Why I Am Not An Arminian | Part Three

March 18, 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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Click HERE for Part One.
Click HERE for Part Two.

It should be noted, the text William references to prove that the Gospel is an insufficient work of Grace to lead sinners to repentance does not even mention the Gospel (nor is it even written at a time when the gospel had been fulfilled and commissioned to go into all the world). As we have more fully developed in other articles, the fact that Jesus was purposefully hiding His identity from the Jewish leaders of that day and not entrusting Himself to most of Israel while “down from Heaven,” clearly indicates they were not privy to the appeal of the Gospel’s calling to repentance and faith in the death, burial and resurrection of the Messiah for the redemption of sin. This is a concept not even understood by His closest followers until after His resurrection (“when he is lifted up” – John 12:32).

After Christ is raised up, the message of the Gospel is complete and His messengers are commissioned to “go into all the world and preach” and in so doing, “drawing all people to Himself.” (John 12:32; Acts 1:8; Matt. 28:16-20).

St Paul argues: “Do you not realize that God’s kindness,” ???????????, “divine kindness and Spirit-produced goodness” (link), “is meant to lead you to repentance?” (Rom. 2:4)

Romans 2:4 states, “Or do you despise the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not realize that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?”  Clearly, God’s kindness is in reference to His “forbearance and patience” with humanity (as seen also in 2 Peter 3:9). And patience, as discussed earlier, is God’s gracious means of allowing for mankind to live and thus have more time to respond to His provisions of Grace, the power of which is said to be in the Gospel itself (Rm. 1:18); never in some extra secondary means which supposedly makes the gospel sufficiently powerful and/or the human soul sufficiently able to respond freely (i.e. responsible).

“For he has graciously granted you,” ????????, “to grace, bestow, favor,” “the privilege not only of believing in Christ, but of suffering for him as well.” (Phil. 1:29)

While this point could be conceded by simply appealing to the “common grace” referenced earlier, I believe the “granting” here is in reference to the sending of the Gospel first to the Jew and then to the Gentile. By sending the means of faith (the Gospel), God is “granting” each one (first the Jew and then the Gentile) the means by which they too may believe in Christ and subsequently suffer for Him as they continue to walk in that faith.

William also mentions 1 Cor 2, which I discuss in great detail HERE.

Yes, the Holy Spirit must convict sinners (John 16:8-11), as they are presented with the Gospel…

We all agree that the Holy Spirit must convict sinners. Our point of contention is over the means by which the Spirit brings conviction to sinners.  Let’s look at John 16:

“7 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. 12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

To whom is Christ speaking in John 16? Is He speaking to all of us, or is He addressing the inspired “holy apostles” given the “administration of God’s grace” and shown “the mystery…which was not made known to people in other generations but has now been revealed by the Spirit of God…so that you [the rest of us] will be able to understand…the mystery of Christ.” Let’s look at Eph. 3:1-11:

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

The Spirit’s means of revelation was to graciously inspire “holy apostles” to proclaim and write God’s very word and in reading those words we may “be able to understand…insights into the mystery of Christ.”

I believe William, like many Calvinists, have imposed an “individualized Western hermeneutic” to these types of texts by applying it to us personally when the intention of the author was pointing his readers to the sacred means of divine inspiration of the “holy apostles” set apart for the noble purpose of inspired revelation.

To the credit of Flowers, we agree that there is power, ???????, in the Gospel of Christ (Rom. 1:16), but this “power,” strength or ability, regards the revelation of the righteousness of God and that the person who shall live with Him eternally are those who live by or in the faith of Christ (Rom. 1:17). Such are accounted righteous (Rom. 3:21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26). But Flowers rejects the notion that anyone must be “set free” from one’s bondage to sin in order to believe that Gospel: there is no condition from which one must be released from captivity (contra John 8:34; Gal. 5:1).

John 8:32 says, “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Truth, once known and accepted, will set you free.  One is not set free so as to respond freely to truth, as William presupposes. Again, it would be difficult to defend a belief that sinners who remain in unbelief and under sin’s bondage all their lives can ever be described as “freed from sin’s bondage” in any meaningful sense.

So, then, Flowers, and those who agree with him, have created their own theological niche: they deny Pelagianism, semi-Pelagianism, Arminianism and Calvinism. The view they are espousing is termed Traditionalism. They appeal to the early Church fathers regarding free will, that such has not been so affected by the Fall that a person cannot freely respond to the Gospel, but can freely respond to that Gospel because the Holy Spirit “works” within the heart through the Spirit-inspired Gospel. Again, from my perspective, I fail to see why the Holy Spirit needs to “work” within a person who is inherently capable of freely responding to the Gospel.  

What William seems to miss is that on our view the work of the Holy Spirit, by means of the gospel’s arrival, is for the first time revealing a mystery that has been hidden for generations (1 Cor. 2:7-8; Eph. 3:1-11) thus making it accessible to all. So, the work of the Holy Spirit, on our view, is not to “aid an innate disability due to the Fall,” but to reveal truth that could not have been known or understood by any other means except the divine revelation through supernatural inspiration of “holy apostles.”

One would be hard pressed to find where Pelagius taught this fully or even partially, so I’m not sure what the labels really accomplish (if not the nefarious intent I’ve described in “The Calvinist’s Boogie Man” article). I’m beginning not to care too much about such labels given there abuse in modern times. Nevertheless, no label will simply make the clear biblical arguments I have presented disappear. William’s article is a well written defense of his perspective, no doubt, but will he engage me over the passages in dispute?

For instance, can he demonstrate that the Israelite audience of Jesus in John 6 were incapable of coming to Him while he was “down from heaven” because of an innate disability imputed to all humanity as a natural consequence of Adam’s sin, rather than a calloused condition of Israel due to their own libertarianly free choices (which God is judicially giving them over to, so as to accomplish a greater redemptive purpose; Acts 28:27-28; John 12:39-41; Mark 4:11-13; Rom. 11)?

An analogy for consideration:

I’ve said before, the gospel is to the Holy Spirit what the hammer is to the carpenter. Every analogy falls short, but the only point of this one is to reveal that the Holy Spirit (the carpenter) uses a tool (the Gospel) to enable a response (drive the nail). Whereas, the classical Arminian position insists that the carpenter (the Holy Spirit) must secretly put some mysterious oil on the nail (prevenient grace) that supposedly enables it to be driven into wood  while still maintaining that the carpenter (the Holy Spirit) used the hammer (the Gospel) to drive the nail (enable a response).  This presupposes the nail NEEDED the oil in order to be driven by the hammer and creates confusion as to the sufficient power of the carpenter’s hammer (the Gospel).

Now, if the “Authoritative Carpenter’s Manual” clearly indicates that nails cannot be driven by the hammer apart from the application of oil, then by all means, I would concede this point. But if the manual never even mentions anything about oil at all, but over and over again points the hammer as the sole means of power and sufficiency for driving nails, then why add the additional oily means? (Of course I understand that William, and other scholars, do interpret certain texts to mean that the “oil is necessary” whereas I simply do not see it.)

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Robert Vaughn

When “no man” in John 6:44 becomes “only the men I think it means” that begins to sound like the kind of interpretation that says “the world” God loves only means the world of God’s elect. When we get to verse 51 in John 6, does “any man” really mean any man, if no man doesn’t mean no man?

    Robert

    Robert V,
    Glad to see you bring up John 6:44. Jesus states what in logic is called a universal negative (i.e. no one, without exceptions). Jesus says “No one is able to come to me unless they are drawn”. This has to be one of the most clear presentations of “inability” (that a sinner cannot come to Christ on their own unless God works in them) in scripture. A sinner cannot come to Christ unless drawn (if they are not drawn they cannot come). I and many others take this drawing to be the work of the Spirit who leads a sinner to Christ by convicting them of sin (Jn. 16:8, revealing Jesus to them (cf. 1 Cor. 12:3), etc.. So you have a clear statement that NO ONE CAN COME unless drawn. Calvinists and non-calvinists disagree as to how many are “drawn” with calivinists limiting this only to the preselected elect and non-Calvinists seeing this drawing as including some who are drawn but do not become believers because they reject the grace of God given them.

      Don Johnson

      Robert,

      I’ve been through this quite extensively with rhutchin a while back and probably need to go through it again. Namely, John 6:44 was only applicable in the time of Christ’s ministry while here on earth. The people drawn to Christ by the Father were already believers in God (Father). Once Christ was crucified the Father stopped drawing His believers to Christ. Now Christ, not the Father draws all to Himself (John 12:32).

        Robert Vaughn

        Don, you are probably addressing the other Robert [that gets confusing to me and I think he need to change his name ;-) ], but you write that you’ve “been through this [John 6:44] quite extensively with rhutchin” and “probably need to go through it again.” Could you point to where this discussion is? I would like to read the discussion, and if it is readily available you might not have to go through it again. I read Leighton’s “The Messianic Secret” and what he wrote briefly above and didn’t find it compelling. In fact, my instinct is to draw back in disbelief when John 6:26-71 is summarily removed from today’s soteriological discussion. Even though I know there are some things in the Gospels that don’t apply today, Jesus’s statements to these Jews seem pretty “universal” to me.

        “For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.”
        “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”
        “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
        “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life.”
        “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
        “Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Robert Vaughn

Leighton, you write, “Our point of contention is over the means by which the Spirit brings conviction to sinners.” Until recent years, I have considered a view that limits the work of the Holy Spirit in conversion to the words of the preaching of the gospel to be a “Campbellite” doctrine. This was a chief bone of contention between Alexander Campbell and the Baptists of his day. J. B. Jeter, W. A. Jarrel and others wrote works that highlighted this problem of Campbell and his followers in this area of truth. For example, in Campbellism Re-examined, J. B. Jeter showed that Campbell taught “that all the converting power of the Holy Spirit is in the written word.” He also showed this to be at variance with the Baptist (and biblical) position, noting that it “constitutes the main difference between evangelical and rationalistic theology.” I don’t think you believe or promote the teachings of Campbell, yet when I read some of the things you say about the work of the Spirit I have a hard time differentiating between the two. Maybe this gets us back to “nuances”. What do you see as different about your position on the work of the Spirit in conversion and that of Campbell, and how would you explain the difference? Thanks.

    Robert

    Robert V,

    I really appreciate your post here because those such as Leighton Flowers who view themselves as “Traditionalists” most definitely want to make sure they are not teaching the errors of the “Campbellites”.

    “Until recent years, I have considered a view that limits the work of the Holy Spirit in conversion to the words of the preaching of the gospel to be a “Campbellite” doctrine.”

    People need to know history especially if a doctrine that is questionable or even false has been taught before.

    “This was a chief bone of contention between Alexander Campbell and the Baptists of his day. J. B. Jeter, W. A. Jarrel and others wrote works that highlighted this problem of Campbell and his followers in this area of truth. For example, in Campbellism Re-examined, J. B. Jeter showed that Campbell taught “that all the converting power of the Holy Spirit is in the written word.””

    Hmm this belief of Campbell “that all the converting power of the Holy Spirit is in the written word” unfortunately sounds just like the position that Leighton Flowers and Phillip are promoting.

    “He also showed this to be at variance with the Baptist (and biblical) position, noting that it “constitutes the main difference between evangelical and rationalistic theology.””

    It would be interesting to see what the Baptists of his day were saying against the Campbellite errors as those exact same things would apply to these same errors being made today. It also seems that these Baptists (“J. B. Jeter, W. A. Jarrel and others”) represent what Baptists ought to believe and what Traditionalists ought to believe as well.

    “I don’t think you believe or promote the teachings of Campbell, yet when I read some of the things you say about the work of the Spirit I have a hard time differentiating between the two.”

