Saved to Believe or Believe to be Saved?

Here is something I wrote today that I wanted to share, to get different perspectives on.

Consider the following passage in Ephesians Chapter 1. “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” In speaking of the irrefutable gospel, this passage says it all. Paul acknowledged their having trusted Christ AFTER hearing the word of truth, “THE GOSPEL of your salvation,” Paul said, and then notice something very interesting. Paul says, “having believed, you WERE sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.”

It appears that several things are evident. First of all, hearing the gospel prompted a response. It is the natural progression of revelation to solicit a response. Now, he says, “having believed” indicating their response to this gospel, they were THEN sealed by the Holy Spirit. Regeneration is not possible without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the new believer’s heart. That is what gives the old man this new nature. Here it is clear that belief in this word of truth, which is the gospel of salvation, must be believed in order to live. God does not “make us alive so that we can believe.” It appears that this passage of Scripture settles that argument.

Grateful to be in His Grip!

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133 responses to this post.

  1. However, the John Gill commentary says:

    …ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise. This cannot have respect to the Father’s sealing his people in election, with the seal of his foreknowledge, 2Ti_2:19 for that is before faith, …

    John Gill still says that the seal of election is before faith, so the Calvinist will still maintain that sealing happens before believing. If there’s one thing I’ve learned on this topic, it’s that scripture never settles any argument.

    Reply

    • Posted by Chris Fincher on December 21, 2011 at 9:44 am

      Scripture is clear… It’s the presuppositions on men that misconstrue things…

      Reply

      • You are correct. The problem is… since we are all men, it is hard to determine who is reading scriptures or misconstruing Scripture. Seems to me the other person is always the one guilty of misconstruing.

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  2. LOL… Have to be kind… we ALL believe our position is a Scriptural one.

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    Reply

  3. Bob,

    How does Titus 3 figure in? Is he saying regeneration comes before the Holy Spirit?

    “he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,”
    (Titus 3:5-6 ESV)

    Reply

    • I do not see it no. “He saved us BY the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us richly.” There is absolutely no “timeline” if you will of WHEN regeneration takes place. Remember, there is no issue as to the validity of regeneration; there is only the question of when regeneration takes place and what role it plays in the salvific process.

      Now, as to the phrase, “not because of works done by us in righteousness” I do not believe “choice” is a work of righteousness “done by us.” Choice or believing is our response to the convicting work of the Holy Spirit. We all understand salvation or conversion to be the result of repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus and His finished work at Calvary.

      I have read that the notion that man has the “ability to believe” outside the realm of regeneration prior to his believing falls into this category of “works of righteousness” and passages like these are quoted. This is not at all what Paul is alluding to, as I see it. I see this to be true because repentance and believing are always followed by salvation; even in the Calvinist mindset that it true. The only real difference is the C’s insistence that believing and faith are “gifts of God” as opposed to “works of righteousness” in man. Neither are Biblical positions.

      God saved us by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit; notice the language here, “washing of regeneration AND renewal of the Holy Spirit”. I see these as one and the same NOT regeneration and THEN renewal of the Holy Spirit.

      Let’s tie the two passages together. “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”

      I like the two tied together.

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      Reply

  4. Bob, ok. Let’s look another passage. I’m really trying to understand hos your view fits with other scripture.

    “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—
    (Ephesians 2:1-5 ESV)

    In particular noteworthy is verse 5: “even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ…”

    Here is something to note: Not every aspect of the salvation process-election, predestination, calling, regeneration, conversion, justification, adoption, sanctification, etc. is displayed in each passage dealing with “salvation.”

    Reply

    • Les,

      You are correct in stating that “election, predestination, calling, regeneration, conversion, justification, adoption, sanctification, etc” are not all displayed in each passage of Scripture. My contention is, that regeneration as it is suggested in the calvinist scheme of conversion is not present in ANY passage of Scripture.

      You made special note to verse 5, “even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—”

      Before I answer your question let me ask you a question. What does this phrase, “even when we were dead in our trespasses” refer to IN THIS passage?

      I would also like your comments on the original post and my response to your last post.

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      Reply

      • Bob,

        “Before I answer your question let me ask you a question. What does this phrase, “even when we were dead in our trespasses” refer to IN THIS passage?’

        It means that even when we were spiritually dead (not spiritually alive) in our sins.

        Now you can respond to my question.

        “I would also like your comments on the original post and my response to your last post.”

        Which original post?

      • OK… not anywhere close to what I was expecting for an answer.

        “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—

        First of all, Paul is speaking to Christians and reminding them from where they have come; this is NOT a salvific reference as such. Before Christ, we are ALL dead in our trespass and sin and in need of a savior. No question.

        To verse 5… But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—

        The point to my question was these two phrases go together… “because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses,” echoing Paul’s statement in Rom 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

        There is a BIG difference in reading this verse this way, “because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses,” as opposed to this way, “even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—”

        The words “even when” directs itself back to the phrase, “He loved us” and not forward.

        So as I see it, this verse has nothing to do with the issue of regeneration preceding repentance and faith.

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      • Bob,

        You: “First of all, Paul is speaking to Christians and reminding them from where they have come; this is NOT a salvific reference as such.”

        Are you saying this passage is not talking about salvation? Really? Then what IS it talking about?

        You: “The point to my question was these two phrases go together… “because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses,” echoing Paul’s statement in Rom 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

        There is a BIG difference in reading this verse this way, “because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses,” as opposed to this way, “even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—”

        Me: There is not different meaning in Eph. 2 and Rom 5. Both passage tell something happened because of God’s great love for us. Eph, the thing that happened is He mad us alive. In Romans the thing that happened is Christ died for us. No problem here at all. One is talking about God quickening dead people and one is talking about who Christ died for.

      • It is a reference to their salvation but has nothing to do specifically with the order of salvation, would be a better statement.

        I thought about the distinguishing points of where the phrase ” when we were dead in our trespasses and sin” was placed and I actually concluded it really does not matter WHERE one puts the phrase, the point is Jesus is the One who gives us life! That is all the passage says is that God made us alive in Christ Jesus… there is no indication whatsoever to WHEN regeneration happens or HOW regeneration happens in the conversion process.

        I am headed to our Wednesday night service.

        Appreciate your contributions.

        ><>”

      • Bob,

        Actually it does give us a “when” reference:

        “…even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ…”

        He made us alive while we were dead. There is a dead person. Then, by an outside power, God Himself, the dead person comes to life. A state of being, a cause and then an effect.

        Reminds me of Lazarus. How could he hear Jesus calling out to him? He had to be made alive first. He had to be resurrected first. That’s the whole point of resurrection. Dead people are brought to life. Dead people can’t understand the things of God and cannot even see the kingdom of God. John 3.

        Have a blessed time at your service.

  5. Posted by Chris Fincher on December 21, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Im not sure if I understand the reason for you post. You said that “God does not make us alive so that we can believe.” I say He does… Look at the Ephesians passageagain: “after hearing the word…” It’s the power of the word that makes us alive to believe/ have faith in Christ. God turns our hearts so that we can believe… The whole first couple of chapters screams God’s sovereignty in salvation.

    “4 even as he chose us in him…”, “5 he predestined us for adoption…” “according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.” “having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will… So that we…” etc…

    Reply

    • Chris,

      Welcome to the discussion. You wrote, “You said that “God does not make us alive so that we can believe.” I say He does… Look at the Ephesians passage again: “after hearing the word…” It’s the power of the word that makes us alive to believe/ have faith in Christ. God turns our hearts so that we can believe… The whole first couple of chapters screams God’s sovereignty in salvation.”

      You echo the essence of my post in the role of the Word “that makes us alive” and then you contradict your own statement by saying “God turns our heart to believe/have faith in God.” I disagree with the latter statement, which is again the essence of my post. You are correct in your statement that the chapters “scream” of God’s sovereignty in salvation. I have absolutely no problem with the last statement, either. I simply do not believe in unconditional election, limited atonement and irresistible grace as presented in RT. I do not believe in the other 2 either but the 3 are directly related to the post and your response.

      The passage I cited in Ephesians 1 presents serious Scriptural problem to the concept of regeneration preceding repentance and faith in Christ in conversion. The passage in Titus further illustrates the problem as well as the misinterpretation of Ephesians 2 that Les has presented. I will deal with that after I read his and your application of the phrase, “even when we were dead in our trespasses”; what does that statement refer to in the passage he noted? You are welcome to contribute to that if you like.

      Thanks for your contribution and I welcome any future comments!

      Grateful to be in His Grip!

      ><>”

      Reply

      • Posted by Chris Fincher on December 21, 2011 at 10:35 am

        You said, “You echo the essence of my post in the role of the Word “that makes us alive” and then you contradict your own statement by saying ‘God turns our heart to believe/have faith in God.'” How is this a contridiction?

      • I maintain that revelation requires a response. The Holy Spirit writes its words in our hearts, convicts the lost man of his sin and his need to repent and receive God’s forgiveness and that process in and of itself requires a response, thus the statement, It’s the power of the word that makes us alive to believe. (I really did not pay that much attention to your phrase, “makes us alive” to believe… initially)

        so let me simply say I believe “It’s the power of the word that allows us to believe” which is God’s doing. It does not mean I will believe, aka irresistible grace but it allows me to do so, which keeps it from being a semi-pelagian position.

        I misread your original statement. So I guess I you are correct; I did not agree with either statement you made previously.

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  6. Posted by Chris Fincher on December 21, 2011 at 9:46 am

    After reading the other post I must say that Scripture is clear and it is the presuppositions of men that misconstrue what it says…

    Reply

  7. Posted by Chris Fincher on December 21, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    I couldn’t really understand your writing in your response to my question. But If you believe that man can respond to the gospel by the preaching of the word own his own apart from God, then you are arminian/ semi-pelagian… I never understand, of all the doctrines of grace, why any person would be against irrisistible grace… It dosn’t make any sense. No man does good, and if God is sovereign and the author and finisher of faith,what is their to deny?

    Reply

    • in order to be Arminian one must believe in total depravity; I do not. A semi-Pelagian believes man can ON HIS OWN come to God apart from the working of the Holy Spirit; I do not believe that either. So that ought to clear us up there.

      I never understood how ANYONE could believe that God determines who is and who is not saved; so I guess that puts us on equal footing there. I do not believe God reaches down and picks anyone who is dead laying on the bottom of the ocean floor and brings him up so He can “repent, believe and be saved.” I believe in an irrefutable gospel and not irresistible grace. If God’s grace were irresistible that would mean every person who is saved is saved BECAUSE God chose to save him; and I can say whether he wanted to be saved or not since TD says he cannot want to be saved apart from regeneration and once God decides to save him, he has no other choice but to be saved.

      Now… the flip side is equally true. If it is God who determines who is saved, then by default He is the One who decides that others are NOT saved. I am sorry that is a dog that will not hunt as I read the Bible.

      I do not know how much you have read of my blog but the whole position of Calvinism and the Doctrines of Grace are, as I see the Scriptures as incorrect as anything I can imagine. I am not even a 1-Point Calvinist, seeing that I believe in the Perseverance of the Savior and not the Saint.

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      Reply

    • Hello Chris,

      You said that you “never understand… why any person would be against irresistible grace.” Would you like to understand? Would you prefer the scriptural reasons or moral reasons?

      For starters, “irresistible grace” is another one of those terms that is not used in scripture. And as I understand the doctrine itself, it’s not found anywhere in scripture, but rather it’s a required construct to support the whole Calvinist TULIP and denial of free will. So at this point I should really ask you to please define your term in the simplest language possible that doesn’t first require me to accept Calvinist definitions.

      You also asked:

      No man does good, and if God is sovereign and the author and finisher of faith,what is their to deny?

      What is there to deny? Paul says we can deny the Holy Spirit, thus is seems to me that this grace is not exactly irresistible (perhaps this technically refutes “Perseverance of the Saints, but aren’t all of those petals tied together?)

      Heb 6:4-6 KJV
      (4) For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
      (5) And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
      (6) If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

      Isaiah also tells us that when God has called, men have not answered. If one can reject God’s call, that would also seem to be “resistible.”

      Isa 66:4 KJV
      (4) I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.

      However, I really need to hear what your definition of “Irresistible Grace” is before I can explain why someone like myself would be against it. I plan to respond specifically to your definition as you understand itso I cannot be accused of not understanding the doctrine…

      Reply

      • Andrew…

        I will take issue of your reading of Hebrews 6:6 and ask you to consider what I believe Paul is saying and basically it is this… If… note the conditional conjunction there… IF one falls, it is impossible to renew him again to salvation.

        When someone seeks to argue the point of apostasy, I will concede the possibility; however, this passage clearly says that IF one falls away, he is eternally damned at that point. I also believe he is in essence debunking the notion that a person can be saved today, lost tomorrow and saved again next week. Notice he goes on to say… we are confident of better things of you and then he speaks about Abraham’s believing the promises of God and that belief gave them the strength they needed to patiently endure until they too receive the promise of eternal life from God.

        So, this is more of a statement to trust God and in obedience to His Word wait on His promises than it is a statement on Perseverance of the Saints… all though I prefer the perseverance of the Savior to the perseverance of the saint.

        ><>”

      • Posted by Chris Fincher on December 21, 2011 at 2:06 pm

        Thanks Andrew for your response. You seem to be about as fired up as I am. I love it…

        I say that irisistible grace is, us being the wretched sinners that we are, in the wicked slums of sin, we would never choose to run to/choose, a good, righteous, holy, God… In the simplist terms it is God wooing us into his family by his tender and loving Spirit, becausing we are unable and will not prefer him over our mudpie of sin. And therefore we love Jesus because we have a new heart, all because of God’s irrisistible good grace…

      • Thank you, Chris. Using your definition (quoted in parts below):

        I say that irisistible grace is, us being the wretched sinners that we are, in the wicked slums of sin, we would never choose to run to/choose, a good, righteous, holy, God…

        According to your definition, before one can accept the theory of “irresistible grace” one must first accept Calvinism’s “Total Depravity” (that’s what you’re describing, isn’t it?)

        In the simplist terms it is God wooing us into his family by his tender and loving Spirit, becausing we are unable and will not prefer him over our mudpie of sin. And therefore we love Jesus because we have a new heart…

        When repeating your definition in its simplest terms, you again confirmed that one must first accept Total Depravity. So there’s one of your answers. I haven’t accepted Total Depravity, and you haven’t proven Total Depravity. You would need to prove that:

        . 1) we would never choose a good, righteous, and holy God
        . 2) we are unable to (and will not) prefer Him over sin

        But even before using scripture, common experience can show a problem with your argument. Since you chose the term “wooing” then let us consider the scenario of a young woman who is considering a future husband. Some women might prefer the rough, “dangerous,” and abusive type, but some women actually do prefer men that are kind and loving, This phenomenon is not limited to the “Christian” realm. God is more kind and loving than a potential husband.

        Thus your theory that men are simply unable to prefer a loving God over a “mudpie of sin” is already suspect, and it seems to me that scripture tells us that God’s Spirit can be resisted.

        Act 7:51 KJV
        (51) Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.

        Heb 10:28-29 KJV
        (28) He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
        (29) Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

        Heb 10:39 KJV
        (39) But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

        It also seems that one can be sanctified and then tread under foot the Son of God, count the covenant as an unholy thing, and do despite unto the Spirit of grace. If we will heed the words of Paul, men can be sanctified and then draw back into perdition. That would mean that grace is resistible.

  8. Posted by Chris Fincher on December 21, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    This is 100% a false satement man: “in order to be Arminian one must believe in total depravity”

    I can tell that you don’t understand very much about Calvinsim/ reformed theology/ the doctrines of grace…

    A good definitions of preserverence of the saints is that we preservere because we are sanctified in Christ because he does indeed save to the uttermost, including a the present time…

    Please do your self a favor and read this article… It will clear your misconstrued fact up concerning Calvinism…

    http://gracelifepulpit.media.s3.amazonaws.com/pdf/Why_I_Am_a_Calvinist_Part%201.pdf

    Reply

    • Why is that Calvinists so often claim that their opponents don’t understand Calvinism, and then tell them to go off and read some book? Seriously, that’s a stock response.

      It seems to me that if the book was helpful, the proponent would be able to explain it themselves. If they’ve read the book themselves and still can’t explain it, then what good was that book, and why are they recommending it to someone else? A static author of “that book” is also conveniently unavailable for cross-examination.

      If Calvinism were true, I ought to be able to find it in the Bible without resorting to extra-biblical literature, and a proponent ought to be able to explain it from scripture de novo. That’s my request, at least.

      Reply

      • Posted by Chris Fincher on December 21, 2011 at 2:24 pm

        U need to chill bud. The only reason I recommended that ARTICLE was because I am at work and didn’t feel like writing a freakin book on wordpress.com…

        You obviously didn’t get why I said that he didn’t understand.
        He said that you have to believe in total depravity to be an Arminian, which is a complete false statement……….

        Then he said that he wasn’t even a 1 point Calvinist, which if the doctrines were actually studied, one would find out that any CHRISTIAN claiming any portion of a Scriptural doctrine that is fundamental to Christianity, would be hold to Calvinistic doctrine…

        Don’t jump the gun there bud…

    • Chris,

      Couple of things, please. A casual reading of one post does not make you an expert on my theological positions. Just as Calvinism begins with certain theological presuppositions, so does my position and it is much more developed apparently than what you have read, so far.

