Does Every Life Matter?

December 29, 2015

Leighton Flowers | Professor of Theology
Dallas, TX

**This article was previously posted by Leighton Flowers on his website www.soteriology101.com and is used by permission.

Leighton is: teaching pastor in his local church, an adjunct Professor of Theology, and the Youth Evangelism Director for Texas Baptists.

Learn more about Leighton, HERE.
Follow @soteriology101 on Twitter HERE.
Follow him on Facebook HERE

Do you believe every single person is created in the image of God?

Do you believe every single person’s life is valuable and worthy of being protected in the womb from the time they are conceived?

Why do you believe this?

If indeed God has created two classes of people, some for salvation and the rest for reprobation, then how can you consistently affirm the two statements above?

John Calvin taught:

By predestination we mean the eternal decree of God, by which he determined with himself whatever he wished to happen with regard to every man. All are not created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation; and, accordingly, as each has been created for one or other of those ends, we say that he has been predestined to life or death. – John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, iii, xxi, sec. 5, 1030–1031.

If you agree with John Calvin then how can you consistently argue that every life matters equally? How can you denounce the views of an abortionist for not equally valuing all human life while promoting a doctrine that teaches God does not equally value all human life?

As we have noted many times before, not every Calvinist goes so far as to deny God’s genuine love and desire for every person to be saved. Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the Prince of Baptist Preachers, certainly leaned toward Calvinistic soteriology but still argued:

You must, most of you, be acquainted with the general method in which our older Calvinistic friends deal with this text (1 Tim. 2:4). “All men,” say they, —”that is, some men”: as if the Holy Ghost could not have said “some men” if he had meant some men. “All men,” say they; “that is, some of all sorts of men”: as if the Lord could not have said “all sorts of men” if he had meant that. The Holy Ghost by the apostle has written “all men,” and unquestionably he means all men. I know how to get rid of the force of the “alls” according to that critical method which some time ago was very current, but I do not see how it can be applied here with due regard to truth…

My love of consistency with my own doctrinal views is not great enough to allow me knowingly to alter a single text of Scripture. I have great respect for orthodoxy, but my reverence for inspiration is far greater. I would sooner a hundred times over appear to be inconsistent with myself than be inconsistent with the word of God. I never thought it to be any very great crime to seem to be inconsistent with myself, for who am I that I should everlastingly be consistent?

But I do think it a great crime to be so inconsistent with the word of God that I should want to lop away a bough or even a twig from so much as a single tree of the forest of Scripture. God forbid that I should cut or shape, even in the least degree, any divine expression. – Charles Spurgeon “Salvation By Knowing the Truth” (emphasis added)

Spurgeon seems to recognize the inconsistency of the Calvinistic system and the clear teaching of scripture with regard to God’s genuine love and desire for every person. He was willing to live within that apparent contradiction and maintain the clear biblical teaching of God’s universal love for all people. Unfortunately, fewer and fewer Calvinistic Baptists seem willing to live with that inconsistency and have instead adopted a woefully unbiblical dogma which fundamentally undercuts the value of human life.

By arguing that God only loves or values “all kinds of people,” the high Calvinist undermines the value of the Imago Dei (Image of God) inherently created within every person.* If God is able and willing to love some and reject others before their birth, then on what moral ground can we stand against the abortionist who is virtually doing the exact same thing?

One may argue, “But He is God and we are not, who are you to compare his choices with mans?  Just because God decided to reject many before they were even born does not mean an abortionist should do so.”  But does not Christ clearly call us to be like God in regard to how we treat others?

Consider this warning from a more moderate Calvinistic pastor, John MacArthur:

Scripture clearly says that God is love. “The Lord is good to all, and His mercies are over all His works” (Ps. 145:9). Christ even commands us to love our enemies, and the reason He gives is this: “In order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matt. 5:45). The clear implication is that in some sense God loves His enemies. He loves both “the evil and the good,” both “the righteous and the unrighteous” in precisely the same sense we are commanded to love our enemies.

In fact, the second greatest commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mk. 12:31; cf. Lev. 19:18), is a commandment for us to love everyone. We can be certain the scope of this commandment is universal, because Luke 10 records that a lawyer, “wishing to justify himself … said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’” (Lk. 10:29)—and Jesus answered with the Parable of the Good Samaritan. The point? Even Samaritans, a semi-pagan race who had utterly corrupted Jewish worship and whom the Jews generally detested as enemies of God, were neighbors whom they were commanded to love. In other words, the command to love one’s “neighbor” applies to everyone. This love commanded here is clearly a universal, indiscriminate love.

Consider this: Jesus perfectly fulfilled the law in every respect (Matt. 5:17–18), including this command for universal love. His love for others was surely as far-reaching as His own application of the commandment in Luke 10. Therefore, we can be certain that He loved everyone. He must have loved everyone in order to fulfill the Law. After all, the apostle Paul wrote, “The whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Gal. 5:14). He reiterates this theme in Romans 13:8: “He who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.” Therefore, Jesus must have loved His “neighbor.” And since He Himself defined “neighbor” in universal terms, we know that His love while on earth was universal.

Do we imagine that Jesus as perfect man loves those whom Jesus as God does not love? Would God command us to love in a way that He does not? Would God demand that our love be more far-reaching than His own? And did Christ, having loved all humanity during His earthly sojourn, then revert after His ascension to pure hatred for the non-elect? Such would be unthinkable; “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever” (Heb 13:8) (John MacArthur, The God Who Loves, 102-03).

I beg my Calvinistic brethren to tread carefully as the appeal of logical consistency within your system’s framework forever compels you to move away from the clear biblical teaching of God’s love. Please, do not sacrifice the foundational teachings which give weight to the value of human life in order to appease the need you have for logical consistency within a man-made systematic.

If you must be a Calvinist, for the sake of biblical truth, please be an inconsistent one!

 

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Rick Patrick

I attended a training conference last year and befriended the person seated next to me, a Calvinist. We ate dinner one night, and were very cordial, despite his annoying preference for the Philadelphia Eagles. There was plenty of friendly Cal-Trad banter during the course of the week. But one statement he made just stopped me in my tracks. I had never heard a Christian say it before. I was discussing this very issue of God’s love when he turned to me with a very serious face and soberly replied, “God does not love everybody.”

That pretty much ended the conversation for me. I simply had no category for discussing a God who was stingy and selective with His love. At that moment, my new friend’s concept of God seemed as foreign to me as a three-headed Martian. I had no idea who he was talking about anymore, because his god did not sound at all like my God. He was, as you call it, a consistent Calvinist. And the result, in my opinion, was a horrifying picture of God’s character.

    Tyler

    Rick, do you love other people in the same WAY you love your wife?

      Rick Patrick

      Yes, I do. The exact same way. Then we snuggle.

        Tyler

        So that intimacy in love you feel for your wife in sexual activity you feel for you neighbor as well?

          Rick Patrick

          We really do need to install that sarcasm font.

          Andy

          Me thinks you missed a joke, Tyler….

            Tyler

            I totally did. See me comment below ;)

        Tyler

        This is really important. You are saying that Romantic love you felt for your wife when you were dating, engaged, and now married….that covenantal love…you have for other people as well?

        by the way, what I’m talking about here (and what most Calvinists are talking about when discussing this) is the QUALITY of love, not QUANTITY of love. I find that a lot of guys confuse the two when discussing this.

          Rick Patrick

          Tyler, the hint here was the line about snuggling. Think about it. How could I snuggle with every single person I love? Go ahead and make your point about different kinds of love, but it won’t do you any good, because there is absolutely *no* kind of genuine love that attacks, destroys and irresistibly, eternally punishes others as God does in reprobation. His judgment is not a “kind” of love, but the removal of His love from those who freely reject Him and justly deserve punishment.

            Tyler

            Rick, sorry. I really stink at interpreting the internet. I see that now! lol
            And I actually wouldn’t disagree with you there for the most part. I think I would just say all people by default have freely rejected God. That’s probably where our difference lies.

      ,Lydia

      Tyler, Why not ask Rick if he loves other people the WAY he loves his kids. Hmmm. Doesn’t work in the way you guys use the wife angle does it? I have heard so many YRR parrot the wife line mapping it to God and it is creepy. (Note you guys don’t say Jesus Christ in that line)

      Anywho, Calvinists cannot argue that every life matters to Jesus Christ.

    Scott Shaver

    The scenario Rick describes is all too common.

    How is this any different than “exchanging the gospel for another which is not the gospel”?

      Tyler

      The gospel is that Christ was born of a Virgin, lived a perfect life, died, and resurrected and whoever puts their faith in him have eternal life. I disagree with the guy in Ricks scenario and haven’t met many Calvinists who would, but if you think that’s denying the Gospel than I’m kinda wondering what YOU think the Gospel is. Also, you have to deal with the countless texts that say “God hates the wicked.” Again, I would disagree with the guy in the scenario, but at least Calvinist’s take these verses as they are.

      Rick, please answer my question. Do you love your wife in the same way you love your neighbors? I certainly hope not. God loves all people, but he loves his covenant people in a different way than the rest. I mean, Remember the priest in Judges who disobeyed God? God told him his entire family must be killed for that mans sin (Federal Headship). Did God act toward that family the exact same way he acted toward the Apostle Paul?

        Rick Patrick

        I have no problem with God pouring out His wrath upon those who have freely rejected His love and grace. I have a problem with God pouring out His wrath upon those whom He irresistibly determined to reject His love and grace. And I also have a problem with characterizing God’s attitude toward unrepentant sinners as a different “quality” of love. Once men freely reject God, they incur His wrath, not a different “sort” of love.

          Tyler

          “I have a problem with God pouring out His wrath upon those whom He irresistibly determined to reject His love and grace”
          I agree, but I don’t know of many Calvinists who think men irresistibly reject God. Most believe they reject God because they hate God and don’t want him. They have all freely rejected God by default and needs his grace to open their hearts to him. (Of course, you would probably say this is prevenient grace, I would say its monergistic)

      Lydia

      “How is this any different than “exchanging the gospel for another which is not the gospel”?”

      It’s not. Their “Good News” is not for everyone. They use the excuse they just don’t know which ones were predestined by God for damnation so they leave that part of the “news” out. But now Dever has changed that with the keys. Very Popish.

      All of this teaching worked much better in a state church environment where church was mandatory and political so you went along to avoid the rack.. But they are getting there with membership covenants to sign to obey elders who hold the keys. At Matt Chandler’s church this meant staying married to a missionary pedophile con man until the public found out.

    Les

    Rick,

    I think some of the Reformed faith persuasion do take it too far. I think most Reformed folk I know acknowledge with me that God has a universal love for all men and values human lives of all, who are created in His image. What most Reformed folk also believe is that God’s love for all men does not render His justice and His righteous anger at sinners moot. His love for all men does not end in the salvation of all men, a point on which we agree.

    Blessings brother.

      Lydia

      Not sure that helps Les. That explanation just makes Jesus Christ into a bait and switch con man.

      Les

      I don’t think so Lydia. At least no more than a position that says God loves all equally salvifically but then leaves mere men to use a free will to reject His offer of salvation. I mean, what kind of love (Trad love) stops short of bringing in all the lost? What, He doesn’t love them enough to save them from themselves? Besides, He knows who will ultimately reject Him and remain eternally lost, right? And yet he says, “I love you all the same?” What does that even mean to the ones whom He knows will end up in eternal punishment?

      Blessings Lydia.

        Lydia

        You mean forcing people to love Him? How is that love? I know that is how sociopaths approach love. For them, it is all about control.

        Les

        Lydia, nope. That’s not what I mean.

          Lydia

          Within a Deterministic construct that is all it can mean when you strip away all the flowery cognitive dissonant explanations. Otherwise He would just determine all saved. He would determine all will love Him.

          I like the term irresistible reprobation used here. The god of Calvin literally and randomly chose, by default before they were born or Adam sinned, who would be damned. That is considered ‘grace’ and love in that world.

          Les

          Lydia, you simply demonstrate your ignorance or Reformed theology when you type this: “The god of Calvin literally and randomly chose…” And when you type this, “Within a Deterministic construct that is all it can mean…” you demonstrate your usual ability to try to force your simplistic extrapolations upon Reformed theology, which goes hand in hand with your ignorance or Reformed theology. I’m supposing you also have a badly misinformed definition of reprobation.

          Blessings to you.

        Andrew Barker

        Les: Your answer demonstrates that you have a very different understanding of what God’s love is from many Christians. In fact you are holding to a very confused position. You imply that love (Trad love) is deficient in that it fails to bring in all the lost. Yet at the same time, your Reformed view of ‘love’ by your own admission, also fails to bring in all the lost!! So quite how the Trad view of love is more deficient than your Reformed view I cannot see.

        Perhaps you could explain how the traditional view of love is more deficient than your Reformed view even though under both systems, God does not save the lost?

          Les

          Andrew, I think your statement of my understanding and what you seem to think I imply demonstrates that you have not read carefully and have extrapolated something I didn’t say or imply. To refresh your memory, I said “At least no more than a position that says God loves all equally salvifically but then leaves mere men to use a free will to reject His offer of salvation. I mean, what kind of love (Trad love) stops short of bringing in all the lost?”

          Even a cursory reading shows that I was not saying the Trad position was deficient compared to the Reformed position. I was pointing out that the Trad position is no different than the accusation about the Reformed position. Both positions (at least most Trads and most Reformed) agree that God loves all. Only the Reformed admit that salvific love is different for the people who end up in eternal torment. The Trads say the extent of the love is equal for all, but squirm and evade the truth–that His love doesn’t end up equal for all. The Trad view places a higher priority for god on man’s LFW than His love for the ones who end up in eternal torment. Love has it’s limits.

