Gospel Power: The Sufficiency Of The Gospel In Enabling The Lost | Part One

June 20, 2016

Leighton Flowers | Professor of Theology
Dallas, TX

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

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

Learn more about Leighton, HERE.
Follow @soteriology101 on Twitter HERE.
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William Birch and Micah Currado, two good Arminian brothers, and I have had a few cordial points of disagreement regarding the sufficiency of the gospel revelation in enabling the lost to respond in faith. In response to our previous discussions (seen HERE and HERE), Micah most recently wrote:

In this matter, I’m reminded of the dangers of quarreling over words, or of spending time on disputations (2 Tim. 2:14). I hope that my response below will demonstrate a Christian charity between fellow believers bought by the blood of Jesus. I pray that my readers will not focus on matters of doubtful disputation leading to their ruin, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ, who redeemed every person in the world (1 Tim. 4:10, John 2:2, 2 Peter 2:1, etc), who graciously offers this salvation by simple trust in Him (John 3:16, Eph. 2:8-9) which we are free(d) to do, and who promises eternal life to those who are believing in Him. In this core element, Dr. Leighton Flowers and I are in full agreement, standing together against the flood of faithless and merely moralistic teaching.

I could not agree more and I wish all my theological interactions were with brethren who are as careful, kind and Christ-like as Micah and William have been in our exchanges. Allow me to begin by addressing some of the pertinent sections of William’s most recent article (seen HERE), then I will touch on Micah’s latest response. (their words will be in blue)

Arminians affirm both Total Depravity and Total Inability. We affirm not free will but freed will — freed by the Holy Spirit in order to freely respond to the Gospel.

The Arminian must establish from scripture that mankind lost their freedom to respond willingly to God Himself. I simply do not feel John 6:44 and 1 Cor. 2:14 meet that burden when understood in the right context. Obviously we may just have to agree to disagree on that point, but I will say that neither Micah or William take the time to engage my interpretation of those passages.

That human beings are born with a sin nature is denied only by Pelagians and certain semi-Pelagians. That statement is constructed not as a boogie-man tactic but as bare fact.

William is simply appealing to the historical “fact” that other Christians (mostly Calvinistic) have employed this “boogie man tactic” so as to escape culpability for following their poor example. The fact that others throughout history have attempted to label those who agree with my perspective as heretical or semi-heretical does not make it less of a fallacious tactic.

William could just as accurately call my view “semi-Augustinian” or “semi-Chrysostomian” or  “semi-Barthian”  but the reason he does not is because to appeal to those notable historical Christians would not serve the fallacious purpose of associating me with a “bad character” or a “boogie man.” The difference is that the “Pelagian” label is associated with a known heretical belief (of which I have clearly disavowed HERE).

The fact is that most of the earliest Church Fathers held to one false view or another, as have many notable and respectable believers throughout human history. To “boogie man” those good believers by marginalizing, decontextualizing, exaggerating, and often times out right misrepresenting their views is something that those throughout history should be ashamed of doing and something we should not encourage today by following their fallacious example.

Someone who denies this understanding of prevenient grace may argue, as does Leighton Flowers, “we must not presume that just because man is born fallen that the gospel is not up for the task of enabling the fallen man to respond to its appeal for reconciliation from that fall.” But the message or words of the Good News are not magic words: words do not enable a person to believe in Jesus.

I’m not sure why William would make this argument against my view. After all, from my perspective the words need not be “magical” (i.e. infused with some supernatural inner working or ‘Prevenient Grace’) in order to have their intended effect.  They simply must be clear and understandable. This seems to be a case against his own perspective rather than mine. The words are sufficient to accomplish their purpose without a ‘mystical’ (magical) or ‘supernatural’ work because mankind has the basic capacity to hear, understand and respond to clearly revealed truth. It is his view that appears to require a work of “magic,” not mine.

…a carnal or natural person “does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness” to that person…

As stated above, it might benefit our conversation for William and Micah to engage with my interpretation of these texts in question instead of presuming their interpretation of them, otherwise we will continue to go around and around without addressing the biblical evidence.  As I’ve explained elsewhere, the natural man who deems the things of the Spirit foolish do so by their own free moral choice, not by compatibilistic compulsion imposed by Calvinistic philosophy (i.e. man is free and thus accountable as long as he does what he wants to do but what he wants is determined by his nature which is ultimately determined by God).

