An Arminian Response to C. Michael Patton’s “The Irrationality of Calvinism” Part 2: Theological Imprecision and Misrepresentations

See Part 1: The Set Up

Part 2: Theological Imprecision and Misrepresentations

 Patton:  However, I think we need take a step back and see that while the shoe fits when it comes to some particular issues in Calvinism these accusations are far from forming the bedrock of the primary issues in Calvinism. You see, one of the many reasons I am a Calvinist has to do with the tension that is allowed within the Calvinistic system that is not allowed in other systems.

The central core of Calvinism primarily centers on one doctrine: predestination. While the sovereignty of God has its place, it does not ultimately determine where one lands.

This is highly debatable among Calvinists.  This may be Mr. Patton’s opinion, but I think that he is probably in the minority.  Sovereignty (defined as God’s exhaustive control over everything) is what leads to the Calvinist understanding of predestination in many Calvinist’s minds.  However, it is true that the Calvinist view of predestination can lead back to such a view of sovereignty, but it does not demand it.  Unconditional election and predestination can just as easily fit within a system that does not hold that God exhaustively determines all things.  Also, for many Calvinists, “predestination” is essentially synonymous with the doctrine of God’s exhaustive determinism and is not limited only to matters of salvation (like unconditional election and reprobation).  In other words “predestination” simply means that God “predetermines” everything in reality (i.e. exhaustive determinism, the Calvinist version of “Sovereignty).

Patton: An Arminian can believe that God is sovereign to a similar degree as a Calvinist. But an Arminian cannot believe in predestination the same way as Calvinists.

This is a confused statement.  The Arminian view of sovereignty is incompatible with the Calvinist view of sovereignty just as the Arminian view of predestination is incompatible with the Calvinist view of sovereignty.  Mr. Patton’s distinction here is not really accurate.

Patton: Both Calvinists and Arminians believe in predestination.

Just as both Calvinists and Arminians believe in God’s sovereignty (which Mr. Patton happily admits here ), which is why Mr. Patton’s previous comment is awkward and strange.

Patton: In other words, whether or not God predestines people is not the issue. All Bible believing Christians believe this doctrine. The issue has to do with the basis of this predestining.

The Calvinist says that God’s predestination is unconditional. God did not choose people based on any merit, intrinsic or foreseen.

We need to stop right here, as Mr. Patton’s comments wrongly imply that Arminians base “predestination” on “merit”, simply because Arminians hold that predestination (more appropriately, election) is conditional.  Mr. Patton should know this is not the case.  Arminians hold that election is conditioned on faith, and faith holds no merit (Romans 4).  It is also simply an obvious non sequitur to assume that if something is “conditional” it means it is “earned” or “merited”.  This is a common Calvinist mistake and a misrepresentation of Arminian theology that is still perpetuated, despite Calvinists (like Mr. Patton) being continually corrected on the matter.

Also, it must be pointed out that Mr. Patton is conflating election and predestination, as Calvinists often do.  Unfortunately, even Arminius seemed to conflate the two based on his ties with Reformed thinking.  But many (if not most) Arminians today do not see election and predestination as the same thing, because the Bible doesn’t view them as the same thing.  Election has to do with God’s choice of His covenant people to belong to Him and bear His name.  Predestination has to do with God’s predetermined purpose for His covenant people.  Predestination is not about God predestinating some sinners to become believers.  Rather, predestination has to do with God’s eternal purposes for believers (to adoption as sons, to an inheritance, to be conformed to the image of Christ, etc.).  Calvinists, like Mr. Patton, will likely disagree with that important distinction, but it is a distinction that should not be overlooked, especially when trying to compare the Arminian view with the Calvinist view.

Patton: This is called unconditional predestination because there are no conditions in man that need to be met. It does not mean that God did not have any reason for choosing some and not others, but that the reason is not found in us. It is his “secret” and “mysterious” will that elects some and passes over others.

The Arminian says that God’s predestination is conditional. It has a founding in the faith of the predestined. In other words, God looks ahead in time and discovers who will believe and who will not and chooses people based on their prior free-will choice of him.

