A Prehistoric Final Judgment?

by Doug Sayers

***Editor’s Note:  Doug is the author of “Chosen or Not?” which is available for purchase HERE.

Historic Christianity has always insisted on a Final Judgment Day. It is a biblical no-brainer. Many of Jesus’ lessons and parables ended with a final separation of those who are rescued and those who perish. There will be a “settling of accounts” based on God’s eyewitness record of every private (and public) thought, word, and action.   I can bear witness to the biblical claim that this truth was written on my young heart, even as one who was not raised in a Christian home. I knew that God saw everything… and some nights it was hard to fall asleep. (Rom 1, 2) The very thought of being subject to this kind of perfect scrutiny is enough to make you want to put on some fig leaves, run, and hide. It may even lead to a feeble and truth suppressing denial that there is such a God and day of reckoning. But, alas, there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. (Heb 4:13)

We each get judged for that which we did (or did not) do, as a function of that which we did (or did not) believe.

One of the more glaring flaws in the Calvinistic understanding of salvation is it’s emasculation of the final judgment. Calvinists, typically, place great emphasis on being chosen by God, before He made the first man, but only offer occasional and dutiful lip service to the final judgment. The reason should be obvious. Their system marginalizes the final judgment.

In the Calvinistic system, God’s eternal decree, allegedly made before the foundation of the world, would have irresistibly fixed the final outcome for every person ever born (or conceived). There would be no difference between the number of sinners chosen for salvation and those who are actually found “in Christ” at the end. Likewise, there could be no alteration of the outcome for those individuals not chosen before the foundation of the world. Those born elect could not be anything but saved at the final judgment and those born reprobate could not be anything but damned… in their system of understanding. This is not an explanation of, so called, hyper-Calvinism. It is an accurate description of real historical Calvinism. (See the Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 3…)

A good Calvinist would not call this divine prehistoric election the “final judgment” but an honest one would admit that it is what immutably determines the outcome of the final judgment. Perhaps, you can agree that too much speculation about God’s omniscience can lead to trouble.

This should not need much explanation for those who understand Calvinism (aka: the Reformed view).

In the Reformed view, those who would be chosen for salvation, before time began, would inevitably be given the irresistible help needed to become a genuine believer, be born again, enjoy a changed life, and be welcomed into glory. They could not possibly be condemned at the final judgment. Likewise, those allegedly not chosen would not be given the irresistible help needed to become a genuine believer, be born again, enjoy a changed life, and be welcomed into glory. In “orthodox” Calvinism these folks could not possibly be saved; Jesus did not make a definite atonement for their particular sins. They will be punished forever for unbelief that they could not prevent. Since they were not elect they could not have avoided committing the sins that would damn them. They were refused the grace that would enable contrite faith in the Truth and the practical sanctification that comes with it. They would be born into this world with no option other than doing that which infuriates God, and this, with no hope of a remedy. It’s like punishing a rock for being hard or shooting a short guy for failing to be tall.

In the Reformed system, the final judgment would merely be the official pronouncement of the results of God’s prehistoric choice. That which actually occurred in our lifetimes would be fixed, thus irrelevant. As if this “Christian fatalism” is not bad enough, we should remember that in the Calvinistic view God’s prehistoric choice of who would be forgiven (and who would not be forgiven) was “unconditional.” It would not have been based on anything that anyone, born after Adam, would ever actually do (or not do); neither was it based on anything that anyone would (or would not) actually believe. It would, essentially, be a judgment over nothing. But you can’t have a judgment over nothing. By definition, judgments have to be over something. This is why Calvinist George Whitefield would insist that God would be just to damn us to hell even if we never actually sinned once in our entire lifetime! (See: Method of Grace)

Holding people accountable for unpreventable sins and irresistible unbelief is a hallmark of real historical Calvinism. Calvinists would rarely state this so clearly, but as coach always says: it is what it is.

In my years as a Calvinist, I found that this is where one must simply hunker down behind the sovereignty of God, turn a deaf ear to the objections, and trust the guys on my bookshelves. Calvinists simply don’t have a cogent and biblically satisfying answer to this slander of the righteous judgment of God. Their fabricated view of the “imputation of Adam’s guilt,” contradicts Romans 5:13 and 4:15 on how God imputes the guilt of sin. Calvinistic reprobation robs hell of its justice because there is absolutely nothing that the damned could have done to prevent going there.

The Bible teaches that those who perish will be without excuse because God had given them enough grace for the faith He required. (Rom 1, 2; Micah 6:8, Ps 19, Job 38…)

How much better it is to simply teach that God has sovereignly decreed that we each will play a crucial and effectual role in our own eternal destiny and there is no such thing as a sinner that God doesn’t love and desire to forgive. How much better to teach that God has provided every descendant of Adam the grace needed to humble themselves and trust Him, in spite of the devastating consequences of the fall. This is especially true, now, since the Living Bread has come down from heaven.

“If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” (John 6:51)

217 Comments

Andrew Barker 30-08-2016, 04:55

Doug: If God is the one who chooses and determines all things, then surely he can only be judging ……. himself?

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Les 30-08-2016, 05:10

“How much better it is to simply teach that God has sovereignly decreed that we each will play a crucial and effectual role in our own eternal destiny…”

Effectual: “producing or able to produce a desired effect” Finally one of you has agreed with what I have proposed your views teach, namely that the final determiner of your eternal destiny is an himself, not God. Man is the captain of his soul.

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Nork 30-08-2016, 05:33

Choose you this day whom you will serve.
Repent and believe.

Just wondering, Les, if the babies baptized in your church are “captaining” their eternal destiny.

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Les 30-08-2016, 05:37

Nork,

Love those Reformed consistent verses. And thanks for asking about the babies we baptize in our church. Nope, they are not ‘captaining’ their eternal destiny. Again, thanks for asking.

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doug sayers 30-08-2016, 06:55

Nice try Les, an over-worked straw man. There is a very big difference between playing an effectual role in our eternal destiny and playing the only effectual role in our eternal destiny, thus being, the autonomous Captain of our Destiny….

Who made the rule that there could/must be only one “final determiner” of our salvation? Especially if it is the grace of God that gives us the power to repent and believe, thus salvation is of the Lord. We love Him because He first loved us.

We are kept by the power of God.. through our faith. Like Peter on the water… it is a biblical synergism.

Everyone should note that Les did not dispute the main thrust of the post.

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Les 30-08-2016, 07:28

Doug, ok. So who, man or God, is the FINAL decider of any man’s destiny?

Refute? What’s to refute. “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,” Does ‘all’ mean all? Does God working ALL things according to the counsel of his will include where people end up for their eternal destiny?

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Andrew Barker 30-08-2016, 07:51

Who are you to say that this makes man the ” FINAL decider of any man’s destiny?” You can’t see it Les, but your so called objections don’t amount to that well known row of beans. God works everything according to his will ….. which is that those who respond in faith are dealt with in grace and are saved! This isn’t something which ‘man’ dreamed up, it’s just what is stated in God’s word. Your problem is that …. you just don’t get it! Or maybe you don’t and just can’t admit it. It’s as plain as the nose on your face.

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Lydia 30-08-2016, 11:20

Andrew, Reformed totally take a love relationship out of the equation. They can only view relationships within a caste view. Everything to them is authority/submission. Even within the Trinity. They are consumed by the angry Greek god view and the Greek paterfamilias philosophy of relationships. They should read some Greek lit. They would relate.

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doug sayers 30-08-2016, 08:01

Les, my dear stubborn brother, you continue to emasculate the universal promise of God. I think it was clear in the post that God is the Judge at the Final Judgment Day. We ask for mercy and He decides whether to grant it or not. That is not human autonomy! The one who needs forgiveness is not in charge!

Your system renders justification by faith a moot and perfunctory point. The Calvinistic system is better summarized by saying “the just shall live by unconditional election ”
Gotta’ get some work done. Will check back later.

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rhutchin 30-08-2016, 20:45

Sayers erroneously writes, “The Calvinistic system is better summarized by saying “the just shall live by unconditional election. ”

He should have said, ” The Calvinistic system is better summarized by saying “the unconditionally elected shall live by faith.” A little awkward but going in the right direction.

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Les 30-08-2016, 08:15

“Who are you to say that this makes man the ” FINAL decider of any man’s destiny?”” Uh, I don’t say that. I say that the philosophy espoused here, including by you, says that.
According to this philosophy espoused here, God makes salvation/atonement provision for all men. God convicts all men. God wants all men to be saved. Some are and some are not. Why? Because some men exercise their LFW to reject the blood atonement made on their behalf according the philosophy espoused here. God will not violate their LFW and leaves the decision to exercise their faith in the man’s court.

Now, Andrew, tell me where the above paragraph is not right according to what is espoused here.

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Andrew Barker 30-08-2016, 11:22

Les, according to ‘scripture’ God wishes all men to be saved and has made provision for that to occur. All are saved on the basis of faith in God. It is also quite clear from scripture that God expects men to be responsible for their own decisions ie to either accept or reject what has been revealed to them. Of course LFW is a philosophical term hence it is not actually seen in scripture. But choice is there, clearly and plainly. It is a choice you appear to want to either sweep under the compatibilist’s carpet or plainly ignore. So I’m not getting into a fruitless argument with you on terms which don’t appear in scripture but for me, the concept of choice is clearly marked in scripture on multiple occasions. If people wish to equate that with LFW that’s fine by me, but I won’t argue it.

But this constant shrill of “this makes man the FINAL decider of any man’s destiny” serves only to highlight your ignorance of what people are saying. Salvation is through faith on the basis of grace and is not dependent finally on anything but that, grace! Hope that’s not too biblical for you.

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rhutchin 30-08-2016, 13:59

Andrew writes, “Salvation is through faith on the basis of grace and is not dependent finally on anything but that, grace!”

As both grace and faith are given by God, God determines who will be saved (His elect) and who will not (the reprobate) by the grace and faith He extends to each.

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Andrew Barker 30-08-2016, 15:44

Ah, the reprobate….. another piece of Reformed philosophy. Grace of course is a universal gift to all. But faith certainly isn’t and to call it a ‘gift’ is yet another piece of Reformed ‘interpretation’ :-o

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rhutchin 30-08-2016, 20:51

Andrew writes, “the reprobate….. another piece of Reformed philosophy.”

Unless you have succumbed to Universalism (which no one would complain if true), then you believe that some people will not be saved. Reprobate is just another descriptor for those whom God will not save – philosophical in the sense of its logical truth.

Grace may be given to all, which even Calvinists agree, but that grace given to God’s elect to bring them to salvation is withheld from those who perish else they, too, would be saved – such is the power of saving grace.

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Andrew Barker 31-08-2016, 01:29

We’ll I’ve rarely seen a more systematic denigrations of God’s grace than your description. And that is what it is, your description. It bears no any semblance of Biblical truth.

You are clearly also unable to comprehend what is meant by the term God’s omniscience since you cannot distinguish the difference between knowledge and causality.

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rhutchin 31-08-2016, 10:26

Andrew writes, “You are clearly also unable to comprehend what is meant by the term God’s omniscience since you cannot distinguish the difference between knowledge and causality.”

A mixing of apples and oranges. Everyone knows (or should know) that God’s knowledge of the future does not cause that future – WL Craig wrote a nice book to demonstrate this. What does that have to do with omniscience other than to demonstrate that God’s omniscience is not the cause of that which He has knowledge. Was there a point to this comment??

Lydia 31-08-2016, 06:21

Andrew, just for grins, here is a “crash course” on LWF and Determinism for a secular philosophy class.

https://youtu.be/vCGtkDzELAI

Note the lack of speculating where the control comes from.

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Les 30-08-2016, 12:39

Ah, you boys and girl just still don’t get it. You’re so blinded by your philosophical biases.

According to you all here,
1. God has atoned for every person’s sin.
2. A preacher or other person presents the gospel to someone and invites that person to repent and believe.
3. God has granted freedom to all men to exercise faith in Jesus or reject Jesus.
God has dome everything necessary for said person to be saved. The missing piece is the free will faith.
But you want to say that said man is not the final ‘decider.’ Talk about CD disorder. You all have it on a grand scale.

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Andy 30-08-2016, 13:47

What if you add a #4?

4. For those who have faith in Christ, God Chooses to pardon them at the final judgement.

Now God is final. So what? If by final, you mean what is the DIFFERENCE between one who is saved and one who isn’t, then yes, for those who reject Unconditonal Election, that IS the only DIFFERENCE. I doubt any one here will deny that…I haven’t actually seen anyone actually deny that yet in this thread.

If by final, you mean ultimate, and most important factor, then they will disagree with you, saying that:
-God CHOSE to provide men with the ability to choose, rather than simply incapacitating their wills in bondage to sin after Adam’s sin, or perhaps after their own first sin.
-God Chose to provide a way of salvation through sending Jesus to the Cross.
-God chose to provide knowledge of that offer of salvation through his Word and his people.
-God chose to forgive any who would accept that offer of forgiveness.
-Then, as you say, the difference is some will accept it, and some will reject it.

But then we are back to the surgeon example: 2 people need surgery, one agrees to it, one rejects it. But is is the surgeon who does the saving.

***ALSO, as a side point, since the language of “final decider of destiny” is not in scriptures, you are also pressing a philisophical point, not a scriptural one.

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rhutchin 30-08-2016, 20:55

Andy writes, “If by final, you mean ultimate, and most important factor, then they will disagree with you, saying that:….”

This is the teaching of the Catholic church – God provides the means for a person to be saved and man cooperates with God by taking advantage of those means – it is also Pelagian in its theology.

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doug sayers 30-08-2016, 14:15

This isn’t that hard, Les. It’s called justification by faith. By God’s sovereign decree, our faith (or lack thereof) will determine God’s final decision / judgment regarding our eternal destiny. His rules. Not ours.

I would ask *you* to answer another question here but it has shown to be a waste of time. You have dodged previous ones.

Not your best day, my friend. It would have been better if you would have engaged the post as written. As it is, your tactics have vindicated the claim that Calvinism teaches a thinly veiled prehistoric final judgment.

CD

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rhutchin 31-08-2016, 10:29

Sayers writes, “By God’s sovereign decree, our faith (or lack thereof) will determine God’s final decision / judgment regarding our eternal destiny.”

Let us remember that the unsaved do not have faith; “our” faith is that given by God to His elect by which His elect believe as faith knows to do nothing else.

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Les 30-08-2016, 14:55

Andy, I appreciate that you are the ever present mediator…trying to sit on the fence. it really doesn’t matter what one calls it. If God has done everything for the salvation of each and every person, and the only thing left to be done is for one to believe, then the final reason one is saved is because they chose to exercise faith. But nice try.

And so far, all they have done is skirt around it. They have to.

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Les 30-08-2016, 15:01

Doug,

You: “our faith (or lack thereof) will determine God’s final decision / judgment regarding our eternal destiny. His rules. Not ours.”

You did it again. Thank you. Even more clear this time that according to you man dictates what God does. Here;s your problem. You keep wanting to push this to final judgement. In this life, I am saying that your philosophical system has man as the final cog.

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doug sayers 30-08-2016, 16:49

The full sentence that you quote in part was: *By God’s sovereign decree*, our faith (or lack thereof) will determine God’s final decision / judgment regarding our eternal destiny. His rules. Not ours.” You left out the “By God’s sovereign decree” part.

Now you ought to start asking yourself “Why do I do this?” Is it the debate I love or the Truth?

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Les 30-08-2016, 16:53

Changes nothing Doug. That part of your sentence makes it nonsensical. I was trying to help you out. The person’s faith is still the very last piece to fall in place. Now, unless you are admitting that God’s decree ensures the elect will exercise faith in due time and the non elect will not. If that’s it, welcome back to the Reformed faith.

