Friday, March 31, 2006

Wrongly Dividing the Body of Christ?


Is there a right way to do this? Evidently Simon, over at "Thinking Deeply" (I am not making this up) believes that there is and that I and others are doing it the wrong way because that is the title of his recent rant article against several Calvinist bloggers and readers of such blogs. I don't know Simon nor do I know what has provoked this kind of attack. My friend, Gene Bridges, alerted me to it. But having read it, I find it very sad.

For example, Simon writes,


Just like those at Monergism.com, the people at Founders Ministries display, consciously or not, their desire to be the Reformers. Their perspective is skewed in such a way, that they act as if they are living in the time of the Reformers. They react to Arminianism and Molinism today as if it were the Catholic Church of Luther's and Calvin's day. This spills over into their exegesis, especially of Paul's letters - as N.T. Wright has pointed out.


I have been whipped with many a lash but never with one manufactured by NT Wright! Given his (new) perspective, I think I will just bear it gladly.

Simon goes on to express his disgust over the announced debate between the Caners, James White and me. He misrepresents how it came to be and quotes some comments left on this blog about the debate. Then he concludes with this body-of-Christ-unifying crescendo:


The Caner brothers are converts from Islam. They debate Muslims, generally. I don't know for sure, but they seem to be on fire for God. But you know what .. none of that matters as much as this: They're human beings created in the image of God. Furthermore, they're brothers in an even more important family than the one they belong to by human blood. They're brothers with us in the family that is united by Christ's blood.

And we slay them.

And we slay all Arminians, and all people who disagree with us theologically.

We slay them with our words on the "Founders" blog. We slay them on Dr. White's radio show. We slay them on the "Alpha & Omega" web site. We slay them on the Calvinist Gadfly web site.

And we do it all in the name of God, and for His glory.

Good job guys.

You make me sick.


Much more could be said, but I refrain. Evan May over at Triablogue has sufficiently addressed the more egregious problems with Simon's statements by pointing out the obvious irony of his words and tone.

No one is above criticism. Certainly not me or any of those who comment on this blog. Sometimes we may need to be corrected for what we say or how we say it. The discovery of error is never a a license to quit loving. To the degree that Simon is trying to say that, I agree with him. But that message--if it is indeed what he is trying to communicate--has been lost in the histrionics. I find that sad. Very sad.

53 comments:

joethorn.net said...

Wow - what a rant. I guess we all need to rant abit from time to time, but when we do we have to accept the consequences. That he turned off the comments after receiving some gracious correction because he is "ready to move on" is a sad note.

Part of what I appreciate about blogs is the ability to be held accountable for what we say, allowing others to engage our words and ideas, and if necessary, offering apology when wrong (as Mark Driscoll found himself in need of doing).

Again, you have a great attitude Tom - it is an encouragement to us all.

Garvis Campbell said...

A former semi-pelagian myself (and Word of Faith proponent), I understand where Simon is coming from. As a young man, I recall once shaking my fist at the radio when hearing what didn't comport with my then-current frame of theological reference.

But while Simon is trying his best to tell us what he thinks, the dear brother clearly and simply needs a few more years of intellectual seasoning that comes from the tempering power of experience and historical reflection. To state, "[The Calvinist/Augustinian] perspective is skewed in such a way, that they act as if they are living in the time of the Reformers..." proves this. The converse could be stated of his own post. He thinks as if the Reformers today need a corrective by another man-centered Erasmus, so he picks up a gauntlet we did not throw down and speaks as one.

Our perspective is not skewed, twisted, slanted, out of true, or any of a host of other synonyms one may desire. Every generation needs Reformation for within every generation is that sinful tendency to point to man's own supposed abilities to reach God via "religion" instead of knowing the sovereign grace of a sovereign Creator by His sovereign transforming power as is clearly declared in Scripture. Of course, to a mind without renewal, this opinion does seem skewed, and there is the heartbreaking point of this exchange and all our labors toward reformation and why discussion of the Biblical text is without equal and the bantering about of mere words of men futility.

Dear Simon's (I mean "dear" with all cordiality and in the fullest sense of the word) simply doesn't see the vitality of the issue. Just as salvation is a sword, dividing those redeemed from those unregenerate, doctrine too always divides, and it necessarily must. We aren't disagreeing over who sops gravy out of a bowl with the most pristine methodology. We are discussing the nature of the gospel itself. How someone comes to believe in Jesus is an integral component of this faith once for all delivered unto the saints. Simon could do better than to note both this and the weight of theology that has gone before us, confirming our belief in the sovereign God of the Bible over all.

A seasoned response thus ends.

Semper reformanda,

Garvis

Simon said...

Dr. Ascol, I'm sorry for lumping you in with the people I was actually mad at. I publically apologize to you. I'm young and foolish.

What I am not, though, Garvis Campbell, is someone whose mind has not been renewed. You seemed to imply that in your comments, and I take offense to it .. particularly sense it isn't true, and since you obviously don't know me or have even read much of my blog. Also, I take offense to your using "semi-Pelagian" to describe me, not because I don't hold some of the same beliefs as would a "semi-Pelagian", but because I think you weild the term like a club. To you it's a term that denotes some kind of noetic defect. I'm down here, and you're up there .. enlightened, and Reformed, and all that. Why can't we both be defined by our Christianity, and by our equal lostness without Christ? I'm sure we agree there.

Rather than post all of my responses to Evan's article here, I simply point interested readers to the comments section of Evan's blog where we've had a discussion: http://veritasredux.com/?p=155, and the new post on my blog today, Apology, Observations, & Email

Thanks,

Simon

Garvis Campbell said...

Simon,

There are varying degrees of renewal of mind, and we each should be continually searching the Scriptures so that our minds are further transformed in its piercing light. To understand and delight in God's sovereignty over all is a measure of transformation not all enjoy. This was my point, and I did not intend to imply that no measure of illumination was yours.

And, yes, we are all trodding as pilgrims down here, but I think we must admit there are varying degrees of sanctification and understanding as we mature in Christ. Our grasping of God's sovereignty is but one of many measures in this regard.

I of course am more than willing to admit error where I have done so and welcome any constructive comments.

Blessings,

Garvis

Tony K. said...