      Perhaps my statement was incorrect in that Arminianism begins with total depravity. Let me restate my position, every example of Arminianism that I have read about begins with total depravity but instead of bring raised FROM the dead, they are brought up just short of irresistible grace so the individual may or may not believe in Christ… but to the best of my knowledge, both C and A begin with TD.

      I did read the article that you cited by Johnson and if that is supposed to clear me up on the issue of the certainty of calvinism, then once again I am missing something here. I guess that is why I blog so I can be corrected. Oh.. You will have to do better, no a LOT better than this!

      ><>”

      Reply

      • Posted by Chris Fincher on December 21, 2011 at 2:29 pm

        “Now, don’t get the wrong idea. I do think the truth of God’s sovereignty is clear and ultimately inescapable
        in Scripture. But it is a difficult truth to come to grips with, so I am sympathetic with those who struggle
        with it. I’m Calvinistic enough to believe that God has ordained (at least for the time being) that some of
        my brethren should hold Arminian opinions.” -Phil Johson

        I couldn’t have said it any better 🙂

      • “I couldn’t have said it any better.”

        Maybe someday you will be able to do so. There is always hope. 🙂

        ><>”

    • OK, I did go and look up that “Why I am a Calvinist” article. This is what I noticed that the author said (which he emphasized in super large print, page 2):

      My advice to young Calvinists is to learn theology from the historic mainstream Calvinist authors, not from blogs and discussion forums on the Internet.

      He said that they should learn their theology from Reformed Theologians, and not submit themselves to forums… where their new ideas might be able to be questioned by others? I guess the plan is to indoctrinate first, then protect the fledglings until they set in their ways and no longer care to be tested by scripture.

      But this is the important part. By saying that the young Calvinists should learn from the Calvinist authors, what he did not say was that they should attempt to learn their theology straight from the bible …

      Solas scriptura, anyone?

      Reply

      • Posted by Chris Fincher on December 22, 2011 at 6:50 pm

        Man you don’t know how confused you are… Please go listen to a few Phil Johnson (who is a unapologetic Calvinist/ Reformed) and listen to what a high esteem he holds Scripture… Come on man… You don’t even know what you are saying, because you don’t properly understand what you are fighting against… And I say that with all humility.

      • We’ve already been through this. That’s why I specifically asked you to define your terms with words of your choosing, so you wouldn’t be able to accuse me of “not understanding Calvinism.”

        Here are standard responses from the Calvinist arsenal that I have encountered:

        . 1) “You don’t understand Calvinism”
        . 2) “Go listen to or read such and such who is a Calvinist”
        . 3) “Whoever said that wasn’t really a Calvinist, they were a hyper-Calvinist”
        . 4) “I don’t have the time or resources (or ability) to convince anyone else”
        . 5) “You take the words of your bible too seriously so I won’t attempt proof”

        Why should attempting to speak to a Calvinist be like trying to catch a greased pig? Would a sound doctrine require such tactics? Have you considered that perhaps you might be the one that is confused?

      • Chris, how much do I have to read? I picked out an article of his where he is discussing Hebrews 4:8, “quick and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword…”

        http://gracelifepulpit.media.s3.amazonaws.com/pdf/Better_Than_Any_Fad.pdf

        “But I don’t think that’s primarily what the writer of Hebrews has in mind. In this context, he is urging his readers to examine themselves, lest they fall away from Christ before they have truly embraced him with saving faith. He is warning them that it is possible to come close to Christ and yet fall away without entering into His rest–the rest that comes with redemption and the forgiveness of sins.”

        I can agree with his explanation above, because that is the context of the passage…

        Heb 4:11-12 KJV
        (11) Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
        (12) For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

        Phil Johnson just destroyed “Perseverance of the Saints” in his own sermon. There is a term for the psychological condition when a person holds two conflicting views simultaneously without recognizing it. It’s called cognitive dissonance and it’s a lot more common than most people think.

        You previously agreed with Phil Johnson who said…

        “I’m Calvinistic enough to believe that God has ordained (at least for the time being) that some of my brethren should hold Arminian opinions.”

        If you believe that your Calvinistic beliefs are that way because they are ordained of God then how am I supposed to persuade you any differently? As I understood that sermon, Phil Johnson says I ought to come straight at you with that quick and powerful sword for your own good.

        If Phil Johnson were here talking with me, I would talk with him. But he is not here – you are. Would Phil tell you to refer me back to his web site, or would he tell you to pick up that twoedged sword and to be willing to examine yourself lest you fall into unbelief?

        Which ironically seems to be a a very anti-Calvinist interpretation.

  9. Here is Johnson’s handling of I John 4:19… that says we love (him) because He first loved us. Johnson writes:

    Think with me for a moment about the implications of that phrase at the end: “He first loved us.” In other words, there was a time when we didn’t love Him. That is the very essence of depravity, isn’t it?—a failure to love God as we ought. Nothing is more utterly and totally depraved than a heart devoid of love for God. Romans 8:7 says, “The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”

    That describes a hopeless state of utter inability to love God, to obey His commands, or to please Him. That is the state of all whose hearts have not been renewed by Christ.”

    Let me make a couple comments on Johnson’s manner of thinking here. First of all, I agree with his assessment regarding the utter depravity of a person who does not love God. No problem there. His reference to Romans 8 seems to suggest that Paul is saying that being in the flesh, it is impossible to please God setting up a foundation to lead into regeneration that is essential for one “to even believe.” This is where Johnson heads as he moves from an individual NOT loving God to the “inability” of an individual to believe in God. That is an illogical move which is sort of like the slight of hand tricks used at the circus.

    Interestingly enough, the reference to Romans 8 clearly refutes this position; listen to what Paul writes in verse 5: “5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.” In otherwords, the decisions men make concerning the promises and provisions of God determine whether they are of the flesh or of the Spirit… So the notion of inability is not so well defined as Johnson would have anyone believe.

    There is a BIG difference in one’s inability to respond to God and his depravity before God.

    ><>”

    Reply

  10. Posted by Chris Fincher on December 21, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    First, how can one believe in God if he doesn’t love God?

    Second, a person cannot live according to the spirit if he doesn’t love God.

    So to say that passage in Romans refutes Johnson’s argument is false. The ONLY way to live according to the spirit is if God turns your heart to do it. “9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.” The only way to recieve the Holy Spirit is that God give you a heart of flesh in place of a heart of stone.

    Reply

    • Curious… this is a new twist… you asked, First, how can one believe in God if he doesn’t love God?

      So… are you saying that the lost person MUST love God BEFORE he believes in God?

      HOW is MY statement false? I quoted Paul who wrote, “5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, (set their minds on) the things of the Spirit.”

      Now, we may disagree on the theology of the day but don’t ignore WHAT I say and simply say… the argument is false. Humor me and explain HOW my statement is false.

      Once again you say, “The only way to recieve the Holy Spirit is that God give you a heart of flesh in place of a heart of stone.” I hope you are not saying you get that from Romans 8:9, ““9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.”

      Sorry, the text does not say that. As for your reference to a “heart of flesh” that is found ONLY in Ezekiel 11:17-21… Here is the text in its context:

      17 Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord God:”I will gather you from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.”‘ 18 And they will go there, and they will take away all its detestable things and all its abominations from there. 19 Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, 20 that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God.

      Notice a couple things. First of all, God is speaking to Ezekiel and telling him what to say to the children of Israel who are scattered among the nations… come back AND take away all the detestable things and God promises, THEN I will give them a new heart. That is interesting with reference to your use of the phrase.

      Even MORE interesting is the word of warning that follows… 21 But as for those whose hearts follow the desire for their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their deeds on their own heads,” says the Lord God.

      Sooo… it appears to me that God gives this new heart to those who are obedient and do what He tells them to do and not at all what you suggest… that God gives this fleshly heart to replace the heart of stone SO THAT they may obey.

      Does that clear up things up at all?

      ><>”

      Reply

  11. Posted by Chris Fincher on December 21, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    Yes im saying that you CANNOT and WILLNOT love God, nor believe in Him UNLESS he acts first and turns your heart to believe in the gospel of Jesus, because we are depraved sinners who prefer ourselves over God alawys, until He bestowes his irisistible grace upon us.

    Reply

    • I think you are forgetting that God has already acted first. He has made himself known and announced himself to the world.

      Joh 12:32-33 KJV
      (32) And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
      (33) This he said, signifying what death he should die.

      Joh 3:16-17 KJV
      (16) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
      (17) For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

      1Jn 3:16 KJV
      (16) Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

      God has already acted first, his death on the cross was designed to draw all men to him, and common observation proves that some people are resistant to this grace for one reason or another.

      I have trouble reconciling how grace can be considered “irresistible” when people demonstrate all the time that they can resist it. God draws all men with the cross, and he so loved the world, and thus God has already acted first in a very dramatic fashion.

      Reply

  12. Chris,

    You wrote initially, “how can one believe in God if he doesn’t love God?”

    Now you defend that statement by saying, “you CANNOT and WILLNOT love God, nor believe in Him UNLESS he acts first and turns your heart to believe in the gospel of Jesus,

    As much as I may want to accept your point here… it is like saying Heads I win; tails you lose. Read what YOU wrote…

    The following statement is YOUR position, we are depraved sinners who prefer ourselves over God alawys, until He bestowes his irisistible grace upon us.

    I get it. I disagree with it. I would appreciate it if you could share with me where I err… not where we differ. I have that nailed down pretty well. Take my word for it if for nothing else.

    ><>”

    Reply

  13. Posted by Chris Fincher on December 21, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    Ok well since we have the differences nailed down pretty good, and you want me to tell you where I think you err. Ok, well, I believe the reason why you don’t understand (whatever it is we are arguing about, im not even sure at this point) is because you have a low view of sin. As in how sinful we are in the sight of God and what it means to be dead in trespasses and sins… Once total depravity are accepted then the rest of the doctrines flow beautifully together… and when I say this I am not being a prick, but all the doctrines line up with scripture. Look through history man, it’s been sola scriptura the whole way man… There is no majic show going on with “Calvinist” try to use smoke and mirrors to prove their doctrines. It’s derived from scripture just like arminianism is. It’s just that usually arminians usually disreguard the more Calvinistic proof texts, and the Calvinist say that whosoever will is exactly that.. Whosoever will…. Lord willing of course.

    Reply

  14. You write, “you have a low view of sin. As in how sinful we are in the sight of God and what it means to be dead in trespasses and sins…” Nice evaluation.

    One point you make is especially interesting and is really probably the most intelligent comment you have made today.

    You are 110% correct when you say, “Once total depravity are accepted then the rest of the doctrines flow beautifully together…

    If you will remember I said, I do not accept total depravity as that foundation and that is where I believe the fallacy of Calvinism rests. So see, we can agree on something.

    I do not agree with the other part of your statement, when you say, all the doctrines line up with Scripture.

    Once again, I appreciate your participation but can you at least comment on SOMETHING that I have actually said instead of throwing these elementary comments around… I have been doing this for quite some time now and I have heard comments like yours more times than I care to count.

    At least it lets me know you read something that I wrote and attempted to understand it.

    ><>”

    Reply

  15. Posted by Chris Fincher on December 21, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    @Andrew

    Ok well of course you must accept total depravity, among the other four doctrines to be reformed… Just like you have to believe in certain truths to actually be a Christian, that’s obvious.

    As far as proving total depravity it seems to be we are bent and determined to win this but here we go:

    “None is righteous, no, not one;
    11 no one understands;
    no one seeks for God.
    12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
    no one does good,
    not even one.”
    13 “Their throat is an open grave;
    they use their tongues to deceive.”
    “The venom of asps is under their lips.”
    14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
    15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
    16 in their paths are ruin and misery,
    17 and the way of peace they have not known.”
    18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Romans 3

    Paul is throwing all mankind un the bus. Verse 11 says that no one seeks for God.

    “The LORD has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. 3 They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; there is no once who does good, not even one.” Psalm 14

    Even if David was writing this psalm for another country besides Israel, Paul, who has the authority to do so, takes it and applies it to all men in Romans 3. “No one seeks for God.”

    Ill sum up with this:

    “But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith.” Romans 3

    “He (Jesus) came to His own, and those who here His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1

    I mean if you sit back a minute………….. and look at was God did at the cross. Think about Jesus hanging on the cross bearing the sin of His people, of whom he said, “all that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” John 6:37

    And also when in Isaiah 53 when He said that Jesus, “He will see his offspring… As a result of His anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; by His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, as He will BEAR their iniquities.

    So If Isaiah said that Jesus would SEE his offspring (those that he saved) and be SATISFIED, and alsoof all those people that His father had given Him; don’t you think that Jesus Christ the Savior would morn if he spilled His precious blood, and carried the sin and shame of someone who would never choose to have faith in Him and be forgiven?

    Jesus came to this earth to carry the sin of God elect, whom he chose to save before the foundation of the world.

    Eph 1

    Romans 9

    Go read it for yourself.

    Reply

    • OK, so we are setting aside the Irresistible Grace argument so it seems we are now addressing Total Depravity… let’s examine your argument.

      First, you have quoted Romans 3:11 to claim that when Paul quotes David saying “none seek after God” that this really means that no one has the ability to seek after God. That’s already quite a stretch.

      Rom 3:10-12 KJV
      (10) As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
      (11) There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
      (12) They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

      What you have done here is to have taken a statement of generalization and attempted to make it a precise statement of fact. This is your error, for we are plainly told in many other scriptures that men can seek after God.

      In fact, the references are so massive that I don’t want to put them in a single post. I had to stop collecting them because they were too many, but if I don’t display them no one is going to look them up anyway, so here goes:

      Exo 33:7 KJV
      (7) And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass, that every one which sought the LORD went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which was without the camp.

      That alone should be enough to call the Calvinistic interpretation of “there is none that seeketh after God” into question… but wait, because there is much, much, more.

      2Ch 14:7 KJV
      (7) Therefore he said unto Judah, Let us build these cities, and make about them walls, and towers, gates, and bars, while the land is yet before us; because we have sought the LORD our God, we have sought him, and he hath given us rest on every side. So they built and prospered.

      2Ch 15:3-4 KJV
      (3) Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law.
      (4) But when they in their trouble did turn unto the LORD God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them.

      2Ch 17:3-4 KJV
      (3) And the LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and sought not unto Baalim;
      (4) But sought to the LORD God of his father, and walked in his commandments, and not after the doings of Israel.

      2Ch 26:3-5 KJV
      (3) Sixteen years old was Uzziah when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and two years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Jecoliah of Jerusalem.
      (4) And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah did.
      (5) And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper.

      Adding this to our passage from Exodus, we now have accumulated five proofs that people can and do seek the LORD.

      Psa 34:4 KJV
      (4) I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

      Psa 77:2 KJV
      (2) In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: my sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted.

      Since you were using Paul’s quotation of the Psalms, I thought that it might be appropriate to include a couple references from the Psalms as well. That brings our running total of “seeking the LORD” scriptures up to seven.

      Zec 8:20-22 KJV
      (20) Thus saith the LORD of hosts; It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities:
      (21) And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also.
      (22) Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD.

      That’s eight, now. People can and will seek the LORD.

      Mal 3:1 KJV
      (1) Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.

      In this context, it’s even specifically referencing Christ, and apparently there were some people who were seeking the Lord. That’s nine.

      Act 17:24-27 KJV
      (24) God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
      (25) Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
      (26) And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
      (27) That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:

      Paul even says that it is determined that this one blood of men shall seek the Lord, but notice this – that he also says that this is dependent on “if haply they might feel after him.” That’s a pretty stern blow to “Total Depravity” because the seeking is dependent if these men “might feel.” That’s ten.

      Act 15:13-17 KJV
      (13) And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:
      (14) Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.
      (15) And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,
      (16) After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:
      (17) That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.

      The more we read the bible, the more we find that (some) men really do seek after the Lord. Either all of these passages are speaking deceptively, or perhaps it is more reasonable to assume that you have taken Paul’s quotation of David out of context.

      But let’s keep going and move on to number twelve (that’s a nice number.) This seems to really throw a wrench into that application of Romans 3:11 as a proof of “Total Depravity”…

      Amo 8:11-12 KJV
      (11) Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:
      (12) And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.

      They shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it. Apparently, people can seek the LORD, even if he has withdrawn himself.

      Therefore…

      Even that last passage of Amos disproves Total Depravity. But for the sake of completeness, I will address the rest as well (and since this is long already I will try to be brief… )

      * Per John 1 … where is Total Depravity supposed to be found in this passage?
      * Per John 6:37 … this passage does not require a Calvinist interpretation.
      * Per Isaiah 53 … your argument doesn’t even make sense to me.

      This was your statement:

      So If Isaiah said that Jesus would SEE his offspring (those that he saved) and be SATISFIED, and alsoof all those people that His father had given Him; don’t you think that Jesus Christ the Savior would morn if he spilled His precious blood, and carried the sin and shame of someone who would never choose to have faith in Him and be forgiven?

      You’re employing a circular argument. God cannot know who will choose life and death without giving them the opportunity to choose. Will God mourn those who reject life? Yes, he will, but this emotional argument that you use of “spilling precious blood for those who will not be forgiven” is fallacious at its core.