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Les 30-08-2016, 15:29

Doug, let me expand just a bit. When a man dies outside of Christ, what is the reason you say he didn’t die in Christ. I contend that in your system, it is because he excercised his LFW to say no to all that you say God has done to save him. Do you deny that?

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Les 30-08-2016, 08:17

Doug, my dear stubborn brother, you did not answer my questions. Let me try again. The questions are after the verse quoted below:

“In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,”
1. Does ‘all’ mean all? 2. Does God working ALL things according to the counsel of his will include where people end up for their eternal destiny?

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Robert 30-08-2016, 09:47

Les’ question (“Doug, ok. So who, man or God, is the FINAL decider of any man’s destiny?”) in the context of an article ABOUT THE FINAL JUDGMENT is comical and sad. If there is a final judgment as scripture clearly attests (and I thought was agreed upon by both Calvinists and Traditionalists) then the answer to Les’ question is that GOD IS THE FINAL DECIDER of man’s destiny AT THE FINAL JUDGMENT.

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Robert 30-08-2016, 10:03

I consider this argument that Les brings up yet again (if God allows man to freely choose to accept or reject salvation/the gospel, then this makes man the final decider of his own salvation) extremely disingenuous because I have dealt with this before with Les and he refuses to accept the points already made regarding this issue. These points include:

(1)God decides ultimately what the nature of salvation is and how it will go (so if HE DECIDES that salvation will be through a freely made choice by a person, then THAT is how it will be, because the nature of salvation is based upon the sovereignty of God, i.e. His plan, His way) so our decision to choose to trust is not what ultimately saved us (what ultimately saves us is God working according to the plan of salvation which He decided upon and carries out).

(2)The doctrine that our decision to trust is what saves us, i.e. “decisionism” is not a biblical doctrine (some mistakenly believe that our decision saves us, when in fact it does not, faith does not save us, it is the person in whom we place our faith who saves us) as our decision is not what ultimately saves us (what ultimately saves us is the actions that only God can do and does do for those He saves, including justification, only God justifies we do not justify ourselves, forgiveness, God forgives us we do not forgive our own sins, being put in the family of God and being given the Holy Spirit/only God can do these things, glorifying us and giving us a new eternal body/or raising us from the dead, again things only God can do, we cannot glorify ourselves or raise ourselves from the dead). Les’ argument ignores all of this

(3)Analogy – if a person is going in for open heart quadruple bypass surgery, they give consent for the operation, so the operation does not occur unless consent is given, but the act of consent is not what saves the person, what saves the person is the work of the surgical team, doctor, nurses, anesthesiologist, etc. That surgical team saves the patient’s life by performing the surgery, doing the work of the surgery, NOT THE PATIENT’S CONSENT TO THE SURGURY. Likewise, faith is not what saves us nor the decision to trust God, what saves us is God’s actions, justification, forgiveness, glorification, etc. Most of us understand the nature of faith, that it is placing trust in God for Him to do what needs to be done for us to be saved. Les presents his argument as if Traditionalists do not understand the nature of faith (that faith in itself does not save us) nor do they understand that it is God alone who does the things that make for salvation (again justifying a person, forgiving a person, glorifying a person).

Because Les ignores these points that have been made already and repeatedly his argument is disingenuous.

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Lydia 30-08-2016, 11:13

Robert, I have a question. Does God make the professing “Christian” child molester molest children? If not, then didnt the molester choose to be judged based upon his evil long term premeditated deeds?

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rhutchin 30-08-2016, 14:08

Robert can answer Lydia himself, but we all agree that the child molester is driven by his sin nature to envision and perform all kinds of evil actions – God does not make a person sin, neither does God tempt any person to sin. In addition, we know that God is present, observing every detail of every molestation. It is God who has power to restrain, even prevent the molestation, but God decreed that sinful people be allowed to pursue their sin and then to be cast into hell at the end of time.

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Robert 30-08-2016, 15:41

Lydia,

“Does God make the professing “Christian” child molester molest children? If not, then didn’t the molester choose to be judged based upon his evil long term premeditated deeds?”

Your question goes to the consequences of holding to exhaustive determinism or genuine free will. If people have genuine free will then the molester chooses to do his evil actions (and should have done otherwise).

If exhaustive determinism is true, then the molester is doing what God preplanned for him to do (and it is impossible for him to do otherwise).

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Lydia 30-08-2016, 15:51

If the child molester has free will , he ultimately chose his judgement. And God is still Sovereign.

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rhutchin 30-08-2016, 21:04

Robert writes, “If people have genuine free will then the molester chooses to do his evil actions (and should have done otherwise).”

Even Calvinists agree – sinful man has genuine free will.

Then, “If exhaustive determinism is true, then the molester is doing what God preplanned for him to do (and it is impossible for him to do otherwise).”

Meaning that God knew when He created the world that this situation would arise and God had already decided not to restrain or prevent the outcome – this the rational application of sovereignty.

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Glenn 31-08-2016, 05:22

Robert, you and others keep bringing up the surgeon who will save the patient. There are thousands of other surgeons to go to if THE surgeon does not offer to do the surgery. How many Gods do you think are available if THE God doesn’t decide to save you? Sounds to me like your analogy proves the point that God is in control and has been since before the foundation of the earth as he says so many times in scripture. He even says that he has sent angels to protect those who will be saved. Hmmm, how would he know who will be saved if he hasn’t preselected them as he says so many times in scripture.

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Robert 31-08-2016, 10:00

Glenn,

“Robert, you and others keep bringing up the surgeon who will save the patient. There are thousands of other surgeons to go to if THE surgeon does not offer to do the surgery.”

Glenn you missed the point of the analogy (i.e. with a major surgery the patient gives consent to the surgery but their consent does not save their life, rather the work of the surgical team saves their life, likewise, when we have faith, it is not our faith that saves us, it is God’s actions that saves us).

“How many Gods do you think are available if THE God doesn’t decide to save you?”

Scripture says there is only way of salvation and that is through Jesus (no other name by which man can be saved . . .). That issue has not been what we are discussing here: I think we all agree here that Jesus alone is the way.

“Sounds to me like your analogy proves the point that God is in control and has been since before the foundation of the earth as he says so many times in scripture.”

The analogy is not dealing with control, it has nothing to do with the issue of control, it is dealing with who actually saves a person (the surgical team in the case of the surgery, God in the case of our salvation).

“Hmmm, how would he know who will be saved if he hasn’t preselected them as he says so many times in scripture.”

Hard to believe that you would say this.

You are claiming that unless God preselects them He cannot know who will be saved.

You are ****leaving out his OMNISCIENCE ****(i.e. God knows everything including what will happen in the future, this belief is held by Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Protestants, Calvinists, Non-Calvinists).

As God ***is*** OMNISCIENT, he knows who will be saved EVEN IF HE DOES NOT PRESELECT THEM (just as He knows what sins a person will commit even though he does not preselect their sins for them).

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rhutchin 31-08-2016, 10:59

Robert writes, “(1)God decides ultimately what the nature of salvation is and how it will go…”

This does not argue against Les as it presents an alternative to Les. Les says that God saves people without the person having to do anything. Robert says that God provides the means for a person to be saved if that person decides that he wants to be saved. Les has pointed out that both parties in Robert’s scenario are critical to salvation – God does His part and man does his part – man is independent and chooses to cooperate with God – and salvation depends on each partner doing his part. This is the idea behind Pelagian thology as practiced by the Catholic church.

Then, “(2)The doctrine that our decision to trust is what saves us, i.e. “decisionism” is not a biblical doctrine…”

Les has pointed out that one’s “decision to trust” is a necessary part of the Sayers/Robert theology – not that it is sufficient for salvation. That decision to trust, if not taken, denies salvation to the person no matter what God might do.
Finally, “(3)Analogy – if a person is going in for open heart quadruple bypass surgery, they give consent for the operation,…”

As Les has pointed out, without that “consent,” the surgery does not proceed. The Sayers/Robert theology maintains that there are two crucial decisions regarding any adult sinner’s salvation. One decision is made by God and the other decision is made by the sinner. Sayers/Robert gives critical control over salvation to the individual. It is the individual who has to exercise his free will; the individual must be independent of God in making this decision; the individual cooperates with God to save himself.

Les has noted that two different systems are advocated. Les adheres to a Calvinist system where God saves people. Sayers/Robert adhere to a Pelagian system where man cooperates with God to save himself. Les has not ignored these points – he consistently points out the difference between the two systems being advocted.

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Andrew Barker 31-08-2016, 12:30

This is where your inability to grasp the truths that are taught in scripture are highlighted. You call this decisionism! “(2)The doctrine that our decision to trust is what saves us, i.e. “decisionism” is not a biblical doctrine…”

Well I suggest you go and talk to Jesus about it. He was the one who said to people on more than one occasion “your faith has made you well” and he also encouraged people to “work” for their salvation by ‘believing’ in him. There are a number of other examples, but there is no need to proliferate at this point. When you can explain what Jesus was up to when according to you he mis-informed his hearers about their spiritual state then you may have a point. Until then, I think you are at odds with the Almighty.

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rhutchin 31-08-2016, 14:17

This is called cherry-picking eisegesis. You need to take into account all that Paul wrote on the issue not to forget Peter, James and John’s letters.

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Dennis Lee Dabney 30-08-2016, 11:06

Absolutely,

He is the Judge of the Quick and the Dead.

The Judge will use His Own Words to Judge both the living and the dead for our part in this life.

Our part is the “responsibility” of man.

There could be no judgment if no one was to be held accountable and responsible to the Judge.

When the sinner says No to Christ, he is saying No to the same words which shall judge him and No to the One who is The Judge.

The Dead will be judged for their responsibility to the spoken word of God in this natural born life.

No responsibility, no judgment.

The judgment of God declares the responsibility of man.

Preach!

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Andrew Barker 30-08-2016, 11:45

Robert, that kind of negates Les’s ‘argument’ completely. Oh dear! He will have to go away and think of something else on which to disagree! :-)

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Robert 30-08-2016, 15:36

Andrew,

“Robert, that kind of negates Les’s ‘argument’ completely.”

Yes his argument is thoroughly negated. This is proven by the fact he cannot deal with my points he has to resort to attacking me with:

““Because you make no sense brother. You apparently have CD disorder as well.”

You can always tell when a person has no argument as all they can do then is to attack you personally and ridicule you.

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Les 30-08-2016, 12:40

” I have dealt with this before with Les and he refuses to accept the points already made regarding this issue.”

Because you make no sense brother. You apparently have CD disorder as well.

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Robert 30-08-2016, 15:31

I repeated the points against Les’ argument. Instead of dealing with my points (which he cannot do now and could not do in the past) he now resorts to that old calvinist stand-by method: ATTACK THE PERSON without dealing with their points.

Instead of dealing with my points Les writes:

“Because you make no sense brother. You apparently have CD disorder as well.”

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Dennis Lee Dabney 30-08-2016, 20:39

Les,

When Abraham told the Rich man that his unrepentant brothers had the written word of God. He essentially told them that they would be judged by the same Holy Scriptures he had rejected in his lifetime.

Abraham didn’t mention their individual election, why, because their obedience to the Word of God was the only difference concerning eternal comfort or eternal punishment.

All of the Reformed footwork and sidestepping the subject doesn’t change the Word of God for none of us.

Les, you along with others have ran theology interference while avoiding the subject matter at hand.

Rhutchin has been on his omniscience “seesaw”, while you have running around in “circles”, touching the Spring Flower every chance you get. We had one other who didn’t want to be put a corner.

Really?

Beloved this isn’t Romper Room!

Preach!

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Les 30-08-2016, 21:28

Dennis,

You say, “Abraham didn’t mention their individual election, why, because their obedience to the Word of God was the only difference concerning eternal comfort or eternal punishment.”

I agree as does Reformed theology. Election is behind it, but election plays out in obedience or disobedience to the gospel. But, why does on obey and one not obey? Traditional (non Reformed) theology says it is the LFW of each person that is the difference. Reformed theology says God is the difference. Trad theology says God has done it all for all people and waits on man’s LFW decision. Reformed theology says God has done it all for the elect (the atonement for the elect) and due to man’s inability to exercise faith and unwillingness to exercise faith, all due to man’s fallen condition, God must act. Those are the differences.

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Dennis Lee Dabney 31-08-2016, 07:07

Les,

It doesn’t matter what Some say.

The answer to the hot burning question, has been provided in context in the above reference by our precious Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Ye are they which justify yourselves before men but God knows your hearts for the things which are highly esteemed among men are an abomination before God.

Then the Lord brings those same Rebels that you wonder why they will not believe, (some of them) back to Moses and the prophets. Then He brings them up to date regarding the gospel.

The Second Death has nothing at all to do with individual election to life or damnation.

Preach!

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Dennis Lee Dabney 31-08-2016, 07:23

Les,

Those same Blind guides were represented in the account of the Rich man and Lazarus. We don’t have to guess who stood in Hades on their part.

Preach!

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Les 31-08-2016, 07:15

Dennis, please explain more. I cannot discern what the essence of your last comment actually is.

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Les 31-08-2016, 07:32

Dennis, I cannot see where we disagree on the rich man and Lazarus account. God bless.

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rhutchin 30-08-2016, 14:03

As Robert writes, “GOD IS THE FINAL DECIDER of man’s destiny AT THE FINAL JUDGMENT,” and even Robert agrees that all was decided by God in eternity past because God is omniscient – thus history and the final judgment are playing out in accord with God’s omniscience..

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Robert 30-08-2016, 14:10

Rhutchin is intentionally misrepresenting what I believe, and I don’t appreciate it:

“and even Robert agrees that all was decided by God in eternity past because God is omniscient”

No, I don’t agree THAT ALL WAS DECIDED BY GOD IN ETERNITY.

God is omniscient, that is true, but God has not decided everything in eternity (THAT is Calvinism).

God knowing all things that will happen is not at all the same thing as God deciding all things that will happen.

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rhutchin 30-08-2016, 21:07

Robert writes, “No, I don’t agree THAT ALL WAS DECIDED BY GOD IN ETERNITY.
God is omniscient, that is true, but God has not decided everything in eternity (THAT is Calvinism). ”

This is the language, and argument, of the Open Theist – who are known to be as anti-Calvinist as Robert. Maybe not so strange bedfellows.

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Dennis Lee Dabney 31-08-2016, 07:31

Les,

Man will be either justified by faith or He will justify himself and die in their sins.

Preach!

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Les 31-08-2016, 07:34

Dennis,

‘Man will be either justified by faith or He will justify himself and die in their sins.”

I agree. Reformed theology agrees too.

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Dennis Lee Dabney 31-08-2016, 07:40

Les,

That is the answer to the question, why some are saved and others lost.

Preach!

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Les 31-08-2016, 07:45

Dennis Reformed folks agree that is the difference why some are saved and some are not.

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Les 30-08-2016, 10:07

Robert, to you:

“According to this philosophy espoused here, God makes salvation/atonement provision for all men. God convicts all men. God wants all men to be saved. Some are and some are not. Why? Because some men exercise their LFW to reject the blood atonement made on their behalf according the philosophy espoused here. God will not violate their LFW and leaves the decision to exercise their faith in the man’s court.”

Now, Robert, tell me where the above paragraph is not right according to what is espoused here.

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Robert 30-08-2016, 11:09

[[“ . . . . and leaves the decision to exercise their faith in the man’s court.”

God has left the decision to exercise faith or not “in the man’s court” as that is part of His plan of salvation (i.e. He will save those who choose to trust Him).

But THAT does not mean that the decision to trust made by the man is what ultimately saves the man.

What ultimately saves any person is God’s actions not man’s.