HOW TO GET BLOG TRAFFIC

1. Start a controversy with a good blog – like founders
2. Use overheated language
3. Violate the 9th commandment
4. Get angry
5. Reinterpret history
6. Pronounce anathema
7. Quote Spurgeon out of context
8. Play the martyr
9. Quote private emails
10. Be quick to speak and slow to listen
11. Link back to your own blog

Simon said...

What makes you think I don't understand or delight in God's Sovereignty? That I'm not a Calvinist?

Simon said...

Tony, that's not my intention. If you don't believe me, I guess there's nothing I can do about that.

Nathan White said...

I had an email exchange with Simon a few months back about Calvinism -he made an entire post out of it on his site, so I'm sure its in his archives somewhere (Feb 06 I believe). He didn't quite agree with my series of posts on MacArthur's statement: "I believe...Jesus was a Calvinist".

Nevertheless, it seemed to me he was hung up on philosophy. Which actually makes sense, since Arminianism and semi-pelagianism is rooted in philosophical assumptions instead of the actual text of scripture itself.

He was gracious with me, although the condescending tone was pretty obvious. But I was upset to see 'wrongly dividing'. It just goes to show that those who wish to glorify man above God in salvation have no clue how serious of an error they hold to, and how vast the erroneous implications of these beliefs are. As John Piper has said, free will undermines the whole foundation God built when He said "I AM who I AM".

SDG

SDG

J. Gray said...

Well, Molinism is basically philosphical Arminianism...so it doesn't shock me to see that someone claiming to be a Molinist is both philosophically driven as well as convictionally Arminian. Next stop..OVT.

Anyways, I find this entire discussion so sad...and icredibly ironic.

Just looking at the discussions here that were cited, I wondered if Simon actually read all the comments. The most inflammatory and divisive comments were actually coming from Caner 1 and Caner 2.
Moreover, the only reason that was being discussed was because of the divisive, hurtful (hateful?), and uncharitable comments made by men like Hunt, Reavis, etc.
It is so funny that to discuss their comments is to be divisive...but they get a free pass to trash others from the pulpit of conferences and conventions.

The irony of all this is too much.

Tony K. said...

Simon,
Sorry - the list wasn't all from you. It was my attempt at a joke. With a new Servetus every week, I don't keep up. (I am not calling you anti-Trinitarian.)

But there is a Servetus tactic that many bloggers practice.
1. Find an enemy
2. Enter their Geneva
3. Call for debate
4. Get martyred
5. Enjoy being infamous – at least for a few days.

I don’t mean to detract from the real conversation. But I find it all a little amusing. Consider my comments here (and above) as a footnote. Be assured I have not read your posts and am woefully uninformed of your positions. I do not think you are disingenuous. Please keep commenting as long as they allow. Just laugh with us about the bizarre sociology created by technology.

I confess: I am guilty of the Servetus tactic myself. Last Christmas, I started a little blog-war with a friend about Santa Claus. I took the position in favor of Santa, arguing that imagination is not the enemy of Christ. I had C.S. Lewis for support. But my Calvin bested me and Santa was - - you all know the story.

Tom,
Sorry to waste comment space on a little foolish talk.

Simon said...

Nathan, I'm sorry if I seemed condescending. I didn't intend to. I don't now how I could have been gracious and condescending at the same time. *shrug*

When you say, "semi-pelagianism is rooted in philosophical assumptions instead of the actual text of scripture itself," I think the best spirit of what you mean is that you believe that you interpret Scripture correctly when it comes to soteriology while Arminians typically do not. In which, case, that's fine. I think that same think about Calvinists. But I'm not going to say that you care more about philosophy than what God means to convey in the Bible. I will give you the benefit of the doubt, since I believe you are a follower of Christ.

Gray, I have read all the comments, and I am taking them all to heart. I know that some Arminians are as guilty as some Calvinists when it comes to slander. In fact, I have even defended the people with whom I disagree the most to others like, "The Calvinist Flyswatter."

Tony, thanks for the clarification. :) I appreciate it, and I can understand the point you're making through your list.

Chris Bonts said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeremy Weaver said...

You might find it at Project Wittenberg, Chris.

Tom,
Here's the deal. When anyone makes a statement of absolute truth anymore, everyone will be upset. Even Calvinists will be upset, because postmodernism has closed its grip around so many in the church.

Furthermore, why do these postmodern whiners want us to speak lies? It's O. K. to believe the five points as long as it doesn't affect your life and how you talk.
That is ridiculous! If I believe something to be true, I'm going to be out at the forefront fighting for it, because otherwise I allow falsehood to prevail. I want truth to prevail.

Simon said...

Doxo,

Even a cursory look at my web site, or a brief conversation with me about my beliefs, will let you know that I argue against the kind of thinking you're describing as ferociously as the next follower of Christ. So if you're making assumptions about me, then you're doing part of what I actually am upset with and providing everyone with a case in point.

Jeremy Weaver said...

Do you really?
Then why the rant against Calvinists?

Nate Russell said...

I have a slight question concerning the statement that Calvinists interpret scripture correctly and everyone else, Catholics, Orthodox, Methodists, other Baptists are all wrong. I'm getting the picture now no one had it right until the second savior appeared in Jean Calvin. I'm sorry for the hyperbole I just think that it is entirely possible to believe in God's sovereignty without the need to say that God was not sovereign enough to have his will accomplished without the whole detailed storybook idea. The gospel of John and all of his letters illustrate the tension and the mystery of the beautiful work of God's salvation. I mean read John 3:16. I'm going to apologize in advance because I know that this comment is going to cause some heart burn, however I would like to know how one it is one claims to interpret scripture correctly without some concept of belief (read philosophy) as the structure to which they add the evidence which they find. One must come to the text with some concept of what is the right thing to believe, this is the other necessary tension between theology and scripture.

Jeremy Weaver said...

BTW, The reformation is not over.

Nate Russell said...

this is more a rant against calvinists than simon's. I'll admit it

Jeremy Weaver said...

Simon,
I went back and reread your post again. I admit that I have not read anything else on your site. But the in reference to that post, my comments are dead on the money.

Jeremy Weaver said...

Remove the first 'the' from the last sentence.

Broadstone said...

Top 5 things a Calvinist must be accused of:

1. Loving others so much that they don't have to try and hope it is really the case
2. Joyful to the point of giving it away to others or making your enemies run because of it, or making your enemies kill you for it
3. Forgiving...everytime the sinner asks for it...and not rubbing his nose in it when he does.
4. Biblical...getting accused of referencing all propositions
5. Being evangelistic...because if we are not sharing the love of Christ and proclaiming the Gospel of Christ we can pretend to be calvinists but we are certainly not Christian

Tom said...

