The Call | Part Two

August 3, 2016

by Dr. William F. Harrell

*This post was taken from Dr. Harrell’s website and is used by permission

A man who is truly “called” of God to preach has no choice about what he is going to do in life. God didn’t ask his permission to place a divine call upon him. For a reason only God knows, He selected that person to preach the Gospel and He didn’t consult with him. Suddenly, without expectation, God speaks to the selected person and tells him that his life’s work is already cut out for him. He is to preach the Gospel. Someone asked me once if it were an audible command when God called me to which I said: “No, it’s louder than any audible command.” It is internal and eternal in nature. It is profound in its effect. Life is suddenly different. One’s focus is changed. They may fight the call for a period of time but, if God really called them, they will never get away from it until they do as He said to do. The man who is truly called of God has no choice as to what he will do in life if he wants to live long and be happy. The lawyer, doctor and “Indian chief” all made a career choice. The Man of God did not have that kind of choice. God selected him for whatever reason He had, called him and that’s that. “Professional” preachers might be good people. They might be very talented in speaking and leadership, but a genuine call is essential to effectiveness.

I also think that the event of being called is something that is undeniable. It is so profound; so soul shaping; so life changing that one will never forget it. In fact, they will more than likely remember exactly where they were and precisely what was said to them. I remember the moment God told me what I would do with my life. It was in a church service at Northside Baptist Church in Tifton, GA. I was sitting with two of my friends when suddenly our “church shenanigans” went away. It was like I was suddenly in a different zone. I was seated about three rows from the back on the right side of the sanctuary. Suddenly, God spoke to me in a way that I have never forgotten. He said: “Bill, you are going to be a preacher.” That awareness hung heavily on me for the rest of the service and for many days. A few days later I told my mother that I felt that God was calling me to be a preacher. She encouraged me to pray and be open to what God was telling me. My problem was that I did not want to be a preacher. I was afraid of where He might want me to go or want me to do. What if He wanted me to go to Africa or to the Amazon area of South America? I didn’t want to go to China or India. The thought of doing funerals scared me to death. How would I do weddings and such? At that point, I was not willing to trust God as to what He would do with me. This all happened when I was fourteen years old and I resisted the call upon my life until I was thirty-one. I will not go into how God dealt with me and pressured me over those years but needless to say, the pressure increased dramatically over the years until I finally said, “OK, I will go do as you asked, but I ask that you take this relentless, internal, spiritual pressure off of me.”

I was in the middle of a butterbean patch picking those delicious little treats when I finally gave up. We were “picking our own” at a farm which allowed one to do that. The price was cheaper. Well, I had worn out the knees of a pair of jeans that Summer in that butterbean patch. It gave me plenty of time to think and meditate as I walked along on my knees picking the beans. It became a time of worship for me. I hated picking butterbeans but I grew to love the patch. It was like an outdoor sanctuary where I met God every day. The only relief I found from the inward spiritual pressure I was under was when I was talking with God in that butterbean patch. The day I finally gave up and made the commitment to follow His direction for my life was a moment of absolute relief. I went home with the butterbeans and some corn I had picked that day and my wife, Carolyn and I were shucking the corn on our patio in the late afternoon. I finally got up the courage to tell her the news about what I must do with my life. I said: “Carolyn, God has told me that I should be a preacher. He has been on me for seventeen years and I feel that I have to do it.” She caught me completely by surprise when she didn’t ask any questions but simply said, “Bill, if God has told you to do that then I expect we had best be about doing it.” We sold our new home in which we had lived for only seven months and sold one of our cars. We gave away some furniture and loaded everything on a sixteen foot U-Haul van and took off to seminary. Talking about shifting gears!! But, God prepared the way and He has honored my many years in serving Him.

The problem today is that many men going into the ministry have no such experience. They graduated from high school and went to a Bible college. Then, they went on to seminary. It has been an assumed career path for them and for so many the call is what is lacking. Some of them were called by their Grandmother when she said: “This is little Tommy, my grandson. He is my little preacher boy.” And, that was imprinted upon them in such a way that it launched a career path without the divine having a thing to do with it. So, a life is lived without the power to do what the person thinks should happen. The by product is a life of frustration and failure or nominal success at the best. I just believe that if God calls a man to preach, He gives him the ability to do what He wants him to do. He imparts to that person an ability beyond themselves to do things which are beyond mere human accomplishment.

Of course, this is not a blanket statement. There are many who can attest to a divine call upon their lives and remember it vividly. But, we now have too many “professional” preachers who exhibit a limited ability to function in the spiritual realm with any degree of accomplishment. Our seminaries have been competing with each other for years in seeing which one can turn out the most graduates. They are driven by several factors which demand success determined by numbers. The Seminary Funding Formula for the SBC has a lot to do with it. The more Full-Time Equivalent students, the more money flows from the Cooperative Program. It is a matter of money and numbers. That and the desire to be the biggest and most noted, has resulted in our schools turning out a large number of people who are professional religious leaders but who lack the understanding of a divine call. The desire might be there but the power is not. One does not have to observe a person very long before they are able to discern a lack of power for the job they are striving to accomplish. This all has nothing to do with the size of the work into which they have been placed by the Lord. He has men who are mentally, emotionally and spiritually suited to serve the Lord in the small place. He has others who will be noted as great preachers. He has those he has equipped to excel in a large place. We tend to mark a man’s success based on his notoriety or place of service. But God does not do that. Our quest is to be faithful each day. Do the best we can under any and all circumstances and let God be in charge of where we serve and how well known we are. Man can do a lot to promote himself, but that does not mean that God was in charge of it. Our quest is to be where God wants us to be, serving Him and being faithful day by day and allowing Him to place us where He knows we are now prepared to serve Him the best. Ladder climbers are exhibiting that they don’t trust God with their lives or ministry and that they can handle it better than He can. Many young men have asked me how does one stay at a church thirty-one and one-half years. I tell them that the secret is to tend to every day as a unit. Faithfully follow God every day and don’t worry about tomorrow. Also, one should not leave a church until they are just as certain that God told them to leave as they were certain that He told them to go to there. If God makes it that clear and it is as profound an experience as the call was to go to a church, then you have no choice but to consider the fact that He might be trying to use you in a different setting for a different purpose. Getting upset and disillusioned in some way and sending out one’s resume’s is getting ahead of God. Wait until you hear a definite word from Him about your place of service.

The Call will take one through all sorts of difficulties. Serving God is living on a battlefield where our personal abilities driven by human desires will lead to defeat. But, God’s enabling and guidance will lead to victory. There will be many times when things are tough and if a man can look back and vividly recall the moment that God called him to the work at hand, he will be able to make it through to the end. The sense of that Divine Call will give him strength and assurance that no other thing can give him.

I want to urge everyone who feels the impulse to enter the ministry and especially to preach the Gospel to make sure that the undergirding factor in that decision is the reality of “The Call.”

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Andy

Dr. Harrell,

There is much good in your two pieces here: The need for a return to biblical preaching, the danger of pursuing Pastorship as simply a career, the danger in simply copying what other do, or seeing sermons as merely “how-to” lectures…and this gem: “Our quest is to be where God wants us to be, serving Him and being faithful day by day and allowing Him to place us where He knows we are now prepared to serve Him the best.”

All good stuff, and much needed today.

However, I do feel that the primary point of your articles are off point, and perhaps even dangerous if emphasized to the extent that you are emphasizing them. There simply is not a biblical emphasis in the NT on this kind of call. There are qualifications for Elders, there is 1 Tim. 3:1 that says if a man desires it, that’s good. There is talk of churches appointing (one could say “calling” Elders/Pastors, but not what you are describing. And so I wonder how our view of the call addresses the following:

-A man who truly feels called by God to preach, but upon pursuing it, does not find other mature pastors and Christians who agree, and does not find a church wiling to “call” him to be their pastor.