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rhutchin 30-08-2016, 21:15

Robert writes, “God has left the decision to exercise faith or not “in the man’s court” as that is part of His plan of salvation (i.e. He will save those who choose to trust Him). ”

That makes salvation conditional, in part, on man’s exercise of faith. That is Les’s point. Man has right of refusal and his salvation depends on whether he exercises that right to accept salvation or refuse salvation – a necessary link in the process of salvation is what man does. You expound a theology that emphasizes the cooperation between God and man in salvation that is taught in Pelagian Theology and prominently taught in the Catholic Church.

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Les 30-08-2016, 16:26

Sorry Robert, you’re trying hard to make a distinction. But there’s no difference. If in the end man’s faith triggers regeneration as you all say, then regeneration will never happen until one last piece of the puzzle/plan occurs…namely man’s LFW faith. It is absolutely decisive in his salvation. Now I know you all try hard (unsuccessfully I might add) to word play around this necessary entailment, but it is so. Just openly embrace it. Don’t run from it.

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Les 30-08-2016, 16:29

Robert, you are coming out brother with this:

“God has left the decision to exercise faith or not “in the man’s court” as that is part of His plan of salvation (i.e. He will save those who choose to trust Him).”

There you have it. it is in MAN’S court. Who will he save? Those who choose of their own LFW to trust him. And not a second before or until. Man’s faith/trust is decisive in your philosophical system. God is standing by ready, but waits on man to act according to you et al.

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Andy 30-08-2016, 18:34

“There you have it. it is in MAN’S court. Who will he save? Those who choose of their own LFW to trust him. And not a second before or until. Man’s faith/trust is decisive in your philosophical system. God is standing by ready, but waits on man to act according to you et al.”

I think you have accurately described the non Calvinist position, Les. I just don’t see why you are acting like it is some kind of scandal, as if you are the first person to notice it. In fact, I still haven’t seen anyone here disagree with the idea that man’s faith makes the decisive difference between who is saved and who isn’t.

The distinction is: man’s faith being decisive DOES NOT EQUAL man saving himself…not does it equal even man’s faith saving him…God is still doing the saving.

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Les 30-08-2016, 19:12

Andy, thank you are that affirmation that I’ve accurately described the position prevalent here. Andy, plenty on here deny that man is the ultimate decider of whether he obtains eternal life. That in spite of the fact that it is undeniably their position.

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Andy 30-08-2016, 08:16

This is one of the weaker Reformed arguments, imo, Les.

First, as to Doug’s actual words… “a crucial & effectual role” is not equivalent to “THE final determiner.”

Second, “Finally one of you has agreed …” I don’t know why you are saying “finally”. nearly every non-calvinists would say this same thing, though not using the words you use…that each person has the ability and responsibility to decide their eternal destiny, WITHIN the parameters set by the sovereign God. (ie, they can’t choose to sprout wings and fly to heaven, they can’t choose to reject Jesus and still go to heaven, etc…). This statement is the equivalent of a non-calvinist saying, “Finally a calvinist has admitted they believe God chooses who will go to heaven & hell.” Of course they do.

Third, your argument appeals to a Christians reticence to not place himself above God in any area, yet mistakingly assumes that if God sovereignly decides to give his creatures that free choice, then it somehow diminishes his God-hood. If God is the final authority, and he decides that it is best to let humans have the ability choose or reject his salvation, then he is still the captain, voluntarily allowing a choice that he did not have to allow (he could have justly condemned all sinners). A Scientist who works with lab mice COULD pick up each one and place them in certain containers or cages, giving them no choice about where they go…or he could put them in a maze with various treats and deterants and allow the mice to choose where to go. In either case, the scientist is still the one in charge, with his power to intervene not diminished.

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Les 30-08-2016, 08:58

Thanks Doug for your comments. Maybe you can reply to my above questions:

“In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,”
1. Does ‘all’ mean all? 2. Does God working ALL things according to the counsel of his will include where people end up for their eternal destiny?

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doug sayers 30-08-2016, 10:40

Les, I actually have answered this, as has Andy, but will try once more. (There is some irony, here, for a Calvinist to ask: “Does all mean all?!” If it weren’t for the fact that words (like *all* and *world*) can have multiple meanings Calvinism would have been deceased by now. I could ask you the same question in a different context but it would only serve to give you another diversion from the main points of the post. )

Of course God works all things (including eternal destinies) after the counsel of His will. This is evidenced by the fact that He is the Judge who presides over the Final Judgment and is not subject to our judging of Him. He has decreed that all contrite believers will be forgiven and all stubborn unbelievers will perish. This is predestined. You have no sound biblical support to suggest that God irresistibly decides who will be a contrite believer, which would render faith perfunctory.

What you are failing to see (or admit) is that when God delegates authority to a “lesser magistrate”, be it government, church, family, or individual sinner, He is not relinquishing His absolute sovereignty.
Remember, every promise of God is a self imposed restriction to His sovereignty.

Will you admit here today, in the wet cement of the Internet, that the Reformed teaching is a kind of divine fatalism and teaches that it is righteous for God to send people to Hell for a sin they did not commit (Adam’s) and/or sins they could not prevent (because of Adam’s sin)? Are you in agreement that the God of the Bible sends people to Hell for irresistible unbelief?

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Les 30-08-2016, 16:33

Doug,

‘Will you admit here today, in the wet cement of the Internet, that the Reformed teaching is a kind of divine fatalism…’ NO.

‘… and teaches that it is righteous for God to send people to Hell for a sin they did not commit (Adam’s) and/or sins they could not prevent (because of Adam’s sin)?’ I agree wit that.

‘Are you in agreement that the God of the Bible sends people to Hell for irresistible unbelief?’ Yes. Romans 9: “You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?”” It’s right there in the scriptures.

Now, the ball is in your court for my question of 12:43…if you ‘will.’

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rhutchin 30-08-2016, 21:26

Sayers writes, “He has decreed that all contrite believers will be forgiven and all stubborn unbelievers will perish. This is predestined.”

The Open Theist could have written this and he means that God has predestined that “all contrite believers will be forgiven and all stubborn unbelievers will perish,” but God does not know who will believe and who will perish.

The Calvinist could have written this and he means that God has predestined that “all contrite believers will be forgiven and all stubborn unbelievers will perish,” but God knew who will believe and who will perish when he created the world.

Sayers agrees with the Open Theist here given that he then writes, “the Reformed teaching is a kind of divine fatalism,” and Sayers would not want to be accused of siding with the Calvinists.

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Les 30-08-2016, 12:43

Doug,

According to you all here,
1. God has atoned for every person’s sin.
2. A preacher or other person presents the gospel to someone and invites that person to repent and believe.
3. God has granted freedom to all men to exercise faith in Jesus or reject Jesus.
God has dome everything necessary for said person to be saved. The missing piece is the free will faith.

Do you agree with what I just typed above?Is that how you believe it works?

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Andrew Barker 30-08-2016, 17:48

All these years Les and you are still unable to listen and learn. Who on this site has ever said that God has atoned for every person’s sin? Nobody I can think of. So why trot this rubbish out? You do yourself nothing but a disservice in doing this. God has made provision for all ….. that’s what most of us as Bible believing Christians believe. The provision is universal, the acceptance and application is a personal matter. A matter of choice …. that word which you obviously find so difficult to comprehend.

Now I suggest you go away, think a bit more and then come back with some sensible questions/comments and stop wasting people’s time.

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Les 30-08-2016, 19:19

Andrew, all these years and you are still allowing yourself to come across as so uninformed. “Who on this site has ever said that God has atoned for every person’s sin? Nobody I can think of. So why trot this rubbish out?”

Well I agree it’s rubbish, but quite a few Trads here and elsewhere absolutely have said that Jesus atoned for them sins of every human that has ever or ever will live. Try to keep up.

Now I suggest you take some Tomie to think, research, and try to keep up with the conversation here and come back with some sensible comments and questions. You’re wasting people’s time. And embarrassing yourself. See how your imbecilic style of commenting works? It’s useless and a waste of time.

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Andrew Barker 31-08-2016, 08:13

Les, It’s time to put up or shut up. Who aren’t these ” Trads here and elsewhere absolutely have said that Jesus atoned for them sins of every human that has ever or ever will live”? To a man they will reply the atonement is universal in provision but that it has to be applied. Unfortunately, this is just another of your wild swings and misses!!

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rhutchin 31-08-2016, 14:41

Paul writing to the Roman believers says, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” To the Corinthians, Paul writes, “…Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,…” In Hebrews, “Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance–now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.” Romans 4, “[Christ] was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” Ephesians 1, “[God] chose us in [Christ] before the creation of the world…[God] predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will–…In [Christ] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.”

The conclusion from these verses is that God acts with purpose – an end game — that Christ died for the sins of God’s elect which is to say that Christ atoned for the sins of God’s elect. The language is much stronger than saying that Christ died only to provide a means for people to be saved if they so chose.

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Andrew Barker 01-09-2016, 13:30

When you can find a verse to support Christ dying ‘just’ for the sins of the elect, you might have a point. But the verses quoted say no such thing.

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doug sayers 30-08-2016, 17:51

Again Les, there’s more to it than your loosely worded 3 points. See previous on God’s prior sovereign decree wherein He commits to imputing righteousness by faith. I know you believe that we are justified by an “alien” righteousness and it comes from Christ to us by faith. You keep skipping over this point of God’s decree and I don’t see much point in repeating it any more. I think the final judgment will be made by God based on what we did with what we were given (by faith alone but a faith that is not alone ML), not based on an individual unconditional election based on nothing foreseen in the individual. I don’t think that “what we do with what we were given” was irresistibly predetermined. I truly hope that helps. I appreciate your honesty and consistency with the Calvinistic teaching that God eternally damns the reprobate for unpreventable sins/unbelief. People need to see this. Have a good night.

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rhutchin 31-08-2016, 14:50

Sayers writes, “I appreciate your honesty and consistency with the Calvinistic teaching that God eternally damns the reprobate for unpreventable sins/unbelief.”

We could state this in the passive voice, “The reprobate are eternally damned for unpreventable sins/unbelief.” God’s omniscience covers the reprobate and ensures their destruction – thus, they are eternally damned. Only God can prevent a person sinning, and God has decreed that people not be prevented from engaging in sin, even the most heinous sins that are done. Unbelief is also unpreventable except as God intervenes to provide belief – this through the faith that God conveys to His elect in the preaching of the gospel.

It is the one who denies that God has always known His elect and the reprobate and pretends that God only becomes aware of such things as they happen who is dishonest and inconsistent.

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Robert 30-08-2016, 10:16

In this instance I agree with Andy as he makes some very good points against Les’ argumetn.

“This is one of the weaker Reformed arguments, imo, Les”

Andy is correct this is an extremely weak argument.

“First, as to Doug’s actual words… “a crucial & effectual role” is not equivalent to “THE final determiner.””

Correct observation and a useful distinction.

“Second, “Finally one of you has agreed …” I don’t know why you are saying “finally”. nearly every non-calvinists would say this same thing, though not using the words you use…that each person has the ability and responsibility to decide their eternal destiny, WITHIN the parameters set by the sovereign God. (ie, they can’t choose to sprout wings and fly to heaven, they can’t choose to reject Jesus and still go to heaven, etc…). This statement is the equivalent of a non-calvinist saying, “Finally a calvinist has admitted they believe God chooses who will go to heaven & hell.” Of course they do.”

Andy “gets it” here: we always have to seriously consider whose plan of salvation are we talking about anyway? If it is God’s own plan, then whatever that plan is, it is true, and it should be accepted because God is the one who came up with it and carries it out. If His plan includes a freely made choice to trust Him as Traditionalists and other non-Calvinists attest, then that is the way it is. The key words in Andy’s comments here are “WITHIN the parameters set by the sovereign God”.

“Third, your argument appeals to a Christians reticence to not place himself above God in any area, yet mistakenly assumes that if God sovereignly decides to give his creatures that free choice, then it somehow diminishes his God-hood. If God is the final authority, and he decides that it is best to let humans have the ability choose or reject his salvation, then he is still the captain, voluntarily allowing a choice that he did not have to allow (he could have justly condemned all sinners). A Scientist who works with lab mice COULD pick up each one and place them in certain containers or cages, giving them no choice about where they go…or he could put them in a maze with various treats and deterants and allow the mice to choose where to go. In either case, the scientist is still the one in charge, with his power to intervene not diminished.”

Words of critical importance = “if God sovereignly decides to give his creatures that free choice, then it somehow diminishes his Godhood.” God cannot do anything to diminish his sovereignty or glory, so whatever He does cannot diminish Him in anyway. Folks like Les find it impossible that God could create human persons with libertarian free will at times. And yet if He did so, then this does not diminish Him in anyway.

“If God is the final authority, and he decides that it is best to let humans have the ability choose or reject his salvation, then he is still the captain,” = again if He makes the decisions concerning the nature of salvation including that a freely made choice to trust would be involved, then as it proceeds from Him and His final authority, salvation is ultimately a decision of God made in line with His plan of salvation.

Lastly, Andy’s scientist analogy is excellent because it makes the point as he says that “In either case, the scientist is still the one in charge.”

Andy makes some excellent points against Les’ argument. It would be interesting to see Les reply to these points.

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doug sayers 30-08-2016, 07:02

Jon, FYI: the book is available for free read and/or download at http://www.chosenornot.com. The content breakdown and scripture index will help in navigating to the various aspects of the debate without reading the whole thing.

Thanks again for your hard work moderating the blog.

D

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rhutchin 30-08-2016, 07:34

doug sayers writes, “you can agree that too much speculation about God’s omniscience can lead to trouble.”

Unless Sayers has subscribed to Open Theism, then even he will assert that God is omniscient. Without speculation, omniscience means that God knows all things past, present and future particularly regarding His creation and God knew all things about the world when He created the world. Thus, when Sayers writes, “God’s eternal decree,…made before the foundation of the world, would have irresistibly fixed the final outcome for every person ever born (or conceived),” is consistent with omniscience and not unique to the Calvinist system – all who hold that God is omniscient must also agree with this statement. Sayers inserts, “allegedly,” for reasons known only to him – does he mean to suggest that God is not omniscient and is making decisions/decrees on the fly?

Sayers has no real issue with Calvinists – his issue is with the idea that God is omniscient and what omniscience means apart from any speculation. Until he comes to grips with omniscience, he will never understand Calvinism.

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doug sayers 30-08-2016, 08:24

Rh, if your entire understanding of salvation and life, itself, is dependent upon your understanding of God’s omniscience then you are on some thin ice.

Congratulations on conquering God’s omniscience. Next up: His aseity!

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rhutchin 30-08-2016, 14:13

Let me repeat it then. Until Sayers comes to grips with omniscience, he will never understand Calvinism. As your response betrays, you have no response to the omniscience of God. If you did, you would have provided a direct answer – you didn’t. The non-Calvinist has yet to explain omniscience to entail anything other that that explained by the Calvinists.

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doug sayers 30-08-2016, 17:09

I confess, rh, it might be a while before I fully come to grips with the scope of God’s omniscience and how He chooses to use His foreknowledge. Remember, the point of the post. I am asserting: 1. In Calvinsm, God’s unconditional election would irresistibly determine the outcome of the final judgment for every soul. 2. Calvinism teaches that God would be just if He damned people to hell for that which they would have no control. What say you?

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rhutchin 31-08-2016, 15:06

Sayers writes, “I am asserting: 1. In Calvinsm, God’s unconditional election would irresistibly determine the outcome of the final judgment for every soul.”

God’s omniscience determines the reality that the outcome of the final judgment has been determined for every soul. If God knows what will happen, it will happen. God knows that all have come short of His glory and will die unless He saves them (no one and nothing else can do this). All are condemned to hell with one exception – those unconditionally chosen (elected) to life by God and God’s actions are enshrined in His omniscience and cannot be changed thus ensuring that none but His elect are saved and none but the reprobate perish. Even you understand that those who are, or will be, saved and those who are lost are absolutely certain and cannot be changed.