Simon:

Apology accepted. You certainly have my forgiveness.

Nate Russell said...

Sounds like you have it all figured out.

joethorn.net said...

Nate,

You suggested that we believe "no one had it right until the second savior appeared in Jean Calvin." The Reformed tradition became more systematic w/ Calvin, but we also appeal to those who predate (Augustine to Luther) and those who follow (Puritans) who taught many of the same things. Ultimately we are seeking to develop and articulate a faith that is birthed through exegesis, not tradition.

Your words became a bit confusing, but it looks like you appeal to the "hermeneutical circle/spiral" concept, which most of us would agree with. So in the end, we must all always come to Scripture to both express and evaluate our beliefs.

Getting back to Tom's post. I invite questions, challenges and argument. I certainly get it on my own blog. But let's be honest and fair about it. Simon's post (for which he has apologized in part) is an example of how not to do it. The Caner's pro-wrestler, trash-talking, approach is another.

GeneMBridges said...

But I'm not going to say that you care more about philosophy than what God means to convey in the Bible. I will give you the benefit of the doubt, since I believe you are a follower of Christ.

However, this, Simon, is not a statement Calvinists have made without very public agreement from their Arminian brethren. Look no further than Walls and Dongell in Why I am Not A Calvinist. They write of libertarian free will:

(1) “The essence of this view is that a free action is one that does not have a sufficient condition or cause prior to its occurrence…the common experience of deliberation assumes that our choices are undetermined.”

(2) “…It seems intuitively and immediately evident that many of our actions are up to us in the sense that when faced with a decision, both (or more) options are within our power to choose…Libertarians argue that our immediate sense of power to choose between alternative courses of action is more certain and trustworthy than any theory that denies we have power.

(3) “Libertarians take very seriously the widespread judgment that we are morally responsible for our actions and that moral responsibility requires freedom” That is, a person cannot be held morally responsible for an act unless he or she was free to perform that act and free to refrain from it. This is basic moral intuition.”

Walls and Dongell end their definition of libertarian freedom by asserting that to prove the validity of libertarian free will “…Arminians rely on contested philosophical judgments at this point.” By their own admission, then they RELY on philosophy, not Scripture as an ultimate basis for their conjecture.

Please don't chastise Calvinists for agreeing with what Arminians have readilly and openly admitted in their own publications.

GeneMBridges said...

To answer Nate's question about John 3:16 see here:

http://www.blogger.com/posts.g?blogID=6789188

Who really comes to that text with a load of presuppositions? The one who interprets "world" to mean "everybody without exception" and "whosover" as "everybody without exception" with regard to the construction (a present participle of "believe" that is correctly translated "all the ones believing") without regard to the verb "believe."

Arminians invariably affirm the most universalizing aspects of these terms when these come to the text.

If we go with a framework, then which is the correct framework for a Jew to understand this passage, since it was spoken to Nicodemus (even if it is John's editorializing as some say)? He would understand the framework of God's covenant determination as restrictive to the covenant people, which he defined as "Israel." Jesus says, "No," God's covenant love extends to the world, not just Jews. That supplies the meaning of "world." The believing ones are the ones to whom that love is applied.

God so loved the world (not just Jews) that He gave His one and only Son, that all the ones believing might have everlasting life.

"The world" as the object of God's redemptive purpose is extensive in so far as it is composed of Jews and Gentiles. However it is not as extensive as the whole world, everybody without exception. It calls on the image of God restoring the nation (Israel) in Ezra and Nehemiah, where only Judah, Benjamin, Levi, and some of indeterminate origin return to the land, yet God says He is restoring the whole nation. The other tribes are not returned. In fact, the Gentiles seem to take their place in the covenant community.
The New Covenant still extends the redemptive love of God to the covenant community, but the members are drawn from every tribe, tongue, and nation, from all space and time, not just the first century, not just the land of Israel or its ethnic people.

The meaning "everybody without exception" for "world" in John 3:16 is, to be quite blunt, the least likely meaning of the text if you impose a structure on it from outside. It is still the least likely meaning if you come from within the text and its immediate context.

Simon said...

Tom, thank you. :)

Gene, you said, "Please don't chastise Calvinists for agreeing with what Arminians have readily and openly admitted in their own publications."

Now, chastisement is something I never want to do to anyone.. if I understand the word correctly. What I did say, however, is that fellow Christians ought to give each other the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the Bible being Authoritative. You've quoted several things from their book, but you have not shown that Walls and Dongell "admit" that they "rely on philosophy, not Scripture as an ultimate basis for their conjecture." Do you honestly think that that is what Walls & Dongell said? Do you believe that they reply on philosophy as authoritative over the Bible?

If so, then maybe you didn’t read and understand their whole book. How about the following quote from the same book:

In the chapter entitled, “Calvinism and the Nature of Human Freedom” they talk about various philosophical categories that Calvinists and Arminians rely on to make their case regarding human freedom. Each side is invested here, as seen in the unpacking of such terms as “determinism” and “Compatibilism”. The authors begin by saying,

“In this book we certainly do not mean to give philosophy pride of place over Scripture. But we are saying that philosophical commitments, however modest or uninformed they may be, are inevitable. Moreover, people who are least aware of their philosophical commitments are most bound and blinded by them. So we need to be aware of our philosophical commitments, constantly scrutinizing them for their faithfulness to Scripture and their coherence with our other convictions.” (from, Why I Am Not A Calvinist, Page 98)

Similarly, Michael Horton, our fellow brother in the Body, and a Calvinist, writes,

“It should not be controversial to suggest that everyone comes to Scripture with presuppositions. If one came with an entirely blank slate, there would be no such thing as interpretation. Furthermore, the analogy of Scripture (”Scripture interprets Scripture”) requires us to come to particular texts in the widest possible recognition of other texts – and indeed, as much as possible, the whole teaching of Scripture. The real issue, then, is not whether one comes to the text with presuppositions but whether one comes with the right ones, the most scriptural ones.” (from, Eternal Security: Four Views)

In short, no clearly thinking Christian (Arminian or not) relies on philosophy and not Scripture as an ultimate basis for their conjecture. I’m sure we agree there.

