A Biblical Critique of Calvinism
Part 1b: The Inclusivity of the Gospel Invitation

July 1, 2012


by Dr. Michael A. Cox, Pastor, First Baptist Church, Pryor, OK
and author of Not One Little Child: A Biblical Critique of Calvinism


This is the second of a series of articles by Dr. Cox, with a Biblical critique of Calvinism drawn in part from his book Not One Little Child. Read part 1a here.


I admit that the book of Romans is very challenging to understand. I have preached and translated through it word-by-word twice now and am somewhat tempted to write a commentary on it. But, for now, let me review several key passages which harmonize well with all the previous verses I have examined and dispel any notion that Paul taught the redemptive exclusion of any, except for those who exclude themselves through refusing to believe. He stated that the gospel is the power of God for salvation to all who believe (Rom. 1:16). This means that the gospel uniquely demonstrates God’s power. The gospel of Jesus Christ is something of which to be proud, not ashamed. True Christians are those who are neither ashamed of the gospel nor a shame to it.[1] Are you ashamed of the gospel? Are you ashamed for others to know your hero and Savior is a Jewish carpenter who was executed as a criminal? Are you ashamed to follow Him in baptism? Are you ashamed to say you believe the Bible? Are you ashamed that doing so might damage your popularity? Paul shouted that nothing could turn him against the gospel!

Conversely, I am ashamed of unchristian beliefs dressed up as Christian beliefs: infant baptism as washing away the taint of original sin; transubstantiation; the Mormon doctrine of becoming a god and populating one’s own planet; and many of the claims of Calvinism. The gospel is the good news, and good news necessarily implies that “bad news” exists. The gospel is good news to receive, not a code to keep.[2] It is God’s dynamic power and divine energy. Christians see God’s power at work in lives and understand that one test of anything is to examine the results which are produced. The transforming power of the gospel is more than a theory; the gospel gets results. Christians are not powerless to change the evil in the world because the gospel is God’s power to change lives, granting salvation to all who believe. The goal of the gospel is salvation. Salvation means deliverance from sin and its penalty and includes rescue from the wrath of God. In fact, the term “salvation” presupposes peril or danger from which humans need to be rescued.[3]

The gospel is not the power of God for salvation to every person; Universalism is disallowed; it is the power of God for salvation to all who believe. All who believe may experience salvation, for Scripture teaches that whosoever will may come to Christ in repentance and faith: it is for everyone. Salvation is conditional upon belief, and saving belief means trust, personal commitment, handing over of one’s self, and the wholehearted involvement in the truth being believed. Faith is believing obedience (James 1:22; 2:17). Personal responsibility to the gospel through faith is emphasized in Rom. 1:16.[4] Moreover, the equality of sinners and the equality of faith are stressed. By this I mean that if you are a sinner you can believe in Jesus Christ and be saved. The gospel is God’s power to the Jews first and also to the Gentiles. Salvation is from a Jew (John 4:22) and began in Jerusalem among Jews (Acts 1:8). But it is also for Gentiles. Although the Jews were first in New Testament redemptive chronology, they will also be first in penalty (Rom. 2:9). The Bible is explaining that God’s plan includes all of mankind, clearly announcing that it is the same salvation experienced by all. There is only one God; therefore, there is only one gospel and it is for all people.

In Rom. 3:22 Paul wrote that the righteousness of God is available through Jesus Christ as the object of faith to all who believe. Oddly enough, [sometimes] Calvinistic commentator Matthew Henry remarks that the righteousness of God, which is appropriated through faith in Christ, “is eis pantasunto all, offered to all in general; the gospel excludes none that do not exclude themselves.”[5] It would be difficult to find a more obvious reference to a general atonement in the works of an Arminian theologian! Is this “early” Henry or “late” Henry? Regardless of the age of Matthew Henry when he wrote it, this plainly appears to be a glaring inconsistency on behalf of a writer many believe to have been strongly Calvinistic. I have read quite literally thousands upon thousands of pages written by Matthew Henry and my assessment of this statement is that he did not know what else to do with the verse. Although he is terribly given to an allegorical method of interpretation (hermeneutic), there was no way to take this verse except as it is officially stated in the Greek.

Romans 3:22 teaches that righteousness is imputed through faith in Jesus Christ. Righteousness is not imputed through works, baptism, or penance but through faith, and it is for all who believe. None who believe are excluded. So mankind is not saved for his faith but through it. Faith does not do the saving but it can and will appropriate the grace of Him who does the saving. Also, Paul argues that there is no distinction between people, thus indicating the universal condemnation of Jew and Gentile alike. Acquitting the innocent and condemning the guilty is the norm in man’s courtrooms; but acquitting the guilty who believe in Christ and repent of sin is the norm in God’s courtroom. Romans 3:22 teaches that the righteousness of God is imputed through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe: this verse articulates the universality of the cure. Then, Rom. 3:23 follows by expressing the universality of the disease when it unconditionally proclaims that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. A universal shortfall demands a universal windfall and God has provided it in the person of Jesus Christ.

In Rom. 9:33 Paul wrote that all who believe in Christ will not be disappointed. When he said “it is written,” he was probably alluding to Ps. 118:22, Isa. 8:14, or both. He was alleging that the Jews’ own Bible predicts the offensiveness of Christ.[6] The Bible says that “God laid in Zion.” This means that the plan of salvation was God’s doing and the work of Christ was God’s doing. What did God lay in Zion? A stone of stumbling. This declares that Christ was put here on earth, in a manger, in Nazareth, in Jerusalem, and on the cross by God. However, this does not mean that God caused stumbling. The Jews were advancing along on what they thought was a clear religious path and then they tripped over what they deemed “debris” in the road. They stumbled over the necessity of faith in Christ as God’s son and as the only way of attaining righteousness. This suggests that failure to utilize Christ Jesus as the foundation stone in life results in people taking offense at Him and stumbling over Him. The Jews were and are deeply offended by Christ. By His actions in reaching out to sinners, healing on the Sabbath, cleansing the Temple, and rebuking the Pharisees and scribes as hypocrites. They are also offended by his claims to be God’s son and to be able to forgive sin. Further, they are offended by His demands of discipleship, of moral purity, of justice for all, and by His requirement of child-like faith. Still further, they are offended by His lowly birth and His scandalous death. Yet, in spite of all these actual and potential offenses, the Bible forthrightly proclaims that he who believes in Him will not be disappointed. This is speaking of a person and the person is Christ (Isa. 28:16; 1 Pet. 2:6-8). Those who choose not to trust Christ by faith will be crushed under the weight of their own sin and unrighteousness.[7] The rock sent to justify and deliver becomes the rock which judges and dooms. Thus, God is not to be blamed for any who are lost. Only those seeking to establish their own righteousness by the law of works stumble over Christ. Anyone who believes in Jesus Christ will not be disappointed.

In Rom. 10:13 Paul wrote that whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved, something that Joel 2:32 had already announced. “Whoever” means that anyone can call upon the name of Jesus and be saved: liars, thieves, adulterers, prostitutes, drug addicts, alcoholics, murderers, atheists, Gentiles, Jews, black people, white people, tall people, short people, young people, old people, male people, female people, even church members! But they themselves (middle voice) must call. Scripture teaches both that Christ calls upon man and that man must call upon Christ and calling upon means invoke or appeal to, and the appeal is to one name: Jesus (Acts 4:12). Those who call upon Him are saved, having been declared righteous and eternally secure.

And then in Rom. 11:32 comes a truly biblical theme which appears consistently in nearly every major contribution to Holy Writ: God wants to show mercy to all. This means that all unbelievers are looked upon in the same way. The Bible here definitively expresses the universal sinfulness of mankind. Both Jew and Gentile alike are confined within the scope of one kind of guilt, and it is that of unbelief.[8] Kenneth Wuest interprets this to mean that by being shut up under disobedience, all are made to feel the need for grace.[9] This verse, then, teaches that every person must be damned before he or she can be saved. Here stands a double-barreled declaration: God classifies all accountable people as unbelievers and God wants to show mercy to all. God makes no ethnic distinctions. God makes no gender distinctions. God makes only a spiritual distinction: belief or unbelief. In that God desires to show mercy to all, we see the universality of sin: all people (Rom. 3:23; Gal. 3:22); and we see the universality of mercy: all people. Berkeley Mickelsen asserts that God shuts up all for the purpose of setting all free.[10] Just as this text declares the universality of mercy and the universality of sin, it also asserts the universality of God’s invitation;[11] but in no way does this verse teach the universality of salvation. Further, it is biblically inconsistent to suppose that Paul would argue for the universality of sin and then argue for the limited scope of its cure.


The next article in this series will continue tracing the inclusive invitation of the gospel from the book of 2 Corinthians through the book of Revelation.


[1] Matthew Henry, An Exposition with Practical Observations of the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans, in Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, vol. 6, Acts to Revelation (McLean, VA: MacDonald Publishing Company, n.d.; reprint, n.d.), 367.

[2] John William MacGorman, Romans, in Layman’s Bible Book Commentary, vol. 20, Romans – 1 Corinthians (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1980), 24.

[3] Ibid., 23.

[4] J. P. McBeth, Exegetical and Practical Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans (Dallas, TX: by the author, 1937), 42.

[5] Henry, Romans, 386.

[6] C. K. Barrett, The Epistle to the Romans (New York, NY: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1957), 194.

[7] Kenneth Boa, and William Kruidenier, Romans, in Holman New Testament Commentary, ed. Max Anders, vol. 6, Romans (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 307.

[8] Kenneth S. Wuest, Romans, in Wuest’s Word Studies, vol. 1, Mark – Romans – Galatians – Ephesians and Colossians (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1955; reprint, 1973), 201.

[9] Ibid., 202.

[10] A. Berkeley Mickelsen, The Epistle to the Romans in The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, ed. Charles F. Pfeiffer and Everett F. Harrison (Nashville, TN: The Southwestern Company, 1962), 1219.

[11] Dale Moody, Romans, in The Broadman Bible Commentary, ed. Clifton J. Allen, vol. 10, Acts – 1 Corinthians (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1970), 246.

Leave a Comment:

All fields with “*” are required

 characters available

Jeremy Crowder

This is a very interesting and informative piece. Thank you Dr. Cox.

    Michael Vaughan

    In an effort at getting visibility, I’m going to post this at the top.

    Why don’t we just abandon this fruitless arguing? I’m ashamed of my own role in this. We’re not here to change minds–we’re here to prove that ‘I’m right and you’re wrong!’. Before you post, examine what fruit you think your words wil accomplish.

    Let’s just agree to stop arguing and let this die. We can hash these things out locally, and in the meantime get on with our lives. If we stop feeding the fire, it will go out.

    Someone, somewhere on the Internet disagrees with you. So what? The party is over. Go home.

Les Prouty

This is supposed to be a critique of Calvinism? I probably need to re-read it more slowly, but at first glance I didn’t see anything glaring against Calvinism.

rhutchin

The author really doesn’t argue against Calvinism – the reference to Matthew Henry seems to have been more for show. However, there is an elephant in the room that is ignored. That elephant is Total Depravity. If people are totally depraved (as described in Eph 2 and 4; Rom 8; 1 Cor 2; and elsewhere) then it is God who must extend grace to that person to allow everything the author describes above. Yet, only the elect end up responding to the call of salvation (the same elect known to, and chosen by, God before the creation of the world).

So, how does the author propose to explain how only the elect are saved and they are those whom God predestined to save despite all that he explaisn above? The author could have addressed key issues with Calvinism; he chose not to do so. Perhaps, he has no real grievance with Calvinism and sees not of import to critique.

Steve Martin

Yes, only God can save us. He leads us to repentance, and He gives us the gist of faith. And how wonderful it is to glory only in the cross of Christ and nothing that ‘we do’.

Yes, predestination is clearly in the Bible. Yes, we are not to tell the potter how to form the clay. God does it all.

But our focus ought not be to proclaim that God only elects some people. Our focus ought be to proclaim that Christ died for ALL (also true). And that means He died for YOU. He loves and forgives real sinners. The kind we know that we are.

The mistake that Calvinists make is to tout this ‘election’ and put focus on it, rather than telling people (over and over and over) that Christ died for them and is their Savior. God will handle all the rest. We ought be able to rest in that and not have to resopve every tension that resides in the Christian faith.

Thanks.

    Steve Martin

    That ought read ‘resolve’. (typing too fast for my own good)

      Darryl Hill

      Steve, it’s as if you believe that reformed pastors stand up to preach the Gospel and preface it with: “now, before I start, here’s a disclaimer… some of you aren’t included in this message… as a matter of fact, you’re going to burn in hell and there’s anyone can do to stop it because you’re not one of the elect of God. Ok, now that we have that out of the way, let’s begin…”

      We’re not preaching “join our elect-only club.” We’re preaching the Gospel. Whosoever will, come drink of the water freely! It’s the message of the cross. It’s the same message you preach. The only difference between us is that I read in Scripture that God has foreknown and predestined His children and that in real time He calls, justifies, and will ultimately glorify them. I simply believe that it is God’s work, not man’s. I believe it must be a drawing of God, a calling of God, a quickening of the Spirit, an opening of blinded eyes- a work of grace is required before any man will ever freely choose.