      So tell me, if someone were to reject Christ’s sacrifice, did Christ only have “so much blood to go around” that their rejecting this forgiveness wasted what could have gone to someone else instead? Have you been measuring his blood by the liter? John 3:16 tells us that Christ came for the entire world, not only for a few secret lottery winners.

      Right now, your proposed proof of “Total Depravity” is rather deficient. Furthermore, stating a chapter and saying “go read it” is not a proof. You’re supposed to present a scripture, and then explain how it’s supposed to prove your theory and it would even help if there weren’t so many contradictions.

      Isa 55:6-7 KJV
      (6) Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
      (7) Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

      Why would God give a command that was impossible for his target audience? Would you instruct your pet dog to fly and then punish it for disobedience? If someone else were to do that, we would call them cruel and insane. This is what your Total Depravity doctrine has assigned to the character of God, and that is why I reject it.

      Reply

  16. Posted by Chris Fincher on December 22, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    Ok… enough of this on the comment section. I wrote a blog with a final response to all this. Please don’t go crazy with the responses on the comments. Just say a final little deal, and let’s end this…. Btw, I am thankful for the conversation we had. I look forward to chatting again! Please read this, I laid my heart out on the issue there better than I could have on this comment section.

    http://chrisfincher.wordpress.com/2011/12/22/the-atonement-of-jesus/

    Thank you

    Chris

    Reply

  17. Posted by Chris Fincher on December 22, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    @ Andrew

    Brother, let me make something very clear. My only goal in life is to rightly divide God’s word, not to consult other Calvinist as you say to prove my points. Phil Johnson was just who came up… And let me say one more thing. You need to check yourself before you go threatening people that they may fall into unbelief. You said it yourself that Jesus did not bear the wrath of God. Bro, that means that you are not a true Christian, because that is an essential doctrine of orthodox Christianity. Jesus bore the wrath of God on our part, on our behalf. You have a whole set of other issues besides arguing over the five points of Calvinism… Go get your Bible and learn about the gospel and forget about trying to disprove Calvinism.

    Reply

    • Chris,

      1. If you feel threatened then take up your issue with Paul. He’s the one that said we need to “labour lest we fall into unbelief.” (Hebrews 4:11-12) I didn’t make that up.

      2. If you’re going to claim that “Jesus bore the wrath of God” then you need to be able to provide at least one scripture to prove it. God’s wrath is reserved for his enemies (Nah 1:2) and Jesus was not God’s enemy.

      But since I’ve already asked you for proof you have returned with unfounded accusation. I guess there was one more stock Calvinist response I forgot to include… it’s called the “accuse your opponent of not being Christian” attack.

      Do you realize how hypocritical it is to tell someone else to “go get your bible” when you’re the one refusing to show scripture?

      Reply

    • I’m not going to wait forever for you to think of a retort, so here’s a hint to help you out. The word wrath occurs 198 times in the bible, with 47 of those being in the New Testament. Start by looking at each of those instances until you figure out what the word means.

      Luk 4:26-29 KJV
      (26) But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow.
      (27) And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.
      (28) And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,
      (29) And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.

      Jesus may have endured wrath from the Jews, but he was never the target of the wrath (anger) of God (see also Matthew 20:18-19, Luke 23:20-23, Acts 2:36-38.) I think you owe me an apology, and in the future you should be willing to talk to someone before accusing them of not being Christian.

      Reply

    • Chris,

      This passage comes to mind as I see Andrew’s “attack dog” methods of trying to bully and demean all in effort to argue over doctrine.

      ““Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.’
      (Matthew 7:6 ESV)

      Andrew, as I said over on Chris’ site, you need the gospel. You apparently have a lot of knowledge, but truth is lacking and grace is non-existent. Perhaps the reason other Calvinists abandon dialogue with you, allowing you to make your list above. At some point, people realize what they’re dealing with. Gospel my friend.

      Reply

      • Interestingly enough, you and Chris both fulfill that perfectly. When I’ve simply asked each of you to pick up the bible and show me your scripture and please attempt to persuade me, and instead you respond that you will refuse to show me scripture, and instead accuse me of not being Christian.

        Isa 66:4-5 KJV
        (4) I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.
        (5) Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name’s sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.

        I’m not the one turning about and rending…

      • Posted by Chris Fincher on December 22, 2011 at 11:42 pm

        Les,

        Thank you for stepping in bro.

        The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results… lol

        It’s funny though, because this conversation would be so much different we all of us were face to face 🙂

        Gotta love them blogs!

        Thanks

      • Andrew, when you deny substitutionary atonement, you deny the gospel. I continue to urge you to seek God while He is near. Forget debating doctrine. You need the gospel…you are a sinner. Jesus died for sinners, in their place. he substituted Himself, though sinless, for sinners like you. He bore the wrath of God on behalf of sinners just like you. He calls you to repent and trust in His finished work on the cross.

      • Les, when you falsely accuse someone without first going to your brother to make sure that perhaps you are not the one who is mistaken or in error, you place yourself in danger from multiple angles (see Matthew 5:22).

        I don’t recall denying “substitutionary atonement” but I did notice that you were very eager to twist my words to attack me and then add in pious sounding phrases like “You need the gospel” and “you need to repent.” You hardly seem sincere, for your actions belie your words.

        Isa 29:19-21 KJV
        (19) The meek also shall increase their joy in the LORD, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
        (20) For the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off:
        (21) That make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought.

        You did not come to me directly, even though we have exchanged email on a previous occasion, and you know that I do respond. You decried my statement, but you did not attempt to prove yourself from scripture. In the entire biblical text, there is not one scripture that says that Jesus suffered the wrath of God, but you condemned me regardless.

        At least Chris did come and present a scriptural case so that we could confirm this together. I have also offered to speak with him by email, and the offer is still open that we could even talk by online video (if he desires this and has that access.)

      • Andrew,

        You here: “I don’t recall denying “substitutionary atonement.”

        You on Chris’ site: “Christ dying on the cross didn’t save anyone.”

      • That’s strange, I’m pretty sure that’s not the complete quote. The tactic you are demonstrating is called pretext, meaning when words are purposely taken out of context to misrepresent another. It doesn’t seem that I can trust you to be honest about this, so I’ll provide the quote for everyone else:

        My actual statement was:

        2. Christ dying on the cross didn’t save anyone. Think about it. In fact, consider the book of Hebrews, where we are told that Abraham was saved by faith, thousands of years before the cross. Read the book of Job – Job knew his Savior as well. I don’t think you realize why Jesus died. Yes, Jesus died for everyone, which potentially includes anyone… “whosoever believeth in him…” (John 3:16)

        How is that supposed to “deny substitutionary atonement?”

        I don’t suppose you’re going to even try using a Bible here, since you’ve already twice stated that you will not even attempt to persuade me by scripture, and this seems to be no exception. But I will point a few things out for you.

        1. When Paul speaks of the death and the life of Christ, he says that we were reconciled by his death, but we shall be saved by his life. His death is not his life. Haven’t we seen this scripture already?

        Rom 5:10 KJV
        (10) For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

        2. Also from my memory of the scriptures, I seem to recall that we are saved by grace. That is, it says that we are saved by grace, not by Christ’s death.

        Eph 2:8 KJV
        (8) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

        3. Within the theme of grace and life, we are also saved by his mercy. Mercy is an attribute of the character of God. Death is not.

        Tit 3:4-5 KJV
        (4) But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
        (5) Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

        4. When Paul speaks to the Corinthians, there is no debate that Christ died, but Paul says that if Christ is not raised, then our faith is in vain. Therefore, it simply cannot be that we are saved by Christ’s death.

        1Co 15:16-19 KJV
        (16) For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
        (17) And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
        (18) Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
        (19) If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

        The passage from 1 Corinthians is pretty devastating to your claim that anyone was saved by Christ’s death. There is no question that Christ died, but they would not have been saved if He had not risen from the dead.

        I also gave scriptural examples of Job and Abraham who lived and died before Christ’s death. I could give the examples of many more saints of old, including Isaac, Jacob, David, Noah, Daniel, and even Enoch, of whom it is said that he walked with God.

        Even further, Christ did not have to die on the cross to forgive our sins. Just as God forgave the saints of old that lived in faith, Jesus also forgave sins on earth before his death on the cross. This should be obvious to anyone that has read the gospels.

        Mat 9:2-5 KJV
        (2) And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.
        (3) And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth.
        (4) And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?
        (5) For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?

        Additionally, if anyone were saved by Christ’s death on the cross, then there would be no need for them to repent, believe, and be baptized. Let’s compare your charge of heresy against the words of the Apostle Peter…

        Act 16:30-31 KJV
        (30) And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
        (31) And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

        That’s strange… because I thought you were just saying that we were all saved by Christ’s death on the cross. Peter seems to be unaware of your doctrine, or else he would have told the jailor that he was saved already and that repentance was not required because Christ had already died.

        I am really tired of these hypocritical accusations from you. It’s even more ironic that you are telling me to “repent” when your own doctrine says that there is no need for repentance… that it was Christ’s death that saved us, not His grace and mercy in response to our belief and repentance.

        No, we are not saved by Christ’s death on the cross. We are saved by his life and his grace, even the grace that he gladly shows unto all that will repent and believe upon his name.

        Why did he die on the cross? Would it be too “unorthodox” to look to the scripture again? Would that also be heresy?

        Joh 12:32-33 KJV
        (32) And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
        (33) This he said, signifying what death he should die.

        1Jn 3:16 KJV
        (16) Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.</blockquote?

        Christ died on the cross to draw all men unto him, so that we might perceive the love of God. In other words, he died on the cross to get our attention. Did it work? It worked for me.

        Or if you want to raise the charge of “unorthodox” then how are we making this comparison? Do you have access to a papal bull that declares that we are saved by Christ’s death? Shall I issue to you the same challenge as Martin Luther gave to his opponent, that if you can show me from this papal bull, then I shall recant? Martin Luther won that challenge… “Do not think that we Germans are ignorant of grammar…”

        If you can show me one scripture that says that anyone was saved by Christ’s death on the cross, I’d like to see that scripture. But that’s your burden of proof. I cannot be expected to prove a negative. If you are going to make such a claim, where is your scripture? If I have misspoken, then please show me the book, chapter, and verse.

        Christ’s death on the cross was to get our attention and it was certainly symbolic (as our Passover) but it did not actually save anyone. Even with the first passover lamb, anyone who did not trust in the lamb and who ventured outside the doors would still have died.

        The cross was to draw us to him, that we might know the love of God, believe, and repent. If we come to him and believe on him, then we shall be saved. Your interpretation has removed the need for repentance.

        So unless you have another accusation of heresy waiting in the wings tonight, I think you owe me another apology.

  18. Posted by Chris Fincher on December 22, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    I think we are gonna make a comment record lol…

    Andrew,

    “For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son” Romans 5:10

    What makes us enemies of God?

    “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—” Romans 5:12

    We are enemies of God be cause we are sinners from birth, who rebel against the goodness of God.

    Now if Jesus bore my sin, my evil, my punishment for being a sinner and rebel against God, then Jesus became an enemy of God on the cross in my place… Jesus wasn’t a sinner but he stood in my place… Do you not understand that? I am not saying Jesus did things to deserve God’s wrath because he was an enemy, but Jesus stood in my place, and bore the wrath of God, in my place.

    That is the gospel…

    Reply

    • Chris, thank you for coming back. Let’s consider what you were saying.

      I have no objection to that we once were enemies of God, and that wrath is what awaited us. Those who put their faith in Christ are no longer appointed to wrath (1 Th 5:9). I don’t think we should have any disagreement thus far.

      However, the verse of Romans 5:10 says that we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son. It does not say that the Son bore the wrath of God. God was not angry with Jesus, and God did not deliver his wrath upon Jesus. You might be able to say that he was “forsaken of God” (Psa 22:1, Matt 27:46) but this was not in wrath.

      Let us consider the Passover lamb. This lamb was slain and its blood was spread across the posts, but it was never slain in wrath. This is a most appropriate analogy because Jesus is called the Lamb of God. The Passover was instituted as a shadow of things to come, so its symbolism is important.

      When I was asking that we consider every instance of the word wrath in the Bible, I wasn’t asking anything that I didn’t also require of myself. I looked at every instance before I wrote that – software is amazing. If we consider the way this word is used in scripture, I do not think that it is appropriate to say that Jesus bore the wrath of God.

      Jesus was not the enemy of God (Nah 1:2), nor was he a child of disobedience (Eph 5:6, Col 3:6), and he has not (and will not) suffer the day of wrath (Rom 2:5). If God reveals his wrath from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men (Rom 1:18) then we cannot say that Jesus bore the wrath of God. Jesus was not among the ungodly.

      It would be accurate to say that Jesus tasted death for every man (Hebrews 2:9), but death is not the same as the wrath of God. All men die once (Hebrews 9:27) but the wrath of God is righteous indignation. The Jews may have inflicted their wrath upon Jesus, but that was because Jesus allowed it, for he gave his life up of his own free will (see Isaiah 53:7, John 10:18.)

      Php 2:8-9 KJV
      (8) And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
      (9) Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

      (No mention of wrath here…)

      If I could see even one scripture that emphatically stated that Jesus bore the wrath of God for us, I would abide by that scripture. But the word wrath means anger, and even the underlying Greek word of our New Testament orge implies passionate anger. God never inflicted passionate anger upon Jesus.

      In fact, I should point out that implying that Jesus suffered the wrath of God actually calls into question whether he was a sinless sacrifice. A sacrifice for sin must itself be free from sin. The Jews may have been angry with Jesus, but God was well pleased. God may become angry with sin, but not with the sacrifice for sin.

      If you were to say that Jesus suffered death in your place then I must agree, but the paschal lamb was never slain in anger. Do you understand my meaning now? It’s possible that you may have heard people say “Jesus bore the wrath of God” but that’s not a phrase we find in scripture.

      Do you now understand my meaning?

      Reply

      • Posted by Chris Fincher on December 23, 2011 at 4:21 pm

        Also I suggest you read this book…

        http://www.salvationbygrace.org/uc/sub/docs/bygracealone.pdf

        This will set all your misconceptions of Reformed theology up… I’m not trying to convert you to Reformed theology I just want you to understand it, so that you are not arguing against something that you create in your own mind.

      • I am not going to start reading a 143-page book on a subject that I’ve already studied in much detail unless there’s someone willing to discuss it at the end. I already have a hardbound reference on Calvinism filled with the quotes of Calvinists that’s almost 800 pages thick on the table beside me. Studying this subject has literally made me physically sick on at least one occasion.

        However, if you would like to read that book and then discuss portions of it with me, then I would welcome the discussion. I would then be able to refer to the appropriate sections for reference. Please contact me by email if you’re serious.

      • Posted by Les on December 23, 2011 at 6:34 pm

        Chris, I think you can see how fruitless trying to discuss theology is with Andrew.

  19. Posted by Chris Fincher on December 23, 2011 at 10:07 am

    Andrew,

    You said to Les, “I don’t think you realize why Jesus died.”

    In your own words why did Jesus die on the cross?

    Reply

    • For Chris, who commented,

      That was actually from my response that was already on your blog page. It was quoted again because the context of my statement was necessary to defend myself when Les was accusing me of denying substitutionary atonement.

      But if you were reading my last response to Les, I already did explain with my own words why Jesus died on the cross. But since you are asking right now, then please permit me the space to be more direct. I will start with scripture.

      One – To Draw All Men Unto Him

      Joh 12:32-33 KJV
      (32) And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
      (33) This he said, signifying what death he should die.

      Two – That We Might Be Reconciled Unto Him

      Rom 5:8-10 KJV
      (8) But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
      (9) Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
      (10) For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

      Three – That We Might Perceive the Love of God

      1Jn 3:16 KJV
      (16) Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

      There are many things I could say (and also show from scripture) but the important element that I was demonstrating was that Christ died on the cross to get our attention so that we might repent and believe on him. How can men be expected to respond to love if they have never known it to begin with? (see 1 John 4:19)

      God is willing that all men be saved and that all should come to repentance (see 1 Timothy 2:4 and 2 Peter 3:9) but it does not mean that all men will accept the life that God has offered.

      Atonement is Not Salvation

      However, when the Calvinist confuses atonement with salvation he cannot hope to understand the depth of this love. Atonement has been made for all, and it has been announced to all with the intent that all should respond. If we will not respond we shall not be saved.

      Joh 3:16 KJV
      (16) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

      Does this passage say “For God only loved a secret elect?” No, it says that God so loved the world. The word “world” is broad and far reaching, not exclusive. What does Paul say in his letter to Timothy?

      1Ti 2:3-6 KJV
      (3) For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
      (4) Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
      (5) For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
      (6) Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

      To me the context of this passage seems very clear. All really means all, and God is willing that all men be saved. Thus he is willing that all men come unto the knowledge of the truth, therefore Christ gave himself a ransom for all.

      Romans Speaks Against Limited Atonement

      We were just starting to read this earlier, but I think we should continue:

      Rom 5:10-19 KJV
      (10) For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
      (11) And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
      (12) Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

      Please notice how the word “all” is being used in this passage, above…

      (13) (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
      (14) Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
      (15) But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.

      Please also notice that the “many” above is used in the same sense for the gift as the offense. It is not used in a lesser sense, because if anything, “much more” would imply a greater sense.

