Is Faith a Work Created by Man?

Check out this excellent and concise post at SEA on the nature of faith and why the Calvinist view is problematic.  Here is an excerpt:

It also has a logic problem, because from a Calvinistic perspective, we have to wonder what was the point of the faith/works distinction in the first place. In other words, if we cannot boast in our faith because it is predestined by God, then we also cannot boast in our works because they are predestined by God. But the Bible specifically says that salvation is by faith rather than works, lest any man should boast. Paul’s explanation is not very meaningful if free-will, not works, is what gives us a reason to boast.

Is Faith a Work Created by Man?

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33 Responses

  1. “If, however, we are to be blamed for disobeying God -even though He ultimately caused our actions -it only makes sense that we should be commended for obeying God -even though He ultimately caused our actions.”

    Calvinist doublespeak.

  2. “You guys are a little behind the curve…”

    That is a matter of opinion.

    http://www.xcalvinist.com/category/chapter-3/

  3. “Calvinist doublespeak.”

    Howso?

    Also, since that article has nothing to do with faith and good works, what was your point in citing it?

  4. I believe that indeed our election is solely base o what God has done for us, rather than what we can do through our faithe in Him. It is God who wills for us to have faith in His son or not…

  5. Ryan – I was responding to the quote from one of the links you posted. That quote is an example of Calvinist doublespeak. The link goes more into depth about what that is.

  6. Repeating that the quote is “Calvinist doublespeak” doesn’t enlighten me as to HOW it is Calvinist doublespeak. Since I wrote the article, I would be interested in an answer to my questions. It looks to me like you are evading the questions as well as the point.

  7. Repeating that the quote is “Calvinist doublespeak” doesn’t enlighten me as to HOW it is Calvinist doublespeak. Since I wrote the article, I would be interested in an answer to my questions. It looks to me like you are evading the questions as well as the point.

    Neither does leaving two links and claiming that I am somehow behind the curve (apparently because I hadn’t seen or read your two little posts) enlighten any of us as to how your posts are supposed to address the post I referenced at SEA. I also read your two posts and could make little sense out of them, nor could I see how reading them should put me ahead of the curve with regards to the subject matter of the post at SEA. Feel free to elaborate here as to how your posts are really relevant and how they specifically address the post being referenced. Until you do that I guess we can just assume that you are evading and not interested in the point, or something like that.

    Also, since that article has nothing to do with faith and good works, what was your point in citing it?

    If the article has nothing to do with faith and good works how then is it relevant to this post which is about faith and good works? Yet you claimed that I was somehow “behind the curve” apparently because I had not read your “article” (which taran quoted from) before posting on some issues of faith and works in Calvinism and Arminianism. I’m confused. Maybe you were referencing the link he left and not the quote he cited from the articles you referred me to? Again, feel free to enlighten me.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  8. Joe,

    You are entitled to your (wrong) opinion. 🙂

  9. kangaroodort,

    Works are praiseworthy, and as such, if it was by works that one were saved, one may have reason to boast. But it is not by works that one is saved, so boasting is indeed excluded. It is also true that both works and [saving] faith are predestined. So far, so good.

    However, in the Calvinist schema, only the former (works) are proximately related to man’s intentions, purposes, rationalities, volitions, etc., so only for the former can one be praised. I don’t have any relative say in what I believe – I can’t intend or purpose to believe [in Christ]. Beliefs aren’t a matter of choice.

    “Maybe you were referencing the link he left and not the quote he cited from the articles you referred me to?”

    Yes. I was saying that the article cited by TaranWanderer in his or her second comment had no relevance to faith and good works, so TaranWanderer’s citation article seemed pointless in the context of this discussion.