      But look, just because I believe it must be a work of God doesn’t mean I don’t offer the Gospel to all men and let God sort them out. That’s all any of us can do. That’s all you can do as well. Can you persuade someone with wise and persuasive words or are you dependent on the Spirit’s power to see people repent and believe?

        Tim Rogers

        Darryl,

        So that means you offer a public invitation at the end of your messages?

          Les Prouty

          Tim Rogers,

          I can’t speak for Darryl, but I am fully Reformed and when I preach, I always call on my hearers to repent and believe. I invite them to come to Christ.

          Darryl Hill

          I am not the senior pastor of my church, but I speak often and do give public, open invitations at the end of my messages. At the end of my senior pastor’s messages, I lead the hymn of response because I am currently serving as the worship leader. I don’t have a problem with public invitations so long as they are done well. I try to avoid sappy songs (The Savior is Waiting, for example) but we do encourage people to respond.

michael

Again, as with the first post in the anti-calvinist series, nothing is said about WHO can believe only all who believe will be saved. I have another question that I heard some time ago that needs an answer. If man’s “free will” or “choice” has the final say in salvation then who did Jesus die for on the cross…….the answer seems to be that He died for no one. Who is saved now……seems to me that we can’t be sure that anyone is saved. Why do some believe that people are free to come or not come to Jesus, but once they are there, they can’t walk away? Just thinking!

Richmond Goolsby

Many good words, but including Calvinism with Catholicism and Mormonism (paragraph 2) probably won’t help build unity.

    Darryl Hill

    I noticed that as well….

    “infant baptism as washing away the taint of original sin; transubstantiation; the Mormon doctrine of becoming a god and populating one’s own planet; and many of the claims of Calvinism. ”

    Wow, what a list, eh? I guess I need to head to Utah quick! The fact that “many of the claims of Calvinism” follows “the Mormon doctrine of becoming a god and populating one’s own plant” tells me everything I need to know. I’m guessing I’m not getting a Christmas card from this guy. :-)

Les Prouty

Yes Richmond, that statement,

“Conversely, I am ashamed of unchristian beliefs dressed up as Christian beliefs: infant baptism as washing away the taint of original sin; transubstantiation; the Mormon doctrine of becoming a god and populating one’s own planet; and many of the claims of Calvinism.”

…is very unfortunate. According to Dr. Cox, “many of the claims of Calvinism” are unChristian AND we are lumped in with Mormons and baptismal regeneratonists and RCs.

What are these unChristian beliefs we Calvinists hold to? He didn’t say.

Randall Cofield

In Rom. 3:22 Paul wrote that the righteousness of God is available through Jesus Christ as the object of faith to all who believe. Oddly enough, [sometimes] Calvinistic commentator Matthew Henry remarks that the righteousness of God, which is appropriated through faith in Christ, “is eis pantas – unto all, offered to all in general; the gospel excludes none that do not exclude themselves.”[5] It would be difficult to find a more obvious reference to a general atonement in the works of an Arminian theologian!

I’m sure Matthew Henry would be quite amused to find his interpretation of Ro. 3:22 declared “Arminian.” Henry is perfectly consistent with Calvinism in his interpretation here, and it is precisely this point that undermines the entirety of the above article.

Just 12 verses earlier Paul flatly states that none understand God, none seek Him, none fear Him, etc. (vss 10-18). Therefore, every mouth is stopped and all stand guilty before God (vs. 19). The Arminian contention that all can believe the Gospel ignores what Paul has already plainly posited in vss. 10-18–none can believe in our fallen, unregenerate, sinful, rebellious state. Matthew Henry’s statement that the Gospel is “offered to all in general; the gospel excludes none that do not exclude themselves” is perfectly consistent with Paul’s reasoning both in Romans 3 and throughout the remainder of the book.

The real question that lies at the heart of this issue is this: Who can believe? Paul is clear in his answer to this most vital question, but I’ll start with Jesus and we’ll see if Paul is consistent with Jesus.

Joh 10:26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life…

And:

Joh 6:64 But there are some of you who do not believe.”…..65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

The Gospel according to Jesus is that only those who are his sheep (the elect/chosen) can believe. Those who believe not (the native state of all mankind–Ro. 3:10-18) cannot believe “unless it is granted him by the Father.”

This is perfectly consistent with Paul’s position on who can believe:

Ro. 9:11…that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth….15….I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion….16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

Who believes, according to Paul? Is it “whosoever chooses to believe according to an act of his libertarian free will?” Nay, Paul says those who believe do so because God has chosen them and has mercy and compassion on them.

This is further confirmed:

Ro. 11:3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” 4 But what is God’s reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace.
6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

Who believes God and not Baal? Those whom God kept for himself. Who believes the Gospel? The remnant, chosen by God’s grace.

This is further confirmed by the early church:

Ac 13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

Who believed the Gospel? Those whom God had “ordained to eternal life.”

When the larger context of Paul’s letter to the Romans, as well as larger context of the whole of scripture is taken into account, Matthew Henry’s commentary on Ro. 3:22 is in no way inconsistent with Calvinistic theology.

This is yet another example of a misunderstanding of Calvinistic theology leading to a mischaracterization of Calvinistic theology. And the whole argument of Dr. Cox’s article unravels upon this single point of mischaracterization.

A Preemptive Postulate: These passages are the revealed Word of God. Therefore, they have real meaning, and that real meaning can be ascertained. To respond that we simply have “different interpretations” of these passages is a non sequitur.

Soli Deo Gloria

    Les Prouty

    Randall, excellent!

      Randall Cofield

      Les,

      I trust that the true excellence of what I posted rests entirely in the power of the Living Word of God.

      Blessings, brother.

    Don Johnson

    Randall,

    I noticed you started with John 10:26-27. I know Calvinists always list this verse to somehow prove their position, but I haven’t yet met a Calvinist who actually believes what it states. Maybe, you will be the first. Please help us non-Calvinists to understand it was that Jesus was trying to communicate?

      Randall Cofield

      Don,

      Brother, I have already exposited the passage in connection with numerous other passages which state the same truths. I could repeat myself, but I doubt that would be helpful.

      Perhaps you could exposit the passage in connection with the other passages I offered and give us a clearer understanding of what Jesus meant?

      Soli Deo Gloria

      Bob Hadley

      Hey Don…

      Verse 25 is more problematic as I see it where effectual calling is concerned… Jesus speaking, “I told you and you do not believe.” Seems to me the clear inference here is their propensity to believe what THEY want to believe as opposed to any belief “given to them by God.” Seems like the whole Pharisaic and Sadducic systems were not “effectually based” and indeed off base; so what calvinists want to argue in the OT as products of Divine election in the OT seems to be glossed over in the New… unless of course, in the NT time, the Jews are no longer among those who are being effectually called.

      Seems like a lot of complicated issues for the calvinist to juggle to justify the position of limited atonement where Jesus died for a select few on the cross.

      ><>”

        Randall Cofield

        Don,

        You said: “Verse 25 is more problematic as I see it where effectual calling is concerned… Jesus speaking, “I told you and you do not believe.” Seems to me the clear inference here is their propensity to believe what THEY want to believe as opposed to any belief “given to them by God.””

        Which unbelief is the natural state of all unregenerate men, according to Ro. 3:10-18, as I pointed out in my exposition.

        Unless there is a willingness do deal with the canonical-contextual inter-relatedness of all the texts offered in my post, “drive-by-apologetics” continues to be the Trad’s M.O….. :-)

        Grace and Peace, brother.

          Randall Cofield

          ….ooops….

          The above was meant to be addressed to Bob Hadley.

          Don Johnson

          Randall,

          Wrong answer. Go to jail, do not pass GO and do not collect $200.

          Jesus did not say only His sheep “can” believe as you stated.

          Also, where in the verse does say anything about the (elect/chosen)?

          Shane Dodson

          “Jesus did not say only His sheep “can” believe as you stated.”

          “So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
          (John 10:24-30 ESV)

          Jesus gives His sheep eternal life. The very reason of the people’s unbelief was because God had not appointed them unto salvation.

          What do you do with such texts?

          Don Johnson

          Shane,

          Can any of those people “become” Jesus sheep?

          Will they all forever remain not being Jesus sheep? (in otherwords is there any hope for them)

          If you would, please state why you answered yes or no (based on the text). Thanks

          Shane Dodson

          Hold on, Don…

          Do you agree with the Lord that those “did not believe BECAUSE they were not among His sheep?”

          What do you make of that?

          Don Johnson

          Shane,

          Yes, that is correct. However, you did not answer the questions.

          Bob Hadley

          Randall,

          So, I see you do not care to respond to verse 25… Jesus is speaking… “I told you and you do not believe.”

          Now… Is Jesus chiding them because THEY refused to believe OR because God chose for them NOT to believe?

          Now I fully understand the argument related to them choosing according to their natures… but your application of verses 26 and 27 and stepping over verse 25 does seem to be a valid point as I see it.

          Either Jesus is chiding them for not believing Him or He is not… it does not seem to me He would be chiding them for not believing IF as you assert, God is the One who gives them the belief Jesus was expecting… also…

          Now just because I did not follow your line of discussion and play by your anticipated rules does not render my statement incorrect.

          Also.. it is interesting at least to me to note Jesus’ audience in this statement. He is speaking to the religious leaders… so… in the OT these are the “elect” those chosen by God; what has happened to these guys now? are they now fallen and no longer among God’s elect? If the Jews were not God’s elect in the OT, then who were?

          so many issues to try to balance here…

          ><>”

          Shane Dodson

          “Can any of those people “become” Jesus sheep?

          Will they all forever remain not being Jesus sheep? (in otherwords is there any hope for them)”

          If God doesn’t appoint you to salvation, you are not–nor will ever be–one of His sheep.

          Jesus knew that those around Him were not His sheep.

          Can they “become” Jesus’ sheep?

          We know this:

          They didn’t believe.

          They didn’t believe because they weren’t Jesus sheep.

          Those who are not Jesus’ sheep don’t believe.

          What does this mean?

          Nobody believes unless God enables them to believe.

          ONLY His sheep can believe.

          Your question has nothing to do with the text you’re talking about.

          Shane Dodson

          Why didn’t people believe in Jesus? Why don’t people believe in Jesus? Why will people never believe in Jesus?

          The Lord gives some insight on this…

          “Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said, “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them.” Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him.”
          (John 12:37-41)

          “Therefore they could not believe.”

          Why? So that the word of the LORD would be fulfilled. Who fulfills the word of the LORD?

          The Lord.

          Don Johnson

          Shane,

          I know they did not believe. And I know they were not His sheep. I didn’t ask if they were or not.

          I asked “could” they become His sheep? A simple yes or no, and why if you are so inclined.

          Shane Dodson

          “I asked “could” they become His sheep? A simple yes or no, and why if you are so inclined.”

          Nobody “can” become Christ’s sheep if God has not given them to the Son. Specifically, who has been given to the Son by the Father?

          I have no idea.

          Randall Cofield

          Bob,

          You said: “Now… Is Jesus chiding them because THEY refused to believe OR because God chose for them NOT to believe?”

          Again, brother, as I’ve already stated, unbelief is the natural state of all men. If you deny this, on what scriptural grounds do you deny it?

          It is not necessary for God to “choose” for men not to believe. Neither is he obligated to elect such unto salvation.

          In this particular case because points to a cause. They believe not because they are not of His sheep. They do not believe because that is their native condition. They cannot believe because they are not His sheep. God has chosen to leave them in their native unbelief, which is His Sovereign prerogative.

          Soli Deo Gloria

          Shane Dodson

          ““God knows who He loves and for whom Christ died. He only died for a group of people that He calls the elect. You may or may not be one of them. Only God knows who they are. He knows He will not save some people, in fact in He won’t even try to save them, but if you repent and believe you will be one of the ones God loves and Christ died to save.””

          2 observations…

          1.) That would make as much sense as you telling a sinner…”God looked down through the corridor of time and saw who would repent and believe in Jesus and who would not. He already knows whether or not you will repent or believe. If you repent and believe, He knew you would. If you reject Christ…well, He knew you would do that, too!”

          2.) Regarding your statement…”He (God) won’t even try to save them…”

          You seriously believe that God tries to save men and yet fails?

          You have a serious problem with your theology. It starts with man, and not God.

        rhutchin

        What is certain is that Christ died for the elect because God had predestined to save them. The more interesting question is whether, and in what sense, Christ died for the reprobate when God knew that He would not save them and did not intend to save the.

