Does God Have Two Wills? | Part One

June 13, 2016

Ronnie Rogers | Pastor
Trinity Baptist Church, Norman, OK

Recognizing that the simple and straightforward message of Scripture is that God loves everyone and truly desires for everyone to hear the gospel and be saved by faith in Christ leads some Calvinists like John Piper to postulate that God has a secret will in which He does not desire everyone to be saved.

That is to say, by what we know from Scripture and the good news of the gospel, it appears that God wills that all be saved by faith in Christ, but secretly He wills that His public will, as revealed in Scripture, be superseded by unconditionally electing only some to salvation and choosing to pass over the rest of humanity. Thus, we are to believe that according to God’s revealed will (Scripture), God loves every person and desires that every person be saved (John 3:16; Titus 2:11), but in His secret will He only wills to make salvation actually available to the unconditional elect.

In John Piper’s article, “Are There Two Wills in God,” he says, “My aim here is to show from Scripture that the simultaneous existence of God’s will for “all persons to be saved” (1 Tim. 2:4) and his will to elect unconditionally those who will actually be saved is not a sign of divine schizophrenia or exegetical confusion. A corresponding aim is to show that unconditional election therefore does not contradict biblical expressions of God’s compassion for all people, and does not nullify sincere offers of salvation to everyone who is lost among all the peoples of the world.”

First, I note that this seems to be a rather clear admission that God’s revelation to man does in fact declare that He sincerely desires that every individual believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved, which is the unabashed banner of those who reject Calvinism (Extensivists). If not such an admission, then the whole development of the two wills seems rather pointless.

In addition, there is no parallel conflict with Extensivism’s claim that God created man with otherwise choice, always desiring that man live holy while knowing that he would sin, and in love, mercy, and forbearance provisioning so that every person may fulfill God’s desire for him or her to live holy forever. Contrastingly, in Calvinism we have God’s desire that all be saved in one place (Scripture), and yet His superior inviolable secret plan to preclude the provision for that to happen while still declaring publicly that He desires all to be saved.

Second, in defense of the two-will soteriological theory, Piper draws upon the biblical teaching of God’s holiness and the presence of sin. He says, “The most compelling example of God’s willing for sin to come to pass while at the same time disapproving the sin is his willing the death of his perfect, divine Son.”

This being the most compelling case to demonstrate the cogency of his secret will theory seems to actually provide a glaring example of the weakness of the two-will theory since it relies upon the death of Christ and God permitting the sin of man; both of which are revealed in Scripture. Such a temporary state of affairs is perfectly harmonious with what the Scripture reveals about the nature of God. He is holy, merciful, and longsuffering. If this revealed truth about God was contravened by a secret truth, which revealed that God was not holy, merciful, or longsuffering as portrayed in Scripture, then we would be speaking about a conflict that is analogical to the one in the two-will scenario. For the truth of Piper’s secret will is that it actually, in eternity, trumps the revealed will regarding salvation.

Moreover, the conundrum disappears in light of God’s creative/redemptive plan revealed in Scripture, and man having been created with libertarian freedom. When the full range of God’s attributes and creation/redemption plan are unbiasedly considered, there simply is no conflict. What would be as problematic as Calvinism’s revealed/secret will theory is if God’s revelation taught that His holiness permits sin only for a season and then must be judged, and His secret will precluded the presence of sin for any reason or any time. Alternatively, that He permitted the death of Christ in His revealed will, but not in His secret will. Other than the existence of such irreconcilable ideas, the parallel Piper draws is non-existent.

Relying on examples that are clearly and harmoniously portrayed in Scripture, harmonized by the reality that the Scripture undeniably presents sin as something that God overcomes by His loving redemption plan, which cannot be eternally thwarted by a secret plan, actually undermines Calvinism’s defense of a secret will that eternally supersedes His revealed will.

Rather than the Scripture fostering such an enigma, it is actually Calvinism’s soteriology that provides the dilemma from which the need for a secret will theory emanates since Calvinism’s whole soteriology teaches that all those God elects will be saved and those He rejects to elect cannot be saved. This is absolute. God willed this inviolable eternal outcome. Accordingly, the Calvinist’s actual problem is their belief in pervasive determinism, which includes man’s endowment of a compatible freedom because it imprisons God’s revealed desire to save all in the gulag of His determinative desire not to save all.

Part Two Coming Soon!

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Alan House

Hi Ronnie,

The idea that God has a secret will that is diametrically opposed to His will as revealed in the Scriptures sounds like something the Masons (and other gnostics) would foolishly swallow. Our Lord commanded us to let our ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and our ‘no’ to be ‘no.’ This and any number of other calvinistic myths make Our Heavenly Father’s ‘yes’ a ‘no’. Just that should set off all kinds of warning bells and whistles.

    Ronnie W Rogers

    Hello Alan
    Thanks for your comment, and the secret will does seem to me to be “diametrically opposed” as well.

Andrew Barker

Thank you Ronnie. This is again a classic example of Piper misdirection. He tells you the truth and then explains why ‘that’ truth isn’t exactly what it most obviously and plainly is, but that ‘he’ has the ‘real’ truth and then goes on to lead people down the wrong path. The guy would have made an excellent stage magician! (some would say he already has)

    Ronnie W Rogers

    Hello Andrew
    Thank you, and it does seem that the simple reading of Scripture (not simplistic) wins again.

Roland Peer

Libertarian freedom and God having one non-conflicting will – that everyone be saved – is a given and makes sense, unless you have been schooled in Reformed theology. I’m creating an 8-session inductive Bible study, a portion of which will look at Calvinist proof texts and ask the question – could a libertarian viewpoint be read into them as well? The essential question is whether an unsaved person is inherently able to believe in and receive Jesus as savior. The Calvinist acknowledges that if the answer to this question is yes, then U and I of TULIP come crashing down. This, I’ve found, is a pretty effective manner to engage.

If I focus on God’s attributes and God’s viewpoint, the discussion almost always veers into philosophy, problem of evil, character of God, etc and nothing is gained, because the Bible doesn’t tell us exactly what God’s criteria is for election, we can only speculate. Calvinist: it’s mysterious, inscrutable, a lottery system from the human perspective. Non-calvinist: it’s everyone who doesn’t say no to God’s will for their lives and stops resisting God’s conviction of sin and need for a savior.

My Gravatar has a link to the site – it includes abbreviated versions of the study. Hope this helps you all engage with your Reformed brethren.

    Ronnie W Rogers

    Hello Roland
    Thanks for the work you are doing in this area!

    Robert

    Hello Roland,

    I went to your website and looked over your material. Your brief statements and they are very good, I especially liked your three part description of faith:


    • “Hearing and understanding the Gospel, and mentally assenting to its truth
    • Conviction of sins and need of a savior
    • Appropriation by turning (repenting) to Jesus as savior
    Hearing and understanding the Gospel, and mentally assenting to its truth”

    I also liked this statement:

    “We also reviewed a pattern across Scripture: if people are confronted with revelation but demonstrate that they are unwilling to believe, then in time God may pronounce judgment so that they are unable to believe.”

    This is a good description of what “hardening” means in the Bible. First the person receives information from God, they are unwilling to accept it, and only then does God “harden” them.

    I believe a case can be made against constitutional “inability” as you do, I would only caution you that there is a form of inability, let’s call it “informational inability” (i.e. a person cannot have faith unless they experience the preconversion work of the Spirit which includes conviction of their sin, having the identity of Jesus revealed to them, etc.) that has to be kept in mind. A person may not have a constitutional inability, but unless they receive information from the Spirit they cannot have a faith response to the gospel.

      Roland Peer

      Robert, thanks for your feedback! Great point and I need to be more careful of how I label terms. Totally agree with you that our default state is such an “informational inability” unless God steps in, which He did because He loves us. Thanks again sir.

Ron

I think the author here makes the same mistake Piper makes in his analysis: conflating God’s character (desire for all to be saved) with his divine will (to save His elect).
John 6:37 says, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.”
John 6:39 says, “This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.”
John 6:40 says, “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
These verses speak directly to the “will” of God as it relates to salvation. It’s not a secret and there’s no duality. It refers to a definite number (“all that the Father gives Me”) with no possibility of loss or reduction (“that . . . I should lose nothing”). That God’s character (particularly His compassion) extends to all persons does not dictate that His will (to save) has to be co-extensive.

    Roland Peer

    Ron,

    John 6:37,44,65 speak clearly that the Father gives people to Jesus.

    But it doesn’t speak about what the Father’s criteria are.

    Is it a mysterious, sovereign criteria?

    Or has that criteria been revealed: believe and receive Jesus as savior.

      Ronnie W Rogers

      Hello Roland

      Good word, this is precisely one of the considerations that played a part in my leaving Calvinism. In Calvinism, one assumes this, as well as others, verse says more than it does.

      Thank you

    Ronnie W Rogers

    Hello Ron

    You said “I think the author here makes the same mistake Piper makes in his analysis: conflating God’s character (desire for all to be saved) with his divine will (to save His elect).”

    First, this was not a mistake. I specifically used Piper’s chosen terminology in order to represent what he said accurately; had I chosen other terminology, I might have been accused of avoiding his precise point.

    Second, it does not matter if one uses “desire”, “will” or some other term. Some use these in ways that actually serve to confuse the issue, and obfuscate the actual conclusion of Calvinism. Just for clarity, I will employ a different term. According to Calvinism, God’s commitment to unconditional election can only, non-contradictorily, mean that God does not have a commitment to afford everyone with the genuine opportunity to go to heaven—so also limited atonement and selective regeneration.

    I do not mind that as Christian brothers we disagree, but Calvinists doggedly defending unconditional election while simultaneously eschewing its entailment always trouble me.

    Second, regarding the verses you cite, you said, “These verses speak directly to the “will” of God as it relates to salvation…..It refers to a definite number (“all that the Father gives Me”) with no possibility of loss or reduction (“that . . . I should lose nothing”).”

