Extensivism’s View of the Origin of Sin and God’s Offer of Salvation | Part One

May 9, 2016

Ronnie Rogers | Pastor
Trinity Baptist Church, Norman, OK

In my last article (Click HERE) on SBC Today, I explored Calvinism’s view of the origin of sin and salvation through the lens of their belief in compatible freedom and the “mysteries” that such a view generates. This article looks at Extensivism’s view of the same issues. In this article I use Extensivism (broadly) as encompassing all soteriological perspectives that see God’s love and salvation plan as provisioning salvation by faith for everyone, and this in contrast with Calvinism’s exclusive plan, which only includes some people—the unconditionally elect.[i]

Extensivists believe Scripture teaches that God gave Adam and Eve the true ability to choose to sin or not to sin. God gave that freedom, which is good, and man misused it, which is sin. Man is a free moral agent with the ability to choose to sin or not to sin, which means that he is the efficient cause of sin, and thereby avoids the intrinsic revelatory problems of Calvinism and compatibilism with regard to the origin of sin and God desiring people to sin or be in hell.[ii] Extensivists believe that being endowed with libertarian free choice is an essential component of what it means for man to be created in the image of God.

Therefore, God creating man in His own image necessarily includes giving man the ability to choose otherwise. To wit, whatever man did in fact choose in the moral moment of decision, he could have chosen otherwise; he could act or refrain. Furthermore, the meaning of concepts like love, mercy, compassion, worship, and righteousness are inextricably connected to otherwise choice, and consequently emanate from the freedom to act or refrain. We reject the notion that deciding is synonymous with desire as illustrated in the life of Paul. He said, “For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good” (Romans 7:15–16).[iii]

It is the essential foreknowledge of God, which includes exhaustive eternal knowledge of contingencies in time, that resolves the problem of how to establish the certainty that man would sin even though he had been created in holiness and did not have to sin. God’s foreknowledge can assure certainty without Calvinism’s causality and eternal necessity.[iv] For the question, “If God knew we would sin with otherwise choice, why not create man without free will?” The answer is that man created without true free will is not man created in God’s image. God’s love toward man is a free choice—God could have chosen not to create man with whom to share His love—in like manner, man is designed by God so that he may choose to love, worship, or follow God or not.

To say that man freely chose to love and worship God, but actually could not choose to do otherwise is contrary to the most obvious teaching of Scripture as well as human understanding and application of those terms in real life. Imagine a wedding with the groom standing at the altar by his bride. The pastor says, “In taking this woman you hold by your hand to be your lawful wedded wife before God and these witnesses, do you promise to love her, cherish her, forsaking all others and cleave only to her so long as you both shall live?” Then the man responds, “I do, but of course that is all I can say; I must say yes because that is my nature.” Besides everyone being aghast, I suspect the honeymoon would lack some honey.

Part Two Coming Soon!

 

[i] The use of this term as a positive term for non-Calvinists is limited to just that rather than meaning that everyone who rejects Calvinism must agree with every point I make in this article.
[ii] This desire is not merely the desire to create so that man and things would exist in time. Rather, it is in regard to what precisely God’s desire to create included regarding the state and nature of man. According to Calvinism, compatibilism, God did in fact desire to create man with a past that would unalterably emanate a desire from which man would predeterminately freely choose to sin. Thus, the choice of Adam and Eve was something God truly desired because if He did not, He could have, according to compatibilism, created man with a nature from which no desire to sin would arise. Contrastingly, in Extensivism God’s desire to create man included a desire that man would not misuse his freedom to sin, but provisioned sufficiently for such a reality. God always knew that man would sin, and fallen man would continue to misuse his freedom, but God always desires man to walk in holiness. Knowing man would sin, God out of love provisioned for that eventuality in His coextensive creation/redemption plan for everyone, which further evidences His desire for all of His creation to live holy lives.
[iii] “The commentator C. E. B. Cranfield observed, ‘The more seriously a Christian strives to live from grace and to submit to the discipline of the gospel, the more sensitive he becomes to … the fact that even his very best acts and activities are disfigured by the egotism which is still powerful within him—and no less evil because it is often more subtly disguised than formerly”’ (A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans [Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1975], 1:358. As cited in John F. MacArthur Jr., Romans, MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Chicago: Moody Press, 1991), 383–384. Electronic Edition Logos Bible Software.
[iv] Eternal necessity in the sense that within Calvinism, God knows what man will choose because He knows and governs by deterministically making everything certain in time to happen precisely as it does.

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Jim P

Your article does go to core issues regarding the nature of sin, Pastor Roger. I’m sure my comments will do nothing but stir the pot yet I do believe they are relevant and should be taken into consideration and I’m sure I’ll be throw at with labels from the left and the right.

Man could not imagine the over-riding rule of sin in the world until the coming of God’s Christ. He and He alone was able to defeat its rule. The History of salvation from Adam until Christ was the history of God showing the worth and the desperate need of His work to overcome this tyranny over man.

Yes man had free will, except until Christ he could not exercise that free-will.

I hope you and other would take this simply for consideration.

Peace.

    Andy

    Jim,

    Your post has merit, but it is addressing a somewhat different question than the OP: The reality is that there are many who are “Calvinistic” (in a “soft” or “moderate” form), who might agree with much in the OP, that is, God created Adam and Eve with the ability of contrary choice, but since the fall that ability has been ruined by sin nature such that the only choice left is one of rejecting God…hence calvinism’s need for Unconditional election and irresistible drawing, and hence Arminianism’s need for Prevenient grace supplied to all. In fact Ronnie Rogers has in other comments stated a view extremely similar to the classical arminian view.

    Jim P

    Andy,

    I understand the contention within the views brought up here by Pastor Rogers, but I do feel this, the essence of the Gospel should be a factor in any and every discussion in order to have some agreed reference point. I also feel these divisions maybe insurmountable without which.

    The place of sin in these discussions is undervalued even in the case of Adam.

    The overcoming of sin, by Jesus, goes to the very core and heart of the Gospel message. That message should be playing a role in every conversation among believers.

    Jesus, Himself, put so much emphasis not only on Himself but also, the Gospel message, Matt. 8:35. To me it’s only reasonable that emphasis should play a role.

      Scott Shaver

      Now, along with Russ Moore, TGC, and a host of thousands…..we’ve got a new individual emphasis/interpretation, along with others ever changing by the winds and tides of western culture, on exactly what constitutes “the very core and heart of the Gospel message”.

      “Gospel” is the most abused term in American “Christendom” today.

        Andrew Barker

        Scott: You’ll struggle to get it from Matt 8:35 in any case, that’s for sure! ;-)

          Scott Shaver

          Andrew:

          Gets even worse for “Southern Baptists” here in America. Now they (the SBC with Russell Moore as designated “leader” of ERLC) has drawn the public ire of Donald Trump via Moore’s appearance this week on national television.

          Trump twitters in essence that Moore is a “poor representative” of American “evangelicals”. I whole-heartedly agree with his charge albeit disagreeing with his rationale.

          He says “Moore is a nastry guy with no heart”. I say Moore is a sheltered guy who has a heart without brains. He’s been spoiling for this fight with Trump for months now….looks like he’ll get it and get waxed in the process. He’s comparing himself to the OT prophet Elijah and Trump to the Baals. What a hoot!

