible for actually repenting when convicted by the Holy Ghost. In other words, God doesn’t actually ‘have faith’ or ‘repent’ for us, but He gives the ability and opportunity to do both.

    Yet despite all this, the biblical idea that one actually must have faith and repent to receive salvation (and is responsible for doing so in response to God’s gracious initiative is mischaracterized as an ‘elephant’ which amounts to the straw-man that non-Calvinists somehow ‘contribute’ to their salvation. The problem with that mischaracterization is that it confuses and conflates the objective work of the Atonement, the personal enabling work of the Spirit, and man’s subjective response in receiving the same.
    Scriptures however are clear that (1) Christ WORKED FOR our salvation with his perfectly obedient life and atoning death–nothing we can do ‘contributes’ to that in anyway; (2) the Holy Spirit WORKS IN our lives to will and do for His good pleasure–we don’t ‘add’ to that either (and we certainly can’t initiate it); (3) men must WORK OUT their salvation with fear and trembling–apart from Him first working IN us (and continuing to do so) we can do nothing; but we are the ones that must work OUT our own salvation.

    So while I can’t claim any credit for (1) or (2), I am certainly responsible for (3) and I fully recognize that without (1) or (2), (3) would be impossible.

  55. Doubting, I agree with 99% of what you said. Still, we are faced with a massive problem in Arminian theology. How is it that two men are given prevenient grace, one man believes and one doesn’t, and the one who believes didn’t somehow earn salvation?

    If the requirement for justification is faith, and that faith is something man produces, how did that man not earn his justification? The Calvinist can easily solve this dilemma because we don’t believe we produce our own faith by self-determination. We believe God supplies our faith and God sovereignly inclines our hearts toward him, which actually produces what he commands of us in Scripture. Therefore, all credit and praise goes to God alone, because he is the one causing me to willingly believe in Christ this very moment. Therefore, I can confidently and consistently say that I’m saved 100% by grace alone. Grace effects faith. It doesn’t just make faith possible.

  56. Brandon,

    The difference is the individual exercise of ‘free will’ that God sovereignly gave us. (I put ‘free will’ in quotes, of course, since you and I both agree without the work of the Spirit NONE would choose Christ). This is what Scriptures teach that this is what the Synod of Orange defended in AD 529. However, Scripture is equally clear that when people are called to repentance they are responsible for answering God’s call. Scriptures don’t depict God as commanding something for all men everywhere to do something (ie repent, Acts 17:30) without providing them the means to do so. Such would not be the character of God who does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked (but rather that they should turn in repent). Scriptures are filled with commands to repent, believe and obey, as they are full of warnings that our final salvation is conditioned on our continuing to abide in Christ to the end. Thus when one person chooses to respond while another one doesn’t, the first no more ‘earns’ salvation than the second–he simply ‘received’ salvation earned by Another (Ie CHRIST), while the second person rejected the same. Couching the idea of one choosing salvation (in response to grace) as ‘earning’ salvation is to continuing conflating the objective work of Christ and the subjective response of the sinner. Without such conflation, the alleged ‘massive problem’ disappears. Indeed, such conflation never enters the minds of the writers of Holy Scriptures.

  57. Thomas, you assume that since God commands us to repent and believe that necessarily means we must have the ability to do so. You also assume prevenient grace, which I reject, as I don’t see it in Scripture anywhere.

    “However, Scripture is equally clear that when people are called to repentance they are responsible for answering God’s call. ”

    Agreed. Every person is responsible. That doesn’t imply ability.

    “Such would not be the character of God ”

    I disagree. God gave the law fully knowing that men would never be able to fulfill it perfectly. Does that make God unjust? God commands faith and repentance, not to show us what we CAN do, but to show us what we CANNOT do.

    “Thus when one person chooses to respond while another one doesn’t, the first no more ‘earns’ salvation than the second–he simply ‘received’ salvation earned by Another (Ie CHRIST), while the second person rejected the same.”

    I realize this. But still, you’re avoiding the problem. You’re redefining what I’ve said, which is “man producing his own faith” to “receiving the gift”. You’re trying to soften the language. Do you not believe you produce your own faith? If you do, all I can say is what I’ve said before. I just can’t do it. I need God to supply my faith for me, because I have absolutely nothing to offer. I’m so weak and pathetic I can’t even believe without divine grace effecting my belief. I’m 100% dependent on God. You Arminians are better men than I am!

  58. “However, Scripture is equally clear that when people are called to repentance they are responsible for answering God’s call. Scriptures don’t depict God as commanding something for all men everywhere to do something (ie repent, Acts 17:30) without providing them the means to do so.”

    Hello doubting. Does this argument of yours also apply to the Law of God?

    That is, does God provide the means to obey His law? Paul says that men are “unable to submit to the law of God” and that “through the law comes the knowledge of sin” and that the “law is the schoolmaster that drives us to Christ”

    In other words, it seems to me that the Law (commands) of God are not meant to show us what we have the ability to do, but rather, the opposite : to show us what we have the inability to do.

    But what you’re saying is that since The Bible teaches that men are “unable to submit to the law of God”, and that God commands us to obey the law, God is unjust since he commanded something that we are unable to do.

