Thursday, August 03, 2006

Baptists and Calvinism: An Open Debate

Plans for the much-discussed debate involving Drs. Ergun Caner, Emir Caner, James White and me have taken many turns over the last few months. I am happy to announce that the debate has been slightly restructured and is now confirmed by all four participants (yes, including me) for October 16, 2006 in Lynchburg, Virginia. Below is a statement that the four participants are jointly issuing to those who have shown interest in these events. Please note our request that you would join us in prayer as we move toward the debate. After the statement, I have a few more comments of a personal nature to add.

A Public Statement

Since February 27th of this year, plans have been underway to schedule a debate on Baptists and Calvinism. Drs. James White, Ergun Caner, Emir Caner and Tom Ascol initially agreed to participate in this event which was scheduled to be held at Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia on October 16, 2006. Over the last five months, efforts to negotiate the terms of the debate at times degenerated into heated, antagonistic exchanges between the four participants. In both speech and tone too much of the communication has been perceived and/or characterized by sinful attitudes that have not honored the Lord Jesus Christ. We acknowledge our responsibility in this and deeply regret that we allowed it to happen. Each of us longs to represent Christ honorably and our intent is to conduct further negotiations in ways that will do so.

Through ongoing communication out of the public eye we have come to terms regarding the debate. It remains scheduled on October 16th and will involve all four of us. The topic will be, "Baptists and Calvinism: An Open Debate." The length will be three hours. The format will be modified Parliamentary. The place will be Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia.

We are committed to engaging in a debate that will highlight the significant differences that exist between our respective views of how the Gospel of God works in bringing salvation to sinners. We believe that such debate can be conducted in a lively, vigorous exchange that need not violate the standard for Christian conduct that God has given us in His Word. Our goal is to do exactly this. The issues on which we disagree are important. It is because of our love for Christ and His truth that we believe these issues are worth debating. However, we regard this as a fraternal debate and intend to approach it not as antagonists, but as brothers with strong disagreements.

To that end we are asking those who have followed the issues surrounding this debate to join us in prayer that the Lord will guide us as final preparations are being made and that He will help us to conduct ourselves in a manner "worthy of the calling with which [we] have been called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Ephesians 4:1-3).

Sincerely in Christ,
Ergun Caner
Emir Caner
James White
Tom Ascol
On a personal note, I first want to express gratitude to our Lord for the graciousness and humility that Ergun, Emir and James have shown as we negotiated these final arrangements. These men have been models to me in how to work through awkward and difficult relationships.

Secondly, I want to acknowledge publicly one particularly egregious and harmful contribution that I made to the breakdown of our previous discussions. The email exchange between Ergun and me that I posted on June 26, 2006 contained a letter that I sent to him that, sadly, added fuel to an already raging fire, rather than helping to calm that fire. The tone of the letter was unkind and one metaphor I employed was particularly ungracious and inappropriate for followers of Jesus Christ. Paul tells us to "let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers" (Ephesians 4:29). My email failed miserably on both points. For that I am profoundly sorry. I have expressed my repentance to both Emir and Ergun and they have been gracious in their responses. Now, I am asking for your forgiveness as well.

Please join me in praying that this debate, that some would like to see turn into a type of "smack down," will instead be an occasion to highlight real differences in a manner that will advance not only the cause of truth but also the commitment to love and humility within the SBC and beyond.


Jeremy Floyd said...

i am happy to see this statement released and details of the debate set. although i have been in agreement with drs. white and ascol, i felt that it was very unfortunate that the exchanges had become so heated. i hope that this debate will be a blessing to all those who are seeking truth. i look forward to it.

Mopheos said...

Hello Tom,

What a salutary development! I am so glad to read this post, and I appreciate what must have had to transpire between you four (and perhaps others) to bring it about. Our fellowship here in Lynchburg will be praying much for the glory of God in the upcoming fraternal debate. If we can be of any help here, let us know.

...and "smack downs" aren't all bad, if YHWH is the One doing the smacking...he he.

Grace and peace to you all,


Brian Hamrick said...

This is a post I did not expect to read this week. To God be the Glory!

Mike-e said...

I am amazed, shocked, thrilled, and whatever other creative words are out there, to have read this recent development. I had lost all hope in this debate, especially when Tom (rightfully so) dropped out. This just reminds me of how gracious our Lord is and how He prevails even when man in his sin, does everything in his power to stop it. God is powerful. And I will be praying for all of you that the Lord Jesus will be glorified and His truth proclaimed.

On a side note, I can't wait till Ergun is confronted on his outrageous and eisegetical remarks regarding Romans 9...muuuaaahhhaahhaaaaa

Elias said...

God is awesome!

deusvult2 said...

After watching you speak on my dvd, Amazing Grace, it would be hilarious to hear you say "smack down" at all. But all joking aside, I wish you the best on this upcoming debate.

Tim said...

Seriously... praise God. I have thought and prayed and hoped that all of the heat would be drained out of this, and that things would proceed in humility, meekness, and respect amongst all involved. This is really great news.

Daniel Cassady said...
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Joshua Stewart said...

It is a joy to read this post. I am happy too see that both 'sides' have come to such an agreement.
One one word to those of us who leave comments. Let's follow in humility and not make undue comments.

Christopher Redman said...

Wonderful news. It is good to see humility on all sides.

John 13:34-35, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love one for another."

God is good and the truth will prevail! I pray sovereign blessings and grace for Dr.'s Caner!


The Gaffer said...

I am very happy to see this debate take place. I believe that these type of discussions can only serve to strengthen us as Southern Baptists.As a Calvinist, I will be "pulling for" Drs. White and Ascol...but I will pray for all to conduct themselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel.

slmayes said...

I pray and hope that the debate will be as congenial as the agreement that you posted.

Can you tell us if there will be a DVD or recording of this debate available for those of us who will not be able to attend?

Tom said...


The debate will be recorded and made available.

ChristCovenantBaptist said...

James White has encouraged those who read his site not to travel to attend the debate since it is primarily for Liberty students. I live in NC and it would not be a far drive for me. Is there a way to register for the debate in any way? Or does everyone simply show up?

Jeremy Roberts said...

Tom -
Do you think you may be able to work it out to have a webcast of this? This is wonderful news for people of all different stances on Calvinism. I pray Proverbs 27:17 for this debate.


