The Calvinist Non-Answer Highlighted: What if my Children are Not Elect?

(See Updated material at bottom)

Someone named Tim Kimberley wrote a post at Credo House asking, “What if my Children are not Elect?”   The post is a response to an inquirer who is struggling with the horrific implications of Calvinist determinism with regards to the predetermined destiny of his or her children.  Kimberley offers an answer, but it evades the heart of the problem.  In the comments we see the same thing: Calvinist after Calvinist evading the heart of the problem and side stepping numerous straightforward questions being asked by those who are not convinced by the claims of Calvinism.  Just reading the comments and the responses by Calvinists is really instructive and highlights what an impossible problem this creates for them in counseling parents who are struggling with such questions.  The following comment  highlights this problem well:

An honest question deserves a straightforward answer.

First, Kimberly’s “step back” is not only irrelevant but also deflects from the real issue, which the question evokes, and is misleading.

Although it is true that both Calvinist and Arminians agree that “each individual must come to Jesus on their own”, Kimberly fails to mention the Calvinist view portrays the individual as responding due solely to the divine predetermination regarding how this or that particular person will respond to the Gospel; that is, in reality, no response – positive or negative – is ultimately an act of one’s own free will but God’s predetermined act to effect the desired response from each individual based on nothing but God’s unrevealed will. This view is in stark contrast to Arminian soteriology and renders the similarity as Kimberly suggests as merely superficial.

Second, when “getting back to the issue at hand”, there remains an (unconscious? conscious?) attempt to evade the real answer which the inquirer seeks.

The question is not, “What if my kids do not love Jesus?” but “What if my kids aren’t elect?” There is a big difference between the two questions and, as such, his answer does not at all deal directly to the query.

The more accurate answer, logically following Calvinist teaching, is simply: if your child is not elect, there is nothing at all you can do about it. The only comfort that one may afford is that at present you do not know whether or not your child is elect. Praying will not change God’s mind if your child is not elect. As a Calvinist, all that seems left to do is cross your fingers and hope for the best; and, yes, the idea that one’s child is not of the elect should cause a parent to be sick and have “a hard time” – a very hard time – seeing it as conducive to God’s glory.

For more on this thorny problem for Calvinism, see my post: Does Erwin Lutzer Offer False Hope to Calvinist Parents? 

Update: 

I got into a little back and forth with some Calvinists in the comments thread of Kimberley’s post. I posted as “arminianperspectives” rather than “kangaroodort”. Unfortunately, it looks like they decided to shut down comments before I could respond further to these Calvinists or answer their questions. So I will leave my responses here (click on the comments section of this post to see my responses). If you want to follow that discussion, it starts here: http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2013/10/what-if-my-children-are-not-elect/#comment-107855

It isn’t directly related to the content of the post, but my responses were for the purpose of clearing up confusion and misrepresentations of what Arminians believe (though I did try to get clarification on an “answer” that one of them gave here: http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2013/10/what-if-my-children-are-not-elect/#comment-107860). It progressed from there.

However, the writer of the comment I highlighted here responded further, keeping the focus on the topic at hand.  He wrote:

I’m disappointed that this conversation continues wide of the mark of the specific point that the question addresses. Here’s a blog that addresses the specific issue with, from my perspective, greater relevancy than either Kimerly’s reponse or everyone’s comments thus far. I would ask the Calvinist to please take time (it is not long at all) to read it:

http://classicalarminian.blogspot.com/2013/10/what-if-my-children-are-not-elect-love.html

Unfortunately, his comment was essentially met with snide remarks from these two Calvinists and another disturbing non-answer at the bottom of  the thread,

Truth isn’t always comforting and, in this case, it definitely is not. Again unbelievers are without hope, without God. Parents can only surrender their children to the sovereignty of God and accept that whatever He has chosen to do with those children is right and glorifies Him – to do anything less is idolatry because it is putting those children ahead of God. (http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2013/10/what-if-my-children-are-not-elect/#comment-108016)

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28 Responses

  1. don’t you people believe Christ is in all his people which he foreknew before the foundations of the world?You people talk about children not being elect.Lydias whole house was baptized,and the jailors.In macedonia only 3 were effected,lydia and her household,the jailor and his and the damsel.Thats it.Paul said the Lord Knoweth them that are his,so don’t you folks believe his sheep hear his voice?Don’t you believe here in time,Christ manifests himself to his sheep,his people.
    I heard the Lords voice on my bed one night and i believe every born again child of GOD does to,when he/she is born of christ spirit of truth.
    The Lord has power over all flesh.His people are born again in the his on time and way and not a second before.This salvation is not of ourselves,salvation is of the Lord.Period!!!!!

  2. Thanks for the link. You prompted me to add my bit to the discussion over there. It’s really tragic that the good news of the gospel has become subject to something completely outside of our control. In fact, one wonders of it is good news at all if we have no way of making it freely accessible to the ones we love the most.

  3. Hercules45,

    Just another non-answer? No need to rant about what Calvinists believe. I assure you I already know what they believe. It would, however, be helpful to hear how you would answer a troubled parent who asked you, “What if my children are not elect?”

    Thanks,
    Ben

  4. Hercules should have just answered and refered us to how they interpret Romans 9.

    To the parent, who are you or your child to talk back etc.

    ???

  5. rex,

    Very sad, but seemingly true.

  6. I got into a little back and forth with some Calvinists in the comments thread of Kimerley’s post. I posted as “arminianperspectives” rather than “kangaroodort”. Unfortunately, it looks like they decided to shut down comments before I could respond further to these Calvinists or answer their questions. So I will leave my responses here. If you want to follow that discussion, it starts here: http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2013/10/what-if-my-children-are-not-elect/#comment-107855

    It isn’t directly related to the content of the post, but my responses were for the purpose of clearing up confusion and misrepresentations of what Arminians believe. It progressed from there.

    Here is my response to Fr. Robert’s comment that you can find here: http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2013/10/what-if-my-children-are-not-elect/#comment-107973

    ***********************************

    Fr. Robert writes,

    Btw, Ben share with us, your idea of an Arminian “ordo”, if you please?

    We have already had this conversation and you were not able to produce a single passage that put new spiritual life prior to faith. I have also directed you to many posts at my site on the Arminian ordo and you did not interact with any of them, but since you ask, I will give you a link again. Hopefully, you will read it this time. It would also be nice if you addressed the Theological absurdities the Calvinist ordo presents as described in the post:

    https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2009/03/17/the-arminian-and-calvinist-ordo-salutis-a-brief-comparative-study/ (and note the many related posts and articles linked at the bottom as well)

    You will also notice a few comments by Chancellor Roberts in the comments section (from back in May 2012). Please see my answers to him there.

    His first comment starts here: https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2009/03/17/the-arminian-and-calvinist-ordo-salutis-a-brief-comparative-study/#comment-7590 (his name is cut off on the top)

    God Bless,
    Ben

    Here is my response to Chancellor Roberts (you can see his comment here: http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2013/10/what-if-my-children-are-not-elect/#comment-108015)

    ***************************************

    Chancellor Roberts writes,

    And it’s those “Semi-Pelagians” that I’ve been referring to, not the rare person who is an actual Arminian (of the Jacobus Arminius and the Remonstrants variety). I don’t think I’ve ever even encountered a real Arminian outside of the person here who goes by Arminianperspectives

    Then you really need to get out of the house more 🙂 You left some comments at my site in 2012, and there were plenty of other Arminians leaving comments there, so it is strange that you say I am the only one you have encountered. But even if I am the first and only, you should deal with my arguments as an Arminian and leave semi-Pelagianism out of it. Neither should you just assume that the non-Calvinists you speak with are semi-Pelagian.