Then, “2. Calvinism teaches that God would be just if He damned people to hell for that which they would have no control. What say you?”

God condemns people to hell because they are sinners and they sin. They have no control over this. They are sinners because Adam sinned. They sin because it is natural for sinners to sin – they love to sin. Sinners are controlled by their sin nature and cannot do other than as their sin nature desires. It is not enough that God provide a means of salvation – salvation means nothing to sinners – thus, God must purposely intervene to save people and God does not leave His work half done.

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Andrew Barker 30-08-2016, 11:42

I may not be omniscient, but I know for sure that it doesn’t mean what you think it means!! :-)

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Jim Poulos 30-08-2016, 07:51

Doug,

I, personally, won’t be cornered into any camp other than, Christian. When that cornering happens you abdicate your personal responsibility toward your own conscience.

I say that so when I submit this thought and verse that goes with it you and anyone reading would grapple with it honestly.

Jesus said this, “Do not murmur among yourselves. No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him on the last day.” John 7:44,45

There is a element of ‘mystery’ that I find hard to ignore in anyone coming to Christ. An element that according to the verse above is that only God is behind.
The obstacles in man coming to know Jesus the Christ as Savior are more than man can overcome. Those obstacles can only be overcome by the Father.

To place all the responsibility on man seems to be in conflict with what the above conclusion is saying, right or wrong.

Peace

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doug sayers 30-08-2016, 08:18

Thanks Jim, I would agree that repentance is something of a mystery. But we know that the Holy Spirit convinces us of sin, righteousness, and judgment.

As to John 6:44, be sure to keep reading (vs 45) where Jesus defines the nature of the drawing. It is a “teaching” and “learning” which does not suggest a sudden or irresistible regeneration or calling. The law (in Scripture and conscience) leads us to Christ (Gal), as does the goodness of God, in the gospel, lead us to repentance.

Remember who Jesus was talking to there. A bunch of people who thought they knew the Father but didn’t, as evidenced by their rejection of the Son.

I’ve never met a Christian who did not sense that God was pursuing them. Likewise, those who perish will know that God was pursuing them but they resisted.

Now, do you agree with the main thrust of this post regarding the Reformed emasculation of the final judgment and the slander of punishing people for that which they had no control?

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Andy 30-08-2016, 08:39

Hi Jim,

1. No one here has said “all the responsibility” has been placed on man…Doug has said SOME of it has: man plays “a crucial and effective role”…not “THE ONLY ROLE”.

2. I agree that there is mystery here, and since this site rests in the Mullins/Hobbs/Rogers tradition…lets look back to EY Mullins’ own words for some balance: :-)

“Arminianism overlooked certain essential truths about God in its strong championship of human freedom. As against it, Calvinism ran to extremes in some of its conclusions in its very earnest desire to safeguard the truth of God’s sovereignty. We are learning to discard both names and to adhere more closely than either system to the Scriptures, while retaining the truth in both systems.”

“God’s choice of a person is prior to that person’s choice of God, since God is infinite in wisdom and knowledge and will not make the success of the divine kingdom dependent on the contingent choices of people. God does not fling out the possibility of salvation among human beings, say, like a golden apple, and leave it for people to use or not to use as they will. God’s own hands are kept on the reins of the divine government.”

[God’s grace] “is efficacious with some and not efficacious with others because God’s grace is operative in the one case beyond the degree of its action in the other.”

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Les 30-08-2016, 08:55

“[God’s grace] “is efficacious with some and not efficacious with others because God’s grace is operative in the one case beyond the degree of its action in the other.”” i.e. God does more for one than the other.

Mullins doesn’t sound like a Trad.

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Max 30-08-2016, 08:55

“There is a element of ‘mystery’ that I find hard to ignore in anyone coming to Christ.”

Scripture speaks much about the sovereignty of God. Scripture speaks much about man’s free will. It all works together in a way that is beyond human comprehension. To put the mind of God into a neat theological box, is to stand in arrogance before Him.

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kyle 30-08-2016, 11:46

The writer…“They will be punished forever for unbelief that they could not prevent. Since they were not elect they could not have avoided committing the sins that would damn them”.
Is it the unbelief or the sins that they will be damned for? It is the sins that they will be damned for! Unbelief is sin unless the writer has a new unbiblical definition for sin.
The writer…“unconditional.” It would not have been based on anything that anyone, born after Adam, would ever actually do (or not do)”.
This is not accurate Calvinism. Election is unconditional but salvation is always conditional and it comes through repentance and faith in the finished work of Christ. Therefore, salvation is conditional. However, those who are elect will most certainly repent and believe. Mischaracterization of Calvinism and thus biblical theology may be accepted in some Arminian circles but that should not be the case on a website that is committed to biblical authority like this one.
The writer…” neither was it based on anything that anyone would (or would not) actually believe. It would, essentially, be a judgment over nothing”.
This is an absolutely silly statement. It will be over the sins of the wicked individuals that are not saved. I am stopping here as this writer does not deserve continued response in regard to respectful arguments. Either he is grossly ignorant of biblical theology or intentionally being deceptive to get amen’s from his base. In either case, he should stop writing for public forums until he can accurately represent biblical theology and Calvinism.

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Rick Patrick 30-08-2016, 11:55

When you say “election is unconditional but salvation is conditional,” I think you need to appreciate that those of us on the other side of the soteriological fence view this as a distinction without a difference, for the whole system reduces to a denial of free will. Under Calvinism, if God elects you unconditionally, according to His decree you WILL do what is necessary for your conditional salvation. If He does not, you won’t. Thus, God’s election supercedes and determines man’s response monergistically. I don’t think it’s fair to say that Traditionalists *misrepresent* Calvinism just because we simplify the equation and get to the heart of the matter.

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Dennis Lee Dabney 30-08-2016, 14:07

Kyle,

Rather than insult the author of this thread why not address the subject at hand.

Preach!

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kyle 30-08-2016, 12:18

I looked up the author of this article and see he has written at least one book “Chosen or Not?: A Layman’s Study of Biblical Election and Assurance”. That later statement in his title is not tenable with free will Arminianism. If a person has libertarian free will then just as that person is free to choose Christ before salvation he must surely be free to reject Christ later on. In fact, there is no evidence to suggest, in their philosophical system, that the free will does not continue into eternity. Therefore, after thousands of years (anthropomorphism) in heaven, the person would still be able to sin and reject Christ. In addition, does the person loose libertarian free will after becoming a Christian and thus assure they will not reject the Gospel later on? A true libertarian free will proponent will have to say that the person can loose their salvation would they not? I think so. Therefore, they are more consistent than the OSAS free will crowd.

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Robert 30-08-2016, 13:42

Kyle,

Apparently you are not a Baptist Kyle (are you a Baptist?).

I ask this because of your next statement:

”If a person has libertarian free will then just as that person is free to choose Christ before salvation he must surely be free to reject Christ later on.”

No, Baptists have believe for a long time that a person freely chooses to trust in Christ or they do not. The person has free will and if they become a believer they will remain a believer because God keeps His promises (i.e. God has promised that he will never lose those whom He saves). Now if you doubt the promises of God or reject them, then you can make your argument here. But for Baptists such as myself, confident in the promises of God, we will never lose our salvation (not because we are so strong or great, but because He is faithful and will keep every promise including those what he never will lose a saved person).

“A true libertarian free will proponent will have to say that the person can loose their salvation would they not? I think so.”

Again, this statement suggests that Kyle is not a Baptist, any Baptist knows that we do not and cannot lose our salvation (and again this is based upon the faithfulness of God to His promises).

So what denomination are you from Kyle?

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Andya 30-08-2016, 14:04

Also, were kyle more versed in the many and varied positions of baptists, he would know there are actually TWO different versions of “free-will” (non-calvinist) baptists who hold to OSAS:

1. Those who Beleive that the Holy Spirit keeps those who have believed and prevents them from totally abandoning the faith.

2. Those who believe that once a person beleives, they are bound for heaven, EVEN IF they totally abandon belief in Jesus and God. Perhaps this strain of belief will make Kyle feel better, since this group does not do away with total free will… ? (of course the problem with this view is that you have “Christians” who don’t believe in Christ.) :)

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Andy 30-08-2016, 14:00

Kyle, I remember someone saying recently on this site: “he should stop writing for public forums until he can accurately represent biblical theology and Calvinism.”

I think the person who wrote that was objecting to having their belief system misrepresented…Perhaps you should go talk to that person who wrote that (I think you might know him), then perhaps you can find that person (who is so opposed to belief systems being misrepresented) and see what they think about this comment of yours? :-)

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Robert 30-08-2016, 15:27

I need to make a simple but important point regarding our choosing to have faith and being saved and Les’ extremely weak argument.

Les and other Calvinists will sometimes make their argument ( that if we freely choose to trust in Christ then that must mean that we ultimately save ourselves): but this argument is based upon the *****total trustworthiness***** of God being used as an argument against non-Calvinism.

We all (if we are genuine believers) believe in God’s promises that if we trust Him alone for salvation we will be saved.

And perhaps this is yet another way of showing Les’ argument to be so weak: talk about things in the context of salvation being about God keeping His promises.

God promises X, Y, and Z to those who trust Him. He promises that those who trust Him will be justified. He promises that those who trust Him will be saved. He promises that those who trust Him will be saved and no one can snatch them out of God’s hands (i.e. God promises that those who are saved will never lose their salvation. He promises that those who trust Him will become part of the body of Christ and receive the indwelling Holy Spirit. He promises that He will act in believers’ lives to sanctify them. He promises that those who trust Him, if they die He will raise them up. He promises that those who trust Him will be glorified (given a new and eternal body) and will be with Him in the eternal state for eternity.

Les wants to make much about out freely made decision to trust Him, as if that is what is ultimate. But it cannot be ultimate because our choice to trust is simply trusting in His promises. If did not keep His promises we would not be justified, would not be saved, could lose our salvation after our initial faith, would not become part of the body of Christ, would not receive the indwelling Spirit, would not be sanctified, would not be raised from the grave, would not be glorified/given the new eternal body, would not be in the eternal state with Him. Put bluntly we can believe all we want, but if He did not keep His promises we would not be saved.

So if you want to talk about WHAT ULTIMATELY SAVES US: it is not our trusting His promises, IT IS HIM KEEPING HIS PROMISES.

When a person freely chooses to trust God to save him, what it really comes down to is that we believe that we can totally trust God’s promises. If He promises that those who trust Him will be saved, we are so certain of this, that a Calvinist like Prouty then comes along trying to argue that the person’s decision to trust is what ultimately saves him. But that is false, it is not the one who trusts who saves Himself it is THE ONE WHO IS TRUSTED that saves a person. And we are so certain that He will save those who trust Him that we believe if a person makes the choice to trust he/she will be saved.

It is true that a person who chooses to trust will certainly be saved, but it is not the trust of the person that saves the person, it is God who keeps his promises that saves a person.

Put another way, when it comes to salvation there is the one who promises and keeps His promises (that is the Lord) and the one who chooses to trust in the one who promises (that is us). Salvation is a series of kept promises, so salvation occurs when God keeps His promises to a particular person. Say any of us chooses to trust God for salvation, trust in His promises. Our trust is not what saves us: what saves us IS THE ONE WHO KEEPS HIS PROMISES. If he did not keep His promises we could not be saved.

Because He always keeps his promises we know for certain that if we trust Him for salvation He will save us. But this certainty ought not be confused with ultimacy (it is certain that if we trust Him we will be saved, but ultimately it is Him keeping His promises that saves us).

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rhutchin 31-08-2016, 15:35

Robert erroneously writes, “Les and other Calvinists will sometimes make their argument ( that if we freely choose to trust in Christ then that must mean that we ultimately save ourselves): but this argument is based upon the *****total trustworthiness***** of God being used as an argument against non-Calvinism.”

He should have written, “(that if God requires that we freely choose to trust in Christ as a condition of salvation, then that must mean that we ultimately save ourselves).

Then, “We all (if we are genuine believers) believe in God’s promises that if we trust Him alone for salvation we will be saved.”

That is Les’ point – it is genuine believers who trust in Christ alone for salvation and are saved. The Sayers/Robert theology says that a person must trust in Christ alone before they become genuine believers – trusting in Christ is said to be an independent action by a lost person (not a genuine believer) who acts in cooperation with God. Les says that God makes a person a genuine believer through various actions on the person – the genuine believer then trusts Christ alone for his salvation.

Then, erroneously, “Les wants to make much about out freely made decision to trust Him, as if that is what is ultimate. But it cannot be ultimate because our choice to trust is simply trusting in His promises.”

The “ultimate” comes because you say that God conditions a person’s salvation on a free, independent decision to trust Christ. God lays the groundwork for a person’s salvation – the final and ultimate missing piece is that free, independent decision. Without that decision, all God’s efforts are for naught.

Then a really interesting comment, “If did not keep His promises we would not be justified, would not be saved,” (I was confused as to what Robert was trying to do by this comment. Was he stating what he believes or trying to restate what he thinks Les believes?)

This is a works salvation (even taking into account that “keeping His promises” really means something – perhaps Robert meant “believing His promises.”). The gospel is not based on promises – it is based on cold, stark reality: Christ was crucified and raised from the dead. One need know nothing about God’s promises and still believe the gospel – that Christ died and was raised – and he is saved. To believe the gospel requires faith; faith that is a gift from God – all to whom God gives faith then believe because of that faith.

Then, Robert gets it right, “…So if you want to talk about WHAT ULTIMATELY SAVES US: it is not our trusting His promises, IT IS HIM KEEPING HIS PROMISES.”

People are saved because God keeps His promises – it has nothing to do with us.

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Rick Patrick 01-09-2016, 07:01

“People are saved because God keeps His promises.” (Totally agree.)

“It has nothing to do with us.” (Totally disagree.)

Why? Because one of God’s promises is that if we confess with our mouths and believe in our hearts we will be saved. (Romans 10:9) That’s conditional, any way you slice it.

Jesus saves and gets all the glory for doing so. But God, in His sovereignty, has set up a system whereby the people He has elected to save are those who exercise their free will to repent and believe, an exercise of faith which is possible for every person who hears the gospel.

Rhutchin, please, please reconsider the box in which you are seeking to place Traditionalists. We have told you repeatedly that you are misrepresenting our views. Robert, and others I assume, are ready for us to moderate more heavily here. We cannot allow you indefinitely to continue to misrepresent us and call us by the labels of a fifteen hundred year old heresy.

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kyle 30-08-2016, 18:57

One of the things that is most disturbing about freewill propenents, is their blatant ignoring of how absolutely wicked we are as humans. The seem to thing of man as basically good and worthy of salvation. That is the feel I get from this article as with many anticalvinistic articles. They think God owes man a chance a salvation. God doesn’t owe anyone anything, including a slight chance a salvation or anything else for that matter. They think it is unfair for God to sovereignly choose who He wants to save. That argument has absolutely no weight. God doesn’t care what we think. They idea of God seems to be that of a ladder. Worms are at the bottom, then some higher form of animal then man is up the ladder closer to God. God’s not on the ladder. He made the ladder and everything and everyone on it. If I were to recount my sins of thought and deed, the bottom of the sea is not deep enough for the shame and guilt in my life. God owes me nothing but a devils hell. Even now as a Christian my sins are so wicked, i wouldn’t want to brag about what I positively deserve. Thus the glory of the sovereign grace of good and what thankfulness for it should come out of my mouth, words in print and life. I don’t deserve anything good from God nor does anyone else including the guy that wrote this article complaining about how God runs his universe.

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Robert 31-08-2016, 09:46

Kyle,
You seem to not know or understand Baptist theology on eternal security.

I will ask you again: what denomination are you part of?

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Lydia 31-08-2016, 14:02

Kyle,. Those platitudes may make you feel Pious but they are actually spitting on God.