Nathan’s and then Gray’s simple dismissal of me out of hand on account of me being an Arminian (and a Molinist) betrays, I think, a chosen ignorance. It’s painful to me, actually, to be dismissed as someone who doesn’t do the very thing I argue for in my recent post about the truth of the Bible on TagTeamTheology.com: “It is our responsibility to study hard…to fall in love with the Truth…. to find Life in Truth.” But maybe I shouldn’t take this sort of thing to heart .. if the person saying it is so hardened. Still, shouldn’t I consider you my brother since you profess Faith in Jesus the Christ? And isn’t it always painful when your family member shames you .. even when their accusation isn’t true?

Nate Russell said...

genembridges,

Are you asserting that Jesus in John 3:16 is correcting Nichodemus as to the limit of God's love in saying that it is limited to those God has chosen to love. If i remember correctly the covenent that God made with Abraham was one in which God would love the WHOLE world THROUGH the people of Israel. The whole book of John carries on the themes of Genesis so at what point do you think that here the writer would place this to refer to anything other than Genesis 12:1-3, in which the whole world was to be blessed by the covenant God made with Abraham. I'm sorry but I am pretty sure you are mistaken in you contextual argument.

Nate Russell said...

There should be a question mark after love in the first sentence.

Jeremy Weaver said...

The 'People of Israel' are not in view in this covenant promise. Christ is.
Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, "And to offsprings," referring to many, but referring to one, "And to your offspring," who is Christ. (Gal 3:16)

The only person God loves in any salvific sense is the one who is in Christ. To say that God loves anyone before they are saved depends on the doctrine of election.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
(Eph 1:3-6)

Nate Russell said...

God's promises were to Abraham's offspring, but his offspring were supposed to be the conduit by which the world was to also be a beneficiary of the promises. The Israelites were to be a sort of High Priest to the nations, by chose to accept this blessing would be brought to God. In the same manner all who choose to accept God's love and blessing in his Song are brought into right relationship with God.

...By the way did Pharoah harden his own heart or did God? Both are stated in scripture. Sometimes it seems that God has done something and we attest to it in that manner. Is it our attestation to something that makes it a work of God. I should hope not. What I am saying is that in Paul's understanding he sees no way in which could come to God on our own, nor do I because that would be semi-pelagianism, however can anyone say that Paul new exactly the relationship between God and man in the salvation process? Paul, John, James, Peter, and the author of Hebrews all talk of our active roles in the salvation process, as do they of God's, to negate one or the other would be make a mistake similar to that of Eusebius who said that Christ's humanity was like a drop of humanity in the sea of divinity (that stance was declared heretical).

Nate Russell said...

Son not Song.

David Keuss said...

Well, if going back to the originals is an old idea that should be abandoned by Christians today I guess the church will just wither up and die so that it can be "newer."

Nate Russell said...

I'm not sure I follow. How is Genesis, or any of the NT, not the originals and how is the early church not an adequate source of knowledge concerning the history of Christianity. If you are to say that all that counts is what the bible says and what you believe today with no regard for the brothers you have in the past and the faith that you share that is not Chrisianity. that is how we get David Koresh's and such, it is the tradition that gaurds against heresy, because all heresies quote scripture.

GeneMBridges said...

Notice how, for Simon, it's all personal. Yes, Simon you are chastising Calvinists for not measuring up to your standards of conduct...standards which you regularly violate yourself and which you admit to doing, so you're basically mirror-reading.

Second, Walls and Dongell certainly DO admit that they RELY on philosophical judgments in that very portion of the book which you quoted. Where, pray tell, do they say libertarian freedom is found in Scripture? They don't. They merely assume it. When they tell you where they get it, the answer is "intuitions." It's you who don't understand Walls and Dongell, since this: "Arminians rely on philosophical judgments at this point" is, I believe a direct quote. I'm saying nothing that they have not admitted. If you don't think Arminians rely on philosophy here, then go right ahead, but I'm just telling you what your own folks have said.

You also said what you said and pegged it to a statement about that Calvinists make about Arminians. Walls and Dongell admit that they bring libertarianism to Scripture, and this is derived from outside of Scripture. Ergo, they do not rely on the authority of Scripture, by their own admission for libertarian free will. This is integral to Arminianism.

By way of contrast, the Calvinist does appeal to compatibilism to defend his exegetically derived view of providence. However, in the question of election, his views of God's mercy and the particularizing principle of the covenant are derived from Scripture. I'd also add that they assert that Calvinists rely on a philosophical precommitment, compatibilism here. But is this actually true?

Unlike the Arminian, the Calvinist does not bring his compatibilism to Scripture and then draw out his views on election, depravity, atonement, regeneration, etc. in order to protect his views on libertarianism. His compatibilism comes by way of Scripture itself. Where, pray tell, does Scripture say that God elects based on foreseen faith or that men make uncaused choices? There are exegetical arguments for these. The Arminian requires a commitment to libertarianism for his soteriology to work. We do not. We do not work from our view of divine providence and concurrence to our soteriology as Arminians appear to do.

Arminians admit that the sole authority from which they philosophical precommitment derive libertarian freedom is that they call intuitive common knowledge. Please find me a Calvinist that does the same. Quoting Mike Horton saying that everybody comes to the text of Scripture with philosophical commitments is not the same as quoting Walls and Dongell saying, "Arminians admit they rely on philosophical judgments at this point." What philosophical commitments is Horton actually discussing?

The question here is whether or not Calvinists derive compatibilism from certain intuitions like Walls and Dongell admit and then read them back into the text. Moreover, we are pegging this to an objection about the way Arminians view Scripture on this. I have found two who admit openly they do not rely on Scripture on this, can you find a Calvinist that will say the same about his views on compatibilism?

When Horton and other discuss the presuppositions we bring to Scripture, what we're discussing comes down to profound presuppositional differences regarding the necessary and sufficient conditions of divine goodness and justice, as well as the necessary and sufficient conditions of genuine love and a genuine offer (of the gospel). This is not the same as appealing to libertarian freedom and saying "Arminians rely on philosophical commitments at this at this point." Horton's comments are much wider. Compatibilism is employed as a tool for defending what we find in Scripture. Arminians interpret Scripture to protect their libertarian commitment. It is not derived from it, by their own admission. Compatibilism can be derived from Scripture itself and Calvinists appeal to it not to interpret Scripture but as a result of the grammar and syntax of Scripture itself as it describes the way God works with men and the causes of men's choices.