Very good news!

Expect many requests for recorded (audio, video, and printed) copies of this historic encounter!

sbc pastor said...

I look forward to watching the debate and hope and pray that God will be glorified through it. God bless!!!

In Christ,

hashbrown said...

I'd love to know HOW this came about. This seems like a 180 degree turn from the way things were going.

I could be wrong, but my guess is that this resolution didn't come about by email, but someone had to make some phone calls.

Many times while reading the archive of correspondance at aomin
I thought to myself, "Someone pick up a phone."

People, myself included, are typically more humble on the phone or in person, as opposed to behind the keyboard.

Glad to hear the good news.

Timmy said...

For those who have read the many posts, thousands of comments, and the infamous PDF, the news of this change is truly remarkable and encouraging.

Whether Ergun or Emir read this post and comments I know not (I hope they do), but I want to thank them as well for their willingness to change their original positions to work for a debate that will be edifying to the church and profitable for the future discussion of Calvinism in Baptist life. May the Lord be pleased to use this to glorify Himself not only in the presentation of His truth, but also in the character and humility of those presenting that truth.

My only question left is, "What are we to do with onmnibenevolence?"

Christopher Redman said...

Interesting - I was skimming through Charles Finney's Systematic Theology and actually saw him use the term "Omnibenevolence". I couldn't believe it!

I certainly hope that the Dr.'s Caner do not want to be associated with the theology of Charles Finney!

(For those interested, pull of his Systematic Theology and read the section on "Election")

BTW - I am not wanting to detract from the spirit of humility and respect within Tom's post.


Kevin Rhyne said...

Terrific news!!! Can't wait for the DVD...This turn of events is just one more piece of evidence for the overwhelming reality of God's sovereignty in all things.

john said...


It is a blessing to hear that the debate will go forward. I believe this could be an incredible teachable moment for many in Baptist life, and especially within the SBC.

As for your very gracious words of apology to Dr. Caner, you become a teacher to us all even before the debate takes place.

May God be with you.

Minot, ND

Samuel J Bell III said...

Amen, AMen, AMEN,
I was just amazed and encoraged by this post. It is such a testimony to the grace of God. Most people(including myself) did not think this was possible. Do to the nature of the emails. The only thing I can say anything is possible with God, and to Him be the glory. Tom Press on I will continue to pray on this and you other endeverous.
In Him whom all things are posible,
Sam Bell
FGBC, San Antonio, TX

johnMark said...

Wonderful news.

I pray the Lord's blessing in this debate.


LeeC said...

God is awesome in how He uses us in spite of ourselves eh?

If nothing else, the four of you working things out this far in humility and repentance are a mighty testimony to Him.

I will be praying for you all and for His glory in this.

Phi 2:1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy,
Phi 2:2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.
Phi 2:3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

Caddiechaplain said...

May I suggest that we all chip in and pay for Tim Challies to be there to blog live. He did a masterful job for both the Shepherd's Conference and the Together for the Gospel Conference. Just a thought . . . .

FrancisTt said...


According to James Whites website, the intention of Liberty holding the debate on their turf was to make it available to their tens of thousands of students. Apparently there is no admission cost or guarantee that anybody outside of Liberty students will be allowed to attend. Maybe Tom can confirm this.

Reformed1 said...

I am pleased that this debate will continue. Thank you gentlemen for your efforts in getting past those rather difficult beginnings. I'm confident that Christ will be honored in your new spirit of cooperation. said...

Good news Tom. I am praying about the debate.

Jeff Richard Young said...

Dear Dr. A,

This is great news for all of us. Thank you for your great attitude. I will join you in praying over this whole thing.

Love in Christ,


James Hunt said...

Oh how there've been too many times I've had to retract a word, tone or deed. It's humbling. I'm often redirected to James' instruction in 3:18, "The seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace."

"May the peace of Christ rule in your heart" and the other 3 participants as well.

It's my prayer that God is seen as glorious in this and that His truth about grace will be clearly understood by all listening.

Soley His by His divine grace...

Tom said...

I don't have any more details on the debate than what I have posted. James is correct that there will no tickets for it. I think Liberty will begin publicizing this in the near future. Perhaps the folks there can answer questions about these matters better than I can. I would guess that the new TRBC auditorium would have abilities for webcasting. But whether or not that will be offered...again, I am ignorant.

Mopheos said...


I think it is doubly good that you are back in the debate. Your knowledge of the historical/theological roots of not only the SBC, but of Baptists in general, will be, I'm sure, an eye-opening corrective for many listening in the audience who otherwise would not be so educated.

Will you be bringing any Founders booklets with you, like "From the Protestant Reformation to the Southern Baptist Convention" or "A Foundation for the Future?"

I don't know if that would be "allowed," but it could be a nice setting for further exposure to Baptist heritage. Just wondering.

Calvinism & Arminianism said...

I actually was looking forward to James White taking on the Caner brothers by himself.

Too bad.

Garry Weaver said...

I guess civility and Christian curtesy is the right thing, but it sure has thrown cold water on my lust for controversy.

IN HIS NAME said...

AMEN This is GREAT news!!!

Who is going to be the moderator???

A Brother in CHRIST

DOGpreacher said...


I am pleased to see the spirit of graciousness & humility lead to such an agreement.

Joe Thorn;

I was overwhelmed by the sermon you preached at the Founders conference. Thank You. I suggest that all four in the debate (as well as anybody else) get a copy of this CD.

volfan007 said...

boy, yall seem almost giddy over this debate taking place. lol. do you really think that if white and ascol win the arguement that this will make everyone suddenly turn into five

the campbellites love to debate as well....and, they are very good at it. they win many an arguement due to thier debating skills. they are still wrong, and people dont convert to thier arminian, legalistic theology just because they win some debate.

the very fact that so many of yall are so giddy over this debate happening just shows me once again what a tangent and extreme yall are on. you seem to be more excited over this than you do over anything else. wow!

love and peace,


centuri0n said...

Amen. Let God be glorified.

centuri0n said...


As opposed to your, um, charitable comments here. Very convincing -- and loving.

Bartimaeus said...

I dont think I can add to anything that has already been said by others. I do hope that the debate will be meaningful and that those are not "Calvinist" will at least have a correct understanding of what we beleive concerning the work of Christ and the ability of man. Above may Christ be glorified in this debate and Hid word honoured.

