The Fallacies of Calvinist Apologetics – Fallacies #14: Conditional Election Makes God a Respecter of Persons?

Related Fallacies:
Equivocation

John Hendryx, who we’ve noted has employed numerous fallacies in defense of Calvinism and distortions against Arminianism, is at it yet again. This time he’s trying to prove that it’s conditional election, not unconditional election, that makes God into a “respecter of persons.” Before I address his points, I believe that the idea that God is impartial has to be defined and qualified carefully: God being impartial does not mean that He treats everyone exactly the same in every respect, nor does it imply that He gives the same circumstances or blessings to everyone. Scriptural references to God’s impartiality appear to refer primarily to how He makes His judgments of men’s hearts and actions, and how He accepts people who fear Him. It doesn’t imply God having some kind of warped, hyper-egalatarian mentality where He ensures everyone’s lot in life is exactly on par. Having examined the issue myself, I think it would be difficult to make a solid case for either conditional or unconditional election violating the principle of God’s impartial judgment in scripture, since election isn’t really the same thing as judgment. However, Hendryx seems to think this does make a good case against Arminianism, and so he tries to paint Arminian doctrine as making God into a respecter of persons, while exonerating his own doctrine. As we shall see, this is one of the worst possible maneuvers, and backfires on him badly.

Redefining Partiality

Hendryx cites Leviticus 19:15, Proverbs 24:23, 1 Peter 1:17, Acts 10:34, Romans 2:11, and James 2:1-9 among others, to prove that God is impartial. Quoting him,

They are clearly warning the believer against showing favoritism or partiality, because they declare that God Himself does not show partiality or favoritism. And. most importantly, in each of these instances it means neither we nor God give special treatment to a person because of his position, merit, wealth, influence, social standing, authority or popularity. Thus ‘respecter of persons’ means we are not to favor one person over the other because of ANY superior personal trait in the one favored, and likewise we are not to show prejudice toward those who lack these characteristics.

Hendryx’s definition of “respecter of persons” is too narrow: to show respect to persons extends beyond just showing favoritism due to superficial personal traits, it implies special treatment based upon any unobjective, uneven or irrelevant criteria. Let’s give an example: Suppose a judge renders his verdict in a case, but bases his decision not upon guilt or innocence, but upon how much he personally likes the plaintiff and defendant. Is that showing partiality? It most certainly is. Keep that in mind as we continue….

So when God unconditionally elects a person in Christ does he first determine who he will choose based on their position, wealth, good looks, influence etc? No.

We’re agreed on that point.

By definition unconditional election means unconditional. It is not conditioned on ANYTHING in us or potentially in us.

This is also technically correct. Judgments are to be based upon what is actually done (guilt, innocence, or other objective criteria pertaining to action), not personal traits.

God does not stand to gain from currying anyone’s favor … even those who are in high positions … because God gave them that position, wealth, authority or social standing to begin with. The Bible unambiguously teaches, therefore, that God is no respecter of persons in election. Those who are chosen are chosen “in Christ” not because God is thinking about what he has to gain by helping them over others.. God has no need for such things, so, by definition, his choosing us cannot be tainted with such a motive.

This is something of a non-sequitur: having a motive of personal gain is one way to show partiality, but is by no means the only way. Proving that God has need of nothing and that He doesn’t judge on the basis of material gain or influence doesn’t automatically establish impartiality. Looking at our example of the judge above, if asked why he rendered the verdict that he did, which responses would indicate partiality or impartiality?

“The evidence that came out in the proceedings made it overwhelmingly clear.” – impartial
“Multiple eyewitness accounts establish this beyond reasonable doubt.” – impartial
“The argument was logically sound and airtight.” – impartial
“I rendered judgment strictly as the law dictates.” – impartial
“I scratch his back, he’ll scratch mine!” – partial (motive of personal gain; but there are plenty more than just this)
“He looked guilty.” – partial
“I just had a feeling.” – partial
“He’s my nephew.” – partial
“The other guy made his case much more eloquently.” – partial
“I don’t like his type.” – partial
“I just wanted to do it that way.” – PARTIAL

Note that the last example is unconditional, a verdict rendered simply by arbitrary fiat (hereafter, just “fiat”). It is not objective, and it therefore doesn’t really matter what other reasons he has for declaring one guilty and the other innocent in such a case, such a ruling is partial. Hendryx refers back to the quote from James 2:1-9,

James question is rhetorical, of course. Because yes indeed God HAS chosen the poor of the world … i.e. those who are spiritually bankrupt who have lost all hope in themselves… S0 God is not looking to benefit from those who are already full, but shows special care those who are empty or impoverished. … So according to the Bible, showing special favor to the poor is the very antithesis of what it means to show favoritism or respect of persons.

Hendryx again displays a misunderstanding of what impartiality is. The quote he cited above from Leviticus declares,

“You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty. In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor.” (Leviticus 19:15, NKJV)

Which plainly indicates that it is partiality to show favoritism in judgment to a poor man simply because he is poor. I would instead interpret James as referring to correlation and contrast: people are seldom granted riches in both spiritual and material possessions. Hendryx also unwittingly argues for conditional election in stating,

“[So] God is not looking to benefit from those who are already full, but shows special care those who are empty or impoverished.”

If God elected on that basis, that would still be conditional election, since being empty and impoverished would be a condition to being elect.

So far, Hendryx’s major errors have been in equating partiality as being based upon,
1.) personal traits
2.) motive for personal gain

And in concluding that judgment that isn’t for personal gain must be impartial (which is not necessarily true, since judgment based upon fiat is also partial).

Redefining Synergism

…it is actually those who defend CONDITIONAL election who make God a respecter of persons. This is because, if it were true that meeting some condition prompted God’s decision to elect his people then His choice of them would be based on their wisdom, prudence, sound judgment, or good sense to believe. He would therefore be looking at the character or merit of that person and choosing them because of it.

This is entirely incorrect for one simple reason: election based upon whether one does (or will) believe is not rooted in traits, but action: belief in Christ. Hendryx’s reasoning falls completely apart when applied to actual cases of judgment. If a judge discerns from the evidence that a man is innocent, and declares him “not guilty,” is he showing favoritism because of the man’s “good sense not to commit the crime?” Not at all, his judgment is based upon action, not character. Whether the man is smart, stupid, sensible, foolish, etc, is irrelevant. A just and impartial verdict is based upon the objective criteria of his actions.

The Bible, on the contrary, declares that we are all ill-deserving and, as such, God reserves the right to have mercy on whom he will, which is not based in any way on the will of the flesh (John 1:13; Rom 9:15, 16).

Simply having the right to do what one wishes doesn’t make on impartial, those are separate issues (as supreme power allows for fiat). God is both sovereign and impartial (and therefore doesn’t rule by fiat).

If God is basing his election on who will have faith then this would, in fact, make God a respecter of persons because these persons are meeting God’s criteria in order to be chosen.

In synergism God’s love for his people is not unconditional but is given only when someone meets the right condition… i.e. whether someone has faith or not. He chooses them only if they believe in him. Isn’t that favoritism?

Here is Hendryx’s third major error: basing decisions upon objective and relevant criteria (such as action) is not showing favoritism. Complaining about objective criteria as a basis for decisions is directly analogous to (and exactly as ridiculous as) accusing a judge of partiality in his rulings because he’s “biased in favor of the innocent.” Decisions based upon objective conditions (rather than merely who the persons involved are) are the very epitome of impartial judgment. In labeling that as “favoritism,” Hendryx has the issue completely and totally backwards.

God loves his people because he loves them. Is there some better reason OUTSIDE or ABOVE God that should make him do so? The Arminian would have us think so.

This is also a bit strange, nothing makes God love anyone; He does so freely, and extends saving grace to those who freely believe. And Arminians don’t believe in anything “above” God, so Hendryx seems very confused in his verbiage at this point.

Redefining Conditionality

It is the synergist who believes God shows favoritism or partiality because it is based on whether or not that person meritoriously meets the condition God gives him.

To define believing as a “meritorious” act goes completely against the theology of all major Synergists. Something being a condition does not make it meritorious, as even demeritorious things can be conditions (sin is a condition for damnation). As orthodox Synergists maintain, faith is a condition to salvation, but is of itself of no intrinsic worth or merit. Hendryx is in such a fervor to promote his Calvinist agenda that he’s stooped to badly misrepresenting Synergist theology.

