Calvinism’s Bad Check

or: The 5-Pointer’s Impossibility of a Sincere Gospel Offer to All Men

The doctrine of Limited Atonement (Christ dying for the salvation of only God’s elect) is perhaps the most controversial of all Calvinist doctrines. Besides having no scriptural foundation to speak of (evidenced by the fact that not a word of scripture implies anyone being excluded from the atonement, whereas its universality is repeatedly proclaimed therein), it’s come under fire for, among other things, making the offer of the gospel insincere where the non-elect are concerned. Reformed scholars and apologists have put forth much effort to deflect this charge (see for instance Dr. Roger Nicole’s Covenant, Universal Call And Definite Atonement). The standard defense that’s usually mounted is declaring that the offer is genuine, but that the non-elect (or reprobates) are simply unable to fulfill its stipulation of faith without being regenerated, and thus never collect on what is genuinely offered to them.

While this defense may seem sound upon first glance, a crucial aspect it glosses over is the essential relationship between Christ’s atonement and the salvation that is being offered. This produces an apparently irreconcilable inconsistency as the syllogisms below should succinctly prove.

Premise 1: An “offer” made to one that he[a] cannot collect on, even should he meet its stipulations, is not a genuine or sincere offer to that man.

Premise 2: The gospel offer that God extends to all men[b] everywhere is that if anyone truly believes in Jesus Christ, he shall be saved from eternal condemnation (Romans 10:9-11, John 5:24).

Conclusion 1: Therefore if any man could not be saved even if he truly believed in Christ, then the gospel offer to that man is not genuine or sincere.

The second syllogism’s first premise is what I believe most Calvinists miss when they declare the gospel offer to be genuine in their view.

Premise 1a: Without the benefit of Christ’s sacrificial death as the atonement for one’s sins[c], then even if he truly believed in Christ, he could not be saved.

Premise 2a: The doctrine of Limited Atonement is that Christ’s death as the atonement for sins, such that one may be saved from eternal condemnation if one believes, is only applicable to the elect. It does not and cannot ever apply in this way to the non-elect.[d]

Conclusion 2: Therefore if the doctrine of Limited Atonement is true, a man who is non-elect (and therefore does not have his sins atoned for at the cross), even if he were to truly believe in Christ, could not be saved.[e]

Some Calvinists may contest premise 1a, but its truth should be fairly evident. To contend otherwise, that faith in and of itself could save one from sin without Christ dying for him, is patently absurd.

Premise 1b (from Conclusion 1): If any man could not be saved even if he truly believed in Christ, then the gospel offer to that man is not genuine or sincere.

Premise 2b (from Conclusion 2): If the doctrine of Limited Atonement is true, a man who is non-elect, even if he were to truly believe in Christ, could not be saved.

Conclusion 3: If the doctrine of Limited Atonement is true, then the gospel offer to the non-elect is not genuine or sincere.

As can be readily seen, telling a person that he will be saved if he trusts in Christ cannot be true if Christ has not died for him. Even if he hypothetically were to believe, there’s nothing to back the offer made to him. Telling a non-elect person for whom Christ didn’t die that he would be saved through faith if he did believe is tantamount to saying that his belief in Christ could save him apart from any atoning work by Christ!

The mainstream Calvinist view of the atonement and the gospel offer amounts to the equivalent of God waving bad checks payable from an empty account to entice so many wretched and beggarly souls, then charging them all the more for their disinterest in the worthless scrap. It portrays Him as tempting those who are dying of starvation with invitations to an exquisite feast big enough for all -after having given the chef explicit orders to never prepare anything for them. If you find that such duplicity and insincerity isn’t sounding like the self-revelation of the God of scripture, you’re not alone.

Footnotes:

[a] Non-specific masculine gender conveys gender inclusiveness here and throughout.

[b] John 3:16-17, Acts 17:30, Luke 24:46-47, Titus 2:11-13, Revelation 22:17; though proof for this premise is hardly necessary, since only hyper and fringe Calvinists reject the universal offer of the gospel.

[c] Those who do have this benefit in this context include those for whom it had not yet been made but were looking forward to it, e.g. the Old Testament saints. The ones without it as described here are the ones for whom it is never made per the Calvinist perspective.

[d] That is to say, only those who are elect (chosen by God) can receive any benefit from Christ’s death at all where forgiveness of their sins and eternal salvation are concerned. While 5-point Calvinists may acknowledge that the atonement does something with regards to the non-elect in their view, its power to save from sin is strictly reserved for the elect to the exclusion of all others. Any view to the contrary is forcefully denounced by Charles Spurgeon in his sermon, “The Mission of the Son of Man”: “That Christ should offer an atonement and satisfaction for the sins of all men, and that afterwards some of those very men should be punished for the sins for which Christ had already atoned, appears to me to be the most monstrous iniquity that could ever have been imputed to Saturn, to Janus, to the goddess of the Thugs, or to the most diabolical heathen deities.”

[e] The validity of the reasoning here should be apparent: faith of any sort wouldn’t be able to save him since Christ’s sacrificial atonement for sins doesn’t apply to him. In penal substitutionary terms, even if such a non-elect sinner met the gospel’s stipulation of faith in Christ, there is no substitute, no payment prepared for his sins upon his believing, nor can there ever be. He would of necessity bear them himself and still suffer condemnation despite believing.

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66 Responses

  1. You are missing one important point. The Calvinist is perfectly capable of offering the Gospel because the Bible (and Reformed doctrine) clearly teaches that EVERY person who repents and puts his faith in Jesus will be saved. The part that you are missing is that only the elect CAN put their faith in Jesus. Man is dead in sin and cannot chose God without His grace enabling him. Therefore, everyone who repents and puts his faith in Christ (i.e. the elect) will be saved. NO EXCEPTIONS!!!!

  2. folwm, you’re employing a red-herring. The concept that you claim I’m “missing” is stated in the very first paragraph. The article isn’t about whether those who repent and believe are saved, but the fact that if limited atonement is true, then the gospel offer to the non-elect is insincere.

  3. [...] by J.C. Thibodaux [...]

  4. Sorry, I shouldn’t have said “missed”. What I’m trying to say is that limited atonement fits perfectly with what I believe the Bible teaches about the atonement. Even if you don’t take the Reformed understanding of “foreknew” (Romans 8:29), you still have to concede that God, one way or the other, knows who will be repent–we obviously disagree as to how that foreknowledge comes about–but the fact remains that God knows who will repent. He knew who was in this group (the elect) before Jesus died on the cross. It is not such a stretch to see that it is absolutely impossible that one of the non-elect will come to repentance. Not to mention the fact that you could just as easily substitute the phrase “those who come to repentance” for “the elect”–as in “Christ only died for the sins of those who will come to repentance.” These two phrases refer to exactly the same group. The whole point is that limited atonement does not negate the fact that EVERY person who repents and puts his faith in Christ will be saved. The only difference is that, with limited atonement, Christ’s sacrifice actually saves–it actually accomplishes something.

    There are several Bible verses that support limited atonement. Some examples of these are:

    1Chronicles 17:21, Isaiah 53:10-11, Matthew 1:21, John 6:37-40, John 10:3-5, 11, 14-15, John 17:2, 6-12, 24-25, Acts 20:28, Ephesians 5:25, Titus 2:14, Hebrews 2:17, Hebrews 7:24-27, Hebrews 9:15, 1John 4:10, 1Peter 2:8-9,

  5. folwm,

    I think you’re missing the point. Of course God knows who is going to come to Him. The question is whether everyone to whom it is offered is able to come to Him. If limited atonement were true, they are not. The conclusion that JC comes to would then follow.

  6. The problem comes from a misunderstanding of the Gospel message. Everywhere where the gospel is presented, the offer is for all who will believe–not for the whole world. This is exactly what Reformed theology teaches–all who will believe (i.e. the elect) will be saved.

    Christ’s death was a propitiation (the turning away of wrath) for sin. How can a person be punished where there is no wrath (unless God will punish two people for the one sin). Christ continues to intercede for the elect (would Christ be interceding to those who are going to Hell? That would make His work pretty powerless). Did God create a world, knowing who would go to Hell, and still send His Son to die for people who were already in Hell? Is Jesus destined for eternal frustration–knowing that he gave His blood for so many who will spend eternity in Hell?

  7. folwm,
    You confound the provision with it’s receipt. The receipt with the sinner is predicated upon repentance and belief (faith) and cannot be projected backwards to circumscribe or limit the grace and integrity of God in providing. Just as when I throw away coupons I get in the mail cannot imply that the vendors who sent them were not making a valid offer to me, nor imply those coupons were not really for me.

  8. slw,

    Can you show me one place in the Bible where it says that the Gospel offer is made to every person on the planet? The offer is only made to the elect (those who will believe). What, exactly, is God providing to those who will not believe? What gracious offer has He made to them? The Gospel offer is that anyone WHO BELIEVES will be saved–and nothing more. This is exactly the proclamation that the Calvinist makes.

    Besides, your analogy only works if you take one facet of Reformed doctrine and try to cram it into an Arminian doctrine. By Reformed doctrine you would see that all who are predestined (receive the coupon in the mail) will be saved (redeem the coupon). No one on the mailing list will fail to redeem their coupon. This doctrine sounds strangely similar to what it says in Rom 8:29-30 (ESV) For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (30) And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

    Also, notice that it is a person who is foreknown–not a decision. It is also noteworthy that to “look through the corridors of time and see who will repent and put their faith in Christ” would mean that God has to gain knowledge that He did not previously have. God foreknows a person because He decreed that that person would be part of the elect. If that person is foreknown, he is predestined. If he is predestined, he is called (doesn’t sound like a call that is made to all people everywhere–more like a specific call to a specific people). If that person is called, he is justified–and then glorified. Seems like everyone who got the coupon in the mail, redeemed the coupon–no exceptions.

  9. folwm,

    @with limited atonement, Christ’s sacrifice actually saves–it actually accomplishes something

    It accomplishes something if it’s unlimited and provisional, viz. the salvation of all who believe, and hence universal atonement actually saves believers.

    @Did God … send His Son to die for people who were already in Hell?

    Yes, Christ’s death was a blanket provision for all men of all time, such that if those who were in hell had repented, they would be saved.

    @God has to gain knowledge that He did not previously have.

    That statement ignores God’s transcendence.