          Don Johnson

          rhutchin,

          I see you won’t answer the question either.

          I do appreciate your honesty in saying “… He would not save them and did not intend to save them.”

          Do you tell that to the lost when witnessing?

          Shane Dodson

          “Do you tell that to the lost when witnessing?”

          That is a silly question, Don.

          How are we–as finite created beings–supposed to know who God–the Infinte Creator–has intended to save before the foundation of the world?

          Don Johnson

          Shane,

          Fair enough. I should have made it a complete statement. With whatever else might be said would you or any other Calvinist reading this say the following to a lost person?

          “God knows who He loves and for whom Christ died. He only died for a group of people that He calls the elect. You may or may not be one of them. Only God knows who they are. He knows He will not save some people, in fact in He won’t even try to save them, but if you repent and believe you will be one of the ones God loves and Christ died to save.”

          First, did I state anything which you do not believe to be true?

          Second, if you believe the above statement to be true, would say it to a lost person?

          Shane Dodson

          ““God knows who He loves and for whom Christ died. He only died for a group of people that He calls the elect. You may or may not be one of them. Only God knows who they are. He knows He will not save some people, in fact in He won’t even try to save them, but if you repent and believe you will be one of the ones God loves and Christ died to save.””

          2 observations…

          1.) That would make as much sense as you telling a sinner…”God looked down through the corridor of time and saw who would repent and believe in Jesus and who would not. He already knows whether or not you will repent or believe. If you repent and believe, He knew you would. If you reject Christ…well, He knew you would do that, too!”

          2.) Regarding your statement…”He (God) won’t even try to save them…”

          You seriously believe that God tries to save men and yet fails?

          You have a serious problem with your theology. Your God is at the mercy of His creation.

          Don Johnson

          Shane,

          1. You agree with the statement, but it’s not something you would say.

          2. The statement wasn’t mine. It was rhutchin’s.

          3. No, God doesn’t fail when saving someone. Every believing person God gives new life and saves eternally. However, He does desire to save everyone, which is why He died everyone.

          rhutchin

          To Don Johnson. That which you tell people when witnessing is that the gospel has two purposes: to draw a person to Christ or to prepare a person for judgment. The gospel is plain and easy to understand so that no one should be ignorant of where they stand before God. Witnessing should end with Christ’s exhortation: Repent and believe the gospel.

          Shane Dodson

          “God knows who He loves and for whom Christ died. He only died for a group of people that He calls the elect. You may or may not be one of them. Only God knows who they are. He knows He will not save some people, in fact in He won’t even try to save them, but if you repent and believe you will be one of the ones God loves and Christ died to save.”

          “No, God doesn’t fail when saving someone.”

          That wasn’t what I said, Don. Reread my comment.

          You honestly believe that God tries to save men and fails?

          You wondered if I thought it was true that God “won’t even TRY to save” certain people.

          You honestly think He “tries” to save people? If He tries to save all and yet all are not saved, then He would have to be failing, wouldn’t He?

          Don Johnson

          Shane,

          Yes, I honestly think think He tries to save everyone.

          If I didn’t believe it, there would be much scripture that I would have to pretend doesn’t really mean what it states.

          Mt. 9:36-38, Mt. 10:6, Mt. 23:37, Luke 9:56, Luke 19:10John 1:7, John 3:14-16, John 3:17, John 12:47, John 20:31, Acts 2:39, Acts 7:51, 1 Cor. 15:1-4. These are some that come mind. I could find several more if I looked through my Bible. You may can overlook them , but I can’t.

          Shane Dodson

          “Yes, I honestly think think He tries to save everyone.”

          You neglected to answer my next question.

          So if He tries to save everyone, and not everyone is saved, then He is failing, right?

          And this–of course–makes MAN the ultimate sovereign in the plan of salvation.

          I don’t have time to go through all of your references, Don…but the first two you mention are curious.

          Neither of these references make mention of Jesus teaching that He is trying to save everyone. The text in Matthew 9 is an encouragement to pray for laborers…and the text in Matthew 10 is a command to bring to the Gospel to the lost sheep of Israel.

          Yes, Don…we are supposed to preach the Gospel to every creature. That does NOT mean, however, that God is “trying to save everyone.” If you ever care to do a study in John 12:36-40, you will learn that there are those to will NEVER believe in the Gospel in order to fulfill the words of God told through the prophet Isaiah.

          But…you are telling us that God “TRIES” to save everyone, yet He also tells us that there are those who “COULD not believe” because God “has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts.”

          What a confused theology.

          Don Johnson

          Shane,

          I’m surprised as a Calvinist you would mention John 12:36-40.

          It is true a least for a period some Jews were able to believe. However, this was for Jews and only Jews.

          Since you brought up the verses, please help me understand Calvinist theology with the passage.

          John states some Jews were blinded and hardened by God so they could not see or understand.

          If there is a such thing as “total inability” and “irresistible grace”, then why does God need to blind them? I thought God just passes over the “non-elect”. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems to me, if God didn’t blind, the people could believe. Not only that, but it certainly appears there doesn’t need to be any regenerating for them to believe. What think ye?

          Shane Dodson

          “If there is a such thing as “total inability” and “irresistible grace”, then why does God need to blind them? I thought God just passes over the “non-elect”. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems to me, if God didn’t blind, the people could believe. Not only that, but it certainly appears there doesn’t need to be any regenerating for them to believe. What think ye?”

          Why would God feel the need to blind them?

          For His glory and good pleasure.

          “At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.” – Matthew 11:25-26

          “If God didn’t blind, the people could believe.”

          If I believed that man was naturally able to discern the things of God and if I believed that those in the flesh COULD please God…then I would agree with you.

          But Scripture teaches us that natural man cannot discern the things of the Spirit (1 Cor 2:14) and that those in the flesh cannot please God (Rom 8:8).

          Here’s something I cannot quite figure out about your soteriology, Don…

          You believe that God knows and has known since before the foundation of the world WHO would believe and who would NOT believe (unless you subscribe to the heresy of open theism), and yet you wrote earlier…

          “Yes, I honestly believe that He (God) tries to save everyone.”

          How is it that God already knows who to reject Him…and STILL tries to save those people that He knows WILL DEFINITELY reject Him?

          How do you explain that reasoning?

          Don Johnson

          Shane,

          From the text (John 12:36-40), was its man’s inability to believe, which prevented him from believing? Or Did God have to do something to the man, in order for him not to believe? You need not go to some other text for the answer, it’s found in verse 40. Though you might check Mt. 13:15.

          You mentioned 1 Cor. 2:14 saying a natural man cannot discern the things of the Spirit. It’s true the natural man cannot discern the deep things of God. The Gospel is not a deep thing of God. Which is why God blinded certain Jews otherwise they could be converted.

          Does a lost man know it’s wrong to steal, lie, murder or commit adultery? Now if your answer is no, then you are correct , a lost man cannot understand any spiritual truth, because those are spiritual truths taught in the Bible by God Himself. Can a lost man know he is a sinner?

          Rom. 8:8 A person in the flesh cannot please God, because he cannot keep the law (check the context).

          You mentioned people rejecting Christ. Can you explain to me how a person can reject something, when there is nothing there to reject? In order for one to reject Christ, Christ must have truthfully have offered something which could be rejected. That’s why the Gospel is called the Gospel. It’s good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people Lk 2:10.

          Shane Dodson

          “From the text (John 12:36-40), was its man’s inability to believe, which prevented him from believing? Or Did God have to do something to the man, in order for him not to believe?”

          God is free to rule over His creatures as He sees fit. He is the potter; we are the pots, Don.

          God keeps people from believing; they naturally don’t WANT to believe because we are all–naturally–enemies of God.

          Both are true. Thus, God doesn’t do anything against our will since we’re born with a will that is CONTRARY to Him and set against Him.

          Indeed, He has to supernaturally change our will in order to make us His children through adoption.

          “The Gospel is not a deep thing of God.”

          This quote floored me. You honestly don’t believe the Gospel is a “deep thing of God?” Have you truly experienced His grace, Don? Nobody who has responded to the Gospel would say that it is not a “deep thing.” You (if you’re saved) and I will spend an eternity unwrapping the implications and layers of the Gospel.

          “Not a deep thing?” What an utterly ridiculous statement.

          You still haven’t answered my question about how you can explain the reasoning of a god who knows who will be saved and who will not be saved and yet STILL “try” and save those he knows will NEVER be saved.

          Riddle me that one, please.

          Shane Dodson

          “Rom. 8:8 A person in the flesh cannot please God, because he cannot keep the law (check the context).”

          So a person cannot obey the law but he CAN obey the Gospel?

          Huh?

          How is it that a person in the flesh cannot please God in any way other than in responding positively to the Gospel?

          Don Johnson

          Shane,

          No, the Gospel is not a deep thing of God. If it was only theologians could proclaim it. It’s so simple even children can understand Mt. 18:3. Does one need to go to seminary before he can share the Gospel, because it’s just so deep for us unlearned types.

          A person can’t keep the law, but believe the Gospel. That’s correct.

          Let’s test it to see if it’s true. Do you believe the Gospel? And do you keep the law? Since you think keeping the law is easier than believing the Gospel, I assume you will answer yes to both questions.

          Don Johnson

          Shane,

          The Gospel is “so” deep, it took Paul two “whole verses” just to cover it (1Cor. 15: 3-4). Maybe you know of some other Gospel I’m not aware of?

          It’s good to see you believe a lost man can know some spiritual truths.

          Yes, a person in the flesh can only please God with faith. Anything else would be works which cannot please God (Rom. 3:28, Rom. 4:5, Rom. 8:8).

          Why would God try a save someone He knows will not trust Him. It’s called love.

          2 Thes. 2:10 “…because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”

          Can you tell me what “love of the truth” these people did not receive. Now we know they didn’t reject Christ dying and rising for them. Because you believe that didn’t happen, that would be, according to you, an untruth. I interested in knowing what TRUTH it is they didn’t receive.

          “that they might be saved” whatever this TRUTH is that they didn’t receive, would have also saved them. Was it some fairy tale? What is this “LOVE of the TRUTH.”

          Shane Dodson

          Where to start…

          “Let’s test it to see if it’s true. Do you believe the Gospel? And do you keep the law? Since you think keeping the law is easier than believing the Gospel, I assume you will answer yes to both questions.”

          No…I cannot keep God’s law. If I could, I would not need the righteousness of Christ. I would have my own.

          Yes…I did obey the Gospel. That was because God regenerated me and gave me faith to believe.

          “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that (the faith and the exercise of faith) not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;”
          (Eph 2:8)

          “Since I think that keeping the law is easier than believing the Gospel…”

          When did I say this? Keeping the Law is impossible for the natural man. Believing the Gospel is impossible for the natural man. You cannot possibly know my thoughts; ergo, it’s unwise to pretend that you do.

          “The Gospel is “so” deep, it took Paul two “whole verses” just to cover it (1Cor. 15: 3-4). Maybe you know of some other Gospel I’m not aware of?”

          It actually took Paul an entire book (Romans) to explain the Gospel and it’s application in the life of those who obey it. I’m sorry…but if you’re going to make the claim that the Gospel is a shallow doctrine of Christendom…I cannot take anything else you say very seriously.

          “It’s good to see you believe a lost man can know some spiritual truths.”

          A lost man knows it’s wrong to lie, steal, lust, murder, etc. because God has written His law on the hearts of the Gentiles through the conscience.

          “Con” means “with”; “science” means “knowledge.” Men sin with knowledge they are doing wrong. This is not something that is spiritually discerned; it is NATURALLY discerned.

          “Yes, a person in the flesh can only please God with faith. Anything else would be works which cannot please God (Rom. 3:28, Rom. 4:5, Rom. 8:8).”

          You’re rewriting the text, Don.

          “and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
          (Rom 8:8)

          Now, pay particular attention to the next verse…and remember that Paul is writing to the CHURCHES at Rome:

          “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. ”

          So…Christians are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit.

          Non-Christians are not in the Spirit, but in the flesh.

          Non-Christians cannot please God. They are in the flesh. Faith would please God, yes?

          “Why would God try a save someone He knows will not trust Him. It’s called love.”

          No, Don. It’s called “futility.” Or are you saying that God really doesn’t know who will be saved and who will be damned?

          2 Thes. 2:10 “…because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”

          “Can you tell me what “love of the truth” these people did not receive.”

          That text is better rendered “the love FOR the truth,” which would save an individual.

          It is the “truth” they rejected.

          “that they might be saved” whatever this TRUTH is that they didn’t receive, would have also saved them. Was it some fairy tale? What is this “LOVE of the TRUTH.”