When Calvinists say things like "Arminians rely on philosophy more than Scripture" this is exactly what they mean. Libertarian freedom, the very thing that Arminianism is designed to protect and defend is, by their own admission, brought to the text of Scripture and the whole system is designed with that in mind. Let's not forget that Jerry Walls himself has recently resorted to post mortem evangelism. Please tell us, where is this found in Scripture and how does this demonstrate reliance on Scripture and not philosophy?


All compatibilism amounts to is that men do not make causeless choices. They choose according to their desires. What does Scripture say?

"I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin...If you were Abraham's children," said Jesus, "then you would do the things Abraham did. As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the things your own father does...You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don't you believe me? He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God." (John 8:34-47)


“…no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:42-45)

James 1:14: Men are led astray by their own evil desires.

In interaction with Dr. Walls on his book with one of my own associates was told, "The key difference is this: a relationship of genuine love and trust cannot be compelled or determined." Really? Why? Where is this in Scripture. Walls admits to this being a philosophically derived position. These are his own words, so when you ask, "Do you believe that they reply on philosophy as authoritative over the Bible" I say "Yes," because I know folks who have interacted with Walls in particular personally. I also need look little further than the vocabulary they employ.


In fact, when you read "Why I am Not an Arminian" we find a marked difference. Walls and Dongell use the vocabulary of philosophy. Peterson and Williams emphasize Scripture and use its vocabulary.

Let's take a tour of this book and it's appeal to Scripture and philosophy.

In chapter we find the stock prooftexts for universal grace. Where is the discussion that these passages distinguish between universal grace and universal salvation? It recycles 1 John 2:2, yet glosses right over 1 John 5:19, "we know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the lap of the evil one." The first clause contrasts the second. The whole world is exclusive, not inclusive. What of 1 John 2:15 - 17? How exactly does John 3:16 related to Jn. 9:39? These are just superficial appeals.

Then we get the appeal for the usual "pantos" passages. One would think these gentlemen had not heard of the extensiional fallacy. Have they not bothered to read Bauckum on 2 Peter 3:9? Bauckham is no Calvinist, yet he too, has pointed out that this has reference, not to humanity in general, but to the covenant community. Cf. Jude, 2 Peter (Word 1983), 312-313. There he explains he explains that in Jewish thought, divine judgement is ordinarily delayed for the sake of the covenant community. As I said before, it is high time that those holding this view, particularly those in the Arminian tradition, pay attention to their own commentators.

He spends time on associating our doctrine of God with the Platonic doctrine of God, but there is just a tiny citation of a single essay here. That requires a number of steps. What was Plato's idea of God? Was it anything like the Reformed? For that matter what of Open Theism where God knows the general items but not the particulars? There is far more in common with the Neo-Platonist version of God there than the Reformed IMO. How is Philonic Platonism related to Judaism? Did Plato influence Philo's Judaism? If not, then why claim it must do the Reformed? Let's not also forget that the Ante-Nicenes affirmed libertarian freedom. Where, exactly, historically speaking, did they get this in Alexandria? What is Plotinus view of God? What about Augtustine, Athanasius, Origen, and the Cappadocians? How do we get from there to the next generation, Maimonides and a few others, as this feeds into Scholasticism in teh Middle Ages. From there we get Calvin and Reformed Scholasticism. None of these connections are made or explored. It makes for a nice philosophical discussion; pity it doesn't actually deal with the issues.

What of this statement: 'the collapse of the traditional Newtonian view of space and time should make us all slow to declare what can or cannot happen regarding time and space, especially God' (61-62).?

Does this mean exegetical theology depends on modern physics? He draws on Plotinus by quoting Pannenberg, but that means Walls opposes Platonic Calvinism with Platonic Arminianism if his allegations about Reformed Theology proper and Platonism are correct. Again, this is not the language of Scripture, this is the language of philosophy.

Walls is quite fond of saying that Calvinists interpret by their own presuppositions. He cites Murray's commentary. 'Murray and others must already have in hand specific convictions about the nature of faith, along with particular beliefs about the necessity of divine monergism, to guarantee an interpretation of Rom 8:29-30 that supports Calvinist views of predestination' (83). Apparently, Walls overlooks Murray's commentary, for it contains supporting arguments precisely about that very thing. These are, themselves, exegetical, not philosophical.

Discussing the offer of the gospel, Walls stipulates, as an additional condition, that everyone must be able, or enabled, to meet the terms of the offer (171-73) for it to be genuine in discussing the offer of the gospel. Where is this found in Scripture? This too is a philosophical argument. On this view the offer is only a genuine offer if the party making the offer supplies and satisfies all of the necessary conditions on behalf of and instead of the second-party. How is consistent with his position, which is designed to promote individual responsiblity.

Then we have this zinger: 'if is most difficult to see how God could be good in any ordinary sense of the term if he ordained or allowed the Fall knowing that it would have such consequences' (213).

Ordinary sense of the term indeed. It seems we're back to intuitions about God. This is an ethical and philosophical objection, not an exegetical objection. The belief that God ordained the Fall is, in point of fact, an exegetically derived concept in Calvinism coming from its concept of covenant, not simply its doctrine of providence. One can show this from Scripture without an appeal to Calvinism. What's more, even the classic Arminian admits this premise, for they affirm that God did allow the Fall in order to manifest certain goods. Some Molinists are on record as admitting that, because this is the world that exists, the best possible world of all counter-factual worlds, so this isn't merely a Calvinist objection. This reads more like OVT.

'On the surface, Calvinism appears to undermine motivation for evangelism. For if God has unconditionally chosen who will be saved and who will be left in their sins for eventual damnation, then surely the persons so chosen for salvation will in fact be saved. And if this is so, there is little reason for us to worry about evangelism--nothing we do or fail to do will in any way thwart God's sovereign purposes in election' (191)

Where does Scripture say that we need a doctrine of conditional election to do evangelism? Where is the biblical argument for this from these men? For that matter, how is Arminianism preferrable? On an Arminian theory of the will, all, some, or none might believe. Conditional election is ineffective with a doctrine of resistible grace and libertarian freedom. In Calvinism, the success rate is 100 percent, and, unless one is a hyper-Calvinist, one doesn't spend time determining who is elect and who is not and who does and does not have a warrant to believe. One preaches indiscriiminately. Unconditional election mandates evangelism and underwrites its complete success. One can only proceed on this objection if one doesn't understand the Reformed position.

