God Can Know the Free Acts of Man without Making Them Determinatively Necessary | Part One

November 10, 2015

Ronnie Rogers | Pastor
Trinity Baptist Church, Norman, OK

Calvinists often argue that defending man as possessing libertarian free will (giving man a true choice between walking with God or not walking with Him and therefore the outcomes being conditional) not only places man’s salvation in his own hands, but it also creates uncertainties that would mean that God would not know everything since (as the argument goes) one cannot know an uncertainty for certain. On the other hand, the Calvinist idea is that all actions are predetermined by God either through decrees, compatibilism, or both and this makes everything certain and therefore knowable. This understanding makes the theological reality[1] of libertarian free will an impossibility in Calvinism. Fortunately, the impossibility is merely a Calvinistic impossibility rather than an actual one.

William G.T. Shedd said regarding undecreed voluntary acts of humans, “Whether they shall occur rests ultimately upon man’s decision, not upon God’s. Hence human volitions are uncertainties for God, in the same way that an event which does not depend upon a man’s decision is an uncertainty for him.”[2] (italics added) Note that man’s inability to know what another free being will choose (if otherwise choice exists) is attributed to God. Such an application seems self-evidently unacceptable.

I would make the following distinctions. Man knows differently from God since man is not omniscient and did not originate his ability to know or choose. God created man with such ability (always knowing he would have such, which man did not know), and He omnisciently always knew how such endowment could and would be used, which man did not nor does he now know. God’s knowledge is particular, comprehensive, exhaustive, and eternal. Man knows and learns perceptively whereas God knows because He is essentially omniscient. That is to say, God as God knows everything as an essential part of who He is (even free acts of libertarian freedom), and therefore, does not look beyond Himself for knowledge, i.e. learn perceptively. He does not look down the halls of history to know contingencies, He knows them essentially; conversely, man’s knowledge is not of any such caliber either prior to or subsequent to the choices of others or even his own decisions.

Shedd argues that the undecreed (anything contingent) cannot be known, saying, “So long as anything remains undecreed, it is contingent and fortuitous. It may or may not happen. In this state of things, there cannot be knowledge of any kind.”[3] He further summarizes the impossibility of such a state, “To know, or to foreknow an uncertainty, is a solecism [inconsistency or error].” [4] He continues to pose decrees as certain and man having otherwise choice as being contingent and uncertain, which means according to him, “There is, therefore, nothing knowable in the case. To know, or foreknow an uncertainty, is to know or foreknow a non-entity.”[5]

Succinctly, he is arguing that contingency is an uncertainty and therefore nothing; for that reason, it cannot be known, and it certainly cannot be known certainly. This understanding leads to the conclusion that for man to have the freedom to choose other than what was predetermined is impossible because such reality undermines God’s sovereignty. Charles Hodge states, “Because all events are included under the categories of the actual and possible; and, therefore, there is no room for such a class as events conditionally future. It is only possible, and not certain, how men would act under certain conditions, if their conduct be not predetermined, either by the purpose of God, or by their own decisions already formed.”[6] As Hodge discusses the subject, he makes it clear that Extensivists (non-Calvinists) are the ones who accept what is now termed Libertarian free will[7] and Calvinists are Compatibilists.[8]

This emphasis upon determinism stresses Calvinism’s inability to perceive God as portrayed in Scripture. It seems to me, while neither side is heretical, our views of man emanate from our different views of God. The Scripture seems to portray God as more than capable of creating man with such freedom, restoring it after the fall, and still having always known everything man would do. God is all-powerful and all-knowing. This includes the actual, potential, counterfactuals of otherwise choice (contingencies), what He will and will not cause, permit, and what He will make conditional even to the point of what option man will choose within the range He permits; He further knows what options flow from that and what man will subsequently choose out of that contingent range of options (new reality or sequence of events for man).

He knows our present and future thoughts, and He has known such eternally. His understanding is infinite. (Ps. 94:9; Ps. 139:1—18; Ps 147:5; Proverbs 15:3; Proverbs 15:11; Ezekiel 6:5; Matthew 10:30; John 2:24—25; Acts 15:18; Hebrews 4:13). It is true that Calvinists believe these verses, as well as the surety and infinitude of God’s knowledge, but they do so for very different reasons than Extensivists; this difference includes the nature and role of causality and even what is meant by “know.” Calvinists postulate that He knows all because He causes all, decretal theology, compatibilism, etc.—which causation may include determined secondary causes.

The following provide some examples of God’s conditional knowledge (counterfactual knowledge). This can be seen in Matthew 11:20—24. This passage gives every appearance of teaching that had the people of Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom had the opportunity afforded Bethsaida, Chorazin, and Capernaum, they would have repented; thus the judgement upon the cities Jesus was addressing would be more severe. Charles Hodge, who seems troubled by this clear meaning, seeks to make this passage nothing more than “a figurative mode of stating the fact that the men of his generation were more hardened than the inhabitants of those ancient cities.”[9] However, read without theological importations, it seems clear that Jesus was truly excoriating the people of these contemporary cities for squandering what others would have embraced. He could make such a claim based upon His omniscience, which includes counterfactual knowledge (what if). Jesus says clearly, “they would have repented.” D.A. Carson says in reference to this judge (Jesus), “The Judge has contingent knowledge: he knows what Tyre and Sidon would have done under such-and-such circumstances.”[10]

Charles Hodge says regarding God as the sum of perfection, “Such a being cannot be ignorant of anything; his knowledge can neither be increased nor diminished.”[11] On this we can all agree. A difference that Extensivists have with determinists is that we would argue that there is nothing that would or could happen by either particular predetermination (which includes unconditional realities) or predetermined permission (which includes conditional eventualities) of which God has ever lacked infinite knowledge. To wit, uncertainties in time and space and the mind and experience of man were never uncertain in the mind of God. Equating uncertainties of man to uncertainties of God, and in so doing making contingencies essentially nothing and consequently unknowable, is neither reflective of Scripture nor essential omniscience.

God’s knowledge not only includes the significant counterfactual potentialities, but it even includes the mundane such as knowing every bird that falls from the sky and the number of hairs on everyone’s head (Matthew 10:29—30). Both states are ever changing and rather unimportant, and yet God has eternally known everything about all of them because He is essentially omniscient; such neither entails nor even suggests that He micro-causally predetermined each changing state.

The Bible portrays many things as contingent, such as wisdom being conditioned upon seeking and asking (Proverbs 2:1—12; 4:5—7; 6:16; James 1:5). He grants grace to the ones who choose humility over pride (1 Peter 5:5). This genre of conditionality as well as the voluminous passages regarding the promise of blessing or cursing as contingent upon the decision of man (Genesis 2:16—17; Deuteronomy 11:26—28) as well as salvation being contingent upon the choice of man and judgement upon same (Romans 10:8—11); all of which gives every indication of otherwise choice.

Part Two Coming Soon!

 

[1] I say theological because Calvinist and non-Calvinist alike know that no one lives consistently with determinism; accordingly, Libertarian freedom is obviously a real-world reality.
[2] William G.T. Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, vol. I (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1980), 397.
[3] Shedd Dogmatic Theology, vol. I, 397. He is comparing Socinian and Arminian theology.
[4] Shedd Dogmatic Theology, vol. I, 398. Solecism meaning an inconsistency or error.
[5] Shedd Dogmatic Theology, vol. I, 398.
[6] Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, vol. I (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1986), 399.
[7] He later refers to this concept variously as “contingency” “liberty of indifference” “self-determining power of the will,” although I do not find his definition to be accurate or precise. Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, vol. 2 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 282—283.
[8] Hodge says, “This is one of the points in which theology and psychology come into immediate contact. There is a theory of free agency with which the doctrines of original sin and of efficacious grace are utterly irreconcilable, and there is another theory with which those doctrines are perfectly consistent. In all ages of the Church, therefore, those who have adopted the former of these theories, reject those doctrines; and, on the other hand, those who are constrained to believe those doctrines, are no less constrained to adopt the other and congenial theory of free agency. Pelagians, Semi-Pelagians, and Remonstrants are not more notoriously at variance with Augustinians, Lutherans, and Calvinists, on the doctrines of sin and grace, than they are on the metaphysical and moral question of human liberty.” Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, vol. 2 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 278.
[9] Hodge, Systematic Theology, vol. I, 400.
[10] D.A. Carson, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary on Matthew, vol. 8 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1984), 273. D.A. Carson is a Calvinist, but he is forthright about the simple meaning of the passage, which I appreciate. As a Calvinist, if consistent, he would have difficulty with this statement and unconditional election. The non-Calvinist has no such problem since we teach that everyone gets an opportunity, but we do not teach that everyone gets the same opportunity to believe, which seems to be an absolute impossibility in a time and space continuum.
[11] Hodge, Systematic Theology, vol. I, 397.

Leave a Comment:

All fields with “*” are required

 characters available

Kelly Powers

I enjoyed this post, and most I understood. I think that though there will be those who will read this and not understand. I suggest having the same quality of information more reader friendly.

    Andy

    While I sometimes need a Theological dictionary when reading Ronnie Rogers, I enjoy it none-the-less. :-)

    Steven

    Here is some truth, Kelly.
    http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php/2015/11/10/radio-free-geneva-pastor-ronnie-rogers-at-truett-mcconnell-college/
    What do you really understand that is according to God’s Word?

      Dennis Lee Dabney

      Kelly,

      I spent a portion of my life this evening listening to what Steven refers to as “some” truth. Why would you or any of us settle for “some” truth. We can obtain a measure of “some” truth from sources outside the Holy Scriptures.

      Listen, man was created by God, God created “them” in His own image and after His likeness. Man’s free-will ranged from his obedience in Genesis 2 to his disobedience in Genesis 3. Even the child of God presently, who is genuinely saved, can exercise free-will, loose his or her “mind” for a moment, and sin against the Only True Living God of Glory, to his or her own shame, to future discipline along with unfavorable consequences to follow as the result of their rebellion.

      The scope of man’s God given free-will was within the parameters defined under “dominion” which was given by God to ‘them”. Man was given the authority to have dominion over all the earth as well as the listed content therein. He was created free to choose but never free of divine consequences, which were set forth by God beforehand, even before choice was even in view. God made His will apparent before God gave him anything else in the Garden of Eden. From Adam to his first born, God met both of them before they made their choice whether in the Garden which cost Adam his home or outside the Garden which cost Abel his life. For anyone to suggest that these choices made were all decreed by God is taking the Holy Scriptures beyond their divine use. Certainly God decrees and will accomplish His will in spite of the Devil and fallen mankind, in spite of sin and death. However to suggest man is not free to choose whether right or wrong violates the Scriptures. When God says choose He means CHOOSE, nothing less than a choice is acceptable. When He says, “Choose life”, that’s what He means and there is enough faith in those Words for man to respond favorably.

      The Serpent was the first creature to speak evil of God’s omniscience as he blamed God for what He knew as it related to what mankind did not know as it concerns the WILL of GOD.

      Preach!

        Steven

        Dabney writes,
        However to suggest man is not free to choose whether right or wrong violates the Scriptures. When God says choose He means CHOOSE, nothing less than a choice is acceptable. When He says, “Choose life”, that’s what He means and there is enough faith in those Words for man to respond favorably.

        Scripture repeatedly displays that ‘ Ought does not mean man has the Ability.

          Dennis Lee Dabney

          For by grace are ye saved through “Faith”and that not of yourselves it is the gift of God not of works lest any man should boast.

          At the preaching of the gospel, God requires a divine response from all of the children of men. With the Spirit of God present to help the sinner to repent and believe the gospel.. Man has no excuse, why because it is the goodness of God which leadeth thee to repentance and saving faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.

          There is no such teaching within soteriology suggesting the New Birth occurs before repentance and faith. Feel free to set forth those passages for our consideration.

          Preach!

          Dennis Lee Dabney

          Steven,

          Who will say “No” to the Sovereign whether “living” or “dead” and it not be required of him?. All of the children of men are DIVINELY REQUIRED by GOD to RESPOND as COMMANDED or ELSE! Repent or else, Repent or perish!

          God is not a man that He should lie, neither the son of man, that He should repent: hath He said, and shall He not do it? or hath He spoken, and shall He not make good?

          Preach!

          Dennis Lee Dabney

          Steven,

          God shall have no difficuty judging sinners for what they “ought” to have done in “time”.

          Preach!

      Charles

      Listened to this review of this – this morning. Great review by Dr. White.

        Dennis Lee Dabney

        It was done in poor taste. The speed of the audio was set to make lite of Dr Rogers presentation while Dr Oakley comes across as the teacher grading a speed readers term paper.

        Great presentation by Ronnie the review was “wanting”.

        Preach!

          Steven

          Dabney writes,
          It was done in poor taste.

          The speed has no bearing on what the essence of Mr. Rodgers theology.
          The truth hurts.

            Dennis Lee Dabney

            Steven,

            Now I agree with you whole heartily. The speed of the audio did not diminish Dr. Rogers presentation, it only revealed the host intentions since he had no argument only questions of “certain” words and terms in which he didn’t understand.

            The “Truth” helps and there are many who have been and are being helped out of “Calvinism”, not a few.

            Preach!

          Scott Shaver

          Dennis:

          Why do you think James White’s interaction with his sycophants is primarily electronic without venue for dialogue or discourse? You’ve pointed out his chicanery.

          Down here in Texas we call that a “HACK”

            Dennis Lee Dabney

            Scott,

            I remember my first visit to his blog, I was first told that I would change no minds or hearts there concerning Calvinism. Later I was “kicked” by one of the fine brethren from a thread when I went No Cal on them. I still drop in from time to time. Some of my comments here have made the highlight reel over there. My Lil Willy post got some “run” over a few weeks ago.

            It’s a very interesting blog.

            Preach!

      Ronnie W Rogers

      Hello Steven

      The following is not a defense of my message at Truett-McConnell, but rather I offer some insights that seem important in evaluating Dr. White’s comments, which you as a reader may not be privy. I do this in order to possibly, keep the dialogue between Calvinists and Extensivists profitable.

      Dr. White did not recognize that I was asked by the President to address the subject I spoke on, but rather Dr. White chose to critique me because I did not address…. The title of my message did begin with God, “Did God Choose to Give Man the Freedom to Choose (which is the specific question I was asked to address).

      He criticized the message because I did not deal with certain passages, which is an easy way to sidestep the substance of the message (or a book for that matter) since there is in any message some passages left unaddressed. However, just so you will know, none of the ones he mentioned poses a problem. Interestingly, he did not deal with the last half of my message from John 12:35-36, but I understand that he was under a time constraint. In addition, I can only assume that he does not understand what is precisely entailed in libertarian freedom since his conclusions emanate from an inaccurate view of libertarianism, a liberty I did not take in describing his compatibilism.

      Although I recognize his intellectual acuity, he did make some very jejune statements such as deducing that a belief in libertarian freedom somehow makes man sovereign. Common misunderstanding of libertarian freedom, but I would think Dr. White should know better. He used the word “autonomous,” which is a term I have never used in describing man’s freedom. I can only wonder why he employed this term if he was serious about engaging a brother.

      He makes the mistake of presenting anyone who rejects monergism as presenting a man centered perspective whereas Calvinism is God centered. I am a little embarrassed for him since both perspectives begin with God and simply differ on what God sovereignly and freely chose to do.

      Then of course, there is the trite conflation of God’s certain knowledge of the future eliminating man’s libertarian freedom (which is what my article is about). By this, he appears to make a point with some who are not aware of the harmonious distinction between God eternally granting the ability for otherwise choice and knowing what that otherwise choice would be in time; that some are influenced by this is unfortunate since it is easily answered as I do in this article.

      I would just be careful in desiring Calvinism to be the truth so badly that one accepts critiques of what is not said as a substantive critique, inferences that are not reflective or consistent with either what the speaker said, believes or even legitimate, and criticizing a 35 minute message because it did not cover certain verses. Such misdirection’s stoke the ambers of disagreement without dealing with one another in truth and grace.

      Thank you

Steven

Had a hard time getting past the first 2 paragraphs, too much deception and shoddy scholarship. Readers beware.

Mr. Rogers writes,
Calvinists often argue that defending man as possessing libertarian free will (giving man a true choice between walking with God or not walking with Him.

Mr. Rodgers is building a ‘strawman deliberately switching ‘libertatrian freewill with autonomous freewill, and redefining what ability man has as the seed of Adam, prior to being ‘ regenerated ‘, ‘ born again ‘ by the Holy Spirit.

Calvinists believe man has always had a libertarian freewill, man has always been able to choose between right and wrong.
Calvinists do not believe man has an autonomous freewill, what Mr. Rodgers is claiming in the statement, giving man a true choice between walking with God or not walking with Him.

Now Mr. Rodgers will claim victory on his misrepresentation of what Calvinist believe.

Mr. Rodgers then writes,
This understanding makes the theological reality[1] of libertarian free will an impossibility in Calvinism.

So when you hear someone say, “Calvinists do not believe man has a freewill, you will see how these deceptions arise.

Now let us review what Mr. Rodgers has done with William G.T. Shedd’s writings, The Divine Decrees.
Here Mr. Rodgers wants you to believe that this is what Mr. Shedd is expressing himself,

Mr. Rodgers writes.

William G.T. Shedd said regarding undecreed voluntary acts of humans, “Whether they shall occur rests ultimately upon man’s decision, not upon God’s. Hence human volitions are uncertainties for God, in the same way that an event which does not depend upon a man’s decision is an uncertainty for him.”[2]

This is the context to what William G.T. Shedd writing about, NOT his thoughts, but what the Socinians believed below,

In respect to this point, the Socinian is more logical than the Arminian. Both agree that God does not decree those events which result from the action of the human will. Voluntary acts are not predetermined, but depend solely upon human will. Whether they shall occur rests ultimately upon man’s decision, not upon God’s. Hence human volitions are uncertainties for God, in the same way that an event which does not depend upon a man’s decision is an uncertainty for him. The inference that the Socinian drew from this was that foreknowledge of such events as human volitions is impossible to God. God cannot foreknow a thing that may or may not be a thing, an event that may or may not be an event.

.

    Andy

    1. It is not any strawman to suggest, or even outrightly state, that Calvinism denies liberarian free will. Most calvinists would agree that they deny it. You are inserting your own definitions to distinguish between libertarian and autonamous…when the reality is that most high calvinists would gladly deny both, especially those calvinists who are supralapsarian.

    2. I agree that Rogers could have been more clear in his earlier paragraphs that Shedd is DENYING the socinian view…One does not realize this fully untill subsequent quotes in paragraph 4. An initial sentance explaining that Shedd was a calvinists who argued AGAINST un-decreed libertarian choices would have been helpful.

      Steven

      Andy writes,
      It is not any strawman to suggest, or even outrightly state, that Calvinism denies liberarian free will. Most calvinists would agree that they deny it. You are inserting your own definitions to distinguish between libertarian and autonamous…when the reality is that most high calvinists would gladly deny both, especially those calvinists who are supralapsarian.

      You might want to explore the definition of a strawman, you are clueless, as is Mr. Rodgers.
      It is the autonomous- equal or higher than God, to be able to come, believe, choose, seek God prior to regeneration- new birth.
      Once again every Calvinist understands that man was created with libertarian freewill to choose to do many things even choose God.
      Until after the fall, man could still choose to do many things, BUT spiritually unable to choose God.

      Secondly, to boldly state this ascertain,
      when the reality is that most high Calvinists would gladly deny both, especially those Calvinists who are supralapsarian.
      It is fundamentally sound to provide the foundation for such a conclusion.

      Andy, if you are going to use the word most Calvinists, then reference where you get your data.
      Because Calvinist are clear that man has always had a libertarian freewill to choose,
      but not an Autonomous freewill to come, believe, choose, seek God prior to regeneration- new birth
      That is your strawman, that Calvinists do not believe man has a freewill.
      You been schooled.

      Andy writes,
      2. I agree that Rogers could have been more clear in his earlier paragraphs that Shedd is DENYING the socinian view…One does not realize this fully untill subsequent quotes in paragraph 4. An initial sentance explaining that Shedd was a calvinists who argued AGAINST un-decreed libertarian choices would have been helpful.

      No not helpful Andy, HONEST.

        Andy

        Steven, it is odd that you require me to cite sources, when you cite none of your own…but here’s a few I quickly found…

        1. “11 reasons to reject libertarian free will” http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/libertarian.html (The Title says enough, I think)….

        2. http://www.reformation21.org/articles/do-we-have-free-will.php ( a website promoting calvinistic beliefs…here’s a few quotes…)
        – The Bible never says that humans are free in the sense that they are autonomously able to make decisions that are not caused by anything. Libertarian free will is often merely assumed based on common-sense experience but not proved.
        – Humans are morally responsible, which requires that they be free. There is no biblical reason that God cannot cause real human choices. The Bible grounds human accountability in God’s authority as our creator and judge, not in libertarian free will.
        – Is libertarian free will the reason for the origin of sin? Short answer: No.

        3. See Randall’s comments below as a sample of a calvinist, whose immediate reaction is “I don’t believe in Libertarian free will.”

        4. STEVEN SAID: “No not helpful Andy, HONEST.”
        —> If it is your first response, when faced with unclear statement by a fellow brother in Christ, to assume INTENTIONAL and MELEVOLENT DECEPTION, that is your prerogotive…but it is not mine.

        5. Please proof-read your posts…the incomplete sentences, switched verb tenses, and grammar problems make it very difficult to follow what you are saying.

        Andy

        Oh yes, and in the James White Link you posted, James White specifically mentions libertarianf free will, and says that it is rediculous to argue that “It is God’s will to give man libertarian free will.” So he obviously denies LFW as well…

          Andy

          Mmm…No reply from Steven.

          That must mean he now agrees that many, many calvinists deny LFW, and that his attacks on Ronnie were unfounded…

          Or perhaps, it’s just that Scott is just more fun to argue with than I am…I can see that… :-)

    Ronnie W Rogers

    Hello Stephen

    You said, “Had a hard time getting past the first 2 paragraphs, too much deception and shoddy scholarship.”

    Precisely what part is “deception” and “shoddy scholarship”?

    You cite me, “Calvinists often argue that defending man as possessing libertarian free will (giving man a true choice between walking with God or not walking with Him”

    First, you did not quote the entire statement. The last section (which you quoted incompletely) is parenthetical in order to clarify what I mean by free will i.e. otherwise choice, something excluded by compatibilism, Calvinism’s adopted view of moral freedom. I do this to facilitate the meaning of terms in order to enhance discussion.

    You said, “Mr. Rodgers is building a ‘strawman deliberately switching ‘libertarian freewill with autonomous freewill, and redefining what ability man has as the seed of Adam, prior to being ‘ regenerated ‘, ‘ born again ‘ by the Holy Spirit.”