          The TRUTH is Jesus Christ, whom they rejected…whom we would ALL reject if God did not draw us unto Himself, regenerate us, grant us repentance and give us faith to believe.

          All praise, glory and honor goes the SOVEREIGN LORD.

          NO praise, glory, and honor goes to sinful man.

          Don Johnson

          Shane,

          They rejected Jesus? What did Jesus do for them, that they rejected? What is there to reject if Christ did not die for them? How could they be saved if Christ didn’t die for them?

          Shane Dodson

          “They rejected Jesus? What did Jesus do for them, that they rejected? What is there to reject if Christ did not die for them? How could they be saved if Christ didn’t die for them?”

          God made them.

          God gave them life, breath, family, friends, food, shelter, prosperity, comfort.

          They rejected the God that gave them life and all that is precious to them.

          You think one MUST be presented with the words “Jesus died for you, now what will you choose” in order to reject Him?

          What about people who die every day never having heard the name of Jesus Christ? Did they “reject Christ?”

          “How could they be saved if Christ didn’t die for them?”

          Nobody can be justified before God unless Someone has satisfied the wrath of God on their behalf. If someone has had God’s wrath propitiated for them, they will be saved from God’s wrath–or else “propitiation” doesn’t mean what it means.

          Jesus offered atonement for sin…if someone dies in a state of rejection of the free offer of salvation, they will face God’s wrath themselves…which would mean that Jesus NEVER suffered God’s wrath in their stead.

          Make sense?

          Don Johnson

          Shane,

          There can be no free offer of salvation, unless a payment has been made for that salvation. Any offer of something that does not exist is a fraud.

          I must say I could never be a Calvinist. The thought of Christ telling His disciples to proclaim the GOOD NEWS to everyone, knowing it is not GOOD NEWS for most people, nor was it indended to be, deeply disturbs me. That would mean Jesus was not being truthful. But Jesus is the TRUTH. Therefore we know He didn’t give His disciples a deceitful message to proclaim.

          I find it amazing that Calvinists must disguise the “whole truth” when witnessing and it doesn’t even bother them. Why hide the “whole truth”, you don’t have worry what people will think, because they can’t understand anything you’re saying? Right, remember 1 Cor. 2:14.

          Don’t you find it interesting , Calvinists say the lost can’t understand anything spiritual, but at the same time act as if they can?

          No, it’s “the LOVE of the TRUTH” despite the ESV slight of hand.

          It was the Gospel of Christ that was rejected in 2 Thes. 2:10. I quite sure you know that, despite your fancy talk around it. They rejected what would have saved them. Neither is there salvation in any other Acts. 4:12. He only could have saved them if He died for them.

          Acts 3:26 “…sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.”

          Did Peter really mean every one of them? Now if he really mean everyone, it means one of two things. Either Peter knew they were all “elect” or he knew Christ died for everyone of them. Which do you think?

      Debbie Kaufman

      I start with all of chapter 10 beginning with verse 1.

      10 “Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.

        Don Johnson

        Debbie,

        Could those other sheep become Christ’s sheep?

        Why or why not.

          charles

          “Could those other sheep become Christ’s sheep?”

          16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.

          “I HAVE other sheep.” He already considers them to be His. This is simply talking about the elect gentiles.

          You either are a sheep or you aren’t. If you are a sheep, you will act according to your nature.

          “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”

          i feel badly for the free-will types as the 2012 election approaches. entering the ballot box convinced that your will is free to choose to vote for someone who repulses you and disagrees with you on almost every position rather than the candidate you agree with must be scary. i prefer the calvinist/scriptural notion that we make choices based on our understanding and our nature: good trees produce good fruit and salt springs produce salt water.

          Don Johnson

          Charles,

          My question deals with verse 26. I know Christ said He had other sheep. My question is not about those.

          Could those mentioned in vs. 26, become Christ’s sheep. They certainly were not His sheep when He spoke to them, but could they be His at a latter time?

    holdon

    I interacted with Randall Cofield previously in another thread and had to come to this conclusion:
    Randall Cofield says that God works all sin, evil and iniquity in this world. Also, Randall Cofield distorts the Scripture disregarding the context and attributing an evil will to God.
    ThisRandall Cofield admitted with the following:
    “Brother, I only answered your questions with the plain Word of God, offering the inscripturated Word alone.”
    http://sbctoday.wpengine.com/2012/06/21/today%E2%80%99s-discussion-topicarticle-seven-the-sovereignty-of-godof-%E2%80%9Ca-statement-of-the-traditional-southern-baptistunderstanding-of-god%E2%80%99s-plan-of-salvation%E2%80%9D/#comments

    Let there be no mistake about it: this is Calvinism through and through. Not Christianity.

    Now, to the texts cited by Mr. Cofield in this piece:
    The contrary position “ignores what Paul has already plainly posited in vss. 10-18–none can believe in our fallen, unregenerate, sinful, rebellious state.”
    Well, let’s see if Mr. Cofield is not again distorting Scripture. Here is what Scripture says in the passage he cites:
    3: 10 according as it is written, There is not a righteous man, not even one;
    3:11 there is not the man that understands, there is not one that seeks after God.
    3:12 All have gone out of the way, they have together become unprofitable; there is not one that practises goodness, there is not so much as one:
    3:13 their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; asps’ poison is under their lips:
    3:14 whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness;
    3:15 swift their feet to shed blood;
    3:16 ruin and misery are in their ways,
    3:17 and way of peace they have not known:
    3:18 there is no fear of God before their eyes.

    Now, where does it say as Mr. Cofield says: “none can believe in our fallen, unregenerate, sinful, rebellious state.”??
    Exactly: nowhere whatsoever. This is typical of Calvinist (and other cults such as JW) theology: distort the word that God has spoken. It is Eve’s answer to the serpent: misquoting and misinterpreting God.
    But let’s continue to read Paul and gather what he really means:
    3:19 Now we know that whatever the things the law says, it speaks to those under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world be under judgment to God.
    3:20 Wherefore by works of law no flesh shall be justified before him; for by law is knowledge of sin.
    3:21 But now without law righteousness of God is manifested, borne witness to by the law and the prophets;
    3:22 righteousness of God by faith of Jesus Christ towards all, and upon all those who believe: for there is no difference;
    3:23 for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
    3:24 being justified freely by his grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;

    Paul, having quoted from the Law, agrees that on that basis and works of the flesh none will be justified. Perhaps Mr. Cofield would want works of the flesh to be the justifying means?
    But the justification is now (now that righteousness of God is manifested), available “towards all by faith of Jesus Christ towards all, and upon all those who believe: for there is no difference;”
    Not some: but ALL. It is the same ALL as in the “ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Perhaps Mr. Cofield would argue that only some have sinned and only some have the path of faith open to them? Or would Mr. Cofield argue that there is “a difference” contrary to what the Apostle teaches? Perhaps Mr. Cofield wants to argue that “ALL” only means “all groups”, but then are “groups” justified? Do “groups” believe? But Paul has undercut that argument perfectly as well: “we reckon that a man is justified by faith”. Note: a man. Not “groups” but an individual. That is the Gospel. Listen to Paul the Apostle, not Mr. Cofield, not Calvinism.
    Now, Mr. Cofield also comes up with some other verses (not surprisingly, because we know what the devices of Calvinism are) to argue something like: “only believers can believe” strange as that sounds. Like for instance:

    John
    6:64 But there are some of you who do not believe. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would deliver him up.
    6:65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no one can come to me unless it be given to him from the Father.

    Now think about it: Jesus chose Judas (“I chose you twelve” v.70) and yet Judas did not believe. That should warn every one of the fallacy that “chosen = believer”. But we also need to read these verses in context. The context is that Jews who claimed that they stood in true relationship with the Father, did NOT believe in Jesus. Jesus takes their feigned masks away and says: “if you were truly of the Father, you would believe me” like in this verse:
    “Every one that has heard from the Father himself, and has learned of him, comes to me”. Now, again Mr. Cofield says that these verses teach that they could not believe. But that’s not there at all, isn’t it? Mr. Cofield (and similar Calvinists) distorts Scripture again and again. To the Jews the message was: get with it (be taught by the Father as per the text cited from Isaiah 54:13 or they would band together against Jesus like in 54:15 of which Judas was the example. The decision was theirs. It was a hard message, because it involved “eating Jesus”, which was not just like manna, but involved His death: “Unless ye shall have eaten the flesh of the Son of man, and drunk his blood, ye have no life in yourselves.” It was through this that “life eternal” was obtained. It was something for them to do: the Father had given it: they had to accept and eat and drink it. This, by the way, would be a 1 time act: “shall have eaten”. It is accepting Jesus; coming to faith; becoming a believer. After that, it would be the habitual food of the believer like expressed in the verses 56, 57, 58; the believer dwells in Christ and Christ in him. (this to clarify how the Catholics are wrong by not seeing the difference between the one time coming to faith and the continuous life of faith thereafter; the difference of words between v. 51 and 54). But I am afraid Mr. Cofield doesn’t see it clearly either because he doesn’t see what is obvious: you have to become a believer and then you are a believer.

    This is the same in John 10:
    I told you, and ye do not believe. The works which I do in my Father’s name, these bear witness concerning me: but ye do not believe, for ye are not of my sheep, as I told you.

    Mr. Cofield wants us to believe that unbelievers cannot believe. Jesus tell them right there to believe, but they don’t want to submit to Him as sheep. In chapter 8 Jesus had told them already to believe the truth. A little later He will tell them to believe because of the works He is mentioning here. “If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not; but if I do, even if ye believe not me, believe the works, that ye may know and believe that the Father is in me and I in him.” V. 38
    The believing and knowing is the duty of man. The witness has been given. Now the burden is on them. There is no word whatsoever that someone can NOT believe, unless he is regenerated first. Calvinism is wrong.

    Again, Rom 9:11 is taken completely out of context, similar to what other sects do. There is no word of “election unto salvation” there at all. It is about the Jews despite being “the elect” people of God having rejected Jesus. They were supposed to be (that was what their “election” was all about) to bring salvation to the nations. But Abraham’s, Isaac’s, Jacob’s (Israel), posterities had failed even in their elected branches. Now they had (at least the majority of them) rejected Jesus, so Paul argues that God is still bringing in the (non-elect!) Gentiles. Rom. 9 is one of the most distorted Scriptures in the Calvinist scheme.

    About Acts 13:48 we can be short: the verse means exactly the contrary of what Calvinists say it means: the nations put themselves (that’s the meaning) in range to hear God’s good news of eternal life. In v 46 you see the Jews rejecting it, in v 48 the nations’ disposition of receiving it.

    Although Mr. Cofield can say that his interpretation of the ‘real meaning” of these passages has been “ascertained”, we see that the passages generally violate the contexts they’re in and in particular are construed to foist bad theology (Calvinism) on into the texts. We should not be surprised. If someone thinks that God works all sin, evil and iniquity in this world as he does, there are no limits to what Calvinism will come up with.

      Randall Cofield

      holdon,

      Brother, your false accusations and obvious contempt for a fellow believer are not worthy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

      If you desire engage in a reasoned discussion of these issues I will be happy to do so. If not, I will simply allow your vitriol-laden posts to speak for themselves.

      Soli Deo Gloria

        holdon

        Mr. Cofield,

        I have just exposed your position truthfully and everybody can see what you believe. I have not falsely accused you, but exactly as you wanted it to be. If you now call this bringing to light of your position (that God is the instigator of evil, sin and iniquity in this world), “vitriol-laden posts” I can only hope that God may use this light for your repentance.
        I have also rebutted the Calvinist position through the texts you offered up: it is an entire system of thought unworthy to bear the name of Christ and that does violence to the very Scriptures that are cited.

          Mike Davis

          holdon,

          Since you are bringing up comments from previous posts and questioning the salvation of Calvinists, I have a question about your comments in Eric Hankins’ post on 6/7/12 and how they relate to this post by Dr Cox.

          Dr Cox correctly states,

          Romans 3:22 teaches that righteousness is imputed through faith in Jesus Christ.

          In your comments on 6/7 you denied the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to the believer by faith. Have you changed your mind since then? Imputed righteousness is a first-order doctrine and an essential part of the gospel message. It is much more important than the debate about Calvinism. It is a doctrine affirmed by Calvinists, Traditionalists, Arminians; it is an evangelical Christian doctrine. Do you affirm it?

          Les Prouty

          Mike,

          I think you are the only other person to bring that up besides me, though I haven’t checked lately. Thank you for calling Holden out to this major serious error he stated. I was surprised no trads spoke up against this heretical, yes the H word, statement by holdon.

          Randall Cofield

          HoldOn,

          Ok, brother. If that’s the way you want to operate, so be it. I will heed Paul’s instruction to Timothy:

          2 Ti. 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
          16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.

          If you decide you want to dialogue with me in a manner becoming godliness you know where to find me.