          Russell Moore doesn’t understand the history of his own organization. It was the ERLC under Richard Land that went running after the “Baals” of the RNC and the “religious right” in Washington DC to begin with. Absolutely nothing like the OT models of prophets and statesmen for whom he insinuates he is “carrying the mantle”.

          All this with an oil painting of the Chaplain of the CSA hanging front and center in his office.

          His schtick is the “gospel” is what I say it is.

          To which I, and obviously countless others say….”raspberries”.

            Lydia

            Scott, and I say Moore is jumping up and down with glee that Trump even mentioned his name. In my opinion that is exactly what Moore has wanted all along. Trump is helping Moore build his personal national brand….with SBC funds, btw. This mention should bring Moore a lot of new camera time.

              Scott Shaver

              Lydia:

              Someone mentioned previously how “out of touch” with history some of our “leaders” like Moore really are.

              The term “evangelical” was first used to distinguish non-Roman Catholic churches in Europe. It was co-opted in the west in the 80’s with the “moral majority” which in turn allied itself with “evangelicals” as well as moral cults (Mormons) and anything for a vote. That voting bloc identified with the 80’s included names like Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Richard Land and the newly named ERLC (previously Christian Life Commission). These personalities provided the coattails for the current “evangelicals” that Russell Moore is playing “Elijah” for.

              It’s at best a quasi-moral-quasi-religious grouping and, in the past, a formidable political movement.

              “Moral Majority” in the tradition of Richard Land was simply standing with the RNC. It meant big thick ribeye steaks, cigar smoke and thousand-dollar + “gifts” to ERLC in order for Russell Moore to say anything that keeps the RNC “party” going.

              If the so-called “premier SBC ethicist” feels as a “Christian” that he has the right to challenge Trump, what does he ever have to say about the other side? If Trump is dangerous, what is Hillary? Sanders? …. the entire “democratic” agenda?

              Therein lies the rub…..despite Russ Moore’s past history with the Democratic Party…the DNC hasn’t given Russell Moore, the ERLC or “Southern Baptists” the time of day, so you can’t lose what you never had. Leaves no reason whatsoever to combat Hillary.

              The RNC is heavily divided from Trump, but their cozy relationships with lobbyists, big money folks etc. make them very desirable playmates for Russell Moore and the like.

              Looks like “Elijah” (tranlated ERLC) was the first to go chasing after the “Baals” in D.C.

                Lydia

                “Therein lies the rub…..despite Russ Moore’s past history with the Democratic Party…the DNC hasn’t given Russell Moore, the ERLC or “Southern Baptists” the time of day, so you can’t lose what you never had. Leaves no reason whatsoever to combat Hillary”

                The terms liberal and conservative don’t really mean much anymore. And we could count the ways all day! Republican and Democrat, the same. We have moved so far to the left that if you read JFK speeches he sounds like a right-wing Republican. Hubert Humphrey sounds like a typical Republican today. And so on.

                Why do we assume that the Neo Cals are not trying to attract youngens who identify more with Democrat’s?

                The real fight is social conservatism vs cultural socialism. The social conservatives have no idea just how socialistic they are but they are better because they do not want to spend government money on their social issues. I am not interested in a theocracy nor a pastor in Chief but I do believe guys like Russ Moore, Piper, Mohler, are. Anyway they can get it. There is absolutely no reason to ignore their Calvinism when it comes to government.

                I hate to quote James Carville but right now I believe ” it’s the economy, stupid”. My kids just grew up with 8 years of a Manchurian Candidate as president. They have also been surrounded by Driscoll clones posing as pastors. I am trying to figure out why Trump is so much worse. So my choices are bombastic jerk or and oligharcical Deceiver who made millions as a “public servant”.

                  Scott Shaver

                  True Dat Lydia….some choice.

                  As you’ve said before, “P.T.Barnum or Venezuela”.

                  In the spirit of a true populist (since I can’t be “Christian” or “evangelical”, or even “spiritually moored” (no pun intended) I conclude the following:

                  P.T. Barnum has more of an apple-pie, cotton-candy ring to it as opposed the fact the whole world has seen, felt and experienced the failure of a Venezuela….over and over again.

    Ronnie W Rogers

    Hello Jim

    My dear brother, thank you for your interaction; although, I must admit that I find no basis for your conclusion.

    You said, “Yes man had free will, except until Christ he could not exercise that free-will.”

    While God’s salvation plan, both prior to the cross and after, is dependent upon the accomplishment of Christ’s work and God’s grace-enablements, I find no biblical reason for or portrayal of the conclusion that you have offered.

    Thank you Jim

      norm

      Abraham believed God (Chose to believe) and to him it was credited as righteousness.

      Jim P

      Hello Pastor Rogers,

      And thank you for responding. And I do understanding your questioning my conclusions. I do think they are valid and I do think they need explanation which I wished I was more confident in my ability to give. But I do believe the challenge of tying the issue in your post and to the ‘gospel’ message is valid.

      One example from the Bible, I will try to submit, which I think is going to be more thought provoking then simply closing the case is the examples of King Saul and King David.

      Saul didn’t really appreciate the problem of sin. He was naïve to it and that naiveté followed him all his life, to the end. His example was also the Naiveté of the nation as a whole in their reaction to Jesus, and I believer is still following them and the world today.

      David on the other hand showed himself as naïve as Saul up to the Bathsheba and Uriah affair. After that, David’s main concern for the rest of his life was he didn’t want to end
      like Saul, i.e., stay naïve.

      That naiveté is a core problem in the church and the lives of the people of God, the solution of which is chained to the Gospel and that solution is salvation to the world.

      Pastor, my motive is only honest discussion in what are very contentious issues. We need to find some ground that is rooted. I can’t think of a better place to start then the Gospel. But it needs to be appreciated for what it is meant to accomplish which can only be done when the problem is appreciated for what it is.

        Scott Shaver

        Jim P.

        You knew Saul personally? Including his personal dispositons, training and inclinations toward or against sin?

        You are indeed an amazing sample of the human race.

Robert Vaughn

Brother Rogers, a few questions.

First, you use terms like free moral agent and libertarian free will while I do not. It seems we agree that in terms of the origin of sin that Adam and Eve had real choice — that is, they could have chosen otherwise. But to me “free moral agent” and “libertarian free will” suggests or implies there are no external forces working for/on/against their choice. Do you mean this, or something else? Would you give more details why you prefer these terms?

Second, since you use “Extensivism (broadly) as encompassing all soteriological perspectives that see God’s love and salvation plan as provisioning salvation by faith for everyone” do you include Arminianism under thisumbrella, generally?

Lastly, though somewhat off topic, how do you view the theology of Open Theism? You write that you believe foreknowledge of God “includes exhaustive eternal knowledge of contingencies in time.” Is there any way Open Theism can be wedged under this umbrella? Should Open Theism be accepted as an alternate orthodox view or God’s foreknowledge, or is it heterodox?

Thanks.

Ronnie W Rogers

Hello Robert

Thank you for your interaction with my article.

You said, “But to me “free moral agent” and “libertarian free will” suggests or implies there are no external forces working for/on/against their choice. Do you mean this, or something else? Would you give more details why you prefer these terms?