    With all due respect my brother, you have declared something without demonstrating such to be true. I never claim man has an “autonomous will” (feel free to search all my writings and spoken messages), but rather I claim that man has a libertarian as opposed to compatible freedom—a point that I am more than willing to discuss. Just how is this a straw man, please be specific.

    You said, “Calvinists believe man has always had a libertarian freewill, man has always been able to choose between right and wrong.”

    This is an imprecise statement. Knowledgeable Calvinists (for example, Calvin, Hodge, Edwards, Piper, Sproul, Erickson etc.) hold to compatibilism and not libertarianism; doing such, means that in the moral moment of decision—given the same past—one cannot choose other than he did in fact choose, but is considered to have freely chosen so long as he chose according to his greatest desire. Consequently, your statements regarding what I have said seem to be mistaken as well as your understanding of the Calvinist position on freedom.

    You said, “Now Mr. Rodgers will claim victory on his misrepresentation of what Calvinist believe.”

    Please be very specific in explaining how I provide a “misrepresentation of what Calvinist believe.” If I do, I will apologize because I do not desire to misrepresent my Calvinist brothers and sisters, but just because you say it is a misrepresentation does not make it so.

    You said, “So when you hear someone say, “Calvinists do not believe man has a freewill, you will see how these deceptions arise.’”

    Remember I used the term freewill to be libertarian freedom. How is this a deception? I am very careful to note that Calvinist do believe in man as a morally free agent, but they do not (mainstream knowledgeable Calvinists) believe man has libertarian (otherwise choice). They believe in compatibilism—see above.

    You said, in reference to my quote of Shedd, “This is the context to what William G.T. Shedd writing about, NOT his thoughts, but what the Socinians believed below. ” then you say, “The inference that the Socinian drew from this was that foreknowledge of such events as human volitions is impossible to God. God cannot foreknow a thing that may or may not be a thing, an event that may or may not be an event.”

    Your final statement (regarding what the Socinians inferred), it appears to me, is supposed to demonstrate that Shedd does believe in contingencies arising from libertarian freedom, and he is just arguing against Socinus’ idea that such is unknowable (if I have misread you, I apologize. If you will clarify that is not your intention, I will try to respond to your clarification.)

    My response: First note that in the footnote 3 I provided the context “He is comparing Socinian and Arminian theology.” Consequently, I was neither unaware of nor beclouding the context. Second, prior to my citation Shedd argues his position (Calvinism) saying, “The Divine decree is the necessary condition of the Divine foreknowledge. If God does not first decide what shall come to pass, he cannot know what will come to pass. An event must be made certain, before it can be known as a certain event….So long as anything remains undecreed, it is contingent and fortuitous. It may or may not happen. In this state of things, there cannot be knowledge of any kind.” (p 397, italics added) A point he further illustrates.

    After which, my citation of Shedd is introduced by Shedd himself with these words, “In respect to this point, the Socinian is more logical than the Arminian (the point he is referring to is that there cannot be knowledge of a contingent—that which is undecreed). Both agree that God does not decree these events which result from the action of the human will. Voluntary acts are not predetermined, but depend solely upon human will. Whether they shall occur rests ultimately upon a man’s decision, not upon God’s.” (italics added)

    That is to say, Shedd, by his own words, finds the Socinian understanding more logical than the Arminian (if contingencies arising from the will of man exist they cannot be known). That understanding is explicitly stated, “The inference which the Socinian drew from this was, that foreknowledge of such events as human volitions is impossible to God… the Arminian position that “shrinking from this limitation asserts that God can foreknow an uncertainty” (p 397-398).

    So Shedd actually rejects libertarian freedom, but accepts the logic of Socinus that if such contingencies exist they are unknowable to God, which bolsters Shedd’s case—see his above comments.

    My article disagrees with both Shedd and Socinus. I believe Scripture teaches that man has libertarian freedom with otherwise choice and thereby creates contingencies (unlike Shedd), and I reject that these are unknowable to God (as Socinus believes), even though they are unknown to man. Shedd summarizes his view regarding the knowableness of contingencies, “To know, or to foreknow and uncertainty, is a solecism.” (p 398)

    Consequently, it appears to me that I have represented Shedd and Calvinists properly.

      Ken

      Ronnie Rogers

      In your response to Stephen you used the phrase “my Calvinist brothers and sisters.”

      That title, along with “Calvinist Christian,” has always confused me since I rationalize that if a person believes that God selected, before the foundation of the world, those whom He desired to save and those whom He elected for eternal damnation(Limited Atonement?), how can such a person know that he or she is saved and entitled to claim the title of Christian, and how can anyone assume that they are saved?

      My dilemma is that I have been unable to uncover a single verse of scripture in God’s Word that provides the Calvinists who believe that God’s Plan of Salvation is Limited Atonement assurance of salvation whereas we who are “John 3:16” believers as God’s only way to salvation(and further, that “world” in John 3:16 means every person who has ever been created or will be created and that “whosoever” means any one and/or every one of those created) can point to multitudes of verses providing assurance of salvation to us.

      In my way of thinking, those who believe in Limited Atonement as God’s plan of salvation can never know if he or she is saved until he or she dies and finds out whether his or her soul resides in Heaven or Hades.

      I would appreciate your input on my thoughts.

      Thanks

        Ronnie W Rogers

        Hello Ken
        Thank you for your comment. All I can say is that, while I disagree with the basic teachings of Calvinism, I do believe they are my brothers and sisters in Christ. I know many personally who give equal evidence of salvation as anyone else to whom I would ascribe that term. Having been closely involved with Calvinism for many years, I have witnessed their general deep devotion to Christ and the things of Christ, and this along with a serious piety; of course, carnality has many adherents on both sides of the soteriological discussion. lastly, I do understand why they believe what they believe, I just disagree, and I can only pray that I would do so with the respect and love they deserve from me as a follow of Christ.

        I hope this helps. Thank you

          Ken

          Ronnie Rogers;

          Thanks for your response. Your rationalization immediately caused me to think of Matthew 7:21, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven . . .”

        Steven

        Ken writes,
        My dilemma is that I have been unable to uncover a single verse of scripture in God’s Word that provides the Calvinists who believe that God’s Plan of Salvation is Limited Atonement assurance of salvation whereas we who are “John 3:16” believers as God’s only way to salvation(and further, that “world” in John 3:16 means every person who has ever been created or will be created and that “whosoever” means any one and/or every one of those created) can point to multitudes of verses providing assurance of salvation to us.

        Hebrews 10:12
        but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD,
        Hebrews 10:13
        waiting from that time onward UNTIL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET.

        One of the strongest text for limited atonement is Hebrews 10:14
        For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.

        2 Thessalonians 2:13
        But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.

          Ken

          Sorry, Steven, but I see nothing in the verses you quoted to tell me that any individual is assured beyond a shadow of doubt that he or she is saved, unlike the multitude of verses which assure me.

        Andya

        Hi Ken,

        A calvinist will look for assurance in almost all the same ways that a non-calvinist would:
        -Faith in Christ’s sacrifice as opposed to faith in their own goodness.
        -Evidence of God’s spirit within them, Love for Jesus, his word, his people…hating their own sin.

        A calvinists would say a person who has these things can be assured of their salvation. They would simply say that the decisive factor that led to these being present was God awakening faith in them…as opposed to God waiting until they themselves exercised faith.

          Ken

          Andy

          Following your reasoning indicates that a person who believes in Limited Atonement can know the mind of God and the decisions He has made concerning who He has elected for salvation. That is impossible!

            Andy

            No mind-reading at all. I don’t know where you got that.

            It is reading, hearing, and believing what God has already revealed. He has revealed in his Word what a Christian looks like, what a Christian believes, what a Christian loves and hates. He has also given promises (ie, as you said, “the multitude of verses which assure me.”) of eternal life to those who believe. A calvinist and non-calvinists look the same place for assurance…they simply ascribe the reason for their individual faith to a different source.

            Even assuming one believed whole-heartedly in Limited Atonement and Unconditional Election (which they would say they believe based on Scripture)….they would ALSO, based on scripture, believe that when God regenerates and Elect sinner, he produces within them the Belief in Jesus, the fruits of the Spirit, the growth in holiness, etc, the inner witness of the Spirit, etc….all the things a non-Calvinist might look to for assurance.

            Or to put it another way, Calvinists do NOT believe that in the world there are Elect and regenerate Christians who none-the-less have no faith in jesus and no fruits of the spirit…NOR do they believe there are pagans who who have faith in Jesus and true spiritual fruit. Now, just as in non-calvinism, they allow for the fact that there are some true Christians who have doubts, as well as some false-believers who are either putting on a show, or for some reason falsely believe themselves to be saved when they are not…however rejecting calvinism does not make those issues go away.

            Andy

            Just for fun, here’s an analogy I recently used in a sermon about Assurance…one which is just as true under calvinism as without it…

            “Raise you hand if you’re sure!” (remember the deoderant commercial?) If were to ask that question, There would be not just 2 groups of people but actually 4:
            -Those who are sure they smell good, and actually do smell good
            -Those who are sure they smell bad, and are quite correct!
            -Those who are worried that they smell bad, but actually smell fine.
            -Those who think they smell good, but actually stink.

            If we were to ask a group of people “Are you sure that you are Christian who will go to heaven?” We would likewise have 4 realities at play:
            -Those who are sure they are Christians, and truly are.
            -Those who know that they are NOT Christians.
            -Those who sometimes worry and have doubts about their salvation, but are in reality true Christians.
            -Those who believe they are true Christians, but in reality are trusting in something other than Christ for their salvation.

          Les Prouty

          No Ken we don’t claim to know the mind of God concerning who He has chosen for salvation. We do claim the promises God has made and therefore Andy is exactly right. It boggles my mind that anyone would even think that because we don’t know the mind of God concerning who He has chosen (the exact same position for non Cs I might add) we therefore cannot have assurance.

          SDG!

            Ken

            Les:
            Based on your countless posts to this blog I have assumed that you are a 5 point Calvinist. I also conclude that you consider yourself saved. So, my challenge to you is, very simply, if you are assured by scripture that God selected you personally as one whom He eternally saved before the foundation of the world, provide me even one verse of scripture that provides you with that assurance.

            Good luck!

              Andy

              Ken, the simple answer is there isn’t any. Nor is there any that you personally are now a believer, but you base your assurances on God’s promises to those who believe…so do calvinists. It really isn’t any more complicated than that.

            Les Prouty

            Ken,

            “provide me even one verse of scripture that provides you with that assurance.”

            Sure Ken. I’ll be happy to d that after you answer one question for me. Do you believe you are one of the elect of God? I eagerly look forward to your answer.

            SDG!

              Andrew Barker

              Les: Why do you make answering Ken’s question conditional on him answering your question? I cannot see the point in taking up this stance unless you feel unable to actually answer Ken’s question, so your response is actually just an evasive tactic, or you think you have some moral right to have ‘your’ question answered first. You may of course decline to answer my question! :)

                Les Prouty

                Andrew, thou respondeth too quickly without reading more carefully.

                SDG!

                  Andrew Barker

                  Les: Still no answer though and no verses which provide that ‘personal’ confirmation of having been made ‘elect’. You engage in tit-for-tat but you’re ‘all mouth and no trousers’, which I think is the British equivalent of “all hat, no cattle”. :)

                  Les Prouty

                  What tit-for-tat? You’re a funny one. If you have no substance you resort to statements like “you’re ‘all mouth and no trousers?” Childlike for sure.

                  Tell you what. Show me Andrew Barker’s personal verse providing “that ‘personal’ confirmation of having been made ‘elect’? Show me brother. Just one.

                  SDG!

                  Andrew Barker

                  I was trigger happy Les, but my aim sure was true! And that that’s more than can be said for some ….. ;-) Now stop faffing around and come up with the goods!

            Les Prouty

            Ken,

            I should have just answered your question. One verse? How about several…

            And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.

            We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.

            By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.

            Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

            And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

            For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God…

            I could go on Ken. But you get the picture.

            Now, do you consider yourself one of the elect?

            SDG!

              Don Johnson

              Les,

              I can’t answer for Ken, but yes I consider myself to be one the elect. I’ve been one of the elect since the time I was saved. Likewise, you also became one of the elect when you were saved.

                Les Prouty

                Great Don. How do you know that? From where do you get assurance of your being one of the elect?

                SDG!

                  Lydia

                  That is what I would like to know. If you have no ability to respond how can you really know? You are “unable” to really know.

                  Don Johnson

                  Les,

                  I like you have faith. All God’s elect have faith Titus 1:1. Those without faith are not as yet God’s elect.

                  Les Prouty

                  Oh Lydia. Dear you remain so confused.

                  “That is what I would like to know. If you have no ability to respond how can you really know? You are “unable” to really know.”

                  Where do you get these fanciful (my word for the day) ideas? Not from Calvinists or Reformed confessions. Just making things up these days? You’re brighter than that. :)

                  SDG!

                    Lydia

                    I got the fanciful idea from Reformed gurus. I don’t think it is fanciful at all. It is a culture of death.

                  Les Prouty

                  “I got the fanciful idea from Reformed gurus.” So you got this statement you said, ” If you have no ability to respond how can you really know?” from some Reformed gurus? Can you trot out their statements showing that is their Reformed belief for us to see? Please, please do so. Pretty please?

                  “I don’t think it is fanciful at all. It is a culture of death.” Thankfully there’s this:

                  “But God was merciful! We were dead because of our sins, but God loved us so much that he made us alive with Christ, and God’s wonderful kindness is what saves you. God raised us from death to life with Christ Jesus, and he has given us a place beside Christ in heaven.” See? Death to life!

                  SDG!

                Les Prouty

                Don,

                Thanks for the answer to this question: “Great Don. How do you know that? From where do you get assurance of your being one of the elect?”

                Your answer: “I like you have faith. All God’s elect have faith Titus 1:1. Those without faith are not as yet God’s elect.”

                And that Don is that same answer I give, as do all Calvinists.

                Andrew and Lydia, taking note? Don the non Calvinists and I the Calvinist have the same answer. Now you guys can give up your silly attempt to corner Calvinists on the issue of assurance. Happy day!

                SDG!

                  Don Johnson

                  Les,

                  No, we don’t have the same answer. You believe God brings His elect to faith. I believe one becomes God’s elect after he has faith.

                    Andrew Barker

                    Don: Exactly! Unfortunately Les either can’t see or doesn’t want to see that the two positions are not equivalent.

                    Far from trying to corner Les, we would prefer him to come out in the open and discuss properly. But I don’t think that’s going to happen.

                  Les Prouty

                  Sorry Don. No cigar. Whatever we think about how it comes about that we exercise faith, the fact remains I have faith and you have faith. And as you said, “All God’s elect have faith.”

                  SDG!

                  Lydia

                  Where does your “faith” come from? Do you have the “ability” to have faith or does God impart it you since He chose you before Adam even sinned.

                  Do you not see the problem? Les cannot know Les. It is dualism.

                  Les Prouty

                  Andrew,

                  “Don: Exactly! Unfortunately Les either can’t see or doesn’t want to see that the two positions are not equivalent.”

                  Are you for real?

                  “Far from trying to corner Les, we would prefer him to come out in the open and discuss properly. But I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

                  I’m still here Andrew. Try making a cogent argument that Calvinists can’t have assurance for a change.

                  BTW, still waiting for your personal “Andrew” verse. Remember my question?

                  Tell you what. Show me Andrew Barker’s personal verse providing “that ‘personal’ confirmation of having been made ‘elect’? Show me brother. Just one.

                  SDG!

              Andrew Barker

              Les: I see we got a response but ……. sadly no answer. All these verses are true of course, but they don’t give any support to a personal to belief that they have been ‘chosen by God’ and are elect which is what you’ve been asked to establish. For example you quote “Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.” So we all agree on this. But this verse provides no supporting evidence that a person has been or is ‘chosen before the world began’ and is therefore ‘elect’. It just isn’t there Les. It really does come down to reading your Bible correctly Les. Nobody is ‘chosen’ by God for salvation. Period. We are only ever chosen ‘in Him’.

                Les Prouty

                Andrew,

                “I see we got a response but ……. sadly no answer.” Of course it is not an answer that satisfies you. But well, what else can I say? Those who refuse to acknowledge the truths of the scriptural teaching of assurance which apples to all believers? Not mss else to say.

                But I will say. “But this verse provides no supporting evidence that a person has been or is ‘chosen before the world began’ and is therefore ‘elect’. It just isn’t there Les. It really does come down to reading your Bible correctly Les. Nobody is ‘chosen’ by God for salvation. Period. We are only ever chosen ‘in Him’.”

                Yes, yes. According to Andrew!! it “provides no supporting evidence that a person has been or is ‘chosen before the world began’ and is therefore ‘elect’.” Well ok then. Pronouncement heard. But pronouncement rejected as fanciful.

                “It really does come down to reading your Bible correctly Les.” Yes, and may I suggest you seek to improve on that yourself?

                SDG!

                  Andrew Barker

                  So, still no verse(s) to support your claim Les. But there is plenty of evidence to the contrary which you continue to ignore. Every single instance where scripture talks about being chosen is qualified in some way or other, normally by saying we are ‘chosen in Him’. So your claim that it is just my opinion or it is “fanciful” and that I have no supporting evidence is not just ‘fanciful’ in itself, but it is also demonstrably false!

                    Andrew Barker

                    I’ve added this as a PS, which is a brief synopsis of my thinking on being ‘chosen’. I think it does fit in with the topic quite well actually and demonstrates how God can determine things as a Sovereign God and yet not over-ride our act of free will. In effect, God has determined to save all those who come to Him through faith in Jesus.

                    Those who would like to be reminded about the Biblical truth of being ‘chosen’ need go no further than 1 Pet 1:20 which is clear that Jesus is the one who is “chosen before the foundation of the world”. This should be clear enough for any Bible student. It should leave a question mark in the minds of all those who would try and suggest that ‘we’ are chosen before the foundation of the world. Are they really assuming equality with Jesus Christ? Peter later goes on to confirm that Jesus is the one who is ‘chosen’ and is the chief cornerstone. Is that a position that each and every Christian claims? Are we all the chief cornerstone? That’s what it means in terms of being chosen. Peter also goes on to paint the picture that we are all living stones built into one temple with Jesus as the chief cornerstone. That’s the relationship we have.

                    Paul uses the phrase ‘in Him’ to express exactly the same thought. We do not measure up to God’s standard, but ‘in Him’ we are justified etc. It’s therefore also important to realise that we have not always been ‘in Him’. If this were the case, then we would never have required salvation as that would already have been accomplished. But as Jesus is the one who is chosen, when we accept God’s offer of salvation we become part of His body, we are placed in Him. This was all in God’s plan of salvation from before day 1 hence Eph 1:4 confirms that “before the foundation of the world” God’s plan was that through Jesus, all those who trust in Him will be made holy and blameless. In Him we have redemption the forgiveness of sins.

                    Being chosen is never talked of in isolation. We are always chosen in Him and for a purpose too. There is plenty of Biblical support for saying we are ‘chosen in Him’, but absolutely none to say that of ourselves we are chosen. We are meant to be like Jesus, not usurp his position or authority.

              Ken

              Les:

              Absolutely, I consider myself one of God’s elect. Because, unlike Calvinists, I consider God’s “elect”, “chosen,” etc. to consist of every person who has ever accepted or will ever accept Jesus Christ as Savior as specified in John 3:16. As the old children’s ditty so clearly puts it, “If you’re saved and you know it, say amen.” So, with scriptural assurance, I can shout from the rooftops, Amen! Amen! Amen! I’m glory bound! Again, unlike Calvinists, I can point out multi-dozens of scriptures which tell me I know I am saved.

              The verses you provided do not even come close to providing any assurance to anyone that he or she had been selected for salvation by God before He ever created man.

              As was pointed out to you by others, the fact is clear that you cannot point to any scripture that assures you that you have been selected as one of God’s elect(the Calvinist version of elect).

              If I were a Calvinist I would be embarrassed to present such an illogical argument as you just promulgated.

                Les Prouty

                Ken,

                You: “I consider God’s “elect”, “chosen,” etc. to consist of every person who has ever accepted or will ever accept Jesus Christ as Savior as specified in John 3:16.”

                Me: I consider God’s “elect”, “chosen,” etc. to consist of every person who has ever accepted or will ever accept Jesus Christ as Savior as specified in John 3:16. So we agree. People who DO NOT accept Jesus Christ as Savior as specified in John 3:16 are quite obviously not among the elect.

                You: ““If you’re saved and you know it, say amen.” So, with scriptural assurance, I can shout from the rooftops, Amen! Amen! Amen! I’m glory bound! Again, unlike Calvinists, I can point out multi-dozens of scriptures which tell me I know I am saved.”

                Me: “If you’re saved and you know it, say amen.” So, with scriptural assurance, I can shout from the rooftops, Amen! Amen! Amen! I’m glory bound! Again, LIKE non-Calvinists, I can point out multi-dozens of scriptures which tell me I know I am saved. And I pointed out those scriptures.

                You guys should listen to non Calvinist Andy (at least I don’t think he’s a Calvinist). He understands the issue well.

                You: “The verses you provided do not even come close to providing any assurance to anyone that he or she had been selected for salvation by God before He ever created man.”

                Me: Where do you guys (and gal…Lydia) come up with these cockamamie notions? Do you guys and gal dream up ways to try (lamely I might add) to refute Calvinism? Y’all need to invite someone else to live in your heads. Try something you can actually coherently argue against.

                You: “As was pointed out to you by others, the fact is clear that you cannot point to any scripture that assures you that you have been selected as one of God’s elect(the Calvinist version of elect).”

                Me: Yeah, I know others have tried. And failed miserably.

                You: “If I were a Calvinist I would be embarrassed to present such an illogical argument as you just promulgated.”

                Me: If I were a non-Calvinist I would be embarrassed to present such an illogical argument as you just promulgated.

                SDG!

                  Ken

                  Les:

                  Based on your response parroting my remarks I can only conclude that you must adhere to the concept that some Calvinists espouse which is that there are two steps in a Calvinist’s way to salvation – step 1 being to be elected by God as being “eligible only” for salvation conditional upon(and requiring) step 2 which is for the Calvinist to accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

                  If I correctly understand your position, and I can see no other possibility, then Wow! – the ruts in your concept of the road to salvation get deeper and muddier.

                  In fact, the mud looks more like quicksand from which there is no way for one to extricate oneself.

          Andrew Barker

          Andy: As a definite non-Calvinist I can assure you that non-Calvinists do not look at assurance in the same ways as Calvinists. If Calvinists want to believe that God chooses an elect who can come to faith, then that is the basis of any assurance. The Calvinist still believes in salvation through faith, but that faith is ultimately dependent on God’s choice.