  10. Ryan,

    Thanks for the clarification. I have read both your posts as well as your newest post at your site. As you can imagine, I have major problems with your supposed solutions. I don’t think you are seeing the problem clearly enough, nor do I think you are really dealing with the subject matter of the initial post I linked to at SEA. I find your distinction between faith and works to be arbitrary at best, and I especially find your description of faith as not a choice or anything more than some sort of automatic mental assent (not that even that would really solve the difficulty) to be a woefully inadequate accounting of what saving faith is. I don’t have much time now to go into detail, but I hope to get to it later this week.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  11. BTW, I don’t think taran’s link was irrelevant or pointless as it was meant to bring clarity to what constitutes double speak as he was describing it. It didn’t have to deal specifically with faith and works in order to do that.

  12. We certainly do have a choice in what we believe. When someone claims that we do not, it makes me think they do not have much real world experience. I have seen many people make choices about what they believe. And I have experienced making choices about what I believe. The whole intellectual enterprise involving making arguments and trying to persuade people involves at its core the idea of people making choices about what they believe.

    But then, even if one disagree with that, Ryan’s pount would still be false, for biblical faith is trust; it is about trusting Jesus Christ. And peoppe make choices about who and what to trust all the time.

  13. Arminian,

    Thanks for making the bulk of my point for me. So many Scriptures make this point, not the least of them Rom. 4 which was referenced in the post that Ryan’s posts supposedly rebut. There the writer makes the point that according to Rom. 4 faith excludes boasting, not because it is non-volitional, but because it is an act of simple trust and reliance on Christ, certainly an act of the will. Somehow Ryan missed this main point in his anticipation of the argument he hadn’t yet read (according to his latest post at his site he “anticipated” the argument before seeing it at SEA) and his home grown definition of what saving faith is (an automatic mental assent). But more can be said, and I will try to get to it more later this week.

  14. I don’t see how the distinction between faith and works I draw is arbitrary, especially since both of you seem to be eager to defend the idea that faith is volitional. In any case, I have also written on the relation between faith and trust:

    “Biblical faith is [understanding and] assent to the propositions of Scripture, especially the gospel. The crucifixion cannot be foolishness to those who assent to the gospel (1 Corinthians 1:23), so assent to a proposition suffices as a definition of the general use of belief or faith in Scripture. Adding “trust” as an element of faith either is redundant, leads to the sort of subjective notion of faith which has created so much doubt regarding one’s assurance of salvation, or can even capitulate one to acceptance of faith as a work (cf. Romans 4:5).”

    Again, I don’t see how anyone chooses to believe anything, and I don’t know how you could demonstrate that. It seems I would just have to take your word for it. Ironically, you are asking me to just choose to believe you, something I don’t think is any more possible than my ability to choose to believe that pigs can fly! 🙂

  15. I don’t see how the distinction between faith and works I draw is arbitrary, especially since both of you seem to be eager to defend the idea that faith is volitional. In any case, I have also written on the relation between faith and trust:

    “Biblical faith is [understanding and] assent to the propositions of Scripture, especially the gospel. The crucifixion cannot be foolishness to those who assent to the gospel (1 Corinthians 1:23), so assent to a proposition suffices as a definition of the general use of belief or faith in Scripture. Adding “trust” as an element of faith either is redundant, leads to the sort of subjective notion of faith which has created so much doubt regarding one’s assurance of salvation, or can even capitulate one to acceptance of faith as a work (cf. Romans 4:5).”

    If adding trust as an element of faith is redundant, then you concede that faith is trust, which undoes your argument. But to say that we are “adding” trust as an element is why your definition is arbitrary. The Bible defines faith as trust, so there is nothing to add and any confusion would be the sole result of its incompatibility with the arbitrary definitions of those who wish to uphold their doctrines at all cost, even to the point of denying the Biblical definition of faith. Even speaking of assent has reference to trust. That is really just another way of saying that one puts trust in a particular truth claim. You really can’t get around it.

    Again, I don’t see how anyone chooses to believe anything, and I don’t know how you could demonstrate that.

    It was already noted how this demonstrated by Arminian. It is so common sense that there is really no need to demonstrate it at all. You may “choose” not to see it, but that doesn’t mean no one else does. Indeed, I think most people understand the concept rather clearly, just as Arminian described it above.

