Paul Washer’s – “Doctrine” of Election: An Arminian Critique

I have been frequently referred to Paul Washer’s video discussion, “Doctrine” of Election.  I found the video transcript and decided it would be beneficial to interact with this apparently influential accounting of Calvinist election.  The sections of the transcript are marked by block quotes with my comments in between.  A copy of the transcript can be found at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/21411721/Paul-Washer-Video-Transcript

Student:  I got a question, I don’t understand.  I’ve been raised Southern Baptist my whole life and I’m searching for the Truth really hard in my life right now.  I’m in seminary and I want to understand the doctrine of election and things like that.  And my roommate’s a Calvinist and he’s been kind of trying to teach me a little bit but I just want to know the Truth and they tell me that you’re the guy, you know.  Is there any way that you can, you know…anything that you can…[say to help me understand this more clearly?]

Paul Washer:  If you will go to my pastor’s website, Anchored in Truth, he has a series of sermons called “Election: Plain and Simple.”  Some of the best you’ll ever hear.

Student:  Anchored in Truth.org?

Paul Washer:  Anchored in Truth.org.

Student:  .org?

Paul Washer:  “Election: Plain and Simple.”  What it all comes down to is this.  You only have to answer one question:  Is man radically depraved? That’s the only question you have to ask.  Because if he is, if he’s truly dead in his sin, if he truly hates God, if all men are equally evil (and they are), then the question is, how are you standing here right now believing God while some of your friends who are more moral than you still hate Him?  What happened?  If you say you opened up your heart, I’ll say no you didn’t because the Bible says God [unintelligible] opened any man’s heart.  If you say you repent, well repentance is an evangelical grace [unintelligible] confession, it means it comes from God as a gift.  You say, well I believe (pause) Ephesians 2 – that also is a gift.

So rather than look to what the Bible actually says about election, Paul Washer wants to take the student on a philosophical journey of the Calvinist conception of inability in order to “teach” this student why he should hold to the Calvinist unconditional election view.

Student:  I know that the Bible says that no man come to God unless [unintelligible].  I know that, but my question is, is the grace, the offer of salvation for all men or did God say back in eternity, say it’s for you, you, you, you, and you, you, you,

The student asks a great question here.  The student is not questioning election, but whether or not that election needs to be unconditional.  The student is not even questioning whether or not inability is a reality; rather, the student wants to know if God only overcomes the inability of some rather than all.  The student seems to rightly recognize that inability alone cannot really decide the matter in favor of unconditional election since God could draw all to Himself (John 12:32), enabling all to believe and become the elect if that were how God sovereignly chose to do things (John 16:7-11; Titus 2:11; 1 Timothy 2:1-6;).  The student has actually just cut the legs out from under the framework on which Calvinist Paul Washer wants to build unconditional election.  This is evident in Washer’s laborious attempt to draw a logical connection between inability and the necessity of unconditional election as if God could not enable all who hear the gospel to respond favorably to it (in faith).

Paul Washer:  See, first of all your problem is this.  Let’s say there’s no election.  None at all.  Alright?  Let’s just start fresh.  No election.  Alright.  Now.  Let’s say that men really are radically depraved and no man can come to God unless God draws him.  So God comes down to every man and says, “Anyone who will bow their knee to me, anyone who will accept My Son as their Saviour will be saved.”  Since every man is radically depraved, they all hate God, they all blaspheme Him, turn around and walk away and go to hell. The whole world goes to hell.  Is that God’s fault?

It is if Calvinism is true.  If Calvinism is true then God irresistibly caused these people to hate Him.  Now, Calvinists may not want to own such blunt language, but the above statement is in perfect harmony with traditional Calvinist thought [1].  In Calvinism, everything is controlled by God.  This includes the thoughts, emotions, desires, wills and actions of His creatures.  Furthermore, God’s foreknowledge is entirely based on His decree.  God can only foreknow what He decrees.  God has prior knowledge of an event only because God will make that event happen in time in accordance with His unchangeable and irresistible decree.  God’s foreknowledge is therefore based on the fact that all that will ever happen will happen only because God will cause it to happen in accordance with His eternal decree.  This again includes every thought, desire, and action of every person who will ever live.  This included the first sin (and every subsequent sin).  How did God foreknow that Adam would sin?  He foreknew it because He decreed it and irresistibly brought it about in accordance with that decree.  Adam could no more resist the eternal decree to rebel against God than he could create a universe. [2]

So God caused Adam to sin and then punished Adam for perfectly fulfilling the decree of God in such a way that Adam had absolutely no power to resist.  God controlled Adam’s desires and will to sin (it is useless to retort that Adam sinned “willingly” since his will was controlled by God in accordance with His unchangeable eternal decree).  With this backdrop in mind we can see how Washer’s comments do not fit with the theology he is trying to defend.  When the exhaustive decretal determinism of Calvinism is in view, questions like, “Is that God’s fault?” should be answered with “Yes”.  How can it not be God’s fault when He controlled and orchestrated the fall and the hatred and rebellion of every one of His “depraved” creatures?  Washer actually has to temporarily forget or ignore his fundamental theological assumptions in order to make such appeals. He basically has to temporarily work from Arminian assumptions in order to argue for Calvinism, since only on Arminian assumptions is it reasonable to say that God is not at fault.

Notice also how Washer doesn’t even deal with the main issue the student rightly pointed to, whether or not inability can be overcome in such a way as to enable all to respond.  Rather, he just assumes throughout his discourse that God cannot enable all depraved God haters to turn to Christ without needing to do so in an irresistible manner.  Therefore, his whole argument is an exercise in question begging.

OK.  Let’s say that really is the reality.  Let’s say that the Bible’s true and that men hate God that much. So who’s going to get saved?  Absolutely no one.  And if God saves no one because everyone is evil and rejects Him, is God wrong in doing that?  No.

Again, if fundamental Calvinist assumptions are in view (i.e. exhaustive determinism), the answer has to be “Yes.”

So that’s what you’ve got without election—you’ve got the whole world hating God and going to hell.  That’s it.  And the other option is this:  among these evil men, for His own glory and to demonstrate His own kindness before the foundation of the world, He chooses a group of men out of there to demonstrate His glory in them.  Is that wrong?

It would certainly seem to be wrong if Calvinist assumptions are granted.  It would certainly seem to be wrong according to the concepts of justice described in Scripture for God to irresistibly cause all of His creatures to hate Him and rebel against Him just so He could select some to save from the sin and rebellion that He caused in them while eternally punishing the rest for sinning and rebelling in perfect conformity with God’s irresistible eternal decree.  It is also unclear how God making some that He caused to hate Him suddenly love Him would demonstrate His glory.  What kind of glory would that be exactly?  Those who hate God do so only because God caused them to, and those who love God do so only because God caused them to.  God punishes those He causes to hate Him with unimaginable eternal punishment while blessing those He causes to love Him with unimaginable eternal joy.  In what way can we possibly say this is “glorious” or praiseworthy?  Nor could we call such an election gracious if God caused them all to be hateful sinners in the first place.

But still, there is yet a third “option” that Washer refuses to consider, the option that the student brought up concerning the possibility that God could enable all God haters who hear the gospel to respond positively to it.  That option would simply say that God makes it possible, by His Spirit and His word, for every depraved God hater to respond positively to the gospel message, yet without irresistibly causing a positive faith response.

That “option” would also make sense of the fact that God holds sinners who reject the grace God offers rightly accountable for their sin and rejection, rather than just punishing them for doing exactly what God irresistibly decreed for them to do.  That “option” would also ruin Washer’s desperate attempt to make unconditional election a necessary result of inability, and is therefore ignored.

Did He rip the other men off? What did He do?  You’ve got two choices.  God saves a group of people by His own sovereignty or everybody goes to hell—everybody.  Because men are that evil.  See your problem – see what you need to realize is this, if God right now would throw open the door of hell and say, “Everyone who wants out of hell, the only thing you have to do is bow your knee to me and recognize my Lordship,” they’ll slam the door and stay in hell.

This may be true, but given fundamental Calvinist assumptions such a hopeless despising of God is the unavoidable result of an irresistible eternal decree.  And again, the student never denied inability or depravity.  The student only questioned the logic that God’s enabling grace needs to be irresistible or restricted to only some.

See what you don’t realize, because of the humanistic Christianity inAmerica, you don’t realize men are really evil—they really are evil.  I’ll give you an example.  Any of you seen the Lord of the Rings?  Saurus…Sauron makes these Orcs, they come out of the ground—evil.  Evil.  Alright.  Aragorn, all the heroes in the movie, slaughter them like they were – you know—insects.  Slaughter them.  And every time an Orc gets killed, what do you do?  Yeah (cheering movement).  Why? Cause those Orcs really are evil.  They are evil.  There’s your problem.  You don’t think men are.  Men really are evil.  Men really deserve hell.  They really do. [3]

Student:  And I believe that.  I know that.

The student tries again to help Washer see that the issue is not whether or not men are evil or whether or not men need God to overcome their depravity to make faith possible.  The student doesn’t deny that man is evil.  The student doesn’t deny that depravity must be overcome.  The student only questions the Calvinist claim that God’s gracious enabling need be irresistible or given only to some.  Unfortunately, Washer is too worried about telling the student what his  “problem is” and what the student supposedly “doesn’t realize” to actually listen to the student and grapple with the actual question.  Instead, the student only gets the usual cookie cutter Calvinist brain washing techniques (no pun intended).

Paul Washer:  Alright.  So… it says – you know we talk about the doctrine of inability – that men cannot come to God – Jesus said that.  Alright?  Men cannot come to God.  Now.  If you say men can’t come to God, how can God judge them?  That’s like judging a blind man because he can’t read.  If men can’t come to God, then man’s not a culprit, he’s a victim.  Here’s what you have to understand, men cannot come to God because they will not come to God and they will not come to God because they hate Him and, therefore, they’re responsible.

Again, Paul Washer can’t help talking like an Arminian in order to defend his Calvinism.  He seems to quickly forget that at the heart of Calvinism is the fundamental assumption that God sovereignly controls everything, creating serious problems for his claims of personal accountability for hating God.

This includes His creature’s desires, wills, and therefore “hatred” of God.  When we keep this in mind we immediately see that the “…therefore, they’re responsible” doesn’t follow as Paul Washer seemingly wants us to believe.  Washer’s statement, “That’s like judging a blind man because he can’t read.  If men can’t come to God, then man’s not a culprit, he’s a victim”, is completely accurate in light of Washer’s theology and Washer seems to plainly recognize the problem this would create for his position.  However, he can offer no real solution because in Calvinism those who “willingly” hate God do so because God irresistibly controls their wills to hate Him.

Men are evil.  God is good.  So, men hate God, they hate His law, they hate everything about Him.  OK?

OK, but how did they get evil?  According to Calvinism they got evil because God irresistibly decreed for them to get evil.  If the Calvinist wants to say they chose to be evil, this solves nothing since God decreed for them to “choose” to be evil as well.  And again, Washer can’t stop long enough to realize that the student never denied that man was evil in the first place.

It says of Joseph’s brothers, they could not speak to him peaceably.

And why not?  Because God decreed this for them (according to Calvinism).

Now they spoke [unintelligible].  Why couldn’t they speak to him?  They could not speak to him peaceably because they hated him.  Alright?

Again, why did they hate him?  Because God decreed this for them from all eternity.

That’s why no man will ever come to God.  If God comes down and says, “Alright everybody make their choice.” No one’s coming to God.  Why?  They hate Him.  And that’s why they’re judged for their inability because their inability’s moral.  They really hate God.

But notice how Washer keeps skirting the issue and keeps talking like an Arminian.  He wants to establish moral accountability but can’t do this without ignoring fundamental Calvinist assumptions. “Choice” doesn’t even make sense in Calvinism.  Aren’t our desires, thoughts, wills, and actions all under the meticulous sovereign control of God?  If God decreed from all eternity that they would reject and hate Him, then in what sense can we possibly say they had a “choice” in the matter? [4]  Again, Paul Washer has to temporarily shelve his fundamental Calvinist assumptions and adopt Arminian assumptions in order to morally defend his Calvinist doctrine of unconditional election.

So you’ve got a whole human race – everyone of them’s fallen, everyone of them hates God, God comes down and says, “Who wants to be saved?” Everybody blasphemes the name of God and walks into hell and slams the door.

…in perfect conformity to the irresistible and unchangeable eternal decree of God of which they have no more power to resist than to create a universe.  Washer just keeps saying the same thing over and over.  Man is evil.  Men hate God.  Men are depraved.  None of which the student has denied and all of which the student gladly agreed with.  So why is Washer working so hard to convince the student of something the student already accepts?

That’s what you’ve got – because men really are evil.

Just as God irresistibly decreed for them to be, with no power to be anything other than “really evil”.

And out of that, God says, “But for My own glory, I am going to redeem a people and give them to My Son.  By My own choice, by My own sovereign election.”  He’s done wrong to no one.

See comments above about how this could hardly be considered gracious or glorious given Calvinist assumptions.  It is also hard to imagine how it could be said that God has “done wrong to no one” in electing some of those He caused to hate Him for redemption while holding the rest He caused to hate Him accountable for the hate God decreed for them to have from all eternity.  One would really need to redefine “right” and “wrong” to make such a claim given such Calvinist assumptions.

And now, how does He save a man?  Here’s a question?  Are you spiritually dead prior to conversion?  Well then how do you come to Christ?  If you’re spiritually blind, how do you see?

Student:  He draws men unto Him.

Again, the student nails it.  God must draw us, but there is no reason to assume that this drawing cannot be resistible, rather than irresistible.  There is likewise no reason to assume it cannot enable all who hear to believe.  But Washer must make a logical connection between inability and unconditional election.  He now resorts to the usual Calvinist tactic, the misunderstanding and misapplication of the Biblical concept of being “dead in sin”

Paul Washer:  But you’re a dead man.  If some of it has to do with you, you’re a dead man.  If God calls your name, you hate Him.  You’re not going to come.

Unless God enables you to come.

You’re going to run farther away from Him.  That is why in all of the – listen very carefully – in all of the Christian confessions, the old Christian confessions, in the Reformation, early Baptist confessions – you have been raised on this, if you believe in Jesus, you can be born again.  All the early Baptist confessions say you must be born again in order to believe in Jesus. That’s the difference!

That’s the unbiblical difference.  And is Washer truly saying that “all of the Christian confessions” put regeneration before faith?  That is certainly inaccurate.  It is true that many “Reformed” confessions do this, as well as many “Reformed” Baptist confessions, but that is a far cry from saying that all Baptist confessions and every Christian confession puts regeneration before faith (unless Washer is actually claiming that only “Reformed” Baptists are true Baptists and only “Reformed” Christians are true Christians, which is also grossly inaccurate).

Because if I tell a dead man, “Look, you’re dead. There’s a hospital over here.  We can put some electrodes on you so get up and follow me on over to the hospital.”  It’s not sensible.  He’s dead.  If he can get up, he doesn’t need to go to the hospital.

And there it is, the unbiblical attempt to make “dead in sin” mean “the inability of a physical corpse.”  The Bible nowhere defines “dead in sin” in such a way.  Rather, “dead in sin” is a description of the spiritual separation of the sinner from the spiritual life found only in Christ.  Below is an excerpt from a post I wrote on the subject long ago:

Calvinists are fond of comparing spiritual death to physical death.  This gives them the framework with which to press their theological conviction that regeneration precedes faith.  If being dead in sin means that we are as helpless as physical corpses then we are told that we certainly can no more ”hear” the gospel or “see” our need for Christ than a physical corpse can hear or see.  But is there any justification for such a strict parallel between the spiritual and the physical?

Nowhere in Scripture is such a strict parallel drawn.  To be dead in sins means that we are cut off from the relationship with God that is necessary for spiritual life.  Our sin separates us from a holy God and causes spiritual death.  This is both actual and potential.  The sinner is presently “dead” because, in the absence of faith,  he is not enjoying life giving union with Christ.   The sinner is potentially dead because if he continues in this state he will be forever cut off from the presence of the Lord in Hell (2 Thess. 1:9).

Calvinists will often mock Arminians by saying that it is as useless to expect the dead in sin to respond to the gospel as it is to expect a bunch of corpses in the morgue to respond to the gospel.  The only way that corpses could hear such preaching is for them to first be given life.  In like manner, we are told, the only way that someone who is “dead” in sin could respond to the gospel would be if they are first raised to spiritual life.  This supposedly proves the need for regeneration before faith.

But this leads to absurdities and demonstrates that pressing this parallel between those who are spiritually dead and physically dead is unwise and without Scriptural support.  If the analogy is accurate then spiritually dead people should not be able to do anything more than corpses can do, which is plainly absurd.  A single example will suffice.