          Those of us who hold a Biblicist point of view, base assurance on God’s word which says whoever (ALL) responds in faith will be saved. Importantly, faith is open to all and is not restricted to an elect group. We may not always ‘feel’ saved, but at no point does our salvation depend on feelings but on God’s word. To the Calvinist who complains that they too rely on God’s word I would say, show me from scripture where it says YOU personally are elect. Mind you, that would be some assurance wouldn’t it!! But it would be a first as nobody’s done it yet.

            Andy

            1. While a Calvinist WOULD look to God’s election as the REASON for their faith and security, or anyone else’s…it is an individual’s PERSONAL assurance that i am speaking of…ie, how would a person know if they are either (a) elect and born again, or (b) Non-elect and not born again, or (c) elect, but not born again. Now, obviously no one can discern if they are (c), but the things a calvinists would look at based on God’s word to determine between (a) or (b) would be very much the same things as a non-calvinist:
            -Whoever responds in faith will be saved.
            -They may not always feel saved, but their salvation does not depend on feelings but on God’s word,

            2. Andrew, do you not believe that even outside of calvinism a person can lack assurance, or even that a person who thinks they are a Christian really isn’t? Rejecting calvinism doesn’t make those issues go away.

              Andrew Barker

              Andy: You have linked two separate issues again in your comment “do you not believe that even outside of calvinism a person can lack assurance, or even that a person who thinks they are a Christian really isn’t? Rejecting calvinism doesn’t make those issues go away.” All Christians can at times suffer periods of lack of assurance. This is down to our frail humanity. It has nothing to do with any rejection or acceptance of Calvinism.

              My observation is that it is Calvinists who have most problems with ‘assurance’. This is because despite what they say they believe, they have no scripture to point to which will provide them with personal confirmation of having been made ‘elect before the foundation of the world.’

              My rejection of Calvinism is based on its failure to comply with scripture. It’s a simple as that!

              Andrew Barker

              You will also note that Les is continuing along this line of personal assurance, but he fails to follow through on his own logic. All of us as Christians have to base our assurance on God’s word. We may or may not feel that assurance all the time, but that’s down to human nature. Even when we don’t feel ‘saved’ we can turn to God’s word and read what it says. It then becomes a matter of trust. If we deviate from God’s word we are likely to run into trouble sooner rather than later and that includes the basis of our assurance.

              So as a Christian I would use a verse like Gal 2:20 which gives a very personal level of assurance. Now either you believe that Paul was espousing an extreme form of limited atonement or like most of us you take this verse and say that “Jesus loved me and gave himself for me.” It doesn’t really get more personal than that does it. Every born again believer in Jesus can use this verse and be assured that they are saved. At least they should be able to. However, assurance is contingent on the acceptance that what the verse is saying is correct and in line with the rest of scripture and is not just a partial statement of truth. If you start to lay down other preconditions then assurance becomes contingent on these other conditions.

              When Calvinist/Reformed adherents argue that not everybody can exercise faith, then that becomes a condition which also has to be met. The standard belief among Calvinists is that God chooses or elects those people who are going to come to faith and he does this before the foundation of the world. They (Calvinists) are in effect adding a precondition to exercising faith because unless a person is elected, he/she cannot exercise faith. They hold that God unconditionally elects people to salvation.

              So returning to Gal 2:20 while this should give assurance of salvation, the Calvinist has been taught that their response of faith was down to whether or not they were chosen. They may also have been taught that Jesus only died for the ‘elect’ i.e. limited atonement. These facts also have to be taken into consideration. Any assurance they have cannot rest solely on Gal 2:20 but becomes contingent upon their being elect or chosen. They therefore have to look deeper to find confirmation for their assurance. It is at this point that they start to make the scriptures fit their theology rather than letting scripture dictate what they are thinking. Hence you will find people quoting Eph 1:4 as saying “God chose me before the foundation of the world,” when in truth it doesn’t say that. 1 Pet 1:20 confirms that Jesus was indeed chosen and Eph 1:4 confirms that ‘in Him’ we are chosen. However, we are not ‘in Him’ until such time as we have exercised saving faith.

              If we wish to seek assurance of salvation, I would suggest that this can only come through God’s word correctly interpreted and lived out in our lives.

                Lydia

                “When Calvinist/Reformed adherents argue that not everybody can exercise faith, then that becomes a condition which also has to be met”

                This is such an important point that has many ramifications. As you acknowledge, it becomes a “condition” that has to be met. But there is anther aspect such as is where such faith comes from. Did God give us the ability to practice faith or must it be imparted to us individually with some not being “chosen” for that ability. IOW: They were destined not to believe. It is fatalism.

                To me, that is where this really breaks down. It brings in caste system thinking, dualism which is paganism and frankly, an acknowledgement that man can never really know what he thinks he knows. Some outside force has to force him.

                Man can never know himself. Therefore any real relationship with God is impossible. The entire construct does not fit with the God/man, Jesus Christ. It does not even fit with His own words: Repent and believe.

                l know all this sounds weird to most Christians but when you read some of the Greek Philosophers it starts to become more clear unless of course, you buy into determinism.

                Guys like Plato had to convince folks that he understood things they could not. He was given special ability to understand and the masses were not. (Sound familiar?) So students who “understood it” (followers) were also given this special knowledge so they too could be philosopher kings. In the end, it is always about control and superiority.

                Maybe we should start teaching Greek Pagan Religion at church so more folks will see the parallels.

              Les Prouty

              Andrew, I realize you were addressing Andy. But let me help you out brother. You say, “You will also note that Les is continuing along this line of personal assurance…”

              May I call to your mind that I was not the one who started and furthered this “personal” aspect to this subject? For your recollection:

              Ken: “So, my challenge to you is, very simply, if you are assured by scripture that God selected you **personally** as one whom He eternally saved before the foundation of the world, provide me even one verse of scripture that provides you with that assurance.”

              Oops, looky here: Andrew Barker: “Les: Still no answer though and no verses which provide that **‘personal’** confirmation of having been made ‘elect’.”

              NOTE: Still waiting on your verses to that effect…

              Maybe you’re just having a slow thinking day, I don’t know. But I didn’t bring up this notion of coming up with verses which, what did you say? “verses which provide that **‘personal’** confirmation of having been made ‘elect’.” That’s right. That was you.

              Now as to your larger attempted argument. I’m pretty sure my 7 year old grandson can understand this, so presumably you and the others can grasp it.

              Only the elect possess saving faith. On that we all agree, right?

              If a person has saving faith, said person must be elect.

              See how easy that is? Let’s try it out. Les has saving faith. Therefore, Les is of the elect.

              The question then really is, does Les have saving faith. If Les does have saving faith, Les is elect.This is not really hard gentlemen (and Lydia). I know it’s difficult for you to do, but try to set aside your detestation of all things even remotely associated with Calvinism…remove your man centered biases for a few minutes and you’ll see that this line of attempted reasoning you seem to be pursuing is a “fool’s errand.”

              SDG!

              BTW, I may have limited time to respond today as I am doing last minute things before I leave for Haiti early Saturday morning for 5 days. Of course there will likely be limited or no replies from Haiti. So, you’ll be free to have your echo chamber all to yourselves and get away with saying any bizarre things about my faith (the Reformed faith) with hardly a peep from me. Maybe Andy can hold your feet to the fire. :)

                Andrew Barker

                Les: BTW your response is entirely predictable as is the dash to Haiti. It’s amazing just how many times a trip to Haiti coincides with you running out of excuses for ducking the question. I’m sure you can find the time to respond, if you want to.

                Has anybody EVER questioned that you one of the elect? I can’t remember anybody posting anything to that effect, ever. So saying that ‘Les is elect’ is irrelevant to the conversation. If your 7 year old grandson can understand this, then I guess he too must be elect. Good for him, although quite how either he or you know that I’m not sure unless he has made a personal profession of faith, in which case great. Otherwise, I think you’re swinging and missing again.

                What I have pointed out to you, and I’m not the first, is that if you make salvation contingent upon being chosen by God, then your assurance of salvation rests on scripture that says you are chosen or elect. But there are no such scriptures which can provide this assurance so you are reduced to a self fulfilling prophecy. The elect come to faith. I have come to faith, therefore I am elect!

                I’m disappointed that you don’t think I have provided personal confirmation of assurance. I think Gal 2:20 is very personal. Surely you’re not so naive to think I was going to find my name written in scripture. I mean, my namesake is there, but I can’t claim any other affiliation. The point here is that I don’t require anything more personal than that because I believe wholeheartedly that when John 3:16 and other verses speak of God’s provision for ALL, that I am included in that. Again, you have to accept that your doctrine has consequences. If you will insist that ‘whosoever’ doesn’t include ALL men everywhere then you will constantly run into similar problems. But you can’t blame me for that or that by accepting that truth I therefore don’t have the same problems you appear to have.

                So to make it abundantly clear Les, I think that since you make salvation contingent on being chosen by God, any assurance you have rests ultimately on your belief that God has chosen you. Without scriptural support that you have been chosen, I would suggest you are leaving yourself high and dry.

                Les

                Andrew,

                You say you’re disappointed in me. Well I’m sure you are. But in fact I’m very disappointed in you. This:Your ” dash to Haiti. It’s amazing just how many times a trip to Haiti coincides with you running out of excuses for ducking the question. I’m sure you can find the time to respond, if you want to.”

                This is a really low blow. Even for what usually is said around here. You quite obviously have zero idea what you’re talking about. To suggest or intimate that I would either make up a trip to Haiti or if going, use it as a way to weasel out of responding or ducking your questions is not only ignorant but shameful. Allow me to enlighten you a bit, even though after that sort of low blow you really don’t deserve it.

                I travel to Haiti 6-8 times a year. Tomorrow will be my eighth trip this calendar year. I’m almost always leading a group of 18-25 people. The days leading up to the trip or usually quite full collecting supplies I need to take to my team there. The day before is almost always hectic with last minute tasks and trying to get a few more minutes with my family. My travel day tomorrow will begin about 2am local time here in Missouri. Airport and all that. The flights and then 3 hour drive tomorrow will get me to my lodging about 6pm EST Saturday. While here and there between flights I can access my mobile data and do some things, responding to commenters on SBC Today is not high no my priority list on these kinds of travel days. Once I land in Haiti, well data is available for a price, but very rarely have I used my purchased data in Haiti to respond to much other than emails concerning my ministry or texting with my wife and children. Getting the picture Andrew?

                So COULD I find the time to reply to your what have now become ridiculous questions while I travel for about 15 hours tomorrow or while I’m in Haiti working long days doing ministry and would have to use expensive data charges to do so? Sure I could probably find a couple minutes. Would I? Not a snowball’s chance in you know where.

                Now to the other stuff. You: ” Has anybody EVER questioned that you one of the elect? I can’t remember anybody posting anything to that effect, ever. So saying that ‘Les is elect’ is irrelevant to the conversation. If your 7 year old grandson can understand this, then I guess he too must be elect. Good for him, although quite how either he or you know that I’m not sure unless he has made a personal profession of faith, in which case great. Otherwise, I think you’re swinging and missing again.”

                Insert whoever’s name you wish. No, no one has questioned that. I could have or really should have just used John Doe rather than my name. The truth of what I said stands and you have zero to counter with. See Bill Mac’s earlier comments. He can see the ridiculous notions you and Ken and Lydia and ?? are putting forth. It’s astounding. You all seem like intelligent people. But on this crazy fools errand you all are on, well brain set aside. So no I didn’t swing and miss. I hit it over the fence. You just can’t deal with it.

                What you and others have said is preposterous. “The elect come to faith. I have come to faith, therefore I am elect!” Now you have it!!

                “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Love the verse and wholeheartedly apply it to myself as do you. You claiming this as personal for you but not for me and other Calvinists is…I’m running out of adjectives…silly.

                “So to make it abundantly clear Les, I think that since you make salvation contingent on being chosen by God, any assurance you have rests ultimately on your belief that God has chosen you.”

                My salvation is contingent on God’s grace, same as you. We are all saved by grace, right? You do believe that don’t you? My assurance rests on God’s grace as well and the promises He has made in scripture. See the verses I have already provided.

                Soli deo gloria!

                  Andrew Barker

                  Les: Thanks for spending the time to answer. I guessed you would. If you think your answer holds water, you’re deluding yourself. “My salvation is contingent on God’s grace, same as you. We are all saved by grace, right? You do believe that don’t you? My assurance rests on God’s grace as well and the promises He has made in scripture. See the verses I have already provided.”

                  Sorry Les, but your reply clearly shows that you either haven’t or don’t want to face facts. It’s true, everyone’s salvation is of grace. You’ve never heard anybody dispute this have you? So now, face up to the truth of what you say you believe. Of course salvation is by grace but you believe that it is only by God’s grace that you are chosen. That’s a correct assessment of your belief? So trying to argue that because all Christians accept that salvation is entirely of God’s grace therefore we ALL believe as you do, well that’s fanciful.

                  Which ever way you want to frame it Les, you believe that salvation is contingent on God’s unconditional choice of an elect. Therefore any assurance you may have rests ultimately on confirmation from scripture that you have been chosen. Such assurance does not exist, or if it does, you’re not producing it!

                    Lydia

                    Les, it is real simple. You just say you will be out for a week and will not be in a position to reply. I have never understood the need for folks to give such detail on their activity over the Internet. It is also a safety issue for your family/property. Anyone can read here and connect dots over time since you consistently tell us of your trips.

                    You mention it so often in responses that really don’t warrant such information that over time it might not be coming off the way you intend. My guess is that many reading here are involved in similar activities but never mention them unless related to the topic. Some may not even be paid to do them.

                  Les

                  I’m still around Andrew. And I have a few more minutes. Your last reply, utter desperation.

                  What is notable is what you didn’t say. Apparently no shame for the intimation or suggestion that I would manufacture a trip (lie that I was going) or hide behind a trip to minister in Haiti so as to duck your obsession on my assurance. Your comments were uncharitable at best and un Christian at worst.

                  Adieu à vous
                  SDG!

                    Andrew Barker

                    Les: Spare me the French and the lecture. Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.

                    Les

                    Andrew,

                    Glad that I can still make a comment. Disembarking in Miami. As to your spare me comment, too late.

                    SDG!

                    Andrew Barker

                    Les: Note the time line :)

                    Les 20-11-2015, 16:30
                    One more thing Andrew. In no way am I seeking any sort of sympathy when I described what my travel and stay in Haiti is like. None. I absolutely love what I do and am exhilarated by it. I need no one’s sympathy for serving in Haiti.
                    Les 20-11-2015, 18:02
                    I’m still around Andrew. And I have a few more minutes. Your last reply, utter desperation.
                    What is notable is what you didn’t say. Apparently no shame for the intimation or suggestion that I would manufacture a trip (lie that I was going) or hide behind a trip to minister in Haiti so as to duck your obsession on my assurance. Your comments were uncharitable at best and un Christian at worst.

                    What a difference a day makes ….. hang on …. that was 1 hour 32 mins!

                    Never mind Les, Asta la vista baby! :)

                  Les Prouty

                  Thanks Lydia. Back and all property is safe and no one was harmed. Andrew, here’s hoping you can figure it out brotha!

                  SDG!

                    Andrew Barker

                    Not sure what I’m meant to be figuring out and to be honest, I don’t care much either. Here’s an offer though. Since Haiti is not relevant to this or any other discussion on this blog, if you don’t bring it up, I won’t mention it either. Ever! :)

                    The actual question in mind was what your assurance was based on. Ultimately, your salvation is contingent on God’s choice of you as an individual. At least that’s how I understand your position. No doubt you will correct me if I’m wrong. All I have said is that if your salvation depends on God choosing you, then any true assurance must ultimately be based on the fact that God has chosen you.

                    Most Christians who do not hold to Calvinist/Reformed theology believe that the word of God says that whosoever believes will be saved. That’s the basis of their salvation and also their assurance. You appear however, to believe that only those chosen by God can come to a saving faith? In which case your assurance does not rely solely on that faith but the ‘fact’ that you were chosen by God to have that faith.

                    None of this means that you are not saved or that anybody should question that. None of this means that you don’t experience ‘assurance’ because all Christians will experience the witness of the Holy Spirit. It’s just that you don’t have any scripture to support the claim that you were chosen and therefore your assurance is dependent on ‘feelings’ and witness and never grounded in scripture. Unless of course you can provide scripture which says to the contrary. But this is a little hole which you and the Reformed have dug for themselves. It is entirely of your own making.

                    Rom 10:9
                    Non-Calvinist: If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord ….. you will be saved.
                    Calvinist/Reformed: If you are enabled to confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord ….. you will be saved.

                  Les Prouty

                  Hi Andrew.

                  On figuring it out, and you don’t much care, we’ll leave it at that.

                  “Since Haiti is not relevant to this or any other discussion on this blog, if you don’t bring it up, I won’t mention it either. Ever! :)”

                  I really don’t care much whether you EVER mention it or not. Capisce?

                  “Ultimately, your salvation is contingent on God’s choice of you as an individual. At least that’s how I understand your position. No doubt you will correct me if I’m wrong. All I have said is that if your salvation depends on God choosing you, then any true assurance must ultimately be based on the fact that God has chosen you.”

                  You’re almost correct. Yes, my salvation depends on God’s choosing me. As does yours. You just refuse to give up your man-centered view. My salvation, and yours and anyone else who will be saved depends not on me or us and our choosing Christ. Our salvation depends wholly on God alone. When you pray for someone to be saved, you don’t pray to that person to get with it and gin up their free will and choose Christ. You pray to God to save them. In your prayers you tacitly acknowledge that if someone is to be saved it depends on God, not on the person.

                  “Most Christians who do not hold to Calvinist/Reformed theology believe that the word of God says that whosoever believes will be saved.” Correction. All Christians who believe the word of God to be true believe that the word of God says that whosoever believes will be saved.

                  “That’s the basis of their salvation and also their assurance. You appear however, to believe that only those chosen by God can come to a saving faith?” But of course. Do those NOT chosen by God come to saving faith? Can you show anywhere that the bible says those NOT chosen by God are saved?

                  “In which case your assurance does not rely solely on that faith but the ‘fact’ that you were chosen by God to have that faith.”

                  My assurance relies on the infallible word of God that says that whosoever believes will be saved. God promised it. I have believed. I have assurance.

                  “It’s just that you don’t have any scripture to support the claim that you were chosen and therefore your assurance is dependent on ‘feelings’ and witness and never grounded in scripture.”

                  I have the same scripture you have. I know I am chosen because I believe. Those who are not chosen don’t believe. This is really elementary stuff here Andrew.

                  “Rom 10:9
                  Non-Calvinist: If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord ….. you will be saved.
                  Calvinist/Reformed: If you are enabled to confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord ….. you will be saved.”

                  Correction. Rom 10:9
                  Calvinist and Non-Calvinist: If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord ….. you will be saved.

                  Besides the other thing you don’t yet get, I do hope this sinks in for you some day.

                  SDG!

                    Andrew Barker

                    Les: Your statement contains contradictions and tries to make out that we believe the same thing, whereas we obviously don’t. Nowhere in scripture does is say that God chooses individual people for salvation. However, scripture is replete with verses which indicate that the offer of salvation is open to all and that nobody is excluded from the offer. You then proceed to try and define my belief as “man-centered”. So you appear to want to have the same faith as me when it suits you, but at the same time you want to disparage my views as “man-centered”. This is not paradox Les, it’s just mixed up thinking.

                    You say “My assurance relies on the infallible word of God that says that whosoever believes will be saved. God promised it. I have believed. I have assurance.” but in truth you can’t argue that way and be consistent. I’m not the first to point this out to you Les, but if you insist on limiting the exercise of faith and believe to those whom God has chosen, then it is only those whom God chooses who can believe. It’s as straight forward as that. You’ve made salvation contingent on God’s choice therefore any assurance rests not on the exercise of faith, but ultimately on whether or not God has chosen you.

                    You can quote Rom 10:9 for as long as you like, in fact I wish you would. Perhaps the truth might finally sink in. But you change God’s word just to fit in with your theology.

                    You also say “I have the same scripture you have. I know I am chosen because I believe. Those who are not chosen don’t believe.” This is a very poor standard of assurance Les. Because YOU believe, YOU are chosen!!? What happens on days when you don’t ‘feel’ chosen? Goodness me, who’s get man centred now?! Not only this, but you’ve flatly contradicted one of the central tenets of Reformed theology ie that God chooses and therefore a person believes. So you can’t know because YOU believe unless you know that God has first chosen you. This is what unconditional election provides you with Les. As for elementary stuff, it may be elementary Les, but you haven’t correctly understood the full ramifications of what you profess to believe. That much is plainly obvious.

                    Lydia

                    “Our salvation depends wholly on God alone. When you pray for someone to be saved, you don’t pray to that person to get with it and gin up their free will and choose Christ. You pray to God to save them. In your prayers you tacitly acknowledge that if someone is to be saved it depends on God, not on the person”

                    Not me. I pray they recognize truth. I pray they seek truth. I pray they “choose” truth. I believe humans have volition and are accountable for their beliefs, actions and are responsible for what they do or don’t do. If I pray that God will choose them, that would be moot as according to your beliefs, He chose them before He created the world. They are already chosen or not. What you are really praying for is that God will “activate” His choosing….If He chose them at all.

                    Sometimes I have even found myself haggling like Abraham because I believe God as Holy Spirit can do anything to get someone’s attention. But that does not mean the created being has no volition in the matter. It is what they do with truth that is important. I often think of Hebrews 10, written to converted Jews in this respect.

                    26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 “Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[d] and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”[e] 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

                    How can one do any of that without volition?

                    And Paul’s lament in Acts 20:

                    “20 You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. 21 I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.”

                    How can they turn to God and have faith without some volition?

                    How can they “repent and believe” without volition?

                  Les Prouty

                  Andrew,

                  “Nowhere in scripture does is say that God chooses individual people for salvation.” You mean by name? Of course not. But does God choose groups only? How impersonal.

                  “You then proceed to try and define my belief as “man-centered”. So you appear to want to have the same faith as me when it suits you, but at the same time you want to disparage my views as “man-centered”. This is not paradox Les, it’s just mixed up thinking.”

                  Well I define it that way because it is. When I say that we actually have the same faith, we do. You just haven’t realized it yet. :)

                  “but in truth you can’t argue that way and be consistent. I’m not the first to point this out to you Les, but if you insist on limiting the exercise of faith and believe to those whom God has chosen, then it is only those whom God chooses who can believe. It’s as straight forward as that. You’ve made salvation contingent on God’s choice therefore any assurance rests not on the exercise of faith, but ultimately on whether or not God has chosen you.”