    It seems I would just have to take your word for it. Ironically, you are asking me to just choose to believe you, something I don’t think is any more possible than my ability to choose to believe that pigs can fly!

    What is ironic is that your entire argument revolves around arbitrary claims on what faith is and you want us to just take your word for it. It is truly strange to hear someone say that one cannot choose to believe something. Such comments make you seem like you are out of touch with reality.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  16. “If adding trust as an element of faith is redundant, then you concede that faith is trust, which undoes your argument.”

    That depends on how one defines trust. If trust in a person is belief in those propositions pertaining to him – where belief has already been defined as understanding and assent – I see no issue at all. Surely you understand that many groups of people appeal to the same language while utilizing different meanings within the semantic domain of said language. By equating faith with trust and defining faith the way I do, I am simply clarifying my position so as to distinguish it from yours or whoever else may disagree,

    Also, my definition is not arbitrary. You didn’t touch my argument about the definition of faith using 1 Corinthians, you only said the definition was arbitrary. Repeating an assertion does not make it true.

    “It was already noted how this demonstrated by Arminian.”

    Where?

  17. Ryan,

    I am glad the words of the bible aren’t as cryptic and overengineered as your posts. It’s typical of discussions with Calvinists when you deal with the simple truths of Scripture – they have to make words mean things other than they mean, and concepts different than they normally would imply.

    Your point about 1st Corinthians has no basis for your conclusion. The issue isnt whether or not people find the gospel compelling or foolish, but their ability to choose one or the other. The Bible explains faith as dependent on someone hearing the Word of God. The very gospels themselves were written to inspire belief by eyewitness facts that the authors knew the audience would find compelling. Apollos was said to be especially skilled at his use of the word – clearly implying his affecting of people’s choices as it relates to the truth. Your arbitrary definition of faith, while it may make sense to you, doesn’t make a lot of sense given plenty of concepts from the Bible.

  18. Steven,

    You are confusing the definition of faith with from whence faith proceeds. My citation of 1 Corinthians is relevant to the former and addressed the faith/trust issue.

    Faith is certainly not meant to be blind. But then again, that has nothing to do with the definition of faith nor from whence faith proceeds, so I don’t know what you are getting at. We can also discuss the preconditions for faith – and I would agree with you that hearing the gospel is one such precondition – but in the future, try not to conflate my points.

  19. If man does not have a God given free will, and therefore cannot do good works on his own, then the entire human narrative is a colossal game of divine solataire that is not unlike pulling the wings off a fly. Calvinist “doublespeak” is actually a colloquialism for the glaring and obvious way in which Calvinism disingenuously treats the Greek/English language.

  20. Ryan,

    You specifically said you don’t know how anyone chooses anything, so I was simply explaining from the Bible how someone chooses to believe in Jesus. Of course you didn’t come here to learn, you came here to teach, so I don’t know why I just typed anything. Sorry to so behind the curve – I do like to keep up to date with the latest Calvinist spin on things.

  21. Steven, I wasn’t aware that that was the intention of your post, but now that I do, I don’t see how anything you wrote demonstrated how people can choose to believe. You made a few unnecessary inferences on the basis of the fact the early Christians wanted to present a rational case for Christianity, but that’s all.

  22. Ryan,

    Earlier you wrote:

    Adding “trust” as an element of faith either is redundant, leads to the sort of subjective notion of faith which has created so much doubt regarding one’s assurance of salvation, or can even capitulate one to acceptance of faith as a work (cf. Romans 4:5).”

    If one can be moved to “accept” the idea that faith is a work, then it seems to me that belief in faith as a work is based on a choice to accept that proposition as truth. Again, it is really built in to the definition of what faith constitutes. For you to say that one cannot choose to believe something is arbitrary because it is simply a claim made based on your own authority (it is a mere assertion). The Bible routinely speaks of receiving and rejecting certain truth claims, not the least truth claims about who Christ is or what He has accomplished. In accepting such truth claims one is putting trust in the truth claim and the one making the truth claim. Again, it is so basic that it really seems like you are out of touch with reality to deny it. Faith is often spoken of in Scripture as a trust and reliance on Christ or a trust and reliance on the claims that Christ or God makes about Himself. It is all over Scripture.