This is not a very good description of Arminian election.  The Classical view would better be expressed as God’s election of “believers” in Christ.  Jesus is the “elect” and only “in Him” is anyone “elect” (note again Mr. Patton’s conflating of terms).  Arminian election has its “founding” in Christ, not “the faith of the predestined.”  So God foreknows those who are joined to Christ in faith and therefore it can be said that election is “according to foreknowledge.”  It is not so much a foreknowledge of an act of faith, but a foreknowledge of people (“believers”), joined to Christ.  Faith is how one comes to be joined to Christ (Eph. 1:13), but it is the person “as a believer” who is in union with Christ that is the proper Biblical object of foreknowledge, not just the act of faith that joins one to Christ.  God foreknows and elects “believers” because they are joined to Christ (Eph. 1:4).  To be fair, some Arminians have expressed it as Mr. Patton does, but that is not the best way to express it.  It ignores the main focus and purpose of election in Arminianism, an election based on Christ and those who come to be in faith union with Him.

The corporate view is even more robust and even more Biblically accurate in my opinion, but it is not the Classical approach.  The corporate view does not rely on foreknowledge as the Classical view does, either.  Mr. Patton doesn’t even mention the corporate view, so I will not spend time delving into it at this time. [4]

Go to Part 3

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[4] For more on the corporate view of election, which I believe to be the Biblical view, see “Corporate Election Quotes” and “Corporate Election (Resources)

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10 Responses

  1. […] An Arminian Response to C. Michael Patton’s “The Irrationality of Calvinism” Part … […]

  2. Reblogged this on Arminian Today and commented:
    Here is part 2 of an Arminian response to C. Michael Patton’s blog post about Arminianism.

  3. Many Calvinists assume that those who have studied Calvinism and yet reject its core claims simply “do not understand” Calvinism. Or worse: God has not yet “opened our eyes” to see the “truth” of Calvinism.

    Can we, then, make the same claims against those Calvinists who continually misunderstand and misrepresent Arminianism? They simply “do not understand” Arminianism. Or perhaps God has not yet “opened their eyes” to see the “truth” of Arminianism (tongue is still in cheek).

    From Michael Patton to John MacArthur, Mark Driscoll, R.C. Sproul, and J.I. Packer, their constant misrepresentation of Arminianism is leading me to the only conclusion being that they do not understand Arminianism; they do not take the time to carefully understand Arminianism; nor do they care to do so.

  4. My response to this turns out to be what Billy has already stated. Calvinists don’t understand Arminianism, yet dismiss it. Further, many of them think it is semi-Pelagianism.

    I don’t see the situation as God not yet opening their eyes (though this was meant in jest above), just a failure to really come to grips with what is claimed. Some of this may be an unwillingness to learn which is a shame given what Calvinism seems to imply. Though some of this seems to be an inability to see things a different way for the sake of the argument. I read refutations of Arminianism that assumes Calvinism, no surprise with the results. When you assume Calvinism you see much in Scripture that may not even be there, then think this is biblical proof of Calvinism!

    I sometimes think we need you use new words. Replace the word “sovereignty” with “rulership” for example.

  5. After reading the next to the last paragraph, I was totally baffled. It seemed completely confusing at first glance. However after reading it more closely, taking it sentence by sentence, I can now see where the confusion comes in. Lets look at it together sentence by sentence.

    @This is not a very good description of Arminian election.

    Okay, I assume from here you will give us the correct description.

    @The Classical view would better be expressed as God’s election of “believers” in Christ.

    Well, if this is the classical view of Arminianism as you say, then I am in total agreement thus far, and I can not imagine any Calvinist who would disagree.

    @ Jesus is the “elect” and only “in Him” is anyone “elect”

    Again, I am in total agreement.

    @Arminian election has its “founding” in Christ, not “the faith of the predestined.”

    I’m still with you here, as I believe any Calvinist would be.

    @So God foreknows those who are joined to Christ in faith and therefore it can be said that election is “according to foreknowledge

    Still with you.

    @ It is not so much a foreknowledge of an act of faith, but a foreknowledge of people (“believers”), joined to Christ.

    No disagreement here.