Libertarian freedom does not exclude other forces being in play, but does maintain that such are influences (even very strong ones) but not determinative—at least in choices that leave the person morally responsible. Thus, given the same past, a person can choose to act or refrain, and whatever he did in fact choose in the moral moment of decision, he could have chosen otherwise.

You asked does, “Extensivism (broadly)…include Arminianism?”

Yes

You said, “Is there any way Open Theism can be wedged under this umbrella? Should Open Theism be accepted as an alternate orthodox view or God’s foreknowledge, or is it heterodox?

No, I absolutely reject Open Theism

Thank you my dear brother

    Robert Vaughn

    Thanks for your reply, Ronnie. I appreciate the details. We grew up in church with the term “free moral agent” used a lot (but not libertarian free will), with not much definition of terms — mainly just referencing that a person had a will free to believe or not believe in Christ. What I think I see in more academic discussions is nuanced use of the terminology, and usually nuanced somewhat according to the soteriological philosophy of the writer.

    You agree that even very strong influence can be at play, as long it is not determinative. But you add -— “at least in choices that leave the person morally responsible.” By this I take it that you believe there is some deterinism, but where it exists the individual is not morally responsible. (Correct?) How do you see this in regard to the Crucifixion, where there is an event determined by God yet the contenders against Christ are held morally responsible (e.g, Acts 2:23 and 4:26-28)? Just this morning I was reading John 19:11 (thinking about just who is meant by “he that delivered me unto thee”). There “Jesus answered [Pilate], Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.” Both Pilate and the deliverer (Judas, mob, Caiaphas?) had sin, though one’s was greater than the other.

    Regarding Open Theism, I have a friend who recently argued for accepting it as a slightly difference version of classical views of the omniscience. I just don’t see it fitting there, but rather as a very radical departure.

    I realize this moves somewhat away from the OP on the origin of sin, but thanks.

      Ronnie W Rogers

      Hello Robert

      You said, (in reference to libertarianism) “What I think I see in more academic discussions is nuanced use of the terminology, and usually nuanced somewhat according to the soteriological philosophy of the writer.”

      Precise Libertarianism and compatibilism both entail certain nuances, which are often elided or misrepresented in discussions regarding Calvinism and Extensivism (broadly), but such does not change the true definition of the terms. Calvinists frequently, and misleadingly, define compatibilism as compatible with sovereignty, which is not the meaning of compatibilism because libertarianism is also compatible with sovereignty; thus, their misdirect is only trivially true. Actually, both terms are (if they are as accurately understood by people using the terms as they are by those who fully understand them), nuanced to rightly reflect the actual meaning of the concept; consequently, they actually only mean what they mean.

      In reference to my previous statement, you said, “You agree that even very strong influence can be at play, as long it is not determinative. But you add – [now quoting me] ‘at least in choices that leave the person morally responsible.’ You deduce from this that I ‘believe there is some determinism, but where it exists the individual is not morally responsible. (Correct?)’’

      I was actually making a distinction between choices in which one may be strongly influenced and, yet be morally responsible, and one where he is forced (compelled at say gunpoint) to do something and thereby not morally responsible. However, I do reject compatibilism, which is unflinchingly deterministic—Calvinism. I also believe God can, and I would say has, determined some states of affairs in which He overrides man’s libertarian freedom, and that He can do since it is a created force under His sovereignty, e.g. think kings who use their freedom for things He is unwilling to permit.

      You said, “How do you see this in regard to the Crucifixion, where there is an event determined by God yet the contenders against Christ are held morally responsible (e.g, Acts 2:23 and 4:26-28)?

      The Scripture you sight says, “this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.” (Acts 2:23).

      First, this verse does not say that the actions of the individuals were causally predetermined (Calvinism), but rather the Scripture includes God’s foreknowledge of contingencies (free acts of individuals) in His predetermined plan. God’s predetermination seems to include both particular predetermination at times (no other considerations are involved) and, at other times, predetermining some states of affairs that comprehend the free acts of people, as seems so obvious here if read without theological importations. This Scripture clearly portrays that man chooses between accessible options and is therefore understandably responsible. Note that He was delivered “by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge….”

      Calvinism reads their compatibilism and inadequate understanding of sovereignty, predestination, and foreknowledge into verses like this one which entails the incongruence of God judging people for doing precisely the sin or evil that He predestined them to do. Remember, I not only reject every petal of the TULIP; I also reject the underlying essentials of the system systemically, the soil from which the TULIP grows.

      Thank you my brother

        Robert Vaughn

        Thanks, Ronnie. That helps me better understand some of what you wrote. To clarify, I expect more academic discussions to have a nuanced use of terminology, as opposed to it just being mentioned in church. The main problem I have following some of the discussions is when different sides use the terms to mean different things. Regardless of what it supposed to mean, you have to understand what they writer means in order to understand his or her point. Obviously, both sides of the aisle will think their view is compatible with sovereignty. What would be your concise definition of Libertarianism and/or libertarian free will?

        You write, “I also believe God can, and I would say has, determined some states of affairs in which He overrides man’s libertarian freedom, and that He can do since it is a created force under His sovereignty…” I agree, and your statement here may be representative of a majority of Extensivists. But many, to me, seem to be saying that he never ever can under any circumstances overide man’s libertarian freedom. It may be that in making a strong contrary point that they only seem to be saying what they are not actually saying. Do you think your position above is the one widely accepted by Extensivists?

        Regarding Acts 2:23, I would agree with you that it does not say that the actions of the individuals were causally predetermined, but it also does not say they were not. In other words, taken for what it alone says in context we know that God foreknew what would come to pass, and that he had determined that Jesus would be delivered to the cross. From there we all are probably guilty of reading our understandings into it. I think Acts 4:26-28 comes closer to saying that (gathered together…to do), but still stops short of saying exactly that. [And perhaps, in some sense, our actions don’t always reflect our wills as in your “gun to the head” illustration, or when my older brother twisted my arm behind my back and got me to say “uncle”. It wasn’t my will to do so, but it was my choice! (These two sentences do not reflect a theological stance, but just musing on my personal experience).] Anyway, I think that Acts 2:23 and 4:26-28 does not prove either compatiblism or libertarianism, and could fit either if we can prove them from other scriptures.

        Thanks again.

Randall Cofield

Pastor Rogers,

You may address these in the yet-unpublished portion(s) of your article, but I would like to ask for clarification at this point on a couple of issues.

You state: “Man is a free moral agent with the ability to choose to sin or not to sin…”

In the entire history of mankind, can you point to any individual other than Lord Jesus who chose not to sin?

You also stated: “Extensivists believe that being endowed with libertarian free choice is an essential component of what it means for man to be created in the image of God.”

What Scriptures would you cite in support of this assertion?

Grace to you.

    Scott Shaver

    Is what you suggest not, Randall, a basic comparison between apples and oranges…..after the fact?

    Andrew Barker

    Randall: My parents were both Christians and I became a Christian at the tender age of 7 but from a very early age I had been brought up to know the difference between telling the truth and telling a lie. I was by no means perfect, but my language was very different from other school children who swore, a lot! I did not. Was that not a choice I made, not to sin?