                  Well I certainly can and do argue that way. That you can’t grasp it is not at my feet but your inability. Yes yes, others has said the same thing as you and they are mistaken as well. Yes, only those whom God has chosen believe. Again, non elect people don’t believe. Repeat that to yourself a lot and it might sink in.

                  “You also say “I have the same scripture you have. I know I am chosen because I believe. Those who are not chosen don’t believe.” This is a very poor standard of assurance Les. Because YOU believe, YOU are chosen!!?” Yep. “I know whom I have believed in and he is able….”I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.” Scripture my friend.

                  “What happens on days when you don’t ‘feel’ chosen?” Feelings don’t negate the truth of scripture. Elementary.

                  “Goodness me, who’s get man centred now?” Still you.

                  “Not only this, but you’ve flatly contradicted one of the central tenets of Reformed theology ie that God chooses and therefore a person believes. So you can’t know because YOU believe unless you know that God has first chosen you.” You keep making the same unforced error. Hang in there brother. I’ve not contradicted Reformed theology at all.

                  SDG!

                    Andrew Barker

                    Les: You appear totally unable to engage properly. “Nowhere in scripture does is say that God chooses individual people for salvation.” You mean by name? Of course not. But does God choose groups only? How impersonal.”

                    No, I do not mean by name because that would be plainly stupid. But it is just as ridiculous to suggest that’s what I was implying. The word of God goes out to all people, but that does not imply that God is choosing a group! That’s a very twisted sort of logic, but it’s a handy alley to dash down to avoid the real point I was making which is that God doesn’t choose individuals for salvation. God always calls individuals to make the choice.

                    As for contradicting a central tenet of Reformed theology, your response is telling. A simple denial but no explanation. To respond with the equivalent of “you don’t understand Reformed theology” just doesn’t wash.

                  Les Prouty

                  Lydia,

                  Yeah I believe all the same verses you cited. They all work perfectly in Reformed theology. Oh and we believe man has volition too. You should become better informed on Reformed theology and what it teaches. Then you wouldn’t make these kinds of rookie mistakes.

                  “Not me. I pray they recognize truth. I pray they seek truth. I pray they “choose” truth.”

                  Well who are you praying to? If you are praying to God (who in your man centered theology is a gentleman and will not interfere with man’s LFW) why? What good does it do to pray to God when the decision maker is the person? You need to be praying to the man or woman since in your theology they are the final decision maker. That you can’t see the absurdity of what you believe (and stated about prayer for others’ salvation) is well, sad.

                  SDG!

                    Lydia

                    “What good does it do to pray to God when the decision maker is the person? You need to be praying to the man or woman since in your theology they are the final decision maker. That you can’t see the absurdity of what you believe (and stated about prayer for others’ salvation) is well, sad.”

                    IOW, it is better to pray that God will reverse (or activate) what He has already pre determined before the world was created.

                    Got it.

                    Perhaps we both should pray for wisdom and guidance as we traverse this world in dealing with others whether believers or not?

                  Les Prouty

                  Andrew, I can engage just fine. Make a sensible argument. Yours is nonsense. Andy may not call it that, but he sees it as well. To quote Andy, no Calvinist as far as I know, “You’re still missing our point Andrew” and “You are misunderstanding Les’s point.” Andy is correct.

                  Make a sensible point.

                  SDG!

                  Les Prouty

                  Also Andrew. Try to read more carefully. You said to Andy, “at least you have grasped one fact and that is that in Calvinism, salvation is contingent upon God’s choice. He seems to be in denial about this.”

                  Now to quote me earlier: “Yes, my salvation depends on God’s choosing me.”

                  SDG!

                  Les Prouty

                  Lydia,

                  “IOW, it is better to pray that God will reverse (or activate) what He has already pre determined before the world was created.”

                  Good avoidance of what I actually said. I suspect the reason you didn’t engage what I said is because you really do see the absurdity of what you wrote about prayer but can’t publicly admit it. It’s ok. Stay consistent if you must in your man centered theology.

                  “Perhaps we both should pray for wisdom and guidance as we traverse this world in dealing with others whether believers or not?”

                  Well finally we agree.

                  SDG!

                    Lydia

                    “Good avoidance of what I actually said. I suspect the reason you didn’t engage what I said is because you really do see the absurdity of what you wrote about prayer but can’t publicly admit it. It’s ok. Stay consistent if you must in your man centered theology.”

                    Did you ever watch the old Saturday Night Live skits with Dan Akroyd and Jane Curtain doing the news? Your responses to me always remind me of Dan’s responses to Jane. :o)

                Les

                One more thing Andrew. In no way am I seeking any sort of sympathy when I described what my travel and stay in Haiti is like. None. I absolutely love what I do and am exhilarated by it. I need no one’s sympathy for serving in Haiti.

                SDG!

              Bill Mac

              I don’t understand the dilemma. Before someone believes, they don’t care if they are elect. After they believe, they know they are elect because they believe. It doesn’t matter whether they think that belief was a gift or something self-generated. If you are a believer, you are elect. A person can be wrong about where their faith comes from and still have assurance. We have assurance because we believe, whether we were elect from the foundation of the world or after we believed. It doesn’t matter. Shaking people’s assurance is a silly game some preachers play.

    Scott Shaver

    Steven:

    How can one be so preoccupied with “scholarship” when his own writing skills appear consistently deplorable?

Randall Cofield

Just as the Fall was the utter undoing of man, the Fall always and in every instance utterly undoes the argument for libertarian free will.

    Lydia

    That is a great argument not to listen to you guys. Satan could be controlling you and you would not know it. :o) no “ability” to choose right or wrong. Or, discern Truth or lies.

      Scott Shaver

      Excellent point Lydia:

      If what they say is true, you certainly can’t trust their judgment or the sources of their “inspiration”.

      Debbie Kaufman

      That is a great argument not to listen to you guys. Satan could be controlling you and you would not know it. :o) no “ability” to choose right or wrong. Or, discern Truth or lies.

      If someone does not have Christ, this statement would be true. The Bible says without Christ Satan is the person’s father. John 8:44. After we have Christ however this is not true. We have Christ, changes occur.

        Andrew Barker

        Debbie Kaufman: Thinks “The Bible says without Christ Satan is the person’s father” The Bible actually says we (all mankind) are created in God’s image James 3:9 FACT. This latest outpouring of yours serves to highlight the dangers associated with taking one verse and working from there, just because it suits your purposes at a given time. The whole of scripture is full of the fact that all men are created in God’s image. So how come John 8:44? A little bit of digging would unearth the fact that Strong has the Greek word being used metaphorically in this verse. So it was as ‘if’ they had inherited their nature from the devil, not actually.

        What is more serious is that you were at all convinced that Satan might indeed be seen as the father of anyone or indeed anything!! What an incredible statement to make. Especially when you must be well aware of verses like He created ALL things and without HIM nothing was made that has been made. The devil is not creative in any way, unless you include being creative with the truth! The devil is a liar and the father of lies, nothing else!

          Debbie Kaufman

          So Andrew, according to your argument as I understand it God is everyone’s Father? Hardly. What Father would send people to hell, yet God does this. Did you look up the passage I gave? Paul would also disagree with you. Christ most certainly did.

            Andrew Barker

            Debbie Kaufman: There are some things I’m quite certain of and one of these is your inability to engage properly with any ‘argument’. You have of course quietly side-slipped the question which you cannot in all good conscience answer and that is concerning whether or not satan is the father of all mankind. I have to ask this, because this is the logical conclusion to your statement that all unbelievers are literally ‘of their father the devil’. Now if you wish to rethink your position and come to a more enlightened point of view, that’s fine by me. But I can’t see the point in going any further with this discussion if that is going to remain your stated position. I don’t agree with basing my doctrine on hymns but people have been singing “Dear Lord and Father of mankind” for long enough now that you would expect somebody to have made a fuss if it’s not true. In which case, please point it out to me so I can learn from it. As it stands, one of us is going to be singing “forgive our foolish ways”.

        Lydia

        “If someone does not have Christ, this statement would be true. The Bible says without Christ Satan is the person’s father. John 8:44. After we have Christ however this is not true. We have Christ, changes occur.”

        According to your own ST, you don’t have the ” ability” to know.

          Debbie Kaufman

          Know what? Of course I know, the Bible clearly says it. Do I know who will come to Christ and who will not? No. I am not God. I am not the Holy Spirit. It seems you do not know my ST.

            Lydia

            According to your ST, “you” are “unable” to know if you really know and are unable to know yourself or even reason. That is how total depravity has to work in your ST . Dead is dead, right. That is the bottom line of determinism/dualism even as it appeals to pseudo intellectualism. Which is the ultimate irony.

            In your ST, one has to believe they cannot really know or that they have special knowledge some are not given on purpose. Special knowledge seems to be the favorite. :o) It really breeds arrogance and ignorance..

            Therefore you appeal to the ” “authority” of your interpretation that you insist is “clear”. And you use this as a shaming tactic which makes you feel right.

            It is a black hole.

            But I can only surmise you don’t have the “ability” to understand it because you only declare and proof text. To you, reason, consistency, cultural context and even basic sense is bad.

            You are claiming to have clarity when thousands of denominations have sprung up once man had freedom of interpretation of scripture….and determinism started to wane.Yet, you declare while believing in total inability at the same time. Inability to think, make decisions, proper judgements, etc. God does not allow that for just anyone, does He?

            Differing interpretations are interesting to discuss and debate. You declare and proof text. Determinism does not do well in free exchange.

    Ronnie W Rogers

    Hello Randall
    I would be interested in how you explain your conclusion because I see no reason for such.

    Thanks

      Lydia

      “I would be interested in how you explain your conclusion because I see no reason for such.”

      You would need free will to understand. :o)

      Randall Cofield

      Hi Ronnie,

      I would hold that every aspect of man, including our will, is affected by the Fall. Aside from the gracious and direct intervention of God, every function of the will is affected and influenced by sin, and is therefore not free.

      Grace to you.

        Ronnie W Rogers

        Hello Randall

        You said, “Just as the fall was the utter undoing of man, the Fall always and in every instance utterly undoes the argument for libertarian free will.”

        I said, “I would be interested in how you explain your conclusion because I see no reason for such”

        To which you responded, “I would hold that every aspect of man, including our will, is affected by the fall. Aside from the gracious and direct intervention of God, every function of the will is affected and influenced by sin, and is therefore not free.”

        For me, this still does not answer the question because libertarian free will does not mean that one must be able to do anything, have the same range of options as he did in a previous state of affairs or will in the future, or (and especially) it does not mean that man subsequent to the fall can come to God (or will even desire to) apart from the salvific-grace work of God in convicting, resistibly drawing, power of the gospel, etc. (I call these grace-enablements). Consequently, I believe all of the verses you cite in your responses.

        It seems that your conclusions are based upon a common misunderstanding of libertarian freedom (I say this respectfully). Additionally, I assume that by the phrase “not free” you must therefore mean determined (forgive me if I have misread you). If so, it does not seem to follow logically nor biblically that since man is not free to make every decision (or do otherwise) on his own that he cannot make some (the Bible is replete with such situations). Further, that he cannot make some (believe unto salvation) on his own that he cannot do so with God’s grace-enablements, which work liberates provisionally in time so that man may know God eternally.

        As I have written many times (even on this site), the catastrophic effects of the fall have affected every aspect of man so that (I believe) man is incapable of coming to God based on creative grace (what Adam had); it requires God to do more to restore such enablement, which He of course did through grace-enablements, the death of Christ, conviction of the Holy Spirit etc.

        My disagreement is not due to a lesser view of the effects of the fall (total), but rather the nature of the man who fell; additionally, neither is it that a grace work of God is not required prior to faith, but rather what that work is (regeneration or provisional enlightenment and enablement) and whether that work is resistible or not.

        Thus, I still do not understand how the fall affecting all of man eliminates the reality of libertarian freedom.

        Thanks for your interaction

          Robert

          Hello Ronnie,
          You wrote: “For me, this still does not answer the question because libertarian free will does not mean that one must be able to do anything, have the same range of options as he did in a previous state of affairs or will in the future, or (and especially) it does not mean that man subsequent to the fall can come to God (or will even desire to) apart from the salvific-grace work of God in convicting, resistibly drawing, power of the gospel, etc. (I call these grace-enablements).”

          I do not understand how Calvinists intentionally refuse to understand that a non-Calvinists can believe two things at the same time. First, that the nonbeliever is incapable of coming to Christ apart from grace (cf. John 6:44). Hence the necessity for the grace of God in order for anyone to be saved. And second, that we believe that the non-believer has libertarian free will (i.e. they have and make their own choices, they are responsible for these choices, if they commit a crime, they are told they should have done otherwise and not committed the crime, linguistic expressions that make no sense at all unless the nonbeliever really had a genuine choice to commit the crime or choose to not commit the crime, and we all know this as parents as well, we speak to children of how they should not have done X and should have done Y instead, and this is said of both children who are believers and children who are not). If libertarian free will is viewed as having and making your own choices, then the evidence is overwhelming that both believers and nonbelievers experience LFW. At the same time sin effects our range of choices so that the nonbeliever does continue to experience LFW and yet the nonbeliever cannot come to Christ without grace. Again, biblical non-Calvinists believe both to be true at the same time.

            Ronnie W Rogers

            Hello Robert
            You are correct, and thanks for your other responses. It often seems to me, that a misunderstanding of libertarian freedom coupled with imposing some restraints inherent in compatibilism (not a part of Libertarianism) upon those who reject Calvinism beclouds the exchange.

          Randall Cofield

          Hi again, Ronnie.

          Thanks for your respectful response.

          This is the generally accepted definition of libertarian free will: “Libertarian free will means that our choices are free from the determination or constraints of human nature and free from any predetermination by God.” (Theopedia)

          The effects of the Fall preclude choices that are “free from the….constraints of human nature” portion of this definition. Apart from a supernatural act of God (regeneration), our will is not free to act apart from the constraint of sin. Hence, as many throughout the history of the Church have effectively argued–from scripture–our wills are in enslaved to sin until freed by redeeming grace.

          This essay, for the most part, articulates my position on this matter: http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/libertarian.html

          Libertarian free will is an entirely philosophical construct (and poorly constructed at that) produced by Enlightenment thought.

          Grace to you.

            Robert

            Randall I don’t accept your presentation on the nature of LFW at all. You state that it is “Libertarian free will is an entirely philosophical construct (and poorly constructed at that) produced by Enlightenment thought.”

            I am sorry Randall this is completely false and easy to demonstrate.

            First, if we view LFW simply as the fact that sometimes people have and then make their own choices. The evidence for the reality of this is absolutely overwhelming.

            Second, it is not a philosophical construct. This is shown by the fact that children understand the concept very well. If a Father takes his daughter to Toys R Us/the gigantic toy store, and in the doll section says to his daughter that “you can have any one of these dollies, it is your choice, you cannot have them all, but you can choose one”: even the youngest, most average in intelligence child knows and understands exactly what the Father is saying. That she has choices from among different dolls, that she can choose one, but not all of them, and that the choice is up to her. THAT is LFW and the concept is understood by everyone of us and we have all experienced these situations where we both had and then made our own choice.

            Third, Randall you claim here that LFW was “produced by Enlightenment thought”. People had the ordinary understanding about having and making their own choices WAY BEFORE THE ENLIGHTENMENT ever occurred. In biblical times they understood that we sometimes have and make our own choices. Greek thinking which PRECEDED the enlightenment by CENTURIES included libertarian free will (cf. just examine Aristotle’s comments on choosing and free will). So Randall to claim, as you do, that libertarian free will was **produced by the Enlightenment**, completely ignores the fact that people held the ordinary understanding of free will and having and making their own choices for centuries before the Enlightenment era. It is actually surprising that a person as knowledgeable and educated as you could make such false and far-fetched claims. It also shows how much you detest the reality that we all experience daily, that of having and making our own choices.

            Ronnie W Rogers

            Not mean that every decision he has otherwise choice
            Randell

            You said, “This is the generally accepted definition of libertarian free will, ‘Libertarian free will means that our choices are free from the determination or constraints of human nature and free from any predetermination by God.”’ (Theopedia)

            This may be a “generally accepted” idea, but in the context of technical discussions it is insufficient—too imprecise, which permits serious misunderstanding. Determinism and Compatibilism argue that man’s choice is determined, but compatibilism defines free choice so as to argue that moral responsibility and determinism are compatible.

            Consequently, given one’s past, a person could not make a choice different from what he did in fact make. In contrast, libertarian freedom argues that given the same past, one can choose differently (most simple form, act, or refrain), which does not mean that he has the same range of options from which to choose, nor that some choices do not allow for accessible options from which to choose.

            To wit, some things in the past so radically change a person’s life (put in prison, loose a leg and now can no longer run as fast), that he can no longer choose to do what he could have chosen before, but this is not the same as cannot choose among accessible options in other areas—which would be the loss of libertarian freedom. This is the essence of the perspectives. Compatibilism, free choice is the result of determinative antecedents that results in one freely choosing according to his desire without accessible options, whereas, libertarian free choice is influenced by…but not determined—given same past someone can act differently, within the range of options still available.

            The issue is that within our freedom, the range of options available to us changes. Adam’s range of options changed subsequent to the fall, as do ours as we age, look at where we grew up and one’s life post-salvation. Consequently, the change in the range of options does not mean that one does not have libertarian freedom.

            I have argued that sin, as clearly as I know how, has limited the range of options that a person has, but I find no evidence biblically, historically, contemporaneously etc., that one since the fall cannot make any choice between accessible options, which is the entailed position of compatibilism.

            You said, “Apart from a supernatural act of God (regeneration), our will is not free to act apart from the constraint of sin.” As you can see, I do believe that sin has constrained man, limited his range of options, (remember the idea of absolute freedom to do anything one wants, whenever, is not entailed in libertarian freedom, so the free means what I said above.) When one is placed in the prison cell of sin, his range of options change, but that does not entail that he has no choice between accessible options. Man cannot extricate himself from this cell without help (“supernatural act of God”), which is why I refer to grace-enablements. However, it is an error to conclude that “regeneration” is the only supernatural act sufficient for such. This is one of my disagreements with Calvinism.

            I understand from a compatible freedom, you have to have a new nature to believe (that is consistent within compatibilism), but that is not true with libertarian freedom. God can restore the opportunity (increase the range of options) through the power of the gospel, conviction of the Holy Spirit, drawing of the Father and Son etc., this with even the effects of the fall making man incapable of desiring or turning to Christ on his own. In both perspectives, God must do a supernatural work, but the grace work that is required in Calvinism is different and that not because of a belief in more profound effects of sin per se, but rather the different understanding of man’s nature.

            You said, “Libertarian free will is an entirely philosophical construct” All three views are philosophical (which each perspective’s proponents believe is evidenced in Scripture), and the idea of libertarian freedom is not a recent idea. Being enslaved to sin, is not contradictory to man having libertarian freedom, but rather it is contradictory to an imprecise understanding of such.

            All I ask of compatibilists is that they speak, pray, write, rear their children, consistent to determinism that is entailed in compatibilism, and so that those to whom they communicate understand this vital component that permeates all of life. I will likewise, make sure that I speak equally clear that they have a choice within the range of options given.

            Thank you, sorry for having taken your time

    Scott Shaver

    “always and in every instance utterly undoes the argument for libertarian free will”.

    Emphatic personal declarations from a VICTIM OF THE FALL gives me no great confidence he understands the relationship between the God’s sovereignty and man’s free will.

    Need a more sure word……and this ain’t it.

      Randall Cofield

      Ok…

      Eph. 2:1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins
      2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience––
      3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
      .

        Scott Shaver

        “Were dead” as in past-completed action Randall.

        Prior to saving faith in Christ, we’re all dead in trespasses and sins.

        You imply that some of US are still dead in trespasses and sin, not because we haven’t accepted by faith the propitiation of Christ, but because we disagree vehemently with you and your accomplice on matters of soteriology. Twisting scripture to suit your own preferences doesn’t speak well at all for your personal sense of reverence toward The Word of God, IMO.

        You can talk about how much you revere and devote yourself to the “Word” until the world looks level……How you handle Scripture tells the true story and I find your approach to interpretation not only reprehensible, but an affront to the very teaching of Scripture itself.

        Other than that……I hope you have a nice day.

          Debbie Kaufman

          Scott: You imply that some of US are still dead in trespasses and sin, not because we haven’t accepted by faith the propitiation of Christ, but because we disagree vehemently with you and your accomplice on matters of soteriology. Twisting scripture to suit your own preferences doesn’t speak well at all for your personal sense of reverence toward The Word of God, IMO.

          This is simply an untrue and said to be inflammatory statement. It’s why no discussion can be had with you.

          When we have Christ as our Savior, we are changed, Paul says we are made new creations. Regeneration is all throughout scripture. Eph. 4:24, 1 John 4:7, John 5:21, Eph. 2:5, 1 Peter 2:9, Romans 6:13, 2 Cor. 5:17, Job 3:3,7, Eph. 2:10, 2 Co. 5:17, Gal. 6:15, Eph. 2:5, 1 Peter 2:9. And that is just for starters, there are many more.

          How many times has someone here prayed, Lord, please change his heart or something along those lines?

            Scott Shaver

            Respectfully Debbie:

            I believe if you’ll check the chronological order of comments the first shot of doubt fired across the bough as to the spiritual condition of other believers was fired by Randall Cofield.

            U saying my comment is untrue don’t necessarily make it so. Inflammatory is a matter of personal disposition while reading inanimate words on a computer screen.

            Debbie, when somebody actually wants to “discuss” rather than rebut my rebuttals of Calvinistic theologiy, philosophy and social paradigms, I’ll give it shot. But given the nature of your sensitivity to “inflammatory” rhetoric, I doubt you’d enjoy it, much less consider it. :)

            Cheers.

          Randall Cofield

          Sorry, Scott. Your misdirection only works on those who are not paying attention to the debate.

          BTW, I thought you said it was pointless to discuss these issues with me. Were you just trying to convince yourself?

            Scott Shaver

            Apart from this post Randall, I don’t see myself having a “discussion” with you at all.

            I see us pretty much trading insults (not preferred but fine with me) and you throwing inadvertent sets of scripture verses to validate your piety.

            Far from a debate. Far from a discussion. The only thing at this point I need to “convince myself of” Randall is what will be my response (or lack thereof) to your next rebuttal of my standing in Christ or the “quality” of my position on Scripture.

            As a matter of fact, based on the response of Jesus to Peter who questioned “what about that man?”, I believe the correct “Christian” response to your questions about my biblical and Christian fidelity is THAT’S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.

