Wednesday, September 27, 2006

"Calvinism as I see it" and the problems that it causes

I cannot help but wonder where Lonnie Wilkey has been the last several years. What has he been reading? To whom has he been listening? Where does he get the information on which he bases his opinions? The reason I wonder is due to the fact that Mr. Wilkey is the editor of the Tennessee Baptist Convention's state paper, the Baptist and Reflector. He resides in a high place of influence among Tennessee Baptists. His opinions are widely published and probably carry a lot of weight with many of his readers. So the source of his opinions and how he formulates them are important.

His latest published editorial will leave many Southern Baptists seriously concerned about his ability to understand important theological discussions that are taking place among us. It is another hit job on Calvinism. What makes it stand out so much is that it seems about 5-7 years out of date. Even the title betrays the depth of editorial misunderstanding behind the article: "Calvinists have no sense of urgency--Jesus did."

As I said, at best, Mr. Wilkey's article is way past its "best if used by" date. Such scurrilous misrepresentations were common-place twenty years ago. Then, a man of reputed authority could stand up and declare that "Southern Baptists have never been Calvinists," or "Calvinism kills evangelism" or "No great evangelist has ever been a Calvinist," or "Spurgeon was not a Calvinist" or any number of other demonstrably inaccurate statements, and basically go unchallenged. Today, that is virtually impossible. With the ready availability of information through the internet, any inquisitive high school student with a modem can debunk such claims in a matter of minutes. That is why such broad accusations have lessened over the years--at least within academia and publishing houses (granted, some pastors and others are still a little slow on the uptake, but they also are learning to be more careful in their comments if they do not want to lose all credibility with the wifi generation).

It has been a few years since I have read these kind of broad-brush untruths about the doctrines of grace in a reputable Southern Baptist publication. Mr. Wilkey is way out of step. The article does not need a serious rebuttal, largely because the silly claims that it makes have been so frequently and thoroughly refuted in various places that anyone who can find google and spell "Calvinism" and "evangelism" will instantly have more than enough information to expose the superficiality of what Wilkey has written.

In his defense, Mr. Wilkey does offer this timid caveat: "Now, keep in mind I am writing from a layman's perspective with no seminary training." He is writing from one layman's very skewed perspective. You do not need a seminary degree to avoid the kinds of mischaracterizations that Wilkey has perpetrated. You do need a willingness to look beyond your own feelings and do at least an hour's worth of research.

Again, I am not going to review the article. Others can, and I am confident will do that. But I will resist the temptation even to address some of the more egregious statements he makes. Instead, I will highlight only one of his remarks, one which may well reveal the source of all his deep misunderstanding.

He writes, "The danger with Calvinism as I see it is that it could cause Southern Baptists in the pew to think they do not need to witness, give through the Cooperative Program to missions, or pray for lost souls. That would be a tragedy." Mr. Wilkey's problem is that he is reacting to "Calvinism as I see it" rather than the real thing. He does not understand historic Calvinism, historic Southern Baptist theology--which was thoroughly Calvinistic--or the relationship of the doctrines of grace to evangelism. The Calvinism that he sees is not true Calvinism. It is a straw man. Straw men are easy to construct, easy to destroy and other than leaving the one responsible for them feeling good about his work, they serve no useful purpose.

I am sorry to see this editorial get distributed. Not because it will hinder the cause of God or His truth. But because it will discredit Mr. Wilkey and probably confuse some of his readers who do not have access to all the information that is available on the subject. I regret both of these consequences.

I wish Mr. Wilkey no ill. I do not know him. If I did, I assume I would like him. Neither do I take any delight in exposing his serious errors. But he is in a position of sacred trust as an editor of a state Baptist paper. He should know better. He has published his errors publicly. It is appropriate that they should be held up to the light of public scrutiny.

145 comments:

The Gaffer said...

Dear Tom, many laymen in my church have a problem with the word "Calvinism". They have read so many articles of the type published in the Tennessee Baptist paper that they actually believe this caricature of Calvinism is accurate. As one deacon told me not long ago (when I mentioned my Reformed theology), "reformed theology is fine...but we can't have that Calvinism here."

Aaron L. Turner said...

Thank you for this gracious, yet pointed exposing of this man's error.

A man in his position should know better. I get very weary of hearing these same things by people who should know better.

May the Lord give us the patience to continue to write and speak corrections to these kinds of untruths.

Matthew said...

[sigh] Yeah, I typically refrain from using direct terminology (such as "Calvinism" or "Predestination") because the well has been so readily poisoned by ill-informed and divisive sentiments like this.

I heartily concur with your posting Mr. Ascol, and the above comment by Mr. Turner...


May we seek to strengthen and uplift one another - even in these sorts of theological disagreements, which can so quickly inflame prideful emotions.

Michael Spencer said...

Tom....

This is only the beginning. Calvinism- the amorphous unreal kind- is going to be blamed for everything wrong in the SBC. Correctives and responses are fine, but this is just the beginning of what will be a full blown attempt to let the vast numbers in the middle know that Calvinism is the reason for every decline in SBC life. Sad, and untrue, but it will be the theme of many more editorials.

Tom said...

I am not a big fan of using the word "Calvinism" either because it has been so confused by so many in our day. Whether we like it or not, that is the tag that is being thrown around by those who misrepresent our views.

Michael:

You may well be right. My hope is that as more and more people realize that they can check out what they are hearing about this boogey man of Calvinism, that they will be made aware that the caricatures are just that. Whether that happens or not, God's truth will triumph still.

Jim Shaver said...

I would comment but I just don't have any urgency to do so.

GeneMBridges said...

[sigh] Yeah, I typically refrain from using direct terminology (such as "Calvinism" or "Predestination") because the well has been so readily poisoned by ill-informed and divisive sentiments like this.

...

I am not a big fan of using the word "Calvinism" either because it has been so confused by so many in our day. Whether we like it or not, that is the tag that is being thrown around by those who misrepresent our views.

And the sad thing is, my friends, that Calvinism's detractors will on the one hand berate you for using these words and on the other deride you for not using these words so they know where you stand. Either you're a fanatic or dishonest. Take your pic.

I'll give my brethren at SBF time to respond to this. We're having a chat about 1 Cor. 11 on my other blog @ present.

Sigh. Perhaps somebody should send him the link to Monergism.com and ask him to read carefully. If so, make yourself available to this brother to answer his questions.

Jeff Fuller said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jeff Fuller said...

I appreciate you bringing this to our attention as it reaffirms the reason for our blog, The Reformed Evangelist, and the many others similar to it. The fact of the matter is that Calvinists make good evangelists and since we've started blogging we've found a lot more living proof other than ourselves.

Jeff Fuller
The Reformed Evangelist Blog
www.reformedevangelist.com

stephen lee cavness said...

perhaps someone should get wilkey's address and mail him copies of "let the nations be glad" by piper and will metzger's "tell the truth", two staples of evangelism literature written by, of all people, calvinists. that stress the urgency and high priority, and *obligation* of all christians to evangelize

tom,
i think the wrong thing to do is to ignore it. i think a letter to the editor would be more appropriate. i think you misjudge the avg. reader of the b&r. what they read in that paper will become the final word on the matter.
i will start working on a letter to the editor, as well as trying to find out how to contact mr. wilkey directly to point out the gross mischaracterization that was published.
of course, this should be done with humility and in order to lovingly instruct, not to belittle those who are uninformed. but i think the approach of "ignore it and the true side will emerge" will never work, because we are always being silent.
in the spirit of love, we should correct wrong teaching, whether it is done out of malice or ignorance.

-stephen

Stephen Newell said...

As a Tennessee Baptist and 4-pointer, this article is embarrassing to me from my own state paper. We should insist on editors being better than this.

David B. Hewitt said...

Dr. Tom:

Once again, your candor and gentle spirit comes through as you seek to correct those in error.

Thank you again for demonstrating a Christ-like attitude.

SDG,
DBH

DoGLover said...

Tom, In the Sept. issue of SBC Life, Frank Page pointed out that: "Most of our churches are plateaued or declining." Couple that with the results of LifeWay's recent survey on reformed Southern Baptists and one must conclude that no one can blame the waning evangelistic spirit that is prevalent in our convention today on the doctrines of grace or those who uphold them.

Perhaps, in time, as more serious thinkers investigate the claims of Scripture, the knee-jerk reactions of the ill-informed will diminish. We can hope so, right?

Joseph Botwinick said...

"The danger with Calvinism as I see it is that it could cause Southern Baptists in the pew to... give through the Cooperative Program to missions,"


Forget everything else in the article. This is really the bottom line for the elitist leaders in our convention...$$$$$$$$$

Is it any surprise when they embrace the televangelist world with folks like Pat Robert$on. That alone is enough to cause me not to support heresy through the Cooperative Program. The more contact I have had with the good ole boy system in the State and National Conventions, the more convinced I become that the Missionary Baptists have it right with the way they fund missions.

scripturesearcher said...

I have been ministering for Jesus Christ as a Southern Baptist for more than half a century, and can
not name one editor of any of our state Baptist newspapers who was the least bit sympathetic toward
those of us who believe and preach
the scriptural doctrine of salvation (commonly called Calvinism and often confused with its unbiblical perversion commonly called hypercalvinism.

All have manifested ignorance and most have been deeply hostile to the truth that salvation is of the Lord, from start to finish.

HOW SAD! These were the last words I spoke to my editor friend
E.S. James of the Baptist Standard of Texas - and I have repeated these same two words to many since
that day long, long ago.

HOW SAD!

GUNNY said...

Sure, we'd all prefer other terms to being labeled as "Calvinists," but it just shifts the label.

That church is Reformed.

What does that mean?

They're Calvinists.

Oh ... evildoers!


What I tend to find enjoyable is when the non/anti-Calvinist says something to distinguish various stripes of Calvinism with comments like "He's my kind of Calvinism" or "That Calvinism is too extreme."

What a concession ... willing to have a pet Calvinist friend, who is probably just an Arminian who claims to be one yet denies particular redemption (openly) and the rest unknowingly.

Bill Formella said...

Consider this more positive future possibility:

1. Lifeway surveys our missionaries and finds a higher concentration of them holding to the doctrines of grace (than of pastors), especially among younger missionaries.

2. Our Reformed SBC churches finish weeding out all the dead names from our roles and begin growing again, this time with accurate numbers.

3. More Reformed SBC churches begin missions training schools similar to our Baptist (but not SBC) brothers at Bethlehem in Minneapolis.

I spoke with the missions pastor there, Erik Hyatt, and he told me they have had over 100 people enrolled in the school per year and have been placing 5 family units per year into full time missions among UNCHURCHED people groups. That number continues to grow. All that from a church of 3,000 people. My old SBC church of 3,000 people couldn't find 30 people to run an Upward Basketball program.

4. The lies become exposed as the Reformed churches stay strong among greater cultural hostility while the arminian churches shrink and fade into European style liberalism while trying to stay culturally "relevant".

5. The true believers among these churches wake up and realize the reason behind all their frustration with the politics, showmanship and manipulation, and come out from among them before their demise.

I hope I have that dream tonight. Good night!

GeneMBridges said...

Tom, In the Sept. issue of SBC Life, Frank Page pointed out that: "Most of our churches are plateaued or declining." Couple that with the results of LifeWay's recent survey on reformed Southern Baptists and one must conclude that no one can blame the waning evangelistic spirit that is prevalent in our convention today on the doctrines of grace or those who uphold them.

and

Our Reformed SBC churches finish weeding out all the dead names from our roles and begin growing again, this time with accurate numbers.

The scary thing is that, given the way statistics have been cited in the past in this area, that they will find a way to blame shrinking church rolls on Calvinists, saying they are running people out of the church or killing churches, etc. Take for example, one church that I know of that is about to turn in an ACP that reports a loss of 1000 members, simply because they purged the roll. As this happens, the Convention's numbers go down. The more churches that get on board, the more this happens. Strikingly, my experience is that this happens in churches where Calvinists and Amyraldians are pastoring. It makes it look like the churches where Calvinists are located are "shrinking," but the irony is that they aren't shrinking because of "Calvinism," but because they have chosen to get on board with honest statistical reporting and church discipline. Mark my words, if the ACP numbers in "Calvinist pastored churches" decrease enough, somebody, somewhere will bring this issue up.

peter lumpkins said...

Dr. Ascol,

Thank you for bringing this to my attention. Also, I especially liked your "Again, I am not going to review this article" line and then state the article as "a hit job", "editoral misunderstanding", "scurrilous misrepresentations","broad-brush untruths", "silly claims", "superficiality","very skewed perspective","mischaracterizations", "egregious statements", "deep misunderstanding.","straw man" and "serious errors".

I really wish you had reviewed it so we could know your real opinion of it :)

BTW, at least Wilkey linked to a succinct, yet worthy explanation of TULIP, do you not agree?

Have a grace filled day. With that, I am...

Peter

Scott said...

Gene,

Yes, Calvinists can't be blamed for a declining denomination. As I have said before who makes up the majority of the pulpits in the SBC( Answer= NonCalvinists). Also, who was in the pulpits when the Liberals came a " Blasting through" or the rise of the Charismatic movement through Southern Baptist life( Answer= NonCalvinists).Also, who has been in our pulpits in the SBC the last 95 yrs which have shown how " Weak" our Senior Adult members are across our churches which if you will follow closely you will find majority of the problems with this age group that has run off many Pastors from churches that are smaller to medium size. It's amazing how many Pastors have told me about how many problems they have had with this age group when they Pastored. They generally don't understand many things dealing with the church. Why is this so? They have had many years on this earth but what are they being taught and why do they strive for power in our churches? Again, what Pastors were in the pulpits the last 95yrs? Why are are graduating High School seniors not returning to our churches( What theology mainly stands in our pulpits today) ?

Scott said...

Peter,

I followed several of your posts on this blog and other places where " Let's say one who does not represent Spurgeon or Baptist Confessions" correctly.
I want to ask you if you would let me buy you a book and pay for the postage? The title of the book is Minutes of the Philadelphia Baptist Association by A. D. Gillette.
You will notice some very interesting things about " Early" Baptist life with the following:

1. What was the confessional beliefs of our early Baptist .

2. What did the ministers preach on and send as a circular letter to the churches of the association.

3. What theology books did the Laymen reccomend that all their Pastors should have in their library. ( Hint= Dr. John Gill).Page 228, 282,and 439

4. You will notice how this Association affected the Charleston Association.

5. You will notice their compassion that churches not move away from the Confession and the harm it would cause if they did.

Let me know if you will let me buy you a copy. If not then I will be happy to buy two more copies of this book and mail them to anybody if they will read it and share with our brothers and sisters of the SBC. The first two people to email me at scottmorgan33@yahoo.com will get their copies for free and the postage.

DoGLover said...