Rev. S. Michael Huffman said...

Praise God for the Spirit that now resides in the hearts of these men. I look forward to the debate and the Doctrines of Grace, once again, being represented and proven in a Christ honoring way. Thank you, Dr. Ascol, for your humility in this most difficult situation.

Elias said...

Volfan, by the sound of your post, it seems to me that you proabably are a student (probably from Liberty) and a Canerite. Am I correct in asuming this? And what does it matter if people are a little excited to see this debate take place? Your probably a little giddy too.

volfan007 said...

i am not a i am not a liberty student. and really, i could care less that this debate is taking place. it's a complete waste of time and money and energy. i wish yall would get this excited about soulwinning. oh, i forgot...yall are scared that you may lead someone to the Lord who wasnt supposed to be....forgive me.

the very fact that you all are so excited over a debate...well, let's just say that it shows where your heart is....ok?

God bless everyone one of you....i love you,


Byroniac said...

Dear Volfan007:

boy, yall seem almost giddy over this debate taking place. lol.

I would say yes, we are, but not for the reasons you later suggest. I for one am "giddy" over this debate for at least two excellent reasons. First, I see in this the evidence of at least some reconciliation of Christian brethren in the bonds of love and Christ-likeness. I honestly believe that all four gentlemen in this public statement seek to honor Christ and His Word, and display true Christian character even in the face of their disagreements. For that I rejoice. Second, this is an issue of the truth becoming known and defended. Though my convictions fall squarely on the "Calvinist" side of the fence as it were, I do not consider this an "us vs. them" issue but a peaceful dialogue and Scriptural interaction among Christian brethren. At least, these are my hopes.

do you really think that if white and ascol win the arguement that this will make everyone suddenly turn into five

No, of course not, and winning the debate or proving a theological system is not the ultimate issue. As Christians we should seek first to see Christ glorified, and His inerrant Word defended and obeyed. My personal belief is that sincere Scriptural study irresistibly draws believers towards Reformed Theology, but that is simply my opinion (and anyone is welcome to it for what it is worth). My personal hope is for believers to grow and be strengthened in the Word as a result, and that our disagreements will not be focused on the personalities involved but on the actual teachings of Scripture on these matters.

the very fact that so many of yall are so giddy over this debate happening just shows me once again what a tangent and extreme yall are on. you seem to be more excited over this than you do over anything else. wow!

Volfan007, I mean you no disrespect and I harbor no ill will towards you, but I must ask, is any of this really necessary (or helpful, for that matter)? Remember that words really do carry weight. And they can be used carelessly and/or maliciously to much regret later (a painful truth I have personally experienced in Christian walk through life).

Here in Texas our barbed-wire fences are harmless only at a distance. Getting up close and personal with a barbed-wire fence is often ill-advised, and barbed-edges are difficult to soften. Likewise, words with barbed edges are not easily softened by adding window dressings such as "love and peace" at the end, and they are not humorous or good-natured, either. I believe attacking the character and motives, even implicitly, of those you disagree with is not warranted here. And Volfan007, though you are my brother in Christ and I happily treat you as such, from one brother to another I must assure you that your accusations here are completely unfounded for at least the majority of those present.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Timmy said...

Let's be clear about something here. This is not about "winning a debate." This is NOT a competition/contest. It is about having the opportunity to present the case for Reformed theology in a public setting in a fair and open way in which both sides can debate the issues. The excitement comes, in part, because of the fact that so many uninformed preachers today have falsely labeled Calvinists (as extreme or hyper) and not accurately presented the beliefs we hold. Furthermore, there is sufficient reason to be excited that this would even take place, given the history of all this drama over recent months.

It is my belief that neither the brothers Caner nor White/Ascol would entertain this debate if they didn't believe that first and foremost that this debate would be profitable for the Church and glorifying to God. Let's not go back to the past of shameful and baseless rhetoric. The recent comments made by volfan007 are exactly the type of unhelpful statements that prevent any meaningful discourse of biblical truth. To respond to such comments who only bring dishonor to the name of Christ and discord among the brethren, regardless of what theological stripe you wear.

John Wootten said...

I'm sure Volfan is only speaking on relative terms, using his own experiences as normative.

Thus, when he states that we are "giddy" about theology, he means in respect to his own attitude toward doctrine, which is normative or less than the giddiness showed here.

Likewise, he comments that we are not as equally "giddy" about soulwinning reveal that he is overly giddy about soulwinning than the average poster in this blog.

I personally cannot comment on the level of giddiness, nor the doctrinal or soulwinning habits of anyone on this site, since for 99% of you, I have no knowledge of you outside of this website.

However, congratulations to Volfan for being more giddy about soulwinning than the average Founders reader.

Elias said...

Volfan, the real reason people are "giddy" is not because this debate is going forward necessarily but because of the reconciliation that has taken place between these four men. Instead of trying to cause division, try giving God praise for the work that He is doing in bringing people together.

Bro. Robin said...

Bro. Tom

Thank you for your humility and Christ honoring revealing of a wrong you have done. I have been in your position before and I know what it takes to admit a wrong done. Outside of being a brother in Christ, you have shown yourself to be a humble person worthy of respect. I will pray for you and all the participants.

God Bless.

Bro. Robin

Gordon Cloud said...

This is the happiest news I have seen on the blogosphere in some time. Tom, once again, I salute your graciousness and spirit (even though I am not a Calvinist).

I pray that this debate will be interesting, informative, and most of all edifying.

Calvinism & Arminianism said...

"the very fact that you all are so excited over a debate...well, let's just say that it shows where your heart is....ok?"

I think what people get excited over when it comes to this debate Volfan is the fact that truth triumphs over ambiguity every time. One thing you notice when it comes to debates on election is the side that believes in unconditional election uses the Bible to defend its position while the side that believes election is conditional relies on emotion to defends their view. It's always an interesting thing to behold.

volfan007 said...

as i read the posts...i see people who are giddy about the debate. they think that this debate is somehow going to confirm that what they believe is absolutely the truth, and it might convince more to join thier ranks. i would say that some of you are thrilled about the reconciliation of the four men...fine.

i would tell you that my theology is based on the bible....and, it has led me to not be a five pointer. my theology is not based on emotional's based on what the bible teaches. i know that it's hard for some of you to understand this concept....people out in left or right field often have trouble seeing beyond thier perspective. i understand that...really. beleive me when i tell you that i know what yall beleive and why you believe it. i seriously considered becoming a five pointer at one time in my younger days. i had several friends who had been persuaded by doc nettles to go that direction and they tried to get me to go that way too...boy, did they try!

after careful examination of five pointism and the bible....i found five pointism to be lacking. you emphasize on one side so much that you miss the other side.....equally true side. i thank God for keeping me from the extreme and for helping me stay in the truth. therefore, i can believe in romans 9 as well as john 3:16 without trying to explain away either.