      Randall Cofield

      Andrew,

      Perhaps I should have been more clear, but I thought my intention was at least implicit in the question. Better: In the entire history of mankind, can you point to any individual other than Lord Jesus who chose never to sin?

        Andrew Barker

        Randall: You were asking for clarification on a couple of issues. If this implies anything, it is that you are framing your question carefully. I cannot be expected to read your hidden intentions! As it is, the answer is perfectly obvious to all and sundry. Can’t see why you asked it or what you’re driving at. You’ll have to supply your own answer and reasons on this one I’m afraid.

          Randall Cofield

          Andrew: I kinda thought the “other than Lord Jesus” part of the question was pretty implicit…but apparently it was not. And I usually do try to frame my questions carefully for the sake of….oh, wait…you were implying that I might have some ulterior motive, weren’t you?….. :) Ah! The subtleties of the English.

          BTW, what is your denomination affiliation?

          Grace to you.

            Andrew Barker

            Randall: The answer to your question was so obvious, I really can’t see the reason for it. hidden motive or not. Please elucidate!

              Randall Cofield

              Andrew: I am holding out in hopes that Pastor Rodgers might respond. It was a two-part query wherein both parts are related.

              BTW, what is you denominational affiliation? I’m Southern Baptist…unashamedly so.

              Grace to you.

                Andrew Barker

                Randall: I’ve found that a reasonable request normally receives a positive response! But then, you don’t always answer questions put to you either do you. What was the reason for asking “any individual other than Lord Jesus who chose not to sin?” I’m still at a loss to see the relevance of this question.

                If it staves your curiosity, I am unashamedly denominationally totally non-affiliated to anybody or any group.

                  Randall Cofield

                  Andrew: I certainly think my request was reasonable in light of Pastor Rodgers’ assertion that “Man is a free moral agent with the ability to choose to sin or not to sin.” Such an assertion begs evidence. If I say I can build a home, I will convince no one unless I have actually built a home. I can, and I have. Lots of them.

                  When coupled with my second query, the two speak directly to Pastor Rodgers’ proposition.

                  I am indeed curious as to your formative theological influences. Are you not affiliated with a local Christian church?

                  Grace to you.

                    Andrew Barker

                    Randall: You don’t really answer questions; you have a tendency to skirt round them. As a seven year old, I believe I was well aware of right and wrong and made both good and bad choices. This was before I became a Christian. You may not accept that as evidence, but I believe I made conscious decisions to either do the right or the wrong thing. Do you disagree with this? Scripture is full of instances where God asks people to make a choice for good or bad. Do you seriously think he was asking them to either do what they couldn’t do, or even as it seems in your world sometimes, do what they couldn’t not do! The ability to make an either or choice is, in my opinion, part of being made in God’s image. How else do you think we differ from the animal world if it is not in the area of the ability to make moral choices?

                    Randall Cofield

                    Andrew, you posit: “You don’t really answer questions; you have a tendency to skirt round them.”

                    That is a rather canned retort around here, and rather ironic in that you seemingly chose to ignore my answer. If you are genuinely interested, see my response to Pastor Rodgers below.

                    And….speaking of “you don’t really answer questions”…I am indeed curious as to your formative theological influences. Are you not, or have you never been affiliated with a local Christian church? I’m a member of a Southern Baptist church. I am not ashamed to be a member of a Southern Baptist church…..:)

                    Peace

                Scott Shaver

                If anyone can define what actually IS a “Southern Baptist” these days.

                  Randall Cofield

                  I’ve wanted to ask you this for some time, Mr. Shaver. Did you go Cooperative Baptist in the Great Exodus?

                    Scott Shaver

                    As I just stated and as you have further illustrated with your question Randall:

                    “If anyone can define what actually IS a ‘Southern Baptist’ these days.

                    Randall Cofield

                    I understand your sentiment, though I disagree with the implication, Mr. Shaver. But did you go Cooperative Baptist in the Great Exodus?

                    Scott Shaver

                    Randall:

                    What do you mean by “Great Exodus”. Dumb question, alternative realities are part and parcel of the CR koolaid kid mentality.

                    Sadly, looks like most folks you want to label “cooperative baptists” remain right where they always were, many of them in the very same churches. SBC lost outright support of some churches and some individuals who are 100% funding a different baptist denomination, but the vast majority are still in affiliated “Southern Baptist” churches designating their offerings back and forth across the fence as they see fit and as it should be given the “exclusionary” spirit of yourself and others. Not to mention the SBC’s woeful display of fiduciary responsibility. That in and of itself is “criminal”.

    Jim P

    Randall,

    If I may suggest an answer to your question about ‘any individual other that the Lord Jesus who chose not to sin..’

    Jesus, in the forty day in the desert and ultimately at the cross defeated ‘sin’s rule.’ That rule dominated, yes, dominated the world since Adam allowed its entrance into the creation order.

    The blatant way Adam allowed its entrance showed even having not having entered the world the magnitude of its influence was too overpowering, that is, except for Jesus..

    When Jesus resurrected, He inaugurated the New Creation, in Himself, where the final defeat of sin will have its end and the ‘last enemy death will be cast into the lake of fire.’ 1 Cor. 15:26 & Rev. 20:14 and ‘All things will be made new…”

      Randall Cofield

      Amen, Jim P. That is the glorious good news of the Gospel.

      Jim P

      Thank you Randall,

      The defeat Jesus accomplish is the essence of the Gospel. My point earlier is that for sure the world underestimates the power of sin. The Church needs to shake off the cobwebs and wake up to appreciate is influence for it to be effective in a world that could care less about this truth.

      Jesus said, ‘whoever commits sin is a slave to sin.” John 8:34 and “if we say we have not sinned we make Him liar, and His word is not in us.” 1 John 1:12

      Jim P

      God gave the Law to Moses to bring the problem to the surface and out in the open, (Jesus was crucified in public) for all the world to wonder and to see that sin, took something good, the Law, and hijacked it to bring about more sin.

      For believers to not appreciate that paradox something is out of whack. This goes beyond simply debating theological preferences…

      Romans 5:20 “Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

        Lydia

        Gee Jim, and here I thought that coming out of centuries of pagan rule as slaves meant that they needed laws of their own that would have them focused on Yahweh every minute of the day. Some of the laws are eerily similar to some of the Pagan laws but done Gods way.

        By the way, some people hijack Jesus Christ to bring about more sin. What else is new?

          Jim P

          You thought wrong.

            Scott Shaver

            Jim:

            I thought according to your construct that God directs/ yea ordains the “thoughts” of man.

            Consequently, her thought right or wrong was to the “eternal glory of God”……right?

            Why then don’t you praise god and give a hearty amen for her insight?

              Jim P

              You thought wrong also….

                Scott Shaver

                God’s getting a lot of “glory” today then….huh Jim P?

                  JIm P

                  There’s no glory here only pity.

                    Scott Shaver

                    “Oh these boys won’t let me be, poor poor pitiful me.”
                    I know that tune Jim P. At least you’ve got good musical taste.

    Ronnie W Rogers

    Hello Randall

    You asked, “In the entire history of mankind, can you point to any individual other than Lord Jesus who chose not to sin?”