Redefining Context

Hendryx drones on with his ridiculously Westernized canard about parents unconditionally loving their children and making sure they don’t get hit by oncoming traffic (apparently while making sure that the children they don’t like do get run over). He tries to use this analogy to establish that God’s love for His children isn’t conditioned upon things like faith. This is countered easily enough: first, God does love all men in the world unconditionally, which is why Christ was sent (John 3:16, which also specifies the condition of faith for eternal life). Secondly, trying to frame God’s relationship to His children as being strictly analogous to the relationships between human parents and our children is fatally flawed: none of us (apart from Christ) are His children in any sense pertaining to salvation, but we’re rather children of wrath. But the scriptures declare,

“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26)

So faith is a condition to even being His child to begin with; Hendryx’s analogy, contrary to Galatians 3, incorrectly assumes that the elect are God’s children in some special sense apart from faith.

So now God is partial?

He leads into this with some minor issues, noting that God is not obligated to save anyone and his choices are always good (I agree). He cites people’s varying circumstances and stations in life, people treating their own children differently from their neighbors, Jesus’ selective healings & resurrections of the dead (e.g. Lazarus), and so on, to prove that in actuality, God does show favoritism. As I pointed out at the beginning, God’s impartiality is descriptive of His judgment and acceptance, trying to twist it to mean that people should have identical circumstances in the world is stretching it well beyond its intended meaning. Nonetheless, we now start to see a subtle shift in Hendryx’s argument: he was just arguing that condtional election (as opposed to his view of unconditional election) makes God out to be playing favorites, but now he’s actually acknowledging that he believes God is showing favoritism, and that he extends it to election as well. He argues,

…everyone is born equally guilty in Adam and so it is perfectly just that not all get the same benefits in this life when they are born. If this is true of everyday life why is it such a stretch to carry the same idea into eternity? it is hypocrisy not to recognize this inconsistency.

The question really is not whether God shows favorites but IN WHAT SENSE does God not show favorites because God chose Abraham out of all the people’s of the earth, not because he saw something good in him, nor because he earned God’s favor, but because God chose to.

I agree that not everyone gets an equal lot in this life; I don’t believe that’s what the Bible’s teachings about God’s fairness and impartiality are in reference to. But Hendryx has turned it into a problem for himself: No sooner has he finished arguing that conditional election implies God playing favorites, than he takes supposed examples of God’s “favoritism” in regards to people’s life circumstances and tries to extend them to election. As the saying goes, “What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.” It’s a stunning display of cognitive dissonance for him to condemn one view of election for allegedly being partial (and therefore inferior to his view), then holding up alleged examples of partiality, and proceeding to use those to promote his own view of election! This inconsistency is Hendryx’s fourth major error. First he tries to blast conditional election for making God partial in His choosing, yet now he’s backpedaling and making the claim that God is partial in His choosing, He’s just partial in a different way.

If God doesn’t satisfactorily explain to you the good reasons He has for what he does, do you thereby condemn Him for it?

No one’s arguing that God needs to explain all of His reasons, we’re discussing how God’s revelation of His impartiality relates to divine election. Despite his decrial of condemning God based upon not understanding His reasons, Hendryx himself is quick to condemn the Arminian understanding of God as partial, and he does so without even understanding what partiality in judgment means.

Sanity Check

The issue of people having different circumstances in life doesn’t necessarily denote God being partial at all. As a counter-example, if I give my children different chores according to their ability, different bedtimes appropriate to their ages, different gifts to fit different interests, and different rewards and punishments fitting for differing behavior, I’m not playing favorites. However, if both are equally guilty of willfully disobeying a rule that carries a standard penalty, it would be playing favorites and partial judgment for me to unconditionally punish one and unconditionally pardon the other. The last major underlying error apparent in Hendryx’s reasoning is the idea that everyone being guilty makes God’s choosing some unto salvation impartial. Everyone being guilty of offending the supreme God would make His treatment, at the very least, equal to or less than what we deserve. I must stress though that this is not the same thing as impartiality. The issue is not fairness to just an individual, but partiality between individuals.

Take for instance a judge who is rendering his judgment against two men who have been proven to be equally guilty of the same crime. If he unconditionally shows leniency to the one, but condemns the other, his judgments are at worst, what the men deserve, but they are not impartial, as he is showing favoritism to one over the other. While this example pertains to judgment, not election, it is nonetheless exactly analogous to the Calvinist doctrine of unconditional election. Hendryx condemns conditional election as making God partial, yet himself proposes a scheme of election that is partial by definition. By that token, conditional election would be akin to the judge offering both men an opportunity for acquittal: say he offers that if one or both of them will sign a pledge of loyalty and service to their rightful ruler that apologizes for and renounces their evil acts, then the judge will show undeserved leniency to whoever signs it. One signs it and goes free, the other does not and is condemned. Was the judge showing favoritism in giving a different verdict? Not at all. The conditions were laid out; he judged them worthy of condemnation by the same standard to both, and showed undeserved leniency (or not) based upon the same objective (yet non-meritorious) condition to both. This is likewise analogous to how election is conditional per the Arminian view, and plainly demonstrates that God shows no respect of persons, but rather shows leniency based upon the objective standard of faith in Christ.

If God’s impartiality does apply to election, then unconditional election will invariably be shown wanting. The only options when choosing impartially are,

1.) Everyone is chosen unconditionally.
2.) No one is chosen unconditionally.
3.) Only some are chosen, but upon an objective basis.

The only way for God’s choosing to be impartial is if only some are chosen unconditionally, AKA unconditional election. If God is impartial in election, and only some are elect, then conditional election is the only game in town.

Bottom Line:

* The impartiality that the Bible attributes to God has to do with His righteous judgments and acceptance of righteous men; it doesn’t follow from this that everyone will have identical life circumstances.
* Hendryx’s definition of partiality is too narrow. There are more ways to be partial than simply judging based upon personal traits or for personal gain.
* The act of choosing one over another by fiat is, by definition, showing favoritism.
* That all men are guilty of sin is irrelevant to the issue of God’s impartiality: choosing one over another unconditionally is still being partial.
* God choosing according to one’s belief is not basing His choice upon a personal trait.
* God choosing based upon objective and relevant criteria (like faith) is not showing personal favoritism.
* Something being conditional is not the same as it being obtained by merit.
* If God’s impartiality does extend to election, then conditional election is the only impartial method by which some (not all or none) can be chosen. Thus such an argument ultimately backfires on the Calvinist.

Advertisements

45 Responses

  1. Excellent post.

  2. I’d like for you or someone to comment on what I see as the crux of the issue here – you say: “faith is a condition to salvation, but is of itself of no intrinsic worth or merit”.

    Your understanding of what faith is seems to be that it is, perhaps, just a decision for Christ?

    My understanding is that faith is trust. And in a conversion setting, you are stopping trusting in your idol, and starting to trust in God. So, hence Jesus describing following Him as a taking up of your cross, denying yourself, and to one man (who’s idol was his money) sell everything – give it up.

    So faith in God is a willingness to drop everything for Him, and surrender to Him, and repent, and turn to Him, put your full trust in Him, and full love and affection towards Him.

    In other words, faith is not just an action, but intrinsically tied to your attitudes, character, will, emotions, and indeed whole life. Faith is the very core of our being, permeating throughout all of us – it is not just a decision, it is our whole direction in life.

    Therefore I think it very much does have “intrinsic worth or merit”.

    And if that’s the case, then your whole argument falls.

  3. Genuine faith, is “much more precious than gold that perishes” (1Peter 1:7).

  4. Nathan Keen: your argument is not so good as it appears.

    Therefore I think it very much does have “intrinsic worth or merit”.

    The problem is: faith includes a confession: “I am not saved because anything I have made, but just because God has mercy of me”. God has no obligation to save anyone. So, there is some merit or worth by using someone’s merit?

    Faith is not a work, and faith is not some reason to boast. Just read these links:

    https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2010/10/01/the-fallacies-of-calvinist-apologetics-%e2%80%93-fallacy-9-faith-is-some-reason-to-boast/

    https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2010/10/11/the-fallacies-of-calvinist-apologetics-%E2%80%93-fallacy-10-wait-now-faith-is-a-work/

  5. Nathan, it’s true that faith is more than just a singular decision, and it does have some corrollaries. However, your argument doesn’t seem to follow: faith being tied to one’s will, character, etc doesn’t make it, with regards to meritorious standing before God, of any intrinsic value. One who believes in Christ wholeheartedly doesn’t “earn” or rightly deserve salvation. He is still a person who has sinned against God and still rightly deserves His wrath. It is only because God graciously accounts faith as righteousness that one who believes is saved.