            Scott Shaver

            If paying attention both to the “debate” and its context is that important to you Randall, you might admit that my statement about “pointless discussion” was a general, blanket statement about Neo and Hyper Calvinists. If we’re going to be analytical, please point out in this thread or any other where you and I have ever exhibited a genuine “discussion”.

            You seem to be far more interested in discounting the views or convictions of other believers using Scripture as your whipping post as opposed to a tool for edification.

            I understand fully why evangelism is on the decline among Southern Baptists these days. If Christians are as condescending to the lost as they are to each other over issues of man-made theology, the lost will gladly opt for the fires of Hell.

            IMO, theological condescension and the red herring “battle over the bible, i.e. inerrancy” are the most visible, not to mention destructive, byproducts of the “Southern Baptist Reformation”.

            We’re not “discussing” now nor have we previously “discussed” anything Randall. We’ve CONTENDED.

            You’ve been so kind as to point out the theological and spiritual insufficiency of Calviphobes like myself. Some of us have been kind enough to suggest you and others go jump in a lake. What goes around generally comes back around.

        Robert

        Randall brings up Ephesians 2:1-3 as “proof” that people do not have libertarian free will. But that is really, really weak because even within the verses there is clear proof that the nonbeliever is not “dead” like a physically dead corpse incapable of any action or thought, because Paul says they were “dead in trespasses and sins” in verse 1 and then immediately says in verse 2 that “you once walked”. How can they have been WALKING if they were like a physically dead corpse??? In scripture throughout, “dead” means SEPARATE, it does not mean being like a physically dead corpse incapable of any action or thought. When the body dies the spirit is separated from the body. At the second death, the nonbeliever is eternally separated from God. In the prodigal son parable, the Father who represents God says of his rebellious son that he was dead but is now alive (when reunited with his Father). That rebellious son before returning to his Father was doing all sorts of sinful things. So Randall your attempt at proving your view from Ephesians 2:1-13 fails.

      Debbie Kaufman

      Scott: Are you Southern Baptist? Do you believe the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God. IOW, is the Bible something to know and believe? I ask because I have not seen any Bible passages used in your comments. Anyone, even a toddler can shout out insult and ridiculous rhetoric. If you believe the Bible to be what I believe it to be, which is the only thing I will believe in any conversation on this, use it.

        Scott Shaver

        See previous post.

        Not a fan of proof-texting Debbie. If situation or discussion merits examniation/reexamination of text, background, history, more than willing to do so.

        Would guess, could be wrong, that I’ve been Southern Baptist by denominational affiliation longer than you’ve been alive.

        What I “believe” is probably beyond your comprehension if not your standare of etiquette/political correctness. So that’s no germane to the discussion IMO.

        I believe you wouldn’t like what I believe but you’re not the final judge…..does that work for you without sounding too…..”crass”? I believe the Bible is exactly what it claims for itself, along with the claims of Christ and the apostles regarding Scripture. That’s all anybody needs.

        “Inerrancy” is a loaded question biased in favor of the convictions/delusions of the person doing the asking.

          Debbie Kaufman

          I’m 59 years old, 60 in a couple of months. Longer than this?

          Inerrancy is exactly what it means. Not a loaded question. Not anything but belief in the Bible as to my theology.

            Scott Shaver

            nope, I’m 57.

            “Inerrancy” is the Southern Baptist smokescreen for dogmatism and twisted interpretation. Kind of like a philosophical shut-off valve to spirit-enlightened discourse.

            Does the bible ever use the specific term “inerrancy” with regard to itself, Debbie? If not, why should I follow your lead in using non-biblical language to describe the nature and character of Scripture?

            I’ll pass.

            Scott Shaver

            “Inerrancy is exactly what it means”.

            I don’t think so. The meaning or “definition” of inerrancy is subject to the biases of the one who screams “inerrancy”.

            Kinda like the word “gay”. It doesn’t really mean what it really means anymore. “Inerrancy” among Southern Baptistd was a political power ploy for giving the impression that some believers “believed harder” than others. Nothing more than a religious watermelon seed spitting contest.

            The results of this mindset have been disastrous. So, No Debbie, “Inerrancy does not mean what it means”.

            It’s a mouse-wheel where folks get off at the same place they got on……and the expended effort gets them NOWHERE.

          Lydia

          “Inerrancy” is a loaded question biased in favor of the convictions/delusions of the person doing the asking.”

          Isn’t that the truth!

Geoff

Perhaps this will help. Here is a series of articles on the misunderstandings of Calvinism:

http://www.cbtseminary.org/2015/10/misunderstandings-of-calvinism-1/

Andy

Thanks again Ronnie, for a good read. I have a question about one line in one sentance:

“The Scripture seems to portray God as more than capable of creating man with such freedom, [restoring it after the fall,] and still having always known everything man would do.”

What exactly are you referring to when you say “restoring it after the fall”? Something that occured in the garden, or something that occurs pre-conversion, or at conversion? or something else? Was libertarian freedom lost, and then restored at some point?

Ronnie W Rogers

Hello Andy

Thank you for your comment and question.

You said, I have a question about “what exactly are you referring to when you say “restoring it after the fall.”

I believe I am safe in assuming that “it” refers to libertarian freedom.

I believe that man was created with libertarian freedom, the fall and its catastrophic effects did not eradicate libertarian freedom, but the fall did severely corrupt man’s ability to exercise otherwise choice and reduced the range of choices from that, which was given to Adam and Eve, e.g. could not remain in the garden. That is to say, we no longer have the range of options that Adam did, but we still have libertarian freedom—the range of options available is not the determiner of whether libertarian freedom exist.

I further believe that Adam was endowed by God with the ability to choose otherwise by what I call creative grace (he did not earn it, and it was not meritorious, virtuous etc., but by grace). While I do not think all creative endowments are absolutely eradicated (we still make choices every day that we could have chosen otherwise), I do believe the ability to choose to exercise faith and walk with God (restoring our relationship to what Adam had), requires more grace work of God than just creation. I refer to this as redemptive grace.

Thus, God created man with otherwise choice always knowing that man would misuse his freedom, and therefore, God sovereignly always knew that His plan would be a coextensive creative/redemptive plan; both of which are entirely of grace. The restoration of this particular ability (to exercise saving faith) is provided in God’s redemptive love—grace-enablements. This includes things like, sacrifice of Christ, resistible drawing of the father and the Son, conviction of the Holy Spirit, power of the gospel etc. All of this is experientially provided subsequent to the fall.

I hope this clears up my mud puddle. Thanks

    Andy

    I know this is repeating things, but your views sound very much like the Arminian view of prevenient grace. I know you have said you are not relating your views to Arminianism…I’m just noticing some similarities of your statements…. “While I do not think all creative endowments are absolutely eradicated (we still make choices every day that we could have chosen otherwise), I do believe the ability to choose to exercise faith and walk with God (restoring our relationship to what Adam had), requires more grace work of God than just creation. I refer to this as redemptive grace.” …..With theirs….

    (below is from the Society of Evangelical Arminians)

    “5. We believe that humanity was created in the image of God but fell from its original sinless state through willful disobedience and Satan’s deception, resulting in eternal condemnation and separation from God. In and of themselves and apart from the grace of God human beings can neither think, will, nor do anything good, including believe. But the prevenient grace of God prepares and enables sinners to receive the free gift of salvation offered in Christ and his gospel. Only through the grace of God can sinners believe and so be regenerated by the Holy Spirit unto salvation and spiritual life. It is also the grace of God that enables believers to continue in faith as well as good in thought, will, and deed, so that all good deeds or movements that can be conceived must be ascribed to the grace of God.”

    Thanks for clarifying!
    -Andy

      Ronnie W Rogers

      Hello Andy

      I agree with the EA statement, and since we both agree in libertarian free will, I would assume many of our statements would be harmonious. I just do not seek to align my views with Arminianism, but when they match that is fine with me.

      Thanks for the good response to Stephen. I responded to his critique of my article as well. I thought I put enough of the context regarding Shedd’s perspective to demonstrate that he was in agreement with the Socinus conclusion that contingencies being nothing are therefore unknowable and disagreeing with the Arminians that they are knowable, but apparently not. So I provided more of the context.

rhutchin

Under Calvinism, the free acts of man are determinatively “certain” but not determinatively “necessary.” God is omniscience so the future free acts of people are certain. As omniscience is not the cause of the free acts of people, omniscience does not make them necessary (as a logical outcome).

Dennis Lee Dabney

Excellent article!

Preach!

    Ronnie W Rogers

    Hello Dennis
    Thank you for your comment regarding the article, and interactions with others.

Dennis Lee Dabney

The Sovereign’s trial in Genesis 3 involved All of the guilty before God. Man, Woman and the Serpent. The curse fell on them all due to their role as each participated in the rebellion against the knowledge of God’s will.

God did not judge Himself ( above ) for determining sin should come through the above creatures. Why, because He did not decree sin as some suppose.

Rather He gave His Son, He judged His Son in order to both demonstrate His love for the whole world to provide Salvation for all.

God did cause man to sin through determinism. The blood bought Church of our Lord Jesus Christ rejects all such doctrine.

Preach!

    Dennis Lee Dabney

    God did not Cause man to sin through determinism, my correction.

    Preach!

Steven

Scott shaver writes,
Why would one buy the book if they’re already convinced James White couldn’t find seat of his britches with both hands?

Dennis Dabney writes,
Steven nor Christian wanted no part of Pastor Ronnie’s ” provocative presentation regarding Calvinism and they weren’t the only ones. He is well versed on the talking points from his own personal experience. This tells us all we need to know about the subject.

See for yourself who gets schooled in the Word of God,
http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php/2015/11/10/radio-free-geneva-pastor-ronnie-rogers-at-truett-mcconnell-college/

    Scott Shaver

    Steven:

    Allow me to restate my opinion with a little more “charity” Steven.

    JAMES WHITE IS A for profit religious HACK!

    Being “schooled” in the Word of God sounds rather childish. How about being taught the word of God under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and leaving James White and John Calvin to the little school boys like yourself?

    Almost forgot…..you guys think you are THE HOLY SPIRIT, so lthat won’t work. LOL

      Debbie Kaufman

      Oh no, such an insult Scott. James White is a “hack” who evidently knows his Bible because he is using it for his argument and you are not.

        Scott Shaver

        It’s his arguments I’ve got issues with Debbie. Why is this a crime in a marketplace of ideas and exchange?

        “Hack” is a personal opinion……I’m sure you have many though you may not be as “insensitive” as yours truly in process of verbally divulging same.

        Not sure what rules of etiquette your bound by, they certainly don’t work for me.

        “Using the bible” as a diving board …..once again IMO. I like to save time and avoid proof-texing wherever possible.

Randall Cofield

Jesus obviously did not receive the memo that man has libertarian free will:

John 8:34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.
35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever.
36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
37 I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you.
38 ¶ I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”
39 They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing what Abraham did,
40 but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did.
41 You are doing what your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father––even God.”
42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me.
43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word.
44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.
46 ¶ Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me?
47 Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”

    Scott Shaver

    Now we get to the essence of Calvinistic chicanery a la Randal Cofield.

    Randal, your syrup-coated, snake-in-the-grass motivation is summed up in your twisted analysis of John 8:34-47.

    Under the inspiration of a not-so-holy-spirit, your exegesis of verse 47 requires that you consider others who don’t share your deterministic views of God as being “Not of God”. Primary reason I’ve got no use whatsoever for them.

    Adds to popular perception that Calvinists tend to be egocentric jerks with a special gnosis that does not include the ability to write complete and grammatically intact sentences.

    Way to take one for the team Randall.

      Randall Cofield

      “Under the inspiration of a not-so-holy-spirit, your exegesis of verse 47 requires that you consider others who don’t share your deterministic views of God as being “Not of God”. Primary reason I’ve got no use whatsoever for them. .”

      What exegesis, Scott?

      Your
      A nti-Calvinist
      D erangement
      D isorder
      may be causing you to see things between the lines that simply are not there.

        Scott Shaver

        Well:

        At least he’s retained the art of alliteration. There are enough lines across numerous threads to put two and two together. I know in your book that could still equal 3 or 5, but I’m going with 2 and 2.

        Scott Shaver

        Hyper Calvinists are very hesitant if not completely unwilling to ever admit THERE’S ANYTHING AT ALL BETWEEN THE LINES. LOL.

        That’s how so many poor saps get sucked into it.

      Andrew Barker

      Scott: I’m amazed that Randall appears to think he’s given half an answer. A single statement, followed by 13 verses of scripture! It’s a classic approach to debate. If you now show his argument to be suspect, he will simply say that’s not what he was driving at. Still he didn’t stop at verse 44 and try to argue that anyone who doesn’t believe is fathered by the devil himself, which is what Debbie Kaufman was arguing.

        Scott Shaver

        Precisely Andrew:

        It’s not an issue of logic. It’s a game of lets see who can through up the most twisted scriptural smoke.

        Don’t play that. If you want to openly and intelligently discuss the meaning and intent of scripture, fine. Use it as a ploy and it will likely bite you.

        I’ve never understood this Fundamentalist-NeoCalvinist obsession with “DEFENDING” the one thing on this planet which needs no defense, THE WORD OF GOD INTERPRETED THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT.

        You don’t have to defend a lion do you? Turn that rascal loose and he defends himself.

          Steven

          Scott writes, Don’t play that. If you want to openly and intelligently discuss the meaning and intent of scripture, fine. Use it as a ploy and it will likely bite you.
          Same method of operation, cannot give a meaningful response to Scripture provided by Randall. Only diversion.

          Scott writes,
          I’ve never understood this Fundamentalist-NeoCalvinist obsession with “DEFENDING” the one thing on this planet which needs no defense, THE WORD OF GOD INTERPRETED THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT.

          Scott’s your obsession is with calling Calvinists, Fundamentalist-NeoCalvinist.
          When your interpretations, that you say you derive from the Holy Spirit, are inconsistent with all texts in the Word of God, When you do not use Scripture to interpret Scripture.

          Which you and your comrades have not been unwilling to demonstrate, conclusions without any foundation and only your word, we have to question, is the Holy Spirit guiding you, Scott, to the truth.
          Give us references line up with your interpretations and the historic Christian Church,
          Can you? Probably not.

            Scott Shaver

            Steven:

            Your predictability is glaring. Thank you for disclosing in your own words that the modus operandus of high Calvinism is to create A SPIRITUAL CASTE SYSTEM of Greater and Lessor believers,

            Couldn’t CARE LESS whether you are anybody else DOUBTS MY PROFESSION OR LEGITIMACY as a follower of Christ.

            You want “references and scripture verses” as proof of the legitimacy of my faith? How’s that gonna work since you refuse to properly handle the proof texts already being thrown around by the dozens?

            Signs and proof texts are what you’re asking?

            Here’s what I’m willing “to give you” with regard to your questions about my guidance Steven….How does the universal sign of contempt work for you? I’m sure you won’t have any problems at all correctly interpreting the meaning of that. :0

              Steven

              Scott writes, modus operandus of high Calvinism is to create A SPIRITUAL CASTE SYSTEM of Greater and Lessor believers,
              Scott has been reading George Bryson’s , “The Dark Side of Calvinism”
              More on that subject here, http://www.undergroundnotes.com/Bryson.html

              Scott writes, you refuse to properly handle the proof texts already being thrown around by the dozens?
              Your proof texts do not reconcile with the overarching texts, you want to tell us you believe in the doctrine of the Apostles, not some flower as in T.U.L.P.
              They are one and the same. More on that subject here, http://www.fivesolas.com/tulipscriptures.htm

                Andrew Barker

                Steven: Sorry but your link was incorrect. George Bryson’s helpful expose of Calvinism can be found here. It’s 400 pages or so long, so unlike some I haven’t done a copy & paste :) http://www.bibelkreis.ch/Calvin/The_Dark_Side_of_Calvinism.pdf

                Thank you for alerting us to this helpful resource ;-)

                  Steven

                  Thanks Andrew, now those can have the benefit of making a thorough examination of this book and see if
                  Bryson’s book is replete with numerous inaccuracies against Calvinism and exhibits an incredible bias against Reformed theology and its rightful emphasis on the Sovereignty of God in the area of soteriology. It is fair to say that Bryson’s book is an exercise in ad hominem attacks and non sequitur arguments. Many of Bryson’s arguments comprise nothing more than referring to an Arminian proof text which he seems to think must be taken for granted. Or, raising a standard Arminian question that at least in Bryson’s mind, must be unanswerable. Any Reformed person reading this book, immediately sees a misrepresentation of the Calvinist position of the text which is cited. Astonishingly, there is no serious exegetical interaction with Reformed scholarship. Because of this, Bryson’s book cannot be considered scholarly.

                    Andrew Barker

                    You’re more than welcome Steven. Like Scott, Bryson wasn’t somebody I’ve read but it’s always good to get another person’s perspective on the subject. I can see you’re a bit tetchy about it since you’ve managed to mention ad hominem, non-sequitur and proof-text within the space of a sentence or two. Plus Bryson specifically states he is not Arminian. I’m now waiting for the ‘strawman’ to arrive on the scene.

                    As for scholarship, it matters not to me whether a book is written in a so called ‘scholarly’ way or not. If the English is readable and the points are made logically, that’s fine by me.

                    Scott Shaver

                    Can not “scholarship” itself be used as a smoke-screen for biased motives, intent, agendas?

                    I think the appeal to “scholarship” is a distraction, as Andrew has pointed out.

                    Scott Shaver

                    Steven:

                    I would suggest that “scholarship” (Ivy League, religious, and others) have contributed greatly to the current chaotic state of world affairs. It’s highly OVERRATED.

                Scott Shaver

                LOL
                Steven: Never heard of George Bryson nor his book. You realize you’re flat LYING at this point. Your Calvinistic Gnosis needs to be tuned. It’s not working properly. Which one of your “fathers” told you that Lying serves truth?

                  Steven

                  Wrong again,
                  If I knew you had not heard of the book, and said you did, yes I would be lying.
                  I was wrong in my assumption, and thank you for pointing us to the myth of a caste system in
                  Reformed Theology.

                    Scott Shaver

                    “False” but REAL in the world and society that exist Steven.

                    You’re more than welcome to my “point”. Anything I can do to help :)

                    Scott Shaver

                    “Scott has been reading George Bryson….”

                    Emphatic declarative statement. An assumption stated publicly in the form of a LIE.

                    No wiggle room here Steven.

        Debbie Kaufman

        It’s the Bible’s argument Andrew. Again, again, again, the Bible is what guides what I believe. The Bible and only the Bible. Not logic. Show me in scripture your view. If you can’t I can’t buy it either.

          Scott Shaver

          The bible doesn’t “argue” Debbie. It’s an inanimate object. Neither do you dictate what the Bible “argues”. It’s meaning is its meaning apart from your bias or mine. The Bible is not your exclusive possession, nor a slave to your interests. You say “oh no”… I say “ah yes”.

            Lydia

            Scott, wouldn’t be the ‘inerrancy’ of the interpretation? :o)

              Scott Shaver

              Absolutely Lydia:
              Now if they can find SOMEONE in that category (inerrant) OTHER than the HOLY SPIRIT, I would be all ears listening to the definition thereof.

          Andrew Barker

          Debbie Kaufman: This so called Biblical guidance of yours has led you to believe that the devil is the father of all who do not believe. Since all of us, at some time or another, were unbelievers, I can only deduce from this that you think the devil is/was the father of us all. But that is of course using logic and I appreciate you don’t like logic.

          Sister, it’s about time you learned that simply quoting ‘the bible’ or saying that what you believe is ‘biblical’ doesn’t cut it.

            Lydia

            “Since all of us, at some time or another, were unbelievers, I can only deduce from this that you think the devil is/was the father of us all. ”

            It would then follow that Satan is the father of every baby born. That would also fit with their view of total depravity, wouldn’t it?

              Andrew Barker

              Lydia: That would be the logical conclusion, but when you put it like that in such stark terms, it’s so obviously incorrect I suspect there will be either silence or some other means of retraction like “you’re misrepresenting what I’m saying” or “you don’t understand”. I don’t think she’ll try a Randall and finish with John 8:47 but you never know. There has still been no response to my comment pointing out that the use of the term ‘of the devil’ is metaphorical in John 8:44. It seems that proper Bible study and debate is beyond some people.

    Lydia

    So why did Jesus bother with all that since he determined they would not be of him? He is the one who determined they would be of Satan. They were only doing what had been determined since they had no free will to choose differently.

Dennis Lee Dabney

Steven says,

See for yourself who gets schooled in the Word of God,

As I said above, you wanted no part of Pastor Ronnie’s scholarly presentation of this particular aspect of Calvinism. So now we are invited to Dr. Oakley’s class to be schooled in the Word of God. “Really”?

Listen Steven, I’ve had this class years ago from men such as White and greater “worthy’s”, even some whom are no longer with us. I’ve been there, done that already. Now thank God for full deliverance from following after men, Brother!

Now during this episode of “School’s In”, or as it is called Radio Free Geneva, Dr. White criticizes Dr. Rogers for not beginning with God and His Sovereignty and His decrees in his message. Listen Steven, it made absolutely no difference where Dr. Rogers began, why, because Dr. “O” would have found fault with where he ENDED!

There is our lesson class, someone “please” ring the bell, because “school” is out!

Enough already!

Preach!

    Steven

    Dabney writes,
    Listen Steven, I’ve had this class years ago from men such as White and greater “worthy’s”, even some whom are no longer with us. I’ve been there, done that already. Now thank God for full deliverance from following after men, Brother!

    In your eyes only. We will have to suspect this ’greater worthy’ list , especially if you are speaking of Adrian Rodgers, Dave Hunt, Norman Geisler, Chuck Smith, etc.
    You are very similar to Keltic 99 on the Roman Catholic forum.
    Rhetoric, ad hominem, hit job comments,
    Even your mantra, I only listen to the Holy Spirit for my interpretation of Scripture right out of the Roman Catholic playbook.
    This is called playing it safe when your arguments are inconsistent , and incapable of a meaningful response.

    Dabney writes,
    it made absolutely no difference where Dr. Rogers began, why, because Dr. “O” would have found fault with where he ENDED!

    Exactly, you hit the nail on the head.
    Dr. White with the guidance of the Holy Spirit is exposing and keeping the Elect of God alerted to the rampant false teaching that is infiltrating the Church today.
    Dr. White found false teaching at the beginning and the end of the Extensivist’s sermon.

      Dennis Lee Dabney

      Steven,

      Lord willing I will continue where Dr Adrian Rogers left off, joining others to raise the blood stain banner of our Lord Jesus Christ. Preaching the only remedy provided by God for the problem of the soul of man.Teaching the simplicity of the Word of God, which is the children’s bread by the way. Watching, while praying, both over the wall “without”and within the wall for what the apostle Paul said would find it’s way into the Church. Defending the Truth with the Word of God.