    I mean no disrespect, but I must say that I find these kind of “gotcha” questions, which Calvinists are so fond of, to be obscurant rather than enlightening, and therefore, a hindrance to true fruitful discussions among Christians (regrettably as a former Calvinist I played such “gotcha” games); thus, such are unworthy of an answer.

    However, since I also know that when these tactics are used (I am not addressing motive), no response is interpreted by Calvinist as irrefutable evidence of Calvinism’s divinity; consequently, I choose this time to violate my own judgment an respond—even though I have written two serious articles seeking to be fair and illuminative of both perspectives. Before commenting further, just for the records, I believe the Lord Jesus Christ is the only one person to date who chose not to sin.

    First, I am sure you know that your supposition pedestals a logical fallacy. To wit, just because no one did…does not mean someone cannot given God’s enabling grace; thus, the question is pap. Second, whether anyone did or does, fails to address the substantive question, which is, could anyone in history or can anyone at any point choose not to sin. Therein is the fundamental disagreement since Calvinists are committed to compatibilism, and therefore, Adam could not have resisted sin—the context of the statement you quote was dealing with Adam and Eve.

    I can only trust that when you preach on Adam, you are clear about the fact that according to compatibilism God created him where, although he made a free choice (per compatibilism), it was a predetermined free choice in which Adam could not have chosen otherwise. I know what Calvinism actually believes, and all I ask is that you be clear about it, as I seek to be about Extensivism.

    Second, if you will unburden your question of its obvious prejudice (question that is not really a question but rather a narrow path to a forgone conclusion) and include in your span of “history” all of future redemptive history (always known to God), then yes, I can point to untold numbers thusly portrayed in Scripture who choose not to sin. Lastly, because I know you to be a scholarly man, I suggest that you recognize that whether one has ever chosen to not sin, or if someone has or will at any point in God’s redemptive plan, does nothing to deal with the real issue—is man determined in everything or does he at times have actual, accessible options.

    Although I know my following comments, based upon your question, are rather futile, I continue. My statement was made in the context of discussing Adam, and even though he and Eve chose to sin, there seems to be no contextual evidence that indicates they did not have a real choice to do precisely what God commanded them to do—something that compatibilism disallows. As a matter of fact, I am not aware of anyone who deduces from Genesis (context) that his or her choice did not include the accessible option to eat or not eat. If you know of a Scripture that asserts, contrary to the simple straightforward reading and teaching of Genesis 2 & 3, that Adam could not have resisted sin, please share it with me.

    Further, it is even quotidian for Calvinists to write and speak in such a manner (Adam could and should have chosen not to sin), even though such is incompatible with compatibilism. Calvinist commitment to compatibilism may exonerate God from directly causing the sin, but it does not exonerate Him from establishing an inviolable past (nature) from which the desire to sin emanates from which they freely chose to sin. To wit, exercise a predetermined free choice. I would love to hear how you might extricate yourself from this dilemma, and any deviance from compatibilism is unacceptable as is relying upon “it is a mystery.”

    I would also say that the Scripture is clear that Christians are both commanded and enabled to be able to resist sin, and can and do at times; however, Calvinism’s commitment to compatibilism disembowels all such commands because its micro-determinism is neither mitigated nor even lessened just because someone becomes a Christian. According to compatibilism, while whether a Christian sins or not may be by a free choice according to one’s desire, the origin of the desire (past, nature etc.) was predetermined by God. Thus, biblical exhortations to the sinning one, once the gauzily obscuring Calvinistic double talk is detected, are reduced to insubstantial rhetoric.

    Finally, while lost man can never please God apart from faith in Christ, and do something that is righteous (that would mean there was an alternative path, which I utterly reject), it is clear that Scripture positions some sins as more serious than other sins; although not righteous, one can choose not to steal when the opportunity is present. The same is true with adultery, murder, etc., which is a choice for the better, a lesser sin without being righteous; of course, if compatibilism is true, whether one rapes, or worships God, he is doing precisely what God predetermined Him to do. That is what I do not find in Scripture.

    You quoted me “Extensivists believe that being endowed with libertarian free choice is an essential component of what it means for man to be created in the image of God. What Scriptures would you cite in support of this assertion?”

    My dear brother, I believe you have chosen to ask another unhelpful question for the sake of….Be that as it may, I once again indulge. You know that there is no Scripture that specifically states such, as there is no Scripture for you to cite that defines man as being endowed with compatibilism. While such questions may make a Calvinist feel better, it helps not one whit in providing serious consideration of Calvinism and Extensivism. I would contend that the Scripture ubiquitously portrays, from Genesis to Revelation, that God gives man a choice, blesses for choosing one option and judges for choosing the other; although inconsistent with Calvinism, and compatibilism, one may listen to virtually any Calvinist’s sermons and see they say precisely this.

    Thank you Randall

      Randall Cofield

      Ronnie, thanks for taking the time to engage my questions. I genuinely appreciate it.

      You state: “I mean no disrespect, but I must say that I find these kind of “gotcha” questions…etc.”

      I understand your sentiment and regret with you that these discussions often devolve into silliness. That is not my intention, as I hope to prove.

      As you are aware, compatibilism posits that human will is free, but only in one direction–toward sin. You know the passages that seem to support this, but I would further offer that in our context of Adam and Eve, as we both know, when God drove them out of the Garden they were not “free” to chose to turn around, go back into the garden, and partake of the tree of life. You are also aware of substantive arguments rebutting libertarian free will, not the least of which are Luther’s “Bondage of the Will” and Edwards’ “Freedom of the Will.” Such may not be convincing to you, but they are certainly not easily dismissed.

      My first question to which you object speaks directly to this point. Generally, libertarianism pettifogs the question because an honest answer is quite undermining to the position. The fact remains, however, that no human has ever chosen to never sin. Until that can be proven otherwise (and we both agree that it cannot), libertarianism remains suspect in the same manner that I would remain suspect if I declared that I “could” build a house, but never, in fact, “did” build a house.

      To my second question, you state: “You know that there is no Scripture that specifically states such (libertarian free will/image of God), as there is no Scripture for you to cite that defines man as being endowed with compatibilism.”

      Libertarian free will is a state of being, an attribute, that could, theoretically, be “endowed” to the creature. Compatibilism, on the other hand, is an apologetic that attempts to reconcile the difficult question of the, well, “compatibility” of divine sovereignty and human responsibility. Hence, those who hold to compatibilism are under no restraint to, as you put it, “cite scripture that defines man as being endowed with compatibilism.” Compatibilism is not an attribute, and therefore cannot be “endowed.”

      Conversely, if you posit that man is endowed with libertarian free will as “an essential element” of being created in the image of God, we both know that the onus rests squarely on you to defend such an assertion from Scripture. Now, you concede that you have no Scripture for such, yet there are numerous passages that speak to the bondage that sin exercises over the human will. I’m happy to share them, but you already know them.

      I’m also happy to engage in a defense of compatibilism from scripture if you wish, but we should not confuse the categories as you seem to have done here. As you wrote the OP, stating in clear terms your position, I don’t think I am obfuscating in the least to ask pointed and demanding questions requesting a scriptural defense of your assertion. Feel free to do the same with me. I welcome such, and we will both benefit, whether we change the other’s mind or not. This is the nature of honest, Christ exalting doctrinal discussion, and good men do it well without assigning motive or resorting to invective.