    The Calvinist believes that we are commanded to repent and believe not to tell us that we have the ability to do so (Christ denies this ability in Jn 6:44), but that we are helpless and rely on Christ for our repentance and faith.

    So the Calvinist believes that Christ secured my faith and repentance. Thus, salvation is wholly and truly in Jesus Christ alone. Not in me + Jesus.

    As a Calvinist, I can say “Jesus supplied my faith, and that’s why I came to him”.

  59. The Law was indeed given to show that we all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory. However, the Law was a ‘tudor’ until Christ came. Christ came and fulfilled the Law perfectly when we in our fallen state could not. Then the New Covenant was initiated and God commanded all men everywhere to repent. You Calvinists seem to imply that because no man can perfectly keep the Law perfect his whole life by his own effort that this also somehow proves that man is incapable of repenting in response to the Gospel by the enabling grace of God. However, that is faulty logic.

    Scriptures are clear repentance is a condition for life.
    ‘”For I take no pleasure in the death of the one who dies,” says the Lord, “Therefore turn and live”. (Ezek 18:32)’. Notice it doesn’t say ‘”Once I monergistically bring back to life certain ones among you THEN those particular ones can turn–the rest of you who die I couldn’t care less about,” says the Lord.’ (Although as far as I know this could be the New Calvinist Version of the passage).
    And, BTW, John 6:44 doesn’t flatly deny the ability of man to repent–in it Christ simply asserts than no man can come to the Christ unless the Father first draws him. That one drawn still has the responsibility to come…and only in the bizarro world of Calvinist lexicology can responsibility be ultimately divorced from the ability to respond.

  60. And Brandon I haven’t said I can produce my own faith as if I can conjure it from my own natural resources. However I can have faith once supernaturally enabled by the work of the Holy Ghost. I’ve said as much already. I don’t know why that’s such a hard concept to grasp. I suppose it is easier for Calvinists to ignore that distinction so they can continue with their pious implications that Arminians are somehow thus more prideful than humble Calvinists regarding salvation (and then congratulating themselves for such verbal displays of humility.)

  61. “You Calvinists seem to imply that because no man can perfectly keep the Law perfect his whole life by his own effort that this also somehow proves that man is incapable of repenting in response to the Gospel by the enabling grace of God. However, that is faulty logic.”

    No, you’re misunderstanding. We’re not saying that since no man can keep the law this proves man is incapable of faith repentance from a state of self-determination. What we’re saying, is that for you to believe that God would be unjust to require of us something that we don’t have the ability to do doesn’t hold water. An example that shows the flaw in this logic is to consider the law. God gave the law to us and commanded us to keep it fully knowing that no human being could perfectly keep it. So, to follow your logic, we must conclude that by God giving us the law he must be unjust. So if God is unjust to judge us for a failure to meet his requirements when we don’t have the ability to meet them, so also God is unjust for judging any human being for sin, since all human beings must sin by necessity. Do you see the absurdity in this logic? Don’t assume that just because God commands something that necessarily implies we have the ability to obey.

    “And, BTW, John 6:44 doesn’t flatly deny the ability of man to repent–in it Christ simply asserts than no man can come to the Christ unless the Father first draws him.”

    This is a contradiction. Yes, it does flatly deny the ability of man to come to Christ. Either that, or you’re just redefining language. What does it say? “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” NO ONE CAN COME TO ME UNLESS…. so if the Father doesn’t draw, can a person come to Christ? Nope. Therefore, it does flatly deny the ability of man to come to Christ.

    “That one drawn still has the responsibility to come”

    Yep, and I would argue one who wasn’t drawn still has the responsibility to come.

  62. “And Brandon I haven’t said I can produce my own faith as if I can conjure it from my own natural resources. However I can have faith once supernaturally enabled by the work of the Holy Ghost.”

    I’m not confusing Arminianism with Pelagianism. Of course you need God’s “enabling grace”. So once you have this enabling grace (which by the way I still have never seen in the Bible), you produce your own faith. Right? Your neighbor was given the same enabling grace, and that stiff necked rebel just decided to go on rejecting Christ until he perished in hell for eternity. Somehow he just didn’t have the righteous inclination you had.

    ” I suppose it is easier for Calvinists to ignore that distinction so they can continue with their pious implications that Arminians are somehow thus more prideful than humble Calvinists regarding salvation”

    Do you take credit for your faith or not? Can you confidently say this very moment that it’s because of Christ that you have faith right now? In other words, is God actually supplying your faith? OR did God simply enable you to have faith and then leave it up to you to produce it? I believe God is actually inclining my heart toward him that actually results in faith. God is doing the whole thing. I’m 100% dependent on him for my faith. You, on the other hand, cannot claim this to be consistent with your theology. You must say, “I’m depending on God to influence and woo me, but at the end of the day I determine whether or not I’ll have faith because I’m a self-determining being and no matter how badly God may want to save me, I have the power to resist his grace and ultimately frustrate his plans.” Which position demonstrates more humility? Which position is more dependent upon God? I think it’s pretty clear that it’s not Arminianism. If there’s any part of your salvation you’re going to claim as being self-wrought, please don’t claim you’re saved by grace alone. You have no right to say that. You’re saved by grace + you.