          Many blessings.

            doug sayers

            Hi Les, perhaps it would help bring some clarity if we bring Esau into the discussion.

            How, in your view, how did God love Esau? In your understanding of WCF teaching, could Esau have enjoyed God forever in heaven. If so, how?

              Scott Shaver

              Doug:
              With regard to Esau I would ask whether or not the biblical writer simply summed up as an opening Salvo, the demonstrated spiritual quality of Esau’s life…and that not without much other detail to speculate upon the biblical writer’s understanding of John Calvins template ( or would the inspire be his revisions of Institutes?).
              Esau for me is a red-herring in any honest discussion of Calvinism and deterministic prototypes for the image of God.

                doug sayers

                Scott, sorry I’m not clear on your meaning here but I can point you to Leighton’s book on Romans 9 and also chapter 9 of Chosen or Not (see website link above for free read / download) as two places for further study.

                Romans 9 is about the unconditional election of Jacob (not Esau) for patriarchal blessings within God’s covenant with Abraham. It is about the Potter’s right to use our earthly lives as He sees fit.

                  Scott Shaver

                  Doug:

                  You’re painted theologically into a corner.

                  Lot more to Romans 9 and the patriarchal history of Esau and Jacob than mere “unconditional election” (if that’s there at all).

                  I choose to view Jacob’s “unconditional election” as being based on the volitional treatment of the the spiritual birthright by both brothers. Gnaw on that for a little while.

                  Same with Cain and Abel.

                  Potter has the right to do as He wills, just so happens what He willed was a demonstration of unconditional love through Jesus Christ and open extension of salvation with faith in Christ as the active ingredient.

                  Can you say that Jesus Christ loves every human being?

            Andrew Barker

            Les: I have read your statement quite carefully and it is quite clear that you were implying a deficiency in the way Traditionalists think God’s love operates. I quote ” what he doesn’t love them enough to save them from themselves”. This implies that if God really did love everyone, then he would save them from self destruction
            However this is the very thing which those who hold to a traditionalist viewpoint would say that God cannot do without taking away man’s genuine ability to choose.

            God’s love is not the same in both systems. God loves all men equally. If people end up missing out on heaven it will not be because God did not choose them or because God rejected them it will be because they have rejected him.

            If God really does set his salvific love on some and not others before they are born I cannot see how God is operating in any other fashion than a spiritual abortionist. You certainly don’t want to be on his D&C list.

            Scott Shaver

            Contrary to the assumption of Les Prouty that Lydia is ignorant of reformed theology, I would say she knows it up and down, backward and forward light years ahead of Les. His real problem is with her rejection of his preferred theology.

            Les

            Scott, I just got home and saw your comments. Football has my attention for the next while, but I just had to come on here and thank you for the laugh. That right there was funny. Not only that Lydia would know RT better than I, but that you think so. Thanks for the laughs friend.

              Andrew Barker

              Les: I’m stopping my game of tiddlywinks to reply to your post. I trust this conveys how important I think your comments are. You may think you understand Reformed theology better than most on this site, but truth be told, I’ve never seen you able to defend it robustly. Remember that in Reformed theology, everything is contingent on God’s unconditional choice! God is the ‘spiritual surgeon’ who decides who gets to be ‘chosen’ to eternal life and by default, who doesn’t. Laugh all you like Les. That’s just about all you can do.

              Les

              Andrew,

              You said, “I have read your statement quite carefully and it is quite clear that you were implying a deficiency in the way Traditionalists think God’s love operates…”

              I pray my brother and friend that as you perhaps spend more time reading what people write, that true clarity would come your way. What you seem to think is clear in this case is as muddy in your mind as the Mississippi river is today. But keep seeking true clarity is you must.

              As to your last comment at 06:51 regarding tiddlywinks, your time would probably be more productive if you resume that game, given the quality of the rest of that comment.

                Lydia

                ” pray my brother and friend that as you perhaps spend more time reading what people write, that true clarity would come your way. What you seem to think is clear in this case is as muddy in your mind as the Mississippi river is today. But keep seeking true clarity is you must.”

                Andrew, you cannot be insulted any nicer than that! (wink)

                The oldest trick in the Reformed book is when you try to understand their own words, you find they they cannot allow that because stating the obvious conclusion of their words is a bit embarrassing.

                The real problem is you nailed it.

            Les

            Good morning Doug.

            Ok, Esau? In my view of Romans 9 and the passage about Jacob and Esau (I assume to that you are referring) Paul quotes from Malachi, love juxtaposed with hate means that God favored Jacob in His redemptive plan and did not favor Esau. God elected Jacob and did not elect Esau.

            Esau and any sinner could enjoy God forever in heaven if he or they would do what is required to enjoy God forever in heaven. But Esau, and no one really, will do what is required to enjoy God in heaven forever. Every sinner who ends up enjoying God forever in heaven is a recipient of divine favor, also known as grace.

              Andrew Barker

              Les: You should stick to watching football ….. “love juxtaposed with hate means that God favored Jacob in His redemptive plan and did not favor Esau. God elected Jacob and did not elect Esau.” except that Malachi doesn’t mention anything about God’s redemptive plan does it. More reading things into the text which just aren’t there. Definitely stick to football if I were you Les!

              doug sayers

              I hear you Les. Your answer reminds me of Deep Purple’s oldie: “Smoke and Mirror on the Water”.

              You get high marks for making the the flaws in the Reformed system sound reasonable.

              Being born outside of God’s “redemptive plan” sounds so much better than being born irresistibly damned for Adam’s sin, with no actual hope in Jesus.

              Lydia

              “Esau and any sinner could enjoy God forever in heaven if he or they would do what is required to enjoy God forever in heaven. But Esau, and no one really, will do what is required to enjoy God in heaven forever. Every sinner who ends up enjoying God forever in heaven is a recipient of divine favor, also known as grace.”

              This sums up the culture of death that is Calvinism quite nicely. Esau “could” but he “can’t”. Sheesh!

              Nevermind that Romans is a long cumulative treatise on the whole converted Jew/Gentile dichotomy going on in Rome and NOT about individual salvation.

                Doug Sayers

                “Esau could but he can’t. Sheesh” is a good one Lydia, and well deserved.

                But it is better to say that Romans is a long cumulative treatise on salvation *and* the Jew/Gentile question *and* some very practical instructions on Christian living, and….

                Don’t want to give Les any help.

doug sayers

Thanks Leighton. You raise a question that I struggled to answer in my years as a Calvinist. I wonder how you would have defended irresistible reprobation, in this context, when you were a Calvinist?

I would have said that, I guess, the lives of aborted reprobate babies matter in that they would glorify the sheer sovereign prerogative of God. Their irresistible damnation, for sins never committed, would somehow be just because God is always just. (Not a very satisfying answer in light of any sensible view of justice and the texts offered here on God’s universal love!)

The assertion, made by some Calvinistic Baptists, that there could be no such thing as a non elect soul dying via abortion helps them to *feel* better but is not logically compatible with their assumption that election / reprobation is not based on God’s foreknowledge of anything we would do or believe in our lives.

Having said all that, *we* need to be prepared to answer the same kind of question regarding those who never hear the Gospel. Does God love them? Are they born with no hope? Is their hope in
the hands of an oft’ lukewarm and derelict Church or God’s universal love and perfect judgment of the heart? We ought not / need not push this question aside, like CHS did with his systematic contradictions.

Rick Patrick

Now that we have chased the rabbit distinguishing different types of loves, perhaps we should revisit the original post: “How can the pro-life Calvinist claim that every life in the womb matters when their theology teaches that some of those in the womb have been chosen by God for reprobation since before the foundation of the world?”

Debbie Kaufman

I’m going to say this one time and then I will not speak again, because the trash on this site sickens me. Les, if you are going to answer, at least call it as it is and quit laying down to these people. They love fighting and controversy, even if they have to lie to do it as in about every post and comment they make.

It’s fruitless arguing with these people, or even addressing them because they stoop lower than I can or anyone with integrity for that matter.

    Rick Patrick

    Debbie,
    Feel free to speak again—we’re just having a theological discussion here. I don’t really think “trash” properly describes our tone, for the most part. If the site has sickened you, I urge you to abstain and see if it gets better. You might try an aspirin or some chicken soup. I hope you feel better.

    As for your instructions to Les, I don’t see that he is laying down anywhere. Also, most of us love neither fighting nor controversy. Making peace requires that we discuss our differences in the hope that we will foster a better understanding and sense of respect. By sharing our views, our Calvinist friends in the SBC can observe, “Hey, these people really do see things differently than we do. Maybe they are feeling a bit left out of the SBC these days because their views are not being preached or published very much in denominational life, and their leaders are not being appointed or elected to positions of influence. Maybe the SBC will be stronger once we start including Traditionalists again.”

    My hope is for reconciliation and a renewed partnership. It would be nice to have a place at the table again someday. Obviously, I disaffirm that we are lying in our posts and comments. I don’t believe we are stooping low or compromising our integrity. Happy New Year!

      ScottShaver

      What Za Matta Debbie?
      Santa leave a chunk of coal in your stocking?

    Lydia

    “Now that we have chased the rabbit distinguishing different types of loves, perhaps we should revisit the original post: “How can the pro-life Calvinist claim that every life in the womb matters when their theology teaches that some of those in the womb have been chosen by God for reprobation since before the foundation of the world?”

    It doesn’t make sense because the fetus is a life and in that construct all are automatically guilty and unable. They could argue that since God controls every molecule, He pre determines which babies will be aborted or die in the womb, He also chose them for salvation at the same time.

    I can remember the first time I read Challies blog back in the Wild West days. It was shocking to read grown men declaring that God threw babies into hell to show His glory. But at least they were consistent with the deterministic construct. It just does not sell well in the SBC.

      Scott Shaver

      Lydia:
      Here’s where I go dark on the Calvinist construct which assumes God arbitrarily assigns infants (without first volitional act) to Hell.

      Even with the pass utilized by the “compassionate Calvinist” regarding all “lives matter” apart from divine foreknowledge…it still presents a rather disturbing and deterministic picture of Gods nature as contrasted with what we find reflectedthat reflected in passages like Jn 3:16.

      The question of what do all lives matter FOR seems to be the weightier issue here.

      The contrast is even more stark when you consider the recorded actions of Christ toward others and his claims of their equality in God’s redemptive plan via the volitional exercise of faith and the I dwelling and empowering of The Holy Spirit.

    Les

    Debbie,

    Thanks for your concern. I do try to call it as it is and don’t see myself as lying down to anyone on here. I have over time tried to be a little kinder in my interaction. If that’s seen as lying down, well it is what it is.

    I do enjoy and almost always learn something as I interact here. And I think it’s too strong to say that the commenters here lie. Accusing someone of lying is a serious matter and really goes to motives. They have a different view than mine, but I consider them brothers and sisters in Christ.

    Again, thanks for your concern and God bless.

    Robert

    Debbie Kaufman I have seen you post many times at this site, but your latest emotional rant may top them all.

    It seems that you can’t stand the fact that other believers could possibly and actually do question or challenge your cherished but false Calvinistic theology. So you have the gall, and it is gall, there is nothing besides hatred in your words at all, to say:

    “I’m going to say this one time and then I will not speak again, because the trash on this site sickens me.”

    Your attitude is precisely why I challenge Calvinism and its proponents. The pride and condescension in your words is not from the Holy Spirit. And it is comments such as this and people such as you that lead to the confusion and division among believers that Calvinism **always** leads to.

    “They love fighting and controversy, even if they have to lie to do it as in about every post and comment they make.”

    I don’t think that anyone here appreciates being called liars, Kaufman you need to seriously repent and **publically** apologize for your slanderous charges here.

    If you can make these kinds of false claims without any hesitation, you show yourself to have no conscience. And your words most definitely are not a manifestation of the leading of the Spirit. To accuse other believers who disagree with your theology as all being liars and lacking integrity is just unacceptable and wrong.

    “It’s fruitless arguing with these people, or even addressing them because they stoop lower than I can or anyone with integrity for that matter.”

    Some of “these people” are pastors and church leaders, godly people who do much for the Kingdom of God. So not only are we all liars according to you, we also lack integrity according to you. Sorry, most of those who post here do have integrity, if we didn’t we would not be engaged in the fruitful ministries that we are involved in. I wonder if you even have a ministry at all.

    And it is our integrity and commitment to both God’s people and the scripture that compels us to challenge this false theology known as Calvinism.

      Tyler

      Thats funny. What you just described is how I feel about most people on this site. It’s interesting how you can’t see that on both sides.

        Lydia

        Tyler, there are still a few around who can disagree amicably and actually debate subjects. But they tend not to be celebrity Christians and are usually older.

        One of the problems with the YRR movement is they came out swinging and insulting those who were not Calvinists because they had the “true Gospel “and we did not. Then they used the stealth tactics of Quiet Revolution to take over churches and entities. Have you read chapter 4? My guess is the YRR movement followers have never heard of it but they sure were indoctrinated with it by the gurus.

        It seems have to have a sort of ingrained narcissism attached to it. Remember, these are people who loved Mark Driscoll, CJ Mahaney and want membership covenants so young women are to obey elders who tell her she must remain married to a missionary pedophile con man.