So, pardon me if I find Walls' statements just a bit ill-informed and his claims about his commitment to Scripture over philosophy not quite on the mark. His recent move toward post-mortem evangelism doesn't strike me as a move that shows Arminians, whom he purports to represent, are as respectful of the authority of Scripture as his philosophical commitments as you believe them to be.

GeneMBridges said...

Are you asserting that Jesus in John 3:16 is correcting Nichodemus as to the limit of God's love in saying that it is limited to those God has chosen to love. If i remember correctly the covenent that God made with Abraham was one in which God would love the WHOLE world THROUGH the people of Israel. The whole book of John carries on the themes of Genesis so at what point do you think that here the writer would place this to refer to anything other than Genesis 12:1-3, in which the whole world was to be blessed by the covenant God made with Abraham. I'm sorry but I am pretty sure you are mistaken in you contextual argument.

The covenant God made with Abraham is that God will bless the whole world.

a. Where does this say anything about salvation?

b. Why does "the WHOLE world" mean 'everybody without exception?"

c. Why are you running to Moses work as an interpretive key for John?

d. If you do that, what is Moses' doctrine of election? Yes, he does have one.

We do not run to Genesis for our understanding of "whole world." First of all, we are talking about "the world." Second, we look to John first, not Moses. John himself uses the term "the whole world" in the conclusion of 1 John. He says that the whole world is under the power of the evil one. Immediately prior to this, he denies the elect are part of that world, because the evil one cannot touch them. This is the world of the unregenerate, but yet it is "the WHOLE world" as you say. He also defines "world" as "the children of God scattered abroad" in a direct linguistic parallel between 1 Johnn 2:2 and John 11:51 - 52. Can you substitute 'everyone' for the 'world' in 1 Jn 2:15-17?

1 John 2:2
And
He Himself
is the propitiation for
our sins
and not for ours only
but also
for
the world

John 11:51 - 52
he prophesied that
Jesus
would die for
the nation
and not for the nation only
but also
that He would gather together in one
the children of God scattered abroad

So, "the WHOLE" world must be quantified. What world? There is no exegetical presumption to take "the world" as "every person without exception," particularly when John defines it many different ways himself. "World" has seven to twelve definitions. You need to justify your use of it extensively. We need to justify our use of it intensively or restrictively, depending on which way we go.

Jesus is correcting Nicodemus who believed that salvific love is limited to the nation of Israel. Instead, it is extended to Gentiles as well, but does not deny that God chooses who He will love. In fact, John 3: 5 - 8 is rather good illustration of monergistic regeneration, which requires unconditional election to underwrite it. Jesus upholds the law and he further corrected Nicodemus views, because, as teacher of Israel, he should know certain things. The OT has a doctrine of unconditional election though it isn't quite as well developed. It is found in the passages discussing God's choice of Israel. God speaks of it as sovereign, based on His choice alone, not on their faithfulness or wickedness, as a husband/wife relationship, etc. For example, Dt. 7 very clearly gives us a doctrine of election that does not involve foreseen faith. On the contrary, it is a covenant love. God says He chose Israel and delivered them from Egypt on account of His covenant with the Patriarchs not because they were numerous, faithful, etc. In fact, he rejected that first generation for their apostasy. God's love in election calls on His name, "I am that I am." He effectively says to them "I love because I love you." This is not rejected by Jesus. In fact, Paul calls on this implicitly in Romans 8:29 - 30 and when he calls believers the spiritual Israel. The object of the redemptive love of God is a covenant love, and his salvific loves always involves the covenant community. In the NT, that is the believing ones, who are composed of both Gentiles and Jews. However, they together compose the covenant community. Salvation is still in the covenant community, it is not open to "whoever." "Whosoever believes" in John 3:16 is simply a present participle meaning "all the ones believing." Nowhere is this covenant love bestowed on the account of foreseen faith. In the New Covenant, it is not extended to all men without exception. It is extended to the elect, composed of Jews, Gentiles, slaves, free, men, women, rich, and poor, etc. Men enter by faith when they are justified. In Pauline soteriology, we are justified by faith. But there is much more to biblical soteriology than sola fide. We are not saved by faith. We are justified by faith, but saved by grace. Salvation is a bigger and broader thing than justification. The purpose of faith is to show that salvation is by grace rather than works. Even our works are foreordained (Eph.2:10).

Who are the believing ones in John 3? They are those born of the Spirit. It is through them that God will save "the world." How are they born of the Spirit? Monergistically or synergistically?

Simon said...

Gene, I'm an Arminian and a Molinist, and I look to the Bible to find Truth. It is as much an Authority on Doctrine to me as it is to you. Philosophy, at its best, is handmaiden to theology.

One Salient Oversight said...

A few things are popping into my head here as a Reformed, Calvinist Pedobaptist Presbyterian:

1. Both Arminians and Calvinists are convinced that their position is correct and biblical. Only one is however.

2. I honestly believe that Arminianism is wrong and unbiblical. Nevertheless I will enjoy eternal paradise with my Arminian bretheren after we die (at which point we will both agree that Arminianism was wrong!)

3. As a Baby Baptisin' Presbyterian, I gotta feel for you Reformed Baptists. You fight with fellow Baptists over the doctrines of grace and you fight you fellow Calvinists over Baptism. It can be a pretty lonely place to be! I love you guys (I'm being serious here), keep up the good work in defending the scriptures.

Scripture Searcher said...

If anyone doubts that the growing reformation and revival aka the discovery and acceptance of CALVINISM is being taken seriously by others, should simply read the April issue of SBC LIFE.



The articles by professors Akin and Yarnell indicate the obvious: CALVINISM IS EXPANDING and some are fearful that a return to Biblical Christianity is
dangerous!



Some falsely consider it a kind of deadly cancer now on the rapid rise among the community of Southern Baptists ~ if not, these two well written articles would not have been printed in SBC LIFE ~ the official
journal of the Southern Baptist Convention!!


Now we will see, hear and read how my dear, dear CAVINISTIC brethren respond.


Being a CALVINIST myself for more than half a century
I await the continued opinions aka pontifications that will follow on this important blog and elsewhere across the world.


I am tempted to say: Sic'm, boys! Persevere! Press on!