    Even a primary Calvinist prooftext admits that faith is a volitional act when Calvinists insist that Rom 9:16 rules out election by faith since faith is an act of the will. Now you may disagree with the way Calvinists typically interpret such things, but if you do you should not make appeals to the “Calvinist schema” when even Calvinists would disagree with you.

    That depends on how one defines trust. If trust in a person is belief in those propositions pertaining to him – where belief has already been defined as understanding and assent – I see no issue at all.

    But this doesn’t help you at all. Mental assent involves trust as described above. If you want to just equate trust with non-volitional mental assent, then you have really moved far away from the normal way to understand basic terms and words, and that is why we have been telling you that your definitions are arbitrary.

    By equating faith with trust and defining faith the way I do, I am simply clarifying my position so as to distinguish it from yours or whoever else may disagree.

    No, you are using words improperly. Even you must concede that the Bible clearly speaks of faith as trust, so in order for your argument to hold you must redefine trust.

    Also, my definition is not arbitrary. You didn’t touch my argument about the definition of faith using 1 Corinthians, you only said the definition was arbitrary.

    I’m sorry, where does 1 Corinthians rule out trust as a major component of faith? Even if that particular verse had no element of trust (as normally defined), it wouldn’t mean that faith has no element of trust, especially since so many passages of Scripture make this clear. But even in 1 Cor. no one can believe as Paul is describing without putting trust in the message and the object of the message. Again, trust is inherent in faith and reception/acceptance of the gospel message. Your only recourse is to say that trust is non-volitional as well.

    But still, even if you can make faith non-volitional it doesn’t help you much. To say that faith and works have some difference does not explain why one should exclude boasting when both are irresistibly caused by God. One has no more control over a volition in Calvinism than one has control over an automatic assent that just pops in the head. There is no difference. And if you want to ground it in intent or strongest desire, no one has any control over their intentions or strongest desire in Calvinism either. Indeed, choice doesn’t even make sense in Calvinism since there are never any legitimate options to choose from as our thought process and actions have all been predetermined. Therefore, the only real course of action available is the predetermined one and hence there is never any choice at all.

    But the bottom line is that the Arminian understanding of faith makes better sense of such passages as has been already explained. We don’t need to play word games or improperly conflate definitions. Since faith is reliance on Christ to do what we cannot do for ourselves, then it excludes boasting. That makes perfect sense and that is as far as the Bible goes with it. There is no need to go further, unless of course one is driven to defend a certain theological position at all costs.

  23. Ryan is at odds with the basic definition of the Greek word for faith and with the consensus of scholars both Arminian and Calvinist with his definition of faith. If one looks in a Greek lexicon, one can see that faith in the types of passages in question is trust. it is a simple and clear lexical issue. This is partly why people are pointing out that his definition is arbitrary. It’s also idiosyncratic, which goes along with its arbitrariness.

    Now it is true that faith can refer to mere mental assent, though that is a rare usage in Scripture as almost everyone recognizes. In one of the few places that it means that at some (not all) points, the text makes clear that it is non-saving — James 2. I.e., saving faith is trust; non-saving faith is mere mental assent. As James says, even the demons believe [i.e., mentally assent] there is one God. Faith in the sense of mental assent by itself will not save. But faith that produces deeds is trust, and does save.

    As for his 1 Corinthians argument, it doesn’t make much sense. His point is unclear to me. Maybe he needs to spell it out more. If it’s what I think it is, then it is trying to force something out of the text that it doesn’t address. It speaks generally of the attitude of the unsaved towards the gospel vs. the saved towards the gospel. It says nothing of how one goes from one attitude toward the other, though it does make clear that trusting in the gospel brings salvation. It simply doesn’t address what Ryan is trying to force it to address, in order to try and prove his odd conception of saving faith, which again, goes against both Calvinist and Arminian thought, i.e. against evangelical thought.