      (16) And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
      (17) For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
      (18) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
      (19) For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

      Did it not just say in verse 18 that the free gift came unto all men unto justification of life, even with the same all men that judgment came to condemnation? However, it did not say that all men shall receive that abundance of grace. The grace is offered to all, but that does not mean that all will necessarily receive it.

      If we will prefer the scriptures over the traditions of men, it is very clear that Christ made atonement for all men, just as in Adam all sinned, even more so in Christ the free gift of life is offered to all.

      Why Did Jesus Die On a Cross?

      Had God offered eternal life before the cross? Even though salvation unto life was not part of the Old Covenant, we have the examples of the saints of old that were saved by faith. Job himself said that he looked forward to the day when he would be made alive and be changed. So if it was possible for God to offer life without dying on the cross, why did He do so?

      Plainly speaking, in my own words, he acted in this dramatic fashion to get our attention. In this way he has publicly declared his love for all of us that we might be reconciled, and this is why he also calls himself the Lamb. All of the symbolism has very real meaning, which can be seen in Abraham’s offering of Isaac and the first Passover. We know that he is not an alien God, for he walked among us, and we know he is a God that knows our pains and our sufferings, and we are assured of this because he has walked a mile in our shoes. He hasn’t asked us to do anything that he wasn’t willing to do himself.

      Why did Jesus die? To publicly declare an atonement unto all men, for the purpose of drawing them to him unto salvation. Becoming the sacrifice for sin proclaims forgiveness, and by tasting death and then raising himself up, he also proclaims himself the Lord of Life so that we need not fear death. As Christ was raised, so shall we be raised.

      Or if we are allowed to consider his own words to answer this question, Jesus said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”

      Heb 2:9 KJV
      (9) But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

      Thus when I read the scriptures I cannot find Calvin’s “Limited Atonement”, but rather I find that it proclaims “Unlimited Atonement” for all men. When I compare these two systems, the former becomes repugnant when compared to the encompassing love of God. The one is a doctrine of men, but the latter is the word of God.

      So if anyone must argue against this, then please address my scripture, for I do not understand the spirit that would want to embrace “Limited Atonement” which unashamedly denies substitutionary atonement for the majority of all mankind.

      Reply

      • Posted by Chris Fincher on December 23, 2011 at 6:29 pm

        I am not going to beat the same drum ten thousand times, when this argument has been going on for centuries.

        No matter what you say, you are ignorant of Reformed theology because you speak of it wrongly. It comes out in little snide attacks you make.. Like this “Thus when I read the scriptures I cannot find Calvin’s “Limited Atonement”, I hope that you do not think that the extent of Reformed theology goes back and is wholly rooted in Calvin, but nonetheless, that is an ignorant statement. “YOU ATTACK A STRAW MAN THAT YOU BUILD, OF WHICH DOES NOT EXIST ON THE OPPOSING SIDE. And I don’t have the time to write you a dissertation on every point of the Doctrines of Grace, that’s why I “differ” you to articles… For one, they can state it way more clearly than I can, of which whom have the time to actually do so. And in me recommending you those articles I only wanted you learn the position that you are fighting against, because your comments toward “Calvinism” are ignorant.

        1. Does not the Calvinist claim that the “elect” couldn’t be lost if they tried?

        Why and how would a person possibly want to be lost after they have seen the splendor of God’s grace? Either God isn’t powerful enough to actually save someone or we have the ability to see God in His full glory and not be affected by it at all, which to me makes God out to be COMPLETELY weak entity, who is audacious at best…. Of which I think Arminianism makes God out to be- audacious at best, which is weak at it’s root. Do you say that God is just audacious? Hoping and wishing that people would come to Jesus, all the while he can’t do anything about it, because that is exactly what ALL of your comments allude to….

        2. Does not the Calvinist also claim that any attempt to repent by the “non-elect” would be worthless?

        A non-elect person would never try to truly repent…. Repentance is only effectual for those who know Christ.

        I can’t stand your ignorance, that is another reason why I don’t want to converse with you. Or take the time to write out lengthy posts…

      • So you’re again accusing me of being “Ignorant of Reformed Theology?” Even if this were so… so what? By definition, “sola scriptura” means that I shouldn’t have to seek out Calvinist authors to study by. The scriptures ought to be a sufficient explanation on any topic.

        Re comment one…

        …or we have the ability to see God in His full glory and not be affected by it at all…

        1. It seems to me that what you are really complaining about is the possibility that we might actually be given the free will to choose life or death even knowing the obligations and consequences (see Luke 9:82, Hebrews 6:4-6, and Matthew 22:11-14).

        From what you’ve just stated, you actually despise God… you see love and fairness as being attributes of weakness. Maybe what you actually prefer is your perception of a God that is random, cruel, and insane, like a human tyrant with an inferiority complex and ultimate power.

        I wonder if you would really love the true God. You seem very upset that God would accept others that you haven’t anticipated. Why is your eye evil? (See Matthew 20:15, but read the whole parable and think about what it means.)

        Re comment two…

        …which to me makes God out to be COMPLETELY weak entity, who is audacious at best…. Of which I think Arminianism makes God out to be- audacious at best, which is weak at it’s root. Do you say that God is just audacious?

        2. “Audacious…” do you know what that word means?

        Audacious (adjective)
        1.extremely bold or daring; recklessly brave; fearless: an audacious explorer.
        2.extremely original; without restriction to prior ideas; highly inventive: an audacious vision of the city’s bright future.

        You are asking if God is fearless, bold, or daring? Or are you asking if he is unrestricted by previous ideas, such as not bound by the doctrines of men, his ways being higher than our ways? I guess then I must say yes, God is audacious by your standards (see Isaiah 55:6-9).

        Isa 55:6-9 KJV
        (6) Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
        (7) Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
        (8) For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
        (9) For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

        Re comment three…

        Hoping and wishing that people would come to Jesus, all the while he can’t do anything about it, because that is exactly what ALL of your comments allude to….

        3. So you would suggest … what? That God should brainwash and mind control a few select people because otherwise no one would love God of their own free will? As I understand the nature of God, he wants willing servants that truly love him, not anyone that would have to be forced to want him… you act as if God is desperate or something. You’re actually making him a slave to his creation.

        Re comment four…

        A non-elect person would never try to truly repent…. Repentance is only effectual for those who know Christ.

        4. I don’t suppose you can show me even one bible verse that says that the non-elect would never try to truly repent? That’s not even close to scriptural. Do you realize how circular your logic has become?

        Re comment five…

        I can’t stand your ignorance, that is another reason why I don’t want to converse with you. Or take the time to write out lengthy post.

        OK … whatever. What you’re using there is called an ad hominem attack. You only care about “winning” and when you can’t “win” by logic or scripture then you’ll use personal attacks. I’ll know better than to take you seriously from now on.

        But this is what I don’t understand: if you are not interested in discussion, and if you are not going to attempt to be persuasive, then what are you doing here?

        Why do you become offended when I ask if you are are willing to discuss the book that you said that I ought to read? Seriously, what are you trying to accomplish?

        Mal 3:16-18 KJV
        (16) Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.
        (17) And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.
        (18) Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.

        You’re not sounding like one of those jewels…

  20. Posted by Chris Fincher on December 23, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Andrew it is in this quote where I understand that you do not understand the Reformed position at all… “I am really tired of these hypocritical accusations from you. It’s even more ironic that you are telling me to “repent” when your own doctrine says that there is no need for repentance…”

    This is completely false statement that Reformed theology does not require repentance and faith. I am begining to think that this conversation is completely in vain man. Iv’e already said it once, you don’t understand the position that you are arguing against.

    And also, that was one of the main reasons I recommended that Phil Johnson article, because I could tell that you are extremely ignorant concerning it, and you are fighting a straw man that you are creating in your own mind aginst it. It is in vain. I wasn’t recommending the article because I am a hypocrite that needs other Calvinist to prove my point. C’mon man…

    Reply

    • I don’t think it’s fair to ask someone to read articles from another person if you’re not willing to discuss those articles. Although I once criticized you for “deferring” the proof to others, since then I’ve been asking you about those articles that I read at your request.

      As to this question of “not understanding Calvinsim” (again) I think I understand Calvinism fairly well (at least as well as a contradictory system can be understood.)

      1. Does not the Calvinist claim that the “elect” couldn’t be lost if they tried?
      2. Does not the Calvinist also claim that any attempt to repent by the “non-elect” would be worthless?

      I think that perhaps you might be the one that hasn’t yet realized its full implications.

      If you are willing to write to me by email you can explain your meaning to me directly. Wouldn’t that be better than repeatedly saying that you are misunderstood? I cannot write to you first because you have hidden your email address.

      Reply

      • Posted by Chris Fincher on December 23, 2011 at 6:40 pm

        If you are going to be so adamant about staying true to Scripture, then you MUST acknowledge that the WHOLE of Scripture teaches the Sovereignty of God, and human responsibility…….. If you have studied Reformed (as you say you have) then you have to see this.

        So either Scripture contradicts itself or we arbitrarily fight for one over the other, when both of them exist….

        Arminianism is a contradictory system. If you know anything about what Scriptures teaches… The real logical conclusions one would come when giving the Scriptures an unbiased read is Universalism, or Reformed Theology.

        Universalism is the logical outcome of everything you have been ranting about the last couple of days…… AND SCRIPTURE DOES NOT TEACH UNIVERSALISM.

      • 1. Where does the scripture use the term “sovereignty of God?” I’ve been meaning to ask this for a while, you see, because I have read my whole bible and never once encountered the term “sovereignty.”

        So who’s defining this term? A Reformed Theology textbook? If so, then it’s no wonder your definition of sovereignty contradicts scripture (I’m amazed that you have admitted that without prompting.)

        2. Of course Arminianism is a contradictory system… because it’s simply a lite version of Calvinism. How did Arminianism find its way into this discussion?

        3. No, an unbiased reading of the scriptures does not lead one to either Universalism or Reformed Theology. I don’t know how you came up with that notion. Did you ever read the entire scriptures from beginning to end before you encountered “Reformed Theology?”

        I’m guess that you haven’t, so you cannot answer that question. I did read the scriptures from beginning to end before encountering Reformed Theology, and when I found out what Reformed Theology was, I was so shocked that anyone would say something so absurd that I really didn’t believe that it existed at first.

        So there’s a true report from someone that was not biased towards either Universalism or Reformed Theology. I read the entire scripture before encountering a live example of either one. Neither one ever occurred to me while reading the scriptures. I learned about these later.

        So much for your “unbiased reader” theory. It failed when tested.

        4. No. Universalism is not the logical outcome of what I have set out the scriptures to prove. You do not even attempt to answer my scriptures, so how would you be able to recognize the outcome?

        However, if those were the only two options, it seems to me that Universalism would be far preferable to Reformed Theology. Not that it matters much anyway, because neither doctrine receives the support of scriptures. I’m very glad that God’s ways are far above the ways of Calvin and Augustine.

        Your error is that you cannot seem to comprehend any possibility that God would have created creatures that possess free will. If there was no such thing as free will, then Reformed Theology and Universalism are your only options. When you allow free will as we see around us every day and confirmed by the scriptures, both of those systems fall apart instantly.

        But please humor me for a moment and answer this question. Do you have any particular moral objection against Universalism? Considering that the scripture says that God is willing that all be saved, are you willing that all be saved and come to repentance and the knowledge of God?

      • As response to my own comment above, as to whether Arminianism is a lite version of Calvinism..

        1) Arminian theology is usually defined as beginning with “Total Depravity” which defies free will and common observation. People can do things that are good and pleasing to God without first requiring Divine Intervention (see Joshua 6:17, Matthew 10:42, 25:37, Luke 11:11, 11:32). More could be proved from common observation..

        2) A flawed foundation leads to contradictions. For example, I once saw a video where the speaker claimed “You cannot be saved unless you are a Once-Saved-Always-Saved Trinitarian Arminian.” Would this be an example of the type of contradiction Chris was claiming?

        Since no one here is defining what they mean by “Arminian” I’m just using the definition that I find in Wikipedia. But even judging from that, it seems a lot more sound than the inevitable results of Calvinism, and certainly much less terrible.

        However, when one attacks “Arminianism” instead of responding to the actual questions and scriptures presented, that is what is called “attacking a straw man.” I never claimed to be “Arminian” and (at least if we use the Wikipedia definition) it should have been obvious that Iwe were not discussing that system.

        Refreshing my Question for Chris

        I would still like to know how Chris would answer that last question. Regardless of whether it is true or not, do you have any moral objections to Universalism? If we accept your current beliefs, this would only require that God change the mind of everyone else just like you claim he has already done to you.

        Rephrasing this problem for you, assuming that you do not believe that the exercise of free will can prevent salvation, are you personally willing that all be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth? Please explain your answer.

  21. Posted by Les on December 23, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    Matthew 7.6, Chris. Andrew seriously needs help. But he can’t see the spiritual things because they are only spiritually discerned. Perhaps a doctor. I don’t know. This is not a personal attack, Andrew. I actually feel great compassion about where you are. But on a blog or email is not where you’ll find what you need.

    Reply

  22. Posted by Chris Fincher on December 23, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    What do you mean how did Arminianism finds it’s way into the conversation? Every single one of your views says that you hold to strict Arminian beliefs… I am really thinking about pulling myself out of this conversation dude… what is your deal?

    How old are you?

    Reply

  23. Posted by Chris Fincher on December 23, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    So Andrew where did you learn your whole theology from?

    Reply

    • Act 24:13-16 KJV
      (13) Neither can they prove the things whereof they now accuse me.
      (14) But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:
      (15) And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.
      (16) And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.

      Reply

  24. Posted by Chris Fincher on December 23, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    The righteousness of man is like a filthy rag before God. Humans are helpless, sinful worms, who can’t save themselves…

    Reply

  25. Andrew,

    I think you are ok in saying the “wrath of God” has not been poured out against Jesus. It is clear that the “iniquity of us all” was placed on Jesus’s shoulders on the cross and Isaiah 53 says, Isa 53:4-6

    Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
    Smitten by God, and afflicted.
    5 But He was wounded for our transgressions,
    He was bruised for our iniquities;
    The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
    And by His stripes we are healed.
    6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
    We have turned, every one, to his own way;
    And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

    He was punished for our sin. He died in our place. His sacrificial death paid the penalty for my sin and yours. So, while I would agree with your statement, God’s wrath was not upon Jesus because obviously God could not have been more pleased with His Son, I can also see validity in saying God’s wrath was poured out on the sin that demands death.

    I also think you are “overthinking” with the following statement, “In fact, I should point out that implying that Jesus suffered the wrath of God actually calls into question whether he was a sinless sacrifice. A sacrifice for sin must itself be free from sin. The Jews may have been angry with Jesus, but God was well pleased. God may become angry with sin, but not with the sacrifice for sin.”

    Jesus was the sinless sacrifice and He did bear the sins of the world which demanded payment. Now add to that the statement that Jesus made, “No one takes My life; I willingly lay it down.” that may well add to your argument that the “wrath of God” was not present at Calvary. However, for some to say that Jesus bore the wrath of God because of our sin, I would say that this is an argument that needs to be takes in context as opposed to a theological plank on par with irresistible grace.

    I think your following statement might be re-worded,

    “Plainly speaking, in my own words, he acted in this dramatic fashion to get our attention. In this way he has publicly declared his love for all of us that we might be reconciled, and this is why he also calls himself the Lamb. All of the symbolism has very real meaning, which can be seen in Abraham’s offering of Isaac and the first Passover. We know that he is not an alien God, for he walked among us, and we know he is a God that knows our pains and our sufferings, and we are assured of this because he has walked a mile in our shoes. He hasn’t asked us to do anything that he wasn’t willing to do himself.

    Why did Jesus die? To publicly declare an atonement unto all men, for the purpose of drawing them to him unto salvation. Becoming the sacrifice for sin proclaims forgiveness, and by tasting death and then raising himself up, he also proclaims himself the Lord of Life so that we need not fear death. As Christ was raised, so shall we be raised.”

    While I agree that there are some serious repercussions dealing with the accomplishment of atonement on the cross especially with the concept of Jesus’ dying specifically for the elect, His death on the cross was much more than an event to get our attention. His death actually paid cost of the penalty for our sin. I am sure that is what you mean, but your statement does not really say that.

    Now… when the Calvinist speaks of the atonement as being for specific people, the elect and the elect alone and Jesus dying only for the elect, and you add to that irresistible grace, I actually make the suggestion that I think I read you making, that there does not seem to be any need for saving faith and repentance… if the atonement was actually accomplished on the cross, which is an argument I have seen made, it does take the importance of repentance and faith off conversion. Calvinists will adamantly deny that but I do agree with the logic employed.

    Chris….

    You wrote,
    “No matter what you say, you are ignorant of Reformed theology because you speak of it wrongly. It comes out in little snide attacks you make.. Like this “Thus when I read the scriptures I cannot find Calvin’s “Limited Atonement”, I hope that you do not think that the extent of Reformed theology goes back and is wholly rooted in Calvin, but nonetheless, that is an ignorant statement. “YOU ATTACK A STRAW MAN THAT YOU BUILD, OF WHICH DOES NOT EXIST ON THE OPPOSING SIDE.

    It is helpful to point out specific statements that indicate one is “ignorant of RT.” i have heard that statement way tooooo many times. It is as if the following is an underlying FACT…

    You are ignorant of RT because IF you understood it properly, you would ascribe to RT. Come on…

    And this whole deal of straw man is getting old as well…. Calvinists are the only ones who even use that statement.

