Does God Have Two Wills? | Part Two

June 15, 2016

Ronnie Rogers | Pastor
Trinity Baptist Church, Norman, OK

Click HERE for Part One.

Third, the two-will concept is not explicit in Scripture; whereas, as cited by Piper, the express will for “all persons to be saved” is (1 Timothy 2:4; see also 1 Timothy 4:10; Titus 2:11; 2 Peter 3:9; Ezekiel 18:23, 32; 33:11). Both terms thél? (1 Timothy 2:4) and boúlomai (2 Peter 3:9) are used regarding God’s express desire, will, for all to be saved. Additionally, Calvinism’s reliance upon various distinctions that may matter in Extensivist soteriological approaches are distinctions without a difference in light of Calvinism commitment to compatibilism. 

This is because compatibilism means that God’s will (what will happen) is precisely what He desires to happen, and there is not the slightest degree of deterministic difference between what God permits and God decrees. Thus, arguments making such distinctions confuse rather than clarify. One simply cannot conveniently deemphasize or elide the micro-deterministic nature of Calvinism; it is always present in unalterable force. Reliance upon secondary, tertiary, quaternary, quinary, or senary causes does nothing to palliate this reality.

Fourth, I find Piper’s argument for two wills puzzling since he passionately argues elsewhere that God’s mission is not to take the gospel to the nations in order to save as many individuals as possible, but rather “to reach all the people groups of the world and thus to gather the ‘sons of God’…and to call all the ‘ransomed from every tongue and tribe and people and nation.’” Accordingly, the argument is that the real meaning of the reading of any and every verse in the Scripture that explicitly says or even graphically portrays God’s salvific love for all mankind (John 3:16; 1 John 2:2) can only be gleaned by knowing God’s secret will regarding unconditional election. Thus, the revealed will (Scripture) is insufficient to know God’s real will, and I would say, it is even torturously misleading.

Last, I do recognize that there are secrets of God not revealed in Scripture (Deuteronomy 29:29), but since they are secret (if the two will secret exists at all), how can Calvinists know what they are? Employing logical deductions in an attempt to reconcile explicit revelatory teaching with Calvinism seems to provide a woefully inadequate basis for a secret will on which so much is at stake and this particularly when it undermines what God has explicitly revealed.

I call this double talk, and more importantly, it leads to an unreliability of the straightforward teaching of God’s revealed will regarding salvation. Furthermore, who is to say that there is not another “secret will” (a third will) that supersedes this second will so necessary to Calvinism?

Logically one may add, if God has a secret will that is contrary to His revealed will regarding salvation, then it seems quite plausible that He may have a secret will affecting other areas like the doctrine of the church, prayer, or possibly every area, thereby making the revealed will of God pervasively untrustworthy.

Moreover, if such reliance upon a secondary will is deemed admissible in order to fortress a foundational concept of Calvinism within orthodox Christianity, then who is to say that other groups cannot argue with equal validity for the existence of yet another secret will that conflicts with the clear and ubiquitous teaching of Scripture in order to demonstrate the cogency of their extra biblical essentials? Surely the Calvinists’ endeavor to defend the two wills of God makes their claim of sola scriptura seem a frail stalwart for defending the sufficiency of Scripture against foes who employ the same tactics; an ineffectualness born and sustained by their own forays into the academy of secrecy to bolster their theology when it conflicts with explicit revelation.

David Engelsma, a strong Calvinist, says of this position and the Calvinists who retreat to mystery “that God is gracious only to some in predestination, but gracious to all in the gospel, and that God wills only some to be saved in predestination but wills all to be saved by the gospel, is flat, irreconcilable contradiction. It is not paradox, but contradiction. I speak reverently: God Himself cannot reconcile these teachings.”

Therefore, such esoteric attempts to sustain Calvinism in light of the clear teaching of Scripture once again reveal the biblical bankruptcy of unconditional election.

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Ron

I agree with Englesma.

Alan House

I believe the disturbing conversion rate of (younger) southern baptists to calvinism is much like hispanic catholics turning to jehovahs witnesses. In both cases, people who have a weak grasp of the scriptures are relatively easily swayed by aggressive, authoritarian, discipliers who have some (very) well developed talking points that they use very effectively. If a person doesn’t understand the clear teaching of the scriptures AS A RESULT OF THEIR OWN STUDY, they are low hanging fruit for the calvinist proselytizers. Calvinists write (some) very interesting books and they seem to have each and every question of life nailed down. Calvinists have also, historically, been on the attack where their non-scriptural doctrines are concerned. The non-calvinist position is always seemingly on the defensive and this is considered by many as the weaker (and thus erroneous) position. Can’t help but add one other point here. Has anyone noticed how “upper middle class and above and better than average education” calvinism is in america? I do NOT consider that to be a positive sign for calvinism. If you can’t figure out why, you need more time in the scriptures.

    Chris

    Alan:

    Ironic, that you would be talking about the tendency of Calvinists to attack while you yourself are attacking Calvinists on a website devoted to attacking Calvinists. Is it only wrong then they do it?

    Also, your explanation for why so many young people are turning to Calvinism is flat wrong. The young people I know who turned to Calvinism are often the ones who had the stronger grasp on the Scriptures. What they found desirable in Piper and other Calvinists was their deep love for God and the Scriptures. Many of those young people longed for meat instead of the milk they grew up on. Also, your analysis of most of the Calvinists leaders is off. Your view only works in isolation from the young people and leaders you speak of.

      Dennis Lee Dabney

      Chris,

      I had no trouble with the meat, it was the “bones”of Calvinism I found to be the problematic.

      Some of the contributors here, Ronnie, Leighton, Doug and others were where you are now. The trouble they had and difficulty they experienced was explaining away the “bones”.The same
      trouble you’re currently experiencing here.

      Preach!

      Dennis Lee Dabney

      Alan,

      I have yet to meet a traditionalist who was even interested in whether or not I was a traditionalist.

      Now that’s been a different story with most of the Calvinist I’ve met. They were intentional in making converts to Calvinism.

      Preach!

        Dennis Lee Dabney

        The abuse of Romans 9, 1John 2:1-2 , John 3:16 and many other clear passages used to prop up Calvinism is cause for great concern, discussion and debate.

        Listen, even if traditionalist expoused such dogma, I would oppose with words, not a few but love the brethren.

        This isn’t a matter of the sufficiency of scripture. I do not believe in the sufficiency of scripture! I’m looking at the sufficiency of the Scriptures in the rear view mirror, bless His Holy name.

        I believe in the Supremacy of the Holy Scriptures!

        When the Scriptures speaks, God is speaking. When the Scriptures have spoken,God has spoken. Not Calvin nor Klein, not Spurgeon or Hobbs, nor MacArthur or Rogers.

        For by The Word, the world was framed.

        Preach!

          Jim P

          Dennis,

          How would you reconcile Jesus’ own qualification of Scripture with Himself in this verse, John 5:39?

          “You search the Scripture, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me, But your are unwilling to come to Me that you may have life.”

          My point is that it is hard not to conclude that Jesus is making a distinction between Himself and the written Word. What testifies of something (in this case Scripture) is not the same as that which it is testifying about (in this case Jesus, the Living Word of God).

          Dennis, take this a point of discussion. There is a distinction that should be respected, don’t you think?

          Chris

          Dennis: are you talking about the abuse done to those passages by Traditionalists? ;)

          Brother, a disagreement over a text is not necessarily abuse. Piper has a book on Romans 9nwhere he carefully goes through each word and phrase. Sure, you disagree with his conclusions but I am not sure how any fairminded person can call it abuse.

          Should I ask a reformed person think of your reading of Romans 9 and other controversial passages as abuse? Both sides should tone down their rhetoric of we are going to continue to have the type of unity displayed by Gaines and Greaer the other day.

            Chris

            *Should I as a reformed person

            Dennis Lee Dabney

            Good evening Jim,

            Hope I didn’t give the impression the original autographs is actually God.

            Rather divine “Inspiration” which guarantees “Revelation”, that is God has spoken and the preservation of His words to the original audience, others and to us.

            Nevertheless the the Word of God is quick and powerful sharper than any two-edge sword.. .

            The word is alive. The Lord Jesus Christ said the words He speaks they are spirit and life.

            Preach!

              Dennis Lee Dabney

              Good evening Brother Chris,

              Disagreement over a said text isn’t abuse. However those who exegete the above texts, having sufficient knowledge of others expositors from the end of the Apostolic era including the Church fathers and others is abuse. Along with all of the Old Testament passages given as an examples regarding the text.

              Chris, you would have a serious problem with my exegesis of certain text to promote the prosperity so called gospel or liberalism or liberation theology.

              Would you not?

              Romans 9, the contested portion, has absolutely nothing to do with unconditional election of some and not others concerning salvation. Rather unconditional election for the purposes of God, which does “concerns” Salvation of a people, nation and world also.