    @ Faith is how one comes to be joined to Christ (Eph. 1:13), but it is the person “as a believer” who is in union with Christ that is the proper Biblical object of foreknowledge, not just the act of faith that joins one to Christ.

    Here is where I get a little confused. In the prior sentence you say,

    @ It is not so much a foreknowledge of an act of faith

    In this sentence you state,

    @not just the act of faith that joins one to Christ.

    It would seem then, that the act of faith on our part has something to do with our union with Christ. At any rate I am still thus far in agreement, depending on exactly what you mean here, by our act of faith.

    @God foreknows and elects “believers” because they are joined to Christ

    I totally agree, and cannot think of a reason any Calvinist would disagree.

    @ It ignores the main focus and purpose of election in Arminianism, an election based on Christ and those who come to be in faith union with Him.

    The only problem I may see here is the point, that some Calvinist may say,

    Election is based on Christ period, those who come to be joined in faith union with Christ would be a by product.

    If what you have described here is true Arminianism, then I can only see, what may be a slight difference between Arminianism and Calvinism. However, you and I both know there is a tremendous difference, which is the reason you have this site. Therefore all I can say is “Cmon man,” If this is Arminianism then explain where it differs from Calvinism.

    The difference I see is this. In Calvinism, salvation is ULTIMATELY up to God. In Arminianism salvation is ULTIMATELY up to us.

    BTW; this is the same difference our Arminian brother Olson sees it.

  6. @God foreknows and elects “believers” because they are joined to Christ

    I totally agree, and cannot think of a reason any Calvinist would disagree.

    Then you just don’t understand Calvinism very well. In Calvinism God does not elect “believers’ because they are joined to Christ in faith. Rather, He elects sinners to believe and to be joined to Christ.

    @ It ignores the main focus and purpose of election in Arminianism, an election based on Christ and those who come to be in faith union with Him.

    The only problem I may see here is the point, that some Calvinist may say,

    Election is based on Christ period, those who come to be joined in faith union with Christ would be a by product.

    Election is primarily based on an eternal decree in Calvinism and that decree decides who will be saved through Christ. It determines who will be caused to have faith and who will be caused to be joined to Christ. This was one of Arminius’ main problems with Calvinism. Here is a short discussion of the issue by Arminius, quoted by Robert Picirilli, and followed-up by some brief comments by Picirilli,

    “The decree of God, of which, by Himself, from eternity, He decreed to justify in (or through) Christ, believers, and to accept them unto eternal life, to the praise of His grace….The love with which God loves men absolutely to salvation…has no existence except in Christ….Christ Jesus is here to be considered not only as the foundation on which is based the execution of the decree, but also as the foundation on which the decree itself is based….Since God can love no sinner unto salvation, unless he be reconciled to Himself in Christ, hence it is, that there would be no place for predestination, except in Christ….Christ according to the Apostle is not only the means by which the salvation, already prepared by election, but, so to speak, the meritorious cause, in respect to which the election was made, and on whose account that grace was prepared….God can ‘previously and affectionately regard as His own’ no sinner unless He has foreknown him in Christ, and looked upon him as a believer in Christ”

    He rejected the Calvinistic understanding of election because it was “not that decree by which Christ is appointed by God to be Savior, the Head, and Foundation of those who will be made heirs of salvation” (Various selections from The Writings of James Arminius, Nichols and Bagnall, quoted in Grace, Faith, Free Will, Picirilli, pp. 48-50, 78).

    So Arminius’ view could be summed up as: “Christ (not election per se) is the foundation of the church; salvation is by Christ (not by election, except as election is an expression of God’s love in Christ); the gospel is about Christ (not about God’s decree of election). When God saw man as lost, He said: ‘I will make my Son a mediator and love men in Him.’” (Picirilli, pg. 51)

    Therefore all I can say is “Cmon man,” If this is Arminianism then explain where it differs from Calvinism.

    See above.

    The difference I see is this. In Calvinism, salvation is ULTIMATELY up to God. In Arminianism salvation is ULTIMATELY up to us.

    Well, you are just wrong about that and that has been explained to you many times. Obviously, that is how you are determined to see things, so there is no point discussing it further.

    BTW; this is the same difference our Arminian brother Olson.
    sees it.