He went to the cross and was resurrected for you to have new life in relationship with God himself. He believes you can be worthy of that. But you don’t.

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Lee 31-08-2016, 08:15

Why not just accept that God is in control. We always want to think there is something we must do for God to act or react. I realize how utterly worthless and sinful I am and am SO GLAD God does not need my help or cooperation to save me. He does all the work because I cannot. Unfortunately the tendency for many Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals , etc in the last 100-200 years is to think they have to do something. Just rest in Christ’s finished work.

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Les 31-08-2016, 09:07

Dennis,

“Why not just accept that God is in control. We always want to think there is something we must do for God to act or react.” I absolutely accept that God is in control. He is in control of all things. That is a hallmark of of the scriptures and Reformed theology. We do agree on that brother.

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Dennis Lee Dabney 31-08-2016, 09:35

Les,

He rules and over rules in the affairs of men.

Like I heard someone once say, “When we don’t do His will, He will make us wish we had.

Preach!

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Les 31-08-2016, 09:46

Amen Dennis!!

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Andrew Barker 31-08-2016, 10:01

Lee, this is deck chair ‘theology’. You must have been sat out in the sun for too long. Never mind, put your feet up and sip your orange juice if that makes you happy!

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Les 31-08-2016, 10:35

Andrew, you’re cute in your continuing attempts at insulting and offending. It might actually bother me, but I’d have to actually value what you say for that to happen.

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Andrew Barker 31-08-2016, 12:18

Well, firstly the comment wasn’t directed at you …. but your lack of ability to engage properly with the discussion leaves you no other option than to complain about this, that and the other. If it’s not moderation then it’s trying to get Rick or whoever to ‘sanction’ some comment because it offends your sensitivities. Frankly, I don’t worry what you think either because I’ve heard it all before and you’ve nothing new to add to what you’ve copied pasted and repeated for many years on this site and for that matter on Peter’s.

Plus I would add that a person who thinks that because “God has done it all” that they have no responsibility to ‘do’ anything regarding their own salvation then they are in my opinion at best sitting on a deck chair and enjoying the sunshine or perhaps at worst arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic while the ship is going down. If you don’t believe me, then ‘work it out’, because that’s the scriptural injunction “work out your own salvation”.

Lastly, my comment was made in good taste and kept in mind the sensitivities of some who are TT hence the reference to orange juice rather than Pimms No 1 ! :-o

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Lee 31-08-2016, 13:34

Your reply was to me I believe. If I were on the deck in the sun, I’d be enjoying a Gin and Tonic. I will always look to the cross as the source and strength of my salvation, not my feeble attempts to somehow improve my status or climb a ladder to some higher plane of Christian living. Whatever I may do through the power of the Spirit will still be on account of Christ’s finished work and not something I do. I take great comfort from Christ saying ” It is finished”, and live daily in sheer gratitude for his work on my behalf.

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Andrew Barker 31-08-2016, 13:43

No Lee. Reply was to Les. Original comment was to you though. What do you really mean by “accept that God is in control”. It’s such a sweeping statement that it ends up meaning everything and nothing.

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Lydia 31-08-2016, 14:10

“I will always look to the cross as the source and strength of my salvation, not my feeble attempts to somehow improve my status or climb a ladder to some higher plane of Christian living”

The cross is meaningless without the resurrection. So what does the resurrection part mean to you? You remain a saved worm?

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Les 31-08-2016, 13:37

And while that one is in moderation, allow me to say that I must have confused Dennis Lee with Lee. My apologies.

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Dennis Lee Dabney 31-08-2016, 13:50

Les,

Brother, I’m the one over here drinking the sweet tea, no lemon.

Preach!

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Les 31-08-2016, 13:35

Andrew,

If your comment wasn’t directed at me, then to whom? Lee (Dennis?)? My lack of ability to engage…ha ha. How about saying something worthy of engagement. Try that, rather than your “good taste” attempts at insult. As to the “God has done it all” and we men having no responsibility at all, I direct you to the different uses of the word “salvation.” I was of course speaking generally. As in when the scriptures say, “Salvation belongs to the Lord.” Remember that? Now if one wants to get particular, then one can more precisely say that God does it all in regeneration. Man then cooperates in conversion, sanctification and so on. Now I know you don’t like the whole born again/regeneration stuff, but had I intended to speak more particularly, that distinction would have been made.

The TT folks aside, if you ever find your way to Missouri, I will gladly buy you a pint and I suspect we would have a much better time together in a pub than we do on this forum. Now it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, so I think I just may enjoy one. Cheers!

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Dennis Lee Dabney 31-08-2016, 14:38

Les,
Now it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, so I think I just may enjoy one. Cheers!

Now you have made the case libertarian free will!

Preach!

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Andrew Barker 01-09-2016, 07:47

Les, if you want to get particular you need to line your ducks up more carefully. So God does it all in regeneration? Then man cooperates in conversion and sanctification?? If God does it all, then there is nothing left to do is there??!! So what is it Les? Has God done it ‘all’ or has he nearly done it ‘all’?? Your thinking is particularly indistinct. It would appear that 5 o’clock has come early in your household.

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Les 01-09-2016, 08:12

Andrew,

“So God does it all in regeneration?” Yep.”

“Then man cooperates in conversion and sanctification??” Yep.

“If God does it all, then there is nothing left to do is there??!! So what is it Les? Has God done it ‘all’ or has he nearly done it ‘all’??” Yep.

Read your bible a wee bit more. You’ll get there…to the truth.

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Andrew Barker 01-09-2016, 09:59

Les, this is another pathetic attempt to avoid facing the facts.
1. You don’t have any scriptural support for regeneration before faith.
2. Even God can’t “do it all” and “nearly do it all”. It must be one or the other.
3. Reading the Bible is a good place to start. But it hasn’t led you to the truth, so why should this be a solution for anybody else?

Quite frankly, your contributions are on a level with rhutchin …. well, almost if you improve a bit!!

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Robert 31-08-2016, 10:10

Lee,

“We always want to think there is something we must do for God to act or react.”

Lee your mistake is that you do not really sufficiently take into account the numerous scriptures on God’s promises and our faith (basically they say repeatedly, God promises X, Y, Z and our part is to trust in those promises. When we do so God acts in amazing and incredible ways, including saving sinners who trust Him alone to save them).

“I realize how utterly worthless and sinful I am and am SO GLAD God does not need my help or cooperation to save me.”

I think you again mischaracterize the nature of faith. Our having faith, is not Him needing our help. Rather the pattern is He promises, we trust in those promises and He keeps His promises to those who trust Him. Salvaiton is itself a set of promises that we trust Him to accomplish. Our trust does not do these things, He does.

“He does all the work because I cannot.”

True, we cannot forgive ourselves, justify ourselves, give ourselves the Spirit, put ourselves into the body of Christ, sanctify ourselves, glorify ourselves, raise ourselves form the dead (all things that God promises and keeps in relation to those who trust Him).

“Unfortunately the tendency for many Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals , etc in the last 100-200 years is to think they have to do something. Just rest in Christ’s finished work.”

This “resting” that you speak of here: isn’t that faith?

And isn’t faith trusting in His promises?

And isn’t this trusting in His promises something WE DO, something He does not do, does not do in our place???

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Robert 31-08-2016, 13:13

Usually I ignore rhutchin’s posts. However he keeps falsely accusing non-Calvinists here of being Pelagians. This is a false charge he keeps repeating. I would like for the new moderator to be aware of this and to take appropriate action on this.

In his most recent post rhutchin again makes the false charge.

Rhutchin writes:

“This does not argue against Les as it presents an alternative to Les. Les says that God saves people without the person having to do anything.”

And that is a false theology as the Bible explicitly (especially in the book of Romans and Galatians) says that we are saved through faith (and this faith is something that we do, God does not have faith for us, nor is the faith of another acceptable, it must be OUR FAITH).

“Robert says that God provides the means for a person to be saved if that person decides that he wants to be saved.”

God has given the gospel and trusting in that gospel is the means by which able minded persons are saved. This is ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY and has been for all of church history.

“ Les has pointed out that both parties in Robert’s scenario are critical to salvation – God does His part and man does his part – man is independent and chooses to cooperate with God – and salvation depends on each partner doing his part. This is the idea behind Pelagian thology as practiced by the Catholic church”

No, man being responsible to TRUST GOD ALONE FOR SALVATION is not Pelagian theology: it is biblical theology, it is the theology held by Traditionalists here.

“Les has pointed out that one’s “decision to trust” is a necessary part of the Sayers/Robert theology – not that it is sufficient for salvation. That decision to trust, if not taken, denies salvation to the person no matter what God might do.”

That decision to trust, is having faith, without faith no one is saved. Again this is biblical theology not PELAGIAN THEOLOGY.

“Finally, “(3)Analogy – if a person is going in for open heart quadruple bypass surgery, they give consent for the operation,…””

In my analogy the consent that the patient has is analogous to our having faith that God will save us. As in the surgery we do not save ourselves and we also do not save ourselves when we have faith (God saves those who trust Him, the biblical promises in regards to salvation are that if we trust in God and His Word He will save us). Again this is orthodox Christianity not Pelagian.

Rthutchin wrote:

“Sayers/Robert gives critical control over salvation to the individual. It is the individual who has to exercise his free will; the individual must be independent of God in making this decision; the individual cooperates with God to save himself.”

Suggesting that salvation through faith IS NOT giving “critical control over salvation to the individual”. God came up with the plan of salvation, He reveals it to us (i.e. we are saved by choosing to trust in Him and His Word alone to save us) and if we do not have faith we will not be saved.

Rhtuchin falsely says that Doug and I believe that “in making this decision, the individual cooperates with God to save himself”.

We do not believe that we SAVE OURSELVES, even when we have faith.

Again, God saves us, and He has revealed in His Word that He saves those who trust Him alone to save them.

Rhutchin is disparaging the biblical doctrine of salvation through faith and making biblical faith a PELAGIAN DOCTRINE. He is accusing those who espouse the biblical faith, orthodox Christianity of being Pelagians. This charge is false and completely unacceptable.

Rthutchin wrote in his final paragraph:

“Sayers/Robert adhere to a Pelagian system where man cooperates with God to save himself. Les has not ignored these points – he consistently points out the difference between the two systems being advocted.”

To the moderator, this is unacceptable for rhutchin to claim that Doug Sayers or myself or any other Traditionalist who advocates justification through faith:

ADHERE TO A PELAGIAN SYSTEM WHERE MAN COOPERATES TO SAVE HIMSELF.

I would appreciate if rhutchin would be held responsible for this false charge and if need be, even banned from posting here. He has made this charge repeatedly in the past and it is completely unacceptable. I would appreciate action on this matter by the moderator, thank you in advance.

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Robert 31-08-2016, 14:54

I did not realize that the new moderator begins tomorrow: so I will repost this tomorrow to make sure that he sees this post.

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Rick Patrick 31-08-2016, 15:16

Well, Robert, Rhutchin is simply wrong. Traditionalism is not guilty of Pelagianism or even Semipelagianism. However, Calvinists sometimes falsely claim that we are. It is pejorative and rude and inaccurate, but I am not sure that we should ask our new moderator, on his first day on the job, to address the posts of the past.

Why not give him a clean slate and a fresh start? If the job of the moderator is to remove all theological error from every single commenter, I don’t think anyone on earth would ever take the job! Should we ban for Calvinists for calling us heretics? Should we ban Traditionalists for calling Calvinists heretics?

Let’s just pray for Kyle as he takes the helm and makes these kinds of decisions.

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rhutchin 31-08-2016, 15:50

Pastor Rick – I think there are two basic theologies floating around.

Calvinism says that God saves people – salvation is conditioned solely on what God does.

Pelagianism says that God provides the means for people to be saved. It states that people cooperate with God to affect their salvation – God provides the means and people make a free and independent decision to take advantage of the means that God has provided – salvation is conditioned on what God does plus man’s response.

Has Traditionalism staked out an unique third position? From what those who claim to be Trads write, I could conclude that they are Universalists, Open Theists, Pelagians, and members of the Catholic Church – they embrace a theology that is all over the place.

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Robert 31-08-2016, 16:03

Rhutchin writes:

“From what those who claim to be Trads write, I could conclude that they are Universalists, Open Theists, Pelagians, and members of the Catholic Church”

And these are precisely the false and slanderous charges that rhutchin has fired at Traditionalists at this site repeatedly (i.e. that Traditionalists are universalists for believing in Jesus’ atonement being a provision for all people; open theists because we do not hold to his views on foreknowledge; Pelagians because we maintain that a person is saved by faith, a faith of their own, a faith they freely choose to have in God and His promises regarding salvation; he has charged Traditionalists with being like Catholics when we maintain that a person must do something in the salvation process, namely have faith). Rhutchin makes these false charges over and over again. This is not something he has done one time, but many times, repeatedly over years time.

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Andrew Barker 01-09-2016, 02:43

Nice try rhutchin…. well to be honest, it’s a blatant example of the Calvinist attempting to frame the debate. So you would have us believe the options are Calvinism or Pelagianism, Open Theism and Catholism! Oh and let’s not forget Universalism.

So your point is? There are two ‘basic’ options ….. Calvinism and everything else! Well you’ve made your point. Now run along!

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Mary 01-09-2016, 10:43

Andrew it is sorta refreshing to see a Calvinist admit that Calvinists actually believe if you’re not a Calvinist then you are a heretic. Or I guess you could just be dumb but maybe barely saved as Mohler has implied before.

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rhutchin 01-09-2016, 12:58

A Calvinist says that God is omniscient. The non-Calvinist, if he is consistent, must say that God is not omniscient. So, if a person does not believe that God is omniscient, is he a heretic or just dumb – or something else that you can specify.

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Mary 01-09-2016, 21:48

A Calvinist treats omniscience as God being a fortune teller – he can look down through time and see the future. Calvinists have trouble with God’s omnipresence – God knows the future because He is in the future as well as the past and the present. God is in all places in space and time. No nonCalvinists do NOT have problems with God’s omniscience because God KNOWING the future is not the same thing as God CAUSING the future. You’ve had this explained to you over and over but since you’re a troll you just keep repeating the same worn out arguments.

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Lydia 01-09-2016, 22:26

Mary, I have tried in my pedantic way to explain this to Calvinists before using a human metaphor (what other ones do we have?)

If Presented with a box of assorted donuts I knew my then 10 year old would choose the one with pink sprinkles. Why? Because I know her very well. (Years later she will tell me she is not going to waste calories on empty carbs and I already knew that because I know her very well. Her choices changed)

I did not force her to choose pink sprinkles. She had a choice…. but I knew her choice. To a Calvinist this makes me a wimpy mom. I should not allow her a choice at all. She could take credit for her choice and I would look weak!

That is the monstrous positional box Calvinists put God in.

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rhutchin 02-09-2016, 20:34

Mary writes, “A Calvinist treats omniscience as God being a fortune teller – he can look down through time and see the future. ”

I don’t know where you got this idea but it is absolutely wrong. The Calvinist view on omniscience is that God knows the future because God has ordained that future. If God had to look into the future to learn what happens, He could not be called omniscient.

Then, “God KNOWING the future is not the same thing as God CAUSING the future.”

This is standard for Calvinism also.

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Mary 03-09-2016, 06:14

Riiiiight…. God is even less than a fortune teller because it’s not that he’s looking “down through the corridors of time” to know the future because he’s stuck in time like a man and so the ONLY way possible for God to know the future is because he controls the future. Calvinist believe in a puny God who is just like man stuck in time and so in order to have “sovereignty” must meticulously determine all things because otherwise he would have no idea what was going to happen. Which is not really very omniscient – omniscient is only all knowing because God could only KNOW if he meticulously determines. Not really ALL knowing at all. Omniscience then becomes just all controlling so as to know.