But some might interpret such language as unkind and unloving and unlike Jesus, so I will stop now! LOL


Keep it short, sweet and scriptural, fellow Bereans!


Proverb 17:22

Jason E. Robertson said...

Oversight, I am glad you feel our pain. Reformed Baptists have learned depths of perseverance that few protestant groups have, but it is worth it, trying to keep our brothers out of the ditches.

Nate Russell said...

It seems you'd rather be known as Calvinits that followers of Christ. I'm sorry that that's the case.

Your brother in Christ,
Nate

David B. Hewitt said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
David B. Hewitt said...

Hey, Nate!

No, we don't want to be known as Calvinists rather than Christians. I prefer the term "Reformed" myself, but regardless, I am first and foremost a follower of Jesus my Lord and Savior Who died for me, taking away my sin. HE is forever praised, and I long to have my voice in the chorus of Heaven someday, looking forward very much to that day!

While I remain here on earth, I must continue to love my brothers and teach the Scriptures, gently correcting doctrinal error when I find it. Why do I find it important with my other Reformed Baptist brethren here on this blog to speak out against false teachings and doctrines? There are perhaps many answers, but one of them is not for the sake of winning an argument. No, there is a much higher purpuse, one that governs all that we do here:

The glory of God is at stake.

It is at stake as how He is worshiped, and it is at stake in your life and mine. The more we seek Him in the Scriptures and understand them properly, the more we know about our great and awesome God, our Lord Jesus, and the more we worship Him, and the better (more biblically) we worship Him. The highest magnification of Jesus is our goal.

This is not to say that we are not still learning; no honest person would say that he is not still learning about our awesome God. When we grow, we worship Him more too. Where we have learned what the word of God says, we share it with others and contend for it so that they too may worship God as we have been able to, for God's glory and yes, for their benefit.

Now, to Simon:
I'm a little confused by your response to Gene's extended exegesis. You didn't deal with anything that he said when he interacted a good deal with the Bible text. I say "confused" here, and not "surprised," and that is intentional.

This is not the first time that I have seen Gene post exegesis on passages such as 1 John 2:2, John 11:52 and John 3:16. He has done his homework, and how he brings out the Word in its context, both textually and historically, is commendable!

Now, this is not a personal hit on you at all -- please don't take it as one. However, the reason I'm not surprised at your response is that more often than not, an Arminian's action to what Gene has said is simply to dismiss it and/or change the subject. It appeared that you did the first of these.

Anyway, I would strongly encourage you and everyone to dig into what the Bible says about issues like election, predestination, etc. You'll be amazed at just how awesome our Great God is!

For the Glory of His Name,
David Hewitt

Simon said...

David,

Gene's exegesis is in response to Nate, I think, ... that is a conversation that two other people were having.

Gene and I were talking about my statement that, "I'm not going to say that you care more about philosophy than what God means to convey in the Bible. I will give you the benefit of the doubt, since I believe you are a follower of Christ."

In response, he said, "Please don't chastise Calvinists for agreeing with what Arminians have readilly and openly admitted in their own publications."

Gene said there that Jerry Walls and Joe Dongell care more about philosophy than scripture and that they admit it in their book. I think this is a lie. I think this is an intentional lie. That's the conversation we were having. No one gets to get out of it by changing the subject, or saying that I changed the subject or failed to answer some other question. Nor does someone get to lie about something else because you think his exegesis about some other subject is dandy.

Lastly, when you say, "I would strongly encourage you and everyone to dig into what the Bible says about issues like election, predestination, etc. You'll be amazed at just how awesome our Great God is!" I agree with you .. I do this very often. Obviously, if you read my blog or knew anything about me other than what you've read on this blogpost, you'd know that I too lavish in the Greateness of our God and His Sovereignty, Love, and Justice - particularly as expressed through His plan in history, including Election and predestination. Hopefully, you do not say this to me because you don't think that I do this on account of me being an Arminian. That, after all, would be stupid. :)

Simon

David B. Hewitt said...

Hey, Simon:

Oh, I've been called worse, and sometimes it has been accurate. :) I'm thrilled that you have a desire to get into the Word of God and have a strong desire to understand the issues that you've talked about below.

My experience has been that by and large, those from the Arminian camp really don't do that in depth of exegesis. Of course, my experiences are far from infallible, and I would be more than happy to have them informed.

No, I haven't read other things on your blog, and perhaps I was a bit reactionary with your short response without having enough information. For that, I shall apologize.

I am curious about a few things though, and I truly mean this: How do you define election? How does it work? What does God's sovereignty mean? What does predestination mean? I'd love to talk about such things for sure. Important texts that inform our understanding include John 6, John 10, John 17, Romans 9, Ephesians 1, and others.

Anyway, I do hope we can have an exchange about it should you desire. I love discussing the wonder of our God in all of how He acts, election of course being included. :)

SDG,
David Hewitt

Nate Russell said...

David and Gene,

As far as your understanding of the word "world" in the text goes I am sorry to find you very mistaken. I pointed out in a previous comment that the reason I am "running" back to Genesis to understand John is because John bases his understanding for Christ within the creation account of Genesis and recognizes Christ as the fullfilment of the covenant. Read John 1:1, Gen.1:1. Then when it comes to John 3:16 to limit the scope of the word "world", which alone must refer to the world as a whole, you must have a limiter to do so. However, in the text there is no limitation. There is another group that is mentioned which is limited, "everyone who believes", but it is not refering to the world. Also another reason to go back to Moses, as you put it, is because John states in 3:14-15 "Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life." The reason I suggest that Christ sufferings cannot be quantified in the same way you do is because this passage refers to an event where even though not everyone looked at the serpent in the wilderness, all had the opportunity to look at it and be saved. And in the same way why all people do not choose to look to Christ to save them, the option is there to all. And God is great enough to save all that come, the only limit to his grace is the limit placed there by those who refuse his love.

I am sorry that I was quite rude in my final remark yesterday. I just do not understand how anyone can be so bold as to say they do not come to the Scripture without any previously held notion, that is like claiming to not have an accent or to have a view from no where (yes the latter is a philosophical allusion). I am not saying that our philosophies cannot be bound by scripture but the only way to decide what is the correct philosophy is to weigh it not only against scripture but against the Christian tradition as the Church Fathers did to ward off heresy in the early church. To claim a God's eye view, is to claim to be God so be careful all who claim to be the protectors of God's sovereignty that you do not attempt to claim what you cannot.