  63. I noticed several comments about what foreknowledge means in Scripture. Thought I’d give a word about what the Bible means by God’s “foreknowledge.”

    It is helpful to do word studies on prognosis and proginosko, and even more beneficial to examine how each word is used in its respective context. But there’s another element that cannot be left out, and when included, swings the meaning of foreknowledge strongly in favor of “foreordination.” When we look at how prophetic Scripture is fulfilled, and how God himself says he will fulfill it, it’s always by more than mere foresight. Here’s just a sampling:

    “. . . the God of Israel, who with his hand has fulfilled what he promised with his mouth to David.” (1 Kgs 8:15)
    “. . . that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus. . .” (Ezra 1:1)
    “For the Lord has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose . . . until the words of God are fulfilled.” (Rev. 17:17)
    “For those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers . . . fulfilled them by condemning him.” (Acts 13:27)
    “Not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.” (Jn 17:12)

    We do not find in Scripture the idea of God merely foreseeing what will occur in the future and then reacting accordingly. This was an unknown concept to the biblical writers. Rather, God declares “the end from the beginning” (Is. 46:10) not by foresight of what free creatures will do in a given circumstance, but as the prophet declares: “I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it.” (Is. 46:11). We see this again and again in Scripture (cf. Ezra 6:22, 7:27; Rev. 17:17; Prov. 2:11; 1 Sam. 18:10; 19:20-24).

    In light of these passages foreknowledge = what God has declared will take place by God himself bringing it to pass (i.e., foreordination).

    We now have a good idea of what Peter meant when he writes to “those elect exiles . . . according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ . . .” The term “foreknowledge” here is more in line with “foreordination” than “foresight” for the following reasons:

    1. See Scriptures above: what God declares, he brings about. “According to” God’s foreknowledge we are “elect,” meaning that he brought it about; not by merely foreseeing our future faith.
    2. The immediate context – foreknowledge seems to logically precede “obedience to Jesus Christ.”
    3. The broader context – later in the very same chapter, the verbal form, proegnosmenou (“he was foreknown”), clearly indicates the meaning of “foreordained.”
    3. Romans 8:29 – Paul links “foreknew” with “predestined” in such a way that those predestined are the exact same ones foreknown.

  64. Brandon,

    BG:You’re really going to try and disprove irresistible grace by referring to a verse where we’re told not to resist it?

    As if it would be warning us not to resist the irresistible. Yeah. Right.

    BG:Oh, and you’re still ignoring the elephant.

    Already answered. Please take a moment away from your hyper-polemical spamming to try and keep up with the conversation.

    BG”If the requirement for justification is faith, and that faith is something man produces, how did that man not earn his justification?

    Because a condition is not a price.

    BG:Somehow he just didn’t have the righteous inclination you had.

    No one said the inclination to believe constitutes righteousness. Rather contradicts righteousness by faith.

    BG:…is God actually supplying your faith?

    That’s pretty well what prevenient grace is for, to say God would get no credit for our faith when He Himself supplies the means thereof borders fallacy of division.

    BG:Which position demonstrates more humility?

    Neither, since faith is nothing to be boasted in.

    BG:Which position is more dependent upon God?

    You’ve not established how this particular type of dependence is anything to be desired, esp since it contradicts scripture.

    BG:How is it that two men are given prevenient grace, one man believes and one doesn’t, and the one who believes didn’t somehow earn salvation?

    I’ve already caught you in this bait-and-switch double-talk tactic. Your question is entirely misleading, because you’re asking it not even factoring in LFW as a possibility nor granting it for sake of argument. Any more such intellectual dishonesty and you’re out.

  65. Jason,

    I already addressed the Calvinist attempts to redefine foreknowledge here.

    J:God declares “the end from the beginning” (Is. 46:10) not by foresight of what free creatures will do in a given circumstance, but as the prophet declares: “I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it.” (Is. 46:11).

    How exactly would God speaking preclude interaction with independent creatures? You’re performing a massive leap of logic there.

    J:1. See Scriptures above: what God declares, he brings about. “According to” God’s foreknowledge we are “elect,” meaning that he brought it about; not by merely foreseeing our future faith.

    You’ve not established how God bringing about election would preclude foreknowledge.

    J:2. The immediate context – foreknowledge seems to logically precede “obedience to Jesus Christ.”

    That’s pretty much what ‘foreknowledge’ entails.

    J:…the verbal form, proegnosmenou (“he was foreknown”), clearly indicates the meaning of “foreordained.”

    Possibly, but not necessarily. And the context has shifted somewhat from Peter’s greeting, so this wouldn’t exactly govern what the noun meant some verses earlier.

    J:3. Romans 8:29 – Paul links “foreknew” with “predestined” in such a way that those predestined are the exact same ones foreknown.

    Which would support the election according to foreknowledge view. If election simply meant foreordination, then we’d have “For whom he did [foreordain], he also did predestinate [i.e. foreordain],” which is a rather odd redundancy.

  66. Jesus says that being born again is what enables people to see, and then enter the Kingdom of God.

    Arminians say that prevenient grace is what enables people to see, and then enter the kingdom of God.