              Preach!

      norm

      Chris:
      This site is not devoted to bashing Calvinists, but is devoted to exposing the theological nudity of Calvin — a hater who murdered Servetus and others. If you are a Calvinist, then I would urge you to re-examine why. There are numerous posts at this blog that utterly destroy the shaky tenets that Calvin posited. I would also urge you to consider carefully what Pastor Rogers has written. Perhaps your eyes will be opened to the falsity of Calvin and the truth of the Scriptures.

        Chris

        Norm,

        Almost every post and every comment on this site bashes Calvinists, their motives, character and so on. You and others here think you are striking a campaign against Calvinism but no serious Calvinist would be persuaded by your attacks. You are really preaching to the choir. Your arguments remind me of Dave Hunt’s book which sounds great to non-Calvinists and not persuasive at all to Calvinists. Many of the posters here fail to understand Calvinists, their stories, and how they view Scripture. For example, as I have mentioned elsewhere, Calvinists speak of God’s will in two senses, but you all miss that every time you say, “But God’s will can be violated.” Secondly, I began my theological journey in your camp and left it for Calvinism. Its not as though Calvinists would drop Calvinism if they only heard your arguments. Many worked thru your arguments to get to where they are.

        Finally, Calvinists have a high view of Scripture and hold to their reformed theology because of Scripture, not Calvin. Scripture is what persuaded us to be Calvinists in the first place when we moved away from your view.

          Andrew Barker

          Chris: Your comments follow a predictable pattern I’m afraid. You engage in debate up to the point where you can’t sustain your Reformed theology and when you can’t show support from scripture you move on to complaining about personal insults etc. As believers, we should expect to modify our views in the light of scripture, not by what Reformed theology does or does not say.

            Chris

            Andrew: your comment seems to be out of place. I was responding to a person who themselves were not using Scripture. There wasn’t a point where I failed to respond to Scripture because Scripture was not being used.

            Actually, if you read a fair number of my comments, there are probably four varieties: (1) you are being unkind/unfair; (2) we don’t really believe that; (3) let’s look at Scripture; (4) please forgive me for being unkind/unfair. It’s not fair to say that I am afraid of going to the text. In fact, I’ve done so with you and i dont think either of us backed down which is fairly understandable.

              Andrew Barker

              Chris: You said ….”Almost every post and every comment on this site bashes Calvinists, their motives, character and so on.”
              This is demonstrably not true. In fact it’s not even close to the reality of the situation. What is true is that those people who espouse calvinism do not get a free pass, as they do on some other sites.

            Robert

            Andrew,

            You are absolutely correct in your assessment:

            “Chris: Your comments follow a predictable pattern I’m afraid. You engage in debate up to the point where you can’t sustain your Reformed theology and when you can’t show support from scripture you move on to complaining about personal insults etc.”

            Chris first came in trying to persuade us to adopt his Calvinist theology. He received a pushback from others showing the errors and problems of this Calvinistic theology. Now in the last few posts he is complaining about things. He is a perfect example of the pattern.

          norm

          Chris:
          You apparently have not been reading the same posts I have. Ronnie Rogers and Leighton Flowers (both former Calvinists) do not bash Calvinists. If you will remain unpersuaded by these two former Calvinists, whose positions are iron-clad and totally cut the stilts from under Piper, Calvin, et al, then I say it will take an act of God to open your eyes.
          Attempting to discredit Dave Hunt does nothing to remove the historical reality of Calvin’s murder of Servetus. Additionally, attempting to discredit Hunt does not erase the history of Reformers who murdered the Anabaptists who denounced infant baptism — murdered them by drowning, decapitation and burning them at the stake. If you want to claim to be Reformed, then you must embrace the errors that Rogers, Flowers, Sayers and others expose, and admit that Calvin was a murderer.
          If you will read Ronnie Rogers book and give it a fair shake as you intimate Trads should do with Piper’s look at Romans 9, then I will see that you receive a copy or Ronnie’s book for free. Are you willing to read it — fairly?

        Dennis Lee Dabney

        Chris,

        The Holy Scriptures do not need to be reformed. The local New Testament Church, 3that’s another subject.

        Reformation theology has attempted to do just that.

        The mold of the Scriptures should be the pattern of our lives and structure of the local New Testament Church in your community and mine.

        There is no need to reform the Scriptures.

        Spurious interpretations to keep the TULIP alive, or even now the doctrines of grace according to Calvinist is problematic.

        H B Charles jr has become one of my favorite young preachers. He embraces reform theology. His conference is called Cutting It Straight.

        Here’s the point, we must rightly divide the Word of God.

        We must cut it straight, we must divide it right, we must tell it Straight.

        Preach!

      larry skero

      Yes! This generation longs to “know” God and know about Him. Spiritual health is on its way as we glean into the depth of God instructions manual. Thank God for the work of the reformed!

        Robert

        This Reformed group that we are supposed to be thankful for, does that include the Reformed group that tortured the Anabaptists? Putting them in water to drown them, resuscitating them, then doing so repeatedly until they died? Or was the group that did that not a Reformed group?

      Lydia

      “Ironic, that you would be talking about the tendency of Calvinists to attack while you yourself are attacking Calvinists on a website devoted to attacking Calvinists. Is it only wrong then they do it?”

      Not ironic because the Neo Cal movement considers any disagreement as an “attack”.

      The irony lies in the fact your doctrinal guru did not allow disagreement. People were fined, banished, imprisoned and even burned for disagreeing with Calvin. Even making fun of him brought serious punishment. I am trying to figure out why you think his approach to scripture interpretation is more like Jesus Christ? His fruit was rotten.

      There is your irony.

        Chris

        Let she who is without sin cast the first stone. If you are going to hold up someone’s sins as a reason why their understanding of Scripture must be wrong…then Jesus is the only person who will be left standing with valid interpretations of Scripture. Yours and mine will have to be thrown out.

        Easy to trot out the sins of Calvin…another thing altogether to deal with the arguments of Calvinists. Again, the vast majority of Calvinists hold to the doctrines of grace because of what they see in Scripture, not Calvin. That is why many self-identify as reformed or speak of the doctrines of grace. Calvin is a stumbling stone and becomes a distraction.

          norm

          That’s flawed reasoning, Chris. We are not saying Calvin is wrong about everything — just primarily soteriology. Calvin states that God sends people to hell for his good pleasure, but God states in Ezekiel that he takes no pleasure in the destruction of the wicked. So, using your point, the fallen Calvin blew it at this point. His view of predestination is flawed. And so is his view of the sanctity of life if he would murder his detractors. As far as I know, no one at this blog has been murdered. So, let’s keep the matter in perspective. Further, Rogers, Flowers, et al, use Scripture to rebut Calvin. Further still, if there were no Calvin or Institutes, I daresay we would not be having this discussion.
          My former pastor, a Calvinist, graduated from Beeson Divinity School, where he was required to read and study through the Institutes not once, but twice. I asked if there were the same requirement regarding the entire Bible, and the answer was no. Perspective?

          I would ask you to point out where you think Ronnie Rogers is in error, and use the Bible to do it.

          Waiting patiently.

norm

Ronnie:

Once again, you have not only demonstrated that the emperor has no clothes, you did so with a vocabulary that avoided using the word nekkid!

Neo-Calvinists are such because they have not fully studied Calvin as you have. I am convinced that, if the YRRs would read after you, or study the Institutes more fully, they would denounce Calvin’s god who, according to Calvin, sends people to hell for [god’s] good pleasure.

How grateful I am, Ronnie, that you have delved into these matters perspicuously and articulated such cogent and irrefutable deconstructions of Calvin’s and Piper’s so-called theological/soteriological errata.

I am even more thankful that your sojourn out of Calvin’s errors was perhaps the only time a Calvinist ever practiced sola scriptura; for you, over a period of one year, abandoned your commentaries written by Calvinists and studied only the Bible, which inexorably led to your repudiation of that which some current SBC seminary presidents and agency leaders both embrace and use as litmus tests for employees and advisors.

Please keep studying. Please keep writing. — Norm

    Ronnie W Rogers

    Hello Norm

    Thank you for your encouraging words and taking the time to say them. I never take your insights or kindness for granted. I regret not being able to come to the convention, connect316, and visit with everyone, maybe next year.

    Have a great evening, and pray things are going well for you.

Another Ron

“For he says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’ . . . So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.”

    doug sayers

    Another Ron, you seem to be side stepping the thrust of Ronnie’s post but you quote an important text for both sides of this issue. As sovereign, God can do whatever He wants with our lives, (within the confines of His holy character, of course). He would never lie or break a promise and He has promised mercy to everyone if they ask in the spirit of true contrition.

    Note also, the context of this OT text that Paul repeats in Rom 9. It was in the context of an extraordinary earthly blessing of revelation given to Moses. It was not given in the context of eternal salvation from sin. Romans 9 describes the unconditional election of Jacob to *patriarchal blessings* in the covenant God made with Jacob’s grandfather Abraham. It is not teaching the unconditional election of Jacob to irresistible salvation and the irresistible damnation of Esau.