          Soli Deo Gloria

          holdon

          Mike and Les,

          If you can prove that “imputation of Christ’s righteousness” exist anywhere in the Bible, please let me know.

          Now, Mr. Cox’s statement is entirely biblical:

          “Romans 3:22 teaches that righteousness is imputed through faith in Jesus Christ.”

          If you don’t see the difference between these issues, I suggest that you have not fully thought through them. I have no problem at all with that. There are plenty of things that people repeat kind of innocently. But if it is a matter of doctrine, I must object: Christ’s righteousness is never said to be imputed to the believer. It may make up for a good story, but it’s not biblical doctrine at all. It would fundamentally upset Christ’s expiatory work and some other things as well. But you can read what I wrote in that other thread.

          Shane Dodson

          “Christ’s righteousness is never said to be imputed to the believer.”

          “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor 5:21)

          It doesn’t get clearer than that.

          “And because of himd you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,” (1 Cor 1:30)

          holdon

          Shane thanks for trying….

          “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor 5:21)

          It doesn’t get clearer than that.

          “And because of himd you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,” (1 Cor 1:30)

          See, I told you: it isn’t there at all in all its “clarity”.
          Did you think I didn’t know these verses? Yet, no trace of “Christ’s righteousness being imputed”.

          Shane Dodson

          “Yet, no trace of “Christ’s righteousness being imputed.”

          Friend…look up what “imputation” means.

          If you mean your exact quote does not appear in Scripture…then you won your game of “gotcha!”

          You know what, though? There’s no trace of “God is a Triune God” anywhere in the Scriptures.

          So…by your logic…dump the Trinity.

    Brad

    Very well said! I was very frustrated as I read Dr. Cox’s article because it totally misrepresented Calvinism. Makes me wonder if those arguing against it really understand it at all???

    The problem seems to be the denial of depravity!

Randall Cofield

To Dr. Ron Hale and all Traditionalists on this thread

I post this here because it is directly relevant to Dr. Cox’s article.

Dr Hale said: “Many in the Reformed tradition will teach that a genuine desire for salvation in Christ is a mark of election and therefore none who truly come to Christ for salvation will be turned away. However, could it be, they are only referring to those who have been created for that end (predestined for life)?” (emphasis added)

Brothers and sisters, if we are to be “people of the Book,” we must engage this subject by dealing with The Book.

My answer to the above italicized question would be “yes.” I answer in the affirmative on the ground of the following passages:

Ps. 110:3 Your people will offer themselves freely
on the day of your power,

Who “desires” salvation? Those who have experience the “day of God’s power” and those alone freely choose to offer themselves to God.

Ro 11:3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” 4 But what is God’s reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace.

Who genuinely desires to serve God and not Baal? Those whom God has kept for himself. Who will desire salvation? The elect remnant, chosen by God’s grace.

Ac 13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

Who shall desire salvation and believe the Gospel? Those whom God has ordained to eternal life.

Eph 1:5 he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,

Who shall genuinely desire adoption and be actually adopted? Those predestined for adoption according to God’s Sovereign purpose.

1 ¶ Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

Who shall genuinely desire sanctified obedience because of the blood of sprinkling? The elect, foreknown, fore-loved, and fore-ordained by God.

1Pe 2:9 But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

Who shall desire to proclaim the excellencies of Christ? Those chosen by the Father as His special people and effectually called by Him out of darkness into Light.

Mr 13:20 And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect’s sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.

Who shall desire salvation and actually be saved? The elect, whom God has chosen and whom God insures shall be saved.

Joh 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and [that] your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

Who had a genuine desire to follow Jesus and bear fruit? Those whom He chose for Himself.

Mark 4:11 And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables,
12 so that
“they may indeed see but not perceive,
and may indeed hear but not understand,
lest they should turn and be forgiven.”

Who desires and knows the Gospel secrets of the Kingdom? Those to whom it is given by Christ Himself. From whom is the Gospel hidden, lest they hear it effectually and repent? Those “outside” the Sovereign, electing purpose of God. A hard saying indeed, but worthy of all acceptation.

Many, many turn back from following Jesus on this very point. Dear reader, shall you be one of those who turn back? Or shall you say, with the Apostle Peter “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (Jn. 6:65-69)

A Preemptive Postulate: These passages are the revealed Word of God. Therefore, they have real meaning, and that real meaning can be ascertained. To respond that we simply have “different interpretations” of these passages is a non sequitur.

If they, both individually and as a whole, do not mean that God has chosen and predestined some for life we must have adequate explanation of their meaning that does not do violence to either their immediate or canonical contexts.

Shall we be people of “drive-by-theology” and single-paragraph zingers, or shall we be “people of the Book”?

Soli Deo Gloria

    Don Johnson

    Randall,

    I noticed you used John 15:16.

    According to Calvinism, when did Jesus choose and ordain His disciples as He states in John 15:16?

      Randall Cofield

      Don,

      Did you notice the other 11 verses I cited and exposited?

      Brother, if you want to rebut what I’ve written, why not write a rebuttal to the whole thing? Assuming you disagree with my exposition, take each passage and show us positively what they mean, and thus refute my interpretation with clear exegesis.

      Soli Deo Gloria

        Don Johnson

        Randall,

        Because I would get the same response you gave holden to his rebuttal.

        If you can’t back up what you write, that’s fine . You don’t have to defend it.But don’t call yourself a “people of the book.”

          Randall Cofield

          Don,

          You said: “Because I would get the same response you gave holden to his rebuttal.”

          Perhaps you should try a civil response and see what happens.

          Soli Deo Gloria

          Don Johnson

          Randall,

          What did I say that was not civil?

          Randall Cofield

          Don,

          Civil as opposed to holdon….

earl simmons

Hey, do youall believe that children below the age of understanding will go to Heaven if they die? Then for all you Calvinists, at the age of consent, does the predestination kick in. I guess only God knows when that is to happen! When Jesus said “come unto me all that are heavy laden” was he only talking about the elect? Do you think Jesus knew he was going to only for some? The rich young man was told to sell all he had, but was not told by Jesus to wait you also are not among the elect.

    abclay

    Brother Simmons,

    You are using terms that I need to be Biblically defined.

    What is: “age of understanding”

    What is: “age of consent”

    If possible, please limit your definition to scriptural references that speak to the existence of these things.

    Thanks

      earl simmons

      Dear abclay.
      I guess christians do not use those expressions anymore. We used them all the time in the 1950_1960s and all Southern Baptists knew what was meant. In re
      formed terms I was asking if all children were already predestined to go somewhere or if they die before they can understand salvation will they go to Heaven. Or how old does one have to be for the Holy Spirit to be able to issue a call to them?

    rhutchin

    Under Calvinism, there is one way of salavtion for child and adult – God saves whom He will. We also know that God will do what is right. In 1 Tim, Paul exhorts believers to pray for all people everywhere because God is willing to save all. Thus, the Calvinist prays for others but especially for his children and other children that God might have mercy on all. With God, and not people, in charge of salvation, Calvinists pray with great encouragement and confidence in God to do that which is asked of Him.

      earl simmons

      Dear rhutchin,
      Ah! Ha! That is the question..when does God make up his mind Then he can be asked and will save anyone.All we have to do is pray and he may change his mind. That ain”t Calvinism. God decides before you are born if you are going to be one of the elect. Man cannot make him change his mind. Have you ever read Roger Olson?

        rhutchin

        God made His decisions before the world began. Thus, the certainty that we will receive that which God tells us to ask for.

Shane Dodson

“Conversely, I am ashamed of unchristian beliefs dressed up as Christian beliefs: infant baptism as washing away the taint of original sin; transubstantiation; the Mormon doctrine of becoming a god and populating one’s own planet; and many of the claims of Calvinism. ”

Talk about poisoning the well.

After reading that in the first sentence of the second paragraph…is there any reason why I should take anything this author writes seriously?

    Tom Parker

    It sure looks like Dr. Cox puts Calvinism and Mormonism on the same level.
    My question is why has this issue all of a sudden appeared on the radar screen?

      Shane Dodson

      “When Jesus said “come unto me all that are heavy laden” was he only talking about the elect?”

      No earl…He was giving an invitation.

      What do any of your questions have to with the validity or invalidity of Reformed doctrine?

        earl simmons

        Dear Shane,
        I thought salvation was a topic for reformed doctrine to talk about.

      Cb scott

      “all of a sudden” ???

      Tom Parker, I hope you enjoyed your vacation on Mars. Obviously, you have some catching up to do back here on planet Southern Baptist. Although, some things, you will find, have not changed. Baptists still eat fried chicken.

        volfan007

        I eat fried chicken, and I will gladly confess that I’ve eaten it for years!

        David :)

          Darryl Hill

          Just so we’re clear, David and CB, so do you agree that Calvinism belongs as an item in a series with the Mormon view of inheriting and populating your own planet, i.e. that both should be classified as non-christian sects/cults?

          Further, would you place Calvinism in the same category as Roman Catholicism’s belief in transubstantiation?

          volfan007

          Darryl,

          No, I would not group Calvinism with Mormonism. I would not put Calvinism in the same category as the Roman Catholics. Mormonism is a cult, and they preach a false gospel. Roman Catholics are heretics, who have departed from the true faith. So, no….Calvinists are not in the same category as them.

          I do believe that Calvinists are my brothers and sisters in Christ. I believe that they preach the true Gospel. I just believe that they are in error on the finer points of theology. But, the errors are in non essential things….in the gray areas of the Bible….in a place where we can disagree all day long, and still worship and serve the Lord together.

          David

          Les Prouty

          David,

          I believe you when you say, “I do believe that Calvinists are my brothers and sisters in Christ. I believe that they preach the true Gospel.”

          But do you also agree that these words Dr. Cox used,

          “Conversely, I am ashamed of unchristian beliefs dressed up as Christian beliefs:… and many of the claims of Calvinism. ”

          …were not helpful to our unity as brothers and sisters in Christ?

          I mean disagree with our interpretation. Fine. But to say that many of our beliefs are unChristian? Will you acknowledge that is uncalled for and as a Trad call him out for that?

          Thanks David.

          Lydia

          “I mean disagree with our interpretation. Fine. But to say that many of our beliefs are unChristian? Will you acknowledge that is uncalled for and as a Trad call him out for that?”

          Les, When you say “our interpretation” are you speaking of the Presbyterians since that is your denomination?

          You are awfully quick to insist on Baptists being called out on these threads. For whom?

          Les Prouty

          Lydia,

          “Les, When you say “our interpretation” are you speaking of the Presbyterians since that is your denomination?”

          Again, I have a foot in both denominations. Horror! But to be more specific, no I do not ask this as/for the Presbyterians. I ask as/for the Reformed faith, the doctrines of Grace, Calvinistic soteriology.

          “You are awfully quick to insist on Baptists being called out on these threads. For whom?”

          I don’t know about quick. That’s the first time all day. With so many trads calling out against the so-called aggression and arrogance and labeling by Calvinists, I just think it is appropriate that trads try to be consistent in calling out their own. I know I have called out commenters in the past. In this case, I’m talking not about a commenter, but the author of the post. The representative of the trads. One of the designated spokesmen of the trads (by the way, where are the womenfolk spokesmen?).

          “For whom?” The elect of course.:)

          Darryl Hill

          David- I’m glad to hear that. I feel the same way regarding my traditionalist brothers. I hope that view wins the day, by the way, but it seems the rhetoric is not dying down, but actually ramping up.

          Have you seen Ed Young, Jr’s 12 minute rant on Reformed theology in a sermon from last Sunday? Wow! I thought there were some straw men being erected here, but he goes all out in denouncing reformed theology. Unfortunately, in the process, he shows that he doesn’t really understand what it even is. You should watch that. I’d love to hear your opinion as well as the opinions of others. I’ll link it here:

          http://d3e4298tco5ouh.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Ed-Young-Jr.-Attacks.m4v

          I suppose you might agree with him, but I doubt it. Ed Young is a traditional southern Baptist and is a prominent voice. So, my point is that it seems many are wanting division rather than unity. I’m just imagining how that could severely harm the Kingdom work that we all want to see accomplished. But it seems it could be coming.

          Cb scott

          Darryl Hill,

          I have read this article once early this morning. I am back in the study now and have read it an additional two times. I have a couple of problems with the article.

          The weaving of Calvinism into the statements relating to the fallacy of Mormonism and that of Catholicism is most unfortunate in my opinion. Frankly, I consider those statements as extreme errors in the article and a thoughtful revision is appropriate, in my opinion.

          Secondly, I may have missed something in my readings of the article, but if I did not there is something that, in my theological framework of the gospel, is missing related to the core of the gospel message. I believe the necessity of repentance should always be stressed anytime one speaks of the gospel. I did not read any mention of repentance in the article.