      PreachBlackManPreach!

      Scott Shaver

      Roman Catholicism is favorable option IMO over the snares and twisted logic of hyper Calvinism by far.

      Some of us don’t share the contemporary “reform” attitude toward our Catholic brothers and sisters.

        Steven

        Scott writes,
        Roman Catholicism is favorable option IMO over the snares and twisted logic of hyper Calvinism by far.
        Some of us don’t share the contemporary “reform” attitude toward our Catholic brothers and sisters.

        Scott again throws in the fear factor, that it is the evil HYPER CALVINISTS that is to blame, not just Calvinists.
        Here we have it admitted, that Roman Catholicism is ladened with a false gospel and yet, Scott considers them to be Christian.

          Scott Shaver

          Yes, like all denominations of Christianity I assume the best about most despite my lack of familiarity with or understanding of their tradition and theology. Are there tares among the wheat in all of them? I’m sure there are.
          As compared to Roman Catholicism, far less deterministic in its applied theology, Hyper Calvinist and Reform thought is far more laden with “False Gospel” trappings, IMO. Between a rock and a hard spot I’d opt for the lesser of two errors.

          Scott Shaver

          “FEAR” works well as a motivation Steven when there’s a genuine threat.

          Have no problem admitting to and no remorse for being blessed with a touch of Calvi-phobia.

      Scott Shaver

      By your own logic Steven, you and James White have a responsibility to warn the church (“God’s Elect”) of the various man-made heresies which, in your opinion, have the power to usurp Gods Holy Spirit thereby making their testimonies of faith in Christ invalid and non-effectual due to incorrect transmission of “The Gospel”.
      I have one question: why are you here posting on this particular site?
      This is not a “church”, it’s a blog-site frequented by folks, the vast majority of which refuse to bow at Calvins altar. That would already classify us as those “outside the knowledge of truth and grace” by your definition.
      Why are u wasting your time, Gods time (since you’re convinced this is HIS work), and the time of myself and others by rebutting your ambitious and devolving theology?
      If u were on my payroll I’d FIRE you for goofing off and being distracted 90 percent of the time.

Dennis Lee Dabney

Even your mantra, I only listen to the Holy Spirit for my interpretation of Scripture right out of the Roman Catholic playbook.

Make sure you comment on what I said and not what you “think”. The above is your arrogance on display and not my words, don’t get it twisted !

Also the worthy’s are all Calvinist whom I respect, these are brethren and havr made contributions to the Church. However I have never embraced the Spring Flower doctrine as you have and never will. I hold to the apostles doctrine as Christ committed His teachings to His chosen apostles, to commit to faithful men, to give to His Church.

James White once asked me of my doctrinal position and I was so glad he asked the question.

Preach!

Andy

ANDREW SAYS: “You’ve made salvation contingent on God’s choice therefore any assurance rests not on the exercise of faith, but ultimately on whether or not God has chosen you.”

–> You’re still missing our point, Andrew. In Calvinism, Salvation IS continent upon God’s choice, but personal assurance is based on looking at God’s promises, and seeing if one’s own life matches those descriptions of one who is saved: If God says the Elect will believe in Jesus as the Christ, and I believe in Jesus as the Christ, then it must mean I am one of the Elect.

ANDREW: “Because YOU believe, YOU are chosen!!? What happens on days when you don’t ‘feel’ chosen? Goodness me, who’s get man centred now?! Not only this, but you’ve flatly contradicted one of the central tenets of Reformed theology ie that God chooses and therefore a person believes.”

–> You are misunderstanding Les’s point. he is not switching the Classic Reformed Order….He is simply saying that the one reveals the other. Much like apples on a tree reveal that it is an apple tree: If there are apples, it’s an apple tree….If there is Faith in Christ, one is elect. This is why he and I both say a calvinist can look at the same verses about Those believing in Jesus being saved and find personal assurance if that calvinists believes in Jesus.

    Andrew Barker

    Andy: Perhaps you ought to speak to Les about this, because at least you have grasped one fact and that is that in Calvinism, salvation is contingent upon God’s choice. He seems to be in denial about this. But Calvinism is at odds with scripture in teaching this because nowhere does it say that God chooses those will be saved. Your logic then falls down completely when it comes to assurance. To try and argue that God chooses his elect who come to faith therefore if I have come to faith I must be elect is just not the case. You must recognise this surely? It’s the same as arguing that if all apples are red and I find a fruit which is red, it must therefore be an apple.

    I’m quite happy with your statement that “If there is Faith in Christ, one is elect.” Who would or could argue with that? But that does not support an argument that being elect is down to an unconditional choice on God’s part. It’s illogical to argue that plus there’s no scriptural support for it either. Like it or not, if you make salvation contingent on God’s choice then assurance of salvation ultimately becomes contingent, not on a response of faith, but on God’s choice as to who can make that response.

      Andy

      ANDREW: “But Calvinism is at odds with scripture in teaching this because nowhere does it say that God chooses those will be saved. Your logic then falls down completely when it comes to assurance. To try and argue that God chooses his elect who come to faith therefore if I have come to faith I must be elect is just not the case. You must recognize this surely? It’s the same as arguing that if all apples are red and I find a fruit which is red, it must therefore be an apple.”

      –> You’re confusing 2 issues: (a) whether or not Calvinism has scriptural support. & (b) whether or not a person who accepts calvinism can have assurance of salvation.
      The fact is, is IS LOGICAL for a Calvinist to have assurance just as I have laid it out, because according to Calvinism no one will have faith unless they are first one of the elect. If they believe in Jesus for salvation, then they MUST, logically, inescapably, have assurance of their own salvation, and election. Now you are correct that it is impossible, IN CALVINISM, for one to be assured of their election if they do not believe in Jesus. They might be elect but not yet believing, or not elect. But within calvinism, LOGICALLY, once a person has real personal belief in Jesus as Lord and Savior, and trust in His sacrifice on the cross and resurrection for the forgiveness of their sins, then that person may know that they are elect. The difference is simply that the calvinist would say the belief REVEALED the prior election….the non-calvinist would say that belief CAUSED the person to become the elect.

      –> ALSO, I don’t understand how your analogy fits. You have already affirmed your assurance from John 3:16 and other passages that “All who believe in Jesus are saved.”
      There are not other types of believing people who are not saved (other red fruits). If a calvinist agrees that all who believe are saved, then if he sees himself believing, he may conclude that he is saved….The apple tree/fruit analogy works better: “If I see apples, It must be an apple tree.” “If I see Faith, I must be saved & elect.”

      —> I am not at this point even beginning to argue about whether or not Calvinism is taught in scripture…only that a person who accepts Calvinism can have assurance.

        Andrew Barker

        Andy: Your statement regarding confusion is itself, rather confused! You state that I am “confusing 2 issues: (a) whether or not Calvinism has scriptural support. & (b) whether or not a person who accepts calvinism can have assurance of salvation.” I am not confusing the two issues at all. I am saying they are inextricably linked and that for assurance to be properly grounded in scripture you need to have a correct interpretation of scripture.

        I would argue that Calvinism/Reformed theology is wrong at its very core and this error has knock on effects. If you insist on holding to an unconditional choice made by God of an elect who then come to salvation, then that becomes a foundational ‘truth’ and you can’t simple ignore it at will later on when it becomes an inconvenient truth.

        So when you state “If they believe in Jesus for salvation, then they MUST, logically, inescapably, have assurance of their own salvation, and election.” this statement totally ignores that fact that belief for the Calvinist is based on being chosen and given the faith to ‘believe’. Hence, if the Calvinist wishes to remain consistent, their interpretation of being chosen by God means their assurance no longer rests on ‘believing in Jesus’ but on being chosen so that they can believe.

        You go on further to state: “Now you are correct that it is impossible, IN CALVINISM, for one to be assured of their election if they do not believe in Jesus. They might be elect but not yet believing, or not elect. But within calvinism, LOGICALLY, once a person has real personal belief in Jesus as Lord and Savior, and trust in His sacrifice on the cross and resurrection for the forgiveness of their sins, then that person may know that they are elect.” This would indicate to me again that you want to see belief in Jesus as the key factor since it is not possible to tell elect from non-elect while a person is ‘saved’. But belief itself is not the key factor for Calvinism is it. The key factor in Calvinism is whether or not you have been unconditionally chosen.

        You also say “ALSO, I don’t understand how your analogy fits”. Well that’s because it wasn’t an analogy it was a logic statement and not meant to be taken as an analogy. Hence your comment regarding there not being other fruits is irrelevant. Calvinism tries to argue that God chooses an elect who will come to faith. Therefore all those who come to faith, must by definition be elect. I am simply trying to point out to you that believing that those who come to faith are elect does not necessitate a belief that they were chosen by God (before the foundation of the world) to be elect.

        Your comment regarding the possession or not of faith is yet another example of how Calvinism fails to deliver. Where does the Calvinist say his faith comes from? He says God chooses unconditionally to give faith to his elect. So the possession of faith depends on whether or not God has chosen that person!? Scripture commands all people to put their faith and trust in Jesus. Calvinism says that God gives faith only to an elect who then are able to put their trust in Jesus. The two statement are at variance with each other. Both cannot be correct.

        You may not wish at this point even to begin to argue about whether or not Calvinism is taught in scripture…only that a person who accepts Calvinism can have assurance. I would argue that you should not expect to wrongly interpret scripture and find assurance at the same time.

          Lydia

          “Hence, if the Calvinist wishes to remain consistent, their interpretation of being chosen by God means their assurance no longer rests on ‘believing in Jesus’ but on being chosen so that they can believe.”

          Andrew, this is where dualism comes in. They, as mere evil worms, cannot believe in Jesus. They have to be forced to believe in Jesus. It is not as they have to admit they do not have the capacity and are special for being chosen. It is God making them believe because He chose them. So the assurance rests on being “chosen”. This is Greek Pagan stuff melded with Christianity that separates man from himself. If you can convince enough people of this, you can control them….as history proves out in church history.. All material world is evil and only the spiritual good,. It was not until people got some freedom to question, did it really change. A lot of people were killed for disagreeing with it, though.

          But it does not work well when questioned and debated in the public arena.

          We need to start contrasting Greek pagan religion in church with Jesus Christ. It would be a wake up call. It is subtle. First they have to believe the God is controlling everything. But the all powerful Sovereign god of determinism only allows free will to sin when you get right down to it. . Strange that. Then all explanations flow around that by the specially anointed philosopher kings who are given this special anointing. This is why they are constantly telling us we cannot understand it. One has to accept the cognitive dissonance and contradictions for it to work. They chalk it all up to mystery. Things we were not given to understand.

          It is the perfect religion to spawn arrogant leaders and ignorant followers who need the leaders to explain it to them.

            Andy

            But the question of the hour HERE is:

            “Can a person who accepts this deterministic view have assurance of salvation while still accepting their Calvinistic belief system?”

            And the answer is: “YES.” :-)

            (See my 2 scenarios below)

              Lydia

              “Can a person who accepts this deterministic view have assurance of salvation while still accepting their Calvinistic belief system?”

              How can they know since they were not a part of the process? Is God controlling their thought process?

                Andy

                Even if you are dealing with the most logically consistent, rigorously deterministic calvinist you could find, IF they were still one who accepted the classical Calvinistic confessions (like, say the Westminster Confession of Faith), according to their belief system, which includes and allows for God decieving one to think they are saved…NONE-THE-LESS, The belief system ALSO, in it’s statements on assurance, point to the same scriptural things a non-calvinist might point to: Belief in Jesus as savior, evidence of growth in grace and obedience, affirmation of the saints, inner witness of the holy spirit, love for God’s word and people, etc…

                Therefore, that strict calvinists, while he may believe that he himself had no part in choosing Christ; is able to look at his own faith and life, and with the affirmation of those closest to him, determine if he has those evidences that scripture says a true believer has…and may thereby be assured of his salvation.

                At that point, any argument that “Oh, but he can’t know for sure!” could also be leveled to a non-calvinist: “How do you know your faith is real?” “How do you know you won’t fall away?” “How do you know you aren’t still relying a little bit on your own goodness?” Adding or removing Calvinism does not make any of those questions suddenly disappear. So a calvinist can be AS SURE of salvation as a non-calvinist.

                  Andy

                  I may add, that at that point also, the calvinist is merely depending on God’s revealed word in its descriptions of a true believer. (which is exactly what a non-calvinist does).

                  Andrew Barker

                  Andy: All of these you list ” Belief in Jesus as savior, evidence of growth in grace and obedience, affirmation of the saints, inner witness of the holy spirit, love for God’s word and people, etc…” are all contingent on being chosen (for the Calvinist).

                  You then state “So a calvinist can be AS SURE of salvation as a non-calvinist.” Sorry, no they can’t. The non-Calvinist knows from scripture that they are chosen because it says that ALL who respond in faith are chosen. But the Calvinist has set his mind on being ‘chosen’ from before the foundation of the world’ and hence cannot truly then turn round and say that he is ‘chosen’ or ‘elect’ because he responds in faith to the Gospel. In fact, we are constantly being told that unless a person is ‘chosen’ and ‘regenerated’ they cannot make a faith response anyway. You need to be consistent with your theology! You can’t be chosen twice can you? Or is this some kind of double election to compliment double predestination?? lol

                    Andy

                    1. I am dealing with reality here. The reality is MANY calvinists have assurance. And they don’t have it by ignoring their own doctrine. You say those people can’t have assurance. but they do. And they look to the same promises of scriptures that a non-calvinist might look to. They simply see belief as evidence of chosneness, not the cause of it….SO….

                    2. The calvinist is NOT saying his belief CAUSES him to be chosen. he is saying his belief REVEALS that he has been chosen. Very consistent. No double choosing.

                    3. (Just cause analogies are fun.) Suppose a Doctor has a drug that makes people able to see infra-red light. Suppose it takes a month to take effect. suppose he does a trial in which 1 group is given the drug, and another group given the placebo. after a month, If a person discovers that they can see infrared, they may ASSUREDLY conclude that they were chosen to receive the drug.

                    Andrew Barker

                    Andy: The reality is you are struggling to find scriptural support for assurance based on Calvinist doctrine. You (Calvinists) see “belief as evidence of chosneness, not the cause of it”. But this is a very poor argument which doesn’t hold water. There are plenty of people in the world who believe a load of wacky things. It doesn’t make them correct in their belief!

                    By the way, I would appreciate it if you would stop saying that I believe Calvinists don’t have any assurance. They can and do. It’s just that they don’t and can’t get it from their Calvinist doctrine! They are unable to prove from scripture that they were chosen by God before the foundation of the world. Any assurance they say they have from being ‘chosen’ is based on a false premise.

                    All Christians are placed ‘in Him’ at the point of conversion and therefore can be described as chosen. They are chosen because they believe and exercise faith in the salvation which God freely offers to all. Assurance comes from God’s word which says whoever believes will be saved. Nobody should deny anyone this assurance, Calvinist or non-Calvinist alike.

                    But when Calvinists argue that they were ‘chosen’ before the foundation of the world and therefore they are enabled to believe, their assurance becomes contingent on being ‘chosen’. In practice of course, there is no scriptural proof that they as individuals have been ‘chosen’. They are forced into relying on an internal witness of the Holy Spirit and the change in their life, as they see it. But there is no way they can prove this from scripture and it becomes very subjective. In addition, those lacking assurance are the very ones who are less likely to ‘feel’ any internal witness, so rather than being a help, this could in fact be a hindrance.

                    What the troubled Calvinist then does is revert to the truth of scripture (I’m all for this) and they adopt the Biblical non-Calvinists’ position that is true for all Christians ie the assurance that all those who profess faith will be saved. The irony of this situation is undoubtedly lost on most Calvinists. Assurance only comes through the correct application of God’s word. The Calvinist who says he has assurance may indeed have assurance, but not while or because he is relying on his Calvinism!

                    Andy

                    ANDREW: “What the troubled Calvinist then does is revert to the truth of scripture (I’m all for this) and they adopt the Biblical non-Calvinists’ position that is true for all Christians ie the assurance that all those who profess faith will be saved.”

                    ***I feel like I said something like this already…Oh, here’s a few…

                    ANDY, PREVIOUSLY:
                    -“A calvinist will look for assurance in almost all the same ways that a non-calvinist would: Faith in Christ’s sacrifice as opposed to faith in their own goodness.”
                    -“….they would ALSO, based on scripture, believe that when God regenerates an Elect sinner, he produces within them the Belief in Jesus, the fruits of the Spirit, the growth in holiness, etc, the inner witness of the Spirit, etc….all the things a non-Calvinist might look to for assurance.”
                    -“you base your assurances on God’s promises to those who believe…so do calvinists. It really isn’t any more complicated than that.”
                    -the things a calvinists would look at based on God’s word to determine between (a) or (b) would be very much the same things as a non-calvinist: a) Whoever responds in faith will be saved. b) “They may not always feel saved, but their salvation does not depend on feelings but on God’s word,”
                    -“they look to the same promises of scriptures that a non-calvinist might look to.”
                    -” If they believe in Jesus for salvation, then they MUST, logically, inescapably, have assurance of their own salvation,”
                    -“I may add, that at that point also, the calvinist is merely depending on God’s revealed word in its descriptions of a true believer. (which is exactly what a non-calvinist does).”

                    TWO Observations from the above:
                    1. We agree that Calvinists can have assurance. (Thank you!)
                    2. We disagree that a Calvinist who has assurance does so by jettisoning their Calvinistic beliefs.

                    I’ll simply conclude with this, which I also said previously:

                    -Situation A: Calvinism is True: The Calvinist correctly believes that since he has belief in Jesus as Savior and Lord, then he is saved, and since he is saved, he has been unconditionally chosen by God for salvation. He is thereby sure of his salvation.
                    -Situation B: Calvinism is False: The Calvinists, just like the non-calvinist, believes that since he has believed in Jesus, he is saved. He INCORRECTLY attributes that faith to God choosing him unconditionally and granting him the faith. Even though his is mistaken about the source of his faith, he still accepts God’s word that his belief in Jesus mean he is saved. He is thereby sure of his salvation.

                    Andy

                    PART 2!!!

                    ANDREW: “The reality is you are struggling to find scriptural support for assurance based on Calvinist doctrine.

                    –> If by scriptural support, you mean an air-tight biblical/exegetical support that any particular individual person was chosen for salvation, or even an air-tight biblical argument for the truth of calvinism that has no weak points…You are correct, I am not going to give that, because that was never my reason for entering this debate. The debate was not “is calvinism correct?” It was “can a Calvinist have assurance?”

                    ANDREW: “You (Calvinists) …”

                    –> If I’m a calvinist, then you and every SBCTODAY editor is an Arminian. If you aren’t Arminians, then I’m not a Calvinist.

                    ANDREW: “(Calvinists) see “belief as evidence of choseness, not the cause of it. But this is a very poor argument which doesn’t hold water.”

                    –> It is, none-the-less, the calvinist argument, and has been for a long time…Those calvinists who have assurance have not abandoned this belief…they incorporate it into their belief system that gives them assurance.

                    Andrew Barker

                    Andy: “The debate was not “is calvinism correct?” It was “can a Calvinist have assurance?”
                    If there are errors in Calvinism which lead to a lack of assurance (based on Calvinism) then I can’t see how you can avoid addressing the issue.

                    I did infer from the way you were writing that you had finally come out as a Calvinist ;-) If not, then remain as you are by all means. It makes little difference to me.

                    Your observations “TWO Observations from the above:
                    1. We agree that Calvinists can have assurance. (Thank you!)
                    2. We disagree that a Calvinist who has assurance does so by jettisoning their Calvinistic beliefs.”

                    My reaction is this.
                    1. Not as Calvinists they can’t.
                    2. They do jettison their beliefs by adopting standard non-Calvinistic Biblical teaching when it suits their needs. Assurance is just one example of when they do this.

                  Bill Mac

                  Well done Andy.

                  Les

                  Andy,

                  “”***I feel like I said something like this already…Oh, here’s a few…”

                  Andy yes. You have said it over and over. Andrew does not seem to be able to even see that. And clearly he is unable to grasp what you have been repeating. It’s sort of like saying, “I know the sun is real because I see it and actually feel it and because I’m alive (wouldn’t be able to live w/o it).” But Andrew says, “Not true. You can’t know that because your belief about how the sun works is faulty, so you can’t actually feel it and you certainly can’t know you’re alive.”

                  Absurd. It’s obvious you’ve won the day Andy…well except to Andrew.

                  SDG!

          Andy

          Andrew, I’m going to pull out 2 quotes that I think are the crux of your argument (you can correct me if I’m wrong).

          “This would indicate to me again that you want to see belief in Jesus as the key factor since it is not possible to tell elect from non-elect while a person is ‘saved’. But belief itself is not the key factor for Calvinism is it. The key factor in Calvinism is whether or not you have been unconditionally chosen.”
          “Hence, if the Calvinist wishes to remain consistent, their interpretation of being chosen by God means their assurance no longer rests on ‘believing in Jesus’ but on being chosen so that they can believe.”

          1. You are correct that belief in Jesus is the Key Factor for assurance. The Calvinists and non-calvinist both agree on this. The calvinist is not in any way ignoring unconditional election as an inconvenient truth when he says this. He is simply saying that one does not SEE election happening, only the results of it (Faith in the life of an individual). Of course there are background things happening before that faith happens (Not only election, but the death and resurrection of Jesus itself). So in a similar way that a non-calvinist would say: “The cross is the root and foundation of my salvation, but I am personally assured of partaking in that salvation because I have believed in Jesus.” The Calvinist would say, “The cross is the root and foundation of my salvation, but I am assured of my salvation because I have believed in Jesus, and I know I would never have believed if God had not chosen me and given me the faith.”

          2. The reason I say that arguing whether or not Calvinism is true is irrelevant to this discussion is because it doesn’t change the outcome:

          -Situation A: Calvinism is True: The Calvinist correctly believes that since he has belief in Jesus as Savior and Lord, then he is saved, and since he is saved, he has been unconditionally chosen by God for salvation. He is thereby sure of his salvation.

          -Situation B: Calvinism is False: The Calvinists, just like the non-calvinist, believes that since he has believed in Jesus, he is saved. He INCORRECTLY attributes that faith to God choosing him unconditionally and granting him the faith. Even though his is mistaken about the source of his faith, he still accepts God’s word that his belief in Jesus mean he is saved. He is thereby sure of his salvation.

