Grace & Glory

May 4, 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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In his book titled, “God’s Passion for His Glory,” John Piper rightly argues that the chief end for which God created the world is His Own Glory. Calvinistic pastors and authors, like Piper, have done a very good job bringing this reality into sharp focus.

However, Calvinists often go on to boast that the uniqueness of their TULIP systematic is the best expression of God’s glory by saying things like, “The glory of God is supreme, the supreme theme of reformed theology [Calvinism].”[1]

While we (Traditionalists) would absolutely affirm that God’s chief end in creation was for the praise of His own glory, we disagree with our Calvinistic friends who claim that God has created a world of unchangeably predetermined reprobates and saints so as to demonstrate His inherently glorious nature.[2]

In order to make this point abundantly clear, let us begin by offering a good working definition of the attribute we call “glory.” Calvinistic apologist, Matt Slick, offers this as an acceptable definition:

In the Old Testament, the word for “glory” is the Hebrew word, ??????? “kabowd,” which carries the idea of heaviness and weight. In the New Testament, the Greek word is  ???? “doxa,” which carries the idea of opinion, judgment, estimate, spendour, brightness, etc.  It is used to speak of great honor, praise, value, wonder, and splendor.

Glory is spoken of in reference to people (Prov. 16:31) and God (Gen. 49:6Psa. 3:3). Glory is given by God (Psa. 84:11) and also is a manifestion of God’s greatness and presence that is awesome to behold (Gen. 33:22Exo. 40:34Num. 14:10).[3]

What characteristic of God best exemplifies His honor, praise, value, wonder, and splendor? Is it…

  • His ability and willingness to meticulously bring about or control every desire and actions of all His creation, including heinous moral evil?[4]

Or

  • His genuine self-sacrificial love for all His undeserving enemies (GRACE) regardless of their free rebellion and rejection of Him?

“God is love” (1 Jn. 4:8).  “The Lord is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness. The Lord is good to all, And His mercies are over all His works.” (Ps. 145:9).

According to Paul, “love does not seek its own,” and thus it is best described as “self-sacrificial” rather than “self-serving” (1 Cor. 13:5). As Jesus taught, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” It seems safe to say that love at its very root is self-sacrificial. Anything less than that should not be called “love.”  One may refer to “kindness” or “care” in reflection of some common provisions for humanity, but unless it reaches the level of self-sacrifice it does not seem to meet the biblical definition of true love. It is this kind of Divine love that makes God’s grace anything but common.[5]

When God graciously invites His enemies to be reconciled (Isa. 1:18; 2 Cor. 5:20; Mt. 11:28-30), He is making an appeal from a sincere heart of self-sacrificial love. His appeal to all people is gracious:

“‘As surely as I live,’ declares the Sovereign LORD, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’” (Ezek. 33:11).

“The Lord loves the sons of Israel, though they turn to other gods…” (Hosea 3:1).

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance”( 2 Peter 3:9).

“This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.  For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,  who gave himself as a ransom for all men–the testimony given in its proper time” (2 Tim 2:3-6).

“Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?” (Ez. 18:23). 

“Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel?  For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!” (Ez. 18:31-32).

“But concerning Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people” (Rom 10:21).

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing” (Matt. 23:37).

“When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick” (Matt. 14:14).

“As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes” (Luke 19:41-42).

Obviously, God does sincerely and self-sacrificially love even those who turn from His sacrificial provision, which is one of His most gracious, self-glorifying characteristics. A characteristic that many Calvinists are unintentionally undermining in an effort to promote their systematic interpretation.

While we can all agree that God is about making His glory known, it must be understood that God is most glorified not in the sacrifice of His enemies as “reprobates” rejected from before the world began, but in the sacrifice of Himself for the sake of all His enemies, even those who do “turn to other gods” (Hos. 3:1). In short, God is most glorified in the grace shown to all His enemies, not His ability to control them.

It is God’s attribute of grace toward all undeserving sinners that reveals His “great honor, praise, value, wonder, and splendor,” not His supposed ability to bring about heinous evil so as to demonstrate (by way of contrast) His willingness to redeem that which he Himself “brought about by sovereign decree.”[6]

It is God’s abudant grace for all that reveals Him as the most glorious of all!

God does not need to step on “the reprobate” to lift Himself up. He does not need to sacrifice most of humanity to demonstrate His glory. Instead, God humbly sacrifices Himself for His enemies so as to be lifted up and then He commands us to go and do likewise.

1 Peter 5:5-6:  “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”

James 4:10: “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”

Matthew 18:4: “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:3:  “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 23:12: “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Luke 14:11: “For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Luke 18:14: “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

 

[1] http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/what-is-calvinism
[2] “By predestination we mean the eternal decree of God, by which he determined with himself whatever he wished to happen with regard to every man. All are not created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation; and, accordingly, as each has been created for one or other of those ends, we say that he has been predestined to life or death.” – John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, iii, xxi, sec. 5, 1030–1031.

Calvinists, please do not resort to the “you too fallacy” by insisting that because of the finite philosophical presumptions you share with Open Theists (i.e. if God foreknows something before creating it then He must have determined it to be) that we have the same problem you do.  Study some of the other philosophical theories related to the infinite nature of divine knowledge as it relates to temporal human freedom before dogmatically insisting on your false dichotomies. Read this.
[3] https://carm.org/dictionary-glory
[4] and [6] CLICK HERE for more.
[5] More Here: https://soteriology101.wordpress.com/2016/02/14/whats-love-got-to-do-with-it/

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Chris

“who claim that God has created a world of unchangeably predetermined reprobates and saints so as to demonstrate His inherently glorious nature”

At this point, I’m always curious…do you believe in exhaustive foreknowledge? If God created the world with exhaustive foreknowledge, then he knew some would be effectively “unchangeably predetermined reprobates.” God created knowing there were people who would always remain in their sin. Sometimes when you guys write, it’s as if you don’t believe in foreknowledge.

Also, I don’t believe that quote above as written. I believe God created a good world and the first people good. Then they chose sin and passed on a sinful nature to their children. All of those children are in rebellion against God, but God graciously saves some of the rebels because of the life, death, and resurrection of his Son and the person’s repentance and faith in Jesus.

    Andy

    I found this summary of different calvinistic positions on gotquestions.com. I think it is helpful for discussions like these.

    “Infralapsarianism (“after the lapse”) puts God’s decrees in the following order: (1) God decreed the creation of mankind, (2) God decreed mankind would be allowed to fall into sin through their own self-determination, (3) God decreed to save some of the fallen, and (4) God decreed to provide Jesus Christ as the Redeemer. Infralapsarianism focuses on God allowing the fall and providing salvation.”

    “Sublapsarianism (“under the lapse”) is very similar to infralapsarianism, putting God’s decrees in the following order: (1) God decreed to create human beings, (2) God decreed to permit the fall, (3) God decreed to provide salvation sufficient to all, and (4) God decreed to choose some to receive this salvation. The only difference between infralapsarianism and sublapsarianism is whether God first decreed to provide salvation through Jesus Christ and then chose some to be saved, or vice-versa.”

    Supralapsarianism (“before the lapse”) puts God’s decrees in the following order: (1) God decreed the election of some and the eternal condemnation of others, (2) God decreed to create those elected and eternally condemned, (3) God decreed to permit the fall, and (4) God decreed to provide salvation for the elect through Jesus Christ. Supralapsarianism focuses on God ordaining the fall, creating certain people for the sole purpose of being condemned, and then providing salvation for only those whom He had elected.”

    There certainly are a lot of supralapsarians (like Piper), but I don’t know which is predominant.

    On the one hand, SOME of Leighton’s arguments are not as effective against an Infralapsarian or sublapsarian viewpoint. It is not accurate to point to such viewpoints and say they believe God created some reprobates FOR THE PURPOSE of their eternal punishment.

    On the other hand, even those versions of Calvinism leave the question of: “Why didn’t God irresistibly draw ALL of those rebellious, sinful-natured sinners…OR at least enable (preveniently :-) them to the point of being able to “by their own self-determination”, choose to receive Christ’s forgiveness?” It certainly seems that the Bible puts forth God’s love and salvation expressed to his enemies as one of his highest glories…so wouldn’t saving more, or ALL, give more glory?

      Chris

      “I think it is helpful for discussions like these.”

      I disagree. “Infra” and “supra” are not particularly helpful imo. I do not want to get into an order of decrees discussion.

      “There certainly are a lot of supralapsarians (like Piper), but I don’t know which is predominant.”