Also how can you claim that God's first act in creation was to elect. Was God scared that his sovereignty would be taken away if all chose not to love him? I think not. Rather I believe God's first desire was to love, and as creation turned his still desired to love all but he knew that at some point man must receive the consequence of their choices. So in Christ he made both one last move to reveal his love to his creation and at the same time stamped the condemnation of all who refuesed. John 3:36 "The one who believes the Son has life. The one who rejects the Son will not see life, but God's wrath remains on him." John 15:22,24 "If I had not come and spolien to them, they would not be guilty of sin. But they no longer have any excuse for their sin...If I had not performed among them the miraculous deeds that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But no they have seen the deeds and have hated both me and my Father."

Michael King said...

Hey Nate,

Please forgive my intrusion into the great dialogue you are having with Gene and David. I am basically just sitting back and musing. My problem is that I am relatively new to the blogging (sp—one g or two?) world, and while I was hoping just to “ambivalently” read how my fellow Calvinists interact with non-Calvinists, I simply cannot keep my fingers from the keyboard and jot a note or two.

One, I have appreciated the tone of the conversation. You are doing a good job. I know that “battling” with Calvinists can be a testing affair. This is because it is hard to argue with people who are right. It is more frustrating, however, to debate non-Calvinists, because they are wrong. I am being funny—please take it that way.

You wrote, “not everyone looked at the serpent in the wilderness, all had the opportunity to look at it and be saved. And in the same way why all people do not choose to look to Christ to save them, the option is there to all.”

I acknowledge that all the children of Israel who were snake-bitten had the opportunity available to them to find the serpent in the camp and look at it before they died of poison. This is true merely because of their close proximity to it. I assume everyone in the camp knew where to go and look. Experience and history, on the other hand, do not correlate the same being true with the world. Not everyone has had the same opportunity to come to Christ. Not every culture and people group have had the opportunity to even hear Jesus’ name spoken to them. One example will do. It was not until August 15, 1549 before the first missionaries ever arrived in the nation of Japan, over 1500 years after Jesus paid the debt of the sins of the world. Even then, it is highly questionable, from an evangelical perspective, whether or not the Japanese heard the true gospel, for the missionary who landed on the shore of these superior people was Francis Xavier, a Jesuit priest and the most famous of all Roman Catholic missionaries. His mission was primarily to spread the Church of Rome and the supremacy of the Papacy, not the gospel of salvation in Christ by faith alone. Even in our own day, there are yet millions who have never heard. I doubt that Calvinism is the culprit for all the work that needs to be done in missions for the glory of God.

I realize that this is not a biblical answer; this is not even philosophical. I make my argument from historical experience. The option to come to Christ has not been available to all. At best, it has been so for all who have had the chance to hear the message.

Again, forgive my effrontery. Much grace to you, Mike

David B. Hewitt said...

Hey, Nate!

Thanks for responding and bringing out something important in John's Gospel. Indeed, John does make reference back to the creation account; he does this in John 1 to establish the divinity of Christ. His purpose in chapter three, however, isn't to establish Christ's divinity; he's done that already, and it is likely that he has moved on to something else.

Here in this context, as you've mentioned, we have the discussion of Moses. You also mentioned we would need a limiter to reduce the term "world" here. I would have to say that we do in some sense have one, though it is implicit rather than explicit. Please allow me to explain what I mean, though first I'll elaborate on your comments related to Jesus's illustration about the serpent. I'll be quoting from the English Standard Version, and any emphasis added is my own.

John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
John 3:15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

This parallels exactly with verse 16:

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

So then, it would appear that the point Jesus is making is about the ones who believe, not the comment about the world, at least as far as that verse is concerned.

I'll have to post more later -- I need to go because of a BAD storm!

SDG,
Dave Hewitt

Scripture Searcher said...

TROUBLESOME!


Which of our SBC seminary president has recently stated:


I FEAR THAT SOME EXTREME FORMS OF CALVINISM HAVE WARPED THE MIND AND FROZEN THE HEART OF ITS ADVOCATES THAT IF THEY SAW A PERSON SCREAMING AT THE TOP OF THEIR LUNGS, "WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?", THEY WOULD HESITATE OR EVEN NEGLECT (SHARING) THE GOSPEL FOR FEAR OF SOMEHOW INTERFERING WITH THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT?


Who, if anyone, does this SBC scholar have in mind?


Who are those "advocates" of such "extreme forms of Calvinism" - please supply names and locations where these awful wolves in sheeps' clothing serve in our SBC!


MANY OF US ARE WAITING FOR YOUR ANSWERS, DR PRESIDENT.

Nate Russell said...

Mike,

You do bring a very interesting point up. However, I believe that using the argument that not all the world has the chance to know God, is problematic. This type of argument in philosophy is guilty of what is called the naturalistic fallacy, because it says that the way things are is the way they are supposed to be. The fact that the gospel has not been heard by everyone does not detract from the command that we are responsible for taking it to everyone. Predestination might make us feel better, but it certainly does not make us any less responsible.

David,
I look forward to the continuance of your rebuttle.

your brother in Christ,
Nate

Michael King said...

Hey Nate,

Well said. Just because God predestined the Japanese not to have the opportunity to hear the gospel for over 1500 years does not remotely remove the command to go into all the world and preach the good news, to make disciples of all nations. You and I both are responsible to share this message of forgiveness of sins in Jesus to as many as we can, as long as we can. I am ashamed to say that I fail to obey way too often, but it is not because of my Calvinistic views. It is because I am too much an uncaring, slack, fearful, tired, lazy, busy, and self-centered man. I have seen several people come to Christ in my ministry, but I wish I would do it more. Lord, forgive me.

Still, Nate, the point of my post was true. God has not made the gospel equally available to all the people of the world.

But you are right in this: we must take it everyone. We are responsible to oeby Jesus' command.

Much grace to you, Mike

David B. Hewitt said...

Nate:

I'll get there. :) I'm out of town at the moment, and have other work to do, but I'll expound on it a bit more later. OR... maybe I'll link to something I wrote earlier...lemme think about it! :)

In the meantime, off to replace a bathroom faucet!

SDG,
Dave

neilgodfrey said...

The idea of scripture interpreting scripture is in fact another form of the mantic or the occult. See http://vridar.wordpress.com/2007/11/02/scripture-interpreting-scripture-occultism/