    Someone is right, someone is wrong.

  67. Joseff, one entering the kingdom of God doesn’t necessarily refer to initial salvation. Compare the exhortation written to those who are already saved:

    …strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said. (Acts 14:22)

    Though there is also the factor of the revelation God gives one when he believes:

    But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. (2 Cor 3:16)

    As far as when regeneration occurs, the scriptures make it clear that it’s by faith, not before:

    …having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. (Col 2:12) [Notice also that this is parallel for Eph. 2:4-6]

  68. I disagree with your interpretation of those scriptures.

    Obedience is the result of a changed heart, not the cause of it.

    Ezek 36:25-27

  69. Ezekiel 36:25-27 actually supports the A position of faith being prior to regeneration, putting it slightly differently. The Old Testament promise of regeneration is for the New Covenant community. And one only becomes a member of the New Covenant, and therefore enjoys its promises and blessing, by faith! The OT promises regeneration to those in the New Covenant. But one only enters the New Covenant by faith.

    I have long found Calvinist appeal to this passage strange. This passage probably serves as background to Jesus’ treatment of the New Birth in John 3 as some Calvinists like to point out. Unfortunately for their position, this undermines the Calvinist position and bolsters the Arminian position.

    Also, Ben has compellingly addressed Ezekiel 36 on this blog before, showing how it does not support Calvinism, but Arminianism:

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

    If one looks carefully, one will often find that passages cited by Calvinists as support for their position actually do not support Calvnism but the Arminian view.

  70. J.C.

    “I already addressed the Calvinist attempts to redefine foreknowledge”

    Concerning the literal meaning of “foreknowledge” and “foreknow” (from BDAG):
    Prognosis: “knowledge beforehand” or “predetermination”
    Proginosko: “to know beforehand or in advance” or “choose beforehand”

    No, Calvinists are not redefining the terms. That’s a specious argument. The terms can carry the connotation of “foreordination” or “fore-chose.” And even if one opts for the more ambiguous “to know beforehand” definition, it doesn’t necessarily mean merely “foresight” when applied to God – though it would when applied to a human. That’s why I was pointing out the language of fulfilled prophecies and the like.

    “How exactly would God speaking preclude interaction with independent creatures? You’re performing a massive leap of logic there.”

    That’s not what I was trying to get across. Of course when God declares the future there’s interaction with people – note that the Scriptures I had quoted involve such interaction. I was simply pointing out that when God says something will take place, he isn’t merely cognizant of what will happening with some interaction on his part; rather, he perfectly and completely brings it to pass. In other words, this isn’t mere foresight we are talking about here. And since this is the pattern we see over and over again throughout the Bible, it stands to reason that when the actual terms “foreknowledge” and “foreknow” are used, it’s more likely they mean “foreordain” or “fore-chose.” That’s what I was attempting to get across in my brief discussion of Is. 46.

    “Possibly, but not necessarily.” (regarding my statement: “the verbal form, proegnosmenou (“he was foreknown”), clearly indicates the meaning of “foreordained.”)

    Possibly? What else could it mean when applied to Christ, besides “foreordained” or “fore-chosen”?

    “If election simply meant foreordination, then we’d have “For whom he did [foreordain], he also did predestinate [i.e. foreordain],” which is a rather odd redundancy”

    The verbal form carries more of the sense of “fore-choose” / “choose beforehand.” As such it’s distinct from “predestine” despite the similarity. In this passage “foreknew” is the broader term referring to God’s election of some, while “predestine” refers the specific purpose of his election, namely conformity to Christ. There is no redundancy. Furthermore, the demonstrative pronoun “these” in v. 30 (“these he also called”) ties “called” intimately with “predestine”; and this pattern is true throughout this section. To say that God foresaw our future faith and predestined us accordingly is reading one’s theology into the text. The text gives the logical order of our salvation, and it does so quite clearly.

  71. Jason,

    J:No, Calvinists are not redefining the terms.

    Yes, they’re attempting mass-redefinition of the term ‘foreknowledge’ without warrant. As I’ve stated, if you want to prove it means something other than foreknowledge in some passage, you have to demonstrate it from its context.

    J:I was simply pointing out that when God says something will take place, he isn’t merely cognizant of what will happening with some interaction on his part; rather, he perfectly and completely brings it to pass. In other words, this isn’t mere foresight we are talking about here.

    Which says absolutely nothing against middle-knowledge, and lends no support to the necessitarian view. Do you have some point to all this?

    J:And since this is the pattern we see over and over again throughout the Bible, it stands to reason that when the actual terms “foreknowledge” and “foreknow” are used, it’s more likely they mean “foreordain” or “fore-chose.”

    1. Not likely, since knowledge of the future would play heavily into God’s ‘setting things up’ in a middle-knowledge scenario, making foreknowledge strongly linked, but still distinct from predestination.

    2. God bringing lots of things to pass doesn’t necessarily imply that God exhaustively decrees everything (even every aspect of what He ultimately brings to pass) since He can employ things that people freely do in His plans.