Gene, the truth is that the more I preach the truth of God's sovereign authority, majesty, holiness, righteousness, and grace, and our call to humble obedience, reverence, and accountability to God's Word, the more people just sort of stay away.

Yes, we've experienced negative numerical growth this year, so someone may criticize me for producing such results; but I foresee positive spiritual growth coming which results in the addition of those who are being saved. The people who are coming in have said they've never heard anyone present the Word of God the way I do.

I'm pleased that some people want to hear the uncompromised gospel; but I grieve for my brothers in the pulpit.

Christopher Redman said...

James Smith of the Florida Baptist Witness is a graduate of Southern Seminary and a (former?) member of Riverbend Community Church which is among the largest 5 point calvinist churches in the SBC.

He has written friendly editorials such as "Salvation is of the Lord" and others. However, he walks lightly and I know that he has disappointed some of us in other areas.

Chris

Scott said...

We have two winners for the free books entitled Minutes of the Philadelphia Baptist association by A. D. Gillette. These men were the first two respond to my offer:

1. Pastor Gary Fore

2. Pastor Chris Redman

Your books are on their way !


However, I'm willing to give a copy to Dr. Emir Caner, Dr. Ergun Caner as well only if they promise to read some of the material. If one of the brothers will email me and say that they would like a "Hardback copy" I will mail it to them and postage for free. My email is scottmorgan33@yahoo.com .

Scott said...

Attention Liberty, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary,Southern and Southeastern Students and Professors:

The first two from each school to email me at scottmorgan33@yahoo.com will get a free hardback copy of the Minutes Of The Philadelphia Baptist Assciation by A. D. Gillette. This book will prove to any " Honest" one seeking the truth about the theology of early Baptist. This book is not the opinion of men but the actual facts about Baptists. Don't be lied to anymore about our past! I will pay the postage but again the first two from each school that emails me at scottmorgan33@yahoo.com will get a copy right away. I will post the winners on this blog but you have to email me at my address.

Also,since my Auburn Tigers will be playing Steve Spurrier and the South Carolina Gamecocks on ESPN tonight at 7:30pmET I'm in a nice mood to our South Carolina friends. My offer to all South Carolina folks is that since you will be suffering from a loss to Auburn I will give one free hard back copy as well to a South Carolina fan or resident. This offer is not valid to any Clemson fans since the SEC does not recognize ACC football( Sorry).

Tom said...

Scott:

I love the way you are giving away copies of the Philadelphia Association Minutes! Your ads almost remind me of "Crazy Ray's Furniture Barn" commercials where once-in-a-lifetime offers are made each week, at prices so low, he's practically giving them away (which is why they call him crazy, ya know!).

In all seriousness, these are incredibly generous offers and I am hopeful that you will get enough takers to keep you running back and forth to the post office for weeks!

Placing good books in the hands of those who commit to read them is a great way to strengthen the work of reformation.

Scott said...

Tom,

Thank you for your kind words! I will keep everyone posted on who are the winners from the following schools: Southwestern,Southern,and Southeastern . Personally I'm worried that Dr. Nettles students may be jumping on my offer since he puts great books in their hands.Hope he is not offend that I was not offering By His Grace and For His Glory.I gave one away last night to one of our new church members. His name is Chad Denson and we meet once a week to discuss Dr. Gill's Body of Divinity, Wayne G Systematic, and one Spurgeon sermon a week that we pick that deals with the present topic. We are studying Church Government. Chad is a 22 yr old student at Emory University in Atlanta and his claim to fame is that not only is he the only conservative on campus( As far as we know) but the only Calvinistic baptist as well.
Crazy Scott just is so tired of " Some" men in how they are misleading our SBC in our historic theology. We have written documents that prove we are strongly" Calvinistic" from our foundation so crazy Scott will do the " Whosoever Deals" on a regular basis now so are SBC people will see the truth behind the " Lies"! War Eagle!
ANY ADVICE ON WHAT I SHOULD OFFER NEXT WEEK AS FAR AS BOOKS TO THE PEOPLE OF THE SBC?

Scott said...

Tom,

I have a man( Who's name I will not share) has told me yesterday that I can continue giving away books that only prove that the current SBC leadership has been misleading the people of the SBC on historical theology of the Baptists. He has told me to go to great lengths do get these books out to Liberty, Southwestern, Southeastern, and Southern students and professors. I have bought some personally however, this man can keep them coming for sometime( As God has ordined). The books have to be used to show how the current SBC leadership has mislead the people of the SBC at Conventions, Bailey Smith Conferences and etc... about our Historical theology. I will probably give away next week : Dr. John Gill's Body of Divinity, Baptist Confessions of Faith by Lumpkin,and The Reign Of Grace by Abraham Booth.This is just a start. So, this gentleman will only buy books that prove that " Some" current SBC leaders have been misleading the people of the SBC on Historical theology and I will buy the others. I will throw in some deals for Texas AM fans such as yourself and others!

Bill Formella said...

Scotty M! What about Southern Baptists and The Doctrine of Election by Selph? That one is probably going to be about as inexpensive as they get. Lot's of good quotes.

By the way, who was it that knocked Auburn football out of the top 5 last year? That's right! It was the Wisconsin Badgers. Go Cheeseheads. Bet you southerners don't even know what a badger is. :)

johnMark said...

So I wonder what would happen if some men who were calvinists and baptists decided to form a convention. What would they call it? And how would the theology of these founders be taken hundreds of years after their death? Would these men and their positions be honored, upheld and never misrepresented? I think even the recent Joshua Convergence stated something about honoring those who've fought for the baptist faith.

Oh nevermind, those are just crazy thoughts that would never happen. =)

Scott, I think we should get together and take Peter to lunch. Maybe we could even get Marty Duren to come along. Although I am just a simple layman maybe we could have the Atlanta Judas Convergence. Okay, so maybe the name needs some work.

With that I am...about to listen to the Dividing Line.
Mark

Greg B said...

Hey Bill:
A badger? Isn't that what you call your wife's commments when she really wants you to clean the garage and won't be quiet about it? My wife has said atleast 5 badgers to me this week about the garbage! LOL

On the otherside, a cute cuddly looking animal that will rip your guts out in .5 seconds if you get to close to it.
Greg as South Carolinian exiled in Richmond VA

stephen lee cavness said...

The article does not need a serious rebuttal, largely because the silly claims that it makes have been so frequently and thoroughly refuted in various places that anyone who can find google and spell "Calvinism" and "evangelism" will instantly have more than enough information to expose the superficiality of what Wilkey has written.


mr. ascol,

being a fourth generation sbc minister in tennessee, i would have to say that the vast majority of people i know and have known in sbc churches where i have attended, been a member,and been on staff, simply read what is in the B&R and take it at face value.
i honestly do not think that most readers would go to the trouble to look up any information at all. if the editor of the B&R says it, then it must be true.
i have been very troubled about this editorial since i first read it earlier in the week. i have gone back and forth over what i, as an individual, can do to help educate those around me.
i have very close friends, and many family members, who are antagonistic to calvinism because their only knowledge of it comes from the vitriol from the pulpit and the pejorative comments and remarks in publications like B&R.
i am concerned that if we all sit back and assume that people will find the truth by their own research, that we will find ourselves in an even deeper whole that we ourselves have helped make deeper by not speaking up and educating.
i in no way endorse the militant, love-less approach that lacks humility and reeks of pride that so many have tried in trying to "convert" people to calvinism. but we do need to act, and act with confidence in the truth of god's word, and the record of true historical data. i am optimistic enough to believe that, given time, people will evaluate and weigh the facts if they have them. but i do not think it is wise or helpful to hope that they go and get those things on their own.

i would be interested in your thoughts, dr. ascol. perhaps i have assumed too much regarding your comments. if that is the case, my apologies.

thank you for your time and commitment at your church, and with this ministry.

-stephen lee cavness

Bob Cleveland said...

Your posting on this was both needed and well-handled.

I'm a 5-pointer myself, just to describe it as quickly as I can, and I have never, ever known what the article says to have been the case. In fact, the overwhelming majority of folks who have ever asked me "If you died tonight....", were Presbyterians.

Two thoughts: Calvinists witness (to use an overgeneralization) because God says to and if we don't we sin. Baptists witness because we should be burdened for souls, if we don't tell them, they'll die lost, etc.

So .. how's that working?

Matt Snowden said...

I just read a book about Jesse Mercer. I graduated from William Carey University. I am not a Calvinist myself but don't see why so many people are upset. We need to talk without all the straw men and red herrings.

Bookborn said...

I realize Scott's FREE BOOK OFFER was limited, and not universal. It was not intended for all, but you wanted the offer to be for all. Only a few recipients will be the chosen, select, elect, elite [preordained before the foundation of the world] to receive the [predecreed] papyrus of which you speak. But here's THE GOOD NEWS for all to hear: ONLY SOME WILL GET THE BOOK by Scott's Sovereign choice. Most of you won't get the book. Just think: there was a limited amount of ink. Not one drop of ink was in vain. But you won't care you didn't get the book since you never wanted it anyway. Some of you thought you had the book, but you really didn't. This was all part of Scott's plan. Wow, Scott, you're awesome! How unsearchable and unfathomable is your manifold wisdom! I don't know why you mailed me the book. You just did. I didn't even ask for it. I didn't even want the book 'til you wanted me to have it. I was just minding my own business and one day I just had the book. Praise Scott. I'm sad that everybody didn't get the book, but Scott isn't. Don't boycott Scott - he's blameless. You all hated Scott and deserved not to get it. I get the book and you don't. See how humble I am?

Bill Formella said...

Bookborn, I understand where you are at right now. I don't feel the slightest bit angry with you but are saddened for you instead. I was like you for a long time. I thought the doctrines of grace made God look heartless. But, after a 20 year battle with what I could never explain away in scripture and couldn't simply ignore, God gave me peace.

I believe with all my heart that, if it was the best thing God could do, He would save all men. I also don't believe anyone would be saved if God didn't cut out our heart of stone and give us a new one. Yes, without our permission, but I'm thankful He did. Otherwise nobody would come.

I don't know why it's isn't best that He give all men a new heart. I just trust He's doing what is best for all eternity.

Look deeper my friend. You think you're attacking a fictitious God, but you're not. You've got your middle finger stuck straight up in the face of the Holy One. I pray you'll bow and repent.

Bookborn said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Suinimra said...

If you guys don't mind me joining in, it seems like Cavinists always say that non-Calvinist do not understand Calvinism. Usually this is used as a technique to win a debate on the topic.
Is it possible for a non-Calvinist to understand Calvinism?

Suinimra said...

Anyone?

Bookborn said...

Bill, Glad you’re not angry, as charity is not easily provoked (I Cor. 13:5; Psalms 119:165). To borrow a phrase from the Lord, “Weep not for me, but for yourselves, and for your children.” Why speak with such high and lofty euphemisms as ‘the doctrines of grace’? You mean Augustinian Calvinism? You mean to say you believe every word that proceedeth from Calvin’s two lips (TULIP’s)? You mean baby-baptizing, baby-in-outskirts-of-hell-burning, God’s-through-with-the-Jew, sizzlin’-Servetus, infants-can-be-born-again (RC Sproul, Reformation Study Bible, page 1664), God-takes-pleasure-in-the-death-of-the-wicked (Ezek.18:32), Calvinism-IS-the-Gospel (Spurgeon, Apologetics Group, etc.), God-is-in-control-of-my-sin, God-hates-most-people, Satan-is-God’s-puppet, all-sins-are-predecreed-in-eternity REFORMED faith? (Would DEformed be a better term?) There are Reformed alcoholics - and then there are Reformed Catholics. Is that what you are? How do you REFORM a CULT? You don’t. You ‘come out of her my people.’Any endeavor to reform a cult is a fundamentally flawed undertaking. You can’t mend a sinking ship with a gaping hole in the hull; you must abandon ship. Imagine REFORMING the Catholic Church! (Hence the Roman Catholic leftovers in Reformed circles…) After twenty years of hammering this ‘gospel’ out, you finally understand it? I’ve been studying it for almost 20 years now, but if I’ll ‘look deeper,’ the Gospel of Calvinism will be made manifest? This must be the faith of a little child to which Jesus referred, eh? You see, God must have preordained before the foundation of the world that I would NOT believe Calvinism. Why would you pray that I repent? Are you acting independent of the Sovereign’s will? Are you more merciful than God? Peradventure God predecreed that I NOT believe Calvinism and that He would not grant unto me the aforesaid repentance so He can hold this against me on Judgment Day (to the praise of His glorious justice)? Interesting choice of words re: the middle finger in the face of the Holy One. Profound & potent poetic prose. You have a real gift in waxing eloquent. You should seek literary pursuits. Perhaps you could pen some musical lyrics for… say… a Christian heavy metal band or something... But if indeed I did have a middle finger in the Holy One’s face, it would be the result of His eternal decree (ALL things that come to pass are decreed in eternity past, right? Go to the confessional & confess your confusion with the Confession). “God has also predestined the fall into sin… And it ought not to seem absurd for me to say that God not only foresaw the fall of the first man, and in him the ruin of his descendents, but also meted it out in accordance with his own decision… God willed, not only permitted, Adam’s fall and the rejection of the reprobate, but with justice.” And “God so uses the works of the ungodly, and so BENDS THEIR MINDS TO CARRY OUT HIS JUDGMENTS” And “Men can accomplish nothing except by God’s secret command.” (Institutes Chapter 18 and 23). I found these in my one of 3 different translations of Calvin’s Institutes. Besides being a great cure for insomnia, they reveal that Calvin was actually simply a HyperCalvinist. Don’t ride the fence, Bill. Love Calvin with all your heart, soul, and body. I typed this by God’s secret command. “Look, Ma! No free will.” Rapists, sodomites, pedophiles are all following God’s secret command. Forget Hypercalvinism, HyperTextMarkupLanguage is all God’s secret command. Every porn site (over 60% of cyberspace) is God’s secret command. Wonder how God will secretly command you to respond? (Nutshell definition of Calvinism (a.k.a. ‘doctrines of grace’): EVERYTHING IS GOD’S WILL.
A slave to God’s secret command,
Bookborn.

jdlongmire said...

What a vitriolic strawman of a post!

Deuteronomy 29:29

29The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

Psalm 25

12Who is the man who fears the LORD?
He will instruct him in the way he should choose.
13His soul will abide in prosperity,
And his descendants will inherit the land.
14The secret of the LORD is for those who fear Him,
And He will make them know His covenant.

Romans 8:28

28And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

-JD

C. T. Lillies said...

I posted a layman to layman response to this article on my blog (such as it is.) Personally, I have discovered that if anyone takes the time to take the meat of some of these things up rather than just nursing at the pulpit the light comes on.

Much Grace
Josh

John Wootten said...

Mr. Arminius spelled backwards....


Yes, non-Calvinists can understand Calvinism. However, as you can see from the anonymous "bookborn" post, there is often much ignorance and emotionalism to overcome.

