Francis Chan the Bud-Light Calvinist

*NOTE: Some have personally written me and are of the opinion that I have displayed some arrogant sarcasm in the following critique of Francis Chan that is uncharitable to him. As strange as it may sound I actually love Francis Chan! I agree with so much of his preaching and message. He is excellent. But Chan also professes to be a Calvinist–which is why I am concerned for him as well as his readers. Chan’s preaching and message in the public square is astonishingly inconsistent and contradictory to his privately held Calvinist beliefs. This actually makes him somewhat “dangerous” because his likability can cause novice believers to be initiated into Calvinism without knowing the horrifically dark elements that accompany Calvinism. My motivation is concern and the genre is more or less satire so please keep that in mind.*

If Mark Driscoll, James White and John Piper were Budweiser beer than Francis Chan would be Bud-Light. In other words Francis Chan is Calvinism-Light. [1] Still Calvinism but diluted enough for the uninitiated and uninformed masses to savor its taste without being burdened with all those heavy Calvinist calories that sit around the gut of the heart and constrict it of life.

Another way of putting it would be to say if Driscoll, White and Piper were the drugs of heroin, cocaine and meth, Chan would be mariguana. Chan is the “gateway” drug for further Calvinist exploration and experimentation.

Chan is a warm-hearted, congenial, passionate speaker and teacher. So much of what he says I can only applaud with a hearty “amen.” But that is because so much of what he says is grossly inconsistent with Calvinism. Throughout his book Crazy Love and similar themed sermons Chan couches God’s love of sinners in universal terms. He pleads with his unsaved readers and listeners: “God loves you! God loves you with such a crazy love he died for you so that you don’t have to go to hell! You just have to choose to accept him.”[2]

Really? Can he say that as a Calvinist? No he cannot. In Calvinism God has no redemptive love for masses upon masses of people whom Calvinism informs us he sovereignly predestined for hell. Moreover a pillar tenant of Calvinism is to repudiate any thought that suggests Jesus died for the sins of all persons and sincerely desires their salvation. God forbid anyone started believing that insidious heresy. It would leave Calvinists too naked and exposed to the patent truth of John 3:16-18. Moreover they would be without a leg to stand on in asserting God’s sovereign reprobation of multitudes of people and his unconditional decree to sequester them outside the orbit of his redemptive intention before they were born! Contra Francis Chan’s Bud-Light Calvinism, in Budweiser Calvinism God has decided your eternal destiny and no alleged acceptance, choice or response on your point affects that eternally sequestered decision.

So how does a Bud-Light Calvinist like Francis Chan justify telling people without qualification that God loves them and is genuinely “crazy” about saving them? At minimim it gives people false hope. At worse it’s a blatant lie! Now perhaps Chan is thinking there will be a “lucky” few predestined souls that have been foreordained to come across his book and discover that God’s “crazy love” is true for them (in virtue of being one of God’s unconditionally predestined elect). But Chan must admit that for everyone else outside the orbit of God’s love and redemptive intention, his comments are a sad and remorseful lie. They just aren’t true!

So Chan has a choice. He must either renounce and repudiate the mistaken impression he has given that any reader can pick up his book and subsequently read themselves into passages about God’s universal, redemptive love and intention.

Or Chan must repudiate his Calvinism.

He cannot have his cake and eat it too. He cannot hold to two incompatible beliefs for the sake of being a congenial Calvinist that doesn’t want to make waves. Calvinism-Light is still Calvinism and it just as easily leads to a “drunken,” theological stupor where one stumbles around, tripping over his own tangled doctrines trying to convince himself that his Calvinist belief in God’s determinative sovereignty and foreordination of all sins doesn’t therefore mean God is the author of sin.

Sadly for many people Chan’s Calvinism-Light will undoubtedly serve as a principle gateway to being initiated into heavy, calorie-induced Calvinism where doctrines about Jesus dying for the sins of only a chosen select and not all mankind, and God’s meticulous foreordination of all vile sin and wickedness accumulates to become the unsightly fat gut you may despise but can never part with…ever.

It’s time we start calling Calvinists out for their shameful behavior in not putting all their cards on the table.

It’s time we start calling Calvinists out for condemning Arminian theology in their scholarly papers while simultaneously keeping the darker, more “sinister” elements of Calvinism out of the public square by intentionally borrowing Arminian terminology and theological phraseology in order to shield their own horrific theology from view whenever they speak to general audiences of lay people– like Passion Conferences.

Francis Chan– I believe you to be a man of great credibility and passion. You display a heart that appears to have an unrestricted desire that “no man perish” and that is truly commendable. We beg of you to discard Calvinism in its entirety. In your heart of hearts you know you’re not one of them. You know you don’t have it within you to carry around the burden of thinking God decreed all of our unholy, relationship destroying sin and disobedience… or that it pleased our loving Heavenly Father to unilaterally predestine many of your readers and listeners to a damnation that cannot be changed.

Please put down your Calvinism-Light before you enter a state of irreversible, theological “drunkenness” like your mentor John Piper. No disrespect intended. I have no doubt that your friend Piper has a genuine heart to extol God’s faithfulness, love and glory–but he has become self-stricken with a severe case of cognitive dissonance. For he does not allow himself to fully pursue and appreciate the tragedy and horror of what he privately believes. We hope it does not become so with you. God bless you!

[1] I am not the first to use this term of Chan. I was inspired in my terms after reading an article that speaks of Chan’s “Calvinism Light” which can be found here.
[2] Calvinism is an untenable way of thinking that butts heads with cognitive dissonance at every turn. In order to shield itself from its own incoherency and internal inconsistencies it must cloak itself behind Arminian assumptions whenever it’s evangelistic efforts are publicly put on display for mass consumption. In his online video appeal to a world of lost sinners Francis Chan carefully closets and shelves his 5-point Calvinism and shows his knack for borrowing full-fledged Arminian theology and terminology. Chan preaches:
“The Bible says you have no excuse–no excuse–for not believing in God because you can see God in everything… The Creator of the world actually loves us and wants to give to us. If you miss out on that you’re going to miss out on the whole point of your life… The message of the Bible is not how there is this harsh Being up in heaven who has given us these harsh commands that he forces upon us… [but] his commands are a gift to us, they are a necessary thing. When God said, “Thou shalt not murder” He is saying, “Look I think your life would be better on earth if you didn’t kill each other…if you could love each other as much as you love yourself this place could be amazing.” So think about it, God created you and I; he gives us these laws; we break these laws; and so at the end of our lives he has every right to punish us as severely as he sees fit…so if our lives ended that way, with his punishment, it would be completely fair, completely just. But I’m going to tell you something. Despite everything you’ve done in your life, God still loves you. He doesn’t want to punish you… In the greatest act of love ever… Jesus was taking the punishment of our sins…The Bible says he loves us that much. Guys, this is the most amazing truth in the world! The God of the universe loves you. You have to make a choice. Right now God want to have a relationship with you. He wants to forgive you…but you’ve got to choose to accept him… God is begging you, it’s like he’s on a knee and he’s saying, “Will you take me? Will you have a relationship with me–Almighty God?” And you have to say, “I do”– that’s it! You’re whole eternal destiny rides on this. You can know for sure today you’re going to heaven… the God of the universe is crazy about you and screaming out for your attention. So don’t just walk away and go back to your routine. This could be the greatest day of your life.”
Moreover at Francis Chan’s evangelistic team website (that includes fellow Calvinist David Nasser) at www.juststopandthink.com they unequivocally assert without reservation and qualification Arminian-styled statements that would make most Calvinists reel in horror behind the safe walls of their private chambers and confessions. For example:
“God loves you. In fact he is crazy about you and has done something so that you won’t have to go to hell. He has provided the way to be declared not guilty. This is why Jesus came….To know Jesus Christ personally and have your sins forgiven, you must acknowledge that you are a sinner separated from God and that your only hope is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who came and died for your sins…There are two things you must now do to enter into a relationship with the God from whom you have been separated: 1) Repent….You see, there are some things only God can do and some things only you can do. Only God can remove your sins and give you the gift of eternal life, but only you can turn from your sins and receive Jesus as your Savior. That brings up the second thing you must do to respond to God’s offer. 2) Believe in Jesus Christ and Receive Him Into Your Life.” Having seen the enormity of your sin and having decided to turn from it, you then must believe in and receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior… you may have felt on your heart from the Holy Spirit showing you your need for Jesus. He may even be speaking to you right now! It is at that point that you must open the door. Only you can do that. Jesus will not force his way in.”
Do I affirm and agree with these aforementioned displays of theology and evangelism? Yes–absolutely! Can a professing Calvinist like Francis Chan legitimately endorse or proclaim such an Arminian, evangelistic viewpoint? Not at all! It runs roughshod all over Calvinism as taught by its scholars and confessions.

About StriderMTB

Hi, I'm Matt. "Strider" from Lord of the Rings is my favorite literary character of all time and for various reasons I write under the pseudonym "StriderMTB. As my blog suggests I seek to live out both the excitement and tension of a Christian walk with Christ in the 3rd world context of Asia. I am unmarried yet blessed to oversee an orphanage of amazing children in South-East Asia. I hate lima beans and love to pour milk over my ice-cream. I try to stay active in both reading and writing and this blog is a smattering of my many thoughts. I see the Kingdom of God as Jesus preached it and lived to be the only hope for a broken world and an even more broken and apathetic church.
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63 Responses to Francis Chan the Bud-Light Calvinist

  1. Benjamin says:

    I think you misunderstood Calvinism. The bible clearly and explicitly teaches God’s sovereign choice in the salvation of man. You mentioned that according to Calvinism, “God has decided your eternal destiny and no alleged acceptance, choice or response on your point affects that eternally sequestered decision.” That is a gross misunderstanding on your part. By saying that, you are implying that every human being deserves to be saved by God. One thing we all need to realize is that because of the Fall, all men are naturally hell-bound, being dead in sin and unable to seek God on his own. God would be perfectly just if He had not died for anyone’s sins. If any Christian claims that he chose God on his own accord, what he is in fact implying is that he was not spiritually dead (like the bible teaches) and can make a contra-nature decision on his own. You can nudge a dead man, you can even bring him to church, but you cannot raise him up. Only God can do that with sinners. The only way anyone can come to faith in Jesus is if the Father draws him. Jesus said, “no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws Him”. Jesus also said , “you do not believe because you are not part of my sheep.” The point it, without God’s sovereign election, NO ONE would ever be saved because ALL are spiritually dead and can never come to their senses on their own because dead men have no senses.

    I humbly ask you to read church history. Read about the Reformation. Read about the Pelagian heresy that states that man is not affected by the Fall in any way and can come to God on his own without the grace of God. If you just read on church history, from the early church, to the Reformation, to the Great Awakening, etc., you will soon realize that this so-called “Calvinism” is indeed the mainstream orthodox Christian biblical teaching and is nothing new. Sadly, in modern times, the tables have turned and now the orthodox are treated as the heretics.

    • StriderMTB says:

      Benjamin, thank you for your comment. However I must be honest and say you demonstrate very little comprehension of Calvinism, Arminianism and above all church history. For starters all the church fathers affirmed indeterminate free-will up until the 4th century when Augustine shared his contrary views which Calvin and others later picked up. In fact you don’t find anything remotely expressing Calvinism’s view of unconditional election until the 4th century. Moreover you quote one of my statements and declare it to be a gross misunderstanding of Calvinism–but you don’t bother to share why or how. The fact is, in Calvinism, all has been determined by our holy God–including your own vile sins Jeremiah. Does that sit well with you? If all has been determined and individuals selected unconditionally then no choice or response can change what God has exhaustively determined. For indeed all our choices and responses have been determined as well–including whether you become an Arminian, Calvinist or a Pelagian heretic you fear so much.

      So really Jeremiah you didn’t REALLY choose to be a Calvinist and I didn’t REALLY choose to be an Arminian–God chose it for us. In fact you must believe God predestined Arminianism! But that probably never occurred to you because it is too strenuous for Calvinists to wrap their minds around the logical implication of believing that God determined all things. After all Calvinists would have to stop writing books against Arminianism because to do so would be to fight against what God determined…unless of course God determined them to fight against his own divine determinations…and on and on we go until you enter a state of irreversible vertigo of the mind Jeremiah. Lastly you state that I imply that all men deserve to be saved. But I neither stated that nor can that be extrapolated from what I wrote. God’s stated universal desire to save all people (1 Tim. 2:4) is where you need to aim your attack. It has nothing to do with what we deserve and everything to do with what God desires.

      And finally you seem to equate Arminianism with Pelagiansim…showing again that you have not studiously and objectively studied church history. I would encourage you to balance your Calvinist diet with scholarly works in the Arminian camp (such as anything by Roger Olson) and you will realize how greatly misinformed you are on what true Arminianism teaches (i.e. we do not teach that men deserve salvation, or that fallen man can seek God on his own. We teach that men can only respond to the gospel when they are aided by divine, prevenient, drawing grace. But unlike the Calvinist we don’t believe that God’s grace is coercively applied and unable to be resisted. After all God’s grace post-conversion does not operate upon us irresistibly–otherwise we would all be perfect. Shalom.

    • paul Korn says:

      Well stated Benjamin! Solo Scripture!

  2. Benjamin says:

    Thank you for your response to my comment. I am sorry if I sounded critical of you or anything. I just want to humbly clarify this matter, as I have been a “free-willer” all my life until only recently when I got exposed to the Doctrines of Grace. Even then, I struggled much with it. But the more I read the Word, I see God’s sovereignty in all of it, even with respect to salvation. Paul says God has mercy on whom He wills and He hardens whom He wills. And it does not depend on human will or exertion, but on God who has mercy (Romans 9). These are just among some of the many passages that explicitly state that it is God’s choice, not the individuals.

    I am,however, not stating that in Calvinism, God simply coerces or forces His will upon man. I still believe that in order to be saved, man still needs to respond to the gospel in faith and repentance. What I am saying, however, is that in the unregenerate state, man has no capacity to respond in such a way, until the Holy Spirit regenerates him, leading him to be irresistibly drawn to Christ because his spirit eyes are now open. The one thing that makes it impossible for me to believe Arminian doctrine is that unregenerate men are spiritually dead and can never respond to God if left to his own free will.

    Might I humbly recommend you watching this documentary called Amazing Grace: The History and Theology of Calvinism. It might clear things up.

    God bless.

    • StriderMTB says:

      Hi Benjamin, I do appreciate your desire to clarify your position. No offense taken and no apology necessary. I’ve got some time tonight… and so I’m going to try and address some of your comments more in depth. Please don’t get offended if some comments sound blunt and brief.

      1) I see you did not bother to comment on the patent truth of 1 Tim 2:4 that states God desires all people to be saved and that no man perish without the light of his Son. And it’s ludicrous to think God intentionally and sovereignly works against himself on this greatest of all desires. I also see you never answered my question as to whether or not you believe God sovereignly and unilaterally predetermined all your sins. In Calvinism God’s mind is the origin of every sin both logically and chronologically–making him the author of sin despite every attempt of some Calvinists to avoid this conclusion through pronouncements (i.e. Westminster Confession)…but never explanations.

      2) As a Calvinist you are required to believe that sovereignty equals God’s exhaustive determination of all things such that ever choice we make is merely the effect in time of what God “scripted” for us in his sequestered decree… which pretty much makes a mockery of the many scriptures that assume human free-agency and admonish us to make choices and decisions that we alone are ultimately accountable for. So here is the question. If you are a Calvinist you must believe you are a Calvinist ONLY BECAUSE God predetermined for you to be one. And my disagreement with Calvinism, and hence my Arminianism, is likewise God’s determinative will that I am powerless to avoid or change… until and unless God preordained that I change my mind at some future juncture. Therefore if God has indeed predetermined all things, then our entire dialogue is pointless and meaningless, is it not??? We are simply actors on God’s cosmic stage spitting out our scripted lines that were pre-written for us in eternity past. But if God did not divinely determine all things, then that means Calvinism is incorrect in its assumptions on God’s sovereignty…which in turn brings Calvinism crashing down in one big heap. Either way you have a serious matter to consider that I hope gives you pause before swallowing the whole hook.

      3) BTW as someone who use to think Calvinism was the only viable interpretation of the Bible, I have read more Calvinist writers than need be mentioned. After my study and thought my conclusion is that Calvinism is simply misinformed and misguided on a host of biblical scriptures and issues that make it untenable. In 1 John 1:1 “world” does not mean “elect.” “World” in John 3:16 also does not mean “elect” and the hermeneutical gymnastics Calvinists attempt to say so are frankly unconvincing and embarrassing. If a Calvinist interpretation of world, election, predestination, Romans 9, free-will and grace were the strongly held beliefs of the apostles, we would see early records of such thoughts in the writings of the church fathers during the first three centuries. For they are much closer than you or I in terms of inheriting apostolic doctrine being passed down. However we do not. But we see a great deal of classical Arminian theology over matters of free-will, grace and salvation. Sorry–it is a fact you have to face.