    Now…………..

    1. Does not the Calvinist claim that the “elect” couldn’t be lost if they tried?

    Here is your response,

    Why and how would a person possibly want to be lost after they have seen the splendor of God’s grace? Either God isn’t powerful enough to actually save someone or we have the ability to see God in His full glory and not be affected by it at all, which to me makes God out to be COMPLETELY weak entity, who is audacious at best…. Of which I think Arminianism makes God out to be- audacious at best, which is weak at it’s root.

    Andrew’s statement is accurate. 1. Does not the Calvinist claim that the “elect” couldn’t be lost if they tried?

    Calvinists do say basically the same thing by saying that God’s elect cannot NOT be saved or converted. So your rebuttal is really moot.

    Your second comment is equally interesting.

    “2. Does not the Calvinist also claim that any attempt to repent by the “non-elect” would be worthless?

    A non-elect person would never try to truly repent…. Repentance is only effectual for those who know Christ.

    OK… this is the Calvinist position. It is basically what Andrew said…

    Don’t say, “I can’t stand your ignorance, that is another reason why I don’t want to converse with you. Or take the time to write out lengthy posts…”

    Basically you agreed with the gist of Andrew’s post but somehow his ignorance and his strawman suggestions somehow make him ignorant of what Calvinism actually believes. I am confused on that one.

    Looks to me, given a minor allowance for semantics, his two questions are valid and even supported by your response…

    How were his statements ignorant?

    ><>”

    Reply

  26. Posted by Chris Fincher on December 26, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    Andrew, you said, “Arminian theology is usually defined as beginning with “Total Depravity”.”

    Arminain theology is never defined begining with Total Depravity. Arminian and Semi-Pelagin theology both advocate free will. So whatever definition you are reading in wikipedia is false. Reformed theology starts with a premis of total depravity. Arminian theology which is Semi-Pelagianism in a nutshell, does not. So I am not attacking a straw man… You are an advocate of free will, which either makes you a full on Pelagian, or an Arminian… Do you advocate a free will? Then you are either one of those two.

    I am not sure of what you mean by “moral” objections to universalism. I know that it’s not taught in Scripture so I think that it is untrue.

    Now If we are spiritually dead in tresspasses and sins unable to choose Jesus, needing God to quicken us to faith in Jesus, then yes every one would need that same quicking grace from God’s word…. Psa. 110:3; Phil. 2:13

    The question is if the Lord is willing that none should be lost and that all should be saved; why then does He not make all sinners willing? Why, but for the fact that He is Sovereign and does as He pleases!

    Of course I want to see all people come to the knowledge of the truth of Jesus.

    Reply

    • You have just demonstrated why we should not be using those labels. Apparently, you are employing an entirely different definition than the one that is commonly recognized. It does not matter which one is “right” because a definition only functions when there is mutual agreement and understanding. I do not acknowledge your labels as valid, so let’s abandon labeling. You may still call yourself “Calvinist” if you desire.

      But I must ask you to look again at what you just said:

      The question is if the Lord is willing that none should be lost and that all should be saved; why then does He not make all sinners willing? Why, but for the fact that He is Sovereign and does as He pleases!

      You have contradicted yourself in a very few words.

      1. Given that “the Lord is willing”, and
      2. Also accepting that you say that he makes people willing by His decree,
      3. You said that he does not do or accomplish His will,
      4. “Because He is Sovereign and does as He pleases!”

      I am not afraid to stand up and say that the Emperor has no clothes. He has no clothes!

      But thank you for doing your best to answer the question I asked. To further clarify what is meant by a moral objection was whether you could reject the premise on moral grounds. By this very definition, it means whether you can honestly say that if the conclusion is obviously wrong or inherently evil, and has nothing to do with whether you think it is supported by scripture.

      Your answer was:

      Of course I want to see all people come to the knowledge of the truth of Jesus.

      Yet you yourself just said that God will not let all people come to the knowledge of the truth of Jesus for the very reason that “He is Sovereign and does as He pleases!”

      So the next question would be, if God is willing for all people to come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved, and accepting your premise that He can do so by fiat or decree, why wouldn’t He? Saying that He will not do as He pleases because He does as He pleases simply does not make sense to me. I am not satisfied with that answer.

      Let’s maintain some focus here. My objection is that when we accepted all of your assumptions without question, your belief system naturally dead ended straight into a logical impossibility, where C is not equal to C. I am a math and science person, so I cannot overlook this so easily.

      Therefore, since we both agree as to what God said he has wants, and you say that being Sovereign means that God can make people repent of their own free will and that you find nothing morally objectionable to this solution, then why wouldn’t God snap his fingers and save everyone?

      Reply

    • Posted by M. T. M. on December 27, 2011 at 3:57 am

      Chris,

      If you truly believe that true Arminianism denies Total Depravity, you are sadly mistaken. Your apparent arrogance does you no favours.

      Just as Calvinism has the TULIP, so Arminianism has FACTS. Care to hazard a guess as to what the ‘T’ stands for? Total Depravity.

      You might want to make sure you really understand what true Arminianism is, before you presume to tell others what it is and isn’t. A good place to start is (http://evangelicalarminians.org/) and (http://www.thearminian.org/). You might want to also read Roger Olson’s book Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities, and F. Leroy Forline’s Classical Arminianism

      With kind regards,
      M. T. M.

      Reply

  27. Chris,

    You need to do some more homework brother… you wrote: “Arminain theology is never defined begining with Total Depravity. Arminian and Semi-Pelagin theology both advocate free will. So whatever definition you are reading in wikipedia is false. Reformed theology starts with a premis of total depravity. Arminian theology which is Semi-Pelagianism in a nutshell, does not.

    You are seriously in error here… The difference in Calvinism and Arminianism is what is called Prevenient Grace and Irresistible Grace… BOTH begin with total depravity… but A says God gives the sinner Prevenient Grace that allows him to respond where C maintain God gives Irresistible Grace and the lost person WILL respond. Neither are Semi-Pelagian… and I am not any of the three so I do not have a dog in this hunt at all.

    To further my point, William Burch at http://www.thearminian.org actually argues that irresistible grace is a form of prevenient grace in that both are necessary to lift sinful man to a place where he cannot not sin.

    Once again, your statement is way to limiting: Do you advocate a free will? Then you are either one of those two.” (Arminian or Semi-Pelagian). I only wish things were THIS simple.

    Sir you need to read some more before you jump in on conversations that you don’t know much about. It is ok to read… but when you open your mouth, you reveal more than apparently you intend to reveal.

    Grateful to be in His Grip!

    ><>”

    Reply

    • Posted by Chris Fincher on December 26, 2011 at 3:43 pm

      I’ll make it clear.. Total depravity is a Reformed doctrine, held by those who are reformed. Arminians may hold to a form of total depravity, but it isn’t as “total” as what the Reformers hold to…. And as far as free will goes, it is an Arminian doctrine….

      Reply

    • Here is a Calvinist’s definition of total depravity. Who here can affirm is?

      “Total Depravity: Although fallen persons are capable of externally good acts (acts that are good for society), they cannot do anything really good, i.e., pleasing to God (Rom. 8:8). God, however, looks on the heart. And from his ultimate standpoint, fallen man has no goodness, in thought, word, or deed. He is therefore incapable of contributing anything to his salvation.” John Frame

      Reply

      • Here are a couple statements that are a little more comprehensive…

        The doctrine of total depravity teaches that man cannot in any way or at any time choose God because his nature is evil and his actions are sinful and because of this, he is incapable of knowing God and coming to receive Jesus Christ as his Savior apart from the efficacious work of the Holy Spirit made possible by God’s sovereign and divine will as seen in the doctrine of election. “Calvinists believe that a totally depraved person is spiritually dead. By spiritual death, they mean the elimination of all human ability to understand or respond to God, not just a separation from God. Further, the effects of sin are in intensive, destroying the ability to receive salvation.”

        Norman Geisler, Chosen but Free (Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1999), 56.

        Total Depravity “affirms that human beings are so depraved they cannot think, will, or do anything that is truly good. Furthermore humans cannot save themselves by their own efforts, faith, or free will because they ‘live in this state of apostasy and sin’. It describes their utter helplessness to think, will, or do good or to withstand temptations. The only hope for salvation is from God – to be born again and renewed by the Holy Spirit of God. The statement affirms that only God can renew human understanding, thinking, and willing so that humans can do good, for Jesus said that without Him humans can do nothing. Indeed, it affirms that any good deed that can be conceived it must be ascribed only to the grace of God in Christ.”

        David Allen and Steven Lemke, eds., Whosoever Will: A Biblical Theological Critique of Five-Point Calvinism (Nashville: B&H Academic, 2010), 4.

        I do not like the statement, “contributing anything to his salvation.” This is a little to generalized in my opinion.

        ><>”

      • Per Lemke, “affirms that human beings are so depraved they cannot think, will, or do anything that is truly good.” He doesn’t define “truly good.” Helping a neighbor can be “truly good” by some definitions. But not in a manner pleasing to God. That’s why I like Frame’s qualification, “they cannot do anything really good, i.e., pleasing to God (Rom. 8:8). Frame recognizes fallen man may indeed do externally good deeds.

        Lemke: “It describes their utter helplessness to think, will, or do good or to withstand temptations.” Again, definitions. Fallen man can indeed “withstand temptations.” See fallen man many times resist adultery. But that resisting is not from God and is not pleasing to God. See also filthy rags.

      • The WCF: “Man, by his fall Into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation; so as a natural man, being altogether averse from good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.”

        The London Baptist Confession 1689:
        3. Man, by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation; so as a natural man, being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able by his own strength to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.

      • What I find remarkable is that it seems that these authors have apparently assumed “Salvation by Good Works” because they are trying to deny that a fallen person can do anything that is good of their own will.

        Scripture does affirm that men actually do things that do please to God. When one does something to the least of the brethren, they do it unto him, and even the heathen parents that show love to their children are used as an example of God’s love for us.

        Scripture does not say that doing good things earns salvation, but that’s still seems to be assumption that Frame is operating under, otherwise he wouldn’t be protesting that humans couldn’t do anything good that pleased God.

      • “What I find remarkable is that it seems that these authors have apparently assumed “Salvation by Good Works”

        That is really a silly remark. What ever your disagreement is with these men to even hint that they believe that is just non-sense.

      • And…

        “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”

      • Dear Les,

        If you are going to respond to my comment, please don’t just say it is “silly” but explain why it is silly. Your criticism wasn’t addressing anything of my content.

        However, I am confused about something else. Just the other day (two days ago) you yourself made up a promise that you were not going to respond to my posts, for the purpose of preventing unkind responses.

        My point is that I didn’t ask you to make that commitment. You made that yourself to demonstrate the sincerity of asking me to forgive something. That wasn’t what I would have preferred, because I would rather:

        1) that when you make a claim, you would substantiate it when challenged,
        2) that you address my scriptures that I present instead of ignoring them
        3) that you would be willing to answer questions that I ask
        4) that you would be sincere in trying to persuade me

        Concerning the authors you quoted, this is the first I have heard of them. My observation still remains that their claim that “fallen man cannot do anything that would ever please God” depends on an underlying assumption that “doing things that please God” would be “contributing something to their salvation” and thus betrays an underlying assumption of Salvation by Works.

        If you would be willing to substantiate your claims, address my scriptures, not ignore my questions, and to be sincere in trying to persuade me, I would be willing to release you from your self-imposed promise to not respond to my posts while still recognizing the sincerity of your prior apology.

        But you can’t have it both ways. The status of “not responding” to my posts may protect you from having to answer difficult questions, but you cannot “respond” and “not respond” at the same time. It’s one of those mathematical contradictions.

      • Andrew,

        First, I never said never. I think I said something like “likely not.” I still intend to now be sarcastic.

        Using the word “silly” was in no way personal. It remains silly, even more so to assume these guys assume salvation by works, since you just said you are not familiar with their works. get familiar then come back and proffer such an assumption. That quote alone won’t cut it to make such an assumption.

        All kindness here.

        “Your criticism wasn’t addressing anything of my content.”

        I surely did.

        My apologies for not putting the Hebrews in my first comment. It followed right after when I noticed I had left it out. It remains,

        ““And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.””

        Now, if by this you said,

        “My observation still remains that their claim that “fallen man cannot do anything that would ever please God” depends on an underlying assumption that “doing things that please God” would be “contributing something to their salvation” and thus betrays an underlying assumption of Salvation by Works.”

        …you mean they (Frame, et al) assume man is trying to attain peace with God by works, you would be right. Al outside God do that.

      • First, Les, why did you say this if you didn’t mean it? I try to make it my own policy not to make promises that I don’t plan to keep.

        Andrew, I apologize. Please forgive me.

        I’ll no longer put myself in a situation where I might lapse into another such address to Andrew. I’ll leave his comments alone.

        So just two days later (one of those being Christmas) we’re now at:

        First, I never said never. I think I said something like “likely not.” I still intend to now be sarcastic.

        Don’t worry. I can detect sarcasm easily enough.

        But since we’re revisiting your words anyway, about that “on fire” preaching style you demonstrated to me? All those calls to “You need Jesus, you need to repent, but I won’t take the time to answer your questions, I have no time for you?” They don’t work. People can sense a lack of sincerity very quickly.

        But I guess you don’t have to be careful about “offending these little ones” since it doesn’t matter because “the elect couldn’t be lost if they tried”, right? (Matthew 18:6). You couldn’t make them stumble, and you have immunity. Got to love that Calvinist gospel preaching…

        Second, I suppose it would have been nice if you would have been willing to commit to answering my questions, addressing my scripture, substantiating your claims, and sincerely trying to persuade me… but I can’t honestly say that I was expecting much. I’m guess I’m left with “I still intend to now be sarcastic.”

        Third, I think it’s funny what you just said, because you just contradicted what you said earlier today and Chris as well. This is your last statement:

        …you mean they (Frame, et al) assume man is trying to attain peace with God by works, you would be right. Al outside God do that.

        The funny part is that I am positive that I was just hearing you and/or Chris that fallen man can never even want to be be right with God, that when God throws them into hell that they are getting what they wanted all along, because even wanting to be right with God is a gift that has to be given.

        The quote from Hebrews is funny in itself, because Chris was claiming a few days ago that no one seeks the Lord, but you just admitted that God rewards those that diligently seek him. Apparently, it is possible to seek God.

        Combining those, you just admitted that there were those that you could consider “not the elect” that try to figure out some way to be at peace with God – that they want to be at peace with God. That is seeking God. That evidences having a will to seek God and hoping he may be found.

        And if they want to be at peace with God, and God does not give them that peace, clearly you couldn’t have been correct in saying that God is simply giving people what they want…

        This has been very educational. I have learned a lot about Reformed Theology.
        The sad part is that when I talk with someone else they will protest that you were never a real Calvinist to begin with.

      • Andrew,

        Me: “First, I never said never. I think I said something like “likely not.” I still intend to now be sarcastic.”

        “now” should have been ‘not.”

        You: “…you mean they (Frame, et al) assume man is trying to attain peace with God by works, you would be right. Al outside God do that.”

        The whole thing was:

        “Now, if by this you said,

        your quote, then:

        ” “…you mean they (Frame, et al) assume man is trying to attain peace with God by works, you would be right. Al outside God do that.”

        Of course al should have been all. But it was a conditional statement.

        The rest of your comments…on Frame…you did not use scripture for me to deal with.

        All the rest, I’m not going to respond to them. You’re misconstruing my words. I stand by everything I’ve written.

        Kindly,

      • If “all outside God” are trying to attain peace with him, then that still contradicts Total Depravity which maintains that “sinful fallen man” cannot even want to be right with God or desire to seek peace with him.

        As for the comment on sarcasm, if that was indeed a typo, then it is forgiven, but it seemed a little sarcastic to me so I interpreted it as such.

        If you would like address an outstanding question I have on this board, I think Chris might be able to use some help on the one asking him if he has any moral objection against Universalism. I wouldn’t mind hearing how you answer that question.

      • Andrew,

        You”If “all outside God” are trying to attain peace with him, then that still contradicts Total Depravity which maintains that “sinful fallen man” cannot even want to be right with God or desire to seek peace with him.”

        All I mean is man seeks peace in his life by way of works. To the extent he “seeks God” he seeks what he doesn’t even understand. See Paul’s address where he references the unknown god. I do not mean to say they are seeking God in a true way. All other religions are religions of works. That’s what I mean.

        The sarcasm “now” and “not” was truly meant to be “not.”

        I’ll pass on the universalism thing.

      • Andrew,

        You: “If “all outside God” are trying to attain peace with him, then that still contradicts Total Depravity which maintains that “sinful fallen man” cannot even want to be right with God or desire to seek peace with him.”

        Please reread my working definition of TD.

        “Total Depravity: Although fallen persons are capable of externally good acts (acts that are good for society), they cannot do anything really good, i.e., pleasing to God (Rom. 8:8). God, however, looks on the heart. And from his ultimate standpoint, fallen man has no goodness, in thought, word, or deed. He is therefore incapable of contributing anything to his salvation.” John Frame

        Man tries many ways to find peace. Many religions, including Xianity. But it is vain seeking after peace. He is totally depraved. Filthy rags.