I know several folks who disagee with Calvinism, and we have very good discussion because they base their disagreements from the writings of the Reformers and from Scripture.

Whenever I meet someone who wishes to discuss (not debate) Calvinism, I try to frame it around either a discussion of a passage of scripture that deals with depravity, election, predestination, or something like that. Or I might copy a paragraph from Spurgeon, Boettner, or Luther on an interpretation of a particular verse, and proceed from there.

If the confrontation comes from someone who is hostile (I've experienced much worse than bookborn) then I usually ask which of the Reformers they have read. Often times, it is none of them. Then I simply point out the need to properly understand what Calvinism actually teaches by examining the primary sources.

I have had several people return after reading a book or article I recommend. To this day, I have never "converted" someone to Calvinism, but I have been edified many, many times by brothers in Christ who no longer view my soteriological beliefs with hostility.


-John

Chip said...

scripturesearcher -- I was the editor of the Indiana Baptist for 5-plus years and I subscribe whole-heartedly to the Doctrines of Grace. Of course, I resigned from that position in mid-2003 and, like you, can't name a single current editor who is sympathetic toward Calvinists. But once upon a time, for a while, there was one.

Jackson Magazine said...

Here is a copy of the letter I sent to Lonnie. I am a Tennessee Baptist and was disappointed by his editorial.

Lonnie Wilkey,
I have read your editorial concerning Calvinists, their lack of missions involvement and their possible impact upon the Southern Baptist Convention. I do believe the summary (given in the front page story) of the five points of Calvinism, also known as the Doctrines of Grace, was fair to the historical perspective. I would agree with the 5 points; however, I am not a follower of a man’s theology but of the Word of God. I confess my ignorance to the Scriptures and the entirety of God’s plan. For that reason, I stop short of declaring those who do not share my belief in particular redemption and irresistible grace as wrong. I believe good men abound on both sides of the issue. Yet, I would say that an individual is wrong if they believe man is not totally depraved. The Scriptures declare, “All men have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” I would strongly disagree with those who believe in conditional election. The Scriptures are clear as to God electing, in fact there is a group called the Jews who were elected by God. “You did not choose me but I have chosen you,” said God. Also, the Scriptures are clear that God is the author of salvation and that man is not saved by his own merit. As to perseverance of the saints, all good Southern Baptists believe once a person receives Jesus into their hearts He will never leave nor forsake them, this ties back into unconditional election. We as fallen people are never good enough to earn God’s salvation; therefore, we are never bad enough to loose His salvation. Salvation is a free gift from God. So I do believe the latter three doctrines I have written on are tenants of the faith. Although I love and fellowship with the many brethren who do not share that belief and I would never, I repeat never, question one’s zeal for evangelism based on their beliefs on the Doctrines of Grace.

In the closing of your article you said we should assume Calvinists are wrong. Why? I gathered you said this because from your perspective Calvinists do not witness and those who do share their faith without a sense of urgency. 85% of Southern Baptists do not accept all five of the Doctrines of Grace; yet, baptisms have declined in the past few years and even when the President and Convention have focused on evangelism the past two years with the “Everyone Can…I’m It” evangelistic thrust. Does this mean that 85% of Southern Baptists do not desire to share their faith? Should we assume it is the vast majority (85%) who have it wrong? After all 10% of Southern Baptists believe in all five points of the Doctrines of Grace, that percentage could not lead to a steady decline even if they never witnessed.

You wrote a blanket statement and for that you should apologize. If one believes in the five Doctrines of Grace they cannot be evangelistic.

“To be fair to Calvinists there are some who say that there is a need to witness and share the gospel. But they do not seem to have that sense of urgency that Jesus had.”

That statement deserves a public apology. You said you had no formal training. So I guess you were speaking from ignorance; yet, ignorance does not allow character assassination or misrepresenting history. Who led the 1st Great Awakening? Historians credit Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield as the leaders of the movement. Both affirm the Doctrines of Grace. The modern Baptist missions movement was birthed through the actions of Adeniram Judson and William Carey both five point Calvinists. The pastor of the first modern mega church and the “Prince of Preachers” Charles H. Spurgeon called himself a Calvinist and throughout his ministry affirmed all five points. W. A. Criswell and Stephen Olford considered themselves five point Calvinists. According to you they may have believed in the need to witness but did so without urgency. Perhaps one of the greatest mission books Let the Nations be Glad was written by John Piper, the most visible five point Calvinist today. Yet, according to you he hasn’t a passion or ‘urgency’ to see the lost come to Christ. Al Mohler, the president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, is a five point Calvinist. His constant television appearances, radio show and conference schedule all in which he shares the gospel to a national audience, his constant sermons to the seminarians of Southern exhorting them to witness and be prepared to give their lives for the gospel; urging students to go to the mission field and to the places where they must be smuggled in and out apparently display his lack of urgency for evangelism?

I’m very disappointed by the blanket statement you have made. You did not say some or even a majority but all of those who would affirm the Doctrines of Grace are either not witnessing or do so without urgency. I’m surprised an editor would make such a blanket statement. I hope you would do the right thing and tell Tennessee Baptists you made a blanket statement and you were wrong. I encourage you to study and learn Church history and theology before you throw your hat into the discussion on such an historical orthodox view like the Doctrines of Grace. Ignorance is not bliss. George A. Jackson

Suinimra said...

Mr. Wooten,
I guess Arminius backwards is a bit obvious. I couldn't log in as AV for some reason, so I picked that name quickly. I thought it may work, since I am kind of a backward Arminian. I believe Christ died for all mens sins, as he sent the apostles to every creature in all the world to preach his gospel. I believe also though that while all men can be saved, God insures that some men will be saved (remnant). Also that men can "lose" their salvation. This seems to be the only way to believe what the bible says and not contort it and do acrobatics while trying to explain contrary verses as is done in both camps.

That being said, it seems like many people claim that non-Calvinists do not understand the deep intricacies of Calvinism. And basically if they understood it they would believe it. A good example is your dismissal of Bookborns post. If you omit the emotive idioms from his post he seems to be applying the logical ramifications of reformers statements. He even quoted Calvin, and RC Sproul. How does he exhibit ignorance of Calvinism?
Thanks.

Bookborn said...

Greetings. I tried to use specificity regarding some unscriptural doctrines espoused by Calvinists (realizing the differing degrees of ‘Doctrines of Grace,’ I concede the net was thrown rather wide). JD and others, instead of EXCLUSIVE use of ad hominem species of argumentation, why not direct our attention to which of these doctrines are indeed ‘straw men.’ (You imply all). No wonder Calvinism is so mysterious; it’s adherents rarely place all their cards face up. Vitriolic? I’ll grant you that. Emotive? Indeed. [E.g. Making Satan to be God is blood-boiling blasphemy (Does Satan act independent of God’s will?)] Now, what have you really said? Deut. 29:29? A personal favorite verse & thanks for the reminder (Heb. 2:1; Philp.3:1; 2 Pt.1:12,13,15;3:1; Jude5) but what are you actually saying? Every assertion was a straw man and if I was privy to the ‘secret’ or had the fear of the Lord (Ps.25), I could get it right? Arminius backwards raised an important question. The rather abrupt implication is repeatedly this: NonCalvinists just simply don’t understand Calvinism. Only the ‘initiate’ can truly understand. This is esoteric at best – egotistical at worst. “I” can see and you just haven’t studied enough (Reformers, etc...) (Stop nursing at the pulpit and the light will come on?) The “NonCalvinists are ignorant and unlearned” (Acts 4:13), or the ‘my library can beat up your library’ approach is amusing. If you could only just read more Reformers, you could understand? (What saith the scriptures? Gal.4:30; Romans 4:3)). Escalate through the scholarly Echelon for Education/Enlightenment. My feeble library contains more pro-reformed books than most Calvinists I’ve met. To name a few: The Reformation Study Bible, The Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible, The MacArthur Study Bible, All of Arthur W. Pinks works, Luther,s Bondage of the Will, Complete works of RC Sproul and most of his MP3 audios, Most of James White’s MP3 audios and many of his books, 3 different versions of Calvin’s Institutes, most of Jonathan Edwards and much Spurgeon, Amazing Grace documentary by Apologetics Group, etc. Not to imply that I’ve read all of it, but a substantial amount over the years. Are you blind to the highmindedness amongst many in Reformed groups and the constant inSINuation that NonCalvinists aren’t well-read & are Bible blockheads? It reminds me of when you can give somebody several verses to support a doctrinal position, and they’ll with one fell swoop negate it all with “You quoted them all out of context.” Of course one must quote the entire chapter to be ‘in context’ technically. Same with the ‘strawman’ rebut. What did I say you believe that you don’t? You’re not helping NonCalvinists to understand when you don’t sit still long enough to discern your doctrine! I gave you some specific quotes from Calvin. Agreest thou? What about Sproul’s comment in the Reformation Study Bible page 1664 “Regeneration precedes faith. Infants can be born again, although the faith that they exercise cannot be as visible as that of adults. For many Christians, the moment that they were born again is clearly known; but for others, it may not be, especially if they received new life in childhood.” Believest thou this? How can you tell if an infant is born again and exercises faith? Patient perseverance through polluted Pampers? Is he teething or is he just unregenerate? Can man accomplish nothing but by God’s ‘secret command’? And wouldn’t that include murder, rape, etc.? Is there anything that Satan (or you, or me) does that is not pre-decreed by God? Be specific and don’t just holler ‘Misrepresentation!’

stephen lee cavness said...

Here is a copy of the letter I sent to Lonnie. I am a Tennessee Baptist and was disappointed by his editorial

jackson magazine,
where did you send your response to lonnie wilkey? i would like to send him one as well.

thanks,
-stephen

John Wootten said...

Suinimra:
A good example is your dismissal of Bookborns post. If you omit the emotive idioms from his post he seems to be applying the logical ramifications of reformers statements. He even quoted Calvin, and RC Sproul. How does he exhibit ignorance of Calvinism?

Excellent question.

In the case of Calvin, the first quote bookborn provides is the title of the 18th chapter of the first book. The second quote is a sentence found in the middle of the first section of Chapter 1 of Book 1.

Book 1 deals with the theology of God as Creator, and chapter 1 deals explicitly with the problem of evil. Election and Predestination are not brought up until Chapter 21 of Book 3. So to make someone think those quotes are applicable to Calvin's soteriology is misleading.

If bookborn has read so many pro-Reformed books, yet he cannot differentiate Reformed theodicy from Reformed soteriology, then someting is wrong.

Similarly, Sproul has written extensively about Calvinism. Yet the quotation is dealing with his beliefs regarding paedobaptism, not soteriology.

Here is where bookborn gets off track:

You mean to say you believe every word that proceedeth from Calvin’s two lips (TULIP’s)? You mean baby-baptizing, baby-in-outskirts-of-hell-burning, God’s-through-with-the-Jew, sizzlin’-Servetus, infants-can-be-born-again (RC Sproul, Reformation Study Bible, page 1664),

Simply put, this type of rhetoric is classic bait and switch. It lures you in thinking its a refutation of Calvinism, but then it doesn't deal with Calvinism at all.

The actual "logic" applied in the previous post is this:

Calvinism is wrong because R.C. Sproul believes in Infant Baptism.


Here's the deal, if you and I sat down and compared beliefs, we'd probably have more in common than we would disagree about. (I agree with much of your last post.) And of course, we'd find issues other than Calvinism over which we disagree. The same thing goes for the relationship between Calvinists and the Reformers, Sproul, Spurgeon, James White, etc.

I'm assuming you're a Baptist. Obviously we can agree about an issue like baptism while disagreeing on soteriology. Bookborn's post attempts to confuse the two, then write both of them off.

John Wootten said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
John Wootten said...

I just noted a mistake in my post:

For the Calvin quotation, the second quote and the chapter on the problem of evil are both Chapter 18 of Book 1, not Chapter 1.

Suinimra said...

Mr. Wooten
Thanks again for your post. I am a bit curious what you found in my post that you agreed with. I was assuming you were a Calvinist.
Thanks again.

J. Gray said...

Why do I feel like we've been hit by the Caners ("Canerized"?) when I read bookborn's posts?

The question was raised (to the effect of): do you believe non-calvinists are not calvinists because they don't understand calvinism?

My answer is: no.

I DO believe that most non-calvinists do not understand it, though.
It has nothing to do with mental ability, and more to do with a mental block that can't seem to step outside of one's normal, presumed thought and grasp a view different than one's own...without simplifying it to a few one-liners and straw men.

If men like Hunt, the Caners, bookborn, etc are representing their knowledge of calvinism...all they've demonstrated is that they don't understand it. If they DO understand it, then their crime is much worse because they are deliberately misrepresenting it.

Their statements (bookborn's on this thread are a great example) are misrepresentations. Calvinists don't believe what they say they believe. If that is what they truly think Calvinism is...then they don't understand it.
If they are purposefully misrepresenting (which I hope is not true, though I think is true in some cases) then that is sinful.

So, I think most non-calvinists DON'T know what Calvinism is. They reject it because they "heard" they should reject it.
I do think there are some leaders who might be a little more underhanded in their dealings...either that or they spout off their ignorance without regret.
(Neither is an enviable position.)

Suinimra said...

gray,
If I could respond, actually I was the one who asked the question. But the question was not as you framed it "do you believe non-calvinists are not calvinists because they don't understand calvinism?"
What I asked was "Is it possible for a non-Calvinist to understand Calvinism?" And the reason I asked was that many say, as you have for example, that Calvinism is misunderstood and misrepresented, as Bookborns post illustrates. What does Bookborn misrepresent?
Also you said:
"So, I think most non-calvinists DON'T know what Calvinism is. They reject it because they "heard" they should reject it."
My experience has been that people reject it when they understand that in Calvins doctrines of grace Christ only died to save a minuscule number of people, and chose to damn the vast majority. This somehow doesn't comport with 'God is love' in most peoples minds (as in my own).
Thanks.

J. Gray said...

suinimra,

I apologize for misstating your question.

To answer your real question: Yes, it is possible.
But the hang-up is, most people have already decided they disagree with calvinism (whatever it is) before they even start to study and find out what it is. That ends up skewing their understanding so that they don't really understand what calvinists believe.
For example, you said calvinism believes that "Christ only died to save a minuscule number of people, and chose to damn the vast majority". I don't think I've ever seen that taught in calvinistic thought. What I see in Scripture is a number saved so great that it is like the sand on the shore and the stars in the sky. Not a "miniscule number" by any stretch.
See, you didn't pick up that misrepresentation from calvinists...you made it up yourself. If you understood calvinists and calvinism you wouldn't have made a statement like that.

Now, as to the number saved...is that really a calvinist/non-calvinist distinction? I think not.