    As for the Ordo Salutis, the orthodox version is the Reformed version and it mirrors Romans 8:29-30.

    Orthodox? Says who? Calvinists? Romans 8:29-30 says nothing of regeneration or sanctification. It doesn’t even mention faith. We can say that faith is implied, but then we could imply other things as well based on our views. So Rom. 8:29-30 really isn’t very helpful with regards to the specifics of the ordo, especially since the main point of contention has to do with whether or not regeneration precedes faith (and neither regeneration or faith are even mentioned by Paul in Rom. 8:29-30).

    I didn’t say it had anything to do with a physical corpse. It has to do with being “dead in trespasses and sins” – being spiritually dead. And, again, (spiritually) dead people cannot will themselves to life.

    Your comments plainly imply the correlation. Arminians agree that those dead in sin cannot will themselves to life. We say that God must enable a faith response and then God grants life in response to that faith response. But there is no reason to assume that enablement is regeneration. The Bible never says that and everywhere puts faith prior to the beginning of new spiritual life (regeneration).

    Your version of Arminianism was answered by the Synod of Dort and I will defer to that Synod.

    A supposed “answer” is not a refutation. Do you also think the Catholics “answered” the early Protestants in their condemnations of the movement? I usually post as “kangaroodort”. That should tell you what I think of that Calvinist synod.

    Freedom is ALWAYS about rights, not ability.

    Repeating an unargued assertion does not make it suddenly true. The debate has always been about ability, not rights.

    You wrote: “the concept of ‘punishment’ is wholly incompatible with exhaustive determinism.”

    That you would say this makes it clear you don’t understand the co-existence of divine sovereignty and human responsibility.

    Right. Logic only seems to matter when it supports Calvinism. Earlier you appealed to “the logical result” of semi-Pelagianism. Well, then I suggest the unavoidable “logical result” of exhaustive determinism is that it empties words like “choice”, “freedom”, “responsibility” and “punishment” of any real meaning. Likewise, determinism cannot avoid making God the responsible author of all sin and evil. But that’s only if you want to be logical. Of course, Calvinists typically opt out of “logic” at this point, as it seems you are doing as well.

    God Bless,
    Ben

    Of course, both Chancellor Roberts and Fr. Robert are welcome to respond here if they happen to find their way to this post.

  7. My post in that other blog “Truth isn’t always comforting and, in this case, it definitely is not. Again unbelievers are without hope, without God. Parents can only surrender their children to the sovereignty of God and accept that whatever He has chosen to do with those children is right and glorifies Him – to do anything less is idolatry because it is putting those children ahead of God” was, in fact, a direct response to the question at hand “What if my children aren’t elect?” And, no, it isn’t “cross your fingers and hope for the best.” It’s “surrender your children to God and, whether your children are elect or not, rejoice in the fact that God will be glorified.” Parents asking “What if my children aren’t elect?” want hope where there is none and it is cruel to attempt to offer them hope. Again, what I wrote is a direct answer to the original question. What do you want Calvinists to say to these parents? What would you consider an “answer” from a Calvinist perspective?

    Now, Ben, a direct response to your statement, “I suggest the unavoidable ‘logical result’ of exhaustive determinism is that it empties words like ‘choice’, ‘freedom’, ‘responsibility’ and ‘punishment’ of any real meaning. Likewise, determinism cannot avoid making God the responsible author of all sin and evil.”

    Well, let’s start with your use of the phrase “exhaustive determinism.” That term suggests you’re accusing Calvinists of teaching that God not only predestined those who would be saved, but also predestined everyone else to be damned and, therefore, that they couldn’t be saved even if they wanted to. This is a common tactic among non-Calvinists and shows they really don’t understand the doctrines of grace.

    While Hyper-Calvinism is properly defined as putting so much emphasis on God’s sovereignty that it negates the Church’s responsibility to preach the gospel to the lost, there are those who have suggested that Hyper-Calvinism means that not only has God elected (predestined) those whom He chose from before the foundation of the world to save, but He also elected (predestined) everyone else to eternity in the Lake of Fire. However, Electing to save some doesn’t mean electing to damn everyone else; it simply means electing to save some and leaving the others to bear the consequences of the fall and of their own sins.

    Again, a common tactic among non-Calvinists is to attempt to argue against election/predestination of the “saved” by arguing that Calvinists (all Calvinists) are saying everyone else is predestined to the Lake of Fire, though some non-Calvinists will also attempt to argue that Calvinism negates preaching the gospel (never mind that the “father” of modern missions, William Carey, was a Calvinist and himself argued against the Hyper-Calvinist view that preaching the gospel was unnecessary; also well worth reading is J. I. Packer’s Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God). Why non-Calvinists make this argument is unclear, but perhaps it’s because they don’t like the idea of God having so much control over their eternal destiny. They are so enamored with their false notion of “free will” (which, when they often define it, is actually just “will”), with their own personal sovereignty, that they recoil at the thought of predestination, of God determining beforehand.

    Calvinists acknowledge an “antimony” (to use J. I. Packer’s word in this article: http://hopefaithprayer.com/salvationnew/divine-sovereignty-and-human-responsibility-j-i-packer/) between divine sovereignty and human responsibility. God elected those whom He would save even before He spoke Creation into existence. Revelation says that Jesus was slain from before the foundation of the world. Thus, the fall (Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden) and the cross were part of God’s plan from the very beginning. However, God didn’t cause Adam to sin against his will (and I do mean will, not “free will”) – Adam chose to sin and we also choose to sin. God also held Adam responsible for his sin and holds the rest of us responsible for both Adam’s sin (because we sinned in Adam) and ours. Yet, Adam’s sin and our sin are as much part of God’s eternal plan as Creation itself. The cross, where Christ died for the elect in an act of penal substitution, thereby actually purchasing the salvation of specific individuals, was also God’s plan from the very beginning.

    Some non-Calvinists falsely accuse Calvinists of teaching that God is, therefore, the author of sin, the author of evil, thereby bearing false witness against Calvinists by indirectly accusing Calvinists of blasphemy, of attributing evil to God. Should non-Calvinists, then, be accused of believing that Adam’s sin wasn’t part of God’s plan from the very beginning, that God’s will was somehow thwarted, that something went wrong and it was somehow outside of God’s control?

    Back to the topic at hand, though. I have no interest in offering false hope to Calvinist parents who ask “What if my children aren’t elect?” I have no interest in offering hope where there is none. I want them to pray for their children. I want them to communicate the gospel to their children (it is enough that God has commanded His Church to communicate the gospel, though it is the means by which God calls the elect) and model an exemplary Christian life before them. However, I also want them to acknowledge that their children are God’s to do with as He pleases and that if He didn’t elect their children they have no right to question Him about it. I want them to fully surrender their children to God’s sovereignty and rejoice in the glory God receives regardless of whether those children are elect.