    He may unwittingly be promoting these Campbellite errors. That is why again folks should see what Campbell was saying and what these Baptists were saying against Campbell’s errors.

    “Maybe this gets us back to “nuances”. What do you see as different about your position on the work of the Spirit in conversion and that of Campbell, and how would you explain the difference?”

    Great and fair question Robert V.

    I see real problems with what Leighton and Phillip and others are suggesting, what I failed to do was connect it with Campbell. People need to really study this history, as Traditionalists can and should differentiate themselves from Calvinists, but they should not be repeating the errors made by the Campbellites.

      Robert Vaughn

      Robert: “It would be interesting to see what the Baptists of his day were saying against the Campbellite errors as those exact same things would apply to these same errors being made today.”

      Robert, Campbellism Examined by Jeter and The Gospel in Water, or,Campbellism by Jarrel are both available at Archive.org (if done right, those titles should appear as “hot links”). I think it is incumbent upon those whose statements sound like “Campbellism” to distinguish why they are not and where they are different. I have no doubt that Leighton does not intend to teach Campbellism either directly or indirectly, but I myself do get confused when trying to sort out the difference in what is being said.

Chris Johnson

Leighton: I do really enjoy these exercises… because it makes me go back to the scripture to dig and find the nexus of these arguments. I appreciate your work my friend. While we disagree on the point that the Holy Spirit sits idle (I believe He is fully involved), the condition of the gospel is an interesting point. What was hidden from those that should have recognized the power in the law? Nothing of substantive was hidden… because faith has always remained the same. The NT makes that very clear, along with the prophets, etc., that the power was never the law, but something else. Jesus told Nicodemus….”you should have known”.

The continuum of Christ being sent at the right time is no secret (Hebrews), and His function is no secret (Prophets…although somewhat hidden relative to the working of Jesus’ impending death, burial and resurrection at the time… as you point out). The work of the gospel was just not comprehended without the work of the Holy Spirit from before Jesus, and now…after his ascension. Its no different today than it was then…yet God has been gracious to continue to expose his plan over time. We are a very blessed bride! Certainly we see more of the tapestry, yet the tapestry has been being exposed for many thousands of years.

“While this point could be conceded by simply appealing to the “common grace” referenced earlier, I believe the “granting” here is in reference to the sending of the Gospel first to the Jew and then to the Gentile. By sending the means of faith (the Gospel), God is “granting” each one (first the Jew and then the Gentile) the means by which they too may believe in Christ and subsequently suffer for Him as they continue to walk in that faith.”

“Common grace” may not be the best title… I generally don’t argue about things like that. But, grace is no argument. And the work of the Holy Spirit since the beginning of time is no argument. I can easily say that…the “Authoritative Carpenters Manual” has always included oil (based upon your analogy). Psalm 89… David could not escape the anointing. A natural theme for all the children of God.

Leighton

Thanks for your words of encouragement Chris.

With respect, but when in the world did I ever argue the Holy Spirit remains idle? If then Holy Spirit were idle the gospel would cease to be carried and proclaimed. Dreams would stop. Circumstances that persuade, draw and help promote the spread of the gospel would cease.

You’ve not rightly understood my position if you think the Holy Spirits use of the hammer (without the additional oil) is somehow idleness.

Again, I have always affirmed that the Holy Spirit works through various means to draw and persuade the lost to come. I simply deny the concept of total inability and thus the need for the Holy Spirit to enable an otherwise incapacitated will. All of the means God employees to draw meant to himself are sufficient to accomplish that purpose. The use of one means does not negate the sufficiency of another.

For instance if I write you an email in order to persuade you to come work at my church and you turned me down, so I call you on the phone and persuade you to change your mind, does that mean the email was not sufficient? Of course not. You could have decided to come based upon what you read in the email. That was your decision. The fact that I used additional means to persuade you doesn’t mean that the first effort was insufficient. It simply means you made the “wrong” decision.

So too, if a person denies the preaching of the gospel, it is not because the gospel is insufficient, but because the hearer simply made a wrong decision. If the Holy Spirit uses other means to continue to persuade this individual does that imply the first means were insufficient? Of course not. It’s simply shows the heart of God in desiring to draw people to himself.

No one would understand the mystery of Christ had it not been for the inspiration of the holy apostles in bringing us the gospel. So we can all agree that no one would understand the truths of God apart from the Holy Spirit’s work. But the fact that the Holy Spirit continues to work through various means does not prove that the inspiration of the Holy Spirit through the gospel presentation is insufficient to lead the lost to repentance.

Hopefully that helps.

    Chris Johnson

    Leighton: I think I understand your position. And again, I truly appreciate you putting this out for folks to chew on. I am not suggesting that you intend to the leave the Holy Spirit idle, yet at some point it is necessary for that to happen because of your view on freedom/image (as explained in earlier posts). It appears to me that the scriptures have always represented God as the mover in bringing His own into eternity. I certainly can’t explain every little “why”,…but I do know it is for His glory. It is an encouragement to understand that “systems” tend to become an oversimplification of sorts and largely get in the way, and then God continues to work with us to clear up our misconceptions and focus our attention back on Him.

    It appears at this juncture, at least from the arguments I have seen presented, that your idea of “Traditionalism” is moreover a myopic view of a certain idea within the semi-pelagian viewpoint (please don’t take that as an accusation of supporting Pelagius, or trying to put words in your mouth); yet it does appear that you divorce an action of the Holy Spirit relative to salvation. I would simply argue that grace is always active, and that God (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) is in no way uncertain about the bride. God is simple bringing Her home in His own time, for His own glory. We, those that believe by faith (freely, relative to the gospel experienced in the OT and NT); confess our new Husband, are overjoyed and committed to His care and His return, and enthusiastically prepare, share His good news and rejoice with His bride, and through His power patiently wait for Him to take us home forever. I don’t doubt you have those same sentiments as well.

    Blessings,
    Chris

    phillip

    Leighton,

    “I simply deny the concept of total inability and thus the need for the Holy Spirit to enable an otherwise incapacitated will.”

    Precisely.

    In the case of the Samaritan woman, was her testimony sufficient? Yes, but others wanted to hear for themselves. When Jesus turned the water into wine, was the miracle sufficient? Yes, but others wanted more proof. As we continue thru the book of John the evidence and proof of Jesus’ earthly ministry continued to grow thru His spoken word (in the case of the Samaritans) and divine miracles (from turning the water into wine up to the resurrection of Lazarus) even to the point when the obstinate Pharisees proclaimed “Look, the world has gone after Him!”

    The proof and evidence was becoming undeniable. However, this proof and evidence was not overcoming man’s depravity (inability). This proof and evidence did not re-capacitate the will of man. Not a single word spoken or divine miracle provided during our Lord’s earthly ministry released these fallen, depraved people from the bondage of sin giving them the ability to believe.

    Fallen, depraved man never lost the ability to respond to God’s revelation of Himself. Thus, as Traditionalists, we have no problem affirming…

    “We deny that Adam’s sin resulted in the incapacitation of any person’s free will…”

    Blessings, brother.

      Robert

      Phillip,

      I saw that you quoted Leighton as saying:

      “I simply deny the concept of total inability and thus the need for the Holy Spirit to enable an otherwise incapacitated will.””

      And you responded:

      “Precisely.”

      Once again, while some Arminians may claim that the will is incapacitated by the fall, I and some others do not. The Holy Spirit does not need to enable us because our will is broken, incapacitated or nonexistent. No, the Spirit needs to enable us because on our own we cannot come to Christ. The Spirit has to convict us of sin, reveal Jesus to us, etc., thus enabling a faith response to the gospel.

      As I said in another post, the world system is being run by a con man when it comes to ideas and philosophies and theologies. The con man is Satan and he cons every non-believer seeking to keep them away from the true Jesus and the true gospel. As 2 Cor. 4:4 puts it, he blinds people to the gospel so they have a veil over their understanding. Fortunately the Spirit comes and unblinds people. If the Spirit does not unblind people, does not work in them they will not be able to have faith.

      This is not about having our wills restored it is about us knowing what we need to know in order to be saved. For us to know these things the Spirit has to reveal them to us.

      I really think Robert Vaughn may be onto something here. You and Leighton appear to be bringing back the Campbellite errors.

      Another thing you seem to completely miss Phillip is that during Jesus’ ministry on earth it was the Spirit who was doing the miracles to testify and reveal Jesus as the Jewish Messiah. That is also part of this preconversion work. In your next words that I will quote here you seem to completely leave out this fact, you speak of the miracles, BUT YOU LEAVE OUT THE HOLY SPIRIT WHO WAS DOING THESE THINGS to lead people to Christ:

      “In the case of the Samaritan woman, was her testimony sufficient? Yes, but others wanted to hear for themselves. When Jesus turned the water into wine, was the miracle sufficient? Yes, but others wanted more proof. As we continue thru the book of John the evidence and proof of Jesus’ earthly ministry continued to grow thru His spoken word (in the case of the Samaritans) and divine miracles (from turning the water into wine up to the resurrection of Lazarus) even to the point when the obstinate Pharisees proclaimed “Look, the world has gone after Him!”
      The proof and evidence was becoming undeniable. However, this proof and evidence was not overcoming man’s depravity (inability). This proof and evidence did not re-capacitate the will of man. Not a single word spoken or divine miracle provided during our Lord’s earthly ministry released these fallen, depraved people from the bondage of sin giving them the ability to believe.”

      Why no mention of the Spirit Phillip?

      And why did Jesus say sinning against him was forgivable but not sinning against the Spirit who was testifying about Jesus through these miracles?

      You repeat the claim that people needed to be released from the bondage to sin first before they can believe. But this confuses the biblical categories. In the Bible there are only two, those who are unbelievers/characterized as “slaves to sin”, and those who are believers/characterized as “free from the power of sin”. According to what you say here Phillip a person is first freed from the power of sin, THEN they choose to believe (but that would mean a nonbeliever becomes a believer first and then they can believe, that makes no sense).

      [[“Fallen, depraved man never lost the ability to respond to God’s revelation of Himself. Thus, as Traditionalists, we have no problem affirming…
      “We deny that Adam’s sin resulted in the incapacitation of any person’s free will…””]]

      Fallen man never lost the capacity to respond to God: unfortunately this capacity is covered by deception from the god of this world and also covered by sin and its deceitfulness. Nonbelievers are not neutral persons who can objectively consider the gospel. They are rebellious sinners who are deceived about Jesus, the gospel, their spiritual condition, etc. etc. Unless this deception is dealt with, unless the veil of the gospel caused by the devil is dealt with, people are unable to believe.

    Chris Johnson

    Leighton and Philip: It appears you are fairly rigid on the premise that man’s “freedom” has not been diminished by the sin, and subsequent separation deemed upon Adam. I would just have to say that the view you hold is not newer than some previous attempts at the same. Although Pelagius was not to the same extent…the semi workings of his main premise is still what I hear you protecting.

    Cassian, even as we have heard here, did not deny original sin and its effects upon the human soul and will (to whatever extent), but he taught that God and man cooperate to achieve man’s salvation. This cooperation is not by “human effort” as in keeping the law but rather in the ability of a person to make a “free will” choice based upon some recognition of a contingency..i.e. (The Word of God, gospel, etc.) The system was found to be aberrant to scripture. The contingency is not the problem.