    Q: To whom does God show mercy?
    A: The penitent believer

    Q: Who does He harden?
    A: The impenitent.

    Wayne Webb

    He also said, through Moses, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore CHOOSE life, that both thou and thy seed may live:” And the thing about God’s mercy and compassion is that He actually WILLS to offer them to all. When all the lost arrive at the Great White Throne and are judged, it will be revealed that he was merciful and gracious to all and extended His salvation to all. That will be FAR more glorious than any God who “created the lost to burn forever for his own glory”.

Dennis Lee Dabney

For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in “Mercy”unto all them that call upon thee.

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have “Mercy”upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Preach!

Wayne Webb

Calvinists have trouble believing that God’s will could be thwarted. But verses like Matthew 23:37 reveal that it can. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”

    Chris

    Wayne,

    How does what you are saying fit with Isaiah 46:8-10?

    “Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other;
    I am God, and there is none like me, 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,’”

    Calvinists distinguish between what the Bible says about God’s inviolable will of purpose/sovereignty (Isaiah 46) and his violable moral will (Matthew 23:38). When you deride Calvinists for having trouble believing God’s will could be thwarted, you are not really understanding what they are saying. They are speaking in terms of Isaiah 46 while you are speaking in terms of Matthew 23:38.

      Wayne Webb

      “Declaring the end from the beginning” When you “declare” something, you proclaim or acknowledge it. God simply knows the end from the beginning and He tells us so. He even gave details of past and future to His prophets. As to “my counsel shall stand”; that means that everything God has taught or “declared” is going to happen. In other words, I guess you could say those things will NOT be “thwarted”. I’ll give you some examples; He said that Christ would come and would give himself to die for our sins and nothing thwarted that. At the judgement He is going to judge the quick and the dead and nothing will thwart that either. But God gives man the ability, privilege and responsibility of CHOOSING or rejecting Him. NOTHING is “thwarted” in that institution and process BECAUSE God “declared” and “counseled” us that that was how it was going to be. You and I make the choices in our lives but God alone controls the CONSEQUENCES of our choices. That is part of God’s declaration and counsel.

Karen in OK

Wayne Webb, I am not seeing how God offers salvation to all if maybe billions have died without never hearing the Gospel. If you consciously have to accept Christ before you die, God has not made the possibility of salvation available to all.
Bottom line for both the Calvinist and non-Calvinist is the SAME thing. God has not made salvation available to all, at least in any manner He has clearly told us.

    Wayne Webb

    Karen……….. Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse

    Ronnie W Rogers

    Hello Karen

    You said in response to Wayne, “I am not seeing how God offers salvation to all if maybe billions have died without never hearing the Gospel. If you consciously have to accept Christ before you die, God has not made the possibility of salvation available to all.
    Bottom line for both the Calvinist and non-Calvinist is the SAME thing. God has not made salvation available to all,”

    Although this is a rather common attempt by some Calvinists to palliate the disquieting realities associated with unconditional election, it actually fails. I am presently writing a chapter for a book that details this, but I trust that the following comments will be helpful.

    First, to make the availability of and opportunity for salvation essentially the same as hearing the gospel is overly ambitious, and I believe incorrect. In other words, you have overstated your case, which invalidates your position.

    As you well know, the point of this kind of assessment is to demonstrate that as God has limited the number who can be saved in Calvinism by unconditional election, God has similarly limited the number who can be saved in Extensivism by the simple fact that they never hear the gospel; thus, we all have the same problem, and therefore, unconditional election is not so harsh.

    Succinctly, by the gospel, we mean the good news that God loves the world and Jesus Christ died for our sins so that by simple faith in Him we can be delivered from our just desert and become children of God and possessors of eternal life. (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)

    Now, we know that people were saved prior to the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, and inarguably, they were saved without hearing the “gospel.” This includes all the saints in the Old Testament, some of which are referred to in the New Testament (Hebrews 11:1–40). This is one indisputable proof that not everyone since the fall who has ever been restored to a relationship with God has done so by hearing the gospel proper; therefore, in the context of this argument, which has for its purpose to prove that God does not salvifically love every single person because not every single person hears the gospel, your claim is too ambitious and therefore misleading—I assume unwittingly misleading.

    My precise point here is that even Calvinists recognize that people have been saved without hearing the gospel. Consequently, this fact alone proves that the statement as given, defined by the context of its purpose, is false. This limited falsification is not to be construed as minimizing the need to take the gospel to everyone in the world, nor the exclusivity of the gospel as declared in Scripture (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). Rather, that the statement, without qualification, is invalid as proof of God’s limited salvific love—Extensivism having the same problem as Calvinism.

    My second point concerns babies and small children who die without having ever heard the gospel. Although there are differing perspectives within the Reformed tradition of handling this issue, there are Calvinists who believe that babies and small children, who die prior to having opportunity to exercise faith in the gospel, go to heaven. Some believe pedobaptism accomplishes this, others believe in various covenantal means, while others believe that elect children go to heaven without hearing and believing the gospel.

    Extensivists believe that children who die before being able to exercise faith (reach time of accountability) as well as those who lack the mental capacity to exercise faith in the gospel are provisionally covered by the grace and love of God through the sufficient work of Christ in dying for the sins of the world (2 Samuel 12:20–23; John 1:29). The latter position particularly, would argue that since God loves the world of humanity (John 3:16), and that His true desire is that no one would perish (1 Timothy 2:4:2; 2 Peter 3:9), He would, therefore, have comprehended this eventuality in His plan. Thus, we see that even some in Old Testament times as well as today go to heaven without having heard the gospel.

    These two examples demonstrate that God’s grace has sufficiently comprehended certain and limited eventualities that permits those for whom Christ died and God loves, to be delivered into His presence without properly hearing the gospel.

    This recognition does not minimize the command and need to take the gospel into all the world, nor the reality that anyone who hears the gospel and does not receive it by faith dies in his or her sin. Rather, it clarifies the place of the gospel in God’s salvation plan which is that while God has provisioned for the salvation of some who never hear the gospel, it is also true that no one is saved apart from the work (provision) of the gospel. That is to say, the gospel, the work of Christ, is always ontologically necessary for salvation, but there are undeniably exceptional circumstances where it is not epistemologically necessary.

    Third, Romans 1:18-23 reminds us that there is sufficient revelation of God through His creation. This to the point that He can safely say that He has so sufficiently made Himself known to every single person so that every single person is without excuse for not fleeing the wrath to come by acknowledging Him.

    When man looks at nature, by God’s gracious design and work, he can see God’s love, provision, goodness, and his own need for the work of the one true God in his heart. Man’s response that he does not see evidence of God is due to man’s suppression of the truth, not a lack of revelation on God’s part (Romans 3:4).

    This is not to say there is enough general revelation for one to be saved. Rather, there is enough to assure that everyone can know enough about God to lead to more light being given, and respond to the light of the gospel so that no one has the excuse that they lacked opportunity to receive the light given in creation and then the gospel; if by God’s grace, they receive the light of creation, God will surely get the gospel to them because He loves them. This may explain some of the work of God in calling people to different mission fields. You may consult a host of Calvinist commentaries that say the same thing even though we disagree on whom this revelation can affect—only the unconditional elect or all.

    Because God loves all and desires the salvation of everyone, He will get the gospel to those who receive the light of creation, but He is not obligated to get the gospel to those who reject the light of creation in order to demonstrate that He salvifically loves them. Thus, a lack of the presence or knowledge of the gospel by some in the world does not necessarily demonstrate that God did not truly desire for them to be saved, and provide sufficient opportunity to lead to Him getting the gospel to them. Actually, since He sends the gospel to many places where many or even most reject the gospel, it seems irreverent to assume that He does not give the ones for whom Christ died an opportunity.

    Therefore, when someone frames the issue as you have done, it is misleading (I assume unwittingly so) because without qualifications, it is an imprecise statement, which may be allowable in normal conversation, but it cannot be allowed when marshaled to disprove God’s genuine salvific love for the world of lost humanity. To do so is to dishonor God.

    Thank you for your comment regarding this important topic, and have a nice day.

      norm

      At the risk of others thinking you are paying me for my commentary (HA!), I must say your response to the question puts to rest any concern for those who may never actually hear the gospel. One professor of mine said that those who would respond rightly to general revelation would receive from God special revelation. God, in fact, has bound himself to do that. Otherwise, what would be the point of general revelation. Interestingly, does not general revelation imply that hell-bound people are able to respond to God, and that not irresistably because some will reject that revelatory truth?
      Anyway, I am especially instructed and blessed by your closing few paragraphs beginning with this bit, here:

      “When man looks at nature, by God’s gracious design and work, he can see God’s love, provision, goodness, and his own need for the work of the one true God in his heart. Man’s response that he does not see evidence of God is due to man’s suppression of the truth, not a lack of revelation on God’s part (Romans 3:4).”

      Superlatively succinct. Thank you.

