A Biblical Critique of Calvinism Part 2a:
Old Testament Scriptures Teaching the Optional Nature of the Gospel Invitation

July 27, 2012

by
Dr. Michael A. Cox
Pastor, First Baptist Church of Pryor, Oklahoma, and author of

Not One Little Child: A Biblical Critique of Calvinism

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This is the fourth of a series of articles by Dr. Cox, with a Biblical critique of Calvinism drawn in part from his book Not One Little Child.
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Teachings espousing a limited freewill simply do not square either with Scripture or with life experience. Man does have options, both godly and ungodly (Prov. 1:29). Regarding election, Thom Rainer says that anyone who is lost forfeits salvation because of his or her own disobedience, not because of election or predestination.1 He acknowledges that a tension exists between humanity’s freewill and God’s sovereign choice and asserts that election is a sovereign, eternal decree from God which involves the choice of people to be the recipients of grace and salvation.2 I am comfortable saying that if election is understood as to service, it is extended to some; but if election is understood as to salvation, it is extended to all.

Rainer says election means to mark out beforehand, but rightly adds that this does not absolve humanity of the clear mandate to receive Christ and make disciples.3 John Newport declares that one aspect of mankind being created in the image of God is the gift of reason, and with it the power of reasonable choice, that is to say the ability to decide for ourselves.4 Fisher Humphreys argues that no Scripture should be interpreted to mean that God chooses any person for condemnation.5 McGrath asserts that, like the invalid at the pool of Bethesda, mankind is given the privilege of accepting or rejecting God’s cure for sin (John 5:6).6

McGrath further maintains that it takes two to make a relationship, and unless man says “Yes” to God, that relationship remains unfulfilled, for God has given mankind the immense privilege of saying “no” to Him.7 McGrath declares that God treats humans as persons, not as objects.8 ….*

A walk through the Old Testament demonstrates that mankind has a freewill and exercises it in every facet of human existence. Moses asserted this exercising of the freewill regarding choice of spouse (Gen. 24:5), contributions to God (Exod. 35:5), the offering of sacrifices to God (Lev. 1:3), and the presenting of peace offerings to God (Lev. 19:5). He again stated that sacrifices were offered according to the will of man (Lev. 22:19), and that thanksgiving sacrifices were offered at the will of man (Lev. 22:29). The inspired Chronicler proclaimed that God wants man to have a willing mind, but it is up to man (1 Chron. 28:9), and that God entreats man to consecrate himself, but man must be willing (1 Chron. 29:5). Isaiah declared that man must be willing to obey God (Isa. 1:19).

Perhaps one of the most famous passages in all the Old Testament regarding human options and God’s sovereignty is the one found in Jer. 18:1-12, which many recognize as the potter and the clay text. Jeremiah argued that both the potter and the clay are involved in shaping the clay into the vessel it will become. Moreover, this passage of Scripture may be the greatest text in the Old Testament for explaining the conditional nature of prophecies and purposes. While God’s nature never changes, nor does He repent in the human sense, His purposes, quite obviously, can be altered according to the moral and ethical decisions of man.

Notice in Jer. 18:1-3 that God speaks through ordinary occurrences. The potter had a purpose in mind and it is good, not evil, because God is good and not evil (Jer. 18:3). No good potter designs bad vessels intentionally. Human options are available. Also, we know that it is not God’s will that man murder man, nor is it God’s will that man steal from man, neither is it God’s will that man go to hell. Although man does not always choose to do so, the highest wisdom of man is to seek the potter’s good purpose. But there is the possibility of perverting the potter’s purpose.

Jeremiah 18:4-12 explains that the sovereign God works through free people. Man is free to choose sin or salvation (Jer. 18:4). The spoiling of the clay is not due to the potter’s mistake. Any spoiling is due to the stubbornness of the clay as it resists the potter’s touch, thus, man can resist God’s will. There would be little use in praying “Thy will be done” if it were already happening. But, thankfully, the potter can remake the vessel (Jer. 18:4); however, in order to do so the potter must crush the clay and start over. Additionally, Jeremiah knew that the stubbornness of sin hardens and hardening brings wrath (Jer. 19:11). God’s is a sovereignty that responds to the will of humans (Jer. 18:5-12). When He plans to pour out wrath upon people because of their evil, He alters His plans when they repent (Jer. 18:8). God remains willing to reshape the destiny of nations and individuals if they repent (Jer. 18:8). When He plans to bless, He alters His plans when they are disobedient (Jer. 18:10). God does not so much change His mind as He changes His plan (Jer. 18:8, 10). God’s actions, then, are conditioned by the moral behavior of mankind. Prophecy is not causative but morally conditioned whether stated or unstated. Evil action forfeits the rights to the fulfillment of a promise. In the case of Israel, an obedient remnant would receive fulfillment of the promises. So, the unlimited power of God is exercised according to man’s conduct not according to an unchangeable determination.9

Jeremiah further asserted that God does not afflict man willingly (Lam. 3:33). Daniel observed the freeness of the human will when he declared that the King of Persia would rule as he pleased (Dan. 11:3). And, Hosea announced that nations and people choose willingly to live as they do (Hos. 5:11).

Jonah 1:1-3 is another excellent Old Testament example of the exercising of the human will in direct opposition to God’s revealed will. The Bible says that the word of the Lord came to Jonah (Jon. 1:1). We are not told how the word came. Was it audible, written, or was Jonah simply stirred from within? Regardless of the medium, Jonah knew what it was. Ironically, the historical drama of the prophet Jonah somewhat parallels the factual drama of the nation of Israel in that both the nation of Israel and the prophet Jonah had been selected for the task of delivering God’s word to the world (Gen. 12:1-3). Jonah’s resentment toward the all-inclusive scope of God’s love reflects the narrow exclusivity of any who would restrict the range of God’s saving grace only to an elect few. God wants to show mercy to all and He wants to bless all. Believers are told to go and be His witnesses, even to those who drove the nails into the hands of Jesus and to the one who pierced His side with a spear, that they all might repent and believe (Acts 1:8). Jonah is commanded —— the words are imperatives -—to arise, go to Nineveh, and preach against it (Jon. 1:2). The idolatry (fertility cult), self-confident pride (Isa. 10:13), and cruelty to others (Nah. 3:1, 10, 19) practiced by the inhabitants of Nineveh had reached God’s limit. In that Jonah was commanded to preach against the city, the threatening nature of the message becomes obvious. Jonah was to announce imminent judgment, leaving to the conscience of each listener to judge why it was coming.10 When the cry of wickedness goes up to God, the cry of judgment comes down to man.

Nineveh was a principal city of Assyria (Gen. 10:11-12) whose oldest discovered remains date to ca. 4500 B.C.11 Assyria had waned in military superiority but was regaining power. It was to these hated, oppressive people that God commanded Jonah to go and preach, some fifty years before Assyria’s invasion of the Northern Kingdom in about 722-21 B.C. Jonah’s assignment was not just for the good of Assyria but also served to shame Israel, in that a heathen nation would repent as a result of one sermon from one prophet, whereas Israel and Judah had heard many sermons from many prophets without repenting. However, even with the knowledge of God’s will and the awareness of the spiritual needs of the Ninevites, Jonah fled from God’s presence. He exercised his option.

Did Jonah really think he could escape from the presence of the Lord? No, he knew better, for in Jon. 1:9 he admitted that God was Lord of heaven, that God made the sea and the land, and fully believed that God was capable of destroying distant cities like Nineveh. “Fleeing from the presence of the Lord” is metaphorical language only. “Standing in the presence of the Lord” was also a figure of speech indicating a special position of service to God (2 Chron. 29:11). What a horrible thought: Jonah chose to resign his position as a prophet rather than be obedient. Jonah was attempting to escape his duty.

In all the other books of the prophets the reader encounters faithful men whose sole intent was to proclaim ardently the word of God which turns mankind to repentance, but not with Jonah, at least not here. Voluntary obedience to the leadership of God is essential for the well-being of man. Nevertheless, God could have turned to someone else, but did not.

Jonah set out on a journey. To go to Nineveh? No way! Nineveh was only 500 miles northeast of Israel. He went toward the Palestinian coast to catch a ship headed to Tarshish! The human will can resist God’s will. Ironically, some yearn to know the will of God in order to do it, while others already know the will of God and spurn it. Many Bible scholars think that Tarshish was in Spain, if so, this is the opposite direction (west) of where God told Jonah to go (east) and was as far away as he could get from God’s will! Does going the opposite direction sound familiar? He put as much distance as possible between him and Nineveh, implying that he wanted nothing to do with the assignment and that he wanted as far away as possible from God’s destructive action. He expected a God-bomb to be dropped on Nineveh and he wanted it to happen.

No one really knows for sure where Tarshish is, although most of us have been there — the exact opposite of what God wants! Jonah did what many do today when it comes to Christian responsibility — run, hide, or quit. Jonah found a ship headed opposite of where God wanted him to go and the Bible says he “paid the fare.” What an understatement! Did he ever pay, and with more than money! He would pay dearly with endangering the lives of others, suicidal tendencies, the terror of darkness in a fish’s belly, the stench of the same, and the damage to his body caused by the digestive secretions in the fish’s stomach. Carnal (fleshly), renegade believers cannot rebel against God without incurring His disciplinary chastisement. Jonah “paid the fare” all right, and dearly. He boarded the ship in disobedience to God, being quite willing to suffer the inescapable vengeance of heaven rather than evangelize the Ninevites. He knew how hideously cruel and barbaric the Assyrians were in war, wrenching out the tongues of enemies, flaying people alive and then stretching out their skins on city walls to terrify and leave lasting fears. When he heard that Nineveh would be destroyed he leaped for joy! Jonah feared that God’s mercy would spare the Ninevites, so he decided that he would rather die than have thousands of Assyrian converts. Jonah wished to escape, not beyond God’s presence, but beyond God’s service. The will of God was intolerable to him. Thus we poignantly learn that obedience to God demands renunciation of prejudices and of the lust for vengeance upon enemies, and requires letting the mind and will be shaped in accordance with God’s mind and will. Jonah chose to refuse his God-given assignment and it almost cost him his life. Nevertheless, he had an option and he exercised it.

Further, Jon. 3:9-10 reiterates what we saw in Jer. 18 regarding God changing His plan in response to man’s choices. The King of Nineveh was unsure how God might react to city-wide repentance. “Who knows?” he asked. “Perhaps God will turn and relent.” “Maybe he will withdraw his burning anger so that we might not perish.” The Ninevites were uncertain how faith and repentance would be received by God, whereas we know most assuredly the results these produce. But what happened? The answer is found in Jon. 3:10. The Lord spared Nineveh. God saw their deeds. Notice also that their repentance was demonstrated by deeds, not just by words. God saw that they genuinely turned from wickedness. Thus, God got what He wanted from them and no animal sacrifices were even necessary, only broken and contrite hearts. The Bible says that God changed His mind concerning the destruction He was about to bring. This means that God heaved a sigh of relief. His greatest desire is not to destroy man but to save him. Hence, God’s actions are conditional based upon what man does or does not do. When we opt to repent, God is effectively relieved of His obligation to punish our sin and He is cleared to do what He longs to do — show mercy. God delights in showing mercy to the penitent. He can deal either gently or harshly with man, for both are in His repertoire. In Jon. 3:10 God rescinded His order of destruction because the people repented, thus God changes His mind as man changes his manners through faith and repentance.

So, both Jeremiah and Jonah underscored a significant fact about God: He is more concerned with moral and ethical responses than the literal fulfillment of promises, and will, in fact, alter those prophecies in accordance with man’s behavioral choices which are borne out of faith and repentance. It is far better that Jonah be embarrassed over his prophecy not coming to pass than that a repentant soul be sent to hell! God offers man and woman a new start. You have only to turn to him in repentance, faith, and obedience! The Old Testament certainly declares that mankind has options and may choose them, even if they are not what God wills, but woe to those who opt to rebuff God.

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The next article in this series will explore the New Testament Scriptures teaching the optional nature of the gospel invitation.

1Thom S. Rainer, The Book of Church Growth: History Theology, and Principles (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1993), 140.

2Ibid.

3Ibid.

4John P. Newport, The New Age Movement and the Biblical Worldview: Conflict and Dialogue (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1998), 440.

5Fisher Humphreys, and Paul E. Robertson. God So Loved the World: Traditional Baptists and Calvinism (New Orleans, LA: Insight Press, 2000), 50.

6Alister E. McGrath, Justification by Faith: What It Means to Us Today (Grand Rapids, MI: Academie Books, 1988), 19.

7Ibid., 104.

8Ibid.

9C.F. Keil, and F. Delitzsch, Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, Jeremiah, by C. F. Keil, vol. 8. trans. James Kennedy (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., reprint, 1986), 295.

10H. L. Ellison, Jonah, in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, vol. 7, Daniel – Minor Prophets (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1985), 369.

11Ibid., 368.

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*Eds’. note:

SBCToday’s editorial team has conferred regarding a couple of sentences in Dr. Michael Cox’s post on July 27 titled “A Biblical Critique of Calvinism Part 2a: Old Testament Scriptures Teaching the Optional Nature of the Gospel Invitation.”

While we agree that the analogy was intended by Dr. Cox to be illustrative of a significant point, we also are aware that the comparison presented significant offense to others. We must note that, the analogy is not original with Dr. Cox (see CS Lewis’ Screwtape Letters, works by Norman Geisler and RC Sproul). Further, we have no desire to be insensitive to others — especially if the analogy is personal — nor do we want to diminish the informative treatise by Dr. Cox.

To those who moved past the analogy and conversed about other salient points in Dr. Cox’s post, we are grateful. But for those who were offended by the two sentences in question, we offer our sincerest apology to you and ask for your forgiveness. We deeply regret any negative impact; and to illustrate our genuine lament in this matter, we have removed the analogy and the sentence subsequent to it.

 

 

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Bob Hadley

Going to be an interesting day in the neighborhood!

><>”

Matt

It would be hard to find an example of a more man centered theology anywhere. The author says, “While God’s nature never changes, nor does He repent in the human sense, His purposes, quite obviously, can be altered according to the moral and ethical decisions of man.” Are we to now interpret stories from scripture that are written from an anthropomorphic perspective, to place emphasis on human accountablility, as contradicting so many didactic scriptures that proclaim God’s sovreign control over the affairs of men. Are we to believe that the omnicient Creator actually alters his purposes due to the way people act? Was he surprised by thier actions? Did he not know all thier actions from eternity? If he did, then how could he possibly alter his purposes based on thier actions?

I’m sure there will be plenty of people who will blindly defend these statements. I could spend a lot of time picking this apart line by line and quoting many verses that say plainly what the author denies, but is it really necessary? If someone can’t see the enormous problems with this article by simply reading it, then I have a feeling that no amount of reasoning will change thier mind.

    Bob Hadley

    Matt…

    Don’t you think your own statement is quite condescending… “I’m sure there will be plenty of people who will blindly defend these statements.” Seems to me you are basically saying that you are casting your pearls before the swine.