  6. Genuine faith, is “much more precious than gold that perishes”

    So, what?

  7. Peter taught that genuine faith is, “much more precious than gold that perishes.” (1 Peter 1:7). Gold is quite valuable, but faith is even more.

    Anyone who is truly born again – seeing Christ with spiritual eyes enabled by faith, enjoying Him day in and day out by faith, enjoying a changed perspective on life through that same faith, worshipping Him and experiencing Him by faith, loving and giving everything to Him by faith – would admit that faith is one of the most valuable gift that the Lord has given. There is no other thing in this life that enables so much joy, peace, and resilience. Faith is a gift of surpassing value.

    Furthermore, faith was purchased by the precious blood of Jesus. The value of faith can be seen in the cost incurred by the Savior for it. But I know that arminians don’t actually believe that Christ really saved anyone on the cross. Well, they don’t believe that the blood has a perfect efficacy in and of itself to save. It can only save if a person believes. Or, it only have efficacy for those who are “foreknown” to believe, but even then it has no efficacy in and of itself, only with this added ingredient of man wrought faith. This stands in stark contrast to the blood being the very reason why a person believes, is born again, etc. (talk about a more severe limit on the atonement).

    The whole idea of holding faith at zero value is a tortured attempt to support the rusted and decaying theological scaffolding struggling to support the arminian error. I wonder what verse teaches that faith has no value? It is simply an inference made to fit arminianism into Scripture, rather than extracting your system of theology from Scripture. It is just like the inference that “foreknow” refers to foreknown faith, though everywhere in scripture the verb refers to people rather than their actions. Yet these things are so vital to the theological skubalon called arminianism.

    If Calvinism is true, then hands down, this site is the number one hater, trampler, reviler, and enemy of God’s truth. Instead of rushing headlong into such fearful territory, I would suggest treading carefully. Rather than trying to take a twist every text of Scripture to prove why Calvinism just cannot be true, have you ever thought of just worshipping God together? As of now it appears that this site is employing 100% of its resources to what may turn out to be a horrible show of blaspheming God. It does not seem so wise.

  8. SBG,

    @would admit that faith is one of the most valuable gift that the Lord has given.

    It’s not valuable in terms of meriting salvation. You’re taking my statement totally out of context.

    @Furthermore, faith was purchased by the precious blood of Jesus.

    Really? Where is that written?

    @I know that arminians don’t actually believe that Christ really saved anyone on the cross.

    What about all the people who already believed in Him? How about those who died in faith before He came? You really need to think this through a bit more.

    @they don’t believe that the blood has a perfect efficacy in and of itself to save.

    The cross doesn’t save someone until he believes; believing in Christ is absolutely essential.

    @only with this added ingredient of man wrought faith.

    Arminians believe in faith borne of grace, and that man cannot believe of himself unless God draws him. You’re really burning the strawmen today.

    @This stands in stark contrast to the blood being the very reason why a person believes, is born again, etc.

    As I alluded to with the “purchased faith” concept, the idea that the atonement itself makes a person believe is unscriptural.

    @I wonder what verse teaches that faith has no value?

    It’s an easy inference if one doesn’t believe he earns salvation by believing. What verse teaches that the atonement buys or irresistibly creates faith?

    @It is just like the inference that “foreknow” refers to foreknown faith, though everywhere in scripture the verb refers to people rather than their actions.

    To “know” people is to know their actions as well (cf Matthew 7:16, 20). Old canard.

    @I would suggest treading carefully.

    The person who refers to another belief system as “skubalon” when he can’t even accurately describe said system is advising treading carefully?

    @If Calvinism is true, then hands down, this site is the number one hater, trampler, reviler, and enemy of God’s truth.

    Glad I have nothing to worry about then.

    @Rather than trying to take a twist every text of Scripture to prove why Calvinism just cannot be true, have you ever thought of just worshipping God together?

    Rather than falsely accusing Christians who believe the Bible of twisting it, have you ever thought about studying it impartially?

  9. I understand that faith is not of such value to “merit salvation,” but rather it is a distinctive that leaves boasting in man, and also questions about the partiality of God towards those who were either, smarter (so as to enable them to put together the puzzle of salvation), or more spiritually sensitive (so as to feel the gravity of their guilt more clearly).

    I think 1Cor1:22-31 teaches that faith comes from Christ’s work.

    @ You said, “What about all the people who already believed in Him? How about those who died in faith before He came? You really need to think this through a bit more.”

    I did think it through, I wish you would have read a little more carefully. In your view, the only grounds for Christ’s being an effective Savior is, just like you confirmed, a person adding faith to His work. I know that faith is essential, calvinists and arminians agree about that. But we are talking about the cause and foundation of that faith. Is it, in the end man wrought or completely born of the work and gift of Christ alone? If you are going to be honest, then you would have to admit that you’re view of the atonement is not effective in and of itself to save, even for those who died in faith before. It is only effective for them because they added faith prior to His coming. I hope the distinction I’m drawing is clear.

    The idea that the blood being effectual to save in and of itself is all over Scripture. Every Apostle talks about the work of Christ in term of completion and effectiveness. Also, he use of the “hina” clause (with the subjunctive) in Greek makes this point clear. Here are two examples:

    “To Him who loved us and released us from our sins by His blood. And He has made us a kingdom of priests to His God and Father.” (Rev 1:5-6).

    The blood is talked about as being effective. It actually released us from our sins. It made us a kingdom of priests. It was effective, not hypothetical.

    1 John 2:2: “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but for the whole world.”

    The definition of “propitiation” is crucial for understanding this verse. He is a wrath absorbing sacrifice. If God’s wrath is truly absorbed by Christ for my sin, then how could God punish me twice? Christ really did die, He did not die a hypothetical death. He really bore away sin and its penalty. The language is effective, not hypothetical.

    John 1:29: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

    Again, very effective language. If a child is playing with toys and I come by and take it away, the child may cry because He not longer has the toys he was enjoying. Even so, Christ actually takes away sin, no language could be stronger.

    We can differ about these verses, but if you are honest, you must admit that the only way you can read these last two verses and come to the arminian viewpoint is if you hold that Christ’s death was not effective to save in and of itself. And I would argue that such a conclusion flies in the face of the clear meaning of the words used to describe His work atonement (propitiate, take away, release us, &c). You can only conclude that Hid death potentially absorbed wrath, potentially took away sin, or potentially released us from our sin and still hold to the arminian view. This is just simple logic and consistency. You limit the atonement, I’d argue more sharply then I do.

    Can you show me a verse that speaks of Christ’s work as being hypothetical?

  10. As for the “canard” of what I said about the word “ginosko,” which is also “yada” in the OT (This can be proven by the way the Author to the Hebrews translates the word “yada” from Jeremiah 31:34 in Hebres 8:11).

    The word “know” that is translated from ginosko or proginosko is speaking of an intimacy, and love just as “Adam knew (yada) Eve” Please also see how this word was used in its Historical context. See Amos 3:2 for example. The word “Yada” (which, again, is translated as “ginosko” by the Apostle who quoted it from the OT (Jer 31:34). This word is alternatively translated “Chosen” or “Intimate with.”

    Furthermore, the word “know” from Matt 7:16 & 20 is not even the same word that as “ginosko,” which is used in the word translated “foreknowledge.” The strongs number for the word translated “know” in 16 & 20 is G1921, not G1097. You should look in the Greek before you make those types of assumptions. But if you went down a little bit you’d find the word “gnosko” (G1097) in 7:23 of Matthew. He says “I never knew you.” Of course God is omniscient, all things are naked to His eyes. But the word here is clearly is referring to intimacy, love, etc. This is evident from Scripture, and plain to those who intend to be impartial. We can see thus far two inferences that are holding up arminianism. Not only an wishful interpretation of the word “know” but also a wishful understanding of the value of faith.

    As for me not being able to understand your system properly. I disagree. You may only think that because it is difficult to communicate through the web. I wrestled with the arminian / calvinism debate for over 2 years until I realize that one was based on the clear teaching of Scripture and the other rightfully rejected in 1619 as serious error. Not to mention the shoddy personalities that stood for arminianism at that time. It took 20 years to get them to come into the light and talk about the differences! “if we walk in the light as He is in the light…”

    I’m sorry that you feel you have nothing to worry about. You may very well be wrong. But it is unfortunate that you have so little fear of God in your heart, especially considering how weak and sinful we creatures are. We should not confused brazen hubris for intelligence and courage. This is true knowledge, the fear of God and tremble at His word.