    Surely Adam or Eve would have convinced the Lord of their error, and been allowed to stay in the garden. It appears that they saw the error of their way, recognized their new exposure, but for some reason could not convince God that his plan to remove them from the garden was not in their best interest. In other words, this “freedom” that they had didn’t mean much, even in the presence of the only God they were speaking with in the garden, since it is obvious that they did realize that the serpent had deceived them. Maybe they didn’t believe properly at the moment. We don’t have any additional evidence of pleading or wanting to go….but none the less, God thought it proper that he, Eve, and everything else be outside the garden.

    What we do have though is a lot of evidence from the prophets and the NT on the human condition. “you shall surely die” is mysterious thing for a lot of folks. But, Genesis, Ephesians 2, Psalm 51, Romans 5, Romans 3, Romans 6 & 7 are very obvious testaments and help us find that meaning.

    After the fall….Adam certainly could speak, think, see, feel, and respond. It just didn’t do any good. We are in that same condition today even as we try and parse the work of God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).

    Robert

    Leighton,

    I think your response to Chris indicates some of the problems with your view Leighton.

    “With respect, but when in the world did I ever argue the Holy Spirit remains idle?”

    Why is this question even being asked unless your words are somehow minimizing, or mitigating or eliminating reference to the work of the Spirit. When I speak on this subject I am very clear and no one would ever say that my view suggests that the Spirit remains idle. So why do your words seem to suggest this? You really need to ask yourself this question Leighton.

    “If then Holy Spirit were idle the gospel would cease to be carried and proclaimed. Dreams would stop. Circumstances that persuade, draw and help promote the spread of the gospel would cease.”

    Well it is nice that you affirm these things, these are all things that I affirm and have been affirming, so why would Chris or others think you are speaking as if the Spirit is “idle”?

    “You’ve not rightly understood my position if you think the Holy Spirits use of the hammer (without the additional oil) is somehow idleness.”

    As already discussed your analogy has some real problems, check out what I showed on this.

    “Again, I have always affirmed that the Holy Spirit works through various means to draw and persuade the lost to come.”

    Ok, and if the Spirit did not do these things, would a person be able to come to Christ on their own? Could a sinner place his trust in Christ without the preconversion work of the Spirit?

    “I simply deny the concept of total inability and thus the need for the Holy Spirit to enable an otherwise incapacitated will.”

    OK so you are uncomfortable with the term “total inability”, do you grant there is some form of inability present with the sinner before the Spirit works on them? The Spirit’s work **is** enabling a faith response isn’t He? Or are we perfectly able to believe without the Spirit’s work?

    “For instance if I write you an email in order to persuade you to come work at my church and you turned me down, so I call you on the phone and persuade you to change your mind, does that mean the email was not sufficient? Of course not. You could have decided to come based upon what you read in the email. That was your decision. The fact that I used additional means to persuade you doesn’t mean that the first effort was insufficient. It simply means you made the “wrong” decision.”

    Staying with your analogy here, isn’t all the different things you do here, analogous to the Spirit’s work? Ok, what if you didn’t do any thing, no email, no phone call, would the person be able to reject your offer? No, in fact he would not even know about it. Similarly if the Spirit does not work in the sinner at all, then there is no way they are going to come to Christ.

    “If the Holy Spirit uses other means to continue to persuade this individual does that imply the first means were insufficient? Of course not.”

    Leighton I think you are confusing sufficiency of the Spirit’s work (which was never being questioned by anyone here) with the necessity of the Spirit’s work. Of course what He does is sufficient to enable a faith response. But we are not talking sufficiency we are talking necessity ( Not – is His work sufficient? But is His work necessary for a person to come to Christ?).

    “No one would understand the mystery of Christ had it not been for the inspiration of the holy apostles in bringing us the gospel. So we can all agree that no one would understand the truths of God apart from the Holy Spirit’s work.”

    And here it is Leighton, no one would understand the truths of God apart from the Holy Spirit’s work you rightly fully claim: so is the Spirit’s work necessary for a sinner to be enabled to trust in Christ? If it is necessary, then the person is UNABLE TO BELIEVE unless they experience the Spirit’s work. You may reject “total inability”, but you have to affirm some form of inability, specifically a sinner is unable to believer unless the Spirit works in them. No work by the Spirit = no ability to believe the gospel.

    “But the fact that the Holy Spirit continues to work through various means does not prove that the inspiration of the Holy Spirit through the gospel presentation is insufficient to lead the lost to repentance.”

    Again you are talking about sufficiency of the Spirit’s work. We all grant that the work of the Spirit is sufficient. But is it necessary? If it is necessary then it has to happen for a person to be able to believe the gospel.

Robert

Leighton,

I addressed your analogy over at your blog and will do it again here. You shared what in my thinking is a very misguided and awful analogy. Allow me to explain.

Prevenient grace is the term that I and others use for the preconversion work of the Holy Spirt that enables a person to have a faith response to the gospel. This preconversion work of the Spirit include personal experiences such as: being convicted of one’s sin so that one recognizes one’s sinful condition before God, revealing who Jesus is to a person, revealing that the way of salvation is through faith in Christ, giving understanding of scripture, showing a person that Jesus is who He claimed to be, giving miracles to show that Jesus is the Messiah, giving dreams and visions to people, etc. etc. etc. after experiencing these workings of the Spirit the person is then enabled to choose to trust in Jesus to be saved. If the person does not experience these workings by the Spirit they will not be able to believe.

So note in my understanding there is NOT some mysterious thing IN ADDITION TO the ***preconversion work of the Spirit*** that **is** prevenient grace: rather, this preconversion work of the Spirit **is** the prevenient grace that God gives us to enable us to have faith and become believers. With these things in mind look at your analogy.

“An analogy for consideration:
I’ve said before, the gospel is to the Holy Spirit what the hammer is to the carpenter. Every analogy falls short, but the only point of this one is to reveal that the Holy Spirit (the carpenter) uses a tool (the Gospel) to enable a response (drive the nail).”

Ok, make sure I get this straight, so the gospel = the tool the Spirit uses, the hammer.

The Spirit = the carpenter.

The carpenter/Sprit uses the hammer/gospel to enable a faith response.

Well Leighton this use of the hammer by the Carpenter, is the Carpenter working?

And that working by the carpenter, that effort by the Carpenter, THAT is prevenient grace.

THAT is the preconversion work of the Spirit.

If the Carpenter/Spirit does not work, that hammer will not drive in the nail will he?

The nail cannot be driven in unless the Carpenter works, correct?

Next you completely get confused about PG when you say:

“Whereas, the classical Arminian position insists that the carpenter (the Holy Spirit) must secretly put some mysterious oil on the nail (prevenient grace) that supposedly enables it to be driven into wood while still maintaining that the carpenter (the Holy Spirit) used the hammer (the Gospel) to drive the nail (enable a response). This presupposes the nail NEEDED the oil in order to be driven by the hammer and creates confusion as to the sufficient power of the carpenter’s hammer (the Gospel).”

So according to you, Leighton, the three elements of the Arminian understanding of PG are:

(1) The Holy Spirit, (2) the gospel, and (3) prevenient grace
.
Do you see why this is wrong Leighton?

If, as I, and others maintain,
PG = the work of the Spirit, then instead of this misrepresentation of the Arminian position that you present (involving three elements). There are ****not three elements****, there are ONLY two (1) The Holy Spirit (his preconversion work being called or designated as “prevenient grace”) and (2) the gospel. Put another way, if the work of the Spirit ***Is*** Prevenient grace, then there is not (1) The Holy Spirit, (2) the gospel and (3) Prevenient grace, rather (1) is the Holy Spirit and His work, there is no additional element!

Robert

Leighton,

You continue:

“Now, if the “Authoritative Carpenter’s Manual” clearly indicates that nails cannot be driven by the hammer apart from the application of oil, then by all means, I would concede this point. But if the manual never even mentions anything about oil at all, but over and over again points the hammer as the sole means of power and sufficiency for driving nails, then why add the additional oily means?”

The authoritative Carpenter’s Manual is the Bible in this analogy. And you are correct it does not speak of something additional to the work of the Spirit as occurring when a person is converted. But it does not have to as the preconversion work of the Spirit ***is*** what we call “prevenient grace”. All these things the Spirit does before a person is saved, which I mentioned above, which occur in scripture (e.g. convicting people of their sin, revealing Jesus to a person, etc.) ****ARE**** explicitly mentioned in the “authoritative Carpenter’s Manual”. Leighton you unintentionally mispresent what Arminians believe.

It is not THE SPIRIT + prevenient grace = enabling a faith response to the gospel.

It is THE WORK OF THE SPIRIT/WHICH ***IS*** “prevenient grace” that enables a faith response to the gospel.

If you believe that the Spirit must work in a person before they are saved to enable them to have faith, then you believe in prevenient grace whether you like to call it that or not.

Now for a more fitting analogy of prevenient grace/the preconversion work of the Spirit, from a friend of mine:

“It is like the difference between me giving someone a message to pass on to you, and me coming to your house and sitting down with you and discussing my message with you. In one instance, I am not actively and personally conversing with you , and in the other I am.”

Leighton your position appears to be like the first giving of the message (“me giving someone a message to pass on to you”). You claim that the gospel alone, given to a sinner enables them to have faith.

But consider the second way of giving the message (“me coming to your house and sitting down with you and discussing my message with you”). The second is much more personal. And that is just it, the preconversion work of the Spirit is very personal and He works in individuals to enable them to have faith: “he comes to your house and sits down with you and discusses the Word with you”.

It is this action of Him coming to an individual and working on them individually, speaking to them personally, that is the preconversion work of the Spirit that enables a faith response. There is nothing in addition to the work of the Spirit that is prevenient grace, rather, it IS the WORKING OF THE SPIRIT that is prevenient grace. There are not three elements with prevenient grace being something in addition to the work of the Spirit: it is the work of the Spirit that we call prevenient grace.

If I equate the preconversion work of the Spirit with prevenient grace (and I do, as do others, and I have made myself clear on this here multiple times), and you come along with this awful analogy where the work of the Spirit is not prevenient grace, but prevenient grace is something additional to the work of the Spirit, then can you understand why I see your analogy as completely misrepresenting my view?

You call prevenient grace “some mysterious oil” which is in addition to the work of the Spirit: that is not what I mean by PG. There is no “mysterious oil” in addition to the preconversion work of the Spirit: but it is this preconversion work of the Spirit which we call prevenient grace.

Returning to your analogy one last time:

That working by the Carpenter/Spirit is the prevenient grace that enables a faith response. If the Carpenter/Spirit does not work/if PG is not given, that nail will not be driven in, that hammer/the gospel won’t work!

Chris

I feel like your rallying cry should be “We are not Arminian or Calvinist. We are semi-Pelagian.” Especially since, being Arminian or Calvinist does not prevent you from being Baptist. And I am not making this suggestion with anger or derision. It just sounds like you are semi-Pelagian. If not, I’d like to understand the difference between you and semi-Pelagians.

    Rick Patrick

    This brief assessment differentiates between five soteriological views: Semipelagian, Traditionalist, Arminian, Amyraldist and Calvinist: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/C2P2DJK

      Chris

      Rick,

      Thank you for pointing out that helpful resource. That helps some. Do you feel like the Traditionalist view is closer to the Arminian or the semi-Palagian?

      Also, I have read some of your remarks on fairness and representation in the SBC. It seems like the Traditionalists have several heavily Traditionalist seminaries and the Calvinists have at least one heavily Calvinist seminary in Louisville. Why isn’t that fair?

        Rick Patrick

        Good questions!

        1. The Traditionalist position is not really closer to either the Arminian or the Semipelagian view, but lies right between the two, rejecting both the former’s “initiatory ability” and the latter’s “total inability” in favor of the view of “man’s responsibility” while still affirming total depravity. Of course, the Trad position solidly favors Perseverance of the Saints, so that would also signal a difference between many Arminians and Semipelagians. I believe what we have here are five distinct positions. Thus, trying to group them together under more general categories is not particularly helpful.