    I think that is a bit much don’t you?

    ><>”

      Matt

      Bob,

      SBCToday has reminded me of something I learned years ago: that people will blindly defend the idea of what they think God should be, even if that goes against what reason and scripture demand God is. I don’t intend this to sound condescending, but I know it probably does. That doesn’t make the statement untrue. I may take a break from this website for a while. I think there are more productive ways for me to spend my time than debating with people who refuse to even consider what I’m saying simply because they don’t think God should be the way that Calvinists believe. I pray that God blesses and uses us all to further His kingdom.

Not The Original Les

Yes, so many problems with this piece. God is dependent on man? As Matt said above, “It would be hard to find an example of a more man centered theology anywhere.”

But this, “rape involves treating a person as an object, which is exactly what both Calvinism and Universalism propose.”

Calvinism is like rape? Just how offensive can you all be to protect your idea of man’s free will? All of us should be offended at this analogy, but especially women should be offended by using the horrible human abuse known as rape to try and score points against Calvinism. #sinkingtoanewlow

Les

    Bob Hadley

    Les,

    Seems to me that there is a big difference in saying “God is dependent on man’s decisions” and “God’s choices are predicated by man’s decisions.” I think Dr. Cox’s presentation is better described by the latter as opposed to the former.

    It would be nice if you guys would actually interact with the reasons he gave in support of his position as opposed to a simple… “God is dependent on man… what a man centered theology.” Looks like he and NOT you has pointed to the Scripture which is supposed to be our guide. Right?

    I will admit that the reference tying calvinism to rape, regardless of WHAT he wanted to say, was probably not the best choice of words. However, your retort was equally errant when you wrote, ” Just how offensive can you all be to protect your idea of man’s free will?” This is a bit arrogant on your part and equally condescending as was Matt’s statement above don’t you think?

    ><>”

      Not The Original Les

      Bob,

      The man-centeredness of this piece is blatantly obvious. Frankly that is not surprising. But the rape analogy is so offensive that it dwarfs the unsurprising points he tries to make for his understanding of the relationship between God’s sovereignty and man’s will.

      I suggest this post be pulled. IMO the use of rape as an analogy for Calvinism is unconscionable. But count me to not be surprised if he and this analogy are not defended. I’m not really expecting to see any of the women who comment here speak up against this kind of rhetoric.

      I can only imagine if Al Mohler had made a comparison of trad theology to the abuse of women. Would we EVER hear the end of it. Also, think Dr. Nettles and his recent comments about the water fountain.

        Daniel Wilcox

        Les,

        But we shouldn’t be offended by the declaration of Calvinists that God ordained the Jewish Holocaust for his own pleasure and glory, that God willed for Adam and Eve to sin, that every baby at conception is a vile worm and countless other horrid statements? (Documentation for each of these statements from famous Calvinists including Calvin will be tragically provided if desired)

        In my second introduction to Calvinism at 20 years of age, a well-known Calvinist lectured us that God plans every rape and every murder. Needless to say I got up and left that Bible study:-(

        How about instead of coming up with these awful descriptions, we trust in John 3:16 as it plainly reads to the youngest and most simple?

        Daniel Wilcox

          Not The Original Les

          Daniel,

          i’m not here to condone nor condemn every analogy given by either side. The fact is that RAPE was used here…today. I have no interest in school yard morality, “well he said it first.”

          Will you condemn the rape analogy made here, today?

          les

            Daniel Wilcox

            Les,

            I do condemn the rape analogy.

            But now the question is will you and other Calvinists condemn the claim made by Calvinists that God plans/ordains every rape?

            The act is much worse than the analogy!

            Thanks for the dialog,
            Daniel Wilcox

            Matt

            Daniel,

            If you affirm the omnicience and omnipotence of God, then you are stuck with the same question. Surely God knows that a rapist will attack someone before they actually do it. He has the power to stop them, but he chooses to allow them to carry out the rape. I believe that God does not allow gratuatous sins. The Bible tells us that God “works all things in accordance with the purpose of His will” and that ultimately “all things work for the good of those who love God.” I do believe that God intends for evil things to happen because these things work toward the accomplishment of His purposes. Why do you believe He chooses for things like this to happen? Is it because the free-will of the rapist is more important to Him than the life of the victim?

            God bless

          R. Smith

          “In my second introduction to Calvinism at 20 years of age, a well-known Calvinist lectured us that God plans every rape and every murder. Needless to say I got up and left that Bible study:-(”

          Do you quit reading the Bible when it teaches that God planned/ordained the crucifixion of Christ? Was the flood, in which millions died, planned/ordained by God? Or the fire and brimstone on Sodom. Or did the event spoken of here take place because of the plan and ordination of God?:

          2 Chronicles 18:33

          “And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: therefore he said to his chariot man, Turn thine hand, that thou mayest carry me out of the host; for I am wounded. ”

          Don’t you think God planned and controlled the exact flight path and timing of that arrow so that it would do what God wanted it to?

          Or when the bears killed the children that called the prophet “bald headed” do that without God foreordaining that that should happen. That’s just a few examples off the top of my head. There’s got to be thousands more examples. Of course God foreordains everything that happens. He works ALL things after the counsel (plan) of His own will (desire). After all, He is God of the universe, not the small time mayor of a small town.

          I’m glad that God’s in control of all events. Then I know that what ever happens in my life was under the exacting control of God. Then I know, if I’m thinking right, that when troubles come, I know that He “only desires thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.” Otherwise when something comes that I don’t understand, I would have to wonder, “did this get past God? Did He want this to happen or did something or someone God couldn’t control and over power God’s desire for me? No! Not in a million years! I wouldn’t want to be thinking that sometimes at least God doesn’t get his way. What kind of God is that? That’s surely not Jehovah God.

      Not The Original Les

      And Bob,

      “” Just how offensive can you all be to protect your idea of man’s free will?” This is a bit arrogant on your part and equally condescending as was Matt’s statement above don’t you think?”

      No. Not even close!!

        Bob Hadley

        My point was “you all be”.

        ><>”

          Not The Original Les

          Bob,

          “you all” was meant to be in reference to the blog owners and editors who allow the posts, and the writers of the posts themselves. It was not aimed at all Trads. I’m sorry if I was not clear on that.

          That said, I would hope that Trads here would strongly repudiate this kind of language and also call for this post to be removed and replaced with an apology.

          volfan007

          Les,

          Dr. Cox wrote the article. And, while I agree with much of what he wrote, the rape analogy was a little over the top. But, he was trying to make a point that people are being forced to do things against thier will. I agree that he probably should’ve picked a better way to say it. But, in the Calvinist scheme of things, man is saved against his will….or with no real choice in the matter….you know, irresistible grace.

          David

            volfan007

            Les,

            Also, all Trads, or Biblicists, did not write this article. Dr. Cox wrote it.

            David

            Not The Original Les

            David,

            “the rape analogy was a little over the top.”

            A little over the top? A little? As I said above, “I can only imagine if Al Mohler had made a comparison of trad theology to the abuse of women. Would we EVER hear the end of it. Also, think Dr. Nettles and his recent comments about the water fountain.”

            My gosh David. Mohler and Nettles have been continually raked over the coals for their “offensive” remarks. One about semi-Pelagian and the other about drinking from a fountain.

            This is RAPE! Yes, all caps. Whether I had a family abused and violated by a rapist I would still be outraged. Fact is, as I shared with Bob Hadley offline, I have a close family member who was raped. Brother this is more than a “little over the top.”

            “But, he was trying to make a point that people are being forced to do things against thier will.”

            There are a myriad of other ways this point could have been made.

            Right now I care not about debating the how God saves. That’s not going to be settled anytime soon. And I am aware all Trads didn’t write this. But all Trads who see this have a choice. Downplay it and minimize it or call for its removal.

            No David, this analogy is inexcusable and I call on all, Calvinists and Trads to strongly condemn this and call for this post to be pulled and replaced with an apology.

            Les

            Bill Mac

            God has killed people against their will. God has thrown people into hell against their will. Our ability to choose things is undeniable, but our free will is not inviolate. God choosing to soften our sin-hardened hearts so that our eyes are opened to the truth of the Gospel is not even a little like rape. It is more than a “little over the top”.

            volfan007

            Les and Bill Mac,

            I agree that this analogy was over the top…..shouldn’t have been used….was not the best choice….

            Now, let’s hear yall say that the words of Nettles and Mohler were not good, and not right. I’d like to hear yall give an equal condemnation of what they said.

            David

            Not The Original Les

            David,

            “Now, let’s hear yall say that the words of Nettles and Mohler were not good, and not right. I’d like to hear yall give an equal condemnation of what they said.”

            With all due respect, this kind of comment plays into a “I’ll admit I’m wrong if you’ll admit you’re wrong.” I’m not saying this of you personally.

            But neither will I participate in some sort of “you admit and then I’ll admit” back and forth. Let’s not try to divert from the extreme offensiveness of this rape analogy.

            volfan007

            Les,

            Maybe you’re not actually reading my comments. Scroll up, and see what I said about Dr. Cox’s comments.

            Now, let’s see if you, or Bill Mac will say the same about Dr. Nettles and Dr. Mohler.

            David

            Mary

            “Now, let’s hear yall say that the words of Nettles and Mohler were not good, and not right. I’d like to hear yall give an equal condemnation of what they said”

            That’ll never happen because obviously they’re Calvinists idols and are above reproach. Being Calvinist means never having to say you’re sorry.

            Bill Mac

            Now, let’s hear yall say that the words of Nettles and Mohler were not good, and not right. I’d like to hear yall give an equal condemnation of what they said.

            Equal condemnation? No, I don’t think so. Saying the TS has a wisp of semi-pelagianism isn’t quite the same as calling the God of Calvinists a rapist.

            However, I think the whole SP thing is silly and people ought to stop throwing around the accusation. It is clear that there is disagreement over what semipelagianism is and that the signers of the TS have been careful enough not to articulate SP theology. I’m no Mohler fan, and he has often said things he shouldn’t.

            I’m a white boy from the far north, so it didn’t occur to me to be offended at Nettles words. To be honest, I think a good deal of that offense is manufactured, but there’s no doubt people need to be careful with racial speech.

            So yes, I’ll say Mohler and Nettles were wrong.

            SAGordon

            David,

            A little over the top is Bob.

            The analogy of rape is inexcusable. Much like equating conservative Christians with the Taliban.

            Also, to continue Les’ point…I’m confident that MOST IF NOT ALL TRADITIONALISTS would mount a crusade if this had been Mohler or Nettles proffering this analogy to an aspect of that soteriology.

            This is abhorent. I am ashamed to see what sbctoday has become.

        Mary

        Hey Les, I hope you have you’re heart medicine. The rape analogy is completely unacceptable. Cox needs to apologize and reword if he’s paying any attention.

        His remarks remind me of that blog post where someone stated the release of the Trad Doc was violence compared to the violence in Israel.

          volfan007

          Mary,

          :)

          Also, Mary, dont forget about the cries of heresy against the Trads! Heretics! Now, that was a nice word.

          lol

          David

    Adam

    I agree the rape bit is highly offensive. Rape implies something non-consentual. No true Calvinist believes that a true believer comes to Christ against his will. Whosoever comes to Christ does so because he wants to.

    That is not the issue with Calvinism. The issue, or the question, is why does he want to come to Christ? In his own power, or left to himself, no man would come because God has turned him over to a depraved mind (Rom 1:18:32). He sins because he wants to. The necessity of the Holy Spirit\’s work in regeneration is obvious considering man\’s \”deadness.\” The Holy Spirit regenerates/gives new life to a man who repents and puts his faith Jesus (both of which, that is repentance and faith, are considered gifts in the NT). Man does these things because he wants to, not because God rapes him.

      volfan007

      Adam,

      I agree that the rape analogy was over the top. But, you said that Calvinism does teach that man comes to Christ, because he wants to. Yet, if you believe in irresistible grace, then a man gets saved, because he is MADE to want to. He is not really choosing, in the Calvinist scheme of things. He is MADE to want to….not because he has chosen….BIG difference.

      David

        Adam

        Okay, I will readily concede that. And I thank God that He made me want him, otherwise I would be absolutely and forever lost. In my opinion, no orthodox Christian can say that he made a totally free decision. Every decision has something influencing it, whether it be something small or large.

        The Scripture is clear that the work of salvation is God’s. What are the two things required of any person to become a follower of Christ? Repent and believe. Someone can argue all day long that these are things we do, and I will agree. At the same time, these things we do are still given to us by God.

        Repentance: And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

        (2 Timothy 2:24-26 ESV)

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

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

        The word “granted,” from the Greek word karizomai, meaning “to give graciously.”

        SAGordon

        David,

        Your definition of Effectual Calling is stereotypical reductio ad absurditum. Please utilize the correct definition or else cease and desist.

        (Yeah, having come to this thread through a Facebook heads up about the aforementioned analogy have me in a stir.)

          volfan007

          Scott,

          If you believe in irresistible grace, then what I said above is true. How is it not?

          David

            SAGordon

            David,

            I have not the time to delve into this, but merely reasserting that what you have said is simply ‘true,’ is weak argument at best…

            I suggest you pick up a few books by Calvinist theologians and listen very, very carefully to how they describe, biblically, the understanding of grace, election, and calling.

    Tom Parker

    Not the original Les:

    It was said in the blog post:”But this, “rape involves treating a person as an object, which is exactly what both Calvinism and Universalism propose.”

    Unbelievable sentence, but I must guess those that feel this way would want any and all Calvinists out of the SBC.

Jeremy Crowder

While I enjoyed what appears here is from the Old Testament hopefully other parts printed will have New Testament Scripture. It is just hard to discuss a system that deals with salvation from Old Testament scripture. That being said I do believe the Old Testament verses use indicate free will and that our actions do cause actions to occur or not occur. God does stop judgement when people repent or change course. Only looking at the Bible through the calvinist lens does people have this idea that man’s actions don’t impact the actions taken by God.

Adam

Quick question: does God have exhaustive knowledge of all future events?

Hate to say it, but I’m reading what is at least borderline Open Theism in this article.

Bill Mac

I think we should be careful not to accuse the author of Open Theism, but the idea of God heaving a sigh of relief does paint a picture of a God anxiously waiting to see what happens. I for one have no problem with the idea that some of God’s actions are predicated upon man’s actions. I do think the author hasn’t given enough thought to God’s exhaustive foreknowledge.

Calvinists and non-Calvinists alike need to realize the logical extremes of their theologies if we do not hold some things in tension. For Calvinists it is strict determinism, for non-Calvinists it is open theism.

The rape analogy is beyond the pale. I have no doubt some will happily defend it, but this is what I have been talking about. This guy seems fairly reasonable, but he has poisoned the well. The rape analogy does not make for discussion. It makes this a Calvinist hit piece. It’s too bad because we might have been able to work with this one.