    As for Ryan’s claim that we can’t choose what we believe, it may be that we are simply at a basic belief and perception of reality, and are at an impasse in terms of discussion. But I am happy to set that 2 views against one another when it is obvious to most people that they do often make choices about who and what to believe. It is like arguing with someone who is arguing that we live in a cosmic unicorn and are really made out of cheese but don’t know it because our perception is faulty. One can’t really prove such a person’s claims false because of their nature, but everyone knows they are false and outlandish.

  24. Ryan,

    The others here have given a more than ample response to all your points as I expected they would. However I wanted to respond to your follow up posts that were directed at me. First, note that your response to Ben’s article was the two links to your blog. By responding that way (instead of addressing specific points in Ben’s piece), you open your articles up to examination and scrutiny, especially if you are going to claim that others are “behind the curve” (quite an arrogant claim I might add…not the best way to introduce yourself on someone else’s site). Thus they become entirely relevant to the discussion, so perhaps you should not be so quick to pull the “evasion” card.

    While reading your first article (Praise and Blame) I came upon the sentence I quoted above. The sentence is a perfect example of “double think” or “doublespeak”. Again, if you read the xcalvinist.com article I quoted you will understand why. Your sentence is nonsensical. It’s similar to saying something like “I grabbed his arm and slapped his girlfriend with it and he got the blame” By making such a statement as you have made in your article, (and additionally, not being able to see the correlation with my link), IMHO you are most certainly not “ahead” of the curve. : P

    Here, again, is the first part of your sentence: “If, however, we are to be blamed for disobeying God -even though He ultimately caused our actions”

    Now the thing is, after studying and debating/discussing Calvinism for several years now, I understand why you wrote that sentence. In your understanding of God, He is only sovereign if He ultimately determines every single action. There was a time when I really considered Calvinism, since it claims a higher Biblical standard and a higher view of God. However, when I was faced with the same kind of logic you have presented in your article, I realized that it doesn’t square with reality. I think Ben said it best:

    “But the bottom line is that the Arminian understanding of faith makes better sense of such passages as has been already explained. We don’t need to play word games or improperly conflate definitions. Since faith is reliance on Christ to do what we cannot do for ourselves, then it excludes boasting. That makes perfect sense and that is as far as the Bible goes with it. There is no need to go further, unless of course one is driven to defend a certain theological position at all costs.”

  25. A few final clarifications before I bow out to attend to other things:

    – Once again, I don’t deny belief is trust, I deny trust entails something more than understanding and assent. I have defined my terms clearly whereas it seems to me that the alternative understandings of trust beg the question as to what precisely trust is. What does it mean to “rely” on or “trust” in the claims of Christ if not to assent to them? Whereas these terms have been used to distinguish faith from “mere” assent, they appear synonymic to me.

    – The point of my citation of 1 Corinthians was simply this:

    “If faith consists of three elements – knowledge, assent (or belief), and trust – and if a person does not have faith unless all three elements are present, then unregenerate persons may understand and believe-assent to–the truth. In fact, those who advocate the three-element view insist that unregenerate persons may understand and believe the truth – their prime example of such persons is demons. But if unregenerate persons may believe the truth, then the natural man can indeed receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are not foolishness unto him, contrary to 1 Corinthians 2 and dozens of other verses. Belief – and the whole of salvation – is not a gift of God. Natural men can do their own believing, thank you very much.

    The three-element view of faith leads straight to a contradiction – faithless believers – and therefore must be false.”

    John Robbins, A Note on Faith (http://www.trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=83)

    – There seems to be a fundamental disagreement as to whether we can choose [what] to believe. I think Mark 9:24 supports my case, as if it is in our power or capacity to choose to believe anything, the father’s plea would have been unnecessary. But more generally, I would ask if any of you could right now actually choose to believe you are not reading a comment. That’s nonsense.

    – As for demons, since they do not believe the gospel, I don’t see why the fact they can believe truth is crippling to me.