      I sincerely thank you again for your response, and I genuinely hope we can continue to converse to the eternal glory of God.

      Grace to you, my brother.

        Andrew Barker

        Randall: You state …”As you are aware, compatibilism posits that human will is free, but only in one direction–toward sin.” This is nonsense isn’t it and you know it. Sin did not enter the world because human will is free, but only in the direction of sin. Genesis is quite clear. Adam could eat of any fruit except the tree of knowledge of good and evil. He had plenty of directions in which to go. He just chose to disobey. The rest as they say is history!

        I’ve not heard compatibilism stated in quite that fashion before, so maybe I’m wrong on this, but if that is the case, then it really is a pointless discussion because the facts are starring you in the face.

          Andrew Barker

          ooops staring you in the face (blush)

          Randall Cofield

          Andrew, I think the “nonsense” here may be you parsing one sentence and ignoring the very next. So much for the English subtlety.

            Andrew Barker

            Randall: I think the nonsense is that somehow you think you can call Ronnie Rogers to account for making assumptions about libertarian free will and being made in God’s image and yet simply by stating that compatibilism is not an attribute that can be endowed therefore “those who hold to compatibilism are under no restraint to, as you put it, “cite scripture that defines man as being endowed with compatibilism”. Really! How convenient for you. (wink)

            I can see why Ronnie Rogers was somewhat unenthusiastic in his engagement with you. It really does look like one rule for you and a different one for the rest of us. I don’t think we’re buying that though! :-)

              Randall Cofield

              Andrew, come, now. Surely you read the rest of the post?

                Andrew Barker

                As they say “there you go again”.

              Scott Shaver

              If Rogers was unenthusiastic, can you imagine what a nightmare experience it must be to belong to Cofield’s church?

        Andrew Barker

        Randall: This is a bit late in the day I admit, but when you say ” I would further offer that in our context of Adam and Eve, as we both know, when God drove them out of the Garden they were not “free” to chose to turn around, go back into the garden, and partake of the tree of life.” I think you are confusing free will with freedom. Nobody is suggesting they were able to go back into the garden, but I think most people assume that they still wanted to go back. Free will is based on the ability of a person to choose one option over another. It does not necessarily follow that the chosen path is achievable.

        Ronnie W Rogers

        Hello Randall

        You said, “As you are aware, compatibilism posits that human will is free, but only in one direction–toward sin. You know the passages that seem to support this, but I would further offer that in our context of Adam and Eve, as we both know, when God drove them out of the Garden they were not “free” to chose to turn around, go back into the garden, and partake of the tree of life.”

        Of course, when speaking of man prior to sin, that creates the problem that leads Calvinists to invoke, “it is a mystery” regarding the fall of Adam. Because compatibilism necessitates that God did desire (more than the desire to create which is encompassed in compatibilism and libertarianism) Adam to sin (with all of the suffering entailed in that choosing), and, intrinsic to compatibilism, Adam could not have chosen differently in the moral moment of decision; hence, while according to compatibilism, Adam may be seen as responsible, but this still beckons the question of ultimate responsibility. This creates a dilemma that is not present in the text nor libertarian freedom, and “it is a mystery” is an inadequate answer.

        Further, No, while I am aware of passages that Calvinists believe support compatibilism, I am not aware of any that actually do, if one does not misunderstand the actual nature of libertarian freedom.

        Lastly, that Adam and Eve were not free to reenter the garden, although, not necessary to my point, it is interesting that God posted a guard to prohibit their return to the garden (Genesis 3:24), which is quite unnecessary under compatibilism. Even if they could not freely choose to reenter the garden, such change or limitation regarding the range of options they had at this point compared to before has nothing to do with whether they possessed libertarian freedom—see my previous explanations.

        You said, “You are also aware of substantive arguments rebutting libertarian free will, not the least of which are Luther’s “Bondage of the Will” and Edwards’ “Freedom of the Will.” Such may not be convincing to you, but they are certainly not easily dismissed.”

        I am aware of the arugments against libertarian freedom and the references you cited; however, these works do not in any way prove compatibilism; rather they assume such, and misrepresent libertarian freedom—no motive assigned. Again, libertarian freedom does not mean one can act or do anything one pleases. Nor, with regard to sin, does it entail that man does not require a divine work of grace to be able to choose to relate to God again—as do all biblically faithful positions. Rather, it is the nature of the work that is required for such, and that the work is not determinative, compatibilism, but rather restorative, enabling the individually to choose to believe or not.

        You said, “The fact remains, however, that no human has ever chosen to never sin. Until that can be proven otherwise (and we both agree that it cannot), libertarianism remains suspect in the same manner that I would remain suspect if I declared that I “could” build a house, but never, in fact, “did” build a house.

        Without repeating myself, I find this to be a Calvinist game since this is in fact a logical fallacy; realize that you are requiring me to answer a logical fallacy in order to prove something, and the nature of a fallacy is that it cannot prove something; additionally, it would mean I accept the indemonstrable premise that just because no ever chose to sin no one can. Additionally, you shifted from “no one” in your premise to “I” in your example of the house builder; thus, the example is invalid as well. Moreover, many build a house for the first time.

        I spoke further to this before. Suffice it to say, additionally, you must make a gargantuan assumption that God created Adam and Eve without the genuine option to resist the temptation, with all of its concomitant insurmountable problems. A leap that the vast majority of Christianity has rejected, and there is not one Scripture to demonstrate such; in fact, from cover to cover of Scripture, the clear depictions are God giving man a choice, warning him to not choose sin, offering blessing for choosing trust in Him. All one has to do is read virtually any Calvinist commentary and see the same things said; although, quite contradictory to compatibilism.

        You said, “Conversely, if you posit that man is endowed with libertarian free will as “an essential element” of being created in the image of God, we both know that the onus rests squarely on you to defend such an assertion from Scripture. Now, you concede that you have no Scripture for such, yet there are numerous passages that speak to the bondage that sin exercises over the human will. I’m happy to share them, but you already know them.

        First, I do not concede, nor have I, that there are no Scriptures depicting libertarian freedom. Actually, they are incalculably ubiquitous. What I said in my previous response was “You know that there is no Scripture that specifically states such, [i.e. man has libertarian freedom], just as there is no Scripture for you to cite that defines man as being endowed [i.e. man has compatible freedom] with compatible freedom.” So if you disagree, do not just show me a verse that you think reflects or fits compatibilism, but rather one that explicitly defines man with such; of course we both know that Scripture does not definitionally define man with either. Consequently, I stand by my statement.

        You said, “I’m also happy to engage in a defense of compatibilism from scripture if you wish, but we should not confuse the categories as you seem to have done here.”

        In what way have I confused categories? I would welcome your defense that demonstrates that compatibilism is biblical and libertarian is not. But be careful to not operate from a faulty definition of either; also, I would ask along with this that you address each and every exchange in the Scripture wherein the clearest reading is that man is confronted with a choice, and contextually giving every indication that he can choose either (some of course requiring God’s redemptive enabling grace). The two concepts reach much further than just sin and righteousness, they are relevant to every decision even the ones we are making, or think we are making.

        You said, “I don’t think I am obfuscating… without assigning motive or resorting to invective.”