  8. CR,

    Thanks for being willing to engage the issue further at my site. I don’t have time to respond at the moment, but hope to be able to find the time later tonight.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  9. I was able to get to this sooner than I thought.

    Chancellor Roberts, II writes,

    And, no, it isn’t “cross your fingers and hope for the best.” It’s “surrender your children to God and, whether your children are elect or not, rejoice in the fact that God will be glorified.” Parents asking “What if my children aren’t elect?” want hope where there is none and it is cruel to attempt to offer them hope. Again, what I wrote is a direct answer to the original question. What do you want Calvinists to say to these parents? What would you consider an “answer” from a Calvinist perspective?

    That’s a pretty honest answer, but what you said before were just statements about God electing some and not others, not what you would actually say to a parent in that situation. But this is much closer to an actual answer that you would offer such parents.

    So it seems you would tell a parent who is terrified by the thought that his child might be “passed over” by God, denied any chance or hope of salvation, that he needs to just realize nothing can change that and that he needs to submit to whatever fate God has determined for his child and that he should just “rejoice” in God’s determination for his child to go to hell with no hope of avoiding that fate because God will somehow be “glorified” in sending his child to hell. So Calvinism leaves the parent in a situation where there is no hope and it would be cruel to offer them hope, for God may indeed have decreed from eternity that their child will not be saved. In other words, “just deal with it” or “just live with it”.

    I find it interesting that you say it is “cruel” to offer them hope when there is none, but do not see any cruelty in a God who would cause His creatures such distress and “pass over” the majority of His creation that He could just as easily have saved for the sake of somehow bringing glory to Himself. What kind of glory is that exactly?

    Well, let’s start with your use of the phrase “exhaustive determinism.” That term suggests you’re accusing Calvinists of teaching that God not only predestined those who would be saved, but also predestined everyone else to be damned and, therefore, that they couldn’t be saved even if they wanted to.

    I am suggesting only what Calvinism teaches. In Calvinism, sovereignty is synonymous with exhaustive determinism. What does that mean? It seems self-evident to me. It means that God determined everything from eternity. That includes our every thought, desire, “want”, and action. If that is the case, then “choice” loses meaning, because one can only move their mind in the predetermined direction. Our volition can only move one way, the pre-determined way. So nobody has any real “choices” to “choose from.

    Likewise, punishment loses meaning as well, since punishment assumes freedom. We do not punish people for what they cannot avoid doing. Yet, in Calvinism, that is exactly what God does. He “punishes” the majority of His creatures for doing exactly what He decreed for them to do with no power to do otherwise, unless you believe that we can “choose” contrary to the decree of God. Is that what you believe?

    So, when you say, “therefore, that they couldn’t be saved even if they wanted to”, you are seemingly playing word games as it is plain in Calvinist theology that we have no control over our “wants.” Our desires were decreed from eternity just like everything else.

    This is a common tactic among non-Calvinists and shows they really don’t understand the doctrines of grace.

    A “common tactic” among Calvinists is to level the charge that if one disagrees with Calvinism or presses the unavoidable logical implications of the system, it is simply a matter of not understanding Calvinism. I assure you that I understand Calvinism very well. I just reject it as unbiblical and incoherent.

    However, Electing to save some doesn’t mean electing to damn everyone else; it simply means electing to save some and leaving the others to bear the consequences of the fall and of their own sins.

    But if exhaustive determinism is true, then God caused the fall, the consequences of the fall, the state that man finds himself in, and the sins that he commits (along with every evil thought or desire he has). All of this is in perfect accord with the irresistible eternal all-encompassing decree of God. So saying they bear the consequences of the fall and their “own” sins seems like obvious nonsense or double talk.

    God decreed the fall. He decreed the consequences. He decreed every sin. So it doesn’t even make sense to say “their own sins”. Not in Calvinism, anyway. In what sense could they meaningfully be “their sins” when God decreed them and they had no ability to resist the thoughts, desires, and sinful actions that God decreed for them? Now, it may be that you are not a traditional Calvinist and so reject exhaustive determinism. That’s fine. But if you do hold to it, then you must own the logical implications of that belief.

    Again, a common tactic among non-Calvinists is to attempt to argue against election/predestination of the “saved” by arguing that Calvinists (all Calvinists) are saying everyone else is predestined to the Lake of Fire, though some non-Calvinists will also attempt to argue that Calvinism negates preaching the gospel (never mind that the “father” of modern missions, William Carey, was a Calvinist and himself argued against the Hyper-Calvinist view that preaching the gospel was unnecessary; also well worth reading is J. I. Packer’s Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God).

    I don’t understand why you keep bringing this stuff up. I actually didn’t say anything about double predestination or evangelism (though I do think what you are saying about election and reprobation is a distinction without a difference). The point I made (and that you were supposedly responding to) was that “punishment” doesn’t make sense against the backdrop of exhaustive determinism. Exhaustive determinism is a traditional feature of Calvinism, not just hyper-Calvinism. But you still haven’t really grappled with those issues.

    Why non-Calvinists make this argument is unclear,

    Why not stick to dealing with my specific arguments rather than what other “non-Calvinist” might say or argue?

    but perhaps it’s because they don’t like the idea of God having so much control over their eternal destiny. They are so enamored with their false notion of “free will” (which, when they often define it, is actually just “will”), with their own personal sovereignty, that they recoil at the thought of predestination, of God determining beforehand.

    Try to remember that even if this is the case, if Calvinism is true, it is only because God decreed it to be so. If they really do “recoil” at the thought of “God determining before hand”, it is because God determined before hand that they recoil at God determining before hand.

    Calvinists acknowledge an “antimony” (to use J. I. Packer’s word in this article:http://hopefaithprayer.com/salvationnew/divine-sovereignty-and-human-responsibility-j-i-packer/) between divine sovereignty and human responsibility.

    But this is just labeling incompatible concepts as compatible so as to try to legitimize them despite the fact that they remain incompatible. That is why I said, “Right. Logic only seems to matter when it supports Calvinism.” As soon as aspects of Calvinism are shown to be illogical and contradictory, suddenly it becomes an “antinomy”. How convenient.

    However, God didn’t cause Adam to sin against his will (and I do mean will, not “free will”)

    But God determined his will. So these are just word games again. Adam sinned in accordance with God’s irresistible eternal decree and had no more power to resist sinning than he had to create a universe.

    – Adam chose to sin and we also choose to sin.

    In what sense did he “choose” to sin, when he had “no choice” but to sin? God pre-determined his sin. How then did he have a “choice’?

    God also held Adam responsible for his sin and holds the rest of us responsible for both Adam’s sin (because we sinned in Adam) and ours.

    The problem is that you cannot explain how it makes any sense to hold us accountable for what God irresistibly decreed for us to think and do. Adam acted in perfect accordance with God’s irresistible decree. He did what he had to do and had no power to avoid doing. How then is he “accountable” for that? Let me guess- “antinomy!”

    Some non-Calvinists falsely accuse Calvinists of teaching that God is, therefore, the author of sin, the author of evil, thereby bearing false witness against Calvinists by indirectly accusing Calvinists of blasphemy, of attributing evil to God.