God bless yall,


John Wootten said...


if you say this...

after careful examination of five pointism and the bible...

but then yesterday you said this...

oh, i forgot...yall are scared that you may lead someone to the Lord who wasnt supposed to be....

then there is a VERY serious problem with how you read and understand what you've read.

As a result of your careful examination, could you please refer me to one five-point Calvinist who ever said either a single elect person will not be saved, or a single non-elect person will be saved?

This shows a very fundamental misunderstanding of a very basic part of the doctrine of election.

I hope you are inconsistent in your study. I sincerely hope your approach to understanding the bible is different from the approach you take to understanding Calvinism.

volfan007 said...


take a deep, cleansing breath. count to 10. everything will be ok.

it's just like you five pointers to knit pick every word...every phrase...even something said with tongue in cheek....and then, debate it to death.

see yall.....God bless you,


bristopoly said...

Volfan, shouldn't you be out soulwinning instead of blogging here and "debating" us over whether we should get excited about debating? You seem to "debate" (if by "debate" we mean ad hominem and strawman arguments) your middle ground view every time these subjects come up.

I would also like to know what your view of "soulwinning" is? Mine is that God wins them through the truth of Scripture (the whole truth) from a man-centered mindset in all things to a God-centered one. This is what I think salvation is. Salvation from self to Christ. Your claim is a dead one then in light of Calvinistic theology. It is a part of our salvation. It is a part of our redemption from the man-centered mindset to a God-centered one. Friend, we are soulwinning. We just don't stop at the Four Spiritual Laws.

bristopoly said...

I just want to add then, that since this debate is about "soulwinning," I for one am SUPER GIDDY about it. :)

Calvinism & Arminianism said...

"after careful examination of five pointism and the bible....i found five pointism to be lacking. you emphasize on one side so much that you miss the other side.....equally true side. i thank God for keeping me from the extreme and for helping me stay in the truth. therefore, i can believe in romans 9 as well as john 3:16 without trying to explain away either."

This has emotion written all over it;
emotion, emotion, emotion...

Do you know what follows "carful examination" Volfan? A careful analysis of your conclusion. Meaning an explanation as to why you accept or reject an idea/phylosophy/theology, etc. But since you are led by emotion, you cannot even give an example of what you feel is found wanting.

For you to give us your feelings about "five pointism" and not explain what you disagree with is like a 6th grade math student looking over a college level math book and not only saying "I don't agree with that" but going further to say "and I'm not tellin' you why!"

"...and you can't make me!"

volfan007 said...


soulwinning is taking the gospel to those who are lost and sharing it with them and trying to win them to Jesus. God uses His word to call and convict them. and, when they are willing to respond, then He gives them the ability to repent and the faith to be saved. but,you must go and try to win them. you and i must go and preach the gospel.

c and a,
my rejection of five point calvinism was based upon the bible. i have shared many, many times the verses that shoot five pointism in the foot. and, i have shared many, many times the verses that yall think proves your position, but in reality, you dont see it correctly. and, since these things have been talked about and talked about so many times that you know what i am going to say(as a biblicist), and i know what you are going to say(as a five pointer)....what's the use? all i can hope is that i encourage someone in here to come out of the extreme and get on the right road again. all i can i hope is that i can encourage all of you to think about where you are in your theological thinking and can encourage you to come out of the extreme. that is my prayer. that is my reason for even coming in here. if you dont wanna come out of it...well, God bless you. at least you are preaching God's Word and trying to live for the matter how short sighted it is. and, i thank God for any good that you all might do for the glory of God.

God bless you...i love yall,


Calvinism & Arminianism said...

Volfan, isn't it true that your rejection of "Calvinism" is simply your rejection of election? Your view is that man has free-will to accept or reject Christ. When all Calvinism does is reject that philosophy and explain how the Bible teaches that God elects unconditionally, isn't true that your argument is basically "no it doesn't"?

Elias said...

Calvinism = the belief in the doctrine of unconditional election.

Volfan's view = the belief that the doctrine of unconditional election is wrong because is leaves no room for soul winning and therefore those who believe this are not on "the right road."

volfan007 said...

put your five point spins on what i said all you want to. i just pray that the Lord will open your eyes. you ought to read peter lumpkins thoughts on his are very helpful.

i believe in election. i believe the bible teaches that God chose to save me before the world began. halelujah! but, that does not negate the choice of man. election does not do away with whosoever will.

btw, i believe that yall's view of election is wrong because you negate the other side of the mountain. you emphasize on the election side of the mountain, and you do away with whosoever and man's free will to choose. that's where i depart with yall. and, that's where i think you are the deep end. i didnt say that your view of election doesnt leave room for soulwinning...please dont put words into my mouth. but, i do think it causes yall to not be very evangelistic....thats been my personal experience with the five pointers i know...and i know many. they dont hardly ever witness, nor do they do things at thier church to try to lead people to the Lord. they are ususally too busy trying to convert christians to calvinism. sorry, but that's the way i see it. in fact, most of the five pointers i know who are pastors...their churches are either going down in attendance...or either, they went into a church that was not a five point church and they tried to convert them and they caused much strife and division and split several of the churches i know of. that's my observation, and like i said, i know of many five pointers.

anyhoooo, God bless yall,

your humble servant,


John Wootten said...

Volfan, answer my question please.

If you say this...

after careful examination of five pointism and the bible...

but then yesterday you said this...

oh, i forgot...yall are scared that you may lead someone to the Lord who wasnt supposed to be....

then there is a VERY serious problem with how you read and understand what you've read.

As a result of your careful examination, could you please refer me to one five-point Calvinist who ever said either a single elect person will not be saved, or a single non-elect person will be saved?