-A man who feels called to preach early in life, and then in middle or late life believes God is calling him to some other primary Profession. (I believe this happens).
-The opposite, a godly man who follows Christ his whole life, only to feel the desire to enter pastoral ministry late in life. (I would not say he has been missing his calling up until then, only that his calling changed.

-If a pastor falls into sinful patterns such as you describe, whether they be lazy sermon prep, people-pleasing sermons, or sexual sin…is the first course of action to question their call from 20 years ago, or address what led the sin now? (I would say the latter is MUCH more helpful…which is why Paul warns Timothy to stay strong and courageous and faithful. I don’t believe that in most cases such sins are due to the lack of a true call to preach, but (in most cases, not all), are the sins of truly called, but who allowed sin to drift them away from their first love, first priorities.

-Finally, I believe this kind of talking and thinking leads to a larger divide between “normal” Christians and Pastors than is warranted in scriptures. All Christians are called to proclaim the Gospel. All are called to holy lives in service of others and not self-promotion. Given what paul teaches about liberty, and binding other Christian’s consiences…I think there is a danger of that here as well. If we have a church of mature, godly Christians, and one of them thinks to themselves, ” “I have the desire, the skill, the qualifications, the liberty, and the character for this ministry, why not?”. I don’t think we can biblically tell them they are sinning by pursuing pastoral ministry, even if they don’t have what you would describe as “the call.” I’m not saying they shouldn’t count the cost, and consider it a holy calling, but scripture seems to place more emphasis on qualifications than a subjective call. I would say that if a man desires the pastoral task out of godly, unselfish motives, then we may say that itself can be a true call to pursue ministry, even if later in life that changes, even if very soon the direction of that call changes (Some begin Bible college sincere in their belief in a call to preach, only to decide in their junior year God is calling them to be an inner-city school teacher instead. I would not say they were sinning by pursuing ministry first, nor that they were sinning by pursuing teaching when they believed their circumstances, bible study, and desires and skills were pointing to that’s what God wanted them to do.

Thanks for putting up with my disagreements, I DO believe Pastors are called by God to be pastors, but just not in the same way you do I suspect. I also believe Christian teachers are called by God to their task, and that those callings may, for some, change over the course of their lifetime.

In Christ,
-Andy W.

Randall Cofield

“A man who is truly “called” of God to preach has no choice about what he is going to do in life. God didn’t ask his permission to place a divine call upon him. For a reason only God knows, He selected that person to preach the Gospel and He didn’t consult with him. Suddenly, without expectation, God speaks to the selected person and tells him that his life’s work is already cut out for him. He is to preach the Gospel…It is internal and eternal in nature. It is profound in its effect. Life is suddenly different. One’s focus is changed. They may fight the call for a period of time but, if God really called them, they will never get away from it until they do as He said to do.”

That sounds quite “deterministic” to me. What of the man’s “libertarian free will”?

Heh…

    Robert

    Randall makes a really dumb comment:

    “That sounds quite “deterministic” to me. What of the man’s “libertarian free will”?”

    Free will comes in when the person accepts the call upon them.

    But people don’t always do.

    E.g. Jonah did not accept his call at first, all of us have seen folks who had a call from God to do something and they did not immediately obey their call. If it **were** deterministic then the minute the call came they would heed the call. But they don’t, so it must not be deterministic.

      Rick Patrick

      Robert,
      Will you please avoid characterizing the comments of others as “dumb?” In polite conversation, a better approach would be to say, “I think Randall’s observation fails to consider that free will comes in when the person…” If you’re going to comment here, please do so nicely. Thank you.

        Robert

        Rick,

        I generally take the weekends off from posting as I have more important commitments to take care of. I take a couple of days off and come back to some personal attacks. I will ignore those. I appreciate your words:

        “Will you please avoid characterizing the comments of others as “dumb?” In polite conversation, a better approach would be to say, “I think Randall’s observation fails to consider that free will comes in when the person…” If you’re going to comment here, please do so nicely.”

        I will take your words seriously, thanks for the reminder.

phillip

Robert is a bloviating Arminian. A true credit to the SEA. He was temporarily banned/removed from SBC Today early last year for interacting in an unbrotherly, unloving manner. Apparently SBCT has removed the leash and is allowing this bloviating bully to attack other brothers and sisters in Christ. Common words this bloviating Arminian is allowed to use includes…

“childish”, “juvenile”, “stupid”, “dumb”, “fool”, “foolish”, “ignorant”, “dense” and “troll”

Sad. People on this site who appreciate his “input” should be lowering their heads in shame.

I thought SBCT stood for more.

And, for the record, here is the definition of a “troll”…..

“a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion, often for their own amusement……trolls operate as agents of chaos on the Internet, exploiting hot-button issues to make users appear overly emotional or foolish in some manner. If an unfortunate person falls into their trap, trolling intensi?es for further, merciless amusement.”

He who has ears, let him hear.

    Rick Patrick

    Phillip,
    “It is a man’s glory to overlook a transgression.” (Proverbs 19:11) We will keep an eye on Robert’s posts. If they get out of hand, we can always block him once again.

    As we graciously give this brother an opportunity to redeem himself, let us all keep our focus on the content of the comments and not on the personality of the commenters or the wisdom of the moderators. Thank you.

Randall Cofield

Dr. Patrick,

Robert the Anonymous and Brave’s antics notwithstanding, I am genuinely curious. How would you square Dr. Harrell’s statements with the supposed libertarian free will of man?

Grace to you.

    Randall Cofield

    To be clear, I agree with the referenced statements of Dr. Harrell. They are consistent with my personal experience, but, more importantly, they seem consistent with Scripture.

    Rick Patrick

    Randall,
    Let me first of all assure you of my high regard for Dr. Harrell and his lifetime of exemplary ministry. He is a godly preacher of the Word and a man I sincerely admire. I completely agree with Dr. Harrell on the necessity of God’s call upon the life of a true preacher of the gospel, which I maintain is the primary point of the essay. I also agree with him that many people go into the ministry these days with less of the sense of a clear call and more of the sense of a mere professional choice. This is unfortunate.

    I believe a call should be unmistakable and undeniable. Do some persons falsely believe they are called when in fact they are not? Yes, I think this happens. Are some persons truly called but carelessly misunderstand or disobey? I am not so sure.

    More directly to your point, do I believe that those who are truly called of God are subject in their call to ministry to the kind of meticulous determinism we Traditionalists generally refuse to apply to one’s personal salvation? That is, if a man is truly called by God, will he be irresistibly drawn to accept this call? Or can he exercise his contra-causal free will in rejecting God’s election to service?

    Ultimately, the question makes no sense, because even if a truly God-called man *could* say “no” to such a call, he wouldn’t. Being truly called and set apart and chosen *individually* for service, all the things Calvinists normally apply to salvation actually make sense in the context of a preacher’s specific election for service.

    In other words, when it comes to salvation, God wants EVERYONE to be saved, so a meticulous individual irresistible determinism cannot possibly apply. On the other hand, and this is the critical distinction, God DOES NOT WANT EVERYONE to be a preacher. Thus, His specific, individual selection of a man of God should logically be successful. Why would God choose a man to serve as a minister of the gospel who does not listen to His voice and obey?

    Frankly, this is a matter upon which I will have to give more thoughtful reflection, but of this much I am sure: “If there is a difference between the manner in which God operates in extending salvation to the entire world and the manner in which God operates in calling specific individuals into the ministry, such a discrepancy is not at all hypocritical or inconsistent, because the nature of these two callings are completely different.”