    Of course, it speaks to God’s will regarding salvation, and that there is in fact a definite number—known to Him—of which none will be lost. No one disagrees with this. However, an indisputable fact regarding vs. 37 is that it does not tell us everything that must transpire for this giving of the Father to the Son to happen. We all know and agree that Christ must die for sins—not a minor point missing from this verse that is supposed to lead only to the truth of Calvinism; now, since we know one thing is missing, we are on solid ground to consider whether another essential is missing. In the verses you quoted, we see (as is confirmed throughout the Scripture) the other essential is faith (vs. 40)—see other verses in the context vss. 28-29, 33, 35, 40, 47 (Ron’s response is right on target as well).

    That is, the verses you cite tell us that the Father gives people to the Son, but it does not tell us everything that is comprehended in His work or decision of whom and why to give. It also tells us that those whom He gives do not lose their salvation. Unconditional election is neither mentioned nor even hinted at. Biblically, salvation is God giving Himself for mankind (John 3:16) and calling mankind to Himself (Acts 2:39). Anything less, is manmade religion.

    You said, “That God’s character (particularly His compassion) extends to all persons does not dictate that His will (to save) has to be co-extensive.”

    I find this quite unsettling. It appears that you are comfortable with God’s will being discordant to His character. In Contrast, I would understand God’s will to be consonant with and flowing from His character. Moreover, how is it that He is salvifically compassionate (salvation is the context of our discussion and not merely giving man rain…) toward those whom He did not “will” (use any word you like) to provide salvation for—unconditional election, atonement, or selective regeneration.

    Thank you Ron, have a nice day my brother.

      Ron

      Thanks for the kind and thoughtful response. Just a couple of notes in reply:
      First, I’m not sure who you are referring to as “doggedly defending unconditional election while simultaneously eschewing its entailment.” That does not apply to me. I accept fully the implications of what I believe the Word teaches.
      Second, I do not see it as God having a “commitment” to unconditional election; it’s the simply the fact that without it, no one would ever be saved.
      Third, in verse 37, the giving precedes the coming. You and Roland (two comments above) have that backwards and apparently feel free to not only reverse the order but also insert your own list of criteria as to the basis on which God “gives” people to Christ. Calvinists believe the giving precedes the coming, which in turn encompasses whatever criteria you want to argue is the condition of God’s giving.
      Finally, you obviously think God is “salvifically compassionate” toward everyone and, therefore, must necessarily, to be consistent, “will” that everyone be saved. That brings us full circle, doesn’t it? I think conflating those two aspects of God’s nature and demanding that they be co-extensive is an error and ultimately leads to universalism. I mean, God is going to send some people to hell, right? So his “salvific compassion” obviously has some limit.

      Thanks for the good discussion.

        Ronnie W Rogers

        Hello Ron

        You said, “I’m not sure who you are referring to as “doggedly defending unconditional election while simultaneously eschewing its entailment.” That does not apply to me”’

        The article is simply addressing the need within Calvinism for a secret will (as well as other similar ideas or language) that contradicts the revealed will in order to harmonize unconditional election and Scripture’s claim that God desires all to come to repentance and salvation and has provisioned for such eventuality—see Piper’s recognition of this.

        Unconditional election, limited atonement, and selective regeneration unambiguously declare that God does not desire, will, or even care about redemption being actually accessible to everyone since He is the one that designed the plan to limit the provision to some (the elect) and exclude that essential provision for others (non-elect).

        Thus, the legitimate entailment of unconditional election is that God does not….everyone to have an actual opportunity to be saved. There are Calvinists, who are very candid about this; I greatly respect them for it, and if you are one who does this, I applaud you for your consistency and clarity. My actual reference was to my article since you did not deal with this particular. Sorry for the confusion that I caused.

        You said, “I do not see it as God having a “commitment” to unconditional election; it’s the simply the fact that without it, no one would ever be saved.”

        Surely you are aware that unconditional election is what Calvinism interprets the Scripture to teach, which is quite different from the Scripture actually teaching such. There are several scriptures that declare election, but there are none that declare unconditional election. That is an interpretation built upon many assumptions.

        Now for arguments sake, you may be right that election is unconditional (of course I do not believe you are), but you are demonstrably incorrect to declare that is the only way that anyone can be saved. The Bible does so declare that one cannot be saved apart from faith, repentance, new birth, God electing, drawing, Holy Spirit convicting etc., but it emphatically does not declare the only way to God is by unconditional election.

        You said, “in verse 37, the giving precedes the coming. You and Roland…have that backwards and apparently feel free to not only reverse the order but also insert your own list of criteria as to the basis on which God “gives” people to Christ. Calvinists believe the giving precedes the coming, which in turn encompasses whatever criteria you want to argue is the condition of God’s giving.

        First, you are correct that the giving precedes coming in verse 37. The order of the two was not my precise point; rather it is what precisely and comprehensively did God comprehend in His giving. We know that those who are given can only refer to those who are elect—chosen.

        In my previous response to you, my exact statement made this clear; I said, “It does not tell us everything that must transpire for this giving of the Father to the Son to happen. Thus, I am speaking to what is encompassed in the plan of God regarding the gift. I can only assume that you believe that the ones He gives and come are the same category known as the elect.

        That being the case, my original point stands. This verse does not tell us everything that must transpire for the Father to give the elect to the Son. That is to say, it does not tell us whether the election is unconditional or conditional. To read it as teaching unconditional or conditional is reading into the verse more than is there. To state differently, but inextricably relatedly, what did the Father comprehend in His will.

        To bolster this point (that other biblical realities may be included) is the incontrovertible evidence that Christ had to pay for sins before any giving of the elect can happen; consequently, this proves that the verse is not a complete list of what is entailed in the giving. Therefore, we are on solid ground to consider all of the Scripture in consideration of realizing the full orb components of the giving.

        I would argue that one of those is faith (vs. 40), one of the verses you quoted. Whether faith comes before or after the giving is simply not proclaimed in this verse (having been a Calvinist for 3 decades, I understand the tendency to believe that it does, but if one is careful, he will see that it does not), which is my ultimate point and seems to be still standing because I am not reversing the order as you surmised. Those that He gives (entailing all the components in His will regarding the nature of election), come, and He gives those that come according to His will to the Son.

        Even though you criticize Roland and me for having a list…you actually have a list also; maybe you precisely reject our list being part of God’s consideration in the gift rather than consequences. Regardless, this Scripture does not tell us, where the list falls or what, if any, components are in the list. That is a point that all need to heed

        You said of me, “you obviously think God is “salvifically compassionate” toward everyone and, therefore, must necessarily, to be consistent, “will” that everyone be saved.”

        I actually said, “I would understand God’s will to be consonant with and flowing from His character.” I stand by that. For clarity, I do think if God is “salvifically compassionate” toward everyone, there would be provisional evidence (atonement, sufficient grace-enablements for all etc.,), which is what I see in the Scripture. That is, He desires all to be saved, calls upon to be saved, and provisioned for such.

        I would still like to hear your answer to my question, “How is it that He salvifically loves and is compassionate toward those whom He did not “will” (use any word you like) to provide the essentials of salvation for—unconditional election, atonement, or selective regeneration?”

        You said, “That brings us full circle, doesn’t it? I think conflating those two aspects of God’s nature and demanding that they be co-extensive is an error and ultimately leads to universalism.”

        How so? If Calvinism were true, then I would agree—compatibilism etc. But it does not even get close to such in Extensivism, because of the nature of man—libertarianism etc. I am sure you are aware of some Calvinists who claim that Calvinism teaches universalism—something I disagree with. Actually, if properly understood, neither Calvinism nor Extensivism teaches or even comes close to universalism. One can only deduce such from either perspective by misunderstanding the position.

        You said, “I mean, God is going to send some people to hell, right? So his “salvific compassion” obviously has some limit.”

        Yes, it is limited by His holiness. All of His attributes flow from His nature and work in concert; He is always graciously holy and righteous, and always holy and righteously gracious. Thus, He shows compassion to all by providing what is needed for all, every individual, to be saved. However, one cannot reject His provision and enter heaven on their own. God cannot overlook one person’s sins because His grace is holy grace, and if man seeks to make it leniency, he chooses hell.

        Thanks again my brother, and please forgive me for the confusion I caused.

Jeffery Stading

Andrew,
I am new here and do not wish to jump to any conclusions about you (or John Piper for that matter) however being human I have. It seems to me you are accusing Piper of being deliberately misleading. Assuming he isn’t, your tone is quite harsh and uncharitable.
I have always assumed Piper has accepted as fact a hypercalvinist theology and is just trying to jump through all the hoops that attempt to make that position work. I don’t assume that to be purposefully misleading. I do not subscribe to Piper’s two wills or double predestination. If I did I too would have to reconcile the revealed will of God to a theology that does quite fit.

    Jim P

    You are correct. Many here would rather be skilled at un-charitableness than respectfully discuss. They are losing the sensitivity at what charitableness is.

    Andrew Barker

    Hello Jeffery: I’ll leave you to judge whether or not Piper is deliberately misleading, but the fact of the matter is, he regularly follows a particular pattern of teaching which involves stressing one point which is plainly taught in scripture. He then proceeds to explain why the clear teaching is wrong and that the calvinistic interpretation is actually what the Bible is teaching.

    I’ll give an example from http://goo.gl/phq5KC

    ******************************************
    Do Calvinists Water Down John 3:16?
    “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
    No, because John 3:16 affirms that God loved the world so that anyone who believes will be saved by the death of his Son. Both Calvinists and Arminians affirm this: All who believe will be saved by the atonement of Jesus.
    So What’s the Dispute?
    *******************************************
    So what is wrong with this? He starts with the truth of John 3:16 which is that whosoever believes ….. will have eternal life. He then changes the whosoever to ‘anyone’ which has a subtle difference in meaning and then reaffirms that both Calvinists and Arminians believe this. (BTW Piper will invariably lump all non-Calvinists as Arminians because it suits his purposes). But he doesn’t at this stage wish to alienate the reader so having changed the wording he reaffirms that this is what everyone believes so it’s safe to accept what he’s saying. He then changes ‘anyone’ to ‘all who believe’ in Jesus will be saved. He then goes on to explain that only those who God has elected ‘can believe’. So in effect John 3:16 now reads that all who God has chosen will believe in Jesus and be saved!