    @limited atonement does not negate the fact that EVERY person who repents and puts his faith in Christ will be saved

    I’m not aware of anyone arguing otherwise. The problem if limited atonement is accepted that I’ve presented here is that the gospel call to the non-elect is insincere, since presenting them the offer, “If you [for whom Christ didn't die] repent and believe, you shall be saved,” wouldn’t be true even if they hypothetically did believe. It’s making them an offer with no backing to it, just like someone tendering a bad check.

    The fact that none of the non-elect accept the offer does not change the fact that what they were offered was insincere and worthless to begin with. If you offer someone a bad check and they refuse it, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s still a bad check.

    @the offer is for all who will believe–not for the whole world

    This article pertains to mainstream Calvinism that endorses a sincere gospel offer to all men. Since your view is outside the mainstream that I’m addressing, you’re barking up the wrong tree.

  10. It’s quite telling that folwm has to deny that the gospel is offered to all in order to counter JC’s argument. That is an implicit affirmation that JC’s argument is spot on against Calvinism that affirms the general call, that the gospel offer is given to all.

  11. Let’s just say that I cannot understand your logic.

    You are telling me that an atonement that guarantees absolutely nothing is the atonement that actually accomplishes something (i.e. salvation), while the atonement that 100% guarantees salvation to every single person for whom it was intended is the one that does not actually save.

    I also cannot understand Jesus dying for people who were already in Hell and had absolutely no possibility of “taking advantage” of this “offer”. What did Christ propitiate in those instances? For that matter, what did Christ propitiate in the instance of an unbeliever today? How can God pour out his wrath on someone for whom He no longer has any wrath for since Christ’s sacrifice was a propitiation (a turning away of wrath) for sins of whoever the sacrifice was for?

    God’s transcendence has nothing to do with the fact that, if God did not decree predestination, but merely looked through time to “see” who would believe, His knowledge becomes something He gains–this is in contradiction to His omniscience.

    The Gospel call is in no way insincere because the Gospel call (as presented in the Bible) is “If you will repent and believe…”) The Calvinist can say this to absolutely every person and be 100% accurate. Your argument is the same as saying, “What if someone hypothetically didn’t have to believe to be saved?” It is equally impossible and equally self contradictory–which makes this just as valid an argument, so I guess your “gospel call” is invalid as well. The point is that your hypothetical scenario is completely impossible. Believers are part of the elect because God decreed that they are. God then regenerates the heart of every single member of the elect–which leads to their believing. God absolutely does not regenerate one single heart of the non-elect–without this regeneration, they can not and will not believe. It is as impossible for a non-believer to be saved as it is for a non-elect person to believe.

    As for your final point–sorry, I should have been more clear. The offer I was referring to was salvation (not the general proclamation). My point is that the Biblical offer of salvation, which is proclaimed to absolutely everyone on Earth, is to all who will believe–there is no offer of salvation to anyone who will not believe. We are to share this message with absolutely every person on the planet–that, if they will believe, they will be saved. This is entirely in line with mainstream Calvinism. This is also, for clarity, the position that I hold. I will word this a little differently on last time. The Gospel is to be proclaimed to everyone (elect and non-elect). The message that is to be given is that if they will believe (be part of the elect) they will be saved.

  12. Arminian,
    See my comments above for a clarification of my position. I believe that the Gospel should be proclaimed to all. It is the offer of salvation that is not offered to those who do not believe–as in “if you do not believe, you will not be saved)

    Second, according to Romans 8:30, all who are called are justified and glorified. There obviously is a call that goes out to all the world, but there is a specific call (the “offer” I was referring to) that only goes to those that are foreknown, predestined, etc. This group that is foreknown, predestined, called, justified, and glorified is known as the elect. To say that this call (the specific call to the elect) is to all the world necessitates universal salvation–which I am pretty sure neither one of us believes in. I hope this clears up any misunderstandings.

  13. folwm,

    @The Calvinist can say this to absolutely every person and be 100% accurate.

    This wouldn’t be true in all cases, since if one who Christ did not die for hypothetically were to believe, he still wouldn’t be saved.

    @there is no offer of salvation to anyone who will not believe

    Which is why I’ve taken effots to specifically address this to Calvinists who do believe in a genuine offer of salvation to all. Hyper-Calvinists and the like such as yourself who deny the universal offer are not even addressed here.

    @The point is that your hypothetical scenario is completely impossible.

    Which is irrelevant even if true: the logic I employ is still sound in proving that the call to the non-elect cannot be sincere if limited atonement is accepted. Even if it’s impossible for them to take the offered check, it’s still a bad check, and saying to them, “if you cash this check, you’ll be rich” is untrue.

    Off-topic points:

    @How can God pour out his wrath…

    I already qualified that it was provisional atonement.

    @I also cannot understand Jesus dying for people who were already in Hell

    That’s your problem. Point’s off-topic anyway, so I won’t belabor it.

    @His knowledge becomes something He gains–this is in contradiction to His omniscience.

    No, that’s equivocating the definition of omniscience. If such knowledge were innate to to Him, He’d have no freedom in how He interacted with humanity, as doing anything other than He innately knew would violate that knowledge, which destroys God’s aseity.

    @You are telling me that an atonement that guarantees absolutely nothing is the atonement that actually accomplishes something (i.e. salvation)

    Provisional atonement does save provided people believe; people believe, ergo it saves.

    @while the atonement that 100% guarantees salvation to every single person for whom it was intended is the one that does not actually save.

    No, you are trying to put words into my mouth, I said nothing of the sort.

    I don’t like off-topic stuff crowding the combox, kindly make that the last of it.

  14. For the record, I am not a “hyper-Calvinist”. I do believe that the Gospel offer should be made to every person on the planet. I believe that we should pray for the salvation of those who are not saved. The problem comes from you completely refusing to see what the Biblical Gospel offer is–that ALL WHO BELIEVE will be saved. This offer is exactly what mainstream Calvinism proclaims. There is NOWHERE in the Bible that says anything else. Calvinists identify that group that believe as “the elect”. There is not even a hypothetical possibility that a non-elect person will believe since God has decreed that the elect will believe and the non-elect will not believe–the fact that they believe is what makes them the elect, and the fact that someone does not believe in his lifetime makes him non-elect. You argument is equivalent to saying “what if a tomato was also an apple”. Even as a hypothetical situation, it is a nonsense argument. You cannot be “A” and “non-A” at the same time. You cannot be “elect” and remain an unbeliever all your life. You cannot be “non-elect” and believe. The entire basis of your argument goes against the basic rules of logic.

  15. The entire basis of your argument goes against the basic rules of logic

    Very interesting that you would say that considering that you insist that the gospel call is a well meant offer even to those that had no provision of atonement made for them and have been decreed by the One who makes this offer to be forever unable to fulfill the required conditions (of repentance and faith). In other words, as I wrote in another post,

    In Calvinism, not only are the non-elect incapable of responding positively to the gospel due to their depravity and God’s refusal to make a faith response possible, but also condemned for rejecting an atonement that was neither provided for them nor intended for them! So it would be more like offering a paralyzed child a bottle of pills with the promise that they will cure his paralysis on the condition that he would just reach out and take it, all the while knowing that there is nothing in the bottle to cure his disease even if he could reach out and take it!

    Do you really think that such an offer can be rightly called “well meant”?

    I recommend you read the whole post as it addresses many of your points and shows them to be false:

    https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2010/03/08/provisional-atonement-part-3-the-integrity-and-justice-of-god-in-the-gospel-offer/

    Also, Paul makes it clear that he told the Corinthians in his initial gospel proclamation (prior to them believing) that Christ died for their sins (as well as his) which further explodes your whole argument:

    “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you–unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures…” (1 Cor. 15:3, 4 ESV- emphasis mine)

    Logically, a well meant offer must be backed up by something, or it is not well meant. That is J.C.’s point, and if anyone’s logic is faulty it would be yours in trying to say that a well meant offer is well meant even though it is not well meant (has nothing behind it to back it up, etc.). When we add that to the fact that Paul had no problem telling unbelievers that Christ died for their sins and the undeniable Biblical evidence that whenever the extent of the atonement is specifically addressed in Scripture, it is expressed universally, your case has zero merit. No wonder there are so many four point Calvinists out there (though they are as inconsistent as you)

    God Bless,
    Ben

  16. The basis of your argument goes against the basic rules of logic because it is based on the same person being part of “group A” (i.e. believers/part of the elect) and not part of “group A” at the same time—this is a basic logical fallacy.

    Actually YOU insist that the Gospel call is a well meant offer even to those that had to provision of atonement made for them. I have repeatedly stated that, while we proclaim the message to every person on the planet, the offer is only for those that believe. The message is “If you will believe…” There is a universal command to repent. (Just like there is a universal command to be perfect—how are you, or I, or anyone else for that matter, doing on that one?). The promise (or “offer”) is given to the elect.

    Act 2:38-39 ESV And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (39) For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

    For clarity—the promise is for “you and your children” (Jews), “for all who are far off” (Gentiles), “Everyone whome the Lord our God calls to himself” (the elect). If this last phrase was “in addition” to the first two groups, this would make no sense as the first two groups would include the entire human race—so you wouldn’t say “to every human being on the planet, plus the elect”. The last phrase (referring to the elect) limits the first two phrases—as in “all the elect from the Jews and all the elect from the Gentiles”. The promise is given to the elect. For clarity as to what group, exactly, is the called of God, see John 6:37-44 and Romans 8:30.

    You guys sure like to make the God of Calvinism seem like some kind of ogre that is just waiting to “get” some innocent person. God does not decree some to Hell in the same way that He decrees some to salvation. God looks at fallen humanity—a group that is not deserving of any kind of grace—and graciously offers salvation to some who are completely undeserving of it. These people would not even desire God’s grace without His grace being given them in the first place. He is not withholding medicine from a sick child who wishes he could take it. He giving medicine to some in a group who REFUSE to take it. The promise then is given that all to whom God gave the medicine will be healed. Nothing was promised to the group who were not given the medicine—nor do they want the medicine or the promise. God’s promise is entirely sincere—if you believe, you will be saved—the act of believing proves that person’s election.

    In 1 Corinthians, Paul is speaking to Christians (i.e. the elect) and saying that “Christ died for our sins”. The “our” here is “the elect”. Hmmm. Seems to pretty much go along exactly with what I’m saying. I have seen all kinds of Biblical evidence where limited atonement is referred to (a few have been mentioned in this post—many others in my previous posts).