  26. Ryan said: “Once again, I don’t deny belief is trust, I deny trust entails something more than understanding and assent. I have defined my terms clearly whereas it seems to me that the alternative understandings of trust beg the question as to what precisely trust is. What does it mean to “rely” on or “trust” in the claims of Christ if not to assent to them? Whereas these terms have been used to distinguish faith from “mere” assent, they appear synonymic to me.”

    ***** So you don’t see difference between accepting something as true and relying on that truth? It seems to be self-evident and a distinction almost everybody recognizes, such that I am happy to allow our 2 views to stand side by side before people to choose which to accept, since I think the vast majority of people would agree that there is a difference between assenting to something being true and trusting in that truth. You seem to be playing on the limitations of language (or perhaps have missed the basic meaning of some concepts because of the limitations language), which can only go so far in describing meaning with respect to reality. Many probably have had the experience to look up a word in the dictionary only to get another word, that if one looks up, one will find it defined by the other word originally looked up. Or have you ever tried to define an abstract word to a child? It can be very difficult to actually communicate the full meaning of a word through other words, and it can be hard to fully know the meaning of a word through simple definition apart from experience of the reality the word is used to describe. Trust/reliance/dependence is like that. Most people know what it is to trust someone or something, but its meaning can’t be concretely and fully communicated by words alone. But this is not usually too much of an issue because people typically know the reality these words describe. So when someone comes along like you who does not seem to know the meaning of trust, defining it idiosyncratically, people respond with incredulity and charging you with creating arbitrary definitions and pointing out that the meaning is quite obvious. Just look it up, faith means to reply on or depend on. But then you say, but what does that mean, and try to reduce the meaning of it to something different than it is, but is simpler to describe with concrete language, but something most people would never recognize as the meaning of the words. But Calvinists do often seem to try and redefine common terms to match and support their doctrine against reality. The odd thing in this instance is that you are even redefining a term against how most Calvinists take it, which is the way most Arminians also take it, since it is the biblical usage.

    Your quote about 1 Cor 2 utterly begs multiple questions and so is invalid. For one, it assumes the Arminian view is wrong and argues on that basis. For another it misses a critical part of the Arminian view so that. To mention just one other, Ben has actually shown in a different post how that view of 1 Cor 2 is faulty, so I will leave it to him to direct you to that post. But then there are more faulty assumptions, so many in such a short quote! But I will leave it at that.

    Ryan said: “There seems to be a fundamental disagreement as to whether we can choose [what] to believe. I think Mark 9:24 supports my case, as if it is in our power or capacity to choose to believe anything, the father’s plea would have been unnecessary.”

    ***** This completely misunderstands the Arminian position. The father’s plea completely coheres with the Arminian view, which holds we cannot believe God on our own but need God to help us believe. But beside that, your conclusion does not follow in the least. Because the man felt the need for God’s help to believe *more* than he already did in God’s power and willingness to heal him, that somehow means that no one can ever choose to believe anything? That is an obvious non-sequitur. Moreover, helping someone to do something doesn’t mean they have no choice in what they are doing.

    Ryan said: “But more generally, I would ask if any of you could right now actually choose to believe you are not reading a comment. That’s nonsense.”

    ***** Picking out something that we don’t have much of a choice about our mental assent to hardly shows that we have no choice about anything we believe. That is another non-sequitur. But how about if I tell you that I am a pastor? Would you believe me? Or what if I tell you that I am an astronaut? Would you believe me? How about if I told you that I am Bill Gates, and though it is little known, love to debate theology? Would you believe me? Or how about if I tell you that I live on the west coast of the USA and do a lot of traveling? Would you believe me? With many of these things and any number of other things I could tell you, not only about me, but about others and about things in the world, you would have to decide whether to believe me. And various elements go into making such a decision, with other choices to be made in evaluating many of those elements. It would be non-sensical to claim that we don’t choose who and what to believe about any number of things. Not only that, but how about if your friends and family and doctor tried to convince you that you were not reading a comment at that moment, but actually were delirious thinking you were reading a comment on the internet but really sick in bed with a fever and that you needed to stay resting. Would you believe them? You would need to make a choice. So even your original comment does not hold up.