David (NAS) Rogers

I’ve always thought that use of the phrase “secondary cause” in a Compatibilist system needs to be restated and clarified as actually being “instrumental means.” There is no real causation only instrumental following of the first cause toward the pre-determined end.

Daniel P

I don’t know if anybody has been keeping up with the convention, but J. D. Greear (the young, reformed candidate) conceded the race to Steve Gaines (the old, non-reformed candidate) so that the vote would not go to a third run-off, and cause disunity in the convention.

I think there is a lesson here. Greear and Gaines both recognize that the Reformed and Arminian, the young and the old, the new school and the old school can all get along in the SBC.

So just keep that in mind. We can debate theology and biblical interpretation all day, but in reality, as long as we are all linked by the arm for gospel advancement, then we can be a family.

    Stephen Jones

    Daniel P – I agree with the intent of your post but not sure the labels are appropriate. There is only a 15 year age difference between Greear & Gaines. I would hesitate to call Greear “young” at 43, and certainly would not call Gaines “old” at 58. (says this 61 yr old!)

    There is a minority of people in the SBC who claim the “Reformed” label, but is there anyone who identifies as Arminian? I don’t know of anyone. (Maybe Dr. Roger Olsen, but is he a member of an SBC church?) When I took theology at Oklahoma Baptist University a few years ago the prof covered TULIP/Calvinism, then Arminianism. And he said we are neither, we are Baptists following biblical theology. Heard the same thing in Southwestern and Midwestern seminary classes.

    Anyway, Greear (what has he been reformed from?) would have been a good president, as will Gaines (even if a few people think he needs reformation of some sort).

    norm

    Dan P
    When you say Arminian, to whom do you refer? There are no such animals among us Traditionalists. As you know, Arminians do not hold to the security of the believer as we do. So, who are the Arminians to which you refer?

      Andy

      Norm and Steven,

      First, I agree that we should not attach labels to people that they do not agree apply to them, and I think this goes both ways (allow a person who agrees with some parts of Calvinism to explain their positions without calling themselves a Calvinist…without accusing them of deception). However, we may talk about those with similar beliefs, in which labels as a general way of speaking have some value.

      Second, Regarding Classical Arminian belief, at its inception, belief in loss of salvation was not a necessary tenant…and some classical arminians today believe in eternal security, though not many. The other difference with the Traditional statement is their beliefs about total depravity. Ronnie Rogers himself in other threads has said he essential agrees with classical arminian views here, though he uses different language to describe it. I have no doubt their are many more who do as well….which brings me to my third point:

      Third, it is my belief that by Including the statement “we deny that Adam’s sin resulted in the incapacitaion of any person’s free will”…has unnecessarily narrowed their belief set and actually excluded many southern Baptists, who while agreeing with the rest of the statements, have a more widely-encompassing view of the effects of the fall. These kinds of people MIGHT have been inclined to agree about being opposed to Calvinism, but felt themselves excluded by the statement. (Some, like Ronnie, have interpreted that phrase differently, and see within it room for disagreement on how much the fall affected ones will…others see it as denying something they actually believe, even while rejecting unconditional election)

        norm

        Andy:
        I appreciate the consistent kind spirit of your comments. Thank you.
        If I had to be limited to one label, it would be Christian. If two, then add Baptist. That’s as far as it goes.
        However, if one will call her/himself Reformed, I think one must accept/espouse all the trappings of that system. Staunch 5-pointers will say a 4-pointer is not a Calvinist at all. So, your point is well-taken that there are “brands” of Calvinists who should be allowed to express the extent of their Reformed theology.
        Truth be known, the Reformation was not of theology, per se, but of the church and culture in Geneva. For what Calvin attempted to do to biblical theology through the Institutes was not reformational, but was a transformational attempt to explain soteriology as he understood it.
        When Calvin and I happen to agree on something biblical, that does not make me “Reformed” or a Calvinist — it just makes Calvin a biblicist like me. So, if I would embrace a third label, it would be biblicist — or at least one who attempts to be such.
        I think there would be much to gain if those who call themselves Reformed would consider what was reformed and what was transformed. And I don’t think those who would take a dim view of Traditionalists should do so in light of Calvin’s murder of Servetus, which for Calvin was theologically inspired as was the other heinous acts of the Reformers unto their detractors. Given that history, I would run as far as possible from the Reformation and Calvin. A theology that would inspire such atrocities is not above suspicion, but remains suspect for time immemorial, its other theological errata notwithstanding.

          Andy

          The simple fact of the matter is that many ” Calvinists, whether 3, 4, 5 or, do not hold thero theology because Calvin said so. They hold to it because they believe it to be biblical. It would be non-sensical and actually anti-biblical for them to reject what they believe to be biblical, just because someone 500 years ago who believed similarly did bad things.

          Further, the reformation started by Luther was very theological, addressing some serious problems with Catholic teaching at the time. I know some landmarkers will deny it, but Baptists owe much of our belief and practice to that time period, even though the intial reformers did not go far enough on baptism or liberty.

            Norm

            Luther point well-taken. But why is Calvin the central figure of Reformation for the reformed among us? Citing Luther does not diminish or excuse Calvin’s centrality with the Reformation.
            If 3, 4 & 5 Calvinists believe the Bible as Calvin did, and Calvin has been proven wrong, then all others are wrong too. I find it exceedingly contradictory for some to claim to be Calvinists and/or Reformed, but then claim to be bilicists when backed into a corner. Whereas some surely will disagree, I posit that one cannot be a sincere Calvinist and sincere biblicist at the same time — not when men like Rogers, Flowers, et al, have used the Bible to demonstrate Calvin’s/Reformers’ errors. There are some too deeply invested into Calvin’s system to let it go.

              Andy

              1. WHY CALVIN IS CENTRAL TO “REFORMED/CALVINISTS”
              –> While not the first teacher of Predestination Soteriology, Calvin not only wrote and organized extensively about it, but also taught extensively, including training lots of ministers who then spread across Europe and England. Because of his large influence, his followers became known as “calvinists”…similar to the Lutherans & Mennonites.

              2. SINCERE CALVINIST AND SINCERE BIBLICIST? To put it simply, no argument on either side is air tight. Calvinist might say the same about what is now being called traditionalism, or arminianism. They would say wise biblical scholars have demonstrated the errors of denying unconditional election, and that one can’t do so and be a biblicist. I have no doubt most calvinsits believe in calvinism because they believe it is an accurate summation of biblical teaching. Remember most calvinists, by simple logic, are not pastors, but rather the parishioners of calvinist pastors. They have no job or livelihood reason to hold to a system they believe has been proven false. The obvious conclusion is that they do not believe it has been.

              3. TO BRING US AROUND TO THE ORIGINAL POINT: These many labels we use are at the same time useful for quickly identifying a commonly understood area of belief, and the same time unnecessary, and sometimes unhelpful, when someone holds to PART of a common belief system, but not all of it.

              If I may kindly challenge your earlier statement: “If I had to be limited to one label, it would be Christian. If two, then add Baptist. That’s as far as it goes.” FIRST: Every Calvinistic Baptist would and could truthfully say the same exact thing. SECOND: There are, in reality many other labels that could accurately apply to you. One could easily take it to three, four, or 100 labels.

    Alan House

    @ Daniel P.
    A very nice thought with which I agree. Notwithstanding the numerous books in the last decade redefining the Gospel according to calvinist teaching. There is a difference as wide as the ocean between “God so loved the world” and “God so loved the elect”.

      norm

      Alan House: “There is a difference as wide as the ocean between ‘God so loved the world’ and ‘God so loved the elect.'”

      I could not agree more. One is biblical and one is not.

Andrew Barker

Does God have two wills? Maybe God has already provided the answer to this one ….

Psalm 119:113 I hate those who are double-minded, But I love Your law.
James 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
James 1:7-8 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, [being] a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

I have to say, the outlook is not good for the ‘double’ minded. Can’t imagine God having two minds really!

    Dennis Lee Dabney

    When our God speaks, He binds Himself with oaths, promises and conditions.

    His will is made known to the children of men for the purpose of obedience unto His glory.

    Paul declared their apostleship was for the obedience of the faith.

    The LORD, the Self Existing One, who reveals Himself in obedience, unto the blessing of His presence, the manifestation of His divine essense. He also in response to disobedience manifest His presence in reconciliation, discipline and punishment if necessary.

    One will unto obedience where every knee shall bow and tongue confess that Jesus Christ is LORD.

    Preach!

Karen in OK

Wayne, yes Romans 1:18 shows peoples’ sinfulness and that they reject what can be known of God. But quoting it does not answer my question. How is it you think all people have opportunity to be saved if you have to overtly accept Christ and multitudes die without hearing of Him?

    Robert

    Karen,

    You have brought up this issue of the fate of the unevangelized now a few times, even in different threads:

    “Wayne, yes Romans 1:18 shows peoples’ sinfulness and that they reject what can be known of God. But quoting it does not answer my question. How is it you think all people have opportunity to be saved if you have to overtly accept Christ and multitudes die without hearing of Him?”