I don't want to debate you or anyone else. But I can't take much more of your "extreme" rhetoric, then your dodging and hiding from answering from your ridiculous statements.

Just one reference from one point out of your careful examination of Calvinism and Scripture.

That's all I ask.

John Wootten said...

i believe in election. i believe the bible teaches that God chose to save me before the world began. halelujah! but, that does not negate the choice of man. election does not do away with whosoever will.

Here's another point where you're misunderstanding Calvinism.

Spurgeon one said, "But mark thee, sinner, it says, "whosoever." What a big word that is! Whosoever! There is no standard height here. It is of any height and any size. Little sinners, big sinners, black sinners, fair sinners, sinners double dyed, old sinners, aggravated sinners, sinners who have committed every crime in the whole catalogue,—whosoever. Doth this exempt one? Who can be excluded from this whosoever? It mattereth not who thou mayest be, nor what thou mayest have been, if thou art willing to be saved; free as the air thou breathest is the love and grace of God. "Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."

I'm not trying to debate. I'm just pointing out that before you decide to warn us about our unbiblical beliefs, you should understand what our beliefs are.

Are you familiar with what Calvinism teached about compatibilism? Or the relationship between God's sovereignty and man's responsibility in salvation?

I don't know what you did during your "careful examination" of Calvinism and the Bible, but it seems you missed this part.

I know most folks just want to go with the majority of people in the mainstream SBC. There's strength and comfort in large numbers, and you don't have to do most of the theological grunt work for yourself. You can just listen and memorize a few soundbites from big-named preachers, then pretend like you understanding something as massive and complex as Calvinism.

But every once in a while, it's nice to find out what people you disagree with really believe and see if there just might be truth in something outside the mainstream.

OH yeah, in my experience, I witnessed countless dead churches, nasty church splits, divisions, decreasing church attendance, strife, anger, hatred, and so-called christians who never witnessed, and were against evangelism and missions. That was all before my 18th birthday, and long before I ever read anything about theology. None of those folks were Calvinists. They all believed in free will. They were just average, mainstream SBC churches. Just my observations and experiences, and I've know a lot of them.

volfan007 said...

while it's true that churches do have strife and split over a number of issues....they are all usually bad and wrong and destructive. five pointism is another one that causes such things. just because other bad things cause strife and division and church splits doesnt make it right for five pointism to be excused. five pointism does cause strife and division, and i know of at least two churches personally that it caused them to split. does that glorify God? does that lift up Jesus? to go into a church that's not a five pointer and try to convert it and cause such division?

also, i did study calvinism extensively...whether you beleive it or not. i love to read spurgeon. like, i know that you dont sincerely believe that God really desires that all men be saved. i know that you dont believe that the death of Jesus was for all people everywhere ....not really. i know that you all believe that there are people out there that really have no hope whatsoever...because Jesus didnt really die for them. and, God does not work in thier hearts to bring them to salvation. john, you need to read peter lumpkins blog at will explain what i am trying to convey to you.

if you want to know what i believe about all this...i believe really close to dr. criswell's view of predestination and the sovereignty of God and man's free will and whosoever will. predestination and election are true...and they are looking at it from God's view, from heaven's perspective. whosoever will and mans choice and responsibility are looking at it from man's perspective...from an earthly view. they both are true. one does not negate the other. there is where i have the most trouble with todays five pointers. they seem to negate the choice of man and the whosoever will and the responsibility of man. now, i already know the five pointer rhetoric about this. i can almost quote what most of you five pointers are gonna say. but, i am not just saying that man could get saved if he would come to God...i am saying that the Lord really does desire for all men to be saved...all men...not just people from all parts of the world...but all..every....all. and, i believe that the bible clearly teaches that the Lord is working to bring all men to repentance, and to bring them all to a knowledge of the truth. i beleive that the Lord sincerely wants to save all and that His death can cover the sins of everyone....not just people from all races and sizes and nationalities...but all...everyone....all.

well, to say that i did not study the five pointism of today is not right. i read book after book about it. i attended the founders conference on year in memphis, tn. i had dr. nettles for several classes. i had two or three friends who tried to convert me. i know all about who you are and what you believe and why. i reject the extreme of it. i believe in election...predestination...the sovereignty of God....but i reject five pointism. and, i reject it due to my study of calvinism and my study of the just doesnt line up.

well, now that that's off my shoulders...i need to cool drink of sweet tea.


Travis Hilton said...
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Travis Hilton said...


I look forward to the debate. I'm glad things were worked out.

You are giving all Vol fans and East Tennesseeans a bad name. I was raised just across the state line and most people don't use "yall" in every sentence (especially when they are communicating through the written word.) Besides, it’s irritating and comes across rather condescending from you.

You seem to be repeating yourself. Why don't you answer straightforward one of the questions that have been asked of you? For instance, name a well-known Calvinist that has written something that doesn't believe in active evangelism. Your in-depth study of Calvinism has surely manifested at least one example.

"in fact, most of the five pointers I know who are pastors...their churches are either going down in attendance..."

Another generalization. Have you ever seen a church go down in attendance for the right reasons? A preacher being faithful to the scriptures could cause some to leave. Church discipline being practiced could be another reason. Other churches are not growing and losing some because it is God who always gives the increase. Your assessment of those pastors you know lacks depth. Someone could probably come along and give a similar assessment of the fruit of your church if it was during a pruning period.

Cliff4JC said...

Folks...please be obiedent to scripture!!!! Proverbs 26:4

Elias said...

Volfan, you keep calling people you don't know "five-pointers." To be fair, can I call you a "five-pointer" as well? The reason I ask is because many Arminians reject point #5 (fallen from grace). So, based on what you've written thus far which demonstrates at least 4 points of Arminianism, I would like to know if you are a "four pointer" or a "five pointer" yourself?

(If you say neither Volfan, just know that you will be asked to explain how, for example, you can believe that Jesus died for the sins of every man, women and child who ever lived, and not be said to agree with the 3rd point of Arminianism.)

There are only 2 views for the believer, Volfan, before going down the dead-end road of Universalism...or denialism.

wayner said...

FYI to anyone interested...Ergun Caner will be on Issues Etc. August 13. The show runs from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. CST. The subject is Islam. Perhaps a creative person here on the blog can create a reformed theology question disguised as a question about Islam?


lynchburgva said...