      4) Moreover it seems you continue to think Arminianism teaches man can respond to God of his free-will unaided by divine grace. Maybe slip-shod, lazy Arminianism speaks in such language but not historical, scholarly Arminianism. A failure to engage true Arminianism in their own words has long been the scourge of Calvinism. Much easier to attack straw-men and scare little Calvinist initiates into thinking rejecting Calvinism is to embrace a man-centered theology that holds fallen men can believe in God without being enabled by God’s grace. However scholarly Arminianism from Arminius to Wesley to the present day never state such nonsense. Rather we believe fallen men must first be encountered by God’s spirit and grace. We read a great deal about enabling, drawing grace, Jeremiah, but nothing of irresistible grace. A grace and love you cannot resist is forced love and no grace at all. The fact is the Bible speaks quite plainly that we can resist God’s grace Acts 7:51; Eph 4:30; Heb 3:7-8. It is one thing to state that man WON’T believe without the Holy Spirit (Arminianism), but it is quite another thing completely to say that man MUST believe because of the Holy Spirit. God seeks to draw the heart, convict the heart, open the heart, persuade the heart and appeal to the heart for reconciliation– but he does not force his love or grace on anyone. You may not like the language of “force” or “coercive” but you are stuck with it. If something is impossible to resist it is coercive not just persuasive or inclining.

      5) Man is indeed dead in sin Jeremiah (as you mentioned)–which biblically has principally ALWAYS signified his separation from God’s life. The Bible states that in sin we are “separated from Christ…without hope…but we have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Adam became dead in sin the moment he disobeyed but he could still hear and respond to God’s voice. Paul’s usage of “dead in sins” does not mean “unable to respond to Holy Spirit influence” anymore than his later statement “I consider myself dead to sin” means he is unable to respond to sin’s influence. We are now “alive to Christ” because we have been separated from sin’s wages!

      6) It’s probably best to hear Jesus’ take. In Christ’s parable of the prodigal son (sinful, lost humanity) the loving father (God) proclaims “This is my son who was DEAD and is now alive; he was LOST and is found (Lk. 15:24). Being dead is correlated with being lost which compliments Christ’s words that he “came to seek and save the lost. Christ could have said he came to seek and save the spiritually dead and it would mean the same thing. Moreover it is noteworthy that the son in his dead, lost state “came to his senses” in the pigsty (Lk. 25:17) and decided to return to his father.

      7) You state that fallen men must be regenerated before he can believe and be saved. However regeneration is being born-again and being born-again is salvation. Being born-again does not occur prior to faith. Being born-again (such as Christ’s conversation with Nicodemus) and being regenerated into a new, resurrected nature–Christ’s nature–is the essence salvation! It is not something that precedes salvation. Calvinism results in the strange anomaly of there being a born again, regenerated unsaved person. Calvinism insists that a spiritually dead sinner who is not yet born again is incapable of seeking God’s truth or fearing God. But this would mean that the numerous gentile “God fearers” (and Cornelius) that Paul meant on his missionary journeys were born again and infused with Christ’s resurrected life months if not years BEFORE they believed in the gospel upon Paul’s arrival. Very strange anomaly indeed–and wholly without biblical support.

      8) All of Paul’s regeneration verses and terminology about God “quickening, making alive” those dead in sin who are cut off from God’s life substantiate my point that we were “born again”, “resurrected”, “quickened”, “made alive” and “born of God” UPON RECEIVING CHRIST and the power of His resurrection through belief in the gospel. In the Calvinistic paradigm that you are working out of, (i.e. quickening, being born again, resurrection precedes faith and salvation) we are forced to hold the absurd notion that Paul DOES NOT have saved people in view who have believed the gospel. For instance, we would need to insert the following brackets to understand Paul’s point in Colossians 2:13 “And you being dead in your sins and uncircumcision of your flesh, he hath quickened [but not saved] with Him, having forgiving you all trespass [but you still need to believe the gospel and get saved because you have only been quickened.] And again in Ephesians 2:1-6, “And you he hath quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins [but did not yet save through faith] . . . even when we were dead in sins, he quickened us together with Christ, by grace ye are saved [but you still need to take the final step of your quickening and believe the gospel in order to get fully saved.]” (I’m using KJV for flare 🙂

      9) Calvinists often turn to 1 John 5:1 to substantiate their view that regeneration and resurrection into new life occurs prior to faith in Christ… so as to enable faith in Christ. However that verse is a declaration of the STATE of a believer and NOT a declaration of WHEN a person believes. The word “believes” is in the present tense in the Greek. In other words he who presently believes in Jesus shows that is a born again individual. At the very first moment sinners first believed they were immediately born again by God and manifest that new nature or change of state in the present through their continual belief in Christ and their love for brethren who have also “been born of Him.”

      10) To deny the biblical truth that the new birth of spiritual resurrection is a result of believing the word of God, and to continue to insist that resurrection precedes belief in the gospel, is to consequently deny that Jesus IS the “resurrection and the life.” No man receives Jesus without faith and thus no man receives the life of resurrection that HE IS without faith! For didn’t Jesus declare, “I am the way, the truth and the LIFE?” And did not Christ also proclaim, “I AM THE RESURRECTION and the life?” Jesus did not say, “I HAVE life” or “I HAVE a resurrection to impart.” He said, “I AM THE LIFE.“ “I AM THE RESURRECTION! He who BELIEVES in me, though he dies, WILL LIVE” (John 11:25).

      11) To belief in Jesus is to receive Jesus and to receive Jesus is to receive resurrection life. We are not resurrected in order to believe and receive Christ, (Calvinist position) for that would be to separate Christ from who He IS- resurrection life. Rather we believe and receive Christ and thus receive His resurrection (Arminian position). Nothing could be simpler in my estimation. Yet I believe Calvinism has a head on collision with this biblical truth.

      The bottom line Jeremiah is the new birth or resurrection is brought about through belief in the Jesus Christ and is not a precursor to it.

      12) Lastly, don’t let Calvinists be your sole instructors for Romans 9. Their interpretation of that chapter is woefully inadequate, narrow and governed by strict presuppositions that ignore Paul’s main argument seen elsewhere in Romans. For a good explanation of the Arminian position see this article: http://reknew.org/2008/01/how-do-you-respond-to-romans-9/

      13) For a short little intro on an Arminian understanding of election and predestination (which we do believe) see this intro video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3DrCa_l3Iw

      You seem to be a very intelligent and thoughtful individual. However I doubt you really researched scholarly Arminianism before you were inducted into Calvinism. (Your exposure to Arminianism was probably the “crayon version.” I hope you have the courage to revisit the issues more in depth (read Roger Olson’s treatments) and say goodbye to an incoherent theology that requires you to believe that God only died for some–not all, unconditionally predestined multitudes to hell, and that his holy mind is the origin and author of all your relationship destroying sin and disobedience.

      Your future and beliefs are yet undetermined Jeremiah– enjoy the exploration and journey 🙂 God bless.

  3. Benjamin says:

    Thank you for taking the time to comment and explain your position. I am grateful for that. I would just like to say one more thing. For us who believe in the Doctrines of Grace, we do in fact believe that regeneration occurs prior to saving faith. This is because, no man can have saving faith without being “spiritually alive”. There is no such thing as “God made a person alive spiritually (quickening), and then leaves that person to see IF he has faith”. We believe, on the other hand, that the faith itself is given by God (Eph 2:8-10). The regeneration and man’s response occur almost simultaneously as to be seen as almost indistinguishable from the human end.

    Having said all that, you have definitely given me much to think about. I definitely do not want to be sucked up into a system of theology per se. I am foremost a Christian who believes in Jesus and who has been saved by grace alone, through faith alone. However, please, I urge you, do watch the documentary Amazing Grace: The History and Theology of Calvinism.

    At the end of the day, I am glad to have had the privilege of discussing doctrinal matters in an amicable way (it’s hard to find Christians who care about doctrine nowadays).

    In the end, even if the both of us do not come to an agreement, we can always agree to disagree. We are still all brothers and sisters in Christ and we serve the same Lord.

    God bless!

    • StriderMTB says:

      Hi Benjamin, I appreciate the heart and attitude in which you write. During our brief pilgrimage on this earth the scriptures tell us we will always see dimly as through a veil…until Christ and Truth is revealed unfiltered. I often find the core effort to be made is to embrace a theological viewpoint that does the least amount of damage to God’s holy character and glorifies Him to the greatest degree–which will ultimately be intertwined with God remaining far removed from decreeing and determining the vile, perverse, God-dishonoring sin of this fallen world.

      I do not embrace Arminianism primarily because of its retainment of genuine, indeterminate, free moral agency (which I see as fact of human constitution assumed all over scripture), but rather its shielding of God from the horrific and hardly-spoken of sinister implications of Calvinism– that being that God’s holy mind is the ultimate origin for each and every act of sordid evil. Calvinists LOVE to point to the crucifixion as a hermeneutical key that unlocks God’s determination and predestination of all sin! They say if the cross was predestined, and that was an evil act of wicked men, then what is the problem in saying God predestined all sin?

      For starters the scriptures tell us that according to the “determined plan and foreknowledge of God” Christ would suffer and die for sins at the hands of “wicked men.” That Christ would suffer and die for sins speaks of his determined plan. That it would be at the hands of wicked men speaks of his sovereign knowledge in knowing hearts and what men will do in certain circumstances—they ought not to be confused by being subsumed together to the degree Calvinists attempt.

      It is indeed sad that so many have been deluded into seeing the glory of the cross as some sort of sick justification of divine predestination of sin, that ultimately makes God and the devil indistinguishable. In Calvinism even every act and choice of the devil first logically and chronologically originated in the mind of God… and Satan is simply another one of his cosmic stage actors who is under the delusion (as we apparently all are) that we are owners of our decisions.

      People like John Piper who point to the crucifixion as an evidence that God divinely predestined every person’s sin completely fail to see the absurdity (and heresy!) in pointing to the ONE act of God to rid this world of sin’s curse as an evidence that God foreordained all the sin of that very world! Piper says God predestined all sin for his glory–to reveal his holiness as a redeemer from sin. That is the base line of where Calvinism takes you. It is no different that a man setting fire to his neighbors house just so he can sweep as the hero and rescue the family to splash his face across the papers. I truly hope, Ben, this gives you great pause before committing yourself fully to a theology that requires you to think in such paradigms.

      Lastly Ben, the alleged “Doctrines of Grace” is nothing more than a theologically charged term that nullifies discussion. Firstly it means that any who disagree with Calvinism can’t affirm God’s grace as a necessary element in salvation. Secondly, as I sought to spell out before, Calvinistic grace is antithetical to grace! It is more akin to “Doctrines of Compulsion.” A grace that is impossible to say “no thanks” to… and that MUST overwhelm all resistance is no grace at all! Rather it is a coercive force that goes way past persuasion. Thirdly the term does little to further dialogue. Imagine if Arminians started calling their tenants of belief “The Doctrines of Salvation.” It would arrogantly consign all non-Arminians as “unsaved.” But of course Arminians hold that Calvinists, despite their gross errors of theology, can still have a saving relationship with God to the same extent as they do.

      Lastly, just a short follow-up is in warranted for your comment:

      “For us who believe in the Doctrines of Grace, we do in fact believe that regeneration occurs prior to saving faith… There is no such thing as “God made a person alive spiritually (quickening), and then leaves that person to see IF he has faith.”

      There is “no such thing” Ben because regeneration is God’s sovereign, transformative work effected through saving faith wherein we are resurrected in Christ anew. Baptism is a symbol of this. You go down in the water and your old man dies there and you come up resurrected anew with Christ’s life. God’s prevenient grace enables a response of faith which in turn results in a regenerated new nature in Christ. Regeneration and spiritual resurrection is not a preceding groundwork wherein we are made ready to believe in Christ–it just isn’t scripturally there. It flows out of Calvinism’s misconceived assumptions not the Bible.

      Calvinism inverts the biblical order and separates spiritual resurrection from the One who is the very essence of spiritual resurrection. As I stated in my last post, Calvinism says no man can even fear God unless he is first regenerated or born again. But this poses many problems–for many people seek God and struggle through their journey of decision and ultimate surrender FOR YEARS before they finally become a disciple of Christ and pass from death to life. I have seen this first hand time and again as a missionary in Asia. You state that it is an “undistinguishable, simultaneous” event….but in actuality Calvinism doesn’t let you hold this. As I stated Calvinism posits the strange anomaly of a regenerated – unsaved person. For instance Calvinism must believe the Gentile “God-fearers” who Paul met were regenerated and born-again with Christ’s spiritual life of resurrection years before– BUT not yet saved. The scriptures know of no such thing as regenerated, spiritually alive–unsaved person. Regeneration is the result of repentance and faith and not the condition for faith. This is where Calvinism is in great error.

      We are indeed dead in sins, cut off from God and without hope in an un-regenerated state. In such a state no fallen, un-regenerate person will seek after God of his own unction. But God’s grace seeks us out in love. God’s prevenient, drawing grace enables a response of repentance and faith that would otherwise not be possible. “We love him because he first loved us.” Indeed the totality of God’s salvation is a gift–it is not of ourselves either in source, power or origin. But gifts can also be rejected and the Holy Spirt can be resisted! (See Jn. 7:51, Lk 13:34) Therein is the difference between Calvinism and Arminianism. Spiritual resurrection and life does not come to us outside of covenant with Christ. No– it only comes when we are “in Christ” who is the source of a regenerated, born-again life.

      Again, keep in mind that Jesus said he “is resurrection” and he “is life. “He’s not just talking about a future resurrection of our bodies. To believe in Jesus is to receive Jesus and to receive Jesus is to receive resurrection life and spiritual new-birth. We do not receive the power and life of Christ’s spiritual resurrection so that we can later receive Christ, (Calvinist position) for that would be to separate Christ from who He IS- resurrection life! Rather through God’s drawing grace we believe and receive Christ and thus receive His resurrection power which results in the “new man.” (Arminian position). In placing regeneration and spiritual resurrection prior to being “in Christ” Calvinism unfortunately separates Jesus from who He is–resurrection life and spiritual renewal!

      Lastly, I will watch the video if you promise to read this: 🙂
      http://evangelicalarminianism.wordpress.com/category/romans-9/

      I wish you well Ben. God bless us both in our continued studies and desire to discover truth without losing needed grace and humility in the process. Sometimes I err in this regard.

  4. Andrew says:

    First and foremost, I believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ is most important, and that our only job is to accept the free offering of grace and, as a result, strive to be more like Christ and share the good news with all the people that we know, and even to the ends of the earth.
    Now, regarding Calvinism, I believe that had God predestined for sin to exist, we cannot question God because God defines good and not our presuppositions about goodness. And regarding salvation according to the Calvinist, they believe that we cannot reach God on our own accord (Rom. 3:11). Therefore, it is not God who predestined them to hell, but man choosing hell and God choosing whom he will save.
    It is as if we are all on a sinking ocean liner and God is on a lifeboat. He would be viewed as a hero for saving them, not evil and vindictive for not saving the rest of mankind. (This is a poor example of God’s redemptive salvation, so don’t try to pick apart the flaws in this illustration. No illustration can fully explain God’s amazing grace.)
    Both sides have their fair points, and I can see where they arrive at that point.
    Arminianism focuses on man’s free will and the ability of all men to be saved, while Calvinism focuses on the sovereignty of God. Both are found in the Scriptures, so I believe that it is some strange hybrid of the two, that somehow both are true to some extent, and that the truth lies somewhere between the two extremes in the tension between them.
    P.S. It is up to each Christian to continue looking through the Word of God and allowing the Spirit to illuminate in them the truths of God’s Word. They should not take a side because of what their friends believe, what their pastor says, or what conforms best to their worldview, but what the Holy Word of God says.

  5. StriderMTB says:

    Hi Andrew, thanks for stopping by and commenting. I appreciate the spirit in which you make your points. However I think a few comments are in order:

    1. You mention that our responsibility is to “accept the free offering of grace.” I agree. But this is fundamentally at odds with Calvinism. If we are not truly free to resist and reject God’s offer of irresistible, invincible grace (i.e. Calvinism’s efficacious grace) then God’s grace is not truly free but forced and ultimately coercive.

    2. You state, “regarding Calvinism I believe God predestined sin to exist.” How awful Andrew. God is altogether holy and righteous and separate from evil. So how can God’s mind and character (which “tempts no man to sin” James 1:13) be the ultimate origin (and therefore author) of sin? Calvinism doesn’t just say God predestined sin (as a general curse), but he predestined and divinely determined every one of your sins Andrew—such that you were not truly free to do otherwise. What horror! God becomes morally ambiguous and hardly distinguishable from the devil. In fact in order for Calvinists to maintain their thoroughly confused, extreme teaching in “universal, meticulous sovereignty” they must concede that God has divinely determined every thought, desire, intention and action of Satan. In Calvinism NOTHING can be planned, conceived of and accomplished outside of God’s prior divine predestination. How sad and deplorable! Calvinists can only hold on to a belief in God’s essential goodness by being willfully ignorant of the darker side of their beliefs. This is why Calvinism is the pinnacle of cognitive dissonance.