          Again, I may have missed it. If so, I will stand corrected by anyone who will point out my failure to see it. Yet, I must confess that if repentance is not in this article I believe an error has been made in leaving it absent due to the specific subject of which the author addressed. I believe repentance should be addressed and should always addressed when we speak of the gospel. For repentance is absolutely necessary for a person to be born of God.

          Don Johnson

          Cb,

          You are absolutely correct.

          “For repentance is absolutely necessary for a person to be born of God.”

          Repentance and faith always precede the giving of life (regeneration).

          Darryl Hill

          Hey CB, I’m glad to hear that bro. I agree with you. Perhaps that language that appears to compare Calvinism to Mormonism was just an overstatement and didn’t intend to really make them equivalent. I suppose I should give the benefit of the doubt.

          Cb scott

          Vol,

          A-Men and A-Men!! Chicken is good.

          I had some today after a funeral. A dear saint of God went to live with Jesus forever and we all ate chicken with her family in her old home she has vacated for her new and wonderful home with the Lord.

          And I must say, The chickens who gave their lives for the occasion did very well indeed! And may their tribe increase!!

          Long live chickens and long live the Baptists who eat them!!

          volfan007

          Darryl,

          Ed Young, Jr. is not a Traditional Southern Baptist. He is into pragmatism and fuzzy ecumenicalism. Ed Young, Jr. has not signed the statement….last I saw; and frankly, I hope he doesnt.

          David

          abclay

          Les,

          I commend you on your patience with some comments. You must have been married for 300 years. Kudos Brother.

scott crowder

I suppose based on the definitions being offered I would be labled a Calvinist, although i really dont appreciate labels. Now I realize based on other posts Ive been reading everyone will probably pick this post apart. Im not a great scholar or anything but like everyone else I have an opinion that i feel is Biblical.

The way I see it is that what is being argued is the mechanics of salvation. If I feel like God elects or that man chooses to accept an invitation, does that really change what God does in the heart of a sinner. I dont know who is saved I just have to take their word for it. I do feel like a testimony should bear fruit, but even at that since Christians mature at diffrent levels how shall one decide what is the right amount of maturity.

What I do believe is that if we are going to have this conversation, lets do it with a spirit that seeks the promotion of the Gospel. Their have been many posts from both sides of the argument that do not reflect brotherly love. That goes for some in leadership positions that should know better to lay people as well. I know some will say we are “speaking the truth in love”, but in such a tender subject I think we should be able to present our understanding of the scripture with a little more compassion shown to those with differing views. The tone of some of these posts are mean spirited and I think we should remember that God is watching.
This was a quick posts and i apoligize if it was not presented as well as it could have been, I would just like to see more compassion in the body of Christ. Rememer Jesus said, ” by this shall they know you are my disciples, if you love one another”.

Frank Morgan

Dr. Cox I am a man of simplicity. I have just enough seminary training to be very dangerous. But, it seems to me that you solved the dilemma in your third sentence when you said, “except for those who exclude themselves through refusing to believe.”

Why is so difficult for non-calvinists to understand that the “refusing to believe.” Includes all 7 billion people that are currently alive here on earth and all people who ever lived.

The non-calvinist view does not properly reflect biblical view of the consequences of man’s sinfulness. The non-calvinist position is just like the Catholic position which states, in spite of his sinfulness, man still retains the ability to reach out to God and respond to his call

I’m not as educated as you but I can’t find that in the Bible. What I see is a man whose condition is so sinful that his every thought and inclination is to reject God.

So yes, whosoever will may come – but left to themselves – absolutely nobody will.

So how then do we come? – through the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit who changes us, regenerates us, gives us the gift of faith and grace and creates in us the desire for repentance.

It doesn’t start with us – it starts with God – as a result he gets all the glory and we get none. That is the theology that the Bible teaches. It is also the theology that Calvin and Spurgeon taught. For a denomination that prides itself on Biblical inerrancy, it is interesting to me that we refuse to believe it when it comes to the consequences of man’s sin.

    Don Johnson

    Frank,

    “So how then do we come? – through the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit who changes us, regenerates us, gives us the gift of faith and grace and creates in us the desire for repentance.”

    Frank, could you give me the scripture reference for your statement?

Cody

Well, this post finally gives me closure on following this whole SBC Calvinism debate. It’s clear that Traditionalists either a.) don’t know what Calvinism is or b.) are deliberately misrepresenting Calvinism in the worst of ways. I believe and pray the first is true. If that’s the case then this debate/discussion can move forward only when both sides stop talking past each other (which is all that has happened so far). May God bless both parties with humility in this important, but non-central debate. I’m gonna log off and make some disciples of king Jesus.

Tom Parker

CB and 007:

Just come right and say what you want to happen with these “Calvinists.” Quit beating around the bush. Have the former “liberals” of the SBC been replaced by the Calvinists and will they get the same treatment as the former.

BTW, how do you two pastors have so much time to blog all the time? When do you do ministry? I would think both of you would tire of fighting other Christians and focus more on those without Christ.

Also my key word was move–is that what this is all about, moving someone else out of the SBC. You and 007 and others keep this moving people out stuff up and they aint going to be anybody left.

    volfan007

    Tom,

    I’m not for putting Calvinists out of the SBC. I am all for putting liberals out of the SBC. I’m extremely glad that the people, who deny the faith, who put doubts on the Bible, who deny the plain teachings of Scripture, are gone. I’m glad the debate of today is over the finer points of theology, and how to do Church in the best way; than to be debating over whether the Bible is God’s Word, or not….or to be debating over whether people need to be saved, or not….or to be debating whether abortion is wrong, or not. So, yes, I’m glad that the CR took place, but I’m not for putting Calvinists out of the SBC.

    Secondly, I come into blogs during breaks from studying, and at times when I’m resting and watching TV, or something. I do ministry a lot. I’m constantly studying on sermons…doing administrative type things….counseling with people, or answering Church questions….preaching and teaching….visiting the hospitals and nursing homes and homebound….visiting absentee Church members….and trying to win lost people to Jesus. How about you?

    Thirdly, the only people I want moved out of the SBC are those people, who dont want to adhere to good, sound, Biblical, Baptist doctrine. I think CB might wanna get rid of people, who are for gun control, as well….I’m not sure. :)

    David

    Cb scott

    Tom Parker,

    First, you need to remember you know far less about me than I know about you.

    Secondly, I have stated from the beginning that Calvinists have always been in the SBC. I want you to know that many, many Calvinists served as trustees of the various boards, agencies, and institutions when we took the SBC back from you liberal guys.

    Third, I do not have a problem with Calvinistic Baptists. (If you want to see my position well articulated, read the Jerry Vines article entitled: “Elephants in the Room.”)

    I do have a problem with what some have wrongly defined as “New Calvinists.” I do not think the problem is with New Calvinists at all. A New Calvinist, as far as I am concerned is simply that, a “new Calvinist.”

    I think the problem is with a newly developed group of guys I define as Hybrid-Calvinists (Hybrid-Cals). A Hybrid-Cal, by my definition, is a guy who has: read a book, attended a class under a guy who has read two books, gone to some seminars or conferences with cool, catchy, crowd drawing names, led by cool, crowd drawing guys, some of which are theological dwarves with no true understanding of Baptist ecclesiology (meaning biblical ecclesiology), then, after attending these conferences and seminars, visit websites dedicated to Hybrid-Cal ideology, and finally declaring themselves to have arrived to the point of knowing all things of the mystery of the gospel, demanding that all Baptists everywhere conform to their Hybrid-Cal ideology for we have all been morons for years and they have been chosen to save the day and our bacon.

    Those are the guys of whom I believe are the “Elephant in the Room problems.” I do not believe that true Calvinistic Baptists are problematic whatsoever. They have been around forever in the SBC and now they are all getting a bad rap because of a few Hybrid-Cals running around screaming the sky is falling and only they have the glue to fix it.

    That’s my story and I am sticking to it.

      Darryl Hill

      I think there are some clarifications to be made here that might be helpful…

      #1 Many so-called Calvinists go through what many refer to as a “caged phase.” I went through it myself. (actually, I think I may have been through it twice- ha!) For about a 6-8 month period, while I was still coming to grips with reformed theology, I was very enthusiastic about it. I thought everyone was lost in the church and thought they all needed to believe these things. I was also very extreme about it and it’s all I wanted to teach about or study. I had to almost avoid interaction, theologically, with people. Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on how you view it), that’s not difficult to do in a Southern Baptist church. Most just don’t care about theology. God gave me lots of grace during this time by keeping my mouth shut. I didn’t have an opportunity to preach for about 6 months (and didn’t feel comfortable teaching the youth these doctrines) and by the time I got to address the church as a whole again, I had mellowed significantly.

      #2 IF there are many people coming to believe these doctrines at around the same time period, which seems to me to be a likely scenario, it’s possible many are dealing with this same kind of thing. Imagine 5,000 people coming to believe these things almost simultaneously and all going through this phase concurrently. It could cause some trouble.

      #3 There is a segment of the young, radical, and reformed crowd that places great emphasis on personal liberty. This made me very skiddish when I first heard it and it still does for this reason: there is a fleshly appeal to that. One of the things that frustrates me with American Christianity is that so many churches (especially seeker sensitive types) appeal to the flesh of men to gain “converts.” Until this YRR crowd came forward, it was not in any way “popular” or “socially acceptable” to believe in reformed theology. But that group has changed that somewhat. So, you could be dealing with some folks here who are not really believers but who have embraced the idea of being young, radical, and reformed.

      If we’re being honest here, there are very likely to be tares among the wheat who speak for every point of view here. I’m sure there are traditionalists who aren’t true believers, but they blend in pretty well and don’t make a lot of waves. So, what happens when a lost man adopts the mind-set and teachings of Calvinism without knowing God? You get more than a caged phase- you get an arrogant know it all who is willing to be deceitful with churches and has an agenda of gaining mental assent to a list of doctrines, not genuine conversion.

      It’s possible that all of this is happening at the same time. There is a genuine move of God happening and there is a simultaneous work of the devil (a false revival of a twisted reformation theology) happening too. He’s planting tares among the wheat. If that were truly the case, you’d be seeing some guys who are being blind-sided by this seeming “attack” on Calvinists by traditionalists and you’d also be seeing some who are guilty of the charges levied in the original statement.

      This means that if we wait for a while, some of these YRR guys will settle down and realize that the whole world doesn’t have to be a Calvinist to be a believer. The ones who have adopted the views without knowing the Lord will be the ones to watch out for because they will only get worse in their aggression and deception. (the same could be said of those who radically embrace the tenants of the trads but don’t know the Lord- they will become more and more aggressive and angry as well) This would be the perfect storm from the enemy’s point of view.

        Cb scott

        Darryl Hill,

        Some good points you have made here:

        1). “If we’re being honest here, there are very likely to be tares among the wheat who speak for every point of view here. ”

        I believe that Paul second letter to timothy will affirm that and especially in these “difficult times.” Chapters 3 and 4 are basically dedicated to apostates in the church, local churches specifically if you consider the fact that Paul was writing to Timothy with full knowledge as to what was happening in the Church at Ephesus.

        2). “This means that if we wait for a while, some of these YRR guys will settle down and realize that the whole world doesn’t have to be a Calvinist to be a believer.”

        I greatly agree here. I remember back during the ’80s when Milton Green came to the forefront among Southern Baptists with the teachings of demon possession being our number one problem and there were according to him demons in our stoves, cars, grocery sacks, baby cribs, under the church pews, and in every shrub in our yards. We lost James Robinson to that movement and he has been in left field every since that time. There is some truth to the “pig in the python” ideology and it takes time for turbulent waters to seek their own levels at times.

        There are other well “sounding” concepts in your comment, but I think those two are strong in validity.

        Nonetheless, I do stand that Calvinistic Baptists are not our problem and there are some “Elephants in the Room” who are raising a lot of dust right now.

        BTW, some will never change. Some of them are as old as I am and still stir dust, they just do so from behind the new “masses.”

prchrbill

Unfortunately, this is an untrue statement:
““Whoever” means that anyone can call upon the name of Jesus and be saved: liars, thieves, adulterers, prostitutes, drug addicts, alcoholics, murderers, atheists, Gentiles, Jews, black people, white people, tall people, short people, young people, old people, male people, female people, even church members! ”

If Dr. Cox would be honest, the term ‘whoever’ is does not have a Greek equivalent. The verse literally reads, “All that call upon the name of the Lord”. It does not teach that every man has the ability. This is an insertion into the text that does not exist. Dr. Cox should know this, since he admits in this article that he understands Greek. It is clearly teaching that ‘all’ that ‘call’ will be saved, not that ‘everyone has the ability within them to perform the following action’. This is dishonest.

To me, it means he is willfully not teaching the scripture correctly so as to prove his argument. Inconsistency is the sign of a failed argument.