  17. folwm,

    @The basis of your argument goes against the basic rules of logic because it is based on the same person being part of “group A” … and not part of “group A” at the same time

    No, our arguments aren’t based upon that at all. You are simply making things up while simultaneously demonstrating your severe inability to follow even a basic argument.

    @Actually YOU insist that the Gospel call is a well meant offer even to those that had to provision of atonement made for them.

    This is addressed to Calvinists who believe the same thing. The whole point of this article was that limited atonement and the well-meant offer are incompatible. Since you apparently agree, your objections are pretty incoherent.

    @He is not withholding medicine from a sick child who wishes he could take it. He giving medicine to some in a group who REFUSE to take it.

    You missed the point of what kangaroodort was saying entirely: if Christ didn’t die for them, then it’s not real “medicine” at all being offered to those who don’t take it, as what they refuse wouldn’t save them even if they took it.

    @The “our” here is “the elect”.

    a.) There is no contextual support for your interpretation.
    b.) Assuming that somehow excludes the non-elect is the negative inference fallacy.

    @ I have seen all kinds of Biblical evidence where limited atonement is referred to

    No, the Bible never states that the atonement is “only for the elect” or “not for the non-elect.” It’s an unbiblical doctrine.

    @the fact that they believe is what makes them the elect

    Election in Calvinism takes place prior to faith and isn’t based upon either existent or foreseen faith.

    Your unfounded insistence that my syllogism goes against the rules of logic isn’t an argument. To show the argument unsound you’d have to show that either my premises are inaccurate or my conclusions derived from them don’t follow.

    @I do believe that the Gospel offer should be made to every person on the planet.

    Besides contradicting your own statement here when you stated, “the offer is only for those that believe”, that offer, as made to the non-elect would be insincere, since they couldn’t collect on it even if they did believe. Please note that whether the non-elect actually have ability to believe or not is irrelevant to this argument.

    Analogously, it’s very much like the bad check scenario: If you offer two people checks, one bad check and one good, and tell them both, “If you cash your offered check, then you will be rich” (analogously equivalent to making the offer to them both, “if you believe in Christ, you will be saved”), this statement is only true for one person, and is false and insincere for the other. To my point, it’s irrelevant if he never cashes it, it’s irrelevant if he doesn’t want to cash it, it’s irrelevant if he literally can’t and never will be able cash it -it’s still a bad check that was offered to him- just as the gospel offer you believe we should make to the non-elect is (under limited atonement) insincere.

  18. In 1 Corinthians, Paul is speaking to Christians (i.e. the elect) and saying that “Christ died for our sins”. The “our” here is “the elect”. Hmmm. Seems to pretty much go along exactly with what I’m saying.

    I think you need to read the passage and my comments on this passage again. The passage makes it clear that Paul’s gospel proclamation that Christ died for “our sins” was made to the Corinthians before they became believers. Note the bolded parts:

    “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you–unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures…” (1 Cor. 15:3, 4 ESV- emphasis mine)

    Do you see that? Christ dying for their sins was the content of Paul’s initial gospel proclamation to the Corinthians. So your “our” means “elect” is contrary to the context of this passage. There is more to be said about the other passages your referenced, but I don’t have time right now. It seems to me that you have still not demonstrated in the least how the gospel call is genuine to the non-elect.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  19. JC

    1.What I’m trying to say about your argument is that you are trying to separate “one who believes” from the elect. You are saying that Calvinism is making a claim that could not be honored by a “non-elect believer”. That is like suggesting that someone can be saved and an unbeliever—the two contradict each other. Elect and believer are the SAME group. If you are elect, you will believe. If you believe you are elect. You CANNOT be one and not the other.

    2.Calvinists believe the offer (as in all who repent and believe will be saved) should be made to all. I have created some confusion in trying to express myself in different ways because you haven’t been able to understand what it is that I am saying. For clarification: The proclamation should be made to all. The promise is for those who will believe—those who believe are known as the elect. What true Calvinist argues that the proclamation should not be made to all, or that the promise is for the non-elect. I am sorry if my wording has created confusion.

    3.The point is, if the child took the medicine, he would be cured—100% of the time. That child would be part of the elect—we know this because he took the medicine—you keep trying to put people into contradicting groups (see point 1).

    4.You say that there is no contextual support for my interpretation of 1 Cor 15. Just a quick scan over the first couple of chapters shows that this letter is written to the believers and that the “us” is referring to believers (which I contend are the same group as the elect).

    1Co 1:2 ESV To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:

    1Co 1:8 ESV who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    1Co 1:18 ESV For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

    1Co 1:24-26 ESV but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. (25) For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (26) For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.

    1Co 1:30 ESV And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,

    1Co 2:10 ESV these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.

    1Co 2:12 ESV Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.

    1Co 2:16 ESV “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

    For a little clarification on Paul’s understanding of the elect:

    Rom 8:31-33 ESV What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (32) He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (33) Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.

    Again—the believers are the elect—according to Paul.

    5.You stated that since the Bible never explicitly states atonement is only for the elect… and that this means that there is no evidence of the doctrine in the Bible. Are you going to say the same thing for the doctrine of the Trinity? I would hope not. We derive the doctrine of the Trinity based on the whole Word of God—not on one explicit statement. The same thing goes for limited atonement—I have listed several passages (although not an exhaustive one by any means) that imply limited atonement. When the whole Word of God is taken into consideration, there is much evidence for the doctrine.

    6. I am aware that election comes before faith. Again I am trying to show that believers and “the elect” are exactly the same group—sorry for my sloppy wording. What I should have said is that the fact that they believe is evidence of their election. Again—as in point 2, I have created some confusion is trying to say the same thing in multiple ways because you have yet to grasp my point.

    7.I have repeatedly shown that your syllogism goes against the rules of logic. See point 1. You cannot believe and be part of the non-elect. You are stating that Calvinism is insincere in this point, but you have to allow the definition of terms that are used by those making the point. Therefore you are taking people and putting them in group and non-group. Therefore your premises is a contradiction of terms—illogical.

    8.I did not mean to “contradict my own statement”. See points 2 and 6. But I think I have made this point sufficiently clear to understand what was meant. The “proclamation” is to everyone—this would be the offer of “whoever will believe”. Since the proclamation has a limiter (whoever will believe) the “promise” is only for those who will believe. You also say that whether the non-elect actually have the ability to believe is irrelevant. That is where you hit the illogical part—see points 1 and 7. Calvinism teaches very clearly that ALL who believe will be saved. Calvinism also teaches very clearly that all who believe are the elect—all who won’t believe are the non-elect. If they believe they are saved—end of story. This is what Calvinism teaches. You just are not allowing the fact that they are the same group—that if they believe they are elect.

  20. Kangeroodort

    The point is that it is perfectly logical for Paul, when he was first preaching the Gospel in Corinth, to say something along the lines of, “Christ died for the sins of His people.” Or even something along the lines of, “If you will repent and believe, you will be saved.” And then, in talking to the group of saved people (which Paul was doing in 1Cor) to say that Christ died for our sins. He did not say that Christ died for the sins of every person on the planet—he said “our sins” the “our” is believers (as clearly shown in my previous post).

    As an analogy, suppose I told a group of people that everyone who joins my club will go on a free trip to Europe. Later, when talking to the club members, I say something along the lines of, “Remember when I said that we would all go on a free trip to Europe?” do you suppose that anyone in the club would think that I meant everyone on the planet gets to go to Europe for free? Of course not.

  21. folwm,
    I don’t think it gets much clearer than 1 John 2:2.

  22. slw

    You’re right—this is devastating to my position. This would be even more devastating if you weren’t under the power of Satan!!! Before you get angry, look at what I mean—just a little farther in the same book, John says:

    1Jn 5:19 ESV We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

    So, by your reasoning, every single person on the planet (which should include you) is under the power of the evil one (Satan).

    Okay—seriously—are you a universalist? Because, unless you are, this verse cannot mean what you are implying it to mean.

    Propitiation—“A sacrifice that bears God’s wrath and turns it to favor.”

    If Christ is the propitiation for the sins of every single person, there would be no more wrath. God would no longer look at any person, believer or not, with anything but favor. Christ is the propitiation for people all over the world—all who will believe.

    There are multiple examples of the word “whole” not meaning absolutely every single person:

    Mat 21:10 ESV And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?”

    The strange one about this is that if every single person in the city was asking “who is this?” Were there people yelling from outside the city to answer them? Of course not—the crowd was in the city. There were simply lots of people stirred up.

    Mar 1:33 ESV And the whole city was gathered together at the door.

    Peter’s mother in law must have had a really big front yard!

    Act 10:22 ESV And they said, “Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, who is well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and to hear what you have to say.”

    If Cornelius was well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, of which Peter was one, then they wouldn’t have had to explain to Peter who exactly Cornelius was.

    Act 13:44-45 ESV The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. (45) But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him.

    Again we see the whole city gathered together, but the Jews, who saw the crowds, must have been looking from outside the city.

    I could go on and on—there are lots of examples, but I will add just one more—because it is a “whole world” example that is very clear:

    Col 1:6 ESV which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing–as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth,

    First of all, I don’t think that the gospel was bearing fruit in every single person on the entire planet. This especially makes no sense when he adds “as it ALSO does among you.” I guess that the Colossians were not living on the planet at this time.

    Not to mention the fact that there are also verses that, at face value imply limited atonement—such as:

    Mar 10:45 ESV For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

    Joh 10:11 ESV I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

  23. folwm,
    So what part of “and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole world” don’t you understand?

  24. folwm,

    @this letter is written to the believers and that the “us” is referring to believers

    No, “us” can just as easily refer to “us” as sinners; nothing in the context necessarily limits the term to believers exclusively.

    @The same thing goes for limited atonement…I have listed several passages … that imply limited atonement

    No comparison, there is nothing in scripture that would even vaguely imply that some are excluded from the atonement.

    @Calvinists believe the offer (as in all who repent and believe will be saved) should be made to all.

    And since the offer that is to be made to all isn’t actually backed with anything (per the doctrine of limited atonement), it’s an insincere offer — the very point I’ve proven.

    @You cannot believe and be part of the non-elect…I have repeatedly shown that your syllogism goes against the rules of logic.

    You display a rather stark ignorance of logical principles, as hypotheticals are commonly used and can form hypothetically true statements, e.g. “If Christ had not died for sins, the no one could be saved,” is a non-real-world hypothetical scenario (as Christ did die for sins), but is also true in its implication (because if Christ had not died, then it is indisputably true that in such a hypothetical scenario, no one could be saved). It doesn’t matter if the hypothetical spoken of isn’t actual, the statement is still true.