    3. You seem to think Calvinists alone hold to the belief that fallen man “cannot reach God of his own accord.” This is not unique or special to Calvinists. This is fundamental to Arminianism. Calvinism often survives on mischaracterization and outright lies concerning historical Arminianism. One must look to Arminianism’s recognized, scholarly proponents and defenders to critique the view—not popular level, slipshod, lazy “Arminian” preachers. Fundamental to Arminianism is the belief that fallen man–unaided by divine, drawing grace– cannot believe the gospel under his own unction. He must be supernaturally aided by God’s grace which is the doctrine of “Prevenient Grace.” Prevenient grace is assumed throughout the N.T. It is a drawing grace—but not an irresistible, coercive grace.

    4. You state “God did not predestine them to hell. They chose hell and God chose whom he will save.” This simply won’t do Andrew. I feel you have fallen prey to some “bud-light Calvinists” who have kept the darker, sinister side of unconditional election from you. It is UNCONDITIONAL remember? That means God did not consult ANYTHING—including our sin or the Fall of man before he chose who he will create and save and who he will create for hell. Not only that, in Calvinism, God doesn’t foresee human choice and then decree. God decrees and men act according to God’s decree. Nothing happens apart from what God decreed prior to the creation of the universe in eternity past. That means God determined the Fall, determined men to fall into sin, determined every one of your own sins—and then determined who he would choose to rescue from the very “sinking ocean liner” (to use your analogy) that he personally sabotaged. So even if a Calvinist tries to put unconditional election after the Fall of man—it makes no difference because in Calvinism God determined man to Fall (even though he yet had no fallen nature or inclination to choose evil).

    5. While initially seeming appealing your “ocean liner analogy” furthermore doesn’t reflect the Calvinist scenario because salvation is ultimately an exercise of God’s coercive power. If he finds a stubborn will He simply gives them a double-whammy of his irresistible grace-power and forces their will to be inclined to His. Since salvation is simply an exercise of God’s raw power, what he can do for some—he can do for all! Imagine a scenario where a rescue ship arrives at the scene of sinking ocean liner but the captain only decides to let down a few lifeboats into the water even though he could have given an order to let down all the lifeboats and save everyone! Such a “rescue” would be a farce and such a captain would no doubt be brought up on charges of willful neglect and manslaughter. You warn your analogy is insufficient—as all analogies are— (I agree) but I feel the main thrust of your analogy completely ignores the true implications of Calvinist theology. I better analogy would be God purposely setting fire to a house and then running in to save a few (even though He had the power to save all) just so he could be praised as a hero in the newspapers and ultimately extol His glory as one who triumphs over fire (sin). Since Arminians believe the clear biblical teaching that “God desires that no man perish” and that “God desires that all men be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth” and that “God so loved the world” and that Jesus’s atonement is not limited in its salvific intention and scope but is rather “the propitiation of sins, not only for us, but the whole world” –then we understand that man’s failure to come to Christ is no fault on the part of God’s love, desire, power or intention—but is rather God’s sovereign choice to honor their image of God bearing free-will to reject His drawing grace.

    6. Lastly you state that Arminianism is founded on a belief in “man’s free will and ability for all to be saved.” I would not define it in that way. Arminians are not really motivated by a desire to defend man’s free-will. Rather we are motivated by a desire to protect God’s character from the insidious and horrific implications of Calvinism’s doctrine of universal, meticulous sovereignty which finds God predetermining every rape, porn rental, genocide, divorce and aborted baby. Free-will is simply an essential feature of mankind that allows the evil of this world to ultimately be grounded in man—not God’s holy, ordaining mind.

    For these reasons I do not think a hybrid is possible—but I do understand your sentiments and the spirit in which you may hope for one. Personally I think all the scriptures Calvinists use to affirm their doctrines (like Romans 9) can be reasonably and persuasively interpreted differently that does not require us to believe God determines all evil and limits the scope of his salvific intention. God bless you Andrew and may the Spirit of God refresh and renew our minds and hearts each time we approach His Word.

    (P.S. I would highly recommend Roger Olson’s book “Against Calvinism” for a concise rebuttal of Calvinism and the multifaceted errors they make to arrive at their conclusions. I would also recommend http://www.reknew.org and typing in search keys like “election” or “Romans 9” etc.

    • Matt says:

      Replying to an old thread here, but wondering if you could clarify the Calvinist’s explanation of Satan and what exactly his role is? It seems that this is yet another highly problematic issue for the Calvinist — that Calvinism has no use for Satan.

      • StriderMTB says:

        Hi Matt, thanks for stopping by my blog. I was going to be putting up a short post on your very question. I might as well as draft it here. You are right to imply Satan serves no real purpose in Calvinism—in the sense that all his schemes are merely the product of what God inspired, conceived an decreed in the past. At most we can only say Satan serves an instrumental purpose.

        Satan is (in Calvinism) merely an extension of God to bring about some action God determined. In this sense Satan’s instrumentality for God is like my using a branch to knock an apple out of a tree. The stick hits the apple but only as an extension of my arm and will. Since in Calvinism God’s will of decree is the ORIGIN OF CONCEPTION for everything that occurs in the world, including Satan’s wickedly depraved activities on earth, there is no escaping the conclusion that God’s morally good nature becomes the determinative source for everything against God’s moral nature. In this sense God becomes (as others like Roger Olson have pointed out) morally indistinguishable from the devil.

        This is the price one must pay to embrace Calvinism’s warped interpretation of divine sovereignty. The Arminian view stands in contrast to the Calvinist view in the following way: The glory of God’s sovereignty is His power to overrule evil for good, not determinatively ordain all evil in the first place.

        God is not a moral arsonist.

  6. Chuck says:

    All models are wrong but some models are useful. Meanwhile, I’m still trying to figure out how to love my neighbor.

  7. fokis116 says:

    It amazes me how people try so hard to pull God down in trying to raise themselves. God raises dead men to new life. Dead men cannot and will not ever be able to please God. Jesus Christ saves. He does not just make it possible or just lays it out and says to a dead man here take it. He does not say please please i want to save you let me save you. No. He saves his people from their sins. He propitiates, satisfies the judgement due. If he has died for every single individual on what basis can God judge anyone if he has already judged everyone in Christ. Gods love is not equal for all. Christ loves His bride in a unique way that He shares with no other people. A man can not love anyone the way he loves his wife. He loves his wife in a special love. God loves His people, church, and bride in a unique fashion. These people were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world. Loved uniquely before the foundation of the world. Those he chose for eternal to display the glory if his grace and those he left in their sins to display the glory of his justice. You can use words like “forced to believe” or “against your will” but be honest in a synergistic soterology you have to use words like “tries to save” and “makes salvation possible but not definite.” It amazes me that a pagan king aknowledges more of God’s soveriegnty then most of so called “christians.” ALL GLORY GOES TO GOD IN SALVATION. Man only recieve the blessings of another finished work. The grace of God is poweful. God accomplishes all that he desires. Do we preach a messagez that saves men or only makes them saveable. If it only makes them saveable then its possible Christ death was in vain. Christ said He WILL save his people from their sins. I believe not to be made alive. I believe because i was made alive. Soli Deo Gloria

  8. fokis116 says:

    Cant help but read the comments that say God is the author of sin and rape and porn rentals. First the problem of evil is a problem for synergist just as much as monergist. Second your not protecting God’s holiness but deminishing it by taking away from His soveriegnty. In a synergistic view God cant violate the rapist free will and restrai n him from doing that very thing because then God becomes the rapist. That is obserd. Then what he hopes for a

    • fokis116 says:

      “Willing” person to come along and try and bring good from evil? Or doesnt it make sense that God leaving man in his fallen evil nature to carry out only what his nature can do which is evil so that God would bring out good from evil. This establishes God’s soveriegnty over evil. Have you ever thought of doing something horrible that others do with ease but you youself dont carry out. Why is that that others do it and you dont. God who is able to keep you from sinning restrains men from doing all the evil they are capable of doing. He also gives them over to their evil passions in times in which they carry out their evil desires and uses that to His own glory. That or we can believe that God waits on the side for a moment when he perform his will. I believe God is soveriegn over evil and His allowance and restraining of proves it. We all have the ability to be far more evil then we are but by Gods grace we arent.

  9. StriderMTB says:

    Hi Fokis116, thanks for your comments. But to be honest your comments display quite a bit of confusion as to the Arminian position and a very novice, uninformed apprehension of the logical implications of your own Calvinistic theology. So I will largely pass on responding in depth and simply ask you a few questions:

    1) Has any rape occurred that God did not first decree?
    2) Is there any porn video made that was not predetermined by God before the foundation of the world?
    3) Fokis, have you ever made a choice to sin that God did not sovereignly decree and render certain that you would make?

    I’m sure you can see where I’m driving at. If you bother to answer these questions honestly (i.e. according to the logical implications of your own theology) you will hopefully see why much of what you wrote is misguided and misconceived.

    It helps you none at all to appeal to man’s sinful, depraved nature to explain the ultimate reason as to why one evil occurs and not another. In your theology sinners aren’t even FREE to choose which evil they will commit–such as whether to click on porn site A or porn site B! In Calvinism God’s “sovereign” will is the decretive origin for every desire and choice made by men. Saying that God permits men to carry out evil is the Arminian position. You have no real claim to the phrase “God permits.” Any alleged “permittance” in Calvinism is simply a formality of means and is rather a meaningless statement. It is quite disingenuous to say “God permits men to do what he sovereignly decreed they MUST do.” For all your zeal you seem strangely unaware that the Calvinist position is that all our choices are the effect in time of what God decreed and determined before time began. You also seem to be unaware that the Calvinist position logically entails God is the principle origin and author of evil. Perhaps you would like to explain the difference between God authoring a person to commit the sin of X and God decreeing a person to commit the sin of X?

    It is my hope that one day you recognize the glory of God is not found in him decreeing all evil but in him triumphing over all evil with good in the age to come.

    Shalom, Matt

    • fokis116 says:

      Although you ask these questions as if they can be answered in a yes or no manner. I will answer in as much clarity is i can.

      1. First the question is a question intended to spark emotion and awe. In answering i will use Pilate and Herod. Acts 4:27-28 27 For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur. We see individuals, Pilate and Herod, being predestined to do all that God had intended. These people were destined to do all that they did to Christ. Does that mean God was there saying to Pilate or Herod “you better beat him and crucify him or else?” No. The nature of these men wanted to crucify him. They did not do this with gusto to say “look we helped bring about salvation” they did it with their own evil intentions and motives. God did not need to tempt them to commit this act or MAKE them perform these action. He did choose to use these me for this very purpose. He did not violate their free will which only does evil. If anything he gave them more freedom to do these things. God rightly condemned them for their intentions. Yet it was God’s plan. This the same with the Assyrians in Isaiah 10 and in the case of Pharaoh, In the case of rape, a horrific act of mans sinful nature and evil desires which man and man alone are responsible for, it is no different. The creation ordinance of sex is good. It is to be use as God intended. God would be honored if the rapist did not rape but instead used the gift of sex given by God for the purpose it was intended. I ask can God keep the man from CHOOSING to rape? I say yes God does it everyday. Men can be more evil then what they are and it is by God’s grace they are not. Their are rapist who are around potential victims everyday why do they not carry out their desires everyday? Because God restrains them. So do you believe God can and does keep men from committing rape?

      2. Lets look at the same passage in Acts 4:27-28. These men were destined to commit these horrible acts. Could these men do anything other than what was decreed by God? No. These men cannot act contrary to their sinful natures. With regard to porn videos, once again used for awe and shock, has God been glorified by men who repented of these things and grown in holiness? Yes men by the grace of God overcome these sins. At the same time God gives men the FREEDOM to make these videos. Not that He is pleased with the perversion of His gift of sex. Also these men who make these and watch these only build up wrath for themselves. God will be glorified by His display of justice toward them for the evil intent of their hearts. I ask you does God allows evil to happen with the specific intention of bring good out it or does God says “Oh evil happened, HOW can i bring good out of it?”

      3. You ask the question as if i could do good in and of myself. When people sin they do so not because God MAKES them but man living according to his nature. Romans 3:10 “There is none righteous, not even one;
      11 There is none who understands,
      There is none who seeks for God;
      12 All have turned aside, together they have become useless;
      There is none who does good,
      There is not even one.”
      13 “Their throat is an open grave,
      With their tongues they keep deceiving,”
      “The poison of asps is under their lips”;
      14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness”;
      15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood,
      16 Destruction and misery are in their paths,
      17 And the path of peace they have not known.”
      18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

      This passage says it perfectly. God did not say “you will do this even if you don’t want to” The desire to evil and sin is what we do. Could Pilate have chosen to act contrary to his evil nature. Not without the grace of God. You ask the question in regard to sin. I ask you the same question in regards to good. have you ever made a choice to do good that God did not sovereignly decree and render certain that you would make? If so wouldn’t that mean that in and of yourself you have the ability to do good. Which would be contrary to the passage above and other such as Romans 8.8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Man can only do good in a regenerate state. even then it is not a good of his own but by Gods grace.

      If I could ask a question or two.

      If God has exhaustive knowledge of all events, which i believe and i think you would affirm, how do you claim to have a free choice. If God looks down to the point in which you would respond in faith to the gospel and at that point in time when this choice is laid before you can you choose to not respond in faith? I do not believe this is how God’s foreknowledge works but am only using it to prove that even the Arminian position does not have a free choice. You can only act in the manner in which God knew you would respond right? If not then does that mean man can do things God doesn’t know will happen?

      You use verses in a previous response that speak of Christ being the propitiation for the whole world. I ask you is that an active definite propitiation in which He took the punishment in my place and that of the WHOLE world, every single individual and pay the price once for all not needing to do anything else to secure the salvation. If He propitiated the sins of every individual why then is there anyone in hell. Surely that would include the sin of unbelief right? When people say Jesus died for you. Does that mean that He paid your sin debt? If so then can God demand you pay that same debt in hell if you don’t believe?

      People say its not fair if we don’t have freewill, which calvinist believe you do have you only choose that which is evil. Well what about when we are in glory. Will we have the ability to fall from heaven. Can we choose to sin in heaven. If not isn’t that not fair?

      Just a few question that I would seriously love answered.

      Thanks StriderBTM.

    • fokis116 says:

      I had answered your questions in a reasonable manner. I write now to address some other statements you made in regards to God permitting evil. It perfectly ok for me to say permit evil because the evil intent of man can line up with God’s decree. Take again Pilate. His intent was evil in the sense that he sentanced Christ to death, not with the intent God had of bring salvation, but for political reasons. So God permited the evil of Pilate to fulfill His decree. You talk as if God is their saying “you can do good but i decreed you to do evil so tough luck” the evil is ourselves not God making us. Men want to do evil and can only do evil because of their fallen nature. In saying that God cannot violate your will is to say God doesnt permit evil becuase He cant stop evil if it means violating your free will. Permiting involves the ability to stop. In arminianism God cant stop you from doing evil because he would be violating your free choice. I keep wondering if you believe that evil has no purpose. Does evil happen with a specific purpose that what God brings out of it will glorify himself whether by displaying his grace or justice? Or is it something God has no controle over because it comes from our free choice? Lastly im not sure but by you last statement of God overcoming evil inthe age to come, are you implying God doesnt overcome evil in the now? If so why not? If thats not what your say just bypass the questions on the topic. Thanks

  10. StriderMTB says:

    Fokis, I’m sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I don’t have the time to answer all of your questions but you can find them answered in some form in the posts I have already written if you feel so inclined to read more. I do appreciate your attempts to defend your grasp of the finer aspects of Calvinism…but you seem hopelessly mired in confusion concerning what Calvinism actually teaches and the logical implications that fall out of holding that God decreed everything that occurs–that is to say every evil thought, desire and action of men.

    You stated, “I have answered all your questions in a reasonable manner.”

    No–Fokis, you didn’t answer them at all. You circumvented them by offering up an interpretation of Christ’s crucifixion that interpretively ASSUMES as true the very error of your theology under question.