    I am not saying that Calvinists say that God is the author of sin. I am only saying that their system demands that conclusion. It is the unavoidable logical implication of exhaustive determinism. I understand they don’t want to say that God is the author of sin, but it doesn’t make sense, given the fundamental assumption of their theology (determinism), why they don’t.

    Should non-Calvinists, then, be accused of believing that Adam’s sin wasn’t part of God’s plan from the very beginning, that God’s will was somehow thwarted, that something went wrong and it was somehow outside of God’s control?

    No. That God knew man would sin and planned for it doesn’t mean He decreed that sin so that it was unavoidable. Big difference.

    Back to the topic at hand, though. I have no interest in offering false hope to Calvinist parents who ask “What if my children aren’t elect?” I have no interest in offering hope where there is none. I want them to pray for their children.

    For what purpose? For their salvation? For their election?

    I want them to communicate the gospel to their children

    The gospel that Jesus might not have died for them, that Jesus might not desire their salvation, that God may in fact hate them and desire for them to perish so that He can be more fully glorified? That gospel?

    However, I also want them to acknowledge that their children are God’s to do with as He pleases and that if He didn’t elect their children they have no right to question Him about it. I want them to fully surrender their children to God’s sovereignty and rejoice in the glory God receives regardless of whether those children are elect.

    So Calvinism can offer no comfort or hope to those parents who are terrified at the possibility that God may have decreed from eternity to pass over their children and punish them forever for all the sins that He irresistibly decreed that they commit with no more power to avoid sinning or avoid their hopeless state than to create a universe. Got it. Thanks for the honest answer.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  10. You wrote: “So it seems you would tell a parent who is terrified by the thought that his child might be “passed over” by God, denied any chance or hope of salvation, that he needs to just realize nothing can change that and that he needs to submit to whatever fate God has determined for his child and that he should just ‘rejoice’ in God’s determination for his child to go to hell with no hope of avoiding that fate because God will somehow be “glorified” in sending his child to hell. So Calvinism leaves the parent in a situation where there is no hope and it would be cruel to offer them hope, for God may indeed have decreed from eternity that their child will not be saved. In other words, ‘just deal with it’ or ‘just live with it.'”

    Yes, I would tell the Calvinist parent to submit themselves and their children to God’s sovereignty and rejoice that He will be glorified regardless of whether their children are elect.

    You wrote: “I find it interesting that you say it is “cruel” to offer them hope when there is none, but do not see any cruelty in a God who would cause His creatures such distress and “pass over” the majority of His creation that He could just as easily have saved for the sake of somehow bringing glory to Himself. What kind of glory is that exactly?”

    It IS cruel to offer hope where there is none; and, no, God is not cruel in any way whatsoever. His Creation is His to do with as He pleases. I remind you of a passage with which I’m sure you’re familiar: Romans 9:15-24 (ESV), “For he says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’ So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, ‘For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.’ So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. You will say to me then, ‘Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?’ But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, ‘Why have you made me like this?’ Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory – even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?”

    You wrote: “I am suggesting only what Calvinism teaches. In Calvinism, sovereignty is synonymous with exhaustive determinism. What does that mean? It seems self-evident to me. It means that God determined everything from eternity. That includes our every thought, desire, ‘want,’ and action. If that is the case, then ‘choice’ loses meaning, because one can only move their mind in the predetermined direction. Our volition can only move one way, the pre-determined way. So nobody has any real ‘choices’ to ‘choose’ from.

    “Likewise, punishment loses meaning as well, since punishment assumes freedom. We do not punish people for what they cannot avoid doing. Yet, in Calvinism, that is exactly what God does. He “punishes” the majority of His creatures for doing exactly what He decreed for them to do with no power to do otherwise, unless you believe that we can ‘choose’ contrary to the decree of God. Is that what you believe?

    So, when you say, ‘therefore, that they couldn’t be saved even if they wanted to,’ you are seemingly playing word games as it is plain in Calvinist theology that we have no control over our ‘wants.’ Our desires were decreed from eternity just like everything else.”

    Even if all of Calvinism did teach that God not only elected those He would save, but elected everyone else to burn for eternity in the Lake of Fire (which is double predestination and is what you have to say if you’re going to insist that “sovereignty is synonymous with exhaustive determinism”), so what? God’s Creation is His to do with as He pleases and the clay has no right to question what the Potter does. If you believe that “sovereignty is synonymous with exhaustive determinism,” and you reject exhaustive determinism, then you’re saying that God is not sovereign and, therefore, that He is not God.

    God did, in fact, determine everything even before He spoke Creation into existence. The alternative is that there are things outside of His control, which necessarily means that He isn’t God.

    Punishment does NOT assume freedom. Freedom assumes rights – and rights can’t be punished (otherwise, they wouldn’t be rights, wouldn’t be freedom). You might want to lie, cheat and steal (I’m just using those as an example), but you’re not free to do so; you don’t have the right to do so. To expand on this, no one has the freedom or right to sin. Also, God does punish humans for doing what they “can’t avoid doing” (i.e. sin). It is in every human’s nature to sin. (I need not remind you of the scripture that says there is none who does good, none who seeks after God, all have sinned, the scripture that says we were dead in trespasses and sins, and the scripture that says there is no one good but God). Humans can no more avoid sinning than they can avoid breathing.

    When I said that, without God doing all the work of salvation, humans “couldn’t be saved even if they wanted to,” what I meant by that is first that humans, on their own, don’t want to (and, indeed, are prevented by their own sinful nature from wanting to) and, second, God elected (from before the foundation of the world) those whom He chose (predestined) to save.

  11. hello i think calvy’s do wonder IF THEIR CHILD IS ”ELECT” or not and thats why they believe in baby baptism like roman catholics do

    . i’ve been in a canadian grace reformed church and it is believed by people i talked to that baby baptism protects the baby from hell – the baby is under the parents salvation then.

    when they become church members they get a book of the law.
    this i understand is for the people who aren’t ”in Christ yet” they don’t confess and recieve Jesus as their savior but answer ques with ”i do ”???

  12. Excuse me? “Calvy’s”?

    Not all Calvinists believe in baby-dipping (infant baptism). John MacArthur, for example, doesn’t. I don’t believe in it. Sovereign Grace Ministries churches don’t believe in it.

    I don’t know what’s going on in that Canadian Grace Reformed Church you supposedly went to, but I can assure you that isn’t what goes on in most Calvinist churches.

  13. My response to Kimberley’s post was not approved, for some or other reason. Seeing that the conversation is continuing over here, I’ll bring it across:

    The Bible nowhere states that we are drawn to the Father. What it does say is that the Father draws us to Christ (John 6:44), and that we then go to Father through Christ (John 14:6). This does not imply an “indirect” drawing as one may assume, but a process of unfolding grace that is initiated apart from the Father’s “drawing to Christ”. The “drawing” in John 6:44 is clearly preceded by the process described in verse 45, where we read “It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God. Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me.”

    And so the process in John looks as follows:
    1. All are taught by God (that includes all children)
    
2. Those who “hear” and “learn” from this teaching of the Father then comes to Christ.

    3. This they can do because the Father enables them by drawing them (note: not randomly, but based on the pre-condition in 2 above).
    