    Further, by your rather unorthodox view of what constitutes logical argumentation, Paul would have been “going against the rules of logic” when he stated, “And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.” (1 Cor 15:14). Christ obviously is risen, Paul is simply employing the hypothetical to show the error to a false doctrine; the fact that the hypothetical wasn’t/isn’t/can’t be true doesn’t invalidate the argument.

  25. I wanted to add something to this which I believe is in direct relation to the insincere (bad check) offer of the Gospel to those who do not get saved (I will call it, and maybe you should write a post about it – the insincere offer and assurance Calvinists give those that “fall away” and were never elect to begin with). I have heard Calvinists like folwm be very careful about the way that they preach the Gospel, being sure not to tell someone specifically that Christ died for them as there is no way to know if the person hearing you is part of the elect. However, when a person comes forward and makes a profession of belief in Christ, then immediately that one is given assurance, told that they are elect and that the atonement covered their sins. Now if said person in the future “falls away” from the faith and was not given the gift of perseverance (as Calvin puts it), then that means that they were never saved or elect to begin with and Christ never died for their sins. The only way around this as “only those who endure to the end will be saved” is to wait until someone dies as a faithful saint before proclaiming that Christ died for them and that they are part of the elect. Yet Calvinists are never as careful with those that “profess” to be Christians and are in their Churches as they seem to be with those that are outside of the Church and never believe.

  26. I don’t think I’m making much progress, so I’ll stop here, but thank you all for the conversation–God bless you all.

  27. I forgot to mention. If you have further concerns or questions, feel free to contact me at

    folwm@hotmail.com

    God bless.

  28. folwm,

    You are still not grappling with the language of the passage. Paul’s words are rather plain. The content of his initial gospel message was “Christ died for our sins”, not “Christ died for the sins of the elect” or “Christ died for the sins of His people” or, “if you repent and believe, Christ died for you; if you don’t He didn’t”, etc. The nice thing is that Paul tells them exactly what he said: “Christ died for our sins…” This was the message he preached and the message they received by faith (and the message they must continue to trust in to be saved). The only way to avoid this is to read things into the text that are not there and to put words in Paul’s mouth that he did not claim to say (which, sadly, you seem happy to do).

    Here is another example (from a previous post):

    The problem for the Calvinist is that spiritual repentance is impossible without atonement. No one can effectively turn from sin and towards Christ in faith outside of the provision of atonement which provides the means for the forgiveness of sins. This is clearly highlighted in Peter’s sermon in Acts 3:12-19. Notice especially the language being used in verses 18, 19 and 26. In verse 18 Peter speaks of Christ suffering death according to prophecy, and in verse 19 he says, “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” Repentance is directly tied to Christ’s death and the consequent possibility of “returning” to God on the basis of that death. So if God commands all men everywhere to repent, then Christ must have died for all as noted above. But more than that we see in verse 26 that Peter tells these Jews that Christ was raised that everyone of [them] would be turned from their wicked ways (another way of describing repentance). So it looks like this,

    18 “But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.
    19 “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; . . .
    26 “For you first, God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.” (NASB emphasis mine….

    ….For this reason Peter instructs all of those within the sound of his voice that Christ’s death and resurrection was for the purpose of “all” of them turning away from their wickedness towards faith in God, that “times of refreshing might come from the Lord” (Acts 3:18, 19, 26). Here we find a clear Biblical mandate, in accordance with Peter’s expressed language directed to “all” who were listening, for telling anyone that Christ died for him or her so that one might repent and be saved, something that would be impossible if the Calvinist doctrine of limited atonement truly represented the Biblical view.

    https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2010/03/08/provisional-atonement-part-3-the-integrity-and-justice-of-god-in-the-gospel-offer/

    God Bless,
    Ben

  29. JPC,

    Excellent point.

  30. It should not be wrong to tell the ‘gospel-truth’,

    “-Hello friend. Regardless of what you may think or anything I say, if God has chosen you before time then eventually one day you will irresistibly be made to believe in Christ and will be eternally saved. If so then despite anything you do now you will not be able to believe in him until the moment God irresistibly causes it to happen.
    On the other hand if God has not already selected you then regardless of what you think or do you will never be able to believe in Christ, no provision was ever made for you sins and it is impossible for you to ever be saved. There are many predestined to the broad way of destruction and few elected for the narrow way that leads to life, and nothing either of us can say or do will change which way we were predetermined to be.”

    -”Informative, more of a statement though than an offer.”

    -”Thanks, it saves time to just state the facts rather than give you the impression you were offered something when it wasn’t actually meant for you.”

    In jest of course, but if true would it really be all that inappropriate..

  31. *in case it wasn’t actually meant for you

  32. Jay, I dont think that it would be very hard for a Calvinist to give an answer to your point as they believe that the same God that unconditionally chose some is the same one that ordained the means (by the preaching of the Gospel) by which the elect would be saved. No Calvinist that I know believes that a person is saved apart from the preaching of the Gospel, however the point of this post is accurate as the problem you would have is the insincere offer towards those that are not elect since Christ’s death did not pay for their sins (according to limited atonement).

    I read the article you guys posted on the Extent of the Atonement by Bruce Ware (4 point Calvinist) and couldnt help but wonder how only acknowledging unlimited atonement removes the problem of the sincere offer of the Gospel. Here is a quote from him:

    “Christ died for the purpose of securing the bone fide offer of salvation to all people everywhere. Since we are commanded to preach the gospel to all people, the unlimited atoning sacrifice of Christ renders this offer of salvation fully and uncompromisingly genuine.” and “Belief in Christ is necessary, however, to receive the benefits of
    Christ’s death and be saved, and only the elect are called efficaciously and so believe in
    Christ and so are saved.”

    It seems that instead of offering a bad check (limited atonement) you now have a situation where you are offering a valid check with money backing it in the bank but the bank is somewhere in the himalayan mountains (secret location that no one knows) and unless you are chosen not only to receive the check but also given a helicopter ride to the secret location of the bank then you cant cash it. How is that still not an insincere offer?? It would be a lot easier to just cast off the ULI of Calvinism and this problem easliy goes away!

  33. Im sorry, while reading the comments, and in the other tab i have this…

    http://news.ph.msn.com/entertainment/article.aspx?cp-documentid=4589362

    ^ (about Charlie Sheen)

    The Calvinist’s “Not Saved In The First Place” argument here really jumped out on me. (That’s if I have omniscience, off course I do not know what will happen to this guy in the future)…

    So, was the offer to him sincere or not? ^_^ I bet he was converted in a Pentecostal Church (<<– ok im kidding with this one.)

  34. Putting this issue into a hypothetical but potentially real life scenario should help clarify the issue and prove the OP:

    Say that you decided to offer ice cream cones to a whole class of students (one for each student who fulfills the condition). But you pick the students you actually want the ice cream cones to go to ahead of time and buy ice cream cones only for them. There is only that amount of ice cream cones and you have also rigged it so that all the students you have chosen will actually meet the condition. Now the condition for receiving a cone is this: a student merely needs to get up out of his chair and come and take the cone held out to him by you. The catch is this: there are several students who are in wheelchairs and cannot walk or get up. They are unable to meet the condition, and you knew that and did not buy ice cream for them. Can it be considered a genuine offer to them in any way to offer them the ice cream on the condition that they can get up and come and receive the ice cream cone from you? No way. That would be a totally insincere offer. There is no ice cream cone for them to come and get even if they could meet the condition. Ice cream cones for those students were not even bought. It’s like a bad check.

  35. JC wrote: “Besides (L. Atonement) having no scriptural foundation to speak of (evidenced by the fact that not a word of scripture implies anyone being excluded from the atonement, whereas its universality is repeatedly proclaimed therein)”

    Patrick says:

    It is not true that Scripture does not imply anyone being excluded from the atonement:

    “ I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life (atonement) for the sheep.” (John 10:11)

    Unless demagogic interpretation is applied, it is evident that these words of Scripture imply that goats are excluded from the atonement. Plus, goats do not turn into sheep by believing (John 10:26) since their decreed condition of goats prevents them from belief since before the foundation of the world. Plus, goats will never be able nor wish to become sheep through prevenient aid or similar.

    “All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.” (Mat 25:32)

    At the same time, it is completely false that Scriptures repeatedly proclaim the universality of the atonement. This is simply an assumption of Arminians who misinterpret some traditional verses that, according to their view, teach universal atonement, ignoring context and the background of biblical writers and their audiences.

    It is true though that the universal offer of the gospel is proclaimed all over the Bible and I will focus on the sincerity (or not) of this offer in coming posts.

  36. JC: Premise 1: An “offer” made to one that he[a] cannot collect on, even should he meet its stipulations, is not a genuine or sincere offer to that man.

    P: Comments: Logic is based on true premises and this first premise is not true, so the rest is all false. Premise 1 is faulty because it is based on an unreal possibility of a non-elect meeting the stipulations of an offer he will never wish to meet because of his rebel will and his total depravity. Plus, not being able to meet a stipulation does not invalidate the legitimacy or sincerity of an offer. You can get an offer of 1M$ for a car and the fact that you are not able or willing to pay does not imply that the offer is not licit.

    JC: Premise 2: The gospel offer that God extends to all men[b] everywhere is that if anyone truly believes in Jesus Christ, he shall be saved from eternal condemnation (Romans 10:9-11, John 5:24).

    P: Comments: True

    JC: Conclusion 1: Therefore if any man could not be saved even if he truly believed in Christ, then the gospel offer to that man is not genuine or sincere.

    P: Comments: Conclusions obtained from false premises are obviously false themselves. A non-elect will never truly believe in Christ so you are just generating demagogic conclusions from delusive premises. If you want to use logic for your case, first you must obey the rules of logic, which is based on truths, not utopias. Otherwise the effort is meaningless as it is most of this post.

  37. It should be set straight that Arminians limit the atonement just as the Calvinists do.

    The Calvinist limits the quantity of people that the atonement intended to save. Making it so that Jesus accomplished everything on Calvary.

    The Arminian limits the quality of the atonement, so that it saves no one. Instead, the consistent view is that Jesus made it possible, then people have to finish up Jesus’ work.

    Jesus was clear, “It is finished” or “paid in full” What was paid in full?