    Fokis, the related texts only require us to understand that by God’s “predetermined plan and foreknowledge” Christ was “delivered over” to “wicked men” to carry out their own wicked intentions—intentions that are fully known to God. It bears repeating that the event of the crucifixion was predestined—not the evil motives and characters of those involved. This where I think most Calvinists get tripped up. God can exploit and use to his own advantage the evil intentions of others. God can override evil–not by decreeing that it first occur–but by exploiting it for his own purposes. That is his glory. You erroneously think God needed to exhaustively and meticulously predetermine all the means (what motives they would have and what wicked character traits they would adopt) in order to reach a predetermined end. As such you think God had to predetermine certain persons to have certain evil characters to do certain things to arrive at a certain, predetermined end (i.e. Christ’s death). But this just doesn’t follow. When you read that Herod, Pilate and certain Jews “did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen” you automatically and mistakenly assume that Herod, Pilate and others must have had their individual, wicked characters causally determined via God’s irresistible decrees in order to carry out the crucifixion.

    But this just isn’t true. There are more reasonable interpretations that don’t require us to think God is the primary and determinative cause for men having evil characters, etc. God could have sovereignly arranged Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem to occur when it did—knowing it would naturally force the hand of the ruling authorities to respond in a manner resultant in Christ’s crucifixion. Arminianism and Molinism allows for God to foresee obstinate hearts and characters, and know what men will do given a certain set of circumstances. God knew that given the conditions and situation of Israel’s religious and political leadership “at the fullness of time” that Jesus, in response to His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, would get crucified just as it was foretold.

    Now, you may be tempted to say, “But if you allow that God can providentially arrange certain conditions to acquire certain events to reach a predetermined end—like the crucifixion—then I can equally say God has compatibilistically determined each and every necessary condition to bring about every sinful thought, desire and choice to carry out every depraved act of mankind throughout history!”

    However this is an unwarranted extrapolation. It is thoroughly ridiculous for Calvinists to continue to point to the crucifixion and think they have good grounds to hold that God has also determinatively rendered certain all moral evils such as child pedophilia, spousal abuse, adultery, and every rental of a rancid porn movie—the very evils Christ sought to overcome in death. To attempt to highlight the crucifixion of our Lord as a hermeneutical perch to sit upon whereby we can cast God’s determinative ordination net into the world and “catch” every sin and every sordid evil event of world history is absurd and wide of the mark.

    Put simply to view the one act which removed the sin of the world as the hermeneutical key to justify how God could have determinatively ordained all the sordid sin of that world is an exegetical leap that is unwarranted and ill-advised. I don’t think the one event in history to rid the world of sin is very sound evidence that God ordained all the sin in that world!

    But more importantly Fokis–rather than answer the force of the questions you avoid the logica of them. They are very EASY “yes” or “no” questions. Either God determinatively decrees and renders certain every choice men make OR God does not. Calvinism says he does. Arminianism says God does not–because if God’s ordaining mind were to be the conceiving origin for the sins men choose, and his will were the decretive and determinative origin for the sins men commit–then freedom is invalidated and God becomes morally responsible for the evils he renders certain through irresistible decrees. You may not like this conclusion–but you (and no Calvinist to date) can offer an explanation as to why it would not be the logical implication. Calvinists are infamous for appealing to mystery when their views become too threatened by logical implication.

    Most surprisingly, you avoid the force of the questions by adopting Arminian theology! It is Arminian theology, Fokis, that says God decreed to PERMIT humans to misuse their freedom and commit evil. It is Calvinism that says God decreed the evils committed. Big difference.

    Fokis, you are basically falling way short of your own doctrine—you simply aren’t unraveling the banner of your theology fully when you attempt to define the Calvinist position as “God decreeing to allow evil in order to bring about good.” But my guess is you have probably sat under the tutelage of Calvinist teachers who have shielded you from thinking too logically about the inconsistent and absurd premises within Calvinist theology.

    That is fundamentally dogma Calvinism asserts is that God has determinatively decreed and rendered certain every choice of man. Therefore you can’t borrow the language of permission and say God permits people to freely carry out the evil of their heart. That is to only go HALF-WAY. Calvinism advocates that GOD DECREED ALL EVIL—NOT THAT HE DECREED TO ALLOW EVIL. Surely you must see how it is disingenuous and dishonest to blur the critical distinction between decreeing it certain that someone do something and knowing and allowing someone the free exercise of their will to do something.

    If a teacher determinatively renders it certain that all her students will fail an exam, can we honestly say the teacher “allowed” her students to fail? If a father were to determinatively render it certain that his child disobey him, is it sufficiently accurate to say the father “allowed” his child to disobey him? Of course not. Yet this is the view you are adopting.

    Does God have some sort of split personality in which he needs to get permission FROM HIMSELF to “allow” the very things he decided, determined and decreed?

    Lastly, your view of human depravity is quite suspect. You seem to think God just withholds his grace and the natural result is that men are simply left with evil choices. But here again–you are only going HALF-WAY. If Calvinism is true then it means even the very sins we choose are themselves determined by God. In other words, Fokis, sinners aren’t even FREE to choose which sins we will commit because the range of possible sins has been constricted down to just one choice and one sin–the one God determined. The “justice” and “sense” of your view would be like me saying to you, “I’m not responsible for you getting lost and running out of gas—I wasn’t the one driving. I only manipulated and recalibrated the GPS and withdrew the gas from the tank before you left.”

    You seem like a bright and intelligent person, Fokis, and it is my sincere hope that you haven’t swallowed the hook of Calvinism down so far that you find it impossible to spit out. I do hope that you will one day realize how the cost of affirming Calvinism is to ultimately surrender God’s glory, goodness and morally perfect nature on the alter of bogus interpretation of sovereignty. Sovereignty is ultimately about who has ultimate authority and who is ultimately in charge–it does not mean meticulous control over everything that happens. A king can be sovereign over his kingdom without controlling and determining everything his subjects do. The very word “sovereignty” has a rich, linguistic history that does not at all entail what Calvinists claim “it must mean” for God.

    Blessings on your day, Matt

  11. Tim Potter says:

    StriderMTB:

    Thank you thank you thank you for your defense of the plain sense of the Bible.

    I am a physician who loves Christ. I am curious about a lot of things, but my number one obsession in John 17 and the unity of the Body of Christ. For this reason I long wanted to look at this debate as an unnecessary and divisive distraction — however, I am increasingly sensing that there is thinly veiled war on between Calvinism and any other systematic theology, declared by an increasingly ubiquitous and strident Calvinism which condemns all other schools of theology as heretical. I think appropriate analogies may be the devil at war against God, religion at war with the saints, and the power of death (cold sterility) warring against life (organic flowering growth). And Calvinism is growing, and when it gets the minds of men, it grips them like a vice. Maybe it must be addressed aggressively (I am still trying to ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom on this decision though). Wesley thought it needed to be addressed, and so has one of my contemporary heroes, Dr. Michael Brown (of the excellent hermeneutical and apologetic series “Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus”). So now here I am posting my first explicit public thoughts on this.

    I am not yet learned enough in the salient points of the debate to add much to what you have already said above, but I will point out these few things I haven’t heard said too often, so that someone may correct me if the only reason they haven’t been pointed out is their obvious weakness:

    Death (or, to say more softly, non-life) is so much neater, so much less messy, uncontrollable and unpredictable, than Life. Sterility is easier for humans to handle than living movement and volition, that’s why we pave bumpy dirt paths and disinfect our kitchens and mow our lawns. Calvinism is a wide asphalt pavement masquerading as the Way, and it may be a pavement of biblical interpretation that is easier to walk on than the messy truths of the Bible’s seemingly wild, sometimes paradoxical, and (to the person without faith) contradictory stories and statements, many of which it effectively mows down like so many weeds. And these days in America’s intellectual evangelical climate, Calvinism is the road more travelled. At least among nearly every serious White Evangelical I’ve met in the last ten years, it appears to be The Way, The Truth, and … well, the Neat Package that makes everything Fit? (I dare not call that, even in appearance, the Life — it resembles human activity like blueprints and railroad tracks, but not natural virgin Life.) Notice I say “it” appears to be all these things. This is because the HE (Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life) seems to be way too often replaced by the IT (i.e., “the finished WORK of Christ”, “the DOCTINES of grace,” the “FIVE POINTS”, etc). Salvation has become a course to be learned, like the degree one must acquire before being hired to design bridges and highways. But isn’t Salvation supposed to be a Person to be known? Again, sterile objects in place of lively subjects.

    I am also very interested in the analogous debate between Christianity and atheism (naturalism), and it is plain in that debate that the core flaw of naturalists is that their beliefs are the acid that eats their own minds and (if true) all of ours. If the Big Bang plus the laws of physics and mathematics thoroughly predestined every cause and effect that have come since, including all the circumstances that led to my birth and every synapse my brain uses, then in a very real sense I do not exist as anything other than an extension of the Big Bang.

    At the center of the Universe is either Power (ie, the impersonal Big Bang, or maybe a personal God who is all, essentially, power) — or Love. The whole world knows the Creative Force is powerful, as does the Christian religious mind unaided by the Spirit. This is the “insight” of Darwinism. It takes revelation to know God is Love. Love, as we know from the Trinity, is expressed only in relationship. I think if God loves us, we must exist, as real agents, not as finger-puppets.

    In Calvinism: If our seeming choices are all negated by His sovereign initiating and ever-acting omni-potent authority, then we are not actors, we are only expressesions of Himself. He “loves” Himself in the ones of us He loves as His “bride” (the love, the relationship, gets more and more singular and restricted in this view the more one meditates on it, kind of makes me wonder if the core “Sh’ma Oh Israel” of Mystery Monergic Calvinism is that Christ Himself is the finger-puppet of this God who wants to LOOK like He gives others real existence in order to “love” them — i.e., Does this acid even dissolve the reality of Jesus?). If God expresses His “wrath”, it is on the characters, in the scenario, that He decreed — again, on Himself. This would be either a humorous charade or a real schizoid personality in our God.

    But again I must repeat, I think if God loves us, we must exist, as real agents, not as finger-puppets.

    The world apart from God knows all about the God who is Power — every pagan religion and philosopher interpreted that God in some way, sometimes by relegating him to the regions unknowable (most religions), sometimes by splitting him up into a million pieces (Hinduism and Greek religion), sometimes by calling him an impersonal force (Buddhism), sometimes by trying to talk directly to Him (“heaven”) through sacrifice (as did the Emporers of China). Nature tell us about that Power. Who knows about the God who is Love? Islam does not — they say he is condescending, kind, and merciful, but they expunged the Trinity because a God who is Love, or who ever looks weak or vulnerable (as real Love is always ready to do) doesn’t make sense to them. And we (Christians) do the same, when we try to understand God with our carnal minds, which are at constant enmity against Him and cannot know Him. The natural mind will always substitue a more logical God for the God who is Love. It’s by our spirit’s union with the Holy Spirit that something else can be envisioned.

    I think for God to relate to us in Love, we have to exist, to be given the opportunity to bring something real to the table (like the sacrifices of Cain and Abel, or anyone’s true sacrfices in Scripture). The only things in our experience that are complex yet make no real choices are machines. If total depravity means God ordained (or allowed) us to become machines (clay) again after He had once breathed the breath of life into us, well I doubt that’s scriptural. And what good does it do to say that God later called life again into us Lazaruses, when even those who were thence “alive” are still completely inert and passive responders, righteous puppets? They still are not “resurrected”, not alive — they may be “heaven-bound,” but they still do not exist except as finger-puppets on the Golden Chain of Redemption, and they (as non-agents, inert under compulsion) do not really interact with this God who calls Himself Love.

    Those that believe a personal God is the only real actor in history cannot, at the core, be very far removed from those who believe an impersonal god (ie the Big Bang or the Cosmic Energy) is the only real actor in history. Both kinds of gods are amoral and completely encompass all that is. They do not have any direction (except maybe — in this context — an amorphous concept of “Glory” — and I suppose the Big Bang or the nihilism of Buddhism’s sunyata are also glorious in similar ways). Therefore there is no way to really tell what is good and what is evil to them. They just are what they are. Nature (Impersonal “God”) is glorious in its supernovas and predation and bloodshed and pretty flowers and rainbows. For His part, Personal God is Himself and angels and demons and cute babies and genocides and … us, and it’s all part of His Glory. And we (necessarily) are God, if God is the only real, glorious actor. So how are Calvinist Christianity and its polar opposite, atheism, any different? In Calvinism, the Universe contains one living Being. In Atheism, one non-living Being. That’s the only difference.

    The revelation of Christ and the Trinity and the God who is Love changes it all at the core. Relationship gives direction to all things in creation — self-giving love, investment in others, is good, and a hoarding, selfish disregard for others is bad. This starts in the Trinity, where the Father glorifies and loves the Son through the Spirit, the Son glorifies and loves the Father through the Spirit (I think this is how they all work togetheranyway). Both (all) are engaged in constant self-giving, I think. God’s goodness toward us (in this scenario) starts with making us real, really there, actual actors, actual agents, people in His image with a contribution to bring to the table. And then the relationship builds from there into the great Drama of fall and redemption, and God (the Father and the Son) goes to War for His Creation, both to ransom us and at the same time (no surprise) to make propitiation for Justice (the Good Rules that God estabished for this relational world, or in other words, the Word, or perhaps, Law, that He exalted even above His Name, as in **Ps. 138:2, and see footnote at the bottom). And He even loses some battles — the Cross, this most inglorious of all Deaths, is a LOSS or it is nothing. And He ultimately wins ALL, with the Resurrection a firstfruits of this victory over HIS enemy, Death (I Cor. 15). In this world, mystery of mysteries, GOD LOSES, to WIN, glory to His Name! (and Jesus tells us to do exactly the same — consistent, is it not?). Does He HAVE to, like some math equation or accountant’s audit, account fully (to us at least) for the efficacy of every drop of atonement blood? Does He get justly taunted by all those He went to War for who refused His help, as if they have real power over Him, rejoicing in their ability to thwart Him by achieving damnation? Hard to answer, as He gives us no strong clues in Scripture. Those who answer it answer with their philosophical (and possibly carnal) notions. Does He have to account to us fully for the ethics of hell’s existence and purpose? Probably not. But He has given us some clues in the Bible, and they don’t point to an exultant glory over (or because of) the damned (Prov. 24: 17-18).

    It is Islam, it is the pre-Christian and atheist conceptions of God, and 400 years after Christ it is Bishop Augustine and his successors, that posit a god who controls all and never loses. I grant that God losing anything at any time (even just temporarily) is a mystery, but so is life from and through death, so is God’s presence in hell (Ps. 139), so is a God who “repents”, so is a God who can weep, so is a God who becomes flesh, so is a God whose Word says “I don’t know (that day or hour) but my Father does,” so is the God who knows every word before it’s on my tongue yet tells me to choose life, so is suffering as an instrument in redemption, so is creation ex-nihilo, so is human thought ex-nihilo, or even the decisions of a dog to chase the butterfly or come for dinner, or of my friend’s parakeet to flirt with her today or call her an ass … and so is Love. These are the kind of mysteries which are fountains of unlimited insight.

    The kind of mysteries I must reject is the kind that says “HOW in the WORLD could God act like that and still be good?” It is the kind of example that we should study but must not try to follow (despite the fact that this God, this Jesus, is our “rabbi”). It is these …
    “How could God blur the lines of His character so fantastically as to decree Sin?”
    “How could He consistently teach us through nature, the Hebrew Scriptures and Jesus’ mouth that His standards of morality and justice (or even His system of cause and effect) are comprehensible to us, and then (seemingly, to some) pull the rug out in a few words of Paul’s epistles and entirely divorce reaping from sowing?”
    “How could He tell us to behave, think and act in ways utterly unlike the ways that He does (Prov.24:17)?”
    “How could He create a Justice for a World that includes irresistible damnation for ‘crimes’ one could not but have committed”?
    “How could He have chosen to allow the proper interpretations of all these ‘mysteries’ to be missed by all the early Church Fathers and revealed only 400 years later for the first time in a way that the original recipients and authors of Scripture (the Jews) and the early Church Fathers had long rejected explicitly?

    If the choice is the head-mystery, “How could God who is so powerful permit Himself to even LOOK like He loses, even for a MINUTE?”, or these heart-mysteries that you my brother point out make Him indistinguishable from His (postulated) puppet Satan, I will gladly take the first set of mysteries. They are a fountain of Life and discovery. This second set is a pond of Death and a dark cave of increasing ignorance and moral confusion. But that set has one real intellectual advantage: it gives us a set of answers that point the intellect toward the human conception of omnipotence, and a huge pile of ashes that effectively smothers out the flames of every seemingly competing and less tame-able biblical doctrine. Death is so much neater, so much less messy, so much more controllable and predictable, than Life, and coldness so much more orderly than the Tongues of Fire.

    **re: Ps. 138:2:
    I will worship toward Your holy temple,
    And praise Your name
    For Your lovingkindness and Your truth;
    For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.