As an LU student, I can tell you no one has to worry about seeting. I expect there will be thousands of empty seats if this debate is held in the auditorium. Serioulsy, if you want to come, come. The student body is 10,000, and the church seats 6,000. I would be shocked if more than 2,000 students attended. Remember, a large majority are not interested.

Elias said...

Lynchburgva, tell that to James, he's got everyone believing all of Virginia is going to want in!

volfan007 said...

boy, yall sure do get fired up when i write something. wheeeww doggies!

well, i agree with lynchburg...there will probably be a lot of empty seats there. i wont be there. what's the use? we will just hear the same ole same ole.

also, i am not an from it....and i am certainly no five point calvinist. i am a biblicist. i am just an average, everyday, normal christian who believes God's word.

see yall,


Elias said...

Volfan, this isn't rocket science. You believe that man has free will to choose or reject Christ, "the choice of man" as you call it.
Well that's point #1 of Arminianism.

You also have said that the Holy Spirit does not convinct a select few and can be rejected, right? That's point #4.

You believe that Jesus died for everyone.
That is point #3.

And finally, if you ever get cornered to a wall by the youth group of your church to explain to them how predestination works, you will no doubt tell them all about God's foreknowledge.
Point #2

Now, I realize this might be the first time you are learning about the five points of Arminians since most Arminian-deniers have never been taught or shown what the 5 points of Arminianism is. Most not only get surprised to see their view already defined for them but never knew that that was what Arminianism was.

I am still curious, Volfan, are you a four pointer or a five pointer? Remember if you are a four pointer it is because you reject the Arminian doctrine of losing your salvation.

volfan007 said...

i am whatever you want to call me...just be sure to call me for supper. i am just a christian who believes equally in predestination as i do in whosoever will. i believe in election as much as i do in the choice of man.

call me what you will. i just prefer bible beleiving christian.


bristopoly said...

Here's a question for Caner:

Can you explain to me the difference between the Reformed doctrine of predestination (as a Calvinist would hold) and Islamic determinism?

That should show everyone that he either confuses the two, and it may even cause him to think hard about the distinction between nihilistic determinism and Calvinism.

Elias said...

Volfan, I would prefer you call me a Bible believing Christian as well.

Byroniac said...

I echo the words of Elias.

This reminds me of my problem with the word, Biblicist, which speaks of someone's fidelity to the Scriptures. That's great. But when people call themselves biblicists, they are speaking about personal motives much more than scriptural accuracy. Some call themselves Biblicists, and I believe the sincerity in that and admire the motives communicated in the usage of the term. However, many people on both sides of the soteriological divide of Calvinism versus Arminianism can sincerely claim to be Biblicists. That doesn't manifestly make it so, however. It is unhelpful and often used in false dichotomies. Biblicist vs. Five-pointer is an example of unfair characterization (the kind you would expect on a political survey, for example) and assumes what it has yet to prove.

volfan007 said...

biblicists just believe the bible and seek to know it better and live by it. they do not sell out to system of believing. we are not arminians and we are not calvinists....nor are we other ism's and tangents. i know that yall cant understand this due mainly to the type of personalities that you are. i just pray that the Lord will continue to help yall grow in knowledge and understanding...and i pray that He will help me to keep growing as well. i want to be all that the Lord wants me to be. i know that being a five pointer is not one of those things.....neither is being an arminian. thank the Lord.

grace and peace to yall,


bristopoly said...

I agree with you, Volfan. I'm just a Biblicist, not a five-pointer. I believe the Bible, like the Total Inability, Unconditional Election, Irresistible Grace and Perseverence of the Saints taught by John 6. Thanks for the reminder that we all need to set aside anthropocentric traditions (like free will---nowhere mentioned in the Bible) and take the theocentricism of John 6 (the Bible) seriously.

volfan007 said...


you are still wearing your five point sunglasses, my friend.


Garvis Campbell said...


I just saw this post and was delighted to read the joint statement. May God be glorified through it all. And He will be, of course, no matter the powers that rage.

Thinking of Ephesians 6, I reflect upon how the enemy of our souls most assuredly has desired the descent of brotherly interaction into his cruel domain of anti-brotherly thinking, speech, and behavior. But God is merciful; the faithfulness and lovingkindness bound up in the strength of our Mighty Christ will overcome. And in the end, when all is said and done, the church, scarred, worn, and bloody, triumphant will rise.
To this end, we fight on. The calibre of the battle makes the victory's flavor. Once we look back with clearer eyes, this battle for truth will be sweet indeed.



Daniel Cassady said...
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volfan007 said...

i believe in predestination...that God planned to save me before the world began.

i also believe in whosoever will....every one on this planet has a legitimate opportunity to be saved. God sincerely offers salvation to everyone. and, you can either accept or resist the offer.

i beleive in both doctrines equally. they are both in the bible. that's why i obey the Lord and witness...and i witness also because "knowing the terror of the Lord i persuade people to get saved."


ps. that's how a biblicist believes. we believe both...we do not exclude the one over the other. no matter how hard it may be for us to see or understand down here on this earth. of course, the really smart fellers have it all figured out and they can tell you thier little system they have figured out....bless thier little hearts.

Elias said...

Volfan, does predestination mean it was God's "plan" to save everyone?

And if it was, why do you think His "plan" has not worked?

I'm not trying to be smart, I just want to know how you have this worked out in your mind.

bristopoly said...

Volfan, allow me to take your glasses off:

John 6 says:

1. No one can/is able to/has the power to come to Me---Total Inability

2. One can come only if he is given/drawn by the Father first. This is an answer to the Jews in the context as to why they cannot believe. So God chooses to draw some but not others before they believe/come (i.e., not based on their condition of belief)---Unconditional Election

3. All that the Father gives to Me comes to Me and All that the Father gives to me I lose nothing---Irresistible Grace

4. All that the Father gives to Me I lose nothing, but raise him up on the last day---Perseverence of the Saints

Here's the simple question for you, Volfan. I used to be like you and think their was a middle ground. Then as I studied Scripture and realized I was contradicting myself, I realized that either God chose me to choose (Calvinism), or I chose for God to choose me (Arminian theology). So which is it? Who is the first cause of your salvation? And please don't say both God and you are the first cause. You can't have two first causes. Either God is reacting to something you have done or will do, or you are reacting to what God has done. Which is it? Did the mountain move the pebble or the pebble move the mountain?
How you answer this question will determine whether you are Calvinist or Arminian and show you that there is no middle Biblical position. The Bible teaches both the predestination of God and that man chooses God, but it does not teach that they are both the first causes. So please answer, "What caused what?"