    Adam

    no accusation intended, but I’ve been reading a lot on Open Theism, and some parts of this article fall in line with other adherents of Open Theism.

    Considering the call from the Trads for transparency, I think the same holds true on all sides, and either Gods knows all things exhaustively or he doesn’t. Furthermore, to read the Scriptures without consideration of the use of anthropomorphism will surely confuse our thoughts on the character. We are created in the image of God, not the other way around.

      Adam

      *the character of God, that is

      Eddie

      I am a TS and agree with the article, but Adam deserves some leeway here…

      While I do not think for one second that the author is suggesting Open Theism, I do think the wording could have been a bit more precise. I have been reading these articles and posts because I care about the future of the SBC. Many of the posts have helped me better understand the issue; however, I am afraid that the argumentative tone in some of these posts does little to bring a better understanding to the concerns raised on both sides (and all in the middle). Thank you all who are discussing this very important issue with the attitude of Philippians 2:3 “…with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves…” Your posts have been helpful to me.

      I think what Adam is questioning here is one of Calvinism’s greatest concern (I could be wrong); Is God Sovereign or not? I would ask, however, does exhaustive sovereign omniscience (which I believe to be true, and I hope other TS do also) equal divine determinism? I cannot speak for all TS signers, but as for myself, I believe it is impossible for God to be any less than exhaustively sovereign, in all aspects, including salvation, or He would not be God. While at the same time, I do not have to reject that man has free moral choice to surrender to or rebel against the drawing of God to Himself through His Word. It is by grace alone that we are saved and is all God’s work through the atonement and the inspiration of the gospel message. I do not have to deny total depravity (though I would be careful how it is defined); while at the same time I can affirm that the will is fallen but not incapacitated. Why? Because it is not necessary to know how fallen the will may be if the Word of God, which is the power of God for salvation (Rom 1:16), is able to penetrate the hardest of hearts (Heb 4:12).

      To clarify, I am saying it is neither about the ability nor inability of man’s will, rather it is about the sufficiency of the Word to save. The Gospel goes out to the whole world and will not return void… (Isa 55:11). Is it possible that God created the world in such a way that man has free moral choice, even in a fallen state, and is held accountable for his rebellion, and at the same time God remain sovereign? BTW, I am not suggesting some form of foreknowledge that sees man’s response, etc., since all that He would see is Romans 3:10-18, no one looking for God… I am saying that for God to be God, He must foreknow everything, but that does not mean that He made it happen by force, or without requiring moral choice on our part.

      I’m sure that I could have made that more clear, but if you would, please do not assume that I am simply refuting Calvinism… I for one believe in one truth, which is from God… Therefore, we are bound by Scripture to find it, even if that means we continue to discuss this issue until the Lord returns. Also, I am not a biblical scholar, rather a student of the Word, so you guys be nice in your responses…

      Thanks Adam, your response was helpful to me…

    Bill Mac

    We will see if the folks who were so offended at Tom Nettles using a minor racial analogy will be at least equally offended at the idea that the God of Calvinism is a rapist.

      volfan007

      Bill Mac,

      “MINOR” racial analogy. lol. But, Dr. Cox’s rape analogy is “beyond the pale,” and will make it hard to work with this one…..because it’s a Calvinist hit piece??????

      lol. C’mon, Bro. Aint we getting a little too PC in this world?

      I am a horizontally challenged, English/German/French/Cherokee American. lol

      David

        volfan007

        BTW, that means that I’m a fat, white boy from the Southern part of America.

        David :)

        Not The Original Les

        David,

        “Aint we getting a little too PC in this world?”

        Did you say this a few weeks ago about Dr. Nettles’ remarks and the call for his censure and firing and demands for an apology? Maybe you did and I missed it.

        Les

          volfan007

          Les,

          I dont remember calling for Dr. Nettles to be fired, because of the remarks he made. I thought his words were “over the top,” and he could’ve used a better analogy to prove his point. But, I dont remember ever calling for his head to roll over it. I mean, it’s not like he’s Richard Land, whom many Calvinists wanted fired for his words about the Trayvon Martin case.

          I think it’s really funny in an ironic way that some Calvinists will call for nonCalvinists heads to roll over comments like Richard Land’s, and now Dr. Cox’s….but, I really dont remember such a condemnation for Dr. Nettles and Dr. Mohler, and for the things they said???

          Are we against the words of people just because they’re not Calvinists? If Driscoll, or Mohler, or Nettles, or Piper, or Sproul say things that are hurtful and wrong “okay” because they’re of the right theology? But, if a nonCalvinist says something that’s “out there,” then… whooooooaaaaaaa; watch out. They are terrible and need to be fired!!!! They are just awful, and using straw men, and mischaracterizing, and just mean, nasty ogres and trolls from the pits of Hell, who are just trying to destroy the grande ole truth of Augustine.

          Wow.

          David

            Bill Mac

            Count me as one Calvinist who thinks we shouldn’t listen to anything Driscoll says. Sproul is a fellow believer, but he is a covenant theologian paedobaptist so we need to filter his stuff. Piper is way too over the top for me, in his Calvinism and in his complementarianism. Never been a huge fan of Mohler, since I’m skeptical of culture warrior-hood.

            Lydia

            “Count me as one Calvinist who thinks we shouldn’t listen to anything Driscoll says. ”

            Ok, there is 1.

            I saw him defended vigorously over at SBCVoices for a long time.

            Let us not forget the hundreds of young men who idolize him and were trained by him to start churches. Some the SBC NAMB funded/partnered with. Talk about offensive. Porno visions?

          Darryl Hill

          Lydia, I told you directly just the other day that I’ve never had much use for Driscoll. He certainly doesn’t speak for me. Then again, I’m not much on the YRR movement in general. I don’t enjoy smoking cigars, drinking beer, and cursing for effect. People who do those things- that’s between them and God- but I do not think it should be publicized or popularized as Christian liberty. All calvinists aren’t the same, which is the reason it’s so critical not to make blanket statements and assigning on man’s sin to another.

      Mary

      Bill Mac, Nettles didn’t just do a one off back of the bus analogy. He portrayed Calvinists as experiencing the same type of discrimination as minorities in Jim Crow south. Obviously you and other disagree with Dwight McKissic who stated the words were offensive and Nettles should have offered an apology.

        Bill Mac

        As I said, it didn’t occur to me to be offended, but if people legitimately were offended, then an apology should be offered. Could he have said “second class citizen” without causing offense? That might have been better.

          Mary

          No, it wouldn’t have been better. He’s a man who has made his living in the SBC for over 30 years and he does it at the institution that actually discriminates against having Trads on staff. And I don’t know about this but he’s probably a member of a church that doesn’t allow Trads on staff either or in leadershp positions either.

          It’s a ridiculous straw man to claim that Trads want to get rid of all Calvinists. What most Trads want is for our institutions to be open and neutral.

volfan007

As a person, who would fit into the Traditionalist camp, as a Biblicist :), I believe that God chose to save me…..planned to save me….called me….saved me…and that HE not only KNOWS the future, but has also planned to carry out His purposes for the universe. I believe that God is absolutely sovereign. God is coming out of the eternity past like a bulldozer riding thru time…

On the other hand, man still has to choose whether he’s gonna get on God’s bulldozer, or not. And, man really has to make true choices. And, man can either jump on the bulldozer, and ride with God; or else, he can choose to do his own thing, and be run over. And, just because man has a freewill, does not mean that God is not sovereign… not even in the least little bit.

We do not believe in Open Theism, Adam. Not even close. We are not Semi Pelagians. Not even close. And, for Calvinists to keep making these false accusations….hurtful name calling….and trying to shed the worst possible light on us….is disturbing to me. And, sadly, it’s what I’ve come to expect from the New Calvinists.

David

    Bill Mac

    hurtful name calling

    David: It seems odd that you would be against “hurtful name calling” and downplay the charge that the God of Calvinists is a rapist. PC, really?

    I will withdraw the “minor” if you like. I simply meant he wasn’t spewing the n-word around or something like that.

    Adam

    Did you read what I wrote?

    “Hate to say it, but I’m reading what is at least borderline Open Theism in this article.”

    I did not make an accusation, I made an observation that this article, THIS ARTICLE, is at least close to endorsing Open Theism. Please don’t accuse me of being a name-caller when that’s not what I did. I made absolutely no reference to all Trads. I’m glad you affirm God’s exhaustive knowledge, but now you have to bridge the gap between that and libertarian free will.

Dr. Bruce McLaughlin

After following the SBC Today blogs from the beginning, I’m wondering how long it will take the managers of this site, the contributing authors, the signers of the TS and all the Traditional Baptist bloggers to realize that trying to argue and reason with Calvinists is an absolutely fruitless endeavor. It’s like trying to convert Tom Cruise from Scientology. We worship Gods with completely different characters! How many magnanimous supplications for just loving one another and moving forward together to do God’s work must we stomach before Trads realize this approach is useless and self defeating. The target of our energies should not be the organized Calvinist machine within the SBC. It should be the 46000 churches and 6 million occupants sitting in their deck chairs wondering whether to eat apple pie or cherry pie at the next covered dish dinner.

    volfan007

    Dr. McLaughlin,

    “It should be the 46000 churches and 6 million occupants sitting in their deck chairs wondering whether to eat apple pie or cherry pie at the next covered dish dinner.” Wooo hooo…that one made me chuckle, Bro.

    But, you aint from the South; are you? Otherwise, you would’ve surely said, “sitting in their lawn chairs wondering which cobbler to eat…cherry, or peach…at the next Fellowship Meal.” lol

    David

      Bill Mac

      We hardly ever get pies until the apples are ripe. I’d settle for cobbler too, but not cornbread. Yankees can’t eat cornbread. It’s genetic.

        volfan007

        Bill Mac,

        You dont eat cornbread!!!!! Sacrilege!! Blasphemy!! A pox be upon ye….lol.

        Cornbread is gooooooooooooooood….real good. Are you sure that you’ve had real cornbread? If my Momma and wife made you some, you’d be slapping yourself silly for not eating it sooner…..

        David

          Bill Mac

          My grandfather used to make something called Johnny Cake, but I don’t think that is the same thing. It was sweet.

        Dr. Bruce McLaughlin

        Alas, I’ve been found out! I am a Yankee from Indiana who moved to the south 12 years ago. I married a Georgia girl 32 years ago and made her live in NJ for 20 years. Her family still has a collective memory of Sherman’s march. They understand my english but I don’t understand theirs. I like cornbread but miss the skillet fried hominy from Indiana.

Bill Mac

I doubt that discussion can be salvaged, but here goes:

Is man’s free will inviolate? Obviously Calvinists say no, but I’d like to hear what non-Calvinists have to say.

    Brad Reynolds

    Bill Mac
    There is no question I could fellowship with you (you would only have to indulge my cornbread, however:).

    Thanks for your efforts to salvage this. I shall join with you. Thus, a question I think your question begs. From the Calvinist perspective. Before, a sinner desires God is he/she not “forced” (for lack of a better term) to desire God, by God changing the individual’s heart without the individual’s consent?

    The Trad would probably say, “No one seeks God without God’s grace, God gives grace to all men (not in the sense of prevenient grace) and thus man can choose to accept of reject that grace (especially the grace of the gospel) and therefore man consent’s to God’s work in his heart.” If on the other hand one would say “No one seeks after God and everyone is in rebellion to God until God changes the persons heart to seek after God” then how is this not being “forced?” A rebel who opposes God and gives no consent on God changing his heart to seek God. Is this not forced?

    My other question: I would not use the word “purpose” because numerous passages teach God accomplishes His purposes (Jer 23:20) although some might argue Babylon is not desolate and uninhabited yet (Jer, 51:29). Nevertheless, let’s use another term for clarity: is everything done by men what God DESIRES to happen? Does, God desire the murder of children…etc? I think you will say no. Which means in some sense God’s purposes with regard to man’s actions (what he would have desired to happen) are thwarted. That is not to say His plan is thwarted (Rev is pretty clear…it is not) but it is to say in His Sovereignty he created free acting individuals who would choose to act contrary to what God wanted to happen. Right?

    Note: This does not affect His plan from eternity past made with his foreknowledge of man’s free actions. If God in His Sovereignty chose to give man free will to choose contrary to God’s will this does not in anyway nullify His Sovereignty? Just makes it supra-rational at times.

      Bill Mac

      Brad: You can have my cornbread.

      I’ve never really thought of it as forced, any more than I would say that an EMT performing CPR on a drowning victim is forcing them to breath and forcing their heart to beat against their will.

      I think the truth of the Gospel is so self evidently appealing that no one in their right mind would refuse it. But I think Satan, and our own natures have clouded our minds so that we reject. What I see God doing is waking us up, opening our eyes to the truth. Fixing us, if you will. I think He truly freed my will from Satan and my own natures, so that I could finally see clearly. Once I could see clearly, I could make the right choice.

      Regarding God ordaining all that comes to pass. I have always understood the word “ordain” to mean see, acknowledge, and allow, rather than make happen. But I’m not a theologian and so perhaps I am not using it correctly. So no, I don’t think God is making people murder, steal and lie. However unless one is an open theist, God obviously knows of every murder, theft, and falsehood, and in a myriad of cases has, for reasons we cannot understand, chosen to allow them to happen. They are in that sense part of His plan. He obviously thinks that odious as they are, it is better for them to have taken place than not taken place. A hard thing to swallow, but I think the only alternative is open theism.

      God created the world, knowing Satan would rebel, Adam and Eve would fall, the flood would be necessary. He knew it all, and yet decided that it was still the right thing to do. I don’t believe there is a plan B. Only plan A, and we’re living it.

        Brad Reynolds

        Bill Mac
        Great words. Thank you for the time.

        I would disagree a tad. Speaking of God and evil you say:
        “He obviously thinks that odious as they are, it is better for them to have taken place than not taken place. A hard thing to swallow, but I think the only alternative is open theism.”

        I think a third option is unnecessarily ruled out: which is: something else could have occurred. Take this post for example. The author could have chosen to word some things differently. I don’t think most Calvinists would accept that God decided it was better to have it worded as it is and thus there was no option B. If that were the case, there should be no complaints. Thus, it appears we agree (at least in practice) there was another option.

        The fact God’s Sovereignty allows men to choose, does not negate His Sovereignty nor His omniscience of those choices but it does at times take it outside man’s understanding.

        Concerning, your analogy, at least from my perspective I don’t think it holds water. It is not that a lost person is wanting to be saved (like a drowning individual would). It seems to me the Calvinist would argue the lost is dead and enjoying his deadness with no desire to be saved from it. I think a better analogy would be someone addicted to drugs, who has no desire to stop his habit, but someone forces him into rehab, and upon recovery he is grateful. Thus, again the concept of having to do something against his will at the time. I hope that makes sense without being offensive. (PS – I am aware that Calvinist will argue it is not against his will, but it seems to me they argue that “after” his will has been changed. The question is was did he consent to the initial change of will).