    “*In the biblical culture, it was common for rulers to use their authority to break the rules and go against even what they themselves had promised. But our God is different from earthly, sinful rulers. He exalts His Word above His authority, and lives by His own rules. This is just what we would expect from our Just and Loving God, who lives by His own rules and keeps His promises. That is why we can trust God, but cannot trust man. We could not ask for a better God, or a better example.”

    the above quote copied from:
    http://www.truthortradition.com/modules.php?name=News&file=print&sid=1029

    • Deborah says:

      WOW, thanks Tim!

      • Tim Potter says:

        thanks for the thanks,Deborah! 🙂 I had forgotten about this post — I guess I did a Bob Dylan and said my peace about God and then moved along. Well, actually that’s shameless kidding just so I can mention Dylan — actually, I got interested in the treasure trove of Wolfgang Simson’s Starfish Manifesto (free PDF!) and I’m still swimming around in that and praying how to apply (especially) Kingdom economics with my family and house church. But I loved Strider’s most recent post on Gethsemane! Strider, this is your blog not mine — but if you have thoughts on Wolfgang Simson (of “Houses that Change the World”), maybe you’d do a thread on that? I’m loving his stuff so much that I want to make my friends think I have a terminal disease so they’ll all read it as my last wish!

      • StriderMTB says:

        Hi Tim, thanks for the comment. I have not heard of Wolfgang Simson, but I do lean towards the house church movement. I will have to pick up his book. Lots of good reviews of it on Amazon and other outlets and it seems he has struck a chord in the heart of many who sense we are missing something essential in how we currently “do church.” One of my favorite authors named Francis Frangipane said, “God is not perfecting how we have church, he is perfecting how we have life.” I believe much of that life is lost when we settle for a pew and the bare minimum of vulnerability in the foyer of the church on our way out the door.

  12. StriderMTB says:

    Tim, thank you for this. I really enjoyed reading it! I really hope other viewers and commenters take the time to engage your insightful critique–I can only give it a hearty AMEN. I especially liked this quote:

    “It appears to be The Way, The Truth, and … well, the Neat Package that makes everything Fit? (I dare not call that, even in appearance, the Life — it resembles human activity like blueprints and railroad tracks, but not natural virgin Life.) Notice I say “it” appears to be all these things. This is because the HE (Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life) seems to be way too often replaced by the IT (i.e., “the finished WORK of Christ”, “the DOCTINES of grace,” the “FIVE POINTS”, etc). Salvation has become a course to be learned, like the degree one must acquire before being hired to design bridges and highways. But isn’t Salvation supposed to be a Person to be known? Again, sterile objects in place of lively subjects.”

    Like you I would not hesitate to concede that the interchange between God and man contains certain mysteries and tensions that lie deeper than our probing efforts can fully plumb their depths. But like you, I also agree that: “The kind of mysteries I must reject is the kind that says ‘HOW in the WORLD could God act like that and still be good?’”

    Exactly. Calvinism invariable results in the positing of mystery and enigma on matters where God has clearly spoken–His moral character and trustworthiness. He IS love, He hates and abhors evil, He cannot be tempted to evil or tempt others to evil. Yet Calvinism would have us believe that God’s holy mind conceived of every one of our sins and determinatively decreed all the vile, sordid evils of this world–for his glory. In such a world God becomes morally indistinguishable from Satan. This is not a mystery or logical inconsistency God would have us live with.

    Your critique reminded me of William Lane Craig’s 5 arguments against Calvinism’s view of sovereignty (divine, causal determinism). You may enjoy checking it out–especially #4 and #5:
    http://www.reasonablefaith.org/molinism-vs-calvinism

    Although I’m not fully convinced by WLC’s arguments for Molinism (i.e. Prior to creation, God’s possession of middle knowledge allowed him to foresee/purvey an infinite number of possible free worlds and actualize one of them) his critique is the most concise and cogent summation I have yet to come across. It’s worth a look.

    Thanks again Tim!

  13. Tim Potter says:

    Exactly! Great link. I copied it to my facebook page. I loved the one about how the system undermines its own rationality in a sort of intellectual vertigo — I believe what I believe because I was determined to believe it, not because it is the most rational choice (note the word “choice”, so ironic). Whoever rejects this determinist theology will do so for the same kinds of reasons. Therefore, in principle there is NO way to test its truthfulness — not even by comparing it to the Word, as this would involve a real “us” to do the comparing.

    This is a perfect parallel to atheist determinism, another soul-eating acid. Darwin expressed the acid this way: ““With me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has always been developed from the mind of lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?” The best argument against this (i.e., unguided materialistic evolution), by Occam’s Razor, is the one made by WLC. I think it applies to all forms of complete determinism, and is the simplest argument for its irrationality. If one wants to make it more complicated (by not noticing the philosophical problems with determinism and Biologizing everything), First Things summarized Alvin Platinga’s case based on the lack of need for survival advantage to match Truth, and calls it “all but incontrovertible.” Not directly on Calvinism, I know, but beautifully sharp and relevant weaponry in today’s battles against the New Atheism that is (trying to) “poison everything.”

    http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2010/09/should-you-trust-the-monkey-mind

    • StriderMTB says:

      Hey Tim, I’ve never come across that quote of Darwin’s but found it very telling. You would be correct to note the similar end to both naturalistic determinism and divine determinism–neither can be rationally affirmed. If everything is determined–including our convictions of truth and reality–how does one transcend his own “determinism” to objectively reason through the pro and cons of a given belief and affirm it as being objectively true? I noted in another post that when one truly fleshes out the Calvinist doctrine of divine determinism (including compatibilism) one is left with more questions than answers. In fact one is left with a system that is wholly untenable– a three ring circus of doctrinal assertions that run afoul of cognitive dissonance at almost every turn. For example if everything that occurs is foreordained by God that necessarily means Arminianism! So whence comes the vigorous determination to write so many books against Arminianism as if it is an insidious infection of the mind that opposes God’s will– and as such must be contained and eradicated?

      According to their own theology are they not writing books against what the will of God has determined? Unfortunately questions like this ask far too much of the Calvinist. He is simply unwilling to think through his own beliefs in any way that would require him to deal honestly with its widespread logical implications.

      A fellow writer named Ben or kangaroodort at http://www.arminianperspectives.wordpress.com takes Calvinists to task on their stubborn refusal to let their own theological pronouncements inform them of their logical conclusions. It is a good read and can be found here.

  14. Lex says:

    Wow good discussion here. One thing that I never understood and also where Arminianism fails “again” is when I ask an Arminian/Semi-Pelagian etc. is, “Well if GOD doesn’t violate your free will, then why are you praying so hard for GOD to change (regenerate = heart of stone turned into a heart of flesh) your husband’s heart so that he can respond to the Gospel and come to know Christ and be saved?

    GRACE to you!

  15. StriderMTB says:

    Thanks for the comment Lex. When an Arminian (at least a theologically consistent Arminian) uses prayer language like “God save my friend” we are NOT praying “God break my friend’s free-will, double-whammy their resistance with irresistible grace and force them to repent.” No–we recognize that the Scriptures teach that the unsaved are deceived by the enemy, ensnared in his traps, held captive to his will and entrenched in their own self-centered pride. We recognize there is a realm of spiritual warfare over people’s life and God invites our participation as intercessors to break through the gates of hell and set the captives free. A consistent Arminian will pray salvation prayers in the broader context of spiritual warfare and intercession that asks the Lord to sovereignly bring about circumstances to humble those we love, convict them of their sin, and convince them of their need of God. We are promised that God gives grace to the humble. Moreover we recognize that while God’s grace is absolutely necessary for any individual to recognize their need of God and be drawn to God, we also recognize God’s grace is a gift– and like any gift it can be received or rejected. God’s grace brings sinners to a place where they CAN believe, but not to a place where they MUST believe. Unfortunately the latter is the coercive theology of Calvinism (no matter how they euphemistically spin it) and is the very antithesis of grace and love.

    The true question is why a Calvinist would bother praying for the lost to be saved. If God UNCONDITIONALLY elected certain people to be saved before the world began, and also UNCONDITIONALLY determined EVERY action and choice of men–then your choice to pray or not to pray is on an equal footing from God’s meticulous, deterministic perspective. The person who prays for the lost does so for the very SAME reason the person who does not pray for the lost does so–they were unconditionally determined to do so by divine fiat! In other words for the Calvinist to say God uses ordained means to bring about His ordained ends–and one of those ordained means is his praying for the lost–does not change the absurdity and meaninglessness of human existence brought about by a theological commitment to divine, causal determinism over everything we think and do. In the end we are not really in control of what we do, for we are in bondage to God’s alleged sovereign will.

    But hey if that spurs on a Calvinist to pray more for the lost–then I say have at it! Blessing and grace to you too!

  16. Nicole says:

    I agree, it’s a contradiction in his personal beliefs. It would seem he is trying to “ride the fence” so to speak and keep both groups of people happy, but if the Bible is our final authority and he’s truly researched it, he cannot believe the teachings of Calvinism. Either way, he needs to look at himself, God’s Word, and make a clear decision on his doctrine beliefs.

  17. Boromir says:

    Hi strider. Hope you don’t mind but I have a bible question for you. I was legitimately born again about 14 years ago and served the lord faithfully for about 7 years. In a way to deal with mental illness I caved in and started drinking, that turned into a problem, that led to more sin. After quite a few years I want to return to God. I was saved in a OSAS church. Not Calvinist but have been studying every angle of all the popular branches of theology and the only one that can fit the whole context of scripture to me is Arminianism. I’ve tried to twist all the warning passages to fit certain theologies but it doesn’t add up. I’ve also come to the conclusion that once salvation is lost it can never be found again. Hebrews 6:4-6. I do believe there is a difference between backsliding and apostasy. 1 cor 5:5 James 5:19-20 vs Hebrews 10:26. I’m kind of upset because the reformed group says I was never saved. The OSAS group says I just lose rewards(I don’t believe this) I’m starting to despise reformed theology. It’s almost like these guys think the church started with Calvin and the puritans have the final say in all biblical authority. Anyway how do I know of I’ve lost my chance or that God will forgive me and I can rest in the Love of God again. My guilt has been almost unbearable to see all I walked away from. I want to serve God and continue on. Thanks

    • StriderMTB says:

      Hi Pete, let me start off by assuring you God is longing for the day that you will rest in his love again. He may have been disappointed FOR you because of your past sins, but he is not currently disappointed IN you, such that he does not want you. Like the prodigal son returning to his father, he is all smiles towards you and will run to you.

      We are meant to pick up some critical, cultural markers in the story of the prodigal son. First of all prodigal means, “wasteful, excessive and lavish” and Jesus wants us to recognize that God’s prodigal, lavish, excessive, wasteful love is equal to the prodigal, excessive actions of us lost sons and daughters. Please click on this LINK. It will take you to a sermon by Greg Boyd that I think is one of the best I have ever heard…and I have heard lots of sermons 🙂

      In brief all the evidence one needs that one has not apostatized to the point of no return is their desire to return! That is good news for you. Just like all the evidence you would need to know you are alive and not in a dream state is to be consciously awake, so also if you are consciously concerned and desiring to rest in the love of God…then be 100% assured God has never considered you an irrevocable apostate from the faith. Perhaps you “lost your first love” (Rev. 2:4) for a period of time like some in the church of Ephesus. Perhaps you feel at times you are “about to die” or that “you are not complete before God” (Rev. 3:2) like some in the church of Sardis. Or perhaps you committed adultery and arranged for the murder of another man’s wife like David. Maybe you even denied your faith or worse yet denied the Lord Jesus 3 times like Peter. The good news is our God is a God who is in the business of reconciliation and restoration.

      He loves a challenge and is willing and able to even take the brokenness of your life, illnesses and choices and redeem them for an ultimate good. It does not mean everything was good. But God’s promise is that intended evil can become eventual good when we choose to surrender the good, bad and ugly to him. The danger is in holding on to bitterness and seeking to prosecute God in such a way that we say, “God does not deserve my faith. I shall punish God by ignoring Him.” That is still NOT an apostasy from which we cannot return, but if left unchecked it can become like tentacles of despair and anger wrapping around our life and constricting it of life. That in turn may lead to an apostasy from faith we cannot return from. But not necessarily because God is crossing his arms but because the apostate crosses his arms in such a hardened manner that he becomes unashamedly defiant in his hatred of God and pursues that hatred with unrepentant sin that only serves to create a greater hardening.

      While I do think the scriptures teach there is a point of apostasy from which restoration is no longer possible, I also believe there is an apostasy that we can turn back from–such as Peter’s. It is quite clear Peter entered into some level of apostasy and turned away from the Lord (apostasy) because Jesus speaks of a time when he will “turn back” (Luke 22:31-32). See also James speaking of “turning back” our brother from death and covering over his sins (James 5:19-20). In other words there is irrevocable, unalterable apostasy and a lesser form of apostasy that we can turn back from. In Galatians 5:4 Paul speaks of those who have “fallen from faith” but his desire to correct them and hope for their return means they can.

      Moreover I am glad to hear you believe there is a difference between backsliding and apostasy. That is key. The sin of apostasy described in Hebrews is a conscious decision to jettison your faith and repudiate and reject the very foundation of Christ’s sacrifice for sins. It is characterized by an active and deliberate objective to either replace Christ’s work on the cross with something else or want nothing to do with the Christ of faith at all. It is not primarily an issue of struggling with sin and failing in that struggle. It is about departing from a faith affirmation and one’s trust in Christ. But of course sin left unchecked can lead to a hardened heart that then makes faith dead. That in turn can lead one to totally abandon faith as a deliberate decision to rebel against God without remorse.

      But the point not to be missed is this: If we desire to be found in Christ again and long for him to be our place of refuge again, that is all the evidence we need to be assured God is also longing to be our source of refuge and peace once again.

      Anyone who is having fear or concern, wondering if they have “transgressed too far” does not at all fit the description the people in 2 Peter 2:20,21 or Hebrews 6:4-6;10:26-29. That they have that fear or concern is THE testimony that they can be restored, ought to be restored, and God awaits their restoration with joy.

      Let me also add that the heavy emotions of guilt you feel should not be determinative upon your hope to be restored to God and be used by him for great exploits. Emotions are never good custodians of truth. Feelings of guilt and condemnation come from the Accuser of the brethren. Let your starting place be where Jesus put it: “poor in spirit.” We never had and never will have anything to bring to the table to MAKE God love us. We are bankrupt in that regard and recognizing our bankruptcy of soul without the Lord (i.e. poor in spirit) is the starting place for every believer–whether we are returning to Him or just starting off with him. I would encourage you to wash your mind with solid devotions. I highly recommend Francis Frangipane, such as his book “The Shelter of the Most High God.” Shalom.

  18. Theresa says:

    Very impressive and Biblically accurate. Please never stop putting the truth out there. You are in my prayers.

  19. Tim Potter says:

    Hey Matt …. I have written before, but you came fondly to mind today in light of the following … I am more and more impressed with the utter monstrosity that “Calvinism” is, nearly every day. I read his “Institutes” last year and found it dripping with anger, arrogance, and religious intolerance. But beyond poor Calvin, in the interim I have learned that he was only the student — Augustine of Hippo was the teacher. He in turn was (while young) a student of gnosticism, and unfortunately was unable to ever let it go. And when we come to “gnosis”, we have come to one of the trees in the garden — the wrong tree. So these are deep deep errors, from a deeply bad well, but like everything that comes from that bad well, it wears a pretty disguise (or at least, “pretty” to those who are susceptible to its temptation … after all, most Christians aren’t tempted by ghoulish blood-letting or heroin syringes … our enemy needs a more clever disguise than that). I have dropped, in my own mind at least, the ultra-modern terms of Calvin vs Arminius (not that these terms can be dropped altogether) … and now I think in terms of Augustine vs the beautiful witness of the early Church Fathers. That is where the conflict really lies. I will paste here a couple of talks that I wager you’ll want to commend to others: the first is a thorough and fascinating discussion of Augustine and the pre-Nicene situation by the ever-affable and enjoyable Winkie Pratney, and the second is a sample of a 13-part series by Aussie Kent Hodge in Nigeria, on “violence in the Scriptures,” which is a re-examination of the nature of God in the O.T., radically built on the foundation of God’s respect for the free will He granted us, and how that has impacted His whole missiological approach toward Man ever since the Fall. This is the most fascinating teaching I have ever heard (and is available in more concise format in a free 89 page e-book on his website, here: http://www.cfaithministries.org/books-english/.

    I could never have had ears to hear it if you and people like you had not helped me break beyond the sad, sick religious wall that Calvinism has erected to shield our eyes from the real glory of our (truly and thoroughly) Humble King.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bjk7gKyVmo (1971)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yh1NcBywluY (2016)

    • StriderMTB says:

      Tim, good to hear from you again. Really great appraisal. Thank you so much for sharing the excellent insights and links. I look forward to adding your suggestions to my must read/watch list. Thank you also for sharing more of your journey out of the deception of Calvinism and how I was able to play a part. Praise God bro!