  11. I should make a correction, the word used for “know” in matt 7:16&20 does have ginosko as a root word. But none the less, the word there is very distinct from the know that is used in the context of election in the NT. epiginosko, in Matt 7:16&20 is a knowing, as in identification. But nonetheless, this word is never used in the context of election. The use of foreknowledge in the NT is never referring to actions, but always about the persons themselves.

  12. Well, the argument of SBG is just the ‘intrinsically efficacious atonement’, used by John Owen (and refuted here: https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/category/provisional-atonement-series/).

    SBG is just confusing the provision of atonement with the application of atonement. I can even agree with the sentence ‘the blood of Christ is efficacious in and of itself’ – but the blood needs to be applied. Without faith, God will not wash the sinner.

  13. If God’s wrath is truly absorbed by Christ for my sin, then how could God punish me twice?

    Double Jeopardy Argument. Very weak indeed.

    Any men in that world is above the wrath of God. But, how it can be, if all the ‘unconditionally elect people’ were ‘propitiated’?

    And, using a very old Calvinist ‘Romans 9’ canard, ‘If He decides to punish you 40 times, who are you to talking back God?’

  14. But this phrase makes me laugh a lot:
    I wrestled with the arminian / calvinism debate for over 2 years until I realize that one was based on the clear teaching of Scripture and the other rightfully rejected in 1619 as serious error.

    I think you want to evoke the ‘Kangaroo Dort’ here. Can you explain for me how the Synod – whose judges are all Calvinists, and the Remonstrants were treated as guilt even before the judgement? Even the Spanish Inquisition was more clean and fair…

    Yes, your two years of ‘wrestling’ were very useless, SBG…

  15. I understand that faith is not of such value to “merit salvation,” but rather it is a distinctive that leaves boasting in man, and also questions about the partiality of God towards those who were either, smarter (so as to enable them to put together the puzzle of salvation), or more spiritually sensitive (so as to feel the gravity of their guilt more clearly).

    1 – Salvation by Inherent Ability: https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2009/06/18/the-fallacies-of-calvinist-apologetics-fallacy-2-arminianism-entails-salvation-by-inherent-ability/

    2 – Boasting Faith:
    https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2010/10/01/the-fallacies-of-calvinist-apologetics-%e2%80%93-fallacy-9-faith-is-some-reason-to-boast/

    3 – Faith as a work:
    https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2010/10/11/the-fallacies-of-calvinist-apologetics-%e2%80%93-fallacy-10-wait-now-faith-is-a-work/

    Nothing new on the front?

  16. SBG,

    @I understand that faith is not of such value to “merit salvation,” but rather it is a distinctive that leaves boasting in man

    Nope, believing is nothing boastworthy, and if you admit that it doesn’t merit salvation, then you’ve conceded my point that it’s not of intrinsic worth in that respect, thus all of your rambling charges about me devaluing it are pointless.

    @and also questions about the partiality of God towards those who were either, smarter…or more spiritually sensitive….

    I addressed this bit of your nonsense in the main post and here.

    @I think 1Cor1:22-31 teaches that faith comes from Christ’s work.

    It indicates no such thing, further evidenced in that you don’t even bother to explain it.

    SBG: I know that arminians don’t actually believe that Christ really saved anyone on the cross.
    JCT: What about all the people who already believed in Him? How about those who died in faith before He came? You really need to think this through a bit more.
    SBG: I did think it through, I wish you would have read a little more carefully. In your view, the only grounds for Christ’s being an effective Savior is, just like you confirmed, a person adding faith to His work.

    The issue of whether anyone was saved at the cross is a separate issue from whether faith is required, thus your statement about Arminians not believing Christ saved anyone on the cross has been proven erroneous. Your little bait-and-switch isn’t going to work: the fact remains that you have gaping holes in your logic, and haven’t really thought your arguments through. Secondly, we don’t “add faith” to Christ’s work, unless your theology is so ridiculous that you think faith died on the cross for us or something. Faith is a condition to obtaining the benefit of His work.

    @Is it [faith], in the end man wrought or completely born of the work and gift of Christ alone?

    False dichotomy, it’s granted to us by God that we may believe, but it’s we who freely & willingly do so.

    @The idea that the blood being effectual to save in and of itself is all over Scripture.

    No, the idea that the blood saves apart from a man believing in Christ is nowhere in scripture. Even you yourself contradict that idea with your statement, “I know that faith is essential”.

    @The blood is talked about as being effective. It actually released us from our sins.

    Yes, because we believed. There’s nothing in Revelation 1:5-6 to indicates that Christ’s blood saves apart from faith.

    @It made us a kingdom of priests. It was effective, not hypothetical.

    You’re confusing categories: conditional is not the same as hypothetical.

    @If God’s wrath is truly absorbed by Christ for my sin, then how could God punish me twice?

    Because you don’t receive the benefit of His sacrifice apart from faith.

    @He really bore away sin and its penalty. The language is effective, not hypothetical.

    The provision of Christ’s death extends to all, but only those who believe obtain forgiveness. Thus it is effective for one who believes.

    @Christ actually takes away sin, no language could be stronger.

    Yes, Christ actually takes away the sin of those who believe.

    @you must admit that the only way you can read these last two verses and come to the arminian viewpoint is if you hold that Christ’s death was not effective to save in and of itself.

    Of course one is not saved strictly by Christ dying. Your whole eisegetical spiel is easily countered rhetorically: If Christ died before I was born, and His blood saved me in and of itself with no conditions on my part, was I saved, forgiven, and no longer under God’s wrath before I believed? If you answer “no,” then you’ve conceded my point: Christ’s blood does not save someone apart from his believing; if you answer “yes,” then you believe in justification apart from faith.

    @You can only conclude that Hid death potentially absorbed wrath, potentially took away sin

    So what about all the people who actually died in faith? Did He only “potentially” take away their sins? Forgetting simple facts already? Christ in fact did turn away God’s wrath from all prior believers, and His provision to take away wrath extends to all future believers.

    @The word “know” that is translated from ginosko or proginosko is speaking of an intimacy

    Nope,
    1. proginosko is a different word from ginosko, with a different prefix and different contextual uses. If epiginosko is, then proginosko certainly is.
    2. ginosko itself doesn’t convey intimacy strictly, it is actually more often used to simply indicate knowledge (cf Matt 21:45, Mark 4:11, Heb 13:23, etc). It can convey friendship or love, but doesn’t necessarily.

    @The use of foreknowledge in the NT is never referring to actions, but always about the persons themselves.

    The use of proginosko in general denotes simply, “prior knowledge.” This is fairly indisputable for 2 Peter 3:17 (and possibly Acts 26:5), which refer to factual knowledge. There’s no viable reason to think that the context of election alters it.

    @We can see thus far two inferences that are holding up arminianism. Not only an wishful interpretation of the word “know” but also a wishful understanding of the value of faith.

    As we’ve seen above, ginosko is used for many other things besides intimacy or love, anyone who’s studied biblical Greek for any substantial length of time knows that; and to my point of the value of faith, you’ve already admitted, ‘I understand that faith is not of such value to “merit salvation”’, so now you’re just contradicting yourself.

    @until I realize that one was based on the clear teaching of Scripture and the other rightfully rejected in 1619 as serious error.

    There’s your problem: you trust human authorities and corrupt, worldly councils rather than the counsel of scripture.

    @it is unfortunate that you have so little fear of God in your heart, especially considering how weak and sinful we creatures are.

    You are clearly lying here, as you haven’t produced one iota of evidence that I don’t fear God, and I know for a fact that you are making an unrighteous judgment of me (in violation of Christ’s command in John 7:24). Furthermore, you speak of Arminian doctrine in the most insulting and belittling terms (far worse than anything I’ve said of Calvinism). If you are likewise fallible and capable of error, then your accusing me falsely because you think I need to tread more carefully is not only dishonest, but hypocritical.

    The issue here is God’s impartiality in relation to election; though I’ll also allow an answer to my question “If Christ died before I was born, and His blood saved me in and of itself with no conditions on my part, was I saved, forgiven, and no longer under God’s wrath before I believed?” Any further off-topic nonsense from you will likely be deleted.