        2. I would say that Southwestern is solidly Traditionalist and Southern is solidly Calvinist. New Orleans leans Traditionalist and Southeastern and Midwestern lean Calvinist. I don’t know about Gateway. The question becomes: “If three-fifths of our seminaries are leaning Calvinistic today, does this or does this not reflect the views of our Southern Baptist members at large?” Is it true that 60% of the SBC membership in our churches are Calvinists? I don’t think so. I think our leaders are more Calvinistic than our followers. I think with regard to soteriology, and in other ways as well, our entities should look like our denomination and be more proportionally balanced. Moreover, the issue of fairness is not just a matter of our seminaries. Out of eleven SBC entities, the last four Presidential hires were Ezell, Moore, Allen and Platt. That’s pretty much a group panel for the next Gospel Coalition event—a very Calvinist / Amyraldist group with strong ties to Mohler and only one side of the convention. I think that’s rather unbalanced.

          Scott Shaver

          Rick:

          Although I think your delineation of “labels” , concern for balance, and your summary of the theological bent of the seminaries are all accurate, they’re also a bit irrelevant at this point.

          I say that because the cards (dynamics) for convention control have already been wrested from the historical Southern Baptist trajectory to a “Reformed” trajectory. That’s what happens when the “priesthood of the believer” is exchanged or tossed out the window for an authoritarian ecclesiastical model.

          You guys from the CR have successfully slashed your own throats. Just took a while to bleed out.

          Your concerns are translated as victories by the Calvinist horde. Let’s face it. The SBC is no longer “Southern Baptist”.
          Heck, Russell More et al have as much as stated that those who share not their views are neither “Christian” nor “conservative”.

          The quicker this morphed entity dies the death, the better.

          Chris

          Rick,

          Thank you for engaging with my questions.

          “Is it true that 60% of the SBC membership in our churches are Calvinists? I don’t think so. I think our leaders are more Calvinistic than our followers. I think with regard to soteriology, and in other ways as well, our entities should look like our denomination and be more proportionally balanced.”

          I don’t have a problem at all with Presidential hires being Traditionalists. I expect it. However, if the four guys you mentioned, do well at their posts, then who cares if they are Calvinist or Traditionalist? I mean if Platt promotes missions and leads IMB well, who cares if he was Calvinist or Traditionalist?

          Also, I get that there are more non-Calvinists than Calvinists in the SBC. Many of them would not self-identify with any of our labels because they are unfamiliar with them or don’t care about this debate. However, every Southern Baptist church is to agree with the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. These Calvinists in leadership and at the seminaries all have ascribed to the BFM 2000. Why is that not enough? Isn’t your saying that’s not enough, adding another standard beyond the BFM 2000?

          Also, if at the next convention, every Southern Baptist delegate agreed with you and gave you everything you wanted…how would you implement that? Fire Mohler and Akin? Fire 80-90% of the professors at Southern and Southeastern to make way for the Traditionalists you’d like to hire?

            Rick Patrick

            1. Who cares as long as they do a good job?
            Well, that’s just it. They may not be doing a very good job at all. Calvinists tend to give these men high marks, while many Traditionalists disagree. But the reason it matters is that our leaders should represent the views and perspectives of our people. That’s not happening right now.

            2. Isn’t the BFM enough?
            Sure, it is enough for us to cooperate together. So let’s cooperate by getting Traditionalists and Calvinists in a room together and working out a fair and balanced strategy for making sure that all sides of the convention are proportionally represented among our leadership. The BFM casts a wide tent. Just because there is room for everybody does not mean that once we get inside the big tent, we can no longer advocate for our views to be institutionalized and find expression in the action plans, publishing, education and missions work of the convention. I am IN FAVOR of cooperation within the broad parameters of the BFM. Right now, in my opinion, we are NOT cooperating; rather, the Calvinists are leading and the Traditionalists are being told to be quiet and not say anything divisive as the convention becomes more Calvinistic.

            3. If you got what you want, would you fire people?
            No, the goal is not to rid the convention of Calvinists, but to proportionalize the leadership of the SBC with the membership it purports to lead. Presently, Calvinist leaders setting the agenda for Traditionalist followers has proven to be less than stable. There is disunity and division among us. There are concerns with many of our entities. Things are simply not going well in the SBC these days. I think we’re missing the involvement and wisdom and participation of many in our majority wing. To be clear and responsive, we can bring about greater balance over time and gradually through attrition, retirements and resignations without having to fire people. I don’t like to fire people, which is just one of my concerns with the approaches of both Ezell and Platt when they took over their respective boards.

              Chris

              1. “But the reason it matters is that our leaders should represent the views and perspectives of our people.”

              I would say that these leaders do in most respects.

              2. “So let’s cooperate by getting Traditionalists and Calvinists in a room together and working out a fair and balanced strategy for making sure that all sides of the convention are proportionally represented among our leadership. ”

              I think a fair and balanced strategy and working together make sense. I am just not sure that some sort of quota system is the answer though. “For every ten leaders (of whatever level), there must be 7 Traditionalists and 3 Calvinists.” I think Traditionalists and Calvinists are already working together but just not under a quota system.

              “Just because there is room for everybody does not mean that once we get inside the big tent, we can no longer advocate for our views to be institutionalized and find expression in the action plans, publishing, education and missions work of the convention. ”

              Isn’t almost every job that you are objecting a Calvinist taking a job that a Traditionalist (or something close) was already holding? Wouldn’t that mean you have been represented thoroughly throughout the institutions of the SBC? It’s a recent and almost novel thing for Calvinists to have this kind of representation in the SBC (other than at SBTS).

              “I am IN FAVOR of cooperation within the broad parameters of the BFM. Right now, in my opinion, we are NOT cooperating; rather, the Calvinists are leading and the Traditionalists are being told to be quiet and not say anything divisive as the convention becomes more Calvinistic.”

              Haven’t the last several SBC Presidents all been non-Calvinists? If people in the pews become more Calvinistic over time, will you support Calvinists having greater representation in SBC life?

              3. “There are concerns with many of our entities. Things are simply not going well in the SBC these days. I think we’re missing the involvement and wisdom and participation of many in our majority wing.”

              Haven’t many of the problems that the SBC is facing been brewing for a long time (IMB)? Don’t many of the problems predate the Calvinist leaders? And if we are speaking proportionally, since Traditionalists have had greater numbers in churches and leadership, would they not bear proportionally more blame for the problems?

              “To be clear and responsive, we can bring about greater balance over time and gradually through attrition, retirements and resignations without having to fire people.”

              But you might as well fire the administration of the more Calvinist seminaries. How does your motion not put you in their place?

                Rick Patrick

                1. We must simply agree to disagree on this matter.

                2. Everybody describes my position as a quota. I just call it “leaders representing the followers.” If the SBC is 10% ethnic minority, nobody has a problem with a goal of electing 1 out of 10 trustees, entity presidents, etc. Not a harsh quota per se, but just a goal of getting more ethnic representation and moving closer to the ideal. Why is it suddenly a bad thing for our leaders to share the theological underpinnings of our people? And yes, historically, Traditionalists have been well represented among our entity leadership, authors, conference speakers, etc. Thus, historically, I had no problem with any unfairness, because it did not exist. My problem is with what you call the “recent and novel” unfairness of Calvinist Chiefs leading Traditionalist Indians, turning the convention more Calvinistic and using the money of the Indians to fund the transition. Yes, the last several SBC Presidents have been non-Calvinist sympathizers with the Calvinist agenda, but they have not been willing to work on behalf of Traditionalists to bring about greater balance and representation in the convention at large. And yes, in the hypothetical situation in which the the people in our pews became more Calvinistic, then I would certainly agree they deserve more representation. The principle is inviolate regardless of one’s denominational wing—our leadership should embrace proportionally the theology of our membership.

                3. The Calvinist Agenda started ten years ago. The IMB debacle started six years ago. But your point is well taken that SOME of our problems predate the Calvinist Movement. However, a great many of the problems have come about in just the past six years as the GCR has been implemented and as the four Calvinistic entity heads have been installed. As for Traditionalists having greater numbers in our churches, and the notion that they should thus bear proportionally more blame for the problems, I am not sure you understand the problem as I see it. A poster in Columbus advertised FIVE keynote speakers for a NAMB event—ALL FIVE were Calvinists. One was not even a Southern Baptist. There were no Traditionalists at all. This cannot be misconstrued in any way as an oversight on the part of Traditionalists. As strange as it may sound, the majority wing of the SBC is being discriminated against by the minority wing. It is NOT the majority’s fault, except perhaps for being too gentle and too late in responding to this unfairness. Your last two sentences make no sense to me. I just said we would not be firing people, but allowing a natural and gradual process of correcting the imbalance. So when you say that I “might as well fire the administration” you are putting words in my mouth and then arguing with me for doing something I did not say that I wanted to do. It is true, however, that my motion might take a 100% Calvinist faculty at Southern and move for it to gradually transition to 60% Trad and 40% Cal over a period of time. NOBTS might be more like 70/30 and SWBTS might be more like 80/20. The goal would be to get the entire seminary system representative of Southern Baptists as a whole. That way no Trad would be forced to pay for the Presbyterianizing of the SBC.

                  Les

                  Rick, just a little fun here. “That way no Trad would be forced to pay for the Presbyterianizing of the SBC.”

                  Now wait just a minute. That ain’t happening. Just read yourself to sleep with the PCA Book of Church Order. The SBC is not in the same universe as Presbyterians, save some aspects of soteriology. :)

                    Rick Patrick

                    Les,

                    By my statement, I meant the following: (a) regarding salvation doctrine, many of our churches are moving toward classic five point Presbyterian Calvinism, (b) regarding church polity, many of our churches are moving toward classic Presbyterian Elder Rule governance, and (c) regarding the ordinance of baptism, many of our churches are now permitting as full members candidates who have merely been aspersed and not immersed.

                    Granted, we are not afflicted with the Book of Order…yet. But doctrinally, we are inching ever closer to you guys. No offense, but some of us actually like it right where we are and do not desire to move.

                  Les

                  Rick, I understand. No offense taken. If you wanted to be Presbyterian, you would. Just having a light hearted moment.

                  Have a good evening.

                  Chris

                  Rick,

                  We are clearly going to disagree but I appreciate your thoughtful engagement. I hope Southern remains as it is with its many great professors.

                  My last two sentences reflected the idea that Mohler would not want to hire according to your standard so you’d have to overrule him. His current authority over hiring at Southern would be replaced by your authority to hire who you want.

                  Presbyterianizing in only good ways :) Biblical elders and biblical deacons instead of one biblical elder and less biblical deacons.

Lydia

just sounds like you are semi-Pelagian. If not, I’d like to understand the difference between you “and semi-Pelagians.”

Using what source material? His detractors like Augustine?

    Chris

    Using the discussion or two that I’ve read on semi-Pelagianism. And Augustine.

    Are you saying that semi-Pelagianism should mean something else? Or that you’d recommend another source?

      Lydia

      “Using the discussion or two that I’ve read on semi-Pelagianism. And Augustine.

      Are you saying that semi-Pelagianism should mean something else? Or that you’d recommend another source?”

      My point all along is there is not enough first person source material to use him as an insult or deem him a heretic. Those using him as an insult do so from the position of guys like Augustine being the credible source. Don’t mistake quantity for quality when it comes to Augustine.