As for the errors of bookborn (I'll only mention a few):
1) calvinism = paedobaptism implication.
At the very least, he tries to poison the well by making Sproul and other Presbyterians out to be not trusted on any doctrine because they have a poor understanding of another doctrine. Feeble attempt.
2)He says Calvinists believe in a God that takes pleasure in the detah of the wicked. Misrepresentation.
3) He throws out the TIRED Servetus reference as a means of throwing off real discussion of issues.
4) His tone is mockery and not seeking to discuss this with respect due other Christian brothers. (Which is reminiscent of the Caners.)
5) Accusing calvinists of believing they have a secret knowledge is quite unfair (and hypocritical?).

Bookborn wants to argue and throw flames....he does not approach this issue with the seriousness due it. One of us has a wrong view of God, that is not a laughing matter nor one to poke fun at. If it is me, then I would hope he would give the courtesy of a brother who actually has a concern for my soul and not as a mocker trolling boards only to get a reaction. If he really believes he is right, and if he is consistent with his theology, then my spiritual well-being (and everyone here) depend on him showing us our errors. (My blood will be on his hands!) Yet he mocks.

Bookborn said...

Greetings,
Talk about strawmen! Please demonstrate from my post where I said any of the following of which I’m accused:
1. Reformed Soteriology is no different than Reformed Theodicy (I didn’t mention Soteriology, or for that matter Saturnology, or Sasquatchology; I didn’t mention Theodicy, or for that matter Idiocy, Adventures in Odyssey, or 2001 Space Odyssey)
2. Calvinism must be wrong because Sproul believes infant baptism.
3. The quotes from Calvin I provided were exclusively related to Election and Predestination or Calvin’s Soteriology (Where did I say that? I simply provided some quotes. However, what part of “Men can accomplish nothing except by God’s secret command” excludes soteriology?)
4. My post attempted to confuse Soteriology with Baptism.
5. My post “doesn’t deal with Calvinism at all.” (Are you sure you were reading the same post as the rest of us?) Who was I talking about? Calvin Klein? Calvin and Hobbes? Was I addressing Arminian Theology? Jehovah’s Witnesses? Branch Davidians? (No wonder you thought Arminius Backwards’ comment on one ‘losing one’s salvation’ quickened the assumption that he was Baptist. Please pray about such oversight and inattention, my brother.)
6. My post attempted to write both Soteriology and baptism off. (????)

It’s interesting how people deny their roots. The phrase ‘Calvinism’ or ‘Reformed’ or ‘Doctrines of Grace’ carries inescapable connotations. I admitted the net was thrown wide, but nobody so far has delineated where I have misrepresented them. Are you inSINuating that NOTHING IN MY POST represents Calvinistic Theology? There are 5 common cries of Calvinists: Mystery!, Misrepresentation!, Man-centered!, Manuscript/Mistranslation!, and Moron!. When we try to get you to face the end of your stream of logic, you cry Misrepresentation and/or Mystery (Secret Mystery of God’s will, etc.). You then state that any NonCalvinistic worldview is Man-centered b/c man must believe or receive. (Ironically, people who call themselves “Calvinists” often call others ‘Man-centered’ and their belief system is named after/centered around the teachings of A MAN (John Calvin)!) When faced with verses that snip away at TULIP’s (the flower thereof falleth away), the Manuscript/Mistranslation cry arises stating something to the effect that if one could just study the linguistic/man-u-scrap evidence he could then change his Bible to read Reformed (i.e. The verse is Mistranslated; eg. ‘freewill’ in those 17 verses doesn’t mean ‘free will’ etc.). The Moron cry has come up continually on this blog which in essence says NonCalvinists just don’t read enough Reformers or they are pulpit-milk-saps with no light, ignorant, etc. Those are the 5 point cries of 5 point Calvinists. (I was tempted to include another M cry like “Mean!” since this blog contained so many thin-skinned responses like ‘hostility’ and ‘vitriolic’ etc.; but I’ll refrain.)

Wootten, Did you bother to even look up the R.C. Sproul reference in the Reformation Study Bible? You falsely assert that Sproul is referencing pedobaptism. While he does suscribe to this “pedobaptism replaces circumcision” doctrine elsewhere, the passage I gave you is a comment re: Jesus talking to Nicodemus. Sproul says in separate notes at the bottom that the ‘born of water’ IS NOT a reference to baptism. Soteriology is indeed the context of the Sproul quote. Don’t assume. Read it. The quote I gave you was from a section titled “Regeneration:The New Birth” in the middle of the John 3 Nicodemus discussion and reads: The Reformation Study Bible page 1664 “Regeneration precedes faith. Infants can be born again, although the faith that they exercise cannot be as visible as that of adults. For many Christians, the moment that they were born again is clearly known; but for others, it may not be, especially if they received new life in childhood.”
You couldn’t find pedobaptism here with a flashlight, seeing eye dog, and Hubble Telescope.
.
By the way, Calvin does mention election as early as Book One.
For example:
Book One, Chapter 16, section 6.
“Will it now be said that man is moved by God according to the bent of his nature, but that man himself gives the movement any direction he pleases? Were it truly so, man would have the full disposal of his own ways. To this it will perhaps be answered, that man can do nothing without the power of God. But the answer will not avail, since both Jeremiah and Solomon attribute to God not power only, but also election and decree.”

And How about this for vitriolic?:
Book Two Chapter 14, Section 5 Servetus is a monster.

“But in our age, also, has arisen a not less fatal monster, Michael Servetus…”

Why name yourself after a man who had the ‘monster’ Servetus BURNT AT THE STAKE? Aren’t there more worthy names by which you could be called? Say, ‘Christ’ for example? (Acts 11:26;James 2:7).
Gray and others. Point by point, what part of my 2nd post on this page did not describe your beliefs? In what way did I misrepresent you?
Once again, don’t just holler “Misrepresentation!” but demonstrate.

Bookborn said...
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Bookborn said...

Oh, there Bookborn goes again! Just because a man EXECUTES A MAN has no bearing on how he EXEGETES A PASSAGE. The Master Execute...Uh,er... Exegete, John Calvin.
Why keep bringing up this TIRED argument that we shouldn't name ourselves after a murderer?!
First take the beam out of thine own eye, then thou shalt see clearly to burn Servetus upon it.

Bookborn said...

Gray said, "Bookborn just wants to argue and throw flames." Maybe one day I'll be more like Calvin and not 'argue and throw flames.' Oh, there I go again, pointing out that tiny ink blotch on Calvin's Resume'. It was just a minor breech of etiquette. Bookborn is just straining at a gnat. Calvin was really saddenned that the 'monster' was burned.
Thanks for the delineated points, gray, and I shall answer them as time permits.

jdlongmire said...

bookborn - wow - your rhetoric is very "stream of consciousness" – is that your debate technique? Throw out ad homs about Calvin and drag out every dead horse that has been beaten about the Doctrines of Grace with enough vigor, venom and volume that it is virtually impossible to parse out coherent arguments to rebut?

Question to anyone: Is this “Modified Parliamentary” debate style?

-JD

Bill Formella said...

I'm wondering how the people who constantly bring up Calvin's horrible sins look at King David. How does having an adulturous relationship with a man's wife and then sending him off to be killed NOT compare to Calvin's failure? Was God wrong when he called this adulturous murderer a "man after My own heart"? How could Jesus ever have referred to himself as the Son of David? Seems to me David had other situations where he was quick to take up the sword.

I'm not excusing anything Calvin did. Yet I find it interesting that when I use the phrase doctrines of Grace I'm blasted for not using the term Calvinism and accused of trying to hide the truth. Use the name Calvinsim and....damned if you do....!

Lord, if You count our transgressions who would stand?

Suinimra said...

Gray,
I appreciate your response, but I hope you would see the dilemma that I am expressing in black and white and not gray the matter with word games. It is a bit disingenuous to plead the number of those saved is actually large and not small, when the problem people have with Calvinism is that compared to the total number of people it is indeed a "little flock" and "few there be that find it". I am sure you understand the problem and that I am not misrepresenting Calvinism. I understand that you prefer to state the view within a prettier frame, but most people don't see TULIP as an elegant flower. But you restate it to ease your conscience. You then say:
"See, you didn't pick up that misrepresentation from calvinists...you made it up yourself. If you understood calvinists and calvinism you wouldn't have made a statement like that."
Size is relative as a child would know, and the bible itself speaks of a "remnant". So don't try that game here and waste everyones time. I understand Calvinist atonement is very limited, and that is the reason people have trouble reconciling conceptually a God who is love when the vast majority of people know him in Calvinism as hating more than he loves by an enormous margin, relatively speaking.
Of course it is not needful for me to post this as you know what is being stated. People reject Calvinism mostly for this reason. And some for the confusion of the commission to preach the gospel (how that Christ died for our sins- 1 Cor 15:1-3) to every creature. This in Calvins system would be to bear false witness (Christ statistically did not die for your sins). And please don't say I don't understand Calvinism. I know Calvinists do not follow the system logically, and they do preach the gospel to all men. And we rejoice that they are inconsistent. But the inconsistency is sitting right there and I am simply pointing it out.
Thanks.

J. Gray said...

Good grief, can we ever get off the 'calvinists take the name of Calvin...they worship Calvin and not Jesus' garbage?

I, personally, do not call myself a calvinist. But it is simply a shortcut in theological discussion. I do not hold any view because Calvin held it. In fact, I started coming to the understanding of these doctrines before I even knew who Calvin was, or calvinism.

Do Baptists worship baptism?
Do Episcopals worship bishops?

No, it's foolish to suggest that.

But yet another example of misrepresentation.

Someone (bookborn) will come back and say "i didn't say you worship calvin". Was that not the implication of your comments?

That has long been a tired and quite sad flame tossed by many opponents.

As is the Servetus comment.

Again, that can be debated as to what was right and wrong.....but in the end it is neither here nor there as to whether or not the Bible teaches these doctrines.

So, bookborn, instead of trying to be cute and clever (emphasis on TRYING) and instead of mentioning every non-essential periphery matter...why don't you actually discuss the actual doctrines in question.

The ad hom against Calvin gains you nothing....so far, you come off as another internet troll and nothing more. Offer up some real biblical discussion, and tone down the rhetoric for reasonable debate and I, and many others, would gladly discuss with you whatever you wish.

But to come in, call names, and toss around empty rhetoric is not beneficial to anyone nor is it befitting a Christian brother.

J. Gray said...

suinimra,

Yes, I know people reject calvinism for that reason. At least they say that is the reason.

But it doesn't make it a valid reason.

The issue of the number of people being saved is not a calvinist/non-calvinist issue.

Let me ask you:
Do you believe the number being saved is greater than the sands on the sea? I'm sure you do, as do I.
Do you also believe Scripture speaks of a remnant, number unknown? I'm sure you do.
Do you believe that the "narrow gate" is the way to salvation and few there are who find it? Yes, I bet you do. See, that is not a calvinist interpretation - that is what the Bible says.

All of us can see that Scripture speaks of "few being saved" but also "multitudes"? Which is it? both.

Now, what is small? I don't know. But I certainly don't think the number is "miniscule", if you go by John's account in Revelation.


Your problem is not a "calvinism problem"...even if you try and label it as such.

I would think your problem is probably that the number of those being saved is "fixed" rather than the number being small or large. (Is this true?)

Do you understand what I am saying?

Suinimra said...

Gray,
I think you're missing the point. The point is with the total of humanity in view a small few people have a chance to be saved, while the vast majority of all people are unavoidably damned. Most people do not see this when they read the bible.

jdlongmire said...

so, Reverse Arminius:

P1 - Calvinists believe God is sovereign over everything, even salvation – God chooses whom He would save.

P2 - Calvinists believe that God does not choose to save most everybody, yet He is loving.

C1 - Calvinistic beliefs are wrong, because it is not loving of God to not save most everybody.

Does that pretty much sum it up?

-JD

J. Gray said...

"Gray,
I think you're missing the point. The point is with the total of humanity in view a small few people have a chance to be saved, while the vast majority of all people are unavoidably damned. Most people do not see this when they read the bible."

No, I get it quite fine.

You don't understand what I am saying.

That is not a calvinist/non-calvinist distinctive.

We ALL agree that one must believe to be saved. Right? Only those who believe are saved.

That number is NO smaller in calvinist thought than in non-calvinist thought. It's the same.

Does the Bible teach a great number so large no man count will be saved? Yes.

Does the Bible also teach that salvation is a narrow gate that few find? Yes.

The number of people who are saved is not a calvinist issue.
Why are you making it one?

Suinimra said...

jd,
Wilt thou tarry long in the mire?
P1 - Calvinists believe God is sovereign over everything, even salvation – God chooses whom He would save.
Most all Christians believe this. They would say God sovereignly chooses to save those that believe the preaching of the gospel.

P2 - Calvinists believe that God does not choose to save most everybody, yet He is loving.
Again this is just vague enough (I think by design) to allow a means by which you can cast my response back at me. Most all Christians believe this as well.

C1 - Calvinistic beliefs are wrong, because it is not loving of God to not save most everybody.
This was not even close. Are you sure you have studied non calvinist writers? I think you have misunderstood what we would teach.
Why don't you try again and phrase your doctrine in a way that distinguishes it from other people? Or in other words state plainly what you believe, including the ramifications.
For example- Calvinists believe the gospel that Christ died for our sins should be preached to people most of whom he did not die for.
Thanks.

Suinimra said...

Gray,
Please re-read what I have stated and I think you will understand the point.
for example an earlier post:
Also you said:
"So, I think most non-calvinists DON'T know what Calvinism is. They reject it because they "heard" they should reject it."
My experience has been that people reject it when they understand that in Calvins doctrines of grace Christ only died to save a minuscule number of people, and chose to damn the vast majority. This somehow doesn't comport with 'God is love' in most peoples minds (as in my own).
Thanks.

jdlongmire said...

jd,
Wilt thou tarry long in the mire?


Only so long as the mire reminds me of my lowliness and God's greatness!

"P1 - Calvinists believe God is sovereign over everything, even salvation – God chooses whom He would save."

Most all Christians believe this. They would say God sovereignly chooses to save those that believe the preaching of the gospel.

"P2 - Calvinists believe that God does not choose to save most everybody, yet He is loving."

Again this is just vague enough (I think by design) to allow a means by which you can cast my response back at me. Most all Christians believe this as well.

I am sorry - not trying to be vague - I would agree that many Christians would believe this, but Calvinists particularly do believe the 2 propositions.

"C1 - Calvinistic beliefs are wrong, because it is not loving of God to not save most everybody."

This was not even close. Are you sure you have studied non calvinist writers? I think you have misunderstood what we would teach.
Why don't you try again and phrase your doctrine in a way that distinguishes it from other people? Or in other words state plainly what you believe, including the ramifications.


Sorry - did I misunderstand your earlier statement?

"Reverse Arminius says - My experience has been that people reject it when they understand that in Calvins doctrines of grace Christ only died to save a minuscule number of people, and chose to damn the vast majority. This somehow doesn't comport with 'God is love' in most peoples minds (as in my own)."

jdlongmire said...