      Why do you put Piper in the supra camp? From my reading on the subject, the vast majority of Calvinists would identify with infra.

      “It certainly seems that the Bible puts forth God’s love and salvation expressed to his enemies as one of his highest glories…so wouldn’t saving more, or ALL, give more glory?”

      If asked why God does not save everyone, I think most Calvinists would say, “I do not know.” It is a wonder of grace that he saves anyone. Some things are beyond what God has revealed in Scripture…that seems to be one of them.

        Andy

        1. You are correct, I was too hasty in my labeling of Piper. It was based on related things I’ve heard or read from him that made me think he might be. Upon further research, there seems to be no easily found clear statements either way. He does believe in Double predestination, however. He certainly believes God ordained the fall, and other bad things to happen, The way he teaches it goes beyond simply saying God “allows” them.

        2. Regarding whether it is helpful. the terms may be unnecessary, but noting the differences IS germain to this article. Do Calvinists believe that God decided to create some people in order to condemn them, prior to even deciding to allow the fall? Or do calvinists believe God ordained to allow the fall, then, rather than condemn all the fallen, choose to save some of them? The answer seems to be, some believe the first, most likely fit the second view. I knew some Supralapsarians in my time at SBTS, so they are certainly around.

          Chris

          1. DP makes sense in light of God’s exhaustive foreknowledge as long as both P’s are held asymmetrically.

          2. If I remember correctly, it’s a logic question though. Persons do not generally think that God chose in time. Which order seems to make more sense? Supras exist. But Infras exist in larger numbers. Supras sometimes turn out to be hypers.

    Scott Shaver

    My problem Chris, is with the question of how fully can a finite mind truly apprehend the nature and mechanics of God’s “foreknowledge”?

    Calvinists, by their heralded merit of pure logic, fail to calculate any margin for error in their understanding/estimation of how God either experiences or dispatches his “foreknowledge”.

    My problem is your view, when explaining the “will of God” in salvation and the potential capacity for atonement/propitiation, is limited to SOME when The Bible, the apostles and Christ himself clearly said “ALL”.

    These three, IMO, outweigh the opinions of all humanity on the matter both before and after 1618-1619 … or, conversely, the three were giving us only part of the TRUTH to begin with.

    Can’t have it both ways Chris.

      Chris

      I feel like you are deftly ignoring the obvious implications of God having exhaustive foreknowledge and his creating the world. Sure, we don’t exhaustively undertand God’s foreknowledge, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t say anything about it. It’s true that I could be wrong in my understanding of God’s foreknowledge, but that is not a real answer to my post.

      “Can’t have it both ways Chris.”

      Not sure what this refers to.

      “My problem is your view, when explaining the “will of God” in salvation and the potential capacity for atonement/propitiation, is limited to SOME when The Bible, the apostles and Christ himself clearly said “ALL””

      All may refer to every person or every person within a group or to a large number of people. Mark 1:5 says of the response to John the Baptist’s ministry, “And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.” Does “ALL” mean all? Do you think the Sadducees and Pharisees (including the high priest), King Herod, the local Roman soldiers all went out to be baptized by John? All doesn’t always mean all, and we all know that. However, sometimes we decide otherwise on certain passages.

      And I wouldn’t have a problem with the atonement/propitiation being unlimited if I were a universalist. But as long as you think that not everyone is going to be saved, then we all agree that the atonement/propitation is limited at least in who it is effective for.

        Lydia

        And I wouldn’t have a problem with the atonement/propitiation being unlimited if I were a universalist. But as long as you think that not everyone is going to be saved, then we all agree that the atonement/propitation is limited at least in who it is effective for.”

        Easy peasy for Reformers. Just take human volition out of it totally. But…. That means you have nothing to teach me and I should not listen to you because you cannot possibly have any

        This is one reason I find Calvinism so amusing. The only reason why we should believe that a calvinist preacher has anything to teach us is if we believe he is a philosopher king. One of those special people God chose to impart knowledge on us ignorant masses because we have no volition. (Except the cognitive dissonance of the gnostic compatablism)

          Scott Shaver

          As I’ve stated emphatically before Lydia, “Calvinism” in its current SBC expression is modern day Gnosticism, strikingly similar even to Mormonism (think Mohler even cozied up publicly to em recently) and should be treated the same way it was treated by Paul in NT.

          Chris

          I do not take human volition out of it.

    Lydia

    “Then they chose sin and passed on a sinful nature to their children.”

    Some of us call that Calvinist sin goo. Our previous Holy Savior was swimming around in it during Mary’s term!

      Andy

      I would love to hear your alternative to the inherited sin nature view, with biblical support basic logic, of course.

        Lydia

        Andy, biblical support is a no brainier. You either read determinism into it totally or not all the time. I don’t buy into the doctrine of evil babies.

        I believe we are born with corrupted bodies (that physically degenerate) and onto a corrupted earth. Therefore we are born with a propensity to do wrong. We are surrounded by it. At some point in our growth we are responsible for our behavior and choices. We have access to a great Advocate.

        Calvinists bypassed “the devil made me do it” of excuse Christianity to embrace a bizzare variation of ‘God made me do it’

          Andy

          LYDIA: “we are born with a propensity to do wrong.”

          So you’re saying this is NOT an inherited sin nature?

          Are you saying it’s all environment, and our failing physical bodies “making” us sin? That almost sounds like a person who has lots of physical ailments has more excuse to sin than a healthy person, if it’s our fallen bodies that are causing us to sin. I’ve heard that “flesh” (refering to merely our physical bodies) causing us to sin before, and I don’t buy it. Context suggests that Paul’s use of “flesh” refers to our old sinful desires, related to our bodies, certainly, but with a spiritual aspect as well…I don’t buy for a minute that if you took the spirit out of a person’s fallen body, they would have no more desire to sin.

            Lydia

            “So you’re saying this is NOT an inherited sin nature?

            Are you saying it’s all environment, and our failing physical bodies “making” us sin? That almost sounds like a person who has lots of physical ailments has more excuse to sin than a healthy person, if it’s our fallen bodies that are causing us to sin. I’ve heard that “flesh” (refering to merely our physical bodies) causing us to sin before, and I don’t buy it. Context suggests that Paul’s use of “flesh” refers to our old sinful desires, related to our bodies, certainly, but with a spiritual aspect as well…I don’t buy for a minute that if you took the spirit out of a person’s fallen body, they would have no more desire to sin.”

            So Andy, everyone you know has a desire to molest children, right? If not, why? Do you think a desire to eat too much is on the same sin level as one who desires to rape children? That six year old sold to the Hindu Temple as a prostitute is a big sinner, right?

            Some people even buy into cultural evil as normal and not really “sin”. Like Calvin’s part in persecuting people who disagreed with him.

            Think of 1st John. It starts out with:
            “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

            (Some folks think that this means that they can go right on sinning and Jesus is being righteous for them while they keep on molesting. All it takes are magic words over and over)

            But John goes on….

            “We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. 4 Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, love for God[a] is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.”

            (Some will claim that Jesus is really a trickster and he knows that we can’t be anything like Him.)

            “9 Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister[b] is still in the darkness. 10 Anyone who loves their brother and sister[c] lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. 11 But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded ”

            ( some claim that this passage means if you disagree or if you don’t disagree in the tone they like it means you hate. And some people actually believe this . However I maintain that those who protect those who molest children or look the other way, are the ones who really “hate” the innocents out there )

            “29 If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him”

            And how do we know right from wrong? Is that possible? I think it is. We make choices.

            “Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. 5 But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. 6 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.

            7 Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. 8 The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. 9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.”

            Now that is scary stuff. When God is in us, we cannot continue to sin. We seek to walk in the light. Perhaps we don’t really understand send it because we tend to call everything ‘Sin”. Do you think a lot of Augustinian Christianity presents a false dichotomy of sinless perfection OR evil perpetual sinners. So, which is it? Or is it neither?

          Jon Estes

          :”I don’t buy into the doctrine of evil babies.”

          I am not sure I would label them babies.

          There are a few posts above debating the term “all”.

          When in Romans it says… For ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God — does that “ALL” mean “ALL” or “ALL” but babies?

          If we take it the way Scott is sharing, it means babies are born evil (your term). I would say with a sin nature)

          If we take it the way Chris is sharing, it means babies are born as you present in your post.

          Would you care to tell us if you believe Jesus died for ALL and that when the Bible uses that term eslewhere… it means ALL?

            Jon Estes

            “I am not sure I would label them babies.”

            Should read — I am not sure I would label them evil..

            Scott Shaver

            Sorry Jon.