I have to ask if William is a compatibilist? If not, then why does he think some of humanity deems the things of Spirit as foolishness as if they were not free to deem otherwise?  I believe William has fallen into the same erroneous line of argumentation upheld by our Calvinistic friends…i.e. that mankind is born only able to deem the revelation of God as foolish due to their innate nature yet they are still held culpable because they are doing so “freely” (according to their preset innate desire/nature).

…indeed, that individual cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised, examined, or discerned (1 Cor. 2:14). Unless the Holy Spirit enables and grants a person to freely believe, that person will not believe, because that person cannot believe.

What is it that the natural man cannot understand? “The deep things of God,” (vs. 10) those things which are “a mystery that has been hidden” from this generation, otherwise “they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (vs. 7-8). Paul is not talking about THE GOSPEL, which is being revealed NOW through Holy Apostles so as to explain the “deep things of God” in such a way that man COULD understand. As Paul explained in Ephesians 3:

2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. 6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. 7 I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. 8 Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, 9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Part Two Coming Soon!

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rhutchin

Pastor Flowers writes, “The Arminian must establish from scripture that mankind lost their freedom to respond willingly to God Himself. I simply do not feel John 6:44 and 1 Cor. 2:14 meet that burden when understood in the right context.”

Of course, there are many more verses that are cited in support of the concept of total inability. The importance of John 6:44 (reiterated by Christ in v65) is Christ’s declaration that “No one can come to me…” That phrase establishes the initial condition that is certain and sure and the only argument against it is to say, “Yes, but” or “Yes, unless,” which is to say that what Christ has said is true but…. there is more to the story.

Andrew Barker

Leighton: You’ve highlighted an area of Reformed theology which is often quoted as though it has been substantiated, but in fact never is …. “indeed, that individual cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised, examined, or discerned (1 Cor. 2:14). Unless the Holy Spirit enables and grants a person to freely believe, that person will not believe, because that person cannot believe.”

The first thing to point out is that while William Birch states that the individual cannot ‘understand’, scripture does not say this. What it actually uses (even the ESV) is the word accept or receive. So it has nothing to do with comprehension, spiritual or otherwise, but everything to do with a willingness to listen and act upon what is being said. It’s worth bringing to mind the parable of the wise and foolish men. Both heard the same message. It wasn’t that the foolish man couldn’t understand. The foolish man heard and chose not to not obey God’s words.

You mentioned that 1 Cor 2 is not speaking about the Gospel. Paul was very clearly speaking to the Christians in Corinth. In these early chapters, when read together it becomes plain that Paul is saying that even as Christians, we can live as though we are ‘natural’ men in which case we shouldn’t expect to be able to understand what God is saying through his Spirit. He clearly states that they were not able to understand these truths, not because they weren’t saved, but because they were still behaving and living as ‘natural’ or fleshly men. I’m equating the two ‘natural’ and ‘fleshly’ here because I believe it is implicit although not explicitly stated this way.

Although not mentioned in your passage I am linking my comments with Eph 2:3 because that is often done by those who hold to this line of thinking. Piper does this in DG http://bit.ly/28IK262 and quotes “So it is God’s wrath that is coming. We were “by nature children of the wrath OF GOD.” Which means that we naturally did those things which God hates.” What I find interesting about this, is that he has either not bothered to look deeply into the word nature, or has simply chosen to ignore what the translators say on the meaning of the word. It suits the Reformed way of thinking to assume that by nature means that from the beginning we had to behave a certain way and could do nothing else. But that isn’t in fact what the word means. I’m using Stongs NT 5449 which gives a range of meanings. Eph 2:3 is listed under section c. which defines the meaning as “a mode of feeling and acting which by long habit has become nature”. This gives a completely different meaning in terms of what Paul is trying to explain. In one sense it’s a nature versus nurture argument and here we find that Paul says we have become habituated so that sin has become ‘second’ nature. It makes no comment on our original state and certainly can’t be used to say that we had no ability to act otherwise.

norm

I would dare say there is no Traditionalist who believes that a person wakes up one day and says, “I will become a Christ follower today” — that is unless God had not prompted that person in some way and such a declaration was a result of that prompting.