The Bible plainly teaches that those who are dead in sin resist the Holy Spirit.  Now have you ever seen a corpse resist something?  Of course not.  So if we adopt the implications of the Calvinistic definition of “dead in sin” then we must deny that anyone who is dead in sin can resist the Holy Spirit or reject the gospel (Acts 7:51; 2 Thess. 2:10; 1 John 4:10; Rom. 10:21).  Corpses can’t resist or reject anything any more than they can see or hear anything.  This, of course, should tell us something about the Cavinistic understanding of dead in sin.  It is not Biblical. (from What Can The Dead In Sin Do?)

Much more could be said, but for now I would only add that the very passages that speak of being “dead in sin” make it clear that the solution is to be joined to Christ, the source of spiritual life (John 5:26, Cf., Col. 2:11-13; Eph. 2:4-9).  This confirms that the phrase makes reference not to the inability of a physical corpse (to see, hear, believe, etc.), but to the absence of spiritual life that naturally results from being separated from God.  The solution is to be joined to Christ and one is joined to Christ by faith (Eph. 1:13; Gal. 3:26-29).  If one can only cease to be dead in sin by coming to be joined to Christ, and one can only be joined to Christ by faith, then it is Biblically inaccurate to suggest that “dead in sin” means the inability to believe without regeneration.

[Washer continues] When Jesus looked at Lazarus and said, “Lazarus come forth,” Lazarus is dead.  How does he hear the command?  The command not only must be given but the moment the command is given, Lazarus must be resurrected to be able to even hear the command to respond.

Again, there is no Biblical reason to connect “dead in sin” to the inability of a physical corpse to do anything without first being brought back to life.  The story of Lazarus is not a spiritual object lesson on how unbelievers come to faith.  In the same gospel Jesus said “An hour is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.” (John 5:25, emphasis mine)  This is the “hearing” of faith (verse 24, cf. Gal. 3:2, 5, the same passages, along with verse 14, which make it clear that the Holy Spirit is also received by faith).  So Jesus says that the spiritually dead will “hear” (with the hearing of faith) unto spiritual “life”.  Paul Washer says that one must be spiritually alive in order to hear, the exact opposite of what Christ said!

The apostle Paul says that the new covenant “promise” that “imparts life” is given “through faith in Jesus Christ” (Gal. 3:21, 22).  Paul Washer says that God must first impart life for us to be able to have faith in Christ, the exact opposite of what the apostle Paul says!  John says that one must receive Christ by faith in order to “become” a child of God (John 1:12, 13) and the apostle Paul says that we become sons of God “through faith” (Gal. 3:36).  Paul Washer says that one must become a child of God (be born again) before one can put faith in Christ, the exact opposite of what John and the apostle Paul taught!

The apostle Paul says that it is through “faith in the power of God” that we move from spiritual death to spiritual life by being joined to Christ and subsequently “raised” to spiritual life “in Him” (Col. 2:11-13).  Paul Washer says we need to be raised to spiritual life in order to have “faith in the power of God”, the exact opposite of what the apostle Paul said!  Examples like these could be easily multiplied.

Washer has put the weight of his entire argument for unconditional election on the teaching that one must be regenerated in order to believe.  Since the Bible contradicts him and says that regeneration results from faith rather than causes it, his main philosophical basis for unconditional election collapses.  In the end, the student was correct to question the Calvinist commitment to unconditional election based on the doctrine of inability.  There is simply no logical or Biblical reason to believe that God cannot graciously overcome man’s depravity in such a way that all who hear the gospel can either respond in faith or choose to remain in unbelief (which is exactly what Arminianism and the Bible teaches).  Neither is there any Biblical basis for claiming that God can only enable a faith response through regeneration.  In fact, the Bible clearly puts faith before regeneration. But Washer won’t give up so easily.  As a last resort he appeals to personal experience to establish his case:

That’s why when you probably heard the gospel for many, many years and you were sitting there and you didn’t care, no big deal, maybe you made a confession of faith – nothing – and then, one day, the Gospel’s preached and you’re like [WHOOSH] – the blinder’s taken off and not only that, you want Him.

Unfortunately, our present theological convictions can easily color how we interpret a past conversion experience.  I remember desiring to live for God many times before I was willing to finally let go of those things I valued more than God.  I also remember sensing in that moment when I did finally fully surrender to God that I had full power and ability to reject Him once again and remain in my sin instead.  It felt like a real choice to me.  Did I feel God’s conviction very strongly?  Yes.  Did I sense that He was drawing me?  Absolutely.  Would I say that I was powerless to resist?  Not at all.  At the very least then, my experience alone renders Washer’s argument invalid.

Because some people say what God does is He draws us all to a certain point and then gives us a choice.

Rather, God’s drawing is what enables a faith response and thereby makes a “choice” possible.

There’s only a problem.  If God only illuminates the mind of the sinner, then the more the sinner sees God, the more he’s going to hate Him.  So, He not only illuminates the mind, He changes the heart and with the new heart for the first time you love Jesus, you can say, “I love Him, I’m irresistibly drawn to Him, and I want Him more than anything.”

Again, if God enables us to love and trust Him, then we do not have to continue hating Him.  To say that we would just keep hating Him is simply to deny that God has enabled the person to love Him, which is plainly question begging.  Either God has enabled the response of faith and love, making it a possibility, or He has not.  If Washer grants the Arminian concept of divine resistible enabling, then he can’t say that we would just keep hating God anyway.  That is just denying the very thing that was supposed to be granted.  The “new heart” of Ezekiel is a promise given to those who enjoy the blessings of the new covenant, and the new covenant promises (which include the promise of a new heart) are received by faith.  Therefore, a new heart is received by faith and does not cause faith (for more on that see my post Is The New Heart of Ezekiel 36:26-27 a Reference to Regeneration Preceding Faith?).

Summary

This interaction is very instructive in how Calvinists often come to their conclusions regarding election and how Calvinists primarily go about indoctrinating people into the so called “Doctrines of Grace” (which should be called “Doctrines of Grace for a Lucky Few” or “Doctrines of Limited Grace” or something similar, if we were to be truly honest about what this little self assigned catch phrase for Calvinism represents).

The student has a question about election, but Paul Washer doesn’t look to what Scripture says about election.  Rather, he goes on and on about depravity and tells the student seeker that his “problem” is simply the need to understand that “men are evil” and “hate God.”  There are passages in Scripture that teach on election and there are passages in Scripture that teach on depravity, but the Bible does not say, “Once you understand depravity, then you can understand election.”  That is not to say there is not some connection between these doctrines or any number of various doctrines, but if we really want to understand a doctrine, we should first look to what the Bible specifically teaches on that doctrine.  Paul Washer doesn’t do that here.  The truth is that unconditional election cannot be found in Scripture.  No passages expressly teach that election is unconditional. [5]  That may very well be the reason why Calvinists like Paul Washer typically lead people around in such ways.  First you need to understand depravity (as defined by Calvinism to mean that regeneration alone can enable [that is, “cause”] a faith response), and then you will see how the logic of depravity leads us to unconditional election, etc.

We have also seen how hard it is for a Calvinist to describe unconditional election as being something that should not be seen as capricious or unjust without temporarily abandoning fundamental Calvinist assumptions in favor of Arminian assumptions.  I am convinced that Calvinists so often talk like Arminians when trying to defend unconditional election because Calvinism, with its exhaustive determinism, simply cannot provide a satisfying framework for moral accountability or theodicy in general.  It is too bad that these same Calvinists do not pause long enough to take note of these practical inconsistencies (in the way that they still tend to think and talk about these issues) and re-evaluate their undergirding philosophical assumptions that make it so difficult to meaningfully communicate or explain issues of justice and moral accountability [6].

Lastly, we have seen yet another example of a Calvinist not really understanding or rightly grappling with the Arminian solution to depravity: resistible prevenient grace.   Rather, Paul Washer engages in blatant question begging in claiming that only irresistible grace can make faith possible, even to the point of immediately denying what he seemed to grant for the sake of argument.  Put simply, if God has overcome the sinner’s depravity, enabling the response of faith and love, then the sinner can respond in faith and love; therefore, it is by no means necessary for the sinner to continue hating God as Washer claims.

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[1] Appeals to “permission” only make sense when determinism is denied and libertarian free will is affirmed.  Appeals to “secondary causes” likewise fail since God controls even secondary causes.  God controls everything.

[2] On this Arminius astutely observes:

“If any one acknowledges that this is indeed true [that the decree of predestination presupposes the fall and considers men as sinners], but says that God has arranged this, as an occasion for Himself, by decreeing that man should fall, and by carrying forward that decree to its end or limit, we ask the proof of that assertion, which, in my judgment, he will be unable to give. For that sentiment is at variance with the justice of God, as it makes God the author of sin, and introduces an inevitable necessity for sin. This I will prove. For if that decree existed, man could not abstain from sin, otherwise the decree would have been made in vain, which is an impious supposition.  For “the counsel of the Lord standeth forever.” (Psalm 33:11). We remark also that the human will would have been circumscribed and determined by that decree, so that it could not turn itself except in one direction, in which there would be sin; by that act its freedom would be lost, because it would move the will, not according to the mode of freewill, but according to the mode of nature. Such an act it could not resist, nor would there be any volition in that direction, indeed, there would not be the power to put forth that volition on account of the determination of the decree. (“An Examination of the Treatise of William Perkins, Part 1” pp. 264, 265 from The Wesleyan Heritage Collection, CD)

[3] The example of the Orcs is instructive because it actually corresponds with the fundamental assumptions of Calvinist theology that Paul Washer seems to ignore or forget when trying to explain why God is just in passing over so many of His creatures and denying them the salvation He gives only to the ones He unconditionally chooses from the fallen and depraved mass of humanity.

Assuming these Orcs come out of the ground “evil” by nature, having no ability or desire to do anything other than that which we would call evil, then it would be wrong to hold these Orcs morally accountable for their “evil”.  That doesn’t necessarily mean they shouldn’t be destroyed.  We could say that they should be destroyed because they are dangerous and harm others.  We could say they should be destroyed because “evil” should be eradicated.  However, we could not say they “deserve” to be destroyed in a moral sense.  We can’t hold creatures “morally accountable” for just being what they are by nature, anymore than we would hold a Lion morally accountable for attacking its prey (or for just being a Lion).  But this is what is at the heart of Calvinism, the idea that God rightly “punishes” (not just destroys) creatures who can no more help being what they are or doing what they do than an Orc can presumably help coming out of the ground “evil.”  In the end, we are saying that God holds His creatures morally accountable for being just as He intended for them to be, with no power or ability to be otherwise, and then punishes them for being just what He intended them to be.  Therefore, God essentially punishes His creatures just for being His creatures, and this is supposed to bring Him glory?

[4] For more on why Calvinist determinism makes nonsense of the language of “choice”, see my post, The Reality of Choice and The Testimony of Scripture.

[5] The problem for the Calvinist is that no passage of Scripture teaches that election unto salvation is unconditional.  There are passages that do not explicitly state a condition in reference to election, but the lack of a stated condition does not necessarily imply that the election being described is unconditional.  In fact, in most cases (if not all) a condition is either stated or implied in the immediate or surrounding context.  For a concise treatment of the corporate election view (which I hold to be the strongest Arminian view of election) along with some links to some very good articles on corporate election, see here.  Among the articles listed, I highly recommend the two by Dr. Brian Abasciano, Corporate Election in Romans 9: A Reply to Thomas Schreiner and Clearing up Misconceptions About Corporate ElectionAnother good place for getting a grasp for the corporate view would be this series of quotes from various scholars holding to the view here.  For a strong defense of the traditional Arminian view of election, I recommend F. Leroy Forlines’ excellent book, Classical Arminianism.  You can see my review of the Forlines’ book here.

[6] See this slightly abridged series by Thomas Ralston for a strong critique of Calvinist determinism and the many problems it creates for moral accountability and theodicy, as well as a strong defense of the Arminian accounting of free will.  For a more comprehensive listing of resources that challenge Calvinist determinism, see here.  Daniel Whedon, in his devastating critique of Edwards’ necessitarianism, The Freedom of the Will: A Wesleyan Response to Jonathan Edwards, summarizes the problem well,

“From all this, there results the conclusion that without free volition there can be no justice, no satisfying the moral sense, no retributive system, no moral Government, of which the creature can be the rightful subject, and no God, the righteous Administrator…If there is a true divine government, man is a non-necessitated moral agent.” (352)

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76 Responses

  1. kangaroodort,

    I notice with Paul Washer and many other Calvinists that they love to use Lazarus as an example of regeneration preceding faith but what about the many miracles that were performed as a result of faith? For example:

    “As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” When He entered the house, the blind men came up to Him, and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” Then He touched their eyes, saying, “It shall be done to you according to your faith.” And their eyes were opened.” Matt 9:27-30

    Now if we use the same logic that he is using then what we have here is the blind having faith BEFORE they were able to see. This would destroy the assertion that regeneration precedes faith. How come Calvinists don’t like to use examples such as this one?

  2. Your first problem that you approach Mr Washer’s teaching from an unbiblical position of election by works. You first combat unconditional election:
    When you say: “So rather than look to what the Bible actually says about election, Paul Washer wants to take the student on a philosophical journey of the Calvinist conception of inability in order to “teach” this student why he should hold to the Calvinist unconditional election view.”

    Election is not conditioned on faith:
    John 6:29: “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one whom He sent.”

    We can see that the work God requires is faith. Either you accept from this verse that belief is God’s work into a man (the calvinist position) or belief is the work God requires from man for not only for initial salvation but also continued salvation.

    Romans 9:11-12: “(for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.”

    2 Tim 1:9: “who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,”

    Again, election is expressly not by works. But Christ clearly says that belief is a work. The basis of your view of election is therefore not Scriptural.

    Next you say:
    “The student seems to rightly recognize that inability alone cannot really decide the matter in favor of unconditional election since God could draw all to Himself (John 12:32), enabling all to believe and become the elect if that were how God sovereignly chose to do things (John 16:7-11; Titus 2:11; 1 Timothy 2:1-6;).”

    Firstly John 12:32 needs to be addressed: “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”
    The word “draw” needs to be understood before a person can understand what this text is saying. Draw is from the greek word “Helkuse” which means to drag, or draw in the sense of drawing water from a well. first, It denotes force. First example:

    Acts 16:19: “…they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities.” Guess what word is the same as “draw” in John 12:32? Surely you guessed that it is “dragged”
    James 2:6: “But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts?” Again, “Draw” is translated “drag” clearly denoting force and irresistible force at that.
    John 21:11: “Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land,…” Again, the same work is translated “dragged.” I don’t think anyone would agree that in any of these cases the verb being used denotes a simple attracting or a wooing. I can’t imagine peter saying to the net, “Here net… Here net… please come to me net…” This is the first problem, a failure to understand the word being used.

    John 6:44 uses the same word and we see that, just as in ever other use of the word (examples given), irresistibility is depicted.
    “No one can come to Me unless to the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.”

    So now you know from the word “Draw” that it is not a simple wooing, because that is never how the Holy Spirit uses this word in the Bible. Further, the pronoun “him” being used twice reveals that ever “him” that is “draw[n]” is also the same “him” that is “raise[d]… up” I have never heard a convincing argument to why a person should separate the obvious connection in this verse between the two uses of the pronoun “him.” Everyone drawn is also raised up. This is why Jesus says “All that the Father gives Me will come to me… This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given me, I should loose nothing, but I should raise it up at the last day.” (John 6:37,39).

    Your use of John 16:7-11 is questionable not only becuase it is unraveled by the exposure of the error in John 12:32, but also from the very next chapter (John 17:9-10), “I pray for them, I do not pray for the world, but for those whom you have given Me, for they are yours, and all mine are yours and yours are mine and I am glorified in them.” Further, all those who are given receive eternal life from Christ, this is why He has been given authority over all flesh. (John 17:2-3). Further the Apostle in Hebrews 2:13: “Here am I and the children whom God has given Me”

    Titus 2:11: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men”

    A couple things to remember is that in the first century a major problem was the Jews arguing that Gentiles could not receive salvation without being a Jew first. This was the argument of the Judaizers (Gal) and the overarching sediment of non-christian jews. The greek word “All” can either mean all as in head for head or all as in some of all types.

    Rev 5:9: ” You are worthy to take the scroll,
    And to open its seals;
    For You were slain,
    And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
    Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,”

    If it is not all in the collective sense, then it would have to be head for head, which is an impossibility because millions of people even today have never heard the gospel so that they could believe.