          Bill Mac

          Brad: I’m not sure I follow the first part. From my perspective, certainly any number of other things could have happened, but they didn’t. So either God caused it to happen or allowed it to happen. If He does not choose to intervene, then I can only conclude that He decided it was best not to intervene. He could have made the third choice happen, or He could have arranged circumstances so that the third choice was chosen. He didn’t. He created humans knowing they would fall. To Him, no other outcome was possible (in the sense that He hoped something else would happen). But He created them anyway. So I must conclude that He decided it was best, even though He knew grief would come of it.

          As to the second, analogies always fall short. As I said, to me it is not so much changing my will (although I have used those terms) but rather freeing my will. I was blind, but now I see. Jesus did not always ask permission to heal people. Sometimes He just did it. I think He did that for me.

            Bill Mac

            This is, in part, why language about God heaving a sigh of relief is a little troublesome. There was no sigh of relief. God didn’t hope the Ninevites would turn. He knew they would. God does not hope, God does not try.

            Brad Reynolds

            For the most part we are somewhat agreed. But I do think there is a couple of minor but vital distinctions which is some of my struggles with Calvinism:

            1. To me there is a huge difference between God allowing something evil to happen and bringing good from it and God allowing something evil to happen because he saw it was good to allow it to happen. In other words, I could never affirm God saw that it was the best of all options to allow a murderer to murder a child and thus decided it is best not to intervene.

            Rather, I think He KNOWS it is better to have created His greatest creation with free choice, than to have created robots – which we all know He could have done. In this, some will choose to do evil and despicable things which offend God but God allows because in His Sovereignty He knew it was better to create those with free choice.

            No one denies that God is omniscient, but language like “God grieving” and “God was sorry He created man” and “Do not quench the H.S.” and “God relented from the disaster he said He would bring upon them…” seems (to me) to be taken a little more literal from the Trad position.

            2. I think “changing” and “freeing” are both great terms to use in regard to our wills in salvation.

            While we are not told that Jesus asked permission to all whom He healed, we are also not told that they were happy to live in a state of being unhealed. In fact, I think they all “desired” healing before they were healed.

            I don’t think a Calvinist would argue one desires saving before he is saved. I think the Calvinist would argue one actually desires to be the enemy of God; but God, contrary to the desire of the individual, saves the individual in order for the individual to repent. To which afterward the individual is grateful. This again, seems to imply “force”.

            Bill Mac

            Brad: I see your point, but it would make more sense to me if we believed that God created the world, and then never intervened. But we know that he can, has, and does. It seems we end up in the same place. God does not intervene to stop a murderer from exercising his free will to kill someone else, against their free will. Why not intervene? Free will may be part of the answer, but it isn’t the whole answer. I think God knows something that we do not. Events have repercussions that we cannot dream of, but God sees it all.

            Bill Mac

            Brad: I hope you are coming back and checking on this thread. In going back over our (good) conversation, I don’t think you actually answered my initial question:

            Is man’s free will inviolate?

Darryl W

I think Dr. Cox’s argument misses the heart of the matter both literally and figuratively. I believe that our will is guided by our desires, which the Bible describes as our heart. God has no problem preventing/enabling man from accomplishing what they will.

God says that he controls the hearts of kings (Proverbs 21:1). When you control the heart you guide the man. He did this to prevent kings from sinning; Abimelech, a sovereign king who could do as he pleased in the land, was prevented by God from going into Sarah. The king of Heshbon’s heart was hardened by God so that he would not make peace with Israel (Deut. 2:30). Similarly, the rulers of the tribes in the Promise Land had their hearts hardened so that they would not make peace and be utterly destroyed by God’s people(Joshua 11:19-20)

I would say the issue is not the will, but the heart. Most here agree that we are born with a desire to rebel against God. I hold that we have free-will as unregenerate sinners. When God gives us a new desire(heart), as He describes in Ezek 36, we now desire to love God. Our will is no less violated at our second birth than it was at our first. To me, and most Calvinists, it takes a work wrought by God to bring us from lovers of the world to lovers of God. IMO.

-The Other Brother Darryl

    Don Johnson

    Darryl,

    God does give a new heart, but He gives it after one believes, not in order to believe.

      Adam

      So we have the ability to believe with a dead heart?

        Don Johnson

        Adam,

        Do we have the ability to reject truth with a dead heart?

          Adam

          Rom 1:18-32 says we are already rejecting the truth because of a dead heart. We exchanged worship of the Creator for worship of the created.

            Don Johnson

            Adam,

            Rom. 1:20 “. . . clearly seen . . . so that they are without excuse.” Is it possible a dead man can clearly see. Apparently so.

            Rom. 1:28 “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind. . .” Is it posssible for a dead man not to retain God in their knowledge? Why does God give them over to a reprobate mind? Is this something worse than “total inability”? Or is it because maybe they had ability in the first place?

      Darryl W

      Don,

      Thanks for the reply. Your response frames the question that has to be answered. Why does one person desire to follow God and next does not? To seek after Righteousness is a righteous act in and of itself. And to me, that is a meritorious work. I understand what you believe and I do not agree that Child of Wrath desires to be a Child of God while in possession of an unregenerate heart. It is where Brothers on each side of this issue disagree. Hopefully, you see my struggle with the order of salvation that you adhere.

      -Darryl

        Don Johnson

        Darryl,

        God doesn’t ask us to be child of God. He commands we repent and believe..

    Daniel Wilcox

    Darryl,

    You say:
    “I would say the issue is not the will, but the heart. Most here agree that we are born with a desire to rebel against God.”

    But according to Calvinists, we have such a heart and such a “desire to rebel” because we were foreordained to eternal damnation as Calvin and countless Calvinists declare.

    Then you say,
    “I hold that we have free-will as unregenerate sinners”

    If we are foreordained to eternal damnation, born depraved, incapable of repenting, etc., how is this freedom? It’s not in any sense meant by millions of Americans. Imagine me saying that suicide bombers have “free-will” when you I also declare that God foreordained them to be suicide bombers, and they were born incapable of repenting, or seeking God.
    They are “free” to be suicide bombers (or supply your own example).

    That is not “freedom.”

    Freedom is God giving every human a choice to respond to the truth or to reject the truth.

    Saying that we have “free-will” but no choice isn’t freedom.

    Thanks for the dialog,

    Daniel Wilcox

      Darryl W

      Daniel,

      Good questions. Is the problem not on both sides of Salvation?

      I say free-will exists from birth even though I was born with a desire to be a lover of myself. I did not choose that desire it came as part of my fallen nature. I believe that most people, on either side of this issue, say that before salvation we are not capable of pleasing God(Hebrews 11:6). That may or may not be your view.

      How does God’s Sovereignty exist and man’s free-will exist simultaneously? That is a paradox, or antinomy as Packer would say. But it is certainly not the only one in Scripture. I cannot explain the Trinity or Christ’s humanity/Divinity. But what I do believe is that Scripture teaches that God is Sovereign over Salvation and it also teaches man is responsible for his own actions.

      So I see freedom on both sides of Salvation but I also see external forces at work on man’s sovereignty both righteous and unrighteous.

      -Darryl

        Daniel Wilcox

        Darryl,

        Thanks for responding. I see so clearly that we are using the very same words to mean totally different meanings.

        So our discussion breaks down. Until we can define and agree on terms we only frustrate each other.
        For instance, you mention Packer. But
        I’ve read Packer. As I recall he is a theological determinist, a Calvinist.

        Secondly, we are born pre-damned because of Unconditional Election. I’ve had this drilled into me by Calvinists for 50 years.

        Are you saying, you don’t think we are born foreordained/unconditionally elected?

        Would you say you do subscribe to TULIP?

        Thanks for the dialog,

        Daniel

          Darryl W

          Daniel,

          Sorry for the confusion. Yes, I consider myself a 5 point Calvinist.

          -Darryl

            Daniel Wilcox

            Darryl,

            If you say “I consider myself a 5 point Calvinist, then by definition (by all Calvinists, not my explanation)
            your other statement “How does God’s Sovereignty exist and man’s free-will exist simultaneously?”
            seems to make no sense.

            As Calvin (and many other Calvinists, by far the most) have said this all begins with Unconditional Election/Foreordination, etc.

            So man has no “free will”, never has. even Adam and Eve’s sin was the will of God (which, by the way, absolutely blasphemes the God:-(

            In Calvinism, only monegism exists– God’s eternal decrees–nothing else.

            All else are effects as every Calvinist has told me since 1963.

            Even that misstyping I just made and my correction were planned by God (according to Calvinists I have read).

            I don’t understand how you or anyone could possibly be a Calvinist, let alone a 5-point one.

            But I know never opposites shall meet. Even Saddleback Church claims to hold to a version of Calvinism.

            I took a survey on the Internet. It said I was a Billy Graham-type Christian. Amen to that, where Graham said even if I had been the only sinner Jesus would have died for me.

            Yes I am a John 3:16 Christian.

            That about sums it up.

            But thanks for the dialog,

            Daniel Wilcox

            Darryl W

            Daniel,

            I understand your dilemma and your theology. If we define free-will as the absence of all external forces then God’s Sovereignty and man’s free-will are mutually exclusive because there can be only one Sovereign force in the universe. That is one of the essentials of being God. However, I do not think your own world view can define free-will as void of any influences. Nor, do I think you try.

            If one defines the specifics free-will of the unregenerate before Salvation then I believe you will get the Calvinistic basis for how God exerts His Sovereignty but man maintains his free-will in election.

            -Darryl

Tim Rogers

To All,

Concerning the “Rape” analogy.

When I first read this I hunkered down because that was something I knew Calvinists would attack. I was astounded that a man of Dr. Cox’s caliber would use such an analogy. Then I remembered two things about people. One, they do not write in a vacuum. Two, the Bible tells us there is nothing new under the sun. Therefore, Dr. Cox was no original with the Rape analogy. In my search for a way to make this a less vitriol way to describe how God, from a Calvinist perspective, provides salvation for a person I was directed to a RC Sproul statement.

On the fourteenth night the battle ceased. The hound prevailed and Scooter had no alternative. This was not a religious decision; it was unconditional surrender, a docile submission to the holy rape of the soul.(R.C. Sproul, Thy Brother’s Keeper, p. 58 – bold emphasis mine.)

Thus, it appears Dr. Cox may have used Dr. Sproul’s thoughts as he used his analogy.

Before we proceed in this conversation about “how offensive can you all be to protect your idea of man’s free will” remember Dr. Cox is not the original idea that a Calvinist perspective is that God is a “holy rapist”.

    Bill Mac

    Oh well, as long as someone made the monstrous analogy first, by all means carry on.

    Adam

    R.C. is making the Baptist naughty list today.

    Tom Parker

    Mr. Rogers:

    So you go on record as being OK with the RAPE analogy. Your mighty inconsistent about what you get all up in arms about. But by all means carry on.

      Tim Rogers

      Tom,

      Against my better judgement I will engage you, only because you are adamant on misapplying my comments.

      Look back through the things I have said and please, show me any comment that I have made that would lead you to that kind of a position.

    Not The Original Les

    Tim Rogers,

    “Thus, it appears Dr. Cox may have used Dr. Sproul’s thoughts as he used his analogy.”

    Only Dr. Cox could answer that for sure.

    As to the Sproul, I have not heard of that novel before. And though I would like to see the context of the quote, I don’t ave the book.

    That said, I heartily condemn Sproul’s use of the analogy as well.

    Now, will you and other Trads demand an apology from Dr. Cox and the owners/editors of SBC Today and call for this post to be removed?

    Before you ask, no I will not call for Dr. Sproul to retract his long ago released novel. I will, though, seek to find the novel, read it and if appropriate contact Dr. Sproul as well.

    Les

      Tim Rogers

      Not the Original Les,

      Now, will you and other Trads demand an apology from Dr. Cox and the owners/editors of SBC Today and call for this post to be removed?

      No, I will not call for this post to be removed. While I am not in agreement with the use of the analogy, I have explained that Dr. Cox was using a leading Reformed thinker in his analogy.

      Before you ask, no I will not call for Dr. Sproul to retract his long ago released novel. I will, though, seek to find the novel, read it and if appropriate contact Dr. Sproul as well.

      So you want me to publicly call for Dr. Cox to recant but you want to “check out” Dr. Sproul and if you then feel like it you will call on him? No, it doesn’t work that way. This is a teaching of Dr. Sproul and any simple Google search will reveal it.

        Not The Original Les

        Tim Rogers,

        “No, I will not call for this post to be removed.”

        Sadly I’m not surprised.

        “So you want me to publicly call for Dr. Cox to recant but you want to “check out” Dr. Sproul and if you then feel like it you will call on him?”

        I have only been able to find the exact excerpt you quoted by Sproul. When I can read the excerpt in full context, I said what I would do.

        Here, I have more than an excerpt from Dr. Cox. I have the whole thing to read.

        “No, it doesn’t work that way.”

        Well yes it does for me. But as I said above, I’m not surprised at your reaction.

    Not The Original Les

    Tim Rogers,

    And also, because someone else unwisely “did it first” is no excuse for Dr. Cox to use such an offensive analogy. That would be elementary school playground behavior. “He hit first!”

    Les

      Tim Rogers

      Not the Original Les,

      You are pushing the envelope here. Why? Dr. Cox was not just using this as a mere thought he had. He was using it saying that Calvinists believe this. Thus to charge us like a playground tactic is not correct.

      So, are you saying that RC Sproul is wrong in his philosophical understanding that God is divine rapists of the soul?

        Not The Original Les

        Tim, read my comment down near the bottom from a few moments ago.

        And I’m not commenting on Sproul except what I said above to you.

        Les

        Bill Mac

        “He was using it saying that Calvinists believe this.”

        No, you don’t know this. There is no attribution given by Mr. Cox. You are spinning what he said.

          Tim Rogers

          Bill Mac,

          Please, in your apparent lack of reading comprehension that must have just come over you, tell me what the following is saying?

          McGrath declares that God treats humans as persons, not as objects.8 Conversely, rape involves treating a person as an object, which is exactly what both Calvinism and Universalism propose.

          If that is not expressing what Calvinists believe I do not know what is.

        SAGordon

        Tim,

        I’m going to be as nice as I passible am able at this moment…

        ARE YOU SERIOUS!?!?!?!?!?

        You can, with certainty assure us that Dr. Cox was drawing from Dr. Sproul as he made this abhorrent comment?! You assert, as so many “traditionalists” have, that you are simply responding to what New…AND NOW ALL…Calvinists believe????? Quit quote mining for the most deleterious statements made by (NOW) any and all Calvinists! I thought this was about “new Calvinism.”

        I reiterate that I am beyond the point of shame in what sbctoday has come to allow…and justify…in this debate. As the hit pieces keep coming the sbctoday/new traditionalist position falls like a lead balloon.

        Lydia

        “You are pushing the envelope here. Why?”

        Good question. Les left the SBC to become a “ruling elder” in the Presbyterian church.