        I remember saying that certain answers were “obscurant,” but I do not recall saying that you were intentionally being obscurant or pursuant of obfuscation; however, it seems to me that my lack of pen control has communicated such. Thus, without any defense, please forgive me; I will try to communicate better in our future engagements because I detest such treatment of a brother, especially from me.

        My time has run out so I will not be able to respond anymore, but I am sure we can visit this again.

        Have a good day and thank you Randall for your forgiveness in advance.

      Lydia

      “To wit, just because no one did…does not mean someone cannot given God’s enabling grace; thus, the question is pap.”

      This is my big beef with so many Protestants who insist that God gave the Mosaic law on purpose knowing they could not, and i mean did NOT have the ability, to obey.

      Talk about putting God in the dock!

        Randall Cofield

        Lydia, why, in your estimation, did God also at the same time give them a rather extensive sacrificial system?

          Lydia

          Randall. Not getting into it with you but highly recommend, at the very least, a Jewish Encyclopedia. There is a huge problem in the Reformed world of seeing Jesus Christ as some blonde Euro Protestant. None of this means the message should be lost on the blood sacrifice of God in the flesh, a Jew. . But you guys tend to narrowly read back in your agenda to everything.

            Randall Cofield

            Lydia, that seems an awful lot of cryptic hand-waving for such a simple question. :)

              Lydia

              I don’t think your questions are meant to be simple but more like traps. I never let others frame the discussion with those sort of tactics. I am sure that works with your followers who obey you but you are out of that bubble now.

              Not sure what “cryptic hand waving” means?

                Randall Cofield

                Lydia, everybody tries to “frame” the debate. That is the nature of debates. You are as “guilty” as anybody, viz;

                You make an assertion about the nature of the Mosaic Law. I ask a pretty straight-forward question that, if answered honestly would call your assertion into question. You then respond with a cryptic post about Jewish encyclopedias, a blonde euro-Protestant Jesus, and back-reading agendas. One would need a turbo-charged secret decoder ring to make any sense of this at all.

                One thing is clear, though. You were attempting to reframe the discussion.

                You don’t even see it, do you? :)

                  Lydia

                  “Lydia, everybody tries to “frame” the debate. That is the nature of debates. You are as “guilty” as anybody”

                  It depends on who one is talking to so I suggest you expand your bubble. The nature of debates is to persuade. We are far from that.

          Scott Shaver

          Not Lydia but answering anyway…..sue me or penalize me, don’t care.

          Is there a possibility that the sacrificial system was given to keep the children of Israel from committing homicide against the Randall Colfields of their day? :)

      Randall Cofield

      Ronnie,

      Thanks for engaging. My response is in moderation.

      Grace to you.

Lydia

Scott, I was going to suggest we ask for a definition of sin because it starts there. In the Calvinist construct, our very existence is sin. In their construct, I would have to believe a child molester and child protector are both equal sinners before God. I realize many Calvinists do this which only desensitizes them to evil. It is the definitions of concepts and words that makes communicating with them very difficult.

    Scott Shaver

    The problem Lydia is that these guys like Randal Cofield don’t even hold consistently to their own “constructs”. They are “neo-calvinist”..they have a gift for argumentative misdirection while chasing gnostic rabbits through bushes…..but they fall short on the logic/intellect side.

    “God” and “Scripture” are used like magic incantations to establish the ruse of dominance in verbal exchange. They remind me of the guys in the NT who wanted “purchase” the gift of the Holy Spirit for the purpose of exercising demons from Paul. They ended up running “bruised and bleeding” after trying to invoke “the name of Jesus” themselves.

      Randall Cofield

      Scott, what church did you pastor in that be-sainted city of Hattiesburg, MS?

        Scott Shaver

        Will refrain volunteering that information Randall.

        Wouldn’t want you to hold my “liberal-scripture refuting, Arminian open theism” against those good folks.

        Do your own leg-work.

          Randall Cofield

          Well, then I’ll ask again, because you are quite critical of the Conservative Resurgence. Did you go Cooperative Baptist in the Great Exodus? I’m a conservative Southern Baptist. I am not ashamed that I am a conservative Southern Baptist…

            Scott Shaver

            Randall:

            I get the distinct impression there’s not much about Randall Cofield that you are “ashamed” of :)

              Randall Cofield

              Cooperative Baptist or no, Mr Shaver? :)

              Surely you are not ashamed of your theological affiliation?

                Scott Shaver

                Surely Randall, you will grow “ashamed” of making a horse’s posterior of yourself?

                You don’t fame the discussion, you interact. That’s the reality of it.

                  Scott Shaver

                  Will grant you this Randall, since I’m “Southern Baptist” I grow increasingly ashamed of my “theological affiliation” on a daily basis :)

                    Randall Cofield

                    Scott, I saw your response to this question on the other thread. When I couple it with this response, another question arises. Are you a “dually affiliated” Southern/Cooperative Baptist? Can’t help but get the impression you are being evasive on this point. And if you think the Cooperative Baptists are “right where they have always been,” you don’t know Hattiesburg as well as you think you do.

                    Lydia

                    Scott, me thinks we are witnessing how attempts at “marginalization” work in that world. I do believe that left to their own devices, with Trads and marginalized, they will end up marginalizing each other! Nothing good has ever come out of Geneva. :o) (Except chocolate and secret banking)

        Jon Estes

        Randall –

        There once was a Scott Shaver at 1st Baptist Natchitoches. Not sure if it is the same one as here but who knows. It does seem the theologica stance of 1st Baptist Natchitoches.

        One sentence on their SoF concerning salvation states…”Man can never make up for his sin by self effort.” I would ask if coming to Christ on your own volition would be considerd self effort? I would think so.

        But this is the churches statement of faith and if it is a different S Shaver, then this is moot. If it is one in the same, it is interesting to some degree.

          Andrew Barker

          Jon Estes: Your comment ….””Man can never make up for his sin by self effort.” I would ask if coming to Christ on your own volition would be considerd self effort? I would think so.” shows a number of misunderstandings on your part.

          Firstly, the phrase “man can never make up for his sin by self effort” is an acknowledgment that all of us have sinned, so no matter how much good we do, we are always going to fall short of God’s standard. I would expect most of us could agree on this point actually?

          Secondly, you have used the phrase to try and make it mean something which it doesn’t try to suggest ie that we come to Christ on our own terms and/or that we are not responding to the call of the gospel.

          Thirdly, you have conflated the response of belief and trust with “self effort” and have tried to turn it into a ‘work’. It is a classic example of the Reformed tendency to give the rest of us problems that we just don’t have. Rather than me explain it to you, I’ll let Jesus do the talking. The Jews asked him on one occasion (John 6) how they might “work the works of God”. Jesus told them the work of God was “to believe in him”. Now you have a choice. Jesus was either telling them they needed to work for their salvation and that their belief was actually “a work” or he was gently pointing out to them that works did not come into it at all and believing was not a work.

          I think they got the point he was driving at. Do you?

            Jon Estes

            Andrew –

            I am glad you gave a scripture you want to fit when they gave no Biblical reference. I have no problem with their position.I agree with it.

            I’ll stick with my post and you can continue to add your thoughts and try to make it their thoughts if you want. I’ll stick with what they said, not what you want me to believe they meant.