        These are not nice people. They are bullies who use words like dudebro and act like they are nice guys and they are until you question anything. Then they are thin skinned bullies. They are like teenage boys who have been given whiskey and car keys too young. They use cut and paste Piper sermons.

        Debbie has claimed on other blogs that all white people are racists whether they know it or not. In her world, that passes for intelligence. More recently she expressed concern for a lack of gun control because of the “angry mob mentality of Christians who want to kill Muslims”. Again, more nuanced intelligent thinking?

        That entire movement is a culture of death and frankly, totally immature. I include Piper and Mohler. What mature grown man would actually partner with men like Mahaney and Driscoll? It boggles.

        I gave up trying to reason with bullies long ago. The key is don’t back down. Do you think when Jesus taught the Sermon on the Mount He meant that Jews should take a beating from other Jews? Even the Pharisees? He was not preaching be a doormat to indecent/cruel peers who love the limelight and follow the gurus.

Jim G.

I would say that a consistent Calvinist could say that every life, even the lives of the unborn, matter. All persons, in the Calvinist system, fulfill the will of God to some degree. Some are predestined to grace, while the rest are predestined to reprobation (or simply “passed over” for the infralapsarian). In that way, every life fulfills its predestined purpose. Most “kinder, gentler” Calvinists will say that it is likely, if not assured, that all who die in the womb were already elect anyway.

Even though most Calvinists have overtly rejected the Augustinian assumption of definitonal divine simplicity, they still live with its ramifications, namely the confusion of the metaphysical categories of person and nature. Calvinists can affirm the eternal reprobation of the unborn by claiming that something that is properly personal (guilt) becomes natural and thus possessed by all humans, while at the same time taking something that is properly natural (the predestination to glory that is the telos of the human race in God’s design) and making it personal, requiring “election” and “reprobation.” Such as it is.

Jim G.

    Lydia

    “I would say that a consistent Calvinist could say that every life, even the lives of the unborn, matter. All persons, in the Calvinist system, fulfill the will of God to some degree. ”

    So individual lives matter in so much as they fulfill what the Calvinists believe is Gods decreetive will for them? Or is it the secret will?

      Jim G.

      Hi Lydia,

      The secret will and decretive will are two names for the same idea.

      Jim G.

        Lydia

        I need to learn how to spell decretive! :o)

volfan007

Well, I’m guessing from Debbie’s comment above that she doesn’t love the people in this blog as much as she loves others! Her quality of love is different. lol

David

Brad

This post is just another way to attack Calvinism. So with that said, let me prove it with reason. We know that God knows all things, we see that from Genesis to Revelations. If you believe God knows all things past present and future, you can’t do anything other than what He knows you will do. If you disagree, you contradict yourself because then God could not know what you are going to do. In that case you have to accept open theism which is unseen in scripture as a symphony. So, congratulations, you have a destiny. Now to the other point, why do Calvinists care about babies? Because they are made in the image of God. All babies that are aborted are already foreknown. I would quickly silence anyone who said they were not of the elect. There is no reason to believe from scripture that the mentally incapable are unsaved. Even the Jews knew this, that’s the whole point of a Barmitzvah.

    Brad

    <- And yes, My Little Pony is awesome.

      doug sayers

      Brad,

      Amen to what Rick just said plus this:

      Beware of building your understanding of the doctrines of salvation upon your grasp of God’s omniscience and how He chooses to use it. Your grasp of omniscience may be somewhat limited. Your “reason” is a little suspect. You will need to incorporate some scripture into your argument if you hope to convince anyone.

      Also, know that Calvinist Matthew Henry said (in his commentary on Romans 5) that those born with handicaps and diseases *must* be chargeable with guilt. If true, then you must biblically prove that the infant can be forgiven apart from conscious repentance and faith; plus you must prove that infant death is indisputable evidence of election. (Two daunting tasks).

      You will need to get into the Bible and see if Calvinist George Whitefield is correct when he asserts 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). I disagree with him but I must say this: Don’t call yourself Reformed if you don’t agree with him (and MH on these points.)

      Keep studying my friend. Your heart and the Calvinistic creeds are in clear conflict.

    Rick Patrick

    Brad,

    “This post is just another way to attack Calvinism.” No, brother, it is another way to *advance Traditionalism.* Of course, as we promote one view over the other, Calvinists often accuse us of being nothing more than “ANTI” them. But we are not talking about one stream (Charleston) and arguing PRO vs. CON. Rather, we are talking about two streams (Charleston and Sandy Creek) with each side arguing in favor of its own theology. The views themselves are in conflict, but there is no need for us to be so on an interpersonal basis. We view this as defending sound doctrine, not attacking the doctrine of others.

    By the way, most Traditionalists disaffirm your assertion that God’s foreknowledge implies His predetermination. In other words, we agree He knows what you are going to choose, but we disagree that He in any way causes you to choose it. We have libertarian, contracausal free will, and God knows what our choices will be. His knowledge does not determine our choice. I don’t know anyone who disaffirms that we have a destiny or comes anywhere close to Open Theism. For us to have a destiny does not require adopting meticulous determinism. Rather, God is leading us, drawing us and guiding us. He is sovereign, but within that sovereignty, He gives us the freedom to accept or reject His offer of salvation.

    Scott Shaver

    That’s because hyper-Calvinism is an easy target:0

    Robert

    Brad writes:
    “So with that said, let me prove it with reason. We know that God knows all things, we see that from Genesis to Revelations. If you believe God knows all things past present and future, you can’t do anything other than what He knows you will do. If you disagree, you contradict yourself because then God could not know what you are going to do. In that case you have to accept open theism which is unseen in scripture as a symphony.”

    Though this argument has the semblance of “reason” it can easily be shown to be an extremely weak argument. The assumption of the “argument” is that **doing otherwise** must mean **doing otherwise than we actually end up freely choosing to do**. But this is an unfair and inaccurate misrepresentation of what it means to be able to do otherwise/or to choose freely.

    Brad claims that if God foreknows that I will in fact end up choosing to do X (say me writing this post today), then I cannot do otherwise than write this post today. And since I cannot do otherwise than what God foreknows I will do (write this post today), Brad “reasons” that I must not have free will.

    Does a proponent of libertarian free will mean by “doing otherwise” that we can do otherwise than what God foreknows we will end up choosing to do?

    No, that is just it. We cannot DO OTHEWISE THAN WE WILL IN FACT CHOOSE TO DO!!

    If I am choosing to write this post, then I cannot simultaneously not be choosing to write this post at the same time. To do this would mean that I have the ability to actualize a contradiction (both write this post and not write this post at the same time). But that is not at all what we mean by doing otherwise/freely choosing.

    We mean that PRIOR to choosing to write this post, that I had both the ability and the possibility to both choose to write this post and to choose not to write this post. God’s foreknowledge concerns not what we might or might not do (mere possibility), but what we will in fact end up choosing to do (actuality).

    So when we say that God foreknew that I would do X, we mean that God knows that in fact when that time comes, we will freely choose to do X (not Y or Z or whatever). God knowing what we will in fact choose to do, does not eliminate our ability to choose to do otherwise, because our ability to do otherwise exists prior to our making a particular choice. If I am acting freely then BEFORE I made the choice to write this post today, I had two possibilities, I could choose to write this post today or choose not to write this post today. As God knows what I will choose to do (that is foreknowledge) He knew that I would choose to write this post today (if I had chosen not to write this post today, then God would know that I was not going to write this post today). God’s knowing what we will in fact choose to do does not eliminate our free will (because again, if we are acting freely then BEFORE we make the choice that we end up making at least two different possible choices were available to us).

    If this reasoning is valid, then one can affirm both (1) that God foreknows our every choice before we make them AND (2) that we are acting freely when we make our choices. As God foreknows all of our choices and at the same time we are acting freely, there is no need to adopt or hold to the false theology of open theism (which affirms that we act freely but denies that God foreknows our freely made choices). As far as I have seen here, the Traditionalists here hold to both God foreknowing our every action and our having free will, and at the same time we all deny open theism.

Lydia

“No, that is just it. We cannot DO OTHEWISE THAN WE WILL IN FACT CHOOSE TO DO!!

If I am choosing to write this post, then I cannot simultaneously not be choosing to write this post at the same time.”

Great comment, Robert. Thank you for approaching it this way. What Brad “proved” to me is he can read Gen to Rev with a determinist god filter. If we take his conclusion then we must believe that God foreknew that Herman Schwartz would turn on the ovens at Auschwitz and literally could not do otherwise. Where does that leave God? Responsible for Herman’s actions. Whereas I believe Herman is responsible for his choices and actions. (So did Nuremberg)

At least that is what Brad is communicating although I bet he has some fancy explanations for why humans are responsible for what they cannot NOT do. :o)

Chris

What’s most disturbing and subtly underhanded about this post is that there are good and reasonable responses to these kinds of assertions and Leighton has either never encountered them or he has ignored them. The issues raised here will certainly not be resolved in a drive-by manner (as done in Flower’s post) or by those who live and breath in the comm box and have their own presuppositions which may or may not be underscored by sound exegesis. That being said, to question the Calvinists’ basis for being pro-life by throwing out bits of literature here and there without regard to other Reformed thinkers who have differed on these issues or considering other places where Calvin or Calvinist’s have spoken about God’s love is simply assanine and dishonest. Perhaps you should change the name of this blog to “Trads Today” rather than falsely portraying yourselves as the unofficial spokesmen for the SBC.

    Scott Shaver

    Chris:
    There are no more “official mouthpieces for the SBC than the individuals and church members who make up its life blood.
    Yours is exactly the kind of haughty attitude that has egocentric preachers thinking they’re just a tad better and smarter than the average joe,
    Also exactly the reason that SBC leaders are having a hard time producing a following these days

    Donald

    Chris said :underhanded about this post is that there are good and reasonable responses to these kinds of assertions:

    Chris, yes we have heard the explanations, but they are simply unconvincing unless one is already convinced. it is a lot of nuance and spin backed up by theologically-driven exegesis. That is the point. Calvinism taken to it’s logical end is, thankfully, a place most Calvinist cannot go – yet it remains the logical end of that theology.

Brad

First of all, let me start my reply by saying that most likely we are all brothers/sisters in Christ. So with that said, I entreat you all to listen humbly as I take in consideration of what you say humbly myself. Now, did I ever say you could not decide what to do? No. Did I say you do things because God foreknew them? No. I simply said, you cannot do otherwise than what God already knows. You do not do things BECAUSE God knew it, you do what you want and God ALREADY knew it. Now we can set soteriology aside for this because we disagree on how people are saved. My point is this, we have a destiny. God knows from before the moment He creates you in the womb everything you will do. Not because He makes you do it, but because you want to do it. It’s just that you will never do anything God doesn’t already know. I can use scripture from John, Psalms, Romans, Ephesians, Chronicles, Exodus, Genesis etc., but what’s the point? You’ll just disregard it and interpret it differently. If you actually want scripture to use, search for it yourself. I’m not trying to convert anyone to Calvinism, I’m trying to show that we have good reason to believe as we do (and that most people don’t understand it at all, even when they say they do). You’ve all misread or misrepresented my post, and you must look closer. I say God knows you will do X, you want to do X, you cannot do Y, otherwise God would be wrong.

    Lydia

    . “You’ve all misread or misrepresented my post, and you must look closer. I say God knows you will do X, you want to do X, you cannot do Y, otherwise God would be wrong.”

    I am looking (and have looked closely at this thinking for years):

    So God made Herman Schwartz want to turn on the gas or Herman wanted to do it, God knows that, so Herman cannot do otherwise?

    The practical application of this doctrine is a problem.

      Brad

      Well you must have misread it again. I NEVER said God made anyone want to do any sin. That’s the common misunderstanding that every non-Calvinist thinks we are saying. I said God knows you will do X, you want to do X, you do X and not Y, otherwise God would be wrong.

        Lydia

        It’s not a misunderstanding, really. It is a huge difference in how we view Jesus Christ-God in the flesh-and our relationship, responsibilility and accountability to Him.e

          Brad

          If you are a “traditional” Baptist, (traditional Baptists were all Calvinists) then we don’t have any different view on God. The only different view we have is on how we came to our repentance.

            Lydia

            Brad, I am just a follower of Christ. As to the Calvinst “Founders” of the SBC….are you sure you want to identify with them? They were pro chattel slavery. Actually, the Founders of the SBC over slavery would make interesting examples for your doctrinal formula of X God fore knew, X they wanted slavery but could not doi Y seek freedom for slaves.

    Robert

    Brad first tried to argue from God’s foreknowledge for Calvinism. Brad also seemed to suggest that the Traditionalist has a dilemma, accept foreknowledge and so they must accept Calvinism as true, or deny foreknowledge and hold to open theism. This is a false dilemma as the simple way out of it is to affirm BOTH that God foreknows all things AND that we have free will. This is precisely the view of Traditionalists. So Brad’s arguments completely failed.

    In his latest response he now “moves the goal posts” suggesting that all that he means is that God foreknows things and that God’s foreknowledge cannot be invalidated. The response to this newest claim is that we all believe that already, we all believe that God foreknows all future events and that God’s foreknowledge cannot be invalidated. Brad writes:

    “Now, did I ever say you could not decide what to do? No. Did I say you do things because God foreknew them? No. I simply said, you cannot do otherwise than what God already knows.

    And we all already believe that we cannot do otherwise than what God knows we will do. This point does not prove Calvinism nor does it disprove the Traditionalist’s views as both affirm that we cannot do otherwise than what God foreknows we will do.