    • Posted by Chris Fincher on December 26, 2011 at 7:32 pm

      Just calling it like it see it… According to you my ignorance reveals my flaw… So just let it be… Free- will-y … You know the calvinst are called the frozen chosen, of which I laugh about… I’ll admit I was being a little abide though.. sorry bout that…

      Reply

      • Please note that I have not made that statement about anyone here… Since we are ALL calling it like we see it, we are on equal footing.

        All I am asking is tone down the “name calling”; as for the ignorance issue, I did not say that either; I get accused of being clueless about Calvinism (you may have even made that comment) but for you to say that A’s do not believe in total depravity, that is incorrect. Now… to you second remark that they are not as depraved as a Calvinist… well that may be true; I had not thought about it that way.

        Oh wait… that is not EXACTLY what you said. JK.

        I do think we can be respectful even IF we do disagree. Sometimes it is hard to be as patient as we ought to be, given the fact that we hear some of the same things over and over and over and over and over… I guess you get the gist of that…

        Thanks for contributing…

        ><>”

      • Chris,

        As to the issue of saying that Arminians do NOT believe in TD… see Chris Roberts’ blog at http://www.seektheholy.com/

        He is a Calvinist and makes the connection between Arminianism and TD and calvinism that I think you will find interesting.

        ><>”

  28. Here are three points made by a Calvinist about Arminianism. Who here agrees or what would you change?

    (1) The Arminian doctrine of “prevenient grace” is exhaustively universal; meaning, it is extended to all people regardless of whether or not they have heard the gospel.

    (2) Prevenient grace is not effectual but rather renders the sinner “neutral” – able to decide for themselves whether they will accept or reject Christ.

    (3) Arminians hold that while still unregenerate (or partly regenerate as they would have it) some can and will improve on that grace. In other words, God’s prevenient grace takes us part of the way to salvation (makes us partly regenerate) but man’s will (or nature) does the rest (or completes it).

    Agree or disagree?

    Reply

    • And Bob, I understand you do not claim Arminian as your label. I’m just trying to see we can all agree with what Arminianism is. There may be part of these points you agree with.

      Reply

      • I am not that well versed in Arminianism; Some charge I am not very well versed in Calvinism so I guess that makes me all mixed up.

        I would guess that Arminians will find more in my writings to agree with than Calvinists will but I do not believe in total depravity as defined by C or A.. so the whole argument of prevenient grace whether it is effectual or not is not a consideration that I will address.

        What I think is scriptural is understanding that when God shows up in His presence through revelation and reconciliation, a lost sinner is not only able but responsible to respond. When God isn’t there in presence, there is nothing for the lost sinner to respond to. In this case, the lost individual continues in the wrong direction.This position escapes the demands of some kind of nature change wrought by God so that the lost individual is even able to respond to God. This position I think best fits the many passages of Scripture that enables a faithful response to God’s initiative, both in the Old and new Testaments.

        ><>”

  29. Posted by Chris Fincher on December 26, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    I read the article..

    I can say that I may have been mistaken about “Classical Arminians” a phrase that I’m not sure the meaning of how Classical Arminians relate to “Currant Arminians”, and their view of Total Depravity, but only because of a lack of knowledge of prevenient grace, only because it is foreign to Scripture.

    The only reason an “idea” of prevenient grace would arise is to the support and aid of free will to choose. Even in John 16, of which I do not believe is talking about the holy spirit coming and “enlightening or enabling ” the world, in a sense, at large of their sin (because they don’t believe in Jesus), righteousness (Because Jesus goes to the Father), and judgement (because the ruler of the world is judged, to be able to choose to repent and turn to God own their own, because they had been given the prevenient grace to do so. Though they do know their guilt and depravity in a sense (Romans 1:18-23)

    The question still stands, if it is God’s will that none should perish, and prevenient grace exists why didn’t God just go ahead and make saving grace wholly upon the whole world so that every person would indeed be saved? .The reason why I say that I don’t believe this verse was meant to to be taken as proof for prevenient grace is because the holy spirit is one of Whom which starts a good work (salvation) and then also ends that good work. Philippians 1:6 And so I don’t believe that verse is meant to be emphatic for the “world” per se, but as in from all tribes, nations, and tongues, and not just right around town where the disciples and Jews were used to.

    “Romans 1: 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,[g] in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.”

    Romans 3: And then Paul say’s ““None is righteous, no, not one;
    11 no one understands;
    no one seeks for God.
    12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
    no one does good,
    not even one.” (Prevenient grace should have existed when Paul wrote this passage here in Romans, or either this Scripture is false…)

    “23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

    You can look at these verses from two perspectives: one being that God is sovereign, or we have received prevenient grace that has semi-enabled us to initiate faith… But faith is a gift of God, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God”–Eph 2:18

    “12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12-13

    So it seems that prevenient grace is an idea that is wanting for Scriptural substantiation…

    Reply

    • Posted by Chris Fincher on December 26, 2011 at 11:22 pm

      I may have stated the obvious from the article, but I felt like I needed to just lay that out there… Good article btw

      Reply

    • Chris, you are misreading Ephesians. Grace is the gift of God, not faith.

      You wrote:
      But faith is a gift of God,

      When you read this passage, please note the context and the grammar.

      Eph 2:4-8 KJV
      (4) But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
      (5) Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
      (6) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
      (7) That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
      (8) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

      Common experience should be enough to tell us that faith is not a gift. Faith is something that you put forth and show in someone else. However, it is well known that the definition of grace is a free gift. Grace is the gift of God, not of ourselves, or of works.

      If we put faith in our Savior, we are extended grace. That grace is not earned, it is the gift of God. You’ve been reading this wrong. Read the context, and diagram the sentence… “it is the gift of God” points back to the prevailing subject, which is grace.

      Can faith be helped? Yes, it can, but it must start in us. Why else would Jesus say to this man, “If thou canst believe?” Jesus said “thou” which means the man himself.

      Mar 9:23-24 KJV
      (23) Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
      (24) And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

      Or else whose fault was it that Peter sank in the sea?

      Mat 14:28-31 KJV
      (28) And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
      (29) And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
      (30) But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
      (31) And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

      How could Jesus criticize anyone’s lack of faith if faith were a gift? Here’s another example, which also happened with a ship at sea:

      Mar 4:39-41 KJV
      (39) And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
      (40) And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
      (41) And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?

      Fear is a lack of faith. Peter first had faith but then had fear, and the disciples had fear, and it drove out faith. The fear and the faith (or the lack thereof of either) belonged to their respective persons.

      Jesus expected them to have some faith that they weren’t going to die if he was in the boat with them. If Jesus was a Calvinist, then why would he even ask them why they had no faith? This would have been the perfect opportunity to explain to them that faith was a gift that he had to give them first.

      Mat 16:8-9 KJV
      (8) Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?
      (9) Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?

      Again, Jesus expected his disciples to show faith. But in closing, let’s please consider one more passage:

      1Pe 1:7-9 KJV
      (7) That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
      (8) Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
      (9) Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

      If faith were a special gift from God, then why would it be tried by fire? James 1:3 says that the “trying of your faith worketh patience” and faith can be “overthrown” (2 Timothy 2:18) and “erred from” (1 Timothy 6:10). It is possible to “cast off… the first faith” (1 Timothy 5:12). One can “hold faith” or make a “shipwreck” of the faith (1 Timothy 1:19).

      If we want a definition of faith, we can look to Hebrews 11:1, which tells us:

      Heb 11:1-2 KJV
      (1) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
      (2) For by it the elders obtained a good report.

      If faith is the substance of things hoped for, then it seems to me that one would have to be willing to hope for something before they could have faith. Hope is something that is integral to our character. What we hope for defines who we are. Faith is the substance of that hope. We cannot have faith in something that we do not hope for. Faith is the substance that is produced by hope.

      Please realize that quoting Ephesians 2:8 and thus claiming “faith is a gift” is not a valid argument. It would first require reading the verse out of context, then tweaking the structure of the passage, and finally also ignoring every application of faith that we find in scripture. That is not the natural or the sensible reading, and thus the Calvinist’s reading is extremely suspect.

      Can God help our faith? I know that he can, but that faith must start in us. That’s why we are told in Hebrews 11:6 that “… without faith it is impossible to please him, for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” That is why our faith must be tried and perfected.

      I know that you have probably heard “faith is the gift of God” repeated some several thousand times from Calvinist proponents, but that’s not what the scripture actually says. Grace is the gift of God, for by grace are ye saved.

      Reply

      • Andrew, you are misreading Ephesians. Salvation is the gift, which includes faith. “That” refers to the “saved.”

        When you read this passage, please note the context and the grammar.

        “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
        (Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV)

        If we put faith in our Savior, we prove we have been extended grace. That grace which leads to faith is not earned, it is the gift of God because all of salvation is a gift from God. You’ve been reading this wrong. Read the context, and diagram the sentence… “it is the gift of God” points back to the prevailing subject, which is salvation which includes grace and faith.

        Please realize that quoting Ephesians 2:8 and thus claiming “faith is a gift” is the only valid argument. To claim that faith is not a gift would first require reading the verse out of context, then tweaking the structure of the passage, and finally also ignoring every application of faith that we find in scripture. That is not the natural or the sensible reading, and thus your reading is extremely suspect.

      • Les, you plagiarized my words, omitted the context of the passage, bypassed the grammar, ignored the entire scripture which I had already quoted, and did not answer the questions. That was really senseless and immature.

        I guess when you have no real argument you only have silly stunts like that. Congratulations.

      • Les,

        We have discussed this before. Your interpretation of Ephesians 2:8-9 is a Calvinist leaning interpretation. If you read the passage with out the Calvinist shades on, you would not come to the conclusion that you have.

        This passage does NOT indicate that faith is a gift from God. I am sorry, It does NOT. What Paul does say is that we are saved by God’s grace… which is what Paul refers to as “this is not your own doing;” Grace as you have said is God giving us what we do not deserve, which is a reference to salvation.

        The statement, “it is a gift of God” refers directly to salvation. Salvation is God’s gift to those who place their faith in Him and repent and believe. Faith is NOT God’s gift in Eph 2. The reason I can say that is we can leave that phrase out and it does not radically change the statement; for by grace are you saved; not of your own, it is a gift of God, not of works lest anyone boast.

        In fact, salvation is God’s gift that comes BY Faith. Grace is the divine component of conversion and faith is the human component. This is evidenced by Paul’s statement in Hebrews 11:1. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Even more telling is 11:6 “without faith it is impossible to please God for He who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that seek Him.”

        All through the Bible men are admonished to “believe.” I am sorry but nowhere do I see God ever saying that we believe because He gives us “belief” as a gift. Believing and faith to me are synonomous.

        I am sure there is and I have probably seen it, but are there other passages that indicate that faith is a gift?

        ><>”

      • Bob,

        Bob: “Your interpretation of Ephesians 2:8-9 is a Calvinist leaning interpretation. If you read the passage with out the Calvinist shades on, you would not come to the conclusion that you have.”

        Me: Come on Bob. That sounds like I have a Calvinist bias as I approach the passage and you DON’T have any non-Calvinist bias as YOU approach the passage. Let’s admit we BOTH have some bias as we approach any scripture.

        But on WHAT is the gift, I think in part we agree. I do think the gift refers back to salvation in totality. And salvation includes calling, regeneration, conversion (faith and repentance), etc.

        You: “In fact, salvation is God’s gift that comes BY Faith.”
        Me: Agree. Greek means “by way of” or “by means of.” Faith is the instrument. But my calling it a gift from God doesn’t detract from it any more than recognizing that the Spirit is a gift (Acts 2.38).

        But we will disagree

        Other passages?

        For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,
        (Philippians 1:29 ESV)

        Blessings.

        Les

      • Les,

        With all due respect, your own comment indicates that you “think the gift refers back to salvation in totality. And salvation includes calling, regeneration, conversion (faith and repentance), etc.” The part that is being read into this passage is the last sentence. I did not do that. I took the passage and looked at what it said on its own merit.

        “Faith is the instrument” I like “means” but we are still good… and as you say, “my calling it a gift from God doesn’t detract from it any more than recognizing that the Spirit is a gift (Acts 2.38).” I can even accept that statement on its own merit UNTIL you attach the ramifications of what you mean when you say “Gift”; that is where my objection comes in.

        How do you rectify the Hebrews 11 passages with this idea that faith or believing is a “gift” from God that enables us to respond to Him?

        The passage in Philippians we have tackled before as well. The ESV “has been granted” is in my opinion Calvinist leaning BUT is a valid translation but to me “has been given” is more accurate… BUT even given that… what has been given?

        I believe it is the “privilege of believing and suffering” that best fits the text… not a statement dealing with the salvific aspect of “faith being a gift from God in salvation.”

        Again, in MHO, that is reading a lot into the Philippian text… BUT… that is MY opinion and you know what folks say about opinions.

        ><>”

      • Bob, this is fun going back and forth with you. You are respectful and have a degree of humility not always seen on blogs. Thanks.

        On the Eph. passage, I don’t think I’m reading into it. But only God knows for sure.

        You: “How do you rectify the Hebrews 11 passages with this idea that faith or believing is a “gift” from God that enables us to respond to Him?

        Me: I see this as a definition of faith. It doesn’t here speak to HOW we obtain that faith. I will say that as one reads the chapter, it’s very hard to see how these people did ANY of these things so amazing (such as “Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life.”) by anything in them except God supernaturally enabling them…not by sort of “screwing up their faith” so to speak.

        You: “The passage in Philippians we have tackled before as well. The ESV “has been granted” is in my opinion Calvinist leaning BUT is a valid translation but to me “has been given” is more accurate… BUT even given that… what has been given?”

        Me: Check the Greek word for “has been granted.” I think I have referred to it before:

        Cognate: 5483 xarízomai (from 5485 /xáris, “grace, extending favor”) – properly, to extend favor (“grace”), freely give favor to grant forgiveness (pardon).

        5483 /xarízomai (“favor that cancels”) is used of God giving His grace to pardon. This is freely done and therefore not based on any merit of the one receiving forgiveness.

        [5483 (xarízomai) literally means, “to exercise grace, freely show favor,” i.e. willingly (“graciously”) bestow.]

        If it is Calvinist leaning, then Strongs is Calvinist leaning.

        But no one accuses the NIV of being Calvinist leaning. here it is:

        “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him,”

        What has been given? I don’t see how you can read it any other way than two things have been granted (gifted): faith and suffering. He says “not only” faith but also suffering.

        Blessings.

      • Bob, I’m not so sure that Philippians passage meant to say that suffering is a privilege. That may be a very noble way to interpret it, and I will not say that is against the meaning, but we already use the word “granted” and “given” in a broader manner than that in our common speech.

        Php 1:27-30 KJV
        (27) Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
        (28) And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.
        (29) For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
        (30) Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.

        If it was saying that those that believe on behalf of Christ shall also suffer for his sake, that would not be a foreign concept:

        Mat 10:16-18 KJV
        (16) Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
        (17) But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;
        (18) And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.

        Is it not enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord? If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? If they killed Jesus, should we expect that nothing shall happen to us?

        We could also say that it has already been given (or granted) that we that believe shall suffer persecution, or that we have been given (even delivered) unto persecution.

        Act 25:16 KJV
        (16) To whom I answered, It is not the manner of the Romans to deliver any man to die, before that he which is accused have the accusers face to face, and have licence to answer for himself concerning the crime laid against him.

        I used the quote of Acts 25:16 above because it shares the same underlying Greek word. However, I’m just fine with the way my passage already reads.

        Php 1:29 KJV
        (29) For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;

        Noting the sentence structure above, suffering is the subject, and we are delivered unto the suffering. The point made is that we shall not simply believe without enduring suffering and affliction. It is the consequence and effect of our belief that is given, not a statement that “first faith is a divine gift.”

        I’m not sure what’s up with that prior listing from Strong’s concordance, but I noticed that it did not include the word “deliver” from Acts 25:16. I don’t claim that Strong’s is inerrant or anything, but here’s what my reference looks like:

        χαρίζομαι
        charizomai
        khar-id’-zom-ahee
        Middle voice from G5485; to grant as a favor, that is, gratuitously, in kindness, pardon or rescue: – deliver, (frankly) forgive, (freely) give, grant.

        So it would seem that the Greek word has similar usage as we have with the English word “granted” or “given” which does not necessarily mean a literal gift. Even foreign words, by nature, have a certain flexibility.

        I don’t think that the ESV is being biased when it uses the word “granted”. But, when Les quoted a longer Strong’s definition for the word above, it seemed like it was “waxing eloquent” on only one of the possible applications of the word.

        So unless his version of Strong’s was insisting that that explanation was the only meaning to be applied universally and inflexibly across every instance of the Greek, I wouldn’t say that Strong’s was biased in this case either.

    • Chris,

      There is a LOT we all have to learn with respect to these different nuances dealing with the Scriptures and their applications.

      You next comment needs some caution as well. “because of a lack of knowledge of prevenient grace, only because it is foreign to Scripture.”

      One of the comments that was contained in the thread from William Burch was that Irresistible grace itself is a “prevenient grace” in that is is essential to conversion BEFORE anyone can respond.

      That is WHAT “prevenient” itself means. Now I understand there is a BIG difference in what calvinists say in irresistible grace and what arminians say in prevenient grace; my point is, if in attempting to say that prevenient grace is not Scriptural, it becomes increasingly difficult to defend irresistible grace on the same argument.