    The honest discussion starts with the reality that Arminians limit the atonement also, in an arguably more radical way.

  38. Ryan – “It should be set straight that Arminians limit the atonement just as the Calvinists do.”

    This false charge can easily be refuted.

    1. Christ’s death on the Cross secured the Salvation of those that were looking forward to the Messiah and had already passed away like Abraham, David and John the Baptist. So it can never be said that Christ saved “no one”.

    2. You are leaving out God’s foreknowledge when you say that Christ “potentially” could have died for “no one”. He knew about the 120 in the upper room, the 3000 on the day of Pentecost and the countless millions that would come to faith in him. You are only making a baseless caricature of Christ as if he was thinking “boy, I sure do hope that some come to believe in me because I would really hate to have died for nothing” What kind of God do you think Arminians and Non-Calvinists believe in??

    3. The reason why Calvinists limit the Atonement is because they take the plain reading of Scripture – that Christ died for “all” and the “world” and import meanings that normally would never be understood by those passages. I never read John 3:16 or the many passages that speak of the scope of the Atonement and thought “Oh that means the world of the elect or that means all types of people”. You have to be taught Calvinism, you don’t get it from a plain reading of Scriptures.

    Besides, our Lord Jesus Christ said himself that all who believe would inherit eternal life. Do you believe that Jesus himself limited the Atonement?

  39. JPC: “You are leaving out God’s foreknowledge when you say that Christ “potentially” could have died for “no one””

    The reason why i left out God’s foreknowledge as in the idea of ‘foreseen faith’ is because its not biblical, it is an example of eisegesis. There is no example of the concept of ‘foreseen faith’ in the Bible. There are examples of knowing people in an intimate way, not knowing that they would choose God.

    Ex: Adam knew (yada) eve (Genesis 4:1) appears to be a term of intimacy

    Notice the Hebrew word ‘yada’ then follow me for a journey down Bible lane.

    here’s a good example for you: Amos 3:2 with a few different translations:

    KJV: You only have I known (‘yada’) of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.

    NIV: You only have I chosen (‘yada’) of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your sins.

    NLT: From among all the families on the earth, I have been intimate (‘yada’) with you alone. That is why I must punish you for all your sins.

    Your said: What kind of God do you think Arminians and Non-Calvinists believe in?

    I’m just keeping you consistent with the Bible.

    Your said: The reason why Calvinists limit the Atonement is because they take the plain reading of Scripture – that Christ died for “all” and the “world” and import meanings that normally would never be understood by those passages.

    For myself, I believe that Christ’s atonement is infinitely potent in power, because He is God. His blood is worth more than the whole universe combined. But it only becomes effective to those who believe. And those who believe are the elect.

    As for you, just to keep you honest, you import meaning to the term ‘foreknow’ in the Bible. Attaching the idea that what is being foreknown is faith, though in every instance of the term ‘foreknown’ the term ‘faith’ is nowhere found. Only that people are foreknown. Did God only know israel? or course not, in Isaiah 10, we see that He knows the Assyrians. But He is not talking about standard knowledge, but His entering into a personal relation.

    You said: Besides, our Lord Jesus Christ said himself that all who believe would inherit eternal life. Do you believe that Jesus himself limited the Atonement?

    I don’t deny this. I embrace this. But to keep you honest, Jesus did say:

    John 10:26: “But you do not believe, because you are not my sheep. (27) My sheep hear My voice and I know them and they follow Me.”

    Why do they not believe? Because they are not His sheep. It does not say, “you are not My sheep, because you do not believe.”

    I hope this helps you.

    Did God not know anyone else? Did God know that The Jews were going to be more faithful then any other nation? of course not:

    Deuteronomy 9:4-5: “Do not think in your heart, after the LORD your God has cast them out before you, saying, ‘because of my righteousness the LORD has brought me in to possess this land;… (5) It is not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart…”

    Or Jeremiah 1:5:
    Before I formed thee in the belly I knew (yada) thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

    The problem with foreseen faith is not only in the fact that it is an unbiblical interpretation of ‘knowing’ it also claims that man has some goodness in him that when illuminated with grace, he would choose God. Romans 1:30: “Haters of God,” and Paul is talking about you; Romans 2:1. Therefore without a changing of the heart, an illumination only leads to more clearly hating God.

  40. “The Arminian limits the quality of the atonement, so that it saves no one.

    - The 18 Karat Hearts and Arrows Cut Engagement Ring’s quality is not affected whether or not my Girlfriend rejects my Proposal.

    “Instead, the consistent view is that Jesus made it possible, then people have to finish up Jesus’ work.”

    - Still the quality was never affected. This simply does not follow.

    Because God’s Sovereign Plan is for people to believe or not.

    Now I do hope you know the “generic” Bible texts we arminians use for this right?

    Just like the following…

    “The reason why i left out God’s foreknowledge as in the idea of ‘foreseen faith’ is because its not biblical, it is an example of eisegesis.”

    Can you list this down and explain why it is exegesis?

    Thanks.

  41. Hi Rex,

    I can try my best to answer your questions and pray that your heart is open and receptive.

    You said: “The 18 Karat Hearts and Arrows Cut Engagement Ring’s quality is not affected whether or not my Girlfriend rejects my Proposal.”

    Unless we hold to universalism, whereby everyone is going to be saved. Both camps limits the atonement. Those of the Arminian camp limited the Atonement by the will of man, which is equivalent to limiting the quality. Let me try to explain:

    Those who are in the Arminian camp believe that there is no such thing as efficacious grace. Saving grace is resistable, and in that sense, salvation requires man to do something to make it effective. The consistent view of this then is that Jesus did not fully pay for all of anyone’s sin. Because in order for a person to be saved, they have to correct their own sin of unbelief. If the sin of unbelief is not included in the atonement of Christ, that means that every single sin was not included in the body of Christ. This is how the Arminian camp limits the atonement.

    It may be easier to see with a contrast.

    So the Reformed camp would say that Jesus bore every single sin of the elect. Therefore, when God desires to apply the vicarious atonement of Christ, all things are given to this person. Regeneration, by which faith and repentance is granted. So that there is nothing that a man is adding to salvation, there is only the application of what Christ has already done.

    So that, it would appear to the bystander, in the arminian view. All the grace given to people is the same. God illuminates the mind through the idea of ‘prevenient grace’ and then man accepts or reject. But in the end, the difference in eternal destiny is found in man.

    Some objections to this would be some verses like this:
    Can man frustrate the will of God?
    Job 42:2: “I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.”

    Daniel 4:35: “All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand or say to Him, “What have you done?”

    Jeremiah 10:23: “O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.”

    Another objection would be: So man is saved ultimately because of his own will?

    James 1:18: “Of His own will He brought us forth…”

    John 15:16: “You did not choose Me, but I choose you…”

    Romans 9:16: “So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.”

    John 1:13: “children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”

    Or the objection: So man makes himself different from another; since all men receive the same amount of grace?

    1 Cor 4:7: “For what makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive?

    2 Cor 3:5 “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves as thinking of anything as being from ourselves, our sufficiency is from God?”

    Another objection: So man produces his own faith, then God responds?

    John 3:3: “Must assuredly I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

    1 Cor 2:14: “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

    1 Cor 12:3: “… and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.”

    Matthew 7:18: “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.”

    John 3:6: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

    John 3:8: “The pneuma [Spirit] blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from or where it goes, so is everyone who is born of the pneumatos [Spirit]”

    John 6:63: “It is the Spirit who gives life,the flesh profits nothing…”

    The Calvinist camp faces objections such as:

    So Christ did not die for everyone?

    John 1:29; John 3:16; 1 John 2:2; and all other verses that say ‘all’ or ‘world’ in relation to the redemption by the blood of Christ.

    Another objection: What about the verses that say such things as:

    Ezekiel 18: ?: God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked

    But there is the answer a ‘calvinist’ may respond with as such:

    Proverbs 16:4: “The LORD has made all for Himself, Yes even the wicked for the day of doom.”

    Romans 9:18-19: “Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills and whom He will He hardens. You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” verse 21: Does not the potter have the power over the clay…

    So ultimately, the arminian camp, if consistent, requires man to ‘seal the deal’ of salvation. The analogy is such as a bridge (atonement) that almost goes all the way across, but needs man to build the rest. The calvinist camp would say that Jesus built the whole bridge, then God simply applies the full of His work to the individual He wills to reveal Him to.

    You asked: Because God’s Sovereign Plan is for people to believe or not.

    Both camps agree that God’s plan is for people to believe and for others to not believe, resulting in eternal perdition. The question becomes, can man believe on His own? or is the salvation given by God, even the belief, a thing granted to man.

    Phillipians 1:29: For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.”

    2:13: “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”

    There are many other aspects of contrast, but I will not respond to eternal security, besides Philippians 2:13, which appears to speak of a monergistic sanctification (or one energy at work; God’s)

    So an objection would be: can’t man resist salvation?

    of course, man resists the Gospel all the time, if man never resisted, all would be saved. But the calvinist camp says that God can, if He is pleased to do so, save with an irresistable grace:

    John 6:44: “No one can [doonamahee: is able] to come to Me unless (necessary condition) the Father who sent Me draws [Helkuse: drag see James 2:5] him, and I will raise him up at the last day.”

    The calvinist camp would say that if the ‘him’ drawn in part A of this verse is the same ‘him’ in part B of this verse… everyone who is drawn or dragged in this manner is saved.

    You asked:
    “Can you list this down and explain why it is exegesis?”

    Exegesis is the act by which a person extracts from the Bible texts. Eisegesis is act by which a person searches in the text for something.

    I tried to describe the OT and, what i believe is the Biblical view of the work “foreknowing’ someone. The term foreknow is never found in the text following or around the term faith. The OT verb of ‘know’ as in Amos 3:2 is ‘yada’ which is used to denote an intimacy for the person. In the NT greek its, if i remember correctly. When a person applies it to the knowing of future faith there are some complications:

    First see my description of Amos 3:2, Gen 4:1; and deut.

    It becomes eisegesis because the person ascribing foreseen faith to a text are doing so because they are trying to support a view of election which they are bringing to the text rather than pulling it out of the text. The foreknowing in Romans 8 refers to people, and not directly to faith. Same is seen in 1 Peter 3.

    Furthermore, some would argue that it doesn’t take into account that the person is bearing good fruit, faith, while still being a bad tree.