            By the way, who is it that gives ALL of us the ability to believe? We do not believe on our own self effort, even this has a begining somehwere. Now, I would agree that we might come to different conclusions as to where it begins and I am ok with that. You may not be.

            Let me ask, if you don’t mind answering (anyone else alsop if you choose)… Do you think the reformed theology you are against is heresy?

              Andrew Barker

              Jon Estes: You comment …. “who is it that gives ALL of us the ability to believe? We do not believe on our own self effort, even this has a begining somehwere.” You take this up with Jesus Jon. He told the Jews he was speaking to to “believe in him” and I think he’s telling you (and me) the same thing. If you want to avoid his words, I guess you’re free so to do, but I’d advise against it. This attempt to turn belief into a ‘work’ stems from Reformed theology and it’s not based in scripture, at least I’ve never seen any scriptural backing for it. Perhaps you could provide?

          Scott Shaver

          One and the same Jon Estes. Pastored FBC Natchitoches from 97 to 2004 and Rawls Springs Hattiesburg prior to that.

          You clown should at least have sense to understand that having not been in Natchitoches since 2004, I can’t be held accountable to or responsible for anything currently existing on their website such as “faith statements”. They can be operating under Sharia law now for all I know.

          Those things (SOFs and church websites) usually represent the theological implications of the sitting pastor without consultation or examination of any “congregation”.

          Your examination of former church faith statements in an effort to “pin me down” is an exercise in futility. You and your lap-dog both know that whether you’ll admit it or not.

            Lydia

            Scott, As you can see, not to far from the implications of Sharia with the behavior of too mnay Neo Calvinist Imams in the SBC. What we have witnessed here are considered intelligent and/or polite questions in their world. Maybe they will pull a Doug Wilson and demand the name of your pastor so they can call him to have you disciplined. :o)

            And some think they can have “Unity” with such. How can one have “Unity” with authoritarianistic thinking? Their leader is the one who wanted non Cal’s who dared disagree “marginalized”.

            I have personally witnessed too many kind and decent people get steamrollered. They always hold other people to a higher standard than they do themselves. It comes with the dictatorial bent of Calvinism.

              Scott Shaver

              “Unity” means a collective effort to keep them (Calvinists) at bay and dispell their hogwash Lydia.

              Unity in heart and purpose…with biblical support even. Times like this when true individual belief in “inerrancy” either surfaces or it does not. Some of the best “inerrantists” I know would not reenter SBC “life” were they offered money due to it’s entanglement with “reformed” calvinists.

                Scott Shaver

                If he manages to get in touch with my pastor, Lydia, he will likely find himself preferring interaction with and appeals directly to me.

                I’m just the tip of the iceberg.

Philip Miller

Me thinks the author would be a much more effective writer if he didn’t go out of his way to sound so “highfalutin”, for example, “provisioning” where providing would be completely adequate. Anyone who is swayed by his arguments just because he uses big words is as susceptible to vanity as the author seems to be. My two cents to the discussion.

    Scott Shaver

    Philip:

    Here’s my two cents: When and if you ever “write” anything that is posted/published/circulated which captures public attention and fosters discussion/debate, we’ll listen more carefully to your views on “effectiveness”.

    “Vanity” obviously trumps ignorance in this exhange.

    Lydia

    “Anyone who is swayed by his arguments just because he uses big words is as susceptible to vanity as the author seems to be. My two cents to the discussion.”

    Oh my. How would one prove such an accusation?

    Are you convinced by Piper because of his flowery verbosity and passionate hand gestures?

Dennis Lee Dabney

For someone who didn’t have free will (allegedly), Adam sure had a lot of freedom in the garden of eastward in Eden. He was created in the image of God and after His likeness.He was the figure of Him that was come come. Both man and woman were created with the “will” to choose even if their choice wasn’t God’s will, even if their choice was disobedience rather than obedience, even if it wasn’t life but death. They were given dominion over the earth and the host thereof. Adam’s only restriction was dietary in appearance and form but described by the Lord God as deadly when ingestion.Our Lord Jesus Christ told his disciples to beware of forbidden “bread” as it related to the different doctrines which was available His own.

The forbidden tree was in the midst of the garden just as the commandment not to eat was in the midst of the spoken Word which he was also to live by. His only restriction was “eating” from the tree of the knowledge of both good and evil. For it is written in another place, “man shall not live by bread alone but by every Word which proceeded forth out from the mouth of God”.

The lines of demarcation were clearly established, and firmly explained by the Lord God well before man gave any consideration of partaking of the forbidden tree.

Adam labored for the Lord God working with Him, having authority, responsibility and yes freedom to name “every” creature which the Lord God brought to him. Not only that He was given the authority to distinguish male from female by calling her woman and later naming his wife Eve. Both Adam and Eve demonstrated the internal dimension within their soul to choose even beyond the known will of God. I’m not even sure if we should even call his offense “free will” due to devastation of sin, sorrow, suffering unto death. Afterward there certainly wasn’t anything “free” about it. Nevertheless they both were created with the capacity to choose. No matter how long they occupied the garden of Eden, choice would determine how long they would continue to live and when they would die. They were created with the option to live or die, choose life or death. God did not choose death for them, the reason I know He commanded the MAN not too! THOU SHALT NOT EAT.

That didn’t stop Adam from blaming the Lord God and his wife when he was found hiding in his sin. When questioned he said, it was the woman that thou gavest to be with me. Calvinist blame the Lord God and they are wrong. Adam blamed both the Lord God and his wife and he was dead wrong.

So why did Adam commit the sin of the age? The answer was given in verse 17 of the same chapter, “because thou has hearken unto the voice of thy wife and have eaten of the tree in which I commanded you not to”. Adam ate from the forbidden tree because he listened to the voice of his wife. He disobeyed God when he listened to the words of his wife who had been deceived by a Fallen Minister.

The garden of Eden story in the Church in my estimation is that of Ananias and Sapphira, “Grace” and “Beauty” which actually describes the Lord Jesus Christ both in His Church and before His Church! . We have the first couple mentioned in the Church and right afterwards Satan. Ananias had options and so did Mrs. Ananias. Peter laid out to Ananias what he already knew concerning the property and the money. He had options, the man and his wife could have done the right thing.

Preach!

Dennis Lee Dabney

Adam’s offense did not occur without internal restraint. He was created Godward, aligned to Him, first spirit, soul, mind then body. He was created to know, to be, to think, and do the will of God.

Man was created by The Word Himself, he was created for The Word, and finally he was created exclusively for the sole purpose of doing the word of God.

Adam disregarded all of the internal mechanisms, warnings, alerts as well as the alarm from his own conscious. He disregarded his own “constitution” in order to arrive at just the “idea” of disobeying The Only Thrice Holy God who is Alone Good.

Choice other than the will of God is not without restraint, nor “free” of dier consequences and repercussions.

There is no question man was created by God with capacity to choose.

Adam could choose “freely” the known will of the Lord God, eat and live “freely”. However if he chose the latter he would owe a debt he could not pay, die not without passing the implications on to all those after his kind. “Costly”!

Resulting in all who will live after him, must choose life in order to have Life.

Option 1 Freely
Option 2 Costly

Preach!

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