Tim Rogers

Bill Mac and Adam,

Look, I think the analogy is not an appropriate way to describe God. The issue is that Dr. Cox is a well read person and his use here, while not something I would have used, was something already used by one highly respected by Calvinists.

Now, we can argue all day long about the use of the “rape analogy” or we can all agree that we do not see God as a “holy rapist” and move on dealing with the subject of the material.

That being said, you Calvinists need to publicly state that Dr. Sproul is wrong in this view of God as a rapist. If you want us as Trads to agree that Dr. Cox is wrong in saying that Calvinists view God as a holy Rapist, then you must call the one who originally made this analogy in print wrong in his view of God.

    Adam

    Sorry, I actually meant my statement as a joke, not that you were out on a Sproul witch hunt. My apologies for not clarifying that in my comment.

    Bill Mac

    That being said, you Calvinists need to publicly state that Dr. Sproul is wrong in this view of God as a rapist.

    Absolutely and unequivocally. I don’t care what the context is. It is a monstrous analogy. I know little of Sproul but if this is his view of God, then I need not know any more. The same with Mr. Cox. If this is his view of the God I believe in, then the well has truly been poisoned. Your God is a rapist; let’s discuss our differences?

      Tim Rogers

      Bill Mac,

      I know little of Sproul but if this is his view of God, then I need not know any more.

      Here is your problem. If you do not know much of Sproul then you need to get to know him. He is the final word for all things Calvinist in today’s Evangelical world. That is the problem you have with carrying on this debate. Sproul, from a philosophical position, relates the Irresistible Grace doctrine to a person in “docile submission” to the God of the universe as he “rapes the soul” Rape is used in the philosophical analogy as it is being done against the natural will of the one that is elected. This is the philosophical analogy that Calvinist must debunk. When they do that, the the weakening of “I” begins to wilt the T-U-L-i-P.

      I am not trying to be harsh, I am merely trying to explain that is the philosophical position you need to wrestle with.

        Not The Original Les

        Tim Rogers,

        You are defending the indefensible and doubling down. Bill Mac and I have made clear our denunciation of Sproul’s comment.

        Me: “That said, I heartily condemn Sproul’s use of the analogy as well.”

        Your continued use of the analogy is further offensive and betrays a lack of Christian compassion toward at least a few brothers in favor of your theological bias.

        Bill Mac

        ” If you do not know much of Sproul then you need to get to know him.”

        No, I don’t.

        “He is the final word for all things Calvinist in today’s Evangelical world.”

        No, he’s not.

        “that is the philosophical position you need to wrestle with.”

        I don’t think so.

        You can’t seem to understand that Calvinists are not some kind of hive mind. I know that non-Calvinists aren’t. I have never called non-Calvinists arminians. I have never accused them of heresy of any kind. I don’t want the SBC to be purely Calvinist, assuming I could make that happen with a wave of my hand. I’m here for discussion but I’m beginning to think it isn’t possible. This article is poison. Yesterday’s was poison. Day after day I read non-Calvinists telling me what I believe, and who I idolize, and about the monstrous God I follow.

        Yes, I could move on, but I don’t. Perhaps it is like picking at a sore tooth. But I’ve seen some good articles here, even ones I disagree with. I’ve had some good discussions here although they have been few. We should be able to have a great discussion about free will vs sovereignty, but not today.

      Not The Original Les

      Well said Bill Mac.

        Tim Rogers

        Bill Mac and Not the Original Les,

        You can say all you want that you, as a Calvinist, do not believe what Sproul presents as the philosophical argument. That is fine. But your bigger problem is you do not have the Calvinist community agreeing with you, you have them agreeing with Sproul. Thus, your opinion doesn’t cut it here.

          Bill Mac

          Did you take a poll? This is like yesterday’s article where we Calvinists were all told we didn’t have assurance of salvation. The “Calvinist Community” proceeded to refute that with every comment. But it didn’t matter, because you seem to know what we believe better than we do.

          SAGordon

          TIM,

          SHOW EVIDENCE TO SUBSTANTIATE THIS STATEMENT (‘YOU HAVE THEM AGREEING WITH SPROUL’)…BY WHICH I ASSUME YOU MEAN HIS ANALOGY. I’D LIKE TO SEE IT. THANKS!

          Darryl Hill

          Tim, your response here display just how unwilling you are to denounce ANYTHING written here on this site. You would take a quote from a novel written by RC Sproul back in 1988 and make it the opinion of every Calvinist today rather than simply do what is right- which is denounce the article here and have it removed from this site. I have read other quotes of Sproul which denounce the idea that God forces someone against their will to be saved. The one you would apply to us all is from a fictional novel from 1988.

          Nobody here agrees with the characterization, but your answer is “You can say all you want that you, as a Calvinist, do not believe what Sproul presents as the philosophical argument. That is fine. But your bigger problem is you do not have the Calvinist community agreeing with you, you have them agreeing with Sproul. Thus, your opinion doesn’t cut it here.”

          You see what you did there? It doesn’t matter what you say, he speaks for you whether you agree with him or not. That’s garbage.

Adam

And yes, I think any reference to God as a holy rapist is wrong, no matter the source.

florin

The term “irresistible” is clearly misused in various comments on this blog.

Irresistible does not mean against someone’s will. It means the object of interest is so attractive that you want it on your own. Peter could not leave Jesus as he understood that Jesus had the words of life. When salvation is both commanded and desired at the same time, it makes it irresistible. And the Gospel is desired as a result of “seeing” it, i.e. understanding its truth and beauty.

This should not come as a surprise. This duality of synchronized wills is plainly visible in the Father and the Son. The Son came to do the will of the Father as sent by the Father and yet Jesus said that He gave His life on His own accord.

Likewise, in the salvation of men, both parties can claim independent wills that are identical in intent.

When I got married I wanted my wife; my wife claims the same (thankfully). Either of us could truthfully say, “I got married because I wanted and not because I was forced or because you wanted.”

The bible does not teach that anyone is forced into heaven against their will.

    Daniel Wilcox

    Florin,

    This is again a semantic case of talking double, because TULIP does state that all humans are unable to seek God, to repent, etc.

    Calvinism emphasizes they first must be monogeristically changed before they can repent, before they can believe.

    A human has no choice in this, thus he is “forced” against his total inability.
    Use whatever synonym you wish, but when something outside me changes me against my will, it is force and not choice.

    If I have been changed, not by my choosing, then the changed me, isn’t me.

    But even this isn’t the worst part of TULIP. The worst is that God foredained most humans to eternal damnation before they were born.

    Thanks for the dialog,
    Daniel

      Adam

      So you’re telling me if I convinced you of something you previously didn’t desire (e.g. grabbing lunch at a Mexican restaurant when you wanted Chinese), that eating Mexican wouldn’t be genuine decision for you because the decision didn’t originate with you?

        Daniel Wilcox

        Adam,

        You say, “So you’re telling me if I convinced you of something you previously didn’t desire (e.g. grabbing lunch at a Mexican restaurant when you wanted Chinese), that eating Mexican wouldn’t be genuine decision for you because the decision didn’t originate with you?”

        I sure am! If the “decision didn’t originate with me,” if I knew that secretly you were altering my will and dislike of Mexican food, I would very definitely tell you to stop manipulating me. Furthermore, you realize the analogy would also have to have the point, that somehow, you were involved in making it so that I originally didn’t like Mexican food. And furthermore, that somehow you had made it impossible before they were born for most people to ever like Mexican food.

        See the analogy doesn’t fit and sounds ridiculous because TULIP isn’t like being convinced by someone to eat Mexican food.

        But I do like analogies (since I am a retired literature teacher). How about Driscoll’s analogy (irresistible grace) of how he grabbed his daughter to protect her from being run over by a truck.

        That’s a very powerful analogy, but it also breaks down because of the rest of TULIP. You see Driscoll actually pre-planned for the truck to run over most of his kids…

        Thanks for the dialog,

        Daniel Wilcox

          Adam

          Daniel, since you are familiar with analogies, you know that all analogies break down and are never able to encompass the entirety of an argument. Same with mine, only you sought to push beyond its intended boundaries to prove it absurd.

          My point was not to build a foundation by analogy for the 5 points, but simply to state that there are ultimately no absolute free choices in the libertarian sense.

          By the way, I must point out, since you are a retired literature teacher, you split an infinitive. :) jk

            Daniel Wilcox

            Adam,

            Thanks for editing my error.
            ( I have revised portions of one my book, over 30 times. But I don’t edit posts, so thanks:-).

            I wasn’t trying to show how absurd the analogy could get. I agree analogies are imprecise.
            What I was trying to explain was that your analogy has *nothing8 to do with the Calvinistic concept of theological determinism.

            If someone tries to persuade me to eat a food I dislike, I may consider their opinions, but the choice is still mine.

            This ISN’T true of TULIP. I is decreed/foreordained.
            According to Calvinism, I can’t repent.
            Only after God makes me into a different person, can I then repent.
            But then I am not the me anymore, because I wasn’t in relationship with God, yielding to the wooing of his Holy Spirit.
            No, according to Calvinism, God acted in monergism, changing me without any relationship.

            Not only is that wrong, it isn’t love.

            We have a totally different view of God, salvation, humanity, etc.,
            so probably this discussion is fruitless
            (unless it’s foreordained/decreed;-)

            Thanks for the dialog,
            Daniel Wilcox

    holdon

    “The bible does not teach that anyone is forced into heaven against their will.”

    But reformed theology does. Because the chain is infallible: once the “totally depraved” situation (including the will) is one-sidedly (monergistically) overcome by “irresistible grace”, the individual is ensured of “limited atonement” and “unconditional election” to eternal life, “persevering as a saint” till he dies and goes to heaven.
    The “forcing” is God’s, because of some random pick in past eternity. “irresistible in T.U.L.I.P. is not because of our appreciation, but because the eternal decree cannot be transgressed.

      Adam

      To say Reformed theology teaches that shows that your are ill-informed or simply making the same philosophical jumps I used to make.

      Actually it’s not random. God is all-wise. He is Creator of the heavens and earth, He does all that He pleases.

        holdon

        “Actually it’s not random. God is all-wise. He is Creator of the heavens and earth, He does all that He pleases.”

        I agree that the election is not random. But if it isn’t, there is no “unconditional”.

        Election is ALWAYS based on differences (conditions). It cannot be otherwise. The words in the OT and in the NT express the excellence (above others). Unconditional election cannot exist. That’s why I called it “random pick”. It is either a random pick or it is (s)election based on differences. Take your pick… or choose 1.

Darryl W

McGrath further maintains that it takes two to make a relationship, and unless man says “Yes” to God, that relationship remains unfulfilled, for God has given mankind the immense privilege of saying “no” to Him.

I think where the ones who hold this view get in trouble is with mothers. We would not say that a mother/infant relationship is unfulfilled by either party. The infant is limited by its cognition in relation to the mother; however, that does not invalidate a pure love relationship. To me, if the elect achieve Matthew 22:37 status then the relationship is no less valid than the adversarial relationship that occurs at physical birth.

-The Other Brother Darryl

Luther Jones

I feel RAPED!: Raped by Cox and Norm Miller for exposing my mind to this man-centered article and the absurd accusation of RAPE by the God of Calvinism. And I suppose until this article is removed and a sincere apology is issued, I will continue to be mind-raped by Cox and Miller.

Luther Jones

As things progress as they are doing, I suspect that SBCToday itself will need to be removed, as it is becoming more like a Soapopera or Inquirer mag, rather than a Christian site. Just my prediction of the fallout from all the embarrassment they continue to cause.

    Tim Rogers

    Luther,

    In all due respect, you did not have to click on the url. Please don’t come here with this kind of attitude. the absurd accusation of RAPE by the God of Calvinism. You have RC Sproul to thank for this “absurd accusation”. It was in 1982 when he made this available in print and Calvinists have accepted that philosophical perspective ever since.

    Tom Parker

    Luther:

    SBCToday has temporarily found a way to get lots of views and comments to its site. But it will be a short-lived run and do more damage for SB than good IMO.

      Tim Rogers

      Tom,

      What difference does it make with you whether we are doing good or bad for SB, you are not part of the SBC. You are a CBF’r that believes the bible is inspired in spots and you are inspired to spot the spots.

      As to our way to get lots of views and comments, you don’t seem to come around until this blog becomes popular. Could it be you come over here because we are the blog that allows you to speak your mind? Hey, go over to some other blog and post your illogical comments and see how long they will let you stay.

florin

Daniel,

You refute what I precisely did not say: “something outside me changes me against my will”.

Let me say I have not decided for calvinism. It is a broad subject and I have no time to exhaustively spend on the subject therefore I cannot claim adherence. Also, I am no fan of Calvin who, in my opinion, was misguided regarding implementing theocracy and in dealing with heretic Servetus. I decided to never read any of his books due to these two errors of his life.

My post is addressing the use of the word “irresistible” and not espousing predestination. I say that “irresistible” does not mean “against my will” but it secures agreement of the will by way of enlightenment.

Lastly, “God foredained most humans to eternal damnation before they were born” in my understating is not what TULIP says but it is an implied corollary. My understanding is that calvinism says that God allows people to drift into their own damnation and that God does not make the explicit choice for them. Someone please correct if my understanding of this point is not correct.

    Daniel Wilcox

    Florin,

    You say “Lastly, “God foredained most humans to eternal damnation before they were born” in my understating is not what TULIP says but it is an implied corollary.”

    Sorry, but Calvin (himself) and all of the major Calvinist tomes do say this. Calvin’s own words: “Not all men are created with a similar destiny but eternal life is foreordained for some, and eternal damnation for others. Every man, therefore, being created for one or the other of these ends, we say, he is predestinated either to life or death.” (Institutes, Book 3.23.)

    And, given enough time to dig through the books in my garage and the library and I could supply you with a nearly endless list of Calvinists who affirm Unconditional Election (“foreordained for..eternal damnation) and make even worse statements.

    I disagree with you about the meaning of Irresistible Grace. To me it is a concept of the worst sort.

    Thanks for the dialog,

    Daniel Wilcox

      Darryl Hill

      Daniel, yes, TO YOU it is a concept of the worst sort. You choose to view it in this way.

      florin is correct regarding the correct connotation of the phrase. It is a securing of the agreement of one’s will on the basis of enlightenment or granting life. Is it an evil thing to give a man CPR? Why should he not simply choose, without your interference, to have his heart beat and start breathing again? God does for man what man cannot do for himself.

      I also notice that no matter where anyone begins, you always bring the focus back to determinism and always bring up that man has no choice, quoting theologians who speak of this corollary, as florin described it above. He’s right on that point as well. Calvinists do not see all of these things as happening in a theoretical vacuum or in some impersonal way.

      In the case of irresistible grace, the implication is not that God’s grace is never resisted or that God drags people against their wills into heaven. People resist the grace of God all the time. There are very few people I know who gave their lives to Christ the first time He spoke to them about it. But through various means, God will awaken that person to see the truth. He will enlighten them to see their sin. He will reveal to them the beauty and wonder of his grace and what He has done in sending His Son. And they become willing- more than willing in fact- and they run to Him and embrace Him.