    Wayne brought up Romans 1 which explicitly says that God reveals Himself and the truth about Himself to every person.

    WHY do you think that He does that?
    Just so they can be more knowledgeable or have a nice day? :-)

    Or in order to draw them to Himself (cf. Jn. 12:32?

    You claim that “multitudes die without hearing of Him”, at another place you wrote:

    “Wayne Webb, I am not seeing how God offers salvation to all if maybe billions have died without never hearing the Gospel.”

    Some questions should show that in your statement about these “billions” you really do not know what you are ASSUMING.

    Do you know these “billions” personally”

    No, you do not know them personally at all.

    Do you know the hearts of these “billions” of people? No, again you do not know them personally.

    And do you know how God worked or did not work in their hearts during their lifetimes?

    Most certainly not.

    So since you do not know these “billions” personally, you are ASSUMING that God never worked in the hearts of any of them. That is quite an assumption to make when the issue is their eternal destiny.

    Now in the OT God says that all who seek Him will find Him. In the NT God says that He desires for all to be saved. Considering that God is everywhere and knows the hearts of men, and that He reveals Himself to all men (as explicitly stated in Romans 1): do you think it is possible that God could reveal Himself to someone and that that person might then seek Him? And say that person seeks Him in their hearts, where God would know about it since He knows the hearts of all men (including those “billions” to which you refer):

    could God then provide more revelation to that person?

    Don Richardson wrote a book called PEACE CHILD in which he describes cultures that were apart from Jewish or Christian influence and yet they started seeking God and then God sent them missionaries and they became Christians (so we know this kind of thing can occur, because it ***has occurred***). Am I claiming that all people seek after God and all end up saved? No. But not knowing the hearts of men, not knowing how God works in the hearts of billions of people, you cannot assume that God never offered them salvation.

    I have friends who are missionaries and they tell me of Muslims who have dreams of Jesus before the missionaries arrive, and these persons then become believers (who was giving them these dreams? Was it the devil? Was it just lucky on their part?).

    My point is that until you know the hearts of these billions of people, and until you know exactly what their experience of God is or isn’t, you cannot assume that these “billions” never had a chance to be saved, that God made no effort to save them.

    Unless you are in fact God, you are not in the place to make your claim about these “billions” of people. Am I suggesting we not evangelize? No, evangelism has its place and we are commanded to do so and we ought to take joy in the evangelism others. At the same time when it comes to “those who have never heard” we really do not know who they are, nor do we know what their experience of God involves or did not involve.

    Robert

    Karen,

    You have brought up this issue of the fate of the unevangelized now a few times, even in different threads:

    “Wayne, yes Romans 1:18 shows peoples’ sinfulness and that they reject what can be known of God. But quoting it does not answer my question. How is it you think all people have opportunity to be saved if you have to overtly accept Christ and multitudes die without hearing of Him?”

    Wayne brought up Romans 1 which explicitly says that God reveals Himself and the truth about Himself to every person.

    WHY do you think that He does that?
    Just so they can be more knowledgeable or have a nice day? :-)

    Or in order to draw them to Himself (cf. Jn. 12:32?

    You claim that “multitudes die without hearing of Him”, at another place you wrote:

    “Wayne Webb, I am not seeing how God offers salvation to all if maybe billions have died without never hearing the Gospel.”

    Some questions should show that in your statement about these “billions” you really do not know what you are ASSUMING.

    Do you know these “billions” personally”

    No, you do not know them personally at all.

    Do you know the hearts of these “billions” of people? No, again you do not know them personally.

    And do you know how God worked or did not work in their hearts during their lifetimes?

    Most certainly not.

    So since you do not know these “billions” personally, you are ASSUMING that God never worked in the hearts of any of them. That is quite an assumption to make when the issue is their eternal destiny.

    Now in the OT God says that all who seek Him will find Him. In the NT God says that He desires for all to be saved. Considering that God is everywhere and knows the hearts of men, and that He reveals Himself to all men (as explicitly stated in Romans 1): do you think it is possible that God could reveal Himself to someone and that that person might then seek Him? And say that person seeks Him in their hearts, where God would know about it since He knows the hearts of all men (including those “billions” to which you refer):

    could God then provide more revelation to that person?

    Don Richardson wrote a book called PEACE CHILD in which he describes cultures that were apart from Jewish or Christian influence and yet they started seeking God and then God sent them missionaries and they became Christians (so we know this kind of thing can occur, because it ***has occurred***). Am I claiming that all people seek after God and all end up saved? No. But not knowing the hearts of men, not knowing how God works in the hearts of billions of people, you cannot assume that God never offered them salvation.

    I have friends who are missionaries and they tell me of Muslims who have dreams of Jesus before the missionaries arrive, and these persons then become believers (who was giving them these dreams? Was it the devil? Was it just lucky on their part?).

    My point is that until you know the hearts of these billions of people, and until you know exactly what their experience of God is or isn’t, you cannot assume that these “billions” never had a chance to be saved, that God made no effort to save them.

    Unless you are in fact God, you are not in the place to make your claim about these “billions” of people. Am I suggesting we not evangelize? No, evangelism has its place and we are commanded to do so and we ought to take joy in the evangelism others. At the same time when it comes to “those who have never heard” we really do not know who they are, nor do we know what their experience of God involves or did not involve.

      Karen in OK

      Robert, thanks for your reply. You are correct that there is much I don’t know and that God can act miraculously.
      And actually I am not a Calvinist. But my point in bringing this up is that many non-Calvinists object to Calvinism partly because they think that the Calvinist God does not offer salvation to everyone. But yet in the non-Calvinist model I have heard all my life multitudes have died without hearing the Gospel either. Thus one of the reasons for the urgency of witnessing. Adopting an unreached people group so that they will hear and have the opportunity to be saved. That conscious acceptance of Christ is necessary for salvation.

        Robert

        Karen,

        “But my point in bringing this up is that many non-Calvinists object to Calvinism partly because they think that the Calvinist God does not offer salvation to everyone.”

        There are two points that I want to elaborate on with you. The first point is the non-Calvinist claim “that the Calvinist God does not offer salvation to everyone.”

        Karen I do not think that you understand this objection concerning Calvinism. Calvinists believe in a concept called “irresistible grace”/IG (i.e. a grace that God gives only to the preselected elect, a grace that if given ensures that the person will become a believer). Now here is the key, only those to whom IG is given can ever become believers (for anyone not given this form of grace it is impossible for them to become believers). According to Calvinists (based upon their doctrine of unconditional election) ONLY those who were preselected for salvation (i.e. the elect) receive this form of grace. Now that is nice for those folks, their salvation is assured. But what about those who do not receive this form of grace? For THEM, it is impossible for them ever to be saved, they have no chance to become believers whatsoever. Since this form of grace is only given to the preselected elect, non-Calvinists who understand this thinking on the part of Calvinists rightfully and logically conclude that “they think that the Calvinist God does not offer salvation to everyone” (because He does not, salvation is genuinely offered only to the preselected elect, ONLY to those who receive IG).

        Here is an analogy to make this point clear. Imagine that there are only two types of people in the world, those who understand English and those who understand French. Further imagine that only those who understood the English language, could understand God’s revelation, the Bible, the gospel, etc. (and that God only gives certain people the ability to understand English via IG). So in this scenario ONLY those who understand English will ever understand the offer of the gospel in English. And say that ONLY those given IG can ever understand English. That means all those French speakers have absolutely no chance to become believers because they will never understand English and God never planned to give them IG. In such a situation it is correct to say that God never offers salvation to the French speakers, to everyone, because He only gives the ability to understand English to those preselected to be English speakers, ONLY those who receive IG from God.

Lydia

Karen, I think you have a great question. It is a bit lengthy to get into and part of it stems from us Christians thinking we are some sort of exclusive Club. Much like the converted Jews thought in the NT. They wondered the same thing about the Gentiles. How could they possibly understand and believe when they have no experience with God. Paul is refuting that thinking in Romans 1 which is all about the Jew/Gentile dichotomy in Rome. Most likely when all of those banished Jews started coming back to Rome it was causing some problems within the Gentile only church.

The Jews were supposed to be the light of the world shining a light on God. God’s ways were to be obvious to everyone through them in a brutal pagan culture.

And so it goes with us today. That is why rotten fruit is a big deal but no one ever talks about it anymore for some reason. We have excused it away with “sinners sin” and such as if the Cross/resurrection meant nothing.

When people were running from the plague, the true believers were running to plague victims. Sometimes reading how the other side viewed these strange people is quite an eye opener.

We must blame ourselves if people don’t see Jesus Christ in us.

Wayne Webb

I have no explanation for the “how”. I’m no Bible scholar. All I know is what the Bible says…….”19Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them…..” Therefore, because of God SHOWING it to them (somehow), they “have no excuse”.