      Randall Cofield

      Dr. Patrick,

      Thanks for your thoughtful response. I enjoy our exchanges, and have found them profitable even when I disagree with you.

      To my query concerning Dr. Harrell’s postulation that the call to ministry is irrevocable, you stated:

      “Ultimately, the question makes no sense, because even if a truly God-called man *could* say “no” to such a call, he wouldn’t.”

      I agree. I likewise contend that those whom God effectually calls to salvation, even if they could say “no,” simply do not. While I was yet lost in my sin, God revealed Christ to me in His redemptive glory so convincingly that saying “no” to so great a salvation seemed utterly absurd–even impossible. My personal experience aside, Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus seems to support this contention convincingly, does it not?

      You conclude: “If there is a difference between the manner in which God operates in extending salvation to the entire world and the manner in which God operates in calling specific individuals into the ministry, such a discrepancy is not at all hypocritical or inconsistent, because the nature of these two callings are completely different.”

      I’m thankful to see the qualifier “if” in your postulate. The distinction so often cited between God’s effectual calling to service and His call to salvation does not seem to exist in Scripture. Indeed, in Rom. 11:29, where the context is undeniably speaking to salvation, Paul asserts: “For the gifts and calling of God are ‘ametamegaeta’–irrevocable.” The word is emphatic–God’s effectual calling of the preserved remnant of Israel and the Gentiles whom he is grafting in is irreversible.

      That which makes God’s calling “irrevocable” and effectual you seemingly want to label as “meticulous individual irresistible determinism.” I see it as sovereign, glorious, irresistible, redeeming grace. John Newton called it “Amazing Grace”:

      ‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
      And grace my fears relieved.
      How precious did that grace appear,
      The hour I first believed.

      I concur with Newton.

      Grace to you.

        Rick Patrick

        Randall,
        Thanks for the exchange. Of course, I am sure you realize that I also believe my view comports perfectly with both Scripture and John Newton. I guess that means we agree with each other. :-) Have a great day.

          Randall Cofield

          Touche…

          I know you are preparing for the Lord’s Day, but I would like to discuss this further at your convenience.

          In the meantime, may your sermon tomorrow be filled with prophetic fire and apostolic zeal. :-)

          Randall Cofield

          Dr. Patrick,

          You posited: “Of course, I am sure you realize that I also believe my view comports perfectly with both Scripture and John Newton.”

          a) You went from “…this is a matter upon which I will have to give more thoughtful reflection” to “my view comports perfectly with Scripture” in the space of minutes. That’s some pretty quick thoughtful reflection, brother! :-)

          b) How does your view comport perfectly with Newton? He was a thoroughgoing Calvinist.

            Rick Patrick

            Randall,

            You already know I disaffirm Calvinism and always will.

            In your part (a) we are talking about two different things. First, the matter upon which I will reflect further is Dr. Harrell’s view that God’s meticulous individual election of those called into ministry actually operates in much the same way that Calvinists view God operating in the matter of salvation. Second, my view that comports perfectly with Scripture is a reference to my Traditional understanding of Southern Baptist salvation and the specific stanza of “Amazing Grace” you quoted in which we are saved by God’s grace.

            In your part (b) I believe we are saved by God’s grace, as the hymn indicates, but there is nothing in the text of “Amazing Grace” itself that demands I embrace the Calvinistic interpretation of the composer. Similarly, I can sing and believe a Steve Green song or a Mark Schultz song without being a Calvinist.

              Randall Cofield

              “You already know I disaffirm Calvinism and always will.”

              Dr. Patrick, does it ever concern you, even for a moment, that you are totally committed to *always disaffirm* the theological position of such notable individuals as

              C. H. Spurgeon,
              John Newton,
              Augustus Toplady,
              William Wilberforce,
              William Carey,
              Andrew Fuller,
              Adoniram Judson,
              Jonathan Edwards,
              John Owen,
              Richard Baxter,
              John Bunyan,
              Benjamin Keach,
              B. H. Carroll,
              J. P. Boyce,
              Francis Schaeffer,
              J. C. Ryle,
              John Foxe,
              David Martyn Lloyd-Jones,
              Matthew Henry,
              Roger Williams,
              Carl F. H. Henry,
              John L. Dagg,
              Thomas Manton,
              John Broadus,
              Thomas Watson,
              Richard Sibbes,
              Abraham Kuyper,
              Herman Bavinck,
              Charles Hodge,
              A. A. Hodge,
              B. B. Warfield,
              David Brainerd,
              Charles Simeon,
              David Livingston,
              Samuel Davies,
              Henry Martyn,
              Samuel Zwemer,
              Robert Moffat,
              John G. Paton

              …….and Lottie Moon?

              In the presence of this rather large (though incomplete) cloud of substantive witnesses, does not reason and humility require that you at least caveat the possibility that you could be wrong?

                Robert

                This is not a persuasive argument as a Non-Calvinist could just as easily give a list of notables who are not Calvinist. Such lists do not prove one view over another. It is just an appeal to authority, with different people appealing to different authorities.

                  andy

                  Robert is, of course, exactly right, but more importantly…

                  How did you get such along comment to show up so fast without going into moderation???!!! :-)

                    Randall Cofield

                    “Robert is, of course, exactly right”

                    No, Robert the Anonymous and Brave is not “exactly right,” for Randall was not making an argument for Calvinism. :-)

                    That list doesn’t “prove” Calvinism, nor was it meant to. But it should certainly cause anyone totally committed to forever “disaffirm Calvinism” (and, in the case of Robert, one who labels Calvinism “false teaching” and characterizes Calvinists as unregenerate) reason to pause and reflect.

                    It is always fascinating to me to see those so sure of their understanding of Scripture so readily dismiss the understanding others whose lives bear a far better testimony than our own.

                    I mean…really, folks…take a look at those names. Consider their testimony. Google the ones you are not familiar with. It will blow your mind.

                  Randall Cofield

                  Robert the Anonymous and Brave, without hesitation, has by implication, on many occasions, declared the above list of notable Christians “false teachers” and unregenerate.

                  Imagine Robert the Anonymous and Brave’s chagrin at the Second Coming of our Lord.

                  Not being a Southern Baptist while commenting prolifically on a Southern Baptist blog, Robert the Anonymous and Brave appears to have no idea of the significance of Ms Lottie Moon…

                  Perhaps he will now Wiki her.

                    Ken

                    Randall:

                    I just have to point out that your penchant for name-calling is more congruous with a sick politician than a Christian pastor.

                    While I am a staunch supporter of free speech and straight-shooting I must say that your predilection to name calling is not Christ-like – especially for a preacher.

                    Robert

                    Apparently Andy understands that merely presenting a list of people who hold your view does not prove your view (because again, others holding the other view can do exactly the same thing).

                    I do have to correct Randall on one comment however, a blatant misrepresentation of what I have said here. I have never said that all Calvinists are UNSAVED/UNREGENERATE. And yet Randall writes:

                    “But it should certainly cause anyone totally committed to forever “disaffirm Calvinism” (and, in the case of Robert, one who labels Calvinism “false teaching” and characterizes Calvinists as unregenerate) reason to pause and reflect.”

                    Randall says that I “characterize Calvinists as unregenerate”.

                    Where do I do that Randall?

                    Just give us one example.

                    Robert

                    Randall writes a second time his false claim that I say that all Calvinists are unregenerate:

                    “Robert the Anonymous and Brave, without hesitation, has by implication, on many occasions, declared the above list of notable Christians “false teachers” and unregenerate”

                    If you believe that Calvinism is false (as many here do) then how is it wrong to say these teachings are false teaching? Calvinists believe that Traditionalists’ teachings are false.

                    There is a difference between NT false teachers who are unregenerate and Calvinists who may be saved persons but are teaching things that are false.