Suinimra said: Or in other words state plainly what you believe, including the ramifications.

Christ died so that the Elect of God - those He chose before the beginning of Time, could escape the just consequences of Man's free will rebellion (the Fall) and join Him in Eternal Communion.

If one is not Elect, they will suffer the just consequences of the Fall on the earth - slavery to sin - and ultimately eternal seperation from God after death.

I hope that meets your criteria.

-JD

Suinimra said...

Thanks JD.

jdlongmire said...

welcome, brother...and g'night.

-JD

John Wootten said...

Hello Everyone!

I'm afraid I can't commit to reading this blog every day. I have too much going on right now, however, I will definitely be around when I have the opportunity.

Ironically, the last time I posted on this blog, I was accused of spending all my time online debating Calvinism, and not evangelizing. That was three months ago, and I certainly feel rusty. I haven't even mentioned or thought about Calvinism since then. But I have evangelized.

Suinimra: I wrote a long response to your most recent question to me, but it doesn't seem to exist anymore. I was posting it right as I was rushing out the door for work, and I guess it didn't go through. But it was a delightful post.


Bookborn: God is not the author of confusion, however, you are when it comes to communicating your arguments. I honestly cannot make heads nor tails of your point.

I started to attempt to answer all your questions, but it simply takes longer to sort out what you said, then finding out what I said that you were replying to, then attempt to reconcile it. However, I will point out one thing...

Wootten, Did you bother to even look up the R.C. Sproul reference in the Reformation Study Bible? You falsely assert that Sproul is referencing pedobaptism. While he does suscribe to this “pedobaptism replaces circumcision” doctrine elsewhere, the passage I gave you is a comment re: Jesus talking to Nicodemus. Sproul says in separate notes at the bottom that the ‘born of water’ IS NOT a reference to baptism.


First of all, I assume you are correct, and so I apologize about misunderstanding Sproul on page 1664 of the Reformation Study Bible (I don't own a copy, so I couldn't check it out.) I assumed that since you cited it as a source for this sentence...

You mean baby-baptizing, baby-in-outskirts-of-hell-burning, God’s-through-with-the-Jew, sizzlin’-Servetus, infants-can-be-born-again (RC Sproul, Reformation Study Bible, page 1664)

...then it must have applied to all of the issues you mentioned, the first being "baby-baptizing." Apparently, it was only for the last part, while the others are unsupported.

But isn't it interesting that you get upset when I do the same thing you did earlier?

I used an argument that Sproul makes elsewhere (paedobaptism) and force it, accidentally, into another issue (regeneration preceeds faith).

You did the same thing when you took Calvin's quotation (Theodicy) and make it apply to man's ability in salvation (Soteriology)

Further:
Once again, don’t just holler “Misrepresentation!” but demonstrate.

Ok, here is my demonstration:
You mean to say you believe every word that proceedeth from Calvin’s two lips (TULIP’s)?

No, Calvinists do not believe everything Calvin said. He was a Presbyterian living in France in the 16th Century, so there are many things he would have said with which I disagree. However, I will trust the advice of Jacob Arminius, who said, “Next to the study of the Scriptures which I earnestly inculcate, I exhort my pupils to peruse Calvin’s Commentaries, which I extol in loftier terms than Helmich himself; for I affirm that he excels beyond comparison in the interpretation of Scripture, and that his commentaries ought to be more highly valued than all that is handed down to us by the library of the fathers; so that I acknowledge him to have possessed above most others, or rather above all other men, what may be called an eminent spirit of prophecy. His Institutes ought to be studied after the Catechism, as containing a fuller explanation, but with discrimination, like the writings of all men.”




You mean baby-baptizing

No, this is completely different than what Reformed Baptists believe.

baby-in-outskirts-of-hell-burning

I don’t believe this, however I know some Calvinists who do. I don’t believe it’s possible for an infant to be saved, should faith precede regeneration, but fortunately, God may save whomever He wants.

God’s-through-with-the-Jew

This is eschatology, not soteriology. Some Calvinists do believe this. I personally don’t.

sizzlin’-Servetus

This is one point, as stated above, where I would disagree with Calvin. Being from the 16th Century, being a heretic was grounds for execution. Calvin himself, in his time at Geneva, was responsible for at least 38 executions of heretics. Obviously, things have changed over the last 500 years. To think this is an argument against Calvinism is to be ignorant of the history of 16th Century European culture.

God-hates-most-people

I don’t believe God hates “most” people, but He certainly does hate people who sin (Ps. 5:5)

Satan-is-God’s-puppet
I think Job 1 sufficiently proves that this is not what Calvinists believe. Satan is no more God’s puppet than are you or I.

Why would you pray that I repent? Are you acting independent of the Sovereign’s will?

Why would I pray for you to repent, or pray for God to save a lost person, if He’s incapable of doing anything about it?


Love Calvin with all your heart, soul, and body. I typed this by God’s secret command. “Look, Ma! No free will.” Rapists, sodomites, pedophiles are all following God’s secret command. Forget Hypercalvinism, HyperTextMarkupLanguage is all God’s secret command. Every porn site (over 60% of cyberspace) is God’s secret command. Wonder how God will secretly command you to respond? (Nutshell definition of Calvinism (a.k.a. ‘doctrines of grace’):EVERYTHING IS GOD’S WILL.

Genesis 50:20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

Exodus 9:16 "But, indeed, for this reason I have allowed you to remain, in order to show you My power and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth.

Exodus 14:4 "Thus I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and he will chase after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD." And they did so.

1 Samuel 2:6-7 The LORD kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up. The LORD makes poor and rich; He brings low, He also exalts.

1 Samuel 2:25 "If one man sins against another, God will mediate for him; but if a man sins against the LORD, who can intercede for him?" But they would not listen to the voice of their father, for the LORD desired to put them to death.

1 Samuel 16:14 Now the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD terrorized him.

1 Kings 22: 23 "Now therefore, behold, the LORD has put a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; and the LORD has proclaimed disaster against you."

Psalm 33:10-11 The LORD nullifies the counsel of the nations; He frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation.

Psalm 33:15 He who fashions the hearts of them all, He who understands all their works.

Psalm 37:23 The steps of a man are established by the LORD, and He delights in his way.

Psalm 47:8 God reigns over the nations, God sits on His holy throne.

Proverbs 16:4 The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.

Proverbs 16:9The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.

Proverbs 16:33 The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.

Proverbs 19:21Many plans are in a man's heart, but the counsel of the LORD will stand.

Proverbs 21:1The king's heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes

Lamentations 3:37-38 Who is there who speaks and it comes to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both good and ill go forth?

Daniel 4:35 "All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, but He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; And no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, `What have You done?'

Isaiah 46:10 declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,'

Isaiah 63:17 Why, O LORD, do You cause us to stray from Your ways and harden our heart from fearing You? Return for the sake of Your servants, the tribes of Your heritage.

Acts 17:26 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation,

Acts 2:23-24 this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.

Acts 4:27-28 For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur.

Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 9:17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH."

Ephesians 1:9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure that He planned in Him.

Ephesians 1:11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,

John Wootten said...

Just because a man EXECUTES A MAN has no bearing on how he EXEGETES A PASSAGE.

I realize this is sarcasm, but for the sake of being consistent, how would you compare Calvin to Saul(Paul), in terms of being able to be used of God after approving of a murder (Paul-Stephen)(Calvin-Servetus)?

J. Gray said...

suinimra,

I don't think you get it....I fully understand your point. But your point really has nothing to do with calvinism, though you've twisted it enough to make it be about calvinism.

Try and follow.

- Salvation is talked about in Scripture as being "a narrow gate". True? "Few find it", true?
- Now, no matter what your belief on election, we affirm that the above statements are true. Because Scripture affirms that.
- Election in NO WAY makes that number that find it any smaller.
- So the number of people being saved is not any smaller in calvinistic thought than it is anywhere else.

Do you follow?

What you have TRIED to do is make election out to be a limiting even further of salvation. But all that shows is your misunderstanding of election.

Calvinists do not believe in a group of people being saved as smaller than any other evangelical group. Whoever believes on Christ will be saved. That number is the same, no matter your view on calvinism. How does this not make sense to you?

Now, a bigger problem I see in your thought is that you feel that YOU get to define what makes God loving. That is very troubling. Who are you to get to decide that God has to save mor people than he damns in order to be loving???
Now, He may very well save more people than he damns....I don't know.
But THAT is not the determiner of God being love. You cannot defend that scripturally.
So it is not a shock to me that you reject a calvinistic understanding of salvation....because you have come to the table with a fundamental flaw in your view of who God is, what God's love is, and have thus set God up to have to meet your standard of "love". So you found a system of thought that fits your misunderstandings, and you reject anythign else.

Please show me scripturally where God MUST save more than he damns in order to be considered loving.

C. T. Lillies said...

Oh I don't know about the Calvin/Servatus thing--if we had a similar attendance/consistency policy in the SBC folks might get along a little better don't you think? Heck I'd be happy if there was a little accountability among the brethren.

Josh

Jackson Magazine said...

i sent my response to lwilkey@tnbaptist.org

Suinimra said...

gray,
I understand Calvinism, so your restating it may help you in some psychological manner, but it doesn't make it more scriptural.
Most Christians understand that few will be saved in the end. So this is not what impugnes Gods nature. You ask:
"Please show me scripturally where God MUST save more than he damns in order to be considered loving." You phrased the question wrong. It isn't that he must save more, but he must love more than he hates.
Most people (yourself included) would not classify someone who hates more people than he loves with the attribute 'love'. This is how God is presented in Calvinism. As a matter of fact, in your doctrine of grace you are more merciful than God. You pray for people to believe (which is itself futile, God predecreed everything that comes to pass) while God has determined to damn them before the beginning and irrespective of their works or faith (not yet born, etc.Rom.9:11). They are damned because God holds them responsible for Adams sin and determined that Adam sin (God is sovereign). Now you will probably say (again) I just don't understand Calivinism. I expect this as most respond this way. This was what initiated my first post. But your appeals to common grace and original sin will simply be a kind of chaser to the strong drink by which you are deceived.
What spoils the nature of Gods love in Calvinism is that he chose to damn people who could not even believe and receive a free gift. He didn't provide a means of escape for them and indeed placed them in this position. I don't see this in the bible, and most people don't. The ones who do so are charmed by a sophisticated philosophical/ scriptural edifice, that they cannot intellectually defeat and so they simply submit to it against their conscience and better sense.

J. Gray said...

suinimra,

You said: "I understand Calvinism, so your restating it may help you in some psychological manner, but it doesn't make it more scriptural."

I never stated or restated calvinism. I simply was showing you why your understanding of the number of people being saved is not related in any way to calvinism.

I guess you have conceded that point?

You said: "It isn't that he must save more, but he must love more than he hates.
Most people (yourself included) would not classify someone who hates more people than he loves with the attribute 'love'. This is how God is presented in Calvinism. As a matter of fact, in your doctrine of grace you are more merciful than God."

You also said: "Now you will probably say (again) I just don't understand Calivinism. I expect this as most respond this way."

That is very clever of you. Misrepresent something, but then protect yourself against the charge of not understanding something by saying 'most respond that way.'
Here's the deal...maybe people say you don't understand calvinism, BECAUSE....you don't.
Just a thought.


The problem with your view is that you have a wrong understanding of man's sinfulness.

If God damns us, do we get what we deserve?

Does God have to save to be "loving"?
Please show that scripturally.

You say that calvinists hold a philosophical position...yet your position cannot be supported by scripture. It truly is a hijacked definition of love, forced into the Bible and onto God, where YOUR definition defines who God is and what God does. If God does something that doesn't fit your view...you discard it as evil.

Silly me...I thought God was love in and of Himself. I thought He was under compulsion to save AT ALL.
Here's the deal: If God saves NO ONE....he's just as holy, just as loving, just as gracious, just as merciful. God is all those things, even if He doesn't save us.

Again, please show me scripturally why God MUST save anyone..or why for Him to be loving He must save us at all.
(Are men morally neutral?)
(Is God OBLIGATED to save?)

Forget your views of calvinism, your views of God's nature are askew.

John Wootten said...

suinimra,

I will not attempt to answer for gray. I also disagree with the tone of the posts so far. Hopefully my explanation will clear things up a bit, and help us to get over the hump.

The section of Calvinism that you do correctly understand will obviously not gel with your overall view of God's nature. However, I admit that you accurately understand "the dark side" of Calvinism. Keep going, keep studying. You now grasp one half of the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.

I also want to explain that the idea of God's election does not fit well with the mainstream view that God tries, and fails, to save every single individual, but is seen as more loving for at least trying.

You understand the negative side of Calvinism, or what God doesn't do (love everyone the same, equally attempt to save every individual). The radical perspective that Calvinism influences is that God isn't obligated to save anyone. That's untimately why Calvinism is called the doctrines of Grace. Everything in scripture points to God unnecessarily going out of His way to save sinners. He goes against his holiness, righteousness, justice, etc. in order to extend grace.

You said:
Most people (yourself included) would not classify someone who hates more people than he loves with the attribute 'love'.

I agree that a human who hates more than he loves is not "loving." I don't consider those folks from Westboro as loving, because all they every talk about is who and what God justly hates. But we are not taking about a human in this case.

The concepts of love and hate are not ambiguous, external, philosophical concepts. They are attributes found, in their ultimate expression, in the character of God.

So in other words, Calvinism requires one to view all of God's attributes as the epitome of their characteristics. It's not as though love=good and hate=bad. God both loves and hates, and both are good because God is good. God's love is the ultimate standard of love. There is not an external concept of love to which God must achieve. The same goes for his anger, wrath, holiness, justice, ect.


What I believe your perspective does is view God's love as more important than, say God's justice. So you emphasize love to the exclusion of justice, so Grace is simply God's natural, obvious reaction. That's the only reason why I could understand someone being surprised that God doesn't attempt to save everyone. I think that you think Calvinism teaches the opposite, that God displays his justice to the exclusion of love, thus damnation is the natural, obvious reaction.

Calvinism views all of God's attrubutes working together in perfect harmony. And as such, Grace is radical.

The best summary of Calvinism I can give is this: Without God's election, no one would be saved, because we would all be justly subject to God's holy wrath as a recompence for our transgressions against God.

God could have elected everyone, or no one, and he would have still been loving, because God can't forgive one sin, or every sin, in order to become more loving than He already was in the infinity prior to creating the world.

God isn't more loving because he saves 8 out of 10 people, or lessing loving because he saves 3 out of 10 people. He is love. Period.

jdlongmire said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
John Wootten said...

Wow, three long responses in the span of 8 minutes. I just read through them, we are all attacking the same concept from three different perspectives. How interesting!

jdlongmire said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
jdlongmire said...

poop! my formatting was deleted...one more try -

Suinimra said: What spoils the nature of Gods love in Calvinism is that he chose to damn people who could not even believe and receive a free gift. He didn't provide a means of escape for them and indeed placed them in this position.