    Karen in OK

    What He has shown them, though, is general revelation, enough to condemn. Not special revelation needed for salvation. And I do believe that God is holy, just, and loving. He doesn’t have to explain anything to me. It’s that it seems obvious to me that God in NON Calvinist theology has not made salvation available to all.

      Andrew Barker

      Karen in OK: An interesting observation. Where does it say that God’s general revelation is just enough to condemn but not enough to reveal salvation? And how are you going to explain to ‘father’ Abraham, that his revelation of God was insufficient!??

      Robert

      Karen,

      The second point that I want to elaborate upon concerns your statement:

      “But yet in the non-Calvinist model I have heard all my life multitudes have died without hearing the Gospel either. Thus one of the reasons for the urgency of witnessing. Adopting an unreached people group so that they will hear and have the opportunity to be saved. That conscious acceptance of Christ is necessary for salvation.”

      Regarding your first line here: remember my earlier post, a person would have to know the hearts of all of these “multitudes”, and their personal experience of God to know what God did or did not do in their experience.

      Regarding your second and third lines. I hate to say this, but this appeal to multitudes dying without hearing is a guilt trip that is put on others to get them to witness and to support missions. We should not be motivated by guilt to present the gospel, we should do so out of obedience and because we love others and want to see them come to Christ (obedience and love ought to be our motivation, not guilt). Look at Paul in the NT and you will never see him speak of being the missionary to the Gentiles out of guilt, it is obedience to God’s call and love of others that constrains him.

      Consider your fourth line: Do babies or those who die before the age of accountability, and the mentally disabled need to have a “conscious acceptance of Christ” to be saved? No. So we know for a fact that not all will be saved because they had a conscious acceptance of Christ. As others have brought up, what about saints/believers who lived prior to the coming of Christ, e.g. Abraham, many of the Jews in the OT, etc.? We do not know that they had a conscious acceptance of Christ.

      Karen it seems to me that the best way to think of it is this: God holds you responsible for the revelation that He knows that you have received.

      So if you have heard the gospel and you are an able minded person, you are responsible to that revelation, you either believe it or you keep rejecting if for your entire lifetime you end up in hell. If you are a person in the OT era before the coming of Christ, say a Jewish person, you are responsible for how you responded to the revelation given the Jewish people (including the Law). If you are a person like Abraham who lived prior to the law, you are responsible to whatever revelation God gave you. Keep in mind that God knows the hearts of all people so He knows what revelation they have or have not been given.

      What about a person who lives in a non-Jewish culture? Again, it comes down to what was your response to the revelation that you received. According to Romans 1 everyone has had some form of revelation given to them by God himself (and according to that passage if they reject that revelation given to them they are without excuse). Now here is where it gets interesting. According to the OT God says anyone who seeks after Him will find Him. According to the NT God desires that all be saved. Now if that is true that God really desires for all to be saved, then it seems that God would give people some sort of revelation to get them going (cf. Romans 1) towards Himself. And say someone was in a so-called pagan culture and was responding positively to the revelation they had received: would God stop there or give them more revelation? Hint, if He wants them all to be saved, and He knows their hearts and circumstances, and they are responding positively, do you think He would then send them a missionary so they could receive further revelation?

      I could go on but I hopefully you see the picture, and hopefully you see this picture is very different from the Calvinistic picture where those never given irresistible grace have no chance to be saved whatsoever.

Lydia

“What He has shown them, though, is general revelation, enough to condemn. Not special revelation needed for salvation.,”

Yikes! Are you sure you aren’t confusing Allah with Yahweh?

    Karen in OK

    No, I don’t believe that I am confusing Allah with the true God. A number of interesting responses including yours. I appreciate the interaction. I am surprised that people here seem to disagree with the concept of general revelation. Baptist churches around here teach that explicit personal faith in Christ is necessary, not just a general awareness that there is a God. And of course Abraham is in Heaven. He looked forward to the Redeemer.

      Lydia

      Karen, I am extremely confused. A god that only reveals enough of himself to condemn you but not save you is not Yahweh. That would be the understanding of some pagan gods.

      are you forgetting that you specifically said revelation for the purpose of condemnation? That is a monster.

      I am really not sure why this would matter if you are a Calvinist. In that construct God had already chosen those for salvation before he even made the world.

      I tend to agree with Robert. But will say I am always so heartbroken to hear Southern Baptists are taught such things these days about our precious Lord. The One True God of Abraham.

      Andrew Barker

      Karen OK: My question, hopefully of interest, was where do you think Abraham got his ‘revelation’ of God from? We all agree he’s in Heaven. You seem to be saying that people cannot know God unless they hear the Gospel, but Abraham never did, as far as I’m aware, so how did revelation work for him? Is he not in exactly the same position as those people currently living who have not been reached with the Gospel?

        norm

        Andrew: I think Pastor Rogers answered Karen’s question incredibly well — perhaps the most complete treatment of the question I have ever read. I am so grateful for him.

          Andrew Barker

          norm: I agree entirely. My question is really directed towards Karen ok. Perhaps she can enlighten us as to where Ronnie is going wrong?

            Karen in OK

            Andrew, I agree that Ronnie had a great, comprehensive reply. At least a great deal if which I agree with. Thank you, Ronnie. I don’t have time to thoughtfully reply today. I am VBS director and last night is tonight.
            Abraham is in Heaven because he was justified by faith in the coming Messiah.
            Don’t confuse me asking questions and expressing what I have been taught with saying I think I understand it all. But I Think that my theology is more exclusivist than that of some on this thread.
            You can’t get to Heaven by being a good Hindu.
            And no, Ronnie was not saying that.
            And yes, many, many people go to Heaven anyway
            Without really clear faith in Christ. My grandson who has Down’s Syndrome will. (Ronnie is his pastor.)

              Andrew Barker

              Karen OK: I suspect we are very much of a muchness in this. I think the point we’re all trying to make is that it is God who sees the heart’s intentions and he is the only one who can judge. So if people are not presented with the Gospel, God knows their hearts. As for us, we cannot but present the Gospel to those with whom we come into contact. Leaving someone in their ignorance is not an option for us.

rhutchin

Pastor Rogers writes, “Accordingly, the argument is that the real meaning of the reading of any and every verse in the Scripture that explicitly says or even graphically portrays God’s salvific love for all mankind (John 3:16; 1 John 2:2) can only be gleaned by knowing God’s secret will regarding unconditional election. ”

Not exactly. The Calvinist concluded that God is not going to save all people (regardless how they come to salvation). That is God’s revealed will and it is clearly seen in the Scriptures. It is within that context that Calvinism then understands those Scriptures that appear to say that God wants to save all people.

Thus, John 3:16 is understood as “God sent His son so that ONLY those believing in Him would have eternal life.” Those believing in Christ are God’s elect. Thus, God’s intent is only to save His elect.

1 John 2:2 is understood as “Christ is the atoning sacrifice for…the sins of Jews and Gentiles in the whole world.” Salvation is then limited by “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.”

Has God explicitly revealed that He wants to save all people? Matthew 7 has Jesus telling us, “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” By saying, “I never knew you,” Jesus says that there was never a time when He wanted to save them. Had God wanted to save these people at some point, Jesus should have said, “I don’t know you.” The use of the negative dispels any notion that God may have wanted to save these people.

    norm

    “Thus, John 3:16 is understood as ‘God sent His son so that ONLY those believing in Him would have eternal life.’ Those believing in Christ are God’s elect. Thus, God’s intent is only to save His elect.”
    What a huge jump you make here, Hutch. So Piper-esque. You can tell God’s intent of whom to save from reading John 3:16? Amazing.
    I suppose then, that you, like Piper, translate cosmos as elect? This is how John 3:16 is understood by you, but not by exegetes or consistent biblicists.

    “1 John 2:2 is understood as ‘Christ is the atoning sacrifice for…the sins of Jews and Gentiles in the whole world.'”
    That passage is not limited to Jews and Gentiles, unless Gentiles includes all others than Jews. Again, you make a huge jump without exegetical proof. I cannot count the times I have expressed at this blog — and I think to you, directly — that 1 John 2:2 states that Jesus died for the sins of the whole world. Despite your interpretive liberties, there is no changing this fact.

    “Salvation is then limited by ‘Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.’”
    Really? Where is your biblical backing for this assertion? Your opinion and the Bible’s words are not equivalent.

      rhutchin

      Norm writes, “I suppose then, that you, like Piper, translate cosmos as elect? This is how John 3:16 is understood by you, but not by exegetes or consistent biblicists.”

      Arthur Pink divided the world into the elect and the non-elect because these were known to God when h created the world. So, you can have God loved the world = God loved the elect plus God loved the non-elect. Then, Pink argued that “God so loved the non-elect that He gave Christ so that the elect would have eternal life,” did not make sense. Thus, Pink reasoned that “world” could only refer to the elect as God had only their salvation in mind – from the beginning, God had no intent to save the non-elect. My approach is to define the world as “not the Jew only but also the Gentile.” I think John 3:16 is emphasizing that Christ came to save Gentiles as well as Jews and I see that as a major theme of John.