  20. joel says:

    There are some Christians that only consider themselves moderate Calvinists because they accept only 2 points out of 5. A lot of Christians that believe in eternal security(not necessarily preservation of the saints) still consider themselves to be Calvinists. Whether they should or not or if they need a different lable I don’t know. I just want to argue that not all Christians that would call themselves Calvinists agree with 5 points and predestination of the believer or non believer. I personally can accept eternal security but don’t agree with the other points and choose not to be called a Calvinist because I don’t like the lable and am honest with the fact I disagree with the doctrine. So I would say I am definitely non-Calvinistic and do lean more arminian(probably technically classical arminian)because I have in the past struggled to come to terms with eternal security I have now come to accept it but am not really that dogmatic about it. I am aware of some of the troublesome passages when it comes to eternal security but they are on both sides of the argument to be honest. Francis Chan probably falls into a moderate class of Calvinist. I agree there are some pastors that do fool ppl into liking them thinking they aren’t because they preach evangelism so much however I have come to know a lot of ppl that like someone like John Piper or John MacArthur because they are 5 pointers and they like to hear that God chose them all the time. I can’t seem to get away from that doctrine these days.

    • StriderMTB says:

      Thanks for your thoughtful remarks and for stopping by. Yes many who call themselves Calvinists really are not. They just assume they must be if they subscribe to eternal security. But in actuality the doctrine of eternal security is not equal to the Calvinist “P” perseverance of the saints. Proponents of ES would say the security is anchored in Christ’s perseverance, whereas in the Calvinist “P” human perseverance is only an time-bound evidence you got the long stick and not the short stick in eternity past when God picked winners and losers. In Calvinism even your perseverance or lack thereof has been unconditionally determined… and there ain’t a hill of beans you can do about it. Shalom to you!

  21. Gabriel says:

    I really enjoy theology discussions and hearing other people’s views on how they interpret the Bible. I am no theologian by no means however this whole Calvinism vs Arminianism debate shows non-believers that we are a religion that’s too divisive. I respect both sides and I have found how God works on both sides to glorify His name. For example, we all know the works of John Wesley (Arminianism) and how much he impacted the world with a love that came from Christ. We also have George Whitefield (Calvinism) who God used to help spark a fire in The Great First Awakening. Both very different theology but God used both to spread His Word and they both sowed many of seeds that God grew into awesome fruit bearing plants. The Synod of Dort ended with the Calvinists taking home the prize that ended with the Arminians being persecuted and led to the execution of Johan van Oldenbarnevelt. I just feel we should learn from history about how this debate will never end and sometimes it does more harm than good. While I do believe that theology should be discussed but somewhere down the line we need to put aside our own self righteous, prideful arrogant behaviors and just come together in unity in the body of Christ like we are meant to. People are going to disagree with one another sure but sometimes it just goes too far cuz it seems we worship the group we are in far more than than the Holy Trinity. I am not condemning anyone here cuz I found some really healthy discussions but it feels like we can get a lot more done if we talked about how much the Spirit has moved in us and the love of our Father and His Son.

    • StriderMTB says:

      Thanks for your comment Gabriel. I certainly agree with your tone even if I don’t fully agree with your content. A faithful Calvinist would say God must have unconditionally predetermined the divisiveness that you mention—otherwise there would be no divide. A faithful Arminian would say God can exploit the shortcomings of human nature to still bring about good and glorify himself. However the mere fact that God can exploit “the bad” to bring about “the good” of his glory doesn’t therefore justify “the bad” as being just as much of a product of God’s sovereign will as the “the good.” I guess all I’m trying to say is there is too much to lose in the way of God’s nature if we just let Calvinists say God unconditionally and unilaterally predetermined all the evil in the world for the good of His glory—including slavery, child abuse, abortion and every pornographic website. As someone who has seen the horrors of human trafficking in Asia and the abuse of children at the hands of Satan’s servants, such a view is so twisted, depraved and corrupt words often fail me. God is sovereign only to the extent He is good—unless we want to say God’s moral nature is not intrinsically good. Simply saying lots of Calvinists have done a lot of good in the world doesn’t justify the theological beliefs they hold any more than good Mormons building schools and hospitals in Asia justifies us leaving their theology alone. Blessings.

  22. Pingback: Francis Chan the Bud-Light Calvinist – ALL ABOUT JESUS -HE IS ALL IN ALL!

  23. mac says:

    Something else that totally demolishes your heretic Arminian arguments about there being people who had faith in the true God before accepting Christ, who were not DEAD in sin and trespasses and walking according to the course of this world and according to Satan as Paul says in Ephesians 2. Think, Paul was also talking about himself being DEAD in sin and basically a DEVIL WORSHIPER in perfect harmony with the devil and doing the work of the devil with ZEAL AND PASSION, before he was called. Before Paul was called, Paul was Saul, a DEVOUT JEW WHO PROFESSED FAITH IN THE TRUE GOD, A PHARISEE! SAUL PROFESSED TO BE GOD FEARING AND ZEALOUS FOR THE OLD TESTAMENT GOD, EVEN MORE SO THAN CORNELIUS. But despite all the professions of Saul and all his forced works he was still deeply in love with Satan and doing the work of Satan with zeal; and what being a devout Jew by his own will did for him, was make him as mass murderer who was at war with Jesus Christ who is the true God. Before God MADE Paul ALIVE, Paul was SAUL and may have just as well been an open devil worshiper sacrificing babies on the alter of his father the devil. Saul was much more of a devout Jew than Cornelius; and despite this, SAUL mass murdered Christians and was a greater enemy to the work of God than pagan Romans.

    • StriderMTB says:

      Hi Mac welcome to my blog. You sent me 6 incredibly long comments that I can best summarize as theological rants as long as my own post. They do not engage the post but are just long confessions of your Calvinist beliefs. I am choosing to just approve one of your comments. I would suggest you start your own blog and allow people to interact with you. You seem to be a very spirited and intelligent individual and I commend your passion. It could be you could be a great and thoughtful theologian one day as you allow the Lord to guide you. We need such people in the church—no matter the denomination. I wish you the best.

      As for your concerns with Arminianism I would suggest you read:

      http://evangelicalarminians.org/an-outline-of-the-facts-of-arminianism-vs-the-tulip-of-calvinism/

      http://evangelicalarminians.org/a-concise-summary-of-the-corporate-view-of-election-and-predestination/

      • mac says:

        Thank you for approving one of my posts, I honestly did not expect you to approve any. I was writing to YOU personally more than any of the others. I read through your comments and arguments and I can see you have passion, but I was moved to try my best to show you that your best arguments against election are un-scriptural and that you are greatly mistaken in them. As far as engaging the forum, that is EXACTLY what I was doing. I had read through many of your comments and posts .. and the six posts I made were as concise as I could make them to adequately refute your main arguments. I feel I have done so and I feel you know I am correct. I have read your claims that those who believe in the doctrine of election and all five points of Calvinism are as bad as Mormons. Now, you say that, but you are encouraging me to start my own forum and preach to people and teach them, when I believe firmly in ALL five points of TULIP. Why would you do that if you think I am teaching something as bad as Mormonism? John says in 2 John 09-11 that if any man abides not in the doctrine of Christ to not even bid him God speed lest you be a partaker in his evil deeds. If you really thought I was teaching something as bad as Mormonism you would not be giving me encouragement. Remember, by your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned. Mat 12:37 You also are not really defeating the doctrine of election in your posts, you are only knocking down a caricature of it. You are making claims about what TULIP teaches that are just not true and knocking down a straw man. Calvinists do NOT teach that God hardens hearts as in puts evil into hearts or makes them do evil. Calvinists teach that all men are evil to begin with and only do evil on their own which is clearly supported in Romans 3:10-18, that is, none do good, all have feet swift to shed blood, NONE have any fear of God before their eyes. You say men premix the evil in their own hearts and God just hastens the hardening like using a blower on concrete that is already mixed. That is also what Calvinists teach, but we accept that ALL men have EVIL hearts and ALL men have mixed the concrete .. that NONE have hearts that are God fearing or do good. ALL men are naturally God haters at ENMITY with the true God. Election means God intervening supernaturally and making God haters with hard hearts already hard as rocks, SOFT AND PLIABLE AND ABLE TO LOVE HIM, in a GREATER MANIFESTATION OF THE POWER OF GOD THAN THE CREATION OF THE EARTH FROM NOTHING. So, all men have hearts of stone like set concrete already, but because God can do anything, God can even TAKE the hearts of stone out of the people He chooses to save and put in pliable hearts of flesh, while leaving other men with hearts of stone just as they are to be judged and damned.

        “I will GIVE you a NEW HEART and put a NEW Spirit within you; I will TAKE the heart of stone out of your flesh and GIVE you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26

        Arminians will rarely confront the actual doctrine of election, only a caricature of it and that is really LYING; and ALL LIARS have their part in the lake of fire.

      • StriderMTB says:

        Mac, please read my post on Calvinist quotes of God determining all sin. You recoil at the idea God predetermines the evil people commit. You think the holiness of God prohibits him from determinatively decreeing the evil affections or sinful intentions of people. Good for you. However Calvin taught those very things, while declaring a “mystery” as to how God is not morally responsible for the evils he determines people must commit.

        For example he taught,

        1) “The hand of God rules the interior affections no less than it superintends external actions; nor would God have effected by the hand of man what he decreed, unless he worked in their hearts to make them will before they acted.”

        2) Men do nothing save at the secret instigation of God, and do not discuss and deliberate on anything but what he has previously decreed with himself, and brings to pass by his secret direction.”

        3) Hence we maintain that, by his providence, not heaven and earth and inanimate creatures only, but also the counsels and wills of men are so governed as to move exactly in the course which he has destined.”

        Sounds like you Mac are the one that has been a taught a superficial caricature of Calvinism, where all the dark secrets of its causal determinism over sin has been hidden from your view.

        Welcome to Arminianism.

        That being said, I will need to delete any future posts you make if you insist on name calling and arrogantly claiming that Arminians who disagree with Calvinism are “liars that have their part in the lake of fire.”

        Good day to you.

      • mac says:

        What I mean by Calvinism is TULIP. That is the doctrine that all men are by default totally depraved, have chosen to to walk after Satan with their whole hearts; which Paul makes very clear is the case for ALL believers before they were WOKE from the dead in Ephesians 2. The doctrine that election is UNCONDITIONAL, that is it has nothing to do with the person elected to believe, but is about God choosing, such as God choosing Jacob before he was born, before either him or Esau had done any good or evil as Paul makes clear in Romans 9. The doctrine that atonement is LIMITED to those who BELIEVE. This should be obvious or else the lake of fire would be empty and everyone saved. Atonement means salvation, sins forgiven, if atonement were not LIMITED to BELIEVERS, then Pharaoh, Esau, Judas, and even the antichrist would have their sins FORGIVEN and be saved. The doctrine of irresistible grace, that is God does not care what we want, God already knows all men want the same things, to live for lust, worship the devil and do evil every day. God chooses His elect and regenerates them without asking permission and GIVES faith as a GIFT; and once that happens they HAVE to believe. Perseverance of the Saints. Sealing is salvation, Jesus says one who believes on Him HAS ETERNAL LIFE and has PASSED from death to life as in PAST TENSE. See John 5:24. John says that whoever is born of God CANNOT KEEP SINNING and this is how we know they are born of God. See 1 John 3:9. Also, I could care less about the ramblings of John Calvin, he is not my teacher. I do not believe he was saved, do not believe he ever knew Christ. I call myself a Calvinist ONLY because I believe in all five points of TULIP. I have listened to Calvinist preachers like Paul Washer and John Piper though, and they do not teach what you claim they teach.. that God is putting evil in men. As far as predeterminism, I do believe the fall of Satan, the fall of man, Judas betraying Jesus .. and the coming of the antichrist who will make laws forcing everyone to take his mark and worship his image; is all predetermined, but it still is not God putting evil into anyone or making them sin. God foreknows that men left to their own devices and own free will and given enough rope will hang themselves. He chooses to save some from their own evil nature and not save others. For instance .. say I bring a career criminal fresh out of prison to my home and show him gold coins, and let him know I will be gone such and such day and that a certain door is unlocked. I PREDICT he will come that day and steal them.. predetermine it. Have I put evil into him? Have I forced him to steal from me? I simply knew the sort of nature he has and knew given those circumstances what he would do was for him inescapable; because he is enslaved to sin and will only act as a slave to sin; but the choice to sin and the fault is still his.

      • StriderMTB says:

        Thank you for explaining your position further Mac. I don’t think our discussion will bear any fruit. You say you listen to John Piper and “don’t care about the ramblings of John Calvin” because you “do not believe he ever knew Christ” and thus you “do not believe he was saved.” Yet you affirm the doctrines of TULIP that are historically grounded in his theological Institutes—such as the view that God determines all things, including all your sins (whether you are saved or unsaved!!) John Piper believes this extreme, morally bankrupt view of divine sovereignty as well.

        If you recoil at the idea of God’s morally perfect nature determinatively ordaining all your sins, the very sins Christ died for, then good for you. You should! Once again welcome to Arminianism.

        I encourage you to expand your reading. Don’t fall prey to confirmation bias and only read people that affirm the ideas you already hold. Let them be challenged. Google the term “society of evangelical arminians” and explore their site. Search out authentic Arminian answers to your queries on Pharaoh and Esau and learn why it is misguided and ill-conceived for Calvinists to extrapolate those passages across the entire timeline of history—not to mention the Bible. You may be surprised what you learn.

        Lastly—and this will be my last reply, I am going to paste a quote from a book outlining Calvinist beliefs. It was approved and edited by John Piper—the person whom you think does not hold to the “ramblings of Calvin.” My pasted comments will also follow:

        “God brings about all things in accordance with his will. It isn’t just that God manages to turn the evil aspects of our world to good for those that love him; it is rather that he himself brings about these evil aspects… This includes God’s having even brought about the Nazi’s brutality at Birkenau and Auschwitz as well as the terrible killings of Dennis Rader and even the sexual abuse of a young child.” (Suffering and the Sovereignty of God, edited by John Piper, 2006, p. 41-42)

        The above quote, which was edited and approved by John Piper for inclusion in his book “Suffering and the Sovereignty of God”, is so morally repugnant, evil and contrary to the majesty and glory of God, the mere fact that any Christian leader could affirm it only goes to show how deeply entrenched Calvinism is in demonic deception. 1500 years ago at the Council of Orange, the Church had little tolerance for such blasphemous departures from the nature of God’s goodness and holiness, saying, “We not only do not believe that any are foreordained to evil by the power of God, but even state with utter abhorrence that if there are those who want to believe so evil a thing, they are anathema.” (Council of Orange 529AD)

        Conclusion: Calvinism makes much of the will of man being in bondage to sin, but it turns out this is only a formality in man’s experience–it is ultimately irrelevant. In Calvinism, man’s will is in bondage to God’s decretive will. Moreover this bondage is throughout one’s life! A Calvinist would be mistaken to think regenerated, saved persons somehow escape the “bondage of the will” they formerly incurred while in sin. That would be a conclusion that does not give Calvinism its full due. In order for a Calvinist to extoll God as sovereign it must be conceded that every sin, even sins made by Christians who are in Christ, is a sin that God decreed for them to make. Becoming saved changes this not one bit. There is ultimately no true freedom of the will to be gained in being a new creature in Christ—your sins are still determined just like they were before!

        The result of such an extreme view of sovereignty is quite frightfully appalling. God tells us to put to death the deeds of our flesh and to walk in holiness, yet every time we give in to the flesh God’s meticulous predeterminism ultimately lies behind it all—such that we could not have chosen against God’s decree. Far from being removed from sin, Calvinism results in God being the conceptual author and primary cause of all sin!

        At its core historical, scholarly Arminianism has principally been motivated by an unceasing passion to protect and defend the holy and righteous character of God from the horrific implications of Calvinist theology.

        In short Mac, despite my strong language and aggressive writing style, I absolutely affirm Calvinists are my brothers and sisters in Christ. Many are wonderful people in their own right and are advancing God’s kingdom. Praise God for that. But I do pray their leadership turns from this great deception and the church divisions they have caused for centuries are healed.

  24. mac says:

    Look, I do not care about any of that. If you want to know my actual position I do not believe most of the reformers were saved, not Luther, not Calvin, not Jacobus Arminius, not John Wesley. None of them bore the right kind of fruit. John Wesley an Arminian seemed to be one of the best among them, but look what he taught. Wesley was a former Episcopalian priest, and they even call themselves CATHOLIC LITE. Wesley founded the Methodist church which teaches a FORCED methodology of WORKS to MAINTAIN salvation. What has been the fruit? Well the Methodist churches have been the first to accept homosexual ministers and perform homosexual WEDDINGS. Wesley did not understand true faith is LIVING, it is a supernatural heart change and if one has that it needs no maintenance with forced works. It is LIVING WATER that is in a believer and will change the believer from the inside out and once that happens the believer cannot be unsaved or unbelieve. Also, I did not come from a Calvinist background, I was raised in a group that was mostly Arminian in theology. They taught God predestines people and has an elect, but that predestination is like a plane being predestined to fly to a certain city, but that plane though predestined can still crash. They also taught that WE have to MAINTAIN our salvation with forced works. Oh and of course that failing to give enough money can get one “disfellowshipped’ which amounts to the unpardonable sin, that is turning away from the “true church” in failing to do works and give money as instructed.

