[We are] not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Calvinism and Children of Elect Parents

by Antonio da Rosa
Traditionalism as taught by John Calvin, himself:

“Those therefore whom God passes by he reprobates, and that for no other cause but because he is pleased to exclude them...” (Institutes, III, xxiii, 1)

“...the divine will... is itself, and justly ought to be, the cause of all that exists ... God, whose pleasure it is to inflict punishment ... no other cause can be adduced... than the secret counsel of God...” (Institutes III, xxiii, 4)

“If we cannot assign any reason for his bestowing mercy on his people, but just that it so pleases him, neither can we have any reason for his reprobating others but his will. When God is said to visit in mercy or harden whom he will, men are reminded that they are not to seek for any cause beyond his will.” (Institutes, III, xxii, 11)

“I... ask how it is that the fall of Adam involves so many nations with their infant children in eternal death without remedy unless it so seemed meet with God [sic]? ... The decree, I admit, is dreadful; and yet it is impossible to deny that God foreknew what the end of man was to be before he made him, and foreknew, because he had so ordained by his decree... God not only foresaw the fall of the first man, and in him the ruin of his posterity; but also at his own pleasure arranged it.” (Institutes, III, xxiii, 7)

“Paul teaches us that the ruin of the wicked is not only foreseen by the Lord, but also ordained by his counsel and his will... not only the destruction of the wicked is foreknown, but that the wicked themselves have been created for this very end -- that they may perish” (Commentaries Romans 9:18)

“... he arranges all things by his sovereign counsel in such a way that individuals are born, who are doomed from the womb to certain death, and are to glorify him by their destruction...God ... arranges and disposes of them at his pleasure... all events take place by his sovereign appointment” (Institutes III, xxiii, 6)

“...each has been created for one or other of these ends, [therefore] we say that he has been predestined to life or to death” (Institutes III, xxi, 5)

------------------------------

Note how Calvin says this:
“I... ask how it is that the fall of Adam involves so many nations with their infant children in eternal death without remedy unless it so seemed meet with God [sic]? ... The decree, I admit, is dreadful”

Just imagine that if you are a mom or a dad and your child or children were not of the elect. They will suffer eternal death, for this state is without remedy, all because it “so seemed meet with God”. God made the sovereign and free choice, apart from any consideration of them whatsoever, to damn the non-elect (reprobate) and this because it pleases Him and will bring Him glory, says the Calvinist. Your unelect children would spend eternity in hell, not for their sin, not for their depravity, not because of the fall of Adam, but because

“God at his own pleasure arranged it”
“God, whose pleasure it is to inflict punishment”
“God is pleased to exclude them”
because they “have been created for this very end -- that they may perish”

And don't go looking for any reason in and of your unelect children why they will perish, because:

“When God is said to visit in mercy or harden whom he will, men are reminded that they are not to seek for any cause beyond his will”

I surely feel sorry for Calvinists with children:

On one hand, how horrible the thought that their children could have been reprobated, consigned to hell before the world began; that there is nothing that they can do about it. The preaching of the gospel, praying etc, all to no avail, because God has been pleased to damn these unelect children apart from anything that they have done or will do. This would cause me grief beyond measure: to think that God could have reprobated my children. That we will spend out eternities separate. Also to know there is nothing that I can do about it. My gospel pleads will fall on their God-hardened ears. My prayers lift up to God without any use. Jesus didn't even die for these, our unelect children! The horrible pain and agony of soul that a Calvinist must feel for his children who may or may not be elect.

But on the other hand, they should be exeedingly joyous and glory in the fact that their unelect children will spend eternity in hell, for this will bring glory to God. God will be glorified for eternity for damning them, apart from anything that they have done or could do, because it was His sovereign and free choice to do so, apart from "any consideration of man whatsoever". This choice brings pleasure to God, in whose pleasure it will be to punish our unelect children, who at His pleasure arranged the damnation of our unelect children, who will be glorified by their destruction, because they have been created for this very end : that they may perish. So praise God and hallelujah for God's glory in damning countless, untold billions of people's children, who are damned without remedy, where we are to seek for no cause beyond His will and pleasure.

I do not envy being a Calvinist, having children myself. For it is nowhere guaranteed that children of an elect parent will necessarily be elect themselves. With my view, I understand that my children can be prayed for and influenced by my relationship to them, and my faith displayed to them as I teach them. God wills that all men be saved and that includes my children. My preaching of Jesus and the gospel has a REAL life or death purpose to my children. They have the ability to believe unto salvation!

49 Comments:

  • Antonio,
    That would be very hard for me as well. With the idea of TULIP in my head before I had children, I looked at people all around me wondering if they were "elect" or not. It made me sick. I think it would be very haunting to have this idea that the gospel message has no power for a certain group of people (the reprobate) because, like you say, it could be anyone ... even your child.

    I once read where a Calvinist was challenged about this very thing and he said:

    "...two sons ... neither have believed as of yet. Yet, as a Calvinist I understand that God uses the means of the Gospel to bring faith and repentance. All those who God predestines to salvation are also supplied with a preacher who brings the Gospel.
    Since by God's grace my children were born into a preacher's home where they are daily exposed to the Gospel, I can have good reason to believe that they both might be elect, even though they as of yet have not believed.
    ... It seems to me that Arminianism provides the least comfort for parents who wish to see their children come to faith. The Bible clearly teaches that no one seeks after God. If they are left to themselves they will never come to faith in Christ. Better a God who works sovereignly in all the affairs of life. "


    I really wanted to point out that the doctrine of TULIP teaches unconditional election. UNCONDITIONAL. I thought better, though.
    It seemed so personal.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Sunday, February 26, 2006 2:32:00 PM  

  • Would you point to 2 Peter 3:9 as a verse that teaches that God desires all men to be saved?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sunday, February 26, 2006 4:16:00 PM  

  • Antonio,

    Thanks for the good post! A friend and I talked about this exact thing today.

    I don't know that I've ever heard anyone refer to their children as unelect, have you?!?!

    PEACE,
    NATE

    By Blogger Nate, at Sunday, February 26, 2006 5:23:00 PM  

  • Matthew,
    I apologize for asking this question on your other site. I have been visiting several sites in your group, and I guess I haven’t gotten them straight yet. I have read a lot about Calvinism on these sites and although I am not obsessed with defending Calvinism, I thought I would comment. I hope you do not take my interest as being hostile in any way as my initial impression of your and Rose and this site is one of admiration. Anyway my defense of Calvinism is posted on Jazzycat and also is as follows:

    Non-Calvinistic or Arminian Christian theology holds that human free will has the ability to choose salvation. While the Holy Spirit draws a person to salvation, human beings must freely choose Jesus Christ and salvation. What is the ingredient of free will that makes the decision to choose faith in Christ? Is it intelligence, discernment, genetics, a gentle spirit, the heart, the environment, or perhaps a combination of many factors? If a human makes this free choice, then there must be reasons that cause him to make the choice. For the sake of this discussion lets call this reason SP. Human A chooses to have faith in Christ because his SP leads him to have faith in Christ. Human A’s twin Human B does not believe though he has been exposed to everything as Human A. His SP does not lead him to Christ. What is SP and where did it come from?

    While we can’t explain what it is exactly, we can trace it to the source. Was it a believing parent or great grandparent that provided the SP for Human A? Where does the road lead for the ingredients that provided the SP? Acts 17:24-28 and many other Scripture verses provide us with the answer. Whatever SP is the road for where it comes from winds back to God. The free will, that allows a person to choose Christ, can be traced back to God; therefore, the SP that is required comes from God. Unless it can be shown that a person can choose his parents, his intelligence, and all the things that Paul speaks of in Acts 17, then free-will salvation comes from God just as surely as pure Calvinism comes from God. Let us give the SP we mentioned a name and call it sovereignty and providence. These are the reasons a person chooses Christ and we can label this thinking de facto Calvinism.

    Therefore, we have pure Calvinism which holds that regeneration by the Holy Spirit quickens a spiritually dead person and allows him to freely come to faith in Christ and we have de facto Calvinism in which human free will (which comes exclusively from God) chooses Christ through faith which brings regeneration. In both cases unconditional election is at work. Pure Calvinism is more logical and Biblical, but either way salvation comes from God.

    By Blogger jazzycat, at Sunday, February 26, 2006 6:37:00 PM  

  • you are an inspiration to others seeking God. continue your ministry and may God bless you!

    By Blogger sonoftheprodigal, at Monday, February 27, 2006 3:03:00 AM  

  • Rose,

    Thanks for your comment.

    When it comes to evangelizing their family, the Staunch Calvinist acts as a functional synergist and "Arminian".

    The quote you give, to me, is a bunch of hoolabaloo.

    Listen to him "Since... my children were born into a preacher's home where they are daily exposed to the gospel..." This is functional synergism and Arminianism.

    According to Calvinism, if this person's children are unelect, these gospel pleas can and will only fall on totally deaf ears to no avail whatsoever. If this person's children are elect, they will be sovereignly imposed upon to beleive, and all that it would take is just one gospel presentation, not a childhood's worth.

    This Calvinist's functional Arminianism and synergism is hoping for his children's election based upon foreseen circumstance:

    born in a preacher's home
    exposed daily to the gospel

    This goes directly against Calvinism that states that God's election is "apart from any consideration of man whatsoever"

    The Calvinist has every reason to worry his children may be on their way to hell:

    1) There is no guarantee that they are elect
    2) If they are reprobate, their prayers, gospel presentations, Christian living and influence, and their encouragement of their children can have no effect whatsoever, and they must just be reserved to the fact that they will glorify God in hell by their perishing.
    3) Even if they do "believe" they could be "spiritual defectors who haven't defected yet" (John MacArthur), and may just have the God-given temporary faith that will prove evanescent. They could live most of their whole life "believing" yet die unrepentant and unbelievins showing they were reprobate and they will burn in hell.

    I do not envy being a Calvinist with children who holds to Calvinist doctrine.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Monday, February 27, 2006 7:20:00 AM  

  • Anonymous,

    1 Timothy 2:3, 4
    ...God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

    My interpretation of 2 Pet 3:9 is that God is not willing that any should physically die, but should come to repentance (which will avert God's temporal wrath for sin).

    Sin, when full-grown, produces physical death. Sin will cause pre-mature physical death: AIDS, overdose, liver problems, cancers, etc.

    God also can cause one's pre-mature death because of His temporal judgement on sin.

    1 Tim 2 is all we need to see God's desire that all men be saved, coming to the knowledge of the truth.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Monday, February 27, 2006 7:28:00 AM  

  • Nate, thanks for your comments. I am convinced that you are going to have a great time at the GES conference! I can't wait for you to tell us about it!

    Jazzycat, I would be happy to answer you, but I will wait to see if Matthew will desire to comment.

    Son of the prodigal, I am glad that you have come around. I pray that you will visit this blog consistently!

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Monday, February 27, 2006 7:29:00 AM  

  • Jazzycat, thankyou for your visit to this blog.

    I find it difficult to answer your question because it is so leading. You are begging the question.

    Your argument seems to be-

    1. To believe one must have SP.
    2. Not all believe.
    3. Therefore not all have SP.
    4. Therefore SP must come from somewhere.
    5. Because God is sovereign, SP comes from God.

    Is that a correct breakdown of your argument?

    The flaw in this argument seems to be no.3. Perhaps some have SP but do not use SP to believe.

    Let us take another thing a person might believe. The question of whether Socialism is a sound economic philosophy.

    Person A has equal mental ability to Person B. Their mental ability is their SP.

    Both persons examine the evidence for whether Socialism is a sound economic philosophy. They both read all the books, journals and theses on this subject.

    Person A comes to the conclusion that Socialism is a bad philosophy of economics.

    Person B decides that Socialism is a valid philosophy of economics.

    Person B decided to ignore the evidence because he had always believed in Socialism. He was proud of always being a Socialist.

    Person A had also always been a Socialist and was proud of it. However, having considered the evidence he rejected Socialism.

    Person B has exercised his will in rejecting the evidence. He has seen enougth to be convinced of the falsity of Socialism, but he chose to ignore that evidence. Person A, after making the decision to look at the evidence did not exercise his will in believing the evidence. He merely passively believed what he read, just as a man will passively believe that president Bush has visited such and such a country if he reads it in the newspaper.

    What is the difference between person A and person B? Both were proud and both were equally able to believe the evidence. The difference is that one chose to act on his pride after viewing the evidence, an the other did not do so. The one exercised his will, the other did not.

    Belief is passive. It is the recognition of truth. Rejecting a truth having seen the truth of it is a positive exercise of the will.

    Those who believe the Gospel do not exercise their will at all. They merely passively believe its truth having been shown it.

    Those who reject it exercise their will in hardening their hearts. They choose to act on their sinful pride to their condemnation.

    The difference between those who are saved and those who are not saved is not ability, but responsibility for use of that ability.

    Does this show that those who are saved are any better than those who are nto saved?

    No. At the most all you could establish is that they committed one less sin at a certain moment of time. The general character of their lives is not necessarilly more sinful. They may in fact have rejected the Gospel many times before believing.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Monday, February 27, 2006 7:52:00 AM  

  • Antonio,
    Do you agree with my response to Jazzycat?

    How would you respond Jazzycat's comment?

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Monday, February 27, 2006 7:55:00 AM  

  • Matthew,
    My point is that the belief in free will and one believing that he chooses God on his own, unaided by God is actually from God. Ultimately everything comes from God. The free will and all other attributes that a person has comes from God. Whatever brought you, Matthew, to Christ came from God. You did not tell the potter, “I choose to be born in the 20th century in England and I want to have the attributes of free will to accept the free gift of salvation.” You are the pot and the potter made you. Yes, we have free will and we also have a soul, brain, etc. and it all came from God. God could have placed you in Iran, as the son of a radical Islamic fundamentalist and what would have been your chance of coming to Jesus. It all comes from God and it is as this website declares….. GRACE. It is marvelous Grace and it does not depend on human decision (John 1:13). Calvinism holds that regeneration by the Holy Spirit quickens a spiritually dead person and allows him to freely come to faith in Christ. What you believe is de facto Calvinism because God gave you whatever you used to accept Christ. Even your belief system is really unconditional election in disguise. Calvinism is based on a
    God-centered theology that believes God is unbelievably powerful (hair on the head, sparrow falling, etc.).

    I really like the work your group is doing and I am not intending to be hostile but just to discuss my favorite subject of Christian theology.

    By Blogger jazzycat, at Monday, February 27, 2006 9:01:00 AM  

  • It seems to me that those Calvinists you have spoken with who understood God's sovereign election in this way were not mature in their understanding. It's the same basic problem that led to the hyper-calvinism of yester-years -- people trying to figure out whether they are elect or not rather than simply placing their faith in Christ.

    The question we must ask ourselves -- Calvinist or non-Calvinist -- is not whether we are elect, but whether we are sinners in need of a Savior. The doctrine of election was never meant to be applied to the unregenerate, but individually to the believer as a source of comfort and hope (this is a personal conviction and I am aware that not all Calvinists would agree). Luther rightly said that a man must first grasp Romans 1-8 before he can grasp Romans 9-11. We have to know the gospel -- that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone -- before we can concern ourselves with the deeper truths of scripture such as election and perseverance.

    So I agree with your post in part -- given that your experience has clearly been with those who reverse this order to their own detriment (and the detriment of others, I do not doubt). But I disagree that the doctrine of election (rightly understood and applied) is the horror that you make it out to be.

    Romans 8:28 says, "God works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose." That's the elect. His chosen people. That word of comfort is only for those "who love Him and are called according to His purpose" but there is no corrolary passage which offers a word of condemnation and fear to the "non-elect" or "those who do not love Him and are not called according to His purpose." So this doctrine is a special comfort to those who are in Christ and should not bear the application that you suggest here with regard to those who are yet outside of Christ (in particular, our children). All who place their trust in Christ alone will be saved (Mark 16:16). And all who are thus saved are the elect of God.

    In Christ alone,
    moozuba

    By Blogger Moo Zuba, at Monday, February 27, 2006 9:31:00 AM  

  • Jazzycat, human beings are the creation of God. Our ability to make choices is the result of God's creative work.
    However, you have not proven that the use of the human will is determined by God.

    God has given me the ability to choose to turn on my computer, but has He determined beforehand that I should choose to turn on my computer today?

    You may say that I did not choose my preferences that lead me to favour using my computer. However, we are not merely the sum of our preferences, but we have active agency in determining how we act on those preferences.

    Your argument here is-

    1. Man has the ability to exercise free will.
    2. That ability comes from God.
    3. Therefore our free actions are determined by God.

    This argument is utterly fallacious becuase you have not demonstrated that 3. follows from 2. You have not proven that the specific exercise of free will is determined by God.

    'It is marvelous Grace and it does not depend on human decision (John 1:13).'

    You are taking John 1:13 out of context. John is here drawing a contrast between physical descent (with regard to the Jews) and spiritual birth which has nothing to do with physical descent.

    As it happens, even CH Spurgeon interpreted that text as drawing the contrast between physical descent and conversion ('The Gospel and the Kingdom', p.2, Pilgrim Publications).

    'Calvinism holds that regeneration by the Holy Spirit quickens a spiritually dead person and allows him to freely come to faith in Christ.'

    Indeed. But do the Scriptures teach this?

    'What you believe is de facto Calvinism because God gave you whatever you used to accept Christ.'

    Coming back to what I said at the beginning of this comment, God gave me the ability to believe, but does He determine that I will not refuse to believe? Your logic has taken a huge jump which needs to be bridged for your argument to be valid.

    I might have been able to believe, but I might have refused to believe by ignoring the evidence.

    Do you say that God ordains that people decide to ignore the evidence for Christ?

    As I argued in my earlier comment, our belief is purely passive, but our rejection of the truth once it has been revealed to us, is an active and wilful denial. You must hold that God creates in the non-elect the desire not to believe. If not, your logic falls apart.

    'Calvinism is based on a
    God-centered theology that believes God is unbelievably powerful (hair on the head, sparrow falling, etc.).'

    Can you show how any of us who post on this blog deny the power of God?

    The non-exercise of power does not demonstrate its lack of existence. I have the power to use my fists on people, but the fact that I do nto exercise it does not demonstrate that it does not exist. You have again taken a huge leap in your reasoning.

    Generally people see the person who needs to control other people constantly as being one who suffers psychological or physical weakness, rather than power. The huge emphasis in Calvinism on God's controlling all actions of agents suggests weakness rather than power.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Monday, February 27, 2006 9:45:00 AM  

  • Moo, I think what troubles Antonio is the idea that if Calvinism were true, then it might be that his children were not among the elect.

    That would mean that no matter how much he shared his faith with them, no matter how much he urged them to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, it might be God's will to withold from them the means of salvation.

    Moo, how do you feel about the idea that God might have determined in His pleasure that your children reject Christ and spend eternity in hell? God might enable them to believe, but have chosen not to?

    Do you ever look at your children and consider the possibility that God might have decided to withold from them eternal life?

    I think that is what Antonio is getting at.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Monday, February 27, 2006 9:53:00 AM  

  • Can I jump in here?

    Matthew, you said: "God has given me the ability to choose to turn on my computer, but has He determined beforehand that I should choose to turn on my computer today?"

    Can I ask, how do you view God's working? Does He only cause some things to happen, but not others?

    So in other words, He leaves the decision about turning on your computer totally in your hands. You turned on your computer, you typed some words, those words influence someone's decision about their theology and thus, you've changed the direction of their thinking. Which would change many other things. So it's not in God's control. He didn't cause that person's theological position to be changed, your words did.

    So what about people that don't have the opportunity to hear the good news?

    There are children who have died before they had a chance to exercise their free will. Since it's not about God's choice, then they all must spend eternity in hell.

    What about the tribesman in a primitive jungle in Brazil who never gets to hear the Word of God before he dies? How tragic, because it's our fault that he's spending eternity in hell. If we could've only reached him with the gospel, so that he would've believed.

    Where's the comfort and certainty for the one who doesn't believe in the absolute sovereignty of God?

    And Antonio, you said: "With my view, I understand that my children can be prayed for and influenced by my relationship to them, and my faith displayed to them as I teach them."

    What happens to "your view" when you pray, plead and influence them the best you can and they don't come to Christ? What guilt a parent would carry, feeling they didn't do everything in their power to bring them to the point of believing.

    Please don't get me wrong, this is not a defense of Calvinism. Just trying to figure out if "Free Grace" theology really holds water or not.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger nothingnothingnothing, at Monday, February 27, 2006 10:24:00 AM  

  • "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ."Rom. 10:17

    This is an example of what faith is and how we recieve it. This requires our ability to absorb and believe.
    Does anybody know how Calvin does not see an important 'will' in this example of responding with belief.

    I also see 2 Cor.3:16, "But whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away."

    Turning, believing, are we really unable to believe?

    I think there are many ways to answer Jazzycat's question as to why some believe and others don't without trying to reason a doctrine by oneself that 'feels good' when you hold it up to scripture. What ammazes me is the strange silence that follows when you ask Calvinists what biblical statements clearly suggests these things about the inability to believe, in scripture. I don't get it. My respect goes downhill very fast in light of that.

    Matthew,
    I thought your comment yesterday in this section was very relevant, and then it left. Oh well.

    By Blogger Todd, at Monday, February 27, 2006 12:49:00 PM  

  • Thanks for the interesting post by the way Antonio.

    Todd

    By Blogger Todd, at Monday, February 27, 2006 12:56:00 PM  

  • 'Matthew, you said: "God has given me the ability to choose to turn on my computer, but has He determined beforehand that I should choose to turn on my computer today?"

    Can I ask, how do you view God's working? Does He only cause some things to happen, but not others?

    So in other words, He leaves the decision about turning on your computer totally in your hands. You turned on your computer, you typed some words, those words influence someone's decision about their theology and thus, you've changed the direction of their thinking. Which would change many other things. So it's not in God's control. He didn't cause that person's theological position to be changed, your words did.'

    Ten Cent where did I say that God did not decide whether or not I turned on my computer today?

    It is higly possible, indeed that my action was foreordained before the foundation of the world. But if it was not, would that mean that God was not in control?

    If God were to let me make up my own mind whether or not I turned on my computer, would His sovereign control of th euniverse be overthrown? That is the impression that Calvinists give.

    If God did not want me to go on-line today, there are a million ways He could have stopped me without ordaining beforehand what I would decide to do. Please do not deny the power of God.

    'So what about people that don't have the opportunity to hear the good news?

    There are children who have died before they had a chance to exercise their free will. Since it's not about God's choice, then they all must spend eternity in hell.

    What about the tribesman in a primitive jungle in Brazil who never gets to hear the Word of God before he dies? How tragic, because it's our fault that he's spending eternity in hell. If we could've only reached him with the gospel, so that he would've believed.'

    Well, as long as I know I am doing my best to support world mission, I will leave that one in God's hands.

    The Scriptures are clear that God as made possible the salvation of everyone. Christ draws all men to Himself (John 12:32).

    I favour the Universal Opportunist view. This holds that those who do not encounter the preaching of the Gospel would receive some revelation of Christ before their death. God reveals Himself by dreams and visions as well as by preaching. You can read of testimonies of Muslims who have come to learn of Jesus Christ by special revelation.

    I see no clear indication in the Bible that there is absolutely no hope for those who have not heard the Gospel by human preachers.

    'Where's the comfort and certainty for the one who doesn't believe in the absolute sovereignty of God?'

    I may pray for a man to come to Christ and it is a comfort to me to know that God will do everything in His power to enable that man's salvation.

    However, if I were a Calvinist, I could have no certainty that God even desired the salvation of that man. If the man was not of the elect, my prayers would be in vain.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Monday, February 27, 2006 1:56:00 PM  

  • Matthew,
    When you stated the following three things about my beliefs, you got the first two right:
    1. Man has the ability to exercise free will.
    2. That ability comes from God.
    3. Therefore our free actions are determined by God.

    However, I certainly don’t believe #3. It should read:
    3. Therefore our free actions are made by reasons, conclusions, and events that come from God. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’

    My point on #3 is quite simply whatever led you to Christ can be traced to God. Intelligence, discernment or whatever it was can be traced to God. That is what I mean by de facto Calvinism.

    Since I believe in Calvinism and not de facto Calvinism it is getting confusing for me to try to expand something I do not believe in so I will try to stick to Calvinism.

    'Calvinism holds that regeneration by the Holy Spirit quickens a spiritually dead person and allows him to freely come to faith in Christ.'
    (Indeed. But do the Scriptures teach this?) Yes, see verses below especially Eph 2:4-5
    (You must hold that God creates in the non-elect the desire not to believe. If not, your logic falls apart.)
    Original Sin (the fall) took care of that in the form of spiritual death. Eph. 2:1 and Rom. 8:7. We are born with not only a desire not to believe but an inability to believe. It is the elect God has to do something about and he regenerates them with his Holy Spirit. (John 3:3, John 6:37, 1 Peter 2:9, Eph. 2:4-5, Matt 22:14, Romans chapter 9).

    By Blogger jazzycat, at Monday, February 27, 2006 3:13:00 PM  

  • Anonio,

    Excellent Post.

    My understanding is that in CT there is some covenant standing for a person who is a child of an elect person. I'm fuzzy on it but I think it might be a limited amount of protection, not Heaven of course, so it's beside the point of your post.

    I should review that in the Renald Showers book.

    Excellent comments, Matthew.

    God bless,

    jodie

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Monday, February 27, 2006 4:25:00 PM  

  • Matthew:

    You said: "Ten Cent where did I say that God did not decide whether or not I turned on my computer today?

    I included your quote in my response. It was from your comment that appears right above mine. Here is the quote:

    "God has given me the ability to choose to turn on my computer, but has He determined beforehand that I should choose to turn on my computer today?"

    So did God decide that you should turn on your computer or didn't He?

    You said: "It is higly possible, indeed that my action was foreordained before the foundation of the world. But if it was not, would that mean that God was not in control?"

    That's a good question. One that I haven't seen a good answer for. Because if God didn't decide for you that you would turn on your computer at this precise time, then who decided?

    The answer would have to be that you decided. So then if you decided, then you must have power over what happens in life.

    You said: "Well, as long as I know I am doing my best to support world mission, I will leave that one in God's hands."

    So then God chooses whom He will save and whom He does not?

    Because if it's totally up to man, we're not cutting it. We're letting people pass by us everyday without so much as a word spoken about the Gospel. That is a sobering thought.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger nothingnothingnothing, at Monday, February 27, 2006 5:51:00 PM  

  • Hi jazzycat,

    You say:

    You must hold that God creates in the non-elect the desire not to believe. If not, your logic falls apart.

    I find this to be a very odd thing to say to Matthew. If you want to say something like this please elaborate. Explain why you think his logic falls apart.

    You affirm this:

    'Calvinism holds that regeneration by the Holy Spirit quickens a spiritually dead person and allows him to freely come to faith in Christ.' Indeed. But do the Scriptures teach this? Yes, see verses below...

    (1) "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."Jn3:3

    This says that a person has to be born again to enter into and see the future the kingdom. Right now we as born agian people can not see the kingdom.

    (2) All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. Jn 6:37

    How does this support the idea that the Holy Spirit quickens a person so that he can (simultaneously) believe. Are you thinking ‘giving’ is analagous with regeneration?

    (3) But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9

    Are you equating calling with regeneration?

    (4) 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—Eph 2:4-5

    While we were dead and cut off from the life of God we believed and became born again. Why isn’t that a perfectly good exposition?

    (5)For many are called, but few are chosen Mat 22: 14
    I believe this is referring to believers being called (and elect to) the kind of service to Christ that He will very richly reward.

    But if I can be honest, sir, these verses don’t come close to proving what you assert, they simply are passages where the writer can be interpreted as assuming those concepts.

    The fact that you use several scriptures at once instead of carefully explaining one passage seems like you are inthe habit of summarizing. Why don't you proove me wrong. At any rate, we would prefer you clearly describe your interpretation of a single passage.

    In general there seem to us to be far more straightforward readings of the Scriptures than the one you and ten cent advocate, where the NT writers tell us explicitly what their doctrine is.

    God bless,

    Jodie

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Monday, February 27, 2006 8:06:00 PM  

  • My goodness Ten Cent,

    As you say:
    "So then if you decided, then you must have power over what happens in life."

    If one decides by himself without God to turn an appliance on or off, it is still not clear he exerted any meaningful power over what happens in life. Look at all the power satan has. That does not seem to phase God. Is there anything that man's free will can do to effect God's plan, in a way God does not want, in this life on earth, other than consigning himself to destruction by not acknowledging God's Son and His revealed will? Is God very rigid as you speculate or is He instead very flexible which He seems to show Himself throughout His story of His creation. I get flexible, and able to exert His will in ways unknown to us, and untold to us.

    Did God turn both of our computers on so we can talk about unscriptural speculation? The answer is a boring, maybe, because He did not reveal that to us.

    In your last statement, why in the world does it have to be totally up to man? Or totally up to God?
    Why cannot God have created man in an image of himself giving man the ability to listen and repond, or to behold and believe as He has asked? That does not qualify as power that He has given man in my book. Perhaps a child who choses to be obedient. And by the way, where have I heard that before?

    If you're going to speculate and ponder the exact why's and wherefore's that are not given answers to from scripture then there is undoubtably no limit to the imaginings and speculation we are capable of. The reason He did not tell us the answers to all the unanswered questions that seem to drive the Calvinists to create their own answers is that we would still not be satisfied. In the computer thing, you are trying to reason through something apart from scripture. According to your experience. How can you be serious? Are you really trying to deduce right here, in front of our eyes, the nature of God's sovereignty without using scripture? Don't you see how out of control and silly that can get? Well pardon my astonishment.

    Todd

    By Blogger Todd, at Monday, February 27, 2006 8:19:00 PM  

  • Whoops, I added to my comment, reshuffled it and came in behind Jodie's comment. Hope that doesn't mess things up to badly.

    By Blogger Todd, at Monday, February 27, 2006 8:41:00 PM  

  • I know this is tacky, but I will say it;

    Lord, Lord we give glory to you for sending our children to eternal punishment, because it was for your pleasure and your glory and did we not prophesy, in your name, did we not cast out demons, in your name and He will say to them, why do you call me Lord and do things in my name, did I not reprobate you to where you would see fit not to acknowledge me any longer?(romans 1:28,29) Why would you want to do anything in my name? Something must have went wrong!

    What a sad person this calvin is.

    I have very good friends who believe calvin's teachings. I do not say this to belittle them. I love them. I said it to show what I think is the sadness and contradictory reality of what this man taught.

    By Blogger Kris, at Monday, February 27, 2006 11:02:00 PM  

  • Hello Jodie,
    You said the following:
    (2) All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. Jn 6:37

    How does this support the idea that the Holy Spirit quickens a person so that he can (simultaneously) believe. Are you thinking ‘giving’ is analagous with regeneration?

    Yes, regeneration comes before faith. It is part of the gift. It is grace. Eph. 2:8-9 does not need a lot of explaining. Faith is a gift from God.

    Please check out some of my photo meditations linked from my site. Esp. 13 and 14 which explains the difference between the external and internal call.

    By Blogger jazzycat, at Tuesday, February 28, 2006 5:23:00 AM  

  • Jodie asked:
    But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9

    Are you equating calling with regeneration?

    Yes, the internal call from the Holy Spirit is the way we are regenerated. It occurs before deaf, blind, and spiritualy dead people can respone. It is from God. See PMed 13
    & 14 on my site again

    By Blogger jazzycat, at Tuesday, February 28, 2006 5:26:00 AM  

  • Jodie,
    I appologize for making several posts, but I must hurry.

    While we were dead and cut off from the life of God we believed and became born again. Why isn’t that a perfectly good exposition?

    Do physically dead people bring themselves to life? Neither do spiritually dead people. Please see Photo Med. #4 for more.

    By Blogger jazzycat, at Tuesday, February 28, 2006 5:30:00 AM  

  • Todd:

    Thanks for the brow-beating. And I mean that in a genuine way (not sarcasm).

    You said: "In your last statement, why in the world does it have to be totally up to man? Or totally up to God?"

    Maybe this is the key.

    You also said: "Is there anything that man's free will can do to effect God's plan, in a way God does not want..."

    I intentionally left off the last part of that comment because I think it's this part that drives the point home. Especially in light of this passage:

    Romans 9:14-16
    14 What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! 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 does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.

    It's not about us, it's about God. We have an obligation to train our children up in righteousness. To reflect Christ to them. But in the end, it's up to God. And we do, just as Matthew said, have to put it in His hands.

    And Todd, you said: "In the computer thing, you are trying to reason through something apart from scripture."

    Did you not do the same thing to me in your response? Please don't be too hard on me. I'm just trying to see how all this works. Because I don't see that Antonio's position holds anymore hope for parents than the Calvinist position (as Antonio has laid it out for us). I would bear an awful load of guilt if I thought I could thwart God's plan of salvation for my children. I'm not a perfect father, I'm not a perfect man. I do not do everything perfectly. That's why it's so comforting to know that it's not up to me. I do my best through Christ who strengthens me and God perfects it through Christ. And in the end, it's God who gives the increase. That's not to say we don't bear responsibility. And that's where the tension comes in.

    In Christ
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger nothingnothingnothing, at Tuesday, February 28, 2006 5:39:00 AM  

  • Jodie said:

    (In general there seem to us to be far more straightforward readings of the Scriptures than the one you and ten cent advocate, where the NT writers tell us explicitly what their doctrine is.)

    You must not be serious. Their is much volume and clarity of reformed theology passages in Scripture. Please read over my Photo Meditations for more detail and explanation. It is the Arminian view which must be rationalized to be explained. Also please check my Monday's post.

    Again I appreciate you and your group's work. I do feel that your published thoughts on Calvinsim is not accurated and certainly made to look harsh. When I get back later today, I will point out why Arminianism is really the system that is unfair and harsh.

    By Blogger jazzycat, at Tuesday, February 28, 2006 5:41:00 AM  

  • jazzy cat,

    Are you intentionally attempting to offend us??

    You are succeeding.

    Arminians believe that people are saved by works and that they can lose their salvation.

    Go ahead and call me what you want on your own blog but using that term for all non-Calvinsts is utterly classless.

    Don't come here and be rude.

    I believe salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone.

    Listen to Paul:

    … he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law. (Ro 3:26-28)

    Paul could have said that boasting was excluded because God gives the gift of faith, but instead maintains that faith itself is what excludes boasting.

    The Scriptures never explicitly teach the absurd idea we need to be born again to believe.

    Instead it treats faith as if it is what God demands in order to regenerate a spiritually dead person.

    You ask: Do physically dead people bring themselves to life?

    God brings them to life.

    As a Christian you should be attempting to assimilate our views instead of sloppily assuming we believe Arminianistc ideas.

    Jodie

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Tuesday, February 28, 2006 7:38:00 AM  

  • Jazzy cat admits he(?) equates calling with regeneration.

    Yes, the internal call from the Holy Spirit is the way we are regenerated. It occurs before deaf, blind, and spiritualy dead people can respone. It is from God. See PMed 13
    & 14 on my site again

    I beleive the Passage whould be taken more literaly. When God calls us that is what He is doing sending us a message.

    When regenerates us and bestows on us the miracle of new birth that is what He is doing.

    What you need is a passage clearly, and explicitly, equating calling with regeneration.

    Do you beleive God intentionally left out the key ideas?

    Jodie

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Tuesday, February 28, 2006 7:45:00 AM  

  • Jazzcat,

    You say:

    All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. Jn 6:37

    You assert that giving is regeneration.

    Now give me a verse from that context that equates those two things.

    Jodie

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Tuesday, February 28, 2006 7:49:00 AM  

  • Hi Ten Cent,
    You know, I really love that verse that you quote.

    Romans 9:15
    For He says to Moses, "I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION."


    That passage is there to say that the way to salvation is OPEN to the gentiles. God is pleased to have mercy, in this present dispensation, on those who come to faith in Christ, responding to the gospel message and the person of Jesus Christ. That passage is not saying,
    "Preach the gospel all you want ... I am glad you do ... but I will regenerate whoever I want to ... and only they will believe, because I will HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION." Do you think that is what it means?

    I do appreciate what you have said about it not being our responsibilty if someone else believes the gospel or not. That is their responsibilty, is it not? Calvinism (although somehow its proponents deny this logic) says that it is God's responsibilty, His choice, that they do not believe.

    Jazzycat,
    Let me ask you the same question ... (I am surprised that a cat can type), but here goes:
    Do you see Romans 9:15 as God saying this:
    "Preach the gospel all you want ... I am glad you do ... but I will regenerate whoever I want to ... and only they will believe, because I will HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION."
    Is that how you believe God is speaking?

    BTW, Jazzycat,
    I share H.K.'s frustration at the label "Arminian." It is not helpful to label people with doctrinal systems that they do not ascribe to. (read the short, one paragraph post on my other blog)
    I'll be interested to see how you answer H.K.'s question and the question I just posed to you about Romans 9:15.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, February 28, 2006 9:11:00 AM  

  • Rose~

    Not to belabor the point, because when it comes down to it, I think we're seeing the same thing at slightly different angles.

    You said: "That passage is not saying,
    "Preach the gospel all you want ... I am glad you do ... but I will regenerate whoever I want to ... and only they will believe, because I will HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION." Do you think that is what it means?"


    Just to be fair, that's not what I said. I said, ultimately, it depends on God. Because what does verse 16 mean? "So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy."

    And eventually we all need to agree with Paul here in Romans 11:

    "33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! 34 For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, OR WHO BECAME HIS COUNSELOR? 35 Or WHO HAS FIRST GIVEN TO HIM THAT IT MIGHT BE PAID BACK TO HIM AGAIN? 36 For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen."

    Because ultimately, the answer is the same no matter what question you come to, ie, why did God choose me, or why did I choose God. The answer is found in His great love, mercy and grace. We are just a part of the story. The story is Christ. The glory is God's. I think we all agree with that.

    It's like explaining to my three year old, who made her toy. There are people in a factory somewhere that put all the pieces together. But God provided the raw materials to make it from. God provided the people with health and life. God gave the founder of the company the wisdom to run the business and to give those people jobs.

    He, God, is in control of all things and ultimately, it rests in His hands. I don't know that we'll ever explain how it all works, and I'm not sure that we need to.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger nothingnothingnothing, at Tuesday, February 28, 2006 9:57:00 AM  

  • 'He, God, is in control of all things and ultimately, it rests in His hands. I don't know that we'll ever explain how it all works, and I'm not sure that we need to.'

    Well, actually you do, because you are trying to argue that God is in control by ordaining all things.

    'Just to be fair, that's not what I said. I said, ultimately, it depends on God. Because what does verse 16 mean? "So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy."'

    So you admit that some do use their will?

    Paul's point is that salvation is ultimately down to God's mercy.

    Those who are saved do not deserve to be saved. It is not their right. It is by grace. This does not prove that their reception of eternal life by faith is not the determining factor in their salvation. Paul says clearly in verse 30-32 of the same chapter that faith is the determining factor in the receiving of God's righteousness through justification.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, February 28, 2006 11:35:00 AM  

  • Hi again Ten Cent,

    I see you are looking at this verses of Paul's...:

    Romans 9:14-16
    14 What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! 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 does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy."

    ...and using it to help answer my hypothetical questions to you which were:

    "Why in the world does it have to be totally up to man? Or totally up to God?"


    and...

    "Is there anything that man's free will can do to effect God's plan, in a way God does not want..."

    I agree, it's about God the creator, but man the created as well, both in their biblically explained place. I'll attempt to show what I mean.
    When I read the three Romans 9 verses that you used to show me that "it's about God", and the chapter or two before, to see what Paul was talking about when he used the three verses from Exodus to help explain his what he was talking about. Paul is explaining why the sole priviledge of being adopted as sons was taken from the Jews. It seemed unjust to the Jews and Paul responded by explaining to them why it should not. That it was consistent with Gods actions and what He had told them in the past with Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob and Esau, and therefore, His present actions should not surprise them. Furthermore, Paul reminds them that God is being consistent in extending grace to the gentiles because He told us through His exchange with Moses that He reserves that right, which is He "will be gracious to whom He will...". So Paul says that proves that God is 'just' because He told us the rules in advance and was not deviating from them. And they trump any 'willing' that man can try and do to change His plan to extend grace to whomever He wills. Paul then points to other O.T. verses that point to grace being extended to the gentiles. Then Paul says the gentiles attained righteousness by faith. Not by grace, but just as Paul talks of often, through grace(God's power) by faith (believing). Because the Jews did not pursue righteousness by faith as God had tried to get them to. This means He wanted them to chose, and did not, but instead, chose the law. All through the O.T. God was asking for faith. But they did not pursue it nor practice it. Surrounding Rom. 9, Paul tells that the practice of righteousness can be based on works or faith. And everyone who practices belief (exercises faith) in Christ is righteous. That's it. Paul then refers to his own word of faith that he is preaching and for "Whoever calls on the name of the Lord" to be saved. That they must "confess in your mouth" and "believe in your heart", to be saved. This is the text surrounding the all sobering words of "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy...ect." And after that, not too much farther along Paul says that, "faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ". This is where the faith of God is expected to be found, pursued and then practiced.

    John 4:41 says "Many more believed because of His word".

    This is why, I see the meaning you are going for in the Rom. 9 verses, but the surrounding text and the text of Exodus formulate what Paul and Moses were meaning and needs to be used to view Pauls use of v. 14-16.

    In Moses exchange with God, when those remarks were made, Moses was presuming to point things out to God in a presumptous even slightly insulting way. Begging God to let him know Gods ways, begging Him to show him His glory. God is in a give and take with Moses, working with Him, listening, responding, trying to enlist his complete compliance, then rewarding Moses for his chosing to obey. Letting Moses chose, interrelate, and then rewarding and punishing Moses for failing to see that God was in total control and things were going to work out fine no matter what Moses did or didn't do. Relating to Moses as if Moses had a certain amount of ability to control Moses destiny, no one or nothing else, but his own yes. Moses was able to see God as the one true God and be drawn to Him. Everyone else was asked to do the same. People were accountable to see and believe. And then practice it. Same with Christ to all the nations. God has shown us we have the power of being accountable. We are accountable. If someone misses the gospel then God has told us He has a 'just' plan for them. "The thing molded will not say 'why did you make me like this? Will it?". Well, we do too much of the time don't we?


    I was criticizing your "computer analogy" without using any scripture to back up anything, you're right, the same thing I was accusing you of doing. But what I was really doing was trying to show the surprising possibilities our minds can entertain as soon as we get too far away from scripture.

    At any rate, nice to hear your comments. All the enjoyment and love of the word to you. Todd

    By Blogger Todd, at Tuesday, February 28, 2006 11:55:00 AM  

  • Matthew:

    Sorry, I didn't realize that you understand God's sovereignty. I'm glad God has gifted you in such a way.

    Maybe you could tell me who Paul is talking about in verse 24. Who is being called not from among Jews only, but also from the Gentiles? I've been trying to figure out what Paul is saying. Who are the vessels of wrath and who are the vessels of mercy?

    "22 What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? 23 And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles."

    Maybe you have an exposition on your website I could look at of Romans 9?

    You said: "This does not prove that their reception of eternal life by faith is not the determining factor in their salvation."

    So then is reception of eternal life completely left up to the individual? What about Pharaoh? Was it his choice? Was it completely up to him?

    Romans 9:7
    7 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH."

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger nothingnothingnothing, at Tuesday, February 28, 2006 11:57:00 AM  

  • OK.

    To all you Calvinists here.

    I admit it. I saved myself! It is because of my greatness that I recieved eternal life. I actually extorted it from God Himself. I made God bow to my whim.

    What rubbish.

    It is hard for the Calvinist to kick against the goads.

    There is no Scriptural foundation for regeneration preceding faith.

    This is a deduction made from a presuppositional theology.

    If there is an elect, there must be sovereign imposition (irresistible grace (isn't this an oxymoron? How can grace be irresistible?).

    That a man exercises faith in Christ in order to appropriate eternal life is likened unto a completely destitute man extending his hands to receive life-giving sustenance.

    Faith is a mere instrument that receives.

    Look at it this way. The Bible says that salvation is received through faith in Christ some 185 times (I can give the references if needed). This is the intermediate agency that receives eternal life.

    The Bible says "Believe [imperative command] on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved..."

    The Bible states that salvation is through faith.

    If I were Satan, I would have created Calvinism:

    1) The Bible says that God desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.
    1a) Calvinism says that God only desires the salvation of some that he chose.
    2) The Bible says that one receives eternal life by purposeful faith in the Lord Jesus Christ
    2a) Calvinism teaches that eternal life is sovereignly imposed upon people who hate God and want nothing to do with Him.
    3) The Bible places responsiblity on people to believe in Christ
    3a) Calvinism states that people cannot believe on Jesus apart from God forcing them to.
    4) The Bible says it is by grace THROUGH faith
    4a) Calvinism says it is by sovereign regeneration through divine imposition
    5) The Bible says that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God
    5a) Calvinism says that faith comes iresistibly to the one who hates God
    6) The Bible says that men receive the Spirit through "the hearing of faith".
    6a) Calvinism says that men receive the Spirit through sovereign imposition to the one who hates God.
    7) The Bible says we are to "plead" and "beseech" the unsaved to believe in God.
    7a) Calvinist doctrine proclaims that such attempts are functionally futile, for a) it falls on the deaf ears of the reprobate and b) the elect don't need to be persuaded, they can only be forced to believe

    If I were the enemy of our souls, the devil, and the Bible entreats man to believe in Jesus for eternal life, I would make a theology that states that man cannot believe in Jesus unless God forces them to.

    Whereas the Bible entreats men to believe, and states that only those who believe will receive eternal life, Calvinism entreats men to wait for salvation, to wait for sovereign regeneration, to wait for forced faith.

    Paul says:

    "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved!"

    The Calvinist gospel is:

    Lam 3:26
    It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.

    The only thing is that most people will be waiting in vain only to be thrown into hell for God's glory...

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Tuesday, February 28, 2006 11:58:00 AM  

  • '"22 What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? 23 And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles."'

    This refers to Jews who have rejected Christ. Their rejection of Christ plays a part in God's plan in showing His glory by the salvation of the Gentiles.

    Those Jews who rejected Christ after Pentecost did so by their own choice, but as the potter, God can still use their rejection to His own glory.

    'So then is reception of eternal life completely left up to the individual? What about Pharaoh? Was it his choice? Was it completely up to him?

    Romans 9:7
    7 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH."'

    Pharoahs heart was already turned to evil before his heart was hardened. God hardened or strengthened his heart so that he would not back down. Thus, God's glory could be displayed.

    The passage says nothing about salvation being witheld from Pharaoh. It is possible that God might have revealed Himself to Pharoah and bestowed upon him saving grace some time after delivering the Israelites.

    This passage says nothing about the final salvation of Pharoah. You have simply read you doctrine into this text.

    The point of Paul's mention of Pharoah is that God made use of the unbelief of the Jews. While Christ was on earth, their hearts were hardened so that they could not believe (John 6:44), however, Christ now draws all men (John 12:32). In Romans 9-11, Paul deals with the issue of the continuing unbelief of the Jews.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, February 28, 2006 3:03:00 PM  

  • Jody said the following in parenthesis

    (Arminians believe that people are saved by works and that they can lose their salvation.)
    Most Arminians do not believe they are saved by works and here is my take…. They believe that grace carries man almost all the way to salvation, but that man through his free will has the ability and must make the deciding call. While you may not consider yourself an Arminian that seems to be the view I have been debating here. I also seem to have been debating the Arminian view of the T in tulip and the L and the I. We do seem to agree on the P which many Ariminians like my Southern Baptist friends also believe.

    (Go ahead and call me what you want on your own blog but using that term for all non-Calvinsts is utterly classless.)
    Judge not, especially when you are wrong.

    (Don't come here and be rude.)
    I wasn’t rude, but this comment was and I forgive you. I am sincere when I say I admire what your group is doing.

    (I believe salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone.)
    We agree totally here on the core issue of salvation and that is why I can and do admire your group’s work. I started commenting here because I saw that Calvinism was being mischaracterized. While I was not personally offended, I attempted to explain reformed theology, which is a far better term than Calvinism. I will attempt to answer some of the ‘legitimate’ questions that have been posed later if that is O.K.

    In closing I would like to respond in general to the charge that Calvinism paints God to be a mean, harsh, hateful supreme being….. I think that everyone commenting here would agree that God is not going to save 100% of the people that ever lived. I think everyone would also agree that God has the power to save 100% if he chose to but he did not choose to. So the debate is about how he executes his plan of salvation for sinners.

    (a) Calvinism holds that man at the fall lost the ability to choose God and salvation on his own and that God through his grace chose to save some by regenerating them (rebirth) with his Holy Spirit and enabling them to freely come to faith in Jesus Christ. He uses the Holy Bible, preaching, etc. (external call) and makes it effectual with the internal call (Holy Spirit). No man has an advantage because God in his power can save whoever he wants to have mercy on, and advantages of birth and circumstances cannot save him.

    (b) Your view (whatever you like to call it) holds that man has a free will and though he requires God’s grace, he must make the crucial decision of the will to come to faith and then he is regenerated (rebirth) by the Holy Spirit. In this system the following would be tremendous advantages:
    1. Length of Life
    2. Country of birth and residence
    3. Exposure to false religions
    4. Exposure to Christianity
    5. Exposure to the Bible
    Under this system these advantages are available to some men over others; therefore, I would be real careful about saying that Calvinism makes God out to be mean, harsh, unfair, etc. if I believed this system.

    Reformed theology is covered in a series of Photo Meditations that are linked from my site. Let us rejoice in our common belief in our Grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone and debate in a spirit of seeking the truth, which I know that I am a long way from achieving. God Bless.

    Jazzy Cat

    By Blogger jazzycat, at Tuesday, February 28, 2006 5:22:00 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Premillennial Reformed Baptist, at Saturday, March 04, 2006 10:00:00 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Premillennial Reformed Baptist, at Saturday, March 04, 2006 10:08:00 PM  

  • Hello guys,

    I am Jason from Grimsby, England. I used to go to university with Matt (dyspraxic_fundamentalist). I embraced the Reformed position a few years ago (time really does fly by).

    I have not yet read all of what Antonio has said on the subject of Reformed theology, but my first impressions of him from reading this thread is that he seems to make use (in Dave Hunt style) of emotional argumentation which really should not have any part in this discussion at all. It really is not a question of whether it feels bad for a Calvinist to believe that his unconverted children may not be elect. The question is what does God say in His word? We do not form doctrines based on how comfortable they make us feel.

    Incidently, I don't see how Antonio's free willist position would offer any more assurance or comfort than the Reformed view. According to him you could prayer and fast and preach the gospel to those children all you like, but it will be useless if those children make a free will choice to reject the gospel.

    There are some misrepresentations and misunderstandings I would like to respond to.

    Antonio states:

    "If this person's children are elect, they will be sovereignly imposed upon to beleive, and all that it would take is just one gospel presentation, not a childhood's worth."

    First of all I really must object to the phrase "imposed upon to believe". It implies that the Calvinist God somehow forces people into the kingdom against their will. In a later post on this Antonio makes use of such phrases as "Glory by Force", "Forced Glorification" "sovereignly imposed to choose Him" and "coerced to worship Him". Antonio paints a picture of God holding some sort of cosmic gun at the head of unwilling sinners and making them come to Christ when they don't want to. Outside of Christ a sinner hates God. He does not seek after God (Romans 3:11) He has a heart that is deceitful above all else and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). His mind is hostile to God and is unable to submit itself to God's law (Romans 8:6-7). His desire is not for God but for sin. Now God does not force this sinner to submit by holding a cosmic gun to his head so that he comes into the kingdom saying "I really don't want to believe but God is forcing me. I want to stay an unbeliever but God is making me do this". No, God does a gracious work in the heart of that sinner. He takes out his God hating heart of stone and gives him a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19-20). He so works by the Holy Spirit in the heart of the sinner that the sinner's desires are changed. He now has a heart that desires God so He chooses to come to Christ gladly and willingly. I do hope that in future Antonio will present the true Reformed position regarding this matter instead of a strawman presentation.

    In the above quote on the children of Calvinist parents Antonio makes the odd claim that if Calvinism is true it would take only one gospel presentation for them to be converted if they are elect. Why? Doesn't Antonio know that Calvinists believe that God calls people to salvation at the time He has appointed? This may be the first time someone hears the gospel or it could be the 50th time. This really is one of the strangest arguments against the Reformed position I have ever come across. It shows a grave lack of understanding on Antonio's part.

    Rose quoted a Calvinist who stated there was much hope that his children would be saved, being placed in a Christian home where they hear the gospel daily. Antonio has this to say concerning that:

    "This Calvinist's functional Arminianism and synergism is hoping for his children's election based upon foreseen circumstance:

    born in a preacher's home
    exposed daily to the gospel

    This goes directly against Calvinism that states that God's election is "apart from any consideration of man whatsoever".

    Here Antonio shows a misunderstanding of unconditional election. Unconditional election is a choice God made in eternity past (Ephesians 1:4). It was not based upon anything in a particular sinner or any future actions they were to perform in the future and certainly not upon any forseen circumstances they would be in, such as being in a Christian home. In the example cited God would not look down the passage of time and say "oh look, that person is going to be born into a Christian home where they will be exposed to my gospel daily. I'll base my choice of whether I will save them on that". God made the choice based on the kind intention of His will alone (Ephesians 1:5). But in light of His choice to save a particular sinner God puts in place the means by which the sinner will come to faith at the time He appoints. One way in which He could bring this about is to have an elect sinner born into a Christian home where they will hear the gospel. This is how a great many Christians have been converted and the Calvinist parent rightly hoped that being in that home and hearing the gospel would have been the means (following on from the choice God had made) by which his children would be converted to Christ.

    Well, being brief has never been my strong point so I will leave it at that for now. I will be regular visitor to this blog, if that is o.k with you good folks.

    Yours in Christ

    Jason

    By Blogger Premillennial Reformed Baptist, at Saturday, March 04, 2006 10:12:00 PM  

  • Jason, thanks for visiting and thanks for your comments. I would be interested to read Antonio's respoense and perhaps Rose~'s too.

    Please do visit regularly. This blog may perhaps be of more interest to you than my own.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Sunday, March 05, 2006 1:39:00 AM  

  • Hi Matt,

    I think this is an interesting blog but I really like yours too. It's thought provoking and humourous and I have directed a few people to it.

    Happy birthday once again. I do hope you have a good day.

    God Bless

    Jason

    By Blogger Premillennial Reformed Baptist, at Tuesday, March 07, 2006 3:14:00 AM  

  • Thanks for that. Come back again soon.

    God Bless

    Matt

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, March 07, 2006 5:00:00 AM  

  • Matt,

    Please could you draw Antonio's attention the fact that I have written some comments concerning him? I would interested to know what he has to say.

    By Blogger Premillennial Reformed Baptist, at Tuesday, March 07, 2006 10:16:00 AM  

  • I would like to respond to Antonio's comparison of what he believes Calvinism teaches and what he thinks the Bible teaches.

    1) The Bible says that God desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.
    1a) Calvinism says that God only desires the salvation of some that he chose.

    Not all Calvinists deny that God desires the salvation of all without exception. Most Calvinists would see in this passage the free offer of the gospel. This is the belief that God desires the salvation of everyone and makes a sincere offer through the preaching of the gospel
    to all who hear it whether they are elect or not. God however has a higher purpose in damning some: to glorify Himself in His justice and "make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy" (Romans 9:

    Other Calvinists see the "all men" in this passage as referring to all types and classes of men. James White for example takes this position. In his book "The Potter's Freedom" he writes the following:

    "Who are kings and all who are in authority? They are kinds of men, classes of men. Paul often spoke of "all men" in this fashion. For example in Titus Chapter 2, when Paul speaks of the grace of God appearing to all men (Titus 2:11), he clearly means all kinds of men, for the context both before and after speaks of kinds of men. In the previous verses Paul addresses such groups as older men (v.2), older women (v.3), younger women (v.4), young men (v.6)."

    He also points out that to say that "all men" means all without exception that it would mean that Christ mediates even for those who will not believe, making his work of intercession a failure.

    I am not sure which position is correct. Both have their merits. The point is however that Antonio really ought to try to interact with the explanations of Reformed people on this issue instead of just accusing us of so obviously contradicting the Bible.

    2) The Bible says that one receives eternal life by purposeful faith in the Lord Jesus Christ

    2a) Calvinism teaches that eternal life is sovereignly imposed upon people who hate God and want nothing to do with Him.

    3) The Bible places responsiblity on people to believe in Christ
    3a) Calvinism states that people cannot believe on Jesus apart from God forcing them to.

    Here again is the "forced to believe" straw man argument. As I stated in my earlier post no Calvinist believes that God "forces" sinners into the kingdom against their will. He takes out their heart of stone and gives them a heart of flesh. He changes their desires so that they come willingly and thankfully.

    4) The Bible says it is by grace THROUGH faith
    4a) Calvinism says it is by sovereign regeneration through divine imposition

    No Calvinist would ever deny that God saves sinners by grace through faith. Yes, God regenerates the sinner but He also imparts a saving faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. There is no salvation apart from that faith. The belief that God works in the heart of the sinner to change His nature so He responds is no more inconsistent with sola fide than Antonio's belief that God works in the heart of a sinner to enable him to make a free will choice.

    5) The Bible says that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God
    5a) Calvinism says that faith comes iresistibly to the one who hates God

    Again the Calvinist affirms what the Bible says in this matter. God draws a sinner to Himself by regenerating him, but God does this through the preaching of the gospel. Whenever an elect sinner comes to faith it is in response to hearing the word of God preached.


    6) The Bible says that men receive the Spirit through "the hearing of faith".
    6a) Calvinism says that men receive the Spirit through sovereign imposition to the one who hates God.

    Antonio is here confusing regeneration with the gift of the Holy Spirit. The former refers to God working in the heart of the sinner and opening his eyes to the truth and the latter referes to the Holy Spirit coming to indwell a believer once they are converted. The distinction can be seen in Acts chapter 2. Peter there preaches to a crowd who were "cut to the heart" (v.37 but who then recieved the Holy Spirit upon believing (v.38)

    7) The Bible says we are to "plead" and "beseech" the unsaved to believe in God.
    7a) Calvinist doctrine proclaims that such attempts are functionally futile, for a) it falls on the deaf ears of the reprobate and b) the elect don't need to be persuaded, they can only be forced to believe.

    First of all we are to preach the gospel to everyone because we do not know who the elect are. God is glorified even when His truth is rejected.

    Secondarly if Calvinists believe that we don't need to try to persuade people, why do many of them take part in debates and dialogues with unbelievers. For example why does Calvinist pastor Gene Cook have a different atheist guest on his show "The Atheist Hour" each week in order to dialogue and reason with them? Why did Greg Bahnsen take on atheist scholar Gordon Stein on the existence of God? Why do so many Calvinists stress the importace of apologetics today? God ordains that the elect will come to Christ, but He also ordains the means by which they come.

    I am going to post part of a Chat dialogue recorded on CALM.org. In this discussion Reformed apologist Matt Slick is talking to someone explaining the importance of evangelism and correcting error when the subject of Calvinism comes up. You will see that Matt Slick doesn't believe it it futile to persuade people:

    Matt: I am trained to discuss the issues with them and expose the error. Each and every Mormon is created in God's image and is worth the struggle of truth which is why I do what I do.

    Tim: True.

    Matt: Besides, the more that
    Mormonism (and all cults) spread, the more people are damned.

    Tim: True but as a Calvinist you must know the elect will be saved no matter what you do...LOL That is what gets me about Calvinism.

    Matt: True. But, I also know that God uses the preaching of His word and that he ordains the means of saving people. My web site makes a difference in people's lives because God ordains that it does.

    Tim: But I think Calvinism is a very confusing doctrine.

    Matt: It isn't confusing at all.... God is sovereign, right?

    Tim: Yes.

    Matt: God is in control of all things, right?

    Tim: Yes.

    Matt: God uses all things for His glory and for accomplishing His will, right?

    Tim: Yes.

    Matt: God uses preaching, teaching, evangelism, and apologetics to bring His people into salvation, right?

    Tim: Yes.

    Matt: He uses the freedom we have as Christians to preach to the lost, right?

    Tim: Yes.

    Matt: He has said in James 5:16 that the prayers of the righteous make a difference with Him, right?

    Tim: True.

    Matt: So then, my prayers and preaching influence God, right?

    Tim: Yes....to a certain degree.

    Matt: Yet, God, from all eternity, has not changed, and His will is carried out. Right?

    Tim: Yes.

    Matt: I am free to preach and teach and let God worry about appointing people to believing (Acts 13:48). Yet, I know what I do makes a difference.....

    Tim: True.

    Matt: If I am a Calvinist as you think I should be, then why do I have CARM on the net?

    Tim: ...because of the reasons you gave me.

    Matt: You see, God is sovereign and He still uses us.

    Tim: Do you believe we are living in the so-called "end times"?

    Matt: Yes, I do.

    Tim: Well I am not so sure.....the human race could go on for another hundred years are so. 1000 year to God is but a day.

    Matt: Maybe it will. But we must never stop evangelizing and telling the truth....even up to the day of His glorious return. Amen?

    Tim: YES.

    Matt: Now, are YOU saved?

    Tim: Yes I believe so....but I hope it is not a head thing and not a heart thing if you understand. I understand the words but have I really accepted it? You can believe something to be true and not accept it.

    Matt: That is true. Let me ask you some questions, all right?

    Tim: Sure.

    Matt: Do you believe Jesus is God in flesh?

    Tim: Yes. I know that part is true. If the Bible is true then Jesus is God.

    Matt: Do you believe Jesus rose from the dead in the same body He died in, though it was a glorified body (John 2:19-21; 1 Cor. 15:1)?

    Tim: Yes, but is that because I have been taught to believe or because I have accepted it?

    Matt: I understand, but what is your state of belief right now? Do you or do you not believe it?

    Tim: It changes from Day to Day.

    Matt: I understand. But what you need to do is trust what God says. Faith is only as good as who you put it in.

    Tim: True and I believe that Jesus is the way.

    Matt: You need to read the Bible, study Jesus' words, pray to Him, and do your best.

    Tim: I have studied other religions and they have no answer to the sin problem.

    Matt: That is true. Only Jesus is the way out of sin.

    Tim: Hinduism believes in reincarnation but that does not solve the problem of sin. It makes it worse.

    Matt: Yes. It does.

    Tim: Only Christianity does it for you....what do you think heaven is like anyway?

    Matt: It'll be great being with Jesus.

    Tim: With billions of other
    Christians....I hope Jesus will be in more than one place at the same time.

    Matt: He will work it out.

    Tim: I would hate to stand in line for all eternity. I can't stand to stand in line for food at the grocery store.

    Matt: It'd be worth it waiting for Jesus, right?

    Tim: Yes, it would. Well, I need to go and get some sleep. Thanks for talking.

    Matt: Sure. Anytime.

    Tim: Bye.

    Matt: God bless.

    By Blogger Premillennial Reformed Baptist, at Friday, March 10, 2006 10:43:00 PM  

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