    Romans 10:14-15: “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?…” I have heard that Wesley because of his errant views of Scripture thought that God would draw people through general revelation, but such an idea is severely foreign to Scripture. (Also see Ecc 8:16-17 clearly teaches that general revelation will never lead a person to a true knowledge of the God of the Bible. But rather only enough to condemn: Rom 1:20)

    Further, the passage you display in from Titus actually teaches the effectual work of Christ, which contradicts your view grace and potential atonement.
    Titus 2:14: “who did give himself for us, that he might ransom us from all lawlessness, and might purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works; ”

    Not only does the passage you quote denote the work of Christ on the cross as a “ransom” which is a full payment for a slave to be free. It also displays Christ’s intent, to purify a peculiar people. The book of Hebrews and the correct doctrine of atonement, (which starts with His office of High Priest not proof texts that use the world “all” and “world”)

    The work of the High Priest in Leviticus is composed of two parts, oblation (propitiation) and intercession. This is when the high priest would slay the animal (oblation) and then sprinkle the blood before God at the Mercy Seat (intercession). We see from the true doctrine of atonement, which is the office of High Priest that intercession is no more than a display of the oblation. Therefore the intercession bestows the gifts of the oblation cannot be of greater scope than the intercession and vice versa.

    Heb 9:12: “Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. ” And “once for all” refers to a one time offering which is being contrasted to the continual offerings of the high priest of Aaron’s order.

    9:15: “And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.”

    9:24-28: “For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another— He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”

    Hebrews clearly teaches the doctrine of atonement as being intrinsic to the office of High Priest which is not only effectual but includes the same scope of both oblation and intercession. Notice this is clearly taught as the Apostle compares the “once for all” or one time sacrifice of Christ for the “Sins of many” or “those who are called” as having “obtained eternal redeption” for those whom He stands in heaven to intercede for or “huper hemon” = in place of us. This is what it means to be High Priest and sacrifice.

    Last text you presented was 1 Tim 2:1-6 has the same problems. The same problem is displayed. A lack of context and a view of atonement that is not based on Christ’s office as High Priest as presented in Hebrews and Leviticus 16, but instead based on proof texts and the word pas, pamos, pan. The High Priesthood of Christ establishes the doctrine, not the word “all” because “all” has an ambiguous meaning and has nothing to do with any of Christ’s offices.

    In the next section I think this is worth responding to:
    “It is if Calvinism is true. If Calvinism is true then God irresistibly caused these people to hate Him. Now, Calvinists may not want to own such blunt language, but the above statement is in perfect harmony with traditional Calvinist thought [1]. In Calvinism, everything is controlled by God.”

    First, God irresistibly makes people hate him, is certainly not representative of the calvinist position. I think you make a straw man with the hyper view, their are differing views among Calvinist about this issue, you should not be so general and then present it as fact.
    The Bible teaches that Natural men are haters of God because the are children of the devil after the fall in the garden. (Psa 51:5)
    John 8:44: “You are of your father the devil and the desires of your Father you want to do…”

    (Also I would just say as a tangent thought John 8:47 clearly refutes prevenient grace. “He who is of God hear’s God’s word, therefore you do not hear, because you are no of God.”

    This is a syllogism:
    1. He who is of God hears God’s word
    1. You do not hear
    2. Therefore you are not of God.

    The prevenient grace view says they should have been able to hear and then decide because prevenient grace frees them from their natural ignorance of spiritual things (1 Cor 2:14), but the reality is that they where still “of their father the devil” which is the reason why they are not “able to hear” (John 8:43). Jesus says they are not able to hear even though Jesus is preaching and the Spirit is working.)

    Again you say: “So God caused Adam to sin and then punished Adam for perfectly fulfilling the decree of God in such a way that Adam had absolutely no power to resist. ”

    But this is unscholarly rant and a poor representation of the view you are trying to refute. Again, your refute a straw man and not the real thing. Most Calvinist believe that Adam had ability to either sin or not sin. Adam’s sin was not caused by God, this is just blasphemous and a lie / misrepresentation. God was not involved in the fall, He left Adam to himself, surely God could have applied grace and protected Adam, but He did not see that as fit.

    But while you kick against the goads of Scripture, I suggest one text that clearly presents God’s sovereignty:
    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”

    Again you say: “When the exhaustive decretal determinism of Calvinism is in view, questions like, “Is that God’s fault?” should be answered with “Yes”.”

    This is again a baseless suggestion and a straw man. Most Calvinists believe in a soft determinism called compatiblism. This is clearly taught in Gen 50:20:
    “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”

    And very strongly in Isaiah 10:5-16 when God first raises up Assyria to punish Israel and then punishes the nation that He uses to punish another because of what is in their heart. Here is the text:

    ““ Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger
    And the staff in whose hand is My indignation.
    6 I will send him against an ungodly nation,
    And against the people of My wrath
    I will give him charge,
    To seize the spoil, to take the prey,
    And to tread them down like the mire of the streets.
    7 Yet he does not mean so,
    Nor does his heart think so;
    But it is in his heart to destroy,
    And cut off not a few nations.
    8 For he says,

    ‘ Are not my princes altogether kings?
    9 Is not Calno like Carchemish?
    Is not Hamath like Arpad?
    Is not Samaria like Damascus?
    10 As my hand has found the kingdoms of the idols,
    Whose carved images excelled those of Jerusalem and Samaria,
    11 As I have done to Samaria and her idols,
    Shall I not do also to Jerusalem and her idols?’”

    12 Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Lord has performed all His work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, that He will say, “I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his haughty looks.”
    13 For he says:

    “ By the strength of my hand I have done it,
    And by my wisdom, for I am prudent;
    Also I have removed the boundaries of the people,
    And have robbed their treasuries;
    So I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man.
    14 My hand has found like a nest the riches of the people,
    And as one gathers eggs that are left,
    I have gathered all the earth;
    And there was no one who moved his wing,
    Nor opened his mouth with even a peep.”
    15 Shall the ax boast itself against him who chops with it?
    Or shall the saw exalt itself against him who saws with it?
    As if a rod could wield itself against those who lift it up,
    Or as if a staff could lift up, as if it were not wood!
    16 Therefore the Lord, the Lord[a] of hosts,
    Will send leanness among his fat ones;
    And under his glory
    He will kindle a burning
    Like the burning of a fire. ”

    Several things to point out. First, there is no autonomy in this passage. There is a compatibalism between the will of the Assyrians as wicked sinners with evil hearts (Gen 6:5 & 8:21) and the righteous justice of God with His sovereign decrees.

    Particularly notice verses 5-7 and then 13-15. The point is clear that God is absolutely sovereign and man is full responsible.

    You say: “Rather, he just assumes throughout his discourse that God cannot enable all depraved God haters to turn to Christ without needing to do so in an irresistible manner. ”

    But the problem you don’t seem to understand is the Mr. Washer starts and ends with the Bible. He doesn’t start with imported philosophical values and doctrine that makes the Bible contradict itself. God could enable all men to come to Christ, He could have even used resistible saving grace. But the problem is that the Bible does teach this, that’s why Washer doesn’t teach it.

    In the next section you say: “What kind of glory would that be exactly? Those who hate God do so only because God caused them to, and those who love God do so only because God caused them to. ”

    But again you are just ranting. You are battling the same straw man that has no weight. God doesn’t need to make anyone hate Him, natural men are already very good at that. (Romans 8:7-9, Col 1:20-21. etc, etc.) Your battle is against a straw man of “hard determinism” which is referred to many calvinists as the hyper view. Your whole argument against calvinists here is based on a straw man fallacy.

    You say: “Again, Paul Washer can’t help talking like an Arminian in order to defend his Calvinism. He seems to quickly forget that at the heart of Calvinism is the fundamental assumption that God sovereignly controls everything, creating serious problems for his claims of personal accountability for hating God.”

    Again, this is your straw man. A hard determinist position and Infralapsarianism versus Supralapsarianism. This is a debate in house, but you are not fair to the audience in the way you beat up straw men instead of speaking honesty in love. Your idea about the “heart of Calvinism” is just silly and proves my point. Please see Isaiah 10 for help that you may better understand the biblical teaching of God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility.

    You say: “Again, why did they hate him? Because God decreed this for them from all eternity.” referring to Joseph and his brothers. Here it becomes obvious that your rant is mainly emotional rather than logical and Biblical.

    Look at Genesis 50:20: “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”
    We can see that God sovereignly decreed it but the brothers are judged for what is in their heart. This is the same as what is clearly taught in isaiah 10:5-19.

    You say: ““Choice” doesn’t even make sense in Calvinism.”

    This is your straw man again. To you it doesn’t make sense. That is why you seem so hot in your approach to this rant. But the Bible clearly teaches compatibilism as already shown. Calvinists do say people don’t make choices, you build up the hyper view and then destroy it. But even Calvinists hate the hyper view…

    You continue: “Again, the student nails it. God must draw us, but there is no reason to assume that this drawing cannot be resistible, rather than irresistible. There is likewise no reason to assume it cannot enable all who hear to believe.”

    I have already shown why your view of grace is not Biblical. But again.

    Jesus says in John 8:43 that the reason they do not hear is because they are not “able” to listen to His words. If prevenient grace as you hold diligently to was true Jesus would not have said this. If your view is true, prevenient grace would have enabled them to believe and Christ would have said something about their refusal to believe out of their own autonomy. But, this is not what jesus says. Instead, although the preaching was present and the Spirit working, they were still not “able.” Your whole argument is based on an imported idea that is not only foreign to the Bible but also not supported by the texts where you would expect it to be supported.

    You say: “And there it is, the unbiblical attempt to make “dead in sin” mean “the inability of a physical corpse.”

    A person actually doesn’t need to go to Eph 2 to describe inability. Mr. Washer chose this passage, but there are many other passages that say the same thing. Not only John 8:43-47, which reveals that its not about prevenient grace because even with preaching they were not “able.” instead it is because they are still natural and in the flesh, “You are of your father the devil…” (v. 44) and then verse 47:

    1. He who is of God hears God’s words
    1. You do not hear
    2. Therefore, you are not of God.

    It’s not about prevenient grace and a man rejection even though they had the ability. Jesus clearly teaches that this has nothing to do with it. Therefore He says… again… “because you are not able to hear…” this is denoting ability not the decision of the human will. 1 Cor 2:14 is also helpful.

    You say: ” Paul Washer says that one must become a child of God (be born again) before one can put faith in Christ, the exact opposite of what John and the apostle Paul taught!”

    Your problem is a lack of distinction between regeneration and adoption. You make becoming a child of God depending of the decision and will of man but John clearly says
    John 1:13: “children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”

    How can it be that they were born not of human decision but your say that its all about God enabling men to make a decision? this is hopelessly contradictory. Also, it should be said that in the Greek “tekna” which means “children” does not appear in John 1:13. Instead it uses a pronoun to describe why the people received Him.

    John 8 is very clear. But also in John 10:26:

    “But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep.”
    Jesus says the reason people do not believe is the result of them not being His sheep. He does not say they are not sheep as a result of their unbelief. Your position is the exact opposite of what Christ said not only hear but also in John 8.

    You say: “In fact, the Bible clearly puts faith before regeneration.”

    Not only does John 1:13 contradict you because faith is a decision it is the will. John clearly says people are not born of the will.
    John 3:3: “Unless one is born again he is not able to see the kingdom of God.” How can a man choose and put saving faith into an object if he can’t even see it…

    John 3:6: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
    First notice that the flesh only ever brings forth flesh. But you seem to think that the flesh can be the factor that brings forth spiritual life… Further it is the Spirit who brings forth a man’s spirit.

    John 6:63: “It is the Spirit who gives life, the flesh profits nothing…”
    But if two people are brought forth by prevenient grace then still in their flesh and one chooses and another refuses…. it is actually that man’s flesh that profited everything.

    1 Cor 2:14: “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.”

    Your whole argument is bases on imported views, ie prevenient grace which has already been refuted. John 8, though the Spirit was present and Christ was preaching the people were not “able” to listen… John 8:43… the implications are obvious.

    You say: “Rather, God’s drawing is what enables a faith response and thereby makes a “choice” possible.”

    But the Bible says; “children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” Not of the will of the flesh (NKJV).

    I didn’t mean for this to be so long, but its not right for people to read something like this and not sympathize for those who may be misled by the saturation of errors. Also, your problem with evil is refuted by the Book of Job. Job’s friends’ rebuke is your rebuke. When God appeared what did He say? He didn’t even tell them why bad things were happening to Job, He simply declared His sovereignty and made them repent. Further Chapter one clears up that satan was on God’s leash.

    Blog Owner’s Note: You can find my detailed response to SBG’s comments here.

  3. “savedby grace” lost the right to be heard with this first sentence.

    “Your first problem that you approach Mr Washer’s teaching from an unbiblical position of election by works.”

    Such a misrpresentation of the article above saved me from the need to read the War and Peace length exposition of Calvinist dogma.

  4. ““savedby grace” lost the right to be heard with this first sentence.
    “Your first problem that you approach Mr Washer’s teaching from an unbiblical position of election by works.”
    Such a misrpresentation of the article above saved me from the need to read the War and Peace length exposition of Calvinist dogma.”

    Sometimes it is better for a person to stay ignorant. But at least you admit this. I started where I started because that’s where the original post starts. Again, i’m sorry for the length, but its not easy when a person is clearly errant at nearly every paragraph.

  5. no “savedby grace”, I don’t remain ignorant. I spent far too much time in the past with Calvinist dogma to be ignorant of its errors.

    I prefer to stick with scripture as written instead of relying on man’s tradtions to tell me what to believe.

    Tim, Saved by Jesus.

  6. It is funny that you talk about traditions when arminianism is built on imported philosophical values from pagans like Aristotle and the left over leaven of the roman church.

    By the way in two places of my post I mistyped. One “do” should be a “don’t” and a “does” should be a “Does not.”

    I’ll help you with a short summary of an important reality. John 8:43 destroys prevenient grace which is the backbone of this piece.

    “Why do you not understand my speech? because you are not able to listen to my words.”

    There is not room for prevenient grace in Scripture it is an imported gimmick to make it easier for people to love the God they really still hate.

    If prevenient grace was being applied would not these people be able to hear and even understand? Yet Jesus says the exact opposite. He says they can’t hear because they are not able. Jesus says its not a matter of will its a matter of ability. The text of clear.

    Verse 8:47 is a syllogism:
    1. He who is of God hears God’s word
    1. You do not hear.
    2. You are not of God.

    The same is true for John 10:26. Jesus says exactly the opposite of what arminians believe. This is why the Remonstrants lost in 1619…

  7. Funny what you (SBG) said about Arminianism being built on “philosophical values from pagans” .

    The original “Calvinist” – namely Augustine introduced significant pagan influences into the church which have been carried on through most religious traditions ever since.

    Personally I have no interest in the traditions of Calvinists or Arminians. As I said I choose to stick with scripture and don’t rely on man’s tradtion to tell me what to believe.

    Tim – Saved by Jesus.

  8. I am glad that you put Scripture first. In that case we should have more in common then not. I thought from the prejudice of your first post that you must have been a devoted arminian.

    I have not formed my view of Scripture from philosophy or tradition. I simply desire to have a view of Scripture that creates the least contradiction.

  9. So the “summary” of your post is actually just a Calvinist proof text, which in your original post you admitted to being just a tangent to what you were saying?

    That’s why you won’t get many responses, because you just want to reaffirm every Calvinist passage as multiple death-blows to any other interpretation. And again- no one here has an issue with scripture… we have issues with the man thought out implications of those passages, I.e the dead in sin is the same as dead in real life, etc.

  10. Also, you further bolster your position by calling any other interpretation an “imported gimmick”.

    It’s easier to respect someone’s view of scripture when they have mastered God’s expectations of compassion, gentleness, and humility.

  11. Apparently “SavedByGrace” is actually a hyper-Calvnist, holding that Arminians are not saved, since according to him, they still hate God. That should be a red flag that he is unsound, without a good grasp on the basic gospel of God’s grace (we are saved by faith in Christ, not by believing in Calvinism). Hyper-Calvinism is denounced by mainstream Calvinists as heresy, and his position of damning Arminians is one doctrine that is well recognized as hyper-Calvinistic. Beware of such poisionous, divisive, and unsound doctrine!

  12. Steven:
    Any exegesis of Scripture that doesn’t make God a a genie in a bottle type of servant of man, cupcake, and an all loving fluffy and cuddly pet, you will likely deem as a Calvinist “proof text.” Such is the tradition of the church in the 20th / 21st century. But believe it or not, God cannot apply His attributes in a way that diminishes any of His other attributes.

    Arminian:
    Your conclusion is baseless and I never said such a thing. Even Luther said, “Love God? Sometimes I hate HIm!” He said this because he understood the reality of the relation between fallen man, sin, and a triple holy and perfect God. Arminians have not fully accepted the Bible, nor the God of the Bible. They still hold animosity toward the idea that God has right to do what He will with His creation. In other words, they are offended by the idea that God doesn’t owe them anything but hell, and is… well, God. This is why prevenient grace is created and imported into the Bible. This idea of grace is used to satisfy man’s desire for God to be obligated to him, his will, and his ‘rights,’ it makes man autonomous and control of his destiny again. It is an way to both accept and totally deny total depravity at the same time. There is nothing more offensive to the pride and conceit of man than saying they don’t have control over their destiny. This is why arminians react so violently to the sovereignty of God in Scripture. They can’t believe that they are not in control.