    In the space of a few short lines, Piper has changed the plain truth that the Gospel is universally open to ‘whosoever believes’ to a very different position where those who have already been ‘chosen’ can believe and be saved. Piper will preach that “anybody can be saved”. He’s on record as saying that “his ministry depends on it”. But he doesn’t believe ‘whosoever will’ can be saved. Is this deceitful? You decide. More importantly, what do you think scripture says? That’s the acid test!

    I would not place Piper as a hyper-Calvinist because such a beast does not presently exist. There are no current leading teachers/theologians who self identify as hyper-Calvinists, although I do think it is the only truly rational position for them to take.

      Jeffery Stading

      Thank you Andrew for the context of your statement. I am not trying to take a side. I am trying to understand the signs. I wish there where where definitions for the terms being hurled about. I am currently reading Dr. Norm Geisler’s Systematic Theology. In it he attempts to define Calvinism and subdivides the position into hyper, strict, and moderate Calvinism. What he calls moderate Calvinism seems compatible with my understanding of scripture. However, when I discussed this with some self-identified Calvinists in my circle of friends that denied it was true Calvinist. I am not so much at odds with (moderate) Calvinism as much as several other aspects of reformed theology. I am here primarily to listen and learn.

        Chris

        Jeffery

        Hope you profit from Geisler’s book. My understanding is that he makes inaccurate distinctions concerning Calvinism meaning he labels normal/average Calvinists as hyper-Calvinists.

Chris

How do you make sense of an omnipotent God willing everyone to be saved, and their not being saved? Either you answer that God has a second will (another desire as well) or one must decide that God is not omnipotent or want everyone to be saved.

I believe the Traditionalist would answer that God gives men free will which is to say that God’s other will/desire was that men would have free will and that was more important to him than everyone being saved.

Also, Piper is not a hypercalvinist. He does not hold to hypercalvinist theology. He is just a regular Calvinist.

    Lydia

    “How do you make sense of an omnipotent God willing everyone to be saved, and their not being saved? ”

    You look to Jesus Christ. Perhaps the problem is the neo Cal movement does not really focus on Jesus Christ very much at all. Perhaps it’s because Jesus seem to operate as if humans had ability and choice

    You might not even realize how much you have been brainwashed with variations of ESS. It is ingrained in the Neo Cal resurgence.

    Try Jesus. He will help you see how.

    Robert

    I don’t appreciate the way Chris frames the Traditionalist position. He first begins by asking questions that he already knows the answers to:

    “How do you make sense of an omnipotent God willing everyone to be saved, and their not being saved? Either you answer that God has a second will (another desire as well) or one must decide that God is not omnipotent or want everyone to be saved.”

    He KNOWS that the Traditionalist believes that while God desires the salvation of all and therefore provided Jesus’ atonement for all: the reason that not all end up believing is that people have free will and they choose to reject God and his salvation.

    He then presents what in logic is called the fallacy of false dilemma (i.e. you present things as if only two things are possible when there are other possibilities, most notably the possibility that someone who disagrees with you actually holds to). He gives two possibilities, either God has a second will (rejected by Traditionalists) or God is not omnipotent (also rejected by Traditionalists). The possibility that is intentionally left out is that Yes God is omnipotent, at the same time, He creates human persons with free will and He does not force them to do things.

    For example, God desires for all believers to be mature, at least that is what Paul and others say. And yet not all believers are mature, some are immature and remain so for long periods of time. Does this mean that God is not omnipotent? No, it means that people freely choose to remain immature, or they choose not to do the things that lead to maturity (such as regular Bible study, regular evangelism, regular prayer, regular meetings with other believers, etc.). Ask any pastor or elder or church leader who regularly teaches, ask them if all of their hearers are as mature in their faith as they ought to be, or as mature as God would like them to be. They will tell you No, and whether they are Calvinists or Traditionalists they will attribute this to the choices these people make or do not make. That is local church reality, and no one would infer from this reality that since God wants people to be mature and some are not, therefore God must not be mature.

    “I believe the Traditionalist would answer that God gives men free will which is to say that God’s other will/desire was that men would have free will and that was more important to him than everyone being saved.”

    Where does He get that one desire is more important than another? What Bible verse says this? There is none. This is a common Calvinist argument, trying to put God’s desires against each other. Why can’t God have desires, and His desires do not conflict with one another? Why do WE have to decide or determine which of God’s desires are of the highest priority for Him? If we try to engage in this kind of thing, aren’t we trying to know the mind of God something that is far beyond the capacity of any human person? It also gets close to “playing God” as we think we know what all of His desires are and how they work with each other.

      Robert

      My mistake, I wrote: “That is local church reality, and no one would infer from this reality that since God wants people to be mature and some are not, therefore God must not be mature.”

      I meant to say: “That is local church reality, and no one would infer from this reality that since God wants people to be mature and some are not, therefore God must not want them to be mature.”

      Chris

      Robert,

      “or God is not omnipotent (also rejected by Traditionalists)”

      Traditionalist reject that God is omnipotent? Really? In what sense?

      “Where does He get that one desire is more important than another?”

      Robert, they are competing desires. Only one or the other can happen. (Unless universalism is true) either God can save everyone or give them free will. He cannot do both. So whichever he chooses, he values more.

      So you don’t like my way of framing the issue. I guess you wouldn’t. My point is that you believe in two wills in God too…you just don’t call it that. Then Traditionalists condemn Calvinists for doing the same sort of thing they themselves do. Pot meet kettle.

        Robert

        Chris,

        Apparently you did not read what I said carefully enough,
        You wrote:

        [[Robert,
        “or God is not omnipotent (also rejected by Traditionalists)”
        Traditionalist reject that God is omnipotent? Really? In what sense?]]

        I did not say that the Traditionalist rejects God’s omniscience, I did say that the Traditionalist does reject that “God ***IS NOT*** Omnipotent.

        “Robert, they are competing desires”

        No they are not competing desires. You completely ignored my example of God desiring Christians to be mature and yet not all are mature (this is true because God both desires for them to be mature and God desires for them to choose to be mature). If God designs mankind to have free will and freely choose certain things (salvation, maturity, etc.) , then he is not going to contradict His own design plan and then force them to make these same choices. THAT is a contradiction, God contradicting His own will or plan). Similarly God does not design a plan of salvation that involves faith rather than works and then later make exceptions and save people by works (if His plan is to save them by faith and not works He is not going to contradict His own plan). To bring up examples where God wants something and that does not happen, is not necessarily an example of God having “competing desires”. God desiring to for all to be saved and at the same time that they do so choosing freely is not a competition of desires. It is actually His desire for all to believe and His desire for them to do so freely, harmonizing quite nicely.

        “Only one or the other can happen. (Unless universalism is true) either God can save everyone or give them free will.”

        You are leaving something out here in this claim.

        You speak of “God can save everyone” but what does that mean?

        If it means (as Calvinist determinist believe) God saving everyone means Him taking over their wills and forcing them to believe, that cannot occur at the same time as them having free will.

        Or does it mean God saving everyone according to His own design for salvation in which the person freely chooses to trust Him to save them?

        The Traditionalist does not claim that God forces them to believe or controls their will so they have to believe (those are Calvinistic premises, not Traditionalist premises). So you are giving us water that is dirty with your own dirt and then asking us to drink it. You are trying to put your false premises on us.

        The evidence that God is not forcing people to do His will is all over the place. Again, look at the example of Christian maturity. He wants all to be mature, but people have free will so they are not all mature. This is no competition of two different desires on His part. You have the Calvinistic premise on your brain that God forces people to do His will, that is not reality,

        “My point is that you believe in two wills in God too…you just don’t call it that. Then Traditionalists condemn Calvinists for doing the same sort of thing they themselves do. Pot meet kettle.”

        No, we don’t believe in two different wills as you do: (1) an exhaustive will for all events, (secret or sovereign will according to calvinists) and (2) a will of what God wants to happen (the revealed will according to calvinists).

        We believe that God purposes some (not all) events to occur (e.g. the crucifixion of Jesus), reveals His will in scripture (e.g. do not commit adultery) and there is no secret will that God has that decided the outcome of all events in exactly the way He wanted before He created the world and which He is now fulfilling. Put simply some things that occur in this world are what God wants to occur, some things that occur in this world are not what God wants to occur.

    Andrew Barker

    Chris: You began your post …. “How do you make sense of an omnipotent God willing everyone to be saved, and their not being saved?” What you then say is an either or answer which suggests that you have already decided that God’s omnipotence means that he operates on a might is right basis and that he is God and can and will do just whatever he likes. But the way you put your case is interesting in that it is possible to put the counter argument in just the same way. In this case, if we can successfully argue that God does not always have his own way, this means that your initial premise is incorrect. God’s omnipotence does not demand that everyone will be saved.

    Unfortunately for you, scripture is replete with examples of people not doing God’s will. So much so that it is almost axiomatic! All we like sheep have gone astray we have turned everyone …… to his own way. This is not the human race doing God’s will is it! Why in deed did Jesus teach his disciples to pray “your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” if indeed God’s will always was and must be done! It just shows that your understanding of God’s omnipotence is completely wrong. QED.

      Chris

      Andrew: You speak as if people’s violating God’s revealed will somehow invalidates my view. I agree that people do that every day. My position is not that no one can thwart God’s revealed will or moral will. However, God does have a will or purpose that will not be violated. See Isaiah 46:10. “declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’” The point of this passage is that God purposes some things, and they will stand and be accomplished, and no one will stop God.