    You are the one who teaches something very wrong and heretical. Being sealed and being born of God is not an on again off again thing, God saving His elect does not depend on us, it is about His will. If you want to understand election and God’s motivation and why it is Him that chooses and not us, go back to the beginning of the story to understand better about how God feels about the human race.

    Read Genesis 6 “The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that EVERY inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil ALL THE TIME (This is ALL MEN). The LORD REGRETTED that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the LORD said, ‘I will WIPE from the face of the earth the human race I have created”

    Point here is that it was EVERY inclination of the human heart that was ONLY EVIL ALL THE TIME and God was SORRY He made humans at all. His motivation was not to love them, it was not to try to save them all, it was not to feel sorry for little kids who never heard His message, it was to WIPE THEM ALL OUT, to DESTROY ALL OF THEM. EVERY HUMAN IMAGINATION EVIL ALL THE TIME. That must have included Noah, so it means Noah must have been ELECTED and REGENERATED. Why? Well God does not fail at ANYTHING, not once, NOT EVER, and regardless of how wicked men are and how much they hate and reject Him, He will still save some of them one way or another even if it is by force. He WILL HAVE a people for Himself and the rest get WRATH and JUDGEMENT. Our world is just as evil as the old world, and God DOES NOT CHANGE, His attitude towards men is EXACTLY AS IT WAS THEN, but like then He has an Ark (Jesus Christ) and He will CHOOSE some and save them from the WRATH TO COME.

    By the way, notice how you just IGNORE all the passages I posted that CLEARLY support TULIP and do not even attempt to explain them. You just go back to how bad John Calvin was. That is irrelevant. John Calvin also taught the trinity when Michael Servetus rejected the doctrine of the trinity. John Calvin approved of Michael Servetus being burned at the stake for rejecting the doctrine of the trinity. Was this right? Of course not, Jesus makes clear it is not our place to punish sin or false teaching except in SHUNNING the heretic and Paul reaffirms that heretics should be disciplined by not even eating with them until they repent. See 1 Cor 5-11. Point is though, John Calvin advocated brutally murdering people for rejecting the trinity and that Jesus Christ IS GOD and not just a “reflection” of God as Michael Servetus taught. Does that mean the doctrine of the trinity is evil because Calvin believed it and supported burning people at the stake for rejecting it? Is the trinity a Calvinistic doctrine too?

    • StriderMTB says:

      Thanks Mac for trying to explain your Calvinist views. I find agreement with some off your statements and others I find thoroughly un biblical. The passages you bring up and the numerous arguments you put forward have all been thoroughly addressed in many of my other posts, not to mention many dialogues in comment sections. Less arrogance on your part and more grace in the spirit of Christ towards fellow brothers and sisters would do you well in the long run.

  25. mac says:

    You’re welcome, just to let you know I have nothing against you personally. I was not trying to be arrogant. I was reading your forum and felt moved to show scriptural support for TULIP. I also did not say that Arminians who disagree with Calvinism are liars who will burn in the lake of fire. What I said is intentionally mis-characterizing what Calvinists teach is really lying and all liars burn in the lake of fire. See Rev 21:8. I am not saying that is what you are doing, but I have had discourse with Arminians before and they just keep saying over and over again we teach something we do not and ignore all evidence to the contrary and that is being dishonest. Predeterminism in the sense you were talking about is not exactly part of TULIP. I believe what the Bible says that all men are spiritually dead and at enmity with God until God chooses some to wake from the dead. I do believe what Jesus says that not a sparrow falls to the ground outside the will of God. Jesus also cried that the Jews rejected Him and told the judgment that would come on them. See Luke 19:43-45

    “For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knew not the time of thy visitation.”

    Obviously, what the Romans would eventually do to them was predetermined as He was then passing judgment on them and telling what would happen to them. How God predetermined it is a high thing that is probably beyond my ability to understand, but I have FAITH that however God predetermined it, it did not involve putting evil into anyone. I have faith in what James says.

    “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.” James 1:13-14

    God never tempts anyone, each one is drawn away by his own evil desires and enticed, God did not Himself entice the Romans to sin or Hitler to sin, but at the same time it was predetermined in His sovereign will that they would sin, like it was predetermined that Pharaoh WOULD NOT let His people go. The key I believe is that men have only a proclivity to sin anyway, God does not have to put evil into men, it is already there. That is to punish the Jews for not accepting Jesus and screaming to Pilate that they had no king but Caesar and to crucify Him, meant just withdrawing His common grace that kept the Romans from being as murderous and evil as they could be and withdrawing His common grace from the Jews so they could feel more prideful and emboldened to revolt. A withdraw of restraint and letting men be as evil as they really wanted to be all along, is not putting evil in them. If Piper says God compelled anyone to do evil he is just wrong, but I have always heard Calvinist preachers explain hardening as withdraw of common grace.. always.

    • StriderMTB says:

      Hi Mac, I agree with some of your statements. However they are not Calvinist in their origin. You wrongly assume the sins of the unregenerate are decreed, but not the sins of the regenerate. But in Calvinism the sins of BOTH are determined. Otherwise God would not be “sovereign over all” as Calvinists like Piper attempt to assert. But if we understand that God is sovereign to the extent that He is good and moral, not the other way around, then we remain biblical in theology. The key to divine sovereignty is God’s ability to work out all things for the ultimate good of His purposes, not cause all things in the first place via determinative decrees. God’s sovereignty is seen in His power to overrule and overcome sin, not determinatively ordain it all in the first place. God’s control should not be seen as God pulling our strings via determining all our decisions and choices.
      To say “God in in control” means God is ultimately in charge and thus not a sparrow falls from the sky apart from His oversight. But that doesn’t mean every bird that falls to the ground is because He flicks them out of the sky. Of course God COULD do that if He chose. But just because God COULD does not mean God WOULD. The key to sovereignty is NOT in regard to “CAN God do X”, but “WOULD God do X.”

      I would argue God, WOULD never determinatively engineer or decree all your sins Mac. God’s control does not mean He micro-manages everything by causing all things via exhaustive decrees prior to the world’s creation. God CAN and does bring good out of evil, but that shows that God’s sovereignty is omni-competent NOT omni-causative.

      I think you can understand my struggle to be how you try to frame your arguments. You accused me of mischaracterizing and not understanding Calvinism when I said it logically entails the belief that God predetermined everyone’s sins—even the sins of Christians post conversion who are “regenerated”. Thus it does you no good to say God determines sin simply by withdrawing common grace from the unregenerate. Whether it be the saved or the unsaved Calvinism insists God’s rules over the interior affections of men—determining their own desires and motives. I gave you quotes to that effect from Calvin. You reply that Calvin wasn’t saved and is lost in hell, so you don’t care what he wrote. Very well—but you can’t accuse me or any Arminian of mischaracterizing Calvinism just because you don’t like what Calvin said. You said you follow TULIP as expressed by John Piper. So I gave you a quote from a book explaining Calvinism edited by John Piper, wherein he says God predetermines every rape and sexual abuse of a child. He doesn’t just allow men to exercise their will to sin, he determines the very type of sin and the time and manner in which they sin. You said you don’t care about all that. Fine—but don’t accuse me of mischaracterizing Calvinism simply because you don’t want to own up to the morally bankrupt views of John Piper’s beliefs on divine sovereignty.

      I agree with you that God never tempts anyone to sin. Calvinists will often say this too BUT they repeatedly fail to parse the difference between God tempting people to sin and determining the sinful desires and interior motives that lead them to sin. They will say God is sovereign and people are free because sin is a product of people choosing according to their strongest desires. Thus Calvinists like Piper will say God is not morally responsible for sin because God never forces people them to sin or choose AGAINST their desires. BUT what they don’t tell you is God sovereignly determined the strongest desires people will have to guarantee the determined choice He decreed! Whenever you press a Calvinist, like Piper, on how God could determine all the sinful desires people have (saved or unsaved), they will appeal to mystery. Ultimately they place God’s morally good nature in the realm of mystery. For Calvinists will concede that everything contrary to God’s moral holiness—sin and evil—was conceived in the holy decrees of God for men to commit. How God is not morally culpable or morally tainted by decreeing ALL the depraved acts of sin throughout world history is a question without a clear answer in Calvinism.

      The worst argument they trot out is to say the Bible gives evidence God determined ALL sin by pointing to biblical statements in Acts that God determined the crucifixion of Jesus. They will say, “Was not Christ’s crucifixion sinful? Was it not sinful for wicked people to put Him to death? Yet the Bible says that His crucifixion was determined by God—thus we have evidence God determined ALL the sin of the world!”

      Just think about the absurdity of that argument. Calvinists are saying Christ’s death for sin is good evidence God determined ALL sin! They are saying the fact that Christ’s death for sin was determined serves as theological foundation for believing God determined all the sins for which Christ was determined to die for!

      Thus in Calvinism God is both the arsonist and the fireman! He purposely sets fire to His world just so He can show up and put it out.

      This idea renders God’s holiness, the foundation for all His decrees, morally depraved and un-holy. If you want to remain a Calvinist, you must live with the truth that Christ’s death is not REALLY a death for sins—but for God’s prior predeterminations and decrees!

      In short Christ is dying for what God determined, BECAUSE Calvinists insist what God determined is not based on his foreknowledge of men’s free-will actions to sin. Why? Because in their system they place God’s determinative decrees logically PRIOR to God’s foreknowledge of what men do. For in the Calvinist system of theological determinism (including compatiblism), our choices are only the effects in time of what God previously determined we must do. This problem has long been the moral weakness of the Calvinist view, and it is why Calvinists like John Piper ultimately punt to mystery whenever pressed to give an answer as to how God could decree the sins of the unregenerate AND the regenerate, before the world began, yet not be the ultimate author of mens sins. (One of their escapes is to re-define the word “author.” They redefine “author of X” as “the actor or doer of X.” They say God is not the doer of the sin of X, rather God only conceives of the sin you will do and then renders it certain you will commit it through His determinative decrees. But of course the word “author” has never meant “actor” or “doer” but has always meant the agency of mind that CONCEIVED or AUTHORED for something to occur. In Calvinism God’s mind is the origin of conception for all your sins Mac—the very sins He tells you to flee from.

      If you don’t want to believe God is a moral arsonist, sending Jesus to die for the very sins He determined you must commit, then welcome to Arminianism. It is NOT centered around defending free-will. It is centered around defending the holy character of God!

  26. Mac says:

    For one I did not say I believe in all five points of TULIP as defined by Piper. Piper though I listen to him on occasion is not my teacher either. I simply said I believe in all 5 points of TULIP as they are written. That is I believe in man’s total depravity and inability to accept Christ without FIRST being regenerated, I believe that election is unconditional, that it does not depend on our will, but God’s will, like God electing Jacob who was a natural LIAR and CON MAN to eternal life before he was born and Jacob was reformed and saved despite his natural proclivity to sin, based on what God did within Jacob, not based on anything Jacob did by his own will and efforts. I believe in limited atonement, that is atonement is limited to only those God chooses and elects to save. It does not mean atonement is not offered to anyone who desires it, but rather only those whom God wakes and quickens are capable of wanting it. Arminians claim we choose to believe first and then the wakening happens, Paul says in Ephesians 2 that before the waking we are DEAD in sin and followers of Satan just as the others; AND THAT IT IS WHILE WE ARE WALKING according to Satan and the course of this world that God MAKES US ALIVE. It is in no way reasonable to think one walking after SATAN (prince of power in the air) is going to walk at the same time in the direction of Christ in the OPPOSITE direction. Paul makes clear it is WHILE following the devil we are MADE ALIVE. I believe in irresistible grace, that is that the wakening takes place without God asking us if we want it, because if asked we would ALL SAY NO, and once the wakening does take place we are irrevocably CHANGED into another kind of creature, that HAS to love and desire Jesus,.. thus all hatred and resistance is melted and we are changed in such a way we have to love Him and go to Him. And lastly, I believe in perseverance of the saints, that is Jesus says those who believe on Him have PASSED from death to LIFE and HAVE eternal life, and John says one born of God CANNOT keep sinning and this is how we know he is born of God. One sealed and one born of God IS saved; and thus they cannot be unsealed or unborn of God. God will keep them to the end and those who fall away were NEVER of the elect.

    John makes this very clear, that ALL those who do not persevere and who fall away were NEVER believers to begin with.

    1 John 2:19
    “They went out from us, but they were NOT OF US; for if they had been of us, they would have CONTINUED WITH US; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that NONE OF THEM WERE OF US.”

    That one passages destroys the claim that believers can leave the faith and not persevere to the end.. John says all who leave were NEVER OF US. Arminians usually just ignore this passage when I show it to them as though they can flick it off in a flippant way; and then they try to prove believers can leave with some vague passage or warning from Paul when he was talking to the church; as though one passage can contradict another.

    There are warnings about the consequences of turning away, but Paul also admonishes those in the church he is writing to; to TEST themselves to see WHETHER they are in the faith at all, so obviously Paul is not convinced all that are in the church are truly believers and John makes clear they are not; as he says those who leave make EVIDENT that they were NEVER OF US, NEVER BELIEVERS AT ALL.

    As far as God predetermining the sins of believers. I believe it is sort of like this. When a believer is truly born of God, the flesh is CRUCIFIED and the flesh will fight back as it dies, and in those death spasms the flesh will cause a believer to stumble, but never as a way of life, and God foreknows the death spasms and stumblings of the flesh during the process of sanctification; and uses even that for the working out of an ultimate good. It is not that God would put sin into the hearts of believers, the Holy Spirit in believers will always lead them towards righteousness, But Paul says the flesh is still against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh, so there will be war between the flesh and Spirit as the flesh dies and is brought into subjection to Christ, but the inner man is already regenerated and has the mind of Christ.

    Galatians 5:17
    “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.”

    Romans 7:23
    “But I see another law in my members (flesh), warring against the law of my mind (Spirit), and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”

    Romans 7:23
    “For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.”

    Galatians 5:24
    “And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”

    God knows everything, He is all knowing, before electing David God foreknew David would commit adultery with Bathsheba and Solomon would be born because of David’s sin .. and God would use this for His good and the good of His elect, but it was still David’s fault and was his flesh warring with the Spirit, but David repented and was saved as was predetermined. God did not in anyway tempt David to sin, but foreknew ahead of time Davids LUSTS would lead him to sin and it was predetermined to be used towards His purpose. Think if David had not sinned Solomon would have not been born; and the temple of Solomon never built .. if all that was predetermined, the sin of David had to ALSO be predetermined, but still not as a result of God tempting David to sin, David was led astray by His own DESIRES. Samson also sinned and repented and though the sin of Samson cost him his life, he repented in the end and God used him for his glory and I believe Samson was still saved, and the sins of Samson even predetermined by God for the glorification of God. Think, God knows the elects weaknesses before they are called and also knows exactly how their sanctification process will go and the stumblings of their flesh are foreknown. He knows they will stumble and even knows what those stumblings will be .. He has to if He is ALL KNOWING.

    That is all deep theology though and not part of TULIP. I am simply defending the five points of Tulip as being scriptural apart from the deeper theology. Arminians demonize Calvinists and call us devil worshipers just for accepting all five points of TULIP apart from any deeper determinism and say all sorts of things about us; like we are a CULT and as bad as MORMONS (which you have said) just for accepting all five points; when all five are clearly very well supported by scripture. Usually Arminians will not even try to counter the supporting scriptures for TULIP as I have posted, but will just go on and on about what a murdering monster John Calvin was. But Calvin also believed in the trinity and was an enforcer for forcing people to accept the divinity of Christ and that Jesus is God, when many did not accept this. If John Calvin being an evil murderer means he was wrong about election .. by that argument why does it not also mean he was wrong about the trinity?

    • StriderMTB says:

      Mac you are so misinformed about what Arminian theology teaches. Moreover the arguments you put forth have been thoroughly and successfully answered by Arminian scholars for years. Please tell me you have actually read and engaged Arminian theological SCHOLARSHIP. You keep asserting XYZ about Arminianism but show little to no evidence you have read how its foremost scholars have long answered your objections and proof texts. How many Arminian scholarly books have you read? What are their titles?

      • Mac says:

        I have lately read NO books by either Calvinist nor Arminian theology teachers. I read the Bible. I listen to sermons sometimes by Calvinist and Arminian preachers and I have discussed theology with Arminian pastors. I am basing what Arminian’s teach by the five points of Arminianism which are.