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Andrew Barker 01-09-2016, 14:10

Thanks Mary. What a choice … Calvinism or heresy! :-)

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rhutchin 01-09-2016, 12:54

Actually, all theology can be reduced to Calvinism and Pelagianism. Universalism is just Calvinism where God saves all and not just some. The Catholic church has embraced Pelagianism with it’s works based theology. The Open Theists recognize that Calvinism is valid if God is omniscient so to argue against Calvinism, one must argue that God is not omniscient.

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Rick Patrick 01-09-2016, 06:47

Rhutchin,
Once again, I disagree with your categories. This assessment clarifies Calvinism, Amyraldism, Arminianism, Traditionalism and Semipelagianism: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/C2P2DJK

“In Semipelagian thought, therefore, a distinction is made between the beginning of faith and the increase of faith. Semipelagian thought teaches that the latter half – growing in faith – is the work of God, while the beginning of faith is an act of free will, with grace supervening only later.”

I reject Semipelagianism, as do all Traditionalists.

“Pelagianism is the belief that original sin did not taint human nature and that mortal will is still capable of choosing good or evil without special divine aid.”

I reject Pelagianism, as do all Traditionalists.

I think it is fair to consider that Traditionalists believe in the priority of grace, that is, that God’s Holy Spirit took the initiative to draw us to Him through the gospel, and that man RESPONDING to God’s work in his life through the gospel *must not* be viewed as though man could come to God on his own or as though man could start coming to God on his own, only to have God supervene later.

In short, you are trying to put Traditionalists into a box where we do not belong.

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rhutchin 01-09-2016, 08:11

Pastor Rick writes, “This assessment clarifies Calvinism, Amyraldism, Arminianism, Traditionalism and Semipelagianism: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/C2P2DJK

Technically, with only two choices in several categories, the assessment cannot clarify among four positions. What it does is help to distinguish between the Pelagian and Calvinist – this by virtue of two positions being stated.

Pelagain Theology gives prominence to a free will decision by people that is necessary to salvation. In terms of your assessment, the Pelagian position is described as (1) Christ’s atonement being general; (2) God’s election being conditional; and (3) God’s grace being resistible. The Pelagian says that salvation is a cooperative effort between God and a person – each plays a crucial part in salvation such that each part is necessary to salvation but not sufficient to produce salvation by itself. Robert uses the example of the surgeons who cannot operate without the consent of the patient – this is an excellent example describing a Pelagian position.

I think it is really difficult to stake out a position against Calvinism that does not draw heavily from Pelagianism even if the person reinvents the wheel (so to speak) and comes to convictions on his own not realizing that the Pelagians had already done it.

The Pelagian pastor will say things like; (1) you choose God and God chooses you (on election); (2) you must repent and believe or else you cannot be saved; (3) Christ died on the cross to provide lost people the opportunity/possibility to be saved; (4) God came up with the “plan” of salvation allowing people to be saved; (5) God’s Holy Spirit took the initiative to draw us to Him through the gospel (as you wrote above where “took the initiative” offers the Pelagian slant together even with your later “on his own” clarification). If a pastor says that a person can resist God’s grace, reject God’s gift of faith or salvation, or must makes a decision to receive Christ, that pastor is taking his cues from Pelagian theology.

Many pastors will, like you, say “Pelagianism is the belief that original sin did not taint human nature and that mortal will is still capable of choosing good or evil without special divine aid.” Then, they take the position that “the mortal will is still capable of choosing good or evil without special divine aid,” especially with regard to that “good” decision regarding salvation.

While Calvinism is pretty cut and dried and people generally grasp what it says, non-Calvinist positions can be all over the place but they are all built on the foundation of the Pelagian concept of the free will of the individual – thus the necessity of the person to exercise free will to choose salvation; the independence of the person to make decisions free of any influence by God that negates free will; and the cooperative effort whereby God decreed a “plan” of salvation and the person freely takes advantage of that plan.

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Rick Patrick 01-09-2016, 09:08

Rhutchin,

If you persist in your error, we will have no choice but to block you just as Robert has suggested.

Now you have made a second false claim, namely, that the assessment cannot clarify between the five (you said four) positions, because many of the categories only give two options. That is part of the formatted design of the instrument. Some categories *share* a view with others. One has to consider the key, listed below, that appears on the response page when the assessment is completed.

SEMIPELAGIAN: 1A, 2A, 3A, 4A, 5A
TRADITIONALIST: 1B, 2A, 3A, 4A, 5B
ARMINIAN: 1C, 2A, 3A, 4A, 5A or 5B
AMYRALDIST: 1D, 2B, 3A, 4B, 5B
CALVINIST: 1D, 2B, 3B, 4B, 5B

I assure you, all five positions are distinguished from each other. Let me further, and for the last time, reassure you that Traditionalism is *not* the same thing as Pelagianism or Semipelagianism. For a clearer understanding, let me encourage you to read the following post which then links to a theological journal for the full essay: http://sbctoday.com/is-the-traditional-statement-semi-pelagian-adam-harwood-ph-d/

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Robert 01-09-2016, 10:31

Rick,
“Now you have made a second false claim, namely, that the assessment cannot clarify between the five (you said four) positions, because many of the categories only give two options.”

Rhutchin ignores the distinctions that are clearly and fairly made in your assessment tool (i.e. according to him it is either Calvinism or Pelagianism: which necessarily makes Traditionalists “Pelagians”). You have tried to nicely correct him and he responds by rejecting your assessment tool continuing to make the false claims about Pelagianism and rationalizing his name calling of Traditionalists.

He has shown no evidence whatsoever of repentance, no apology, no commitment to stopping the name calling, he just keeps doing what he has been doing.

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phillip 01-09-2016, 11:08

Brother Rick,

If SBCT is going to banned “serial offenders”, then SBCT needs to be consistent.

If SBCT allows Robert to dictate who is banned and who isn’t, then only Arminians will be allowed to post at SBCT.

Please consider.

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Rick Patrick 01-09-2016, 20:44

We have not yet banned Rhutchin and Robert was only suggesting, not dictating. We will be consistent about the name calling. If someone wants to call Calvinists “Murderers” because of Calvin’s role in the killing of Servetus, we will warn them not to refer to Calvinists by such a label. If they persist, we might eventually have to ban them, just as we might eventually have to ban Rhutchin if he won’t stop calling us by the names of those heretical positions we disaffirm.

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Andrew Barker 03-09-2016, 09:24

Philip, surely you need to at least take the mote out of your own eye. What is it with you and Arminians? Are you suggesting that SBCT is Arminian in its outlook??

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phillip 03-09-2016, 09:50

Andrew,

It isn’t Arminians, or Arminianism for that matter, but a certain Arminian in particular. If we are going to banned someone for name calling we just need to be consistent. You are a frequent commenter here so you have to know the long history. It might not have been directed towards you, but you have been reading it as well.

And if I am guilty of having a “mote in my own eye” (and almost everyone does), I apologize to you.

We just need to be fair and consistent, brother. That’s all.

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Lydia 03-09-2016, 10:23

Phillip, I am not so sure that sort of consistency is attainable. For example, I don’t think we have enough to go on to call Pelagianism, heresy. I have always had a soft spot for persecuted underdogs by the religious elite of history, anyway. I even feel compassion for Servetus and everyone recorded in my 10 lb tome, Martyrs Mirror.

rhutchin is probably best ignored. He continues to call people heretics even after agreeing there isn’t really much to go on concerning Pelagius’ detailed beliefs except what his violent and powerful “Christian” detractors wrote about him. History can be a terrible teacher of what it is to follow Christ.

So that should tell us all we need to know about rhutchin. He likes to poke. Let’s just be glad we aren’t a church state and he, a magistrate. :o)

rhutchin 01-09-2016, 12:33

Pastor Rick writes:

SEMI: 2A, 3A, 4A
TRAD: 2A, 3A, 4A
ARM: 2A, 3A, 4A

2, 3, 4 are the heart of the Pelagian system because it is here where free will is established. All agree on these points – that is the position I pressed so hard on. Traditionalists do not differ from Pelagians on points 2, 3, and 4 (according to what you provided).

In another comment you write, “God, in His sovereignty, has set up a system whereby the people He has elected to save are those who exercise their free will to repent and believe, an exercise of faith which is possible for every person who hears the gospel. ” This statement is consistent with 2, 3, and 4 and is thoroughly pelagian/semi-pelagian/arminian/traditionalist where all four agree on points 2, 3, and 4 and there is no difference among them.

When I say that you or Robert or whoever is pelagian I am saying that you agree with the Pelagians on points 2, 3, and 4. You agree with the pelagians that:

(1) Christ’s atonement is general;
(2) God’s election is conditional; and
(3) God’s grace is resistible.

These points are crucial to the free will theology of the Pelagians.

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Rick Patrick 01-09-2016, 20:41

Well, we agree with Calvinists on P. Doesn’t make us Calvinists. You cannot just say that because we agree with some points of a system, we can go by the label of that entire system. That just won’t work.

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rhutchin 01-09-2016, 21:48

I put forth the argument. Enough is enough. It doesn’t make us enemies.

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Robert 01-09-2016, 10:58

Rhutchin tries to characterize Traditionalists as Pelagians and writes:

“The Pelagian pastor will say things like; . . . . (2) you must repent and believe or else you cannot be saved;”

Compare with someone who certainly was no “Pelagian Pastor”:

JESUS came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, “the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: REPENT AND BELIEVE in the gospel.” (Mk. 114-15)

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rhutchin 01-09-2016, 12:42

Robert writes, “Compare with someone who certainly was no “Pelagian Pastor”:

JESUS came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, “the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: REPENT AND BELIEVE in the gospel.” (Mk. 114-15)”

Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 tells us, “By this gospel you are saved…For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…”

The issue we face in Mark is whether Christ meant the same thing. When Christ told the people to repent and believe the gospel, was He preparing them to believe after He died and rose again?

Then, there is the issue of how they believe – by faith – and where does faith come from – hearing the gospel.

So, what do you think Christ, who was certainly no Pelagian, meant by what He said?

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Lydia 01-09-2016, 12:49

How do you know what Pelagius said in totality? We mostly know about him from his determinist Greek Pagan Christian detractors. Most of his work was destroyed. They had to or people might start believing they could actually think for themselves. No dissenters allowed, you know, in the realm of authoritarian Christianity.

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rhutchin 01-09-2016, 13:03

That’s why we don’t really talk about Pelagius or what he said but about Pelagian Theology and what it says. Same with Calvin in that we refer to Calvinism but since Calvin wrote so much and so clearly, we can also incorporate the things Calvin actually said in explaining Cavinist Theology.

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Lydia 01-09-2016, 22:31

“That’s why we don’t really talk about Pelagius or what he said but about Pelagian Theology and what it says. ”

Huh? Then why call people, Pelagian?

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rhutchin 03-09-2016, 06:03

Lydia writes, “why call people, Pelagian.”

It is a shorthand term that saves time and writing. A Pelagian espouses a theology opposite to Calviism. The heart of Pelagianism is that:

(1) Christ’s atonement is general;
(2) God’s election is conditional; and
(3) God’s grace is resistible.

The Pelagian gives emphasis to the free will of the person to decide to accept or reject salvation. That decision is necessary to the person’s salvation but not sufficient to produce salvation (God must do certain necessary things also) and a person acts in cooperation with God to be saved. The free will decision is necessary and independent of any irresistible influence from God (some will say that the decision is autonomous).

The Pelagian will describe the person as being sick rather than dead and will often use the illustration of a person needing surgery to save his life – he cooperates with the surgeons by consenting to the surgery and then the surgeons save his life.

So, if a person is labeled a Pelagian, it means all the above (with that even being a quick summary) and it is easier to write, “Pelagian,” as shorthand rather than repeat the entire description.

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Rick Patrick 03-09-2016, 06:44

Strike Three. (Technically, strikes two and three are in reverse order chronologically.) Rhutchin, you have persisted in insulting us by the P word without making any apologies for it. Your definitions are absurd and inaccurate. We will not tolerate being branded with a fifteen hundred year old heresy that does not describe what we believe to begin with. Goodbye.

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Les 03-09-2016, 07:12

Rick,

I do not think Trads are Pelagian or semi-Pelagian. But I have wondered what distinct features of Traditional theology distinguish it from Arminianism. As I understand Arminianism, the basics of it are:
1. Universal Prevenient grace. This grace purportedly restores man’s free will which was impaired by the effects of original sin and enables him to choose or refuse the salvation offered by God in Jesus Christ.
2. Conditional election,
3. Universal atonement. Christ’s death was suffered on behalf of all men and benefits all men alike.
4. Resistible grace
5. Uncertain perseverance
6. Libertarian free will
7. Equal love for all. Arminianism emphasizes God’s equal, impartial, and undifferentiated love for all individuals and denies that God has any sort of electing, particular love that secures one’s redemption from the foundation of the world.
8. Universal call for salvation. Arminians hold that God calls all people to Himself through Christ, whether or not this call is effectual depends upon the individuals libertarian free will.

I know #5 does not define Trads. But where else does Trad theology differ from what is called Arminian theology? Thanks brother.

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Rick Patrick 03-09-2016, 07:45

You are correct that we disagree with Arminians on Perseverance. We also disagree with them on the matter of Total Depravity. Just like the Calvinists, the Arminian understanding of Total Depravity also includes Total Inability, whereas our understanding affirms an alternative view, namely, the Responsibility of Man, not to initiate faith, but to respond freely to the Holy Spirit’s drawing through the gospel. Hence, we disagree with Arminians on both T and P, while we disagree with Calvinists on T, U, L and I. All of our views conform to The Baptist Faith and Message 2000.

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phillip 03-09-2016, 09:02

Les,

I agree with Rick’s comments….

However, I would like to add that Traditionalists also reject prevenient grace since, after all, it is the solution or remedy for total depravity/total inability. The purpose of PG is overcome man’s depravity and restore man to a pre-fall state thus enabling him to respond freely to the gospel.

Just as TULIP reeks of Augustinianism, PG reeks of Catholicism. As article 2 of the Traditional Statement clearly reads…

“We deny that Adam’s sin resulted in the incapacitation of any person’s free will….”

An Arminian, especially a classical Arminian, would never agree with this.

I know there are some contributors here at SBCT that seem to cling to TD/TI, but, by in large, most contributors and commenters reject out right both TD/TI and PG.

Hope this helps.

God bless, brother.

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Lydia 03-09-2016, 09:45

Phillip, Great explanation. Even I can understand it. :o) I have always thought PG was invented to explain the existing TD/TI doctrine because that is simply not tenable in real life.

Andrew Barker 03-09-2016, 09:03

Les, one might be tempted to ask where does your Calvinism differ from hyper Calvinism? Why do you persist in using the term ‘conditional election’? The term election is perfectly adequate. Why use the term libertarian free will? It’s not a biblical phrase as such. Why not just use the biblical word ‘choice’?

This is nothing more or less than you trying to frame the debate in ways in which you want. Why are you bringing Arminianism into the discussion when nobody here actively declares that they are Arminian in their theology? You must have an agenda I guess, but I’m not sure what it is.

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Les 03-09-2016, 09:23

Andrew,

One might be tempted to ask that very thing.Ask away. I asked Rick and he graciously replied with what he sees as the differences. So what?

Others here claiming the name Trad have used the term conditional election and LFW. Talk to them if you have an issue with the terms being used. Um, trinitarian is not a biblical word either. So what?

As to my motives, guessing at others’ motives is not a good endeavor.

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Andrew Barker 03-09-2016, 09:31

Well guessing at your motives is one thing (I think we’re allowed to do that in private) stating what others are thinking or trying to say is quite another. So why bring up Arminianism then Les?

Les 03-09-2016, 09:35

Yep, guessing is certainly permitted. Not helpful at all and really a waste of time, but guess on. Why bring it up? Just wanted to get Rick’s thoughts. If you know your theological history, it’s not really a big mystery.