                    Regarding a couple of these notables that I knew personally. I knew Francis Schaeffer personally and have no problem saying he is a saved person. Fran and I would not have gotten along so well. And regarding Carl Henry, he gave me for free a copy of his 6 volume set (i.e. GOD REVELATION AND AUTHORITY) I doubt he would have done so had either of us considered the other to be unregenerate.!

                    Jim Poulos

                    Ken 03-08-2016, 12:10
                    Jeff:

                    I wouldn’t expect any Calvinist to support my argument, After all, once a fool, always a fool.

                    Look at this comment of the one correcting others. Isn’t there a term for someone who accuse others of the exact same practice they do?

                  Andy

                  He is exactly right, because your argument to Rick was, in essence: “How can you deny the calvinistic theology that these great men have?”

                  Robert is right that such an argument is pointless because someone could say to you: “How can you deny the theology of William Lane Craig, AW Tozer, Ravi Zacharius, CS Lewis, etc…?”
                  –Such does not prove that Arminianism is right any more than your list proves that Calvinism is right.

                    Robert

                    Andy is absolutely correct here, he understands the logic perfectly.

                    Randall Cofield

                    Andy: Brother, I’ll say this once more and then I will let it go. Nowhere in my post did I say “How can you deny the calvinistic theology that these great men have?”

                    What I did say was we should be concerned if we find ourselves totally committed to *always disaffirm* the theology of some of the most notable missionaries and theologians in the history of Christianity.

                    I’m quite sure you understand the difference.

                    Andy

                    Sorry Randall, I really don’t see the point, since Robert could list notable and godly Arminians and ask how you could find yourself totally committed to disaffirm their theology.

                Lydia

                Randall, I noticed you did not mention Jesus Christ. :o). In fact, you guys rarely do.

                Ken

                Randall:

                I want to jump in the boat along with Rick and emphatically claim that I will never accept any portion of the Calvinist TULIP as doctrinal truth.

                You can continue to put your faith in the likes of the men and woman you mentioned but, as for me, I will put my faith in the truth of God’s Word; as, obviously, does Rick. Furthermore, both Rick and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that that Word clearly refutes that there is even the remotest chance that there is a strain of truth in that Calvinist TULIP.

                Would God grant that you guys could see the light as we have seen it.

                  Dennis Lee Dabney

                  Amen Sis.

                  Preach!

        Robert

        Randall writes:

        “Indeed, in Rom. 11:29, where the context is undeniably speaking to salvation, Paul asserts: “For the gifts and calling of God are ‘ametamegaeta’–irrevocable.” The word is emphatic–God’s effectual calling of the preserved remnant of Israel and the Gentiles whom he is grafting in is irreversible.”

        This **interpretation** of Rom. 11: 29 is most definitely DENIABLE, because it is mistaken. The reference to “the gifts and calling of God” is not a reference to the salvation of individuals as Randall claims. It is instead a reference to the NATION OF ISRAEL. This can easily be established by examining the surrounding verses:

        v. 28”From the standpoint of the gospel THEY are enemies for your sake, bur from the standpoint of God’s choice THEY are beloved for SAKE OF THE FATHERS [Question to whom is the “THEY” referring? It is individuals who are saved, but **it is** THE NATION OF ISRAEL]
        Immediately after speaking of THE NATION OF ISRAEL in this way, Paul then writes:
        v. 29 for the GIFTS AND CALLING OF God are irrevocable.
        v. 30 For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy, because of THEIR disobedience,
        v. 31 so THESE also now have been disobedient in order that because of the mercy shown to you, THEY also may now be shown mercy.

        In context Paul is speaking to Gentiles and saying that because of the rejection of Christ by the Nation of Israel as a whole (what he characterizes as a “partial hardening”), God has turned to the Gentiles.

        It must be kept in mind that a major question that Paul is dealing with in the Romans 9-11 section (and to be properly interpreted it must be treated as a section where it all goes together, not taking isolated verses out of context) was if Paul’s gospel was true, then why were so many first century Jews rejecting it?

        Paul answers this question throughout Romans 9-11. When he makes reference to the “gifts and calling of God that are irrevocable” he is not speaking to saved individuals (as Randall **assumes**) or a pastoral call, he is making reference to the NATION OF ISRAEL. This also explains why he argues in Romans 11 that though they may reject Christ at one point, they can at a later time come back and be restored to the Olive Tree.

          Randall Cofield

          Lol. The classic Pre-Millennial Dispensationalist eisegesis. One is left to wonder why Paul anticipates such strong objections to the doctrine of election in 9:14-20.

          Perhaps Paul was just paranoid…or “childish” or “juvenile” or “stupid” or “dumb” or was a “fool” or “foolish” or “ignorant” or “dense”….

          Robert the Anonymous and Brave needs to repent. But he won’t.

            Andrew Barker

            Randall: Perhaps Paul didn’t hold to election as you put it!! shock horror …. another thing Randall has goofed on. lol

              Randall Cofield

              Then it remains for you to explain why Paul anticipated such strong objections to the “national election” of Israel when he was writing to a largely Jewish audience, Mr. Barker.

              Or why Paul would suddenly, after eleven chapters, change the subject from individual salvation to Jewish nationalism.

              Or why Paul retains soteriological language throughout chapters 9-11.

              Or why Paul consistently references individuals throughout 9-11.

              But you won’t take the time to honestly address these issues, will you? Such considerations do not lend themselves to your characteristic 140-character “tweets.”

                Andrew Barker

                Randall: So many assumptions on your part …. and all unfounded. I have found that the art of learning how to communicate within the space of 140 characters is actually a good discipline. You should try it!

            Jim Poulos

            Self-righteous people don’t know how to repent.
            They only know how to persecute like those who persecuted Jesus.

              Robert

              Jim P you seem to be concerned about “persecution”. Are you concerned that I get repeatedly attacked by Randall for posting only by my first name? I have explained why I post only by first name multiple times yet Randall continues to mock me as “Robert the anonymous”. Here is a recent example of my explanation (this appeared in Disapproving God’s Plan part one published on Tuesday July 12, 2016; note that Lydia understands:

              My explanation:

              Third, I have said this before, even said it directly to Randall (yet he ignores this). I work in prison ministry, a large prison ministry extended over many states and involving thousands of inmates. In order to protect myself and family, I do not post by full name. Now most inmates could care less what your last name is, unfortunately some will use any personal information that they have in order to attack you, manipulate you, all made possible my means of even just your first and last name. I was speaking to one of our volunteers about this, explaining why I am so strong on confidentiality (e.g. graders who grade Bible Correspondence courses are never to put first or last name on inmates sheets). I took JUST THEIR NAME and within a couple of minutes showed where they lived, their house, address. They were shocked that that could be done so easily and quickly. Unfortunately there are some unscrupulous inmates who will use information like that and send a friend or acquaintance over if they know where you live. In order to avoid any of those problems even when posting at a site like this, I use only my first name. I have very good reasons for doing so, and yet Randall ridicules me for doing so. That shows me he has no class and no understanding. Another believer who understood my situation would simply accept that I post by first name and go from there. But not Randall . . .

              Lydia’s response:

              Lydia 15-07-2016, 16:32
              Robert, that is an excellent reason. I have met too many bullies inside and out church not to take precautions. My view is if the blog owners allow first names then what business is it of mine? If they require more then it is most likely not wise to comment there for some.

                Jim Poulos

                You don’t get repeatedly by anyone. You are the one who repeatedly attacks and never, never an iota of you owning up to it.

                You are a persecutor of brothers which make you a persecutor of Christ.

                Jim Poulos

                One more thing. I’ve seen enough from those like you come off. I’ve also seen those who you so mercilessly go after.