Sorry to butt in - but you do have a fundamental misunderstanding.

God did not choose to damn Man - Man chose to damn themselves through their own free-will - were it not for the sake of the Elect, God could have justly obliterated Man from all space-time.

The DEFAULT position for Man was Eternal Communion with God - MAN's representative (Adam) chose to disobey and stained ALL of Man throughout space-time.

God, through His LOVE and in His MERCY - GRACEFULLY - implemented His plan to save some (the Elect) by GIVING them the gift of faith.

Why save some? We don't know - it is God's secret will.

Thus God is sovereign and Man is responsible.

You are placing too much emphasis on the INDIVIDUAL's rights - salvation is not about democracy and choice - we gave that up when our father (Adam) in his pride, considered equality with God something to be grasped.

-JD

Suinimra said...

Gray sees the point as conceded
He revels as the argument completed
Yet the point still stands
As logic demands
But his joy is psychologically needed!

Gray,
All joking aside, lets try this again.
You ask:
"Please show me scripturally where God MUST save more than he damns in order to be considered loving." You phrased the question wrong. It isn't that he must save more, but he must love more than he hates.
You responded:

"If God damns us, do we get what we deserve?
Does God have to save to be "loving"?
Please show that scripturally."

You are good at arguing what we agree with, but you fail to see (again) the points we do not agree with. You asked the same thing again. You should read John Wootens post, he is getting closer talking about the 'dark side' of Calvinism.
Thanks.

Suinimra said...

bfjdlongmire,
In response to this statement I made:
'What spoils the nature of Gods love in Calvinism is that he chose to damn people who could not even believe and receive a free gift. He didn't provide a means of escape for them and indeed placed them in this position.'
You responded:
"God did not choose to damn Man - Man chose to damn themselves through their own free-will - "

We both agree men who reject God choose to reject God. What I find interesting is how you split the critical part of the point off and failed to respond to it. Again notice this part-"...he chose to damn people who could not even believe and receive a free gift. He didn't provide a means of escape for them..."
You also should try a bit harder to understand why people cring at the details of Calvinism.
Thanks.

jdlongmire said...

he chose to damn people who could not even believe and receive a free gift. He didn't provide a means of escape for them

s-man - I hope we aren't talking past each other and I am sorry if I am missing the point, so let me pay careful attention to the point you highlighted:

he (God) chose to damn... - I thought we agreed that Man chose damnation, not God.

...people who could not even believe and receive a free gift....but you are mistaken - people could believe if they had not inherited the curse of Adam - don't you see? unless God chose to let rebellious Man continue to exist after the Fall, there would be NO-ONE to believe? The fact that ANYONE will be saved is the difference between JUSTICE and MERCY.

That unless GOD changes the heart from stone to flesh NO-ONE would be saved?

When the heart IS changed, it is like taking a blindfold off of a person walking toward the edge of a cliff and jerking them to safety.

Do you not understand that Man became a SLAVE to sin after the Fall with NO ability to SEE Christ's sacrifice?

That the Elect are those among the Fallen GOD chose to SAVE? Is that not His right?

Or do you presume to judge God's will? Does that not seem prideful?

He didn't provide a means of escape for them... Brother - God's mercy provided a means of escape to those He knew would take it. He is not inefficient, nor bound by time, nor taken by surprise.

In other words - those that were not Elect would do, and still do, consider equality with God something to be grasped. Either by direct rebellion or believeing that THEY CAN SAVE THEMSELVES, either by direct means or simple obedience. God is not beholden to anyone for ANYTHING - and your salvation is His work - not ours - in ANY WAY.

I am very sorry if this post sounded harsh in any way. I am just VERY passionate about God's greatness and my lowliness.


BTW - there is no "dark side" to Calvinism - unless you are a universalist.

God is Just and Loving.

-JD

Suinimra said...

john wooten,
I hope you take the posts in good heart, nothing malicious going on here.
Now you admit that the logical ramifications of Calvinism aren't pretty:
"I admit that you accurately understand "the dark side" of Calvinism."
Thank you for getting the point even if you don't agree.
You ask:
"I also want to explain that the idea of God's election does not fit well with the mainstream view that God tries, and fails, to save every single individual, but is seen as more loving for at least trying."
God is more loving if he provided salvation and a choice to a lost man, than if he chose to not provide a choice nor a chance to be personally responsible for our sins (Adam, children not born Rom.9:11). If God invited men to the supper (a genuine offer with an actual meal) and they reject it, he is more merciful than one who knew they couldn't come and didn't genuinely desire them to come (total depravity) and didn't really have anything prepared for them (limited atonement). And you agree in your heart.
Now I earlier stated that God made provision for all men to be saved and makes sure that some do get saved (remnant). Gods election is those who are in Christ the Elect. They get in Christ by faith, and faith comes from hearing the gospel.
You again say:
"I agree that a human who hates more than he loves is not "loving." I don't consider those folks from Westboro as loving, because all they every talk about is who and what God justly hates. But we are not taking about a human in this case."
Phelpites are consistent Calvinists. I agree God is not a man and his thoughts and ways are higher. But we are made in his image and love is something that we would understand by his design, just like father, child etc. God grants us understanding of these things and even uses this analogical reasoning (if you being evil know how to give good gifts to your children...). Calvins view of God resembles Fred Phelps.
Again you add:
"What I believe your perspective does is view God's love as more important than, say God's justice. So you emphasize love to the exclusion of justice..."
It may seem that way due to the topic of Calvinism.
Thanks.

Bookborn said...
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Bookborn said...
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Suinimra said...

JDlongmire,
Thanks for your reply. You assert:
"...people who could not even believe and receive a free gift....but you are mistaken - people could believe if they had not inherited the curse of Adam - don't you see?"
I see. People could believe if people could believe.
You add:
"Or do you presume to judge God's will? Does that not seem prideful?"
It is prideful if Calvinism is true. But I take the contrary position.
Again you state:
"He didn't provide a means of escape for them... Brother - God's mercy provided a means of escape to those He knew would take it."
And also this:
"unless GOD changes the heart from stone to flesh NO-ONE would be saved"
I'll let you tell me the problem here!
You conclude:
"I am very sorry if this post sounded harsh in any way. I am just VERY passionate about God's greatness and my lowliness."
No offence taken, and it doesn't sound harsh. And I also am passionate about God's greatness and your lowliness. I want you to be down here with the rest of us whosoever wills. And clear your self from the 'I don't know why I am one of the few elect' mindset.
Thanks.

Bookborn said...
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Bookborn said...
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Bookborn said...

When trolling for reactions, I may have forgotten that not all Calvinists are completely Reformed (not all are Calivinists Indeed). So, my initial posts truly didn't apply entirely to all Calvinists out here. I realize it was Augustine who first introduced the "nonelect babies in the outskirts of hell" teaching (Augustine had a very merciful theological God who wouldn't dare burn babies in the lowest hell, but in the outer perimeters of darkness - to the praise of His glorious grace; in the spirit of many Calvinists, I will say, “It’s not that babies are burning in hell that bothers me, but what bothers me is that ANY ARE IN HEAVEN!”). Since Calvin stated 'by the authority of Augustine' several times in his institutes, and you guys were Calvinists, I assumed we had some Augustinian Calvinists out here (poor assumption I see and I refrain/repent/recant). That's what I get for trolling I trow. Not all SBC Calvinists are 'twofold the child of Calvin' apparently (i.e. believing everything that proceedeth from his TU-LIPs). However, the Baptist Confession of faith 1689 (have a copy right here) or Philadelphian Confession of faith matches much of the Westminster Confession, including the statement that all things that come to pass are decreed of God. Not sure if you suscribe to this confession in whole on in part, but most Baptist TULIP's I've encountered heartily Amen the doctrine.
John,
I want to first say how much I appreciate the detailed responses (hard to justify the time to engage in this dialogue with six kids and manifold responsibilities) and your list of verses. These are good verses to face. I can honestly say none are foreign to me. Matter of fact, I've preached a sermon and taught a class on many of those verses (Evil spirit from God, lying spirit in the mouths of all of Ahab's prophets, Satan and God provoking David to number Israel, the Lord mingling a perverse spirit in the midst, etc...). I call the doctrine 'The Doctrine of Divinely Decided Delusions.' (Some won't like the name and can choose their own title for this scriptural doctrine). There are many more verses along those lines as I’m sure you are familiar. It is an interesting phenomena throughout scripture. As Isaiah taught, doctrine is line upon line, and HERE A LITTLE, THERE A LITTLE. Scriptural doctrines are scattered throughout the Bible and need to be assimilated with much fear and trembling. The key to the doctrine is found in Isaiah 66:2-4. The context is trembling at His word. And says, "Yea, they have CHOSEN THEIR OWN WAYS...I also will CHOOSE THEIR DELUSIONS..." Simply put, when we choose against His word, in essence we are choosing deception and GOD RESERVES THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE *HOW* WE'LL BE DELUDED. Ouch. THIS is the key to explaining the many verses that SEEM to imply God is evil.
You mentioned Pharoah. He is an example. He rejected God's words, and God hardened his heart. But read it closely. GOD HARDENED HIS HEART AFTER THE SIXTH PLAGUE. Some deny the study of Biblical Numerics (realizing there are some overzealous brethren who give it a bad name, and if you reject it, it won't hurt my feelings -- though over 6000 verses in scripture contain a number which is 1 out 5 or 20%, God called a book NUMBERS, and numbers are a type of God in that they have no beginning or ending typifying God as from everlasting to everlasting, etc.) but 6 is the number of man. God said in Genesis that His Spirit would not always strive with MAN. This is true. Look at what happened. It says that PHAROAH HARDENED HIS HEART. But after the sixth plague, GOD HARDENED HIS HEART, and he thus became a vessel of wrath having rejected God’s mercy. Remember that the magicians couldn’t duplicate the miracles and said to Pharoah, ‘THIS IS THE FINGER OF GOD.”? The “Finger of God” is used interchangeably in the Bible with the Spirit of God. For example, Jesus said (compare Matt.12:28 and Lk. 11:20) that he cast out devils by ‘the finger of God’ and the ‘Spirit of God’. The tables of stone are written by the ‘finger of God’ (Ex. 31:18). The Spirit wrote the law, and writes on our fleshly tables in our heart (2 Cor. 3:3). In John 8:6, when Jesus “wrote with HIS FINGER ON THE GROUND” they were all “convicted by their own conscience.” This is the only mention of ‘convicted’ in the Bible. Some argue that the Holy Spirit is not the context and Holy-Ghost conviction is not scriptural phraseology, yet the FINGER OF GOD is in the context. So, the magicians admitted the FINGER OF GOD was involved. God’s Spirit was striving and he exhausted God's grace (resisted the Spirit of Grace, Heb. 10 and Acts 7:58) and THEN GOD HARDENED HIS HEART. God begins to choose his delusion because he chose his own way (Isaiah 66:2-4). I WILL try to respond to your points as time permits.

jdlongmire said...

Brother S - you did not rebut or ask for more clarification, you just replied, so I guess we are done with the dialogue.

"No offence taken, and it doesn't sound harsh. And I also am passionate about God's greatness and your lowliness. I want you to be down here with the rest of us whosoever wills. And clear your self from the 'I don't know why I am one of the few elect' mindset."

Brother, I would hope you could get away from the prideful position, "It's me and God made me saved! Elected because I selected!" and sing with me:

I know not why God's wondrous grace
To me He hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
Redeemed me for His own.

I know not how this saving faith
To me He did impart,
Nor how believing in His Word
Wrought peace within my heart.

I know not how the Spirit moves,
Convincing us of sin,
Revealing Jesus through the Word,
Creating faith in Him.

But I know Whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I've committed
Unto Him against that day.

It is God's work and not mine - Soli Deo Gloria!

Thanks,

JD

Bookborn said...
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Bookborn said...

I THINK THE LYNCHBURG CALVINISM DEBATE HAS BEEN CANCELLED.
SEE http://www.aomin.org/
I SURE HOPE NOT.

John Wootten said...

suinimra:

Thanks for your reply. My last post had quite a lot of information in it. I don't feel that you really grasp my arguments, and there were many assertions in your reply.

A debate can often become a festival of rapid-fire one-liners, but a dialogue requires interacting with an argument or someone's position.

If I may, I would like to offer a couple of cautions. First, in my experience, it is best to reject the use of analogies, because they are simply substituties for the real thing. Our beliefs are very similar, and use much of the same terminology. There's no need to refer to salvation as a feast. We both know what salvation is, so why deviate from the scriptural standard to which we both agree?

Also, I think the biggest hurdle we must overcome is "reading like a Calvinist" and "reading like an Arminian." For instance, when I read where you state

If God invited men to the supper (a genuine offer with an actual meal) and they reject it, he is more merciful than one who knew they couldn't come and didn't genuinely desire them to come (total depravity)and didn't really have anything prepared for them (limited atonement).


I understand what you mean from a non-Calvinist point of view, but as a Calvinist, it just doesn't make sense. Here is my Calvinist interpretation of this. First, the men reject it before the offer is even made, regardless of whether the meal was ready or existent. Also, it's not that they couldn't come, it's that they wouldn't come. I have no idea which part of this analogy refers to total depravity, and with unconditional election, there is no “them” to have anyting “prepared” for. I think you might have misprinted total depravity, and your version of limited atonement isn't compatible with what unconditional election really means, and that renders irresistable grace virtually irrelevant.

Like I said, there is a lot of stuff in that big post, and I think you need more time to digest it.

I hope you take this post in the spirit in which it was given. I want to make sure you understand the Calvinist position, and I don't want to rush either of us. Feel free to ask for clarification on anything I said.

jdlongmire said...

Just wanted to thank Gray and John Wooten for their posts.

...and to make it an even 100!

:D

-JD

Suinimra said...

john wooten,
Thanks for your time again. To respond to this:
"in my experience, it is best to reject the use of analogies, because they are simply substituties for the real thing"
Let me briefly state that the bible is full of analogies. I believe God designed the world to instruct us (good works are as gold, silver, precious stones, the devil is as a roaring lion, the kingdom of heaven is like unto...etc.). So you should modify your experience and bring your thoughts in subjection. As a matter of fact I picked the feast analogy from Matt.22, the wedding supper parable. There were men who were bidden to come to the wedding feast (the kingdom of heaven) but would not. It is this problem restated- "Christ died for your sins" (the gospel) preached to people for whom he did not in actuality die. Yet he commissioned this be preached to every creature, for most of whom it isn't true.
Here again is what I posted:

"If God invited men to the supper (a genuine offer with an actual meal) and they reject it, he is more merciful than one who knew they couldn't come and didn't genuinely desire them to come (total depravity) and didn't really have anything prepared for them (limited atonement)."