    3. At least one clear counter-example (1 Cor 10:13) that plainly implies LFW has already been given, so exhaustive determinism simply isn’t viable as a doctrine if you believe the Bible, and thus isn’t a sound guiding principle in interpreting passages.

    J:What else could it mean when applied to Christ, besides “foreordained” or “fore-chosen”?

    That He and His mission were known before the foundation of the world by God (hidden with Him, so to speak), but revealed publicly in the last times. It may be expressing a contrast between His being secretly known by God then then and manifest now.

    J:The verbal form carries more of the sense of “fore-choose” / “choose beforehand.”

    I’m not so sure that distinction for the verb is correct, it seems a bit contrived.

    J:To say that God foresaw our future faith and predestined us accordingly is reading one’s theology into the text.

    To say God elected us according to His knowledge of the future is perfectly in line with, as well as the most natural and contextually sound reading of the text. So yes, God’s knowledge of us logically would precede predestination.

  72. “But God still knew the outcome of creating this world, wouldn’t that make Him the author [of sin] in some sense?” I think “in some sense” is the key phrase here.

    David’s numbering of Israel resulted in divine punishment. One text indicates God moved David to number Israel (2 Sam. 24:1). Another text says Satan moved David to number Israel (1 Chron. 21:1). Which is correct? Both. God permitted Satan to do it, though He could have stopped him. God, therefore, caused this act but in a secondary sense. Many sins could have been prevented had God chosen to restrain the tempter, so isn’t it correct to say that while God is not the direct cause of sin, He is at least in some instances (and in a certain sense) a secondary cause?

    Of course, God did not create a sinful spirit in the heart of David or Israel. He simply arranged for a situation that would result in the state of the heart expressing itself in a sinful act. So, again, isn’t it correct to say that there is a sense in which God caused this act?

  73. J.C.

    “Which says absolutely nothing against middle-knowledge, and lends no support to the necessitarian view. Do you have some point to all this?”

    My only point was to show that foreknowledge/foreknow are better understood in the sense of foreordination rather than mere presience. The issue of middle knowledge is whole other ball of wax. If I had been intending to discuss that, my argument would have been different.

    Speaking of which, you’ve mentioned several times that you accept middle knowlege as a useful way for God to orchestrate the future, yet you claim not to be a Molinist. Care to explain?

    “To say God elected us according to His knowledge of the future is perfectly in line with, as well as the most natural and contextually sound reading of the text. So yes, God’s knowledge of us logically would precede predestination.”

    That completely turns the logic of vv.29-30 on its head. The verbs are all linked in logical order and the grammer used solidifies this. The immediate context of ch.8 also lends support to the idea that this a passage meant to comfort, and Paul does this by showing that from long ago God had already defined who we would be in Christ. To state that God predestined on the based of foreseen faith is not an idea found in the passage and must be supplied by the interpreter. But “called” in v.30 is clearly an effectual call. There is no getting around this.

  74. Jason,

    J:That completely turns the logic of vv.29-30 on its head. The verbs are all linked in logical order and the grammer used solidifies this.

    But since I claimed that foreknowledge logically precedes predestination, then I am employing the same order of logic the passage employs.

    J:My only point was to show that foreknowledge/foreknow are better understood in the sense of foreordination rather than mere presience.

    Which suggestion so far has proven unsupported by either wording or context.

    J:…Paul does this by showing that from long ago God had already defined who we would be in Christ.

    Even if it’s meant to comfort, it doesn’t follow that Paul is using unconditional election to do so.

    J:To state that God predestined on the based of foreseen faith is not an idea found in the passage and must be supplied by the interpreter.

    To state that it doesn’t imply that God elects on the basis of His foreknowledge is arbitrary reinterpretation.

    J:But “called” in v.30 is clearly an effectual call. There is no getting around this.

    If by ‘effectual’ you mean ‘irresistible,’ there’s nothing to get around, since such a concept isn’t indicated. Given God’s knowledge, the result of the call in such a case would be certain, but not irresistible.

  75. Very thoughtful comments Vance.

    V:God, therefore, caused this act but in a secondary sense. Many sins could have been prevented had God chosen to restrain the tempter, so isn’t it correct to say that while God is not the direct cause of sin, He is at least in some instances (and in a certain sense) a secondary cause?

    One can be an indirect cause of sorts simply by lack of action/non-interference. God allowing Satan to tempt David (much as He allowed him to test Job) could in a sense be called moving David to sin, but wouldn’t constitute authorship of that sin. Recall in my “chess master” example above, the chess master’s moves are in a way what causes his opponent to make the specific counter-moves he does (e.g. if the former goes with gambit A rather than B, this causes the latter to attempt a counter to gambit A rather than B), but the actual originator/author of the opponent’s moves is still the opponent himself.

    So likewise God’s (apparently punitive by 2 Sam 24:1) allowance of such a temptation did move David to sin, it only did so by virtue of David’s own response, with the devil apparently being the author of the wicked act in this case.

  76. Jason wrote:

    “My only point was to show that foreknowledge/foreknow are better understood in the sense of foreordination rather than mere presience.”

    The Greek word is proginosko (pro = before, ginosko = know, hence the term means “know beforehand, or what you call “mere presience”). The Greek words involved have no Greek word for choose or pick, so it is reading into the term another meaning to claim that it means other than simply “know beforehand” (e.g. claiming that the Greek word means to foreordain).