                I know, you simply own up to your wrong with those you attack, they’d simply stop with what you throw at them.

                Is that too hard for you to understand?

                Jim Poulos

                What you’ve thrown at others you’ve thrown at me.

            Robert

            Randall attempts to dismiss my view as out of hand claiming:

            “Lol. The classic Pre-Millennial Dispensationalist eisegesis.”

            Problem is, I am not a Dispensationalist.

            “Robert the Anonymous and Brave needs to repent. But he won’t.”

            I don’t need to repent, seeing as you continue to mock and slander me for posting by my real first name. You continue to sin against me in this way, why don’t you repent of THAT???

              Randall Cofield

              Jim Poulos: “Self-righteous people don’t know how to repent.”

              Robert the Anonymous and Brave: “I don’t need to repent…”

                Jim Poulos

                In the language of this world, ‘bing-go.’

                Just a little correction, I did say, “don’t know how to.”

                  phillip

                  Jim,

                  It was your “viciousness” remark that motivated me to finally state the obvious. These belittling, and unbrotherly, remarks from Robert have been long overlooked (this has been going on for months) and needed to come to an end.

                  While Robert said he would take Rick’s words “seriously”, no apology (or remorse) was offered (shown).

                  And don’t expect one.

                  Blessings

                    Jim Poulos

                    Phillip,

                    You know, I am always willing to clear this up, like a brother. That is not the case with many here.
                    If you care to clarify your comment, fine. If not it is simply more of the same.

                    phillip

                    Jim,

                    Sorry for any confusion.

                    Your…. “keep up your viciousness” remark to Robert was well warranted.

                    And your…. “you are the one who repeatedly attacks and never, never an iota of you owning up to it” remark is spot on.

                    Robert has a long history here of being verbally abusive.

                    God bless, brother.

                    Jim Poulos

                    Phillip’

                    The target should always be connected to what Someone who prayed before He was crucified:

                    “that they would be One as the Father and I are one…..”

                    Insulting has no place to for that prayer to be answered.

                    JIm Poulos

                    And thank you for clarifying.

          Dennis Lee Dabney

          Robert,

          Randall’s response is a Calvinist “classic”. Prepare to wear a label or here take this name!

          The Truth of these passages are substantiated in other text. Romans 9-11 wasn’t given by the Spirit to prove the veracity of Calvinism.

          Preach!

            Dennis Lee Dabney

            The Truth of these passages are substantiated in other text. Romans 9-11 wasn’t given by the Spirit to “prove” the veracity of Calvinism.

            However, when rightly divided, they will expose all teachings attempting to “attach” itself for credibility sake upon the gospel, in His glorious, blood bought Church.

            We commonly here these words,
            ANY USE OF THESES WORDS WITHOUT THE EXPRESS WRITTEN PERMISSION OF. . .

            Sure does apply here.

            Preach!

            Randall Cofield

            “Romans 9-11 wasn’t given by the Spirit to prove the veracity of Calvinism.”

            I certainly wouldn’t disagree with that, DLD. And your assertion does nothing to alleviate the exegetical problems you create when you substitute Jewish nationalism for Paul’s focus on salvation in these passages.

            “We commonly here these words, ANY USE OF THESES WORDS WITHOUT THE EXPRESS WRITTEN PERMISSION OF. . .”

            That is a very interesting comment, brother. Care to elaborate?

              Dennis Lee Dabney

              Randall,

              There’s no exegetical problem presented above only the Reformed viewpoint position which opposes these chapters as they unfolds divinely by the Spirit of Truth without any human assistance, preference or bias.

              Jewish nationalism misses the whole point. Christ, the only begotten Son is in view.

              By the way all 66 Books present salvation in one format or another, So?

              Israel, “My son, a “nation”, a rebellious house”. We have nothing in time to compare this with. Now for the Reformers to cherry pick and glean around the edges of the Word of God to build this theological system without regard for the whole is unparalleled and unprecedented.

              Randall, the Lord hid the mystery of the Church, certain aspects, in a place no one would venture to look.

              Husbands love your wives. . .

              He hid those things in Scriptural marriage. From the Garden of Eden elsewhere.

              However He did not hide Calvinism in any form in Romans 9-11 or any where else for that matter.

              As far as elaborating on the caveat, I believe the point was made.

              Preach!

      andy

      RICK: “Are some persons truly called but carelessly misunderstand or disobey? I am not so sure.”

      I wonder if you could expand on this. I really see it as a dangerous thing if you are agreeing with Dr. Harrel that most pastoral problems can be traced back to “the Call.” Paul gives Timothy & Titus many encouragements and warnings, and while he does refer back to when they had hands laid on them in their commissioning, the focus seems to be on what they are doing now: Keep watch on your life & ministry, hold to the faith, watch out for false teaching, be sober, manage your family well…etc. I think it is a mistake to look at any pastor who falls into sin, or weak teaching, and simply conclude they were never called.

      I don’t see how any non-deterministic view of God’s working can help but conclude that even truly called Pastors can fall into sexual sin, or to man-pleasing sermons, or to becoming over-bearing in their leadership. Unless our view is that God’s spirit keeps Christians from sinning, we must conclude that even truly called pastors can sin. Just as a Christian who has been truly called by God to be a public school teacher can sin, etc… the qualifications given in Titus are not given as a “If a man is truly called, he will have these qualifications and never fail”…. but as a “Strive to live up to these….it’s not automatic…if you don’t you may be like those others fell…”

      I once knew a pastor who was questioning his call to ministry, based on current effectiveness…and to me that simply seems like a good way to get really depressed and/or confused…if after 20 years of ministry, problems arise, and you think the answer lies in figuring out if you were truly called 20 years ago? And that’s exactly where it led this man.

      I am 35 yrs old. have been a music & youth pastor for 9 years at my present church. I do not know if I am called to do this until I’m 60-70, or be some other kind of pastor, or be a carpenter. I believe I can say with confidence that whatever happens in the future, I have been called to be a pastor here for these past 9 years. If, God forbid, I fall into some disqualifying sin, I will not be blaming it on the fact that I missunderstood my call to ministry 15 years ago.

      I believe that if a young Christian man is seeking to make his life decisions based on Godly reasons, rather than selfish reasons (ie, I want a cushy, respectable job, so I’ll be a pastor)…then he may take the path that seems most clear to him at the time, whether that be banking, teaching, preaching, or plumbing…and may be assured that whatever occupation he takes, it is where God has called him for that season of life…and it may change.

        Dennis Lee Dabney

        All of the philosophical rhetoric, all of the Scripture wrangling, along with all of the astute, academic arguments, hasn’t made the error of this belief system True.

        The Holy Scriptures bring forth Lord Jesus Christ from Genisis to maps! Hear ye Him.

        Search the Scriptures for in them you think you have eternal life and they are they which testify of Me.

        The gospel along with the entire canon “peri”,it centers around the Lord Jesus Christ.

        John Calvin Who, in light of the Word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ ?

        Calvinism What, in view of the Holy Scriptures?

        Then said I, Lo, I come in the volume of the Book, It is written of Me, to do Thy will, Oh God.

        Preach!

          Andy

          Sorry Dennis,

          I have no idea what you are trying to say, or who’s comment you were replying to. I wasn’t talking about calvinism…in fact, most of my comment would be contrary to a strict calvinists perspective.

          -Andy

            Dennis Lee Dabney

            Andy,

            No apology necessary. Responding my earlier post.

            Preach!

    Robert

    Randall writes:

    “Robert the Anonymous and Brave’s antics notwithstanding,”

    I don’t think that I engaged in “antics”, rather, Randall ignored my point and asked:

    “I am genuinely curious. How would you square Dr. Harrell’s statements with the supposed libertarian free will of man?”