    This is easy to understand, we cannot do otherwise than what God foreknows because God foreknows WHAT WE WILL IN FACT DO.
    If we will in fact write a post tomorrow, then God foreknows that, because in fact we will write a post tomorrow. If we will not write a post tomorrow, then God foreknows that, because in fact we will not write a post tomorrow. Saying that we cannot do otherwise than what God foreknows we will do is the same as saying that God’s foreknowledge is only of what we will in fact choose to do.

    Or put another way, if God foreknows what we will in fact choose to do, then for us to do otherwise than what God foreknows we will do, would mean that we will do otherwise than what we will in fact choose to do (which is both impossible and irrational!!).

    “You do not do things BECAUSE God knew it, you do what you want and God ALREADY knew it.”

    And again we all believe this already.

    “My point is this, we have a destiny. God knows from before the moment He creates you in the womb everything you will do. Not because He makes you do it, but because you want to do it.”

    This is true if non-Calvinism is true, but not if Calvinism is true, because if Calvinism is true what we want to do is predetermined by God because he decides beforehand what we will desire and not desire and since all things are ordained we never have a choice (we have to have the desires that God predestined for us to have). If He ordains everything including every desire that we have, then He does make us do everything we do.

    “It’s just that you will never do anything God doesn’t already know.”

    We all believe that already, God foreknows every future event with no exceptions.

    “You’ve all misread or misrepresented my post, and you must look closer. I say God knows you will do X, you want to do X, you cannot do Y, otherwise God would be wrong.”

    We all agree that God knows “you will do X” (that is God foreknowing what choice you will in fact choose to make). God will not be wrong because His foreknowledge concerns what we will in fact choose to do.

    A major disagreement is that if all is ordained as consistent Calvinists maintain, then that includes our desires and if that is true, then God forces us to do everything we do because he decides beforehand what desires we will or will not have. Non-Calvinists do not believe that God ordains our every desire, especially those which are sinful.

Brad

As for “reading through a filter”, I actually grew up in an Armenian/Open Theist family. I never heard anything about Calvinism, I was saved for real after twenty two years of false faith and self-rigjteousness. When I began reading the scripture and studying it before I was even in a congregation I began to realize God was in control of my salvation. Before I even knew the name Calvin, I was becoming a Calvinist without outside influence. Then I ran across John MacArthur, and realized I was seeing the things he was teaching, and soon was solidified in my theology. Now back to OP, both Calvinists and non-Calvinists understand that to be condemned under the law, you must be aware of the law (Romans ? I can’t remember). For all men it is written on their heart and active so they are condemned. However, for the severely mentally impaired from birth and unaware children, though they are sinful (babies show sinful nature the moment they are born, greed anger etc. as well as obviously autistic people sin) I personally do not believe the law is active on their hearts. Now I could be wrong, but unless I’m missing baby soteriology in the Bible, I’m guessing we have to use what we know about other things and come up with ideas. Those other things include the idea that young children misbehave and seem to not understand it, and from neurology we notice that many severely autistic people have no emotional connection to what they are doing aside from the senses. So, I could be wrong, but I don’t believe the law is active on their hearts and they are unaware of their sin.

Lydia

” began to realize God was in control of my salvation.”

You did not even need to repent and believe?

    Brad

    Of course, but to be saved the Holy Spirit must regenerate you and free you from your bondage to sin. I won’t go in to my life story too much, but if one day had been different for four years, I wouldn’t be who I am today. God chose me, John 15, not the other way around.

      Andrew Barker

      Brad: Would be interested to know exactly where and when you think the Holy Spirit ‘regenerated’ you and freed you from your bondage to sin. Do you no longer sin, or is this freeing by God only partial? I only ask this because most of us still feel the propensity to sin which we put down to our own lack of obedience. However, if you say God is the one who makes the choice to ‘regenerate’ you and provide this freedom from sin (ie it’s not your choice) then any sinning on your part must be down to God not making a very good fist of it? Why if God really does do all this for you in terms of making the choice and ‘regenerating’ you, does he not continue to enable those he has ‘regenerated’ to follow his commands totally and without fault? From the way you’re describing things, it would appear that God is somewhat leaving you in the lurch! It’s like giving somebody water wings so they don’t sink but then chucking them in the sea and asking them to swim the Atlantic. Kind of a tough ask!

        Brad

        Just because I’ve been regenerated does not mean I am sinless. It’s the process of sanctification as we clearly see in scripture.In 2 Thessalonians we see that we grow in Christ and Paul states that we still are stuck in sin because of flesh. The best way I can put it is that we were stuck in the mud of sin, without any desire to leave it, but God grabbed us out of it and gave us desires to trod through instead of staying stuck. Anyways I don’t see how that is contradictory to either of our beliefs, we all know that because of God we are saved and bear good fruits. The only difference is that we disagree on how much God works in that. I say “no man does good, no man seeks God” so it takes God to get us out. You say the same but that it falls on our shoulders to choose after He has set us free. I just don’t see that in the Bible, I do see we have a choice to obey, but all throughout I see that it’s God who makes that change in us. Anyways, like I said, I just want to argue that we have a destiny that will not be altered, not because we don’t want to do it, but because we want to.

          Don Johnson

          Brad,

          Just curious, where in John 15 do you believe it states God chose you?

          Robert

          Brad do you do much evangelism in the real world? Have you seen how people come to faith and what process they go through?

          I ask this because your description of the condition of the unbeliever is not accurate at all:

          “The best way I can put it is that we were stuck in the mud of sin, without any desire to leave it, but God grabbed us out of it and gave us desires to trod through instead of staying stuck. . . . . I say “no man does good, no man seeks God” so it takes God to get us out. You say the same but that it falls on our shoulders to choose after He has set us free.”

          My problem is that I agree with your analogy that the nonbeliever is like a person stuck in the mud and that they cannot deliver themselves or get themselves out of the mud by their own efforts.

          But then you say they have no desire to leave it “without any desire to leave it”).

          That is where you are out of touch with reality.

          The Holy Spirit does his preconversion work in the heart and mind of the unbeliever showing them who Jesus is, that Jesus is the only way of salvation, that they cannot save themselves, that they are sinful and deserve hell, that there is nothing they can do to save themselves, etc. etc. that their only way of escape from hell and deliverance from sin is through begging God to save them. Once the person experiences this revelation from the Spirit, this conviction about their own sin and sinfulness, they then may have the desire to “get out of the mud”, to be saved.

          Some then do desire to “get out of the mud”, they realize they cannot get out of the mud on their own, they realize that only in begging God to save them and get them out of the mud can they be saved. Put simply, they learn that they can only be saved through faith, through trusting God alone to save them.

          Are they saved at this point?

          No.

          Are they regenerated at this point?

          No.

          Where they are is a person desperate to be delivered from the mud begging God to save them. God responds to this kind of begging faith by saving them/regenerating them/ forgiving them of their sins/giving them the Spirit as a down payment of their salvation/breaking the power of sin over their lives/justifying them/etc. and staying with your analogy: delivering them and getting them out of the mud.

          And your claim that “You say the same but that it falls on our shoulders to choose after He has set us free” is also inaccurate.

          We don’t choose AFTER He has set us free, we beg God to save us and then He sets us free.

          I have evangelized many people and those who have come to faith in Christ always go through this process of experiencing the preconversion work of the Spirit and then begging God to save them. They know that they did not save themselves, they know that nothing they do makes them worthy, they know that God alone saves. I use the term “begging faith” the Bible speaks of it as “humbling” yourself. There is nothing meritorious in having begging faith/humbling yourself, but if you don’t beg God to save you/don’t humble yourself, you will not be saved.

          Andrew Barker

          Brad: What you appear not to appreciate is the rather odd way you are suggesting that God behaves. It’s like the “Jesus does it all” brigade, only he doesn’t do it all, he only does half the job. According to what you say you believe God is responsible for choosing and regenerating you and yet he does not enable the Christian to live a sinless life. How come? If God has decided to ‘save’ a person, why leave them still in a sinful state? Why not give them a sinless nature there and then? As it is, you have God choosing to save but not totally support. This just doesn’t add up and reflects badly on the character of God.

          Those who take what I refer to as a standard Biblical viewpoint on salvation would tend to see God working with us in cooperation. God gives all who truly believe a new nature and it is up to us to work with that new nature and foster it and see that it grows. All Christians have a secured destiny, that’s what predestination is all about. It’s not about who is going to be saved, but rather the certainly of our position in Christ once we are saved.

          There is much nonsense talked about God doing things for us and making choices for us. It’s as bizzare a notion as is the idea that God would choose some for salvation and leave others to burn in hell. Just where do people get that idea from? If you truly think that living the Christian life is nothing more than God choosing to live through us, again you have to question why on earth is he messing up so much with so many of his children. Some of them are getting up to all kinds of bad tricks. Are you seriously going to argue that this is God’s choice for them and their Christian lives!! The whole notion of this God choosing for us is totally potty and the sooner people drop it the better.

          We are new creatures in Christ, the old is meant to go, not be transformed or ‘regenerated’. Have nothing to do with the old, let it die a death. It’s going to perish anyway. If we live by the spirit we will not gratify the sinful nature. Which just goes to prove that all too often, too many of us and just not living as we should! We should be choosing to live otherwise!

            Brad

            I won’t argue with you guys on soteriology, this is sbctoday. Nobody here is going to accept my argument, but to the one who said “where do you get that from” when speaking of God choosing some to save and some to be destined for wrath comes from Romans 9. Also to the question on John 15, Jesus said “I chose you…” multiple times. Anyways I know you have your counter interpretation, but that’s fine. As i said, I won’t be arguing anymore on that. Still nobody has touched on destiny the way I have put it. One person still said I’m saying that God chooses your actions. I only say that God chooses to save you. So all the sin you ever do was chosen by you, even the faithful things you do are chosen by you, I just disagree that you chose the latter alone when it comes to salvation. So if we all have a destiny that God knew before hand, then that would mean we are all predetermined to hell or heaven upon creation. Stop assuming I mean that God makes you sin, rather God makes a man He knows will sin. And yes, I do evangelize often, what brought me to this page was the fact that I actually go out to the abortion clinic and evangelize. And I don’t witness anything different from the theology I hold during a conversion. Whoever questioned me on this must have missed that I was not a Christian for 22 years, so I do know quite a bit about how that happened and how that happens in other lives. To the person who connected the SBC to slavery, I didn’t say I was SB, I didn’t even say anything about the SB, I said traditional Baptists. Baptists were around far longer and in different associations than the SBC. I have never been associated to nor do I hold to traditions of the SBC. In fact I condemn openly and publicly the vast majority of the early SBC, just as I call to repentance the churches that are pro-choice today (However this doesn’t mean the theology they studied is wrong). Anyways, I’m off, I know you guys will argue with me for eternity if I don’t stop now. I just want to let you guys have a different opinion for once, to invoke thought on destiny, and to let you know I’m glad the SBC will soon be overrun by Calvinists as the numbers are increasing in your midst. ;)

              Lydia

              Brad, I think it is interesting you bring up the concept of destiny. There are several nuanced definitions of the word which seems to have originated in Latin Old English or French which seems significant. A synonym is fate.

              Fate is from the Latin fatum, which means “that which has been spoken.”
              Destiny is from the Latin destinare, which means “to make firm” or “to establish.”

              I am not sure which definition you are using in what respect.
              .
              1.the future destined for a person or thing; fate; fortune; lot
              2.the predetermined or inevitable course of events
              3 the ultimate power or agency that predetermines the course of events

              Don’t freak, I recently helped a teen on a study of the word fate and destiny kept coming up! I have also been known to describe Calvinism as fatalistic so your use of destiny has intrigued me a bit. It is new one on me.

              It usually produces a circular argument but I don’t map God knowing what will happen to God determining what will happen. If God knows 100,000 people will die of the plague, He also knows that a cure will be found at some point. However, if a human believes God is directing and determining all events then why the desire to find a cure as it would go against God’s “destiny” for the sufferers. It is what the human believes about how God operates that concerns me. I believe the fatalism that infested Christianity early on actually hampered and pro longed the advent of important advances to improve life. And that, I think, pleases God: Alleviating suffering and improving life for people who need it.

              Donald

              Brad said”God choosing some to save and some to be destined for wrath comes from Romans 9″

              Only if one first imports an alien paradigm into Romans 9. Here is Malcolm Yarnell explaining this just in case you have any interest in learning: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KvjPECZ-qvI

              Les

              Here is a more accurate explanation is one is interested in learning. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zArjHbikAHU

                Donald

                I’ve heard Sproul, and one could only consider it more accurate if Calvinism is the goal. He makes the same mistakes and brings his paradigm to the text, instead of exegeting the text.

              Lydia

              “just want to let you guys have a different opinion for once, to invoke thought on destiny, and to let you know I’m glad the SBC will soon be overrun by Calvinists as the numbers are increasing in your midst. ;)”

              Brad Sargent made the same prediction:
              https://futuristguy.wordpress.com/2016/01/01/spiritual-abuse-survivor-communities-10-trend-projections-and-predictions-for-2016-2020/

              He refers to the SBC as the Calvingelical ATM

                Scott Shaver

                “Calvingelical ATM” :)

                That’s a good one.

    Scott Shaver

    Lydia:
    Perhaps with the right gnosis and understanding of predestination, such actions are no longer required.