            You infer something I’ve not said. Haven’t commented on the spiritual status of “babies”.

            In your cross-reference to what you think I stated, consider the fact that “All” have sinned could refer to “all” who’ve reached/developed mentally, spiritually, physically to a stage of human cognizance that they understand the difference between right and wrong, consequently making them responsible for their choices.

            In your haste to put words in my mouth….please try to be accurate :)

              Jon Estes

              “In your cross-reference to what you think I stated, consider the fact that “All” have sinned could refer to “all” who’ve reached/developed mentally, spiritually, physically to a stage of human cognizance that they understand the difference between right and wrong, consequently making them responsible for their choices.”

              Since scripture does not directly affirm your interpretation to be fact you have no problem accepting it as fact… Interesting.

              “The Bible, the apostles and Christ himself clearly said “ALL”.”

              Consider the fact that “All” have sinned could refer to those who God has already chosen.

                Scott Shaver

                I will consider it Jon but I’ve certainly got to twist and distort the biblical languages to get to that point.

                On second thought…..naw, I’ll leave those kinds of reframing tactics to you and your buddies who thrive on it.

                I’ll just let The Word speak for itself in context and without the aid of your filters.

                Scott Shaver

                Jon:
                In all fairness to you, the word “fact” precisely as stated by me in it’s original CONTEXT (and as you’ve quoted) is/was a fact based on possibility (i.e. “conditional”, see the word “could” 5 words to the right of “fact” in THE SAME SENTENCE.

                Pardon my confusing use of the English language and drop the word “FACT” out completely leaving only “consider the possibility”. That should put us on the same page without “vitriol”.

                Les

                Wait, I thought non Cals said “all” means “all” as in Christ died for all. Now in Romans it doesn’t mean “all” have sinned? Hmmm. Some consistency would be n order from our non Cal friends. Unless there’s a contextual reason the Romans passage doesn’t mean all without exception. Which I would like to see.

                  Scott Shaver

                  Well Les,

                  I’m tempted to say that’s what you get for “thinking”.

                  Les

                  “I’m tempted to say that’s what you get for “thinking”.”

                  Don’t do it Scott. Wouldn’t want to see you harm your image as a perfect gentleman. But is that all the response you have? Can you explain the differing uses of “all” in 1 John and Romans 3? Please?

                  Scott Shaver

                  Perhaps the shortest distance between two points in the appeal of Les for a “contextual reason the Romans passage doesn’t mean all without exception”:

                  Get alone in your prayer closet and discuss/debate/confer with the Holy Spirit as to why or why not God should/shouldn’t send human beings to hell at such an early age they are unaware of their immediate surroundings, unconscious as to volition and its spiritual significance, unable to do anything physically except eat, sleep and blow dirt through their diapers.

                  Bet that will tone down the argumentation at least.

                    Scott Shaver

                    And in lieu of a response I’m sure is forthcoming Les:

                    I have no interest whatsoever in listening to arguments for the redefinition of the “ALL” in Scripture. As Andrew Barker has stated poignantly, you’re hoisting your textual problems and templates on those who don’t have the problem and don’t follow the templates. Save yourself and others some time.

                    Andrew Barker

                    Scott: I think Les is in Black Knight (Monty Python) mode at present. He’s just suffered the loss of all four limbs and sees Arthur riding away only to challenge him with … “come back here and I’ll bite your legs off”.

                  Les

                  Scott,

                  Barking up the wrong tree if you think *I* think babies are sent to hell. I don’t believe they are. Won’t tone me down brother. Not at *all*. But still no answer. Ok, I get it. Just slap some exegesis on there and splain it.

                    Scott Shaver

                    Ha….knew that one was coming, Les

                    Don’t deal theologically with folks who treat it like a McDonald’s hamburger.

                  Les

                  ” have no interest whatsoever in listening to arguments for the redefinition of the “ALL” in Scripture.”

                  Not using for you to listen to arguments. Asking you to make one. But in anticipation of your unwillingness to even try. well…remain as one who is inconsistent in the “all” arena.

                  Les

                  More like “Can’t” deal with it at all.

                    Scott Shaver

                    The more I listen to you, Les, the more credit I give to Mr. Geneva for driving Protestant Christianity insane.

                    You guys (NeoCals on the site specifically) want to argue “ALL” and God’s perfect “FOREKNOWLEDGE” …at the same time.

                    Consequently, If God, as you insist, is operating consistent with mechanic of being able to see everything from beginning to end, IT WOULD LOGICALLY FOLLOW THAT “ALL” DOES INDEED MEAN THE ENTIRE HUMAN RACE.

                    God and Scripture would both mean “ALL” since his foreknowledge presents him with a preview of what every human being will CHOOSE to do at the age of accountability.

                    You guys back yourselves continually into a corner with your own system and it’s a waste of time I could continue with others a little more “logical”?

                  Les

                  “The more I listen to you, Les, the more credit I give to Mr. Geneva for driving Protestant Christianity insane.”

                  Note, still no answer. But wait, there’s more. Are you denying God’s perfect foreknowledge of all things?

                  And neo Cals? Not one and haven’t seen any around these parts. I’m actually an old Cal, by age and longevity.

                    Scott Shaver

                    That’s right Les, I forgot.

                    Kinda like a denominational-hybrid theological mix you got going on.

                    Cool, keep rollin and trollin.

                    Lydia

                    “Note, still no answer. But wait, there’s more. Are you denying God’s perfect foreknowledge”

                    Scott, I have been trying to interact with Cals for the last 10 years. Any response is a “non answer” to them because they want a proof text war and every proof text has a determinist filter. It is where they are safe. It is myopic. A bubble world of creeds as scripture and redefined words and concepts.

                    And note the added tactic of sucking you in to “defend” yourself by asking if you are denying Gods foreknowledge! Hee Hee. You can’t win. If you defend yourself then you are in agreement with them and they frame the debate if you don’t defend that then you are denying God’s for knowledge. Clever, eh? And people wonder why the stealth take over tactics of SBC churches is so vile. Miss Mildred is just not going to get into it like this. There is a Maxim out there that if you are bold enough and confident enough you can make people believe any lies.

                    I would prefer that people learn to think on their own and have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit not so I’m Gar I would prefer that people learn to think on their own and have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit….not some arrogant guru with a Christiansen lofty title.

                    So Scott, you are not practicing cognitive dissonance! Shame on you! :o)

                    I am going to copy Coulter and write a book titled: ” How to Talk to a Calvinist…. If You Must”. Church people need it ….but I will sell it in the secular market not in the world of Christian publishing that has something akin to moneychangers in the temple.

                  Andrew Barker

                  Well, you were wrong in your assumptions weren’t you Les! Never mind, you’ll get over it soon enough, but your endless pursuit of trying to give your “non Cal friends” problems they don’t have, is somewhat wearisome.

                    Les

                    Andrew,

                    You: “Well, you were wrong in your assumptions weren’t you Les!”

                    So I was wrong when I wrote, “I thought non Cals said “all” means “all” as in Christ died for all?” Well ok. Now that that’s settled. Next?

                    “but your endless pursuit of trying to give your “non Cal friends” problems they don’t have, is somewhat wearisome.” You are welcome, some might say “free” to not read or interact with my pursuits Andrew. Wouldn’t want to weary you.

                    Andrew Barker

                    Les: If you think it’s settled, then good for you, but please don’t quote it as though you got that from me, because you didn’t. You were wrong in your previous assumptions; there’s no need to compound your error! :-)

                  Les

                  No worries Andrew. I know it’s just more inconsistencies from your neo nonCal crowd.

            Andrew Barker

            Jon Estes: Don’t you think you’re missing the point somewhat when you state …” in Romans it says… For ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God — does that “ALL” mean “ALL” or “ALL” but babies?” Is this not evidence, yet again, of those who are Reformed determined to foist their own problems on those who do not hold to Reformed theology? It is a problem entirely of your own making, which is reading one verse in isolation of the surrounding verses or indeed against the rest of scripture. No serious bible scholar has ever tried to defend ‘ALL’ always having to refer to ALL people everywhere at ALL times. The word always needs to be read in context. Generally, it has to be said that it does mean exactly what it says, ALL!

            If you take your example from Rom 3:23 it’s referring to “there is no distinction” … between Jews/Gentiles under law or not under law. ALL have sinned. Of course it doesn’t address babies, Jewish or gentile because it’s not relevant to the point he’s trying to make. But you’re an educated man Jon, and a pastor? Surely you must realise this? At some point, you’re going to have to take Jesus at his word. He used the words “whoever believes in me ….” so many times, that you’ve got to admit that if, at a later date, he was going to restrict belief and access to salvation to a ‘chosen few’, he had a very strange way of going about it!