4. Those who are drawn then “comes” to the Father through Christ.


    Note the three types of knowing in this scenario (which is John’s, not mine):
    A. We first know God as the “Teacher of all”, which suggests a general revelation that is not dependent on doctrinal specifics, and that can be “heard” and “learned” by anyone who is willing. (Such “hearing” and “learning” is not salvation, however, but merely a first step towards it.)

    B. We then know Jesus as the Christ, which is a divine and sovereign revelation given to the “hearers” and “learners,” by God. In our knowing of Christ, we also begin to know him as our teacher. His teaching is a continuation of God’s (in A above), and leads us to the last phase (C below).

    C. Through Christ, we now know God as the Father, which is the intended conclusion and climax of the process started by His very own teaching to “all”.


    So here’s the thing: Children should be assisted to “learn” from the Father”, so that the Father can continue his good work in them. There is absolutely NO hint of determinism here.

  14. Mr. Roberts,

    What’s up with this statement: “I don’t know what’s going on in that Canadian Grace Reformed Church you supposedly went to”? Why do you feel you need to cast doubt on what this person is saying? What reason do you have to suggest this person might be lying? That doesn’t seem very charitable or fair to me.

    Also, while it is certainly true that not all Calvinists are pedo-baptists, many are. Calvin was and so were most of the reformers. Indeed, they used to persecute and even drown anabaptists. Calvin seemed to find his primary assurance of salvation is his baptism as a child.

    One of the largest Calvinist churches is the Presbyterian church, and they are pedo-baptists. Many reformed churches are pedo-baptists. So your comment seems strange. MacArthur does not represent the norm in Calvinism. Honestly, I think it would be far closer to the truth to say that most Calvinists are “baby dippers” rather than most aren’t.

    I will be responding to your other post shortly.

  15. Mr. Roberts,

    You write,

    Yes, I would tell the Calvinist parent to submit themselves and their children to God’s sovereignty and rejoice that He will be glorified regardless of whether their children are elect.

    Thanks for affirming that I understood you correctly.

    It IS cruel to offer hope where there is none; and, no, God is not cruel in any way whatsoever. His Creation is His to do with as He pleases.

    But that doesn’t mean that what He pleases to do with His creation doesn’t constitute cruelty. It seems that all you are affirming is that God has a right to be cruel, not that He “is not cruel in any way whatsoever.” But this is really a minor issue for me. If you don’t see God as cruel for whatever reasons, that is fine. I just find it surprising that you see cruelty in supposedly offering “false hope” to troubled parents, but no cruelty in the actions of God given the fundamental presuppositions of Calvinism.

    Thanks for the reminder about Romans 9, but I suggest that you have sorely misunderstood what Romans 9 is about. I suggest you likewise read up on the corporate election view as I suggested to Fr. Roberts as well. That should help you a lot. Here is a link to a post full of good articles on the subject:

    https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2009/12/10/corporate-election-resources/

    It is also interesting that you neglected to quote the portion of Romans 9 where Paul concludes and sums up the meaning of his argument in verses 30-33. That would seem to be rather important for understanding what Paul is trying to say. It might also help us not to jump to unwarranted conclusions about his arguments before He draws his own conclusions. Reading Romans 9 in the context of Romans 9-11 helps too. Just saying.

    Your interpretation of Romans 9 likewise ignores the passages that say that God does not desire anyone to perish and wants all to be saved and takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. So we really have no reason to believe that God acts in the way you say He does.

    Even if all of Calvinism did teach that God not only elected those He would save, but elected everyone else to burn for eternity in the Lake of Fire (which is double predestination and is what you have to say if you’re going to insist that “sovereignty is synonymous with exhaustive determinism”)

    First, I don’t insist sovereignty is synonymous with exhaustive determinism. Calvinism does. That is pretty basic to Calvinism. Indeed, it is the fundamental theological assumption from which the Calvinistic systematic develops.

    Second, exhaustive determinism doesn’t necessarily equate to double predestination in the strict sense. Both infralapsarian and supralapsarian Calvinists hold to exhaustive determinism, and yet supras necessarily affirm double predestination while infras do not. That is because while both affirm God’s eternal decretal determination, they see the logical orders of those decrees differently. So infras can say that God just “passes over” the non-elect. But as I mentioned before, it still amounts to a distinction without a difference. For in passing over these God could just as easily have saved, He is indeed choosing who will be damned by passing over them and refusing to save them.

    so what?

    You tell me. I didn’t make an issue out of double predestination. You did. My point had to do with exhaustive determinism specifically.

    God’s Creation is His to do with as He pleases and the clay has no right to question what the Potter does. If you believe that “sovereignty is synonymous with exhaustive determinism,” and you reject exhaustive determinism, then you’re saying that God is not sovereign and, therefore, that He is not God.

    So you do hold to exhaustive determinism. That’s helpful. But that means you must hold to double predestination in accordance with what you stated above:

    “Even if all of Calvinism did teach that God not only elected those He would save, but elected everyone else to burn for eternity in the Lake of Fire (which is double predestination and is what you have to say if you’re going to insist that “sovereignty is synonymous with exhaustive determinism”)”

    So why did you go on and on about how non-Calvinists wrongly assume double predestination for Calvinist who hold to exhaustive determinism in your previous comments? You seemed to be denying double predestination then, but you now say it is “what you have to say if you’re going to insist that “sovereignty is synonymous with exhaustive determinism.”

    ????

    But look at the blatant equivocation in your above comment. I am not saying that “God is not sovereign” since I do not see sovereignty as synonymous with exhaustive determinism. That is a bizarre way to understand and defined sovereignty. So you define sovereignty in an unnatural way and then say that all who disagree with your unusual definition of sovereignty are denying that God is sovereign. That is not the case at all. What we are denying is that sovereignty equates to exhaustive determinism. That is not saying that God is not sovereign, and it is certainly not saying that God is not God.

    I actually like how you put things in your first sentence. God’s sovereignty means that He has absolute freedom to do as He pleases. But that doesn’t mean that He pleases to do things the way you say He does. As I have mentioned before, you actually limit His sovereignty and deny Him His absolute freedom when you insist that He cannot create free moral agents and hold them accountable for their choices and actions. If God pleases to create fee moral agents and hold them accountable for their choices and actions, who are you to talk back to God?

    God did, in fact, determine everything even before He spoke Creation into existence. The alternative is that there are things outside of His control, which necessarily means that He isn’t God.

    God can be in control without needing to exhaustively predetermine and necessitate everything that will ever happen. That is a pretty small and limiting view of God in my opinion, and it simply does not follow.

    Punishment does NOT assume freedom. Freedom assumes rights – and rights can’t be punished (otherwise, they wouldn’t be rights, wouldn’t be freedom).

    And here you go again with your erroneous assertion that freedom necessarily implies rights. It doesn’t in the least. In this debate it has always been about ability, not rights. One can certainly have the freedom to sin without needing to have the “right” to sin. That seems so obvious that it hardly seems worth pointing out.

    However, punishment (at least with reference to morality) has always assumed freedom. We don’t punish people for doing things they cannot avoid doing. But in Calvinism God punishes people for doing exactly what He irresistibly decreed for them to do with no power to do otherwise. In essence, He punishes them for being just as He created them to be in accordance with His irresistible eternal decree. Isn’t that how you understand Romans 9? God created the pots to talk back to Him and then rebukes the pots for talking back to Him just as He created them to do with no power to do anything but talk back to God in accordance with His irresistible eternal decree? But that makes nonsense of the concept of punishment. Now you can still call it punishment, but you can’t explain why it should be understood as punishment. It becomes nothing more than an arbitrary assertion on your part (just like saying that “freedom assume rights”).