    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.”

  13. Everyone saved by God starts as an arminian. But if God is saving hopefully He will heal them that they might accept God’s kingship over His creation and their lives. Again, I do not think that the arminian rebellion against God’s reign is too great for the blood of Christ to cover.

  14. “SavedByGrace”,

    While I disagree wholeheartedly with your comments about Arminianism and your totally false charge that Arminians oppose the sovereignty of God–the truth uis just the oppiste, we love the sovereignty of God and rejoice in it, we just conceive of it biblically instead of Calvinistically–I am happy to hear that you are not advocating that Arminians aren’t saved. It is hard to see how you don’t from your comments, such as claiming we have not fully accepted God or his word, but it is good to hear that you are not going where your logic would seem to lead. For the gospel of Jesus Christ is not that one must be a Calvinist nor an Arminian to be saved, but must trust in Christ for salvation.

    May God bless you and lead you in his truth.

  15. SBG,

    Thanks for the follow up. I still wholeheartedly disagree with your sentiments and most of the meaning behind the paragraph above. You can’t fathom that God could make beings with free will – it’s as if it would be out of a Soverign God’s control to do so. It is a very real possibility – and God doing so doesn’t make man over God in any respect. Yet God in his grace has, and continues to condesend to His creation in a number of ways: from the myriad ways he has communicated to us through the centuries, to His ear being opened to our prayers, to His Son’s gracious intercession on our behalf – God has allowed his children to interact with Him in remarkable ways, all without relinquishing His Lordship.

    How is it me wanting to elevate man throughy pride? I simply reply to the facts of scripture, and share in the sentiment, ” what is man, that you are mindful of him?”

  16. Savedbygrace,

    From reading your comments so far I am really wondering about you.

    First of all, you go by a name which is true of every Christian (i.e. all Christians are saved through grace). And yet you attack other Christians who deny and reject your theological determinism/Calvinism. So your actions **contradict** the public and false name that you have created. If you truly are saved through grace where is the humility on your part? Perusing your comments indicates you are not a humble person at all but both prideful and argumentative.

    Second, you make these false claims against Arminians. Now I could go over each one and show their falsity, but what would it really accomplish? Would you change your views, that is highly unlikely considering the things you have already said.

    Third there was your initial response, which was merely a Calvinistic **bomb** that you just decided to detonate at an Arminian website.

    Did you really think that you would ***convert**** anyone to ****your Calvinism*** by means of this extremely long propaganda piece?

    Fourth, you did not at all interact with Ben’s excellent comments.

    You ignored his comments and merely dropped your “bomb”.

    This indicates not the actions of someone interested in dialogue or respectful discussion.

    Rather, it indicates the actions of what they call in internet parlance a “TROLL”.

    So why should we take you seriously at all?

    Your actions seem to indicate that you are just an angry and prideful and divisive and argumentative Calvinist troll.

    Tell me why we should view you in any other way?

    Robert

  17. I actually went paragraph through paragraph responding to this piece. So your view that I didn’t go through his arguments are incorrect and show that perhaps you did not even read the response I wrote.

    It should not surprise you that my response is polemic considering that the article is of the same.

  18. i would suggest instead of responding emotionally that you look at the texts because the author’s article is based heavily on errant presuppositions.

    1. Election conditioned on faith unScriptural.

    2. the context of John 12:32 is based on a misunderstanding of the greek word translated draw.

    3. John 8:43-47 destroys prevenient grace because Jesus clearly teaches that in the midst of preaching the reason why they were not believing was not because of their free will, but their ever present lack of ability.

    4. The idea that determinism is not supported by Scripture is baseless. Genesis 50:20 clearly teaches it and Isaiah 10:5-19 very strongly teaches it.

  19. Dearest saved by grace,

    I appreciate that you have taken allot of time to answer the article above , and believe you did it in earnestness of the souls of those that hold to a what is called Arminian theological interpretation of the Bible.
    I for one am also one of them.
    I would be glad to share with you in earnestness in a desire to come to an understanding that is not as such Arminian, Calvinistic or even our interpratation of the Bible, but the interpretation of the Holy Spirit. For I am sure you would agree that if your and mine understanding is completely based on the revelation of the Holy Ghost , we will agree ! For surely the Holy Ghost would not reveal one thing to me and another to you !
    However for such communion to be possible between us, it will be necessary for both of us in all honesty to declare to be willing to give up some or even all of our present understanding (Calvinistic or Arminian) if these are revealed not to be a true revelation of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ .
    What I am asking you is this, are you truly desiring to know our Lord at all cost for who He really is , for I am sure you would agree that our hearts are deceitful above all things and therefore capable to interpret the word of God to our own pleasing, and in this process to be willing to forsake any doctrine you now believe to be right ?

    For you see if we are in all honesty not willing to do so , we just have become like the people that Jesus addressed in the passage you quoted above in John 8:43-47 which where the pharisees .
    And really it will be to no avail if we commune about these matters if it where to defend the doctrines we are basing our security on , and therefore need to be right so not to have a rug pulled out from under us.
    My blessed Saviour has revealed to me this lesson not so long ago. Let us never forget thet the doctrines of the Bible speak about Him, and therefor to be secure in Him at any time willing to allow the Holy Ghost to correct any falsely held understanding of Christ to be altered . This going with the nature of the Holy Spirit, will be of course in perfect harmony with the revealed word of God .

    I can only praise God for how this has been true in my life and not so much depend on an interpretation of some doctrines but on a real moment by moment relationship with the living God for my security .

    With the Love of our Lord Jesus
    Rudi Kunz

  20. Hi Rudi,

    Thank you for your wonderful words. God has used you as a great encouragement to me. It is wonderful that you make yourself a servant to the Word of God first. This is truly my desire as well.

    May God continue to bless you

  21. SBG,

    While we are off topic, the verse below is a deathblow to any kind of Calvinist thought about the irresistibility of God’s grace:

    Matthew 23:37 – ” O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”

    Clearly the following is true:

    1. God desired the Jewish people respond to the gospel
    2. Jesus states the reason they didn’t respond was because “they would not”
    3. The Jews resisted God’s grace

    Since we now know that irresistable grace is unbiblical, can we can back to the critique of the article?

  22. Your exegesis is not appropriate for this the text of Matt 23:37.

    First, this is a judgment text on the pharisees. The closes parallel is Matt 23:13:
    “But woe to you Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.”

    This is what is called “book-ending,”

    if you notice in Matt 23:37 Jesus refers to “thy children” as the target and the pharisees as the obstructors. This is not a text referring to free will because the target (“thy children”) is not the same as the obstructor, the pharisees. If the text would say, how often would i have gathered YOU… and YOU were not willing, your view would be more likely. The pharisees are being judged for what is in their hearts, not what they have accomplished.
    Look at these texts, since the Bible is the inerrant word of God it never contradicts itself,

    Job 42:2, “I know that you can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from you.”

    Also, Isaiah 43:13: “… I work, and who will reverse it?”
    Isaiah 55:10-11: “As the rain and the snow
    come down from heaven,
    and do not return to it
    without watering the earth
    and making it bud and flourish,
    so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
    11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
    but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

    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?””

    This is why I don’t agree that this text teaches that God was thwarted. To me, such a view would make the Bible contradict itself.

    Further Christ says, in John 6:37,39:
    “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me… this is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me i should loose nothing, but I should raise it up at the last day.”

    And God’s reserving for Himself His remnant among the Jews regardless of Godlessness:

    Romans 11:4-5,7: “But what does the Divine response say to him? “I have reserved for Myself 7000 men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace… What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded.”

    The first 10 verses of Romans 11 deals with individual election of a remnant of Jews even to the day of Paul, the last verses of the chapter deal with the future state of redeemed Israel.

    This is why I don’t see the verse you posted in the same way that you do.

    To answer your questions then:

    “1. God desired the Jewish people respond to the gospel”

    My only concern would be that first the Jews needed to crucify Jesus. Even so, Jesus seems to teach away from this point, as do the profits:
    Jesus is asked why He taught in parables: Matt 13:11: “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.”
    From this I see that it was not about their free will decision, but the Divine prerogative in salvation (John 8:43).
    So Jesus said in Matt 11:25: ” I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes, even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, Nor does anyone know the Father excepted the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.”

    Further the point of the Jews blindness if brought out strongly in John 12:39-40: “Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again, “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, lest they should see with their eyes and understand with their hearts so that I should heal them.”
    BTW this is not active hardening, but passive because no one can come to Christ lest it be granted to them by the Father (John 6:65).

    “2. Jesus states the reason they didn’t respond is because they would not.”

    This is partially true and partially false. It is true because no one is willing apart from God supernaturally changing a person’s heart and making them love God instead of hating Him (John 3:19). But it is false because the text does not say “the children” would not, but is rather directed at the Pharisees and their behavior / intentions, which were contrary to the teaching in the old testament. But like I showed early, God is never thwarted and all that are given come.
    Hebrews 2:13: “Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.”
    John 10:5: “Yet they will be no means follow a stranger but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”

    “3. The Jews resisted God’s grace.”

    This is true. But it should be noted that all people always resist God’s Spirit and will continue to do so unless God supernaturally changes them. This is a common place of confusion when it comes to understanding the reformed view. We don’t say that God isn’t resisted, that is obvious, and it is clear that it is taught in Scripture (Acts 7). But what we say is that when God drags a person and supernaturally changes them, so as to make their unwilling heart willing, He is irresistible. This is why All come (John 6:37-39). And this is why John 6:44:

    “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.”

    I have never seen it done, but perhaps someone could show me why anyone would separate the first auton (him) from the second auton (him) in this verse. The teaching is that the “him” drawn is also the “him” raised up. This sounds like effectual calling to me.

    This is my response to your question, but I don’t think its fair to continue off topic.

  23. So sad when men’s theology blinds people to the truth.

    So sad when men’s theology maligns God’s character.

    So sad when men’s theology blinds them to God’s glorious purposes.

    So sad when men’s theology can lead a man to believe he has been personally elected by God while others have been singled out for exclusion from that election – on no basis other than arbitrary choice.

    Welcome to eternity’s lottery.

  24. Check out this verse I just found out about. Its really wonderful and I am thankful that God showed it to me.

    2 Peter 2:1: “Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ,

    To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:”

    The greek word that is translated “Obtained” is a very special word: λαχοῦσιν (Lachousin)

    This is a very special word that I never knew about, but it is so wonderful and fills my heart with great joy.

    λαχοῦσιν is Strong’s G2975 check out the link here:
    http://studybible.info/strongs/G2975

    it means:
    to obtain by lot, by fate, by the will of the gods
    Thayer:
    1) to obtain by lot
    1a) to receive by divine allotment, obtain
    2) to cast lots, determine by lot
    and
    A prolonged form of a primary verb, which is only used as an alternate in certain tenses; to lot, that is, determine (by implication receive) especially by lot

    “And for my clothing they cast lots” but God controls the lots 🙂

    But you said: “So sad when men’s theology can lead a man to believe he has been personally elected by God while others have been singled out for exclusion from that election – on no basis other than arbitrary choice.”

    I love when what I believe is strengthen by what the Apostles taught.

  25. and its not arbitrary choice actually. It is a mystery of God. He says its “according to His purpose” and “Pleasure” and “due to His will”

    Its not arbitrary, but according to God its not because of us… its a mystery… here is deut 29:29:

    ““The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”

  26. Ah! The old “It is a mystery of God” trick – the answer to give when you don’t have an answer.

    The answer to give when men’s theology fails.

  27. I have noticed that Paul Washer and many Calvinists love to use the example of Lazarus to teach regeneration (or being born again) prior to faith, but what about all the miracles that occured as a result of one’s faith? For example:

    “As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” When He entered the house, the blind men came up to Him, and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” Then He touched their eyes, saying, “It shall be done to you according to your faith.” And their eyes were opened.” Matt. 9:27-30

    If we use the same logic as the Calvinists use regarding Lazarus, then you have the blind having faith BEFORE they were able to see! The point is that using the example of Lazarus to prove regeneration before faith is a weak attempt when taking ALL the miracles into account. We have to develop our doctrine based on the whole Word of God, not just portions of it.

    SavedbyGrace,

    You do realize that we are saved by grace THROUGH FAITH, does that offend you? The problem you have is with the Biblical teaching of faith and not Arminianism. You falsely accuse Arminians of believing in a works based election but who have you quoted to prove that? We believe that Jesus Christ is the “elect one” and we come to share in his election by faith, not works. Nice try at trying to conflate faith with works (faith is always contrasted with works – there are many Sriptures that can be shown to prove this).

    Also, you stated that “Election is not conditioned on faith”. If that is the case then you have a serious problem. If Election is not based on foreknowledge of faith (being that God can only foreknow what he has immutably decreed), then how is damnation based on God’s foreknowledge of someones sin? That means that the reprobate are not condemned to hell because they are sinners, but rather because God predestined them to damnation for his good pleasure. Sin was only the means he used to bring about the eternal destruction of the reprobate, isnt that right?

    You also said that “Everyone saved by God starts as an arminian.” How could that be if Arminianism is such dangerous doctrine and such a misinterpretation of Scripture? With this comment alone you acknowledge that Calvinism is something that is indoctrinated into an individual after they start as an Arminian. I would rather stick with the Scripture and not hold onto a man-made theology (invented by Augustine) that makes God out to be the author of sin.

  28. You argument is all emotional and based on your own reasoning. Have you read Isaiah 55:8-9?

    For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
    Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.
    9 “ For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    So are My ways higher than your ways,
    And My thoughts than your thoughts.

    Your not suppose to fully get it, God is bigger than you. Your view of God is too human.

    I am only interested in what the Bible says.
    “trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” Proverbs 3:5.

    Did you see the post I made prior to this? Peter said that faith was the gift of God, even comparing our receiving faith as like the casting of a lot.

    Here is where faith comes from, please read carefully:

    Check out this verse I just found out about. Its really wonderful and I am thankful that God showed it to me.
    2 Peter 2:1: “Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
    To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:”
    The greek word that is translated “Obtained” is a very special word: λαχοῦσιν (Lachousin)
    This is a very special word that I never knew about, but it is so wonderful and fills my heart with great joy.
    λαχοῦσιν is Strong’s G2975 check out the link here:
    http://studybible.info/strongs/G2975
    it means:
    to obtain by lot, by fate, by the will of the gods
    Thayer:
    1) to obtain by lot
    1a) to receive by divine allotment, obtain
    2) to cast lots, determine by lot
    and
    A prolonged form of a primary verb, which is only used as an alternate in certain tenses; to lot, that is, determine (by implication receive) especially by lot
    “And for my clothing they cast lots” but God controls the lots

    Lets look at where else this word is used:

    Acts 1:16-17:
    “Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus; for he was numbered with us and obtained a part in this ministry.”

    This verse is talking about judas and uses the word λαχοῦσιν, which is “obtained” in verse 17. This is what jesus said in John 6:70: “Did I NOT CHOOSE YOU, the twelve and one of you is a devil, He spoke of Judas Iscariot…”

    And Onesimus, I have no idea what you comment has to do with what I have said except to divert attention.

    Election cannot be based on your self generated faith. An exegesis of 2 Peter 1:1 teaches that you have obtained your faith due to the:
    Thayer:
    1) to obtain by lot
    1a) to receive by divine allotment, obtain
    2) to cast lots, determine by lot

    Just like, Judas didn’t choose Jesus, but Jesus choose Judas:
    John 15:16: “You did not choose Me but I choose you…” as well as John 6:70.

    There is no need to attack me, I’m just looking at the Scripture and trying to show you why your view is not consistent with it.

  29. And you argument is not based on your own reasoning?

    Of course not. It is based on the reasoning of countless Calvinists who have preceded you and their interpretation of a collection of isolated proof texts.

    Go to scripture alone, without the influence of commentaries and other commentators – spend time with God and His word, trusting the Holy Spirit to teach you from the scriptures He inspired.

    The WHOLE scriptures not just a collection of proof texts favoured by a particular theological system.

  30. Saved by grace said:
    “And Onesimus, I have no idea what you comment has to do with what I have said except to divert attention.”
    _________
    My earlier comment QUOTED what you had said.

    Forget the “mystery” escape clause used to cover the weakness of your theology – seek God for the truth. He’s not hiding it!

  31. SavedbyGrace, you said “You argument is all emotional and based on your own reasoning.”

    Did you not see the verses I quoted from Matthew? I also stated that there are many verses that clearly show that faith is contrasted with works. Would you like me to show you some?

    “Even so Abraham BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE BLESSED IN YOU.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer. For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM.” Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH. However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, “HE WHO PRACTICES THEM SHALL LIVE BY THEM.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE”— in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” Galatians 3:6-14

    Can you follow Paul’s point here? We are justified by FAITH AND NOT BY WORKS!!!! Faith is not a work that earns our Salvation, it is the empty hand of a filthy sinner that deserves God’s wrath reaching out and trusting in the finished work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who accomplished in his Life, Death and Resurrection that which I could not obtain if I was given a million lifetimes to try. Now you accuse Arminians of Election by works?