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Lydia 03-09-2016, 09:51

“If you know your theological history, it’s not really a big mystery.”

Theological history as truth? The rotten fruit of such still stinks. Base truth on Jesus Christ not theological history. After years of watching these discussions I came to believe that Arminianism is always trotted out as the default in order to frame the debate as being between Arminianism and Calvinism as the only two systemic choices of belief. That is a good position for Calvinists because they are kissing cousins.

phillip 03-09-2016, 10:19

Lydia,

Arminians are just the offspring of Calvinists. If it wasn’t for Calvinism, Arminianism wouldn’t exist. That’s why I have always considered Arminians to be nothing less than a 1 point, or even 2 point, Calvinist. Both hold (in some concept) to TD/TI and both hold to some form of PG. Now my Arminian brothers might not appreciate the correlation, but, if the shoe fits…..

God bless, sister.

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Andrew Barker 03-09-2016, 10:38

Philip I think you’re historically inaccurate in your assumptions and you are also wrong in your stance on your ‘Arminian’ brothers.

Historically the five points of Calvinism were created in response to the teaching of Arminius so you could argue that we have Calvinism in its five point form as a result of Arminianism.

No self respecting Arminian would have the slightest problem with being identified as such, but what does irk is if somebody constantly tries to identify another person with a belief when they don’t actually hold to it or indeed simply doesn’t wish to be identified as an Arminian. If the shoe fits …… well that’s fine. But if you were Prince Charming you wouldn’t be trying to fit a size 5 on someone with size 10 feet!

phillip 03-09-2016, 11:08

Andrew,

I was just thinking that Calvin was born long before Arminius and/or that Calvin’s writings came before Arminius’ writings.

Grace to you, brother.

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Les 03-09-2016, 12:33

“Base truth on Jesus Christ not theological history.” Exactly. That is what theologians throughout ‘history’ have done. Or attempted to do. And not the Traditional statement joins that long line of historical theology as part of it, per the authors and adherents, based on the truth of Jesus Christ. Good call Lydia.

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Lydia 03-09-2016, 14:47

“Exactly. That is what theologians throughout ‘history’ have done. Or attempted to do.”

By power, corruption, war, banishing, torture, burnings, state church, etc, etc. I guess in your world that is seeking Jesus Christ and His truth. Just men of their time, of course.

Les 03-09-2016, 15:41

I didn’t realize that John Knox, John Hooker, John Milton, Richard Baxter, Jonathan Edwards, Gordon Clark, BB Warfield, Charles Hodge, AA Hodge, Van Til, Geerhardus Vos, John Murray, Abraham Kuyper, Herman Bacinck, Louis Berkhof did those things. You have evidence that any of these Reformed theologians in history did these things? What else you got?

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Lydia 03-09-2016, 18:12

Well, John Knox plotted murder and also married a 15 year old in his 50’s. The last even bothering his supporters. He is one of Doug Wilsons favorite rogue preachers. :o) The others I have not read up on. So why are you ignoring Calvin and his contemporaries? Some of the others might not have had his power. (Wink)

Les 03-09-2016, 19:37

Knox plotted the murder, huh? I’m sure that nugget is in those “I read ‘around history’ books. His 2nd wife’s marriage is variously given at 17-19. Not really scandalous. Certainly not sinful.

I don’t run and hide from Calvin. But your attempt to often make Reformed theology the theology or murders, well it fails. If it was such, murderers would have been shown among the men I listed. But they are quite obviously not murderers. Your point fails. Again. And that you are unfamiliar with them demonstrates your utter lack of knowledge of historical theology.

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Lydia 04-09-2016, 15:10

Les, I highly recommend reading outside the approved Reformed history.

Les 04-09-2016, 15:14

There is no such thing as approved Reformed history. Why do you keep stubbing your literary toe?

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Lydia 04-09-2016, 15:53

Ok. “White washed” Reformation history. :o) the victors always write the official history. That is why there are giant statutes of Calvin in Geneva and a tiny plaque about Servetus hidden by shrubbery. The real history is very embarrassing.

Les 04-09-2016, 16:00

“White washed” Reformation history. :o) the victors always write the official history”

1. You presume to know from YOUR reading the unvarnished history. Who died and left you in charge of making that determination?
2. I think you have it backwards about who the victors were.
3. But keep trying, which I have no doubt you will. Nothing like a deep hatred and a bus load of bitterness to keep one moving on their smear campaign.

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Robert 31-08-2016, 15:57

Rick,

“Well, Robert, Rhutchin is simply wrong. Traditionalism is not guilty of Pelagianism or even Semipelagianism.”

We agree, that is not what concerns me here however.

“However, Calvinists sometimes falsely claim that we are.”

If a single Calvinist did it one time, I could ignore that, overlook that, just move on.

“It is pejorative and rude and inaccurate, but I am not sure that we should ask our new moderator, on his first day on the job, to address the posts of the past.”

My problem with RHUTCHIN is not a single claim that we are Pelagians or hold to Pelagian theology. Again, if it were a single comment then you just let it go. But with rhutchin he has made this claim repeatedly over years time. THAT needs to stop. If a person does it once, we can let it go. But when it happens over and over and over again. THAT needs to be addressed. A person who engages in this false and slanderous charge repeatedly needs to be removed.

“If the job of the moderator is to remove all theological error from every single commenter, I don’t think anyone on earth would ever take the job!”

Again, my concern is not a single trespass, but a series of them over years time.

I do not expect the new moderator to ban people every time they make a mistake or utter something not true.

I do however expect a moderator to do something about a SERIAL OFFENDER, someone who makes these false charges repeatedly.

I used to work with Walter Martin in counter cult ministry, if Walt were running this blog I am sure he would be gracious and forgiving with those who make single errors: he would also ban those who do so in a serial manner.

Analogy – in the church we would not go through formal church discipline for simple and singular errors and misjudgments, however if the same individual engaged in serious sin REPEATEDLY, then formal church discipline would be in play. If that is true in a local church setting where we discipline SERIAL OFFENDERS, why not in the context of a Christian blog as well?

If someone says another person is a heretic one time, or charges them with heresy such as Pelagianism one time, sure we forgive and forget and move on. But not if this occurs repeatedly, in a serial manner.

“Should we ban for Calvinists for calling us heretics? Should we ban Traditionalists for calling Calvinists heretics?”

No, I just addressed this point in my previous comment.

“Let’s just pray for Kyle as he takes the helm and makes these kinds of decisions.”
Is that what you say to a local church pastor who begins serving a new congregation when someone in that setting engages in serious sin in a serial manner: just pray for the leaders? Or do we expect our church leaders to deal with serial sin in an appropriate manner?

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Rick Patrick 01-09-2016, 06:53

Let’s give it a little more time and see if Rhutchin might come around. We have both categorically denied that we are either Pelagians or Semipelagians. Perhaps he will listen and begin to accept our clearly stated position. If not, in time, we will address it. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

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JIm Poulos 01-09-2016, 07:50

“Serial sin.” Discussing theology on an open forum is a ‘serial sin’?

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Rick Patrick 01-09-2016, 08:58

Jim,
I don’t think Robert is saying that Rhutchin’s discussion of theology was a serial sin. I think he is saying that Rhutchin’s disrespectful name calling, which falsely identifies our theological position with a separate heretical view, and his doing so in a continual manner, is serial sin.

I am trying to correct Rhutchin the way anyone might correct a person who unknowingly uses disrespectful terms for someone else. However, if someone persists in a false accusation over time, there comes a point when it is just so offensive that the offended party leaves the room or asks the offender to leave the room.

It is just plain wrong and rude to call a Traditionalist by the “P” word or the “S” word. It is impolite and will not be tolerated forever.

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Robert 01-09-2016, 10:17

Rick,

I appreciate your post as you clarify my perspective well.

“I don’t think Robert is saying that Rhutchin’s discussion of theology was a serial sin.”

Correct, it is not the mere discussion of theology or even disagreements about theology that is “serial sin”.

“I think he is saying that Rhutchin’s disrespectful name calling, which falsely identifies our theological position with a separate heretical view, and his doing so in a continual manner, is serial sin.”

Exactly.

It is Rhutchin repeatedly accusing Traditionalists of being “universalists” (false, we believe Jesus died for the whole world, but this is not UNIVERSALISM which maintains that all will eventually be saved) and Pelagians (false, we are not Pelagians, Pelagianism is a longstanding heresy rejected by Orthodox Christians [including by Traditionalists] for centuries).

These are pejorative names/theological categories being attributed to Traditionalists by Rhutchin and it is unfair, inaccurate, wrong, and being done intentionally (as he has done it for years even after being corrected on it by many of us here numerous times).

“I am trying to correct Rhutchin the way anyone might correct a person who unknowingly uses disrespectful terms for someone else.”

And it should be noted that even with your correction: rhutchin has **continued** to make the false charges and tried to rationalize his use of Pelagian for Traditionalist theology, given no hint or evidence or repentance or apology for his slanderous charges.

“However, if someone persists in a false accusation over time, there comes a point when it is just so offensive that the offended party leaves the room or asks the offender to leave the room.”

And Rick this is just it, he has persisted in these false accusations and inappropriate name calling, over and over again. That is why I am suggesting that he be removed from posting here.

“It is just plain wrong and rude to call a Traditionalist by the “P” word or the “S” word. It is impolite and will not be tolerated forever.”

And I am suggesting that it be no longer tolerated starting now, starting with a new moderator, why not eliminate this person who keeps calling us Pelagians and Universalists and has been doing so **for years**???

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Jim Poulos 03-09-2016, 08:44

Dr. Patrick,

Your in a rock an a hard place. There is disrespectful naming calling on your side of the line without the equal consequences that you’re meeting out to those on the other side.

Using “C” word, “Cult” and such is not on the same level as the “P” or the “S” word? That’s goes beyond impolite.

In the end Dr. Patrick, you’re the one that’s defining what impolite is going to mean.

I feel if you don’t wrestle with this honestly this site will end up with only three people simply talking to each other with how much they resent the other side.

I will always view Baptists in a much broader context than any one person or group of person choses to limit it to.
It as much or more to do with practice as to do with theology.

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Rick Patrick 04-09-2016, 16:22

People are free to compare and contrast, to express agreement and disagreement, and so on. For example, in a well known post some time back, one writer compared the Calvinistic view of a “before the foundation of the world” determination of a person’s soul as either ELECT or REPROBATE with the caste system of Hinduism. Comparison of views? Fine. Likening of perspectives? Okay.

What they did *not* say is, “Calvinists believe in Hinduism” or “Calvinists are nothing other than Eastern Mystics.” I realize that may be a subtle distinction, but if someone were to say, “Traditionalism has a few things in common with Arminianism and Semipelagianism (or Calvinism, for that matter)” then I can live with that. But they cannot call a Traditionalist a Calvinist, Arminian, Semipelagian or Pelagian.

There is a line that must not be crossed. Rhutchin crossed it…after being clearly warned. There are other websites for insulting Traditionalists. We are under no obligation to permit it here.

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Les 03-09-2016, 09:27

Can we also mention Calvinism being likened to the false religion of Islam and that we Calvinists worship a god like Allah? Maybe those kinds of remarks are over the line as well. And actually I’m surprised Andrew and Lydia, who have said that I sort of “run to the principal” complaining about comments, haven’t chimed in to urge Robert to quit “running to the principle.”

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Andrew Barker 03-09-2016, 13:21

Les, we’ll leave the whinging to you … you’re so much better practised at it.

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Les 03-09-2016, 13:35

I know Andrew. That’s all I do all the time.

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Lydia 04-09-2016, 10:34

Les, Foundationally, Calvinism and Islam are based on determinist Gods. It’s a fact. How they practice such is different.

Incidentally, I have recommended ignoring r hutchin. If you are looking for “fair”, stop with the Calvinism. It is inherently unjust. :o)

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Jon 05-09-2016, 01:41

“Calvinism. It is inherently unjust. :o)”

Can you share a little more contextually what you mean by unjust?

Thanks.

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Andrew Barker 05-09-2016, 04:29

Jon: This is somewhat anecdotal but try being left on the subs bench for the whole of the match and then being blamed because the team captain had failed to score!

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Les 04-09-2016, 14:30

Oops Lydia. From a Muslim site: “Muslims believe in Al-Qadar, which is Divine Predestination, but this belief in Divine Predestination does not mean that human beings do not have freewill. Rather, Muslims believe that God has given human beings freewill. This means that they can choose right or wrong and that they are responsible for their choices.”

Looks like your “free will” is a staple of Islam. You keep failing to make your connection Lydia. I would say you’re slipping, but it’s not really your fault. The connection doesn’t exist. It’s just foolish that you keep trying.
And your statement about Calvinism being based on a determinist God is not true, as you define determinism. You know…Lydia’s maxim–definitions. If we are looking for “fair” stop with the non Calvinism. It’s inherently man centered. It’s not fair to the glory of God.

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Rick Patrick 04-09-2016, 16:34

I don’t really think you want to defend Calvinism by appealing to some sort of Islamic compatibilism. Muslim theology is not going to win you many debating points around here.

The one advantage to your observation, as I see it, is that since Muslims must come to terms with the same tensions in their theological system, perhaps we are right to view the issue as more of an underlying philosophical one, a claim many have made.

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Les 04-09-2016, 18:32

Rick, not defending Calvinism by appealing to Islam. Simply pointing out the commonality Islam has with Traditionalism to Lydia–libertarian free will. By doing so, proving false her incessant intimation that Islam and Calvinism are so much alike. And that our ‘god’ is like theirs.

That said, one thing is for sure. We of the Reformed faith have holy scriptures for our position that God’s decree is compatible with man’s choices. Islam has no such basis and Traditionalism, in common with islam, has no basis for LFW. LFW is the philosophical position.

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Andrew Barker 05-09-2016, 01:57

LFW is ‘the’ philosophical position ….. and compatibilism isn’t???? lol

BTW Les, your springing to the ‘defence’ of Calvinism serves to highlight the paucity of one of your hero’s quotes. He is quoted as saying on the one hand “Calvinism is the gospel” but also …”Well, I should suggest to them, if they would not object, and feel that it was humbling to them, that they should kindly stand back, and open the door, and let the lion out! I believe that would be the best way of defending him, for he would take care of himself; and the best “apology” for the gospel is to let the gospel out.”

So which is it Les? Either the Gospel isn’t Calvinism and needs defence or it is and you’re wasting your (and everyone else’s) time.

For those who hold Edwards in such high regard just remember that in his most ‘infamous’ sermon “In the hands of ….” he misquotes or should I say misinterprets the Deuteronomy passage which is the foundation of his message.

So Les there you have it. Social grooming from John Knox, misquotes from Edwards and contradictions from Spurgeon. Your compatibilistic Reformed heros! What a way to start the week!!

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Les 05-09-2016, 07:08

Andrew, you would do well and save yourself some embarrassment if you would not presume to know things you cannot possible know. Namely, who my heros are, if indeed I have any.

As to wasting my and others’ time, may I suggest that I shall be the judge of the best use of my time and, please be invited to not read any of my comments and certainly waste none of your time commenting on them. I do not want to be responsible for you wasting your valuable time. i.e.feel free to become invisible relative to my comments. :)

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Lydia 06-09-2016, 17:23

Les, you seem to have bought into the political and popular view on Islam. It is determinism.

I highly recommend Jay Smith a “Christian” Islamic scholar. I was in an Islamic study group back in 2002. Not long after when I studied Calvinism, I was astonished at the similarities. Especially the caste.

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Lydia 06-09-2016, 17:28

“We of the Reformed faith have holy scriptures for our position that God’s decree is compatible with man’s choices.”

That’s a good one. Sounds very high minded until one analyzes it. Sort of like Piper quotes. :<)

God decreed your comment, then?