Lydia

Les, Sproul as in Ligonier also has the distinction of being the first Christian organization to actively pursue suing a blogger. It made quite the splash in legal circles. USAToday and the Orlando Sentinel covered it along with Glen Reynolds doing his legal bit. Many Sproul supporters were shocked to learn they had lawyers on retainer,of their financial shenanigans and that Sprouls “Presbyterian” church was independent. Seems he allowed donors to think different. At the time Ligonier Duncan’s brother, James, was the general manager. Then we have the drama of his son being defrocked over tax fraud and running to Doug Wilson.

Of course none of this matters when it comes to “doctrine”. We learned that with Driscoll and Mahaney. It just hampers my ability to “listen” to him as credible source. Jesus is better. :o)

    Les

    Love how people are attacked when their teaching cannot be refuted. I’m ordained in the same denomination as RC and the church where he is a pastor is indeed independent, which in and of itself is not unheard of (see Indecent Pres in Savannah). The website says, “Nevertheless, our pastors are ordained ministers in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).” Which also means, if there have been or are any provable shenanigans, he would be dealt with by the appropriate church courts. As of now, he is a member in good standing. So there’s that.

    And what org wouldn’t have lawyers on retainer? To not do so would be stupid and foolish. And so trying to smear Lig Duncan’s rep as well? Good luck with that. I want to watch you try that.

    His son being defrocked? Do you speak from a position if perfection? Hmmm. And all this has what to do with the truth spoken by RC? Can’t refute, so attack people. Quite expected.

Lydia

No attack. Just facts anyone can google. Except for Jrs book, Ligonier Tales, which he deleted during the scandals. In it, he described Ligonier founding benefactress as a “white witch”.

Really? all para church orgs have lawyers on retainer? Some Ligoneir donors were surprised to learn it at the time.

You need to find some new heroes.

Les

I have only one human hero Lyds. My dad.

You still can’t deal with the theology. It’s ok. I get it.

    Andrew Barker

    Les: Your statement saying “You still can’t deal with the theology. It’s ok. I get it.” couldn’t be further from the truth. Having a bit of extra time on my hands, I listened to both the links for Malcolm Yarnell and the rather young looking RC Sproul.

    Yarnell was clear, concise, Biblical and gave a reason for the hope that is …… Jesus!
    Sproul ………….. didn’t.

    This is the problem with copy & paste Les. You can’t use it as a substitute because you can’t argue the theology yourself. If you’d taken the time to listen to Yarnell, you wouldn’t have posted the link to Sproul. I am at least crediting you with that degree of intelligence!

    Lydia

    Les, that argument is getting old. Many have dealt with the theology over and over and over. Here is my deal and it is personal to me: Please do not send me to people that I know have used Jesus Christ for profit, fame or to gain a following. That is not expecting “perfection”. It is expecting character and integrity from those who make a living off Jesus Christ. I am not so sure why expecting character and integrity is akin to expecting perfection. And I do understand your definition of integrity and character might be different from mine. Oh wait, I forgot. Your doctrine teaches that you all remain worms despite being Born Again and can do no good thing.

    Jesus Christ is the only guru. :o) Can we learn from others? Of course. But please, at least a modicum of integrity and character would be nice to go along with the doctrine.

      Brad

      I’d figure I would come back to help Les on this issue. We are all human, we all make mistakes, only your mistakes aren’t immediately plastered on the web. He does have a point, that you really shouldn’t judge someone’s theology based on their mistakes. We could do the same towards your Armenian preachers, but we don’t. Or at least we shouldn’t. I won’t even name them (so as not to do the same as some have here) but there are at least two or three major characters on your side of theology that I could easily do the same to. There are also many Calvinists and Armenians that throughout history have died together preaching the Gospel. Much as I would be willing to die with you in fellowship for Christ. Most of us are just tired of being labeled heretics because people misunderstand our theology (and alot of times it’s because someone on our side goofed up). As for good works we should both agree, we require a vine (Jesus) to do good works, and no bad branch can bear good fruit. I don’t really understand the “worms” part, we should both agree that without Jesus we would not do good works. If you mean that as in we still see ourselves as struggling with overcoming the world then would that not be true? We still have flesh, I don’t know any true believer that would say he/she doesn’t still struggle with things. Even Paul says “What a wretched man I am.” And John says that “if we say we are without sin then we are liars, and the truth is not in us.” Otherwise I don’t understand what you mean by that.

Lydia

“He does have a point, that you really shouldn’t judge someone’s theology based on their mistakes. ”

Oh dear. I am sorry your parents did not make it clearer for you. Mistakes are things like spilling your milk or dropping a vase. When there is a long time consistent pattern of deception or outright deception that is found out, it is something else entirely. Or when you use legal force to try and stop information pertinent to donors to get out, that is not a mistake. Now, when one makes a mistake in judgement that affects others, they come clean. If they have misrepresented themselves for profit or gain using the Name of Jesus, they admit such, make restitution as they can and get out of that business.

Andrew Barker

Brad: This is a rather odd statement isn’t it? “He does have a point, that you really shouldn’t judge someone’s theology based on their mistakes.”

If a person says one thing, yet does another, or preaches against something which they then do, doesn’t that warrant a thorough and careful examination of who they are and what they are saying? I think you would be unwise to do anything other. When Jesus talked about wolves in sheep’s clothing and judging trees by the fruit they bear, he wasn’t talking about the average Joe, he was referring to those who would set themselves up as leaders, teachers etc. The Bible calls all of those who aspire to act as leaders/teachers to higher standards of behaviour.

It’s not just behaviour though. The link Les provided of RC Sproul demonstrates his (Sproul’s) inability to correctly tackle Rom 9. He incorrectly explains foreknowledge and election from an Arminian viewpoint, trips over his own rhetoric at the end and confirms nothing other than his own preconceived ideas. If you take the time to listen to Yarnell on the previous link, you will find a far more balanced approach and he is instantly a far more trustworthy source on topics which may be awkward or difficult to reach an opinion. That’s at least how I see it. If you can’t be fair and deal with the easy topics in straightforward Biblical exegesis, you certainly can’t be trusted when it comes to the more difficult topics.

    Brad

    Lydia: Still though, just because a man is in sin (if it even was sin in Sproul’s case) does not mean his theology on soteriology is wrong. If he were the only person that held that theology then I would agree, but his theology has been around far longer than him. That would be like me saying “Kenneth Copeland is a false teacher so your idea that we choose salvation is wrong because he says that.”

    Andrew: I honestly haven’t listened to either of these guys at all (Yarnell or Sproul). I just wanted to make the point I just stated to Lydia. As far as exegesis of Romans 9, I’ve listened to both sides from well respected parties. I would recommend listening to some of James White’s debates on the chapter. Secondly I studied Romans 9 before I knew what Calvinism was and came up with that conclusion. Hard to read John and Romans as your first two books as a newly justified sinner and not see the predestination and sovereignty of God in it all. That’s what intrigued me to research it more after I finished the NT. I know most people fly all over the Bible to make these say something other than what it says itself in the context. When I came to an understanding of Calvinistic theology, I shared it with my friend and he went on for almost 6 hours trying to refute it. He spent so much time flying around the OT that by the end of it, it didn’t make any sense at all in the context of Romans. So I did my own exegesis and it took me maybe 30 minutes to explain it and it fit context very well. Why would God make so many texts so easily understood by Calvinistic theology if it were wrong? It’s not like these guys just came up with it, they studied hard and by the end they all agreed on what they were finding in scripture.
    My personal opinion: I think Roman Catholocism has shaped some of the Evangelist interpretation of scripture, albeit probably unknowingly. In a culture with emphasis on “free will,” people often take that culture into their reading. I came up in an open minded family that leaned more towards Armenianism/Open Theism and when I was truly justified myself I threw out everything I heard from them and started fresh. I came to where I am today from scripture. Not from a man (Though men eventaully solidified my reading).

Lydia

Brad, Stalin was right about some things, too. So, what is your point again? It is the same old argument. CJ’s correct doctrine over shadows all the molested children?. Sorry. Not buying. Correct doctrine leads to wisdom, character and integrity. Not excuses to use Jesus for fame and profit.

Ligonier lied to donors they were calling for money saying they had dropped the lawsuit (after it was in USAToday and people found out). They had not. Docs showed the lawyers kept it open for if and when they found the blogger. It was all documented. Becoming a celebrity Christian ican be deadly to the soul.

Follow Christ. Not humans. In the Reformed construct you need the gurus, councils and confessions. You need Calvin. Not the Holy Spirit. Come on home.

    Les

    Lydia, this is interesting: “Ligonier lied to donors they were calling for money saying they had dropped the lawsuit (after it was in USAToday and people found out). They had not. Docs showed the lawyers kept it open for if and when they found the blogger. It was all documented.”

    Can you please direct me to the source of this (besides the 2006 blog posts by the defendant…where I saw no documentation, only his statements). I’d be really interested in the “lies” timeline.

    Thanks.

    Brad

    ?? You’re comment made no sense and didn’t touch anything I said.

      Scott Shaver

      Brad:

      Lydia’s comment pretty much touched on everything you’ve said, whether you’re willing to see it or not is another question.

      Made plenty of sense to me.

        Lydia

        Scott, when everything is predetermined, including your sin, it is hard to see how ridiculous it sounds in practicality. You are born sinning and cannot help it. So, as a Christian when you harm others or are deceptive, they are simply mistakes. You cannot help it. No big deal. The more important thing is spouting what they deem as “correct” doctrine. This was their defense of both Mahaney and Driscoll for years.

        So, if what we believe does not produce good fruit in behavior, especially for those marketing their Christianity, then what on earth is the point? How do we tell the Christians apart from the secular charlatans?

      Andrew Barker

      Brad: What Lydia was saying was perfectly clear. What is also becoming clearer to me (IMO) is that you are either rather mixed up or not being totally honest about where you’re coming from.

      If you haven’t taken the time to listen to the link for Yarnell and then compare it with the one for Sproul, then that speaks volumes itself. Not that you need to listen to all of it, but to dismiss it out of hand? You say you’ve listened to respected parties from both sides, but you don’t say who. We have no idea who you are comparing and with whom? You mention we listen to James White. Well, I did when he debated Leighton and to be honest he did not engage properly either. He spent most of his time trying to convince Leighton that he (Leighton) wasn’t exegeting the passage correctly, on the basis that he wasn’t taking it verse by verse. The truth however was that Leighton was putting Rom 9 in context with the rest of scripture which is exactly what correct exegesis is all about.

      You mention that a friend tried for 6 hours to convince you from the OT and failed and yet in 30 minutes you had it sussed! This is laughable on two accounts. Firstly, that you think you could exegete Rom 9 in 30 mins and secondly that believe that you have done so!

      Your restatement that you found ‘calvinism’ by yourself and that it was simply solidified by the work of other men is also very telling. Calvin wrote his Institutes when he was a young man, newly ‘converted’ to the faith, took 18 months to do it and during that time did not peer review or seek advice from those around him who were older and wiser. Instead he drew heavily on the work of Augustine who himself had gone against the teaching of the early church fathers. So rather than wearing this as a badge of honour, I would suggest that your claim to have found ‘calvinism’ by yourself through the reading of scripture is the mark of a young Christian who doesn’t, but probably should, know better.

      And getting back on topic, does every life matter? The reason it does is because it shapes how people behave. If we are all made in the image of God and all able to respond to the message of the Gospel then yes, it matters. If only those who God chooses can respond, then that puts a different value on different people. It enables us to treat people differently. How else could Calvin have justified punishing and even killing people on the basis that they had committed either some form of ‘heresy’ or God forbid, even dared to contradict or disagree with him.

      We don’t need to establish the dishonesty surrounding various adherents of the Reformed/Calvinistic belief system to argue against it. But it becomes evident from the behaviour of some of these people that their beliefs do enable them to carry out actions which the wider Church sees as going against scripture. As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.

        Brad

        Andrew: Thank you for actually dealing with the content of my comment, I respect that. Just as I respect your opinion on Romans 9. I don’t say the things I say to have a “badge of honor” though. I say them so that maybe someone will stop saying we all follow a man. Sure, man has assisted my understanding, but I didn’t come to the knowledge of monergism by those men. We can go back and forth on who’s right about exegesis, but honestly on both sides I’ve heard great counters. I don’t think Romans 9 is only talking about man, I think it talks about both man and nation. About God’s sovereign will over man and nation’s eventual destiny. I also like to point out that a nation is nothing without people, so when someone says Romans 9 is about a nation alone I think is wrong, because at the very least it means God created the leaders of a nation that will be sinful and feel His wrath. At the very base of my entire argument though is the hope that one day people will accept my theology, even if they disagree, and stop calling us heretics or idiots. We both have the same Gospel, the same Bible, and the same God. We just disagree on how much work God actually does in our salvation. Which I don’t believe is heretical, we both believe in faith alone, that man is responsible for his actions, and man is responsible for accepting Christ as our Lord. I just don’t believe man can do that without God choosing to save him, and that God already knew from the beginning our entire unalterable destiny (not because God willed us to sin, but because we willed to and He just knew it and used the outcome for His plan). We both say faith saves, and we both say we are responsible. I just say God has to do that for man, and you say man has to do that himself with help from God. What’s so wrong/heretical/different from our faith?

Lydia

Les, perhaps the links to the court docs are gone. It has been 10 years. Why would I spend time trying to prove it to someone enamoured by Sproul? At the time, this was a huge deal because of suing a blogger so every detail was discussed by some secular pundit lawyers. It had to do with Ligoneir lawyers leaving it open when Ligoneir said it was dropped. It also drew attention to their lifestyle of the rich and famous.