    “Speaking of which, you’ve mentioned several times that you accept middle knowlege as a useful way for God to orchestrate the future, yet you claim not to be a Molinist. Care to explain?”

    I believe that he means that God knowing what a person will freely choose to do, plans accordingly. God knew the Jewish leaders and Romans would choose to work together to accomplish the crucifixion of Jesus. God fore-knowing this and allowing this, thus made it certain to occur. That is a clear case of God using his ability to know what people will freely choose to do (i.e. middle knowledge) to plan for a future event’s occurrence.

    “That completely turns the logic of vv.29-30 on its head. The verbs are all linked in logical order and the grammer used solidifies this. The immediate context of ch.8 also lends support to the idea that this a passage meant to comfort, and Paul does this by showing that from long ago God had already defined who we would be in Christ. To state that God predestined on the based of foreseen faith is not an idea found in the passage and must be supplied by the interpreter. But “called” in v.30 is clearly an effectual call. There is no getting around this.”

    Romans 8 is speaking of **believers** so of course the call of them could be viewed as effectual. But one cannot infer from this that whenever God calls, the person always becomes a believer.
    If I say that all the attendees to my party responded to my invitation and came, all that says is that those who did in fact attend responded to the invitation. That does not tell you that **all** who were invited did in fact come, nor does it tell you about those who were invited but declined, nor does it tell you that I only invited some and all of them came to my party.

    If you look at the Gospels a common theme in some of the parables is how many are called and many decline and even come up with excuses for not coming (i.e. that call in each of those instances is “ineffectual” as many who are called do not in fact become believers). In these parables the person making the call is God, those declining the call are human persons responding with unbelief to God’s call.

    Robert

    PS- Jason from examining your previous comments you have a very strange view of the nature of faith. You appear to view it as a **force**, something that we **produce**. This sounds a bit like the positive confession movement involving some Pentecostals where according to them, our “faith” which we produce like a force, dictates how things will go (i.e. if we have faith we can just “blab it and grab it” and get that Cadillac, that house, that ton of money, by our faith moving like a force to obtain all that stuff).
    Biblical faith is not a force, but is a choice to trust in God and in something He has said. As it is a choice, it is a choice that we either make or do not make. It is not a force, nor is it something we produce, nor is it something that controls circumstances in our favor, contrary to the “blab it and grab it” crowd.

  77. Jesus says that being born again is what enables people to see, and then enter the Kingdom of God.

    Arminians say that prevenient grace is what enables people to see, and then enter the kingdom of God.

    Someone is right, someone is wrong.

    I believe the Calvinist interpretation of John 3 is clearly wrong, and the text actually supports Arminianism, just as Ezek. 36 does (mentioned above with a link).

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

  78. Just like Boss, you’re ignoring the elephant in the room. I find it so amazing that Arminians love to toot the “I’m 100% saved by grace” horn alongside the Calvinists, and use all the same lofty God-glorifying language Calvinists use giving God 100% of the credit for their being a believer in Christ and at the same exact time will fight tooth and nail to defend the fantasy that they produced the faith that is saving them out of self-determination. You know as well as I do in your system grace only brings you to a certain point, and then it’s up to you to provide the decisive impulse that brings you from lost to saved. You cannot give God credit for that because you demand you did it yourself. Please just do everyone a favor and be honest.

    Likewise, it seems ridiculous to us (Arminians) that Calvinists cannot understand that a gift is still a gift even if it is received freely, and that grace doesn’t have to be irresitible to be grace. This seems to be an obvious redefining of what “grace” means by Calvinists. Good luck finding any support outside of Calvinistic philosophy for the idea that a gift is only gracious if it is given and received irresistibly, or grace is only grace if it cannot be resisted. Bizarre.

    So while the Arminian is working with normal word usage and long standing definitions, the Calvinist redefines many such words (grace, sovereignty, freedom, etc.) and then faults the Arminian for not holding to the Calvinists bizarre definitions, even to the point of calling such Arminians “dishonest”. What a shame.

  79. Robert,

    Not much time to respond, but wanted to make a quick reply to your notion that I believe faith is some kind of “force.” I believe nothing of the sort, nor do I feel that has been implied in anthing I’ve written. As a matter of fact, I find word-faith teaching to be one of the worst heresies going today and few false teachings make my blood boil more.

    One other note. You might want to read up on the meaning of middle knowledge. You can find some good information on William Lane Craig’s site.

  80. Jason wrote:

    “Not much time to respond, but wanted to make a quick reply to your notion that I believe faith is some kind of “force.” I believe nothing of the sort, nor do I feel that has been implied in anything I’ve written. As a matter of fact, I find word-faith teaching to be one of the worst heresies going today and few false teachings make my blood boil more.”

    Word of faith teachers claim that faith is a **force** that we control and produce. According to them ****we produce**** faith, and once ****produced**** that faith has miraculous power to dictate circumstances.

    Now Jason claims that nothing he has said has even implied Word of faith type notions of faith. Let’s look at some of Jason’s previous statements that sure sound like he views faith as some sort of force that we produce.