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Andrew Barker 07-09-2016, 04:29

Lydia: Perhaps we could ask Kyle and Rick for an alert button to highlight when Les is speaking ex cathedra!

Mr Torchy 04-09-2016, 09:05

Exactly what does “will not be tolerated forever” mean?

Is God really that concerned with the school-boy theological labels you guys assign one another? Seems kind of childish IMO

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Rick Patrick 04-09-2016, 16:27

And because we permit negative opinions to be expressed on this site, your comment will stand, though I disagree. All it meant was that Rhutchin was on thin ice and about to be banned again. He was warned three times.

I don’t know if God is concerned with the labels, but social norms and conventions do not permit people, in polite company, using racial slurs or theological ones. We made it very clear to Rhutchin that he was offending us with his name calling. He persisted. We stopped the cyberbullying. We can go on now and talk about other things without worrying about Rhutchin calling us by the name of a fifteen hundred year old heresy.

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Ronnie W Rogers 01-09-2016, 08:34

Hello Doug
Good word, and I appreciate you highlighting this issue.
Ronnie

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Robert 02-09-2016, 11:51

Rhutchin continues to present his false charge that Traditionalists (and all other non-Calvinists) are Pelagians and hold to Pelagian theology (even after Rick Patrick told him to stop doing so).

One paragraph in one of his posts from **just yesterday** (rhutchin 01-09-2016, 08:11)
makes this extremely clear:

“The Pelagian pastor will say things like; (1) you choose God and God chooses you (on election); (2) you must repent and believe or else you cannot be saved; (3) Christ died on the cross to provide lost people the opportunity/possibility to be saved; (4) God came up with the “plan” of salvation allowing people to be saved; (5) God’s Holy Spirit took the initiative to draw us to Him through the gospel (as you wrote above where “took the initiative” offers the Pelagian slant together even with your later “on his own” clarification). If a pastor says that a person can resist God’s grace, reject God’s gift of faith or salvation, or must makes a decision to receive Christ, that pastor is taking his cues from Pelagian theology.”

I submit that virtually every non-Calvinist who posts here and engages in evangelism, does say these very things (I can even quote folks on this blog making such statements). Things such as “you must repent and believe or else you cannot be saved”, etc. so ACCORDING TO RHUTHCIN we are all “Pelagian pastors” taking our “cues from Pelagian theology.”

Rhutchin’s error and the basis of his false and slanderous charge that all non-Calvinists are really Pelagians holding to Pelagian theology is his false claim that:

rhutchin 01-09-2016, 12:54
“Actually, all theology can be reduced to Calvinism and Pelagianism”

Well as long as everything can only be either Calvinism or Pelagianism (according to rhutchin) then Traditionalists are Pelagians who hold to Pelagian theology which is why rhutchin also calls us “Pelagian Pastors” who say things like “you must repent and believe or else you cannot be saved.”

Again I **suggest** (but do not “dictate” as I have no such authority and am not the moderator), that rhutchin be permanently banned from posting here at SBC today.

It is fine and even to be expected for people to disagree regarding theology (people can be both Traditionalists and Calvinists, be Bible believing folks, do great things for the Kingdom of God, while also being mistaken in certain areas of their theology) and my understanding is that they are free to discuss theology here as long as they abide by the rules of the blog and do so in an appropriate manner. As the old saying goes “we can agree to disagree agreeably”.

But if a person views **all** Traditionalists as **Pelagians holding to Pelagian theology** and does not repent of this false and slanderous charge, this is something more than just a mere disagreement, this is unacceptable and needs to be dealt with and eliminated.

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Rick Patrick 02-09-2016, 14:16

Rhutchin,
Let’s just consider everything up to this point as “Strike One,” shall we? If you would not refer to an African American using the racially insensitive slur that begins with “N,” then please refrain from referring to self-described Traditionalists by the moniker Pelagian or Semipelagian, the “P” word and the “S” word. We disaffirm their ideas and their label. We are offended when you lump us together with positions that do not accurately describe our own.

Our position is (a) easily distinguished from these other heretical views, and (b) clearly resides within the boundaries of The Baptist Faith and Message, with many Signers of the Traditional Statement actually serving on the BFM2K Committee itself. We are good Southern Baptists and not heretics. Now stop this nonsense right now or you will be banned.

Technically, I suppose you have one more chance to insult and malign us for free, the upcoming “Strike Two.” I hope you will not test us any further on this matter. If you do, we will not warn you about Strike Three. We will just ban you. No more ugly names or accusations of heresy.

Have a great Labor Day weekend…from all of your non-heretic Trad friends.

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phillip 02-09-2016, 15:20

Rick,

Thanks for providing the assessment (link) above. It clearly shows the distinctions between Calvinists, Arminians, and Traditionalists.

While there might be some over-lapping between the groups, the distinctions are quite obvious.

Traditionalists are not Calvinists; nor are we Arminians.

God bless, brother.

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rhutchin 03-09-2016, 06:29

Pastor Rick writes, “Technically, I suppose you have one more chance to insult and malign us for free, the upcoming “Strike Two.”

Let me take advantage of the freedom which you have accorded me. As you seem to agree that Trads, Arminians, semi-P’s all agree on 2A, 3A, and 4A of your assessment, and 2A, 3A, and 4A describe the heart of Pelagianism, I don’t think I have maligned you very much and to call such an insult suggests that there is more to this than you want to tell. To be called a Pelagian is no different than to call someone a Calvinist – it merely tells us the brand of theology to which they subscribe – and there are only two basic theologies out there as we know since people have argued those two basic theologies since Augustine and Pelagius. That you make a distinction on the front end (original sin) and the back end (preservation/perseverance) is minor because Pelagianism is not well-defined in these areas (and they are not the center of attention in the arguments) – those who are basically Pelagian (agreeing on 2A, 3A, and 4A) are all over the place on these.

I think you, for personal reasons, don’t like to be called a Pelagian (reasons that escape me) but have a hard road to distance yourself from Pelagianism as your assessment shows and the article by Harwood that you also cited. I am not a Calvinist but have basically come to the same conclusions as the Calvinists and people use the term, Calvinist, as a slight (on this board) but that’s life. So, Strike Two. Again, this does not make us enemies.

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Rick Patrick 03-09-2016, 06:40

Strike Two for doubling down on your rude and inaccurate name calling. Next time, you will be banned.

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Mr Torch 04-09-2016, 09:10

“Banned”….oh the horror :)

Akin to losing the coupon for a free Icee.

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Jim Poulos 04-09-2016, 15:33

Very sensitive to other’s misfortunes.

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phillip 02-09-2016, 17:26

Robert writes…

“Again I **suggest** that rhutchin be PERMANENTLY banned from posting here at SBC today.”

This coming from a person who was banned, temporarily, from SBCT for the month of February 2015 for interacting with other brothers and sisters in Christ in an unloving, un-brotherly way.

And, yet, since his reinstatement, Robert has repeatedly used the words…

“child”, “childish”, “stupid”, “dumb”, “juvenile”, “dense” and “troll”

And while Robert told Rick he would take his comments to heart, never once did Robert offer an apology to those he offended and never showed any signs of remorse.

Both sad and hypocritical.

If all it takes is one person to file a complaint, then I ***suggest*** Robert be permanently banned from SBCT.

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Andrew Barker 03-09-2016, 10:19

Lydia: ….. “I came to believe that Arminianism is always trotted out as the default in order to frame the debate as being between Arminianism and Calvinism as the only two systemic choices of belief. That is a good position for Calvinists because they are kissing cousins.”

‘Ain’t that just the case. You’ve nailed it sister! This is Les at his best (or worst depending on your point of view). Since you American’s are now getting to grips with soccer I can use the analogy of playing the ball not the man. It’s too easy to set Arminianism against Calvinism as if they are the only two ‘games’ in town. It’s really no better than dear rhutchin’s efforts. Perhaps when folks really start looking at ‘history’ and seeing that Arminius considered himself thoroughly Reformed in his theology, they might just stop trotting out this waffle about the two systems. Kissing cousins! Very apt! :-)

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Lydia 04-09-2016, 10:42

Andrew, My Brit friends insist it is the real football. :o)

Rhutchins strategy is to throw out all the other possibilities as agreed upon heresy. It’s not a new one I just think he is behind the times or did not get the unity memo. It is a “social gospel” now as they rebrand from the Neo Cal resurgence that has been one disastrous scandal after another. Not good for business.

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Paul N 05-09-2016, 13:22

Great read!

Doug, I appreciate how you write. The simplicity with which you expose Calvinism and it’s obvious shortcomings, thank you.

These few lines resonate with me.

“They will be punished forever for unbelief that they could not prevent. Since they were not elect they could not have avoided committing the sins that would damn them. They were refused the grace that would enable contrite faith in the Truth and the practical sanctification that comes with it. They would be born into this world with no option other than doing that which infuriates God, and this, with no hope of a remedy. It’s like punishing a rock for being hard or shooting a short guy for failing to be tall.”

Exactly! How can it be just to punish someone for doing what they were hard wired to do? That is not punishing that is being a bully. It is doing something unjust, simply because you can. And to suggest that our loving Savior is doing it for His glory, is downright sickening.

And then up you get the talk “we all deserve death”. Well, that just rolls off the tongue of the lucky elect doesn’t it. Of course, they are not the ones who have to worry about facing what they too deserve.

Again, well said and thanks!

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Dennis Lee Dabney 05-09-2016, 16:28

God did not create Adam as his “kind” has “made” pre-programmed, inanimate objects, for human usage, consumption, and for those “things” deemed “worthy” collectibles, while discarding all other items after useless and undesirable.

Preach!

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Dennis Lee Dabney 05-09-2016, 16:31

Correction:

“while discarding all other items afterward as useless and undesirable”.

Preach!

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Dennis Lee Dabney 05-09-2016, 17:03

Determinism falls apart whenever one makes a Truth claim. Robots aren’t participating in our discussions and debates here or abroad. Even though many of our comments are predictable one way or another, Truth Claims are made nevertheles on our behalf.

All contributors can choose to comment or not to comment.

So-called Determinism is undermined every time those created in the image of God, after His likeness, (act or not act), set forth what he or she believes as Truth even if it is Error.

We shall be judged for every idle word. Again, judgment is based on the responsibility of man to the spoken word of God not predetermined judgment before violations are committed.

The entire argument falls apart well before we even get around to the doctrine of eschatology.

Preach!

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Robert 06-09-2016, 09:47

Rick Patrick wrote earlier in this thread:

“Well, we agree with Calvinists on P. Doesn’t make us Calvinists. You cannot just say that because we agree with some points of a system, we can go by the label of that entire system. That just won’t work.”

Rick is absolutely correct about this.

Just because a Traditionalist holds to eternal security (Baptists hold to the doctrine that the genuine believer will never be lost or “lose their salvation”), holding to “P” does not make the Traditionalist a Calvinist.

Likewise, if an Arminian holds to “T”, holding that one point in common with a Calvinist does not make an Arminian a Calvinist (note = regarding “P” while many A’s deny eternal security, some do hold to eternal security, especially those who are Baptists, so it is incorrect to say that all A’s deny eternal security).

And yet Phillip wrote to Lydia:

“That’s why I have always considered Arminians to be nothing less than a 1 point, or even 2 point, Calvinist.”

By Parity of reasoning if it is wrong to call a Traditionalist a Calvinist or “1 point Calvinist” for holding to “P”: then it is ***just as wrong*** to call an Arminian a Calvinist or “1 point Calvinist” for holding to “T”.

I have corrected Phillip on this before (even when he used to post as “wingedfooted1” and yet he continues to make this false claim). It is both unfair and inaccurate. It also means that the terms “Traditionalist”, “Arminian” and “Calvinist” are meaningless terms if a Traditionalist or Arminian can be considered to be a “1 point Calvinist”. No, Traditionalists are not any form of Calvinist and neither are Arminians any form of Calvinist.

The only proper context where it makes sense to speak of “4 point” or “5 point” Calvinists is when distinguishing between the “five point Calvinist” who affirms all five points of TULIP and the “four point Calvinist” who does not hold to limited atonement but holds to unlimited atonement (e.g. Calvinists such as Bruce Ware).

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Robert 06-09-2016, 10:17

Andrew,

You were correct when you wrote:

“Philip I think you’re historically inaccurate in your assumptions and you are also wrong in your stance on your ‘Arminian’ brothers.
Historically the five points of Calvinism were created in response to the teaching of Arminius so you could argue that we have Calvinism in its five point form as a result of Arminianism.”

Phillip tries to claim that A’s are just a version or form of Calvinist (hence he calls them incorrectly “1 point Calvinist” or “2 point Calvinist”). No one familiar with Arminian theology and Calvinist theology considers Arminian theology to be a form of Calvinism. Phillip also claims that the A’s are the offspring of Calvinism. As you point out, the acronym TULIP resulted from Calvinists REACTING to Arminian theology (so the Arminian theology was present first, THEN the Calvinists responded with TULIP at the council of Dordt).

I would also remind people if you look at individual beliefs held by A’s including unlimited atonement (that Jesus died for the whole world not just the elect), conditional election (the denial of unconditional election and the affirmation that faith is the condition of election, whether Corporate or individual), and the denial of irresistible grace (the belief that God gives grace and it can be and is resisted) [which incidentally are also beliefs of Traditionalists] were present in the early centuries of church history BEFORE Calvinist beliefs were originated by Augustine in the fourth century (i.e. so-called “Arminian beliefs on “ULI” of TULIP existed before Calvinism existed in church history).

If these “Arminian beliefs” preceded Calvinism in time, then how could they be the offspring of Calvinism?? It is true there was a more concerted response to Calvinistic beliefs during the Reformation era, but these “Arminian’ and also Traditionalist beliefs existed prior to Calvinism.
I have suggested to Phillip in the past that he needs to study church history some more so that he will stop making his mistaken claims about Arminians and Arminian theology.

I have also reminded people that there is a lot of overlap between the beliefs of Traditionalists and Arminians, much more than with Calvinism.

Since many Arminians do affirm eternal security (e.g. Phillip likes to say that I am Arminian, and I am Baptist so I hold to eternal security), the real difference between A’s and Traditionalists is on the doctrine of “total inability” (many A’s affirm total inability while Traditionalists do not, but some considered to be A’s such as myself hold to depravity but deny total inability).

I believe the nonbeliever is perfectly able to respond to the gospel: what he does need however is the preconversion work of the Spirit in his/her life (i.e. a work which includes convicting people of sin, revealing Jesus to them, showing them Jesus is the way of salvation, the only way of salvation, illuminating scripture to them and giving them understanding of spiritual things, etc.). Apart from this work of the Spirit in leading a person to Christ they cannot become believers but this is not the same as “total inability”.

I would also refer to this preconversion work of the Spirit as “prevenient grace” (i.e. it is undeserved and unmerited so it is grace, it comes before conversion hence the term “prevenient”, it can be and sometimes is resisted). However as we can all attest nonbelievers we know that have heard gospel presentations, have had Jesus revealed to them, they know what they must to do be saved and yet they continue to refuse to bow to Jesus and make Him Lord of their life, they still want to “run the show”, so they know things, but they reject God and His salvation and they do so freely so they are responsible for this unbelief).

If someone asks me if I believe in “prevenient grace” I will ask them how they define this grace? If it refers to the work of the Spirit which is grace and does occur before a person’s conversion, then I will say Yes I believe in PG. Incidentally different Arminians have different conceptions of PG, including my view that it is speaking of the preconversion work of the Spirit. Phillip sometimes tries to present PG as if all A’s believe the same thing, but this is false. Other Arminians also hold my view but not everyone believes the same thing about PG.

So again Andrew your statement ““Philip I think you’re historically inaccurate in your assumptions and you are also wrong in your stance on your ‘Arminian’ brothers” is true.

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