      So there are some things that fit into the first category of God’s will (things we can do to thwart/violate God’s moral will) and things that fit into the second category (God will accomplish all his purpose). Acting as though only one of these categories exists means you only read or follow part of Scripture, and ignore the other. Some have called that skipping pages in your Bible reading.

        Robert

        Chris,

        You wrote earlier: “My point is that you believe in two wills in God too…you just don’t call it that.”

        You are claiming here that the Traditionalist believes that God has two wills, as you a calvinist believe that God has two wills. This is not true. You believe He has a secret will that exhaustively includes every event, and a revealed will where He tells us what He wants. WE DO NOT BELIEVE THAT HE HAS A WILL THAT EXHAUSTIVELY INCLUDES EVERY EVENT.

        Speaking to Andrew you now speak of two CATEGORIES rather than two wills:

        “So there are some things that fit into the first category of God’s will (things we can do to thwart/violate God’s moral will) and things that fit into the second category (God will accomplish all his purpose). Acting as though only one of these categories exists means you only read or follow part of Scripture, and ignore the other. Some have called that skipping pages in your Bible reading.”

        It seems where you are confused is that SOMETIMES God says He will do something and what He wants to do cannot be stopped or prevented from happening and will definitely happen. And it is true, SOMETIMES there are events that fall within this category. E.g. – He is going to have a final judgment, and nothing will prevent that event from occurring. Let’s call these for the sake of terminology “definite” events. Everyone who reads scripture agrees that some events are definite events (i.e. God wanted it to happen and it is going to happen and no one else is going to prevent or stop it from happening).

        While there are some of these definite events, there are also events that are not definite in this way. Take marriage as an example. God desires for marriages to be for a lifetime and yet say one spouse commits adultery and the couple are divorced. Did God make that marriage a definite event that would last for a lifetime? No, God never says he will purpose a marriage that lasts a lifetime. Did God make the adulterous event committed by one spouse a definite event? No, God does not purpose adultery (why would He when He says He hates divorce!). He says He is against adultery and commands us not to do it, so why would He make an adulterous act a definite event? No, we freely choose to commit adultery, so it was our choice to do so. Let’s call these events for the sake of terminology “indefinite events”. Indefinite events don’t have to happen and usually involve a freely made choice by someone.

        Adulterous acts do not have to happen, acts of child abuse do not have to happen, acts of sin do not have to happen, acts by believers of giving into temptation do not have to happen (especially when God promises that He always gives us a way to avoid temptation), etc. etc. Rather than speaking of two wills of God or two categories of God’s will, why not speak of whether the event that occurs (or will occur) is a definite event or an indefinite event? If we do this, we avoid lots of confusion, and we do not make mistakes such as believing or claiming or suggesting that ALL EVENTS ARE DEFINITE EVENTS (i.e. that God wills every event that occurs; try telling an abused child that God desired for that abuse to occur, there was no way it was not going to occur, God wanted it to occur and made sure that it occurred).

          Chris

          I am speaking of God’s will in two senses. At times, God speaks of his will as inviolable as in Isaiah 46 and plenty of other passages. In other places, we see people violating God’s moral will. Is this a contradiction? No. God has a moral will that he allows us to violate, but he has a will of purpose you might say that he will not allow us to violate or defeat. That would be two wills or two ways that the Bible speaks of God’s will. It seems like you have to hold to both to understand all of what Scripture says on God’s will.

          The problem for Traditionalist in this matter is that they hear Calvinists talking about God’s will (his inviolable will) not being violated. Then the Traditionalists answer that God’s will (moral, violable) is violated all of the time. We are talking about God’s will in two different categories or senses. We are right and you are right in the sense in which each of us mean what we are saying.

          “WE DO NOT BELIEVE THAT HE HAS A WILL THAT EXHAUSTIVELY INCLUDES EVERY EVENT.”

          Yeah, that’s the part where I think you must either deny his omniscience or his omnipotence or elevate free will to the highest ideal. When indefinite events occur does God stop being omniscient and omnipotent? Are those events he is unable to prevent?

            Robert

            Chris,

            “I am speaking of God’s will in two senses. At times, God speaks of his will as inviolable as in Isaiah 46 and plenty of other passages. In other places, we see people violating God’s moral will. Is this a contradiction? No. God has a moral will that he allows us to violate, but he has a will of purpose you might say that he will not allow us to violate or defeat. That would be two wills or two ways that the Bible speaks of God’s will. It seems like you have to hold to both to understand all of what Scripture says on God’s will.”

            Sorry Chris, this is a bit disingenuous here. You know full well that when someone like Piper speaks of the “secret will” they are speaking of an exhaustive plan in which **every event** (with no exceptions) is decided beforehand by God, and then fulfilled as what we call history.

            And there ARE CONTRADICTIONS between this supposed total and exhaustive plan and what God says in scripture/what you calvinsits like to call the “moral law”.

            Here is one example, though they could be multiplied endlessly. God ordains every act of adultery that occurs as it is part of the secret will, the total plan. At the same time He tells us in the Bible not to commit adultery. That is a contradiction because He tells us not to do the very thing that He ordains every time it occurs according to the secret will. He says lots of things in the Bible to do or not do, and yet He ordains every contrary of what He says, because He is fulfilling the total will/the secret will. So there are definitely contradictions between the claim of a total will that is all encompassing taking in every event that ever occurs and a claim that God also has a moral will expressed in scripture.

            [[ “WE DO NOT BELIEVE THAT HE HAS A WILL THAT EXHAUSTIVELY INCLUDES EVERY EVENT.”
            Yeah, that’s the part where I think you must either deny his omniscience or his omnipotence or elevate free will to the highest ideal. When indefinite events occur does God stop being omniscient and omnipotent? Are those events he is unable to prevent?]]

            Again, your logic is flawed and does not follow.

            It does not follow from the premise that God is omniscient and God is omnipotent, that there must then be a total plan, a secret will in which every event is ordained. God can be, and is, both omniscient and omnipotent, even while NOT ORDAINING EVERY EVENT THAT OCCURS.

            God knowing everything, omniscience, goes fine with people having free will and making choices (it means only that whatever choice we end up making God knows them all before we make them, that is ordinarily called foreknowledge and Traditionalists believe that God foreknows everything).

            God being all powerful, omnipotent, goes fine with people having free will, **if** God himself decided to create mankind with this capacity (or are you claiming that God cannot create people with the capacity for free will? If you claim that, you are in fact denying that he is omnipotent). It seems to me that God as creator designed us to be exactly what we are (i.e. two legs, two arms, one brain, one body, a capacity to have and make our own choices/free will, etc. etc.).

              rhutchin

              Robert writes, “God can be, and is, both omniscient and omnipotent, even while NOT ORDAINING EVERY EVENT THAT OCCURS.”

              This argument comes straight out of the Open theist handbook. I sense Robert drifting into Open Theism.

              Chris

              Robert,

              I appreciate Your interacting with me on these issues. We both think the other is wrong. We can agree to disagree.

              I am curious. Do you think Calvinists are non-Christians?

                Robert

                Chris,

                You wrote:

                [[“We both think the other is wrong. We can agree to disagree.

                I am curious. Do you think Calvinists are non-Christians?”]]

                This is really a stupid question, the fact that you would even bring it up indicates some of the major problems with Calvinists such as yourself.

                Do you really think that even for a moment that I would consider ****ALL**** CALVINISTS to be non-Christians???????????

                In my experience I have more than once seen Calvinists claim that all non-Calvinists are unsaved persons (especially when it comes to Arminians). It is very sad and wrong for these Calvinists to think this way. It is even possible that those who **do** think this way **are** non-Christians. It is just as sad and wrong for a non-Calvinist to think that all calvinists are unsaved persons.

                I take what Jesus says in Matt. 7 about the “Lord, Lord” people very seriously. Jesus tells us in that passage that MANY people will profess to be His followers at the final judgment and they are self-deceived. They think they are believers but they are not. The fact that Jesus says there will be many of these people indicates they are not a small minority or the exception. What this also means is that in every congregation you will have a mix of genuine believers, genuine unbelievers, and people who think they are saved but in reality are not (i.e. “Lord, Lord” people). Note I said in **every** congregation. This is true of whatever Christian group you want to consider. There is always this mixture (if you examine the current state of the SBC with so many who are Southern Baptists and yet not attending their local church meetings on a regular basis, this is evidence of the presence of “Lord, Lord” people in the SBC).

                If you ask me if Catholics are non-Christians? I will answer that some Catholics are saved and some are not.

                If you ask me if Baptists are non-Christians? I will answer that some Baptists are saved and some are not.

                Now based upon this way of thinking how do you think I am going to answer your question:
                “Do you think Calvinists are non-Christians?”

                Some Calvinists are non-Christians, some Calvinists are genuine believers.

                One of my early discipleship leaders was a Calvinist and I (and others) have no doubt he is a saved person. On the other hand, I have seen some Calvinists, especially on the internet, who seem to be non-Christians based upon the extreme pride they manifest (God makes it very clear that he hates pride, a prideful Christian is an oxymoron, and may even be indicative that the person is not saved, God gives grace to the humble and resists the proud remember?), the way they act towards other believers (e.g. claiming the other believer is not a Christian because they challenge or criticize or reject Calvinism, acting as if they alone take the Bible seriously and other believers who reject Calvinism do not, falsely accusing other believers, we have one guy who is even posting on this thread who regularly and repeatedly will falsely accuse non-Calvinists of being “universalists” for holding to universal atonement, who will question people’s salvation and he is doing so yet again on this blog).

                You can disagree with another believer, and at the same time not claim they are non-believers if they believe differently. You can think their theology at some point is completely off base, and yet you believe they are still a brother or sister in Christ.

                Having said all this, I have disagreed with you Chris, I have never suggested or implied that you are not a believer.

                And yet you come along and ask your question.

                What were you thinking?