    So I will repeat my point since it still stands:

    Free will comes in when the person accepts the call upon them.

    But people don’t always do.

    E.g. Jonah did not accept his call at first, all of us have seen folks who had a call from God to do something and they did not immediately obey their call. If it **were** deterministic then the minute the call came they would heed the call. But they don’t, so it must not be deterministic.

      Randall Cofield

      A naked assertion propped up with derisive language has never yet caused a “point” to “stand.”

        Robert

        But it is not a “naked assertion”. I gave a biblical example of someone who was given a call (i.e. Jonah was to preach to the Ninevites) and yet he disobeyed the call, refused to respond to it. God had to put him through some things first (i.e. discipline him for his disobedience). The fact he did not immediately respond to the call shows it was not deterministic. If it were, he would have immediately obeyed. But he chose to disobey, hence he had libertarian free will.

          Randall Cofield

          “The fact he did not immediately respond to the call shows it was not deterministic.”

          This is Robert the Anonymous and Brave and Unrepentant’s naked assertion. The emperor of logic has no clothes.

          Les

          Robert,

          “The fact he did not immediately respond to the call shows it was not deterministic.”

          Just asking, but could it be that the predestination of Jonah to preach to Ninevah was irrespective of a particular timeframe? IOW could it not still be predestined even though he did not IMMEDIATELY obey? He did eventually DID obey. In Reformed theology, salvation of certain individuals is predestined even though their positive response to the gospel is rarely on the first time they hear it.

            Robert

            Les,

            “Just asking, but could it be that the predestination of Jonah to preach to Ninevah was irrespective of a particular timeframe? “

            In determinism when an action is determined, you have to do it, it is impossible for you to do otherwise. If Jonah freely chose to say no to the call, then he was making a choice not to obey. Unless you want to claim his disobedience was determined, if it was not then he freely chose not to obey, indicative of libertarian free will.

            Les

            Robert, but he did obey. Did he obey immediately? No. Did he obey? Yes.

            Like, in Reformed theology, if someone is predestined to to be born again, thereby obeying the gospel and the command to repent, but hears 78 calls by preachers for him to obey ob=ver the years, and then one day as an old man he does obey the call to obey the gospel and repent, predestination stands. He obeyed. As did Jonah.

              Andrew Barker

              Les: “Like, in Reformed theology, if someone is predestined to to be born again” yes ….. but only in Reformed theology . In Scripture there is no such support and that is what is most important.

              Les

              Andrew,

              “In Scripture there is no such support…” Says Andrew ex cathedra. Thanks for the laugh Andrew.

                Andrew Barker

                Les: Laugh all you like. You have no answer, obviously!

                Les

                Thanks Andrew. I certainly will. I have an answer all right. We’ve been over this all ad nauseum and you continue to reject the scriptural answers given to you. That’s ok. We”ve all been there…not getting it. But I’m not interested in trying to convince you on predestination. My original comment was to Robert I believe. You jump in and want me to prove P to you? Not gonna happen. You’ve seen and read Reformed answers before and have rejected them as unscriptural. That’s your prerogative.

              Robert

              Les,

              “Robert, but he did obey. Did he obey immediately? No. Did he obey? Yes.”

              You have granted my point Les.

              If determinism were in play with Jonah he would have obeyed immediately (because when an action is determined you have to do it, it is impossible for you to do otherwise, where libertarian free will is present you choose to do one thing but you could have done otherwise and chosen to do another).

              Now you can say that eventually he ended up obeying. But the point is whether or not God’s call is always obeyed. I said that it is not always obeyed. And for a time with Jonah it was not obeyed until after he was disciplined. So up until the time that he obeyed the call he was in fact resisting and rejecting the call.

              Les

              Robert,

              “You have granted my point Les.” Sorry brother. Incorrect. You are the one putting a timeframe on it. Now if Joah had NEVER obeyed, you’d have a point. But he did in fact obey. My point is simply that God predestined it and He brought it about in His perfect timing. See y earlier analogy about obeying the gospel.

                Robert

                Les,

                You have entered the game late. I was not discussing whether or not Jonah’s eventual obeying of the call was predestined or not (of course you believe it was, but that is not the point I was discussing)

                The point was whether or not THE CALL IS ALWAYS OBEYED.

                Jonah proves without a doubt that in fact the call of God may be disobeyed and resisted. To claim that because **eventually** he obeyed that proves his obedience was predestined, misses, ignores, the fact that ****before he obeyed**** the call ****he resisted the call****, ****disobeyed*** the call.

                Les

                Robert, I do get what you are saying. I just think you are trying to press the point too much. Those of us who hold to a compatibalist view do not deny that man has free agency (not libertarian free will) and thus exercises that freedom to disobey, all the while knowing that at the perfect moment, God gets what He wills. Again, in Reformed theology, think the call to obey the gospel.

                  Robert

                  Les,

                  “Robert, I do get what you are saying. I just think you are trying to press the point too much.”

                  So Les do you agree that Jonah did disobey and resist the call at first?

                  Les

                  Robert,

                  “do you agree that Jonah did disobey and resist the call at first?”

                  Yes sir I do agree.

                    Robert

                    Les,

                    So we agree that Jonah did disobey and resist the call at first:

                    “Yes sir I do agree.”

                    Les I know that you believe his eventual obedience to the call was predestined: do you also believe his disobedience and resistance to the call that happened at first: was also predestined?

                  Les

                  Robert,

                  “do you also believe his disobedience and resistance to the call that happened at first: was also predestined?”

                  Yes sir I do believe that. Nothing happens apart form God’s planned design and purpose in my view. As you know, I agree with the London Baptist Confession on God’s Decree and their scriptural basis:

                  “God hath decreed in himself, from all eternity, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably, all things, whatsoever comes to pass; yet so as thereby is God neither the author of sin nor hath fellowship with any therein; nor is violence offered to the will of the creature, nor yet is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established; in which appears his wisdom in disposing all things, and power and faithfulness in accomplishing his decree.”

                  And the LBC on providence:

                  “The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God, so far manifest themselves in his providence, that his determinate counsel extendeth itself even to the first fall, and all other sinful actions both of angels and men; and that not by a bare permission, which also he most wisely and powerfully boundeth, and otherwise ordereth and governeth, in a manifold dispensation to his most holy ends; yet so, as the sinfulness of their acts proceedeth only from the creatures, and not from God, who, being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin.”

                    Robert

                    Les,

                    Your quoted confession states:

                    “yet so, as the sinfulness of their acts proceedeth only from the creatures, and not from God, who, being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin.”

                    If God predestines our every sin as you believe, then how can the confession which you also believe, claim that sin proceeds ONLY from the creature, and NOT FROM GOD: if God is predestinating every one of these sins from eternity???

                  Les

                  Moderation in all things I suppose.

                  “Robert,

                  “do you also believe his disobedience and resistance to the call that happened at first: was also predestined?”

                  Yes sir I do believe that. Nothing happens apart form God’s planned design and purpose in my view. As you know, I agree with the London Baptist Confession on God’s Decree and their scriptural basis:

                  “God hath decreed in himself, from all eternity, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably, all things, whatsoever comes to pass; yet so as thereby is God neither the author of sin nor hath fellowship with any therein; nor is violence offered to the will of the creature, nor yet is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established; in which appears his wisdom in disposing all things, and power and faithfulness in accomplishing his decree.”

                  Les

                  Robert,

                  “do you also believe his disobedience and resistance to the call that happened at first: was also predestined?”

                  Yes sir I do believe that. Nothing happens apart form God’s planned design and purpose in my view. As you know, I agree with the London Baptist Confession on God’s Decree and their scriptural basis:…Two comments are in moderation that complete this. Too long.