            Lydia

            “Would you care to tell us if you believe Jesus died for ALL and that when the Bible uses that term eslewhere… it means ALL?”

            You are aware there are four different meanings for the words translated, “love”? I am finding your question somewhat silly for an educated pastor to ask unless he has an agenda. Surely you take context and historical word meanings into consideration? Maybe not.

            The differences in some interpretations could very well be that I do not leave human Volition out of the salvic process. I do not read scripture with a determinist filter.

    Paul N

    But God knowing that man would reject Him does not conclude that He wills and wants them to, worst of all for His glory ( according to calvinism). The question ought to be, is God unjust to judge those whom He knew would reject Him? Well, is God unjust when a hardened criminal is sentenced to life or the death penalty? Why didn’t God just stop them from being born? Didn’t He know they would be hardened criminals?

    Scriptures tell us that man is without excuse. That settles it for me. You put the onus on God for man perishing, but scripture places it on man. That is where all the blame ought to stay. So, God’s foreknowledge does not justify man destroying His character with man made doctrines.

      Chris

      Paul N

      I agree that there is a sense in which God does not want men to reject him. There are plenty of Scriptures that speak to that point.
      But as you say, God could prevent those who will not repent from being born yet he does not. There is a sense in which he wills for them to reject them by allowing them to exist. In this sense if in no other, he ordains their ends.

      I agree that at no point is God unjust. I believe that men are to blame for their sin and their rejection of God.

        Andrew Barker

        Chris: Your statement …”God could prevent those who will not repent from being born yet he does not.There is a sense in which he wills for them to reject them by allowing them to exist. In this sense if in no other, he ordains their ends.”…. does not sit well with scripture. Jesus taught that stumbling blocks were part and parcel of life and that they were bound to come along BUT that in no way excused the person by whom they came. You can’t blame God, for YOUR own sin and disobedience. Luke 17:2

        You say …”There is a sense in which he wills for them to reject”. I say there is no sense in saying that.

          Scott Shaver

          Presupposition absent a clear inference or directive of Scripture.

        Dennis Lee Dabney

        Chris,

        The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.

        Here is another example of the Sovereignty of God and responsibility of man.

        This phrase, “it would have been good for that man if he had not been born.

        Yet Judas was born, created, fashioned and formed by the Lord Jesus Christ.

        The reality of his first birth placed the responsibility of his second upon him as well as the consequences of rejecting the Lord and penalty for the actual betrayal of Christ.

        Judas was born but not for this end, since it would have been good if he had not been born. Judas’s “will” is described and on display as he is mentioned in various text along with his allegiance with Satan.

        Judas was born of an truth and his actions foretold, however for him to “come to such an end” would have him not to have been born.

        The same could also be said of all who refuse to obey the gospel and go out into a Christ less eternity into sudden judgment.

        The first birth of the children of men places the necessity of being born again upon all who have been once.

        God has provided such a great salvation in His Son Christ Jesus our Lord. Judas actually had “Salvation” Himself to wash his dirty feet.

        Those who perish will also look back and see just how good He was to them also. Giving them rain from above, food and clothing from down here , strength in their bodies and something called a “roof” over their heads.”Salvation” gave them time to repent and space to believe. He’s been no less good to all of the children of men.

        . . . !

        God was responsible for our first birth, the responsibility of being born again, the Lord Jesus Christ place the responsibility on the children of men when He said, “Ye must be born again”.

        Preach!

      Lydia

      “You put the onus on God for man perishing, but scripture places it on man”

      Bingo. Even the Jews who did not totally mingle with the pagan’s angry arbitrary gods, got this part right. Enter the advent of Greek pagan philosophy making inroads into Christianity with Augustine-Luther-Calvin. Both the Catholics and Reformers despised Jews and any Jewish scholarship right up to the 20th century.

        Scott Shaver

        Wonder, Lydia, if that partially explains so many strange interpretations of the OT at the hands of Calvinist reformers (thinking especially now of Gill).
        They had no desire or need for the folks through whom the revelation, history and understanding of the kosmos came? Interesting to consider.

          Lydia

          “They had no desire or need for the folks through whom the revelation, history and understanding of the kosmos came? Interesting to consider.”

          Personally, I think it is a huge problem in most of historical Protestant thinking and today. It is a huge topic. But it deserves some consideration.

          I became very interested in this lack by reading history. One very interesting book, not on this particular topic concerning Protestantism, but it got me interested: Paul Johnson’s, “History of the Jews”.

            Scott Shaver

            Lydia:

            Gill is acclaimed by most heralds (haven’t found one online NOT “reformed”) as a master of the ancient biblical Hebrew. I will not nor desire to argue against their estimation of his proficiency with the language as I have read his works.

            However, I will question from now on the extent to which a rigid Calvinistic indoctrination can bias even a “gifted linguist’s” interpretation of the Hebrew language and the sitz im laben of the historical period in question.

            The ancient biblical Hebrew language contained approximately only 3000 words, so you can imagine the margin for both misinterpretation and misapplication through superimposed theological bias.

        Scott Shaver

        Sounds a lot like racism toward Semites.

        Wonder why race-relations in America have deteriorated recently? Whose fanning the flames?

        Dennis Lee Dabney

        Only One was born for the purpose of death, absolutely no one was born for the purpose to perish. The Lord Jesus was ordained, appointed The Second Man, The Last Adam to die the Death of All Deaths.

        All who die physically do so due to Adam’s offense, for it is appointed unto man once to die. It was never appointed unto man to did twice without his own choice being the determining factor. Not all have died, and the record is clear that God might show His Sovereignty over physical death. Nevertheless the necessity of being born again, from above, is essential to all who have been born once and are appointed once to die. It is our only hope to avoid the second death in Hell.

        All who perish do so against the revealed will of God just as Lucifer who fell and those who followed him in his fall.

        When “one” follows the “Fallen” to the end, all in up in the same place. What a picture?

        Preach!

      Scott Shaver

      Bingo Paul N.

Bill Mac

While we (Traditionalists) would absolutely affirm that God’s chief end in creation was for the praise of His own glory

Is this really irrefutable? There is no doubt that God is glorified by creation, but need we accept that was his main purpose in creation?

    Chris

    Bill Mac,

    What would you say God’s main purpose in creation was?

    Andrew Barker

    Bill Mac: You don’t really have to answer questions like this. It is for those who assert this is the case to provide scriptural support. We all agree that God’s creation demonstrates his glory. Was it his ‘chief’ aim? Haven’t seen any evidence for that as yet.

      Chris

      I am not asking Bill Mac or you to make a case or give any evidence for a position. I am just asking you what you think God’s main purpose in creation was. How could that be an unreasonable question in this discussion?

      Read just about any one of John Piper’s book (all free on his website in pdf form) or listen to his sermons on the glory of God. He makes a good biblical case that Flowers agrees with.

        Andrew Barker

        Chris: That’s exactly the point. Piper does not make a good biblical case for this statement. In fact, Piper rarely makes a good biblical case for anything. It’s always couched in ‘Reformese’.

          Chris

          Andrew: Obviously, we disagree here but that’s okay.

          norm

          I agree, Andrew. How do we *know* that the chief reason God created was for his glory? If one accepts that as an undocumented premise, then the rest is but a house of cards. While Chris may disagree, one thing we must all accept: two opposing truth claims cannot both be true. One of the two of you is wrong. Agreeing to disagree is charitable, and I appreciate that lingo; but it moves no one closer to resolution of the issue at hand.

            Chris

            “If one accepts that as an undocumented premise,”

            In other words, “If one pretends.” Piper has made a case for this that you and Andrew dismiss out of hand with no rebuttal. We can all play that game, but you or Andrew actually taking one of Piper’s sermons or books, and showing them to be wrong is a whole other thing.

            “then the rest is but a house of cards.”

            Not so. There are many passages of Scripture that a Reformed person would cite for their understanding of election and so on. Trying to say that you can do away with all of those passages by disagreeing about the main purpose God had in creating the world is just not so.

              Andrew Barker

              Chris: You really do put the cart before the horse most of the time. Piper has not provided any scriptural support for his assertion that God’s chief aim is to seek His glory, or to quote him exactly “the chief end of God is to enjoy glorifying himself. ” I am not going to waste time in rebuttal when I can see no attempt on your part (or anybody else) to ground this in biblical truth. There are one or two verses which may look as though they are saying this, but on close inspection they do not.