            Andrew Barker

            Andy: You are putting words in my mouth eg “You are correct that belief in Jesus is the Key Factor for assurance”. You have said this as if it were a quote, but it is not a direct quote of mine, neither does it represent my views. In fact quite the opposite. It is the Calvinists (you included) who are trying to argue that so long as a person is saved, they have assurance. My position is that true assurance only comes through a correct reading of God’s word. It is the Calvinists and Reformed who interpret God’s word to suit their theology on this point. They have to accept the consequences of their actions. We are told “Doctrine does matter”!

            So I will repeat again, for your edification etc. Once you go down the road of God choosing an elect according to his good will and pleasure, salvation becomes contingent on being ‘chosen’. Everything else is secondary to being ‘chosen’ because unless you are ‘chosen’ you cannot be saved.

            So if you must quote, please be accurate and don’t misquote me or quote me out of context. You are welcome of course to put your own view and back it up with scripture. I’m more than happy to discuss that with you. :)

              Andy

              Sorry, what I meant was, “you are correct in saying that [I THINK] Belief in Jesus is the key factor.” You said I am wantint to see belief in Jesus as the key factor, and you would be right.

              However, I did not say, “so long as a person is saved, they have assurance.” It is quite possible for a true believer to have doubts about assurance. I’m not sure where that came from.

                Andrew Barker

                Andy: If that’s what you meant that’s fine by me. Typos are so easy to make. I don’t think anybody is questioning whether true believers can have doubts or not so there’s no need to go down that road.

                I cannot see how you can argue that belief in Jesus is of itself the key factor in assurance. For starters, if it were just belief that mattered then nobody would suffer from lack of assurance. But having agreed that all Christians may at times suffer doubts etc. there has to be more to assurance than simply believing.

                Belief has to be properly grounded in scripture, otherwise it will be built on shaky ground. This is why Calvinists will run into problems with confirming assurance according to their theology. It’s interesting that you have not come up with a single scripture to try and defend the Calvinist’s point of view. I have noted Les’s comment where he cited a page from the opc website. I took time out to visit it and it was totally useless! No scripture to back up the assurance, just a straight forward statement which amounted to no more than Reformed people can and do have assurance because we say they can. That really is the limit of their explanation.

                Where you say Calvinists are able to see assurance is actually when they read the Bible in the same way as a non-Calvinist would. But that’s called being Biblical or scriptural. It’s not Calvinism! The way some Calvinists go on, you would think THEY wrote the Bible. It is the Reformed/Calvinists who have added their own ideas/interpretations about scripture and brought this problem on themselves. Once you say God chooses whoever he desires to be elect and come to faith, all assurance becomes contingent on knowing that ‘you’ are elect. All the other steps in salvation become secondary.

                Perhaps you can provide some scriptural support for this belief in Jesus which proves assurance of having been chosen?

                Les

                Andrew, for you and any others who may be internet search challenged, here is a link to the WCF pertinent chapter with all scripture references.

                http://files1.wts.edu/uploads/pdf/about/WCF_30.pdf

                See chapter 18

                Of course, SDG!

                  Lydia

                  Westminster Confession written by the Holy Spirit. Actually it came out of a political situation. :o)

                    Steven

                    Lydia writes,
                    Westminster Confession written by the Holy Spirit. Actually it came out of a political situation. :o)

                    Another inaccurate statement.
                    The Westminster Confession WAS inspired by the Holy Spirit. Written by men of God’s Elect. The Westminster Confession, the London Baptist Confession, the Heidelberg Confession, etc. are all the outcome of the Doctrine of God, His Divine Decrees, His perfection, His eternality
                    How it came out, it was to defend the Christian Faith, any other reason is fallacious.

                  Les

                  “Westminster Confession written by the Holy Spirit. Actually it came out of a political situation.”

                  It’s so sad to see such uninformed statements as this rather than actually engaging.

                  SDG!

                    Andrew Barker

                    Les you really are a laugh a minute. You cannot find one scholar from the ranks of Reformed theology, or any of the ‘big’ names you have shared a coffee with who will go on record with something as ill informed as saying that the Westminster Confession of Faith was written or inspired by the Holy Spirit or should be taken in any shape or form as being Canonical or equal to scripture. So why defend such a crass statement from Steven. It’s pointless closing ranks when someone comes out with error like this. Unless of course you also believe it?! :-o

                    Andy

                    Also, I think it’s clear that les was replying to Lydia’s statement, not Stephen’s. In fact, I’m pretty sure he replied to lydia before Steven did.

                    If I had to guess, here’s what I’d say Les is thinking if he had fleshed it out a bit more:

                    1. It is sad that Lydia thinks that calvinists think the WCF was written by the holy Spirit. They don’t. I (les) don’t think that either.
                    2. It is sad that, while political realities existed, that Lydia thinks there were not also godly men there seeking to summarize what they believed about scripture’s teaching.

                    (END MY INTERPRETATIONOF LES’S MIND…LES MAY EDIT AND CORRECT)

                    ALSO, I’m still waiting for all of you to thank me for finally getting Les to stop quoting large sections of the WCF in his comments! I’m pretty sure it was a conversation with me that got him to stop doing that… Now he just links to it :-)

                  Andrew Barker

                  Les: That’s a bit rude of you Les isn’t it! Suggesting people are unable to carry out a simply Internet search? Are we what you class as being ‘technically inept’?

                  Never mind. The first link was devoid of scripture and the second addresses hypocrites and unregenerate men who have false hopes and carnal presumption of being in favor with God. It’s an ‘interesting’ way to start a presentation on assurance and hope of salvation, but each to their own I guess. It does list scripture but none of these provide any hint of assurance as to having been ‘chosen’ by God beforehand.

                  Of course, scripture correctly applied will provide assurance of salvation, but has this ever been at issue? No, it has not! But scripture incorrectly applied will provide nothing of the kind. The man who looks at his face in a mirror and goes away and forgets? He is not blessed!

                  One of the clearest themes which runs throughout the New Testament is that God does not have favourites and that ALL are treated the same. Jews, gentiles, male, female, rich, poor, slave, free. We ALL sin and we ALL need a saviour and the same offer of salvation is made to ALL. Once you go down the route of exclusivity and saying that God has chosen his ‘elect’ from before the foundation of the world, then you have to live with that and accept the consequences. One such consequence is that you make assurance contingent on being ‘chosen’. If you can’t prove from scripture you’re ‘chosen’ then you can’t, at the same time, claim assurance of that salvation either.

                  Calling people ‘internet search challenged’ fits with the language of calling people hypocrites and unregenerate found in chp 18 of the WCF. I can see where you get it from. It’s kind of a bold statement …… but it’s not grounded in the truth :)

                    Andrew Barker

                    Those who are neither “internet search challenged” may notice I’ve mixed up an ‘assurance’ with *salvation*. Hence it should read …One such consequence is that you make *salvation* contingent on being ‘chosen’. If you can’t prove from scripture you’re ‘chosen’ then you can’t, at the same time, claim assurance of that salvation either.

                    I guess it makes little material difference in some ways, but it does read better. :)

                  Les

                  Andrew,

                  Les: That’s a bit rude of you Les isn’t it! Suggesting people are unable to carry out a simply Internet search? Are we what you class as being ‘technically inept’?”

                  Rude? I don’t think so. Rude would be suggesting that about all one has to offer in discussions is simply copying and pasting. You ever seen anyone do that? But on the point, you could have as quickly searched and found the well known and widely available scripture references for the pertinent WCF chapter. But no. You wrote this: “I have noted Les’s comment where he cited a page from the opc website. I took time out to visit it and it was totally useless! No scripture to back up the assurance, just a straight forward statement which amounted to no more than Reformed people can and do have assurance because we say they can. That really is the limit of their explanation.” A lot less typing would have yielded the references.

                  “Never mind. The first link was devoid of scripture and the second addresses hypocrites and unregenerate men who have false hopes and carnal presumption of being in favor with God. It’s an ‘interesting’ way to start a presentation on assurance and hope of salvation, but each to their own I guess. It does list scripture but none of these provide any hint of assurance as to having been ‘chosen’ by God beforehand.”

                  Were you able to read on to points II, III, an IV?

                  The rest of your comments have been corrected by Andy and me numerous times. That you are unable to grasp the truths of our scriptural arguments is, well….can’t do much more.

                  SDG!

                  Les

                  Andrew, happy to give you something to laugh about. I know this fellow over here who laughs about almost anything. He often laughs at or about things inappropriately. Sometimes he has simply misheard something or misunderstood and just laughs and laughs. Those of us who know him just smile a bit and remind ourselves that he is, well, he is not all there.

                  If you can show me where I said or agreed that the WCF is inspired then I’ll laugh with you at my expense. Problem is, you can’t find such a statement or agreement. You like to check timestamps, right? Check the timestamp of my comment to Lydia about her “uninformed statement” and get back to me.

                  You need to try to keep up bro.

                  SDG!

                  Les

                  Andy,

                  You: Also, I think it’s clear that les was replying to Lydia’s statement, not Stephen’s. In fact, I’m pretty sure he replied to lydia before Steven did.”

                  Correct Andy, hence my pointing out of the timestamps.

                  “If I had to guess, here’s what I’d say Les is thinking if he had fleshed it out a bit more:

                  1. It is sad that Lydia thinks that calvinists think the WCF was written by the holy Spirit. They don’t. I (les) don’t think that either.
                  2. It is sad that, while political realities existed, that Lydia thinks there were not also godly men there seeking to summarize what they believed about scripture’s teaching.”

                  Excellent guess. You are correct. No Calvinists I know, including me, think that the WCF is inspired in the same way as the scriptures. Most I know would not use the word “inspired” to even describe the WCF or the framers, even if they mean inspired like a hymn writer says he/she was “inspired” to write a song. That is just not the way most Calvinists/Reformed would write or speak. We universally say and confess that all confessions and creeds are subordinate to the holy scriptures and that confessions and creeds are subject to correction and modification so as to more closely conform to the supreme authority, the holy scriptures We all confess of course that the holy scriptures are not subject to editing and modification.

                  It was sad and silly for Lydia to make that comment and for Andrew to leap to a wrong conclusion. But hey. What’s new?

                  “ALSO, I’m still waiting for all of you to thank me for finally getting Les to stop quoting large sections of the WCF in his comments! I’m pretty sure it was a conversation with me that got him to stop doing that… Now he just links to it :-)”

                  Thank you brother. I was crumbling under the weight of the blistering criticism by Andrew and a couple others for my copy/paste abilities. I was nearly to abandon the faith altogether, if that were possible for the elect, because I was being so criticized. I feel much better now just referencing with a link. The weight of the world is off of me. Whew!!

                  SDG!

                    Andy

                    No calvinist except Steven, apparently…

        Les

        Andy,

        Thank you for your scripturally based responses and logical precision on this matter. FEI, if one wants to know what the Reformed faith teaches about assurance of salvation, a much better presentation of it than I can give is here http://www.opc.org/wcf.html#Chapter_18. The misinformation and misrepresentation given here by those who try to maintain their stance opposite to Reformed theology can quickly be cleared up at this link. That of course doesn’t mean they will buy it. Entrenched bias is hard to break. And, no copy/paste in honor of our copy/paste monitor.

        SDG!

Andrew Barker

please excuse typo. ‘is’ should read ISN’T :)

This would indicate to me again that you want to see belief in Jesus as the key factor since it is not possible to tell elect from non-elect while a person ISN’T ‘saved’.

Lydia

“2. They do jettison their beliefs by adopting standard non-Calvinistic Biblical teaching when it suits their needs. Assurance is just one example of when they do this.”

Exactly!

    Andrew Barker

    Thanks Lydia :)

      Steven

      Andrew, it is time for you to confront Chapter 18 of the Westminster Confession and take it apart to show how we abandon our beliefs for so called non-Calvinist way to understand assurance.
      Put your knowledge where your mouth is.

    Steven

    Lydia writes,
    They do jettison their beliefs by adopting standard non-Calvinistic Biblical teaching when it suits their needs. Assurance is just one example of when they do this.”

    Enlighten us Lydia, how do we jettison our beliefs when confronted with assurance.

      Andrew Barker

      Steven: Since Lydia didn’t write this, I did, I feel I should answer you on this one. However, I don’t need to if you’ve taken just a minute to read through the feed. Do I ??

        Steven

        Not that easy Andrew, Lydia concurred with your statement. Are you saying she is unable to give a meaningful explanation on her behalf for agreeing with your statement. I would like to hear her reasons, you have expressed yours.
        Secondly, you do not agree with the Word of God, you do not believe faith and repentance is the fruit of regeneration, you
        believe regeneration is the fruit of faith and repentance . Makes no sense according to the Word of God.
        1John 2:29
        For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,
        1John 4:7
        Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been fathered by God, and everyone who loves the father loves the child fathered by him.
        Assurance comes with the hope that God’s Elect share in a strong faith.

          Andrew Barker

          Steven: How many times do you need to be told something before it sinks in? Nobody that I know of has any problem when you quote verses which state what would be held as standard Biblical teaching. So 1 John2:29? fine! What is the problem with that? No problem as far as I can see. This is exactly the point though. It is NOT Calvinism. Despite what you might like to think, the rest of the Christian world is quite happy taking the standard Biblical view on these verses and they do not feel that they are endorsing Calvinism or Reformed theology in any way. I don’t see why I should define this in a negative way all the time either. It’s not that it’s non-Calvinistic so much as it has nothing whatsoever to do with Calvinism or Reformed theology. Period!!

          But if you start to dig deeper into verses which speak about salvation, you soon see that what Calvinism says does have a bearing on their interpretation. The Gospel is open to all who believe and all are able to respond. So all who believe and are saved have the witness of being born again, that’s true. BUT this is dependent on THE GOSPEL being believed. Change that, and you can’t expect it to agree with the rest of scripture. Or do you expect to be able to pick and choose which parts you want to accept at any given time?

          The non-Calvinist world, and it is by far the greater percentage, can stand on the truth of God’s word because they believe that God has freely offered salvation to all who will repent and believe the Gospel. That’s what I call standard Biblical teaching. A person may not feel ‘saved’ and they can read a verse which says whoever believes will be saved, hence a person who knows they made a profession of faith, may at least receive some sense of assurance from that.

          The Reformed/Calvinist believer who holds that God has chosen them (before the foundation of the world) may not feel ‘saved’ and they can read a verse which says ……. Well of course there aren’t any are there! Because it’s not just whoever believes for the Calvinist, it’s whoever was made elect and is therefore able to believe. So the verse which says this is…..missing. Calvinism has made salvation contingent upon God’s choice of an elect. They word is so nicely too. It’s God’s will and for his good pleasure. So whether your profession of faith was real or not, is not helped by knowing or believing that you didn’t make that choice yourself, it was actually made for you anyway, but you have no proof that God actually chose you in the first place. So where does that leave you??? You say, but I came to faith, there’s my proof. Fat good that is when it’s your faith which you are currently doubting!

          Calvinists are in denial over this and will say, “we believe those verses as well as you, therefore we have assurance.”But they cannot rationally argue the ‘truth’ of Calvinism and square it with what the Bible says. Calvinists have changed the gospel so that salvation is contingent on being chosen by God. They cannot expect to enjoy the assurance God offers when they are in denial over the offer of salvation to all who will believe.

            Steven

            Andrew writes,
            The Gospel is open to all who believe and all are able to respond.

            This is true, with the exception that
            All who have been drawn and granted by the Father are the enabled ones
            John 6:44 “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.
            John 6:65 And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”
            “For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” Few people reading the text take the time to see the universality and exclusiveness of this statement. Peter says “everyone” (universal positive meaning ‘all or ‘only those’) God calls to Himself. That is, only those whom God calls will come to Him … i.e. while Peter’s call is to all present, only those whom God calls to Himself will repent and believe. Read more at: https://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/spiritpreaching2.html

            Andrew writes,
            So all who believe and are saved have the witness of being born again, that’s true.

            That is false according to the Word of God.
            Those who have been born again believe and are saved.
            1John 4:7
            Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been fathered by God, and everyone who loves the father loves the child fathered by him.
            Fathered by God (regeneration) first, believes follows.

            Andrew writes,
            BUT this is dependent on THE GOSPEL being believed. Change that, and you can’t expect it to agree with the rest of scripture.

            True, and no one here suggests a change be made, the dividing factor is what brings about
            The ability to believe.
            An alleged common grace?, or the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration.

            Ezekiel 36:26-27: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”
            From these verses (and others like them–see Jeremiah 31:31-34, and Ezekiel 11:19) the force of the work of regeneration is bound up with God’s initiating activity. The stonyhearted sinner will do nothing until God gives him a heart of flesh.

            John 1:12-13, those that have received Jesus have been born of God,
            Here a consistent pattern, born of God (regeneration), followed by receiving Jesus.

            Andrew writes,
            The non-Calvinist world, and it is by far the greater percentage, can stand on the truth of God’s word because they believe that God has freely offered salvation to all who will repent and believe the Gospel.

            Your statement is only partially true and misrepresents, Calvinists also believe God has freely offered salvation to all who will repent and believe the Gospel.
            All those who repent and believe will be saved.

            Andrew writes,
            A person may not feel ‘saved’ and they can read a verse which says whoever believes will be saved, hence a person who knows they made a profession of faith, may at least receive some sense of assurance from that. Just a few.

            Assurance is found in the Word of God, that is where the Elect of God will find that there hope in Jesus Christ is their assurance.
            Everyone should go here to strengthen their assurance
            Hebrews 6:11-12 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
            Hebrews 10:22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
            Colossians 2:2-3 that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
            1Thessalonians 1:5 for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.

            Your 4th and 5th paragraph misrepresent and have been addressed

          Steven

          As far as your soteriology, anything that denies the Doctrines of Grace will not sink in, and I am thankful for that.
          First, typographical error, apparently you did not continue reading, others would have pointed it out.So I will disregard everything you said in the first paragraph.
          Philippians 2:29. Now, is this a non-Calvinist passage?
          1John 4:7 totally ignored.

            Andrew Barker

            Steven: The “doctrines of grace”? Please define! The Bible defines grace for me quite well enough thank you. What other ‘grace’ do you speak of?

            As to your comments regarding the authenticity of various Bible passages, they are what they are, Biblica! They do not belong to Calvinism.

              Steven

              Andrew as I have seen, you appear to only believe in a common grace.

                Andrew Barker

                Steven: I believe in God’s grace. That was sufficient for Paul and it’s sufficient for me. I can find no scriptural support for different ‘kinds’ of grace. I actually chaired a Bible study on this a few months ago. Nobody could find any support for anything other than ‘grace’ either. We spent some while discussing this very fact.

      Lydia

      Steven, I don’t think it is a worthy pursuit to “enlighten you” because I don’t think it is possible. You are entrenched. You think the Westminister Confession was inspired by the Holy Spirit! Wow. That right there gives me enough insight to know when to back off. You totally ignore the political state church environment surrounding it as if that had nothing to do with it. And then you interpret scripture through such a document. Scary stuff.

    Andrew Barker

    Steven: Sorry, I have better things to do than pander to your request to take apart the WCF. To your abrupt message “put your knowledge where your mouth is” I would suggest you take some of your own medicine. I suspect your ask because you have no answers yourself. Assurance for any Christian comes from and in the word of God. It is not found in Calvinism or any Reformed confessional creed. Period!

Lydia

“The Westminster Confession WAS inspired by the Holy Spirit. Written by men of God’s Elect. The Westminster Confession, the London Baptist Confession, the Heidelberg Confession, etc. are all the outcome of the Doctrine of God, His Divine Decrees, His perfection, His eternality
How it came out, it was to defend the Christian Faith, any other reason is fallacious.”

One thing that has always shocked me about the Reformed movement is how ignorant they are concerning history. Is it willful ignorance? That is what I cannot figure out. But it is rather chilling how they view the corruption of history as “God ordained”. But it is coming here. They won’t be happy until we are all following “God appointed” humans instead of Christ.

Andy

ANDREW: “Where you say Calvinists are able to see assurance is actually when they read the Bible in the same way as a non-Calvinist would. But that’s called being Biblical or scriptural. It’s not Calvinism!” …. “Of course, scripture correctly applied will provide assurance of salvation, but has this ever been at issue? No, it has not!”

I know you are waiting for the mythical verse that assures an individual Calvinist that he personally has been chosen, and that you say a calvinist NEEDS such a verse to have assurance. Of course no verse exists, But, that, also, is not the point.

I think I have shown repeatedly that a calvinist looks at scriptures like John 3:16 and romans 3, and romans 10, ect, and rests on the promise that God will save those who call on him and recieve his gift of salvation by faith. And of course, it is not just “belief in Jesus” alone that the bible says to look to for assurance: Desire to please God, love for God’s people, evidence of growth in holiness, etc.

Here, I think is you error: You believe that my paragraph above is “not calvinism”; and in one sense you are correct that it is not exclusive to calvinism…BUT, you are incorrect if you think that the paragraph above is not INCLUDED within calvinism. The fact is, whether you want to admit it or not, You and calvinists actually agree on a lot about Christian theology.

My point is, and has been, this:
1. Many Calvinists DO have assurance. (you have already agreed with this point)
2. If you asked them, the reasons they point to for assurance are in fact very similar to what a non-calvinist would point to…biblical reasons, as you say: “not calvinism” exclusively, but their reasons ARE included within standard calvinistic beliefs.
3. You may say that the calvinist is being inconsistent to hold to both “standard biblical assurance” AND calvinistic soterology….and you may be right, and I may even agree with you on some of those…but it doesn’t change the fact that for many of them, they ARE true christians, they are sure of their salvation (for probably the same reasons you are), and they do not see those reasons as inconsistent with their soteriology.

    Andrew Barker

    Andy: You show a distinct inability to distinguish between belief, salvation and assurance so the conclusions you draw do not reflect my position correctly. I may have to harden my position a little bit in order to make it plain.

    I shall state again, that Calvinists do not have assurance of salvation so long as they remain fully committed to their Calvinism. I think this should be plain enough for you. So please refrain from silly comments saying that “I have agreed with this point”. I haven’t. Any agreement was always been qualified. The only assurance a ‘Calvinist’ may have is when they drop their central belief about being ‘chosen’ and rely solely on the word of God. I think at this point, it would be incorrect to call them Calvinists, don’t you?!

    Belief, salvation and assurance are not one and the same thing. A person may hold a number of beliefs, some of them incorrect. If their belief regarding salvation is correct, then who would deny that they are saved? But the range of other views which people hold, while not affecting salvation, certainly does impact on their Christian experience.

    I do think that Calvinism is inconsistent with a Biblical view of salvation but your argument “but it doesn’t change the fact that for many of them, they ARE true christians” is non sequitur. You are confusing salvation with assurance of salvation and the two are not the same. Salvation is offered to all who put their faith in Jesus. All those who trust and stand on God’s word can be assured of salvation. If you believe something which is NOT in God’s word, how can you expect to find assurance in that?