    You said “Your view of God is too human.” This is a false accusation as I fully acknowledge Isaiah 55:8-9 and I am just trying to be faithful to what God has revealed about himself in the Scriptures:

    “”The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.” Deut: 29-29

    It is Calvinists who often talk about God’s “secret” will and attempt explain things that the Scripture speaks nothing about (like how God ordained the fall and sin – when the Scriptures say nothing of this).

    You said “There is no need to attack me, I’m just looking at the Scripture and trying to show you why your view is not consistent with it.” I am not attacking you, just trying to show you that your Augustinianism/Calvinism is not consistent with the Word of God.

  32. You offer criticism but no other way to understand the text. I don’t understand the point of this.

    I said this quoting Deut 29:29, which is about the secret things belonging to God:

    “and its not arbitrary choice actually. It is a mystery of God. He says its “according to His purpose” and “Pleasure” and “due to His will”
    Its not arbitrary, but according to God its not because of us… its a mystery… here is deut 29:29:

    ““The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”

    Maybe I was not clear. God gives no reason for election except to say:

    Romans 9:11; “… that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls.”

    Eph 1:5: “Having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.”

    Eph 1:9: “having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself.”

    Eph 1:11: “In Him also we have obtained (ἐκληρώθημεν strongs G2820) an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.”

    “Obtained” = ἐκληρώθημεν =
    to appoint
    Thayer:
    1) to cast lots, determine by lot
    2) to choose by lot
    3) to allot, assign by lot
    3a) on to another as a possession
    http://studybible.info/strongs/G2820

    2 Tim 1:9: “He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time” (NIV)

    This is why I said its according to His purpose, which is not fully disclosed. It is only stated as according to His purpose, will, pleasure, etc.

    This is why I said its a mystery and quoted Deut 29:29.

    2 Peter 2:1: “Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
    To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:”

    The greek word that is translated “Obtained” is a very special word: λαχοῦσιν (Lachousin)

    This is a very special word that I never knew about, but it is so wonderful and fills my heart with great joy.
    λαχοῦσιν is Strong’s G2975 check out the link here:
    http://studybible.info/strongs/G2975

    it means:
    to obtain by lot, by fate, by the will of the gods
    Thayer:
    1) to obtain by lot
    1a) to receive by divine allotment, obtain
    2) to cast lots, determine by lot
    and
    A prolonged form of a primary verb, which is only used as an alternate in certain tenses; to lot, that is, determine (by implication receive) especially by lot
    “And for my clothing they cast lots” but God controls the lots

    Lets look at where else this word is used:

    Acts 1:16-17:
    “Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus; for he was numbered with us and obtained a part in this ministry.”

    This verse is talking about judas and uses the word λαχοῦσιν, which is “obtained” in verse 17. This is what jesus said in John 6:70: “Did I NOT CHOOSE YOU, the twelve and one of you is a devil, He spoke of Judas Iscariot…”

    and others (it only appears four times in the NT): John 19:24 and Luke 1:9:
    “According to the custom of the Priesthood his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.”

    it is a way of saying that it is solely due to the will of God and His sovereign prerogative that we received faith as a 100% gift:

    Proverbs 16:33: “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.” Amen.

    Please do not attack me, but interact with the texts of the Holy Scriptures that I love so much. God has loved me with an everlasting love (Jer 31:3)!

  33. I see this:
    “As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” When He entered the house, the blind men came up to Him, and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” Then He touched their eyes, saying, “It shall be done to you according to your faith.” And their eyes were opened.” Matt. 9:27-30

    But I’m not even talking about regeneration, this was not my many focus as I said earlier:

    “1. Election conditioned on faith unScriptural. (this I have been showing)
    2. the context of John 12:32 is based on a misunderstanding of the greek word translated draw. ((this is documented in my first post)
    3. John 8:43-47 destroys prevenient grace because Jesus clearly teaches that in the midst of preaching the reason why they were not believing was not because of their free will, but their ever present lack of ability.
    4. The idea that determinism is not supported by Scripture is baseless. Genesis 50:20 clearly teaches it and Isaiah 10:5-19 very strongly teaches it.”

  34. But the Matthew verse doesn’t necessarily teach that faith proceeds regeneration. It is an obscure example. even if a person was regenerated after faith, which i do not believe but am not desiring to debate. 2 Peter 1:1 and many other verse teach that faith is received by the divine allotment of God, likened to the casting of lots and being fully controlled by God. This verse not only shows that its not about prevenient grace but solely divine prerogative as was the view of Peter. I should add that it is kinda funny to me that the evangical arminians group uses the 2 Peter 3:9 verse as a slogan, but 2 Peter 1:1 exegeted shows that such could never be Peter’s intention because he says that faith was due to divine allotment alone in the very first verse

  35. SBG,

    Sorry I have not been around to respond. I need to update my rules for posting since long lists of proof texting create serious problems. They really require anyone who responds to exegetically address each passage, which then leads to a counter claim on each passage, usually with a bunch of other passages, etc. This quickly becomes very cumbersome and distracting from the purpose of the main post. Each post cannot be the occasion for debating all five points of Calvinism along with all of the proof texts that typically go along with those points. It looks like this is exactly what has happened here.

    I understand that you are not happy with what I have written and you want to express your view. You don’t want your side misrepresented and you don’t want anyone led astray. I understand that fully. That is exactly how I feel about Calvinism. It is unfortunate that you start out trying to defend your side by misrepresenting the Arminian side (saying that Arminians believe in election by works, which is nonsense. If that were the case I would not be an Arminian). I assure you that you are not really offering anything new that we have not already dealt with here before. Most of the passages you have brought up have been dealt with here in other posts. It is not like you are the first one to bring up John 6 or John 8 or try to say that “draw” in John 6 and 12 must mean irresistibly “drag”, etc. (strange that no translation has “drag” instead of “draw”, you may want to think about why that would be the case).

    Anyway, I will try to get to your first post sometime tomorrow (I really don’t have time right now) and specifically address your many proof texts with either a direct response or links to posts or articles that address those issues. Until then, I will ask you not to post any further in this combox. Once I respond, you will be free to comment further, but I want to try to keep this discussion under control and it has quickly gotten out of control due to the nature of your first post. At some point we may just have to agree to disagree as we could likely go on and on for days debating numerous passages. I don’t have time for that (especially since I have already dealt with so many of these passages in other posts), and that is not how I want this comment thread to be used. I trust that you will respect my request. Thank you and God bless,

    Ben

  36. Before you respond, I think it is only fair to address a few things you just said. Sorry that my posts are long, I do desire to be thorough and enjoy going through these things.

    You said: “Sorry I have not been around to respond. I need to update my rules for posting since long lists of proof texting create serious problems”

    Everytime a calvinist talks about a passage should not designated as ‘proof texting.’ Just because a detailed investigation doesn’t represent your view, it doesn’t mean that its ‘proof texting.’ such a view is dangerous and only leads to a person never learning what they are not seeing in the text.

    You said: “Each post cannot be the occasion for debating all five points of Calvinism along with all of the proof texts that typically go along with those points.”

    The posts that I have made directly correspond to your thoughts in this post.

    You said: “I assure you that you are not really offering anything new that we have not already dealt with here before. Most of the passages you have brought up have been dealt with here in other posts”

    This has no bearing on the validity of those claim that you have made in other posts. Again, such a view is dangerous because you will never be able to understand what I think are your flaws. I know that there are some people that are so set in belief that they will never be change. That is fine, but it doesn’t mean that your logic to remain cemented in is valid. If someone should me arminian arguments that were convincing as well as consistent with the fullness of Scripture I would change my view in a second so that I might worship Christ in the exact way He desires to be worshipped.

    You said: “strange that no translation has “drag” instead of “draw”, you may want to think about why that would be the case).”

    This is actually false, almost EVERY other places the greek word draw is used it is translated as drag or some form clearly denoting force. The word is used 8 times in the NT and you already know the first two (6:44 & 12:32), here is the NIV:

    John 18:10:
    “Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)”
    “drew” = ἑλκύω
    but surely we can see from the context that Peter didn’t woo the sword out of its sheath and give it a choice whether it wanted to be used as a weapon.

    Here are the other half of the uses…

    John 21:6:
    “He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.”
    “Haul” = ἑλκύω
    I could not imagine them wooing the net to the boat.

    John 21:11:
    “So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn.”
    “dragged” = ἑλκύω
    I could not imagine him wooing the net to land, “here net… here net…”

    Acts 16:19:
    “When her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities.”
    “dragged” = ἑλκύω
    Surely after the “seized” them they didn’t woo them giving them a choice about going to the marketplace.

    Acts 21:30:
    The whole city was aroused, and the people came running from all directions. Seizing Paul, they dragged him from the temple, and immediately the gates were shut.”
    “dragged” = ἑλκύω
    Surely after the “seized” them they didn’t woo paul away from the temple giving him a decision if he wanted to leave the temple

    James 2:6:
    “But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court?”
    dragged” = ἑλκύω
    Surely the rich people didn’t woo them to court giving them a decision about whether they would appear.

    You see, in every other text beside the ones that are dealing with salvation the word clearly is translated as drag or some other word meaning the equivalent. This is how you know that you are applying eisegisis to John 6:44 and 12:32 because your view of salvation is dominating the way you interpret that word. If we apply your interpretation of ἑλκύω in John 6:44 & 12:32 we find that it is not suitable and makes little sense. That is because your interpretation of the word is not what it means. Thats why Thayer says ἑλκύω means:
    1) to draw, drag off
    2) metaph., to draw by inward power, lead, impel

    Trench’s New Testament Synonyms:

    σύρω =
    Thayer:
    1) to draw, drag
    1a) of one before the judge, to prison, to punishment

    Trenches NT synonyms says that the difference is dragging to a certain point, not by violence by but another power. It is important that in all the uses, the text shows that the word indicates the person dragging or drawing does so to the point that he desires. From John 6:44 we can see that the result of the drawing is that the people are also raised up. Hence the use of “him” twice:

    “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws HIM, and I will raise HIM up at the last day.”

    I don’t think there is a reason to separate these two “him[s]” they refer to the same person. This is why I believe the way I do.

    My conversation is not only with you, I have been reacting with many replies to what I have said.

  37. I should also say that I am particularly interested in your response to my posts on 2 Peter 2:8.

    Thank you for this edifying and encouraging experience, God bless.

  38. Dearest Saved by Grace,
    you said,
    “If someone should me arminian arguments that were convincing as well as consistent with the fullness of Scripture I would change my view in a second so that I might worship Christ in the exact way He desires to be worshiped ” !
    This thrills my heart to hear this. From my own experience however this is easier said than done !

    To say it in a position where we do not really think it possible to that we could be wrong is like being as rich as the rich young ruler and saying I could give up all my wealth at the drop of a hat if God told me to do it. Until I actually had to do it , I can not be certain if I really could do it.

    It is therefore my prayer for you, that when you come across Scriptural evidence that you can not reconcile with Calvinistic interpretation, that you are truly willing to let it go .

    I am only saying this because I know how hard it was for me when I was confronted with a scripture that I could not reconcile with what is called Arminiaism . God showed me very clearly that if I was not willing to let go of it , even if only one scripture was not in harmony with it, that I would have become a pharisee . This is the meaning of
    John 5:39

    Only in this situation did I realise how much I relied on what I thought to be the knowledge of the truth for my security for eternal life.As a matter of fact I also am able to see now that it was more important for me to be right , than to wanting to know the true Christ at all cost. When I finally came to the place of letting go , only then did the Holy Spirit reveal to me how that scripture actually was in harmony with what I already believed.
    This is the most amasing thing, that I was on the knifes edge to become a pharisee believing what God after confirmed to a true revelation of Himself.

    By the way , you did give me something to pray about, 2 Peter 1:1 !
    It is amazing how one can read a verse so many times and yet not see something .
    It also dawned on me that I was only now able to see what you pointed out because this is the first time I read it through Calvinistic eyes.
    However the more I am praying about it the more I see that when Peter is talking about faith here it is not like saying ,we are saved by grace through faith, but he is talking about “the Faith”!
    Without Christs death and resurrection, there would be no christian Faith !
    By the way, do you have a Name ?

    In the love of Jesus
    Rudi
    .

  39. I want to present some really obvious mistakes being made by the commenter who designates himself/herself “savedbygrace”.

    He/she wrote:

    “Arminians have not fully accepted the Bible, nor the God of the Bible. They still hold animosity toward the idea that God has right to do what He will with His creation.”

    Hold it; it is you and other determinists who “hold animosity toward the idea that God has the right to do what He will with His creation.”

    How so?

    Let’s analyze this statement a moment. I (as well as other bible believing Christians who are not determinists) believe that God is sovereign, which in the bible means that: He does as He pleases in any and all situations.

    Does THAT sovereignty of God also extend to God when he designed human nature?

    When he decided what human beings would be like before he created them?

    If the answer is Yes, to these questions, which it must be (if one accepts the reality of God **always being sovereign” including when He created): if God is sovereign at all times. Then it was within God’s sovereign right as God, as creator, to create human beings with the capacity to have and make our own choices (i.e. ordinarily called having “free will”, technically called in philosophy, having “libertarian free will”).

    I really don’t care what you call it, my point is simple: could God have created humans with this capacity?

    You can only deny this possibility if in fact YOU DENY THAT GOD IS SOVEREIGN.

    If you grant God is sovereign, then you must also grant this possibility.

    The next question then becomes is there evidence of this capacity either in scripture (in scripture because that clearly establishes its reality) or in our own experience (if God created mankind with a certain nature then we will expect to see evidence of this in actual human beings). The evidence of people having and then making their own choices is all over scripture beginning already in Genesis before the fall of man. The evidence of people having and making choices is also something that we all experience daily. So the evidence for free will is overwhelming. It is theological determinists who have “animosity towards God’s sovereignty” in that they deny reality (they deny that God could create humans with the capacity for free will; and they deny the abundant scripture which testifies to this reality, and they even deny their own daily experience in which they have and make their own choices just like everybody else). The evidence is all over the place and readily seen, so to deny this evidence of the creation is to “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (i.e. you know it is true, nevertheless you reject it and instead hold to ideas that are independent of God and His Word, such as the idea that humans do not have free will, when God sovereignly created us with this capacity, and the evidence is plain and universal and abundant).

    He/she also wrote:

    “In other words, they are offended by the idea that God doesn’t owe them anything but hell, and is… well, God.”

    This is just a plain false statement.

    If “savedbygrace” knows it to be false and yet nonetheless presents it, then he/she is lying in their attempt to discredit Arminians.

    I am not a theological determinist and regularly preach evangelistic messages. In my messages I often point out that if the standard were **strict justice alone**, then every human being would be condemned as all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and so all deserve hell (for even a single sin). That is one of my standard points made when evangelizing, for “savedbygrace” to suggest that I am “offended” by this idea when in fact I regularly make this point myself, is just an outright lie. And I am not the only non-determinist who makes this point (my friends do as well [including one that “savedbygrace” may even be familiar with, Ray Comfort], as do my mentors, as do the people that I have trained to preach and teach). So this kind of statement by “savedbygrace” is so off base, a false representation.

    “This is why prevenient grace is created and imported into the Bible.”

    My take on “prevenient grace” is simple: apart from the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit no human person is capable of trusting in Christ for salvation. That work of the Spirit that He does **before** a person is converted. The work of the Spirit in which he shows the sinner their sinful condition, shows them that apart from Christ they cannot be saved, shows them Christ is the way of salvation to all who believe, enables a faith response to the gospel, etc. etc. I (as well as others) call THAT work of the Spirit, prevenient grace because it comes before a person is saved and enables a faith response. Apart from it no one can be saved (cf. John 6:44). I did not “create and import” these realities into the bible, nor invent them in personal experience. No, they are real and I have seen them in my own conversion experience as well as in the conversion of many others who have converted to Christ. If we examined “savedbygrace’s” conversion experience we would see the same prevenient grace operated in him/her as well (assuming he/she is a saved person). To deny these realities is to be out of touch with the bible and out of touch with the work of the Spirit. It also exposes someone who has little or no real experience in evangelism and leading others to Christ for salvation.

    “This idea of grace is used to satisfy man’s desire for God to be obligated to him, his will, and his ‘rights,’ it makes man autonomous and control of his destiny again.”

    Again this is yet another false caricature that is so far off base as to almost seem to lying.
    God is not obligated to sinners.