I again ask Dr. Cox to rightfully translate and give the correct definition of ‘whosoever’ and to exegete John 6:35-44.

prchrbill

Lydia

“Again, I have a foot in both denominations. Horror! But to be more specific, no I do not ask this as/for the Presbyterians. I ask as/for the Reformed faith, the doctrines of Grace, Calvinistic soteriology”

Les, I guess I am trying to figure out exactly how Presbyterian some Baptists have become.

    Les Prouty

    “Les, I guess I am trying to figure out exactly how Presbyterian some Baptists have become.”

    I have no idea. I suppose it would depend on how you define Presbyterian. Maybe look at the differences in the LBC 1689 and compare with the WCF. Then you may be able to develop a checklist by which you could measure all these Baptists you are concerned about.

      Cb scott

      One thing is for sure Les.

      No true Southern Baptist will agree that infant baptism is biblical, any other mode of baptist other than full immersion is biblical, and the Lord’s Supper holds any regenerative power within its purpose or within the elements used by its celebrants to commemorate the Lord’s substitutionary atonement.

      In addition, no real hardcore, Southern Baptist who truly understands biblical ecclesiology will agree to any other form of church government other than a congregational form of church government.

      And let me add, for the sake of CR vets everywhere, no hardcore Southern Baptist will agree that any other position other than inerrancy of the Scripture is a biblical position in regard to God’s Holy Word, The Bible. And all true Southern Baptist seek to glorify God by the fulfillment of the mandates of the Great Commission and we invite all men, women, boys, and girls alive and breathing on this planet to repent and believe the biblical gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. And all true Southern Baptist preachers preach that saved people are called of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit to act like saved people and reflect their Savior, Lord, and King, Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God in all they think, say, and do from the moment of their conversion until He who promised to do so, calls them to their eternal home in His presence for evermore! A-Men and A-Men!!

        Les Prouty

        Cb,

        War Eagle by the way.

        “No true Southern Baptist will agree that infant baptism is biblical, any other mode of baptist other than full immersion is biblical, and the Lord’s Supper holds any regenerative power within its purpose or within the elements used by its celebrants to commemorate the Lord’s substitutionary atonement.”

        I know I’m not a true Southern Baptist. But I do like fried chicken and grits, just not together.

        And neither do Presbyterians hold any regenerative power in the Lord’s Supper or baptism, as I know you know. Just want to get that out there in case any wet behind the ears seminary grads are reading this.

        Did I say War Eagle?

Lydia

“I suppose you might agree with him, but I doubt it. Ed Young is a traditional southern Baptist and is a prominent voice.”

What???? Yeah, Ed Young is about as “Southern Baptist” as Rick Warren. Their polity is closer to Reformed, actually. “Christian Hedonism” fits Ed Young to a T!

And a prominent voice for whom? Surely you do not mean for Southern Baptists?

Those guys are in their own special category: Mega Super “Seeker” Churches.

But I heard a rumor that since Rick Warren was hanging with Piper he is now a Calvinist. I am awaiting the announcment of the Rick Warren/Doug Wilson conference anytime now.

    Les Prouty

    Lydia, I think you trad likes have to take Young on your team. He’s definitely more one of you non-Calvinists than a Calvinist.

      Lydia

      “Lydia, I think you trad likes have to take Young on your team. He’s definitely more one of you non-Calvinists than a Calvinist.”

      No way. Since I have no team I can say who cannot be on it. :o) But you guys already have Driscoll. (Even though many are trying to act like he just disappeared) I am sure your wife will be thrilled. :o(

    John

    Lydia,
    “But I heard a rumor that since Rick Warren was hanging with Piper he is now a Calvinist.”

    Instead of gossiping you could have used google and typed in “Rick Warren Calvinist” That would have been faster than typing gossiping rumors. But facts are not as titillating and sensationalistic sounding, are they Lydia.

      Lydia

      “Instead of gossiping you could have used google and typed in “Rick Warren Calvinist” That would have been faster than typing gossiping rumors. But facts are not as titillating and sensationalistic sounding, are they Lydia”

      John, You are too funny! You sound like CJ Mahaney of the shepherding cult, SGM or the more YRR in your face Driscoll. I bet you LOVE yourself some “discipline” power over people.

    Michael Vaughan

    Hey Les and Lydia,

    I’m curious. I think I’ve seen the two of your sparring across the entire Internet at this point. If you’ll pardon a nerdy pop culture reference that’s perhaps twenty years old, it’s like the epic battle between Superman and Doomsday that destroyed large swaths of America.

    Why do you keep it up? Neither of you will change your minds, I’m sure. You’ve rehashed the same arguments again and again. The whole point of debate is to change minds. Why not just let it go? I’ve basically decided that I’m okay with people being in disagreement with me on the Internet, I’m a bit ashamed of some of my emotional reactions on here–it’s pointless and just makes me angry when I could be doing real life instead, and I’ve decided to stop posting responses here.

    Why don’t we just abandon this fruitless arguing? Or if you really want to continue, you should Skype with each other–it makes it a lot harder to be hostile. If you continue to argue, think about why you’re choosing to do so and what fruit it will produce.

    I suppose I’d say this to everyone. Let’s just agree to stop arguing and let this die. We can hash these things out locally, and in the meantime get on with our lives. If we stop feeding the fire, it will go out.

    The party is over. Go home.

      Cb scott

      Michael Vaughan,

      You stated, “We can hash these things out locally…”

      Here is the deal on that in this postmodern culture, in which I have probably lived too long to even think what I am about to state to you.

      The internet, is the “New Locally.” For better or worse, that is true…and very, very sobering.

      Lydia

      “If you’ll pardon a nerdy pop culture reference that’s perhaps twenty years old, it’s like the epic battle between Superman and Doomsday that destroyed large swaths of America.”

      Les is Doomsday, right?

      “I’ve basically decided that I’m okay with people being in disagreement with me on the Internet, I’m a bit ashamed of some of my emotional reactions on here–it’s pointless and just makes me angry when I could be doing real life instead, and I’ve decided to stop posting responses here.”

      Except for this one. (wink) I do find some things interesting. One of the things I have found interesting in this debate since the first post of 600+ comments is how many Reformed commenters were not SBC. NOthing wrong with that just something I find curious. It is as if T4G jumped in to the debate.

      And I do have a bone to pick with our dear Les who is not SBC. And that is I think he stirs it up and gets the Young Reformed guys going then steps back and acts all wise and above it all. “Ruling” elders should be above that.

      “Why don’t we just abandon this fruitless arguing? Or if you really want to continue, you should Skype with each other–it makes it a lot harder to be hostile. If you continue to argue, think about why you’re choosing to do so and what fruit it will produce.”

      I can’t Skype with cold creme on my face, Michael!

      I tend to be one who stands up to bullies. Can’t help it. I am not a ruling elder, a preacher or make a living in ministry. I am a nobody who thinks the YRR guys are professional bullies. Sorta like Calvin was. :o)

      “I suppose I’d say this to everyone. Let’s just agree to stop arguing and let this die. We can hash these things out locally, and in the meantime get on with our lives. If we stop feeding the fire, it will go out.”

      I feel very special that you singled Les and I out. I guess you had a change of heart recently? Anway, Rebuke noted. Thanks.

      Les Prouty

      Michael,

      I know. I know. I used to actually get really bothered with Lydia. Then a few weeks ago we had, at least for me, a good and honest exchange, where I think I was able to let it go. We blessed each other and now, again at least for me, it’s really just fun sort of sparring with Lydia. I try to avoid her over at that west georgia hootin and hollerin joint. Things don’t usually go well for me over there.

      But I look at Lydia as, well….sort of a friend I can have friendly banter with. I think we both know that neither of us will change the other person’s mind. I just like to keep her on her toes if I can. I know she does me.

      But I do get what you’re saying. I don’t think I’ve seen even one person in several years say, “Wow! I’ve changed my mind. I now see it your way.” But if we could find a way to do this with less rancor, it can be sharpening.

      Les

      Les Prouty

      Lydia,

      Funny. We were replying about the same time. I’m just a slower typist, or keyboarder.

      No, I can’t be Doomsday. I’m a post millennialist.

      “And that is I think he stirs it up and gets the Young Reformed guys going then steps back and acts all wise and above it all. “Ruling” elders should be above that.”

      #%@&. You’ve figured me out.

      What’s Skype?

      “I tend to be one who stands up to bullies.”

      She knows, Michael, that she doesn’t mean to include me un that part. But just leaves us hanging.:)

      “I feel very special that you singled Les and I out.”

      That should be, “I feel very special that you singled Les and ME out.”

      See how fun that can be?

Lydia

“No, I can’t be Doomsday. I’m a post millennialist. ”

We are getting close to an uneasy alliance. I am amillennialst. Anway I cannot be superMAN but I can be Wonderwoman.

“#%@&. You’ve figured me out.”

There are some advantages to being Reformed. You can drink and cuss. :o)

“What’s Skype?”

Oh Dear. Ask a 10 year old. A 10 year old set mine up.

“That should be, “I feel very special that you singled Les and ME out.”

Dagnabit. You are right. Don’t let it go to your head. Sheesh! Now the grammar police?

Bill G.

“It is God’s dynamic power and divine energy. Christians see God’s power at work in lives and understand that one test of anything is to examine the results which are produced.”

If this is true… John Foxe, John Winthrop, the Mathers and other puritans, Lemuel Haynes, George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, William Carey, David Brainard, C.H. Spurgeon, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Arthur W. Pink…

These men were used mightily of God to spread the gospel yet all were calvinists. God has also used many non-calvinists (Moody, Wesley, Tozer…) He has used both calvinist and non-calvinist, some of them even labored together (imagine that!).

Can we please stop all this ungodly bickering?! To say that we are ashamed of somebody else because they differ from us on a disputable matter is reprehensible. I gladly serve alongside calvinist and traditional and I don’t try to slander or demean or shame either one. I see no benefit in calling their gospel sub-christian…

Let’s get out of the chat rooms and message boards and blogs… let’s stop slandering one another and spread the gospel. If we are really concerned that everyone have opportunity to hear and respond, then let’s preach to them and stop posturing for one another.

There is benefit in talking when our speech edifies, when our goal is to sharpen one another and not shred one another. But right now… our discussion does not honor the Lord. We are not loving each other. We are grieving the Holy Spirit by our contentious spirits and greatly limiting His power and blessing.

I am reminded of what Jesus told the Pharisees… “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” (John 5:44) Indeed… how can we display and magnify his glory, when we are caught up in glorifying one another, scoring points in a theological sparring match. There are no winners the way this is being carried out… we’re all losing.

Michael

Let me try this again,

Again, as with the first post in the anti-calvinist series, nothing is said about WHO can believe only all who believe will be saved. I have another question that I heard some time ago that needs an answer. If man’s “free will” or “choice” has the final say in salvation then who did Jesus die for on the cross…….the answer seems to be that He died for no one. Who is saved now……seems to me that we can’t be sure that anyone is saved. Why do some believe that people are free to come or not come to Jesus, but once they are there, they can’t walk away? Just thinking!

    Don Johnson

    Michael,

    All can believe be saved. Jesus died for all. If Jesus did not die for all, then we have no Gospel to proclaim to everyone.

      Shane Dodson

      “All can believe be saved. Jesus died for all. If Jesus did not die for all, then we have no Gospel to proclaim to everyone.”

      We’ve already shown that God hardened hearts so that men “COULD NOT BELIEVE,” Don…so your claims that “all CAN be saved” has been soundly refuted.

      As for having no Gospel to proclaim to everyone, that is nonsense.

      The Gospel is not “Jesus died for all” but rather “Jesus atoned for sin.”

      Please show us where in the New Testament that the apostles ever preached the Gospel by saying “Jesus died for every person who ever lived and who ever will live in the entire world!”

        holdon

        “lease show us where in the New Testament that the apostles ever preached the Gospel by saying “Jesus died for every person who ever lived and who ever will live in the entire world!”

        Their message is loud and clear as it should be:

        Christ Jesus whom God has set forth a mercy-seat, through faith in his blood, for the shewing forth of his righteousness, in respect of the passing by the sins that had taken place before, through the forbearance of God

        and he is the propitiation for our sins; but not for ours alone, but also for the whole world.

        the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all

        For the love of the Christ constrains us, having judged this: that one died for all, then all have died;

          Shane Dodson

          “and he is the propitiation for our sins; but not for ours alone, but also for the whole world.

          the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all”

          Once again…if Christ turned away the wrath of God from everybody who ever lived and everybody who will ever live in the entire world, then everybody who ever lived and everybody who will ever live in the entire world would be saved.

          Do a word study on “propitiation.”

          If Christ bought back everybody who ever lived and everybody who will ever live in the entire world, then they would be His.

          Obviously, not everybody is His. Thus, not everybody in the entire world has been ransomed.