  17. @SBG (a very boastworhy nickname, indeed)

    Well, I think that a just Judge would not punish the same sin twice.

    Why? And if God wants to punish you 8000 times? Can you say that decision is not just? This is all deserved to you.
    Calvinism, and voluntaristic beliefs in general, has no meaningful sense of justice. The statement that God has planned every evil act, including murder, rape, wars etc. is only the tip of iceberg…

    Also, it has to do with the way I see the atonement as actually being effective. For example:
    Christ taking away sin / absorbing wrath —> no more wrath & no more guilt for sin
    But you says: Christ takes away sin / absorbs wrath —-> potentially there is no more wrath & potentially there may not be sin

    The benefits of Atonement are applied by faith. Can you be saved apart your faith? What saves you, the blood or faith?

    As for your comments about the Synod. I’m sorry that you seem to equate being calvinists with untrustworthy. But you also make many inferences. I figured they were people who loved God’s word.
    No, they aren’t. Or, killing your opponents is godly?

    Further it was not a quick decision 155+ meetings and over six months, line-by-line through the Scriptures.
    Erroneous again. The Remonstrants were permitted to talk only some sections later, and they are expulsed a few sessions later. No Remonstrant was present on the day of ‘guilty sentence’. They are treated like sick dogs even from the beginning.

    Even the Spanish Inquisition was cleaner and honest than its kangarro court, hahaha!

    But on the other hand, “if we walk in the light…” The remonstrants walked in darkness for 20 years, disturbing the churches, and fighting against actually coming and just talking about the differences.

    Just a really big fat lie from your keyboard. Even because Calvinistic belief was before the Synergistic belief (the Church Fathers were essencially synergistic).

    They should have come into the light, and did battle with the light. Instead of hiding in darkness and making the whole process so difficult.

    Why do you not make the same thing? Using lies, a frauded man-made Synod and the same rhetorical devices… I just return the same words for you.

  18. In your view God gave everyone the same exact grace

    It is very, VERY! far from the truth. God is not obliged to give the same grace to everyone. Can you cite some Arminian writing about this issue? I do not know any single name…

    Well, your two years of wrestling are really utterly useless…

  19. I repeat SBG, until you can stay on topic, your comments aren’t welcome.

  20. A just judge would not punish the same crime multiple times, let alone 8000 times. Even in our lower courtrooms, here on earth, we understand this concept. We understand our concept of justice because we are made in God’s image.
    Why?

    Why it is not just to punish someone 8000 times?

    Why the unconditional election is ‘just’ and the ‘conditional election’ is not?
    Why to punsih someone to a eternal lake of fire even before the foundation of the world, is just?
    What is the ‘justice we can understand because we are made in God’s image’?
    Explain to me the ‘divine justice parameters’…

    as for the shot about God ordering evil. I would only say that I think it is far better that God knew all the evil and ordered it for good, with a purpose. Over and against the idea that evil just happens out of God’s control, and without a purpose.

    Narrowing: God really orders all or some sinful actions? God is the utter origin of sin?
    If your son raped your daughter, it were a God-made, unconditionally, irrevocable, certain and necessary decree?

    I understand that Christ’s work is applied by faith. But is this application by faith procured by the effective work of Christ?Or, is Christ’s work only effective if we add our faith?

    Again: we do not add faith to the work of Christ. The work of Christ was made – your 33 years of life was just to obey the Father. There is no faith to be added.

    Faith is just the CONDITION to receive the imputed justice – and not a WORK to be put on the blood of Jesus The Christ.

    Is God obliged to save any faithful person?

    That is the difference. So yes, the blood saves me.
    If God applies to you the blood. Else, nothing will happen…

    Again, God is obligated to save the faithfuil?

    My faith was the product of the cross, not a product of my ability to understand the gospel and see my need for it.

    Can you prove it? I think not… And, if the ability to understand and consent to the Good Spell does not save (and ‘the faith is by hearing, and the hearing by the Word’), why to evangelize?

    As for fact that one of the Remonstrants were beheaded as a heretic, and some others thrown in prison. It would be an error to not consider this in historical context. I know we live in a post-modern age where we are overly tolerant. They thought of the murder of souls as just as bad as the murder of people. And that’s what heresy is.

    And if I say to you Calvinism is just a new Christian Gnosticism? Because the same arguments used by the Calvinists were used for the Gnostics from the 1st Century…

    I would also think that the Remonstrants holding out for 20 years, refusing to come to the light, while at the same time disturbing the churches, and misleading many, would be part of the reason they took this action on their leader.

    This is not sufficient reason to the lies perpetrated for the Synod. Twenty years in the darkness? Disturbing churches? Can you give to me some primary documentation about this historical incident, or it is just another big fat lie form your keyboard?

    And you are again posting the same big fat lies… And, even: what is your ‘sola scriptura’, man?? The Synod is your Bible, now?

    Again: even the Spanish Inquisition was more just…

    In your last post you said that God is not obliged to give everyone the same grace. Ok, He is not obligated, but is that what He decided to do? Is that not a fundamental principle of Arminianism? That God has given to all people the equal opportunity to accept or reject?

    This is the over-master proof that you do not understand anything about Arminianism. God has not given the same equal opportunity to accept or reject. Except if you redefine ‘equal opportunity’…

    Again, your two years of wrestling are very, really, utterly useless.

    This is the only thing that I want to find out from you:
    Does God know all people’s eternal destiny?

    By definition of omniscience, yes.

    And is that destiny unchangeable?
    What you want to say with it?

    Does He already know all who will accept Christ and all who will reject Him to the eternal ruin?
    By definition of omniscience, yes.

  21. This post is a failed attempt to show that arminianism is not a system that has God favoring those who 1) where smart enough to figure out the gospel, or 2) spiritually sensitive enough to see their sin and guilt, or 3) inclined toward piety.

    You argument is weak as water and you are unable to remain consistent when pressed.

  22. This post is a failed attempt to show that arminianism is not a system that has God favoring those who 1) where smart enough to figure out the gospel, or 2) spiritually sensitive enough to see their sin and guilt, or 3) inclined toward piety.
    Your comment is a failed attempt to show that Arminianism is false because Determinism was already supposed to be true. Very bad indeed…

    Also, there are very few people smart enough to figure out the gospel – Atheist Philosophers?; spiritually sensitive to see their sin and guilt – murders and rapers and psychoes?; inclined toward piety – Watergate?

    You argument is weak as water and you are unable to remain consistent when pressed.
    Mirroring the argument. It is very effective! And water is very strong, doesn’t you know?

  23. ??

    You’re comments about my assertion are logically incoherent.

    ??

  24. SBG,

    Simply making bald assertions and childish trash-talk won’t prove your charges. Your objection has already been thoroughly answered, quoting the post above:

    “If a judge discerns from the evidence that a man is innocent, and declares him “not guilty,” is he showing favoritism because of the man’s “good sense not to commit the crime?” Not at all, his judgment is based upon action, not character. Whether the man is smart, stupid, sensible, foolish, etc, is irrelevant. A just and impartial verdict is based upon the objective criteria of his actions.”

    God is not showing favor to anyone based upon personal characteristics, but upon the objective criteria of whether they believed or not. Hence you your ‘smart/sensitive/inclined’ charges are likewise irrelevant.

  25. You analogy used to prove why your view has God not being partial is based on a fallacious argument. You are using an analogy that is based on the negation of activity, to represent at truth that is based on a positive action.

    You would have to create an analogy where the judge makes a decision about the person / criminal / whoever based on something that the person DID do (a positive activity). This is opposed to an analogy in which the judgement is made based on a what a person DID NOT do (a negative activity). You have used a fallacy of false analogy to support your conclusion, which I (an no other logical person) should accept. But even given this fallacy, the person would still have grounds to boast because of what he has not done (i.e., 1. the person was less resistant, 2. the person was less sinful, or 3. the person was more pliable than the others). But even if it still fail the test… it would still be reasoning based on false analogy.

    Here is the truth that you are trying to represent:

    God looks down the corridors of time and determines to set electing grace upon all people who DO requirement X (a positive action).

    Therefore, a logical analogy would have to involve a positive action to represent the positive action in the truth being represented. For example:

    A judge at a science fair. He looks at all the projects and, since he is feeling gracious that day, determines to give a prize to all who DO requirement Y (a positive action).

    When we compare those people who received the prize to those who did not, we see that it was because of their own personal wherewithal and ability that deemed them acceptable.