    Jeremiah 13:23: “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Then may you also do good who are accustomed to evil.”

    Genesis 6:5: “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continuously.”

    The argument would be that the same heart in Genesis 6:5 cannot do anything but evil unless it is first changed by the Spirit of God.

    John 8:43: “Why do you not understand my speech? because you are not able to hear my word?
    8:47: “He who is of God hears God’s words, therefore you do not hear because you are not of God.”

    Prevenient grace faces the same objections, because the heart is not changed in the process. Rather it is illuminated by God’s grace.

    Here is John Wesley in the sermon “Free Grace:”
    “How uncomfortable a thought is this, that thousands and millions of men, without any preceding offence or fault of theirs, were unchangeably doomed to everlasting burnings?”

    You can see the problem is in the denial of sinful nature, or the infection of the consequences of Adam’s first sin. Genesis 6:5; 8:21 seem to express that man is at fault from youth. Because they are sinners from birth. The Bible describes men as evil and all deserving the death of hell. Therefore the idea that no one deserves hell is unbiblical.

    Sorry this is so long, but I hope it answers your questions.

  42. Sorry for all the typos, the NT greek work for ‘know’ is ‘nerosis’ … I could be spelling its pronunciation incorrect.

  43. “Those of the Arminian camp limited the Atonement by the will of man, which is equivalent to limiting the quality.”

    - Nope. That’s a leap of logic and just doesn’t follow. We could discuss the will of man but I don’t think your interested judging by your post. (E.g. you didn’t explain what are our Texts so it looks like you really do not know anything about arminian thinking)

    As for the rest of your post, Yup its too long and yes it answered my questions and it effectively converted me to Calvinism just now. LOL just kidding. ^_^

  44. I’m not trying to convert you to calvinism. I’m just trying to help you understand what the bible says. If man has to do to correct any of his own sin problem its obvious that Christ didn’t die for that sin. That’s why Christ says “Paid in full” and that is why belief is granted per Phil 1:29 Romans 12:3, 1 Cor 4:7; 2 Cor 3:5.

    And i didn’t say that I held the view that I posted, I simply was trying to describe it for you.

    My view is that Christ’s blood is inherently infinitely sufficient for all the people of the world countless times over. Yet it is only applied by the will of God to those whom He has chosen.

    Must of the hard time discussing these things with those of the arminian camp stems from the fact that they don’t understand what grace is, don’t understand what mercy is, and they don’t understand what the Bible says about the corruption of fallen man.

  45. Hey guys he just said you don’t understand what Grace is. ^_^

  46. “If any man ascribes anything of salvation, even the very least thing, to the free will of
    man, he knows nothing of grace, and he has not learned Jesus Christ rightly.”

    Martin Luther:

    aka: the man God used to free the church from the terrible heresy of the Catholic church and establish justification by faith in Christ

  47. Ryan, I thought it you believed justification by grace, why did you say faith? That is all Arminians and Non-Calvinists believe in, that we are saved not by works but by grace through faith.

    Since you hold Luther in such high regard and he cannot be wrong in anything he says the I assume that you are a Lutheran?

    Since you keep insisting that men are robots, who sinned in the garden, Adam or God? Where did evil come from, man or God?

  48. Patrick,

    1.) “Goats” aren’t even mentioned in John 10
    2.) Nowhere does the Bible indicate that the non-elect are goats by decree
    3.) Assuming “for sheep” means “not for goats” is the negative inference fallacy

    Like I said, there’s no biblical evidence for limited atonement, it repeatedly points to universal atonement for all men.

    @Premise 1 is faulty because it is based on an unreal possibility of a non-elect meeting the stipulations of an offer

    You fail to understand the use of hypotheticals in syllogisms. As I pointed out here:

    “…hypotheticals are commonly used and can form hypothetically true statements, e.g. “If Christ had not died for sins, the no one could be saved,” is a non-real-world hypothetical scenario (as Christ did die for sins), but is also true in its implication (because if Christ had not died, then it is indisputably true that in such a hypothetical scenario, no one could be saved). It doesn’t matter if the hypothetical spoken of isn’t actual, the statement is still true.”

    So the premise itself is still true because it references a hypothetical.

  49. Ryan,

    @The Arminian limits the quality of the atonement, so that it saves no one

    No, the atonement saves all who believe. You’re repeating a common fallacy.

    @it also claims that man has some goodness in him that when illuminated with grace, he would choose God.

    You’re using another common fallacy.

    @The consistent view of this then is that Jesus did not fully pay for all of anyone’s sin.

    Wrong again, Christ does pay for all sin, but obtaining forgiveness (including for the past sin of unbelief) is provisioned upon faith. If it isn’t provisioned upon faith, then one must be justified apart from faith, which is anti-scriptural. Hence your argument about Arminians limiting the “quality” of the atonement amounts to nothing.

    @Can man frustrate the will of God?

    “But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.” (Luke 7:30)

    @So man is saved ultimately because of his own will?

    Which ignores that man can only will to be saved because of God’s grace. To your proof-texts,
    John 15:16: That was speaking to Christ’s 12 disciples…context….
    Romans 9:16: No one’s arguing that it isn’t God who elects.
    John 1:13, James 1:18: No one’s arguing that we regenerate ourselves.
    1 Cor 4:7 Read the grammar, “receive” is active, i.e. something done by us (receiving Christ in this context), through which God has caused us to differ from the world.
    2 Cor 3:5, 1 Cor 12:3 Hence we believe in prevenient grace. That should have been pretty obvious….
    John 3:3 Seeing the kingdom refers to being saved.
    1 Cor 2:14 Talking about being in subjection to the law of God, which is no bar to an unregenerate person believing.
    Matthew 7:18, John 3:6, John 3:8, John 6:63 I can’t even tell what point you’re trying to extrapolate from these.
    John 6:44 The scriptures never identify our being drawn/dragged as being irresistible either. Having worked with farm animals, let me assure you that being dragged is quite resistible in many cases.

    @The analogy is such as a bridge (atonement) that almost goes all the way across, but needs man to build the rest.

    @Instead, the consistent view is that Jesus made it possible, then people have to finish up Jesus’ work.

    Finish Christ’s work? By what exactly? Traveling back in time and dying on the cross ourselves? That’s what such a ridiculous analogy and statement amount to. No, the more fitting analogy would be that atonement has built the bridge, and it’s up to us whether to cross it, for even a bridge that’s completed does one no good if he doesn’t go over it.

    @You can see the problem is in the denial of sinful nature

    No, we don’t deny sin nature at all. I don’t think you understand this issue very well. Oh, and to John Wesley’s quote, he was referencing people being inescapably and unconditionally decreed to both commit sin and suffer for it.

    @Must of the hard time discussing these things with those of the arminian camp stems from the fact that they don’t understand what grace is, don’t understand what mercy is, and they don’t understand what the Bible says about the corruption of fallen man.

    Considering you repeatedly get our theology completely wrong, the ignorance of the statement here is pretty self-evident.

    @The question becomes, can man believe on His own? or is the salvation given by God, even the belief, a thing granted to man.

    This shows the inconsistency in Calvinist argumentation, first it’s “with prevenient grace,” now it’s man believing “on his own.” This kind of lame bait-and-switch forms the core of the Calvinist apologetic.

    @Prevenient grace faces the same objections, because the heart is not changed in the process. Rather it is illuminated by God’s grace.

    Um…you do realize that being illuminated by grace is in fact itself a change in state, right?

    @There are examples of knowing people in an intimate way, not knowing that they would choose God.

    The Bible does in fact use the word “know” to knowing about someone as well, look up Matthew 7:16, “You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles?”

    Hence the inference from foreknowledge in relation to election being (simplified) God knowing those who would believe fits with the biblical usage of the word quite well.

    @you import meaning to the term ‘foreknow’ in the Bible.

    No, it’s primary meaning is “to have knowledge of beforehand” (c.f. Acts 26:5), Calvinists just arbitrarily assign it other meanings to fit their presuppositions.

  50. I gave you clear examples of what ‘foreknowledge’ refers to.

    You have zero texts directly referring to foreseen faith.

  51. Ryan, you attempted to give examples to prove your point with ‘know,’ not ‘foreknow.’ I gave counter-examples to both (Acts 26:5, Matt 7:16). The primary meaning of prognosis/proginosko is “knowledge before”/”to know before,” hence the burden of proof is on you to show from the context that it means something else.

  52. “Ryan, you attempted to give examples to prove your point with ‘know,’ not ‘foreknow.’ I gave counter-examples to both (Acts 26:5, Matt 7:16). The primary meaning of prognosis/proginosko is “knowledge before”/”to know before,” hence the burden of proof is on you to show from the context that it means something else.”

    You want to add the word ‘faith’ to the idea of foreknowing. It is YOUR burden to show where this invisible word comes into play.

    I don’t even know why you enable comments when its obvious all you want to due is bathe in your own ignorance.

  53. JPC

    @ Besides, our Lord Jesus Christ said himself that all who believe would inherit eternal life. Do you believe that Jesus himself limited the Atonement?

    Yes–Jesus limited the atonement to all WHO BELIEVE. (As in–the elect–those chosen by God (John 6:37-44))

    Peter limits the “promise” to those whom God calls to Himself (Acts 2:39)

  54. J.C.

    @ You fail to understand the use of hypotheticals in syllogisms. As I pointed out here:

    What you fail to understand is that what these arguments are showing is:

    If A, then B. Since A is untrue, then so is B.

    It is not saying–as you are suggesting:

    If A (truly believed (i.e. the elect)) and not A (part of the elect), then B (insincere offer).

    Using your logic, we could make any truth seem unreasonable. For example:

    If someone genuinely believed and repented of his sins was still unsaved, then the Gospel promise is insincere.

    This is directly parallel to you argument that says that someone can believe and not be part of the elect, therefore the “Calvinism’s ” offer is insincere.

    This is where the logic of your argument falls apart.

    Again is summary:

    What you say you are doing is:
    If A, then B. Since A is untrue, then so is B.

    What you are actually doing is:
    If A, and not A, then B.

    God bless

  55. Ryan,

    @You want to add the word ‘faith’ to the idea of foreknowing

    I’d contend it’s a bit more complex than just “foreknown faith” actually, but it does refer to what is known prior and thus implies a form of contingency, despite repeated Calvinist attempts to reinterpret it as anything but that (see here).