    And yet it is God who took the initiative and developed a plan of salvation centered in Christ and his redemptive work. God did not have to do any of this. The fact he chose to do it, is why it is called “grace” meaning “undeserved favor”. Salvation is not deserved; the plan of salvation is God’s not ours. So it has nothing to do with “obligation”. It has nothing to do with “man’s autonomy” as God sovereignly decided upon the nature of the plan of salvation in eternity before man was even created and the trinity works to bring it about. It is more lies and caricatures like this that show “savedbygrace” does not know what he/she is talking about regarding Arminians or other non-determinists. It also shows that he/she does not understand grace at all. If they did they would know that every time any sinner is saved it is by faith in the gospel and the grace of God operating in their lives. It is ironic that someone who goes by the moniker of “savedbygrace” has such serious misunderstanding of grace and the fact that other believers strongly believe in the grace of God as well.

    “It is an way to both accept and totally deny total depravity at the same time. There is nothing more offensive to the pride and conceit of man than saying they don’t have control over their destiny.”

    Again “savedbygrace” manifests their animosity towards the true God and His plan of salvation. Just as God sovereignly decided what human nature would be like (and that that nature would include free will): likewise it is God who decided what salvation would be like. And it is clear from scripture that God decided that salvation would involve us freely choosing to respond (after having experienced the pre-conversion work of the Spirit/prevenient grace) to the gospel by choosing to trust (i.e. believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved) the Lord alone for our salvation. God did not create robot or puppet-like creatures incapable of choice that he directly controlled. No, he created human persons in His image, personal agents, with the capacity for having and making their own choices. So both (1) human nature and (2) the nature of salvation are decided upon by God (without any consultation from any of us I might add).

    “This is why arminians react so violently to the sovereignty of God in Scripture. They can’t believe that they are not in control.”

    Who says that we are “in control”????

    I believe and have no doubts that God is sovereign, but I don’t believe that we are “in control.”

    I am “in control” of very little in the overall scheme of things and lots of external circumstances can influence me and everyone else in all sorts of ways.

    For example I could decide to go to one of my favorite restaurants and get there and find it closed for renovations or closed for a private party! There could be tornado or earthquake that destroys the place in seconds. And you want to talk about “control”? You can have a car accident and everything changes in seconds, and you want to talk about “control”?

    Precisely because we are not “in control”, if we are wise, is why we need to keep trusting God rather than ourselves in every situation we find ourselves in.

    Robert

  40. Hi Robert, thank you for the time you put into addressing my thoughts.

    You said:
    “If the answer is Yes, to these questions, which it must be (if one accepts the reality of God **always being sovereign” including when He created): if God is sovereign at all times. Then it was within God’s sovereign right as God, as creator, to create human beings with the capacity to have and make our own choices (i.e. ordinarily called having “free will”, technically called in philosophy, having “libertarian free will”).
    I really don’t care what you call it, my point is simple: could God have created humans with this capacity?”

    I do think that it is possible for God in His sovereingty to make a being that has libertarian free will. God could do anything. Btw, I don’t think arminians believe in a libertarian free will, but a free will established through prevenient grace. But if God in His sovereignty made a being with libertarian free will i see a few problems.
    1. It would be God taking His sovereignty and giving it to man, therefore making Him no longer sovereign. If God is only sovereign up till the point where man’s free-will begins, I think that would make man the ruler of the earth and not God. So in a way, this creation could be seen as taking away God’s sovereignty.
    2. I do think man makes choices, which i define as voluntary decisions. But i think man function in a way that is described in economics as “rational choice.” When a consumer goes to the grocery store, he buys those things that (a) fulfill the greatest utility to him and (b) are most cost effective.
    In the human mind this is how we make decisions. A man is not spontaneously deciding things, there is a backdrop that all decisions are placed before. Man will choose therefore what is most attractive to him. When a man is unregenerate he will always choose to hate the life and not come to the light (John 3;19). He does this because he loves darkness and sin and does not receive the same utility from righteousness.
    I think this is a place that Arminians, at least historically, fully agree with Calvinistst.

    You said:
    “I really don’t care what you call it, my point is simple: could God have created humans with this capacity?
    You can only deny this possibility if in fact YOU DENY THAT GOD IS SOVEREIGN.
    If you grant God is sovereign, then you must also grant this possibility.”

    I do not deny that this is possible. But i think it would be a flat contradiction to God’s sovereignty. If God made people that are running around doing things as they please and God is not determining, or, at bare minimum guiding them so as to fully accomplish His sovereign will. he would cease to be sovereign. I think you present a contradiction, because if God made man sovereign over his own life, then God could not be sovereign over his life. Therefore, God would not be sovereign.

    Here it is in a syllogism:
    p1. God is sovereign over all things.
    p2. God makes man sovereign over himself.
    c: God is not sovereign over all things.

    You said: “The evidence of people having and then making their own choices is all over scripture beginning already in Genesis before the fall of man. The evidence of people having and making choices is also something that we all experience daily. So the evidence for free will is overwhelming. It is theological determinists who have “animosity towards God’s sovereignty” in that they deny reality ”

    I do believe that people make choices. I never said that people don’t make voluntary choices. But i do say that these choices are no man being separated from the will of God, but instead in line with it.

    This was actually the main source of discrepancy between Luther and Erasmus. Erasmus continued to say the same thing your saying, that people make choices all over the OT and God gives commands for people to make choices. But this is not evidence of man’s freedom from God or the ability for man to fulfill God’s commands. Since man is fallen he cannot fulfill God’s law (Rom 8:7-8). But at the same time, God cannot require things from man that sacrifice His holiness. He cannot change His requirements because man is fallen. God cannot be merciful at the expense of His holiness and righteousness.

    Further, logically speaking, an imperative command can never denote ability. Because an imperative is neither true nor false, therefore making it impossible to deductively reason a true or false statement from it. Here is an example, if I say:

    “Wash your car!” is this statement true? false? It is neither. If it is modified to read, “I said, ‘Wash your car!'” we see it becomes true, not because of the imperative statement, but because of the “I said.” Yes it is true, i said, ‘Wash your car!’

    Therefore, when God presents imperatives for man to follow it is not logically possible for man to deduct whether man can fulfill those things.

    p. “wash your car!’ (neither true nor false)
    c: I can wash my car (true)

    This is not a logical deduction, because the imperative is neither true nor false. So we have to implant a new premise to get to that conclusion logically. ex:

    p1 “wash your car!” (neither true / false)
    p2 you wouldn’t ask me to do something unless i could do it. (true)
    c: I can wash my car. (true) So you see how we, logically speaking, need to supplement the imperative to deduce the conclusion.

    God commands things that man cannot fulfill is proven in Scripture. God must do this because, although man is fallen and unable, He cannot sacrifice His righteous standards for the sake of man. This would be as morally acceptable as a bouncer at a bar letting people in the back door. God cannot let people in the back door.

    The law is full of commandments for man. But Paul interprets the Law in the NT as follows:
    Romans 3:20: “Therefore, by the Law is the knowledge of sin.” In other words, the Law is presented to reveal man’s inability to fulfill it.

    Therefore Paul says in Galatians 3:19-25:
    “What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one.
    21 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. 22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor”

    Another example of God commanding choices of man that he is unable to perform is found in Romans 8: 7-8:
    “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the Law of God, nor indeed can it be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

    I’m fairly certain that this is also a source of agreement between Arminians and Calvinists (historically at least).

    You said:
    “In other words, they are offended by the idea that God doesn’t owe them anything but hell, and is… well, God.”
    This is just a plain false statement.
    If “savedbygrace” knows it to be false and yet nonetheless presents it, then he/she is lying in their attempt to discredit Arminians.”

    This was part of John’s Welsey’s response to Rev. John Taylor’s denial of original sin. the document is called “the Doctrine of Original Sin…” Its a long read, but if you go here Dr. John Gerstner (over a 40 year theologian of historic doctrine and church history at Pittsburgh Seminary) speaks on the topic. He is reformed in theology, but is a scholar. You can find the topic here:

    http://www.ligonier.org/learn/series/handout-church-history/arminianism-and-the-external-attack-on-reformatio/

    Which is a video critiquing arminianism, I encourage watching this video, its about 30 minutes.

    John Taylor wrote a critique of original sin. Both Jonathan Edwards and John wesley described wrote scathing reply and rebuke supporting Original Sin. Both where in agreement with one another against Taylor; even clearly writing that people were dead in sin. But the divergence between the calvinist and arminian was that John Wesley felt the thought that people deserved a chance to change their life in Christ. Do all arminians believe this? I dunno, your right I should have been so broad and general.

    But here are a few reasons why I think Arminian theology still supports the idea that man deserves a chance to be saved.

    1. When I talk about election not being conditioned on faith, many people see that in this case there is reprobation (even posters here have commented on this). If election is the sovereign prerogative of God and man has no say, the flip side is reprobation. People are naturally appalled by the idea because they think it is not fair that a man will not receive the grace to believe and will continue rejecting Christ till death. What is wrong with reprobation morally? is there something wrong with this morally speaking? =. If a person says yes it is obvious that they thing God is obligated to give grace so that a person should be rescued. Since you refute this idea and apparently believe that God doesn’t owe man prevenient grace then you should not be appalled at reprobation because reprobation is simply justice

    2. Prevenient grace is the grace that God gives to all men. But I do not see such a thing in Scripture. When I read texts I see the opposite taught. Here is an example apart from John 8:43-47 that is concise and equally powerful:

    John 10:26: “But you do not believe, because you are not of my sheep.”
    This is a propositional statement. A propositional statement is a declaration of truth.
    When we dissect passage we see two main parts. The premise and the conclusion.

    1. The conclusion: “But you do not believe…”
    This part is the result, it is the outcome, the end matter of face. The Jews did not believe = end in fact.

    2. The premise: “Because you are not of my sheep.”
    This is premise that Christ introduces that leads to the conclusion or, end in fact. The premise that leads to the fact that the Jews do not believe is “because you are not of My sheep.”

    So the premise = ‘you are not of My sheep’
    the conclusion = ‘because you are not of My sheep.’

    Not all people are Christ’s sheep. This teaching is that people are sheep before they believe. A people are not sheep even before they believe and will remain sheep till they die as goats. As Christ continues:
    verse 27: “My sheep hear My voice…”

    It is very clear that not all people are Christ’s sheep and some people are sheep before they believe. This is strengthen with John 8:43-47.

    So I am not lying, I was talking on behalf of John Wesley’s thoughts and the logical outcome that is deduced when people react so violently to reprobation.

    You said:
    “The work of the Spirit in which he shows the sinner their sinful condition, shows them that apart from Christ they cannot be saved, shows them Christ is the way of salvation to all who believe, enables a faith response to the gospel, etc. etc. I (as well as others) call THAT work of the Spirit, prevenient grace because it comes before a person is saved and enables a faith response. Apart from it no one can be saved (cf. John 6:44). I did not “create and import” these realities into the bible, nor invent them in personal experience.”

    I do not deny that there is grace given before so that a person will believe. Where i differ with you is the sort of grace that is given. Prevenient grace as taught by the arminian is ineffective in saving. It only opens the potential for salvation if a person will finish it off with their own strength. This is foreign to Scripture.

    Hebrews 2:13: “Here am I and the children whom God ha given Me.”
    And: John 6:37: “All that the Father gives Me WILL come to Me.”

    The point is that I do not leave the end to the will of man, but the end is the result of the beginning of the process, which is divine free election. If Christ has been given the whole world by God, how then could He say that all will come to Him? The fact is that not all come, why is this? it only follows logically that they were not given. Prevenient grace becomes an important concept, not because it isn’t biblical that grace comes before, but because it is not biblical that the grace is in the form of the arminian style of prevenient grace.

    I would offer you a question. Two people are hearing the gospel, you and your friend. according to prevenient grace both can believe equally. But you believe and give your whole life to Christ, while the other does not… Why is this? In the consistency of arminian prevenient grace a person would have to say that he made the difference. God brought me this far but I had to use my free will.

    1. 1 Cor 4:7: “For who makes you differ from another? and what do you have that you did nor recieve?
    2. 2 Cor 3:5: “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to thing of anything as being from ourselves. our sufficiency is from God.”
    3. 2 Peter 1:1, as I have exposed in detail before clearly says that Peter taught that the obtaining of faith is like the casting of the lot, determined by divine will. Obtained by divine allotment.

    So prevenient grace in the arminian style cannot be because
    1. You make yourself differ from another.
    2. Your faith is not from God but the action of free will solely. Though God took you to a certain point.
    3. Faith is described by the Apostles / Holy Spirit, and commanded by the Holy Spirit to be thought of as being divinely alloted from God, likened to the casting of lots. Every early Christian that read 2 peter 1:1 in Greeks was clearly reading and knowing that their faith was likened to divine allotment. The problem is that English is not as descriptive and does not effectively translate the verse.

    The same word is used in John 19:
    “They said therefore among themselves, let us not tear it but cast lots for it, whose it shall be…”
    referring to the tunic of Chirst. It is obvious that the word is used to denote chance in reception, divine will being the driving force (proverbs 16:33). So prevenient grace cannot be true and is proven to be false due to the fact that faith cannot be (1) initiated by man in response to grace and (2) divinely alloted to a person at the same time.

    :You said: ““This idea of grace is used to satisfy man’s desire for God to be obligated to him, his will, and his ‘rights,’ it makes man autonomous and control of his destiny again.”

    Again this is yet another false caricature that is so far off base as to almost seem to lying.
    God is not obligated to sinners.”

    You may feel so, and it might be so and I appologize for not being more specific. What I am saying is that the effect of prevenent grace is to be accepting of total depravity and totally denying its effect on sinners hearing the gospel at the same time. I do not see this in John 8:43 because though Christ was preaching the Gospel though John 8 “I am the light of the world… ‘when you lift up the Son of Man…” etc.
    still Christ attributes their unbelief to inability. If prevenient grace was true they would be able. And Christ would not have said this. He would have referred to something about their stubborn free wills. This is just my logical deduction from Scripture.

    You continue:
    “Just as God sovereignly decided what human nature would be like (and that that nature would include free will): likewise it is God who decided what salvation would be like. And it is clear from scripture that God decided that salvation would involve us freely choosing to respond (after having experienced the pre-conversion work of the Spirit/prevenient grace) to the gospel by choosing to trust (i.e. believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved) the Lord alone for our salvation. God did not create robot or puppet-like creatures incapable of choice that he directly controlled. No, he created human persons in His image, personal agents, with the capacity for having and making their own choices. So both (1) human nature and (2) the nature of salvation are decided upon by God (without any consultation from any of us I might add).”

    The beginning is started with a false presupposition mainly because your view of free will precludes the sovereignty of God. God cannot make man sovereign and still be sovereign. it has to be one or the other. So a calvinist would say, yes, man makes voluntary choices, but these voluntary choices are (1) in line with his nature (ie. economic rational choice) and (2) in line with God’s sovereign plan.

    I do not say that man is direction controlled (hard detirminism) but that man is a Secondary Cause to the Primary Cause which is God’s decree. (soft determinism / compatabilism)

    Please see Isaiah 10:5-19.

    I have already given my view on this so i will not repeat as this is already long enough.

    You said:
    ““This is why arminians react so violently to the sovereignty of God in Scripture. They can’t believe that they are not in control.”
    Who says that we are “in control”????”

    You have said it over and over again, even in this post. Man is in control because man casts the last vote in his own salvation. If God brings all people who hear the gospel to the same level so as all can be saved if they will to do so, it is obvious that the person is in control and not God. Since man casts the last vote he is in control. This is just the logical outcome of your theology. All men can be saved if they will to. This is man in control at the end point, which is the critical point of salvation.

    You said:
    “For example I could decide to go to one of my favorite restaurants and get there and find it closed for renovations or closed for a private party! There could be tornado or earthquake that destroys the place in seconds. And you want to talk about “control”? You can have a car accident and everything changes in seconds, and you want to talk about “control”?”

    This is a red herring. I never said that we are in control of those things, nor did i accuse you of such. My point is control in salvation. man is in control of his own salvation which is the only thing that matters in this world.

    I think I responded to all you points. Thank you for the interaction.

  41. SBG,

    I will be addressing the issue of “draw” when I respond, but you seem to have misunderstood me when you wrote,

    This is actually false, almost EVERY other places the greek word draw is used it is translated as drag or some form clearly denoting force.

    I didn’t say that it was never translated as “drag”. What I said was that it was never translated “drag” in John 6 and 12, and I think that is beyond dispute (and you seem to concede it in your above comment that every “other” place…). There is a reason for that, which I will get into in my response. However, I think you could probably figure out the reason yourself, which is why I suggested you think about it.

    I really think you did respond specifically to my post, so I am going to take the time to respond point by point. I understand that you think I have misrepresented Calvinism, and I hope to clear that up in my response as well. I think you will still disagree with me, but you should see that what I am saying is in harmony with traditional Calvinist thought, just as I wrote in the post (though I understand that the straightforward language I used would likely bother some Calvinists, which I also mentioned).