                    Robert

                    Les,

                    “Yes sir I do believe that. Nothing happens apart form God’s planned design and purpose in my view.”

                    So according to you God predestines every event including (like Jonah’s resistance and disobedience to the call of God to preach to the Ninevites).

                    That means God predestines every sin that every believer commits.

                    So what is the purpose of a God of holiness predestinating our every sin?

                    How does our sinning (which God predestines: so we have no choice but to do what He predestines) glorify God?

                  Les

                  Robert,

                  My comments of 10-08-2016, 12:06 are out of moderation. That accurately describes my views on predestination and sin.

                    Robert

                    Merely quoting the confessions does not answer my questions. So I repeat them:

                    So what is the purpose of a God of holiness predestinating our every sin?

                    How does our sinning (which God predestines: so we have no choice but to do what He predestines) glorify God?

                  Les

                  Robert, I can only go as far as scripture goes. And scripture says that all things are for His glory. I can delve no further than what is revealed.

                    Robert

                    Les,

                    You answered neither of my questions, instead you replied:

                    “Robert, I can only go as far as scripture goes. And scripture says that all things are for His glory.”

                    The Bible does not teach that every act by every person glorifies God.

                    It is true that all things in creation are created for God’s glory.

                    It is not true that our sins glorify God. We are commanded to do “all to the glory of God” and yet this command can be disobeyed. Which is precisely what we do when we sin.

                    Disobedience to God’s commands by God’s people does not glorify Him.

                    Robert

                    Jesus said that we should pray that God’s will be done on earth as it is in Heaven (it is always done there, not always done here). So God’s will is not always done on this earth.

                    In a similar way Paul said that we should glorify God in everything we do (on earth). If everything including the sins of believers glorifies God, then Paul didn’t need to tell us to glorify God because everything we do is already glorifying God. But not everything we do is glorifying to God which is why we are told to consciously do so. So everything that happens does not always glorify God.

                    Les your theology says that God’s will is always done on this earth and that everything that happens here always glorifies God: both of these claims are false.

                  Les

                  Robert Reformed theology teaches and I believe that all things work together for our good and God’s glory. In Romans 8 and 9 he shows us this. I am not saying that sin is good. If you read carefully the LBC sentences I quoted, you’ll see that God decrees all things. Yet, and I know you disagree, He is not the author of sin. The fact that He decrees all that happens does not mean He does all that happens. Sinners still do the sinning. Romans 8 and 9 tell us that He uses bad things, actually all things which includes bad things, for our good and to show His glory. The section on providence shows that He is governing ALL things, even sinful things. That’s it.

            Andrew Barker

            Les: This is all stuff and nonsense Les and amounts to no more than a row of beans.

              Les

              Nonsense and etc? You have my comments confused with someone else’s…yours! And be careful to play nice Andrew. You have seen what happens when people call other peoplle’s comments names.

                Lydia

                Les, I bet you were the volunteer hall monitor in middle school. Who is the big gun you plan on pulling out on Andrew on this blog? Play nice? Would that be Calvins definition of nice? :o)

                Btw: can you call a “comment” a name? So what happens when one calls a comment a name? You run to the “ruling elders” of the blog to demand church discipline?

                Sheesh!

                  Les

                  Good morning sweet Lydia. You’d lose that bet.

                  As for calling people’s comments names, I direct you to Robert who was called into the principal’s office for just that. :)

                    Lydia

                    Les, So you were trying to get Andrew in trouble. I remember guys like you…..

                    I don’t recall anyone getting in trouble here. What I do recall is encouragement to overlook transgression. :o) now that is something a ruling elder can model for others.

                  Les

                  Lydia,

                  Absolutely I was not trying to get Andrew in trouble. I was trying to help him NOT get in trouble. So you don’t remember anyone getting trouble here about calling people’s comments names?

                  “Rick Patrick 05-08-2016, 17:58
                  Robert,
                  Will you please avoid characterizing the comments of others as “dumb?” In polite conversation, a better approach would be to say, “I think Randall’s observation fails to consider that free will comes in when the person…” If you’re going to comment here, please do so nicely. Thank you.”

                  Maybe you were just a bit lapse in paying attention.

                    Lydia

                    Les, I get it now. You were just trying to “help” Andrew. I guess I don’t understand the ruling elder definition of “help”. :o)

                    Andrew Barker

                    Les: Your concern is touching. What a sweety you are. Ah yes as I thought, no answer to the fact that you claim something but can’t back it up with Scripture. That’s why I referred to it as stuff and nonsense!

                  Les

                  And thanks Lydia for the opportunity to clarify.

                    Lydia

                    Les, you are welcome. It is very hard for grown ups to understand your world. It doesn’t occur to me to run to the principal’s office or a ruling Elder.

                  Les

                  Right Lydia. Apparently you don’t understand the ruling elder definition of help.

                  Les

                  Lydia,

                  I do know it’s hard for some adults to understand the scriptural views we of the Reformed faith confess. Heck it’s even difficult sometimes for children. And it occurs not to me as well to run to the principal or a ruling elder. On that we agree.

                    Lydia

                    “And it occurs not to me as well to run to the principal or a ruling elder. On that we agree.”

                    But you warned Andrew about the “principal”. And that was “helpful”?

                    Les, you comunicate like a mafia Don who knows he’s being wiretapped.

                  Les

                  Lydia,

                  “But you warned Andrew about the “principal”. And that was “helpful”?”

                  First, I have no idea why you are so concerned about this, but well…Of course it was helpful. Let me help you out.

                  Andrew: “Les: This is all stuff and nonsense Les and amounts to no more than a row of beans.”

                  Les: “And be careful to play nice Andrew. You have seen what happens when people call other peoplle’s comments names.”

                  So Andrew refers to my comments as nonsense. You with me so far? I gave him a helpful tip to be careful about calling other people’s comments names. Now you had missed Robert being warned about just that. Again, to help you out, Rick said to Robert, “Will you please avoid characterizing the comments of others as “dumb?”” Andrew referred to my comments as “nonsense.” Still with me?

                  So it was a friendly reminder to be careful lest he also run into a warning by Rick. Pretty simple. See? And as you can see, I actually didn’t warn Andrew about the “principal.” Maybe read back through the comments if this all means so much to you. :)

                  Les

                  Too many words I guess on my last comment, so…

                  Lydia,

                  “But you warned Andrew about the “principal”. And that was “helpful”?”

                  First, I have no idea why you are so concerned about this, but well…Of course it was helpful. Let me help you out.

                  Andrew: “Les: This is all stuff and nonsense Les and amounts to no more than a row of beans.”

                  Les: “And be careful to play nice Andrew. You have seen what happens when people call other peoplle’s comments names.” TBC…

                  Les

                  Cont…

                  So Andrew refers to my comments as nonsense. You with me so far? I gave him a helpful tip to be careful about calling other people’s comments names. Now you had missed Robert being warned about just that. Again, to help you out, Rick said to Robert, “Will you please avoid characterizing the comments of others as “dumb?”” Andrew referred to my comments as “nonsense.” Still with me?

                  So it was a friendly reminder to be careful lest he also run into a warning by Rick. Pretty simple. See? And as you can see, I actually didn’t warn Andrew about the “principal.” Maybe read back through the comments if this all means so much to you. :)

                  Les

                  Andrew,

                  “Your concern is touching. What a sweety you are.” Thanks. Means a lot to me. Humbling in fact.

                  “Ah yes as I thought, no answer to the fact that you claim something but can’t back it up with Scripture. That’s why I referred to it as stuff and nonsense!”