      Then, “1 John 2:2 states that Jesus died for the sins of the whole world.”

      We both agree to that. Where we disagree is what is meant by “the whole world.” Does it mean “each and every person ever born” or does it mean “all Jews and and all Gentiles” without reference to any specific individual? You also wrote, “That passage is not limited to Jews and Gentiles, unless Gentiles includes all others than Jews.” Yes, there are only two types of people in the world – one is either a Jew or he is a gentile.

      I had said, “Salvation is then limited by ‘Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.’”
      Norm responded, “Really? Where is your biblical backing for this assertion?”

      The citation is to 1 John 2:6 (NIV) that says, “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.”

        Andrew Barker

        rhutchin: Arthur Pink as a classic example of a dead theologian who is classed as a hyper-Calvinist! If you wish to identify with him …..?

          Lydia

          We refer to Pink as the morbid church of one. I think he might have been manic depressive and turned it into theology.

          It is always to our benefit to read up on the gurus before we believe their brand of theology hook, line and sinker.

    Andrew Barker

    rhutchin: This is as blatant a corruption of the text of scripture as one would never hope to find …. “Thus, John 3:16 is understood as “God sent His son so that ONLY those believing in Him would have eternal life.” Those believing in Christ are God’s elect. Thus, God’s intent is only to save His elect.”

    Not content with this you follow it up with an equally unsubstantiated statement …”1 John 2:2 is understood as “Christ is the atoning sacrifice for…the sins of Jews and Gentiles in the whole world.” Salvation is then limited by “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” Looks suspiciously like good works salvation in the end. No surprises here then!

    Dennis Lee Dabney

    Rhutchins,

    John 3:16-17

    For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.

    This is the abuse our brother Chris seems to think is more of a criticism by me against Calvinism rather than it being a clear case of “It is what it is”.

    This loose rendering of this and others biblical text, in all seriousness, violates proper hermenutics and I believe this isn’t your interpretation at all but that of a notable worthy of yours.

    Be it known unto you as well as myself, there will be a day of reckoning for those of us who are watchmen on the wall and all others who labor in the Divine Writings given for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. We shall be judged for adding and taking away from Holy Writ.

    John 3:16 reveals the heart of God for the PERISHING, the WORLD is the measured quantity of SOULS perishing from the Old creation! This one verse sets forth the Biblical truth, God is love. Love is not God. God is love. It is the only provided answer by Him here and elsewhere for this statement. The Lord Jesus Christ who is Sovereign in All Things declares the Immeasurable, Indescribable, love of God for the perishing.

    How much is “SO LOVED” the “PERISHING, how much is SO LOVED WORLD? He gave His only, begotten Son. His Son provided in divine energy by the Holy Ghost, His Unlimited Labor of love called Grace and Truth.

    Even Little Willy in vacation bible school and Sunday can get this without someone holding a PhD having to explain the real meaning of the text.

    Now to spin this verse in order to augment and supplement the already violations of biblical interpretation within Reformation theology is worthy of the attention received.

    Preach!

      Dennis Lee Dabney

      Rhutchin,

      When I write T D Jakes, Creflo Dollar, and others, National Baptist Conventions, national media outlets, well known leaders, seminaries presidents etc, it is to this end, that the Church of Jesus Christ speaks the same thing in our doctrine as instructed in the Scriptures.

      “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”

      This goes beyond various camps and labels but rather to the heart of God and the bare Arm of the Lord and what it means to a loss dying world.

      Rhutchin, you speak of Calvinism as if it was apostolic in origin, and the well regarded Calvinist as oracles.

      Preach!

      rhutchin

      DLD writes, “This loose rendering of this and others biblical text, in all seriousness, violates proper hermeneutics and I believe this isn’t your interpretation at all but that of a notable worthy of yours.”

      John 3:16 is a clear statement of God’s intent – to provide for the salvation of those who believe in Christ. It is so clear that no one should not understand. God knew from the beginning that there would be some who would believe in Christ and some who would not (regardless how the person came to believe). God sent His son to procure the salvation of those who were to believe; God did not send His son to do anything for those who would not believe – non-believers cannot be saved. There are those who, as you say, have very loosely rendered this verse to suggest that God had in mind to save everyone. I think those people have done great harm to the cause of Christ.

        Dennis Lee Dabney

        Rhutchin,

        Not on my watch!

        John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life.

        God demonstrated His love for the whole world in that He gave His Son for the life of the world. His life for the life of the world.

        Those who perish will have to live with this biblical truth, Christ die for their sin and the sin of the whole world in like manner as the first Adam’s offense affected the whole world. Would the death of Christ fall short of the whole world when the offense of Adam didn’t. Repentance and faith is the means for the worst of all sinners, the wicked, and the ungodly to procure salvation.

        Once repentance has occurred in the mind of “whosoever” perishing, then by faith, and the Spirit of God’s guidance “whosoever”repents can “reach” for Him who died on the tree and rose again on the third day, receiving His life everlasting.

        Christ is the Last Adam who shall Judge all whom He shed His blood for, atoning for their sin, and the sin of the entire world. He shall judge all because He died for all. He shall judge the Living from the Bema Seat and the twice dead who refuse Him, who considered themselves unworthy of everlasting life from the Great White Throne.

        Here is a true case of “those” having rejected Christ in this life, “having it their way”.

        No matter the amount of theological calisthenics, hermeneutical gymnastics, homiletical exercises, the truth remains. God so loved the whole world that He gave His Son.

        Preach

    KEN

    rhutchin

    The noted distinguished Greek biblical scholar, A.T. Robertson, declares that the Greek word translated “world” in John 3:16 means “the whole world, including Gentiles; the whole human race.”

    How do you Calvinists possibly justify distorting that to mean “the elect?

    I’ll answer that for you; you can’t honestly do so; it is impossible!

    I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that you attempt such skulduggery since the entire Calvinist Tulip doctrine is a distortion of true scripture.

      rhutchin

      Ken asks, “How do you Calvinists possibly justify distorting that to mean “the elect?”

      I explained this in an earlier message.

      Arthur Pink divided the world into the elect and the non-elect because these were known to God when He created the world. So, Pink reasoned, you have God loved the world = God loved the elect plus God loved the non-elect. Then, Pink argued that “God so loved the non-elect that He gave Christ so that the elect would have eternal life,” did not make sense. Thus, Pink reasoned that “world” could only refer to the elect as God had only their salvation in mind – from the beginning, God had no intent to save the non-elect.

      My approach is to follow Robertson and define the world as “not the Jew only but also the Gentile.” I think John 3:16 is emphasizing that Christ came to save Gentiles as well as Jews and I see that as a major theme of John.

        KEN

        rhutchin

        You listen to Pink, I’ll listen to God’s word.

          Dennis Lee Dabney

          Ken,

          Listen Brother

          Arthur Walkington Pink stopped listening to Pink when He saw The Word of God for himself. Trust me when I say this, His theology has been adjusted and presently now exclusively “What Thus Saith The Scriptures”.

          Preach!

          rhutchin

          You should listen to God’s word.

          I encourage you to attend a good church and listen to the counsel of God’s preachers and to read the counsel of those both in the past and today who devote themselves to the study of God’s word and to sharing the insights God has given them. But always be like the Bereans of 1 Corinthians who searched the Scriptures for themselves to discover everything that Paul said to them.

            Ken

            rhutchin

            I assume your comment pertains to me.

            I have been attending good churches for almost 70 years and yet have formed my own opinions about the meaning of God’s Word.

            I suggest you practice what you preach!

              rhutchin

              Ken writes, “I have been attending good churches for almost 70 years and yet have formed my own opinions about the meaning of God’s Word.”

              You have done well. Do not neglect the study of the Scriptures.

          Robert

          Ken,

          You wrote:

          “You listen to Pink, I’ll listen to God’s word.”

          Absolutely true. Besides there is a major, major problem with Pink. The guy wrote these long books full of false theology/Calvinism: the guy also stopped attending the local church. Any guy who stops attending local churches loses ALL credibility. So not only is it a contrast between God’s Word and the false ramblings of Pink, it is a contrast between the Word of God tells us we must be attending a local church on a consistent basis and a disobedient believer who rejected the command of God on this.

            Andrew Barker

            Robert: A timely reminder to check our sources before quoting them. I mean, you wouldn’t want to encourage people to attend church and then quote from a guy who himself decided not to attend church ….. at least not if you want to retain some credibility ;-)

            rhutchin

            Wikipedia, quoting, Iain Hamish Murray (2004). Arthur W. Pink: His Life and Thought. Banner of Truth. ISBN 0851518834, “In 1940, Hove became a regular target of German air raids, and the Pinks moved to Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides, Scotland, where they remained for the rest of his life. The island was a bastion of Calvinism, but church services were held mostly in Scots Gaelic, and visitors were not especially welcomed in any case.”

              Robert

              You cannot excuse Pink’s lack of local church involvement. I note that in quoting a source you failed to quote how he was, as many people put it, a harsh and mean spirited person. What we would call today a “jerk”. Nice try, but you failed.