      There is a lot of bandwagon jumping in these movements. It is almost as if Reformed history needed an earlier enemy and the obscure Pelagius fit that bill. (Kind of embarrassing that Augustine is the father of the Catholic Church, too :o)

      It seems most of his writing was destroyed by the authorities of the time. There is a commentary on Romans recently translated that might be interesting but it is way over priced. I would want to trace the history of it all only recently being translated to English, though. (recently in the sense of history)

      So, if you want to use him as an insult wouldn’t it be more honest to quote from his own writings? Not what Augustine or even Jerome said about his views in the trials?

        Chris

        Lydia,

        I’d say there’s enough material to say he is a heretic. But I don’t have quite the same bias against Augustine as you do (though I certainly don’t agree with everything he thought). That’s okay. We can disagree about that.

        “So, if you want to use him as an insult…”

        I am not using Pelagius as an insult or the term “semi-Pelagian” as an insult. I really think the Traditionalists are semi-Pelagian. But I am not throwing a rock when I say that. I am trying to describe what I think I see. I could very well be wrong, and Rick is trying to give me reasons to think so.

          Lydia

          Chris, ooookaaay. So you think there is enough material to declare Pelagius a heretic but at the same time….in your view…. it is NOT an insult when you use it to describe some one’s beliefs. Gotta love the Calvin logic. Calvin probably told Servetus he loved him right before he ordered the green wood. Sigh.

            Chris

            Lydia,

            I did not call anyone a Pelagian. I said semi-Pelagian. I have not said semi-Pelagians are heretics.

            Now, I think there’s an article on here somewhere about Calvinism being a form of spiritual racism…compared to that, being called a heretic would not be so bad.

              Lydia

              Chris, semi heretic, then. Got it. :o)

                Andrew Barker

                Lydia: Chris obviously missed my post where I showed Les that he was more in agreement with Pelagius than me! Mind you it was the infant baptism where he out scored me! Teaching baptism by immersion is indoctrination mind, according to Les. But I can’t remember if he sides with Augustine on the bit where infant baptism cleanses them from original sin.

                So there really is no hope for any of us. We’re all heretics now. Will a slice of covenant theology help? Oh dear :-(

                Chris

                Lydia,

                I didn’t say that either. Why isn’t what I actually said enough? You don’t need to add to it. I think Traditionalists seem semi-Pelagian. No rocks, no heresy, no semi-heresy…just an imperfect understanding from reading Traditionalists.

Lydia

Chris, we have been down this road before. There isn’t much direct from the quill of Pelagius to use him as a serious source, IMO. Most of his stuff seems to have been destroyed by his detractors. What that tells me is that some people give a lot of credibility in doctrinal matters to guys like Augustine. I am amused to some extent as Augustine is the father of the Catholic Church and brought Greek Pagan dualism/ determinism into Christendom which is now totally accepted.

At some points, we tend accept things based on historical repetition or reputation. I think that is the case with Pelagius and Augustine. I think it is healthy to question why we accept the words of detractors especially since some of their behaviors are so “Unchristian” and teachings so unchristlike. This is how official Soviet history operated. Why would we do the same?

It is healthy to question although I know that is not an accepted thing in most Calvinist circles. Those circles are about indoctrination.

    Chris

    Lydia,

    I don’t think I’ve been down this road wit yout before. I get you want to take Augustine with a grain of salt as both Calvinsts and Catholics like him for different reasons. But he’s our best source, and we have no reason other than your not liking him or his doctrine to disbelieve him on Pelagius. I think this actually the way historians work. We accept them because we have no one else’s words.

    Indoctrination? You mean like “train up a child in the way he should go”? Every parent is trying to indoctrinate their children. Every church her people. They just usually call it teaching. Teaching is what we do…indoctrination is what they do. ;)

      Lydia

      “Indoctrination? You mean like “train up a child in the way he should go”? Every parent is trying to indoctrinate their children. Every church her people. They just usually call it teaching. Teaching is what we do…indoctrination is what they do. ;)”

      Chris, just a thought. I would be shocked to find Calvinist parents who teach their kids that they do not have the ability to know right from wrong.

Andrew Barker

Lydia: If you look at some of the reasons given for Pelagius being branded a heretic, most Baptists would find themselves standing more with Pelagius than with Augustine/Jerome. That’s the really bizarre thing in all this. People have stopped thinking and have gone on reputation and so called ‘authority’ rather than the facts. The prime example is in infant Baptism. Augustine was all for it and believed that unless an infant was baptised they were not cleansed from the guilt of original sin. Pelagius on the other hand rejected this, although he may have accepted infant baptism on other grounds. It’s not totally clear. The main point is, how many Baptists would go along with infant baptism for the forgiveness of original sin. Answer: you could write their names on a postage stamp I guess!

Lydia

“That’s the really bizarre thing in all this. People have stopped thinking and have gone on reputation and so called ‘authority’ rather than the facts. The prime example is in infant Baptism. Augustine was all for it and believed that unless an infant was baptised they were not cleansed from the guilt of original sin. Pelagius on the other hand rejected this, although he may have accepted infant baptism on other grounds. It’s not totally clear. The main point is, how many Baptists would go along with infant baptism for the forgiveness of original sin. Answer: you could write their names on a postage stamp I guess!”

Andrew, you have articulated it better than I ever could! This is exactly right! Yes, we have a whole generation who will believe something as a fact because some aurhority they admire claims it so. They are that indoctrinated and don’t even know it.

We do not even know if Pelagius accepted infant baptism on other grounds after being imprisoned or banished. He had to be able to live some where and we don’t know much but his detractors bragged about him recanting on some things. I have not been tortured or imprisoned for disagreement (cause it’s illegal?) but I have been shunned, marginalized at my long time church after the little YRR boys took over. That is bad enough but I cannot imagine the horror of being tortured for dissent unless you recant.

These people never take into consideration other hateful practices of their “Christian” historical heroes. Augustine was another thug who thought it more “Christian” to send the mother of his son away than marry her. She never saw her son again. He claimed to love her but she was from the wrong side of the tracks. He also wanted to wipe out the Donatists for refusing to take sacraments from corrupt priests. He said they were not allowed such independent thinking. Augustine was more Greek Pagan than Christian.

So why are their admired sources such authoritarian thugs? Because they like and admire such?

    Jon Estes

    Lydia – “…we have a whole generation who will believe something as a fact because some aurhority they admire claims it so. They are that indoctrinated and don’t even know it.”

    Are you implying that those who differ from you have not searched the scripture and come to their conclusions on their own, even if some authority in their lives spoke of it at sometime?

    I am going to imagine that even you began your search and maybe even arrived at your conclusion because some authority along the way spoke on it and you agreed even searching deeper on the subject after the influence.. I cannot imagine that you came to all the conclusions you have on these different positions on your own by your own personal study with no influence of someone else (authority or not). If I am wrong, please let me know.

    If you have been influenced, does that make yoone who has been indoctrinated. If you are speking of some who did not study on their own, can you tell me who they are? The reformed thinkers I know are diligent in their study of God’s word and use other sources in the proicess like traditionalists do.

      Andrew Barker

      Jon Estes: You stated: “If you have been influenced, does that make yoone who has been indoctrinated.” Well according to Chris, yes it does. Which is precisely the reason both Lydia and I have commented against this very idea. There is a difference between educating somebody in the truth and simply teaching somebody ‘the truth’. You can usually tell by the way people respond. It’s either a well thought out comment which shows some personal input or regurgitated copy & paste which simply follows the party line. Of course indoctrination is not the sole premise of those who hold to Reformed theology, but it does seem to attract those who by nature are of a rather authoritarian disposition. Hence you end up with a system where leaders ‘teach’ and pew sitters ‘listen’ and there is very little in the way of active discussion going on. I speak with some experience having suffered for about 18 months in a Reformed Evangelical fellowship. Never again!

        Jon Estes

        Andrew – It was Lydia who stated… “…we have a whole generation who will believe something as a fact because some aurhority they admire claims it so. They are that indoctrinated and don’t even know it.”

        My point was, and I think you know this but chose to address it oddly, that wqe all have had outside influences… you… Lydia… me. Yet, to imply that some are inddoctrtinated as a result of such influence and thatthey are not is a bit disingenuous. Me thinks one wants to win the war on ideas when it is all a symantic argument.

        “Of course indoctrination is not the sole premise of those who hold to Reformed theology, but it does seem to attract those who by nature are of a rather authoritarian disposition.”

        Sorta like the Traditionalist (you included) on this forum who strut their Traditionalis authority as if they corner the market on theology.

        “Hence you end up with a system where leaders ‘teach’ and pew sitters ‘listen’ and there is very little in the way of active discussion going on.”

        I think this is not a reformed area where correction is needed but just as equal a Traditionalist. The Traditionalist Adrian Rogers would be a good example of speaking pulpits and listening pews. I actually think Rogers had it going well and demonstrated it is his walk with the Lord. I also think he welcomed others like Mohler into the arena of leadership. Also demonstrated by his walk. Something a lot of Traditionalist could learn from.

          Andrew Barker

          Jon Estes: Actually the remarks were in response to Chris’s comment stating that “Every parent is trying to indoctrinate their children. Every church her people. They just usually call it teaching. Teaching is what we do…indoctrination is what they do. ” Of course there is a distinction between teaching and indoctrination and I mentioned the fact that it was not the sole premise of the Reformed. But thank you for pointing out that Traditionalists can engage in this activity as well. I was blissfully unaware of this!

          I do understand that many Reformed pastors have diligently studied their Bibles and reference other sources when coming to a view on doctrine but that of itself does not mean they do not engage in indoctrination. Take for example something like unconditional election. The fact that the phrase does not occur in scripture should be warning enough but this concept is taught as fact by most Reformed pastors/teachers. It cannot be directly substantiated from scripture and has to be pieced together by taking inferences from various selected verses. Now this might be acceptable for some minor point of doctrine, but we are talking key doctrine here. In fact, Reformed theology practically stands or falls on this one piece of doctrine and yet there is no clear statement of it in scripture. Hence when it is taught as ‘truth’ it has to come under the label of indoctrination. If it was taught as a way of looking at election, that might be OK up to a point. But I suspect this is hardly ever, if ever, done in Reformed circles. It was not part of my experience in a Reformed evangelical fellowship that is for certain. Next time you touch on the subject, perhaps you could be open with your church members and point out that it’s a theological rather than a scriptural concept? Why not show them that we are elect in Christ at the point of salvation? Some of them will no doubt see the truth of that. Eph 1:13

          If church members are taught properly, they will be encouraged to check and question what they are hearing. This is not only good from an educational point of view, but there is a biblical principle involved as well. Any church which fails to do this, is likely to end up indoctrinating its members, whether or not that is the intended outcome.

      Lydia

      “I am going to imagine that even you began your search and maybe even arrived at your conclusion because some authority along the way spoke on it and you agreed even searching deeper on the subject after the influence”

      If I had agreed, it would mean I also believed, at age 19 in college, Mao and Fidel were really freedom fighters. o) A PhD, said so.

      “.. I cannot imagine that you came to all the conclusions you have on these different positions on your own by your own personal study with no influence of someone else (authority or not). If I am wrong, please let me know.”

      I was probably raised a lot differently than you were. Debate was a form of entertainment at our house. And you had better come with facts and reasoning or you were out until next time. My parents were big on learning to think for yourself, get good information, question a lot — including authorities, in a respectful manner. It was not considered wise to allow others to think for you and the goal was always wisdom. My parents believed we could know right from wrong, a position of heresy these days in many circles.