    I addressed Olson’ comment with you before. But you make this comment as if nothing was said concerning it. That is exactly what I meant in the other thread when I said,

    “It is a little annoying at times when I have gone over things with you and your further comments often seem to proceed as if nothing has been said at all. That doesn’t mean you need to agree with me, but it is as though you pay no attention to what I write, which does tend to discourage further discussion as it feels like I have wasted my time.”

    God Bless,
    Ben

  7. @ Then you just don’t understand Calvinism very well. In Calvinism God does not elect “believers’ because they are joined to Christ in faith.

    What you have done here is very clever. Lets take a closer look. First you say, what Patton describes, is not a very good description of Arminian election. However, you readily admit that’

    @” To be fair, some Arminians have expressed it as Mr. Patton
    does, but that is not the best way to express it.”

    Notice here how you never say, the other Arminains, or for that matter Patton is wrong. Rather you say, ” that is not the best way to express it.”

    You then go on to give us, what I would assume, you believe is a better description. However, your description of Arminian election is difficult to distinguish from the Calvinist. Example, you say

    @ God foreknows and elects “believers” because they are joined to Christ

    Any Calvinist who reads this sentence, not knowing from whom it came or the intention, could agree. In other words this is one of the reasons for our election, (to be joined to Christ). Now I will have to concede to you the fact that, our being joined to Christ is not the cause of election. However all you have done is cleverly reword what Patton has said.

    The way in which Patton words it, does not sound very good. In other words, it puts the onus of election on us and our faith. So then, to make it sound more appealing, you cleverly change the wording, so as to hide or conceal what Patton has exposed, which is that, in Arminiansim, election is determined by each individual. As I have said, the way in which you word it, a Calvinist, would find it difficult to disagree. But when I call you on this, your true colors come right out. ..

    It seems to me your position is that our being joined to Christ is not a cause of election, as you have rightly pointed out. But what then is the cause? Looking at what you have said, it is difficult to know. Listen to how you dance around the wording,

    @ It is not so much a foreknowledge of an act of faith, but a foreknowledge of people (“believers”), joined to Christ

    What does that mean “NOT SO MUCH”? And what does God foreknow about these people? Does He just know they will be elect? Or does He foreknow they will have faith? In other words, drop the “IT IS NOT SO MUCH” and say whether it is a foreknowledge of an act of faith or not. At any rate you go on to say,

    @ Faith is how one comes to be joined to Christ (Eph. 1:13), but it is the person “as a believer” who is in union with Christ that is the proper Biblical object of foreknowledge, not just the act of faith that joins one to Christ. God foreknows and elects “believers” because they are joined to Christ (Eph. 1:4).

    If faith is how one comes to be joined to Christ, then it is faith that comes first. Saying that it is the PERSON “as a believer” is the same as saying a person who has faith. This certainly seems like saying the same thing differently in an attempt to make it seem as though you’ve actually said something different, because you go on to say that it is,

    @ not just the act of faith that joins one to Christ

    Notice how you use the word JUST. Why not leave this word out? The reason can be found in the very next sentence, You say,

    @God foreknows and elects “believers” because they are joined to Christ

    Notice here how God only foreknows and elects those who are already joined to Christ. How is one joined to Christ? They must be a believer. Who are believers? Those that have faith. Where does this faith come from, God? No, it can’t possibly come from God, because God does not know or elect until faith and union with Christ has taken place.

    The last paragraph you have cited from Patton, (according to you is accurate). However to your displeasure, he does not express in the way you would like. It seems to me, in a way that conceals the fact that in Arminianism, our faith is the deciding factor.

    This is why I continue to bring up the comment by Roger Olson. Olson has gotten extremely upset when I have said that Arminians believe we contribute something to our election. His response was, you are bearing false witness. He went on to say that, just because you assume what someone should believe, because of what they may have said, does not mean you can say they believe something, they say they do not believe. However, he can go on to say that our election and salvation is ultimately up to us, and still hold to the belief that he contributes nothing.

    What Patton has said, is basically the same thing Olson has said, which is that our salvation and election is ultimately up to us. You cannot disagree but you do not like the way in which he has worded it. Therefore you change the wording in such a way as to cover up what Patton has exposed. However in the end you have said nothing at all different than Patton himself. Which is, that in Aminianism our election is ultimately up to us.