What I mean by no genuine desire under T (TULIP), was simply that he hated them due to their depravity and has no desire for them to be at the feast. Now you responded with this:
"but as a Calvinist, it just doesn't make sense. Here is my Calvinist interpretation of this. First, the men reject it before the offer is even made"
That indeed doesn't make sense, "reject it before it is made". I admit Calvinism can be confusing. Even Calvinists have trouble, for example- JDLongmires statement "Brother - God's mercy provided a means of escape to those He knew would take it." Is that consistent with Calvinism? I didn't think so.

You ended here:
"I hope you take this post in the spirit in which it was given. I want to make sure you understand the Calvinist position"
No offence taken. I want to make sure I understand it too. In Calvinist discussions with myself and others, the 'you don't understand Calvinism' phrase is cited more frequently then the bible. And when "men reject it before the offer is even made" types of statements are asserted, assuming some type of time travel/inter-dimensional style, I wonder if it is even possible for a non-calvinist (and some JD calvinists) to understand Calvinism.

Bookborn said...

For a good exercise on how to NOT be a melodramaqueen crybaby, head over to www.aomin.org and listen to James White's Dividing Line program as to why he won't be debating. It's such a soap opera.
Sounds like this...
"I KNOW THE *VERY* LINE in Brazil IN WHICH HE, Tom Ascol (my good friend and fellow apologetic laborer) IS PRESENTLY STANDING. I HAVE BEEN IN *THAT VERY* LINE! I handed out several Shorter Catechisms in that *VERY* airport! I even debated Customs about the legitimacy of the security of my luggage. He was not willing to engage in meaningful dialogue, but proceeded into bombastic rhetoric (not unlike the Caners might I add) in his *NATIVE* tongue!!!! Unbelievable. Simply Unbelievable! Why, I cannot comprehend, conceive, fathom, such an act. Rich, have you ever witnessed such absurdity in the literally hundeds if not thousands of airports I have utilized? I cannot remember the specific number of airports, but I can assure you - they are *LEGION*.Amazing. Simply amazing."
I SO wanted to see this debate. Only 45 minutes away. Sigh. Peradventure the Lord shall grant them repentance and reconciliation.

John Wootten said...

Let me briefly state that the bible is full of analogies. I believe God designed the world to instruct us (good works are as gold, silver, precious stones, the devil is as a roaring lion, the kingdom of heaven is like unto...etc.). So you should modify your experience and bring your thoughts in subjection. As a matter of fact I picked the feast analogy from Matt.22, the wedding supper parable. There were men who were bidden to come to the wedding feast (the kingdom of heaven) but would not.

I agree that analogies are sometimes useful, but to my knowledge, the purpose of an analogy, even when used in Scripture, is to explain a difficult concept to someone who is either completely foreign to the subject, or for some reason is unable to comprehend the subject. This is why on several occasions Jesus would use a parable when addressing a crowd, but later would more plainly explain it to his disciples, who would no doubt benefit from a greater understanding because of more consistent exposure to Jesus’ teachings.

A literary device is simply a tool for communication, and between us, and on the topic of salvation, it gets in the way by making unclear, non-analogous connections that are unnecessary. There is nothing sacred about a literary device just because it is found in scripture.

In addition, it is unwise to make the habit of assigning detail to every part of a story. Parables, for instance, teach a single point, not a different point in every detail.

As I said before, we are separated by very little in terms of communicating our beliefs about salvation. There is no need for analogies.

It is this problem restated- "Christ died for your sins" (the gospel) preached to people for whom he did not in actuality die. Yet he commissioned this be preached to every creature, for most of whom it isn't true.

What was Jesus thinking when he died? If he knew that many would reject him, did he not intend to only save “whosoever will”? My point is, the genuine offer is not just an argument against Calvinist, but anyone who believes in an omniscient God.

Here is an analogy for you: from time to time, I like to bake things to take to my coworkers. I offer the treats to everyone, yet when I bake them, I don’t make enough for every single person because I know that not everyone will eat them (several people are on diets, and a couple have diabetes.) Is my offer for everyone to take a cookie or piece of cake now insincere because I knew that not everyone would take part?

Using your terms, how is God more loving in making provisions and a way of escape for everyone, when He knows with absolute certainty that most will not take it? Would God not be even MORE loving if He altered the circumstances of the future so that more people would take advantage of the provisions and ways of escape?

Here again is what I posted:

"If God invited men to the supper (a genuine offer with an actual meal) and they reject it, he is more merciful than one who knew they couldn't come and didn't genuinely desire them to come (total depravity) and didn't really have anything prepared for them (limited atonement)."

What I mean by no genuine desire under T (TULIP), was simply that he hated them due to their depravity and has no desire for them to be at the feast.


You have the tulip pointed in the wrong direction. What I mean is that total depravity doesn’t deal with what God does, but what man does. God’s hatred of sin is not a view native only to Calvinism. Total depravity states that every aspect of man’s nature is fallen due to sin. It has no effect on God’s attitude toward sinners, as he hates all sinners and requires everyone to repent.

It deals with the fact that we are slaves to sin. As Spurgeon said, “Sin is sovereign till sovereign grace dethrones it.” It’s kind of like the opposite of the modern notion of free will.

In fact, the reason the Synod of Dordrecht developed it was in response to the Remonstrance’s belief, attributed to Pelagius, and also Arminius, that every aspect of human nature were affected by the Fall EXCEPT the will. The state of the will was somehow protected from the effects of sin, and held and maintained in a perfect, pre-Fall state, and was still able (hence the Synod refered to Total Depravity as “total inability”) to respond to God without faith or regeneration.

Now you responded with this:
"but as a Calvinist, it just doesn't make sense. Here is my Calvinist interpretation of this. First, the men reject it before the offer is even made"

That indeed doesn't make sense, "reject it before it is made". I admit Calvinism can be confusing. Even Calvinists have trouble, for example- JDLongmires statement "Brother - God's mercy provided a means of escape to those He knew would take it." Is that consistent with Calvinism? I didn't think so.


That is irresistible grace with a dash of unconditional election.

What I stated is completely different. What I meant was that, due to man’s fallen will (total depravity) God doesn’t make an offer for salvation and then it gets rejected.

Before God made a way of escape, we had already rejected God's position over us. So God made the provision both while we were already rejecting everything else about God, and fully knowing that every single person would reject that provision.

We rejected God’s authority and rebelled against Him from the womb. David recognized this when he said “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:5) and also “The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies” (Psalm 58:3).

So what I meant was that we rejected God (we sinned against God, thus deserved damnation) before the feast (salvation) was ever offered.

You essentially said, by way of analogy, that God offering salvation to everyone but not securing it for anyone was more loving than God who “knew they couldn't come and didn't genuinely desire them to come (total depravity) and didn't really have anything prepared for them (limited atonement).”(I’m still not sure how that statement applies to Calvinism)

God obviously knew they couldn't come. You're assuming the lack of a genuine desire, and again, there was no "them" to have anything prepared for (unconditional election).

No offence taken. I want to make sure I understand it too. In Calvinist discussions with myself and others, the 'you don't understand Calvinism' phrase is cited more frequently then the bible.

This is proven true by some of Bookborn’s earlier statements. With similar arguments used against Calvinism, there is no need for me to offer a biblical explanation because I don’t hold to those beliefs. I would stand WITH Bookborn against someone who practices infant baptism or believes that heresy is sufficient grounds for execution.


And when "men reject it before the offer is even made" types of statements are asserted, assuming some type of time travel/inter-dimensional style, I wonder if it is even possible for a non-calvinist

Haha, now that’s a serious misunderstanding of Calvinism :)

Although it would be helpful if we could go back and ask Paul exactly what he meant!

And if it helps to clear things up, what I meant was that I rejected God long before I stepped foot in a church building or heard a presentation of the Gospel. And even then, I rejected God’s offer of grace for a long time before I chose to be saved.

(and some JD calvinists) to understand Calvinism.

Before you assume that your understanding of Calvinism is more correct than Mr. Longmire’s, you should ask him to clarify. You may have already done so, since I have skipped over several posts due to time constraints. But the portions of his posts you have quoted seem to accurately describe Calvinism.

John Wootten said...

Bookborn, that was an ad hominem.

Bookborn said...
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Bookborn said...

John, thou hast well said (re: the ad hominem) and rightly judged.
Listen to the Dividing Line and see if that is not an accurate observation though. It's kinda funny. Reverse, Arminius, have you heard it yet?

John Wootten said...

Bookborn, I was refering to the literary device. Your eisegesis extends all the way to the comments section of the Founders blog.

Bookborn said...

John, you said, "I agree that analogies are sometimes useful, but to my knowledge, the purpose of an analogy, even when used in Scripture, is to explain a difficult concept to someone who is either completely foreign to the subject, or for some reason is unable to comprehend the subject. This is why on several occasions Jesus would use a parable when addressing a crowd, but later would more plainly explain it to his disciples, who would no doubt benefit from a greater understanding because of more consistent exposure to Jesus’ teachings."
John, Parables are to make difficult subjects easier to understand? That was a blunder, brother, and especially from a Calvinist of all people. You might want to reconsider that statement in light of Matthew 13:10-15 and Mark 4:11-12. The purpose of parables WAS NOT TO CLARIFY, but just the opposite. How readest thou?
Here's Matthew 13:10-15"
10And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?

11He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

12For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.

13Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

14And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

15For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. "
Here's Mark 4:11-12"
11And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:

12That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them."

PARABLES ARE NOT TO MAKE A SUBJECT EASIER, BUT MORE DIFFICULT.
This is why doctrine is line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little - so it CAN BE EASIER TO UNDERSTAND? No, so that they can be taken back and snared! The Bible is booby-trapped and will catch the wise in their own craftiness.
Here's the entire Isaiah quote: Isaiah 28:13.
"But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken."

If you have ears to hear, you will receive instruction, John.

jdlongmire said...

Ah, divide and conquer!

He didn't provide a means of escape for them...

Brother - God's mercy provided a means of escape to those He knew would take it. He is not inefficient, nor bound by time, nor taken by surprise.

They escape because He IRRESISTIBLy makes it so for the Elect:

This explains the fact that there are two calls. There is not only an outward call; there is also an inward call. The outward call may be described as "words of the preacher", and this call, when it goes forth, may work a score of different ways in a score of different hearts producing a score of different results. One thing it will not do, however; it will not work a work of salvation in a sinner's soul. For a work of salvation to be wrought the outward call must be accompanied by the inward call of God's Holy Spirit, for He it is who "convinces of sin, and righteousness, and judgment." And when the Holy Spirit calls a man, or a woman, or a young person by His grace, that call is irresistible: it cannot be frustrated; it is the manifestation of God's irresistible grace.

This is substantiated again and again in God's Word of Life, as for example in the following verses and portions.

1. "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me, and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out" [John 6.37]. Note that it is those whom the Father has "given to Christ" — the elect — that "shall come" to Him; and when they come to Him they will not be "cast out".

2. "No man can come to me except the Father which hath sent me draw him" [John 6.44]. Here our Lord is simply saying that it is impossible for men to come to Him of themselves; the Father must "draw" them.

3. "Every man, therefore, that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me" [John 6.45]. Men may hear the outward call; but it is those who have "learned of the Father" who will respond and come to Christ. So, with Simon Peter: "Blessed art thou Simon Bar-Jona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but thy Father, which is in heaven."

4. "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" [Rom 8.14].

5. "But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by His grace . . ." [Gal 1.15].

6. "But ye are a chosen generation . . . that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light" [1 Pet 2.9].

7. "But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus . . ." [1 Pet 5.10].

One outstanding illustration of this teaching of irresistible grace, or effectual calling, is certainly the incident that we read in Acts 16. The apostle Paul preaches the gospel to a group of women by the riverside at Philippi; and as he does so, "a certain woman named Lydia heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things that were spoken of Paul." Paul, the preacher, spoke to Lydia's ear — the outward call; but the Lord spoke to Lydia's heart — the inward call of irresistible grace.


http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/fivepointsseaton.html

BTW - I only use Calvinism as a term of art - I am a biblicist.

-JD

Bookborn said...

I forgot the other part of Isaiah 28 which helps clarify matters....
Isaiah 28:9,10,13:
9Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.

10For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:

13But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.


John, not sure what you mean by the eisegesis statement. Can you clarify? And not with a parable please. But I have observed that many an alleged exegesis resulted in "exit Jesus".
Selah.

jdlongmire said...
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jdlongmire said...

had to fix the link from above:

http://tinyurl.com/ghzdv

jdlongmire said...

John Wooten said:...the purpose of an analogy, even when used in Scripture, is to explain a difficult concept to someone who is either completely foreign to the subject, or for some reason is unable to comprehend the subject. This is why on several occasions Jesus would use a parable when addressing a crowd, but later would more plainly explain it to his disciples, who would no doubt benefit from a greater understanding because of more consistent exposure to Jesus’ teachings.

bookborn said: PARABLES ARE NOT TO MAKE A SUBJECT EASIER, BUT MORE DIFFICULT.


Matthew Henry said:

Christ taught in parables. Thereby the things of God were made more plain and easy to those willing to be taught, and at the same time more difficult and obscure to those who were willingly ignorant.


I think John is more accurate.

-JD

Suinimra said...

john wooten,
Let me ask you to rethink this:
"I agree that analogies are sometimes useful...There is nothing sacred about a literary device just because it is found in scripture."
I doubt you know anything much if at all without thinking in similitutes. That is how people learn, it is how God designed the world, and it is how God teaches us in the bible.

Let me commend you on dodging and swerving all of the points I set forth. And then trying unsuccessfully to use another analogy stating:

"I offer the treats to everyone, yet when I bake them, I don’t make enough for every single person because I know that not everyone will eat them"
That is not Calvinism. Total depravity says no one will eat them! Calvinism says no one will eat them because they don't have mouths, you create mouths for only the ones you want to enjoy the cookies.(regenerate them so they can believe). You then condemn the others for not appreciating your cookie offer.
Now you did make a good point here:
"Would God not be even MORE loving if He altered the circumstances of the future so that more people would take advantage of the provisions and ways of escape?"
This is basically the problem of evil argument unbelievers use. It may work against Calvinism but if God has provided sufficient revelation and everyone can genuinely be saved the argument loses it's potency.
You continue:
"So what I meant was that we rejected God (we sinned against God, thus deserved damnation) before the feast (salvation) was ever offered."
This doesn't address the problem, read it again.
Again you state:
"God who “knew they couldn't come and didn't genuinely desire them to come (total depravity) and didn't really have anything prepared for them (limited atonement).”(I’m still not sure how that statement applies to Calvinism)"
Maybe you are the one that doesn't understand Calvinism.

Bookborn does it sound to you like these people understand Calvinism or are they trying to modify it to ease their conscience?
Thanks

Suinimra said...