      If prevenient grace is non-Scriptural, which I agree 100% with by the way… then that makes regeneration as the Calvinist unscriptural as well because regeneration and irresistible grace, although different in application, is by definition a “form” of prevenient grace.

      Grateful to be in His Grip!

      ><>”

      Reply

  30. Andrew,

    “Les, you plagiarized my words,” NO. I rearranged them and corrected them.

    “omitted the context of the passage,” Not at all. Fully in context.

    “bypassed the grammar” No, I pointed you to look at context and grammar, same as you did.

    “ignored the entire scripture which I had already quoted” I didn’t need to deal with all you quoted. I was dealing with Eph. 2 only.

    “and did not answer the questions.” What questions in the passage of yours I rearranged?

    “That was really senseless and immature.” Hmmm. You are resorting to calling names.

    “I guess when you have no real argument you only have silly stunts like that. Congratulations.”

    Now that’s silly. I simply took your sentences and put them in the right way. How is that immature?

    Look Andrew. I will say this. When you use phrases like:

    “Chris, you are misreading Ephesians.

    and…

    “Please realize that quoting Ephesians 2:8 and thus claiming “faith is a gift” is not a valid argument.”

    and…

    “I know that you have probably heard “faith is the gift of God” repeated some several thousand times from Calvinist proponents, but that’s not what the scripture actually says.”

    You set yourself up as THE authority on how to read scripture. Not the best way to engage in a back and forth. Who left you as the arbitrator of what the scripture says? Maybe some of those thousands of times have some merit.

    If how to read Ephesians is so easy to see, as in your interpretation, how have so many of thousands of theologians and pastors been so wrong for so long?

    Reply

  31. Plagiarizing, rearranging, correcting… whatever, Les.

    Jer 23:30-32 KJV
    (30) Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour.
    (31) Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith.
    (32) Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD.

    The conclusions that I wrote were only valid because I had already backed them up and proven them from scripture and with logical arguments. Had I merely made baseless statements in the fashion you had done, I would never have expected to have been taken seriously.

    So how was your response immature? That was an observation, not an insult. On the playgrounds of elementary schools the little children taunt others with sure-fire superiority responses such as:

    1. “I know the answer, but I’m not going to tell you…”
    2. and then the classic “Why are you repeating everything I say?” trick….

    Mature responses actually address the arguments of their opponents. So understand that I can no longer take you seriously at all, Les. But since you asked this question, I shall respond. Don’t blame me if you don’t like the answer.

    Les asks,

    If how to read Ephesians is so easy to see, as in your interpretation, how have so many of thousands of theologians and pastors been so wrong for so long?

    The same way even so many more thousands of theologians and bishops and priests have misread so many other scriptures to support the primacy of the Pope, purgatory, and prayers to the saints, the same way thousands of theologians from any number of cults will insist on a backwards reading because their theology insists on it, the same way a humanist will point to a complex biological organism and say that it proves evolution…. because their religion depends on that absurd reading of the evidence.

    Mat 16:18 KJV
    (18) And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

    Want to know why thousands and thousands of Catholic theologians say that Peter is the rock instead of Jesus Christ? For the same reasons why hundreds of Calvinist theologians must also say that faith is the gift of God… because their theological system demands a proof text.

    Now, when I previously said “thousands” I was not referring to “thousands” of theologians. I was speaking of how even a few pastors, even a very small minority with a very loud voice tends to repeat things over and over as if saying will make it so. If the line is repeated often enough people simply repeat what they have heard. Most people believe what they hear and never look up the scripture for themselves.

    You should already know that a “weight of Calvinist tradition” argument would never persuade me while you avoid my scriptures and arguments. Why would you even expect that to be effective when you yourself (supposedly) reject the weight of superior numbers and years from Catholic theologians?

    If you were trying to convince me that it’s useless to attempt to discuss anything with you, you have proved your point.

    Reply

  32. Andrew, I think you may have finally gotten something.

    For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.
    (2 Timothy 3:2-5 ESV)

    Reply

  33. Posted by Chris Fincher on December 27, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Bob,

    I think the point that I am getting at about the Arminian’s stance on prevenient grace is obvious to you, though I was ignorant of the Arminian position (enabling the world to believe out of a totally depraved sinful state). The fact that we are calling prevenient irresistible grace, one of a prior grace, is wholly different, as you know, than the Arminian stance. I totally agree with a prevenient irresistible grace, because it is not foreign to Scripture, and it is needed by the sinner… “by grace you have been saved…”

    The deadness in sin that Ephesians talks of assuredly requires a prevenient grace. Though this prevenient grace held by Reformers is different than that of the Arminians. I would note that their are many off shoots of Arminianism, including, Pentecostalism, Methodist, among others, which claim that salvation can be lost. Don’t regard that last sentence as a dogmatic stance, I know that those denominations differ in many regards also… But I think my point lies in the implications of what the Arminian stance calls prevenient grace, lifting the spiritually dead sinner to a state of ability to choose spiritual things, i.e. faith in Christ, and the Reformed stance of prevenient irresistible grace. The main reason being that the Reformers claim of irresistible grace is a process and power of sanctification, and salvation from sin in this life. It is a grace that continues past the point of prevenient, and continues throughout eternity. He has indeed received prevenient grace, but that grace is a force through out his life. It is life long; not just prevenient.

    I think a lot of heresy rises out of that Arminian prevenient soteriology… If God essentially lifts a sinner to a spiritually enabled state to choose Jesus, then the logical conclusion is one of that grace not continuing to be the power that holds the Christian faithful to Jesus, but it is the Christian’s own power to believe, thus which I believe leave no place for eternal security at all. If God’s grace is only prevenient then it is limited only when the Christian is faithful in Christ. Reformers hold that irresistible grace is sufficient, beckoning, not against a sinners will, but like a light out of a desolate dark cave. God pulls us out of our sinful pit, and we, having been born again of God, see that light and reach, because, one we have been born of God, second we are held by His power, not our own.

    Reply

  34. Posted by Chris Fincher on December 28, 2011 at 12:02 am

    On the Philippians’ “granted”

    I think that as we have went around and around literally throwing verses at each other, claiming to uphold God’s word the most, it has been done an injustice. Whether it be me defending the Sovereignty of God in salvation, or anyone else emphatically defending a free will first faith choice. And I think all that has been said about this “granted” in Philippians proves it.

    Whether Paul is stating that belief (first faith) and suffering are granted, or just the continuation of boldness in faith (not first faith), and suffering on behalf of Christ, that IS NOT the over arching context of what he is trying to get across. I’m sure you all would agree.

    “But I am in a strait betwixt the two, having the desire to DEPART and be with Christ, which is far better…” Philippians 1:23

    “having this confidence…” 1:25

    “THAT YOUR GLORYING MAY ABOUND IN CHRIST JESUS…” 1:26

    “Only let your manner of life be WORTHY of the gospel of Christ… THAT YOU STAND FAST… STRIVING for the faith of the gospel…”

    “AND IN NOTHING BE AFFRIGHTEND by the adversaries: which is for them an evident token of perdition, BUT OF YOUR SALVATION, AND THAT FROM GOD;”

    “BECAUSE TO YOU IT HAS BEEN GRANTED, in the behalf of Christ, NOT ONLY TO BELIEVE ON HIM, but also TO SUFFER in his behalf:”

    I just want to note here that the context that Paul is driving here does not stop at the end of Chap 1.

    He continues on…

    “If there is therefore ANY exhortation IN CHRIST, if ANY consolation OF LOVE, if and FELLOWSHIP of THE SPIRIT, if ANY tender mercies and compassions, make FULL my joy, THAT YOU be of the SAME MIND, having the SAME LOVE, being of ONE ACCORD, of ONE MIND; doing NOTHING through faction or through vainglory, but in LOWLINESS of mind each counting others better than himself;…” Philip 2:1-3

    This next part I believe sums up the context of “granted to believe and suffer”….

    “Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, but EMPTIED…. HIMSELF, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashioin as a man, he humbled himself, becoming OBEDIENT even UNTO DEATH, yeah, THE DEATH OF THE CROSS.” 2:9

    “Wherefore also God HIGHLY EXALTED him, and gave unto him the name which is above every name; that in the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW and that EVERY TONGUE CONFESS that jesus Christ is Lord, to the GLORY of God the Father…” 2:9-11

    “So then…”

    My paraphrase so far: SO THEN, since you have been CALLED TO OBEDIENCE (faith and also potential suffering) just like Christ was obedient even unto death, death on a cross, stand humbled toward God and man, striving together for the Gospel of Christ. Do not fear, for you have been GRANTED to pursue obedience (faith and possible suffering, which will turn out for the good for those who love God) BY GOD.

    We can fight the implications of these verses all we want, but what Paul is trying to convey is clear… Those who believe have been called to obedience, and obedience being the driving context of Paul, whether it be humility in “and as well as your salvation, and that of God…” or that you might be given the grace “to suffer as your Lord did…” leading to your obedience and submission to the cross of Christ, which leads to the glory of the Father…

    “So then, my beloved, even as you have always obeyed… WORK OUT YOUR OWN SALVATION with FEAR AND TREMBLING; for IT IS GOD WHO WORKS IN YOU BOTH TO WILL AND TO WORK, for his good pleasure.” 2:12-13

    Paul is encouraging them to persevere through tribulation… I think Paul says it quite naturally that humility and obedience are the fuel that feeds the fire of “striving for the faith, in one mind, one accord, one love, etc…”

    I personally think Paul uses the calling of God unto salvation as a mark of humility and also of power… He say’s “and to you salvation, and that of God…” He may not necessarily be referring to “first faith”, but whether he is or not is kind of beside the point here….

    “and to you salvation, and that of God…”

    “work out your own salvation with fear in trembling, for it is God who works in you…”

    Notice how Paul says “DO NOT FEAR your adversaries… it is proof of their perdition… but to your salvation, and that of God…”

    But then he says “work out your own salvation with FEAR AND TREMBLING, for it is GOD WHO WORKS IN YOU…

    I must say this text is beautiful from a Reformed perspective. I would hate to be constantly fighting for my “free will” while reading these passages, because Paul is not focusing on that. I believe the context is focused on a higher purpose than that; rather than complaining, strife, and arrogance; the fear of God because he works in us,humility, in love for the brothers, and obedience to Christ through faith (first faith or not…..)

    Thats just how I see it.

    Peace

    Reply

    • Posted by Chris Fincher on December 28, 2011 at 12:32 am

      One more note: to Andrew

      I don’t understand in all the referencing to the original Greek why no one actually cited the word within the actual text…

      χαρίζομαι
      charizomai
      khar-id’-zom-ahee
      Middle voice from G5485; to grant as a favor, that is, gratuitously, in kindness, pardon or rescue: – deliver, (frankly) forgive, (freely) give, grant.

      This indeed may be the root word and meaning but not the actual word used in the text but,

      εχαρισθη is the inflected word χαρίζομαι used in the text… look it up… http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=philipians%201&version=WHNU

      Also with this particular inflection the verb changes from the middle, to the passive voice, and is stated in the aorist tense… This is very important to distinguish.

      You stated above in that reference to Strong’s that it’s in the middle voice. Well the root may be, but in the actual text the word εχαρισθη it is not. Middle voice means that the subject is doing the action of the verb himself or to himself. This word is in the passive voice which means that the action of the verb “granted” is happening to him, wholly outside of his will and intent…

      I don’t know if you are aware of this but it is very important to make whatever ever Greek you are referencing valid…

      In considering this a case can be made opposing to what you believe in just the tenses and moods of the verb’s inflected meaning.

      It is in the aorist tense (which means that it was done at one point in the past) and considering that the particular suffering had not yet happened to them that Paul was talking to it can be said possibly that it was “granted from God’s decree in the past” that you believe and suffer… Since all this action of “being granted upon by God”, had not yet happened, and since all the actions was going to happen to them, I think it would be fair to state that what Paul was talking about could have been an allude to the already decreed will of God, in what was taking place there… “Work out your own salvation, for it is God who works in you both to will and work, for his good pleasure…”

      I studied a little Greek a while back and that stuck out to me when I noticed all the irrelevant citing of the noninflected lexical form of the verb…

      Reply

      • Chris, I did earlier today…10:13 am. I didn’t cite the tense, so thanks for that.

      • Chris, you seem inconsistent. First you wrote a very long post saying that we were all talking too much about one word in Philippians, and then you followed up your own post with more talking about that one word in Philippians. However, what you’re saying does not influence this one way or the other.

        Yes, of course it has already been decided that we should suffer. I even referenced verses where Christ had already said as much. Whether that the believers should endure suffering was “already decided” was never in dispute, and it does change the meaning, nor does it mean that “belief” is a mutation that must be injected into us.

        If you have this much time to look on Bible gateway and talk about aorist tenses, would you mind trying to answer this outstanding question? Repeating, from where you left off, it stands:

        Therefore, since we both agree as to what God said he wants, and you say that being Sovereign means that God can make people repent of their own free will (even if they didn’t want to) and that you find nothing morally objectionable to this solution, then why wouldn’t God snap his fingers and save everyone?

        If you’re really having trouble with this question, then maybe you should be worrying about that instead of trying to become a Greek scholar.

  35. Posted by Chris Fincher on December 28, 2011 at 3:59 am

    Actually I was just laying my heart out there on what I thought the Philippians context was getting at. If you can’t read someone’s post without getting bent out of shape about it, that’s your fault. If that is the case, then it has become an unhealthy conversation for everybody involved in talking with you. And all this IS getting out of hand. How are you saying i’m inconsistent? (that was a rhetorical question so don’t answer it) We are arguing over free will and the sovereignty of God in salvation, and we are throwing Scripture around with little snide comments like rag dolls. How is it inconsistent that I address that with an honest exposition of the text? (once again, rhetorical) Is it because I then went back and addressed a much neglected portion of your post with you citing the Greek? (rhetorical) Of course that’s why posted twice… I fixed your inconsistent citation of the Greek, brother.

    Are you saying that you would want people to read this blog and see your lazy unlearned citation of the Greek, which wasn’t even the correct inflected word in the actual text, rather than me going back and giving some more clarity for potential readers? Even you said it would change the meaning… And even if all I wrote didn’t amount to any substantial change in the pace of this conversation, you still put up a meaningless and useless citation of a non-inflected Greek word, that is not even in the text you were dealing with…. That is mishandling God’s Word bud, and I know that you don’t advocate that- So does it still seem inconsistent that I went back to fix your lazy handling of the original Greek? Or are you just addicting to throwing snide comments in the air, arguing for arguments sake…? You can take your taunt about me being a Greek scholar somewhere else.

    You: “nor does it mean that “belief” is a mutation that must be injected into us.”

    You quoting me: “you say that being Sovereign means that God can make people repent of their own free will (even if they didn’t want to)”

    Me: Your emphasis is wrong on what I believe Sovereign to mean. I believe that power to believe is not a negative sarcastic mutation as you describe it above. If you want to trivialize my stance you are not worth talking to, and if you intend on misrepresenting my position, I hope that you are a 10 year old boy, hence the lack of maturity you portray.

    Anyways, I say that God indeed being sovereign, elected to save that wretched, vile, spiritually dead, sinful man out of his pit, and to make him believe wholly apart from his will, not in a negative sense though as you emphatically make it out to be. And so what if God MADE me believe against my OWN free will…. GREAT!!! why is that a bad thing to you? Who would complain when being rescued from drowning? Who would scream just before being pulled into the boat, I USED MY FREE WILL TO GET ON THIS BOAT!!! No you didn’t, you were drowning and you were rescued…. But you might say, well I love to swim, but I was drowning, I decided I wanted to die, then the lifeguard just let you drown and die… I guess the life guard just had to let you choose, even though you could not have made it ten yards with all that water in your lungs if even you changed your mind to swim back to the boat and live… And so the picture is the same prior to salvation for the man. Drowning, in fact already dead in sin, and God being the Sovereign lifeguard reaches down, into this world and turns my heart to faith in His Son Jesus by the power of His word, yes indeed against my own FREE WILL, a free will that only loved sin, and not Jesus prior to salvation, and now sees his grace as the most beautiful and powerful thing that brought me out of my sin to salvation in Jesus. I don’t consider that a mutation against my own proud free autonomous will, but grace that saved me from Hell that I would have freely chosen apart from His saving grace.

    Paul actually answers the last of your question backwards,

    you: “then why wouldn’t God snap his fingers and save everyone?”

    “14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion,[b] but on God, who has mercy. 17 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.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he will.” Romans 9

    You: “and that you find nothing morally objectionable to this solution,” you intended this question about God going against our “free will”, which seems like a non-existing soteriology in Paul’s response here of who God will have mercy on and a ultimate save…

    “19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 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?” 21 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? 22 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, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?”

    Reply

    • Responding to the general theme of the complaint above,

      Typographical Error should have been Obvious from Context

      Chris objected:

      Even you said it would change the meaning…

      That was supposed to be “would not change the meaning…” That typographical omission occurred in the middle of a sentence that repeated its theme three times in a row, each with a separate phrase. I thought that anyone could figure out the mistake without it requiring a separate follow up correction for that one word.

      1. “Whether that the believers should endure suffering was “already decided” was never in dispute,” +
      2. “and it does [not] change the meaning,” +
      3. “nor does it mean that “belief” is a mutation that must be injected into us.”