    It certainly would be nice if all Arminians would come out as Olson has and plainly say, that as an Arminian I believe salvation and election is ultimately up to us. This would eliminate a lot of confussion and the debate could therefore be over whether election is ultimately up to God (Calvinism) or ultimately up to us (Arminianism).

  8. Jack,

    I regret to inform you that I have pretty much run out of patience with your tactics.

    You write,

    @ Then you just don’t understand Calvinism very well. In Calvinism God does not elect “believers’ because they are joined to Christ in faith.

    What you have done here is very clever. Lets take a closer look. First you say, what Patton describes, is not a very good description of Arminian election. However, you readily admit that’

    As usual, you ignore the point I made and just go on to argue about something else. Do you not see how Calvinism is very different than what I wrote? Did you read what I wrote on that point at all?

    @” To be fair, some Arminians have expressed it as Mr. Patton does, but that is not the best way to express it.”

    Notice here how you never say, the other Arminains, or for that matter Patton is wrong. Rather you say, ” that is not the best way to express it.”

    Yes, I notice that. Notice how often you ignore the things I say and act as if they have not been said at all.

    You then go on to give us, what I would assume, you believe is a better description. However, your description of Arminian election is difficult to distinguish from the Calvinist. Example, you say

    @ God foreknows and elects “believers” because they are joined to Christ

    Any Calvinist who reads this sentence, not knowing from whom it came or the intention, could agree.

    No they couldn’t, as I explained in my last post. You insist that you are not a Calvinist. You often make it rather cleat that you do not understand the fundamentals of Calvinist theology. Yet, you somehow seem very confident about what Calvinist can and cannot agree with. Again, it is like you don’t bother to read what other’s write.

    In other words this is one of the reasons for our election, (to be joined to Christ). Now I will have to concede to you the fact that, our being joined to Christ is not the cause of election. However all you have done is cleverly reword what Patton has said.

    Not at all. I didn’t cleverly reword anything.

    The way in which Patton words it, does not sound very good. In other words, it puts the onus of election on us and our faith. So then, to make it sound more appealing, you cleverly change the wording, so as to hide or conceal what Patton has exposed, which is that, in Arminiansim, election is determined by each individual.

    Wrong again. Either way election is determined by God. God is the one who decides who will be His people. God is the one who decides what the bases of election will be. We determine if we will adhere to God’s requirements for being His people, but that is much different than saying that we determine election. If anyone is trying to be clever and ignore important distinctions and details, it would seem to be you.

    What I was doing was making the point that foreknowledge, with respect to election, is of “people”, not just an “act”. That is why it is better to speak of foreknowledge of “believers” rather than foreknowledge of “faith” (but for me, that doesn’t even matter much as I hold to corporate election which is not an election based on foreknowledge as in Classical Arminianism). God’s foreknows His covenant people because His covenant people are joined to Christ, His divinely chosen covenant Head. The way for us to join God’s people is to trust in Christ as God enables us. That part is up to us. We do determine whether or not “we” will be among God’s covenant people. But we do not determine who God’s covenant people will be, nor do we determine the basis on which God names a people for His own (through faith union with His Son). Election is ultimately up to God, who alone determines who will be His people. Just because God determines that only those who trust in His Son will be His people, does not mean that election is determined by us. But saying such things gives you a perceived rhetorical advantage, because it leaves so much out as if it is unimportant, but it is very important.

    This is similar to how I expressed things in the link I referred you to when you first mentioned Olson’s comments,

    “If faith were monergistic then it would not be the person believing, but God believing for the person. Faith is the genuine human response to God’s call, and the means by which we access His saving grace (Rom. 5:1, 2). It is still God’s grace that saves, but that grace must be received by faith, and the nature of faith is such that it can never be properly called a “work”.

    Does this mean that man is the determiner of salvation and not God? Absolutely not. God has determined that those who believe in His Son shall be saved, and that determination is absolute and unchangeable (Jn. 3:16-18, 36). We simply determine whether or not we will meet the God ordained condition of faith.”

    https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2007/07/25/is-arminian-theology-synergistic/

    As I have said, the way in which you word it, a Calvinist, would find it difficult to disagree.