                If you agree with what I have said here, then your question would never even come up. You could disagree, and we could disagree agreeably, but to ask that question about whether ALL CALVINISTS are non-believers, that is really a stupid question.

                  rhutchin

                  “…Matt. 7 about the “Lord, Lord” people very seriously. Jesus tells us in that passage that MANY people will profess to be His followers at the final judgment and they are self-deceived. They think they are believers but they are not.”

                  To be more specific, these people base their salvation on their works – “…did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?”

Lydia

Jeffrey, you must be very sheltered if you think that is harsh.

I will go further. Piper is misleading on the subject of domestic violence. He will say it is wrong and say the wife should take abuse for a season. So, which one is it?

That is classic Piper.

Of course when this is discussed we are always told that we misunderstood Piper by Piper followers.

Piper is very flowery and verbose. He is often very misleading because of the way he communicates. It’s as if he really wants to teach one thing only but knows that he cannot get by with it.

Been reading and listening to the guy for over 15 years. His tweets are a special interest these days.

Now. You have harsh! :o)

    Dennis Lee Dabney

    Rhutchin,

    The “Broadway” False Prophets will have some of these lost souls blood on their hands.

    The text renders 2 entrances which leads to 2 ways, consequently
    arriving at 2 different destinations.

    There are also 2 prophets here before us , the false and the other Prophet Moses spoke of who is actually speaking, the Lord from glory.

    For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.

    And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.

    The false prophets with all their “broad”, flowery proclamations among the fathers, and the false teachers and all their “wide”, vague messages amongst us, stand at the entrance and within these 2 ways.

    Preach!

Jeffery Stading

Lydia,

I wish to be funny and say, yes I am sheltered, sheltered in the arms of the Lord. But to your post, I have never read one of Piper’s books cover to cover. I have read a few blog posts that have been sent my way. If he states a person must take abuse from a spouse and not seek safety he must not interpret Jesus’ and Paul’s teachings on marriage as I do. However I find many do not and that has little to do with the reformed/ non reformed issue.

I am new here and may I should read more before posting as there seems to be much animosity here. Paul taught the church to avoid harsh words. I believe there is a call for charity in our dialogue. As I stated before, I assume (without know for sure) that Piper is not intentionally misleading but is instead desperately attempting to reconcile double predestination with God’s Word.

I am reading these post attempting to best work out my understanding of the issues. Unfortunately, I find many personal attacks from people on either side that make it difficult for me to find answers to questions I have. I am reluctant to ask for fear of a public shaming because I don’t know exactly where I stand.

    Jon Estes

    Jeffery –

    “I am new here and may I should read more before posting as there seems to be much animosity here.”

    Only if you disagree with the locals.

      Lydia

      “Only if you disagree with the locals.”

      Like Jon, too. :o)

    Lydia

    Jeffrey, they are positively dripping with kindness here compared to engaging the YRR/Neo Cal movement in person or when they are taking over the church. They don’t allow serious dissagreement on blogs. They ban and block like crazy.

    There is a discussion going on now how TGC blocks and bans so many on their site and Twitter. Then they pretend they don’t.

    Count your blessings. SbcVoices blocks all the time. Sorry to be harsh. Some truths are negative.

      Chris

      If this site is dripping with kindness, kindness is no longer something one would want to receive.

rhutchin

Pastor Rogers opens, “Recognizing that the simple and straightforward message of Scripture is that God loves everyone and truly desires for everyone to hear the gospel and be saved by faith in Christ leads some Calvinists like John Piper to postulate that God has a secret will in which He does not desire everyone to be saved.”

In Ephesians 1, Paul tells the believers of Ephesus (and by extension, all believers), “God chose us in Christ before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” This tells us that God did something regarding believers before the creation of the world. If God truly desired everyone to be saved, then it follows that the “us” to whom Paul refers is everyone. That is the Univeralist position and no one would complain if it were the correct understanding of this verse. However, many understand the Scriptures to point to some number less than all being saved. God is said to have chosen believers for a purpose before the foundation of the world. By omniscience, we conclude that God knew those believers before the foundation of the world and would also have known those who would not believe (regardless how one came to believe or not believe). God’s desire may be that everyone should hear the gospel and be saved, but His will applies to those who would actually be saved. If it were the will of God that all be saved, then all would be saved. Pastor Rogers does not seem to have differentiated two wills of God but simply differentiated God’s desire from God’s will. This appears to be the same distinction that Piper makes.

    Alan House

    @rhutchin, ” If it were the will of God that all be saved, then all would be saved.” I had to laugh a little bit when I read this line. 1. It is stated as though it is either scripture or a universally acknowledged truth derived from scripture and it is neither. 2. By making this particular argument, you have just made the calvinist God responsible for willing each and every sin committed from eternity past to the present. Now since many calvinists believe that (God’s willing of all sins) is OK because they and their automatically elect children, grandchildren (and so on and so forth) are not going to be adversely affected, I understand how you can swallow that whopper. But many of us out here take a jaded view of people who can so casually write off hundreds of millions of souls to eternal punishment because, “that’s God’s will for them!” I mean, it won’t come near YOUR backyard, will it?

    Andrew Barker

    rhutchin: You write … “If God truly desired everyone to be saved, then it follows that the “us” to whom Paul refers is everyone.” This is just plainly an incorrect assumption on your part and the text does not demand the meaning you have sought to attribute to it. He was addressing the believers in Ephesus and by inference we can say he was speaking to the ‘us’ which includes all believers. But there is nothing to suggest the word ‘us’ means everyone in the world and I can’t see where you’ve got this from.

    Ronnie W Rogers

    Hello rhutchin

    You said, “God chose us in Christ before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.”

    Of course, God chose, and of course, He did so in eternity past. That is not the disagreement. Calvinist say that He created man with compatible freedom and that such choosing is unconditional. Extensivists say He sovereignly and freely chose to create man in His image with otherwise choice, and comprehended such in His redemptive plan.

    The Extensivist perspective seems to better harmonize the “election” verses and the conditional ones, which are ubiquitous. This is evidenced by Calvinism’s continual need to create extra-biblical concepts to provide harmony, and Extensivists lack of such need.

    Thus, regarding election, the difference is what the Scripture indicates that God comprehended in His choosing. The terms election, predestination etc., do not tell us what He comprehended in such, but only that it is according to His will, and therefore, under His sovereignty. Accordingly, our disagreement is regarding what the Scripture reflects to be His will—did He comprehend actual otherwise choice in His plan? Calvinists say no.

    You said, “God’s desire may be that everyone should hear the gospel and be saved, but His will applies to those who would actually be saved. If it were the will of God that all be saved, then all would be saved.”

    First, you make God’s “desire” for all to be saved to contradict His “will” not to provision for such reality because in Calvinism, the distinction between the two groups is not merely who will be saved, but who can (is the provision accessible, and you know it is not in Calvinism). Consequently, you have failed to eliminate Calvinism’s contradiction. This is a contradiction that exists in Calvinism but not Extensivism, creative phraseology notwithstanding. Thus, Piper’s two will theory.

    Second, My article gave two examples of the use of both Greek words from which these kind of arguments are made, and both of them are applied to God’s desire (will) regarding salvation; hence, such distinction which you are suggesting tend to be significantly obscurant of the real issue.

    My response to Ron earlier is appropriate here. I said, “it does not matter if one uses “desire”, “will” or some other term. Some use these in ways that actually serve to confuse the issue, and obfuscate the actual conclusion of Calvinism. Just for clarity, I will employ a different term.

    According to Calvinism, God’s commitment to unconditional election can only, non-contradictorily, mean that God does not have a commitment to afford everyone with the genuine opportunity to go to heaven—so also limited atonement and selective regeneration.” Therefore, He cannot will to withhold necessaries for the possibility of salvation for some and simultaneously genuinely desire their salvation. I respect you enough to believe that you recognize this reality.

    You said, “Pastor Rogers does not seem to have differentiated two wills of God but simply differentiated God’s desire from God’s will. This appears to be the same distinction that Piper makes.”

    This is a common practice of Calvinists, which is to attempt to palliate a problem that is unique to Calvinism due to unconditional election, limited atonement, and selective regeneration by phrasing the issue so that Extensivists appear have the same problem. Unfortunately, it is persuasive to some who do not understand the genesis of the problem, but not for those who do.

    Being intentionally redundant, the contradiction in Calvinism is between what God’s genesiacal provision was for the salvation of some (the elect), and His withholding of such provision from others (the non-elect)—note there is no escaping Calvinism’s “mystery” when one avoids the slippery words. Thus, Piper and I are not saying the same and employing contrast between will and desire serve to resolve the contradiction no more than the secret will theory, being a consistent Calvinist means that one must live with such, and speak clearly about it.

    For the record, I actually respect John Piper and consider him a godly and knowledgeable man. The problem that I addressed is the result of Calvinism’s unabashed belief that unconditional election is correct while being very unwilling to live with the entailments of such beliefs.

    Thank you and have a nice day.

      rhutchin

      Pastor Rogers writes, “Calvinist say that He created man with compatible freedom and that such choosing is unconditional. Extensivists say He sovereignly and freely chose to create man in His image with otherwise choice, and comprehended such in His redemptive plan.”

      I think we can explain in more detail. Calvinists say that God created Adam with “otherwise choice” (LFW) and that freedom of will was corrupted by Adam’s sin so that Adam had free will (but not as free as before his sin) and was slave to his corrupted nature and could not choose other than to sin. God then regenerates His elect, restoring “otherwise choice” (LFW) with the natural result that the person accepts salvation. It seems to me that Extensivists maintain that people never lost “otherwise choice” as a consequence of Adam’s sin; thus people could still choose to do good (especially salvation) not being confined to only choosing to sin.

      Then, “Thus, regarding election, the difference is what the Scripture indicates that God comprehended in His choosing. The terms election, predestination etc., do not tell us what He comprehended in such, but only that it is according to His will, and therefore, under His sovereignty. Accordingly, our disagreement is regarding what the Scripture reflects to be His will—did He comprehend actual otherwise choice in His plan? Calvinists say no.”