    I do find it ironic that you titled this post under the heading “Fallacies of Calvinist…” And then you yourself commit a fallacy, and not only that, then try to further support yourself with a fallacy that you could not perceive.

  26. SBG,

    @You are using an analogy that is based on the negation of activity, to represent at truth that is based on a positive action.

    Which doesn’t affect its validity in the least. The example also works in cases of positive action, one such example I even gave in the post itself:

    By that token, conditional election would be akin to the judge offering both men an opportunity for acquittal: say he offers that if one or both of them will sign a pledge of loyalty and service to their rightful ruler that apologizes for and renounces their evil acts, then the judge will show undeserved leniency to whoever signs it. One signs it and goes free, the other does not and is condemned. Was the judge showing favoritism in giving a different verdict? Not at all. The conditions were laid out; he judged them worthy of condemnation by the same standard to both, and showed undeserved leniency (or not) based upon the same objective (yet non-meritorious) condition to both. This is likewise analogous to how election is conditional per the Arminian view, and plainly demonstrates that God shows no respect of persons, but rather shows leniency based upon the objective standard of faith in Christ.

    If you’d to consider more carefully what you’re responding to, you’d find that your objection is quite hollow and superficial, having been already defeated before you even raised it.

    @the person would still have grounds to boast because of what he has not done

    The issue isn’t boasting, but partiality. Further comments that confuse the issue will be removed.

    @When we compare those people who received the prize to those who did not, we see that it was because of their own personal wherewithal and ability that deemed them acceptable.

    In the case of belief, both those who accept the gospel message and those who reject it have the wherewithal and ability, it’s therefore not those things in and of themselves that are criteria for election, so your objection again entirely misses the mark.

    @I do find it ironic that you titled this post under the heading “Fallacies of Calvinist…” And then you yourself commit a fallacy

    In light of the example quoted above, I defy you to prove exactly what fallacy I’m committing.

    I removed your last post because it is entirely irrelevant to the topic, and contains several dishonest statements such as “you have erased all the posts that left you uncomfortably exposed” (I removed those that were off-topic exactly as I told you I would, as well as your comments that made dishonest assertions), and “You do not come to talk, about difference, but rather to revel in your error” (this is yet another of your false motive judgments, and why I started removing your posts in the first place). This is a warning: one more lie from you and you won’t be welcome to comment on my posts at all.

  27. You say that faith is just like signing a pledge to loyalty and service, & non-meritorious. Anyone can do it, although they will have to have been drawn by God first.

    I’m saying, and I think SBD is getting at: what drives a person to sign that pledge? You shove aside comments of being “smart/sensitive/inclined”.

    Yet, how would a person who loves their sin, sign that pledge to give up their love?

    How would a person be so changed of heart to commit their lives to God in this way?

    Can anyone just suddenly make such a life changing decision out of no where?

  28. Nathan,

    @what drives a person to sign that pledge? … Can anyone just suddenly make such a life changing decision out of no where?

    Are you familiar with the doctrine of prevenient grace? I put up an article on the subject some time back.

  29. Nathan,
    Granted that the role of the Spirit is to convince men of sin and judgment, and that the sinner may consider what the Spirit says, and THUS an unbliever’s decision doesn’t come out of nowhere. Still, unless a man ultimately creates any and every of his decisions ex nihilio (out of nothing, i.e., without prior cause or necessity) then “he” would merely be an extension of the Divine Mind.

    In other words, although God gives us the ABILITY to choose, he never gives us WHAT to choose. He creates the Form, but we the content. Again, if He did the latter, “we” would merely be an extension of the Divine Mind.

  30. Nathan,

    JC answered your question simply directly (along with directing you to further explanation)– prevenient grace. But you answered it yourself when you said, “Anyone can do it, although they will have to have been drawn by God first.” The drawing of God.

  31. JCT,

    Nice post. I especially like the analogies under “Sanity Check”. It still baffles me why Calvinists like SBG think grace isn’t grace unless it is irresistible, or why a gift isn’t really a gift unless it is impossible to reject. That is so far removed from those words’ basic meaning and normal usage. Again, Calvinists need to change the basic meaning of words in order to argue for their philosophical system. BTW, did SBG ever make any real attempt to answer your question on eternal justification? His arguments logically demand eternal justification as you pointed out and I would love to know if he is willing to own the doctrine of eternal justification as a result. He only has two choices: admit his argument is fallacious, or hold to eternal justification and reject justification by faith. No wonder he wants to quickly deflect and get off topic. Here is a good post that further addresses that lame Calvinist argument and its seriously problematic theological implications: https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2009/07/15/karate-expert-dan-phillips-gets-body-slammed-on-1-john-22/

    Calvinists really lead with their chin on that one.

  32. KD,

    When in response to his claims that Christ’s death was “effective to save in and of itself,” I asked the question, “If Christ died before I was born, and His blood saved me in and of itself with no conditions on my part, was I saved, forgiven, and no longer under God’s wrath before I believed?”

    SBG gave a reply [removed because much of it went off-topic] that included:

    You are right. We are justified by faith. I believe that. But you are failing to make a distinction between the decree of God and the working our of that decree. God has decreed to save people through the cross. Christ really does take away sin, He does release us from sin, but this is applied in time. God works out the decree of salvation through the effective work of Christ, in time. It does not become effective in time (as you would say), but rather is simply applied in time. The application of the effective work in time, is not the same as your view of the work becoming effective in time. In regards to you question. I would say, your question fails to comprehend this.

    This was apparently built upon his previous [and unsupported] assertion that the atonement itself causes people to believe. But even if that were granted, the glaring error in his argument is that he’s conflating the act of the person believing with the atonement. No matter how you slice it, whether you’re Calvinist or Arminian, it’s people themselves who must believe prior to obtaining forgiveness through Christ’s sacrifice. If people must believe before being saved, and our personally believing isn’t an intrinsic component of Christ’s death, then Christ’s death in and of itself (that is, apart from our believing) doesn’t save. Were that true, then all of the elect would have been justified from the instant He was offered up (or from eternity) apart from their necessarily believing anything. It is by grace through faith, as you’ve pointed out to him before.

  33. I realize this article was posted several months back, however I just ran across it, and I would like to point out something that I find very ironic.

    SBG states,

    ??
    You’re comments about my assertion are logically incoherent.
    ??

    J.C. Thibodaux, responds,

    Simply making bald assertions and childish trash-talk won’t prove your charges.

    Now I agree that, just because SBG makes this statement does not in any way make it so. In other words, your comments may be completely coherent, and logical. With this being said, I would like to remind you of a conversation, you and I had a while back, where I was making the same argument you are attempting to make to SBG. I stated,

    I believe you have said, God enables us to believe, but we do the believing. This statement seems to me to be completely self defeating. Surely, God enables us to believe, and we do the believing, but we believe, because God is enabling us

    I believe this statement is completely coherent, in fact I have shared it with a number of friends and family, and they all completely understand what I was communicating, however your comment was,

    I’m sorry Jack, but your statement here is completely incoherent.

    In the end you state,

    You’re simply imposing unbiblical concepts onto the text, as I’ve repeatedly demonstrated.

    If you will recall my response back to you was,

    Now to J.C. I do not see how your accusation, that someones point of view, has no logical or scriptural support whatsoever, is beneficial to the conversation. I believe we have both cited scripture, and have come to completely different understandings, and I could make the same argument, in other words I could say your point has no logical or scriptural support. However even if I were to believe this, I do not see how saying this would be beneficial. Said differently, just because I were to say this would not make it so. This type of comment will only kill what might have otherwise have been a beneficial conversation for all. It seems to me this was the intent, to kill the conversation.

    Your response was,

    Jack, you can’t rightly raise the same accusastion because it wouldn’t comport with facts. So far you’ve presented absolutely no evidence for your “Mosaic law/human effort” conflation, which is a far cry from my demonstrating who Hagar/Esau represent from the passages’ contexts (the former being explicitly identified).

    My point here is that, it seems ironic that when SBG makes the comment,

    You’re comments about my assertion are logically incoherent.

    You can rightly see that,

    Simply making bald assertions and childish trash-talk won’t prove your charges.

    However, you can make the same argument as SBG, and we are to bow to your all knowing feet. I would also like to point out that it seems to me that the only one you have DEMONSTRATED anything to is your own SELF.