                  Oh but it can be backed up by scripture. Predestination: Read the bible. It starts in Genesis and runs all the way thru Revelation. :)

                    Andrew Barker

                    Les: Simply saying the word predestination appears to do if for you. But you can’t support your claim that a person is “predestined to be born again” from scripture. That’s why I said it was stuff and nonsense. It’s not in scripture ….. oh, yes it’s found in Reformed theology!

                  Andrew Barker

                  Lydia: It is noticeable that Les cannot deal with the question, instead reverting to diversion tactics. His plea to Rick Patrick says it all. It shows the mentality of these Reformed wallers. :-o

                  Les

                  “But you can’t support your claim that a person is “predestined to be born again” from scripture.”

                  I’ve already told you Andrew. Genesis to Revelation. If you rally want to see it, search for it. Seek and you shall find my brother.

                    Andrew Barker

                    Can’t find what isn’t there!

Andrew Barker

Randall: Your persisten comments regarding Robert choosing not to give his surname (which he has adequately explained, I might add, on more than one occasion) on on open forum such as this one, should be enough to confirm to any right minded person of the veracity of libertarian free will. To put such behaviour down to straight determinism or indeed your compatibilistic determinism would indeed be a slur on both the name and character of The Almighty. That is my honest freely made opinion.

    Randall Cofield

    Andrew,

    As one often glowingly appreciative of Robert’s “input,” the tenderness of your conscience seems oddly…selective. But I digress.

    Care to interact with my question concerning the OP?

      Andrew Barker

      Randall: Well, in true form there. I fail to see this glowing appreciative of Robert’s input since I have made no comment all at about what he has said. Your comments seemed to have no point other than to provoke an unguarded response.

      Thanks for the offer but I’d rather exercise my libertarian free will and address my comments, if any, directly to Dr Harrell.

        Randall Cofield

        “Your comments seemed to have no point other than to provoke an unguarded response.”

        Andrew, I’ve tried to tell you before that there are dynamics at work here of which you are unaware. Anglicans and Baptists are oil and water. It does not surprise me in the least that things seem to you one thing when in reality they are something else entirely.

        “Thanks for the offer….”

        You are welcome.

          Andrew Barker

          Randall: An interesting twist on the Calvinists’ mantra “you don’t understand it”. You’re well practised enough to come up with something better than that surely!

            Lydia

            Andrew,

            Hmmm. Do you think the dynamics include a different Jesus? Frankly, the Anglican leaders of Henry the 8th have a lot in common with modern day Calvinistas. :o)

              Andrew Barker

              Lydia: I don’t know if the series Wolf Hall has made it across the pond yet, but it does shed light on how things were ‘done’ in the early stages of the Reformation. It didn’t pay to think differently from the establishment!

                Lydia

                Andrew, I LOVED Wolf Hall.

                It was so very well done and true to the book!.

                  Lydia

                  P.S. it can be detrimental to disagree with the establishment these days, too. Thankfully, our Founders insured we would not be hung for it. But your morality and even your Christian bonafides are questioned by the big cheeses and many hang on to their every word. Strange times. Independent thinking is considered a sin. Groupthink is rewarded by the leaders. I certainly hope a lot of young people grow out of that or we are in for big trouble.

          Andy

          “Anglicans and Baptists are oil and water.”

          And yet I know many baptist pastors who will use something written by N.T. Wright as a resource when preparing sermons or Sunday school lessons! :-)

            Lydia

            “And yet I know many baptist pastors who will use something written by N.T. Wright as a resource when preparing sermons or Sunday school lessons! :-)”

            Not in my neck if the woods. :o)

            Randall Cofield

            Andy: Some of us have real problems with Wright’s “New Perspective” on Paul and Judaism. For that I reason, I don’t use him as a source.

            And some of us are aware of the rather sordid history of Anglican/Baptist relations…

              Lydia

              When it comes to Calvinist sordid history, there is an attempt to rewrite. Such as promoting a return to the pro chattel slaver doctrines of SBC Founders. The guys who claimed God determined slavery. Now there are some guys it would be wise to distance from instead of promoting. From Calvin to Driscoll, Mahaney….what is it with you guys and your love of tyrants.

                Andrew Barker

                Lydia: It seems that Randall is not content to re-write scripture but he wants to re-write history as well. Or maybe just play it down a bit and keep SBC Founders’ dirty little secret as quiet as possible.

              Lydia

              Randall, The Reformers were more into Greek Paganism, very true.

                Tyler

                “The Reformers were in to Greek Paganism”
                Interesting, in all of the scholarly books I’ve read on the Reformers by Christians and non Christians and Calvinists and anti-Calvinists I have never read anything close to the idea that the Reformers were influenced by Greek Paganism. Could you site me some academic sources? I would love to pursue that idea further.

                  Randall Cofield

                  Crickets….

                  Lydia

                  “Interesting, in all of the scholarly books I’ve read on the Reformers by Christians and non Christians and Calvinists and anti-Calvinists I have never read anything close to the idea that the Reformers were influenced by Greek Paganism. Could you site me some academic sources? I would love to pursue that idea further.”

                  Tyler, I would suggest you read way outside your bubble. Anything I suggest would become a spitting context on experts. No thanks. It has to be something you are serious about concerning the trajectory of certain doctrines that got read back into scripture. You can start with Augustine. And not just theology but history. It is amazing what one learns from history scholars that explains certain things if one is connecting dots.

                    Lydia

                    Tyler, I forgot to add you might want to do some reading on the Greek greats and other pagan religions like Plato, Plutonius, Mani, etc.

                  Andrew Barker

                  Tyler: Read up on Augustine and what influenced him. Calvin drew heavily on Augustine when formulating his own ideas. I think this is fairly accepted in academic circles is it not?

              Andy

              True, but many who share your view also see his writings in other areas as valuable.

              I have real problems with C.S. Lewis’ doctrine of scripture, and his interpretation of hell, but I also think he has a lot of good to say.

              As for Andrew, I can tell you right now that if I were moving to a new city and looking for a church, I would be looking for a church that teaches the Gospel, and tries, however imperfectly to live it out…but would be less concerned with the secondary issues of doctrine. While I would likely end up in a Baptist or Baptistic church, if those were not available, or were just awful…I might end up in a presbyterian church, a lutheran chruch, or wesleyan church, possibly even episcopal, provided it was on the more conservative side of things. There is a wide range of anglican churches divided over important issues, and I know nothing about Andrew’s church.

              The saddest part to me is not that Andrew is at an Anglican church, but that there might have been something toxic about the baptist churches he tried that led him there. Who’s to say I would not have done the same. The fact that some anglicans persecuted some baptists a few hundred years ago would not keep me out…just as the fact that some baptists persecuted black people 150 years ago does not keep me out of baptist churches.

                Andrew Barker

                As a point of information, the local Baptist church is Welsh speaking so ….. “ddim yn dda os nad ydych yn siarad Cymraeg” :-)

          Jim Poulos

          It’s not about oil and water it’s about being carnal minded or the having the mind of the Spirit.

          Simple as that.

          One little sentence reveals which one is at work.

          Robert

          Randall repeatedly has tried to undermine Andrew’s words by pointing out that he associates with “Anglicans”. He does so yet again when he writes:

          “Andrew, I’ve tried to tell you before that there are dynamics at work here of which you are unaware. Anglicans and Baptists are oil and water.”

          Andrew may not be a Baptist, however, what Andrew has repeatedly posted at this site are challenges to the Calvinist theology of Randall.

          And regarding his associations, they really do not matter, what matters is whether or not the points he makes against Calvinist theology are valid points.

          Trying to dismiss or undermine Andrew’s comments because he is not Baptist is a form of the fallacy of ad hominem (attack the man and ignore the points he is making). Instead of being concerned about Andrew being Anglican, Randall ought to be much more concerned about whether or not Andrew’s challenges to Calvinism are valid.

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