    And as I have said, that is not the case, despite how much you think you know about Calvinists.

    But when I call you on this, your true colors come right out. ..

    ?????

    It seems to me your position is that our being joined to Christ is not a cause of election, as you have rightly pointed out. But what then is the cause? Looking at what you have said, it is difficult to know.

    Not if you actually pay attention to what has been said to you, rather than trying so hard to find ways to distort those things in order to create some sort of “gottcha” moment.

    Listen to how you dance around the wording,

    @ It is not so much a foreknowledge of an act of faith, but a foreknowledge of people (“believers”), joined to Christ

    What does that mean “NOT SO MUCH”? And what does God foreknow about these people? Does He just know they will be elect? Or does He foreknow they will have faith? In other words, drop the “IT IS NOT SO MUCH” and say whether it is a foreknowledge of an act of faith or not.

    Jack,

    You really need to calm down. I’m sorry if this is hard to understand. Please forgive me if I didn’t explain things to your liking. Look at what I wrote above and see if that helps you. But accusing me of dancing around and my true colors coming out and trying to cleverly conceal what Patton has exposed, and all of that, is just nonsense. If you don’t understand, just say so. I have tried hard to explain these things to you. I am not trying to hide or conceal anything.

    At any rate you go on to say,

    @ Faith is how one comes to be joined to Christ (Eph. 1:13), but it is the person “as a believer” who is in union with Christ that is the proper Biblical object of foreknowledge, not just the act of faith that joins one to Christ. God foreknows and elects “believers” because they are joined to Christ (Eph. 1:4).

    If faith is how one comes to be joined to Christ, then it is faith that comes first. Saying that it is the PERSON “as a believer” is the same as saying a person who has faith. This certainly seems like saying the same thing differently in an attempt to make it seem as though you’ve actually said something different, because you go on to say that it is,

    Well, it is not the same. Calvinists often make the point that God’s foreknowledge is of people, not faith. But Arminians do not say that God’s foreknowledge is not of people, but only of faith. Calvinist will often make an issue of how “yada” in Hebrew can refer to very intimate relational “knowledge” (“love” or “intercourse”, so “foreknowledge” becomes closer to “forelove”), and then try to use that as a reason to reject Arminianism, since Arminianism says this foreknowledge is not of a person but just of faith. But that is not the case at all. As you rightly note, faith is part of who the believer is- a very important part. But a believer is more than just “faith”. A believer is a person enjoying a relationship with Christ, and much more. So when someone like Patton makes it all about “faith”, it is important to make the clarifications I made in this post. That was my intention, not some sinister desire to “conceal” what Patton was supposedly “exposing”. If we are going to discuss these issues we need to be as precise as possible in how we describe things, especially the views of others. Patton’s comments left too much unsaid (just as your trite comments about salvation being ultimately up to us), and I was filling in the gaps.

    @ not just the act of faith that joins one to Christ

    Notice how you use the word JUST. Why not leave this word out?

    Because there is more to it, as I described above.

    The reason can be found in the very next sentence, You say,

    @God foreknows and elects “believers” because they are joined to Christ

    Notice here how God only foreknows and elects those who are already joined to Christ.

    Actually, God foreknows everything at all times. But we are discussing God specifically “foreknowing” the elect, as in “elect according to foreknowledge” (1 Peter 1:2), or as in “those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29). I think you know that, but the last thing we need here is more misunderstandings or lack of precision.

    How is one joined to Christ? They must be a believer. Who are believers? Those that have faith. Where does this faith come from, God? No, it can’t possibly come from God, because God does not know or elect until faith and union with Christ has taken place.

    Nobody ever claimed that God has nothing to do with our faith. Indeed, the opposite has been repeatedly explained to you. Faith is synergistic. That means God plays an important role in our faith. But if you are just trying to say that God does not irresistibly create faith in us, then I agree.

    The last paragraph you have cited from Patton, (according to you is accurate). However to your displeasure, he does not express in the way you would like. It seems to me, in a way that conceals the fact that in Arminianism, our faith is the deciding factor.