              You can’t expect a response when you haven’t provided prima facie evidence in the first place.

                Chris

                “You really do put the cart before the horse most of the time.”

                My horse likes to push.

                Again, Piper has books and sermons on God’s glory. You can dismiss them out of hand. But that is not the same as refuting his points.

                  Andrew Barker

                  Chris: “There you go again”. Can’t refute a point which hasn’t been made!

                    Chris

                    Andrew: the points have been made. I am not going to paste Piper’s sermons here. Because the point hasn’t been made here does not mean the point had not been made. Desiringgod.org has all of Piper’s sermons. Go read or listen to a few on the glory of God. They are all free and available.

                    Andrew Barker

                    Chris: Stop being a sock puppet. The points have not been made! Not by you, or Piper!

                    Scott Shaver

                    Andrew:

                    He keeps deferring and referring you to the views of Piper when it’s obvious that both his and Pipers views together FAIL to make the “point”.

                    I don’t know how much clearer you can make this.

        Lydia

        Piper’s god is a tyrannical narcissist who makes bridges collapse and sends tornados for His own Glory.

        Piper and Pat Robertson. Sheesh!

        Just one of Pipers bedtime stories from DG:

        “Talitha (11 years old) and Noel and I prayed earnestly for the families affected by the calamity and for the others in our city. Talitha prayed “Please don’t let anyone blame God for this but give thanks that they were saved.” When I sat on her bed and tucked her in and blessed her and sang over her a few minutes ago, I said, “You know, Talitha, that was a good prayer, because when people ‘blame’ God for something, they are angry with him, and they are saying that he has done something wrong. That’s what “blame” means: accuse somebody of wrongdoing. But you and I know that God did not do anything wrong. God always does what is wise. And you and I know that God could have held up that bridge with one hand.” Talitha said, “With his pinky.” “Yes,” I said, “with his pinky. Which means that God had a purpose for not holding up that bridge, knowing all that would happen, and he is infinitely wise in all that he wills.”
        Talitha said, “Maybe he let it fall because he wanted all the people of Minneapolis to fear him.” “Yes, Talitha,” I said, “I am sure that is one of the reasons God let the bridge fall.””

        Piper’s angry god targets Lutheran’s with a tornado :

        “On a day when no severe weather was predicted or expected…a tornado forms, baffling the weather experts—most saying they’ve never seen anything like it. It happens right in the city. The city: Minneapolis… The tornado happens on a Wednesday…during the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America’s national convention in the Minneapolis Convention Center…
        Conclusion: The tornado in Minneapolis was a gentle but firm warning to the ELCA and all of us: Turn from the approval of sin. Turn from the promotion of behaviors that lead to destruction. Reaffirm the great Lutheran heritage of allegiance to the truth and authority of Scripture. Turn back from distorting the grace of God into sensuality. Rejoice in the pardon of the cross of Christ and its power to transform left and right wing sinners.””

        There are plenty more. I won’t even mention his creepy sexual tweets

          Chris

          Luke 13:1-5
          1 There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? 3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

            Lydia

            Chris, so your take away from Luke 13 is God made the tower fall on purpose? Oh, and a kid in the tower is just as big of sinner as a murdering zealot who might of been there?

            It amazes me how differently people interpret scripture. You want the angry Greek god that sacrifices people.

            We are all going to die. And unless we have a “from…..to” metamorphoses of genuine repentance ….we will “perish”.

    Bill Mac

    In as much as we can understand God’s purpose, I would say God created because it gave him pleasure (Rev).

    God is glorious, so cannot help but be glorified in all he does. I’m not convinced his chief purpose is increasing his glory.

Jim P

Numbers 14:21 “but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD..”

That filling began with Jesus…an continued by His disciples until the ultimate enemy, sin and death, are defeated in His creation..

Scott Shaver

Funny:

I always thought the purpose of creation was so that God could “increase”, “radiate”, “spead” his “GLORY” through the redemption of both creation and man, the apex of his creation.

The ultimate expression of God’s glory is Redemption….the ultimate expression of love. That’s why this “soteriology” issue is such a stickler with so many.

Lydia

“The ultimate expression of God’s glory is Redemption….the ultimate expression of love. That’s why this “soteriology” issue is such a stickler with so many.”

Bingo.

The idea that God is glorified by creating controlled sock puppets is akin to men’s egos being stroked by Stepford Wives.

    Chris

    “The idea that God is glorified by creating controlled sock puppets”

    is also the idea that no reformed person would support.

      Scott Shaver

      Chris:

      I don’t know about that declaration you’ve just made. For example, your constant appeals for us to show “love” to the reformers and neo-Cals reminds me of the sock puppet mascot from Pet Smart a few years back who used to ask: “Where’s the love for the ferret?”

      I think Lydia’s onto something with the sock puppet thing.

        Chris

        Scott: I don’t understand what you mean when you say you are a Christian if loving brothers and sisters in Christ is not for you. If it is something to be mocked. 1 John says that is a mark of being a Christian. Why is that something to be mocked?

        Maybe, you think you only need to love some or certain Christians who agree with you. Yeah, “Gentiles” (non-Christians) can love people who love them. Jesus has called us to more.

          Scott Shaver

          Perhaps this escapes either your attention or apprehension as to the difference of perspectives people have, Chris.

          You say I’m mocking other Christians, I say I’m debating/contending/wrestling theologically with other brothers and sisters.
          Some of the best fights (win, lose, draw) I’ve ever had in my life were with my younger brother in the flesh….and we remain very close to this day because there’s a genuine tie of love and commitment holding us together.

            Lydia

            “You say I’m mocking other Christians, I say I’m debating/contending/wrestling theologically with other brothers”

            They don’t get that. Calvinism is all about “caste”. Look at what Calvin did even to his protege Castillo who dared disagree with him.

            Disagreeing is mocking, sin and hate in their world. It is the historical way of their long line of gurus. it is how they seek to control others.

              Scott Shaver

              Lydia, I fear you are correct (historically and intuitively) at 16:54 with the throwback to “spiritual caste systems”.

              Even if disagreeing is “mocking”, “sin”, “hate”, “less than evangelical/conservative” in THEIR world, welcome to mine.

              I’m out of their “control” and, in the culturally relevant words of nature boy Rick Flair, “Like or it or don’t like it, learn to LOVE it.”

          Scott Shaver

          Good thing isn’t it Chris that I don’t stand before you as final judge and arbiter of my eternal fate or my present quality of spirituality.

          That really is “good news”.

          Proof texts for this truth are self-evident.

norm

The sheer weight of Flowers’ biblical citations above crushes Calvinists’ premises. Consider 2 Peter 3.9, that God is not willing for any to perish. If I were to give in to the Cal position that the contextual meaning applies exclusively to the Jews to whom Peter was writing (and I don’t), then I would have to ask my Calvo brothers if any Jews would be in hell. And if the answer is yes, then God has had his will thwarted? Really? How? Surely not by the exercise of a free will, right?
Whst if Peter had been writing to Gentiles? Would God the Holy Spirit led him to write: “God is willing for some of you to perish.”?

Calvin might answer yes to the last question, for he writes: “Many professing a desire to defend the Deity from an invidious charge admit the doctrine of election, but deny that any one is reprobated….This they do ignorantly, and childishly, since there could be no election without this opposite reprobation. God is said to set apart those whom he adopts for salvation. It were most absurd to say, that he admits others fortuitously, or that they by their industry acquire what election alone confers on a few. Those, therefore, whom God passes by he reprobates, and that for no other cause but because he is pleased to exclude them from the inheritance which he predestines to his children” (John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, pages 225-226).

The Bible says God is not willing for any to perish. But Calvin says God is pleased that they do. Two opposing truth claims; one is wrong. No need to choose which.

    Chris

    “The sheer weight of Flowers’ biblical citations above crushes Calvinists’ premises.”

    You apparently have not read very many Calvinists. They cite lots of Scripture too.

    “Consider 2 Peter 3.9, that God is not willing for any to perish.”

    Let’s read the whole verse in context.

    7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
    8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
    9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
    10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

    “Beloved” “Us-ward” Peter is talking to Christians about Christians or those who will become Christians. That does not conflict with a Calvinist understanding of the passage.

    If the context matters, your reading does not make sense. If God is waiting to fulfill his promise to return and judge the world, because he is longsuffering, not willing that any should perish…then when does he become willing that some will perish? Read the passage again. He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. The passage says that the promise has not been fulfilled because God is not willing that any should perish. When does that change? The force of the passage seems to answer “never.” Your reading seems to support an universalist interpretation where “all” come to repentance.