                Robert

                From the EXACT same source used by rhutchin: “Pink’s personality made it difficult for him to have a successful pastoral ministry. He was too individualistic and of too critical a temperament”.

                A personality that made it too difficult for him to have a successful pastoral ministry? Sounds like a jerk to me.

                  rhutchin

                  Not everyone is perfect.

                    Robert

                    Rhutchin is more foolish than than I thought. He brought up Pink as an authority, what he failed to mention is that Pink is what we would call a jerk today, he had a really bad personality. This personality was so bad that the same source that rhutchin cited to try to explain why Pink stopped attending the local church (which is disobedience to God’s command) said:

                    he was unfit for the pastorate because of his personality.

                    That is a really bad personality, a real jerk.

                    Sometimes when you bring up problems that a person has, nonbelievers especially will then respond: “well nobody is perfect”. This is exactly what rhutchin is now doing with Pink as rhutchin responds:

                    “Not everyone is perfect.”

                    Er, well, we all know that no one is perfect, but Pink being a jerk that had such a personality that he was unfit to be a pastor, is not just an acknowledgement that no one is perfect. It brings all his false theology and Calvinism into question.

                    A person who forsakes the assembling together with the brethren and is such a jerk that he is unfit to be a pastor, THOSE THINGS completely bring into question the reliability and trustworthiness of anything he says. He wrote a lot and long books trying to promote Calvinism and his false ideas that God only loves the elect, only sent Jesus to die for the elect, that God hates the reprobates and they are never given any chance to become believers, etc. etc..

                    It is ironic that a person who presented this false conception of God in his own life became very much like the false god that he promoted (he did not fellowship with believers and spent all his time promoting this false conception of God and this false theology).

                    Actually Pink is very much like some of the Calvinists on the internet who seem to be very similar to Pink in personality and use of time (they spend all their time promoting this false conception of God and this false theology and they become very abrasive, hostile, contentious, THEY BECOME JUST LIKE PINK.

                  rhutchin

                  Robert writes, “Rhutchin is more foolish than than I thought. He brought up Pink as an authority,…”

                  Someone asked how certain people defined the “world’ in John 3:16 as the elect. As Pink had done this, I explained his line of reasoning. Given that Pink thought up the idea, that does make him an authority of sorts.

                    Andrew Barker

                    Not really.

                rhutchin

                Robert writes, “you failed to quote how he was, as many people put it, a harsh and mean spirited person.”

                You did not cite that as an issue before.

                  Lydia

                  The situation around Pinks death is very strange and dark. As I said, reading about his life made me think he might have been manic depressive in a day and time that was not recognized. He was a dark personality.

                  He has a cult following in the Reformed movement. Much like The Rocky Horror Picture Show had a cult following in my generation.

Norm

The Bible said Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him as righteousness.

Dennis Lee Dabney

Rhutchin,

Many within the local assembly could care less about sound doctrine.

However, the world is not blind to our madness on display and nor are our parishioners .

Currently, local New Testament Churches now offer 31 flavors of doctrines and the world knows it8, calling us out on it when push come to shove! Calling us out while we wax eloquent, with all of our pious platitudes when we attempt to as it were, instruct them by saying thus saith the Scriptures.

Preach!

rhutchin

This is what DLD says, “God…gave His Son for the life of the world. His life for the life of the world.”

This is what the Scriptures say, “He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

In the end, he got it half right, “No matter the amount of theological calisthenics, hermeneutical gymnastics, homiletical exercises, the truth remains. God so loved the whole world that He gave His Son.”

The other half: “…that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life.”

    Dennis Lee Dabney

    Rhutchin,

    Brother, As we say around these parts during hunting season, “There was nothing in front of the dogs when they came by me, yet they were barking nevertheless”! There’s nothing here to see in your comment.

    The Truth was stated Repent or perish! The disclosure of this verse is clear in the unfolding in other passages. Repentance is the change of mind toward sin which by continual guidance of the Spirit to a change of heart towards God. No one is able to “believe” on Him unto salvation who has yet to repent! Our churches are full of folk and so is the world, of individuals, “Hell-raisers”in vast varieties, the first 3 soils in the Sower and His seed, who have believed apart from getting down to business with God concerning their sin. That’s why many who have walked the aisles are now MIA. That’s the reason why many who do come consider thats all their spiritual service for the week, they are done until their next grand appearance in which we should provide a drum roll when they make their entrance.

    For it is written, Mark 1:15 And saying, “The time is fulfilled and the Kingdom of God is at hand, “Repent” ye, and “believe” the gospel.

    Luke 24: 46-48 And He said unto them, Thus it is written, thus it behoved Christ to suffer (His part), and to rise from the dead the third day (His part): And that Repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among “All” nations beginning at Jerusalem, And ye are the witnesses of these things (His part through us).

    Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth All men every where to Repent.

    Acts 26:19-20 Whereupon O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: but showed first unto them at Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should “Repent” and turn to God (faith-believing on Christ! ), and do works meet for repentance.

    Preach!

Roland Peer

My initial reaction to reading the doctrine of two wills of God was: is God schizophrenic? I know this won’t convince the Calvinist, but I haven’t found a suitable explanation yet other than “its a mystery.”

rhutchin

DLD writes, “There’s nothing here to see in your comment.”

Except the Scriptures. Ignore what I said, but take to heart that which God says.

    Dennis Lee Dabney

    Rhutchin,

    Amen Brother,

    I receive that.

    Preach!

kyle

The arminian believes there are two wills in God. The sad part is that they elevate the will of man to the sovereign of the universe in salvation. Wayne Grudeum points this in his systematic theology. The arminian believes that it is God’s will to save everyone equally. Yet, side issue of reality, not every person is saved. However, the arminian believes that it is God’s will to give man a libertarian free will. Therefore, God’s revealed will according to the arminian is that all, without exception, come to repentance. And then God’s wills to give up His will and give it to the person when it comes to salvation. That is two wills in God. So the arminian has not gotten around there being two wills in God. But sadly man is in control of one of those wills. That should give any orthodox bible believing Christian to have pause. Who is running this world God or the devil as Pink would ask?

    Robert

    Kyle presents a typical Calvinist “drive by post” (full of inaccuracies):

    “The arminian believes there are two wills in God.”

    Not true at all, the Arminian and the Traditionalist do not believe that God has two wills (a secret one that predecides all events and what He says in the Bible).

    “The sad part is that they elevate the will of man to the sovereign of the universe in salvation.”

    Also not true at all, God is the one who decided that salvation would be through faith, a choice to trust Him. If HE decided it would be that way, then that is the way it is, not because man’s will is sovereign but because God decided it would be that way.

    “The arminian believes that it is God’s will to save everyone equally.”
    Not true again, it is clear that God had a greater concern that the Jewish People would be saved, so No He does not will to save everyone equally (You are confusing God desiring for all to be saved with God treating everyone equally, these are not the same at all).

    “Yet, side issue of reality, not every person is saved.”

    Not everyone is saved because God decided that only those who trust Him will be saved, if you choose not to trust Him you will not be saved.

    “However, the arminian believes that it is God’s will to give man a libertarian free will.”

    Again, if God decided to create us that way, then that is the way it is, your problem is with Him not us.

    “Therefore, God’s revealed will according to the arminian is that all, without exception, come to repentance.”

    That is not according to the Arminian, that is ACCORDING TO GOD’S OWN WORD.

    “And then God’s wills to give up His will and give it to the person when it comes to salvation.”

    That is totally confused, God never gives up His will, He is the one who willed that salvation would be through faith in the first place.

    “That is two wills in God.”

    No it is not, you are extremely confused.

    “So the arminian has not gotten around there being two wills in God.”

    Neither the Arminian nor the Traditionalist believes that God has a secret will that decides all events and a revealed will expressed in scripture.
    Whatever God reveals in His Word is His will, period.

    “But sadly man is in control of one of those wills.”

    This makes no sense at all, you claim the non-Calvinist holds to God having two wills, but if something is God’s will it is not something that man controls at all.

    “Who is running this world God or the devil as Pink would ask?”

    For all his writing apparently Pink did not take the scripture seriously, in the Bible it says the devil is the ruler of this world. Now that **is** the Bible not Pink.

    Pink ought to be ignored as he was a nasty person who neglected to fellowship with other believers in order to use all of his time to write the drivel and false theology that he espoused.

    Andrew Barker

    Kyle: I don’t know Arminians you’ve been talking to, but neither you nor they appear to have a good grasp on the subject of God’s will. As far as who’s presently running the world, I do hope it’s not all down to God because between you and me, whoever is, is not making a very good fist of it. Just my opinion of course! ?

      Robert

      John 14: 30 = “I (in context that is Jesus) will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world (WHO IS THAT? AND WHAT DOES JESUS SAY ABOUT HIM? Ruler of what?) is coming, and he has nothing in Me;”

      Apparently Pink missed this verse!!!!

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