    Deciding factor of what? Again, there is need for precision. When important details are left out, misunderstandings take place. You are displaying the same problem that Patton has displayed, and the result is a misrepresentation of Arminianism. So let’s clear things up (even though they have been made clear to you many times).

    This is why I continue to bring up the comment by Roger Olson. Olson has gotten extremely upset when I have said that Arminians believe we contribute something to our election. His response was, you are bearing false witness.

    That is because you are, though maybe not intentionally so (though it is honestly hard to imagine based on how often things have been carefully explained to you).

    He went on to say that, just because you assume what someone should believe, because of what they may have said, does not mean you can say they believe something, they say they do not believe. However, he can go on to say that our election and salvation is ultimately up to us, and still hold to the belief that he contributes nothing.

    Then that should tell you something about what he meant.

    Salvation is a gift, correct? It is an unearned and undeserved gift. It is a gift of grace from God. Only God can save. We cannot die for ourselves. We cannot forgive ourselves. We cannot regenerate ourselves. We cannot sanctify ourselves. We are completely dependent on God for all of this. That is what faith is. It is simple trust in God to do for us what we cannot. It is “dependence” (again, all of this has been explained to you so many times). That is why it excludes boasting, because it is by nature admitting that we are helpless to save ourselves, and a casting of ourselves on God to save us (see the other post I referred you to on the Nature of Saving Faith, when I answered you on Olson the first time). So if all of this is true, it is theologically imprecise and inaccurate to make statements like: salvation is ultimately up to us.” That leaves too much out. Now if Olson said that, it was not a very precise way to put it, but thankfully his other comments serve to qualify what he means. But when you ignore the full context, and just try to use a sound bite as a rhetorical weapon, then you are indeed bearing false witness.

    Nobody who receives a fee and underserved gift would say that he gave the gift to himself. He would not say that he earned it. He would not say that he “contributed” to it, simply because he did not reject it. That would be absurd. We could say that the receiving of the gift was up to the person. The person wasn’t forced to take the gift. In that respect, it is “ultimately” up to the person as to whether or not the person will “receive” the free and undeserved gift. But that is not the same as saying the gift is ultimately up to the person. That is grossly inaccurate. The gift is up to the giver. The giver has the gift. The giver gives the gift. The giver is the “cause” of the gift. The gift cannot be earned or merited (or it wouldn’t be a gift, but a wage, Rom. 4). So to say that the receiver of the gift “contributed to the gift” or “caused” the gift, is nonsense. The gift is entirely “of” the giver; the receiver is “entirely dependent on the giver for the gift” and “can take no credit for the gift.” This is all pretty basic common sense stuff. But you seem to want to “conceal” all of this; all of these very important details. What would motivate you to do that? Can you not see why you could rightly be thought to be trying to bear false witness in framing things as you do?

    It certainly would be nice if all Arminians would come out as Olson has and plainly say, that as an Arminian I believe salvation and election is ultimately up to us. This would eliminate a lot of confussion and the debate could therefore be over whether election is ultimately up to God (Calvinism) or ultimately up to us (Arminianism).

    What would eliminate a lot of confusion would be if people like you would stop framing the issue in inappropriate and theologically imprecise ways, perpetuating unnecessary misrepresentations and misunderstandings..

    Now I will not be explaining this any further to you. It has been explained enough. I will also not tolerate any more of your seemingly deliberate misrepresentations. Consider that carefully when deciding if you will post here further.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  9. @ Either way election is determined by God

    So then, God has determined there will be an elect people?

    @God is the one who decides who will be His people.

    I get a little confused here, because the WHO cannot mean, WHO like individuals. Therefore I can only assume it is the WHO like, what kind or type of people. From here I would assume it is the kind or type of people WHO have faith? If I am correct here then, God has determined to elect a certain kind or type of people, the type or kind WHO have faith?

    @God is the one who decides what the bases of election will be.

    This seems to be what I have just described above.

    @We determine if we will adhere to God’s requirements for being His people, but that is much different than saying that we determine election.

    I’m just wondering if it would be okay here to change the wording to,

    We determine if we are elected?

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