    Ryan said: “As for demons, since they do not believe the gospel, I don’t see why the fact they can believe truth is crippling to me.”

    ***** First, demons to seem to mentally assent to the gospel. They know it is true just as they know there is one God. And because they know it is true and can save people, they seek to prevent people from believing it. Second, James’ point about demons is made to make a point about human beings, that they can believe that something is true but not trust in it so that it affects their actions. I.e., someone can mentally assent to something, but not trust in it, rely on it, depend on it. Mere mental assent does not save. But trust in God does.

  27. Here are the links that I believe Arminian was referring to:

    https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2009/03/20/addressing-dominics-response-to-the-purpose-of-regeneration-in-calvinism/

    https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2009/03/24/responding-to-dominics-second-rebuttal-on-regeneration-preceding-faith/

    In these posts I focus on Paul’s desire for the Corinthians to gain a deeper level of spiritual wisdom which is being hindered by their resisting the Spirit to move into that wisdom by their quarreling etc. That is a major contextual theme and it is clear that Paul is speaking of immature Christians throughout and not unbelievers. It is interesting because I was reading it again last night and realized that Paul is contrasting the wisdom of the world with the wisdom of God throughout and exhorting them to not seek after the wisdom of the world but the wisdom of God. This is because in aligning themselves with one apostle over another they were assuming that one apostle was wiser than another, or a better teacher, or whatever, and in aligning with them they were showing themselves to be wiser as well.

    Paul makes it clear that only God’s wisdom matters and any wisdom or work the apostles are doing is an expression of God’s wisdom and power, and not their own. If they will seek God’s wisdom and God’s approval, there will be no more such quarrels over which apostle they should follow, since they are all doing God’s work and expressing God’s truth. Anyway, I mention that because that aspect didn’t come through much in those posts. The main point, however, is that Paul is not describing unbelievers but immature believers, so it really doesn’t work for a Calvinist proof text on inability (though the Arminian agrees with inability, believing only that God’s necessary enabling grace is resistible rather than irresistible).

    God Bless,
    Ben

  28. BTW, I did not mean to suggest that there can never be any mental assent without an element of trust, only that often trust is involved and especially that in Scripture faith is used to describe a deep abiding trust and reliance on Christ and the promises of the gospel. Also, as I mentioned, even if some passages do not express such trust in relation to faith, many (if not most) do. So it doesn’t matter if a Scripture or two can be produced which focuses more on the mental assent aspect of faith since so many passages make faith an act of total trust and reliance. And as Arminian pointed out, that is the main lexical meaning of faith in Scripture. It is not even an issue of debate.

  29. This site reminds me of this cartoon; it helps me not to think about the absurdity and boldness of people on the internet who steal the glory and sovereign power of God. And who, in effect, exchange the truth of God for the lie and worship and serving the creature rather then the Creator:

  30. SBG,

    Not sure how your comments are relevant to this post. If this site reminds you of that cartoon, then your protracted replies to my posts should also remind you of that cartoon. I am sorry you think we are exchanging the truth for a lie and stealing God’s glory, but that is only your opinion. And if Calvinism is true, it is just as God decreed it. He apparently wants us to steal his glory. Indeed, God sovereignly caused us to “steal the glory of God and sovereign power of God”, as you say. Strange theology indeed.

    https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2010/02/03/how-can-gods-glory-be-diminished-in-calvinism/

    https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2008/10/07/what-brings-glory-to-god/

    https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2008/10/08/what-brings-the-most-glory-to-god-part-2-john-wesley/

    At least I don’t have to worry about you responding further based on your cartoon reference.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  31. @SBG – what is worse? being perceived as robbing God’s glory, or the pride of believing you are the only one upholding it? perhaps you might also let us know if we are being prepared for destruction. Or maybe I misread your post

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