      But you like to frame the debate which makes the “God of Calvinism” this cold, distant, monster, who either forces them to submit or damns them because He hates them, and that all done in an impersonal way and with no participation in any way from that person. That is not what we believe. What happens in time matters. Man’s choices matter. My actions matter.

Another Adam

“The spoiling of the clay is not due to the potter’s mistake. Any spoiling is due to the stubbornness of the clay as it resists the potter’s touch, thus, man can resist God’s will.” I think you’re missing the entire point of the clay metaphor here. Stubbornness of the clay? Resisting the potter’s touch? Surely you know that clay is inanimate so the point is not about stubborness nor will but rather God being in absolute control. To be clay or putty in someone’s hands is to be at their disposal. It’s really a simple metaphor about God’s authority as creator. Clay calls to mind dust from which mankind is made, etc etc.

    holdon

    “It’s really a simple metaphor about God’s authority as creator.”

    Have you read the quoted passages in Jer. 18 and 19? And have you understood them? Please do before you proceed.

      Another Adam

      Yes sir, Holden. I didn’t notice anything in the passage referenced (8-12) in the quote I interacted with that is contrary to what I said. But then again, “people never notice anything” so maybe I missed it and you can explain. I’m not suggesting humans aren’t spoiled (i.e. totally depraved) but rather that metaphor is straightforwardly about the right of the potter to do what He wants with the clay. Help me see what I’m missing, Holden.

        holdon

        “House of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith Jehovah. Behold, as the clay in the potter’s hand, so are ye in my hand, house of Israel. At the moment that I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to break down, and to destroy, if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turn from their evil, then I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at the moment that I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant, if it do evil in my sight, that it hearken not unto my voice, then I will repent of the good wherewith I said I would benefit them. ”

        So, if the clay repents, God will remold the clay. Otherwise, He will cast it away.

        The last verse of Jer 19 says that Israel had hardened itself. The flask would be shattered so that it could not be made whole again. That is what Paul was so anxious about.

        Hope you will read both chapters (18 and 19) and meditate on their meaning.

Not The Original Les

All,

There seems to be continual dismissal of Dr. Cox’s horrific rape analogy. “Well, he didn’t say it first. But what about other things others have said? Yes it was unwise but…”

Two things. To refer to the God of the universe as some sort of cosmic rapist is so far beyond the pale, whether Dr. Sproul (who did not write this post) or Dr. Cox (who DID write this post).

Second, we are talking about Rape! Millions of women, wives, daughters, mothers violently abused…raped. To bring that into this theological discussion…I’m beginning to be at a loss of words.

Show of virtual hands: How many of you have had a daughter, wife, mother, sister or friend raped? Well I have. And to log on here and read this drivel was sickening this morning. Brought back a lot of very painful memories. I expected better.

Les

    Daniel Wilcox

    Les,

    I agree using the “rape” analogy is very wrong.

    And as I said before, then you can imagine why I left the famous Calvinist Bible study when the speaker said “Every rape and ever murder are planned by God”!

    Why can’t you see that we are much more devastated and very offended by the Calvinist belief that all rapes were ordained by God!!? That, as so many famous Calvinists now say, that all evil (even the Jewish Holocaust!) happens for God’s “pleasure and glory’!

    Why can’t you see how horrible Calvinistic talk is?

    Why so many of us hate TULIP with all of our heart and all of our mind as I do.

    Thanks for the dialog,

    Daniel

    Tim Rogers

    Not the Original Les,

    First, I am sorry you have had to go through such a horrible experience. I have never had to endure such a pain and I will not act as if I know what you feel. Dr. Geisler spoke at an event at SBTS in the early to mid-80’s where he used this analogy to argue against it. In the midst of his presentation a young lady began sobbing uncontrollably and interrupted the lecture. She expressed that she had endured a rape and for him to bring this into the philosophical argument really stirred up that pain all over again. To which Dr. G. apologized profusely and begged her forgiveness. Thus, I want to ask that you forgive us for our non-feelings in this as I can only imagine the pain this brings back up for you.

    Second, please interact with Daniel Wilcox’s position below. He really brings out the position of Trads in a beautiful way. It was RC Sproul, a leading theologian in the Calvinist movement that argues this point from a philosophical position.

    Third, Would I have used Dr. Cox’s analogy? No, I would not! Was Dr. Cox trying to bring up old scars? No, he was not!! Please do not paint with as broad a brush as you are painting with when you debunk Dr. Cox. As I said earlier, none of us write in a vacuum. This philosophical analogy was already in the public domain and that is the place you need to direct your misgivings.

    Leslie Puryear

    Not the Origianl Les,

    You miss the whole point of the “rape” analogy. Dr. Cox is saying that the Gopd of the Universe would NOT do that. When Calvinists say God will do
    that, that is the practical result of your theology.

    The Original Les

      Leslie Puryear

      “God”, “Godpd”. Fat fingers today. :)

      Darryl Hill

      But Calvinists DON’T say God will do that Les. That’s the whole point. You’re right back to calling the god of Calvinism a rapist again. That’s not the teaching. Irresistible grace is not implying that people are forced against their wills to submit to God.

      Straw man, take that! Have at thee!

        volfan007

        Darryl,

        We all know that Calvinists believe that God makes a person willing to be saved, otherwise he wouldnt get saved. Is that not true of your belief? Is that not what irresistible grace teaches? That God makes a person willing?

        So, how is this a strawman? How is it wrong to say that man really has no choice? And, that God MAKES a person willing to be saved? It is still God MAKING an elect person get saved….the elect will get saved; right? And, they’ll get saved, no matter what; right? Because, God is gonna work on their hearts and MAKE them want to get saved….

        I’m really having a hard time seeing how this is not a person being ultimately forced to be saved….who was not willing….who was not asking to be saved…who was not really wanting to be saved…..but, God MADE them….

        David

rhutchin

The author begins, “Teachings espousing a limited freewill simply do not square either with Scripture or with life experience.” He never defines what he means by freewill or limited, so the rest of the article makes no real sense. He apparently does like the Calvinist version of free will but his examples don’t argue against this. We might assume that he favors libertarian free will but his examples don’t necessarily argue for that. This arguement does nothing to resolve any free will issues and has nothing to do with Calvinism other than one reference to rape which was meaningless as far as resolving anything.

    Daniel Wilcox

    rhutchin,

    Try and get Americans to agree with your definition of “free will.” Next time you vote remember you are incapable of voting for any party but the one God chooses.

    Or judges now saying to criminals, you have”free will” meaning you only have the freedom to be a criminal.

    One of the worst parts of discussing these issues with Calvinists is they redefine what common words mean.

    Let us first define words clearly.

    Thanks for the dialog,

    Daniel Wilcox

      florin

      Daniel,

      Respectfully I say, we are making the “will” to be something different than it is.

      If you are a child of God, you will not be able to repent of heaven. Once we go and meet the Lord, you are locked in. (Praise God, the Savior of my soul!). Will you be held in the presence of God against your will? Do you want to keep the freedom/choice/will to leave? There is no such option. Is anyone offended by that?

        Daniel Wilcox

        Florin,

        You say, “Once we go and meet the Lord, you are locked in.”
        Sorry, I disagree.

        God would never “lock” anyone. Eternal love doesn’t behave that way. As the Bible says, Mercy triumphs over judgment.

        In the end there are three essential truths: love, hope, and faith–and love is the greatest (I Corinthians 13)

        Check out A CURE for Calvinism’s TULIP which I just posted.

        Thanks for the dialog,

        Daniel Wilcox

          florin

          Well, Daniel, we all fail one way or the other. The truth is that we cannot and will not sin when in Christ and this body of death is done away with – rebellion is sin and we will sin no more. On the other hand, we shall be like Him and we shall be perfect in our love to Him. If I had the option to fall away, I’d ask for that feature to be removed. I have seen sin in the face. Sin terrifies me.

          As going beyond what is written is harmful, much of this theological speculation leads nowhere for centuries. Our disagreements are over speculation.

          Thank you for the dialog. I sign out.

          To God be the glory.

      charles

      if by “free will” you mean that you are free to vote for whichever candidate you like and agree with, calvinists agree that we have free will. our will is “a secondary thing” as spurgeon put it. our choices reflect what we like, what we understand, who we are.

      jonah did not want to go to nineveh. i’m inclined to think God knew that would happen…noncalvinists like michael cox deny this – God does not know the future. The bible teaches otherwise in Isa46:10 and Psa139:16, but the bible is secondary to your personal moral notions and i understand that dr. cox doesn’t accept it as an authority.

      if by “free will” you mean libertarian free will…that you are as free to vote for the candidate you despise and think would be a disaster as you are the candidate you prefer, then i think that is a nutty thing to believe. (but you should probably not try to vote if you’re truly afraid that your will might choose to run amok in such a manner.)

      jonah made the choice that he preferred and that God foreknew. God refused to respect that decision and forced him to go to nineveh in spite of himself. God often uses means to change men’s hearts – even the most “free” of men.

      Prov21:1The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.

Tim Rogers

John,

Why don’t you speak clearly what you are trying to say? Are you using sarcasm here? Are you being serious and giving accolades to the new Editorial team? What are you saying?

Robert

Hello Tim,

Thanks for sharing the Sproul quote. Some observations.

First, note that Sproul speaks of conversion according to the determinitic calvinistic scheme as “the holy rape of the soul”. This implies a distinction in Sproul’s mind between “holy” or acceptable rape (i.e. if it is done by God for the sake of saving someone). And “unholy” or unacceptable rape (i.e. rape when it is done by a person other than God trying to save someone). This in itself is extremely alarming thinking on the part of Sproul. And I have never ever seen any calvinist condemn this language or attack Sproul for having used it. It also shows a sick attitude on the part of Sproul that what is unacceptable for us (rape) is acceptable for God (if it is “the holy rape of the soul”).

Second, regarding Cox’s use of the analogy it is a strong analogy and it is unfortunate that he used it.I believe that most of us would say he should not have used it or that it was not necessary to make his points. He gave a lot of other very good material, especially his discusson of biblical texts clearly showing the reality of free will. Whether he used it knowing about Sproul’s use of the analogy or not is unknown. He could either retract the statement as is or if he absolutely felt compelled to make use of it, make reference to Sproul’s use of it before his own reference to it (e.g. he could has said something like: “When we think of a situation where someone is forced to do something against their will, we can think of no more traumatic example than rape. When a person is raped they are treated like an object rather than a person. Some have used this analogy for the way God saves man according to calvinism [including prominent calvinist theologian R.C. Sproul who described God’s action as “the holy rape of the soul”]. Conversely, rape involves treating a person as an object, which appears to be what both Calvinism and Universalism propose. Indeed, this is a repulsive analogy magnifying an outrageous tenet of each of these isms, neither of which is compatible with inspired Scripture.”)

Third, I think we ought to be more outraged about the realities of calvinistic theology than an analogy for this theology.

An analogy, even a strong one, is still just an analogy being used to make a point. But the realities of calvinism are much worse than any analogy that someone may use for calvinism.

Since people are outraged about the analogy of rape. Consider the reality if consistent calvinism is true, if God has a total plan in which every event is predestined to occur (i.e. whatever occurs is something that God wants to occur, preplanned to occur exactly as it does, and ensures that it occurs according to plan by controlling all things). If that is true, then God preplanned and desired for every actual rape that occurs, to occur just as it does. God wanted every one of them to occur and preplanned them all. Now this is extremely offensive to those of us who believe that God is holy, hates sin, and does not predestine sin or control people to ensure that they sin. And this is not just an analogy; this is reality if exhautive determinism is true. And if exhaustive determinism is true, then this same thing is true with every sin and evil that occurs. God wants them all to occur exactly as they occur and controls things to make sure they all go according to plan.

Speaking for myself, as I work with inmates in prison ministry. I look at all of the crimes these men and women have committed (and they include the worst imaginable sins) and I believe they committed these acts freely. I believe that they could have and should have done otherwise. Because they could have done otherwise and did not, and were convicted, they deserve their time. On the other hand, if exhaustive determinism is true, if consistent calvinism is true, if everything is predestined, preplanned by God and controlled by God to ensure that it occur. Then every single crime they committed and were convicted for, was exactly what God wanted to occur. And I believe that a theology that claims THAT is absolutely outrageous and offensive.

Seems to me that it is ironic and sad that some who are outraged by the analogy of rape used by Cox (and used earlier by Sproul) are not outraged about the reality of calvinism regarding sin and evil.

That is straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel.

Cox and Sproul may be wrong in using that analogy of rape. But what God does if exhaustive determinism/calvinism is true, is much, much worse.

Fourth, while the reality of consistent calvinism regarding sin and evil is extremely offensive to non-calvinists (though consistent calvinists seemingly have no problem stomaching it). This same reality is also true regarding the so-called reprobates in calvinistic theology. Reprobates are all of the unsaved, all those who, though God could easily have regenerated them (thus causing them all to be saved). Instead, God decided beforehand to damn these people (which is most of the human race, and includes your own spouses, children, friends, acquiantances, etc. etc.). He decided to predestine their every sin, their every rejection of the gospel and God. He decided they would then be judged at the final judgment for committing the very sins he predestined them to commit (and which it was impossible for them to have done otherwise since they never had any choices since their every action and thought was prescripted by God) and then sent to hell and eternally punished for doing everything they had to do because God predestined them to do those things. This is as hateful has you could be towards a human being (consistent calvinists even admit this and this can be documented if anyone wants to see a consistent calvinist talking about how hateful God’s treatment of reprobates is). It is the worst and most hateful thing that you could do to a human being. And yet according to consistent Calvinism this is exactly what he does with most of the human race.

People ought to be outraged and offended about a theology that claims that God acts in this way. It goes completely against the character God reveals in scripture. It goes against God’s claims in scripture that he loves the world and sent Jesus to die for the sins of the world, that he takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, etc. etc. So if people want to be offended by Cox and Sproul’s analogy, that is understandable. But save the most intense outrage for the theology that claims God predestines every sin and evil and reprobates most of the human race to hell.

Robert

Tim Rogers

Robert,

Thank you for your contribution. A very thorough and in depth reply.

    Robert

    Hello Tim,

    “Thank you for your contribution. A very thorough and in depth reply.”

    Thanks for the kind words Tim.

    Robert

Leslie Puryear

The response of Calvinists to this post proves my “wolves attacking prey” analogy on a recent post. You take one portion of a post and jump on it without addressing the entire post. You reveal a spirit of arrogance which is beyond belief.

The Original Les

    Tom Parker

    Les:

    You said:”The response of Calvinists to this post proves my “wolves attacking prey” analogy on a recent post. You take one portion of a post and jump on it without addressing the entire post. You reveal a spirit of arrogance which is beyond belief.