      Each of those three phrases carries the same theme, that of negation. That’s why the word “nor” could be used at the final phrase, because each phrase was meant to be spoken in the negative. I didn’t really think that this would have been beyond anyone’s translational abilities to interpret.

      It is not a Pigskin?

      It seems that you thought that you had the remarkable revelation that the Greek word was in the aorist tense, and thus you stepped in to “correct” all of us without knowing what you were talking about. You were acting as if we all thought that Paul had just suddenly declared this “suffering” right then and there as if it was his own private decree.

      It’s as if you ran yelling and screaming into the middle of a football game, got everyone to stop the game, then you got everyone’s attention, and proudly announced… “That thing you are calling a pigskin… it’s not actually made of pig’s skin! It’s really made from synthetic materials!” Would you expect applause for that? It’s not relevant.

      Chris continues his complaint:

      And even if all I wrote didn’t amount to any substantial change in the pace of this conversation, you still put up a meaningless and useless citation of a non-inflected Greek word,

      The English translations we were using were already correctly worded. That was not in dispute. The Strong’s definition was being quoted for the purpose of questioning how come the one Les had used had omitted one of the recognized translated meanings of “delivered.” His copy should not have omitted the reference.

      Are you really suggesting that 1st and 2nd century Greeks are going to be reading through this blog and become confused because I didn’t display the original koine Greek of the passage for them to read in context?

      Php 1:29 GNT-TR
      (29) οτι υμιν εχαρισθη το υπερ χριστου ου μονον το εις αυτον πιστευειν αλλα και το υπερ αυτου πασχειν

      There, are you happy now? It’s so hard to take you seriously here. You seem to have trouble enough with English words already from time to time… and you’re claiming that our Greek readers are going to be led astray by a citation of Strong’s concordance? How about you please explain your English, first?

      Strange Chris English quotation example 1

      I’ll admit I was being a little abide though.. sorry bout that…

      What does that mean? How can someone be a little “abide?” I don’t understand. I have tried, but I cannot figure this out from context.

      Strange Chris English quotation example 2

      Either God isn’t powerful enough to actually save someone or we have the ability to see God in His full glory and not be affected by it at all, which to me makes God out to be COMPLETELY weak entity, who is audacious at best…. Of which I think Arminianism makes God out to be- audacious at best, which is weak at it’s root. Do you say that God is just audacious?

      (And just putting aside that these words of yours contradict your own theology later…)

      What are you talking about? God is “audacious?” I even specifically asked you about this but you did not answer. You repeated it three times, so this cannot simply be a typographical error. What did you mean?

      It is even more confusing when you say that I am quoting you when I am actually quoting myself. It makes me wonder how well you are paying attention, or if your memory is confused in some way. When I quote myself to repeat a question that I have asked that you have neglected to answer, that is not quoting you.

      I had already explained why you were being inconsistent in as little as one sentence. What is the point of feigning offense and repeatedly asking “How am I inconsistent” if you are going to specifically label each of those questions as being rhetorical?

      Willing to make his power known…

      Your quote from Paul does not answer the question you were asked, for Paul is only speaking of temporal judgments upon the earth. As for Pharaoh, he even says that this is for making his power known upon the earth. Your scenario of creating people just for the purpose of burning them in hell does not make God’s power known upon the earth, and the power of God is already plainly seen from the heavenly realm.

      And Now Repeating the Question (again)

      Besides this, your proposed explanation contradicts itself, because Paul spoke of how God is willing. We already agreed that God was willing that all be saved. Your own theology says (and insists) that God can both save someone and make them willing to be saved by mere decree. So you have not answered why you believe that God would not save everyone by making all willing to be saved.

      Right now you have been presented with a severe moral dilemma that affects your understanding of God, love, truth, and the gospel. This is the natural outcome of your chosen theology, even specifically the problem of “predestination to damnation.” This is not a new problem, and it has existed ever since the TULIP was created.

      In fact, this following quote is specifically from when the TULIP was first created:

      This doctrine is so horrible, that I am persuaded, if there were a council of unclean spirits assembled in hell, and their prince the devil were to put the question either to all of them in general, or to each in particular, to learn their opinion about the most likely means of stirring up the hatred of men against God their Maker; nothing could be invented by them that would be more efficacious for this purpose, …”

      …or that could put a greater affront upon God’s love for mankind, than that infamous decree of the late Synod, and the decision of that detestable formulary, by which the far greater part of the human race are condemned to hell for no other reason, than the mere will of God, without any regard to sin; the necessity of sinning, as well as that of being damned, being fastened on them by that great nail of the decree before-mentioned.”

      -James Stuart, also known as King James I of England

      But you have said,

      …but grace that saved me from Hell that I would have freely chosen apart from His saving grace.

      Those whom you claim that God has damned from the beginning of the world, purposely withholding the ability to repent, you claim they are “freely choosing” to “go to Hell” of their own will because that is what they truly want? You say that they have no other choice because God won’t even allow them to want to be saved.

      Apparently I am not the only one that thinks that is beyond sick.

      So I think you could benefit from less yelling, shouting, and accusing, perhaps substituting a little more serious reflection and careful response. This is not about pounding out chords while cranking out more amps to drown out everything else. Calling your opponent a “10 year old” does not make the problem go away.

      Reply

  36. Posted by Chris Fincher on December 28, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    Andrew,

    According to your theology God is audacious enough to think that all people can be saved, but all people will not be saved… So your theology makes tje will of God be void of effectual power, and audacious at best….

    I meant snide, not abide… Your snide comments…

    And if the suffering was foreknown and predestined by God so was the belief… “you have been granted, to believe and suffer”

    I bet u would not be so bold face to face, like u are through that keyboard…

    I could leave this conversation and just leave u to argue with someone else… Which I’m sure is the extent of your thoughts on a daily basis… Wallowing in your own self worth… Your arrogance says it all… Every one of us has tried to level the ground between us and talk as men, but your nasty little attitude is making civil conversation laborious and irritating…

    Reply

    • Dear Chris,

      First, I can see how “snide” might fit in place of “abide” if your hands started slipping over the keyboard. Your original comment would then have then become “I was being a little snide though…” I am not sure why you started to rephrase this as if you were now casting it at me.

      Second, although you have not defined what you mean by the word “audacious” I infer that you are using it in a way to be disrespectful to God. I will thus remind you that it is your theology that has contradicted itself (not mine) and thus your anger is misplaced. You may maintain your contradictory belief in belligerence, or start showing a willingness to consider alternative solutions with fairness. That’s your decision.

      Third, our scripture (Philippians 1:29) did not say that any specific individuals would believe or suffer, but rather that it is given not only to believe on Christ, but also to suffer for his sake. You are adding quite a lot to those words to make them say what you have suggested… i.e. “wresting the scriptures.”

      Fourth, your charge of “hiding behind a keyboard” is ridiculous. I have already offered to talk directly by email on multiple occasions, even suggesting that this would be a good way to coordinate video conferencing so that we could talk face to face, for your sake. But your email is hidden and you have ignored these offers.

      Or were you suggesting that you would use force or violence if you were physically present? Obviously personal communication, voice, and facial expression couldn’t have been what you were talking about since this was already offered. So what did you mean by that?

      Fifth, the rest is equally absurd and ironic. I think you should take a careful look at the words you have been writing. Your accusations seem descriptive of your own behavior.

      If you can talk civilly, we could start looking at alternatives to your “predestined to damnation” problem starting from ground zero. That would be the fairest way to approach this problem. I have noticed that everyone is afraid to do that.

      But if you are really so beside yourself that you cannot talk and will only cast insults, then I think that my earliest post on this board has been proved, that “scripture never settles anything.” I wish I could see that generalization proved wrong.

      Sincerely,
      -Andrew

      Reply

  37. Posted by Chris Fincher on December 28, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    Andrew,

    Once again your post was tediously arrogant and irritating…

    I am not going to waste my time going back and forth with you. I don’t like talking to you as of this moment. I have had a lot of discussions on this topic and this one is by far the most pointless… I’ll confess that I was a little arrogant in the beginning, but I have tried to clear that, and just be straight forward with what I believe. Your persistence to prove wrong is completely repulsive, even if you are claiming to “believe God’s word.” It doesn’t matter what Truth that you claim, even if it is 100% totally true, you put a stumbling block in the conversation with your arrogance and lack of love. Maybe it’s just how you are. Maybe you have Calvinism so much that you speak that hate… I don’t know. It would do you and me much better if you spoke with much much more humility and love.

    Your constant smart alack tone is getting old.

    If you can’t write with a more respectful tone for my belief in Scripture, then I will talk for days… But if not, I will opt out of this, because I don’t want to waste my time…

    Here is your chance to speak in love brother… We are both Christians, let’s start there if you really want to clear the air of all the smoke.

    Reply

    • Chris, as per your comments above,

      Your persistence to prove wrong is completely repulsive.

      If you will not consider the possibility that you might be wrong yourself, then it becomes the job of the other person to “persistently prove” that you are mistaken. That is one of the most basic elements of a logical apologetic argument.

      If you can’t write with a more respectful tone for my belief in Scripture, then I will talk for days… But if not, I will opt out of this, because I don’t want to waste my time…

      Even setting aside that I think you might have meant the opposite of what you wrote, you cannot demand that someone else respect your beliefs. You must first show your beliefs to be respectable. Respect must be earned, not demanded.

      How am I supposed to respect a system where God is described as cruel and random, and where those who are lucky enough to receive “mercy” do not feel anything for those who were never given a chance at all? Your perception of “grace” seems like selfishness to me, because it does not care about anyone else. That is what seems repulsive.

      It is not that I want you to “talk for days.” I would be happy if you would be willing to listen and ask questions, answer questions yourself, and even allow the same benefit of the doubt that has already been extended to you. This would be called “fundamental fairness” and it is required of any reasonable argument or conversation.

      So far you have been unable to demonstrate a logical or moral contradiction within the normal free will plan of salvation. Why should your system that has already contradicted itself still be given special consideration? Your explanation of “God does not do what he wills because he does what he wills…” has failed the test.

      So if you want to “opt out” for these reasons then you might as well go ahead. I won’t stop you. Otherwise, I am supposed to prove you wrong until you are willing to fairly consider other possibilities. If you are interested in truth and resolution that should not repulse you.

      Reply

  38. Posted by Chris Fincher on January 1, 2012 at 2:48 am

    Well I look at it this way, if you tell someone the truth and your a prick about it, they are probably going to despise you and not hear the truth that you speak. That’s all I am saying. If being a prick is built into a logical apologetic argument, then so be it.

    I can demand anything I want… Also the only time that I would ever talk of demanding something of someone is when they HATE what I believe, and then they speak that hate, of which I am okay with, but their persistence in speaking with an ungreatful tone makes them out to be just as foolish as they think my theology is. It’s easier to talk to a Muslim than you, and they are as about as stubborn as they come… You use “believe God’s word” as if I don’t love Scripture man, and I do… You really undermine me and many Church fathers (whether they be Calvinist or Arminian) who have died for their faith in Christ when you infer that I “don’t believe God’s word” as your arguments. We may disagree on some points, but Christian orthodoxy: God is sovereign, He foreknew a people that would be redeemed by and in Christ (whether that be a free will unknown group, or sovereign election), penal substitution, Christ raised from the dead, justification by grace through faith, etc, I hope we agree on… So in you saying that I don’t believe God’s word you miss the mark with your rebuttals to my comments, because I believe God’s word.

    You: How am I supposed to respect a system where God is described as cruel and random…

    Me: First, I don’t understand why you say that “my system” describes God as cruel??? Second how does “my system” describe God as random??? I seriously do not understand where you get that…

    You: So far you have been unable to demonstrate a logical or moral contradiction within the normal free will plan of salvation.

    Me: First of all I don’t look at Scripture or God through MY, or mans emotions. I especially don’t define God’s attributes and character by those same standards. Maybe one logical hang up I can come up with is that what if no one would have chose Christ… He then would have died on the cross in vain, that’s logical, no? And to say that God was sure that some people would choose is a contradictory statement… If he willingly set aside his power so that man could choose, well what if no one would have chosen… Also, if God actually did know that a certain people would believe before the foundation of the world, then God knew that he would have been creating a people to inevitably to burn in Hell, no? And so it seems that your “system’s” logical outcome seemingly describes God as cruel in the creation of man, and in his redemptive plan… And also random for that matter. As far as a moral contradiction, I seen none on mans side, but if God set aside his will and power to actually save people to let it hinge on mans free will, that seems like a compromise on God’s part. I just don’t believe God tries to do anything… If he loved the whole world (everyone who has ever live w/o exception) then everyone would be saved. If it hinges on the free will of man, then there was a possibility that no one would choose Christ. If that be the case, instead of Jesus actually dying and 100% guaranteeing, and effectually saving those whom were to be saved, he made salvation possible, possibly saving no one. Morally I think that that makes Christ love for the “world” to be, vague, potential, and limited in its efficacy, actually saving no one, which I would label as a moral digression from his own standard, “in love, he did predestine us to be conformed to the image of Jesus…” -Romans 8. God knew that “a” people would choose, or he would not have sent his son to die on a cross for their sin, question is who were those people. I believe those people to be the elect of God, that Christ actually died for and actually saved, not potentially saved.

    You: Your explanation of “God does not do what he wills because he does what he wills…” has failed the test.

    Me: I don’t remember writing that, and I cant understand it how you wrote it without context… please rehash the argument, so we can talk it through…

    You: I am supposed to prove you wrong until you are willing to fairly consider other possibilities.

    Me: I agree, and I’ll admit that I have been lazy with my responses, but the same goes for you man… Saying over and over again, “believe God’s word…” “believe God’s word”, isn’t working, because I love Scripture, and I believe is to be “God’s word.”

    Please try to decipher spelling or grammar errors instead of using it as slander against me in your reply 🙂

    Btw, do you hold to King James only?

    Peace

    Reply

    • Hello Chris,

      That is a response that I can work with. I will address everything you said later – trust me on this, I am a very thorough person. However, I think it might help to make one clarification. Right now it is my responsibility to present and your responsibility to question what I say. I am now taking up the responsibility of defense and you should adopt the role of offense. Your “goal” should be to try to prove me wrong.

      As such, please try to avoid statements like this:

      I believe those people to be the elect of God, that Christ actually died for and actually saved, not potentially saved.

      When you say “I believe” it is appropriate for someone else to say “show me why.” However, you’re not supposed to be on the defense right now, so it’s not really fair to make statements like that. It’s my job now to be on defense, not on offense.

      I would prefer if you can try to address any potential “moral objections” first, because in my experience these are the questions that must be answered before anyone is willing to consider scriptural options.

      But you have already put forth a sufficient post for now, and I will respond to that next. This was just a courtesy response to serve as an introduction.

      Reply

    • Instead of having one long answer, I want to respond with multiple shorter posts. This will allow each section to deal with its own topic, and also make it easier for your responses as well.

      I did notice that you generalized my position as “believe God’s word” quite a few times. In a sense that is a flattering summary, but I do not think that it is right to imply that I have been that simplistic or merely bombarded you with slogans. I cannot actually find myself using that phrase that you are placing in quotation marks.

      You use “believe God’s word” as if I don’t love Scripture man, and I do… You really undermine me and many Church fathers (whether they be Calvinist or Arminian) who have died for their faith in Christ when you infer that I “don’t believe God’s word” as your arguments.

      I was not planning to use arguments based upon “church fathers.” Personally, that type of reasoning is not very convincing to me. However, if you are telling me that you do give this some weight then I might consider this as a supplementary approach in the future.

      We may disagree on some points, but Christian orthodoxy: God is sovereign, He foreknew a people that would be redeemed by and in Christ (whether that be a free will unknown group, or sovereign election), penal substitution, Christ raised from the dead, justification by grace through faith, etc, I hope we agree on.

      The meanings and implication of “God is sovereign” remains undefined. I do not accept the typical Calvinist definition of “sovereign.” The word normally means “king” and if this is all you meant, then we have no disagreement here. However, this does nothing to define how God exercises the power and authority he wields.

      I also think that for our purposes, “orthodox” is a useless measure of perception. For example, the Protestant Reformation was not “orthodox.” In fact, it was rebelling against the accepted standard of orthodoxy at the time. I think we should be able to agree that all doctrine should be established by scripture without being concerned about group affiliation or tradition.

      The remaining parts of your reply seem to group themselves into three main sections:

      1) You asked that I restate prior moral and logical objections against Calvinism
      2) You proposed logical arguments and/or questions against a free will plan of salvation
      3) You proposed moral arguments and/or questions against a free will plan of salvation

      I plan to proceed in that order, so the first section will be a review, and the second and third sections will deal directly with the new material you presented. If you can be patient, I will do my best to make sure that nothing gets left out while maintaining order and readability.

      Reply

  39. Posted by Chris Fincher on January 1, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    Andrew, I would rather send emails… I don’t want to scroll to the bottom of this blog every time I want to respond, it’s already to long, and I think that would make it a little more straight forward conversation… How can I reach you? Is your email available?

    Reply

    • If you click on the profile picture it will bring up my user profile. That has “public email” under “Contact Details” on the front of the page just to the left of the grainy profile picture. That address reaches me.

      Reply

  40. Posted by Chris Fincher on January 1, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    Andrew, I sent you an email.

    That’s a wrap for me on this post…

    Peace

    Reply

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