      All this probably sounds like rebellion to you but we were extremely close and our parents treated us with respect. One aspect of this was we were given full consequences for all behavior, good or bad, and that could mean parents are embarrassed, too. But it works if done early on. IOW, we paid early on for bad thinking/actions. I am often wrong –but I have to own it. That is key. ( There are manly men in the SBC who can’t do that about Mahaney)

      This sort of approach is more difficult today with social media but still worth the effort. Someday soon, my children are not going to be children but my best independent friends. Childhood is a preparation for that.

        Jon Estes

        “If I had agreed, it would mean I also believed, at age 19 in college, Mao and Fidel were really freedom fighters. o) A PhD, said so.”

        That really falls apart because we all have sat under people that did not influence us for one reason or another.

        “I was probably raised a lot differently than you were. Debate was a form of entertainment at our house. And you had better come with facts and reasoning or you were out until next time. My parents were big on learning to think for yourself, get good information, question a lot — including authorities, in a respectful manner. It was not considered wise to allow others to think for you and the goal was always wisdom. My parents believed we could know right from wrong, a position of heresy these days in many circles.

        I am sure you were raised somewhat differently but in the area of researching and thinking on our own was encouraged greatly. Debating the subjects of the day, whether political or biblical were often the conversation. Yes that right from wrong thing gets into most peoples arguments. Just about every Traditionlist here think the reformers are wrong. I wouldn’t consider them heritics though for thinking and approching reformed thinkers that way.

        “All this probably sounds like rebellion to you but we were extremely close and our parents treated us with respect.”

        Why would it sound like rebellion to me? Do you really think there was no respect towards others in our home (and beyond) and that we were not close? I think youneed to understand that just because someone is reformed intheir belief their homelife was not a greatplace. When yousay things like this, it does make me wonder how much research and understanding you have on the subject.

        “One aspect of this was we were given full consequences for all behavior, good or bad, and that could mean parents are embarrassed, too.”

        We differ here. My parents taught us the huge difference between good and bad vs. right and wrong. We were taught to approach life on a mindest of the latter. We grew to understand these two thoughts were not the same.

Lydia

“I think this actually the way historians work. We accept them because we have no one else’s words.”

Credible historians are not presenting the sources and information as a basis for belief in truths about God. Sheesh! Your lot does exactly this.

    Chris

    Lydia,

    I am not sure what you mean. I have not quoted a historical event to defend my theology. I have only used Scripture. I could quote a theologian, but people of every theological camp do that.

    But concerning Augustine and Pelagian: people are disagreeing with Pelagian’s heresy and agreeing with Augustine’s orthodoxy. But everyone does that. (I’m talking about their views on man’s ability not infant baptism)

      Lydia

      “I am not sure what you mean. I have not quoted a historical event to defend my theology. I have only used Scripture. I could quote a theologian, but people of every theological camp do that.”

      Chris, read your earlier words again:

      “But he’s (Augustine) our best source, and we have no reason other than your not liking him or his doctrine to disbelieve him on Pelagius. I think this actually the way historians work. We accept them because we have no one else’s words.”

      Serious, credible historians never leave out the historical context of quotes or events.

        Chris

        I don’t disagree with you.

Andrew Barker

Lydia: I also take exception to the suggestion that everyone ‘indoctrinates’ their own children. We certainly don’t and take great care to avoid it. In particular our experience has involved having to correct information coming from ‘Reformed’ sources which had been given in a totally doctrinaire fashion. Namely, the fact that although Calvin may have visited the sick in their homes, he was not a completely good egg! Most but not all of our children are “going on with the Lord” but we’ve treated them the same as far as we can and one has kicked over the traces a bit. She is still loved every bit as much as the others and we are hoping and trusting that she will find her way ‘home’. We do not enforce our beliefs on any of them, but we are clear about what we do believe. They all know that we believe God doesn’t choose anyway for salvation and that they are responsible for making their own choices regarding faith etc. Can’t say fairer than that!

Lydia

Andrew, Me thinks Chris is confused with teaching (with reasoning) and modeling vs indoctrination. Just in case anyone is confused, the word has evolved much like the word “heresy” evolved. Here is my usage:

Indoctrination: : to teach (someone) to fully accept the ideas, opinions, and beliefs of a particular group and to not consider other ideas, opinions, and beliefs. (Merriam Webster)

I told mine early on if their teachers at church are quoting gurus more than Jesus Christ, there is a problem. So first night with new youth pastor tween daughter texts me: mom, all he talks about is Piper.

Here is a perfect example of parental teaching/reasoning a friend of mine related to me. Her teen daughter bought a shirt with the iconic graphic of Che Guevara. The teen only knew the shirt was cool as was Che, supposedly. My friend, in passing, encouraged her to research Che. Her daughter did to her surprise and became disgusted. She ran across his famous quote about a woman’s place in the revolution. :o)

At some point we want our kids to learn for themselves. To ask questions and recognize red flags. To seek truth on their own with us as a safe launching pad. It is going to take a lot of wisdom to navigate this very unbrave new world.

And everyone knows most of the indoctrinated kids go wild at bible college. :o)

    Chris

    Lydia,

    My point is that all good parents (Calvinist & Traditionalist) are trying to train their kids in the way they should go. Sure, that may involved modeling and teaching their kids to think for themselves. However, what you are doing is saying, “When I do it, it’s teaching/training, when you do it, its indoctrination.” Indoctrination really means teaching someone else something I don’t like.

      Lydia

      “My point is that all good parents (Calvinist & Traditionalist) are trying to train their kids in the way they should go. Sure, that may involved modeling and teaching their kids to think for themselves. However, what you are doing is saying, “When I do it, it’s teaching/training, when you do it, its indoctrination.” Indoctrination really means teaching someone else something I don’t like.”

      Chris, maybe I wrongly assumed you were teaching them about the deterministic God of Calvin which does not fit here because they are unable. In that view, God has already determined them unable evil worms until their election (if chosen) is activated at some point. Have you told them they might not have been chosen by God before the world was formed? Perhaps you believe in covenant family salvation?

        Les

        “Chris, maybe I wrongly assumed you were teaching them about the deterministic God of Calvin…”

        Ya think maybe? Absolutely you have. That’s why assuming about others is dangerous, not that your being wrong yet again will deter you.

Andrew Barker

Chris: Your ‘point’ isn’t really much of a point at all. You’re suggesting that indoctrination doesn’t happen because all teaching can be viewed as ‘indoctrination’ therefore all teaching is indoctrination. I’m not sure where you’ve been indoctrinated into this way of ‘thinking’ but it doesn’t stack up. There is teaching and there is indoctrination and you’ve got to come up with a much better argument than the line that indoctrination is just when you happen to disagree with the teaching. Using your argument, you couldn’t argue against heresy because the heretics would simply turn round and say “you only disagree with us because you have been indoctrinated”. It works both ways! :-)

Chris

Andrew:

My point is a great one. :) But you’ve misunderstood my point. I do believe indoctrination happens, but you nor Lydia have shown that it happens among Calvinists anymore than it does among Traditionalists. The Calvinists I know are endeavoring to train up their children to know and love the Lord just like any other Christian parent would. So I could call what you do “indoctrination” just as readily as you could call Calvinist parenting “indoctrination” since your main reason for doing so is that you disagree and don’t like Calvinists.

I am sure you could find a bad example of Calvinist parents. There are bad examples of Traditionalist parents too. Sadly, there are no perfect parents, but there are many both (Calv/Trad) that love the Lord and are training their children to know and love the Lord.

And, maybe, the heretics would turn around and say I’ve been indoctrinated. Nothing prevents them from doing so with anyone no matter their view. However, I’d respond by asking them to look at Scripture as I am sure you would.

    Les

    Amen Chris.

    Andrew Barker

    Chris: I’m not sure if you think I’m slow on the uptake or something, but I certainly have not misunderstood the point you have tried to make, I just find it rather weakly made! What you actually said in response to Lydia was ….”Indoctrination? You mean like “train up a child in the way he should go”? Every parent is trying to indoctrinate their children. Every church her people. They just usually call it teaching. Teaching is what we do…indoctrination is what they do. ;)”. Of course the wink is there to give try and give yourself some wiggle room but it doesn’t really work. What you’re really saying is, yes we are indoctrinating our children and guess what, your doing the same! Hence the use of the wink. Well I have news for you. There are parents who don’t indoctrinate their children, period!

    Then you begin to argue that there are Calvinists who are “endeavoring to train up their children to know and love the Lord just like any other Christian parent would”. But wait a minute. How can this be? Are you suggesting that Calvinists endeavour to train the children as any other Christian parent would? Because most other Christian parents do not train their children in Calvinism! Surely Calvinists have to bring up their children in the hope that God has already elected them for salvation, otherwise their efforts will be entirely futile? Do not many of them buy into covenant theology of one description or another because of this? If you think this has no effect on the type of teaching Calvinists give their children, that is tantamount to saying that Calvinism is of no consequence.

    Apart from which, you are now starting to contradict your previous statement which was a blanket affirmation that “every parent is trying to indoctrinate their children”. So either you believe this, or your previous comment does not really mean anything much. Your argument that ” … I could call what you do “indoctrination” just as readily as you could call Calvinist parenting “indoctrination” since your main reason for doing so is that you disagree and don’t like Calvinists.” has not been made. You are equating teaching with indoctrination. The point I would make is that a simple presentation of the Gospel has no Calvinistic element in it AT ALL. When anybody accepts Christ it is the Gospel they are accepting, not Calvinism, even Calvinists will have to admit that. Don’t talk to me about all this “the gospel is Calvinism nonsense”. If that really were the case, then ALL Christians would be Calvinists wouldn’t they and they demonstrably are not! The truth is that even children of Calvinistic parents accept the Gospel as it is. They don’t buy into Calvinism at that point!

    Calvinists have to engage in indoctrination of all their children (and other converts) because by default, the Gospel does not include those bits of Calvinism which Calvinists seek to add on at a later date. If they included those bits of Calvinism like being elect, chosen etc when the Gospel was being presented, that would be different. But nobody does hence all Reformed and Calvinist teachers have to engage in indoctrination of one sort or another after the event. This should not be confused with teaching the deeper aspects of the faith, which takes time. What we’re talking about here are the fundamental beliefs which surround conversion and being born again.

    Just seen Lydia’s latest comment which is well made. Compatibilism for the pre-teens. At least then the adults might start to get a grip on it! ;-)

      Chris

      Andrew,

      Your point about Calvinists having to indoctrinate their children is false. We can teach our children the Bible, and it uses words like elect, chosen, foreknow, predestinate and so on. We can allow children to think critically. My parents did.

      I don’t understand where you are coming from. I can’t help imagining either Calvinists or Traditionalists parents doing something similar when they teach their children the Bible. Sure, they’ll disagree about some things but agree on much more.

      Les

      Chris, apparently there is misunderstanding out there (and here…Lydia and Andrew) about what Calvinists do. And really, what almost all Christians do in the way of teaching their children.

      As soon as you as a parent teach your children *anything* you are indoctrinating, bot not in the sense that Andrew and Lydia are thinking. They seem to think Calvinists don’t want their children to think at all. That’s preposterous. Here is the primary definition of indoctrinate per Webster,

      “to instruct especially in fundamentals or rudiments”

      So when a parent says to their children that “the bible says God loves everyone” as a Trad is likely to do, he or she is indoctrinating. Instructing. Another definition is, “to teach especially the ideas, opinions, or beliefs of a certain group.” In this case, a group called Christians. Well yes of course. A Baptist says to their child, if you confess your sins and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, you will be saved. Yep, indoctrinating.

      I’m not ashamed of the word indoctrinate, when not misunderstood or misapplied. I also really prefer catechize. We did that with our 5 children and it is done in our church and school.And it is a perfectly biblical word.