The other shoe falls re: the human’s response to God’s prompting. Calvinists say that response is not humanly generated and is “irresistible.” However, I agree with Ronnie Rogers, who would say the ability to respond to God in such a way is a “grace enablement,” but with that also comes “otherwise choice” — the latter meaning a human may choose to respond positively or negatively to God’s prompting and grace enablement.

Additionally, here are some biblical observations from Dr. David Allen as given at a John 3:16 Conference.

“According to the Bible, the unsaved who are spiritually dead have the ability to:
Act in accordance with conscience (Gen. 3:7)
Hear God (Gen. 3:10-13)
Respond to God (Gen. 3:10-13)
Adam and Eve died spiritually when they ate the fruit.
But they were still capable of hearing from/responding to God. (Gen. 3:10-13).
Repent of sins (Luke 15:18-19) The prodigal son, in a state of deadness (Luke 15:32), still recognized his sin and returned to the father.
Seek God (John 3)
Fear God (Acts 10:2)
Pray to God (Acts 10:2)
Both Nicodemus and Cornelius were ‘seeking’ God before their regeneration. But if they are dead in their sins, how can this be?
Know the truth about God (Rom. 1:18-20)
Perceive God’s invisible attributes (Rom. 1:18-20)
Again if they are spiritually dead in the sense of total inability, how can this be?

The above excerpt may be read, here: http://sbctoday.wpengine.com/dr-david-allen-the-john-316-conference/

And then there is the innate human desire to worship — something. History proves this to be true. Graven images are forbidden, of course, but people still make them and worship them. Can a Calvinist tell me why that is? What motivates cultures to do this?

You said: “Of course, there are many more verses that are cited in support of the concept of total inability.” But you cited only one, John 6:65, “And he said, ‘This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.’”
This verse supports Rogers’ “grace enablement,” but does nothing to support total inability as Calvinists posit.

Further, Allen’s litany of biblical examples of those who were so-called “dead” (in their trespasses and sins? Yes!) does much to cut the stilts from under Calvin’s (and Calvinists’) interpretation of Eph. 2:1.

BTW: You called “total inability” a “concept.” I agree; it is conceptual. But I reject it as actual.

    Greg Peters

    It’s my understanding that Mr. Flowers believes that it takes no more than hearing the gospel to believe in Christ than hearing about the teachings of Buddha to become a Buddhist. His belief in how a person comes to Christ doesn’t require a work of the Holy Spirit beyond His inspiration of scripture or calling of people to share the gospel. I would ask Mr. Flowers the following: Many Southern Baptists, Traditional and otherwise, like to use Jesus’ call in Revelation to the church as a call to the lost. In such a scenario, with Jesus on one side of the door knocking, and a lost person on the other side presumably ‘hearing’ the knock, what exactly does the ‘knock’ of Jesus consist of?

      Jim P

      Greg, I’d like to try to add to your post.

      The ‘knock’ you refer to in Revelations is made to one of the seven churches the book is written to. The book was written at the close of the age of the Apostles. The Churches were being overwhelmed with so much different teaching from every direction and in addition to that how they related to each other, which was a coordinated concern. Practice and Teaching go hand in hand. This relationship is often ignored. When one is neglected it effects the other.

      That gets to the point of ‘ability.’ Romans 1:16 – 17 states that ‘God’s power’ is at work when the Gospel is being proclaimed. It is, that when churches begin to neglect right practice and/or neglect right teaching the message itself begins to distort so that the Gospel message is not being proclaimed and therefore the ‘power of God,’ is not at work overcoming the darkness in people to be able to see the Gospel.

      Hope these are thoughts that help.

      Andrew Barker

      Greg Peters: I like the caveat you used, that it was ‘your’ understanding. That was a wise move on your part. There is of course a significant distinction between the teaching of the Buddha and the teachings of Christ. The first being false and the truth of the Gospel which scripture describes as the power of God unto salvation!

      Is there anybody who believes that a person simply comes to Christ without being prompted first by the Holy Spirit? Is this not Jesus drawing all men to him? Is Rev 3:20 speaking solely to Christians? If so, was it speaking solely to the Christians in Laodicea? The text says “if anybody hears my voice” and I tend to assume that means anybody. It’s an open invitation to all who hear to enter into a relationship with Christ. That invitation still stands today for all of us, whatever our situation, saved or not. But it is worth noting that Jesus always knocks and waits for a response. It’s never a forced entry. Perhaps that should speak to some?