    Suppose a court punished a child for having blue eyes. Would that be cruel? No doubt it would. But that is no different than how God supposedly treats His creatures in Calvinism for we can no more help being who we are and thinking and acting how we think and act than a child can help having blue eyes. You have to swallow so many blatant absurdities to hold to Calvinism.

    You might want to lie, cheat and steal (I’m just using those as an example), but you’re not free to do so; you don’t have the right to do so.

    Continuing to assert that freedom necessitates a “right” will not make it so. You need to demonstrate it. That you cannot do. But even “rights” lose all meaning in Calvinism since all that we do is the result of an irresistible eternal decree. If everything I do is the result of God’s irresistible decree, how can we categorize some things I do as “rights” and other things as not “rights”? Does it matter if it is a “right” or not when I have no power to do anything contrary to the decree of God?

    To expand on this, no one has the freedom or right to sin.

    But this is question begging. It assumes what is to be proved by lumping freedom and rights together. So again, this is just an assertion on your part. An assertion you cannot prove.

    Also, God does punish humans for doing what they “can’t avoid doing” (i.e. sin). It is in every human’s nature to sin. (I need not remind you of the scripture that says there is none who does good, none who seeks after God, all have sinned, the scripture that says we were dead in trespasses and sins, and the scripture that says there is no one good but God). Humans can no more avoid sinning than they can avoid breathing.

    But God’s judgment of sin is also based on our refusing the grace He offers us that will provide a way of escape from sin and the consequences of sin. So while it is inevitable that we will sin (not necessary), God provides us with the grace to avoid the consequences of sin in His universal atonement and all of His gracious enabling. God didn’t have to do this, but in deciding to judge us as free moral agents (which was entirely His sovereign decision), He bound Himself to offer us a way of escape. So in Arminianism we are not ultimately punished for what we cannot avoid doing. But in Calvinism we surely are as I pointed out above. It is like punishing a girl for having blue eyes or just for being a girl. That is not only a bizarre representation of “punishment”, it is also extremely cruel.

    When I said that, without God doing all the work of salvation, humans “couldn’t be saved even if they wanted to,” what I meant by that is first that humans, on their own, don’t want to (and, indeed, are prevented by their own sinful nature from wanting to) and, second, God elected (from before the foundation of the world) those whom He chose (predestined) to save.

    OK, thanks for clearing that up. But it is important to remember that in Calvinism nobody ever has any control over any of their “wants” since all of our “wants” were decreed from eternity, just like everything else.

    I submit that, despite all you have now said, you have still not offered anything to contradict my previous claim that: “I suggest the unavoidable ‘logical result’ of exhaustive determinism is that it empties words like ‘choice’, ‘freedom’, ‘responsibility’ and ‘punishment’ of any real meaning. Likewise, determinism cannot avoid making God the responsible author of all sin and evil.”

    We could just add “rights” to the list of words essentially emptied of meaning. Even “sin” becomes essentially meaningless as everything we do is in perfect accordance with God’s irresistible eternal decree. So we do just what God causes us to do. Nothing less. Nothing more. Where then is sin? In what sense can it truly be said that we have “rebelled” against God when all that we do is just as He decreed for us to do, with no more power to resist that decree than to create a universe? How do we “rebel” when God exhaustively controls all that we do?

    For the serious problems decretal exhaustive determinism creates for even just reading the Bible in a straight forward and normal way, see this excellent article by Glen Shellrude:

    https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2011/04/16/glen-shellrude-explains-the-primary-reasons-why-he-is-not-a-calvinist/

    In the end, we will probably just have to agree to disagree. I was mainly concerned with clearing up misrepresentations of Arminianism (in your initial seeming equation of Arminianism with semi-Pelagianism), nailing you down on your “answer” to parents who are terrified that their children are not elect (which you have now made plain), and pointing out how much of what you have said appears to be plainly incompatible when the fundamental assumptions of Calvinism are rightly considered. I understand that you don’t seem to see any problems, or just don’t find them troubling. That’s fine. But hopefully, you will better understand why Arminians like me do not find Calvinist arguments like yours compelling, and often find them plainly incoherent.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  16. *Thinking*

    I wonder if Calvinist Children also wonder if their Parents are Elect? 😀

  17. Chancellor Roberts you wrote:

    “It IS cruel to offer hope where there is none; and, no, God is not cruel in any way whatsoever.”

    Agreed that it is cruel to offer hope where there is none. The problem is that you do not take this thought far enough. For if all is predestined by God as you want to believe, then for the vast majority of the human race they have no hope as they were not predestined for salvation and so have no hope to be saved. And if that is the case then most evangelism is offering a hope to those who have no hope of being saved.

    What is more disturbing however is your second assertion here:
    “God is not cruel in any way whatsoever.”

    Again you seem incapable of seeing where your logic ends up. If all is predestined as you want to believe, then God predestined many folks to some real suffering, suffering they had no way of avoiding. Suffering that God desired for them to experience with no hope of escape from it.

    Since I work with inmates in prison ministry let’s take two examples that show where your logic ends up.

    First take the issue of substance abuse. Most inmates have substance abuse issues. They made the wrong choices and ended up in various forms of addictions. If God predestines everything, then he predestined that these folks would have the desires to do the drugs and to end up addicted to them. It was impossible for them to have done otherwise as God predestined all of their circumstances (including evil associates) and their every desire. They had to become addicted because God predestined them to do so. And it was impossible for them not to have become addicted as their every thought and action was predestined by God. And these addictions brought untold misery to them and their families and others. And all of it was predestined and intended by God, all part of his total plan which includes every detail that makes up history. To predestine these folks to become addicts with the suffering that followed **is cruel**. And according to your theology God intended this suffering and addiction for these folks and it was impossible for them to have avoided any of it. Your theology may not seem cruel when you deal with abstractions concerning it on internet websites: but in the real world, your theology (if true) **makes God cruel** to all sorts of people who have addiction problems.

    A second thing that God must have predestined (if your theology were true, if God had predestined all things or as the confession puts it “He ordaineth whatsoever comes to pass”) is all of the crimes of these inmates. Again this would **make him a cruel person**. The thought that he devised all sorts of crimes for these inmates to commit, then **controlled them** and **their circumstances** and **wills** to ensure these preplanned crimes by Him occur: again **makes God a cruel person**.

    Your theology completely breaks down in the real world where people genuinely suffer and experience pain and evil. It is extremely calloused for you Calvinists to speak blithefully about the so-called “doctrines of grace” and how happy you are to have been one of the lucky ones to be elected to salvation and how God predestines everything: but then not to really consider what this means in the real world with actual people dealing with real suffering and evil.

    A person who intentionally causes people to be addicts and commit crimes is cruel.

    And to deny that this is cruel behavior is to make void the meaning of the word cruel. It also becomes a form of game playing: where ordinary meanings and understandings go out the window, all for the sake of protecting, defending and espousing a false theology. You can play these kinds of word games when espousing your theology, but again it breaks down very quickly in the real world when real people and real situations are involved.