      Les

      Chris, apparently there is misunderstanding out there (and here…Lydia and Andrew) about what Calvinists do. And really, what almost all Christians do in the way of teaching their children.

      As soon as you as a parent teach your children *anything* you are indoctrinating, bot not in the sense that Andrew and Lydia are thinking. They seem to think Calvinists don’t want their children to think at all. That’s preposterous. Here is the primary definition of indoctrinate per Webster,

      “to instruct especially in fundamentals or rudiments” More…

        Andrew Barker

        Chris Les: You both seem hung up on ‘giving’ other people misunderstandings! Let me make it clear to you. There is no misunderstanding about what both of you are saying. There is however, a definite difference of opinion.

        Les

        Andrew, ok. Maybe you do not misunderstand. I think we agree that you and I (and perhaps Chris) do have different opinions. On almost everything. But when you say,

        “Of course indoctrination is not the sole premise of those who hold to Reformed theology, but it does seem to attract those who by nature are of a rather authoritarian disposition. Hence you end up with a system where leaders ‘teach’ and pew sitters ‘listen’ and there is very little in the way of active discussion going on. I speak with some experience having suffered for about 18 months in a Reformed Evangelical fellowship…”

        It seems to me to be a misunderstanding about Reformed churches and what and how we teach. You mention your experience. Was it just that one Reformed fellowship? 18 months? Or many more such experiences? If the one, you extrapolate from that?

        If you talk about teachers teaching and pew sitters listening, well yes of course. With sermons. But that is not the whole of the way most Reformed churches teach. I sometimes lead our 2x per month some group and I assure you there is much discussion. And not everyone in our church is Reformed.

        So that may be why I see misunderstanding, when you make such a statement.

        Les

        Seems if I type very much, the comment goes to moderation.

        Andrew, ok. Maybe you do not misunderstand. I think we agree that you and I (and perhaps Chris) do have different opinions. On almost everything. But when you say,

        “Of course indoctrination is not the sole premise of those who hold to Reformed theology, but it does seem to attract those who by nature are of a rather authoritarian disposition. Hence you end up with a system where leaders ‘teach’ and pew sitters ‘listen’ and there is very little in the way of active discussion going on. I speak with some experience having suffered for about 18 months in a Reformed Evangelical fellowship…”

        It seems to me to be a misunderstanding about Reformed churches and what and how we teach. You mention your experience. Was it just that one Reformed fellowship? 18 months? Or many more such experiences? If the one, you extrapolate from that? More…

        Les

        Andrew, ok. Maybe you do not misunderstand. I think we agree that you and I (and perhaps Chris) do have different opinions. On almost everything. But when you say,

        “Of course indoctrination is not the sole premise of those who hold to Reformed theology, but it does seem to attract those who by nature are of a rather authoritarian disposition. Hence you end up with a system where leaders ‘teach’ and pew sitters ‘listen’ and there is very little in the way of active discussion going on. I speak with some experience having suffered for about 18 months in a Reformed Evangelical fellowship…”

        Les

        Continued…It seems to me to be a misunderstanding about Reformed churches and what and how we teach. You mention your experience. Was it just that one Reformed fellowship? 18 months? Or many more such experiences? If the one, you extrapolate from that?

        If you talk about teachers teaching and pew sitters listening, well yes of course. With sermons. But that is not the whole of the way most Reformed churches teach. I sometimes lead our 2x per month some group and I assure you there is much discussion. And not everyone in our church is Reformed.

        So that may be why I see misunderstanding, when you make such a statement.

        Les

        Is anyone else experiencing that some comments show in moderation and then next comments show up? Seems to be when there is very much text.

      Les

      Chris (cont)

      So when a parent says to their children that “the bible says God loves everyone” as a Trad is likely to do, he or she is indoctrinating. Instructing. Another definition is, “to teach especially the ideas, opinions, or beliefs of a certain group.” In this case, a group called Christians. Well yes of course. A Baptist says to their child, if you confess your sins and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, you will be saved. Yep, indoctrinating.

      I’m not ashamed of the word indoctrinate, when not misunderstood or misapplied. I also really prefer catechize. We did that with our 5 children and it is done in our church and school.And it is a perfectly biblical word.

        Andrew Barker

        Les: Why do you continue to provide evidence that you can’t distinguish between teaching and indoctrination? We are well aware of this and need no further examples, thanks!

        “A Baptist says to their child, if you confess your sins and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, you will be saved. Yep, indoctrinating.”
        No. That’s a straight quote from the Bible. That’s a straight Biblical truth which can be used in what we call teaching.

        “I’m not ashamed of the word indoctrinate when not misunderstood or misapplied.”
        No. The Bible verse is “I am not ashamed of the Gospel …..” The Bible never seeks to indoctrinate. It seeks to inform and tell and challenge people to make a choice for or against what it is saying.

        “I also really prefer catechize. We did that with our 5 children and it is done in our church and school.”
        No. Catechize is generally a form of indoctrination, at least the way it is currently practiced is.

        “And it is a perfectly biblical word.”
        Catechize is not in the average scriptural text, ie NASB, NIV, KJV but it is true that the word does appear. It refers to oral transmission if you want to be exact about things which is not what/how it gets used today. Neither does this provide support for the type of indoctrination which then goes on under the name of “teaching the truth”. Just because a word appears in the Bible does not mean that what people do under the guise of that word is correct. Most catechisms are one form of indoctrination or another. :)

          Les

          Andrew,

          “Why do you continue to provide evidence that you can’t distinguish between teaching and indoctrination?” Because you are apparently slow on the uptake today. This:

          Indoctrinate: “to instruct especially in fundamentals or rudiments” (Webster)

          Instruct, synonym: “teach” (Webster)

          As to catechizing, Strongs: “instruct orally, teach, inform” Well of course. That’s what using a catechism usually is…an oral Q&A. To teach. To indoctrinate (see Webster above).

          ““A Baptist says to their child, if you confess your sins and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, you will be saved. Yep, indoctrinating.”
          No. That’s a straight quote from the Bible. That’s a straight Biblical truth which can be used in what we call teaching.”

          Ok, sure. Baptist says, “Baptist is only and always by immersion, son.” Yep indoctrinating. That is an extra biblical statement. It cannot be proved using the English translations. :)

          Do you like/use systematic theology?

          Les

          Andrew, I replied. In moderation again. I suppose you will need to wait till tomorrow.

            Andrew Barker

            Les: Why don’t you take your point about baptism over to Pravda? I have no wish to engage with such a futile comment. Cheers!

            Les

            “Why don’t you take your point about baptism over to Pravda?” I suppose when you got nothin’ you disparage others. Man those guys do live in your heads. And in spite of the fact when you went over there last week, you commented quite freely. Had to depart with tail tucked, but still commented. :)

Lydia

Chris,

my point is that Calvinist parents usually raise their kids in a “free will” way which I find amusing. Perhaps they tell them: ‘you can choose not to do drugs but you cannot choose whether to believe Jesus Christ’. I don’t know. But according to their doctrinal beliefs, it would be more honest maybe they go down the compatibliist road with them as in ‘you only have free will to say no to drugs but not when it comes to believing Jesus Christ. He decided that for you before you were born or even before the world was created’.

    Chris

    Lydia,

    Calvinists aren’t raising their kids in a “free will” way when they say they can choose. That’s also a Calvinistic idea. Calvinists believe everyone makes choices and have such an ability. Parents call their children to obey them. They also encourage them to believe the gospel. Something we think they can do (as the Lord works in their hearts).

      Andrew Barker

      Chris: “Calvinists believe everyone makes choices and have such an ability.” I would be interested to see how you fulfill your brief of teaching this to your pre-teens. I can’t imagine that compatibilism is exactly well understood by the vast majority of adults in Calvinist churches is it?

        Chris

        Churches are made up of a mix of people in terms of where they are in knowledge and understanding. Some have greater knowledge, some in the middle and some starting to learn. I’d say you’d find that in my church and yours and most every other.

      Lydia

      Chris, Most Calvinists don’t take their doctrine to its logical conclusion. Those that did (or do) went the social justice route. I am even seeing hints of that already happening in certain Neo Cal quarters on the issues of racism and refugees. It is a way to rehab the image of such hyper control. common sense is never a by product of determinism. One must live in a total cognitive dissonance. This is not new. The descendants of the Puritans became largely Universalists or Diests. Our Founders eschewed the controlling state church mentality of the Reformations in both Enland and Europe. Adams is particularly interesting to read. IOW, historically and in general, it ebbs and flows, does a lot of damage to people, goes liberal while some tiny sects break off and then some authoritarian charlatan somewhere revives it again as a rally cry to gain powner.

      History teaches us it is not hard to rally young men around a cause. The YRR actually believed what they were told that only they had the “true Gospel” and because people in churches were so ignorant they had to take them over by stealth and deception to teach them truth. The irony is mind boggling. Thousands of young men encouraged to be deceptive for Christ!

      In my view, most Calvinist followers don’t understand it. They don’t even take into consideration what a horribly cruel and arrogant person Calvin was. Or, They admire that about him and try to pretend he had no power.

      Calvinism does not work well without some sort of force. That is why they are so desperate for membership covenants and their version of church discipline which seems to benefit pedophiles the most. Of course CJ was exempt from his own brand of church discipline (degifting) as he ran to the arms of Dever and then Mohler. Now he is all safe under Mohlers protection as an SBC church. And thousands of adoring fans will pay them at T4G.

      I don’t know how that movement sleeps at night. Must lack a collective lack of conscience. Ingrained sociopathy?

        Chris

        What is Calvinism’s logical conclusion in your opinion?

        Calvinism works well in my life…no force necessary. :)

        It is not really helpful to bring up Mahaney, Mohler, and Dever to prove some sort of point. Either you can show from Scripture that Calvinism is wrong or you can’t. However, attacking it based on the mistakes of its adherents does not actually disprove the doctrine. If I could find people who agree with you who had done bad things, would that disprove your doctrine?

Lydia

Thought some might be interested to see what the former SBC church planting partner who was promoted and/or defended by Ezell, Mohler, Chandler, SBC Voices, YRR pastors, Piper, Mahaney, etc, –is up to these days:

http://www.azfamily.com/clip/12318178/jeff-van-sant-hit

    Les

    I do not think he should be pastoring if what I have read on the internet is true. This scandal by notable members is disgraceful if what is on the internet is true too. Just FYI. http://bit.ly/1Yc8OyU Scandal in churches is far too prevalent.

      Lydia

      Les, plenty of information out there since 2009. A lot of it Driscolls own words. Even former elders contacted Piper and Mahaney years ago about the series of problems promoting him. They had no idea they were all alike and could care less as long as books and conference tickets were selling. There was s no excuse for the SBC/NAMB and others to have partnered with such a vulgar, hateful misigynust pastor except they…… liked it. They all helped him rise and stay there by promoting him and partnering with him.

      I was told many times at Pravda, “but he preaches the true gospel’.

Andrew Barker

Chris: I’m quite sure I don’t know what you’re teaching your children, but I know this for certain. None of the regularly used verses regarding ‘salvation’ contains any mention of the words elect, chosen, foreknow or predestination.

Chris

I’d say the Bible is a lot bigger than “the regularly used verses.”

A parent teachers their kids a lot of Scripture. Generally, I don’t care if someone understands Calvinism before they become a Christian. At that point, they need to repent and believe.

Lydia

“A parent teachers their kids a lot of Scripture. Generally, I don’t care if someone understands Calvinism before they become a Christian. At that point, they need to repent and believe.”