    Name (Required)

    Norm writes, “Calvinists say that response is not humanly generated and is “irresistible.” However, I agree with Ronnie Rogers, who would say the ability to respond to God in such a way is a “grace enablement,” but with that also comes “otherwise choice” — the latter meaning a human may choose to respond positively or negatively to God’s prompting and grace enablement.”

    Calvinists say that Adam lost the ability for “otherwise choice” when he sinned – he became a slave to sin. This necessitates that a person be regenerated wherein “otherwise choice” is restored and this is a “grace enablement.” So Ronnie Rogers agrees with the Calvinists on saying that “otherwise choice” must be restored or grace enabled. While the person is able to respond negatively to the gospel, it is the power of the gospel that makes this impossible – the grace by which one is enabled to respond to the gospel creates a situation in which the gospel is able to exert an irresistible effect on the regenerated person. Because of this, the grace is said to be irresistible. Thus, the disagreement between the universalists who say that God grace enables each and every person (so all are saved) and the Calvinists who say that God grace enables only His elect (so not all are saved).

      norm

      Dear Name (Required)
      Please offer scriptural support for this assertion of yours: ” the grace by which one is enabled to respond to the gospel creates a situation in which the gospel is able to exert an irresistible effect on the regenerated person.” Just one verse, that is all I ask, that clearly supports your statement.

        rhutchin

        “One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshipper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.” (Acts 16)

          norm

          Per usual, Hutch, you have cited a verse that does not support your position. Note the word “respond” in the verse; that is a human action, not a divine one. There is nothing in the verse to say Lydia’s choice to respond was unavoidable, or the opening of her mind (grace enablement) by the Lord was irresistible to the point of “forcing” Lydia to respond positively. You cannot cite Lydia as an example of one who is demonstrative of the so-called irresistible call of God. Have you another verse that supports your conceptual notion?

            rhutchin

            The sense of the verse is direct: Lydia actually responded to the gospel preached by Paul and this the result of God’s opening her heart. When God opens a person’s heart to the gospel, the results are inevitable.

            Here’s another one. “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3)

              Lydia

              “The sense of the verse is direct: Lydia actually responded to the gospel preached by Paul and this the result of God’s opening her heart. When God opens a person’s heart to the gospel, the results are inevitable.”

              Here we go again. And just where was Lydia when Paul came across her and what she doing. Why was she there?

              Sigh

    rhutchin

    Norm writes, “Neither have you have not dealt with Dr. Allen’s verses showing that people who were alien unto God showed an ability, in the flesh, to respond to God.”

    Per Allen, “According to the Bible, the unsaved who are spiritually dead have the ability to:

    “Act in accordance with conscience (Gen. 3:7)” – “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realised that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” Spiritual death does not mean mental deficiency in terms of ability to think (except where salvation is concerned). Even the unsaved know when they have done wrong even if they are not as willing to own up to it as Adam and Eve. A spiritually dead person is not physically dead.

    “Hear God (Gen. 3:10-13)” – Even the spiritually dead people can read the Bible and listen to sermons. As Jesus said, “If you have ears to hear.” Spiritually dead people do not have ears to “hear” That is why Pastor Ronnie Rogers speaks of “grace enablement.”

    “Respond to God (Gen. 3:10-13)” – When God gets in a person’s face as with Adam and Eve, of course people will respond. Think of Saul of Tarsus traveling to Damascus.

    “Adam and Eve died spiritually when they ate the fruit. But they were still capable of hearing from/responding to God. (Gen. 3:10-13).” – A very unique situation not generally experienced by the unsaved today. Maybe Dr. Allen is going Pentecostal on us.

    “Repent of sins (Luke 15:18-19) The prodigal son, in a state of deadness (Luke 15:32), still recognized his sin and returned to the father. ” – Here, it is possible that he returned home for purely selfish reasons – to get a good home-cooked meal.

    “Seek God (John 3)” – Hmmmm. Dr. Allen is reaching here. What does Paul say in Romans quoting the OT. Can the Scriptures contradict itself? Maybe Norm can explain the reasoning here.

    “Fear God (Acts 10:2)” “there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devout and God-fearing;” – This is a work of God. Thus, Paul in Philippians, “…God who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Again, no contradiction.