JST said...
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JST said...

A true Biblicist will not be afraid to see if their idea of theology stands up to the test of reason. I'm tired of Christians who find it ok to have an unreasonable faith.

Also you wrote that "biblicist" believe the way you do. When did you become the standard for all people that claim to be "biblicist"? That really aggravated me that you made that comment! I find my beliefs extremely connected to the text!

volfan007 said...


it's God's desire....sincere save everyone, yes.

God's plan has worked and is working. to save those who will respond to the light and the calling of God. to condemn those who resist and refuse. Gods plan is working very well.


i am sorry that someone led you into five pointism. i know how it is...i was nearly persuaded to go there myself by some well meaning nettles disciples. thank the Lord He kept me from the extreme.


God chose me. and, i responded to His call. sorry if you cant see that without fatalistic glasses on.

a biblicist just believes the bible. we are not sold out to a system of theology made by some man or men. we just accept it as its written without trying to make everything fit into five points, or eight points, or whatever.

therefore, i can believe in election and whosoever will both equally...where they meet is a mystery to man. i can believe that God is so sovereign that He allows man to make choices and yet still history is unfolding as He directs it. i can believe in predestination...really believe in it....and equally believe in God's sincere desire to save every person on this planet.

living in the grace of God,


ps. i am not the one who determines who is a biblicist and who is you believe the bible and hold to it's clear teachings...without all the philosophy thrown in....then you are a biblicist.

bethel said...

You are apparently stressed out over the Vols (5-6). Calm down! God's hand is over all - apparently it was presdestined for them to have a 5-6 record. There was nothing that Coach Fulmer could do about it. It sounds like you need a little wine to calm down your nerves. Too bad that you could not be at the wedding that Christ attended in John 2. I know - you would not even have participated - afraid that you would drink too much and run your camel into something on the way home from the wedding. Boy, you miss out on a lot of fun - or you miss out on something that can calm your nerves down.

Daniel Cassady said...
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Daniel Cassady said...
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JST said...

"if you believe the bible and hold to it's clear teachings...without all the philosophy thrown in....then you are a biblicist."

DO YOU NOT REALIZE THAT WHAT YOU JUST SAID IS PHILOSOPHY? Volfan, you take a certain philosophy with you every time you open scripture so you are not a true biblicist according to your own definition! The truth is that we all take our own ideas or ,the horrible word to use according to you, system of thinking and view scripture through those lenses. Are you not even willing to concede that you view scripture through a certain lens? We all do. Unfortunately that is part of our depravity!

However, this is not meant as an insult but what you said about philosophy is the typical response I see from Armenians. Typically Armenians have utter disdain for philosophy. What they fail to realize is that the position that they hold is a "philosphy." I'm not playing word games, I'm simply trying to point out the ridiculousness of despising systematic theology.

Also to speak to your assertion that as Calvinists we try to fit everything into 5 or 8 points is completely untrue! I try to see scripture as a coherent whole. God has revealed Himself to us in scripture which means that He desires or wills us to understand the things that He has expressed to us. Why would you take the position that you are too ignorant to understand it? Why insult yourself like that?

jmattingly said...


I understand your comment about the reality of us having a "choice" in regard to salvation.

Biblically, however, we DO have a choice. In fact, we are justified by faith. We are told to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and we shall be saved. The faith that is required for justification very much involves a choice- in fact a whole-hearted choice.

As you indicate, though, outside of the quickening work of the Holy Spirit we are incapable of making this choice. We simply do not want to do that which is good. We do not want to choose Christ and all that He offers.

But, brother, the glorious truth of the matter is that he changes that disposition! By His grace, God gives us new life within whereby we are able to see the horror of our sin and the beauty and glory of Christ. We have then been "made alive" (Eph. 2:5) and now respond to God through faith. And this faith, by attaching us to Christ, results in justification. That choice is essential (though not meritorious) for salvation.

So it IS right to say that we cannot truly credit even the faith that we have to ourselves, because even it is the gift of God (Eph 2:8-9). In this we therefore have no reason to boast. But we likewise cannot downplay the reality of the matter (biblically) that we have a choice.

In fact, it is on that basis that we preach to men to believe on the Lord Jesus and to repent of their sins. They must flee from the wrath to come and embrace the Savior, lest they perish.

May God, through our preaching, continue to grant life and faith to spiritual corpses!

Your brother in Christ,

volfan007 said...

the more you witness and the more you preach the gospel....the more God chooses to save. aint that funny?

by the way, i am no arminians i know would take great exception to that

and, also, i try my best to get all of my philosophies and ideas and preconcieved notions and thoughts out of God's way when i approach the bible. i try my deadlevel best to just believe what God says. that's all.

yall have a great day,


bristopoly said...

I couldn't say it better than Jeremiah. That is the Biblical stance on the subject. I always make the analogy with Neo and the Oracle in the Matrix movie, where she causes him to turn around by saying something that she knows will then cause him to react and turn around (thereby seeing both the first cause [her actions] and the secondary cause [his actions] working together to bring about the predestined result). Have you seen that scene? With God as our first cause, He always accomplishes our reaction to His drawing and regeneration and therefore the result of our reaction (faith in Christ). So it is all from God, but God is not the only one acting. He is the only one acting as the first cause. One of the synergistic spins on election has man as the first cause and God as the secondary one who reacts to our actions ("elected beCAUSE I selected"). My choice is the cause of God electing me in this view. The Bible presents the case as the opposite then, but it never excludes the choice of the secondary cause (otherwise there would be no call of the Gospel necessary). That is why I said God chooses us to choose Christ. And His choice always stands (as per Rom 9). I understand the concern of some that don't see this as a real choice, but it is a REAL choice. Man really isn't a robot, but he does react to primary causes and is bound to only those options when making a REAL decision. So it is not the same kind of freedom that God experiences when He chooses (since He is a primary cause), but man still does make a limited choice. I could write a book on that, but I hope at least that helps a little.

bristopoly said...

Volfan, no one transcends space and time, but God. so you will always be biased with most likely American ideas of the gospel and free-will and church and salvation and fill in the blank, etc.