      Not exactly. Calvinists say that “otherwise choice” was lost when Adam sinned; God then restores it through regeneration. Thus, God comprehended “otherwise choice” in His plan under Calvinism, but God had to provide “otherwise choice” to those He chose to save to enable them to choose salvation, which they would naturally do once regenerated (that decision being a no-brainer).

      Then “First, you make God’s “desire” for all to be saved to contradict His “will” not to provision for such reality because in Calvinism, the distinction between the two groups is not merely who will be saved, but who can (is the provision accessible, and you know it is not in Calvinism). Consequently, you have failed to eliminate Calvinism’s contradiction. This is a contradiction that exists in Calvinism but not Extensivism, creative phraseology notwithstanding. Thus, Piper’s two will theory. ”

      What I have done (and what I think Piper does) is to define God’s desire as a synergistic relationship with people. God gives the Ten Commandments with the intent that people obey, yet God does not force people to obey but gives them freedom to disobey. Similarly, God provides the means of salvation (Christ’s death) and then gives people the freedom to choose. Thus, God’s “desire” is expressed in synergistic relationships with people whereby both parties must agree on what to do. God’s will is that which God brings about regardless what people think or want to do. So, we can say that God desires that all be saved (that people freely choose salvation) but God wills that only His elect be saved (a result brought about by God’s active role in the person’s life). So, God wills that all people be free wot choose whether to accept salvation (which results in many rejections) and wills to bring His elect to salvation (where His involvement results in zero rejections)

      Then, “According to Calvinism, God’s commitment to unconditional election can only, non-contradictorily, mean that God does not have a commitment to afford everyone with the genuine opportunity to go to heaven—so also limited atonement and selective regeneration.” Therefore, He cannot will to withhold necessaries for the possibility of salvation for some and simultaneously genuinely desire their salvation. I respect you enough to believe that you recognize this reality. ”

      That is why I think Piper tries to differentiate two wills as “desire” and “will” where God’s desire reflects a synergistic relationship with people free to choose and God’s will reflects the absence of a synergistic relationship where God brings about the outcome He wants regardless a person’s choice.

      Then, “Being intentionally redundant, the contradiction in Calvinism is between what God’s genesiacal provision was for the salvation of some (the elect), and His withholding of such provision from others (the non-elect)—note there is no escaping Calvinism’s “mystery” when one avoids the slippery words. Thus, Piper and I are not saying the same and employing contrast between will and desire serve to resolve the contradiction no more than the secret will theory, being a consistent Calvinist means that one must live with such, and speak clearly about it.”

      The use of mystery by the Calvinist only means that God knew who was to be saved and who would not when He created the world and He does not tells us who fits in which category. Thus, God can speak of desiring that all be saved (through their own free choice) all the while knowing who will be saved (necessarily, by His choice).

      Finally,”The problem that I addressed is the result of Calvinism’s unabashed belief that unconditional election is correct while being very unwilling to live with the entailments of such beliefs.”

      I don’t really understand how you arrive at this conclusion, but hope to down the road.

        Ronnie W Rogers

        Hello rhutchin

        In response to my claim that Calvinists believe in compatibilism, you said, “Calvinists say that God created Adam with “otherwise choice” (LFW)… corrupted by Adam’s sin so that Adam had free will (but not as free as before his sin) and was slave to his corrupted nature and could not choose other than to sin.”

        First, this quote actually gives the Extensivist’ position. The fall did not eradicate LF, but the range of options changed—which happens all the time within a LF perspective. Thus, man still had otherwise choice in many areas, but he could not make a righteous or spiritually restorative choice without God’s provision of grace-enablements, which restore those options to fallen man, and are provided to all mankind. This is consistent with God’s desire that all believe unto salvation—I go into the detail regarding this in other articles I have written on SBC Today.

        Second, quite contrary to your position, Calvinist, both historically and contemporaneously argue for what is now called compatibilism and vehemently against Libertarian freedom; for example, Augustine, Calvin, Luther, Heinrich Bullinger, Francis Turretin, Hodge, Strong, Edwards, and even moderate Calvinists like Shedd and Erickson. Even four point Calvinists such as Chafer are as well, and the list goes on. I am presently reading “Divine Sovereignty & Human Freedom, D.A Carson, & What About Free Will, Scott Christensen, both of whom are knowledgeable mainstream Calvinists and both espouses compatibilism and argues relentlessly against libertarianism.

        Maintaining libertarian freedom places you outside of mainstream Calvinism, and holding one of the, (might even say at the end of the day, THE) most pervasive ideas that divides Calvinism and Extensivism.

        Calvinism’s adoption of compatibilism is because it is consistent with Calvinism’s perspective regarding sovereignty, which allows human freedom to be consistent with absolute, unilateral divine control of everything that takes place. This micro-predetermination includes every “free” action of created persons. God does whatever it takes to make sure that each person has the appropriate desires from which each person will freely choose to do precisely what He wants them to. Thus, everything happens exactly as God wills (use desire if you wish) and everything that is, at any given second, is precisely as it is designed to be. LF results not in guaranteed outcome, but contingencies, which is what is Calvinism claims is incongruent their understanding of sovereignty and therefore, they reject it.

        Third, you said, “God then regenerates His elect, restoring “otherwise choice” (LFW) with the natural result that the person accepts salvation.”

        Your comment here seems to arise from a misunderstanding of LF because the very nature of LF is that it does not guarantee a certain outcome; that is actually an essential and irreconcilable distinction between libertarian and compatibilism. Libertarianism entails that man must be able to act or refrain, and that given the same past he can choose A or B, which compatibilism rejects. Thus, there is no “natural” result to accept salvation included in the concept of libertarianism, of which Adam is the quintessential example that God’s work may be rejected by man’s choice—all of which is according to God’s sovereign plan.

        You said, “It seems to me that Extensivists maintain that people never lost “otherwise choice” as a consequence of Adam’s sin; thus people could still choose to do good (especially salvation) not being confined to only choosing to sin.”

        No, this is inaccurate—see my above response.

        You said, “Calvinists say that “otherwise choice” was lost when Adam sinned; God then restores it through regeneration. Thus, God comprehended “otherwise choice” in His plan under Calvinism.” but God had to provide “otherwise choice” to those He chose to save to enable them to choose salvation, which they would naturally do once regenerated (that decision being a no-brainer).

        See above that you have misunderstood Calvinism, their view of the nature of man, and libertarian (otherwise choice—not present in any form in compatibilism) freedom.

        In response to this statement by me, “First, you make God’s “desire” for all to be saved to contradict His “will” not to provision for such reality because in Calvinism, the distinction between the two groups is not merely who will be saved, but who can (is the provision accessible, and you know it is not in Calvinism). Consequently, you have failed to eliminate Calvinism’s contradiction.”

        You said, “What I have done (and what I think Piper does) is to define God’s desire as a synergistic relationship with people.”

        First, an essential of Calvinism is that prior to regeneration, salvation is monergistic, and only subsequent to the quickening or regeneration does it become synergistic. Again, you have argued the position of Extensivism (synergism), which is what Calvinism utterly rejects.

        You said, “God provides the means of salvation (Christ’s death) and then gives people the freedom to choose. Thus, God’s “desire” is expressed in synergistic relationships with people whereby both parties must agree on what to do. God’s will is that which God brings about regardless what people think or want to do.

        First see monergism above.

        Second, Calvinism position of limited atonement entails that salvation is not provided for the non-elect since Christ’s death did not efficaciously (use whatever word you desire, but it did not atone for their sins so that the possibility of forgiveness of sin and therefore, salvation exists). To wit, there is no provision in limited atonement so that non-elect can actually access salvation.

        God’s desire is not expressed in synergism, but monergism, which is withheld from the non-elect. Again, you are presenting something much closer to Extensivism than Calvinism, other than you continue to posit God’s desire in absolute irreconcilable conflict with His will, which is not biblically necessary, and therefore, not necessary to Extensivism, but only Calvinism.

        You said, “So, we can say that God desires that all be saved (that people freely choose salvation) but God wills that only His elect be saved.”

        As gently as I can say it, you have utterly failed to address my challenge, which was, “You make God’s “desire” for all to be saved to contradict His “will” not to provision for such reality because in Calvinism, the distinction between the two groups is not merely who will be saved, but who can (is the provision accessible, and you know it is not in Calvinism). Consequently, you have failed to eliminate Calvinism’s contradiction.”

        You are still seeking to do the impossible of positing God’s desire for all to be saved as consistent with His will, desire, to withhold the very thing they need to be saved—via unconditional election, limited effective atonement, selective regeneration—God’s active role.

        By the way, in a previous response above, you sought to argue the LF that was lost at the fall is only restored at regeneration, saying, “God then restores it through regeneration.” Thus, surely you can see that God withholds this act from the non-elect, according to Calvinism; hence, my point stands.

        You said, “….Piper tries to differentiate two wills as “desire” and “will” where God’s desire reflects a synergistic relationship”

        Piper is a strong proponent of monergism.

        You said, “where God brings about the outcome He wants regardless a person’s choice.”

        No one is arguing this, both compatibilism and libertarian include free choice, it is the location of the choice in the process of salvation that is different, and the former does not include otherwise choice.

        You said, “The use of mystery by the Calvinist only means that God knew who was to be saved and who would not when He created the world and He does not tells us who fits in which category.”

        I am sorry, but this is a grievous error. We all believe this and it is not a mystery. The reliance upon mystery within Calvinism is most often related to the conundrum regarding the Scriptures portrayal of God loving all, desiring all to be saved, being omnibenevolent etc., and unconditional election, limited atonement and selective regeneration; that is withholding the very things the non-elect need for salvation according to Calvinism and yet salvifically loving them.

        In response to my statement, “The problem that I addressed is the result of Calvinism’s unabashed belief that unconditional election is correct while being very unwilling to live with the entailments of such beliefs.”
        You said, “I don’t really understand how you arrive at this conclusion, but hope to down the road.”