    “and at the same exact time will fight tooth and nail to defend the fantasy that they produced the faith that is saving them out of self-determination.”

    We produce faith?

    That is precisely what the Word of faith folks claim.

    “I realize this. But still, you’re avoiding the problem. You’re redefining what I’ve said, which is “man producing his own faith” to “receiving the gift”. You’re trying to soften the language. Do you not believe you produce your own faith?”

    Note here Jason says that others are “avoiding the problem”.

    How is this occurring according to Jason?

    “You’re redefining what I’ve said”.

    And what has Jason been saying, he says it explicitly himself in the following line: “which is “man producing his own faith” to “receiving the gift”.”

    Again, Jason says explicitly that faith is something that we PRODUCE. In the bible we do not produce faith, like some sort of force that controls circumstances. Instead, faith in the bible is always a choice (usually to trust God or trust something that God has said). It is not viewed as a circumstance changing **force** that we PRODUCE, except by the Word of faith crowd.

    Jason even asks the direct question: “Do you not believe you produce your own faith?”

    And again it is Word of faith people who speak about us PRODUCING OUR OWN FAITH, OF FAITH AS SOME SORT OF FORCE THAT WE PRODUCE.

    And yet another example from Jason about us producing our faith:

    “Do you take credit for your faith or not? Can you confidently say this very moment that it’s because of Christ that you have faith right now? In other words, is God actually supplying your faith? OR did God simply enable you to have faith and then leave it up to you to produce it?”

    Note here again he talks about us **PRODUCING** our own faith.

    And I remind him and everyone else again, that we do not produce faith, faith is not a force under our control. Instead it is choosing to trust in God or something that he has said. Sometimes that choice is difficult, sometimes that choice is ridiculed, and **always** it is a choice that we make or do not make. And the power is never in our faith, our choice to trust, but in the God who responds to our faith.

    Robert

  81. Robert,

    You’ve pulled me out of comment retirement . . .

    Those comments are not from me. They might be from another jason or someone with a jason-like name, or from another site, but they are most definitely not mine.

  82. Jason,

    Sorry about my mistake.

    I mistakenly spoke of you having made statements about faith, when I was intending to speak of BRANDON. It was Brandon who has made repeated comments about faith being something that we produce.

    Brandon’s comments sound similar to the Word of Faith folks who believe that faith is this force that we control. By means of this “faith”/force we can obtain whatever we want whether it be the cadillac, house, job, or whatever. They speak of it as if faith is this powerful force that controls circumstances. The fact is faith is always a choice, it is not a force that we control and it is not a force that makes us sovereign over our circumstances.

    Again, Jason, sorry about my mistake, it wasn’t you that made the comments it was BRANDON.

    Robert

  83. Jason,

    You also wrote:

    “One other note. You might want to read up on the meaning of middle knowledge. You can find some good information on William Lane Craig’s site.”

    I think I am familiar with Molinism and middle knowledge. I have read Craig (both his books on it and his articles) though I believe Thomas Flint’s DIVINE PROVIDENCE to be the best book on the subject. I have also talked with proponents of the position including Alvin Plantinga and others. John Martin Fischer whose area is free will sent me his paper critiquing Molinism. I agree with Molinists on some things, but their view has some parallels with exhaustive determinism that I reject.

    Robert

  84. Brandon,

    The following questions were addressed to someone else, but I would like to answer them.

    B: Do you take credit for your faith or not?

    If a famished beggar gratefully reaches out to receive a hot meal from a kindhearted person, does the beggar claim any credit for obtaining the meal? No, of course not! Faith is comparable to the beggar’s act of gratefully reaching out to receive the free gift. The beggar’s reaching out is not the cause of the hot meal; it’s a condition he has to meet if he’s to actually have the hot meal. He knows he didn’t create his own arms and hands or ability to put food in his mouth, so it never occurs to him that he’s to be credited for anything. Nor have I ever thought I deserved some kind of credit for gratefully embracing the priceless gift Christ freely offered to me.

    B: Can you confidently say this very moment that it’s because of Christ that you have faith right now?

    Of course! I cannot put any trust in something if I don’t believe it exists. Like the beggar, I acknowledge my own helplessness, so I reach out to embrace the precious gift offered to me. I credit God for bringing me to the realization that accepting His gift was the only logical choice I could make.

    B: In other words, is God actually supplying your faith? OR did God simply enable you to have faith and then leave it up to you to produce it?

    “And what do you have that you did not receive?” (1 Cor. 4:7b). God equips me with everything I need to trust and obey Him, but it’s up to me–it’s my responsibility–to trust and obey.

  85. I appreciated Vance’s comments as they are much closer to what is true. Vance, like me, sees the initial faith that a person has, as what I term a “begging faith”. Begging because no pride is involved at all, in fact the mind set is opposite pride and realizes that the person cannot save themselves and must therefore “throw themselves on the mercy of the court” so to speak. Anyone who does extensive evangelism and has actually seen people get saved will attested to the reality and presence of this “begging faith” when people are converted to Christianity (and if you don’t have much experience doing evangelism and seeing souls saved, then simply consider your own conversion experience and recall whether you had “begging faith” or not, likely you did and know exactly what I am talking about).