That's why education, which you seem to think is a joke and not guided by the Spirit or something, is actually so valuable. It challenges you to give a viable defense for your positions or scorns you for living in blindness and contradiction. You seem to think that well it's all been said and done and since many others have argued their points, there is no need to reargue them. BUT you haven't argued yours to us. We live in the here and now and I have yet to see you defend ANY of your positions from the Bible apart from prooftexting AND answer the critiques given to you from those critiquing your views with Scripture itself.

We don't really see you as a Biblicist then, because you have repeatedly failed to engage the Biblical text and fall back upon ad hominem attacks, begging the question, and arguments from experience. That doesn't sound like a Biblicist to me. A Biblicist understands that he is biased and tries therefore to make the Bible the center of the debate (to not only expose the biases of his opponents, but also to expose his own). You answered none of the questions I have ever put to you, but instead simply restate your argument as though it was never challenged. I pray you are not a scientist. I wouldn't want to put my life in the hands of one of your theories when all you use is hypothesis without analysis and experimentation. Every hypothesis must be tested and that is what is lacking in your interpretations of the Bible.

volfan007 said...


i dont loathe i have a college degree and a seminary degree. also, i dont base my theology on movies.


bristopoly said...

Volfan, you crack me up. Really, I mean it (and not in a condescending way). You remind me of one of my brothers, who when he is shown to have little to back up his statements, jokes around and tries to be as difficult as possible when arguments are presented to him. We all have a good laugh with him because he knows he's being ridiculously impossible when he reverts to collapsing all logic in on itself and makes it impossible to prove to him that he even exists. I hope that is all you are doing, or you need to go back to school and take a cognitive thinking course that will teach you what arguments you can and cannot make to support an idea.
I am afraid however that this issue is of greater importance than you realize, and you seem to take it too lightly (as do most who don't understand it well).

BTW, thanks for correcting me about getting my theology from movies. I guess I should just stick with getting it from the Bible. Like in John 6. Do you get your theology from the Bible? Can you give me one citation where man is said to have free will? Or did you get that from the recent King Arthur movie? Maybe you're older, so you got it from the old Clint Eastwood movie, "Anywhich Way You Can?" :)

volfan007 said...


God is my judge.


volfan007 said...

btw, i always try to base my life and beliefs on the bible, and only on the bible. Jesus is my Lord and Savior. i follow Him.

also, i believe every word in John 6. i may not put the fatalistic spin on it that some do...but, i believe every word of it...just i believe romans 10:9-10 and 1 timothy 2:1-4 and ezekiel 33:11. also, i do believe that paul felt that people..all people...really could be saved when he said that knowing the terror of the Lord he persuaded men.............he didnt just witness out of sounds to me like he believed that they all could really be saved! so, he persuaded men.

well, i have work to do,


bristopoly said...

Since a huge difference between fatalistic determinism and Calvinism is that the former does not believe in the necessity of MEANS and the latter does, every Calvinist believes Rom 10:9-10 without flinching. It has nothing to do with the Calvinist argument (the fact that you quote this against Calvinism shows me that your study of Calvinism, or rather your willingness to grasp it, has been shallow at best).

1 Tim 2:1-4 is talking about all classes of men as is consistent with the word pas (it rarely means all inclusive of every individual). The context, which you say you pay attention to, is the petition to pray for kings and those in power (as opposed to the belief that God will not save pagan rulers).

Ezek 33:11 simply states that God does not have pleasure/delight "chepots" the death of the wicked man (an Israelite who persists in sin in the context).
So 1. The context is of one of His people being punished/disciplined
2. Even if one were to apply this more generically, God having no delight/pleasure in someone's death does not mean that God does not will/desire that His justice has satisfaction in the punishment/death of the wicked. So this passage merely would say that God is not narcisistic, but says nothing about whether God chooses to give an added (effectual) grace to some and leaves others to repent on their own (and thus they don't). So this passage has little to nothing to do with the issue. The issue is whether He WILLS that His justice be satisfied for some via Christ or satisfied by some via their own punishment.

2 Cor 5:11 is talking about Paul fearing the Lord so as to obey Him (since we will all give an account to the Lord and seek to be pleasing to Him). The irony of your quoting this is evident in that Paul's argument for persuading men is that he must obey and give an account. I.e., Reason for Evangelism = Obedience.

So I have given you interpretations that are in harmony with John 6 and other passages. Now you can give me your explanation of John 6 that is consistent with your views. Please tell me from John 6:

1. If a person can come to Christ without God drawing him first?

2. If God draws everyone?

3. If God draws/gives everyone, then why does the text say that everyone who is given comes and is raised up on the last day?

Thanks for your thoughtful reply in advance.

SFB said...

Dr. Ascol, just do yourself a favor... don't let Harold Camping be the timekeeper for the debate. He'll keep insisting that your time ended already (lol).

VolFan, I have to disagree with you on two points:

1) I prefer the Lady Vols. Great hoops season after season.

2) The idea that a sinful, depraved wretch could be persuaded to choose Christ of their own free will is a disgusting and abhorrent false doctrine. You mean to say that there is something in a man that makes him able to decided to be holy without FIRST being regenerated by the Holy Spirit? Then Christ died a horrible death under the premeditated wrath of the Lord God for NOTHING.

Bookborn said...
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Bookborn said...

Hey, why did God delete my previous post? Please don't apologize for your metaphor in your E-xchange with the Caners. This was pre-decreed in Eternity. All things that come to pass are/were decreed of and by God in eternity past (Westminister/Philadelphian Confessions). God is actually typing this right now in eternity. "Look, Ma! No Free will!" Hmmm... Now, why did God choose to type that? The same reason he chose to type the email exchanges between Caners and yourself. The mystery of His good counsel/will I reckon. This debate is between God and Himself.
You mean to imply that you actually typed something that was contrary to the Sovereign's will? You acted independent of the will of the Sovereign Lord? You ol' Arminian, you!!
Hey, why did God just call you an Arminian? Yet another mystery. (I apologize on God's behalf for any typos from eternity in the message). What did I just type? (Don't know what just came over me. God overthrew my nonexistent will and will hold me accountable for His actions...)
Very sincerely excited about the debate. Wonder who God pre-decreed will win?
Under His easy yoke,