    “If I were to give in to the Cal position that the contextual meaning applies exclusively to the Jews to whom Peter was writing (and I don’t), then I would have to ask my Calvo brothers if any Jews would be in hell. And if the answer is yes, then God has had his will thwarted?”

    I think the contextual meaning either refers to unrepentant believers or those who will become believers. However, in reference to what you have written…read Romans 9. “For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel” Or read Paul elsewhere where he states A Jew is one inwardly and circumcision is a matter of the heart. Romans 2:29.

    You speak of God’s will being thwarted in my understanding. But you believe God is not willing that any lost person should perish but that all should come to repentance? Unless you are an universalist, you believe God’s will is being thwarted much more than I could.

      Paul N

      Reading too much James White. If man cannot respond to the Gospel unless God either brings them to the point that they MUST believe (what you seem to believe) or regeneration precedes faith then who in the world is God being patient with? It is ALL God.
      If the will of God was settled in eternity past as far as whom He would choose for salvation, how can these same elected people perish?

      Using Beloved does not mean you cannot address people in general at another point in a letter or whatever. We do it all the time.

        Scott Shaver

        I thought the only “Christians” who still read James White were those who opted for bicycles over Harleys.

Lydia

Chris, that is the whole point! You guys don’t understand your doctrine. You bury the outcomes in doctrinal minutia, redefinitions of words and concepts, creeds, etc. I have honestly come to believe that there are quite a few who are going to need serious debriefing of thought reform at some point.

Jesus Christ is simple but deep.

    Chris

    “You guys don’t understand your doctrine.”

    Now when Calvinists say things like this…you label them arrogant. What I find interesting about this blog is seeing people condemn Calvinists for a certain behavior, and then engaging in the behavior themselves.

    From the way you misrepresent Calvinists in ways and terms they would never agree with themselves…it seems that you are the one who does not understand our doctrine.

norm

Yes, so.
We made no “out-of-hand” dismissal, and are not playing a game as you suggest. Rather, we ask for proof, the burden of proof for which is on you and Piper. If you say Piper has made a case, then show us. But please don’t show me Piperisms; show me Bible verses.
I agree that there are many passages that Calvinists use, but I think I would add the letters “a” and “b” before the word “use.” Why? Well, how can I trust any Calvinist who would translate cosmos as elect? Really? Seems like such a one is willfully obfuscating what the word means, or is ignorant. Either way, such exegetical methodology is woefully lacking. Exegesis must drive theology, and not the reverse.
If hermeneutical gymnastics were an Olympic sport, Calvinists and Osteen would win top medals.

    Chris

    “If you say Piper has made a case, then show us. But please don’t show me Piperisms; show me Bible verses.”

    Piper has 30 years of sermons over at desiringgod.org. Go listen to a few on the glory of God. I am not going to post them here. They are all there waiting for you free of charge. Piper has definitely made a case based on careful work through Scripture.

    “I agree that there are many passages that Calvinists use, but I think I would add the letters “a” and “b” before the word “use.” Why?”

    Because it does not agree with your presuppositions.

    “Well, how can I trust any Calvinist who would translate cosmos as elect?”

    I have not done this. Do you know that Piper has? Or are you judging him before reading his stuff?

    “Exegesis must drive theology, and not the reverse.”

    I agree. If you read Piper, you’d see he agrees.

    “If hermeneutical gymnastics were an Olympic sport,” Traditionalists would win gold, silver, and bronze.

      Lydia

      Chris, Focus on Jesus Christ. Not Piper. Most of us have read and listened to Piper. My experience with his teaching goes back about 15 years and I am well aware.

      I don’t understand this desire to defend so strongly gurus, Creed’s and such. We all have access to them and we have different opinions. Some gurus are just unreasonable and/or bizarre and have a cult like. following such as Piper, Osteen, Robertson, etc, to name a few with large followings.

      I cannot “prove” the problems with Piper to you. You are too emotionally invested in him and our understanding is totally different.

      Les

      Yeah Chris. You knuckle head. Don’t you know you can’t love Jesus and enjoy Piper’s sermons and books? What are you thinking man. If you try that, you are obviously of Piper worship at worst or following a guru at best. It’s an either/or world we live in. Lydia says so.

        Lydia

        Yeah! Piper talks about Jesus and His Sovereignty a lot. (Wink)

          Lydia

          Some bloggers have a running Piper tweet derby of sorts. Someone needs to do a Twitter invention for the man.

          Here is a deep thought from a Piper tweet:

          “Casinos win in the end because God reigns over all apparent random events”

          Oookaaay.

            Andrew Barker

            That is as you might say ‘random’ :-)

            Andrew Barker

            Lydia: Hang on, I’ve just sent an email from a Casino to my spam box! Am I ignoring a ‘word from the Lord’? ;-)

              Lydia

              Andrew, is it not obvious by now that spam is not random? (Sigh)

            Andrew Barker

            Lydia: This is another recent example of why you can’t trust anything from the pen of Piper. It may start quoting a Bible verse but it soon strays. If we die? Where did that come from?

            The subtle message to the unwary is ” live or die, it is the lord’s will, so you may as well do what ever you like”

            James is actually talking about doing business. Perhaps I ought to open up a casino? I’ll call it God’s Wheel of Fortune!

            Tweeted by John Piper
            “If the Lord wills, we will live.” James 4:15. If we live, it is his will. If we die, it is his will. The Lord gives and takes away.

              Lydia

              Andrew, there are thousands and thousands of young men (even older?) who hang on Pipers every word or accuse folks of meanness when they point out what a crank he is. I first got a glimpse of it 15 years or so ago by some young family members who went to MN to study and work with him.

            Scott Shaver

            Quick…..Somebody set up a roulette wheel in Fellowship Hall.

      Andrew Barker

      Chris: “Exegesis must drive theology, and not the reverse.” On this we all agree. Now, where is your exegesis to support …. “the chief end of God is to enjoy glorifying himself.”? I’ve looked, and I can’t find it from anywhere in Piper’s DG site. Perhaps you could be so kind as to fill us in on this missing piece of the jigsaw?

    Scott Shaver

    Peter Pepper picked a “Piper” and it changed his life.

    When he tripped over his own tool box and fell down a flight of stairs, he shook himself off at bottom, mopped his bloody forehead and said “Praise God, I’m glad to get that over with”.

Randall Cofield

I assume Leighton would agree that God’s glory is both perfect and immutable. That being the case, his glory cannot be increased or diminished.

But his glory can be displayed.

God’s glory is displayed in his lavishing of his love on the undeserving. God’s glory is also displayed in his righteous judgment and punishment of the wicked.

To say that God’s love displays his glory “more” or “better” than his justice displays his glory is to elevate one of God’s attributes above another.

This is to err, for every attribute of God is perfect and immutable.

And it comes dangerously close to presuming that the creature is at liberty to judge the attributes of the Creator.

    Scott Shaver

    “And it comes dangerously close to presuming that the creature is at liberty to judge the attributes of the Creator”

    As Randall Cofield has just done. Guess he gets a pass on “judging the attributes”.

      Randall Cofield

      So you agree, despite the inability to distinguish observation from judgment.

        Scott Shaver

        Don’t think my “inability to distinguish observation from Judgement” Randall, has hindered in any respect my ability to call out pious platitudes.

        But you can keep firing at will.

          Randall Cofield

          So you agree also despite your propensity for indiscriminate invective.

            Scott Shaver

            Believe me, the “invective” is not indiscriminate, it’s designed just for you Randall.

              Randall Cofield

              Ah! So you agree, but you just don’t like me. I may never recover. :-)

        Lydia

        “So you agree, despite the inability to distinguish observation from judgment.”

        On a blog with no tone or body language to go with the words?

        You sound like you would have made a better prosecutor or defense lawyer than pastor. :o) I hear Mark Driscoll of the “reformed only” Acts 29 church plants might be needing one soon.

          Randall Cofield

          No need for tone or body language needed to identify the observations, Lydia. Just a modicum of familiarity with the Bible ;-)

            Lydia

            Randall, you were explaining Scripture? I don’t read it with the same filter that you use. And I am just grateful you cannot burn me at the stake for saying so. :o)

            The irony of so many Neo Cal pastors is they rarely have the capacity to see their own hypocrisy. Perhaps you meant to say that “only reformed Pastor creatures are allowed to make judgments about the attributes of the creator”?