    Vance wrote:
    “The following questions were addressed to someone else, but I would like to answer them.
    B: Do you take credit for your faith or not?
    If a famished beggar gratefully reaches out to receive a hot meal from a kindhearted person, does the beggar claim any credit for obtaining the meal? No, of course not! Faith is comparable to the beggar’s act of gratefully reaching out to receive the free gift. The beggar’s reaching out is not the cause of the hot meal; it’s a condition he has to meet if he’s to actually have the hot meal. He knows he didn’t create his own arms and hands or ability to put food in his mouth, so it never occurs to him that he’s to be credited for anything. Nor have I ever thought I deserved some kind of credit for gratefully embracing the priceless gift Christ freely offered to me.”

    I like the Beggar illustration as it conveys “begging faith” very well. The sinner is in no position to save themselves (like the “famished beggar) nor will they “claim any credit” for the gift of a mean they receive. The attitude of being grateful for the gift on the part of the beggar also mirrors the attitude of the sinner being grateful for the mercy of God shown him/her. A sinner coming to faith in the Lord is focused on what God has done on his/her behalf and not his own efforts so there is no boasting and no taking “credit” for his/her salvation.

    “B: Can you confidently say this very moment that it’s because of Christ that you have faith right now?
    Of course! I cannot put any trust in something if I don’t believe it exists. Like the beggar, I acknowledge my own helplessness, so I reach out to embrace the precious gift offered to me. I credit God for bringing me to the realization that accepting His gift was the only logical choice I could make.”

    Vance says they “credit God for bringing me to the realization”. That is true, through the work of the Holy Spirit the sinner is shown things that he needs to know in order to trust the Lord. He/she is shown they are a sinner separated from God due to their sin: shown that Jesus is their hope of salvation; shown who Jesus is and what He did; shown what scripture means if it has been presented to them; etc. etc. The Spirit reveals Christ and these other things to the person.
    My only disagreement here is with the last line “was the only logical choice I could make” may imply. That seems to suggest that everyone who does experience this work of the Spirit will automatically accept it and then come to faith in Christ. But this is not true.

    I know many, upon hearing their conversion stories, will tell you that for a time (it could be days, months, even years!) they knew it was true, knew that God was working on them, and yet they did not bow the knee to Jesus, were not yet believers.

    I even know some who have experienced this work of the Spirit on multiple occasions and they are not yet believers (some who even died having experienced this work of the Spirit and yet not having become believers). So it is true the Spirit powerfully reveals things to a person, but the person can (and sadly sometimes) does choose to reject what the Spirit has shown them. Again if you have a lot of experience with real evangelism of real people you will have seen all of these things in countless individual people’s experiences.

    “B: In other words, is God actually supplying your faith? OR did God simply enable you to have faith and then leave it up to you to produce it?
    “And what do you have that you did not receive?” (1 Cor. 4:7b). God equips me with everything I need to trust and obey Him, but it’s up to me–it’s my responsibility–to trust and obey.”

    What I like here is that Vance recognizes that God takes the initiative, God supplies grace (whether to an unbeliever leading them to Jesus or to a believer in their daily walk) and yet we have to choose to respond properly to the grace given. God’s grace alone does not result in people getting saved and believers being obedient, we have to make the choice to trust, make the choice to be obedient. Similar to the armor that Paul talks about in Ephesians 6(i.e. God supplies the armor, but the believer must choose to avail themselves of this armor for spiritual warfare, if you don’t choose to put the armor on you will not fare well in spiritual battle).

    Robert

  86. Robert wrote: My only disagreement here is with the last line “was the only logical choice I could make” may imply. That seems to suggest that everyone who does experience this work of the Spirit will automatically accept it and then come to faith in Christ. But this is not true.

    You’re right, Robert. I didn’t think of the possible implication of this when I wrote it. I was thinking of my own experience, as I knew that, even though I could have made a different choice, choosing not to receive the free gift would be illogical (in much the same way the beggar might reason that not receiving the food would be illogical). But I do see how my statement, as it appears, might imply automatic acceptance of the free gift. So we’re in agreement.

  87. “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins…If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.” 1 Cor 15:17,19. This verse alone DESTROYS the idea that Calvinists have invented that our faith is something to boast about.
    Faith + Christ in the grave = Worthless
    Faith + Christ risen = Eternal Life
    My faith is only as valuable as the object that I am placing my faith in. In the whole New Testament faith is always contrasted with works. They dealt with a lot of false doctrine in the New Testament but when did they ever deal with the problem of faith being a work?

    “For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.” Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.” Rom 4:2-5

    Who believed God?

  88. “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins…If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.” 1 Cor 15:17,19. This verse alone DESTROYS the idea that Calvinists have invented that our faith is something to boast about.
    Faith + Christ in the grave = Worthless
    Faith + Christ risen = Eternal Life
    My faith is only as valuable as the object that I am placing my faith in. In the whole New Testament faith is always contrasted with works. They dealt with a lot of false doctrine in the New Testament but when did they ever deal with the problem of faith being a work?

    “For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.” Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.” Rom 4:2-5

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