But you know that Calvinists can’t repent and believe. God has to make them or activate their election first. Just be honest with people (including your kids upfront) that according to your beliefs they might not have been chosen before the world was formed. You guys pull a bait and switch.

    Chris

    “But you know that Calvinists can’t repent and believe.”

    Always helpful to be told what you know. However, in this case, you are incorrect. I, like other Calvinists, know that individuals do repent and believe the Gospel. Maybe, you don’t understand how that works, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t.

    “God has to make them or activate their election first.”

    I’d say that God opens people’s hearts to believe like Lydia in Acts. I wouldn’t generally say that God “makes” people and I would never say that God “activates their election.”

    “Just be honest with people (including your kids upfront) that according to your beliefs they might not have been chosen before the world was formed. You guys pull a bait and switch.”

    I evangelize the way I see in Scripture…call individuals to repent and believe the gospel. No bait and switch here. Paul wrote of election and predestination in letters to churches, not letters to lost individuals.

      Lydia

      “I’d say that God opens people’s hearts to believe like Lydia in Acts. I wouldn’t generally say that God “makes” people and I would never say that God “activates their election.”

      I would not expect you to use such verbiage. It is too accurate. :o)

      Where was Lydia found and what was she doing? I don’t discount that God moves in mysterious ways. I have met converted Muslims who had dreams about Isa and carefully sought Him out. But Lydia, Cornelius and even Paul are not great examples of Calvinist ST. All three were “serving’ Yahweh as they knew to serve him. Paul took some dramatic convincing….though. :o)

        Chris

        “Too accurate”

        You think you are better defining my view than I can. However, that just leads to your misrepresenting my view and knocking down straw men. And I can understand how in a sense that would make you feel good to “win” but you are not winning against my view but one you made up. Cheap win indeed.

        And you haven’t really dealt with what I actually believe and haven’t began to mount an argument against it. Then when people actually understand what Calvinists believe, the straw man arguments all prove hollow and ineffective.

          Lydia

          “You think you are better defining my view than I can. However, that just leads to your misrepresenting my view and knocking down straw men. And I can understand how in a sense that would make you feel good to “win” but you are not winning against my view but one you made up. Cheap win indeed.

          And you haven’t really dealt with what I actually believe and haven’t began to mount an argument against it. Then when people actually understand what Calvinists believe, the straw man arguments all prove hollow and ineffective.”

          Chris, you have the party line down pat. I have this theory that if people had been allowed to publicly disagree with Calvin, his ST would not have made it past trying to keep Catholicism out of Geneva.

          If one takes a long view of history, it is amazing what can become conventional thinking simply through the use of force. Divine Right of Kings, comes to mind as an example that lasted centuries. It was Gods plan, you know. (Sigh) It took brave souls to dissent like some Anabaptists whose names we won’t know until glory as they were hunted down by both Reformers and Catholics. I am just thankful you Calvin followers don’t have the state power to torture dissenters anymore. Thanks to those Founding Deists. :o)

            Chris

            Lydia,

            You continue with the straw man arguments.

            No Calvinist I know of is arguing as part of their Calvinist theology for state control and the use of force.You are basically making stuff up. Sure, Calvin and a lot of people of his day believed in using the Sword against heretics. But that’s not a tenant of Calvinism.

              Lydia

              Chris, they don’t need state control when they can convince people they cannot leave their church without elder permission as in 9 Marks. That is cult stuff. It actually scares me that any American goes along with this. What I was saying is that any leader that gets into this sort of discipline would be the type to be jealous of the legal force the state church had. I am just glad it is not legal. I don’t expect those immersed in Calvin thinking to get it.

                Chris

                “Chris, they don’t need state control when they can convince people they cannot leave their church without elder permission as in 9 Marks.”

                I don’t know what you are talking about. Could you provide a source?

            Les

            Chris, that’s all she has. Straw man arguments and and guilt by association arguments. Basically, because some Calvinists did x, y and z, therefore all Calvinists do x, y and z…except that there are laws now. That’s the only thing standing between Calvinists killing those who disagree with them. True logical and/or scriptural arguments? Not a chance.

              Andrew Barker

              It takes a certain degree of spiritual myopia for a Reformed to say he can’t hold with guilt by association! lol

                .Lydia

                “t takes a certain degree of spiritual myopia for a Reformed to say he can’t hold with guilt by association! ”

                Calvinists who deny Calvin! LOL

                  Chris

                  Lydia: Do you support David’s murdering of Uriah? Do you read the Psalms written by David?

                    Lydia

                    Chris,

                    David would be in jail today for polygamy and perhaps conspiracy to murder if it could be proven. When people trot out OT characters to excuse heinous sin in order to prop up their heroes, it’s time to say good night in more ways than one. :o).

                    Chris

                    Lydia,

                    Calvin is not my hero, and I am not propping him up. I am just citing a point. You read and learn from all sorts of sinners. But to us you say, how could you learn from such a sinner? Then you go read the Psalms of David.

              Les

              But the facts of what I wrote are undisputed. :)

                Andrew Barker

                Myopia has that effect on people. They can’t see past their noses!

                Les

                Facts remain, undisputed. But I get it. When you can’t dispute the facts, you say something about the fact bringer. I’ve even made that mistake before, so no worries that you are doing that now.

Andrew Barker

Chris: Glad to see you’ve noticed that “Paul wrote of election and predestination in letters to churches, not letters to lost individuals.” There is a reason for this. Predestination does not apply to those who are lost. It is only relevant to those who are born again!

    Chris

    “Predestination does not apply to those who are lost.”

    You haven’t shown that from the text. You assume it, and have to for your view to work. Romans 8:29-30 – foreknown, predestined, called, justified, and glorified. It clearly applies to those who are/will be saved.

    However, a lost person does not need to hear about predestination. They need to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ and be called to repentance and faith.

      Lydia

      “Predestination does not apply to those who are lost.”

      You haven’t shown that from the text. You assume it, and have to for your view to work. Romans 8:29-30 – foreknown, predestined, called, justified, and glorified. It clearly applies to those who are/will be saved”

      One clue is that Romans was written for both Jew/Gentile “believers”. And expressly to address the Jew/Gentile dichotomy that was such a problem in that time of the early church. Especially in Rome as Jews (converted ones, too) were streaming back into Rome after being banished. That it is more about corporate election as believers no matter their background than individual salvation.

        Chris

        Individuals are foreknown, predestined, called, justified, and glorified. Even if they number so large that no one can count them…they are still a bunch of individuals together…each one being foreknown, predestined and so on.

Andrew Barker

Chris: I was simply taking you at you word …”Paul wrote of election and predestination in letters to churches, not letters to lost individuals.” Does this not mean that predestination is concerning those who are saved as opposed to the lost?

    Les

    “Does this not mean that predestination is concerning those who are saved as opposed to the lost?”

    No, it applies to the lost. But they cannot understand it, nor can they understand anything spiritual per the scriptures. And, the scriptures do tell us to convey the gospel message to the lost whereby those whom God is saving will be converted. Those who are not of the elect shall not be saved. Pretty simply, bible 101. That is, God saves.

      Andrew Barker

      Les: You need to get your act together with Chris, because you’re disagreeing with his statement. oooops! You’re also not backing this up with any scripture, because you can’t of course!

      This “nor can they understand anything spiritual per the scriptures” is also rather questionable isn’t it! I bet if you told the average atheist that God hadn’t chosen him to be one of his elect he would know exactly where you’re coming from. I think you’re going to have to do a better job than this to substantiate your position. This “understanding scriptural things” is not an intellectual understanding. The unsaved can understand scriptural things on an intellectual basis quite well. It’s the heart thing they can’t and don’t get.

        Lydia

        “This “understanding scriptural things” is not an intellectual understanding. ”

        Makes one wonder how centuries of poor peasant illiterates could ever know the indwelling Christ. Sigh.

      Les

      “You need to get your act together with Chris, because you’re disagreeing with his statement. oooops! You’re also not backing this up with any scripture, because you can’t of course!” Perhaps we do disagree. My point is that predestination applies to ALL people and things. I think that includes the lost. Last time I checked “all people” would mean, well, all people. Scriptures? You already know the scriptures that Reformed cite. You just disagree with our understanding of them. Ok.

      “The unsaved can understand scriptural things on an intellectual basis quite well. It’s the heart thing they can’t and don’t get.” I never said they cannot understand intellectually what the scriptures teach. Notice I said, “nor can they understand anything spiritual per the scriptures.” Key word there is spiritual. You know those scriptures too.

    Chris

    Andrew,

    No, this does not mean that predestination only concerns those who are saved as opposed to those who are lost. Predestination concerns the elect which I have previously defined. The elect is made up of all who will believe both those who have believed already and those who will believe. Again, Jesus said that his sheep hear his voice, but that he has other sheep who will hear his voice and he will bring them in. Jesus’ sheep are the elect/predestined. He is calling them and bringing them in.

    My prior point that you were responding to is that Paul was writing to Christians when discussing predestination, not those he was attempting to evangelize. Again, a lost person needs to know the gospel and their need to repent and believe…not the finer points of doctrine concerning election and predestination.

      Andrew Barker

      Chris: This is a good example of indoctrination “The elect is made up of all who will believe both those who have believed already and those who will believe.” There is no scripture which supports this. It’s just something you’ve been told and you’ve believed it to be true, but it isn’t.

        Chris

        Andrew,

        I actually gave you Scripture that supports it. John 10. It’s like you didn’t even read my post. Now you could disagree but you couldn’t say I haven’t presented Scripture or that I am just making up the idea. Jesus really did say that his sheep hear his voice, but that he had other sheep that will eventually hear his voice and that he would bring them in also. That describes the elect.

        John 10:14-16; 25-29
        “14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.

        25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”

        2 Timothy 2 also talks about the elect:
        “8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”

          Andrew Barker

          Chris: If you seriously think that these texts talk about ‘the elect’ in a way which defines who the ‘elect’ are then you have a serious problem. John 10 doesn’t even mention the word. That’s how serious a problem you have! Neither does 2 Tim define who the elect are. It is however clear if you take the totality of the NT that those who are in Christ are seen as being ‘the elect’, or chosen. So unless you provide information to the contrary, I would suggest you stick with that. If a person is elect by definition they are in Christ and therefore saved. You can’t be elect without being saved can you!

            Chris

            Andrew,

            Well, I won’t provide something to prove that anyone is chosen without reference to Christ and his saving work. However, people are chosen before they are saved (the passages I just referenced plus Romans 8:29-30, Romans 9 and so on) and unconditionally.

            Secondly, your best argument is that the verses don’t directly mention the word? That’s not a rebuttal. By that kind of reasoning, the Trinity is not a biblical doctrine because it is no where mentioned by name in the Bible. Also, that rebuttal doesn’t deal with what the text actually says.

            You should read 2 Tim in context. He mentions his preaching the gospel, he is suffering as a result, the Word of God is not bound, and that he endures all things for the elect that they might be saved. It seems fairly clear who the elect are when you read the context unless you have an preexisting bias.

Andrew Barker

Les: Predestination doesn’t apply to ALL things or ALL people. You don’t have any scriptural support for this.
If the unsaved can understand the scriptures on an intellectual basis, (we agree there) then what do you mean by “nor can they understand anything spiritual per the scriptures” if not as I said at the level of the heart? It’s hearing the word of God and putting it into practice and living by what the Bible teaches which is where the non-spiritual man comes to grief. This is also true of what it termed the ‘carnal’ Christian.

    Les

    I love getting to break every now and then to reply to you my brother Andrew.

    On predestination we disagree. By spiritual per the scripture, I mean the heart. And the carnal Christian thing? Nonsense. No such thing. :)

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