    “Pray to God (Acts 10:2)” – Also, a work of God in Cornelius.

    “Both Nicodemus and Cornelius were ‘seeking’ God before their regeneration. But if they are dead in their sins, how can this be?” – Is this true? Could not God have been active in the lives of these men? Dr. Allen assumes more than the verses tell us.

    “Know the truth about God (Rom. 1:18-20)”
    “Perceive God’s invisible attributes (Rom. 1:18-20)” – Yes, and because of their depravity, “…although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.” Why would Dr. Allen ignore this part?

rhutchin

Norm writes, “This verse supports Rogers’ “grace enablement,” but does nothing to support total inability as Calvinists posit.”

If total inability does not describe the lost, why would grace enablement be needed? If grace enablement is necessary, it must have a purpose – what is that purpose if not to remove inability?

    norm

    Mere rhetoric, Hutch. You said there were many verse supporting your position but cited only one. I offered several verses from Dr. Allen that support my position. Rhetoric is the bastion of those who have no evidence.

      rhutchin

      Norm writes, “You said there were many verse supporting your position but cited only one.”

      They are the usual verses. You know them; but to repeat a few.

      “you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.” (Ephesians 2)

      “the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God…without faith it is impossible to pelase God.” (Romans 8; Hebrews 11)

      “the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment. This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority. Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings; yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord. But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish.” (2 Peter 2)

      “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities…have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.” (Romans 1)

      “There is no-one righteous, not even one; there is no-one who understands, no-one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no-one who does good, not even one.” “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practise deceit.” “The poison of vipers is on their lips.” “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3)

      “Gentiles are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.” (Ephesians 4)

      “the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,… the fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.'” (1 Corinthians 1; Psalm 14)

      “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. No-one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you;” (Isaiah 64)

      “The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” (Genesis 6)

      “The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” (Ecclesiasties 9)

      “What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean’. For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean’…”The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Mark 7; Jeremiah 17)

      “All a man’s ways seem right to him,…Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin!…The way of the guilty is devious,…The wicked man craves evil;” (Proverbs 21)

      “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” (John 3)

      “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.” (Jeremiah 13)

      “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.” (Titus 3)

      “the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature…The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.” (Galatians 5)

norm

While I believe every word of every verse you cited, not a single verse supports irresistibility as you posit — not one.

And you still have not responded to why people have an innate desire to worship. Granted, worshiping idols is evil, but it does show a desire to reach outside of one’s self and to acknowledge a greater power — even if that greater power is invented.

Neither have you have not dealt with Dr. Allen’s verses showing that people who were alien unto God showed an ability, in the flesh, to respond to God.

Apparently, you and others believe that grace enablement allows no other option but a positive response. But you have no verse in the Bible to support that.

IMO, irresistibility makes a mockery of Rom. 1: 18ff. God says people willingly suppressed the truth conveyed by General Revelation. While General Revelation is of course not salvific, I guess we must surmise that the truth of General Revelation is resistible because some people see it as God intended, but respond negatively as their ability for “otherwise choice” is active.
you know, Hutch, you have been competing at this blog for a long period of time. Having been repeatedly refuted, you bring nothing new. And you are not able to support your Calvinistic leanings. That is not your fault, for, as has been demonstrated in this and other threads, there are not bible verses, properly exegetes, to sustain your beliefs per Calvin.

At this point, I will leave you to your misunderstandings. Meaning no disrespect to you, I must say I have better and more needful things to do with my time than to engage with you after having done that biblicly for my position numerous times.

Blessings, Brother.

Adios.

    norm

    “you have been competing at this blog”

    meant to say ‘commenting,’ not competing

    rhutchin

    Norm writes, “Apparently, you and others believe that grace enablement allows no other option but a positive response. But you have no verse in the Bible to support that.”

    The initial condition is that all were rejecting the gospel because of their depravity. Then, God extends grace and some now accept the gospel. The only thing that has changed is the application of grace – grace enablement. Thus, we logically attribute the reversed response in some to that grace enablement. Did God grace enable every person? We know God did for those who accept the gospel because we observe that change. For the rest, they were rejecting the gospel and nothing changed – they are still rejecting the gospel, thus no basis to say that they were grace enabled.

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