    The Original Les”

    Les: Here is just a little reminder of what you are guilty of–“The phrase “The pot calling the kettle black” is an idiom used to claim that a person is guilty of the very thing of which they accuse another.”

    Just food for thought for you.

    BTW what is your position on the RAPE analogy?

    SAGordon

    Les,

    Right. Then would you please remain silent when others malign and misrepresent your position with any kind of vile absurdity.

    And, yes, to this point I’ve not dealt with the faulty theology, but I am unable to get beyond this ridiculous defense of keeping that statement to this post. It’s like defending the weakly worded aspects of the new trads doc which are open to being interpreted in a Semi-Pelagian way. This issue is easily solved…don’t trash the statement nor this post…merely rewrite them so as to remove the distractions. How hard is this? I guess it’s merely as hard as one’s pride will allow.

      volfan007

      Scott,

      If people do not really make a decision, and the salvation experience is irresistible; then how is it not a forced thing? I’m really having trouble with irresistible grace and people truly having a choice in the matter. If God is irresistibly saving the elect, then they are saved without any REAL choice on their part. Because, God is MAKING them WANT to be saved. Correct?

      David

      Lydia

      The level of arrogance in the NC movement is astounding. They really do think this highly of themselves. Amazing what they, for years, were willing to ignore from Driscoll and many others.

Not The Original Les

All,

While I’ve never really felt a part of the “family” here since I’m both an ordained SB minister and a ruling elder (hello Lydia) in the PCA, mostly I’ve been treated pretty well here. I’m no spring chicken and I’ve been knocking around the blog world for a few years. It’s rough and tumble. I used to have on my on not-so-active personal blog a great quote from the deputy of all deputies:

“Now, men, I have just one thing to say. This isn’t gonna be kid’s stuff, and you’ll be on your own, and there will be no mollycoddling.”

I can handle vigorous debate. No problem.

But lately, especially since the transfer of ownership (though some before), SBC Today has changed in a way that no longer edifies, at least not very much. For me.

Today’s RAPE post is the tipping point for me. I will bid you all farewell and wish God’s blessings. Should any of you, from either perspective, want to have a more constructive conversation, I may be reached at Les@HaitiOrphanProject.org.

Adieu and SDG!

Les

    Tom Parker

    Not the original Les:

    IMO those that love to dish it out here will rejoice in your leaving. To have a dialogue is almost impossible with some and you are right, SBC Today is about one and only one thing and you have discovered what it is.

    I wish you well in what the Lord has for you.

    Lydia

    Les, you have been the typical Eddy Haskell here that I see all around me at ground zero. Clean up the NC movement before you come to insult the people here. Funny, I think the guys from Truett have been overly irenic in responding to comments. I don’t know how they do it with you guys digging and digging. But my respect for that institution has soared. You won’t find that sort of operness at SBTS. You find hierarchical indoctrination.

    As usual Calvinist always go for censorship when they don’t like something. We have enough of that on Calvinist blogs. You have commented freely here. I know tons of people who are censored on Calvinist blogs. Including SBCVoices.

    You ought to thank them for allowing you to insult freely here.

Chris Roberts

I’m beyond words on this one. Absolutely ridiculous and indefensible. Amazed even SBC Today would post it.

    Tim Rogers

    Chris,

    Before you come in here with your high horse prancing, you need to show where the Calvinist community has rejected RC Sproul’s philosophic analogy of God being a cosmic rapist.

    Dale Pugh

    Chris:
    I’m with you, brother. This is WAY out there. I’m headed elsewhere for a while.

      Tim Rogers

      Dale,

      Before you go I challenge you with the same objective. Find someone in Reformed theology that has refuted Sproul’s position articulated in 1982. I can find many non-Calvinists that have refuted it, but seriously cannot find an full-fledged Calvinists that have.

        Dale Pugh

        Tim:
        I can’t. And Sproul is wrong.
        My point isn’t in what Cox said, nor would I attempt to defend Sproul. My point is that the comment sections of these posts have grown progressively more inflammatory. Yes, SBC Today is getting a lot of hits now, but what’s the point? I just don’t have the stomach for it all today. I’ll be back later……
        Dale

          Dale Pugh

          Guess I shouldn’t have connected myself with Chris, huh? :-)

            Tim Rogers

            Dale,

            Wait, before you leave. The spirit is not inflammatory by the comments or the posts here at SBC Today. The inflammatory spirit is that we present something that challenges others to re-assess their position in Calvinism. Please, tell me where I have placed something inflammatory in order to win an argument? No place. I have been curt only when someone tried to put me down or make my argument appear juvenile.

            If you want to leave that is your decision. But please do not charge it to something that is not correct. There has no one that takes the Trads position on this site that has called any Calvinist a heretic. We Trads have endured the charge of heresy and responded in grace striving hard to reveal the falseness of such a charged leveled at us. Also, since the blog has been transferred over to TMC you have to admit that you cannot find a more graceful in debate than Dr. Brad Reynolds.

            Now, I ask that you reconsider as this has not grown more inflammatory.

            Dale Pugh

            Tim:
            Not talking about you, bro, and you raise valid points. Not talking about any specific side. There has been stuff on both sides. Heck, I’ve been on the receiving end of it a couple of times. I’m not saying I’m out of here for good (as evidenced by the fact that I keep coming back today). Yes, Brad is gracious. I’ll be back to see how we’re doing next week.
            But, you know, I’m a pastor. As flawed human beings we all talk and act in ways that are heartbreaking at times. If I hear people going at it like this my natural tendency is to want to help. To be a voice of reason and rationality. To bring some modicum of peace. This has been going on for weeks now, and we’re no closer to resolution than we were. Gets a little frustrating to always have motives questioned and intentions unfairly criticized. It is also frustrating to see it happen to others.
            I think I’ll get ready to watch the Opening Ceremonies now. At least for three hours in London everyone is civil. Though I expect that the French will not be warmly greeted by the British…..
            Have a blessed weekend! I’ll be back.

      Tom Parker

      Dale:

      Maybe if you and some of the others will go elsewhere these other folks here will have no one to treat folks the way they have here.

        Dale Pugh

        Tom:
        My email connects to responses here, so I’m back to simply ask that you explain yourself. Am I to take this as some sort of reprimand of my behavior? If so, what in the world have I done or said that is in question? I don’t remember having any interaction with you specifically, so I’m a bit confused about your statement. I have simply expressed difficulty with some of the discussions here. I in no way condone Sproul’s verbiage or stance on anything. I’m not a Calvinist. So I guess I’m just a little fuzzy as to the intent of your response to me.

          Tim Rogers

          Dale,

          Don’t mind Tom he is a mad liberal from the pre-Conservative Resurgence days. He is just trying to run as many off as he possibly can. It seems he has been banned from every blog he has frequented and given grace to return and this is how he does it. Tom is like the church member that does nothing but complains about everything the church is doing. That is what he does here. He cannot debate the issues so he stops by to express how everyone is wrong and mean here at SBC Today.

            Dale Pugh

            A Southern Baptist troll? Well, the tongue is a fire……….Isn’t that what James said?
            Haha!

carl peterson

This was another poorly written piece against Calvinism. The rape analogy (whoever uses it) was a very poor decision. Iwould expect a pastor of a church to have more wisdom and prudence in these matters. But we all make stupid mistakes and say/write things that we wish we could take back.

” God remains willing to reshape the destiny of nations and individuals if they repent (Jer. 18:8). When He plans to bless, He alters His plans when they are disobedient (Jer. 18:10). God does not so much change His mind as He changes His plan (Jer. 18:8, 10). God’s actions, then, are conditioned by the moral behavior of mankind. ”

Okay I wrote a very charitable response before this one claiming that the author did not really mean what he clearly states in this piece. Then I re-read the article and I had to delete the previous post. The author again and again states that God’s actions are conditional based upon what man does or does not do. That is not traditional orthodox theology. I am hesitant to call it unorthodox. I do not like to jump to those conclusions but the next quote is even worse.

“The Bible says that God changed His mind concerning the destruction He was about to bring. This means that God heaved a sigh of relief. His greatest desire is not to destroy man but to save him. Hence, God’s actions are conditional based upon what man does or does not do. When we opt to repent, God is effectively relieved of His obligation to punish our sin and He is cleared to do what He longs to do — show mercy.”

REALLY?!! God breathed a sigh of relief because of man’s choice? Can you see God wiping his brow and saying “Whew! I really did not want to kill those people and send them to hell. I am sure glad that those men made that choice.” I can understand and sympathize with the idea that God does not want men to go to hell and gives all men the choice to choose to go to heaven or hell. But I can’t see God giving a sigh a relief because man helped him out. Traditional Orthodoxy would state that God is in a state of eternal bliss. That he omnipotent and omniscient. That God is soveriegn. There is defintely no room for a real sovereign and immutable will in the God of this piece. In this piece God just has to hope that maybe men will love him. If they do then God will get to show his true love to them instead of punishing them. What hope do we really have with this god when we are going through trouble and pain? Couldn’t God always be saying “Well I would love to help you out but I can’t because you do not let me.”

Instead the Bible teaches in Romans 8 that “37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Look at how different Scripture speaks about man’s free choice and God.

Jeremiah 29
10 This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.[b] I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

Notice that God is not breathing a sigh of relief when man lets Him love them. This passage does display the choice of mankind but also clearly portrays God as soveriegn, in command, and not conditioned by man’s response. AT least not in the way promoted by the piece. God remains in control and confidently tells them what they will do. There is wishing by God that man give their hearts to him. God tells them when they will do it.

I see this passage speaking about a God that is much different than the one in the article. It hasa God who is soverign and in control. not one hoping and wishing that men would help him love them.

    Norm Miller

    Jer. 26.19 states the Lord changed his mind.
    Also, from a Calvinistic website: “However, this does not mean that God never changes his mind (Jer. 18). 2 Kings 20 actually speaks of Hezekiah changing his mind when approached by God …” — Norm

      carl peterson

      In traditional orthodoxy the passages in scripture that state that God repented or changed His mind have traditionally been viewed as Anthropopathisms. Anthropopathism, therefore, is a figure of speech by which human feelings or emotions are ascribed to God, in order to accommodate man’s ignorance of the unfathomable intentions and operations of deity. I have no idea what Calvinist website that stated that God changes his mind or what they weer saying in context. If it was only that we experience God’s wrath and blessing at different times based upon our actions then that is fine. But the article here goes much further than that. God emotional life is changed because man repents. Man gives something to God. God is worried and upset and man and his repentance gives God a break. It is like God is saying to himself “well now i can bless them. i was not going to do it but since now I see that he is repenting I can do it.” God is not surprised by man’s repentance. He does not have to breathe a sigh of relief. He knows what man will do and won’t do. God has a sovereign plan that is not thwarted. I hope I am explaining my real concerns well. i am tired and many things have happened this week. But the article above goes further than just stating that we experience God’s wrath or blessing based upon how we respond to God.

    holdon

    “The author again and again states that God’s actions are conditional based upon what man does or does not do. That is not traditional orthodox theology.”

    Carl, all I can conclude when I read this from you and what follows below from Scripture that you’re outside “traditional orthodox theology”. The theme that God will repent and adjust His course based on what people choose, is a recurring one throughout Scripture.

    “House of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith Jehovah. Behold, as the clay in the potter’s hand, so are ye in my hand, house of Israel. At the moment that I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to break down, and to destroy, if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turn from their evil, then I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at the moment that I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant, if it do evil in my sight, that it hearken not unto my voice, then I will repent of the good wherewith I said I would benefit them. ”

    So, if the clay repents, God will remold the clay. Otherwise, He will cast it away.

    The last verse of Jer 19 says that Israel had hardened itself. The flask would be shattered so that it could not be made whole again. That is what Paul was so anxious about.

    Hope you will read both chapters (18 and 19) and meditate on their meaning.

      carl peterson

      holdon,

      “Carl, all I can conclude when I read this from you and what follows below from Scripture that you’re outside “traditional orthodox theology”. The theme that God will repent and adjust His course based on what people choose, is a recurring one throughout Scripture.”

      No. God in traditional Orthodox theology is immutable. Num 23:19 God says “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind.” Similarly 1 Sam. 15:29 states “He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should change his mind.” God is the “I AM.” James 1:17 “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

      Clearly does not change his mind. That is what creatures do. Not God. Why would God when He is omnisccent and omnipotent?

      Let’s look at what Augustine had to say about it. He writes ” God’s mind does not pass from one thought to another His vision is utterly unchangeable. Thus, He comprehends all that takes place in time-the not-yet existing future, the existing present and the no-longer-existing past in an immutable and eternal present . . . [Neither] is there any then, now, and afterwards in His knowledge, for, unlike ours, it suffers no change with triple time present, past, and future. With Him, there is no change, nor shadow of alteration”

      I could go on. My point is that God is not surprised by anything man does. See Hebrews 4: 12-13. He is not controlled by man. In this post man controls God. I think before commenting on traditional orthodoxy you might want ot look up the doctrines of the simplicity, immutability, and impassibility of God. These all were orthodox in the Patristic period. They interpreted scripture in this way.

      Just to make things clear it is not that what I am objecting to is NOT that man experiences God’s wrath or God’s blessings at different times based upon man’s actions. But this is not a change in God’s plan. He does not have heave a sigh of relief like man has helped him. That is the big difference. God is not hurt or helped by us. Traditionally God is not in heaven upset because some men will not believe in Him. The passages in scripture that state that God repented or changed His mind have traditionally been viewed as Anthropopathisms. Anthropopathism, therefore, is a figure of speech by which human feelings or emotions are ascribed to God, in order to accommodate man’s ignorance of the unfathomable intentions and operations of deity.

      See also Romans 11
      33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and[i] knowledge of God!
      How unsearchable his judgments,
      and his paths beyond tracing out!
      34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord?
      Or who has been his counselor?”[j]
      35 “Who has ever given to God,
      that God should repay them?”[k]
      36 For from him and through him and for him are all things.
      To him be the glory forever! Amen.

      But really who would breathe a sigh of relief except a being who did not know what was going to happen. In the section below God is at first worried and upset and dismayed. Then God is happy because He can finally change His plan and bless His people. He could not before. In traditional orthodoxy God’s emotions are not conditioned due to man’s actions. Some believe this is not true today but it is traditional orthodoxy. See in traditional orthodoxy God loves us just because He loves us. He does not gain anything. He does not need anything. In the passage below God clearly needs man’s repentance in order to be happy. He breathes a sigh of relief because now he does not have to be anxious, worried, or upset because He has to punish man.

      Read this again “The Bible says that God changed His mind concerning the destruction He was about to bring. This means that God heaved a sigh of relief. His greatest desire is not to destroy man but to save him. Hence, God’s actions are conditional based upon what man does or does not do. When we opt to repent, God is effectively relieved of His obligation to punish our sin and He is cleared to do what He longs to do — show mercy. “

Robert

I can understand that some were offended by the analogy. So then suggest that Cox was wrong for having included this analogy and ask him to remove the offending lines and offer an apology. That makes sense and is appropriate. Unfortunately some calvinists are camping out exclusively on that analogy and ignoring the rest of what Cox said. That is unfortunate, because if the desire was to genuinely discuss Cox’s contribution, that is what they would do (ask for the offending part to be eliminated and discuss the rest).