  56. folwm,

    Being elected and believing are two distinct concepts. Per the Calvinist view, only the elect can believe, that is why I stated that a non-elect person believing is a strictly hypothetical in relation to the Calvinist view. However, since election and faith are distinct, then they to postulate the hypothetical (~elect ^ faith) isn’t equivalent to the contradictory (~elect ^ elect), hence the truth of my premise still stands.

  57. you said:
    I’d contend it’s a bit more complex than just “foreknown faith” actually, but it does refer to what is known prior and thus implies a form of contingency, despite repeated Calvinist attempts to reinterpret it as anything but that (see here)

    Do you believe that the Bible is inerrant?

    Genesis 6:5: Then the LORD[a] saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
    Do you believe this?

    Then how would you produce something good from your wicked, pitch black heart, unless it was first changed and regenerated?

    Secondly,
    Romans 8:29: For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

    If He foreknew that you chose Him why would He need to go back and predestinate it?? Do you think this is overdone? So God knew the future that you would choose Him then He went back and predestined it? Do you see the absolute ridiculousness of this idea? Why would He predestine something that He already saw would take place?

    Also, notice that there is no place that the word faith is used. He is knowing people not their actions. Your performing eisegesis not exegesis.

    John 8:43: “Why do you not understand my speech? because you are not able to hear my word?
    8:47: “He who is of God hears God’s words, therefore you do not hear because you are not of God.

    Notice, YOU ARE NOT ABLE. Its clear, why were they not able? because they were not of God. This has nothing to do with the person’s will or anything else. Simply that an action of God was missing.

    Further:
    Ex: Adam knew (yada) eve (Genesis 4:1) appears to be a term of intimacy

    Notice the Hebrew word ‘yada’ then follow me for a journey down Bible lane.

    here’s a good example for you: Amos 3:2 with a few different translations:

    KJV: You only have I known (‘yada’) of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.

    NIV: You only have I chosen (‘yada’) of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your sins.

    NLT: From among all the families on the earth, I have been intimate (‘yada’) with you alone. That is why I must punish you for all your sins.

    Did God not know any other nation? or course not, read Isaiah 10 and its obvious He knew the assyrians.

  58. Ryan,

    @why were they not able? because they were not of God.

    Their reasons for not being of God, for being obstinate and effectively deaf to Him despite His sending prophets to turn them back to Him was rooted in their own willful rejection of His word, as Stephen told them,

    “You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit!” (Acts 7:51)

    An act of God plainly was at work there through His Spirit. But they, like their fathers, through their rejection of God’s Spirit made themselves deaf to what was spoken,

    “But they refused to heed, shrugged their shoulders, and stopped their ears so that they could not hear. Yes, they made their hearts like flint, refusing to hear the law and the words which the Lord of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets. Thus great wrath came from the Lord of hosts.” (Zechariah 7:11-12)

    @Then how would you produce something good…?

    If you’re referring to faith, then that would be through God’s grace (Acts 18:27).

    @If He foreknew that you chose Him why would He need to go back and predestinate it??

    I’ve already told you my belief was more complex than just “foreknown faith,” why then do you just heedlessly plow on with a slew of logically inept attacks that don’t even address my position?

    @He is knowing people not their actions.

    But as I’ve already demonstrated from Matthew 7:16, to know someone idiomatically refers to knowing about what they do as well. In other words, I’m not eisegeting, you’re just conveniently ignoring the evidence when it contradicts your pet doctrine.

    @Further….

    None of the texts you cite refer to the Greek terms for ‘foreknowledge/foreknow,’ only to usages of the Hebrew verb ‘yada.’ If you want to go by just the etymology (which isn’t always reliable anyway), the Greek word for personal/relational knowledge is ‘gnostos,’ the root used for foreknowledge (prognosis) in scripture is ‘gnosis,’ which generally refers to factual knowledge, not relationships etc.

  59. Romans 11:4: But what does the divine response say to him? “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 6 And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.
    7 What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded. 8 Just as it is written:
    “ God has given them a spirit of stupor,
    Eyes that they should not see
    And ears that they should not hear,
    To this very day.”

    Notice, Its not their free ‘will’ (Which is not biblical) that stopped them from believing.

    Jer 10:23: LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.

    Proverbs 16:1 “The preparations of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.
    (Where is your ‘free’ will response in this verse?)

    Proverbs 19:21: There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the LORD’s counsel—that will stand.

    Proverbs 20:24: A man’s steps are of the LORD;
    How then can a man understand his own way?

    Where is your ‘will’ in these verses?

    Hermeneutics 101: Scripture interprets scripture. Therefore if your interpretation conflicts with Scripture one of either two things is true. Either Scripture is errant or you are wrong. I take the latter, what do you think? How do you interpret these verses?

    Prognosis: Strong’s G4268:
    1) foreknowledge
    2) forethought, pre-arrangement

    What is He going to know about you? How evil you are? How helplessly wicked you are? That is the testimony of Scripture. If there was ever a view that provided salvation based on merit it is your view of foreknowledge. According to you, He foreknew your response to Him, but also your personal attributes as a sinner? is that what you are saying? Have you read Genesis 6:5:
    Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

    So when Paul says in 1 Cor 4:7: “For what makes you differ from another?”

    So would you answer, “From the beginning God saw that I would choose Him over these other people when given the equivalent grace, then He elected me due to this knowledge of me and my actions.”?

    So you make yourself different from others based on your own mind and actions. You see, Paul’s point is that the only reason you are different from the heathen is because of God, nothing in you.

    Your view of salvation is based on merit. Even if the gulf between your action and what you receive is huge. Its merit because you fulfilled what God was looking for.

    Strong’s G5485: Grace:
    Thayer:
    1) grace
    1a) that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech
    2) good will, loving-kindness, favour
    2a) of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues
    3) what is due to grace
    3a) the spiritual condition of one governed by the power of divine grace
    3b) the token or proof of grace, benefit
    3b1) a gift of grace
    3b2) benefit, bounty
    4) thanks, (for benefits, services, favours), recompense, reward

  60. Ryan,

    @Notice, Its not their free ‘will’ … that stopped them from believing.

    I fully agree that God hardens peoples’ hearts and blinds them, but the reasoning the scriptures offer is not one of unconditional hatred or God having some innate desire to see them perish, rather it’s often shown as retributive:

    “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting….” (Romans 1:28)

    God hardening someone for His purposes isn’t mutually exclusive with free will playing into the matter as well. Thus the scriptures also state that people harden their own hearts (cf Zechariah 7:11-12, cited above).

    @So would you answer…?

    I already answered your decontextualized reading of that passage.

    @Where is your ‘will’ in these verses?

    Um, not every verse of scripture has to pertain to free will for the concept to be valid…. I hold to a middle-knowledge perspective of God’s providence, ergo verses such as Jer 10:23, Prov 16:1, 20:24 all fit perfectly well with my view (and Prov 19:1 addresses whose plans will succeed, not God predetermining man’s choices), since while man has his own self-determination, his actions and choices are still limited in some ways by God’s control of the world. See also here.

    Despite your rather sophomoric approach of demanding that I draw evidence from the sources that you present, one text you cite (Proverbs 16:1) serendipitously winds up exposing the flaw in your interpretive approach, since it clearly speaks of something that belongs to man (“the preparations of the heart”). By the determinist logic of Calvinism, even that is impossible since all of man’s thoughts/motives/intents/etc supposedly spring exhaustively from God’s decrees. Hence the preparations of a man’s heart can’t really belong to him in the Calvinist paradigm, contrary to what Proverbs states. Therefore, by your own logic, your views should be rejected.

    Further, your anti-free-will view denies God’s clear promise to believers of a way of escape from temptation. Rather than not letting us be tempted beyond what we’re able to endure as the scriptures state, Calvinism effectively declares that every time a believer sins, he does so by the immutable decree of God with no hope of enduring the temptation. This is again a clear case of Calvinism contradicting scripture.

    @Its merit because you fulfilled what God was looking for.

    It’s baloney because you’re equivocating.

    @Your view of salvation is based on merit.

    Clearly, no one merits or deserves salvation, and the only thing we truly deserve as sinners is hell. That doesn’t conflict with the concept that God chooses to save unworthy sinners based upon criteria of His choosing according to His foreknowledge and eternal purpose. Please note that the wording is “conditional election,” not “deserved election.” If you can’t recognize such a fundamental distinction, you’re woefully unprepared to discuss these issues.

  61. You referred to: “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting….” (Romans 1:28)

    But you fail to understand that this verse is talking about YOU prior to God regenerating you. Look at:

    Romans 2:1: “Therefore you are inexcusable o man whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself, for you who judge practice the same things.”

    Romans 3:9: “What then? are we better than they? NOT AT ALL for we have previously charged both Jews and greeks that they are all under sin.”

    Genesis 6:5: “…and that EVERY intent of the thoughts of his heart was ONLY evil continuously.”

    But I guess you are just the outlier, God somehow missed you when He wrote these verse. You see, there are NONE who do good (Romans 3:10-18), except God sovereignly changes a heart. Those are the people being referred to throughout Proverbs when it talks about “preserving the upright”

    Here is more help for you:

    2 Cor 4:3-4:
    But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.

    You said:
    (Proverbs 16:1) serendipitously winds up exposing the flaw in your interpretive approach, since it clearly speaks of something that belongs to man (“the preparations of the heart”).

    But this is only true if your ignorant of Scripture, because we need the full council of God, not only snippets:

    Proverbs 14:12: There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.”

    We see, from the whole council of God, that the way that a man prepares in his heart or seems right, leads to death. Not life, or anything good. Rather its God, who is charge of the words that directs him and the mans foot steps (Jer 10:23) so that God would accomplish His will.

    Furthermore:
    Isaiah 64:10
    But now, O LORD,
    You are our Father;
    We are the clay, and You our potter;
    And all we are the work of Your hand.

    Ezekiel 36:26:
    I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

    You (unfortunately) said:
    Further, your anti-free-will view denies God’s clear promise to believers of a way of escape from temptation. Rather than not letting us be tempted beyond what we’re able to endure as the scriptures state, Calvinism effectively declares that every time a believer sins, he does so by the immutable decree of God with no hope of enduring the temptation. This is again a clear case of Calvinism contradicting scripture.

    But the Scripture says:
    Phil 2:12-13: Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

    The Scripture that you are referring in Corinthians refers to the strength that God is granting through the Spirit to overcome those things being presented to the convert. Upon sinning, we encounter the reality that we are helpless without His strength, which is given through the Spirit. See Romans 7.

    verse 18: For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.