  34. Jack,

    @I believe this statement is completely coherent

    Believe what you like, it’s still incoherent to argue that holding the concepts-

    1. God enables us to believe, and,
    2. We believe

    -is self-defeating. There’s no discernible contradiction between those two ideas. If you think there is one, then please explain it.

    @you can make the same argument as SBG

    I’m not quite sure I understand what “same argument” we both supposedly made.

    @ I would also like to point out that it seems to me that the only one you have DEMONSTRATED anything to is your own SELF.

    Seriously, I have no idea what you’re going on about at this point.

  35. @ Believe what you like, it’s still incoherent to argue that holding the concepts-
    1. God enables us to believe, and,
    2. We believe
    -is self-defeating. There’s no discernible contradiction between those two ideas. If you think there is one, then please explain it.

    I will certainly attempt to explain. It seems evident to me that, we believe, only because God enables us. Therefore God is the reason for our believing. If God did not enable us to believe, it would be impossible for us to do so.There is nothing we can do to force God to enable us. With this being the case then, this means we are totally dependent on God for our belief,

    Now the only way I see around this is to say, that God enables all humankind to believe. Some use this enabling to believe, while others reject this enabling. However, my response a few months back was,

    I would also ask, what of those who never hear the Gospel?

    to which you responded,

    @You’ll have to be more specific.

    I do not see what I have to be more specific about, however I will attempt. Certainly you understand, there are those who, live and die and never hear the Gospel message, If this is the case, then how is God enabling them to believe? Who chose for them not to hear the Gospel? Did they choose there place of birth? Did they choose their parents? How can they be born again, without the Gospel?

    With all this being said, it seems overwhelmingly evident that, our believing is totally and completely dependent on God.

    @you can make the same argument as SBG

    @I’m not quite sure I understand what “same argument” we both supposedly made

    Okay, I see where this could be my fault. It is not that you are making the same argument as SBG, rather it is that you are making the same argument I attempted to make a few months back. SBG states,.

    @You’re comments about my assertion are logically incoherent.

    To which you rightly commented.

    @ Simply making bald assertions and childish trash-talk won’t prove your charges.

    Now if you will go back to my above post I think you will see that it is clear, that you are making the same argument, I attempted to make a few months back, In other words, just because SBG says your statements are incoherent, does not make it so, as you have rightly pointed out. In the same way, just because you say,

    @ I’m sorry Jack, but your statement here is completely incoherent.

    Also does not make it so, and just because you say,

    @ You’re simply imposing unbiblical concepts onto the text, as I’ve repeatedly demonstrated.

    Does not make it so. My point here is that, it seems ironic that you can point these things out to someone like SBG. However you can make the same type of statements, and we are to just, bow to your all knowing feet. I hope this answers why I stated,

    I would also like to point out that it seems to me that the only one you have DEMONSTRATED anything to is your own SELF.

  36. Jack,

    @It seems evident to me that, we believe, only because God enables us.

    No, belief requires both God enabling us and our willingly embracing faith in Christ. That’s a logical AND condition. Both are required.

    @Therefore God is the reason for our believing.

    God being a cause doesn’t amount to God being the sole cause.

    @If God did not enable us to believe, it would be impossible for us to do so.

    Yes, that is true.

    @There is nothing we can do to force God to enable us.

    Agreed.

    @With this being the case then, this means we are totally dependent on God for our belief,

    Dependence does not equate to God’s grace being the sole cause of our believing.

    @the only way I see around this is to say, that God enables all humankind to believe.

    That doesn’t follow. All men being enabled to believe or not has nothing to do with whether our belief is divinely necessary or partially contingent upon us.

    @how is God enabling them to believe? Who chose for them not to hear the Gospel?

    I made no argument on this either way.

    @it seems overwhelmingly evident that, our believing is totally and completely dependent on God.

    Not at all. Your logic is very confusing; so far you appear to be arguing something like,

    P1 Man cannot believe unless God enables him
    P2 God does not enable all men
    C Therefore God is the sole and sufficient cause of man’s belief

    This is clearly a non-sequitur, since God enabling someone means that he can believe, not that he necessarily must believe. And whether God enables all men or not tells us nothing about whether those who are enabled are free to accept or reject His grace.

    @just because you say,
    “I’m sorry Jack, but your statement here is completely incoherent.”
    Also does not make it so, and just because you say,
    “You’re simply imposing unbiblical concepts onto the text, as I’ve repeatedly demonstrated.”
    Does not make it so.

    What I said was true because that’s what evidence dictates. As can be seen above, your reasoning is unsound, so it’s correct to say that your statement is incoherent. The force of my statements is from facts, not my say-so.

    @I would also like to point out that it seems to me that the only one you have DEMONSTRATED anything to is your own SELF.

    Don’t assume that because you aren’t following the logic that no one else can.

  37. @ What I said was true because that’s what evidence dictates. As can be seen above, your reasoning is unsound, so it’s correct to say that your statement is incoherent. The force of my statements is from facts, not my say-so.

    The force of your statement is from the facts as you interpret them. As I stated above,

    I believe this statement is completely coherent, in fact I have shared it with a number of friends and family, and they all completely understand what I was communicating,

    Not only did they understand it, they also were able to expound on it. Therefore it seems to me that you should take some of your own advice and,

    @Don’t assume that because you aren’t following the logic that no one else can.

    This has been my point here all along, and that is, just because you are not following the logic, does not mean that what is being said is incoherent. In fact here on this sight, I made this comment in earnest to someone,

    I have read your last post here, along with at least one other, with a dictionary by my side, and I still cannot completely grasp exactly what you are saying. Now I understand, this is not your fault, you seem to be on a far higher intelligence level than myself.

    This should demonstrate that, I do not assume that just because I cannot follow the logic, that I believe what is being said is incoherent. My first assumption is always that, it must be my failure to understand. This is why I would never tell someone that, what you are saying is incoherent, rather I may say, I am having trouble following, could you please explain further? However you seem to be so confident in yourself that, you, assume that because you aren’t following the logic that no one else can.

    Now I have understood everything you have said fully, the problem is that I do not agree as of yet. I find it hard to believe that you have not understood my comments. This is why I cannot help but believe that, your commenting, “what I have said is incoherent,” is simply a tactic to avoid dealing with the issue.

    At any rate allow me to please ask this question. Do you believe there are those that live and die without ever hearing the Gospel?

  38. Jack,

    @I believe this statement is completely coherent

    That doesn’t make it so. The onus is on you to demonstrate its validity, which you’ve so far failed to do. Express it with a valid syllogism or something if you think it will make a coherent argument.

    @in fact I have shared it with a number of friends and family, and they all completely understand what I was communicating

    It’s irrelevant how many people have fallen for your mistake -it’s still a mistake.

    @However you seem to be so confident in yourself that, you, assume that because you aren’t following the logic that no one else can.

    You’re mistaken. I follow what you’re saying, which is why I’m absolutely positive that it’s utter nonsense.

    The idea that “God enables one to believe” is not the same thing as saying, “God is the sole determining agent in whether one believes.” Such an equivocation defies the very definition of “enables.”

    To put it in perspective with a similar example (using necessary components analogously to necessary conditions), table salt is composed of the elements sodium and chlorine. To argue “table salt can’t exist without sodium, therefore it’s wrong to say that chlorine is needed to make table salt” is absurd. One necessary component existing for table salt (sodium) doesn’t preclude another necessary component (chlorine). Likewise, one necessary condition to believing (enablement by God) doesn’t preclude another necessary condition (our freely believing).

    To quote your assertion verbatim: “I believe you have said, God enables us to believe, but we do the believing. This statement seems to me to be completely self defeating.”

    You’re using the same sort of logic as the flawed sodium-only argument above, “one cannot believe apart from God enabling him, therefore it’s wrong to say that man freely believes.”

    If there’s something deeper that you haven’t expressed here, then please share. But as you’ve stated it, your argument is outright silly.

    @The force of your statement is from the facts as you interpret them.

    No, it’s objectively true that your argument doesn’t follow. Make a better argument, or drop it.

  39. JCT,

    You are just going to find yourself spinning your wheels with Jack. We already had this conversation here: https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/does-jesus-teach-unconditional-eternal-security-in-john-1027-29/#comment-7511

    It gets into the same problem starting here: https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/does-jesus-teach-unconditional-eternal-security-in-john-1027-29/#comment-7522

    The other issue he brings up (whether all receive this enablement) is a separate question, but as you point out, it is irrelevant to his enablement equals causation argument.

  40. I want to respond again to JCT however, I will not here because of time restraints. Therefore please allow me to respond to Dort.