For example Les wrote:

“Today’s RAPE post is the tipping point for me.”

The post was not about RAPE, only the analogy was a reference to rape. And that consisted of a few lines that can easily be eliminated. To characterize Cox’s entire post as “Today’s RAPE post” is to misrepresent the nature of the post.

Then we have Chris Roberts saying:

“I’m beyond words on this one. Absolutely ridiculous and indefensible. Amazed even SBC Today would post it.”

Again, Roberts characterizes the **entire** post as something he is amazed the SBC Today would even allow to be posted. And again, the lines with the inappropriate analogy are not the whole post. There is an easy fix for the offense, eliminate the analogy, apologize for it, and reword things to convey that non-determinists do not appreciate how calvinism leads to God forcing people to believe against their will (or something similar to get that point across).

The rest of the post by Cox, absent the offending analogy, provides very good evidence for the reality of free will in the OT scriptures. And I believe that is what Cox really wanted to be discussed here.

I also find it ironic that some of these calvinists are so outraged by the analogy used by Cox, when they should actually read the way John Calvin and Martin Luther actually talked about and to, those who disagreed with them! Calvin and Luther’s language makes Cox’s analogy seem like nothing. I know modern determinists like to rationalize away this crude and harsh language (i.e. they tell me it was the way they talked back then so it is OK. Not by biblical standards it wasn’t). I would like to see them read the **extreme vitriol** that spewed out of these guys and then come back and tell us how offended they are by Calvin and Luther’s extremely harsh attacks of others.

And I reiterate that I wish people would be more offended about the realities of calvinism rather than an offensive analogy about this theology. The offending realities of calvinism are much, much worse than the analogy given by Sproul and Cox.

Robert

    Lydia

    I also find it ironic that some of these calvinists are so outraged by the analogy used by Cox, when they should actually read the way John Calvin and Martin Luther actually talked about and to, those who disagreed with them! Calvin and Luther’s language makes Cox’s analogy seem like nothing. I know modern determinists like to rationalize away this crude and harsh language (i.e. they tell me it was the way they talked back then so it is OK. Not by biblical standards it wasn’t). I would like to see them read the **extreme vitriol** that spewed out of these guys and then come back and tell us how offended they are by Calvin and Luther’s extremely harsh attacks of others.”

    EXACTLY!! Thank you for pointing this out. Oh my, reading some of what Luther wrote is chilling. The Nazi’s used his writings on Jews to win over many Lutherans to pledge allegiance to Hilter.

    Jim G.

    The offending realities of Calvinism indeed are far more horrible than either the OP or Sproul.

    Even though Augustine and the high Scholastics held a distinction between God’s active decree and his permission of acts that resulted in evil, the Swiss Reformers (Zwingli and Calvin) eliminated the distinction between decree and permission. The later Reformed thinkers have had great difficulty shaking themselves from Calvin’s shadow on the decree.

    In the Augustinian-Calvinist theological synthesis, every single act by humans and spirits is fully determined and rendered certain by the decree of God. That means that every evil act that has ever occurred has been fully decreed and rendered certain by God from all eternity. To the determinist (who will honestly follow his convictions), every child raped by Jerry Sandusky and what seems to be his ever-expanding ring of pedophiles had their rapes decreed by God from all eternity and rendered certain in due time. Every single rape of every one of those poor little boys was decreed in *the will of God* from all eternity. The God who describes himself as love in 1 John 4 decreed every one of those despicable acts eons before any of the actors were ever born for reasons known only to him. Not only did he decree them (which, no matter how poor the attempt to explain it away, makes God the originator and master-planner of all sin), he rendered it certain that Sandusky would be a monster himself and that the children would horribly suffer for it. There could be no other alternative – it was decreed and therefore *had* to occur.

    If that’s not bad enough, here is another problem that I’m not sure I’ve seen discussed: what about sins committed by the elect after regeneration? Again, according to the determinist, God wills all that occurs and those sins are eternally-decreed-and-rendered-certain as well. As offensive as I find the determinist model in cases such as Sandusky, I find it even more offensive here. If God truly gives the faith and love at regeneration to lead to conversion, what are we to make of eternally-decreed sinful acts in the elect? Is God simultaneously working in us for good and for evil after conversion? The same God who gives his love in grace at regeneration then decrees that we will offend him and could not do otherwise? How can such a view of God engender trust in him, because although I might be serving God wholeheartedly today, he may have decreed that I commit murder, theft, or adultery tomorrow? I cannot be certain that he has not decreed that. Experience is on my side (and yours too) that I still commit sins even though I believe. And if it occurs, the determinist *must* say God decreed it.

    I ask this in sincerity, because who among us has not sinned since beginning to follow Christ? The determinist – to stay true to his convictions – *must* say that such sins were decreed from all eternity and rendered certain, like every other event that has occurred in creation. I can reach no other conclusion but to infer that the determinist view of God must have him actively working both good and evil in the life of the believer, because all that occurs is eternally decreed and rendered certain. What sort of love decrees and renders certain acts that defy and betray that love?

    Jim G.

Daniel Wilcox

Hi All,

Here’s A CURE for the TULIP of Calvinism.

A–All humans Able, by God’s will, to accept or reject the Truth and Love of God

C–Conditional Election, based on God’s foreknowing of our acceptance of his eternal love

U–Unlimited Atonement through Jesus, efficient for every human, conditional on our repentance and acceptance

R–Reassured that God’s Holy Spirit woos everyone by his love, though God gives us the choice to respond or not

E–Eternally secure in God’s love and truth and goodness

And that is Good News:-)

Daniel Wilcox

    Rick Patrick

    Daniel,

    I like “A CURE.” Thanks for reducing doctrine to an acronym so it is more accessible and transferable. That’s one thing that TULIP has done for the Calvinists for years. Well done.

    Rick

      Daniel Wilcox

      Rick,

      Thanks for the comment.

      Hope it helps us all to move beyond the sometimes negative words.

      I don’t remember exactly how I got the acronym, though obviously dealing with TULIP for so many years and seeing various other acronyms, I definitely thought we all needed a cure;-)

      Especially to help Calvinists see God is far more loving and gracious than their TULIP claims.

      Thanks for the dialog,

      Daniel

Dean

One God with two different opinionated groups of believers worshiping Him. I have been taught some things in theology that I cannot fully understand. I have been taught that one of the seven natural attributes of God is His eternity. He has already experienced eternity past and eternity future while working in the present. We will give an invitation Sunday but God has already celebrated and glorified all who will be born again Sunday. When He worked in Jonah and Jeremiah’s lives He had already experienced all they would do in eternity past.

I am convinced from an honest exegesis of Scripture that man has a free will that God does not violate except in matters of judgment. In His sovereignty He gives man that free will. I have been taught and believe that our interpretation of Scripture can never lead to God being responsible for sin. He foreknew that Adam would sin but He did not foreordain it.

Why the whale in Jonah? I will say what is blasphemous to the Calvinist. The whale was God’s response to Jonah’s denial to go to Nineveh. It can be called by some a “reaction.” God reacting is hard to hear but He certainly does that in judgment. Jonah sinned when he disobeyed. That sin was not God’s plan. God did not want Jonah to sin, He wanted Him to go to Nineveh. To say otherwise is to say God is responsible for sin, I cannot do that. He commissioned the fish as a result of Jonah’s decision. This does not weaken God to me at all. Understanding God to say I will cause Jonah to sin so I can show out with a fish is unacceptable to me because of my principles of interpretation about God being responsible for sin. .

Now the theology student in me says that God experienced every bit of that in eternity past because He is the eternal I am not the eternal I was. The fish, the rebellion, the repentance was all experienced by God in time past.

One God two different opinionated groups worshiping Him. He has already experienced what we will blog tomorrow.

btw: i would encourage you to get over the rape analogy its not worth breaking fellowship. i read in the thread where someone accused a response of having open theism in it. the silly assertion was then made an accusation against a person’s writings is not an accusation against them. that is not true when the writing is a person’s beliefs. it was not an accusation of poor grammar but heretical theology. i believe John Piper is what he says when he writes.

prchrbill

This article is just further proof that anti-Calvinist bloggers and anti-calvinist blog commenters have little knowledge of what the doctrines of Grace actually are.

This article is shameful. It should be deleted and the author should apologize publicly for this atrocity.

Perhaps Calvinists should leave the SBC to the Arminians.

With that, I am……
prchrbill

    volfan007

    preacherbill,

    Why dont you deal with what he actually states in the article, rather than dwelling on the analogy? Why dont you tell us how it is wrong, in your opinion? I mean, if God is MAKING people WANT to be saved, then they really have no choice…not really. Would this not mean that God is forcing people to be saved?

    David

    Dean

    Just remember we can’t grant letters to Presb churches. You will have to go on statement but we will remove your name from our rolls. :))))))

    Lydia

    This one gets old. We never understand Calvinism because it is basically a version of systemized Platonic philosophy. And that was never meant to be understood by the mere peasants but only by the special enlightened ones.

Luther Jones

Perhaps the rape analogy was perfectly fitting, given the endless rape of Calvinism and Calvinists by SBCTODAY.com and by some Traditionalists these past couple months. It does speak to the prevailing tenor of this site, especially since the takeover.

    volfan007

    Luther,

    The takeover? What?

    Also, why dont you deal with the post was truly about?

    David

    Tim Rogers

    Luther,

    You have no one to thank for the “rape” analogy but RC Sproul, himself. He was the one who brought this out and no Calvinist that I have seen writing has taken issue with him. Thus, we are doing nothing but expressing what Calvinists believe based on what one of the leading Calvinists in Evangelicalism expressed.

      holdon

      From wikipedia:
      “Jonathan Edwards has sometimes been quoted—notably by R. C. Sproul—as referring to the irresistible call of God as the “holy rape of the soul,” but the phrase does not appear in Edwards’ Works. Instead, the phrase seems to have been coined by Puritan scholar Perry Miller, and many Calvinists distance themselves from it.”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irresistible_grace

        Tim Rogers

        Holdon,

        Are you seriously going to use Wikipedia as your scholarly source? Come on, show me the Calvinists that have distanced themselves from Sproul’s use of the Holy Rape analogy.

Eddie

You guys who continuously bash on Trad’s and now the new slander for the editorial team for SBC Today, do you really think you are helping anyone better understand your viewpoint? The articles are not “Calvinistic” as you would prefer I suppose, but are you not free to Biblically defend your position here? Rather, you whine! If all you desire is a Calvinistic view, go to a Calvinistic only site and you will have much less stress.

As for me, I am tickled pink. I can discuss all the theology I desire here… Not to mention, my wife is happy… She says all of this theological back and forth makes her head hurt. She’d rather I get it out of my system here!

Eddie

    volfan007

    Eddie,

    Amen, Bro. You are exactly right.

    David

Lydia

More Calvinists using “rape” in their writings.

An excerpt from from Calvinist Doug Wilson’s book who recently has been promoted by John Piper and Denny Burk at SBTS and a Gospel Coalition blog:

Fidelity: What It Means to be a One-Woman Man:

“The sexual act cannot be made into an egalitarian pleasuring party. A man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts. This is of course offensive to all egalitarians, and so our culture has rebelled against the concept of authority and submission in marriage. This means that we have sought to suppress the concepts of authority and submission as they relate to the marriage bed.

We cannot make gravity disappear just because we dislike it, and in the same way we find that our banished authority and submission comes back to us in pathological forms. This is what lies behind sexual “bondage and submission games,” along with very common rape fantasies. Men dream of being rapists, and women find themselves wistfully reading novels in which someone ravishes the “soon to be made willing” heroine. Those who deny they have any need for water at all will soon find themselves lusting after polluted water, but water nonetheless”

You see, when Calvinists use such language itis perfectly ok if even if they don’t agree. It does not make them avoid such people….they promote them. I suppose 1 Corin 7 is not in Doug’s bible. Is Doug Wilson suggesting women want to be raped?

I think he icons need to be held accountable for who they are promoting. This does not even get into Wilsons slavery writings which frankly, sound a lot like Boyce’s views.

    abclay

    Okay, I can’t stand it anymore, I have to say it.

    Lydia,

    Please, just shut your pie hole. If you ever made a point that contributed to the discussion, it would be different, but you don’t. All you do is stir the pot and try to cause conflict. I know that I am not the only one who is tired of your drivel.

    While you are on your sabbatical from posting, why not give your husband a break from all the laundry, dirty dishes, and house cleaning…….let him go fishing or something. And also, try and read and pay attention to the other women who post here, Hariette and Debbie in particular; learn to add to the conversation instead of poking sticks in peoples eyes.

      Tim Rogers

      abclay,

      You will not speak to a woman in that tone, not while I am around. Now you need to apologize to her. Debbie Kaufman is one lady that can get on my last nerve, but she has never been told to “shut her pie hole” by me. Every time she has gotten into contentious debate she has never been spoken to the way you are speaking to Lydia.

      Now your need to apologize!!!

      Lydia

      abclay,

      That is a fantastic Mark Driscoll impression! He would be proud of you!

Steve Martin

Here’s a cure for Calvinism:

“Christ Jesus died for you.”

Some hear that word and come to faith.

Others do not.

Why?

Only God knows.

steve

Tim,
I urge you as a brother and as a christian for the sake of the love we have for fellow believers to accept that the rape analogy has caused needless pain, and so remove that section of the post as you have the ability to do so.
Steve your brother in Christ.

    Tim Rogers

    Steve,

    I do not have the ability to remove anything on this board. As you noticed in the last comment thread on Bill Harrell’s post, I asked the editors to close a tag for me. I honestly do not possess the ability to do such.

    Even if I did, I would have to have the approval of the author before I did that. I would encourage him to reconsider and suggest an alternative wording, but I would not remove it unless he approved.

    Is the analogy a painful one for some? Yes, it is. However, it seems SBC Today is taking a beating for an analogy that is used within the Calvinist community merely because SBC Today used it. When you can show me some writings of Calvinists that will debate the error of such an analogy and especially those who have taken RC Sproul to task for his use, I will consider petitioning the Editorial board. Until then, I feel the post needs to remain.

      Mary

      I wonder if the staff at SBC Today could put a post with the Calvinists who have made the rape analogy – with links and sources.

      The SBC Today is hateful meme is picking up. Of course I doubt the people calling SBC Today hateful will actually apologize if it’s shown that Dr. Cox was simply using an analogy that Calvinists themselves have used. There’s a huge double standard. It’s become evident in these last couple of days that you are not supposed to directly quote Calvinists because it brings up questions they simply do not wish to answer. Spoul;s words seem to be causing conniptions amongst the Cals and they can’t deal with it so they attack the Trads as haters. Real nice.

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