    Robert

  18. I’m not the one asserting double predestination (God not only predestined those who are saved, but specifically predestined everyone else to be damned). However, we’re all – from the moment of conception – without “hope and without God in the world.” The gospel isn’t about offering hope where there is none, it’s about God calling people to be reconciled to Him. We are commanded to preach the gospel and it is enough that this is what God commands. The Church is the means (through the preaching of the gospel) by which God calls His elect to Himself. Calvinists do believe there is a general call (that goes out to everyone) and an effectual call (which goes out only to the elect and it is God who makes that call effectual).

    Talk to me when you people are ready to knock off this nonsense of claiming ALL Calvinists believe in double predestination and when you’re ready to knock off this wickedness of saying God is cruel and of bearing false witness against Calvinists in accusing us of saying God is cruel!

    Worth reading: http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/articles/hypercal.htm

  19. Mr. Roberts,

    You write,

    I’m not the one asserting double predestination (God not only predestined those who are saved, but specifically predestined everyone else to be damned).

    But you are contradicting what you have written so far. In your last comment you said double predestination is the inevitable result of exhaustive determinism. You also said that you hold to exhaustive determinism. So you affirm double predestination according to your own logic and since all Calvinists hold to exhaustive determinism you imply that all Calvinists hold to double predestination. However, I have made it clear that it really doesn’t matter that much to me. You are the one who brought it up when I pressed the issue of exhaustive determinism. You are the one who went on and on about double predestination. I never did that. I suggest you go back and carefully re-read your comments and my responses.

    Now, I did comment on it briefly in response to your point that exhaustive determinism demands double predestination. But I actually said that is not necessarily the case and gave you the example of infralapsarians. However, I did point out that it amounts to a distinction without a difference since God passing over those He could just as easily have saved essentially amounts to the same thing as consigning them to hell (especially when their hopeless state is actually the result of an irresistible eternal decree, i.e., exhaustive determinism, which you affirm). Still, all of this seems to be an unnecessary distraction from the main points I was making, points you have yet to even address.

    However, we’re all – from the moment of conception – without “hope and without God in the world.”

    But how can you really say that about the elect in Calvinism? How are the elect “without hope” when God determined from eternity that they would be saved in accordance with His unchangeable irresistible decree? The elect were never in any danger of hell whatsoever. So how can you really say they were “without hope” from conception? Calvinism makes such a mess of the Bible that nothing you read is really as it seems. That is why I referred you to that excellent article by Shellrude. Did you read it?

    The gospel isn’t about offering hope where there is none, it’s about God calling people to be reconciled to Him

    That’s just your Calvinist opinion. The gospel is indeed about offering hope to all because there is hope for all. That’s why it is good news. Yes, God is calling people to be reconciled to Him. Absolutely. But He is not irresistibly calling some while “passing over” the rest.”

    We are commanded to preach the gospel and it is enough that this is what God commands.

    It is enough, but there is a reason why God commands it. Calvinism can’t make sense of that.

    The Church is the means (through the preaching of the gospel) by which God calls His elect to Himself. Calvinists do believe there is a general call (that goes out to everyone) and an effectual call (which goes out only to the elect and it is God who makes that call effectual).

    Yes, I know this what Calvinists believe. But what good is the “general call” to the non-elect? None. The Bible makes it clear that unbelievers are primarily condemned for their rejection of Christ. But in Calvinism, there is nothing to reject. Christ never died for them and God never had any intention of saving them. So what are they rejecting exactly? For more on that see the following post:

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

    Talk to me when you people are ready to knock off this nonsense of claiming ALL Calvinists believe in double predestination

    Again, I actually affirmed exactly the opposite, stating the difference between infralapsarian Calvinists and supralapsarian Calvinists. You are the one who equated double predestination with what all Calvinists believe by affirming exhaustive determinism (which all Calvinists believe) and then stating that the necessary result of exhaustive determinism is double predestination. All I did was point out that whether you view God’s actions towards the non-elect as passive (infra) or active (supra), it still amounts to God not saving those He could have, thereby assigning to them their fate. Whether it is passive or active matters little.

    and when you’re ready to knock off this wickedness of saying God is cruel and of bearing false witness against Calvinists in accusing us of saying God is cruel!

    You really need to go back and read through the comments. All I have done is pointed out the logical implications of Calvinism. That is not the same as saying it is what Calvinists say or believe. I have explained to you why, given Calvinist presuppositions, God seems to plainly be cruel towards the majority of His creation. I am happy you don’t see God as cruel, though I don’t understand how you don’t given fundamental Calvinist assumptions about reality.

    You don’t have to continue this discussion, but I will point out that you have still not grappled with the majority of what I have said and have yet to back up your assertions with actual argumentation, nor have you refuted the many claims I have made about the unavoidable logical implications of Calvinist determinism. I still welcome you to do that.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  20. There are two very different sorts of Calvinists running loose among us. There are *consistent* Calvinists and *inconsistent Calvinists*. The difference lies in their consistency with their own espoused premises. A consistent Calvinist claims that God predetermines everything and controls everything (with no exceptions or they tell us then God would not really be God!) and then makes other claims *consistent* with these premises. An inconsistent Calvinist holds the same premises (i.e. that God predetermines everything and controls everything) and yet makes claims inconsistent with these premises. If you listen to contemporary Calvinists there are very few who are actually consistent with their own premises.

    An easy way to ferret them out is to compare the present Calvinist’s claims with John Calvin himself. You see, Calvin was a consistent Calvinist, so Calvin not only claimed that God predetermined everything and controlled everything; he also made other assertions consistent with these premises. So Calvin did not shy away from the fact that if all is predetermined then everything that happens is predetermined by God. If everything is predetermined then God selected both those who would be elect and those who would be non-elect. Calvin also had no qualms about claiming and believing that anything that occurs as part of history was predetermined by God. So this means that if you want to see “God’s will” just look at what actually happens as it is all God’s will, all part of a total plan that God conceived in eternity and then causes to take place as what we call history.

    With these things in mind, look at what Chancellor Roberts writes, which clearly indicates him to be an inconsistent calvinist:

    “I’m not the one asserting double predestination (God not only predestined those who are saved, but specifically predestined everyone else to be damned).”

    Calvin did and he was consistent with his own premises: you are not.

    “However, we’re all – from the moment of conception – without “hope and without God in the world.” The gospel isn’t about offering hope where there is none, it’s about God calling people to be reconciled to Him.”

    Non-Calvinists also believe that apart from the gospel sinners are in a hopeless condition. This belief is not distinctive about Calvinism.

    “We are commanded to preach the gospel and it is enough that this is what God commands.”

    Again no one is arguing that we should not preach the gospel, nor that it is commanded by God and we need to obey. Again nothing distinctive here.

    “The Church is the means (through the preaching of the gospel) by which God calls His elect to Himself.”

    Actually I would suggest that the Word is the means and the Holy Spirit uses it to bring people to God. Because the grace of God is resistible, sometimes people respond in faith to the gospel and other times they do not.

    “Calvinists do believe there is a general call (that goes out to everyone) and an effectual call (which goes out only to the elect and it is God who makes that call effectual).”