    Les

    Lydia,

    Yeah, why would you? It’s your common MO to hurl accusations w/o substantiation. So what else is new? You accuse them of lying but can’t substantiate. Supposed to believe the defendant? Defendants don’t lie, do they (cough, cough OJ cough, cough)? Maybe they did lied, maybe they didn’t. But for now, it’s just another of your unproven accusations. Your record is spotless on that.

      Scott Shaver

      “substantive proof” is in the eye of the beholder Les.

      Wouldn’t expect you to see or consider even the “documents” themselves as proof. You’re record is “spotless” on that.

        Lydia

        Not only that but the victims, donors, etc, have no credibility with them. Not compared to the guru. They are peasants who should know their place.

Lydia

“?? You’re comment made no sense and didn’t touch anything I said. ”

It is an old argument used in many venues especially the Internationale years to excuse Stalins behavior. As in, Just because he did bad things does not mean communism is wrong. The only thing your position does is normalize wrong doing. They are just mistakes…..

This seems to be the new normal.

    Brad

    Ok well then with your statement, free will is wrong because most of the full blown heretics believe in free will. And for that matter, everything is false. And you still don’t understand perdestination at all so just stop. You’re just being foolish and still have not touched on what I tried to share about it. You’re arguing against a theology that nobody here holds. You have a false knowledge of Calvinism, even after I tried to clarify. You are still saying that we think God makes you sin so you can’t help it. That’s just wrong. Stop acting like you know what we believe, don’t kid yourself. “I know Calvinism very well, I’ve studied it for hours and hours” I’m sure will be your reply, well you’re just wrong.

Lydia

“Ok well then with your statement, free will is wrong because most of the full blown heretics believe in free will. ”

Free will “heretics” are responsible for what they do and teach. The whole point is “response-ability”.

    Brad

    I get that, I’m just saying that you can’t say man’s beliefs are invalid because he has screwed up. If he was alone in that belief, then yes that’s probably true, but he’s not. All I’m saying, is that you probably don’t truly understand Calvinism or haven’t been taught well by people in error on the subject. So don’t “broadbrush” every Calvinist. I myself don’t agree with all of Calvin’s commentaries, but me disagreeing with one thing or a sin he commited doesn’t mean he was wrong about everything.

      Scott Shaver

      Brad:

      If what you’re saying is true (“me disagreeing with one thing or a sin doesn’t mean he was wrong about everything”) then there’s a mile-long list of self-righteous baptist preachers speaking on behalf of the ERLC and Southern Baptist Voices that owe politician Donald Trump A BIG PUBLIC CHRISTIAN APOLOGY.

      Ain’t calling no names but the initials of two of em are Dave Miller and Russell Moore.

        Brad

        That’s a different issue. Donald Trump is just a wolf in sheeps clothing, out of his mouth he has shown his heart. The point I’m making is that a man who shows good fruit, humility, and fellowship should not have his entire theology thrown out because of a sin he may or may not have committed. So a personal attack on a “role-model” for some Calvinists is broadbrushing an entire group. It’s the same as someone saying “The church was full of hypocrites so Christianity is fake.” Or ISIS kills people so Islam is wrong (Of course it is). That’s not how it works, we dig deep into the theology itself to see it’s errors, not the people of that theology.

          Lydia

          “hat’s a different issue. Donald Trump is just a wolf in sheeps clothing, out of his mouth he has shown his heart. The point I’m making is that a man who shows good fruit, humility, and fellowship should not have his entire theology thrown out because of a sin he may or may not have committed”

          Like Driscoll? They did not have the same problem with Driscoll. Some consistency concerning a pastor would be nice. Trump is not a pastor but worse to them. Strange.

          I chill just thinking what your definition of “good fruit” is. If Sprouls “walking in the light” passes your fruit test, we have nothing more to discuss. Getting donations and shutting up a blogger asking uncomfortable questions was more important than truth. Sproul in it for the money? He sure lived like it.

Lydia

Brad, I will never accept that abiding in Christ, pruning the vines and being led by the Holy Spirit does NOT spur us on to be more just, honest and wise. It costs us, for sure. Our flesh is weak. And even as believers we have to practice these things. It does not just happen. You want me to believe that greed, seeking followers and protecting personal interests at the cost to others is a mere mistake. Screwing up. Not buying. If the Christians, especially who seek to teach and be our models, cannot be trusted, who can?

    Brad

    Lydia, I would like to direct you to the post i just made above. As far as Sproul is concerned, I can’t say much, because I don’t listen to him. Which takes me right back to the point I made. It seems like you have judged Sproul as a false Christian or in massive error and connected that to all Calvinism. Why would Sproul have any connection to my theology when I haven’t listened to him? I didn’t get my theology from him, I learned it from my own biblical studies and then it was expounded on by others who were not even alive when Sproul was born. Literally the only thing I’ve ever heard Sproul speak about was the inerrancy of Scripture for an hour. Don’t put a theology held by millions in the box of one man’s life.

Lydia

Brad, I judged his behavior choices and cover up of same. In your world it is all about doctrine. I think correct doctrine produces consistent decency and honesty over time. It does not use others for personal gain. I realize that non thinking is foreign to you.

    Andy

    “I realize that non thinking is foreign to you.”

    Is this a compliment for Brad, recognizing him as a thinking man to such the degree that non-thinking is a foreign idea to him? :-)

      Lydia

      Not sure how “non’ made its way in there. Freudian slip? I was trying to acknowledge how different our thinking is when it comes to living out our beliefs.

Andy

Mark Driscoll, RC Sproul, CJ Mahaney all believe in the Trinity, the deity, crucifixion, & resurrection of Christ, & the inspiration of scripture from God.
However, It’s clear from their various levels of sins and failures that we should all reject these beliefs completely and immediately…

;-)

    Andrew Barker

    Andy: Your statement “Mark Driscoll, RC Sproul, CJ Mahaney all believe in the Trinity, the deity, crucifixion, & resurrection of Christ, & the inspiration of scripture from God.” may be correct, but only after a fashion. First you would need to establish that these people all believe exactly the same thing regarding those topics. (I very much doubt this BTW). Then you would need to look at how they deal with those truths in the real world. What good is it believing in the “inspiration of scripture” if what you say believe has little or no affect on the way you live?

    What is clear is that if people fall into obvious sin, you can disregard what they say with complete safety in the knowledge that they are dispensable. Why bother with contaminated sources when there are other trustworthy people from whom to learn? The word of God does not begin or end with these men! They really are not worth the bother! ;-) ;-)

      Andy

      “First you would need to establish that these people all believe exactly the same thing regarding those topics. (I very much doubt this BTW).”

      –> I think that on THESE topics, It’s safe to say they agree on them at least as much as any other 2-3 Christians whom you could find and compare to each other, that is, Mostly the same (notice I did not use the word “inerrant,” only “inspiration.”

      “Then you would need to look at how they deal with those truths in the real world. What good is it believing in the “inspiration of scripture” if what you say believe has little or no affect on the way you live?”

      –> Yes, but then you are moving away from “belief in inspiration of scripture” to “how does this person relate his beliefs to his behavior” Which does nothing to invalidate belief in the inspiration of scripture itself.

      “What is clear is that if people fall into obvious sin, you can disregard what they say with complete safety in the knowledge that they are dispensable.”

      –> True in a sense, in that no one person is indispensable, and those that fall into large error can be ignored without fear of missing some vital truth. But that is no the same as saying everything they say is necessarily false. I have seen an atheist on Youtube say that Christians who don’t share their faith are hypocrites, and that it is safer to make fun of Jews and Christians than it is to make fun of Islam. The Atheism of the source does not invalidate those statements. They must be evaluated fairly for truthfulness themselves…simply pointing out that the man saying them has many false beliefs and a demonstrably sinful lifestyle does not automatically invalidate EVERYTHING he says.

      “Why bother with contaminated sources when there are other trustworthy people from whom to learn?”

      –> Because every source is contaminated. Though, as stated above, some sources can be effectively ignored without missing out on much. John Wesley had some aberrant beliefs, so did Martin Luther. It doesn’t mean they had nothing helpful to say for us today.

      “The word of God does not begin or end with these men!”

      –> I agree.

        Andrew Barker

        Andy: “Because every source is contaminated.” Oh no it’s not. Not in the same way. This is nothing more than undiluted sin leveling. You’re way of beam here! Just look at the Biblical qualifications for elders etc and you will see that character matters.

          Andy

          1. “Oh no it’s not. Not in the same way.”

          –> This is two different answers here: Are some sources not contaminated at all, of are all sources contaminated, but to differing degrees?

          I myself did not say every source was contaminated in the same way. In fact I said some sources were so contaminated that we can ignore them without missing any vital truth.

          2. I have not said that character doesn’t matter, I’ve said that lack of character does not invalidate EVERYTHING the person has ever said…even atheists speak truth sometimes.

          My primary point is this: Just because a man of aberrant character OR belief says something, it doesn’t make it automatically incorrect. Luther spoke some truth, Calvin spoke some truth, Pelagius spoke some truth, Augustine spoke some truth, Wesley spoke some truth.

          Or put another way, it is a mistake to say: ” [WELL-KNOWN BIBLE TEACHER A] said [STATEMENT X], but we all know that he did/said [SIN Y, or ABERRANT BELIEF Z], so we can automatically dismiss [STATEMENT X] as false.”

        Brad

        Thank you Andy, that’s exactly what I’m saying. For example, Mormons seem to be “righteous” people, and I’ve met many who on the outside appear to be better people than most Christians. By the standard I have been fighting here, one could say that Mormonism is not evil because the people seem so good! However, we know it’s false because of the system itself, not because of the people in it. If your standard for testing truth can allow false religions to look true, or true religion to look false, then you need a new standard. Our standard should be by testing truth according to the Bible, and not according to a man.

Lydia

“However, It’s clear from their various levels of sins and failures that we should all reject these beliefs completely and immediately…”

Is that really your take away? Either/or? Is it your belief that there is no need of sanctification? Sounds like you are suggesting that those who make a living from Jesus have no ability in basic honesty, integrity and character. I think you should let people know this before they join your church. You believe in thedoctrinal basics but that does not mean anything in practice. Okey dokey.

I get it. I see it all the time.

    Andy

    Not at all…I don’t know where you get that from at all…perhaps you can clarify.

    My only point is that people who believe right things can sin. Given time and Google, I’m sure I can find examples of people who believe lots of the same things you and I believe, and yet have made big moral failures. It doesn’t automayically invalidate our beliefs.

    In fact in validates the need for sanctification, for honesty and integrity in church leaders, for connection of belief and practice…

      Brad

      Andy gets it. “Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.” By the way, if you are saying that I’m stupid or don’t think then you pretty much prove your heart with your personal attack. I would suggest learning to love as 1 John would share as well. A personal attack or emotionally driven insult to a fellow believer is grounds for repentance. I haven’t done that here at all to anyone. I might say to think logically, but I don’t say your stupid.

        Lydia

        ” By the way, if you are saying that I’m stupid or don’t think then you pretty much prove your heart with your personal attack. ”

        Where did you get this?

        “I would suggest learning to love as 1 John would share as well. A personal attack or emotionally driven insult to a fellow believer is grounds for repentance. I haven’t done that here at all to anyone. I might say to think logically, but I don’t say your stupid.”

        A lot of young Reformed guys view disagreement as a personal attack and call for repentance for disagreeing with them in a manner they do not liked. I am hoping they grow up soon. Be careful of demanding more from the peasants than you do those who make a living off Jesus.

        Is it loving to sue a blogger because they ask uncomfortable questions? How about deceiving fellow Chrisitian donors out of money while living the lifestyle of the rich and famous? I did not even mention the nefarious way they obtained a certain man’s book business. Oh, where is the “love”? :o)

          Brad

          When you said it was a Freudian slip, (Although Freudian means that you actually mean it the original way in your heart) I assumed you meant that thinking is foreign to me. In other words, stupid. Was that not a personal attack?

            Lydia

            Brad, it was an auto typo because I am a dolt with touch iPad. I must have hit an n and it inserted a word for the n. And a complimentary typo as Andy pointed out which is why I joked about Freud.

            We do think differently. You have implied you want me to think logically. One of my contentions is determinism is not logical at all. Even Luther wrote that “reason is a w***e”. One cannot do logic without human agency or with cognitive dissonance ruling the mind.

            Scott Shaver

            Not necessarily.

            Could be a statement of fact that sounds like a personal attack.

      Lydia

      “Mark Driscoll, RC Sproul, CJ Mahaney all believe in the Trinity, the deity, crucifixion, & resurrection of Christ, & the inspiration of scripture from God.
      However, It’s clear from their various levels of sins and failures that we should all reject these beliefs completely and immediately…”

      James 2 might come in real handy about now even though the Reformer Luther wanted it taken out of scripture. Even the demons believe “correct” doctrine. There is simply more to it. If we don’t get away from this love affair of bragging and excusing the Born Again being perpetual sinners, we miss the meaning of the resurrection. Sinless perfection or evil worms is a false dichotomy.

        Andy

        1. While I am guessing we have somewhat differing views of how much Christians actually do sin, I am not excusing sinning Christians. My point is exactly the opposite: A preacher who takes sinful advantage of his position for self-gain should not be white-washed; but it doesn’t mean everything that sinning preacher says or believes is wrong.

        2. So, would you agree or disagree with the logic of this statement: “[WELL-KNOWN BIBLE TEACHER A] said [STATEMENT X], but we all know that he did/said [SIN Y, or ABERRANT BELIEF Z], so we can automatically dismiss [STATEMENT X] as false.”