        I see that you do not because I have stated the dilemma several times. Unconditional election, limited atonement, selective regeneration, monergistic work withheld from non-elect, entails, that God does not, in any meaningful sense, desire for everyone to have opportunity to be saved. You simply cannot have it both ways. Therefore, within Calvinism it presents an “inscrutable mystery”

        I know you are a Calvinist, but some of your views are very incongruent with mainstream Calvinism. I found myself in that situation at one time even though I continued to claim to be a Calvinist. Finally, the stack of anomalies became so gargantuan, and out of respect to my Calvinist brothers and sisters, and for the sake of clarity of the issues for all, I doffed the label. Respectfully, I think it is worth your consideration.

        Thank you my brother for the dialogue

          rhutchin

          Pastor Rogers writes, “Maintaining libertarian freedom places you outside of mainstream Calvinism, and holding one of the, (might even say at the end of the day, THE) most pervasive ideas that divides Calvinism and Extensivism.”

          What I described and what you described both depart from LFW. I don’t see a difference. The key issue is the salvation decision. Calvinism says that man became a slave to sin when Adam sinned and thereby lost any ability to do other than sin – the person does not seek God or desire to seek God; he desires his own glory and his sin. You say the same thing, “the range of options changed…man still had otherwise choice in many areas, but he could not make a righteous or spiritually restorative choice without God’s provision of grace-enablements…” I see no difference between your position on free will and Calvinism. If there is a difference between your position and Calvinism, I don’t see it.

          Where you seem to differ from the Calvinists is when you say, “God’s provision of grace-enablements, which restore those options to fallen man, and are provided to all mankind.” Here “…are provided to all mankind,” is the difference. By all mankind, you mean both those whom God knows will be saved and those whom God knows will not be saved. The Calvinist concludes that there is no purpose and nothing to be gained by God grace-enabling those He knows will not be saved, so why do it. However, if you have God doing so, So what? – it changes nothing and is a gesture. Consequently, you really don’t differ from the Calvinists; your description just makes it more palatable for some people.

          Then, “…contrary to your position, Calvinist, both historically and contemporaneously argue for what is now called compatibilism and vehemently against Libertarian freedom;”

          The confusion was probably on my part. I maintain that Adam’s sin resulted in the loss of LFW with regard to salvation. A person was still free (we could even say he had LFW) to sin (within the constraints imposed by God). I’m pretty sure this is the Calvinist position. The compatiblilism/LFW argument is the Pelagian/Augustine argument and it deals with the ability of a person to be saved – we both agree with the compatibilists that salvation is not possible without grace-enablement. When you later say, “See above that you have misunderstood Calvinism,” hopefully we can agree that this is not the case.

          Then, “Calvinism’s adoption of compatibilism is because it is consistent with Calvinism’s perspective regarding sovereignty, which allows human freedom to be consistent with absolute, unilateral divine control of everything that takes place.”

          As the Calvinist would say, man’s will is subordinate to God’s will.

          rhutchin

          Pastor Rogers writes, “you have utterly failed to address my challenge, which was, “You make God’s “desire” for all to be saved to contradict His “will” not to provision for such reality because in Calvinism,…You are still seeking to do the impossible of positing God’s desire for all to be saved as consistent with His will, desire, to withhold the very thing they need to be saved…Piper is a strong proponent of monergism.”

          The effort here was to sort out Piper’s position. I can have difficulty understanding Piper’s position on this, but I think Piper is consistent with Calvinist in distinguishing between God’s decretive will and God’s moral will. Piper associates God’s “desire” with God’s moral will. God gives the Ten Commandments with the “desire” that Israel obey them but God also gives Israel the freedom to disobey those commandments if they choose and then the sacrificial system to deal with disobedience (thus, a synergistic relationship). Piper has God’s discretive will – whom He will save – being entirely monergistic.

          Then, “You are still seeking to do the impossible of positing God’s desire for all to be saved as consistent with His will, desire, to withhold the very thing they need to be saved—via unconditional election, limited effective atonement, selective regeneration—God’s active role.”

          Not necessarily. My position is the standard Calvinist position – the term, “all men” does not refer to each and every individual but to classes of people – not the Jew only but also the gentile (this in line with Paul’s epiphany in Ephesians 3). I see this resolving the issue.

          Then, “I am sorry, but this is a grievous error. …The reliance upon mystery within Calvinism is most often related to the conundrum regarding the Scriptures portrayal of God loving all, desiring all to be saved, being omnibenevolent etc., and unconditional election, limited atonement and selective regeneration; that is withholding the very things the non-elect need for salvation according to Calvinism and yet salvifically loving them.”

          I’ll go with John Owen on this in his Death of Death. Owen asks (paraphrased), “What is God’s desire toward those that He knows He has no intent to save?” This issue is not unique to Calvinism. Even you agree that God knew those who were to be saved and those who were not to be saved when He created the world. Given that God knows this, how are we to understand those verses with their “portrayal of God loving all, desiring all to be saved, being omnibenevolent etc.” In what sense does God love those He has no intent to save or desire their salvation, or threat them with omnibenevolence? It is the universalist who has the high road here where they ask, “How can God be said to love all people and not save all people;? How can God be said to desire all to be saved and not save all people? I see you being in the position of having to respond to the Universalists just as the Calvinist.

          Then, “I see that you do not because I have stated the dilemma several times. Unconditional election, limited atonement, selective regeneration, monergistic work withheld from non-elect, entails, that God does not, in any meaningful sense, desire for everyone to have opportunity to be saved. You simply cannot have it both ways. Therefore, within Calvinism it presents an ‘inscrutable mystery.’”

          The real issue here is to deal with God’s knowledge of those that will be saved and those that will not be saved that He had when He created the world and set off the sequence of events that led to some being saved and others not. I don’t see the dilemma being unique to Calvinism but arises because of God’s knowledge (His omniscience) which includes those to be saved and those not to be saved.

          Finally, “I know you are a Calvinist, but some of your views are very incongruent with mainstream Calvinism.”

          I tend to think otherwise – but there are times were I disagree with Sproul and others but that is rare and involve issues of minutia.

rhutchin

Andrew Barker writes, “there is nothing to suggest the word ‘us’ means everyone in the world and I can’t see where you’ve got this from.”

That’s the point. It is believers of whom Paul speaks and it is believers that were known to God before the foundation of the world to the extent that God predestined them to be adopted as his sons and this in accordance with his pleasure and will (not based on anything they would do – not by works).

    Andrew Barker

    rhutchin: Sorry but you’re just talking nonsense. Paul isn’t addressing everyone in the world in Eph 1. So when you say “it follows that the “us” to whom Paul refers is everyone” your just making it up as you go along.

      rhutchin

      The Univeralist says that God will save everyone – thus everyone will become a believer. Even you concede that “us” refers to believers. So, we merely need to identify believers. If God will save all, then all are believers and Paul is addressing everyone. This is not nonsense (except in the sense that the Scriptures provide strong language to the effect that God is not going to save everyone). I think your complaint is with the Universalist on this point and not me.

        Andrew Barker

        rhutchin: Universalist? That would be difficult. I’ve never knowingly met one, certainly not here on this site!

rhutchin

I wrote, “If it were the will of God that all be saved, then all would be saved.”

Alan House responded, “I had to laugh a little bit when I read this line. 1. It is stated as though it is either scripture or a universally acknowledged truth derived from scripture and it is neither. ”

In Daniel 4, we read: “God’s dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No-one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?” This is the testimony of a pagan; if a pagan can figure that out, so should we. God does as He pleases. If God wanted to save everyone, He could and would. Would He not?

Then, “2. By making this particular argument, you have just made the calvinist God responsible for willing each and every sin committed from eternity past to the present. ”

Isn’t God responsible for every sin? Of course, this does not mean that God causes every sin. However, think of any sin you want. Is it not true that God was present as that sin was being committed and that observed every moment of that sin? Did not God have the power to intervene and bring that sin to a stop even to preventing the sin from happening? As God stood there observing the situation, didn’t God make a decision that He would not intervene to stop the sin? After all, God is sovereign over His creation and nothing happens without His knowledge and without Him deciding that it should happen – otherwise it could not happen. If God is not in full control of His creation, then someone else is and that someone was able to take control away from God. But that is impossible – even a pagan figured that out.

    Dennis Lee Dabney

    Rhutchin,

    What does Daniel 4 have to do with the mystery of the Kingdom of God concerning salvation?

    Also the serpent in the Garden of Eden said, For God doth “Know” that in the day ye eat thereof . . .

    He blamed the Omniscience of God and these were Satan’s words when he accused the LORD God of having a secret will.

    Later Adam leveled an accusation against the LORD God regarding His “Goodness” when he said, “the woman whom Thou gavest to be with me.

    Adam blamed the LORD God partly for his sin and by doing so implicated Him in the Fall of having also a secret will.

    Both Satan before the Fall and Adam after the offense implicated God in that He had a secret will.

    Preach!
    .

      Dennis Lee Dabney

      And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not of it:

      This was the commanded will of God to man, obey and live. This was the known will of God once it was declared.

      Not two wills or even two options. Only one will to live by. There wasn’t a secret will in which the Lord God preferred over the above words.

      He went on to say: for in the day that thou eateth thereof thou shalt surely die.

      As Dr Adrian Rogers used to say, the Lord is telling His children to help themselves when He says yes. And don’t hurt yourselves when He says no.

      Preach!

        rhutchin

        DLD writes, “This was the commanded will of God to man, obey and live. This was the known will of God once it was declared. ”

        The commands of God reflect His will and they involve a synergistic relationship with people. God commands but then gives people the freedom to determine the outcome Not everything that God wills involves a synergistic relationship with people where God gives people the freedom to determine the outcome.

          Dennis Lee Dabney

          Rhutchin,

          He has provided “salvation” for all, yet not without conditions. All will be raised, dead or alive. All will receive a resurrection body adorned for glory or fit for Hell.