    This distinction is nowhere to be found in scripture. It is an invented concept that exists purely because of the Calvinistic system. As I reject the system I also reject this distinction. I also reject this distinction because it presupposes determinism which I see as false (i.e. the only explanation as to why the call is effectual with one and not another is that with one they are predetermined and controlled to believe and with the other they are predetermined not to believe).

    “Talk to me when you people are ready to knock off this nonsense of claiming ALL Calvinists believe in double predestination”

    No one here claimed that all Calvinists believe in double predestination (only consistent Calvinists such as John Calvin do). You not being a consistent Calvinist (as John Calvin was) and not being consistent with your own premises reject double predestination. But this is logically inconsistent and many people have seen this despite the fact you refuse to acknowledge your own inconsistency.

    “and when you’re ready to knock off this wickedness of saying God is cruel and of bearing false witness against Calvinists in accusing us of saying God is cruel!”

    We do not say that God is cruel, we say and are in fact correct in our claim that if Calvinistic premises are true (i.e. again that God predetermined everything and controls everything) then God *is* cruel. As these premises are false, God is not cruel. Only if these Calvinistic premises were true would be claim that God is cruel. In my previous post took these premises and showed how, if true, God is cruel in regards to the substance abuse issues and crimes committed by inmates. You can squawk all that you want about us “bearing false witness” but it is the false system of Calvinism and its premises that contradict the truth. As they contradict the truth revealed in God’s Word they are false and ought to be seen by Christians as false.

    Now for inconsistent Calvinists such as yourself you find it hard to see why we would claim that under Calvinistic premises God **is**cruel. The problem is not with us, the problem is with your own inconsistency and your false premises that God has predetermined everything and controls everything. Not all Calvinists today are as squeamish about their own premises and their implications as you are. If you want to see what a consistent Calvinist looks like today I suggest you check out the writings of Vincent Cheung. Of course you will probably reject Cheung as a “hyper- Calvinist” (a common term used by inconsistent Calvinists against consistent Calvinists). But I would remind you that Cheung merely parrots exactly what John Calvin himself believed. So if Cheung is “hyper-Calvinist” then so is John Calvin!

    Robert

  21. BTW, even though it is Chancellor Roberts who is primarily fixated on the issue of double predestination, I should point out that I am not the only one who sees the “passing over” view in contrast to the active reprobation view as a distinction without a significant difference. Even Calvinist R.C. Sproul says the view amounts to the same thing and that it should still rightly be called “double predestination”.

    He writes,

    “Let us examine the “logic” of Brunner’s position. He maintains that (1) there is a divine decree of election that is eternal; (2) that divine decree is particular in scope (“There are those who are not elect”); (3) yet there is no decree of reprobation. Consider the implications. If God has predestined some but not all to election, does it not follow by what Luther called a “resistless logic” that some are not predestined to election? If, as Brunner maintains, all salvation is based upon the eternal election of God and not all men are elect from eternity, does that not mean that from eternity there are non-elect who most certainly will not be saved? Has not God chosen from eternity not to elect some people? If so, then we have an eternal choice of non-election which we call reprobation. The inference is clear and necessary, yet some shrink from drawing it.”

    http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/double-predestination/

  22. i find it surprising that no one has posted about the numerous verses in the Bible that says that God does not show partiality…the Calvinist idea is that God shows partiality to some and not others…

  23. yes i agree -God asks us not to show partiality in giving best seats to rich and and he goes to the samaritan woman and she turns into the 1st evangelist. Jesus salvation comes to jew, greek, slave or free, man or woman. acts 10, 1 john 2 james 2 gal 3
    so why would God show partiality to only the elect? and tell us it is a sin to do it? He doesn’t . for salvation

  24. Mewsicboi – the very problem with Calvinism is that it tends to disregard, downplay or reinterpret statements from the Bible that contradicts Calvinistic premises. And so “all” cannot mean “all”, and “partiality” cannot mean “partiality”, and “God’s love” cannot mean God’s love” according to the accepted and intuitive human understanding of fatherly love, and…and…and. Essentially this is why debating with most Calvinists is an extremely frustrating and burdensome exercise. As Demosthenes said: “Nothing is easier than self-deceit, for what each man wishes he also believes to be true.” Scholars in the field of irrational psychology have made huge advances over the past few decades in providing proof that we first buy into an idea and then selectively “find” evidences to support that idea. Our allegiances trump our reason, in other words. As Aquinas said: We construe the world according to the principles of our own constitution.

  25. This post hits very close to home for me. Our 14 year old daughter (our youngest) came to us last week and said she “no longer wants to follow God and live by his rules”. In fact, she claimed for the last 3 or 4 years she has not been following God, even though by all appearances she has been. So what this means is that God decreed for her to turn her back on him (evanescent grace); or of her own will she is walking away from God.
    As you can imagine, we are quite heartbroken over this.
    Any comfort that we can glean from this is that we can trust God is as heartbroken as we are and did not decree her walking away from him. We can also take comfort in the fact that God loves her as much, if not more, than we do and still desires her repentance. We are confident this is not God’s will or desire for her.
    I can tell you for sure my first thought was not “Well, at least I’m elect (I hope). Isn’t God glorious?”

  26. That is heart breaking. I have a young daughter as well, and can only imagine what you are feeling. But as you say, God loves her (is jealous for her, in fact) and will continue to pursue her. My parents prayed me out of rebellion that started around the same age, so don’t give up.

  27. @kangaroodort,
    I recently had an altercation in another blog and I was summarily banned over calling a member a liar.

    I had posed the question, ‘do infants have eternal life?’ In that where do their souls go when they die. The context was in the claim that eternal life can’t be eternal if it is lost….A Calvinist said they did not know how God deals with infants but they later conceded they meant they did not want to discuss it.

    I probed him further and insisted we can derive how God deals with infants from how He deals with adults. If he (the Calvinist) received the irrevocable gift of eternal life as an adult, then prior to it, he had no eternal life. His pre-conversion death state stretched back to his infancy I insisted.

    To prove my point, I reasoned infants can only be in three states;
    (a) Have eternal life
    (b) Have no eternal life
    (c) some have eternal life and some don’t

    (a) is incompatible with Calvinism as some of the infants grow up to be reprobates and end up in hell.
    (b) makes some sense in that all start dead and some find life in adulthood while the rest perish. Let’s leave (c) for now.

    The problem with all these scenarios is that some infants die in their infancy. If all have eternal life, then they end up in heaven. But the fact that some survivors live to be sinners and perish means they lose this eternal life.

    If they have no eternal life, then those who die end up in hell. God damns them in their infancy. This applies to (b) and (c) in part.

    The reason I brought this issue up is that it is quite possible Calvinism is prepared to live with a cruel God who damns infants in their infancy, some before they are even born, than discard unconditional eternal security.

    And come to think of it, in the light of exhaustive determinism, while they may fumble over double predestination of men, the cruelty of their conception of God is made more manifest when we focus on infant mortality. We can barely call fetuses sinners

  28. Agreed, as straightforward as Calvinists seem to think salvation is you’re not going to get a straightforward answer from one when they’re presented with the possibility of their OWN children not being elect. If God and God alone chooses each individual’s salvation (or not) what is praying until you’re blue in the face and doing your best to lead your children to jesus going to do? Or did John Calvin also believe that you can pray your child’s way out of hell?

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