        –I only ask because this SEEMS to be what many of your comments on this site assume. If not, please clarify.

        -Thanks,
        -Andy

          Andrew Barker

          Andy: Personally, I think you’re being a bit intentionally thick here ;-) If you read what I said again, you’ll see that I am not saying everything these people say is by definition wrong but that they can be safely ignored in the knowledge that any ‘truth’ they may have can also be gleaned from much sounder sources.

          You seem to like silly illustrations. If the hygiene at your local burger bar is questionable and folk are getting sick when they eat there you’d be a bit stupid to go there just because their quarter pounders are on offer and look inviting!

          A little leven ….

            Andy

            Andrews, what Got me thinking and led me to reply to this thread was when Lydia quoted Brad as saying: “you really shouldn’t judge someone’s theology based on their mistakes.” Her answer did not address that statement, but rather continued to point out bad things sproul and others have done. So it seemed she DID think you should judge someone’s theology based on their mistakes.

            My main point is I don’t think it’s that simple, Some of their teaching is likely true, and in fact the bulk of their “theology” may be exactly what another, honest and godly, person believes. So the theology must be evaluated on it’s own, not MERELY point to the personal failures of one or more people who held to that policy. This is not to say that you cannot use a person’s actions as a STARTING POINT in asking questions about what effect their beliefs have had on their actions…but until a link can be shown to a particular belief, that belief is no automatically invalidated:

            (And since I like examples): Penn Jillette is an Atheist who says that Christians who don’t share the gospel are hipocrites. He also says “atheism is the only real hope against terrorism.” He also uses foul language…A LOT! I could likely show a link between his atheism and his beliefs about the cure for terrorism…and between his atheism and his beleif that he can say whatever he wants with impunity. BUT I can’t point to his foul language and say that his statement about Chrsitans witnessing is necessarily false…that statement must be evaluated on its own merit.

            But of course, you are right, One can easily know that Christians should witness without hearing it from a cursing atheist.

          Lydia

          Andy, Is there a right and wrong? The focus on “sin” can muck us up since many believe we are born sinning and our very existence is sin. That thinking tends to dumb down and desensitize us to some nefarious behaviors excusing them in the name of God. It becomes the normal as in: they believe the right things and that is what really matters. So the issue becomes more complicated.

          What was it CS Lewis said? The ethical man knows adultery is wrong but the moral man knows it and would never do it. It is the same thinking with deception, greed, seeking fame and followers, etc. the evangelical bubble has ignored, excused and normalized bad behaviors for so long they have lost the ability to recognize it.

            Andy

            Um, yes, there’s a right and wrong. Now that we’ve clarified that, here’s why I’m still posting here;

            BRAD SAID: “He does have a point, that you really shouldn’t judge someone’s theology based on their mistakes.”

            You quoted this statement but then did not really reply to it, you simply said that mistakes was the wrong word to use, and it is more serious.

            I THEN SAID: “So, would you agree or disagree with the logic of this statement: “[WELL-KNOWN BIBLE TEACHER A] said [STATEMENT X], but we all know that he did/said [SIN Y, or ABERRANT BELIEF Z], so we can automatically dismiss [STATEMENT X] as false.”

            I’m still waiting on a reply to this: Do quoted brad’s statement as if you disagreed with it, but didn’t really say that you did, or say why.

              Andy

              oops… “Do quoted…” above should read “YOU quoted…”

              Lydia

              Andy, if the well known bible teacher has a pattern of behavior that is bad, then why is he/she still a bible teacher? You are free to study with that person and I am free to question nefarious patterns of behavior from one who seeks to teach publicly and seek followers.

              I would also caution about giving them money. :o)

      Scott Shaver

      Andy:

      May not “invalidate beliefs” but does tend to invalidate credibility.

        Andrew Barker

        Exactly Scott! The truth is ‘the truth’ wherever it comes from hence … “out of the mouth of babes” but that doesn’t mean everything babes say is Gospel truth either!

          Andy

          Well there’s something we agree on.

        Lydia

        “May not “invalidate beliefs” but does tend to invalidate credibility.”

        I can learn proper doctrine from them but will need to hide my purse or perhaps lock up the children first? Is that the sort of thing they are talking about?

        Sheesh!

Les

Back for one encore comment. And I quote:

“Bitter spirited Christians?
Spurgeon, “Ripe Fruit” #945. Micah 7:1

As we grow in grace, we are sure to grow in
charity, sympathy, and love. We shall, as we
ripen in grace, have greater sweetness towards
our fellow Christians. Bitter spirited Christians
may know a great deal, but they are immature.

Those who are quick to censure may be
very acute in judgment, but they are as
yet very immature in heart.

He who grows in grace remembers that he is
but dust, and he therefore does not expect his
fellow Christians to be anything more.

He overlooks ten thousand of their faults,
because he knows his God overlooks twenty
thousand in his own case. He does not expect
perfection in the creature, and, therefore, he
is not disappointed when he does not find it.

When our virtues become more mature, we shall
not be more tolerant of evil; but we shall be more
tolerant of infirmity, more hopeful for the people
of God, and certainly less arrogant in our criticisms.”

Now may the accusations and criticisms pick back up and prove the point Spurgeon is making.

Have a grace filled day all.

    Scott Shaver

    Les:

    Spurgeon wasn’t infallible and an “encore” suggests continued performance by popular demand.

    Your comments smack more of an egocentric interjection than a bonafide “encore”.

      Lydia

      Spurgeon:

      Calvin=the Gospel.

      I recommend Jesus instead. ,:o)

      Les

      Actually, it was Calvinism equals the gospel. What, you don’t agree that salvation is 100% by grace through the instrumentality of faith? Oh dear.

        Lydia

        “Actually, it was Calvinism equals the gospel. What, you don’t agree that salvation is 100% by grace through the instrumentality of faith”

        Looks like I got Spugeon backwards. Not sure it matters since the formula equals two mere mortals. :o)

        We disagree on the definition of “grace” and the process of what you describe as “instrumentality”. I believe humans have the ‘ability” and responsibility to respond. We have been over this ad nauseum.

        Les

        “We disagree on the definition of “grace” and the process of what you describe as “instrumentality”. I believe humans have the ‘ability” and responsibility to respond. We have been over this ad nauseous.”

        If your definition of grace is other than unmerited favor, then yes we disagree and you would be wrong. As to the process and your belief that we humans “have the ‘ability” and responsibility to respond?” We agree. I believe that too. And yes we’ve been over this much. Keep at it and you just may get there. :) wink. as you like to do.

          Lydia

          “Unmerited favor” as in being randomly chosen before the foundation of the world and not randomly passed over. Therefore by default unchosen and held responsible for being randomly unchosen and damned.

          To explain this cognitive dissonance are redefined and made up words with lots of scripture stacking. It worked better within a state church environment when people were not allowed to publicly disagree unless they had enough power. :o)

          Les

          ““Unmerited favor” as in being randomly chosen before the foundation of the world and not randomly passed over. Therefore by default unchosen and held responsible for being randomly unchosen and damned.”

          You’ll get there one day. Meanwhile, not being a rookie you continue rookie mistakes. Really wishful thinking on your part. “Randomly” is your continual mistake. Keep at it though and who knows, you may stumble to the actual truth of Reformed theology. Oh, and our theology works just fine in this no state church environment. :)

          Oh, do you disagree that grace is unmerited favor? Or do you believe humans merit God’s favor?

          Andrew Barker

          Les: You have a very narrow appreciation of what grace is if you think it can be defined as simply as you put it “grace is other than unmerited favor”. In addition to which, I believe that you restrict God’s grace to those whom he has ‘chosen’ and that if ‘chosen’ one has no choice but to respond because this grace is ‘irresistible’?

          What is more, although you say that you believe the same regarding ability and responsibility, it is quite clear that you don’t. If a person has not been ‘chosen’ by God, how can they also be held responsible for making a choice which is by your definition, denied them?!

          I have never come across a more inaptly named set of doctrines than “the doctrines of grace”. So if you’re determined to hold to the “doctrines of grace” I would respectfully say that actually, I hold to a very different view of God’s grace than you do.

          BTW Les, how do you manage to copy and paste inaccurately. That’s some achievement! ;-)

            Les

            Andrew,

            Obviously you and I have a different understanding of grace. No surprise.

            But I made a mistake in my copy/paste? Oh my. Where? I must get this corrected.

              Andrew Barker

              Les: The reason I picked up on your slight error was because you were quoting Lydia and I thought, that’s an odd mistake for her to make. Turns out she spelled it correctly and somehow or other, you’ve copied it incorrectly! But if I were you, I’d forget the copy & paste which you can’t change and address the errors in your theology, which although are systemic, you can change.

              God’s grace has appeared bringing salvation to all men. Titus2:8. When you start to understand that grace is offered to all men and is not limited those who’ve been pre-selected to be saved, then maybe we will be in agreement. But your current definition of grace as something which is limited in its scope is, to my mind at least, rather ungracious!

              Les

              Andrew, I see it now. That makes me nauseous. I have no idea how that copy/paste attempt came out that way. And we all know it would be odd indeed if Lydia made a mistake. She does not do wrong apparently. :)

              Yeah if I discover errors in my theology I surely want to correct those. So far as regards my soteriology I don’t see that I do have errors. I see yours and Lydia’s and the other non Reformed folks here have serious errors. But I’m suspecting y’all don’t see them else you wouldn’t keep repeating them.

              And yes I love that Titus passage. Such a beautiful description of God’s amazing grace and salvation brought to all men. And women. And children.

              Have a blessed Lord’s day.

                Andrew Barker

                Les: You lessen the word of God to your own detriment. Your loss my friend.

                Lydia

                Les, I have no clue what you and Andrew are talking about. I missed it. I don’t focus on “errors in theology” but on positions I know impugn God’s character. It is a waste of time usually to have a proof text war since Calvinists have a determinist God filter. These Are positions that I believe are a culture of death and not resurrection. The real problem is I don’t back down. I don’t care what they think of me. And that makes some very angry. The culture in the Neo Cal movement is: We have truth and others don’t. Calvin was like that,too. They have tried all kinds of tactics to control people, shut them up and so on.

                I am not smart, theologically educated/indoctrinated (which is a blessing these days) nor concerned about what is actually a false unity. Or, Positions that present Jesus Christ as a lesser God and then make Him and Yahweh look totally opposite. I believe Jesus Christ is the full representation of God in the flesh.

                If this were 16th century Geneva or the Mass Bay Colony of the Puritans,I would be dead or imprisoned. In your religion, that would be considered a good thing. Thankfully, some Diests and such disagreed and paved the way for us, and subsequently large parts of the world, to disagree publicly. It is the reason Calvinism rises and ebbs. Calvinism needs power to operate. It does not do well when the pew sitters think for themselves. It needs membership covenants and followers who don’t question the gurus. It needs “ruling elders”. When it comes to power and control, it is not that long of a walk to Islam with its arbitrary cruel God. Just different tactics and random Grace for some. No human agency required. (Sad face)

                I wish more people would challenge the assumption in Calvinsm and take a closer look at its dark history. And not back down. I pray more find the freedom, responsibility and personal accountability that is in Christ and His resurrection.

                  Andrew Barker

                  Lydia: My dig at Les was just that, a dig based on his seeming inability to even copy and paste accurately! It is neither here nor there :)

                  On a more serious note, I think how we view God’s grace does reflect on the character of God. Calvinists who argue that God chooses an elect before the foundation of the world, are in effect saying that God’s grace does not extend to all in the same way. In their system God is able to act partially even though the Bible specifically tells us, he doesn’t. Of course, they don’t refer to this as partiality, it’s termed “the secret counsel and good pleasure of His will,” but that’s what it is, partiality.

                    Lydia

                    “Lydia: My dig at Les was just that, a dig based on his seeming inability to even copy and paste accurately! It is neither here nor there :)”

                    I admit to being a bit thick. :o)_

                    “On a more serious note, I think how we view God’s grace does reflect on the character of God.”

                    I could not agree more. I think it is bizarre that they expect humans to be kinder and more just than God– as they present Him.

                    “Calvinists who argue that God chooses an elect before the foundation of the world, are in effect saying that God’s grace does not extend to all in the same way. In their system God is able to act partially even though the Bible specifically tells us, he doesn’t. Of course, they don’t refer to this as partiality, it’s termed “the secret counsel and good pleasure of His will,” but that’s what it is, partiality.”

                    This presents an “unknowable” God Who is, secretive and deceptive. Their response is usually some proof texting of “Who are you to question God”?

                    Sigh.

                Les

                Andrew,

                You denigrate the word of God to your own detriment. Your loss my brother.

                  Scott Shaver

                  No, in reality Andrew denigrates the word of Les as compared with the Word of God to our and his own edification. You’ve got it backwards Les.

                  Les

                  Scott, To paraphrase Captain Renault, “I’m shocked, shocked to find that you would say such a thing.”

                  Have a very blessed day brother.

                  Andrew Barker

                  Les: You may accuse me of denigrating the word of God all you like, especially since you appear totally unable to substantiate any of the statements you make with reasonable arguments.

                  My comment was that you ‘lessen’ the word of God by your interpretation and this is simply a plain fact. Instead of accepting that God’s grace extends to ALL mankind, you try to make it fit into your own little Calvinistic/Reformed system so that the ‘all’ refers not just to men (male) but women and children as well! But you have no scriptural or rational basis for doing this, just your own errant theology.