          The Lord Jesus Christ had to meet certain rigorous conditions in order to make salvation available to all and for all.

          God the Father has given His Son the Lord Jesus Christ and His Son gave His life.

          Look like to me the Hell deserving, Lake of fire doomed sinner could at least if it’s not too much trouble REPENT AND BELIEVE THE GOSPEL.

          Preach!

            Dennis Lee Dabney

            Rhutchin,

            Adam discovered in short order that he was created to glorify God as he
            worked for God, as he worked with God or else he was out, twice dead, in trespasses and sins and eventually his body falling to the earth.

            In order for any of his “kind” to be saved, all must cooperate, obey, heed the gospel.

            He doesn’t zap the ungodly with life then command them to repent.

            The Holy Scriptures are clear, the Lord Jesus Christ said, Repent and believe the gospel.

            Repent and live, refuse and remain dead!

            Preach!

              rhutchin

              “In order for any of his “kind” to be saved, all must cooperate, obey, heed the gospel.”

              And if that did not work, there was Plan B – God’s grace.

                Dennis Lee Dabney

                Rhutchin,

                There is no gospel without the grace of God.

                There was no plan B, only the Grace of God, His Labor of Love, in the Lamb of God slain before the foundation of the world, who alone taketh away the sin of the world.

                Preach!

                  rhutchin

                  “There was no plan B, only the Grace of God…”

                  Thus say the Calvinists.

                  Dennis Lee Dabney

                  Rhutchin,

                  It was always God’s will that Adam and his descendents eat from the tree of life. He could have but he didn’t due to an earlier decision to commit the sin of the age.

                  Afterwards he would have if the Lord God hadn’t put him and his wife out.

                  It was still the Lord’s will that man reach and take, eat from the tree.

                  In the process of time the True Bread, the Bread of God, the Bread of Life, the Lord Jesus Christ came down to give His flesh for the life of the world.

                  He was offered on a Tree. Surely all of mankind wouldn’t refuse God hanging, suspended by nails, upon the Tree.

                  Not only was it God’s will for Adam and Eve to reach and take freely the fruit in the Garden of Eden. Brother not too long from now you and I both, because of The First Fruit Himself, who is sweeter than the honey in the honeycomb, will grant us permission to reach up and take that which always was ours for the taking. Oh taste and see that the Lord is Good.

                  Thanks be to God!

                  Preach!

            rhutchin

            “He has provided “salvation” for all, yet not without conditions.”

            Fortunately, Christ’s death and resurrection and God’s grace met all those conditions.

              Dennis Lee Dabney

              He was offered on a Tree. Surely all of mankind wouldn’t refuse God hanging, suspended by nails, upon the Tree.

              He said believing on Him was the same as eating His flesh and drinking His blood.

              He was always to be consumed in the heart unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

              One will, with another chance. The only difference the Lord arose from His rest of creation to begin the work of redemption story.

              Preach!

    Robert

    What rhutchin writes is both embarrassing and a denial of God’s character.

    It is embarrassing that someone who professes to be a Christian believes that God ****is responsible***** for all sin (rhutchin claims that God sees every sin that occurs and could prevent them but if He chooses not to then He wanted that sin to occur, it should occur and so is God’s will):

    “Isn’t God responsible for every sin? Of course . . . . However, think of any sin you want. Is it not true that God was present as that sin was being committed and that observed every moment of that sin? Did not God have the power to intervene and bring that sin to a stop even to preventing the sin from happening? As God stood there observing the situation, didn’t God make a decision that He would not intervene to stop the sin? After all, God is sovereign over His creation and nothing happens without His knowledge and without Him deciding that it should happen – otherwise it could not happen.”

    Note in particular “without Him deciding that it should happen – otherwise it could not happen.”

    Note the “logic” reasoning here: if God did not want it to occur He would have prevented it from occurring, since He did not prevent it from occurring He wanted it to happen, it should happen.

    That is nice for rhutchin to say from behind his computer monitor, but in the real world that becomes gruesome and makes God an evil person.
    Try telling an innocent child that is abused that God could have prevented it, but He chose not to, because it should have happened. Try telling a victim of rape that God could have prevented it, but He chose not to, because it should have happened. Try telling concentration camp survivors that God could have prevented it, but he chose not to, because it should have happened.

    What is completely left out of this “logic” is that people have free will, they make choices and they are responsible for their choices not God. It is people who commit acts of abuse of children, who rape others, who build concentration camps, etc.

    “If God is not in full control of His creation, then someone else is and that someone was able to take control away from God.”

    No one is claiming that God is not in control, what rhutchin cannot accept/stomach is that God can be in control and yet have made a world where there are other genuine persons with genuine free will who commit sins and so are responsible for them.

    God is not responsible for sin, people are.

    Any denial of this is one of the worst errors that a professing believer can make.

    Perhaps in rhutchin’s life or someone very dear to him, something unimaginably horrible occurred and rather than holding the human person responsible for that sin, rhutchin is more “comforted” if He falsely believes that God is responsible and that God wanted it to occur. That way he can rationalize the evil action as something actually good because God is responsible for it. This perverted way of thinking is selfish and makes God a moral monster (just think of all the sins and evil that has occurred and by rhutchin’s logic should have occurred because God wanted it to occur).

    There are abundant examples in scripture where sin is committed and God is not pleased, He does not take responsibility for it, He puts responsibility squarely on the shoulders of those who committed the sins. It is sad that a professing believer can hold to such false theology. And this false theology is of no comfort to those who suffer because of the sins of men.

      rhutchin

      Robert does not deny anything I have said except one on point where he says, “God is not responsible for sin.” Otherwise, we are in agreement. This calls into question our view of God. We might consult Job in determining how we view God. What is Satan’s complaint and challenge to God, ““Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has?…stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” Does not God then remove His hand from God telling Satan, “everything Job has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” After Satan has had his way with Job, Job says, “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” Later Job says, “God has turned me over to evil men and thrown me into the clutches of the wicked. All was well with me, but he shattered me; he seized me by the neck and crushed me.” Job says that it was God who had given him riches and not it was God who had taken them away. Job saw God being responsible but “In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.”

      What does God want us to learn from the experience of Job? It is that everything that happens to us is from God; God is telling us that He is responsible for all that happens to us. So, what are we to do? Are we to wait until something bad happens and lament that God has been unkind to us? That is laziness and demeaning to God. We should, instead, be mindful that our sin is great and God is just in everything He does to us. We ought always to be mindful of God’s presence in every aspect of our lives and beseeching Him continuously for His mercy and grace.

      Robert pulls out the standard examples that men are prone to cite when faced with the sovereignty of God in all its glory – “Try telling an innocent child that is abused that God could have prevented it, but He chose not to, because it should have happened. Try telling a victim of rape that God could have prevented it, but He chose not to, because it should have happened. Try telling concentration camp survivors that God could have prevented it, but he chose not to, because it should have happened. ” Robert apparently does not know why these things happen or what to do about it. If he did, he would know that we who know God should be appealing to God for help in everything before evil manifests itself. Should not the Jews have appealed to God even before being thrown into concentration camps? Should not a young woman cry out for God’s protection wherever she goes and if accosted should she not immediately cry out to God to save her? Should we not be praying for our children and grandchildren for God to protect them? We have Robert telling people not to blame God for their misfortune. Should not Robert be telling people that evil people are everywhere and we must be always be in prayer to God to protect ourselves and our loved ones else God will leave us to fend for ourselves with our precious free will. We must be like Job. Should not Satan have to go to God and say about believers that God has put a hedge of protection around them so that he cannot touch them. Apparently, Robert thinks that God is our old grandfather obligated to follow us around and protect us even when we ignore Him and give Him little attention. We might wonder if Robert even knows the God he professes to serve.

        rhutchin

        Where, O where, is the text editor when you need it?

Karen in OK

Here is what I have never understood. How non-Calvinists say Calvinism is wrong because God not only desires all to be saved, He gives all opportunity. In my youth I went to many two week revivals in which it was stated that witnessing is crucial because a person who dies without hearing the Gospel goes to Hell. It would seem to be the case that billions have died without hearing the Gospel. I am not a Calvinist but somehow the concept of God permitting that for His good purposes is more comforting than His just allowing it because no one got around to witnessing. So a non Calvinist view seems to not really be free will but someone ELSE’S lack of initiative.

rhutchin

DLD writes, “What does Daniel 4 have to do with the mystery of the Kingdom of God concerning salvation?”

I basically said that God always gets His way. Alan House said this was not true. I cited Daniel 4 to support my contention.

Then, “Also the serpent in the Garden of Eden said, For God doth “Know” that in the day ye eat thereof . . .
He blamed the Omniscience of God and these were Satan’s words when he accused the LORD God of having a secret will.”

OK. That is what Satan does.

Then, “Later Adam leveled an accusation against the LORD God regarding His “Goodness” when he said, “the woman whom Thou gavest to be with me.
Adam blamed the LORD God partly for his sin and by doing so implicated Him in the Fall of having also a secret will.”

Yep. This showed how Adam had become corrupted.

Finally, “Both Satan before the Fall and Adam after the offense implicated God in that He had a secret will.”

Yes, each did it for evil purposes. Nonetheless, the Scriptures allude to God’s secret will. “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.” Proverbs 25

    Dennis Lee Dabney

    Rhutchin,
    It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.” Proverbs 25

    This is not the discussion Rhutchin.

    Does God have two wills as it relates to the offer of salvation to the whole world only to determine who will be saved never mind what He said by the Gospel?

    Everyone knows God has revealed certain things, some deep things. He is God, yes He
    has secrets.

    That’s not what this article is about.

    Preach!

      rhutchin

      DLD asks, “Does God have two wills as it relates to the offer of salvation to the whole world only to determine who will be saved never mind what He said by the Gospel?”

      I think the Scriptures are consistent in saying that God is saving His elect and not the reprobate.

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