          “All” means all kinds of people…people from every tribe and nation.

          Otherwise, you’re a universalist.

          Don Johnson

          Shane,

          Why do people go to Hell? And how long will they be there?

          holdon

          “Once again…if Christ turned away the wrath of God from everybody who ever lived and everybody who will ever live in the entire world, then everybody who ever lived and everybody who will ever live in the entire world would be saved.”

          But that’s not what you said. You keep changing the goal posts. However, the bible is clear: Christ died for all.

          “Thus, not everybody in the entire world has been ransomed.”

          Again that’s not what I said. And I guess you have never studied the difference between 1 Tim 2:6 and Mt 20:28.

          ““All” means all kinds of people…people from every tribe and nation.”

          Ah, and we have to take your word for it and not God’s word to suit your theology?

          Shane Dodson

          holdon…

          Done a word study on “propitiation” yet?

          What did you find?

          If Jesus bore the wrath of God for someone who dies in their sins…will this person again have to bear God’s wrath?

          holdon

          “Done a word study on “propitiation” yet?

          What did you find?

          If Jesus bore the wrath of God for someone who dies in their sins…will this person again have to bear God’s wrath?”

          I guess you don’t understand that “dying for” like in your statement before moving the goal posts: “Christ died for every person who ever lived”, does not necessarily mean bearing the wrath of God as a substitute. Did you study the difference between Mt 20:28 and 1 Tim 2:4 yet?

          I am pretty sure you don’t understand the difference between “substitution” and “propitiation” either. It is deplorable that Calvinists don’t study the sacred texts more (Calvin did give them a bad example, sorry to say), but are so gung-ho on their pet peeves.

          Shane Dodson

          “holdon”…

          Whose sins did Jesus cover on the cross…and whose guilt did Jesus remove?

          Shane Dodson

          “You’re right. It doesn’t say He died for every person that ever lived. It was only for the people of Corinth. ”

          What on earth are you talking about?

        Don Johnson

        Shane,

        If you honestly look closely at 1 Cor 15: 1-3 you will see Christ died for all.

          Shane Dodson

          “If you honestly look closely at 1 Cor 15: 1-3 you will see Christ died for all.”

          Okay. Let’s honestly look closely…

          “Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures”
          (1Co 15:1-3)

          Where is it written by Paul that Christ died for every person who ever lived and every person who will ever live in the entire world?

          Don Johnson

          Shane,

          You’re right. It doesn’t say He died for every person that ever lived. It was only for the people of Corinth. I figure if He died for the people of Corinth, He must have died for everyone in other cities. Don’t you?

          Don Johnson

          Shane,

          1 Cor. 15:3 “…how Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.”

          The usual response from Calvinists ( I’m surprised you didn’t bring it up) is Paul was addressing the saints at Corinth and it was their sins he was referring too.

          However, I close look at the text reveals more. Paul in vs 1 says he will declare unto them the Gospel which he preached unto them.

          Now when did he first preach this Gospel unto them? When he first came to Corinth. It is what saved them (vs 2).

          Paul then in verse 3 states he delivered unto them first of all that which he received. Remember Paul was delivering the same Gospel as he did at the first.

          Paul states exactly what he said at the first “how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” If Paul is telling the truth (and he is) the message to the people of Corinth before any were saved was “Christ died for your sins.” He did not put a qualifier on the message such as – Christ died for your sins if repent. No, it was Christ died for your sins, period.

          Why could he say Christ died for their sins even before they were saved? Because he knew Christ died for everyone’s sins.

          Shane Dodson

          “Now when did he first preach this Gospel unto them? When he first came to Corinth. It is what saved them (vs 2).”

          Yes, Don…they were saved. They’re the local church.

          Christ did die for the sins of His people. He died for sinners.

          Christ came to save…ALL PEOPLE from their sins?

          No. He came to save HIS PEOPLE from their sins. See Matthew 1:21.

          Christ laid down His life for…ALL PEOPLE?

          No. Christ laid down His life for HIS SHEEP.

          “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.
          (Joh 10:11)

          even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.
          (Joh 10:15)

          “If Paul is telling the truth (and he is) the message to the people of Corinth before any were saved was “Christ died for your sins.” He did not put a qualifier on the message such as – Christ died for your sins if repent. No, it was Christ died for your sins, period.”

          Oddly enough, Don…Paul didn’t put in quotes what YOU are now putting in quotes. We don’t know exactly what His Gospel proclamation was.

          Obviously, those who responded in repentance and faith in Jesus Christ are showing themselves to be those for whom Christ died…which is THE CHURCH.

          Here’s Paul again…

          “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,”
          (Eph 5:25)

          Look up the term “prooftexts,” Don and ask yourself what exactly you’re trying to do by referencing these texts.

          Don Johnson

          Shane,

          Imagine, who would have thought, Paul was telling the truth when he said he was delivering the same Gospel.

          Do Calvinists have a handbook, which informs them when Paul leaves words out of the text. Or when he uses the wrong word. Obviously all doesn’t mean all, people doesn’t mean people, world doesn’t mean world, everyone doesn’t mean everyone, sinners doesn’t mean sinners. I’m not smart enough to know when the Bible needs to be corrected.

          Yes, Christ will save His people from their sins. As soon as someone becomes saved, he becomes His people, sheep, elect and church.

          No, Christ did not die only for “HIS” sheep. Read your texts again. Christ gave His life for “THE” sheep.

          Shane Dodson

          “Obviously all doesn’t mean all, people doesn’t mean people, world doesn’t mean world, everyone doesn’t mean everyone, sinners doesn’t mean sinners. I’m not smart enough to know when the Bible needs to be corrected.”

          Tell me, Don…does “world” in John 3:16 mean the same thing as “world” in this verse?

          Mat_16:26 “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

          Or this verse?

          Joh_12:19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are not doing any good; look, the world has gone after Him.”

          Or this verse?

          Joh_15:19 “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. ”

          Or this verse?

          Joh_17:14 “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. ”

          Or this verse?

          Joh_18:20 Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world; I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together; and I spoke nothing in secret. ”

          Or this verse?

          Rom_1:8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.

          (This is particularly difficult to equate with the John 3:16 “world” since the Gospel had not yet cross the oceans to the New World)

          Or this verse?

          Jas_4:4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

          I think I have made the point here. But if you need more verses, there are many more we can compare to John 3:16.

          “Yes, Christ will save His people from their sins. As soon as someone becomes saved, he becomes His people, sheep, elect and church.”

          When someone becomes saved…he BECOMES His sheep? Not according to my Lord.

          “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.”
          (Joh 10:16)

          Jesus calls these Gentiles His “sheep” even though they haven’t believed upon Him as of yet.

          “No, Christ did not die only for “HIS” sheep. Read your texts again. Christ gave His life for “THE” sheep.”

          Read it again yourself.

          “But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;”
          (Joh 10:26-27)

          If these are different “sheep,” then does what my Lord say about them different from the class of “sheep” you’re talking about?

          “and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”
          (Joh 10:28-29)

          Are the “sheep” you are talking capable of being snatched out of the Father’s hand?

          Are you ready to examine the foundation of your tradition?

          Don Johnson

          Shane,

          I never said world didn’t have more than one meaning. However, it is never a mystery as to which is the correct meaning in any of the given verses.

          As to John 3:16, I didn’t bring it up. I already know what you think it means.

          I would me much more interested on your thoughts on John 3:17. I’m sure you know what I think it means. I’ve don’t recall ever hearing or reading what a Calvinist thinks it means.

          I read John 10:11, 15 again as requested, but they still say “THE” sheep. I know the ESV is the Bible of the reformed, but even they didn’t change “THE” to “HIS”. Or did they?

          I know you you feel the Bible is inadequate as written, so you must continually add words. Where in John 10:16 does the word “Gentiles” appear?

          Correct me if I’m wrong, I assume you believe you are one of these other sheep mentioned in vs. 16. If that is true could you tell me what Jesus’ voice sounds like. I’ve never heard it.

          Christ only gives eternal life to HIS sheep, but He gave His life for “THE” sheep. Which would be the Jews.

          A Jew who did not believe Christ when they heard His voice, was not one of Christ’s sheep. The reason they were not His sheep, is because they were not first the Father’s sheep. If they didn’t believe the Father, they were not going to believe the Son.

          By the way, this is the reason God had to blind some of the Jews in John 12:40. If they rejected the God of the OT, they were not allowed to believe the God of the NT. Because He is the same God. They didn’t need “irresistible grace” in order to believe. They needed to be blinded so they couldn’t believe.

          Shane Dodson

          Judging from the eisegesis and tap-dancing you just engaged in above, you’re not ready to examine the foundation of your tradition.

          Moving on…

          Don Johnson

          Shane,

          If nothing else, I trust your eyes were opened to what Scripture “actually” states.

          I believe God says what He means and means what He says. Since you don’t believe that, you are correct on moving on. As long as you keep changing the verses, we would never get anywhere. Sorry to see you go.

          My tradition is Mt. 4:4. If it ever becomes yours then maybe we could pick this back up.

Michael

Don,

If Jesus died for all then I am sad to say that His death failed for many….most. Is that really what we want to believe in order to maintain free will. I still need a answer as to who Jesus died for if man has the final say and we can’t say that He died for those that believe because we can’t even be sure anyone will believe if we leave it up to us.

    Bob Hadley

    Michael,

    Your question really gets at the heart of the 5 points of calvinism. I believe in fact this is where the whole system founds its impetus to be developed. You say, “If Jesus died for all then I am sad to say that His death failed for many….most.”

    I have heard all kinds of statements… one that sticks in my mind is, that the non’s are guilty of subjugating the sovereignty of God by sacrificing His sovereignty on the altar of free will. Look… you are making an assumption related to the atonement and then forcing the rest of your theology to fit that philosophical position.

    Let me take a stab at answering your own question… I still need a answer as to who Jesus died for if man has the final say and we can’t say that He died for those that believe because we can’t even be sure anyone will believe if we leave it up to us.

    Jesus died for all… ALL. In Christ, God made provision for the sin/sins of the world; every stinking and even sweet decision made by men that fell short of the glory of God. He made provision and THEN made a promise: for any who would believe, they would be saved. The provision is monergistic. 100% of God. The promise has two aspects; the promise of the provision, again 100% of God and the condition given by God (100% of God) to be kept by God (100% of God) for anyone who would believe. (100% of man).

    Now to the question of Jesus’ failure on the cross; I believe God so loved the world… that is you and me individually… and corporately that He would have sent His Son to die in MY place or YOURS knowing that we would be the ONLY one who might believe… so if ONE person believes and is saved, then Jesus’ death was not in vain.

    Basically the same argument that the calvinist uses is valid for the trad position as well. You guys posit that God knew in eternity past who would believe and so those individuals are the one Jesus died for…

    Now in a sense, there is some confusion in my mind on this issue as well. While you seem to have a problem with free will, I have an equal problem with the calvinist position related to God’s foreknowledge. When I read the calvinist planks and try to reconcile them in my mind, I find that it is not really limited atonement that determines who the elect are; not really even God’s foreknowledge because calvinism posits the real impetus for conversion is God’s effectual call; People are converted when He calls them to life.

    I think this is an illogical philosophical position based on a faulty premise of limited atonement in the first place. Christ did not die in vain because I know that I know that I know that I am saved and that I am headed for heaven. I know there are millions others who have done the same. Jesus’ death on the cross has the power to save anyone who calls on the name of the Lord; God draws but He does not make that final call; every man, woman, boy and girl has to make that decision for themselves. fortunately, when that individual does what God tells him or her to do, He always does what He promises He will do and I find all the comfort in the world in that promise that is available to anyone and everyone.

    Jesus did NOT die for the sins of a few; praise God He died for the sins of all or else I am more than confident that I would not belong to Him today.

    ><>”

      Shane Dodson

      “Jesus did NOT die for the sins of a few; praise God He died for the sins of all or else I am more than confident that I would not belong to Him today.”

      Sounds like you can share in the praise for your own salvation, Bob.

      After all…if YOU had not made the final decision…you would not be saved.

      Man-centered theology should bring about man-centered worship.

      So…sounds like you have reason to boast in yourself, Bob.

t.r.

Author of the “traditional statement”, Eric Hankins, denies even the need for prevenient grace, making him the new Pelagius:

“Nothing in Scripture indicates that humans have been rendered “totally depraved” through Adam’s sin. Genesis 3 gives an extensive account of the consequences of Adam’s sin, but nowhere is there the idea that Adam or his progeny lost the ability to respond to God in faith, a condition which then required some sort of restoration by regeneration or prevenient grace.”
-Eric Hankins in part 4 of his series “Beyond Calvinism and Arminianism” found here on the SBCToday archives in April.

Leave a Comment:

All fields with “*” are required

 characters available