    I find it strange that you feel the need to give JCT this information in this format. I could be wrong, however I would think you have other avenues of communication with JCT, other than here, such as phone, personal e-mail. or even face to face. If this is the case it seems rather odd that you would choose to do so here. I could also be wrong about this, but I can only think of 2 reasons.

    1. You are doing it for my benefit, and or the audience. If it is only for the benefit of JCT (and by the way he is the only one you have addressed here) then why do it in this format? I would also asked JCT, and anyone else that may go to the links you have provided, to read the whole of the conversation.

    2. You are entering into this conversation, (that up to this point you have not been a part of), in order to shore up, help, and or defend JCT. If this is not the case, then please explain why you have addressed JCT, with this type of information, here in this format. As I have said in the past, it seems to be a tactic to divert the conversation, so that someone feels the need to defend themselves, instead of sticking to the issues.

    I have also said in the past, I would think you have the ability to keep me from posting on this site. Therefore if you do not believe my comments are beneficial, then please feel free to do so, I will not be offended in any way. You can also ignore anything I say, and again no offense will be taken.

    I would think that you have this site in order to serve all who may be interested. I would also think you have provided this format for response, to all who may be interested, and I am very thankful for this. Now I realize that there may be some that abuse this privilege, and you should step in at that point. If you believe I have been guilty then by all means step in. On the other hand if you believe my comments are incoherent, off topic or insane, it would seem that you could just ignore, and it would be self evident to all.

  41. KD, thanks for the heads-up.

    Jack, to put it more simply, my position is,

    1. God enables us to believe
    2. We may freely believe (because we are now enabled to) or refuse to believe (because enablement is not compulsion)

    Now explain clearly *WHY* these two ideas are in conflict.

    To help you along, the concept is very much akin to the example of a person who can’t afford to pay for college. A wealthy benefactor providing him a scholarship would enable him to go to college (in fact, it would be absolutely necessary if he’s going to attend). But being provided with a scholarship only enables him to attend, it does not guarantee that he’ll even enroll.

    * Enablement being necessary does not preclude free choice. The would-be student being provided a scholarship tells us nothing about whether he’ll actually attend.

    * How many people are enabled has absolutely nothing to do with what one who is enabled can or can’t do. How many other people are offered a scholarship doesn’t tell us anything about whether the one who is given a scholarship will or won’t attend.

    * How many of your family/friends believe that scholarships somehow compel people to attend college is irrelevant.

    So explain please, how does someone being given a scholarship (enabled) amounts to him necessarily attending (doing what he was enabled to do)? Then maybe I’ll understand your reasoning better.

  42. Jack,

    You really need to stop trying to be the moral police around here. If you will look back at many of our conversations, you will find that you have often unfairly attacked me and my dealings with others. You do this while ignoring even worse attacks from those I am dealing with. This I have documented and you have ignored. The only reason I can see for this is that they are Calvinists, and so it is OK for them, but out of line for me. That may be wrong, but if you can make assumptions concerning my motives, I see no reason why I shouldn’t return the favor. If you have a point to make regarding any particular post, then make it. If your only goal is to troll our comments and look for opportunities to point out what you perceive to be hypocrisy, then please go elsewhere. Conversations with you are frustrating for many reasons that have been illustrated and documented before in several threads (and is being illustrated again here and now). I want to save JC that frustration, as it was becoming clear that his discussion was going down the same path. Sorry if that bothered you. It really wasn’t about you at all.

    As far as how I run my site, you say I have the right to do a variety of things. You are right about that. If that is the case, then why the need to write an entire post criticizing the way I am running my site, commenting on your conversation, etc? If it is true that I can respond as I wish, then why the need to make a show of it and express your displeasure and disapproval of how I am running it? Why the need to question my motives? Is it for the sake of the audience, etc.? As has seemed to so often be the case, you don’t seem to even realize the double standard you employ. You don’t seem to like it when I reference other posts and conversations, yet that is exactly what you began your conversation here with (and now again you reference our discussion where you said I was purposely diverting attention for some sinister reason), which was plainly shown to be false in the discussion linked to above. So again, the double standard is very evident.

    So you can give one sided criticisms of our conversations with others, reference other conversations as a spring board to point out perceived hypocrisy, question our motives, and generally complain about how I run my site and deal with your questions, but we cannot comment on your tactics without being scolded by you as somehow out of line? Why should that be exactly?

  43. First, let me say that I certainly understand that conversing with me is frustrating. We have talked about this issue in the past and I gave solutions at that time, so then I will not repeat them here. I would like you to know that it has been very frustrating at times for me as well, however even though it has been frustrating, it also has been extremely beneficial for me. Such is the case here, in this particular conversation.

    I have taken a few days to sort this though in my mind, I have looked back over this conversation as well as others I have been involved in. After doing so, I can clearly see my error. You are right to point out that I have missed defined the word enable. This word simply means God has now made it possible for us to believe. Therefore you would be right to say,

    God enables us to believe, but we do the believing.

    And it would be absolutely incorrect for me to add.

    but we believe, because God is enabling us

    This is an incorrect statement in that I have assumed, God’s enabling is the cause of our belief, I see now that it is not in any way the cause, Therefore, this would seemed to indicate to me as well that God is not in any way the cause of our belief, rather He would simply be the cause of our enablement. I believe this is dort’s point above, referring to me, when he states,

    it is irrelevant to his enablement equals causation argument.

    It seems he is saying here that enablement does not equal causation.

    Your analogy of the college scholarship above is extremely similar to the one I used weeks ago on a different thread, in which I stated,

    I have went to a private christian school in our area and ensured that they would accept my son. Once I was assured of this, I paid his tuition completely in full. I then went to my son and informed him of what I had done. Therefore I told him, that at this point, where he went to school was now totally dependent on him.

    As with your analogy, in this one, I am in no way the cause of my son attending this school, rather I am simply the cause of his enablement.

    JCT, I have looked back through a lot of your comments here, and on another thread and you seem to be careful not to say that, God is not the cause of belief, however above you say,

    How many of your family/friends believe that scholarships somehow compel people to attend college is irrelevant.

    Here you use the word compel, I take it take you mean here that God’s enabling does not compel. However a synonym for compel is cause. With this being the case, I believe there may be a problem with one of your statements above, which is,

    Dependence does not equate to God’s grace being the sole cause of our believing.

    It would seem you need to remove the word sole here, because God’s grace does not cause belief in any way, rather it simply makes it possible. The sentence then should therefore read,

    Dependence does not equate to God’s grace being the cause of our believing.

    Now if this is your position, then fine. I believe this is where the Arminian road leads, in other words God is not the cause of our belief, rather He is simply the cause of making belief possible.

    I have pointed out to Dort on another thread that, in his conversations with Michael Horton, Roger Olson said,

    “If God is a loving God He would make it possible for people to be saved, and not irresistibly or effectually draw them, and leave others out. So it must be up to us ultimately, if God is love.”

    I want to point out here, that Olson is saying, if God is love He would simply make our salvation possible, the rest of what he says here equates to, if God is love He would not CAUSE some to be saved and leave others out. He ends by saying that, it is ultimately, up to us.

    My point here is, it seems to me that, you either end up with God being the cause of belief, (which is the position of Calvinism) or as Olson has stated, God simply causes belief to be possible, the rest is ultimately up to us. Now please do not use the initial and secondary cause argument here, because as I have said God only causes the possibility, as you say he does not compel, and or cause our belief.

    I would also like to point out that this will be the fourth time I have asked this question. What of those that live and die and never hear the Gospel?

  44. I have seen where I have made at least one typo sorry this sentence should read

    Here you use the word compel, I take it THAT you mean here that God’s enabling does not compel.

  45. Jack,

    @However a synonym for compel is cause.

    It’s not a strict synonym. There are different types of causation: all compulsion is causing, not all causing is compulsion.

    @It would seem you need to remove the word sole here, because God’s grace does not cause belief in any way, rather it simply makes it possible.

    Not quite, there is some such thing as a contributing or necessary cause. One who enables a thing that later occurs has acted as a contributing cause to it. So per my view, it’s not correct to say that God’s enabling is the sole or sufficient cause (a “sufficient cause” by itself guarantees a result) of one’s faith, but being essential, is definitely a necessary cause.

    @What of those that live and die and never hear the Gospel?

    Again, that has nothing to do with this issue, so I’ve declined to comment on it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: