12 May 2009

Election/reprobation: discuss

by Dan Phillips

Phil's recent (terrific) interchange with an Arminian brought this to mind. I've often thought it, but not quite sharpened it up this much.

Is this not the Biblical (which is to say, Calvinist) position?
  1. If an elect person were finally and actually to leave Christ, he would be damned; and...
  2. If a reprobate (non-elect) person were vitally to exercise repentant faith in Christ, he would be saved.
  3. However, neither can do either; which is to say:
  4. If any professor finally leaves Christ, he was never elect; and...
  5. If any denier exercises repentant faith in Christ, he is not reprobate.
I think that's Biblical and clarifying, and I think it heads off a lot of uninformed dodging.

But not quite briefly enough for a "Next!"

(Actually and seriously, I guess I could have made 2-5 "Next!"s out of it.)

Discuss.

Dan Phillips's signature

186 comments:

Colin Maxwell said...

Good post. Of course, it is all built on an "if" but I think that the solid evidence is the best way to observe the decree of God.

I remember standing at the very edge of the mighty Niagra Falls on my one and only trip to North America. It was impressive with all those thousands (?) of gallons of water going over the edge each second - the grandeur and noise and momentum was all exhilerating. Never once, did I think that I should go in for a swim :o) No - I could enjoy it all better and obviously safer looking on from the side. So with the decree of God. We know that it is there, but it is better viewed from the side. Let God work out His own purposes and let us watch admiringly from the side as the grandeur and power unleashes itself to His glory.

Regards,

John Doe said...

What's a "Next!"?

DJP said...

New guy, eh? Cool!

Next!

(Be sure to start with #1, where the series is explained.)

stratagem said...

Dan I suppose you could have boiled it down to "if it quacks like an elect, and walks like an elect, then it must be an elect."

eastendjim said...

Thanks Dan.

You just saved me reading Chapter 18 of Grudem's Bible Doctrine for my small group study next week. It takes Grudem a whole 14 pages to say what you just did in a few sentences.

You're the Cliff Notes of Calvinism! :-)

The Squirrel said...

We, all mankind, are in rebellion against God. We hate Him, His Law, His Righteousness, His Sovereignty. God saves us while we are in that condition. No one in that condition would choose God on his own. I don't get what's so hard to get about that.

Calvinism = God opens the eyes of the elect so that they believe the Gospel and are saved.

All Others = God gave us the Gospel, better hope you're smart enough to figure it out, believe, and get saved.

~Squirrel

James David Beebe, Jr. said...

That's the first time I've paid attention to Arminians in a debate format. Maybe there are more skillful Arminians out there ... but in that thread it looked like a lot of it was lack of clarity in the minds of the Arminians on the meaning of a few key words -- especially "free". Misunderstanding what Calvinists mean when they use that word, and not being clear with it when they use it themselves, makes wrinkles in their line of reasoning. It shows Paul's use of the idiom "cut it straight" to be very apt.

DJP said...

eastendjimYou're the Cliff Notes of Calvinism! :-)

LOL; now there's a good dustjacket blurb, or T-shirt.

Thanks for the first laugh of the day.

(c:

Frank Turk said...

One of the things which boggles me in this discussion is the muddling of the category "saved". Frankly, Doug Wilson's tribe are a major force in muddling it (and then unmuddling their own statements, so you have to follow from start to finish there), as are the run-of-the-mill Arminians who are really borderline Pelagians.

You know: saved. That is: having been spared the fire of hell as the punishment of sin. Anyone who has the faith which James extolls in his letter, and the faith which Paul extolls in his letters, is saved from Hell by the work of Christ and not by choosing which side of the argument they are on.

But when we (that is, "they", the Arminian/Pelagians [which are plainly not the same thing, but the ones who make this mistake muddy the water enough to obscure that]) start talking about man's "choice" as if it's a revolving door by which man is sometimes in God's grace (therefore edging toward avoiding the wrath of God) and sometimes out of God's grace (and therefore edging toward the fiery lake to which Sin and Death will be cast off), they forget that Jesus did not come to make us less certain about out final destination: Jesus came to make us certain of who God is and what He intends to do in judgment and in propitiating His wrath.

The NT persistently calls those who believe "saved by grace" -- meaning today they can know for certain that God's wrath has been taken off of them forever.

The question is only if you are one of those. Christ died to save, and not to give you a better set of choices.

Dan's post is fabulous as usual, and I'm going back to internet exile for a few more days.

Rick Frueh said...

In general, you are absolutely correct. Terminology becomes malleable and breaks down at the point of an insurmountable paradox.

BTW - There are "Arminians" who believe in eternal security. (not me)

ezekiel said...

Ok, so what you are really saying is that we can't profane the blood of the covenant by which we were once sanctified Heb 10:29

And you are also saying that the branches that are part of the vine that don't bear fruit are not really cut off and cast into the fire.John 15

And you are saying that even though we boast in our eternal security ther is no threat of being broke off.Romans 11

Or am I missunderstanding what you are saying?

William Watson Birch said...

Squirrel

All Others = God gave us the Gospel, better hope you're smart enough to figure it out, believe, and get saved.

It has nothing to do with intellect. It has everything to do with the Holy Spirit setting the sinner free from his bondage to sin in order for him to freely choose Christ Jesus and thus be saved. But there you go again, misrepresenting Arminianism, as if you do not understand the system whatsoever.

You all are completely right and we completely agree with you: "But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised" (1 Cor. 2:14 NASB, emphasis added).

(I would hesitate to say that "every" sinner in the world proactively "hates" God, in the manner in which you present them. I realize that they are a spiritual enemy in their hostile minds against the knowledge of God. But you're presenting sinners as bad as demons, portraying them as bad as they could be, though we know that by God's common grace they are not as bad as they could be; they still retain the image of God within them).

When the Holy Spirit convicts the sinner concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8-11), through the power of the gospel (Rom. 1:16; 10:14-17), by His aid a sinner can believe on Jesus Christ to the saving of the soul. The sinner, however, cannot believe on his own. And though we do not think that this grace, this power, this aid, is irresistible, we certianly do not attribute it to man's own doing. So, please refrain from caricaturing it as such.

Why does one sinner believe and another not believe? Antinomy! Mystery! If it's good enough for the goose . . .

God bless. Let the stones fly.

DJP said...

A receives, B rejects.

What does the cause lie for A's reception? Something in God alone, or something that A generates and B doesn't?

Note: the wording is careful. Think, don't blurt.

Frank Turk said...

I'm saying that those whom the Father has given to the Son will never be snatched out of His hands.

If you what to dispute that, take is up with the Disciple Jesus loved.

ZSB said...

Be careful with point 5, though...since passages that indicate that the church and its members are not children of wrath are really about <sarcasm> a pre-tribulation "rapture"</sarcasm>.

Haw Haw Haw!

Jugulum said...

Ah, but Frank, don't you see that we can jump out?

You know... 'Cause Jesus really needed to reassure people that Satan couldn't come along and erase their names out of the Book of Life while He wasn't looking.

It's not at all the case that the weakness of our will is the very danger we must be protected against.

Nosir.

*ahem*

</irony>

Eric Kaminsky said...

Romans 9:22-23 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, 23in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory

Careful study of this passage has convinced me that God does not form anyone for reprobation, but does specifically form some unto salvation. This is an act of love. God desires that the ones passively formed for destruction would find salvation

1Cor5:5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.

William Watson Birch said...

Frank Turk,

Paul wrote of the Galatians, "I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel" (Gal. 1:6). Never mind that this verse completely undermines the Calvinist's doctrine of Unconditional Perseverance. The point is that God had "called" them and yet they were deserting him for a different gospel. If only the "called" are elected (as Calvinists insist is the correct interpretation of Romans 8:30), then can some of God's elect actually lose their salvation (and thus God's elect are not eternally secure)?

Incidentally, if God is keeping his elect in the faith, as is asserted by Calvinists, then how is it that these "called" and "elect" children of God were deserting him? Was God not keeping them in Christ Jesus? Had he turned his back for a moment? Did he go on vacation? Paul taught that God is at work in the believer, granting him both the will and work to do for his good pleasure (Phil. 2:13 NASB), but not irresistibly. For the believer is responsible for working out (not for) his salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12 NASB). Yes, you have something to do: you must believe in Jesus Christ. You must pursue holiness. You are not to work for your salvation (an impossible feat), for that has been accomplished by the only One who could work for (i.e. purchase) it: Jesus Christ. You are to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. You are to take care, brethren, "that there not be in any one of you [the born again child of God] an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is called 'Today,' so that none of you [the born again child of God] will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end" (Heb. 3:12-14 NASB).

The "if" and "warning" passages presents a problem for Unconditional Perseverance. The warning passages in Scripture are genuine and are intended to incite in the believer a pursuit after holiness and sanctification (cf. Heb. 12:14), wherein a person works out his salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12), noting that to God's glory he is granting the believer the ability to will and to act according to his good pleasure (Phil. 2:13), though not irresistibly. What is to "fear and tremble" in Unconditional Perseverance?

Jesus stated: "If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned" (John 15:5-6 NIV).

How did the man get "in him" but by faith in him (Eph. 1:4, 13). And what of "remaining in" him? What shall we do with this?

Paul writes: "For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off" (Rom. 11:21-22 NIV). What are we to do with this?

Laurence M. Vance states: Hymenaeus and Alexander did not persevere ~ they were delivered by Paul "unto Satan" (1 Tim. 1:20). But this could not mean that they were never saved, like some Calvinists claim, because the fornicator among the Corinthians was also delivered to Satan (1 Cor. 5:5) and consequently restored (2 Cor. 2:6-8). Demas forsook Paul because of his love for the world (2 Tim. 4:10). Yet of Mark, who also deserted him (Acts 13:13), Paul later said "He is profitable to me for the ministry" (2 Tim. 4:11). If the Calvinist claims that only the Corinthian fornicator and Mark were regenerate because they alone returned to the faith before their death, then what about Lot? The Bible calls Lot "just" (2 Pet. 2:7) and "righteous" (2 Pet. 2:8). But the last time we hear of him he is drunk in a cave committing incest with his two daughters (Gen. 19:33-36). Did he persevere in the faith? A righteous man can turn from his righteousness and never turn back (Eze. 18:24).Again Paul instructs: "Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain" (1 Cor. 15:1-2 NIV, emphases added).

It's very convenient to admit that those who fell away were "never really saved to begin with," but how do you know that. Let's talk about epistemology. How do you know that such a "believer" (for does not a believer have to be regenerated prior to such faith?) was not really saved? Is it not because you are working with an a priori such that no other explanation shall satisfy the Calvinist?

God bless.

William Watson Birch said...

A receives, B rejects.

What does the cause lie for A's reception? Something in God alone, or something that A generates and B doesn't?

Note: the wording is careful. Think, don't blurt.
Was this for me? I won't blurt. I haven't blurted yet.

But did I not already appeal to mystery? Is it possible for me to interview each person in the world and get to the bottom of why one rejects the gospel and another receives it?

I think that you are still operating within your monergistic frame and forcing me to answer accordingly. But I am not working within a monergistic frame. I am admitting that God aids the sinner to choose Christ, because he genuinely desires the salvation of all people (1 Tim. 2:4); but that "choice," so to speak, must come from the sinner.

But to answer why A believes and B does not is impossible. For you the answer is easy. God bops A on the head ("infuses" with with faith in Jesus Christ), and refuses such to person B. Person A is elect, and person B is not elect. Easy. Simple. For me, the answer is no so simple, because God cares for A and B. And if he so chooses to grace A and B, and A believes but B does not, I can certainly never admit that it was because God did not elect B. It is B's fault for not receiving the gopsel, having been aided by the Holy Spirit to receive it.

Thank you for asking the question though. I think it's an important question, but one that is not at all easy to answer.

Colin Maxwell said...

I can't say that I was ever bopped on the head.Am I missing something here?

Regards,

DJP said...

Then "mystery" is Longscreennameguy codeward for "I don't want to give the Bible's answer," which is that salvation is a monergistic work of God with the result that He alone receives the glory (1 Corinthians 1:26-31; Ephesians 1:3-6, etc.).

The Calvinist is the man who's content with the Bible's answer.

Jugulum said...

William,

It's very convenient to admit that those who fell away were "never really saved to begin with," but how do you know that. Let's talk about epistemology. How do you know that such a "believer" (for does not a believer have to be regenerated prior to such faith?) was not really saved? Is it not because you are working with an a priori such that no other explanation shall satisfy the Calvinist?

As we try to work through the various passages discussing security and warning against falling away, we have a challenge: To study humbly, open to correction from the Word, and to avoid grandstanding rhetoric.

Now, William, if you've spent any time at all looking into this issue, you know what the answer to your question is. You know that it's not based simply in logical necessity. You know that we claim to be able to know because the Word says so. You know that it's based on passages that Calvinists at least take to be saying directly that true believers do continue to the end.

Specifically, passages like 1 John 2:19, Col. 1:21-23, and Hebrews 3:6. (The point with the second two being, "You already are reconciled, if you persevere to the end"--not, "You'll remain reconciled, if you persevere.")

Perhaps you're really not familiar with that line of exegesis. If so, that explains your question. If you are familiar with it, then why did you ask the question? Why ask, if you know the answer is, "We can know that such 'believers' were not really saved because Scripture explicitly says so"?

If you know that's what we'll answer, why not just skip directly to the exegesis?

William Watson Birch said...

DJP,

Thanks for such a gracious tone. I would expect nothing more.

God bless.

DJP said...

Longscreennameguy code for "Aigh! Direct hit! Revert to 'tone' dodge!"

The Squirrel said...

WWB-

Some choose Christ, some don't. If the choice is up to the individual, some "get it" and others don't.

Either you're saved because God sovereignly chose to save you, or you're saved because you chose to believe.

~Squirrel

donsands said...

"And what of "remaining in" him? What shall we do with this?" -WW Birch

John 15:16 "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide [remain]" And the Lord gets all the glory.

The three bad soils don't produce fruit. Some may seem to have fruit, but even this will be taken.
The one good soil bears fruit: 30 fold, 60 fold, & 100 fold, or perhaps 9.5 fold, but nevertheless fruit will come from the new creation in Christ.

Surely the child of God can have moments of rebelling, but the Ftaher will punish us, because He loves us. My father had to beat my rear, and I look back and am thankful he did. I deserved it. He also blessed me in a multitudes of ways. Too many to mention.

How much more our heavenly Father!

Mesa Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sir Brass said...

Frank,


Oh be nice to Doug Wilson fans. You just need to grab them by their baptism =p.


Sorry, couldn't resist :).

Mesa Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Squirrel said...

donsands-

Yes! Bearing fruit, not foliage, is the indicator of salvation.

"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned." (John 15:4-6 NASB)

When you put John 15:2 into context, it makes more sense.

~Squirrel

Mesa Mike said...

Third try, without the links:

"Ezekiel" wrote:
> Ok, so what you are really saying
> is that we can't profane the blood
> of the covenant by which we were
> once sanctified Heb 10:29

Never read a Bible verse.

Mesa Mike said...

Which brings up a question:
When is Phil gonna fix the RefTagger stuff?

NoLongerBlind said...

Having grown up, spiritually-speaking, learning - and believing - the glorious doctrines of Sovereign grace, I've always wanted to play "ask the Arminian", but never had the chance.

I realize these are very basic and straightforward texts, but, how does Arminian theology make sense of these following verses?

1. John 5:21 "For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom He will."

2. John 6:44 "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him."

3. Matthew 22:14 "For many are called, but few are chosen."

4. Ephesians 1:4 "even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world,that we should be holy and blameless before Him."

5. Acts 13:48 "And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed."

I hope that maybe Rick F., ezekiel, or perhaps William W. B. will help me to understand the Arminian perspective on these verses.

Thanks!

Tom

DJP said...

Dear Diary:

May 15, 2009 — the day Phil Johnson told people they could do whatever they wanted with one of my meta's without even glancing at the post.

Aric said...

I like the succinctness of the post. If one sticks to the defined terms you used, it is hard to argue against the post. Which brings about a question I’ve mulled over the past couple of posts: Does the Arminian position define words like chosen and elect differently when reading them in the NT as opposed to the OT?

Let me clarify. In the OT, it is clear that Israel is chosen by God. No other nation has the tabernacle, sacrifices for atonement, or God telling them they are chosen as God’s people. No other nation is given a choice (and many are annihilated – men, women, children, babies, etc.), and obviously, Israel was not chosen due to its foreseen choice of God. Seems to me that choice in the OT is God’s sovereign election of Israel. Perhaps the Arminian position takes this into account, but I have not yet run across it.

Then in the NT, it seems that chosen (or elect) takes on a different nuance. It could be me, but it would appear that chosen now means “chosen because I knew you would choose me”. Quite different than the OT version of chosen.

It would seem to me, when Paul or Peter use words like chosen or elect when referring to believers they would have the OT as a frame of reference for those words. Just thinking out loud . . . thanks for listening.

word verification: vullsit
Does that relate to my comment?

A.M. Mallett said...

I'm saying that those whom the Father has given to the Son will never be snatched out of His hands.If you what to dispute that, take is up with the Disciple Jesus loved.Having snatched two thoughts from two different apostles in two separate contexts, what has been given is an eclectic Turkism not expressed by either of the two apostles. To take this up with one not able to respond to the inquiry can only generate an exasperated "huh?".

A.M. Mallett said...

As for the opening post, I see little to argue with and as an Arminian I can only agree with it. Arminius as well made a distinction between believers and true believers noting election pertained to the latter. The differences we have are in defining election and how the LORD's plan of redemption is played out in this mortal world.

DJP said...

Hm; so Arminians believe that only elect can exercise saving faith, and then only by the sovereign monergistic grace of God; and that they cannot fall away.

Cool. Game over!

Mesa Mike said...

LOL, well Dan, it seems you were wrong about heading off uninformed dodging.

But, back to the post at hand: the point seems to be that salvation is not a matter of profession or denial, but a matter of election or reprobation.

Some Arminians here seem to be crypto-calvinists.

DJP said...

All Christians are crypto-Calvinists.

bossmanham said...

It's funny DJP, you are accusing someone of "blurting" and yet you are the one not interracting with what he is saying and with the scripture he has presented. Hebrews 6 is another passage that kills your notion of unconditional perseverance. Yet you are so invested in the doctrines of Calvinism that you must bypass the discussion and the verses presented and accuse us of exactly what you are doing, all the while interpreting scripture in light of your philosophical presupposition instead of letting scripture speak for itself. I must ask, why?

bossmanham said...

"Hm; so Arminians believe that only elect can exercise saving faith, and then only by the sovereign monergistic grace of God; and that they cannot fall away.

Cool. Game over!"

No, we believe God elects those who respond positively to HIs offer of grace that must be present in order for us to respond.

DJP said...

So your answer to the still-unanswered 7:29 AM, May 12, 2009 question is...?

DJP said...

("Unanswered" unless you count "It's a mystery!" as an answer.)

NoLongerBlind said...

@ A.M. Mallet:

Talk about "huh"? You're saying that Frank is quoting 2 different apostles in 2 different contexts?

I believe this is what Frank was referring to:
"I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one." John 10:28-30.

Tom

Mesa Mike said...

Dead people don't respond to any calling whatsoever, neither positively nor negatively.

Stan McCullars said...

bossmanham: we believe God elects those who respond positively to HIs offer of grace that must be present in order for us to respond.

Since God the Father chose us in (Christ) before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), when exactly did you respond positively to HIs offer of grace? Did you respond before the foundation of the world?

Rick Frueh said...

Crypto-Calvinists. I love it! And the Mark Driscoll category is called "Calvinist who are practicing Arminians".

In the end it is what it is and we are who we are.

Game over. (not)

Nuno Fonseca said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NoLongerBlind said...

bossmanham: "No, we believe God elects those who respond positively to His offer of grace that must be present in order for us to respond."

So, which comes first? The reponding or the electing?

Or, are you trying to say that "God, knowing the future, elects those He knows will freely choose to believe"?

Tom

The Squirrel said...

"No, we believe God elects those who respond positively to HIs offer of grace that must be present in order for us to respond."

So God's election is preconditioned by our response to His offer of Grace? Still sounds like God doesn't really get to decide who gets saved...

~Squirrel

DJP said...

Nuno — you know... I think I like it....

Nuno Fonseca said...

Yes, there's only wet rain and rain that is wet.

Next!

NoLongerBlind said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Respectabiggle said...

"And though we do not think that this grace, this power, this aid, is irresistible, we certainly do not attribute it to man's own doing."


This just makes my head hurt. It sounds like you're saying, "God didn't save you, but you sure didn't do it, either."

Frank Turk said...

Oh brother.

So those who leave the church are rejecting God's election of them?

All of you who believe that need to think more clearly about what kinds of people constitute the local church.

I'm going back to enjoying my vacation. The rest of you can lose sleep over misinterpretations of what Christ achieves - I sleep well knowing He is Lord and Christ.

The Squirrel said...

Let's see... Phil's out of the country... Frank's on vacation...

Dan's in charge! Quick, let's discuss Dispensationalism!

(o;

~Squirrel

Phil said...

Bossmanham, I believe in an objective grace that must be positively received for someone to be justified. But the 'God elects those who respond' thing just means that, unless you don't allow God to know the future, that you still logically have God saving those who will be saved and not saving those who won't, if contingency etc means anything. Grace plus works is not grace or good works. Grace plus nothing leads to good works, but they don't keep someone saved unless we are justified by works...Heb6's warning passage is about those who hear the message of the gospel, and perhaps receive some external benefits with their association etc, but don't mix it with trusting faith to their salvation, Heb4.

eastendjim said...

My workbook for my church's small group study on bible doctrine has this great John MacArthur quote on election. Well, I think it's great anyway.

"I believe, that the reason the doctrine of election is a bone in people’s throat does not have to do with its incomprehensibility. It has to do with how it offends human will and ego and pride. I believe, that’s the bottom line. It’s not about its incomprehensibility, because I can’t comprehend how Jesus can be fully God and fully man. I can’t comprehend how God can make Jesus the sacrifice for my sin. I can’t comprehend how God can create. The whole of creation, to me, is incomprehensible."

KRG said...

Eric Kaminsky:
“Careful study of this passage [Romans 9:22-23] has convinced me that God does not form anyone for reprobation, but does specifically form some unto salvation. This is an act of love. God desires that the ones passively formed for destruction would find salvation”
I don’t understand how an all knowing, all powerful God can be passive. If he knows that people are headed for reprobation apart from His saving activity and wills not to act isn’t that the same as willing the known result? If there are 2 options, salvation & reprobation and we can’t get salvation without God’s sovereign choice then God not choosing one for salvation is the same as God choosing that one for reprobation. If God’s activity is required for salvation, then if He is passive that means certain reprobation. God “desiring” for the “passively formed” people to find salvation is like passively watching a blind guy near a cliff and desiring that he safely find his way away from the edge.

David said...

And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.
(Colossians 1:21-23 ESV)

Paul says, "He has reconciled you. . . if you hold fast." So if you don't hold fast, He hasn't reconciled you.

Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.
(Hebrews 5:8-10 ESV)

If salvation is eternal, like it says here, you can't lose it. If you don't obey Him, you never had it.

KRG said...

I also don't understand why the carriage returns get removed from my posts.

John said...

Colin: its 150,000 U.S. gallons of water per second.

Robert said...

Dan began this thread with:

“Is this not the Biblical (which is to say, Calvinist) position? If an elect person were finally and actually to leave Christ, he would be damned; and...
If a reprobate (non-elect) person were vitally to exercise repentant faith in Christ, he would be saved. However, neither can do either; which is to say: If any professor finally leaves Christ, he was never elect; and...If any denier exercises repentant faith in Christ, he is not reprobate.I think that's Biblical and clarifying, and I think it heads off a lot of uninformed dodging.”

You begin by stating that what you are going to present is “the Biblical (which is to say, Calvinist) position”.

I believe the biblical position is that one who is genuinely saved will never be lost, and yet I am not a Calvinist.

So one can (and many in fact do) believe in the security of the believer without holding to Calvinism. That is your first mistake, as a point of logic, one can affirm eternal security (what I take to be the **biblical** position) without holding to the Calvinistic system. And I would add that we ought to believe in eternal security not because some theological system dictates that we do so, but because the Bible properly interpreted will lead us to do so.

You also merely assume the Calvinistic notions of unconditional election of the elect as well as reprobation of nonbelievers as if these are biblical (they are not and most Christians reject Calvinism as you must know). One will not even find the term “reprobation” or “reprobate” in scripture. Your concept of “reprobation” comes from your Calvinist system combined with some careful **proof texting** of selected scriptures (primarily Romans 9).

So when you continue on about how (1) a non-elect (your concept of reprobate) person can never believe, and (2) a denier/nonbeliever can come to belief if he exercises repentant faith proving himself not to be “reprobate”. This is all quite logical according to the Calvinistic system (where the “reprobates” can never have saving faith/exercise repentant faith; and those who do have saving faith/exercise repentant faith prove themselves not to be the “reprobates”). You are simply **dogmatically asserting** your Calvinistic system. Merely asserting something does not make it true. Of course others who already agree with you may be quite encouraged by your public and clear declaration of your Calvinistic beliefs.

You then elaborate that a person who professes Christ but then finally leaves Christ, was never saved. But anyone who holds to eternal security and yet is not a Calvinist (and my observation is that most Christians hold to eternal security whether they are Calvinists or not) can also make this claim. I mean if you believe that a genuine believer can never be lost, then a genuine believer will never “finally leave Christ.”

And you continue by declaring that a “denier” who exercises repentant faith in Christ is not a “reprobate”. But that simply assumes your Calvinistic system. I maintain that someone who exercises repentant faith in Christ becomes a Christian and in maintaining this which **is** the biblical position, I need not simultaneously affirm the Calvinistic position that they are therefore not “reprobates” (as God does not “reprobate” people, that is Calvinism not the bible). Where we disagree is that you believe, based upon your beliefs in unconditional election and reprobation (your Calvinistic system of theology), that our eternal destinies are fixed and predetermined, or already decided by God not us before we ever come into existence (while I would maintain that while God foreknows our eternal destinies as he knows what we will do with the grace that we receive from Him, some will respond with faith becoming Christians, some will repeatedly and continuously reject God and so they will experience the “second death”).

I don’t see your post as saying much or adding much to the discussion. You are simply asserting your Calvinism and other Calvinists are back-slapping and congratulating you on your assertions. You are in other words: “preaching to the choir” here.

Regarding the “biblical position” of a believer never losing his salvation, this is not equivalent to Calvinism, if it were, then everyone of us who believed it would be Calvinist, but in fact we are not, but in fact most Christians who hold to eternal security are not Calvinists. So don’t go equating eternal security with Calvinism (or the converse that all Arminians, or all non-Calvinists deny eternal security). The Calvinist holds to eternal security, but eternal security is not Calvinism. Take Baptists as clear evidence that what I am saying here is true. Most of my Baptist friends are not Calvinists and yet most of them hold to eternal security, especially in the Southern Baptist denomination where it is required for pastors.

Robert

Colin Maxwell said...

John: Thanks. Now my illustration is complete.

What are the Arminians going to make of that?

Regards,

Chad V. said...
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John said...

On a philosophical note, what do Arminians do about all those who die in remote jungles without ever even knowing about Christianities existance? I have never got an answer to this one. Under the Arminean model it would seem that they are either saved due to ignorance (something like the "age of accountability theory") or that God's administration of the gospel is unfair. If any Armineans read this blog, please point me to a good resource.

Chad V. said...

bossmanham, you still don't seem to understand what Calvinism says.

Election is unconditional and not conditioned upon anything in man, it's completely according to the counsel of God's own will. Therefore it is unconditional. There isn't a single verse in the whole bible that says that God chose you in response to your choosing him. Because you see, the word the bible would have to use would be ratification, not election. Your definition of election defies the meaning of the word.

Umm, can anyone find the Calvinisitc doctrine of unconditional perseverance? You wont find that one in any Calvinistic writing.

The Calvinistic doctrine of Perseverance of the Saints is well summed up by saying that it is by the grace of God that we persevere in faith. Continued faith is necessary for someone to be truly in Christ, we simply say that it is God who maintains our faith and renews us to repentance when we fall. Since we are born again, new creations, being conformed to the image of Christ, not by our works but by Christ who works in us, we cannot fall away utterly. We can fall but not utterly and God will lift us up becasue he has raised us in newness of life in Christ. We have died to sin and those who have died to sin can die no more. Surely you've read Romans 6 where it says that Christ can die no more so we also must think that way of ourselves. The whole point of that chapter is that you can;t die in your sins. The condition of our perseverance is that in Christ our old man is crucified, done away with and we are raised in newness of life.

And then of course when when we get to the end of chapter 8 we see Paul saying that it is God who justifies, who can condemn? The answer is no one. There is never any place in scripture where it is taught that God will condemn one whom He has justified. Not once, no where ever.

Since you're going to start recommending that we read your sources on Heb,6 then please read what one from our camp has to say on the subject. I suggest John Owen's "Apostasy from the Gospel". You will be able to learn what the Reformed teaching on apostasy is.

If you are going to complain so much about us not engaging you according to your beliefs then you had better make sure that you are engaging us according to our beliefs.

Jugulum said...

KRG,

See this comment for an explanation of your missing carriage returns. (Especially read the reply by Stefan.)

Chad V. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
~Mark said...

The way the post is written is to the point and is they way I've understood Scripture to read!

Rick Frueh said...

"On a philosophical note, what do Arminians do about all those who die in remote jungles without ever even knowing about Christianities existance?"

They die in their sins, of course. Hence the missionary effort. The unfainess you suggest is an earthly perspective that cannot be applied to any divine actions or inactions.

Roberto G said...

Overall, I really like Robert's comment. And not merely because my name is Roberto. Although I am a staunch, unflinching, calvinist of the suprlapsarian variety, I can appreciate a person's point of view. Robert expressed valid concerns from his perspective.

DJP said...

Apart from wildly misrepresenting my post, you mean?

Phil said...

KRG, I think Eric's just saying that there's not a direct symmetry between election and reproaction. Election is unto saving faith. Election doesn't save, faith does. It's the vehicle for receiving the blessing. Election guarantees that some will believe and thus be saved. Reprobation, on the other hand, is not a direct act of God in the sense of non-salvation because of non-election. It's not non-election that means hell, it's lack of faith receiving the benefits of the atonement. Phil J and the others, I'm sure, don't doubt God loves all, and has a desire for the salvation of all. It's a big mistake to causally redefine God's revealed will by his sovereign design that purposes the end from the beginning.

Eric Kaminsky said...

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

The mark of a true calvinist, not a hyper-calvinist is to base our theology not from man made systems of thought, but to believe The Bible at face value.

Jesus himself has no conflict with the idea of God's sovereign choice and the free offer of salvation to all men.

John 3:8 "The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."

John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
John 3:16-17

Roberto G said...

The length could have been a lot short. But he's not a calvinist and he expressed his concerns. I've had many conversations with fellow believers whom I wish would have expressed their concerns as calmly as Robert did. From his perspective, he doesn't share a calvinist's concept of election and reprobation. I will let him answer the charge of misrepresentation.

DJP said...

PoMo.

Phil said...

Good word, Eric. Sorry about that predictive text bodge 'reproaction'...Chad, I think 'unconditional perseverance' equals 'eternal security'. I agree that believers persevere in faith and it's good works, but I often feel like some folks perseverance language makes out it's their faith/works 'by God's grace' that keep them saved. But it never was that in the first place, it was a justification apart from works. Acceptance grace and living grace are two distinct things. The latter flows out of the former entirely, but it never enters as part of the former...If one's justified by faith alone, he has exactly the same ground for it today as at first. And that's where he finds his good works-his faith works- as well.

Roberto G said...

PoMo=Post-modern? As in the acknowledgment of a different point of view is tantamount to accepting all points of view as valid? If that is the suggestion towards me, I feel no burden to defend that kind of subjectivism or relativism. I can express my agreement with the calvinistic position as stated while acknowledging another's different perspective. If I were to continue in a personal conversation with Robert, I would move beyond this step to more elaboration of the election and reprobation issue. That is the type of calvinist I am.

DJP said...

So, you can't tell for yourself whether my 140-word post was dealt with fairly in his 800-word diatribe?

Roberto G said...

Virtually all interactions between calvinists and non-calvinists on the issue of election/reprobation involve calvinists on the receiving end of misrepresentations. But. for me, this isn't where the conversation should be stalled. Underneath their concerns, however expressed, lie objections calvinists should address. Persuasion through patience, logic, and charity is my goal.

DJP said...

...and whether they even read, think about, process, and deal honestly with the volumes of work we already have produced — irrelevant?

If a man doesn't even do a decent job with a 140-word post, I should engage him seriously at length, as he is cheered on by people who don't even care if he handled a 140-word post soberly or not?

I'm thinking not.

Rick Frueh said...

Dan's post are always scholarly and creative and I have never seen sloppiness. I disagree where necessary, but no one can claim an uneducated tirade vented to enrage.

There are times where he has extracted certain truths from the most unlikely corners of Scripture. Of course I have stated the obvious.

Eric Kaminsky said...

Which argument is Postmodern?

You're wrong and I'm right.

We're both right.

Or, You're right and I'm wrong, or you're right and I'm wrong, or were both wrong, but we both can't be right.

DJP said...

No, it's more: who can say who's wrong and who's right?

Rick Frueh said...

"Which argument is Postmodern?"

There is no right...or wrong.

Mesa Mike said...

> Which argument is Postmodern?

Well... It would be arrogant of me to pick one your answers (or any answer in oarticular). So, I'll exercise epistemic humility with that question and just say, I don't know.

Roberto G said...

I suppose that my experience dealing with non-calvinists is slightly different than others'experience. Robert's long response is really very mild in tone compared to what I have been on the receiving end of. No, a lengthy response certainly isn't necessary. I just consider it an easy thing to respond to. And the contrast between the biblical support for election/reprobation and a common evangelical point of view would have been instructive. I'm sure glad Luther finally dealt with...what's his name?

Rick Frueh said...

OR:

We're all right.

DJP said...

Your comment is too long for me to be sure.

Frank Turk said...

I just stopped by to give my friend DJP a thumb's-up for being a rock during this exchange.

Strong Tower said...

"Ah, but Frank, don't you see that we can jump out?"

I liked the dream my son related to me about being in the hand of God and that hand was as big as the whole world. We had recently watched Rocket Man- cool movie, very spiritual, sweet Alaskan asparagus tips, Laurie London and all that...

But I like the Scripture better. It is one thing to think of it in anthropomorphic terms, in a diminutive emaciated faith kinda way but as Jesus explains, it is the Father's hand. In search of the perfect analogy, to be saved is to find yourself firmly wedged in the inter-stratified squamous epithelium spaces of God's hand.

I like the vine argument too. But who was the pruner? And isn't the pruning to bring forth fruit and not about cutting us off but trimming away what is unfruitful in us, for after all God has predestined us to bear fruit, right? And isn't the point of the branches being broken off the same in that it is not we who break ourselves off or attach ourselves but it is he who does. And doesn't that passage contain the warning that if you think it is you who chooses, you are indeed in danger of being cut off? And really, isn't both the salvation and sanctification of Galatians about these two, and that if you believe that it is you and not the Spirit, that Christ avails you nothing?

Any way, Arminius was adept at obfuscation and taught his students to use the terminology of his enemies so that they could claim innocence if accused of heresy, eventhough they meant something entirely different than the orthodox church meant. His mode was to spread the poison by calling it grape juice, which at first wiff and tongue it appears to be. And he taught his disciples to mix up the same cool-aid.

The definition of grace that Arminians use is empowerment and not the grace of salvation as Scripture defines it to be: the power of God working in us to both will and to do of his good pleasure. When you ask them if they believe in grace, well ya... If you ask them if they believe in depravity, well ya... If you ask them if they believe if Salvation is at all owing to man's merit, well, no...

except they don't mean what we mean by those terms.

Arminius believed that the assistive grace temporarily removed the weight of depravity from the person's will. In effect it restored Adam man to his pre-fall state of innocence, allowing him to choose to do righteousness or to remain in unrighteousness. This was his idea of free-will. But we know it as semi-Pelagianism, or for all intents and purposes Pelagianism with a fever.

It would pay to read him if you haven't so that the so called Arminian Scholars don't jerk you around.

Robert (the nonist/Biblicist) saith- "So one can (and many in fact do) believe in the security of the believer without holding to Calvinism. That is your first mistake, as a point of logic, one can affirm eternal security (what I take to be the **biblical** position) without holding to the Calvinistic system. And I would add that we ought to believe in eternal security not because some theological system dictates that we do so, but because the Bible properly interpreted will lead us to do so."

Well then, you reject free-will, huh? That is what all Arminians must do who to hold to eternal security. As a point of logic you cannot affirm confidence in eternal salvation if you have the freedom to reject it as the consequence of the inherent nature of free-will choice, can you? Do you then have free-will now that you are saved? If not, what prevents you from the wrong choice, or causes you to always choose to do his will? Do you believe God causes those filled with the Spirit to do his will as Ezekial did? How about those who do not have the Spirit, can they do the will of God? So as you begin to lay out your non-system-system, would you say that you are Arminian or that you are a nothing? A non-whatever without logical connectivity and consistency, or anything like that which you so distain?

And I wonder, just who is it that interprets the bible correctly and doesn't have a system? I get it. It is you, right? And God is the author of chaos, which then you must set straight (well not really because you don't believe in a systematic straightening out of Scripture) and not of sound mindedness, a mind which systematically works to associate good with good and evil with evil. right? And you determine for us what the Bible means, properly speaking, without systematically doing so? Uh-huh....

Well master,

What means: "I have chosen you, you have not chosen me?"

What means, "those whose names have not been written in the Lambs book of life from before the foundations of the world."

What means: "heirs of salvation?"

What means: "All those the Father has given me?"

Now I am guessing that you'll have all kinds of non-sytematic/Biblical proofs that you will not tie together in a system to invalidate the connections between those Scriptures, right?

I would just like an answer. Can a person who will never be saved call himself the elect, and can a person who "lost" his salvation, ever call himself saved? It is a simple logic Robert: Can A be non-A?

No dodges, can a person who is saved be non-saved? Can a person who is reprobate be non-reprobate? Or, to the Scripture, can those who are appoint to eternal-life be those who are not appointed to eternal life?

I like Titus 1:1-4 too and how it is that the heirs of salvation are made manifest by the preaching of the Gospel. Which would mean that the non-heirs are not. But then, we would have to have some definition of what constitutes a heir, wouldn't we? Like maybe those whose names are in the will of the testator. And this we will do if God permits.

Dodge-ball anyone?

Ben said...

Roberto,

There is no rule that says that you cannot answer Robert. After all, it might be instructive to some readers here to see how a 5 point supra would go about answering Robert.

Jugulum said...

With apologies[1] to the Matrix,

"Do not try to figure out who's right. That's impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth: There is no right. Then you'll see that 'rightness' does not exist; there is only yourself."



[1] Actually, the Matrix is just as pomo-solipsistic.

Rick Frueh said...

I have a problem. It has always baffled me. Even though I interpret Hebrews 6 and 10 differently than would someone who is reformed, here is my problem.

Does God end someone's life early? (I Cor.) If so, why would He not take a believer's life who God knew would commit apostacy? The "jump out" metaphor doesn't work for me either since it suggests God din't realize you were going to jump out and He could not do anything about it.

Also, why would God save someone He knew would commit apostacy later?

There you have it, to go against one's conscience - and all the rest.

Frank Turk said...

What does it mean to be "saved" and have a "savior" I wonder?

Is the verb passive or active?

Is the doer me, or am I being done to?

That's the central question of the OT, btw, and the NT answers it without any doubts.

The Squirrel said...

There is no spork.

~Squirrel

A.M. Mallett said...

Hm; so Arminians believe that only elect can exercise saving faith, and then only by the sovereign monergistic grace of God; and that they cannot fall away.After you strip away your additions and come to terns scripturally with who is The Elect of God, you will begin to move away from your error. Of course the elect do not fall away else they could not be the elect on that last day. The elect are those in Christ. As for the buzz phrase, "sovereign monergistic grace of God", certainly God is sovereign yet considering how the LORD has ordained His plan of redemption (rather than your plan of redemption) there is a considerable synergistic element to it. Romans 10 makes that clear. However, back to the matter at hand. Nothing in your opening post should give any Reformation Arminian or Wesleyan for that matter any pause.

Daryl said...

God wouldn't save someone he knew would later commit apostasy.

As in "they went out from us because they were not of us"

It seems to me that apostasy is what happens when someone who CLAIMS to believe, not says they don't. But the verse I quoted above (albeit without reference) indicates that the apostate is simply a non-believer "coming out" as it were.

DJP said...

Mallett: We are, I presume, talking about my post which (among its 140 words) says:

1 If an elect person were finally and actually to leave Christ, he would be damned; and...

2 If a reprobate (non-elect) person were vitally to exercise repentant faith in Christ, he would be saved.

3 However, neither can do either....

So you're saying that Reformation Arminians and Wesleyans believe that only elect can exercise saving faith, and then only by the sovereign monergistic grace of God; and that they cannot fall away.

Cool!

The assemblage is getting bigger and bigger.

Daryl said...

A.M.

Except perhaps Ephesians 1 "chose from before the foundation of the world"

There is no hint there of "chosen because you believe" kind of thinking. Only chosen because, well because he chose. (Which is generally how chose works isn't it?)

A.M. Mallett said...

No Longer Blind, Thank you for the correction. My apologies as I was thinking particularly of John 6 and Rom 8
As an aside, the fear is not one of being plucked but walking away instead

Paul said...

PoMo's argue? I thought they had "conversations".

(c;

A.M. Mallett said...

Dead people don't respond to any calling whatsoever, neither positively nor negatively.Can it be surmised you came into this world spiritually alive and in right relationship with the LORD? If not, how did you respond to the LORD's call? He restored your right relationship lacking faith in Christ?

Robert said...

Unfortunate responses from Dan. Say my post was a bit too long, if so, that was the only real problem with it as confirmed by Roberto G’s words: “The length could have been a lot short. But he's not a calvinist and he expressed his concerns. I've had many conversations with fellow believers whom I wish would have expressed their concerns as calmly as Robert did.”

On the other hand, Dan’s response is quite emotional and unnecessary. First he responded with: “Apart from wildly misrepresenting my post, you mean?”

The legal maxim applies here: he who asserts must prove. So Dan just how did I “wildly misrepresent your post”?

It is interesting that Roberto G responded with respectful words and civil words as well. There was no hostility or animosity or excessive emotion from him. This is significant because he states he is a supra and so we disagree strongly on Calvinism and reprobation, etc. etc. and yet he simultaneously writes as a brother in the Lord. Undoubtedly while we disagree on Calvinism, reprobation, supralapsarianism, etc. etc. I would bet that we are in complete agreement on the trinity, the deity of Christ, that salvation is through faith not works, that evangelism is not just about getting “decisions” (i.e., decisionism) but about making disciples, etc. etc. So Roberto is showing that he can disagree agreeably with another non-calvinist believer.

It was really sad that Roberto G writes gracious and non-hostile words, though we strongly disagree on calvinism and yet Dan responds to his civility with:

“DJP said... PoMo.”

Dan you are very confused and showing a very wrong attitude here. Roberto G was not saying that my views are just as valid or true as his (he would undoubtedly say that my views on Calvinism are incorrect, as I would say about his supralapsarian views as well). He was just trying to be civil and behave as a Christian towards one with whom he disagreed. But you just had to attack his civility with the charge of him manifesting postmodernism. That is really sad, when some evidences of Christian civility are turned into postmodernism. If **that** is postmodernism then we need more of **that** in the church today.

I liked his response to your improper charge of PO:

“PoMo=Post-modern? As in the acknowledgment of a different point of view is tantamount to accepting all points of view as valid? If that is the suggestion towards me, I feel no burden to defend that kind of subjectivism or relativism. I can express my agreement with the calvinistic position as stated while acknowledging another's different perspective. If I were to continue in a personal conversation with Robert, I would move beyond this step to more elaboration of the election and reprobation issue. That is the type of calvinist I am.”

Again I can respect and appreciate Roberto G’s words here. He disagrees with me on Calvinism that is obvious and that is even OK. What is not OK is to act like jerks towards each other when you disagree with other Christian brothers and sisters. Frankly I have seen Calvinists act like jerks quite a bit lately on the web, so Roberto G’s attitude is quite refreshing. It demonstrates that a Calvinist can disagree and disagree agreeably with a non-Calvinist. Others should imitate his example. It also encourages me because it shows that not all Calvinists are like jerks with those with whom they disagree.

Dan continued:

“DJP said... “So, you can't tell for yourself whether my 140-word post was dealt with fairly in his 800-word diatribe?”

Again, the length. That really is not a major issue. But then notice how Dan gets attacks my original post as a “diatribe” and suggests that I did not deal with his original post “fairly”. Again, Dan show me how my post was a “diatribe” and show me how I dealt with your words **unfairly**

I especially appreciated the following words by Roberto G:

“Virtually all interactions between calvinists and non-calvinists on the issue of election/reprobation involve calvinists on the receiving end of misrepresentations. But. for me, this isn't where the conversation should be stalled. Underneath their concerns, however expressed, lie objections calvinists should address. Persuasion through patience, logic, and charity is my goal.”

You know why I appreciate these words so much? Just put in non-calvinists and I could have written exactly the same thing:

“Virtually all interactions between calvinists and non-calvinists on the issue of election/reprobation involve non-calvinists on the receiving end of misrepresentations. But. for me, this isn't where the conversation should be stalled. Underneath their concerns, however expressed, lie objections non-calvinists should address. Persuasion through patience, logic, and charity is my goal.”

I especially like the ending words that when persuading other Christians (we are other Christians are we not?????) we should seek to persuade through patience and logic while maintaining charity/love towards other believers with whom we disagree. Now isn’t that exactly what the Lord would want from all of us who profess to be His disciples? And by the way, his words here clearly show that he is not some postmodernist. The postmodernist would not see his view as the right one and feel that others ought to be persuaded to hold to the right view and reject the wrong views that they currently hold.

Dan continues:

“DJP said... ...and whether they even read, think about, process, and deal honestly with the volumes of work we already have produced — irrelevant?


If a man doesn't even do a decent job with a 140-word post, I should engage him seriously at length, as he is cheered on by people who don't even care if he handled a 140-word post soberly or not?

I'm thinking not.”

Again, Dan you are asserting that my original post was too long, that I wildly misrepresented your post, that my post was a diatribe, did not treat your view fairly, and now here you add that I did not handle your post soberly. Again, prove your assertions.

And yet again Roberto G got it right when he wrote:

“I suppose that my experience dealing with non-calvinists is slightly different than others' experience. Robert's long response is really very mild in tone compared to what I have been on the receiving end of. No, a lengthy response certainly isn't necessary. I just consider it an easy thing to respond to. And the contrast between the biblical support for election/reprobation and a common evangelical point of view would have been instructive. I'm sure glad Luther finally dealt with...what's his name?”

Again, Roberto G’s words are irenic, not hostile, not bitter or hateful or full of animosity. And yet I have no doubt that he believes my views to be mistaken.

Regarding Luther are you referring to his debate with Erasmus or are you referring to his disagreements with Phillip Melanchthon, or are you referring to some other person Luther dealt with?

I would commend all of you other Calvinists to follow Roberto G’s example here. Or you could choose to act like jerks towards other believers (including Arminians, Molinists, Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, supras if you are infras, infras if you are supras, five pointers if you are four pointers, four pointers if you are five pointers, believer Baptists if you are Paedobaptists, Paedobaptists if you are believer Baptists, Dispensationalists if you are covenant theologians, covenant theologians if you are dispensationalists. Traditional dispensationalists if you are progressive dispensationalists, progressive dispensationalists if you are traditional dispensationalists, Presuppositionalist apologists if you are Evidentialist apologists, Evidentialist apologists if you are Evidentialists apologists, fans of Driscoll if you are not a fan of Driscoll, non-fans of Driscoll if you are a fan of Driscoll, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.) that you disagree with. It’s your choice.

Robert

DJP said...

1294 words, starts just as bad = waste

Rick Frueh said...

(Rick quietly pulls up a chair a hushes the crowd)

Roberto G said...

I suppose the first thing I would say to Robert is that he is correct to point out that "one who is genuinely saved will never be lost" is not an equivalent position to "the Calvinistic system." This is correct in itself. However, it is a red herring. The original post didn't intend to address the similarlities between eternal security and perseverance/preservation of the saints...

A.M. Mallett said...

DJP, the problem is with your terms, elect and reprobate. The elect are those chosen in Christ and the reprobate are those who shall perish. You should not find one single Arminian who would disagree. When you can come to terms with understanding what you oppose, you will have moved from one advancing zealotry to one seeking a proper understanding of those you should be acknowledging as brethren.

A.M. Mallett said...

Except perhaps Ephesians 1 "chose from before the foundation of the world"

There is no hint there of "chosen because you believe" kind of thinking. Only chosen because, well because he chose. (Which is generally how chose works isn't it?)
Those chosen are those faithful in Christ, known as such from before the foundations of the world. That is the orthodox teaching of the church for 2,000 years.

DJP said...

So, my using a term Biblically makes me responsible for everyone who won't?

Hunh.

/c:

The Squirrel said...

"Can it be surmised you came into this world spiritually alive and in right relationship with the LORD? If not, how did you respond to the LORD's call? He restored your right relationship lacking faith in Christ?"

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)(Ephesians 2:4-5 NASB)

Or, as Jesus said it to Nicodemus, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3b NASB)

That's perfectly clear... unless you think a child bears some responsibility for his own birth?

~Squirrel

Roberto G said...

(As an aside, the reason I am the way I am is that I remember being a non-calvinist. I remember the struggle, the battle, the wrestling with God over the nature of providence, free-will, etc. I didn't become persuaded over night. The means by which I was persuaded were rational and with much time). Who wudda thunk I would abandon free-will, dispensationalism, and many other things and embrace decretal theology, amillenialism, and other things, too? I have been granted the privilege of interacting, dialoging, and debating these topics with many of my brothers in the faith. Where would I be if someone wasn't like that with me?

A.M. Mallett said...

So, my using a term Biblically makes me responsible for everyone who won't?

Hun
Mormons use biblical terms as well and claim they are using them biblically. This is really an empty rhetorical argument. Hopefully you can defend your notions a little more vigorously. I can't spend a great deal of time with the playing with matches set

A.M. Mallett said...

Squirrel,
The issue is not one of any inherent capability to make one born again. It is instead a matter of what comes first, faith or rising in newness of life.

The Squirrel said...

"what comes first, faith or rising in newness of life."

Exactly! Dead people cannot make themselves alive!

To clarify, let's broaden the context:

Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.(Ephesians 2:3 NASB)


For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.(Romans 8:5-8 NASB)

Before regeneration, we were in the flesh, and, being in the flesh, we were unable to please God at all! Since believing God, trusting in Christ, pleases Him, we were unable to trust Christ.

~Squirrel

Stan McCullars said...

Robert, you DID misrepresent Dan, your protests notwithstanding.

If you have enough time to write such long comments you surely have time to reread your initial comment and compare it to what Dan posted and see where you went astray.

Roberto G said...

Continuing with Robert's paragraphs...
Both terms, election/reprobation, are found in the Scriptures. I would say I am glad you perceive: "This is all quite logical according to the Calvinistic system." For this, I am thankful to God, since many non-calvinists, whether believer or not, consider calvinism incoherent and this and other points. Again, though, you are right: the meaning of elect/reprobate in the original post was assumed according to calvinism...But the intention was not to define those terms, but to be precisely what you perceived: " a public and clear declaration of your Calvinistic beliefs."
More to come...

Jugulum said...

Robert,

For example: Look at what you said was Dan's first mistake. Then reread the original post.

Roberto G said...

Now that we've established that the point of DJP's post wasn't to argue for election/reprobation as calvinists view it, we'll continue with your other concerns. Yes, C's and A's hold that genuine believers will be saved. I say, the more we can agree on things, let's rejoice! Now, you next move to consider the issue of the "denier" and question whether it's valid to view a former, apparent unbeliever as a former, apparent "reprobate"....

Roberto G said...

You maintained: "God does not “reprobate” people, that is Calvinism not the bible." However, I would ask you to adduce some evidence to support the denial of ANY kind of reprobation. (Someone else in this thread pointed out that Reformation Arminians would also adopt some form of reprobation). Perhaps you spoke hastily here and simply meant to reject a calvinistic conception of reprobation. Even a minimalist conception of reprobation would have to include the biblical reality that God will reject those who ultimately do not repent and believe in Christ alone for salvation. At this point, I would maintain, that a calvinist is under no obligation to defend a supra or an infra conception of reprobation....more to come...

ezekiel said...

Daryl,

How do you get the idea that God wouldn't save someone that He knew would later commit apostacy?

He saved Israel out of Egypt, knowing full well they were headed for apostacy. He even told Moses they were going to turn away.

His chosen people turned away from Him in the wilderness, Samaria, Jerusalem a couple of times. That is all His people have ever done.

Claiming we are somehow different comes mighty close to boasting we are warned about in Romans 11.

It is what we are warned about in Revelation

I don't really see how you can argue otherwise when you take a quick look around you at the churches that have lost their lampstand. The one that have been blinded like He blinded Israel.

In the face of all the history and the warnings of the prophets, Jesus and the apostles, you guys are still saying it can't happen.

Now that is what I call an incredably strong delusion.

Roberto G said...

I agree with you wholeheartedly as to where you say our disagreement exists! Let's keep rejoicing! There's hope for REAL communication to take place! You mentioned: (calvinists believe) "that our eternal destinies are fixed and predetermined, or already decided by God not us before we ever come into existence (while I would maintain that while God foreknows our eternal destinies as he knows what we will do with the grace that we receive from Him, some will respond with faith becoming Christians, some will repeatedly and continuously reject God and so they will experience the “second death”). Although there is much here to unpack, I would like to take a stab at it... As you read the scriptures, you see a portrait of salvation that involves God's simple foreknowledge as the basis that differentiates between those saved and lost....more to come.

Chad V. said...

Phil Sorry it took so long for me to respond. Your comment was precisely the point I was trying to make. The condition of our perseverance is Christ's finished work not our works. I may not have made that entirely clear, but then again you can't say everything you want to say every time you comment. Our faith and works are the result of our union with Christ, they are the fruit not the cause.

I mean, how do you respond to some one who uses a phrase like "unconditional perseverance"? There isn't an established meaning for that phrase. No Calvinist I know has ever used it.

I think it's important to notice how election is the only doctrine which is labeled unconditional. There is no revealed condition which must be satisfied for God to elect a sinner. ( A note to you Arminians. There no text of scripture which says that God elected you because He foresaw that you would believe.)

The other doctrines contain conditions. For example. Forgiveness cannot occur with out a sacrifice for sins. Righteousness cannot occur without prefect obedience to the law. Justification cannot happen apart from faith. Perseverance is conditioned upon union with Christ. Those are all conditions. However, we do not fulfill those conditions out of our own works nor do our works co-operate in any way at all. God fulfills them in Christ and our union with Christ satisfies all those conditions. Because our election is unconditional, our salvation, our union with Christ is not conditioned upon any of our works. It can't be. Our righteousness is filthy rags.

We are saved by grace through faith, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one may boast.

Chad V. said...

Mallet You have to admit that a common objection to the Calvinistic doctrine of election made by Arminians is precisely that God elected those whom he foresaw would believe. It's been said by Arminians on this string and almost every single string I've ever read or participated in. In fact, it's what Giesler says in Chosen but Free. And I think that's what Dan is addressing, that's what I was addressing in my comment. ( Not that Dan needs me to stick up for him).

You said;

"The issue is not one of any inherent capability to make one born again. It is instead a matter of what comes first, faith or rising in newness of life."

I believe you are seeing this rightly if you mean by "rising in newness of life" regeneration. That's the issue. The Calvinsit maintains that regeneration must preceed faith since the carnal (fleshly) mind cannot be subject to God's law. We say that faith is the result of regenerating grace where as you might say (if I understand you correctly) that faith is the cause of regeneration.

To which I then ask you, how does one who is still in the flesh (unregenerate) exercise saving faith which is pleasing to God for salvation when the scriptures say that those who are in the flesh cannot please God? Rom 8:8

postpre said...

I'd like to present an alternative understanding to Ephesians 1 from what is typically propagated by Calvinists. Notice that from v. 3-12 Paul, as a Messianic Jew, uses first person plural pronouns (us, we, our). It's not until verse 13 that he addresses his Gentile readers, "In Him you also trusted."

I'd argue that when Paul stated in verse 4, "just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world", he was simply stating that God chose the nation of Israel, after all, they were the one "who first trusted in Christ" (verse 12).

Everything in verses 3-12 has to do with God's historical dealings with the Hebrew nation. There is no warrant to read into this passage unconditional election of individuals to salvation.

There is another interesting point from the phrase, "He made us accepted in the beloved." It turns out this phrase was a title for Israel. Roger Samsel points this out in a very eye opening article:

"Paul relied heavily on the Greek Old Testament called the Septuagint (LXX) in his quotes of the Old Testament. This is the Bible his readers were familiar with, and could actually read. The Hebrew Scriptures were rare, expensive, and impossible to read for Gentiles. A search of the LXX turns up this exact title. It is an affectionate title for Israel. It refers first to Jacob, whose name God changed to "Israel." And to all his descendants, the 12 tribes of Israel, that came from his loins. This title first appears in Deut. 32:15. "So Jacob ate and was filled, and the one having been beloved (o hgaphmenoV) kicked; he grew fat, he became thick and broad: then he forsook the God that made him, and departed from God his Saviour" (LXX). This title refers specifically to Israel's being "chosen" by God, when He brought them out of Egypt to be a separated nation unto Himself (Israel's election). It was this election of Israel, and separating them unto Himself, that earned this nation the title, "the one having been beloved."

http://www.pfrs.org/calvinism/eph1_3.html

Sir Brass said...

I believe postpre just delivered (for me) the killing blow to dispensationalism.

Paul makes it clear in Romans that there is now no more Jew or Greek. We who believe are ONE in Christ. Therefore the "us", "we", "our", in Paul's letters are to BELIEVERS no matter if they were jew or gentile.

True Israel is the catholic church (little 'c', not to be confused with the cult lead by that nut in Rome who wears a pointy hat), made up of both jew and gentile. For as Paul says, one is a jew who is one inwardly.

So, in Ephesians 1, Paul is addressing the BELIEVERS there, not just a subset at first but ALL. Paul clearly saw himself as a Christian first and foremost, and previously as a pharisaical jew.

This idea that God is salvifically dealing with ethnic jews differently than He is with non-ethnic-jews is a load of crock.

The folly of this stance (dispensationalism) is being demonstrated here..... no disrespect towards my calvinistic dispensational brethren.


.... break over, back to work.

postpre said...

Sir Brass,

You presented a straw man in your response. You attempted to discredit my post by stating the following:

"This idea that God is salvifically dealing with ethnic jews differently than He is with non-ethnic-jews is a load of crock.

Was this a point I made? It was not. I don't hold such a position. Paul, in Eph 1, was simply commenting on God's dealings with the Hebrew nation ("chose us in him") as an example for the Gentiles (whom God also provided redemption for).

"which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body,and partakers of His promise in Christ through the Gospel (Eph 3:5-6).

DJP said...

Brass, postpre's idea was an absurdity born of desperation.

But my gosh, dude, get your head out of the microwave. As long as I believe in the verbal, plenary inspiration of Scripture, I expect I'll be a dispensationalist.

And it has nothing to do with massacring Ephesians 1 to "tame" God.

postpre said...

DJP,

It's rather convenient to claim my post was an absurdity born out of desperation if you don't have to deal with the text.

Would the comments of Tertullian, the first known writer to comment on this passage, also be absurdity born out of desperation?

"Again, what Christ do the following words announce, when the Apostle says, 'That we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ?' Now, who could have first trusted — ie., previously trusted — in God, before His advent, besides Jews to whom Christ was previously announced from the beginning? He who was thus foretold, was also foretrusted. Hence, the Apostle refers the statement to himself, that is, to the Jews, in order that he may draw a distinction with respect to the Gentiles, (when he goes on to say:) 'In whom you also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel (of your salvation); in whom ye believed, and were sealed with His Holy Spirit of promise'." (Tertullian, Against Marcion, xvii)

Sir Brass said...

Dan,
All I'm saying is the level to which much of dispensationalism takes the disunity of the covenants can result in a massacre that we just saw. Not accusing YOU of it, though :). But, as has been noted of other calvinistic dispensationalists (aka, John MacArthur), y'all don't take dispensationalism to it's logical conclusion.

However, that is a debate for another day (and when I'm better prepared for it). And love ya anyway, DJP :). You're rock solid on this issue at hand HERE, it's just that I saw what was driving the Eph 1 interpretation massacre :).

DJP said...

That's right, PrePosterous, or whatever. It's in my contract. I don't have to treat absurd bypaths like they're not absurd bypaths.

It's usually a complete waste of time.

For someone to form and then actually say out loud such a view, there's already a degree of commitment there that rational argument can't touch.

Take yours.

"Oh, see, Paul isn't actually talking about election and predestination and adoption of Christians, as his words say. It's actually about... about... about the Jews, yeah, that's the ticket. Because of this and that distant reference that maybe might mean the same. Not because I hate Paul's portrait of a sovereign, electing God."

Would you agree that the immediately preceding verses are a nearer context than further verses?

I'll bring in as my witness Mr. Immediate Context.

"Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the [Jewish only?] saints who are in Ephesus, and [only Jews who?] are faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace to you [Jews only?] and peace from God our [only Jews'?] Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our [only Jews'?] Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us [only Jews?] in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places...."

It was a dumb idea. Paul says God sovereign selected some to salvation. You don't like it. There's stuff in the Bible we all don't like. But we need to deal, not dance.

DJP said...

Brass, the PrePosterous guy and his "The Jews!!" evasion is every bit as representative of dispensationalism as Harold Camping is of amillennialism.

(c;

Chad V. said...

postpre Remember what I said about reading comprehension. Tertullian says that Paul refers the statement in verse 12 "to himself, that is the Jews." Not the entirety of the first 12 verses.

And also, what Dan said.

Sir Brass said...

Dan,

Ouch =). I'm sorry for even opening that can of worms. I take it we can discuss this (the whole dispie thing, not this fragment) further on a later date on a more relevant meta?

DJP said...

Probably not here.

Also in my contract.

(c;

Sir Aaron said...

5:45Pm and 136 posts. I'm not going to even try to follow the various trains of thought.

DJP said...

Chicken.

Sir Brass said...

Dan,
Fair enough. I just wanted to be open for discussion/debate since I did open that can of worms. I'm just as happy leaving that as a "no touch-y/cheese me no likey" subject :).

Sir Aaron said...

No, Cadbury bunny

Daryl said...

Ezekiel,
You didn't read my whole post did you?

The Scripture is clear, yes, many will leave. But, get this, it even tells us why they leave, and it's not because they lost their salvation.

1 John 2:19
They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.

Clearly they were never saved. Just as in Israel, of whom Paul says "Not all Israel is Israel"

So, why insist that you have a better answer for apostasy than Scripture?

DJP said...

Yeah, Daryl; good luck with that.

Daryl said...

DJP,

I know, I tell myself that everytime I start typing.

But then I think, maybe someone else is listening, so I keep typing.

postpre said...

DJP,

I know, it's absurd of Paul to move from his greeting (vs. 1-2) to introduce an eloguent exposition of God's dealings with the Hebrew people (not a small biblical them, huh?) to awe his Ephesian readers.

It's absurd that verse 12 sums up anything at all from the previous verses ("that we who first trusted in Christ").

It's absurd that these verses are replete with OT allusions to Israel ("made known to us the mystery of his will", "abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence").

It's absurd of Paul to expect his readers to get inside his head and understand his words from the perspective of one who was keen to "the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises (Rom 9)." This certainly did not weigh on Paul's heart as much as introducing a completely new teaching about unconditional election of individuals to salvation.

Chad V. said...

Daryl That's a good way to look at it. Even though the one you are responding to may not be convinced there are other people reading along. I am personally aware of a couple instances where someone was convinced of good doctrine because they read a string like this a year or so after the fact and followed the arguments by both sides to the right conclusion.

Rick Frueh said...

The two moat difficult verses to incorporate into an eternal security format are:

II Pet.2:1 - ...even denying the Lord that bought them.

Heb.10:22-29 (In those verses the writer exhorts believers to gather together, and then warns them about willfully sinning because their punishment will be more severe than the OT saints.)

Verse 29 talks about a believer (23-25) counting the blood of Christ an unholy thing, the same blood by which he was sanctified (set apart).

DJP said...

Exactly, Preposterous. Absurd. And Paul is not an absurd writer. So leave him alone, let him say what he says. The flow is natural and unproblematic without your molestation. He greets his Christian brothers, then celebrates the blessings all Christians share in Christ. He traces it all back to the fountainhead, the sovereign and eternal electing grace of God.

If you don't love Paul's God, at least leave him be. It's simple honesty.

Chad V. said...

postpre Reading comprehension skills, remember?

Paul says "we who were the first to hope" in verse 12 to make just such a distinction. Before that its just "we" i.e. all Christians.

The first 11 verses are a general admonition which is applicable true for all Christians, especially the people to whom his Epistle is addressed.

postpre said...

Chad,

I've never said that all Christians don't partake in the blessings of verses 3-12 (the inclusion of the Gentiles in the gospel is a major theme of the book). It's just the Jews were the first to do so. Moreover, there are certain themes before verse 13 that are distinctly Jewish. Have you checked out the greek from the Septuagint which refers to "the one having been beloved (perfect passive participle). Let me know when you do that.

Chad V. said...

Nope, don't read Greek well enough for that. In fact, just barely well enough to use my Thayer's effectively. I'm just a poor ignorant hick.

But, or course it's full of Jewish themes, the entire New Testament is. It's dripping with them. Practiaclly on every page, and no wonder since the gospel is founded on the Old Testament. I can see that in English.

Your supposed knowledge of Greek hasn't helped you to see the rather drastic contrast between "we have redemption in His blood" (all believers) and "we who were the first to hope" (clearly some group distinct from the Ephesian Christians) because at that point not all Christians can be the first to hope and the church in Ephesus is of course established after the first believers of the gospel.

Chad V. said...

Now, I'm going to stop before I get roped into another three day long argument.

Roberto G said...

(continued from my 3:33 post)
You maintain (and in this forum, space and time compel us both to short and sweet responses)the quasi-arminian position, just as dogmatically as I would assert the calvinist position, that the nature of God's knowledge preserves the non-negotiable nature of human freedom. The former cannot be seen to suggest not even a hint of divine determinism, meticulous providence, or any other terms denoting the "fixed" nature of whatsoever comes to pass; the latter cannot even be conceived to be genuine unless it is of the libertarian variety...

DJP said...

postpre to Chad: Have you checked out the greek from the Septuagint which refers to "the one having been beloved (perfect passive participle). Let me know when you do that.

Chad V.Nope, don't read Greek well enough for that.

Don't bother. I doubt very much that post does, either.

I've read it about 36 years, so I'll let you in on the massive surprise that would be in for you. < whispers > You'd... find... that....

PAUL LOVED THE OLD TESTAMENT! A LOT!

And that phrases crept into his vocabulary all the time.

Perhaps even here, when describing the blessings that all Christians share in Christ, rooted in the sovereign, eternal, distinguishing, electing grace of God.

Roberto G said...

To Roberto continued...
As far as the nature of God's foreknowledge is concerned, let me suggest to you some considerations that seriously undermine NOT having a "fixed" view of both all our eternal destinies as well as whatsoever comes to pass. Anything that God knows will happen, cannot NOT happen. So, an appeal to God's foreknowledge will not preserve a non-fixed view of the world. I'm sure you can come up with some more examples of where God's knowledge strongly suggests His all-encompassing control of the whole sphere of reality. Take prophecy, any prophecy. Even if you are not persuaded that any one prophecy necessarily implies the "fixed" nature of reality, you must admit that "fixed" nature of that particular event prophesied is not in doubt...

Roberto G said...

I meant to Robert.
Ha!

Chad V. said...

Dan I did notice. ;-)

postpre said...

Chad and DJP,

If you ever decide to look at the passage more closely (i.e., observing the original greek) you may find the following comment from Roger Samsel illuminating:

"The definite article with redemption refers to the redemption so often promised to Israel in the Old Testament and prefigured in all of the sacrifices...Observe also that throughout verses 3-12, all of the verbs are aorist, past tense referring to the blessings of Israel throughout her history in the Old Testament. The only present tense verb in this section is this verb “we have” referring to the present possession of the redemption through His blood. This is further confirmation that the things Paul is listing are things that he considered to be in the past."

http://www.pfrs.org/calvinism/eph1_3.html

Roberto G said...

To Robert...
Prophecy reveals what a human being or a group of human beings will decide to do. It is an advance announcement of God's pre-existing decree or plan which includes decisions/actions of will. When the time of fulfillment is come, those involved cannot BUT choose to do as God knew they would do. Again, an appeal to foreknowledge doesn't preserve the type of freedom many suppose is found in the pages of scripture...So, there is at least one good reason to consider libertarian freedom, the type of freedom many, if not most, view as the only one that could be genuine to be seriously undercut; namely God's foreknowledge. But let's ask more about human freedom...

Chad V. said...

I think you're right Dan. He probably doesn't. Notice the reference to some one else's exegesis?

Post I'l let you in on a little secret. That redemption promised to is for all who believe the gospel. Pass it on.

DJP said...

Hm; but what if I told you I'd been reading Greek for 36 years (unlike you....

Hey, wait! I already did that!

Well, then, what if we looked at the context and found that it made it impossible nonsense to try to restrict that section to...

Hey! Wait a minute! We already did that!

Say, if I didn't know better, I'd say you were just a guy who was wasting our time because you are already committed to absurd notions that no amount of rational discussion can...

Hey! Wait a minute! I already said that!

See, folks? This is why I usually don't waste time with people like this.

Chad V. said...

woops, that was supoosed to say "promised to Israel". My bad.

Roberto G said...

Robert, as calvinists read the scriptures, we are deeply impressed by what man is capable of doing and not doing outside of Christ. We are capable of great heights of achievement in almost all realms of experience except the spiritual. Nowhere in scripture is it taught that we either generate the ability to choose to repent of our sins or the ability to exercise our wills to do other than reject the gospel. Moreover, we are deeply impressed by all divine decisions and initiatives involved in achieving the salvation of just one sinner, let alone the whole people of God...

postpre said...

Chad,

Once again, the point is not that all believers do not participate in the redemption. But, couldn't it have been prefigured by the sacrifices in the OT?

DJP,

Sorry for the blunder on your Greek. Do you think that you establish credibility by your language: "impossible nonsense, absurd notions, no amount of rational discussion?"

And tell me again why what I've presented is "impossible nonsense?"
Are you really under the perception that you have totally refuted me by your cursory examination of the text?

Strong Tower said...

Well, I just want to know what saved means.

Roberto G said...

The promise of a believer's eternal security itself is a strongly implicit confession of our utter dependence, til the end, upon God preserving our wills from apostasy, keeping us united to Him...It is not simply a revelation of what God saw the result would be down the corridor of time. It is a divine promise of what He would do to preserve His people. In the same way that it was "granted" to us to believe on Christ, calvinist believers feel compelled and convinced to maintain that God works in all believers to "will and to act" according to God's good purpose.

Reformant said...

The idea that God is PASSIVE in anything baffles me.

How can that argument be given, knowing what we know about our Lord?

A God who is all powerful and all knowing is not passive in anything, He is ACTIVE in His creation.

Ephesians 1:11-12
(11) In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,
(12) so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.

Chad V. said...

post Of course redemption is prefigured in the OT sacrifices. That doesn't have anything to do with the preposterous interpretation of the text given by you.

Nighty-night.

Roberto G said...

VERY loose ends...
Robert, earlier I meant Erasmus. And I was sorta hinting to my fellow calvinists the need to address concerns made by non-calvinists and not to be so quick to be dismissive. Luther, I think, was reluctant to respond to Erasmus. But I'm sure many calvinists are glad he did.
I don't know what your experience is in the church, but mine has been very diverse, both doctrinally and culturally, so I welcome the opportunity to listen to others, share, and defend my views. As a new guest here, I look forward to more stimulating conversations with my calvinist and non-calvinist brothers.

ezekiel said...

Daryl,

Rom 9:6 However, it is not as though God's Word had failed [coming to nothing]. For it is not everybody who is a descendant of Jacob (Israel) who belongs to [the true] Israel.

This verse means that ALL Israel are not all descended from Israel. It is refering to the Gentiles being grafted in. See also Romans 2:28 and 4:12-13. It has nothing to do with 1 John 2:19 or those that have left.

As to thinking that I have a better answer to apostacy than scripture, I don't really know where you got that. Scripture is the only answer to apostacy. I hope we agree on that.

If you will grab an amplified bible and read Ephesians 2:11-22 you may be better able to understand my point. The way I read it, we "the church" were made part of Israel. In doing so, the prophecy, the warnings, history and all the things we get from studying the OT make it pretty clear that Mattew 24 and Rev 2-3 are simply a repeat of what Israel has lived over and over. A repetitive cycle of salvation and apostacy. Nothing new under the sun.

On the other hand looking at us the way some do, the church is a new creation, standing alone and some day, Israel will be begging to get in the door. New rules, God has changed and we have a new dispensation of His grace now. Not.

What I don't understand is why, if you are correct, Paul felt the need to give us this. Take a look at 1 Cor 10:1-14 and let us know why you think we are any different from them.

I don't really expect that you will change the way you are looking at this, but like you say there are other folks reading.

The Squirrel said...

ezekiel:

You've go so many things in that soup of yours that just don't belong together that it's not even funny anymore.

You have what a friend of mine once described as a concrete mind, it's all mixed up and set.

Good night, all,

~Squirrel

Jon said...

My head hurts from all these posts...

My biggest problem is when people don't believe that the Bible teaches Eternal Security. If you believe that you can fall out of salvation, whether the rest of your theology is consistent or not, how is that grace in the slightest?

It's like God gave us the "grace" to choose him and then we get to take almost infinite tests in life to see if we'll stay saved.

Day #1: I walked to work today and somebody almost ran over me so I yelled at him (in a hateful way). Oops, lost salvation there. Repented at work. Phew! Saved again.

Day #2: Drove car to work today, spilled coffee on myself and used a curse word without even thinking. Unsaved again. Semi-truck crushes me into a pancake on way to work. Dead. DOH! I was unsaved at that moment in the day. Going to Hell. So much for saved before the foundation of the world.

This may seem a silly scenario to some people, but there are people who think this way because of their theology. What a burden in life. And while this may sound harsh it really strikes me as works righteousness and not grace.

I always look back at how sinful my nature was before I understood God's sovereignty, IN EVERYTHING! My dealings with pornography and lust were uncontrollable. I constantly felt the guilt and shame and constantly repented, but there was never any victory over those gross sins. But when I started to understand that Christ was the one who saves, the one who keeps, and not myself I realized the need for mercy and grace.

And for all the scripture references back and forth. "Arminians" bring up their proof texts, but I never hear their rebuttals to the "Calvinist" proof-texts. Or at the very least I find their interpretations of them without merit. Kinda like those amillienalists who deny that the Bible doesn't teach a literal 1000-year reign of Christ on earth. Oh wait, we're not discussing eschatology? My bad.

Ian Matthews said...

So (I am just trying to get around it) that would be like saying to a drowning man that if he cannot reach out and grab your hand and be saved then it was his fault and he deserves to die, even though the only reason others managed to reach out is because of the action of the person rescuing them?

Number 15 said...

Can someone suggest some text(s) that I can read as I wrestle with this issue (predestination/election) and before I ask my questions to anyone here? Preferably, at least some of the suggested texts would include direct and in-depth discussion on verses, which, on their face, would seem problematic to the Calvinist interpretation of election and predestination (a discussion of eternal security is secondary to my present interest). I am a baby-believer (repented and trusted as a result of a message by Todd Friel) and I recently lost my job, so please keep that in mind when making your suggestions (ie something that may start from the basics and stuff that isn't too pricey).

Also, not to be too demanding, but would you please address your responses to "Number 15", so I can easily find response to me with the handy Ctrl+F function.

Number 15 said...

Oh...thanks in advance!

bossmanham said...

Phil,

In Hebrews 6, I wonder what part of "who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit" means they were "almost" Christians?
==============
Next I'd like to beat up these out-of-context proof texts:

1. John 5:21 "For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom He will."
-In verse 24 Jesus tells us exactly who He wills to give eternal life. "he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me"2. John 6:44 "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him."
-And then we see who is drawn in John 12:32, "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself" (NASB).3. Matthew 22:14 "For many are called, but few are chosen."
-Sure, many are called, the elect in Christ are chosen. We are in Christ when we believe in Christ.

4. Ephesians 1:4 "even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world,that we should be holy and blameless before Him."
-It is clearly those who are IN CHRIST who are afforded the promises of God. God chose those who are IN CHRIST, meaning Christ is the chosen One and those who are in Him are chosen because of Him. This was decided before the foundation of the world.

To dig deeper into Ephesians 1: 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world - He chose both Jews and gentiles, whom he foreknew as believing in Christ (1 Peter 1:2). The key words are IN CHRIST5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself - God has predestined that all who believe (see vs 12 and 13) will be joint heirs with Christ; adopted into the kingdom of heaven.
-verse 7 is clear that it is IN CHRIST that we obtain these promises
10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. 11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. - Notice how often it is stressed to be IN CHRIST. Vs 11 we obtain the inheritence IN HIM and then it says what we are predestined for "that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory". Also notice we must first TURST CHRIST to be IN CHRIST.

5. Acts 13:48 "And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed."
-First note how you've taken this out of context, because Peter accuses those he is speaking to of rejecting the gospel of their own doing (not because of an eternal decree of God). Furthermore, Acts 5:31 and Acts 11:18 both say that God granted repentance to Israel and to the Gentiles, but these means only that He is granting to these groups the opportunity and means to believe and repent by taking the gospel to them. This is how this verse should aslo be understood.

Stefan said...

I affirm the doctrines of grace because I was once an atheist, an intellectual skeptic, who was raised to believe there is no God, despised those who called themselves born again Christians, and believed that the Bible was an artifact of (at best) pious falsehoods.

And yet...He kept putting up stumbling blocks in my path, forcing me to deal with Him whom I didn't believe in, and on His terms, not mine.

And yet...Jesus Christ died and was raised, even for my sins, even for my pride and scorn and contempt, and brought me to my knees in tears and repentance.

And yet...step by step, He is teaching me to honour Him in my marriage, and honour Him in my work, and honour Him in fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ, and honour Him in the world.

It's all of God. He sovereignly caused breath to enter me, and sovereignly gave me life, and sovereignly made me to know that He is Yahweh (Ezekiel 37:5-6), the living God.

There is not a snowball's chance in you-know-where that I would have come to faith in Christ without supernatural intervention. Plain and simple.

bossmanham said...

It looks like people are starting appeal to the Greek language to prove their point. The fact is, that doesn't help clear anything up because there are Arminians who read Greek, Calvinists who read Greek, Catholics who read Greek, Jehovah's Witnesses who read Greek, etc; and they all claim the Greek proves their point. It doesn't matter if you can read Greek. Most of us rely on an English translation of the Bible, I would recommend the translators clarify the meaning of the text if it is truly as simple as those who appeal to the Greek state. That's part of translating, interpreting what is being said. But there's the problem. They don't do it. Which means it isn't as cut and dry as is claimed (for if it was, there would be no debate about it).

bossmanham said...

"There is not a snowball's chance in you-know-where that I would have come to faith in Christ without supernatural intervention. Plain and simple."
-Stephan, as we Arminians who have posted here have stated a bazillion times, none of us believe we can come to God without His intervention. We differ on whether that intervention is particular and if it is resistible or not.

C.B. Shearer said...

Interesting discussion, we had a similar one recently in a class I took on John's Gospel.

I got called a hypercalvinist by making the audacious claim, "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all."

The conversational tone changed when I revealed that it wasn't I who said that, but the Holy One of God, Jesus Christ. (John 6:63)

This is why he told them that no one can come to him unless it is granted them by the Father.

Your friendly neighborhood hypercalvinist,
Canyon

Rita Martinez said...

Ian Matthews---> depends on the point of view...

DJP I would like to read a post on Dispensationalism perhaps on bibchr? if possible? pretty pleaseeeeee? unless you've already have in which case would you send me the link?

ooh nice/misspelled word verification: pyrou

Colin Maxwell said...

Bossmanham writes: That's part of translating, interpreting what is being said.It isn't really. Ideally, the translator is there to translate what is in the original text and nothing else. It is the job of the commentator and/or the preacher to interpret. If we incorporate the interpretation into the text, then we cannot search the scriptures to see if what the preacher is saying is so. This is because the interpretation becomes part of the text. Of course, the interpretation might be correct, but it should not be part of the sacred text nevertheless.

Regards,

Jon said...

Another small thought I had... faulty logic it may be...

Calvinists believe in the predestination of salvation from God and God alone. We believe he saves us completely apart from anything we do ourselves and he keeps us saved. All that he saves will be saved. Period.

Arminians generally believe that you need to choose to follow Christ and his commandments. That he may or may not keep you saved.

From these two soteriological viewpoints, which one gives more glory and honor to God?

If Calvinism is wrong then we've merely given God a little too much credit for our salvation when we should have realized that it was us being empowered by God to make a choice to be saved or not.

If Arminianism is wrong then you have taken away from God's glory of His salvation work. All this talk really comes down to one question in my mind.

Salvation is either ALL of God or it is NOT ALL of God.

As for me, I'm going put my salvation eggs into the basket that puts God's choice above my choice. And then trust that He will bring whom He wills to salvation, since I'm convinced that man has no power to change the heart of any man.

Frank Turk said...

One comment, and then this meta is closed.

Ian Matthews said:

[QUOTE]
So (I am just trying to get around it) that would be like saying to a drowning man that if he cannot reach out and grab your hand and be saved then it was his fault and he deserves to die, even though the only reason others managed to reach out is because of the action of the person rescuing them?
[/QUOTE]
.

No. Almost yes, but no. Calvinsism does in fact say, "even though the only reason others managed to reach out is because of the action of the person rescuing them," so there's your almost-yes.

But the problem is that your summary here overlooks why all men are drowning. If it was an accident, or some kind of unintentional disaster, or perhaps some other condition in which people were drowning through no fault of their own, then this analogy would hold up. But all men are drowning because they came upon the lake which is sin, climbed over the fence surrounding it which says, "lake is forbidden; violators will drown at their own peril," pushed past all the safeguards which would prevent them from going into the lake including something called their "conscience", and went into the lake because they intended to go into the lake, thereby choosing their own fate.

All men are in the lake because that's where they wanted to be. It is in fact their own fault they are drowning, and they deserve to die.

This meta is closed, and you can post qualified responses under this post here.

DJP said...

Loose ends:

Rita — see here, here, and here.

Plus: I plan to review a book on dispensationalism (at my blog) within the next week or so.

Preposterous — yes, absolutely. I decimated your argument. Maybe you wanted a show of straining and grunting? It wasn't hard. You did violence to the text to preserve your notion of a tame God and keep some glory for yourself. That's not Paul. It didn't work. Learn and grow.

DJP said...

Oh, sorry, one more:

Number 15, this is a good book.

Closed again.