        1 Free Will or Human Ability

        Meaning though sick or flawed man is not totally depraved and still has both good and evil qualities, thus is able through human will alone to make a choice to go to Christ.

        2 Conditional Election

        God’s choice of certain individuals unto salvation before the foundation of the world was based upon His foreseeing that they would respond to His call out of the human GOODNESS of their own hearts

        3.Universal Redemption or General Atonement

        Christ’s redeeming work made it possible for everyone to be saved, but did not actually secure the salvation of anyone. Meaning it is entirely up to humans to decide to choose Christ and up to human will and effort to maintain salvation.

        4. The Holy Spirit Can be Effectually Resisted

        Meaning the Holy Spirit calls EVERYONE EQUALLY and the Spirit cannot regenerate the sinner until he believes and has faith (which is man’s contribution) and thus, man’s free will limits the Spirit in the application of Christ’s saving work and the Holy Spirit can only draw to Christ men who already have GOOD HEARTS and CHOOSE out of human GOODNESS to respond to the Spirit .. thus it is by the goodness of man men go to Christ and not by the goodness of God making them alive while still wicked DEVIL FOLLOWERS as Paul clearly says in Ephesians 2.

        5. Falling from Grace. This means contrary to what John clearly says, even when one is born of God and converted he can still choose to not believe and thwart his election and become unsealed and unborn of God and leave Christianity though he was once a true believer.. making John a LIAR when he says ALL THAT LEFT WERE NEVER OF US..NEVER BELIEVERS.. and this was EVIDENT BECAUSE THEY LEFT.

        I know from reading what the Bible says that all five points of Armininism are UTTER HERESY. I had the experience of being converted and I know how it happened and it certainly had nothing to do with my own will or efforts, but God chasing me down and bringing me to repentance. I believed in all five points of Calvinism before I knew what the five points of Calvinism were. Mostly what I get when talking to Arminian pastors are feelings and I have talked with a few of them; and they will INSIST that very clear passages read word for word do not mean what they say; usually they will not even attempt to tell me what the passages really mean; or sometimes they will give me a convoluted interpretation that requires using a great deal of mental gymnastics. One Arminian pastor just blatantly disregarded all the passages I showed him and flippantly said the Bible can be made to SAY ANYTHING! His source for truth was FEELINGS and his RATIONAL about his ideas about equity (as well as a few vague passages that he interpreted in an Arminian way). The best he had to support his position was

        Revelation 3:5
        “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; ”

        Which he claimed meant believers could be blotted out of the book of life if they did not overcome with their own efforts. Scripture cannot contradict scripture though and Jesus says He will raise up all that the Father gives Him and that the Father is greater than all and no one will be able to pluck them out of His hand. Rev 3:5 is in line with John saying one born of God cannot keep sinning ..that is if Jesus Christ is really in someone, that person will have to overcome.

      • StriderMTB says:

        Mac your extreme bias is astounding. You seem too insecure in your own beliefs to really let them be challenged and tested. Just now you did not explain the points of Arminianism the way THEY see it, but the WAY you see it. That is like asking the Pope to give an unbiased assessment of Luther’s theological contributions.

        You are so deeply mired in your own sense of rightness and superiority you won’t even honestly engage with Arminian scholars. However when I quite Calvinist scholars to you, including Calvin you say you don’t care. Well you should care Mac—that is the point.

        You ought to engage the following comparison:

        http://evangelicalarminians.org/an-outline-of-the-facts-of-arminianism-vs-the-tulip-of-calvinism/

  27. Mac says:

    No, I should not care about what Calvin taught, because what defines a Calvinist or an Arminian is WHETHER a person accepts all five points of Calvinism or all five points of Arminianism. If you do not accept ALL FIVE points of Arminianism as I posted above, you are not an Arminian; and you keep saying you agree with much of what I have said and find my posts very scriptural when EVERYTHING I have posted should be anathema to an Arminian. You tell me to start forums and teach people, when what I am teaching is what Arminians would call hard line Calvinism. If you really believe in Arminianism I HAVE to be an utter heretic to you. The two positions are polar opposites and the same God cannot possibly be behind both. And even the comparison between the 5 points of Arminianisim and the 5 points of Calvinism as written by your SOCIETY OF ARMINIANS does not contradict in any way how I put them.. they only dance around the troublesome PROBLEMS.. like HOW devil followers in love with the devil and actively FOLLOWING the devil with their WHOLE HEARTS, can all of a sudden CHOOSE to believe in Christ WHILE WALKING AFTER SATAN AT THE SAME TIME. You say ALL THESE questions have been answered MANY TIMES.. the answers are ALL OVER YOUR FORUM, Yet I have read quite a bit from your forum and I see DANCING AROUND THESE ISSUES AND RE-FRAMING AND SPIN DOCTORING .. NOT REAL ANSWERS. If you can answer this one question DIRECTLY and convince me how those who follow Satan who are dead in sin, who are presently WALKING after Satan with their WHOLE HEARTS and living ONLY to FULFILL fleshly LUSTS (As Ephesians 2 clearly says) can suddenly make a choice to have FAITH in Jesus who is God, whom Paul says the carnal mind is at ENMITY with and CANNOT BE ANY OTHER WAY.(See Romans 8:7). I will convert to Arminianism right now! I have asked these questions to Arminains many times. You know they will usually agree I am right, that it is God who wakes us and then say we still made a choice to believe and man still has good in him and God has given EVERYONE a measure of faith, which they say is the same as the breath of life; and we are made in His image and we all have the grace to go to Him.

    See when they put it like that .. they are just RAMBLING, because a statement like that is self contradictory. Paul says the MAKING ALIVE while DEAD in trespasses is what saved us, not anything self generated. They also say dead in sin, does not mean dead in sin, it just means not perfect, or a basically GOOD person who has made mistakes.. or that everyone has sinned, but even so there is still goodness in the person and ability to seek Christ and believe in Christ.

    Compare to Romans 3:10-12
    “As it is written:“There is none righteous, no, not one;There is none who understands;
    There is NONE WHO SEEKS AFTER GOD. They have all turned aside;They have together become unprofitable;” There is NONE who does good, NO, NOT ONE.”

    And it takes a little gall I feel for you to accuse me of self righteousness, when I am teaching that I was utterly wicked and depraved and I have no righteousness of my own at all and that I was so worthless and thoroughly given over to sin and following the devil and my own fleshly lusts, that even for something so heinous and wicked as myself to believe in Jesus took a miracle of God GREATER than the creation of the earth from NOTHING.in WAKING ME FROM THE DEAD. You are the one claiming it was by the GOODNESS of your own unregenerate heart PRIOR TO REGENERATION that was your vehicle for salvation .

    This is from your Arminian site.

    “God regenerates those who believe in Christ (faith logically precedes regeneration).”

    The unregenerate being at the same time BELIEVERS is an oxymoron. Jesus says once one believes he has PASSED from DEATH TO LIFE and HAS eternal life. John says “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits NOTHING.”.John 6:63 If a man could believe by a work of the flesh, then the FLESH could be the vehicle for eternal life. ALL WHO BELIEVE HAVE ETERNAL LIFE. JOHN says the FLESH PROFITS NOTHING.. THE SPIRIT GIVES LIFE. Belief HAS to be a work of the SPIRIT and NOT THE FLESH!

    • StriderMTB says:

      Mac, thanks for trying to express your views. Your comments are quite long and so I will need to delete both of our more recent comments to make this comment section be more readable to others. But before doing that I am sending you links you ought to avail yourself of. For you evince little evidence you are aware of long-standing rebuttals to your views. It is quite clear you have little tolerance for exposing your beliefs to the challenges of Arminian scholarship that have thoroughly addressed your textual interpretations. I have addressed many of your regeneration precedes faith arguments in my discussion with Benjamin above. You show no evidence you have read my responses to him. Nor do you demonstrate why my counter rebuttals to him are in error. You just make assertions but you do not successfully engage counter arguments. I would encourage you to be more well-rounded in your reading.

      You can start here with regeneration: Shalom to you.

      http://evangelicalarminians.org/?s=Regeneration

      • Mac says:

        Instead of giving me links and vague answers and dancing around my questions; why don’t YOU personally attempt to answer the question I asked YOU directly? Do you see me spamming you with quotes from Piper or John MacArthur and giving you links to their webpages? I am not a COWARD like you and I am willing to answer ANY QUESTION you ask me DIRECTLY using the BIBLE as my ONLY SOURCE. I am not hiding behind clever talking heads and their deceits and vagaries and spin doctoring. So you will delete my posts to make them easier to read; or to CENSOR THE TRUTH AND WHAT THE WORD OF GOD REALLY SAYS? You in your own words have ADMITTED YOU KNOW MOST OF WHAT I SAY IS BACKED UP BY THE WORD OF GOD AND IS SCRIPTURAL; BUT YOU DELETE IT ANYWAY BECAUSE IT CONTRADICTS YOUR FILTHY IDOLATROUS TRADITIONS OF MEN! YOU WILL ANSWER ONE DAY! You try to shoo me away and tell me to teach what you know to be TRUE on my own forum, because yours is an ARMINIAN forum. Well I have news for you .. there IS ONE TRUTH and you have ADMITTED what I teach is TRUE .. so that is the same as admitting what you teach is LIES; and you are DELETING MY POSTS TO SUPPRESS THE TRUTH IN UNRIGHTEOUSNESS, because you HATE THE TRUE GOD AND YOU LOVE A FILTHY IDOL THAT YOU CALL JESUS; and that is why you are HEADED TO HELL! Because you SAW what is the truth .. acknowledged it to be truth and MADE WAR AND CENSORED THE TRUTH; because you HATED THE TRUTH and LOVED A LIE.

        Come on .. don’t give me links to talking heads and their spin doctoring.. if you are not a LYING COWARD proclaim your faith yourself and show me how I am wrong yourself… you are supposed to have an ANSWER FOR EVERY MAN! You do not answer.. you just give links and delete posts and you keep up weak wishy washy arguments of pretend 3 point Calvinists, to make it seem Calvinists have no answers. Your forum and your work is all a lie and a deceit and falsehood. Deleting the bests arguments of Calvinists and retaining the weakest ones to make it APPEAR you have all the answers and can engage our theology and win every time .. when you HAVE NO ANSWERS AT ALL to MY QUESTIONS.and refuse to even make an attempt .. is just wilful DECEIT .. it is the same as LYING; and we know where REVELATION says ALL LIARS go. RIGHT?

  28. Mac says:

    Something else, OF COURSE Arminians have answers, they are in the majority now and have very bright minds continually thinking of ways to explain away problem scriptures. With all those resources and with all that MONEY at stake, of course they are going to come up with answers, just like establishment Darwinists with some of the brightest minds in the world can spin doctor and make microbes self generating and evolving up into men seem perfectly reasonable, while dancing around all the blatant problems with life coming from non life and random mistakes producing complex design.

    I went to your site in search of their answers and found the usual dancing around all the passages I posted;and then some quotes from Wesley who is so well liked by Calvinists because he borrows so much from Calvinism, except with us being the initiator of belief and us having to work to maintain faith through forced methodology.

    From John Wesley on being born of God and regenerated; “It is that great change which God works in the soul when he brings it into life; when he raises it from the death of sin to the life of righteousness. It is the change wrought in the whole soul by the almighty Spirit of God when it is “created anew in Christ Jesus;” when it is “renewed after the image of God, in righteousness and true holiness;”when the love of the world is changed into the love of God; pride into humility;passion into meekness;hatred, envy, malice, into a sincere, tender, disinterested love for all mankind”

    But SOMEHOW Wesley believed BEFORE this occurs and BEFORE our LOVE FOR THE WORLD is changed INTO love for God .. we can still love God even while being UNREGENERATE and LOVING THE WORLD at the same time..Wesley admits the soul is in a state of DEATH before being reborn .. but somehow a DEAD SOUL that is DEAD IN SIN can still wake itself enough to believe on and love Jesus. Wesley is so well liked by both Arminians and especially Calvinists, because he is so clever at teaching mostly Calvinism, except with US initiating belief and with US having maintain our faith with his Episcopalian style METHODOLOGY.

    From Wesley

    “In a word, it is that change whereby the earthly, sensual, DEVLISH mind is turned into the “mind which was in Christ Jesus.” This is the nature of the new birth: “So is every one that is born of the Spirit.”

    But somehow Wesley thinks one with a DEVLISH mind, that is a MIND LIKE SATAN has.. can go to Christ and believe in Christ.. BEFORE being born of the Spirit and having a mind that is no longer SATANIC.

    The BEST .. THE VERY BEST Arminian theologians were really BORROWING from Calvinism, with just a few subtle changes to make it seem like evil and wicked man makes the first move and chooses to seek God first.

    And from Paul Copan

    ” But if so, they still have been enlightened, tasted the heavenly gift, been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and tasted the word and power of God. If I may say it: Not bad at all for a spiritually dead person! So if it’s possible for a spiritually dead person to have this kind of “enlivening” experience, it seems far too strong to say that those who are alienated from God—the spiritually helpless—will necessarily be totally “unresponsive” to divine influences and graces of all kinds. Can’t God use such influences to awaken and convict unbelievers, even if they end up “always resisting the Holy Spirit”

    The problem with this.is, even if a spiritually dead person is in direct contact with God and even is a partaker of the Holy Spirit,.. he will still not have saving faith and endure to the end. Balaam was a prophet of the true God.. spoke under influence of the Spirit of God at times.. was a partaker of the Holy Spirit in that respect… BUT, remained carnal and a lover of money.. and his inner person was never regenerated .. without the supernatural heart change .. there is no being made alive and Balaam had NO DESIRE for regeneration … he ONLY loved MONEY and CARNAL things. A carnal person is NEVER going to ask to DIE to the CARNAL things he loves .. and that is what it means for them to trust in Jesus to give them life.

    • StriderMTB says:

      I am going to leave this up for a bit so that others can see the true nature of your spirit. You are so filled with anger and hate Mac. It must be tiring and depressing to carry it all within you. You even invent the idea I agree with your Calvinist TULIP, yet the only areas of agreement I had with you were when you lapsed into Arminianism by disagreeing with both Calvin and Piper on the nature of God determining all your sins— even after your regeneration!

      You disagree with that theology and rightly so. I voiced my agreement and well as my disagreement on the nature of how you view Arminian theology— which is seriously deficient. You proudly demand I answer all the particulars of your comments which are more like essays of ranting. Yet I already addressed the fallacy of regeneration prior to faith with others on this very feed. You seem to not care and demand that I repeat myself to you personally.

      How strange.

      You show zero evidence you have engaged the substance of my arguments with Benjamin. Nor do you reveal any ability to refute them. Assertion is not argument or rebuttal. Moreover as I pointed out no Arminian says people trust in Christ INDEPENDENT of God’s preceding and drawing grace. Indeed the grace of God is necessary. It just isn’t irresistible. Jesus said the Pharisess “rejected the will of God for themselves.” That people can resist the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives is why Paul warns people not to fall from grace and not to quench the Holy Spirit. If people can resist God’s grace post-conversion they can also resist God’s grace pre-conversion because God doesn’t act coercively on matters of grace. In Romans 10 Paul declares that the Jews repeatedly spurned and resisted the outstretched hand of God and prior to be stoned Stephen said the religioius elites of his day “always resist the Holy Spirit.”

      Futhermore your principle mistake is you equate spiritual death due to sin with being a physical corpse. Yes corpses can’t see, hear or respond to God— neither can a corpse take a piss or sin! Corpses can’t do anything. Equating “dead in sin” with being like a corpse that cant respond to God’s grace is simply not borne out of a close reading of many biblical texts. You are working out of assumption not the text. The biblical concept of spiritual death is related to being separated and cut off from all life and hope APART from God’s intervening grace and work of redemption. Adam and Eve were immediately given over to spiritual death upon sinning, just as God warned them if they rebelled, yet they could still hear the voice of God in that depraved condition. Total depravity is total in scope. It is affects every area of our constitution with corruption. You wrongly see it as total in depth, such that a person is literally dead and can’t respond to God’s drawing grace.

      You don’t refute this Arminian position at all, but simply repeat your assumption it is impossible for unsaved people to respond to God’s drawing and enabling grace— because they are dead in sins. Once again mere assertion does not refute an argument.

      It may help you to realize that when Paul said the unsaved are “dead in sin” that doesn’t mean they are UNABLE TO RESPOND to grace anymore than when Paul said we are “dead to sin” means we are UNABLE TO RESPOND to sin. But given your assumption of what “dead” means in relation to sin it would.

      Numerous scriptures reveal the biblical nature of the Arminian position, but if you are so confident in your rightness that you have no desire to avail yourself of the material I have kindly sent you, but just want to call me a “coward” than our discussion is over. Good day to you Mac.

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