            Because, whether you realize it or not, you just made a judgment about the attributes. You can’t see it when you do it, can you?

            “And it comes dangerously close to presuming that the creature is at liberty to judge the attributes of the Creator.”

              Randall Cofield

              Lots of handwaving, pseudo-drama, and posturing, Lydia, but notice that you fail to point out *how* I “judged” the attributes of God.

              The OP, with which you seem to agree, posited without biblical warrant that God’s love is displays his glory “more” and “better” than does his justice. This is a clear judgment of the inferiority of God’s justice. Guess he “gets a pass” because he reads the bible with your “filter”?

              And why, exactly, is your “filter” superior to my “filter”? (You are probably referring to differing epistemology and presuppositions here, but that is a whole other discussion).

              Ultimately, you claim for yourself the very superiority against which you rail.

              And you appear to suffer from very cognitive dissonance you wish to hang on me.

              Can’t see it, can you? ….. :-)

              Randall Cofield

              My, my, Lydia. Lots of handwaving, pseudo-drama, and posturing, but notice that you fail to point out *how* I “judged” the attributes of God.

              The OP, with which you seem to agree, posited without biblical warrant that God’s love is displays his glory “more” and “better” than does his justice. This is a clear judgment of the inferiority of God’s justice. Guess he “gets a pass” because he reads the bible with your “filter”?

              And why, exactly, is your “filter” superior to my “filter”? (You are probably referring to differing epistemology and presuppositions here, but that is a whole other discussion).

              Ultimately, you claim for yourself the very superiority against which you rail.

              And you appear to suffer from very cognitive dissonance you wish to hang on me.

              Can’t see it, can you? ….. :-)

            Scott Shaver

            “Modicum” sounds about right. Just enough to be dangerous.

            Scott Shaver

            Darn shame Cofield that your “modicum of familiarity” with The Bible leads you to use it as a club instead of a balm with other believers..

            Jerk Evangelism 101.

              Randall Cofield

              *I’m* using a “club,” Mr. Shaver? Perhaps you should review your own comments.

              Cognitive dissonance.

                Scott Shaver

                Whatever you say Randall, as if there’s any “cognition” involved.

                  Randall Cofield

                  Why are you still floundering about, Mr. Shaver? Wouldn’t it be more prudent to actually engage in discussion of the OP, or, simply move on?

                    Lydia

                    Randall, You engage? I thought your comments were more like edicts from on high. Your responses certainly aren’t very “pastoral”. You could practice on us. :o)

                    Randall Cofield

                    You too are floundering about, Mrs. Lydia. May I “pastorally” suggest that it would be more prudent for you to engage in discussion of the OP. Or simply move on? :-)

                    Scott Shaver

                    Who said I was interested in discussion with u Flash?

                    Did u mistake me for someone else in this thread?

    Andrew Barker

    Randall Cofield: You have correctly pointed out an error which stems from Piper’s original statement in that … “his glory cannot be increased or diminished”. But you then make the same category error in the way in which you treat love and justice in regard to God’s glory. God’s attributes are not extensive in their nature but intensive. You cannot have more or less of an intensive property.

    So there is a problem when you state …”God’s love displays his glory “more” or “better” than his justice displays his glory is to elevate one of God’s attributes above another”. This statement implies there is a play off between God’s love and his justice. There is no such thing. God is love and can never act in a way which is not love. He is also just and cannot be otherwise than just. Where we sometimes think there is conflict between love and justice, it is only one of our own making. God does not wear his ‘loving’ hat one day and another day put on his ‘justice’ hat. There is however, an interplay between love and justice which we see throughout scripture and it runs along these lines. You know the scriptures so I’ll not quote them verbatim.

    “God demonstrates his love towards us …” “He does not deal with us according to our sins …” “Slow to anger and abounding in love ….” etc.

    There are many others which come to mind. None of these verses preclude God being just, in fact they rely on God being just. He is after all, both the just (one) and the justifier of those who have faith. There is no balance here at all, God is fully both of these at the same time. If God did not act justly at all times, then our salvation would be in peril. Our salvation is secure only because God can act both in love and with justice at the same time. As far as “the creature is at liberty to judge the attributes of the Creator” we all form opinions of what we think God is like. I think the best way of doing so is to look at how Jesus lived. He is after all God manifest in the flesh.

      Lydia

      “As far as “the creature is at liberty to judge the attributes of the Creator” we all form opinions of what we think God is like. I think the best way of doing so is to look at how Jesus lived. He is after all God manifest in the flesh.”

      Amen.

      Randall Cofield

      Hi Andrew,

      Thank your for rationally and graciously engaging my post. That is refreshing.

      I agree with virtually everything you stated. However, the OP clearly sets the love of God over against his justice/wrath/judgment in relation to the increased or diminished display of his glory.

      You state, correctly in my humble estimation, that “You cannot have more or less of an intensive property.” That was exactly my point, though I didn’t express it as concisely as you. When Leighton repeatedly posits that God is “most glorified” in the display of his love, grace, mercy, etc. over against the display of his wrath against sin, he makes the very categorical error of which we both speak.

      His article seemingly resorts to categorical confusion for the sake of refuting a rather garish caricature of predestination.

      You wrote: “So there is a problem when you state …”God’s love displays his glory “more” or “better” than his justice displays his glory is to elevate one of God’s attributes above another”. This statement implies there is a play off between God’s love and his justice.”

      I in no way meant to imply that there is a play off between God’s love and his justice. I meant exactly the opposite. I was stating that *Leighton* was implying just such a playoff between the two attributes.

      On a separate note, may I inquire as to your denominational affiliation?

      Grace to you.

        Scott Shaver

        Randall:

        Let’s try Buddhist/Mormon/Southern Baptist with a touch of John Mellencamp. Also like Ben Franklin as a denomination. Been thinking about switching to Mohlerite if the money stays rite ;)

        Scott Shaver

        I’m still waiting for the wrath of God over “judged attributes”. Locusts, pale horses and such.

        Lydia

        Andrew, see how it works?

        Andrew Barker

        Randall: Leighton opens his article by stating “John Piper rightly argues that the chief end for which God created the world is His Own Glory”. I happen to believe Piper is wrong in his assumptions and by default, I therefore have to disagree with Leighton’s statement, but I don’t see this as a big deal. His focus is on the issue of God’s grace and glory. The question then remains, how is God’s glory best displayed? He answers this correctly in my opinion by saying “In short, God is most glorified in the grace shown to all His enemies, not His ability to control them.”

        So, although I disagree with Leighton’s acceptance of Piper’s comment, he does show that Piper’s reasoning is false. He also reaches a conclusion with which I agree, even though he argues from a base with which I don’t totally agree, which is interesting in itself. :) You on the other hand, appear to be arguing that God’s glory is displayed whatever the outcome and whether God acts in grace or justice does not matter because either way, God’s glory is displayed. To judge between the two would be in your words come “dangerously close to presuming that the creature is at liberty to judge the attributes of the Creator.” But I think you are trying to hide behind your own rhetoric. You accuse Leighton of producing a garish caricature of predestination, but fail to see that predestination (as viewed by Calvinists) is itself a judgement on the attributes of God. It assigns to God the character of one who chooses those whom he will save and those he will not (reprobate). This is not caricature, just because it is explained in plain simple language. I agree it is garish! But then so is the idea of a God who can do just whatever he pleases. This is not the picture of God I find revealed in scripture.

        Piper’s view of God’s glory is ‘extensive’ but in the end it is also limited. The created world shows forth God’s glory because it was made that way by God. We are not like the rest of creation because we were made in his image. The created world does not have a choice as to whether or not to glorify God. We do, and it is this choice which is the crucial difference between the conflicting views on God’s glory. Although you may disagree with Piper’s statement, you end up in the same camp since you see God as the one who chooses to glorify himself by saving an elect. Those of us who reject this view, do so out of an understanding that God in his grace has made a way of salvation open to all who will come to him in faith.

        When I read scripture I do not find that God saves people because his concern is that (more) glory should come to himself. It is that he is not willing that any should perish. This is what puts the question of God’s grace or glory in its proper perspective. Not how we might view it, but how God views it. There is rejoicing in heaven over one sinner that repents. There is no rejoicing over a single person who does not!

          Randall Cofield

          Andrew,

          You wrote: “He is after all, both the just (one) and the justifier of those who have faith. There is no balance here at all, God is fully both of these at the same time.”

          Then you agree with Leighton when he writes: “In short, God is *most* glorified in the grace shown to all His enemies…”

          While maintaining that: “God’s attributes are not extensive in their nature but intensive. You cannot have more or less of an intensive property.”