                  You can’t believe what you say you believe and at the same time argue that your theology doesn’t limit the grace of God. You need to man up a bit and accept that your theology does limit God’s grace and explain why and how God behaves in this way. Some task, I admit, but then if you will choose to go down this road, you have to accept the consequences of ending up in a Reformed cul-de-sac.

                    Les

                    Andrew, do you even realize the stupidity of your comments? Sorry to put it that way, but your assertions are really idiotic. Are you so arrogant and cocky that you think that only you have the truth? You and your fellow non Calvinists? Of course you think you’re correct in your interpretation. And of course I think I am correct in my interpretation. But at the end of the day, we are only interpreting. Get that Andrew? Interpreting. We are fallible. Yes, you too are fallible.

                    To state that by my interpretation I lessen the word of God and that is a fact? Well how arrogant can you be? And just ignorant. It’s a fact because you and some others say so? That makes it a fact and not just your opinion? It would be funny if not so sad to see seemingly intelligent people making such absurd statements.

                    I can and have made well reasoned, scriptural arguments, many times. But you disagree. Ok. But even if you think MY arguments are unreasonable, my theology is the same as BB Warfield, and Jonathan Edwards and Bavinck and Machen and MLJ and on and on I could go. You and I have pea brains theologically compared to these men. And you think Reformed theology is ends in a cul-de-sac? Ok, Andrew’s fallible (yes Andrew, you’re fallible) opinion (not fact) says so. Big whoop.

                    Good dose of some humility and some rest would be in order for you my brother. Get well soon.

                    Rick Patrick

                    Les and Andrew,

                    We generally do “light” moderating here. Our philosophy is, for the most part, to let people discuss matters openly. But let’s try not to get too personal with the use of terms like “stupidity” and “idiotic.” This is getting a little out of hand. Is there really a need for that?

                    Debate and discuss all you like. But let’s not get too pejorative in our assessments of one another’s reasoning. If you two want to roll up your sleeves and take this out back, metaphorically speaking, please just get together by email or other social media.

                    Andrew Barker

                    Rick Patrick: I do try my best not to cause unnecessary offense, but would note that the Gospel is sometimes offensive and at other times appears stupid, depending on ones personal standpoint. If it appears that I have managed to tick both these boxes in one go, I can assure you it’s more down to luck than judgement!

                  Les

                  Rick,

                  You are right. I apologize for using the terms. It’s apparent to me that I should bow out of this particular discussion with Andrew.

                  Les

                Les

                Lydia,

                “The real problem is I don’t back down.” And I am so pleased you refuse to back down. Your continual swings and misses do so much to make Reformed theology look better and better. I really should thank you more often. This ruling elder does indeed thank you.

                Scott Shaver

                “Such a beautiful description of God’s amazing grace and salvation brought to all men. And Women. And Children.”

                How can this be so Les, since you’ve incessantly declared that God has chosen some from eternity for damnation and others, not so much? The above statement sounds more “Universalist” in its implication than anything I’ve heard you criticize coming from the pen or mouths of “Traditional” baptists.

                At least you demonstrate consistency in aberration of thought.

                  Les

                  Scott,

                  Yes God has chosen His elect from eternity. And the rest to whom He does not bestow His saving grace perish as they (and we all) deserve. Grace. Definitions my brother. Definitions. Keep at it Scott. Study and then study some more and you just may come to understand how this can be.

                    Scott Shaver

                    Heed your own instruction Les.

                    The time for study is over here, Time for application is at hand.

                    Scott Shaver

                    Already understand “how it can be” Dr. Pouty:

                    “For God so loved THE WORLD He gave his only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM, shall not perish but have everlasting life.

                    That’s all you, I, or anybody else really needs to know. Calvin’s preoccupation with trying to think like God and trying to get everybody else to think the same bloodies the water and detracts from the good news IMO.

                  Andrew Barker

                  Scott: Les’s reply was an attempt to try and explain the use of the word ‘all’ to mean other than all people or all mankind everywhere when referring to the extent of God’s grace. (I guess you’re aware of that anyway) Apart from the fact that there’s no reason to suggest that the word ‘all’ means anything other than all inclusive, to suggest that it refers to ‘types’ of people such as men, women and also children is even odder! Why would God in eternity past extend his grace to some people as adults ie men or women but others as children? Surely the age of the person is not another factor we have to think about when considering who is and who isn’t elect? If God elects a man in eternity past, does this means that he’s not elect while he’s a child? And what if that man were to die while he was still a child? Would his election stand, or would it be forfeited? Or maybe, it’s not possible for somebody to die ahead of their allotted time if they are elect? I’m sure if we study hard enough, all this will become clear! lol

                    Scott Shaver

                    Agreed Andrew.

                    It boils down to the impossible task of a FINITE mind attempting to speak and/or enforce the mind and intent of INFINITE deity. That’s my ROOT PROBLEM WITH REFORM AND THE INSTITUTES.

                    Wonder if I’ve managed, inadvertently, to tick any boxes with that one.

    Les

    Scott,

    No one said Spurgeon was infallible. Encore: “again; once more.” I’m under no illusion that you and several others want me posting here. Quite the opposite.

    “egocentric interjection?”

      Scott Shaver

      Les:

      The guilt card has no effect in cyberspace. I have no guilt about or sympathy toward “Calvinist” issues and do not see cultivating such as growing in “Christian” virtue….despite the misapplication of texts by many.

      I enjoy your posts, Les, as they get to the heart of the problem with neo-Calvinism in the neo-SBC.

      Beyond that, cyber-space has no emotion. You post here at the pleasure of the site owners ….matters not what bytes of data on the other end “think”. There is no personal interaction, only intellectual. I’m not of the opinion that you need encouragement to opine, whether appreciated or not :)

      “egocentric interjection”……my opinion and means exactly in my opinion what the words convey.

      Les

      Scott, what guilt card? Haven’t used or seen one. Glad you enjoy my posts. Yep, I don’t need your encouragement to post here or anywhere else. Your opinion. Yep.

Jim P

Jesus prayed shortly before His crucifixion “That they maybe one even as the Father and He are ONE.” John 17:21 For Jesus nothing would get in between His unity with the Father, even to the point of death and not just any death but the death on the cross. Opening up the opportunity for others to enter into that unity with Jesus and the Father was Jesus’ major goal in His work.

Here is one of the major obstacles that continually attacks that goal of unity today in the church: Jesus said, “…you invalidate the word of God because of your traditions.” Matt.15:6 It is much easier to be true to a tradition then it is to be true to what God is saying and doing. The Jews traditions helped them draw a line that separated them from the world around them. An added problem that came with those traditions, it also separated them from hearing God and in the end made them enemies of Him and His work. They crucified their messiah and savior.

Stephen, a Hellenistic Jew, made a deacon by the apostles, because the Jerusalem believers ignored the Hellenist believers widows’ needs. Again the line raised its pretty little head. Out of no where, the Jerusalem Jews couldn’t refute Stephen, so they took him before the council and the most convenient solution for this little line ignorer was simply, stone him to death. This dedicated servant of God, whose only motive was to serve God in His purposes for his own people the Jews and for the world, killed, for crossing the Jews’ man-made line. And a young Pharisee there named Saul, saying yeap, I agree to stone Stephen, he is not on the right side of our man-made line.

Getting the word of God wrong draws man-made lines that justifies very vicious behavior. Jesus’ behavior was never vicious. Stephen’s behavior was never vicious. Saul’s behavior was vicious until he saw how wrong he was. He was never vicious again after he meet his Savior and turned his back on man-made lines.

What this all about? Well, I think the main point is if you want to find reasons to divide, it’s not hard at all. On the other hand to have unity takes, well, maybe Jesus, look at Stephen, and the apostle Paul are good examples of how that goal will ever happen.

    Lydia

    Jim, I can never have unity with the likes of Driscoll, Mahaney and others who use our Lord and hurt/decieve others for personal gain. Platitudes just won’t work. I don’t feel guilty for saying it. I just look at history and what many tried to pass off as unity in His Name. And I will argue all day it was not in lieu of accepting such practices. There is a contingent that will float platudes or rebukes but ignore a whole lot of other teaching concerning behavior. The refrain we often hear is no big deal, sinners sin. I challenge all of us to focus on the comprehensive meaning of the resurrection. We don’t have to be charlatans who seek came and profit off His Name. Nor shoukd we be lemmings who follow man. That is a choice.

    BTW: there were Jews at the cross who stayed until the bitter end. And Jews who visited the empty tomb.

    Scott Shaver

    Reformed Calvinism ALWAYS EQUALS DIVISION AS THAT IS THE HEART OF ITS PURPOSE. Distinguishes (in the minds of the Calvinist) the tares from the wheat…..historically, has always had that effect on the segments of Christendom it has infected.

    Like a disease.

Lydia

Les, you have been such an understanding, humble and loving commenter. (Wink)

As a ruling elder shouldn’t you first model what you rebuke others over?

I don’t think greed, deception and seeking wealth off Jesus are “infirmities”. However I can see how a determinist would see them as such.

    Brad

    Lydia: Can you get over the money thing? I mean literally, nobody here is even using the names you are saying as sources. I don’t know any Calvinist in my area that like Driscoll either for that matter. Stop judging Calvinism by popular people, your side of theology has FAR MORE full blown heretics that are popular. Copeland, Joyce, Hagin, Creflo, Osteen, Hillsong, etc… etc… If I apply your version of testing truth, anyone who says they can choose God or not is a full blown heretic. But, if I use the Bible as my standard of truth, then you can easily be accepted just as I can.

      Scott Shaver

      Brad:

      Thank you for demonstrating another “Calvinist” tactic. When the light is turned on, they’ll start to scurry apart from one another like startled rodents…..”stop judging Calvinism by popular people”.

      Fat chance, it was “popularizers” who gave neo-calvinism like B-12 shots into the various entities of the SBC.

      Andrew Barker

      Brad: Your constant use of the ‘H’ word is somewhat wearisome especially bearing in mind that you have no scripture to support your assertion PLUS there are plenty of instances where God specifically tells people to “choose”.

      The problem with Calvinism is that it makes everything contingent on God’s choice. Unless God chooses you, you don’t count ……. at all.

        Mary

        What’s disturbing is Brad doesn’t seem to have a clue what all those he listed actually believe vs what the people who hang out here actually believe. To a Calvinist everyone who rejects Calvinism is a heretic and can be lumped together – so SBC nonCalvinism/Traditionalism is the same as Arminianism(not heresy by the way) semi- Pelegianism, full blown Pelegianism, Name It and Claim It Word Faith Prosperity Gospel etc etc.

        Andy

        Apparently hillsong are now full blown heretics, also…?

        While I think hillsing is wrong on multiple issues, I don’t think they’ve gone full-blown heretic yet…

          Lydia

          “Apparently hillsong are now full blown heretics, also…?

          While I think hillsing is wrong on multiple issues, I don’t think they’ve gone full-blown heretic yet…”

          I don’t know much about what they believe or teach but it seems to be a money making empire. That is why the heresy word is often a bad fit. It used to mean “faction” in a sense. One can agree with what another teaches yet find their behaviors questionable. But it does bring up the question of how come right beliefs don’t translate into right behaviors.

          You might want to check out the validity of this post concerning Hillsong

          http://thewartburgwatch.com/2013/10/04/how-pastors-get-rich/

      Lydia

      Brad, I don’t have a “side”. I don’t do movements or groups or gurus like Calvin. From what I know of many of the above they have more in common with forms of determinism. After all, God determined them to be rich off lots of donations, right? The difference might be they flaunt it. You forgot Furtick and Noble. :o)

Jim P

Ms Lydia,

It’s easy to throw rotten tomatoes when you’re not the one on the stage.

    Scott Shaver

    That’s the problem Jim P.

    These guys actually think the whole world is a “STAGE”. Tain’t no business like show bizness.

    Lydia

    Jim, I would have to assume you think the humble and persecuted are ‘on stage’?

    Jim P

    Heb. 12:14 ¶ Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:
    Heb. 12:15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;

    Whoever thinks it’s of any worth.

      Lydia

      Jim, before that is Hebrews 10: 26-31. Fwiw to you.

      Being at peace with people does not mean you turn a blind eye or go along with nefarious behavior. If you think such is not being “bitter” then we won’t have much to discuss. The B word is a favorite accusation. I think the problem might lie more in the realm of some wanting to dictate conscious as in defining what is appropriate or not.

      Scott Shaver

      Hebrews 12:14, 15 certainly have merit and convey truth and exhortation to the believer, Jim P.

      However, lifting the verse slightly out of context to imply “peace and holiness” means giving rejected theology quarter and consideratn is a stretch of the text in my opinion.

      Jim P

      Rom. 2:1 Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.

        Lydia

        “……Who practices the same things”

        That is a kinda sorta important point or you best not preach on sin if you are suggesting we all behave the same or on moral equivalency of all sin. :o)

        That would make John judgemental of Diotrphres and Paul guilty of judging Peter.

        Scott Shaver

        Jim P.

        It’s obvious you have no regard whatsoever for context in your proof-texting. It’s humorous.

        What is the overarching theme, purpose and original audience of Romans 2? Didn’t they teach you this stuff in seminary?

Craig

In Calvinism — There is a difference and separation in meaning from what God means by good and right and from what human beings mean by good and right.

Because of that anything could be good and right for God. It could be good and right for God to lie to human beings. No one would know if God was lying or not.

In Calvinism — there is no rational and moral basis to believe that the bible contains truth and not lies

Lydia

“In Calvinism — There is a difference and separation in meaning from what God means by good and right and from what human beings mean by good and right.”

Yes!

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