    Proof texting doesn’t have to be seen as a negative. You said that I was relying on “proof texts” in your first comment so I am not sure why you are bothered by my use of the word. A proof text can simply be seen as a passage which supports a certain view. I don’t have a problem with proof texts when rightly understood and used. I do have a problem with numerous proof texts in a combox that make a response very cumbersome and can lead to a discussion that is unmanageable and way too time consuming. That is all that I was trying to convey to you.

    However, proof texting can be negative when no regard for context is given to the passage. I do think you were guilty of that a few times and I will point that out in my response. At some point I hope to address a few other passages you have brought up in subsequent comments as well. Since the response is very long (due to the material I have to respond to), I won’t be able to post it till Monday at the earliest. I appreciate your patience.

    Also, I do not think I am closed minded about Calvinist arguments. It is just that I have heard them and dealt with them before. I just think you should know that you are not addressing someone who is new to this debate. I own numerous books written by prominent Calvinists. I have had more online debates with Calvinists than I could dare to count (informal ones, that is). I have carefully investigated both sides of this issue and have worked hard to understand the Calvinist view. I really do think I understand it well. I wonder how many books you have read that were written by strong Arminians, and how hard you have tried to understand the Arminian view? Your comments about “election by works” really make me wonder.

    Anyway, like I said, I hope to clear some things up in my response. In the mean time, feel free to read other posts and articles that deal with these subjects. I provided several links in my post and the category bar on the left is a good way to find other posts that address your concerns. Like I said, I really have dealt with most of your objections and concerns before.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  42. SBG,

    I wanted to focus and respond to a couple of things you posted:

    “I do not deny that this is possible. But i think it would be a flat contradiction to God’s sovereignty. If God made people that are running around doing things as they please and God is not determining, or, at bare minimum guiding them so as to fully accomplish His sovereign will. he would cease to be sovereign. I think you present a contradiction, because if God made man sovereign over his own life, then God could not be sovereign over his life. Therefore, God would not be sovereign.
    Here it is in a syllogism:
    p1. God is sovereign over all things.
    p2. God makes man sovereign over himself.
    c: God is not sovereign over all things.

    This only applies if you define “sovereign” as having complete meticulous control over every action. Allowing mankind a measure of control does not reduce the sovereignty of God in any way. Indeed, Genesis 1:26 makes it clear that God intended for it to be this way. I think your syllogism would be more accurate if you said this:

    p1. God is in complete control over all actions and decisions of man.
    p2. God makes man able to control and decide certain things.
    c: God does not have complete control over all actions and decisions of man.

    So the key is how do you define sovereignty? If it means p1, then yes, that would be a contradiction. I could be wrong, but I don’t think the Arminian defines it quite in that way. In fact, you said: “God is not determining, or, at bare minimum guiding them”. I think there is a big difference between determining and guiding. I don’t think anyone would argue that God is certainly guiding things towards His ultimate will, but if you say He’s determining people’s actions, that’s entirely different.

    “You have said it over and over again, even in this post. Man is in control because man casts the last vote in his own salvation. If God brings all people who hear the gospel to the same level so as all can be saved if they will to do so, it is obvious that the person is in control and not God. Since man casts the last vote he is in control. This is just the logical outcome of your theology. All men can be saved if they will to. This is man in control at the end point, which is the critical point of salvation.”

    Agreed, it is the critical point of salvation from the person’s point of view, because when presented with the Gospel, the person must respond to the same question Jesus asked, and that is “Who do you say I am?” But the Calvinist places an overemphasis on merit/works in dismissing the Arminian view. As I’m sure you are aware, the non-Calvinist will point to the fact that faith and works are always contrasted in the Bible. Therefore the fact that you see man in control of his salvation has nothing to do with earning it through meritorious works. IOW, there’s is a difference between me saying “I’ve helped the homeless and been a good person, so I deserve to be saved” and placing my faith in the risen Savior and expecting to be saved “by grace through faith”. So IMHO, this is more an issue to the Calvinist as it is to God Himself. But as I always say, we’ll find out for sure later when we kneel before Him.

    Only the Calvinist bristles at the thought of man having any willful role in faith and belief. This poses no problem to the non-Calvinist, and indeed even in Hebrews 11 the ancients were commended for their faith. Didn’t seem to be an issue there.

  43. Just a few thoughts in response to SavedbyGrace’s last comment…

    One of the main problems is that you define “sovereignty” to mean “exhaustive causal determinism.” But this is not what sovereignty is. The ruler of a kingdom is sovereign if he possesses ultimate and independent authority, being neither subordinate nor equal to another. We would not say that a government is not sovereign because it does not dictate every choice of its citizens! Neither would we say that the citizens are sovereign if they are allowed to make free choices within the law. With this proper definition of sovereignty, your syllogism collapses. To insist upon a different definition of sovereignty in a theological context is to beg the question.

    Regarding John 8:43-47, the point Jesus is making is not that some individuals have been predestined to believe in him while other have been passed over. Rather, he is saying that those who truly loved and obeyed the Father in the Old Covenant era will come to believe in him and enter the New Covenant. But those individuals who have rejected the Father do not come to believe in Christ. This is the meaning of John 6:45:

    “Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.”

    Notice that he does NOT say that the Father predestined who would believe in the Messiah. He said that those who learned from the Father would come to him. His emphasis is not on individual predestination but on covenantal continuity.

    This same idea is expressed in Matthew 13:12:

    “Whoever has will be given more, and they will have in abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.”

    Those who rejected the Father (e.g., the wicked Pharisees) were hardened while those who heeded the Father’s teaching would likewise hearken unto the Messiah. This truth is emphasized repeatedly in the Gospels. For example, in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31), Abraham tells the rich man that if the Israelites do not listen to the Law and the Prophets, they will not repent even if someone rises from the dead.

    Now this is all in perfect harmony with Romans 9-11, in which Paul distinguishes between those Jews who were saved and those who were not. The non-elect Jews were hardened NOT because God predestined them to unbelief, but because they pursued the promises by the works of the law.

    Regarding 1 Corinthians 4:7, other translations render the relevant passage as, “For who regards you as superior?” In any case, you are assuming that Paul is talking about what makes believers differ from unbelievers. In context, it is more likely that Paul is talking about spiritual gifts that puff up believers against each other, leading to the in-church factions he describes.

    As for 2 Corinthians 3:5,

    Finally, regarding 2 Peter 1:1, many commentators interpret the “faith” as the body of doctrinal truths brought about by the righteous acts of God through Christ (cf. Jude 1:3). Even if we grant your interpretation of this verse, it does not disprove prevenient grace. One can say that God provides faith through the dispensation of the Holy Spirit and the sending of men to preach the Gospel (Romans 10:17) without saying that faith is bestowed irresistibly.

    It is also interesting that you argue that early Christians would have clearly seen this as a reference to irresistible grace, since Calvinistic beliefs are almost entirely absent from the church until Augustine.

  44. SBG,

    I responded to your initial comments in a new post. You can find that post here.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  45. Dave writes,

    It is also interesting that you argue that early Christians would have clearly seen this as a reference to irresistible grace, since Calvinistic beliefs are almost entirely absent from the church until Augustine.

    Absolutely!

    Augustine the Libertarian

    Church History and Calvinism

    The Five Dilemmas of Calvinism Part 2

    The Early Church and Calvinism

    The Inadequate Historical Precedent for “Once Saved Always Saved”

    Calvinism, Free Will and the Early Church

  46. The Calvinist lives in a sad, scary world where we are all “in the hands of an angry god” and not in a world of love and hope. The Calvinist has absolutely no assurance of salvation, other than the feeling that they might well be elect. I pity those who have fallen victim to this lie of the Devil, because not only are they hopeless, angry and petty, they ar ineffectual at winning souls, because to them, the end result is already decided, so why make an effort to witness? I have written an 11,000 word response to all forms of Calvinism, and anyone wishing to read it may request a copy at fflutedude@yahoo.com

  47. I would love to see an SBG vs kangaroodort debate about Romans 9 etc. 🙂

  48. I will just respond to that post.

    BTw, you can hear a biblical exegesis of Romans 9 here.

  49. Make that a JAMES WHITE EISOGESIS

  50. SBG,

    I don’t want videos posted in the comment thread. You can post a link to the video if you like, but please do not post the video itself. Thank you.

  51. Savedbygrace “It is funny that you talk about traditions when arminianism is built on imported philosophical values from pagans like Aristotle and the left over leaven of the roman church. ”

    That’s a very interesting statement, where is calvinism in the first 300-400 years of early church history. Arminianism finds it roots in the faith handed down from the Apostles, to the early church fathers. Clement of Rome, Irenaeus, etc. Where is calvinism’s roots prior Augustine? Russ

  52. That’s a very interesting statement, where is calvinism in the first 300-400 years of early church history. Arminianism finds it roots in the faith handed down from the Apostles, to the early church fathers. Clement of Rome, Irenaeus, etc. Where is calvinism’s roots prior Augustine?

    Good question. SBG should read this: https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2009/08/11/the-five-dilemmas-of-calvinism-part-4-a-litany-of-inaccuracies-and-misrepresentations/

    And this: http://evangelicalarminians.org/files/Church_History_and_Calvinism.pdf

    See more inks in my comments above: https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2011/05/09/paul-washer%e2%80%99s-%e2%80%93-%e2%80%9cdoctrine%e2%80%9d-of-election-an-arminian-critique/#comment-5814

  53. It’s preposterous to use Lazarus as a metaphor for monergistic regeneration. Lazarus was a saved man when Jesus raised him from amongst the dead. Washer says that dead men can’t hear and first need to be raised to life before they can hear. What about the rich man in hell, a twice dead man, who could hear Abraham very clearly? In any case Lazarus’ corpse lay in the tomb; the real Lazarus was in the bosom of Abraham when Jesus called him forth. But that’s the real problem with Calvinism. They focus on corpses (cadavers) to promulgate their vile doctrine of predestination and election. To them “dead in sin and trespasses” means to be as dead as a door nail. Humbug!

  54. @SavedByGrace

    “It is funny that you talk about traditions when arminianism is built on imported philosophical values from pagans like Aristotle and the left over leaven of the roman church.”

    I am not an Armenian and neither am I a Calvinist. However I find it rather silly that Calvinists blame Arminians for their alleged Roman Catholic connection. Calvin’s entire “Institutions of the Christian Religion” is embedded in Augustine’s teachings. Lance M. Vance writes in his book “The Other Side of Calvinism” that “John Calvin did not originate the doctrines that bear his name. This is stated emphatically by Calvinists . . .” C.H. Spurgeon said that “perhaps Calvin himself derived it [Calvinism] mainly from the writings of Augustine.” Calvin himself said: “Augustine is so wholly with me, that if I wished to write a confession of my faith, I could do so with all the fullness and satisfaction to myself out of his writings.”

    Who was Augustine? Dave Hunt writes in his book “What Love Is This” on page 49: “Augustine was no ordinary Roman Catholic but unquestionably the most famous and influential one in history. Vance reminds us that Augustine was “one of Catholicism’s original four ‘Doctors of the Church’ [with] a feast day [dedicated to him] in the Catholic Church on August 28, the day of his death.” Pope John Paul II called Augustine “the common father of our Christian civilization.”

  55. Where did you people get the idea that Calvinists believe that fallen men have NO WILL of their own? Men do still have a will and because of the fall it ONLY leads them further away from God. Hence all these darned denominations! 🙂

    Indeed God is sovereign over EVERYTHING, but remember man does what he does for his own ends (ie. Selling Joseph into slavery, bringing the Babylonians and Assyrians on Israel and Judah etc.) and God leads them by the noses to accomplish HIS will. That my friends is Scriptural.

    As to the question the young man asked of PW, it was more a question about the sincerity of the “offer” of salvation. The offer/presentation of the Gospel is made promiscuously, but the intent is never on God’s part to save the reprobate by it. Even Calvin in the Institutes proclaims the same. To those to whom it is given it is the glory of God to salvation, but unto the reprobate, it but further hardens them and increases their condemnation. However, the presentation/preaching puts up no wall to anyone the only walls are the stony hearts of unregenerate men.

    Why? Man acts out of his own will, a fallen will that only hates the things of God. When such a man is left to himself and he hears the gospel and rejects it sincerely (for many seem to embrace it yet they were never really saved i.e. Judas, King Saul, etc.) he is guilty no less than Satan is guilty (talk about free will failing!).

    Man had his chance at total free-will obedience in Adam and he fell and he had a perfect relationship with God; walking with Him in the garden.

    Where oh where is this teaching that every man is restored and endowed with a spark of the divine? Nowhere in Scripture can that be found. Wesley (or Arminius) made that one up!

    Total depravity is Scriptural. Paul himself put it on display before the world when he wrote Romans (and that was written after the cross) and nowhere does he discuss a restored will at all but instead preaches unconditional election (Jacob & Esau).

    Best wishes.

  56. The only truly free will we have is that which is given us by God, that being to choose or reject Him. Without that, He could not call Himself loving, or holy or righteous, because love that is conditional is not love. If one follows the “reasoning” of Calvinism, one must then admit that God created sin, and is indeed the cause of sin, because the so called sovereignty Calvinists advocate leaves no room for sin being man made. Man made a poor choice in Eden, and has been doing so ever since, thus proving that God does allow us to choose whether we serve Him or serve evil. I could not and would not worship a God who was partial to some, while hating others, because as the Bible clearly states “all have sinned…” God does not grade on a curve, He gives a clear call to all mankind to repent, and we can not blame Him if someone refuses, that’s on them.

  57. The ONLY free will is to choose? Where is that in the Bible? So then, we’re in spiritual bondage to Satan in every respect but that ability to choose …God/Christ, good? Okay, now explain those who’ve never had the ability to choose. What of them? Are you like Billy Graham and Robert Schuller who say that so long as they “sincerely” respond to whatever “light” they’ve been given, they will enter heaven? What of the retarded? What of those who become incapacitated and can’t choose? What of the centuries of Asians, Africans, Europeans, Americans etc. who never heard the Gospel, could they choose to believe in the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ? Nope. Try again.

    I think if Arminians step back and take a good, hard look at History they’d see that not EVERYONE had a choice and yet went/go to hell for their sins.

  58. Ok, first I didn’t say that was the only free will we had, I said it was the only TRULY free will we had. We have the ability to make choices, but ultimately God can alter those choices as He sees fit. I may choose to go to Finland, but He may choose to make the weather so bad, I can not go. As for where that is in the Bible, I would cite almost the entire Bible! Almost every story in the Bible is about God dealing with man, and mans response to either obey and listen, or disobey and ignore. When they obey, they prosper, when they disobey, they fail. The first would be Adam and Eve. God gave them a choice, and a single commandment “eat of the tree and die” and by extension, do not eat of it, and live. They listened to a lie, and chose to disobey God. Man has been choosing either his way, or God’s way ever since. We are told that God has no desire to see the wicked die in their sins, yet we know that they do die in their sins, and go to eternal torment. If God is sovereign in the manner in which Calvinists believe, how could He allow something that He desired to not happen, happen? If sovereign means complete manipulative control, then whatever God wants to do, He will do! Yes or no? So, if God is sovereign, and doesn’t want wicked people to perish in their sin, then He will not allow them to! Right? So, all people are going to be saved! Right? WRONG! Not all will be saved, hell will be full of the lost souls of people who rejected the gospel of Christ. As for retarded people, God knows where those people’s hearts are, and if they are capable of acknowledging Him or not, I am not God, so I do not have all the answers, and neither should I or you. The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit is in the world, convicting man of sin, righteousness and of judgement, and Paul through the Holy Spirit tells us “they are without excuse” speaking of the so called “people in far off lands who never heard the gospel”. I would rather believe in a God who reaches out to all men, and yet some reject Him than I would a God that simply decides arbitrarily to save some, while allowing others no hope of salvation. At least my theology doesn’t make God out to be the bad guy.

  59. First, I would be very careful before I EVER called God “bad.” If Arminianism were true, God would not be “bad.” If Calvinism is true, God would not be “bad.” You sound like John Wesley who in his hatred of “the God of Calvinism” said, ‘He would be worse than Satan.” A very dangerous statement for if Wesley/Arminians are wrong they condemn God and are condemned.

    Next, you said that IF God did not give man freewill he would not be “good” or “loving.” As I explained in my previous post, He did in Adam give man that freewill (and look what happened). If you are a classical Arminian you would believe in Total Depravity until the cross (?). What of those people til the cross? Were they morally superior in and of themselves and therefore saved? Would you not have to say the same of those who accept Christ today; there was something smarter or better about them then their neighbor? What of my very first post and the statement speaking of those in “christian cults;” in a world full of false gospels calling themselves “christian” they must not have been smart enough to discern truth from error. Maybe they just were not “lucky” enough to have been exposed to the truth before the heresy came knocking at their doors. Maybe they were just more wicked than the average believer and wanted to believe a lie.