          If God is “most” glorious in his justifying grace, then by extension (and both Leighton’s and your extrapolation) he is *less* glorious in the exercise of his condemnatory justice. This seems to stand in contradiction to your statement “you cannot have more or less of an intensive property.”

          May I inquire as to your denominational affiliation?

          Grace to you.

            Andrew Barker

            Randall: I have a good deal of respect for people like Leighton and the others who write topics for this blog. Some of them have not only a pastoral role but also an academic position to uphold. So while people in my position can quip from the sidelines they have to be more guarded in their comments. So I hesitate to disagree with Leighton on every minor detail. That being said, the *most* is a qualified most and I’m happy with that. Here’s why.

            I believe you are correct in viewing God’s attributes as intensive in nature and therefore you can’t have more or less of them. However, where you are going wrong is you are still setting off God’s grace against his justice as though there needs to be some balance between the two. You’re saying if God is ‘most’ glorious in his grace then he has to be ‘less’ glorious in this justice. This is not the case. In one sense, your point is actually non sequitur in that God’s grace and his justice are not linked in any way, other than they are both attributes of God. One does not preclude or take precedence over the other.

            You also need to look at how God deals with us. There are plenty of Bible verses, some of which I’ve already mentioned which deal with this. I would suggest that they show a clear pattern in the way God acts toward us.
            Psalm:103:10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
            Lam 3:22 it is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed
            Psalm 145:8 the Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in mercy

            These and other passages show clearly that God would be just and right in dealing with our sin both immediately and decisively …. but he doesn’t. Time and time again we read stories in the OT where God withholds dispensing his justice. Nineveh is a good example because Jonah had to admit in the end that the main reason he didn’t want to go was because he knew in his heart that God was looking for a way to forgive the city of Nineveh. Jonah admits to wanting to see God act in justice and destroy the city. He actually got quite angry with God when God didn’t do as ‘he’ wanted. Sounds familiar?

            In the epistles, we find that it made abundantly clear that nobody deserves anything but God’s punishment but that God who is rich in mercy, because of his great love Eph 2:4. I mentioned previously that Jesus is our model as far as the nature of God is concerned. Jesus describes himself as coming to seek and to save that which was lost. Note, he did not say he was coming to save a pre-chosen elect. As far as he was concerned, we were lost to him and he was coming to save us. We sometimes overlook John 3:17 (I’m not knocking this site BTW) which states that Jesus did not come to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved! That’s the heart of God on this matter!

            So the conclusion I come to is that while it is true that God’s glory cannot itself be increased, it is also true that God’s glory is most, as in more often, shown in his grace to all his enemies. God shows his love to us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us and that includes you and me. God has always acted in grace towards mankind. But it is a grace which he is fully justified in dispensing.

              Randall Cofield

              Andrew: Again, i find myself in agreement with much of what you say, but you are still making what I think is the same error to which I initially responded with the OP.

              At the end of the day, much of what both Leighton and you are saying emphasizes the love/mercy/grace of God and downplays his justice/wrath/condemnation. In my part of the world, virtually everyone thinks God is merely a merciful, gracious, loving Santa Clause sky daddy. Virtually no one ever thinks of God in terms of his wrath/justice/condemnation, yet, John 3, which you cited, also states that those who believe not (most people) are condemned already.

              The justice and wrath of God doesn’t get much press anymore, but it is in no way diminished or diluted. Yet, without an understanding of the wrath and judgment of God against sin, the good news of the gospel is simply nonsensical.

              The OP (and you?) seem to downplay one attribute of God for the sake of scoring perceived theological points in a doctrinal scrum. I’m just raising the penalty flag.

              BTW, what is your denominational affiliation?

              Grace to you.

                Scott Shaver

                Randall writes “In my part of the world,virtually everyone thinks God is merely a merciful, gracious, loving Santa Claus sky daddy.”

                The key word here is “virtual” because it’s a lie. His part of the world is Hattiesburg MS is it not?

                I know Hattiesburg. Lived there, pastored there and still have friends there. Don’t know any of them who view God according to your description.

                BTW, your denominational affiliation is irrelevant.

                  Randall Cofield

                  That is a laughable response, Mr. Shaver. Perhaps you have your Hattiesburg, MS’s mixed up.

                  BTW, did you go Cooperative Baptist in the Great Exodus?

                Lydia

                In my construct humans bring on their own destruction by what they do or don’t do.

                In Randalls world, God forces people to inherit guilt then punishes many of them when He does not randomly choose them for salvation before Adam sinned!

                Then he wants to ask framed questions about sin.

                Kind of reminds me of the framed questions asked of the Lutheran Church officials by the German regime using Luther’s writings which was considered proper interpretation of scriptural thinking. Same “backing into the corner” kind of thing with no allowance for debate on the premise or discussion of definitions.

                Authoritarianism is run amok in that movement. In many ways it has become a ghastly caricature.

                  Randall Cofield

                  “In my construct humans bring on their own destruction by what they do or don’t do. In Randalls world, God forces people to inherit guilt then punishes many of them when He does not randomly choose them for salvation before Adam sinned! Then he wants to ask framed questions about sin.”

                  Who is “framing” and positing a superior “construct” here, Lydia?

                  To cite your own words, “You don’t even see it, do you?” :)

                Andrew Barker

                Randall: You say that I am making the same error as in the OP but you have failed to provide any reasoned explanation as to why this might be the case. You agree with me that God’s glory cannot be measured in terms of more or less. But I have also demonstrated how scripture shows that the primary way in which God deals with us is through grace. Unless you are able to demonstrate from scripture to the contrary, I would suggest that your criticism is unfounded.

                Again, I would suggest that you have not fully understood that grace and justice are not mutually exclusive and that while we see the grace of God in action, God’s justice is also there. It cannot be otherwise. We cannot have God’s grace without his justice. Sadly for those who will not accept the grace of God, there remains only God’s justice. But this is a choice which individuals make and it’s not one which God makes for them.

                  Scott Shaver

                  Excellent Andrew:

                  “Hat’s off” to you, for you ARE the man :)

                  Now let’s see if the “impression” actually leaves a mark.

                    Andrew Barker

                    Scott: A thank you is in order, I believe, although I’m not sure I quite agree with you ;-)

                  Randall Cofield

                  Andrew, I was unaware that “you ARE the man.” I repent in sackcloth and ashes, and my “hat’s of to you.” :)

                  Brother, I think we’ve about beat this point to death. May be talking past each other.

                  I’m still very interested in whether and what kind of local church you are affiliated with. I’m a Southern Baptist. I am not ashamed to be a Southern Baptist….(See Doc Holliday’s first encounter with the esteemed sheriff in “Wyatt Earp.”)

          Paul N

          Amen to that!

      Scott Shaver

      His basic problem Andrew is the sheer delight of reminding others of their consignment to Hell lest they fail to tow “the line.” Philosopher/king to the core.

        Randall Cofield

        You maintain quite the unsavory persona on this site, Mr. Shaver. Your posts give the impression of a man who has wallowed in bitterness for so long that he now enjoys and takes great pride in it. Rather sad, but I’ll leave you to it.

          Scott Shaver

          Lets just say Randall, that your winsomeness brings out the very best in me.

          Your posts give the impression of a man who is desperate need of different kind of “impression”. Hats off to the guy who finally delivers :)

        Andrew Barker

        Scott: See my comment which is now above! There is no rejoicing over one sinner (person) who doesn’t repent. No rejoicing at all!

Lydia

“And it comes dangerously close to presuming that the creature is at liberty to judge the attributes of the Creator”

As Randall Cofield has just done. Guess he gets a pass on “judging the attributes”.

It is uncanny how that works in their world! It definitely has philosopher-king lipstick all over it.

Dennis Lee Dabney

Leighton,

Brother, I’m gonna go ahead and stick a “Hallelujah” fork in this One, because “It’s Done”!

Excellent article, presented to the praise of His glory!

Preach!

Lydia

“You too are floundering about, Mrs. Lydia. May I “pastorally” suggest that it would be more prudent for you to engage in discussion of the OP. Or simply move on? :-)”

It must be Ego bruising for a big important guy like you when your contradictions are pointed out. Your responses prove it. You need some church discipline for that enormous ego you are carrying around. :o)

    Randall Cofield

    Still floundering about, I see. Your schtick really is monotonously predictable, so I’ll leave you to it.

      Scott Shaver

      Almost as predictable as the nickel-plated pronouncements by the preacher from the tin building in Hattiesburg.

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