    Again, see Philippians 2:12-13

    Furthermore:
    1 John 4:4: “You are of God little children and have overcome them because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

    Simply another example of you not interpreting from the whole council of God. Like I said, Hermeneutics 101: Scripture interprets scripture. Therefore if your interpretation conflicts with Scripture one of either two things is true. Either Scripture is errant or you are wrong. I take the latter.

    And i don’t think i used the word ‘deserved’ election. But if you do what God is looking for, it might as well be the same thing. Conditional election shows that you do not know the first thing about grace or the helpless condition of man. You turn into your own little savior.

    Isaiah 53:1: LORD, who has believed our report? and to whom has the Arm of the LORD been revealed

    Furthermore, about your Molinism misunderstanding:

    Psalm 147:5, Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.

    Heb. 4:13, And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

    Psalms 33:11 The counsel of the LORD stands forever, The plans of His heart to all generations.

    Eph 1:11: in Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,

    Heb 6:17:Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath,

    Isaiah 46:9-11:
    Remember the former things of old,
    For I am God, and there is no other;
    I am God, and there is none like Me,
    10 Declaring the end from the beginning,
    And from ancient times things that are not yet done,
    Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
    And I will do all My pleasure,’
    Calling a bird of prey from the east,
    The man who executes My counsel, from a far country.
    Indeed I have spoken it;
    I will also bring it to pass.
    I have purposed it;
    I will also do it.

    There is hardly a point to continue to plainly show you the truth from Scripture. Biblical truths are a revealed thing.

    and furthermore on the sovereignty of God:
    Proverbs 16:4: The LORD has made all for Himself,
    Yes, even the wicked for the day of doom.

    And I am not a ‘Calvinist’ it just happens that 4 of the five points are sooo clear in Scripture. The idea of particular redemption I have my own view of.

  62. Ryan, you do understand that this post was regarding “Calvinisms bad check” and I dont think that you even addressed the topic, why is that?

    You also said “Most of the hard time discussing these things with those of the arminian camp stems from the fact that they don’t understand what grace is, don’t understand what mercy is, and they don’t understand what the Bible says about the corruption of fallen man.” You really put yourself out there with this comment. It would be impossible to continue reasonable dialogue with you if you keep misrepresenting what Arminians believe and keep alluding to the belief that you don’t think that Arminians are Christians. How can someone be what you described here and be saved? Arminians affirm total depravity so your constant rants regarding mans sinfulness really does nothing to hinder the Arminian position. Do you understand this? If not, you should read up on Arminian theology from Arminian, not Calvinistic sources.

    The problem (at least for me, I don’t want to speak for everyone) is not total depravity, or the need for God’s grace (both prior to, during and after one comes to faith in Christ) nor even Election or Predestination (I affirm both and acknowledge that there is more to it than foreseen faith, though that is a part of it). Some of the major problems are:

    1. Where does evil come from? You keep saying that there is no such thing as free will then are you saying that sin came from God? Who chose to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve, or God? If you admit that it was Adam (man) and not God, then you affirm that there is such a thing as free will and that really strikes a blow to your position of there being no free will.

    2. Placing election in some divine decree of eternity past and not “in Christ” which makes everything center around the elect and not “the Elect One”. Look at Eph. 1 – “has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ…he has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world..Having predestined us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself…he has made us accepted in the beloved…In whom we have redemption through his blood…That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ…In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined.” Do you see that? The greatest chapter on predestination and the focus of Paul is squarely on Christ and on us being elect “in him”. How do you get “in Christ”? Paul answers in verse 13 and 19 – “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise….and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power.” Now what will I believe, the Scriptures or you? We believe after we hear the Gospel and after we believe we receive the Holy Spirit. It could not be any more clear! We are elect inasmuch as we are “in Christ” and stay “in him” which is why Paul said that he wanted to be “found in him”. There is no life for the branches apart from the life-giving vine!

    3. The warning passages in the New Testament. If the P in Tulip was what Paul and the Apostles taught, then why are there so many warning passages in Scripture? I have heard Calvinists explanation of this and they are sorely lacking. I have been in a Calvinist Church and mysteriously, when they are teaching through a book, they always run out of time when getting to the warning passages or just explain them away. It seems like all the warnings were written to those that were never saved but why would you need to warn a goat? If a Calvinist would have wrote the New Testament, whole chunks of the Scripture would have never been written.

    4. The sincere offer of the Gospel to all who hear it. That is what is addressed in this post so I wont elaborate on that.

    I pray that your heart is open and receptive. We are just trying to stay true to the whole counsel of God and not just a small portion of it.

  63. I never said that you are not christians.

    Grace to you and peace from God our Father, the Lord Jesus Christ.

  64. Ryan,

    @But you fail to understand that this verse is talking about YOU prior to God regenerating you.

    Given the wording of chapter 1,

    “…because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (vs 21)

    This apparently refers to people who had revelation of God and rejected it, thus such hardening is shown to be retributive.

    @You see, there are NONE who do good (Romans 3:10-18), except God sovereignly changes a heart.

    But grace being conferred does constitute a change in one’s heart, viz the ability to believe.

    @Furthermore, about your Molinism misunderstanding

    I’m not a Molinist, and none of the passages you offer have any explanation or apparent wording that contradicts the middle-knowledge view. Unguided proof-text bombing simply isn’t effective.

    @We see, from the whole council of God, that the way that a man prepares in his heart or seems right, leads to death. Not life, or anything good.

    I was discussing determinism versus free will, not depravity. You’d do well to stop arguing like a Jehovah’s Witness.

    @But the Scripture says: Phil 2:12-13: … for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

    Obviously, God’s work in us is part of our provision to escape from temptation. That doesn’t contradict 1 Cor 10:13 at all.

    @The Scripture that you are referring in Corinthians refers to the strength that God is granting through the Spirit to overcome those things being presented to the convert.

    Yes, I clearly stated, “clear promise to believers of a way of escape from temptation.”

    @Simply another example of you not interpreting from the whole council of God.

    In case it escaped your notice oh sophist, you haven’t even shown how my interpretation of 1 Cor 10:13 disagrees with the rest of scripture, and so far its direct contradiction of determinism stands unopposed. All you did was red-herring proof-texting – said texts not conflicting with what 1 Cor 10 says at all. So this really can’t be an “example” of me not interpreting from the council of God as a whole if my interpration doesn’t disagree with the whole.

    1 Corinthians 10 firmly declares that God gives us a way of escape from temptation, your anti-scriptural theology declare that God inescapably decrees we fall to temptation; your own logic dictates that your theology be rejected.

    @And i don’t think i used the word ‘deserved’ election.

    Sound familiar? “Your view of salvation is based on merit.”

    Merit implies something deserved.

    @Here is more help for you….

    Since you apparently aren’t reading, I already said I believe that God blinds the eyes of some and explained my position from the context of scripture, yet you pretend that I don’t.

    @JCT:(Proverbs 16:1) serendipitously winds up exposing the flaw in your interpretive approach, since it clearly speaks of something that belongs to man (“the preparations of the heart”).

    R:But this is only true if your ignorant of Scripture, because we need the full council of God, not only snippets….

    So according to the kindergarten hermeneutics you’re spouting, what Proverbs 16:1a says (“The preparations of the heart belong to man”) is only true if I’m “ignorant of Scripture”?!? Talk about messed-up theology….

    @Genesis 6:5: “…and that EVERY intent of the thoughts of his heart was ONLY evil continuously.” But I guess you are just the outlier, God somehow missed you when He wrote these verse.

    I’ve already clearly stated that man can only be saved by God’s grace. I don’t believe I have any good inclinations apart from that, and yet you speak as if I don’t believe that.

    @furthermore on the sovereignty of God

    “Sovereignty” implies having control, not exercising control to exhaustively determine everything.

    @But if you do what God is looking for, it might as well be the same thing.

    By your own completely arbitrary and unscriptural standard, perhaps.

    @Conditional election shows that you do not know the first thing about grace or the helpless condition of man. You turn into your own little savior.

    But I’ve already established that I believe in total depravity, which entails complete helplessness of man apart from God’s grace; therefore your first sentence is a complete fabrication.

    Secondly, I can’t be my own savior if my faith in Christ is already an admission that I’m helpless to save myself. You’re leveling a completely false accusation with no basis whatsoever. It’s sad that you’re willing to resort to bearing false witness against other Christians. Further commentary from you will not be entertained.

  65. J.C.

    1Co 10:13 ESV No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

    First, let me say that there always seems to be a great division between God’s sovereignty and man’s free will. The Bible does not teach one to the exclusion of the other. The Bible (and historic reformed theology) has taught a convergence of these two things. While there is some tension between the two, they are not contradictory. (In the interest of space, this is the beginning paragraph of an article on convergence that I have posted here:)

    http://folwm.wordpress.com/2011/02/16/convergence/

    That being said, there is a difference between being able to resist temptation and choosing to do so. Let’s say, for example, that John Doe has a problem with watching inappropriate movies. When John is sitting up late at night, he can’t seem to resist changing channels to watch one of those movies. Now, suppose John’s mother is visiting and is sitting up with him. Do you think that he is going to watch those movies now? Of course not—nothing has changed in him that suddenly takes something irresistible and changes it into something resistible. He merely makes the decision to resist temptation. This is the same decision he could have made when he was on his own. He was always able to resist, he merely chose not to—I’m not saying it is a simple decision, but it is a decision.

    1Corinthians clearly says that there will be no temptation that we will be unable to resist—not that there will not be a temptation that is extremely difficult to resist, and that we, in our fallen nature, often will not resist. The point of this verse is to give us hope. We CAN choose to resist if we desire righteousness enough.

    1Co 10:14 ESV Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.

  66. folwm,

    @The Bible does not teach one to the exclusion of the other.

    @there is a difference between being able to resist temptation and choosing to do so.

    I agree.

    @1Corinthians clearly says that there will be no temptation that we will be unable to resist—not that there will not be a temptation that is extremely difficult to resist

    Right, it certainly doesn’t say the way out is necessarily easy.

    @We CAN choose to resist if we desire righteousness enough.

    That’s the rub with exhaustive determinism (the way most Calvinists define “sovereignty”): a Christian who sins, according to that view, can’t set his desire upon righteousness because his desire to sin instead was immutably predetermined by God, he therefore can’t really resist or escape the temptation.

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