    What is your answer?

    Also, you still have NO answer for how people could have possibly believed the Gospel if they never heard it preached or had a copy of a Bible and yet from the pulpits of the average Arminian church we’re told God truly loved them and desired to save them. God already know what would happen.

    As for the “hearts” of the disabled, the heart of man is desperately wicked, who can know it? Are you saying that some just have better hearts than others? Who made them to differ one from the other? In reading Owen’s A Display of Arminianism, he quoted one of those on trial (?) as having taught that God look over the world to see who were more likely to receive the gospel and sent it to them. “At least that man had an answer in line with his theology of foreseen “worthiness.”

    What answer you?
    1. Are some just smarter/morally superior/luckier?
    2. Would not God still be good if Election & Reprobation were true?

    Good discussion.

    Best wishes,
    Michel Kinson

  60. You said “Also, you still have NO answer for how people could have possibly believed the Gospel if they never heard it preached or had a copy of a Bible and yet from the pulpits of the average Arminian church we’re told God truly loved them and desired to save them. God already know what would happen”

    Of course you are incorrect. I did answer that, as do Arminians, as does the Bible it’s just that Calvinists can not rationalize the answer, so they reject it. As stated, and now again for the record, the Holy Spirit is in THE WORLD, drawing ALL MEN to God. He is convicting them of sin, righteousness and judgement. So, if all people in the world (with the possible exception of severely retarded and infants) are being led to God, and are being told in some manner that they are sinners, headed for judgement by a righteous God, then it stands to reason that they reject God, not the other way around. God wants all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, yet not all do. It’s just that you can’t wrap your mind around it, and you can’t trust that God is doing everything he can short of forcing us to be saved, so you ignore the truth.

    Calvinists assert that God must make all things happen, in order to know what is going to happen, but that is absurd for a being that is above our ways, and not affected by linear existence as we are. God knows because He is God, plain and simple. Finally, I would assert that a God who would simply decide on a curve who goes to heaven and who goes to hell, without offering any hope to the ones on their way to hell would not be justified calling Himself righteous, or just, or holy. You say God gave man freewill until he ate of the tree, but that was the point. God proved that even sinless beings like Adam and Eve would or at least could make the wrong choice, when offered a choice, so that is why we need a savior. Limited atonement is a pagan idea, because it makes God out to be petty and cruel, it makes Him out to be someone who simply for no reason decides who goes to heaven, and who to hell. We are all sinners, and God does not respect the person, so by what criteria does He choose? How could God say “thou shalt not” and then not give people the ability to follow that commandment? I don’t worship a Greek deity who holds my destiny in his hands like a child holds a doll, I am a man, created in God’s image and he loved me enough to offer me hope. if I trust in Jesus, I am saved. if not, I am lost. It’s that simple.

  61. God commanded/commands all men to obey His laws perfectly, could ANYONE do that? No. The law is spiritual and must be kept perfectly. Therefore, God does demand of His creatures what they cannot do. And is good in so doing for the law of God is good and the doing of it is good. Just because man, out of his corrupted nature and hatred for God wills not to do it does not mean God is evil. Man is evil. Man has a duty to do the will of God, but because his nature only hates God and is not subject unto the law nor indeed can be, he doesn’t.

    However, Arminians say, contrary to Scripture, that there is a part of man that can and does choose good/God. That contradicts Paul and Christ who said, ‘No man CAN come unto me unless the Father FIRST draw(pull or drag) him.’

    You say ability exists because of … light of nature/conscience. How does accepting that there is a God (which most people do) lead one by the evidences of nature to Christ, His life, death, resurrection and ascension?

    You still haven’t answered the question about why some embrace false christs. Are they just not a smart or not as lucky or more evil?

  62. Why do some follow the inner leading of the spirit and others do not. It must be the those who do were either smarter, more righteous or lucky. They chose Christ (the true one not the false) and not Buddha, Allah, Vishnu etc.

    Which is it for it must be one?

  63. Wait a minute… my answer is here from the original Arminians themselves:

    “God has decreed to save through Jesus Christ those of the fallen and sinful race who through the grace of the Holy Spirit believe in him, but leaves in sin the incorrigible and unbelieving.”

    That means that you are more moral than the unbeliever.

  64. Because men loved their darkness, and refused to come to the light. Even when they knew God, they did not acknowledge Him and they fashioned gods from stone and wood to worship. This is the sin nature, we come to Christ because we decide to listen to the conviction of God, rather than the lure and lies of the Devil. Why did Adam and Eve sin? Were they predestined to, or was it a choice? Remember, before you answer, God doesn’t change, so if He doesn’t give us a free will now, there is nothing that would indicate he gave Adam and Eve one either. So, either God is the author of sin, or we are.

  65. Matthew said: “Why did Adam and Eve sin? Were they predestined to, or was it a choice?”

    The question would be better put; did God predestine the fall. Yes.

    The next question should be did God cause Adam and Eve to sin? No.

    God does not work in you to do “evil” as James says, the sin in you leads you astray.

    Could God have prevented the fall? Yes, definitely, but that was not His desire. His desire was to let mankind fall that he would be glorified in their salvation.

    Matthew said: “God doesn’t change, so if He doesn’t give us a free will now, there is nothing that would indicate he gave Adam and Eve one either.”

    Your premise is confusing. You are beginning to sound Pelegian/semi-Pelegian and not Arminian.

    Did God create man good and sinless and with the freedom to choose good and evil? Yes. They sinned and died spiritually and were from then on in bondage to Satan and the sin nature unless God had grace on them, and I believe He did and if not He did on Able and Seth who were said to be righteous. In any case, all men thereafter were born with that same corrupt nature as they (for in Adam all die) and in need of grace.

    Paul says of the fallen man/ the natural, unregenerate man that he only hates God and the things of God. You say that the natural man can love God/have faith.

    Matthew said: Because men loved their darkness, and refused to come to the light.

    Again, are those who choose God morally superior, smarter or luckier than those who don’t?

    Because you say that the Holy Spirit indwells EVERYONE wooing them to salvation and faith, how does that lead one to Christ without a pastor/witness or Bible? It can’t. Unless the Mormons and charismatics are correct and Christ is making appearances here and their. I thought salvation cometh by hearing and how can they hear unless they have a peacher.

  66. So, are you saying only men can lead people to Jesus? Is the Holy Spirit of God insufficient to bring people to a need for Jesus? You also have to remember that God sends missionaries only when the hearts of the people are ready to receive the truth. Man is nothing but a servant. Remember Jonah? Jonah went to Nineveh with no more desire to preach to the Ninevites than he would eat a raw slug, but God used the simple words that Jonah brought to bring repentance to them.It was the Holy Spirit drawing their hearts that saved them, not Jonah. You give too much credit to man, and too little credit to the love of God. You say everyone after Adam had a nature that was corrupt, but you fail to note that Adam and Eve did the same thing we do now when we sin. James tells us to not blame God for our sin, that it is not God that tempts us to sin, but we are led away by our own lusts. Eve was led away to sin by her own lust, and she listened to the lie of the Devil, instead of the truth of God. the same is true today. When we sin, we know it is wrong, but do it anyway. Don’t blame God for sin, like Calvinism does. We sin by choice, not because we are totally depraved. If Jesus changed the totally depraved nature of men, by ordaining them to salvation, then he would also ordain them to be sinless, just as Adam and Eve were before the fall. Men are not sinless, even as saved people, so your theory loses weight.

  67. Matthew says: “So, are you saying only men can lead people to Jesus? Is the Holy Spirit of God insufficient to bring people to a need for Jesus? You also have to remember that God sends missionaries only when the hearts of the people are ready to receive the truth.”

    So then the light of nature or natural revelation is not adequate to save. I agree. There must also be the preaching of the Word. Now, as far as having hearts prepared, I never denied any such thing. What I deny is that God enable/prepares EVERYONE’S hearts PROVIDED they cooperate. Regeneration of the heart MUST occur before faith and only God can make a dead heart/spirit alive. When He does this, man WILL and does receive the Gospel and have faith and WILL be saved because He only does this for the elect.

    Matthew said: “God sends missionaries only when the hearts of the people are ready to receive the truth.”

    So as I said, God looks down on the earth to see who will receive and who will not… and only then sends missionaries/the gospel. So, there ARE those deemed worthier of the gospel than others due to something in themselves in the sight of God? They weren’t as hard-hearted as everyone else. Sounds like human merit to me.

    Matthew said, “We sin by choice, not because we are totally depraved. ”

    Really, then the Bible was wrong when it said God looked down from heaven to see if there were ANY who did “good” and there were NONE, etc. There are obviously some exceptional people down here. What does it mean to be in bondage to sin and Satan? What does it mean to be spiritually dead?

    Are you Arminian or Pelagian? You’re sounding Pelagian.

    Matthew said, “When we sin, we know it is wrong, but do it anyway. Don’t blame God for sin”

    I already said that. However, I must say this that sometimes what we consider sin, though it is sin in us, is for God justice. God raised up sinful Babylon, Greece, Rome to execute His will and justice in the sinful world and these were sinful people. God raises the basest of men to be our leaders because its what we deserve. Hitler and Stalin were no mistakes they were tools in God’s “hand.” So it is in all things. Also, God does actively harden men as He chooses and so that He may be glorified therein (i.e. Pharoah). God also sends lying spirits to deceive the people (Jeremiah/Revelation). This is God’s judgement and it is good.

    Matthew said, ” Don’t blame God for sin, like Calvinism does.”

    Find me a Calvinist the does that and I’ll say he’s wrong. Again, what we might think of as sin is sin on the part of the human, but justice on the part of God. Hitler was a wicked man and God used him as a instrument of judgement against wicked people. Yes, some of God’s people too died in the wars and that was His will too. People don’t like to talk about that, but the only alternative is to say that God was powerless to do ANYTHING to stop it. Remember God controls the life (and its origins) and deaths (including the means) of men or He is not God. There are no accidents. No one lives who isn’t meant to and no one dies who isn’t meant to.

    Matthew said, “If Jesus changed the totally depraved nature of men, by ordaining them to salvation, then he would also ordain them to be sinless, just as Adam and Eve were before the fall. Men are not sinless, even as saved people, so your theory loses weight.”

    I have no clue WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT. Who teaches that election makes you holy? Election, in eternity, makes you the object of God’s loving grace/salvation even though you’re a sinner (Jacob).No one is “saved” from the guilt and eternal punishment for sin until they come to the point of actual faith (which is the gift of God though it is YOU who really does then have the faith), then you work out your salvation/growth, YOU in cooperation WITH the Holy Spirit, via the means of grace (Bible study, prayer, church attendance, baptism, Lord’s Supper, repentance, etc.) until you die. No one teaches sinlessness while on this earth that I know of.

  68. No one teaches sinlessness while on this earth that I know of. Except some Arminians.

  69. “What I deny is that God enable/prepares EVERYONE’S hearts PROVIDED they cooperate.”

    Who does teach this then? I know not Arminianism. The arminianism I know of teaches God prepares EVERYONE’s hearts. *PERIOD*

    Proofs are same verses Calvinism uses except its not irresistible once the person is prepared/enabled to respond.

    I won’t get to that more because in this website its already tackled just use the search and you guys discussion already overlap some of the topics of the articles of this website.

    Quite nausiating really to see calvinists here posting the same things over and over again. 🙂

    Examples of the links that your discussions overlapped to are these, read ’em and see the comments section:

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

    https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/category/1-cor-1013-and-free-will/

  70. Sorry to have “nausiated” you. How dare I as a newcomer discuss my views. I’m a little bored with the conversation myself, but you don’t see me complaining about it. 🙂

    I just want you people to admit that 1. Man ultimately saves himself. Since God does only so much, man MUST do the rest. 2. That the reason one chooses and another doesn’t is because the one who chooses was either smarter, holier or luckier.

  71. I never said anything about being nauseated. Man no more saves himself than does a person who clips a life line to his belt when handed it by a rescue team member. All we do is trust in Jesus to pay for our sins and to make us righteous in God’s sight. Beyond that, we have no part in salvation. This idea of people being lucky enough to be saved is ironic coming from a proponent of Calvinism, which is a doctrine that teaches that God chooses people to renew and save people arbitrarily, with nothing more guiding Him than the luck of the draw. It’s as if we are supposed to believe that A. God is a celestial Russian Roulette player, spinning a celestial pistol cylinder and B. He must allow an unspecified amount of people to go to hell to prove he is sovereign. I’ll take your luck over that any day.

  72. If you’d check out my earlier posts, you’ll see why you must believe that some are really lucky to be saved.

    Best wishes,

    Dee

  73. Only if God is not preeminent in salvation.

  74. Dee,

    For now I will only address your initial comments about the post. You wrote,

    Where did you people get the idea that Calvinists believe that fallen men have NO WILL of their own?

    No one that I know has denied that specifically, but Calvinists do deny any meaningful sense of free will. A will that is irresistibly controlled by God is not free in any meaningful sense. And if God controls our thoughts, desires, and actions (and surely our “will” is part of that, though even if it wasn’t, according to the Calvinist accounting of sovereignty, God would control that as well), then it is strange to say that the will is “our own.” In what meaningful sense can we possibly say it is our own?

    Men do still have a will and because of the fall it ONLY leads them further away from God. Hence all these darned denominations!

    Do you hold to the Calvinist accounting of sovereignty which equates God’s sovereignty with exhaustive determinism? If so, statements like this make little sense, and only serve to obfuscate and “water down” Calvinism. I thought you were against that stuff? If you deny exhaustive determinism, how can you rightly call yourself a consistent Calvinist? If you are not sure what I mean by exhaustive determinism, re-read the post, as I describe it in great detail. God caused the fall. God caused our corrupt nature. God causes our every thought, desire, choice, and action. In light of all that, how can you expect such appeals of yours to make any sense?

    Indeed God is sovereign over EVERYTHING, but remember man does what he does for his own ends (ie. Selling Joseph into slavery, bringing the Babylonians and Assyrians on Israel and Judah etc.) and God leads them by the noses to accomplish HIS will. That my friends is Scriptural.

    See above. If man does what he does for his own ends, it is because God irresistibly decreed and controlled them to. It is strange that you sense the need to vindicate God somehow, but you don’t seem to realize that your theology just cannot do so in any rational manner. But at least you seem to plainly recognize the problem, even if your answers make no sense.

    As to the question the young man asked of PW, it was more a question about the sincerity of the “offer” of salvation. The offer/presentation of the Gospel is made promiscuously, but the intent is never on God’s part to save the reprobate by it. Even Calvin in the Institutes proclaims the same. To those to whom it is given it is the glory of God to salvation, but unto the reprobate, it but further hardens them and increases their condemnation.

    How can it possibly increase their condemnation in light of exhaustive determinism? Please keep all of Calvinism before us in this discussion. If the gospel is not for them and no provision of atonement has been made, how can their rejection of it bring greater condemnation? There is nothing to reject. If they do not believe Christ died for them, then they are believing the truth. Why should they be condemned for believing the truth?

    https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/category/provisional-atonement-series/

    And why should they be condemned for believing just as God irresistibly decreed for them to believe?

    However, the presentation/preaching puts up no wall to anyone the only walls are the stony hearts of unregenerate men.

    And again, you speak as if they have some control over their stony hearts. Just like Washer, the only way you can defend Calvinism is to talk like an Arminian.

    Why? Man acts out of his own will, a fallen will that only hates the things of God.

    Again, you speak as if man has some control over his fallen state, his will, his desires, his thought, or his choices and actions. But according to your theology, he doesn’t. Please keep all of Calvinism before us in this discussion.

    When such a man is left to himself and he hears the gospel and rejects it sincerely (for many seem to embrace it yet they were never really saved i.e. Judas, King Saul, etc.) he is guilty no less than Satan is guilty (talk about free will failing!).

    Again, how does “left to himself” solve anything when all that we are and all that we do is just as God irresistibly decreed for us.

    Man had his chance at total free-will obedience in Adam and he fell and he had a perfect relationship with God; walking with Him in the garden.

    So you maintain that man had total free will in the garden? Do you mean free in the libertarian sense? If so, that makes for some very inconsistent Calvinism, and it does not comport with traditional Calvinism either.

    Where oh where is this teaching that every man is restored and endowed with a spark of the divine? Nowhere in Scripture can that be found. Wesley (or Arminius) made that one up!

    Wesley and Arminius never said such a thing, so it seems that you are the one who made it up. How much have you read of James Arminius anyway?

    Total depravity is Scriptural. Paul himself put it on display before the world when he wrote Romans (and that was written after the cross)

    Arminius and Wesley agree completely.

    and nowhere does he discuss a restored will at all but instead preaches unconditional election (Jacob & Esau).

    Unfortunately, you have misread and misinterpreted Paul in Romans 9. Those links to articles on corporate election should help you see that rather clearly.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  75. Will get to you later. I’m in mourning for America.

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