    You then state that “they are sure of their salvation (for probably the same reasons you are)” How so? They don’t believe the same things as I do. How could my reasons for assurance be the same as theirs? Especially when I would argue that they cannot have assurance and hold Calvinistic views at the same time! That really would be inconsistent.

      Andy

      1. REGARDING THE CONFUSION OF TERMS:
      Sorry if I have been unclear. I understand that not all who are saved have assurance. Maybe this will help:
      -Obviously not every person who accepts calvinistic doctrine is by default, a true believer.
      -Many calvinists ARE true believers.
      -Many (not all, of course) of these have a strong assurance of their salvation, themselves seeing on inconsistency with on the one hand, believing they were chosen to recieve the gift of faith, and on the other hand, when it comes to personal assurance, looking to both the promises of God giving eternal life to those who beleive, and to the evidences of grace given in various other scriptures.
      -I suspect for most calvinists, as with all christians, their feelings about their assurance have some ebbs and flows throughout their life. Assurance is, the way most talk about it, a subjective thing for all christians. The more they rely on the “assurances” of salvation for those who recieve Christ in Scripture, and less on their feelings, then their “feelings of assurance” will grow; whether they believe God initiated their faith at the beginning or not. So a calvinist, or anyone really, may be a true christian, may or may not have air-tight biblical positions on all issues, and may or may not have personal assurance at the present time of their salvation.
      -Wrong beliefs in some areas WILL definitly affect assurance, I agree…and even agree that a calvinist who becomes overly fixated on figuring out his own ELECTION will likely have some serious troubles with assurance…but MOST calvinists would say that person is not looking in the right place for assurance…He should rather look at the promises of God saving those who believe, and at the evidences of grace given in scripture.
      -On the other hand, I know people from Committed Nazarenes to hard-core Calvinists to grandmas who have some large holes in their theology…but who have a strong faith and are very sure of their salvation. Whatever their theological deficiencies, it has not affected their assurances, because of their strong faith in God’s word.

      Andy

      2. REGARDING SOME INDIVIDUAL STATEMENTS:

      ANDREW: “The only assurance a ‘Calvinist’ may have is when they drop their central belief about being ‘chosen’ and rely solely on the word of God. I think at this point, it would be incorrect to call them Calvinists, don’t you?!”

      –> But they do! I know some of them. They haven’t dropped their beliefs on election. They actually consider themselves Calvinists, and yet they have assurance of their salvation. This is our dilemma. Or should I say: This is our easily observed truth that we should all rejoice in: that people of various soteriologies are confident in their salvation such that they are freed from self-focused introspection and released to serve and minister to others!

      ANDREW: “You then state that “they are sure of their salvation (for probably the same reasons you are)” How so? They don’t believe the same things as I do. How could my reasons for assurance be the same as theirs?”

      –> Here, again is your mistake. On some issues, they DO believe the same things as you. The also believe some things differently than you.

      How about this: Please tell me what you would say if someone asked you: “How do you know that you are a Christian, and not just pretending, or deceiving yourself? Maybe then we can see how much of it a calvinist would agree with. (Even if you say they can’t :-)

        Andrew Barker

        Andy: Basically, you’re arguing that a Calvinist can maintain his belief in being elected BTFW and have assurance because you know people who think that way! To me, this is a nonsensical way of carrying on . It may well be acceptable to you, and I guess it is to them, but it’s not consistent and it’s no basis for true Biblical assurance. Assurance should be more than ‘feeling’ saved. It needs to be properly sourced and grounded in the word of God. People the world over have assurance about all sorts of things. It doesn’t make them right. Perhaps you should introduce them to some different ideas regarding assurance and see if they still ‘feel’ assured despite having no Biblical support for their ‘feelings’?

        You keep telling me about my mistakes, but when I look, it’s generally a mistake you’re trying to foist on me. Is there something going on here?! I don’t have an issue with believing the same as other people, including Calvinists who hold similar view to mine. I do have an issue with being classed as believing a Calvinist doctrine, when in fact it is simply Biblical truth which ALL Christians accept. An example would be that salvation is by grace alone, we don’t merit it. All Christians believe that. It doesn’t make it a Calvinist doctrine because Calvinists happen to believe it.

          Andy

          When I say a belief is “included in calvinism” I am simply saying it is a biblical truth which all Christians accept, ie, your example:
          -Salvation by grace alone = Christian doctrine, accepted by cal & Non-cal, included within the totality of what a calvinist Christian would believe
          -Loss of salvation = Not included within calvinism.
          That’s all, not saying you believe a calvinist doctrine. I agree.

          As to Assurance being more than “feeling” saved. I’m not sure I see your point. On the one hand, They way most chrisitians talk about assurance IS very much a subjective idea: basically: Assurance = “Are you sure you’re saved?” If some one says yes, we say they have assurance. Of course they could be wrong, and not be saved. But that’s not the issue here.

          On the other hand, perhaps you mean, do they have concrete assurance from an authoritative source of their salvation? As in, “Have you been assured by the bank that you have recieved your tax refund…in that case, it’s not just feeling good about it, but actually hearing official from the bank: “You have recieved it, it is here, it is yours.” Or perhaps to make it fit what we are talking about, The bank may say something like, “If you have signed all your official forms to recieve the money, then you may be assured that it is here.

    Les

    Andy,

    I really appreciate your perseverance in positing truth statement after truth statement in the face of unending criticism, especially since the criticism is not only relentless, but nonsensical. That aside, I have fallen off the wagon brother (swearing off copy/paste). Besides it’s been maybe more than 24 hours since Andrew or Lydia criticized me :). Now I know around these parts confessions are not only pooh poohed, they are often held up to intense ridicule. That’s usually because many do not understand the importance of confessions and such in the history of the church. Somehow it always comes up that one who is confessional is worshipping at the feet of men. Such silliness. Notwithstanding, here is Kevin Deyoung on assurance citing Dort and how Dort framed it. Need I say that Dort and all Reformed confessions base their positions on scripture?

    “The fifth main point of doctrine in Dort deals with the perseverance (or preservation) of the saints. Because the believer will never be entirely free from sin in this life (5.1) and “blemishes cling to even the best works of God’s people” (5.2), we who have been converted could not remain in grace left to our own resources (5.3). That’s the bad news. The good news: God is faithful to powerfully preserve his elect to the end (5.3).

    This promise of preservation does not mean, however, that true believers will never fall into serious sin (5.4). On the contrary, even believers can commit “monstrous sins” that “greatly offend God.” When we sin in such egregious ways, we “sometimes lose the awareness of grace for a time” until we repent and God’s fatherly face shines upon us again (5.5). God being for us in Christ in a legal and ultimate sense does not mean he will never frown upon our disobedience. But it does mean that God will always effectively renew us to repentance and bring us to “experience again the grace of reconciled God” (5.7). Therefore, we ought to be assured that true believers “are and always will remain true and living members of the church, and that they have the forgiveness of sins and eternal life” (5.9).

    But what are the grounds for this assurance? That’s the topic under consideration in Article 10. In asking that question, Dort is not asking about the grounds for our justification or are right standing with God. The question, instead, is about where our assurance of this right standing comes from. Dort asserts, first of all negatively, that “this assurance does not derive from some private revelation beyond or outside the Word” (5.10). That is to say, we don’t need a dream or a vision from God or some angel to confirm that we are bound for heaven.

    So if not from external revelation, where then does assurance come from? Dort gives three answers:

    1. Assurance comes from faith in the promises of God.
    2. Assurance comes from the testimony of the Holy Spirit testifying to our spirits that we are children of God.
    3. Assurance comes from “a serious and holy pursuit of a clear conscience and of good works” (5.10).

    In other words, believers find assurance in the promises of God, the witness of the Spirit, and evidences of Christ’s grace in our lives.”

    But wait, Reformed believers cannot have assurance and hold to their Reformed theology. Riiiiight.

    SDG!

    Les

    Andy, Deyoung on assurance from the WCF:

    “In 18.2, we find the same three grounds of assurance we found in Dort. The “infallible assurance of faith” is “founded upon the divine truth of the promises of salvation, the inward evidence of those graces. . . .[and] the testimony of the Spirit of adoption.” On the second point (evidences of grace), the Confessions lists four prooftexts:

    2 Peter 1:4-11 which urges us to make our calling and election sure by the diligent effort to grow in godliness and bear spiritual fruit.
    1 John 2:3 which testifies that we know we belong to God if we keep his commandments.
    1 John 3:14 which assures us that we have passed from death to life because we love our brothers.
    2 Cor. 1:12 which speaks of rejoicing in the testimony of a good conscience.

    Clearly, the Confession teaches that a transformed life is one sign (though not the cause) of our right standing with God.”

    SDG!

      Andrew Barker

      Andy, Les: What is ‘clearly’ noticeable by its absence in this list is the confirmation that a person has been ‘chosen’ by God BTFW. Is this because Deyoung doesn’t think it’s relevant or it’s not important enough to mention or maybe he can’t find one because it isn’t there? If salvation is contingent on having been ‘chosen’ BTFW then assurance of salvation must also be contingent on having been ‘chosen’?

      Or maybe this means that actually, having been ‘chosen’ BTFW is not so vital for salvation as we might have previously thought? Perhaps one of you two (Andy, Les) could enlighten me as to whether or not this ‘being chosen’ status is vitally important to Calvinist/Reformed theology or not? I’m beginning to wonder because nobody seems able to defend or give a reason for the hope that is within them on this point!

        Andy

        PART 1: A QUESTION FOR ANDREW: Which of the following grounds for assurance that were given by Les would you disagree with, or would you say are not part of the reason you have assurance?

        1. Assurance comes from faith in the promises of God. (I would add specifically the promises to grant righteousness to those who receive Christ, and the promises) to keep those who believe.)
        2. Assurance comes from the testimony of the Holy Spirit testifying to our spirits that we are children of God.
        3. Assurance comes from “a serious and holy pursuit of a clear conscience and of good works” (5.10):
        *2 Peter 1:4-11 which urges us to make our calling and election sure by the diligent effort to grow in godliness and bear spiritual fruit.
        *1 John 2:3 which testifies that we know we belong to God if we keep his commandments.
        *1 John 3:14 which assures us that we have passed from death to life because we love our brothers.
        *2 Cor. 1:12 which speaks of rejoicing in the testimony of a good conscience.

        Andy

        PART 2: WHY CALVINISTIC ASSURANCE DOES NOT FOCUS ON BEING CHOSEN.

        1. As we have answered multiple times already, there is no verse assuring me, or Les, or any individual that they have been chosen. Instead, there are verses describing what happens when God saves one of those chosen people. So that is where reformed folks look for assurance. It is not inconsistent to look at those evidences, and conclude that one is chosen…in fact it would be inconsistent (and lacking in faith) to see those evidences and still doubt one’s salvation for no good reason. (You can refer back to my secret drug trial analogy above: the short version being, if you discovered that you could now see infrared light, you could assuredly conclude that you had been chosen to receive the real drug, not the placebo).

        2. Election, Being Chosen, Predestination, et al, within reformed theology is no doubt important, and obviously the big difference between them and other Christians. It is, in Calvinism, Necessary, because of the belief that since the fall we are so depraved and sinful that no one would choose to come to Christ on their own, (something classical arminians also, agree on). So God chose to elect some people and irresistably draw them, grant them faith, by which they could receive Christ’s imputed righteousness that he purchased for them on the cross. BUT, as I said above, The Evidence of Being Chosen would be actual salvation. And so Calvinists look for assurance in many of the same places as non-cals: Not proof of Election, but proof of salvation.

        3. A similar question non-cals might be this: Why, when asked “How do you know you are a Christian?” they usually do not answer: “I know I’m a Christian because Jesus died on the cross.” If they did, we might ask, but how do you know YOU are a Christian? Then they would turn to things like “beleiving god’s promises for those who recieve Christ, evidence of holy spirit work in their hearts, etc. The fact that the cross is central to salvation doesn’t mean it is the first thing people look to when seeking personal assurance. (Maybe it should be).

        But similarly, Any Calvinist would tell you simply: the ROOT of their salvation is the cross of Jesus, and that the CAUSE of their belief was God’s choice and subsequent drawing, but that the EVIDENCE of their salvation springs from the things Les Listed above.

          Bill Mac

          Andy is my new hero.

          Andrew Barker

          Andy: “Election, Being Chosen, Predestination, et al, within reformed theology is no doubt important,” Just how important is ‘important Andy? It’s not just important, it’s essential, but then you’ve gone on to say necessary which I take it means essential?

          What is important is that you have now admitted there is no scriptural confirmation of having been ‘chosen or elected’. Instead you want to focus on what you want to define as evidence of having being ‘chosen’ which is ….. salvation! So Calvinists look for assurance in where? The same places that non-Calvinists look for assurance. At least that’s what you are trying to establish. So Calvinists look for proof of salvation, not proof of election.

          First point to make is that you are again trying to establish a contradiction which is that Calvinists and non-Calvinists look for assurance in the same way. They do not, because they have differing views of what scripture is saying.

          Secondly, your ‘logic’ is circular at best. If you sat down and thought about it for a while you would realise this I’m sure. But basically what you saying is that assurance is down to salvation and all those who are saved have assurance.

          You then try and slip a false assumption through in your next comment “A similar question non-cals might be this: Why, when asked “How do you know you are a Christian?” This is not a similar question to the question of assurance at all. And quite why it should be addressed to non-cals in particular is lost on me! One might ask the Calvinists the same question surely?

          But you can rest assured in the knowledge that Bill Mac thinks you’re the bees knees! Hero in fact!!

            Andy

            3 things briefly:

            1. “But basically what you saying is that assurance is down to salvation and all those who are saved have assurance.”
            –> I have no idea where you are getting this. This is the exact opposite of anything I have ever said.

            2. “What is important is that you have now admitted there is no scriptural confirmation of having been ‘chosen or elected’.”
            –> “now admitted” = Have never in this whole discussion have I said anything otherwise ever…If what you mean is scriptural confirmation that me, or les, or someone else specifically has been chosen…If you mean scriptural evidence that God chose who to save BTFW, then that’s another question…You haven’t ever clarified what you are asking for when i’ve asked….which lead to #3.

            3. I notice you never seem to getting around to answering my questions, especially from my “PART 1” above. Please enlighten us about which of those places where a calvinists might look for assurance that you disagree with, or perhaps tell us positively where you look for assurance of your own salvation?

              Andrew Barker

              Andy: If you can’t understand what you’ve written yourself, that speaks volumes!

              Here’s my original comment “But basically what you saying is that assurance is down to salvation and all those who are saved have assurance.”
              Here’s your response ” –> I have no idea where you are getting this. This is the exact opposite of anything I have ever said.”

              Well, I got it from YOUR quote ….”BUT, as I said above, The Evidence of Being Chosen would be actual salvation.”

              I was going to copy paste lots of similar comments but one is enough really. I’m not sure how you expect anybody to read that statement and not conclude that you believe that salvation is evidence of having been chosen.

              Your heading “PART 2: WHY CALVINISTIC ASSURANCE DOES NOT FOCUS ON BEING CHOSEN.” indicates that you wish to avoid linking being ‘chosen’ with assurance. Why? Is it perhaps because you can’t prove it from scripture? Does Calvinism not teach election as a fundamental part of becoming a Christian. Can anybody be ‘saved’ according to Calvinism unless they were ‘elect’ BTFW? How then can you start to teach assurance of that salvation if at the same time you want to dismiss any link between assurance and being chosen.

              As for answering your questions? When you start asking questions which aren’t loaded, which are not convoluted with double negatives or asking me to prove a negative. Then you might get a few straight answers. But I’ve already said that any scripture which provides assurance is fine for me. I’m well aware of all the ones Les has quoted. But as I’ve repeatedly said, if you hold a view of scripture which is incorrect, then at some point, you will run into trouble, no matter how much other ‘truth’ you accept.

                Andy

                1. You are changing terms/words:
                Here’s my original comment “But basically what you saying is that assurance is down to salvation and all those who are saved have assurance.”
                Here’s your response ” –> I have no idea where you are getting this. This is the exact opposite of anything I have ever said.”
                Well, I got it from YOUR quote ….”BUT, as I said above, The Evidence of Being Chosen would be actual salvation.”
                I was going to copy paste lots of similar comments but one is enough really. I’m not sure how you expect anybody to read that statement and not conclude that you believe that salvation is evidence of having been chosen.

                What should be obvious above is this:
                -I said that, in calvinism, evidence of being chosen is salvation. Nobody is disputing this.
                -I did NOT say all those saved people have assurance of salvation. I have said they CAN, and many DO.

                2. If you have decided to not answer any of my questions asking for clarification of your own views, then we are probably done here for now. That kind of conversation will not be enjoyable or helpful for anyone.

                I pray God’s blessing on you as you follow Christ!
                -Andy

            Andy

            ALSO…

            “It’s not just important, it’s essential, but then you’ve gone on to say necessary which I take it means essential?”
            –>Why are you asking this, do you think that calvinists think people can be saved without being chosen or elected? Obviously they don’t, but what’s the point of your question?

            “How do you know you are a Christian?” This is not a similar question to the question of assurance at all.”
            –> Please explain. They seem very similar.

            “So Calvinists look for proof of salvation, not proof of election.”
            –> Yes, why is this confusing? It’s not as if I’ve just now said this…I’ve been saying it the whole time.

              Andrew Barker

              Andy: You do yourself no favours when you post like this.

              My post “So Calvinists look for proof of salvation, not proof of election.”
              Your reply –> Yes, why is this confusing? It’s not as if I’ve just now said this…I’ve been saying it the whole time.”

              Anybody who cares to check can go back and see the context of my comment. I was pointing out that the reason Calvinists try to switch the focus onto proof of salvation is precisely because they have no proof of election! I don’t think you’ve been saying that the whole time! ;-)

                Andy

                I was pointing out that the reason Calvinists try to switch the focus onto proof of salvation is precisely because they have no proof of election! I don’t think you’ve been saying that the whole time! ;-)

                I have actually said that multiple times, and never disagreed with it: that calvinists have no verse that points to their particular Election.

                I have asked a few times for you to clarify whether you mean proof of this, or simply evidence that God elects Anyone to salvation (ie, proof that calvinism has biblical warrant)…but you have not answered which you are referring to.

                  Andrew Barker

                  Andy: “I have actually said that multiple times, and never disagreed with it: that calvinists have no verse that points to their particular Election.”

                  This may be the case, but if you come out with statements like this ”BUT, as I said above, The Evidence of Being Chosen would be actual salvation.” it’s hardly surprising that your position is going to look confused. If as you say above salvation can be seen as evidence of being chosen, then all the verses regarding salvation, and there are plenty of them, can be used to support being chosen.

                  From where I’m sitting you simply have not thought through ALL the implications of what Calvinism tries to establish.

                  If you want to understand why I’m sometimes reluctant to answering your questions, just consider your last offering. “I have asked a few times for you to clarify whether you mean proof of this, or simply evidence that God elects Anyone to salvation (ie, proof that calvinism has biblical warrant)…but you have not answered which you are referring to.”

                  If you want to know why your questions are not always answered, look at the last one.

                  Your question asks me to clarify ….. whether I mean proof of this (what have just been said) …. which is a request to substantiate a negative ie that calvinists have no verse that points to their election ….. or that God elects anyone to salvation, which is an assumption to which I don’t hold, because I don’t hold that God elects anyone to salvation. I simply don’t have the time to wade through comments like this. Sorry.

        Lydia

        “Or maybe this means that actually, having been ‘chosen’ BTFW is not so vital for salvation as we might have previously thought? Perhaps one of you two (Andy, Les) could enlighten me as to whether or not this ‘being chosen’ status is vitally important to Calvinist/Reformed theology or not? I’m beginning to wonder because nobody seems able to defend or give a reason for the hope that is within them on this point!”

        Andrew, From what I can tell their answers seem to boil down to: It is all semantics. :o)

      Les

      Man! You can’t be that dense. Everything about that list is confirmation that one has been chosen by God BTFW.

      I guess maybe Andy and I are bordering on insanity for saying the same biblically based thing over and over to someone (or someones) who have dug themselves in on a clearly nonsensical position on this issue, such as you have Andrew. I leave you with this from the holy bible:

      “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. 2 This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God….I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”

      SDG!

        Andy

        LES: “Everything about that list is confirmation that one has been chosen by God BTFW.”

        Or, confirmation that one endued with free will by a sovereign God has, despite his sin nature, seen the truth of the Gospel and received Christ’s free gift of salvation that he offers to all, and has enabled all with the capacity to either recieve or reject, having died for all…..Or what you said…One of those is right, and we will hopefully find out for sure one day how it all works.

        …MY point, is and always has been: The LIST IS THE SAME EITHER WAY.

        Lydia

        “Man! You can’t be that dense. Everything about that list is confirmation that one has been chosen by God BTFW.

        I guess maybe Andy and I are bordering on insanity for saying the same biblically based thing over and over to someone (or someones) who have dug themselves in on a clearly nonsensical position on this issue, such as you have Andrew. I leave you with this from the holy bible:

        “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. 2 This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God….I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”

        SDG!”

        Hmm. I thought you were “unable” to believe unless you were chosen before the foundation of the world. So it would seem you quote that verse with the understanding that one had been “chosen” to believe.

        Andrew nailed the problem here:

        “What is important is that you have now admitted there is no scriptural confirmation of having been ‘chosen or elected’. Instead you want to focus on what you want to define as evidence of having being ‘chosen’ which is ….. salvation! “

Andy

STEVEN: “The Westminster Confession WAS inspired by the Holy Spirit. Written by men of God’s Elect.”

Steven, this is either (at worst) a gross theological error, or (at best) very sloppy theology.

1. Unless you believe in ongoing authoritative revelation akin to modern-day Word-faith prophets, the WCF was NOT inspired in the same way as scriptures in that it is not authoritative for the life of a Christian. If you, however, mean that it was “inspired” in the same way that a Christian song-writer might say “i was inspired to write this song.” Then that, at least, is not a gross theological error, it is rather merely sloppy writing that begs clarification.

2. The end of your statement makes no sense logically or biblically: “written by men of God’s Elect.” (a) Paul wrote other letters that are not authoritative scripture for us. (b) I MYSELF am one of God’s elect, and I’m a MAN! However, in the recent sermon that I wrote and delivered to our church on the topic of assurance (Andrew can get a good laugh out of that, based on his views of my views on assurance:-)….) I’m SURE that I made some errors somewhere, and that sermon was not “inspired” in the way of scriptures. Again, a man having the Holy Spirit does not guarantee that everything he says or writes is from the Holy Spirit.

Leave a Comment:

All fields with “*” are required

 characters available