Bookborn,
I think you were being accused of an Ad Hominem argument fallacy by John Wooten. But you were not making an argument and thus could not be using an ad hominem fallacy.

I did listen to Whites 45 minute explanation of why he was not coming over to play anymore. I don't understand the guy, he boasts about taking on both Caners by himself at first then develops alot thinner skin by the end. I did find it amusing.

Bookborn said...

"Bookborn does it sound to you like these people understand Calvinism or are they trying to modify it to ease their conscience?"
Well, these pseudoCalvinists out here are more like WannaBeCalvinists. Calvinism carries a specific connotation. This New Revised Calvinism is better though. These are the SBC brand of Calvinism, and it's kinda watered-down Reformed. SBC Calvinists, from what I can gather from this blog, haven't gone downstream far enough in their philosophical stream of logic (Amen). The Phelps are consistent with their Calvinism in this respect (God raised up homosexuals for the sole purpose of damning them, and hates most people, you're going to hell and there's nothing you can do about it if you are nonelect, they glory in the fact that people are going to hell because they want to be godly and God damns them from eternity to the praise of His glorious justice, etc.). The Phelps are honest Calvinists. My original two posts that sounded so offensive to this moderately Reformed group would not be very offensive to people at my father-in-law's church (Reformed church). One brother there told me that homosexuals were all vessels of wrath and there may truly be a 'gay gene' by God's design (fitted for destruction/foreordained to this condemnation). Also, a little girl at their church was singing "Jesus loves the little children of the world" and her mother said, "No, honey. Jesus loves the ELECT little children of the world." Well, at least she is honest to her Calvinism. Seems people seek a semantic way of escape to ease their conscience. On the one hand, God pre-decreed literally everything, and then they cry strawman when you say Satan is really God in disguise. Can Satan do anything in Calvin's worldview that wasn't decreed in eternity? Thus, he's but a puppet. Then, they say "Let's just focus on the doctrines of grace" (5 points). The TULIP's were assimilated long after the Institutes were penned, and his Institutes cover more than just 5 points. We are dealing with more tolerable Calvinists out here. Fenceriding Reformers. So, statements like "God doesn't hate most people" and "God is still loving them when He doesn't choose them" and "God doesn't take pleasure in the death of the wicked" will abound in these here parts. Seems Common Grace in true Calvinism is just God fattening folks up for the slaughter since according to Romans they are just treasuring up more and more wrath until death (hell is getting hotter the longer they live and sin). How loving and how merciful to extend common grace unto them and prolong their days so He can make hell hotter for them. Would make a good invitation call at a sermon's end, eh? Speaking of which, do you guys believe in leading people to the Lord, and offering invitations at the end of sermons (means?)? The Reformers I know personally do not, but they get their Calvinism from Augustine, Calvin, Luther, Westminster, etc. One reason it's hard for one to understand Calvinism is that it seems hard to nail one's beliefs down. A reformed pastor told me that when he sins, God had preplanned this, but then later in the conversation got mad at me for saying we are automatons (slaves to His secret command). I dropped a pencil and he said that it was pre-decreed in eternity. But I asked if I can blame God for my sin and he said "Absolutely not!" Go figure. I can sin independent of His Sovereign's will but not drop a pencil independent of His Omnipotent will. Glad God didn't predecree that I jab that pencil into his arm. Glad I didn't feel so 'lead.' If I did that, I bet he'd blame me and not God.

Bookborn said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bookborn said...

John,
Explain this:
"Would God not be even MORE loving if He altered the circumstances of the future so that more people would take advantage of the provisions and ways of escape?"
I've never heard it on this wise.

Reverse Arminius. Ever noticed how among Reformed, there is not a mishap atom in the universe, and God is in control of every single detail, except preserving a perfect Bible?
Reminds me of the New Agers who say that everybody is a god. You are a god, I'm a god. We're all gods. But when asked about Jesus' deity, they'll say, "Well, Jesus never really claimed to be God."
Everybody gets to be God but Jesus.
God's in control of everything, but all our Bibles have errors in them (??) We just need the priesthood of scholarship or Matthew Henry to shed light.
God's in control of every single detail and predecreed all things, and yet they argue with you or accuse you of being wrong. (??)
"You just don't understand Calvinism." Dave Hunt was accused of that after writing 'What love is this?' and is still to this day accused of that very thing (go online and see). Again, the esoteric, "intiate" enlightenment that only those in the club can access. I don't comprestand. "Mind not high things, but condescend to me of low estate." Rom. 12.
It is too high for me, I cannot attain unto it.

jdlongmire said...

bookborn - your rhetoric continues to amaze me - you continue to mischaracterize and twist truth into stacks and stacks of self-serving strawmen - even to the point of expressing admiration for a group of obvious hyper-calvinists???

Of course, this is the common tactic of those that have more interest in their sovereignty over salvation and belief in blind chance than God's sovereignty.

You would make an excellent bedfellow with atheists, since they believe THEY are masters of their own destiny and that the universe is ruled by chance.

It's a pride thing and very sad to see.

-JD

Suinimra said...

Yeah Bookborn,
You are way too proud. You should be humble like me. I am very pleased with my level of humility. You should follow my example, I am not as other men are. And I think that my behavior would serve you well as a good example.
Thank me.

jdlongmire said...

Ugh - I hate weak analogies...but...

s-man said:

That is not Calvinism. Total depravity says no one will eat them! Calvinism says no one will eat them because they don't have mouths, you create mouths for only the ones you want to enjoy the cookies.(regenerate them so they can believe). You then condemn the others for not appreciating your cookie offer.


You mistake is in your first sentence - no-one WOULD (not will) eat them - an important distinction:

All are brownie rejectors and keep their mouths tightly shut against brownies (Total Depravity) - He makes the free brownies (Unconditional Election) specifically for those he foreknew would eat (Limited Atonement - Particular Redemption) - he has made them so irresistably good and good for them that those with brownie lover genes, once they have seen them, have no choice but to open their mouths and eat them (Irresistable Grace) - and they continue to eat them and it does them no dietary harm, in fact, they keep eating in spite of the fact that they are despised and persecuted by the brownie rejectors (Perseverance of the Saints).

(I can really get into this analogy, having the brownie lover gene!)


Still weak, though.

"False Analogy", its common name, is very misleading. Analogies are neither true nor false, instead they come in degrees from near identity to extreme dissimilarity. Here are two important points about analogy:

No analogy is perfect, that is, there is always some difference between analogs. Otherwise, they would not be two analogous objects, but only one, and the relation would be one of identity, not analogy.
There is always some similarity between any two objects, no matter how different. For example, Lewis Carroll once posed the following nonsense riddle:
How is a raven like a writing desk?

The point of the riddle was that they're not; alike, that is. However, to Carroll's surprise, some of his readers came up with clever solutions to the supposedly unsolvable riddle, for instance:

Because Poe wrote on both.

Some arguments from analogy are based on analogies that are so weak that the argument is too weak for the purpose to which it is put. How strong an argument needs to be depends upon the context in which it occurs, and the use that it is intended to serve. Thus, in the absence of other evidence, and as a guide to further research, even a very weak analogical argument may be strong enough. Therefore, while the strength of an argument from analogy depends upon the strength of the analogy in its premisses, it is not solely determined by that strength.


http://www.fallacyfiles.org/wanalogy.html


-JD

Bookborn said...

jd, I twisted no truth whatsoever. I didn't express admiration for the Phelps, but only pointed out that they are honest Calvinists (ie. true to their Calvinism). They preach that God hates everybody except the elect. They preach it isn't really good news (only to the elect), but the worst news one can possibly imagine: go to their site - they say you are going to hell and there is NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT (total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, etc.). I don't admire Calvinism at all. I admire you more than the Phelps. They are totally depraved and you are only partially depraved.
No Calvinist admits to being a hyperCalvinist. God raised up the Phelps so that all you Calvinists, regardless of how steeped into Calvinism you get, you can always say, "At least I'm not as hyper as the Phelps." This helps you relax in your theological state of delusion, waiting for God to overthrow nonexistent wills, pretending that everything is just His will, when your every deed and action and word will be brought into judgement.

You said, "Of course, this is the common tactic of those that have more interest in their sovereignty over salvation and belief in blind chance than God's sovereignty. You would make an excellent bedfellow with atheists, since they believe THEY are masters of their own destiny and that the universe is ruled by chance.

It's a pride thing and very sad to see."
Do you not see your own confusion and contradiction? You accuse me of thinking that I have free will and there is chance. (Ecclesiastes says "Time and chance happeneth to them all." Eccl 9:11 and JESUS said in Luke 10:31 "And BY CHANCE there came down a certain priest..." Jesus knows a little more than you last I checked.) You say I think I am my ruler and imply there is no chance. AND THEN YOU SAY... "It's a pride thing and very sad to see." If there is no chance, God has not exacted upon Himself any limitations such as freewill (like in the fact that He limited Himself by never destroying the earth by water again and when Jesus didn't know the time of His second coming in Mark 13:32), then why call me proud and what's with the long face? You mean I can do something independent of the Sovereign's will? You want to have it both ways, and the pride of thine heart hath blinded thee. In essence you are saying, God is absolutely in control of absolutely everything, but it's a shame God made Bookborn proud and made me sad to behold such a thing. Either pick fresh water or salt. You imply, "Oh yeah? Well, you're just in bed with an Atheist. That's what YOU are."
Listen, if Calvinism is true, atheists who don't repent, don't repent because God never granted them repentance or irresistably drew them. Know why? He chose to damn them before Genesis 1:1, before time, in eternity. The wrath of God abideth upon them NOW. They are NOW by nature the children of wrath. They are of their father the Devil. The good news (gospel) is to be preached to them, although IT'S THE WORST NEWS THEY COULD EVER HEAR. This choice TO DAMN THEM AND NOT TO ELECT THEM was made BEFORE THEY DID ANY GOOD OR EVIL using Calvinistic interpretion of Romans 9. God hates the wicked (Ps.5:5). Proverbs speaks of 'the abhorred of the Lord.' Proverbs speaks of people that He hates in Proverbs 6. A nonrepentant atheist was born in Adam's sin, and no blood is available for him, God didn't choose Him to be glorified, but HORRIFIED, and to burn eternally under the wrath and Holy Hatred of God for all eternity - to the praise of His glorious Justice. And this is HYPER? Brother, this is 'the doctrines of Grace.' Are you saying otherwise?
This is John Calvin. Have you ever sat down to read the Institutes? If you didn't see his name on it, you'd probably say, "This is some hyperCalvinist; can't believe such extreme." John Calvin might be a tad more knowledgeable about Calvinism than you. Check him out. Now, think a moment, JD. Your theological God is COMPLETELY SOVEREIGN OVER EVERY ATOM IN THE UNIVERSE. He can't limit Himself in any way (say, with free will for example for a probabionary period of time). Correct? There is no mishap atom. There is no chance. And yet you argue. You say I'm proud. How can I be anything but what YOUR THEOLOGICAL GOD WANTS ME TO BE? You express anger about atheists. What can you possibly do to thwart His eternal decree(s)? What can the atheist do? Wait for the overthrowing of the will he doesn't have?
When you stand before God, you will give account for your life. You won't be able to blame God for your life; you'll be responsible.
The Bible says, "In everthing give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." Do you give thanks in EVERYTHING? And you insist that God's will is always accomplished on the one hand, and insist that it is not on the other. A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. Stop unconciously blaming God on everything, JD.

Bookborn said...

arminius backwards,
Maybe after years and years of study we can be as intelligent and wise and understanding in the depths of Calvin as the likes of JD. After nearly 2 decades of studying Calvinism, I just don't understand it according to them. And the more we explore the depths of Calvin, we'll too be so humble like JD. It really just depends on the Sovereign's will though.

JD's so HUMBLE,see him on his face!
And we've YET to begin the race!
If only the Decree allowed
for me NOT to be so proud,
Understanding Doctrines of Grace.


To attain such heights of humility as JD! We're proud of ya, JD. Oops! There I go again. I'm PLEASED with you.

John Wootten said...

I doubt you know anything much if at all without thinking in similitutes. That is how people learn, it is how God designed the world, and it is how God teaches us in the bible.

If you really want to go that deep, then even talking in more mature, straightforward terms like “salvation” is a similitude. As I said before, literary devices are tools. We’re expressing an idea, whether we choose a device like a parable, analogy, hyperbole, narrative, or whatever. We could also use a different language, or we could choose a specific reading level. I think God’s use of anthropomorphisms throughout the Bible are the greatest example of what your saying here, so certainly I agree. However, can we not choose the devices that most clearly and effectively convey our ideas?

I could cut down a tree with a kitchen knife, but it would be much more effective to use a chainsaw.

Let me commend you on dodging and swerving all of the points I set forth.


It was certainly unintentional. Please point out which points I dodged and swerved, and I promise I will devote my entire next post to them.


And then trying unsuccessfully to use another analogy stating:

"I offer the treats to everyone, yet when I bake them, I don’t make enough for every single person because I know that not everyone will eat them"
That is not Calvinism. Total depravity says no one will eat them!



How is this analogy unsuccessful?

This is limited atonement. You are correct about Total Depravity, that no one will eat them, however that was not the point of my analogy. You have chosen analogies to dialogue, so you must abide by their limitations.


Calvinism says no one will eat them because they don't have mouths, you create mouths for only the ones you want to enjoy the cookies.(regenerate them so they can believe). You then condemn the others for not appreciating your cookie offer.


No, that is incorrect. Within the analogy, those who don’t eat them have other reasons. But they have all the faculties necessary to eat them: mouths, appetites, tastebuds, sweet tooth, etc. Regeneration deals with changing their appetites to want those specific cookies (irresistible grace).

Now you did make a good point here:
"Would God not be even MORE loving if He altered the circumstances of the future so that more people would take advantage of the provisions and ways of escape?"
This is basically the problem of evil argument unbelievers use. It may work against Calvinism but if God has provided sufficient revelation and everyone can genuinely be saved the argument loses it's potency.


I’m not making this argument here. I’m bringing it up as a tangent to my argument that God can not do anything to be more loving than he already is, so it doesn’t make sense to judge God’s love based on his perceived actions in saving sinners.

You have not yet addressed this point.


You continue:
"So what I meant was that we rejected God (we sinned against God, thus deserved damnation) before the feast (salvation) was ever offered."
This doesn't address the problem, read it again.



I’m not sure how this doesn’t address the problem. You’re saying that Calvinism teaches God rejected people because of their total depravity. I’m saying that Calvinism teaches that total depravity means that man rejected God prior to the offer of salvation.

If this is incorrect, then please restate the problem.


Again you state:
"God who “knew they couldn't come and didn't genuinely desire them to come (total depravity) and didn't really have anything prepared for them (limited atonement).”(I’m still not sure how that statement applies to Calvinism)"
Maybe you are the one that doesn't understand Calvinism.


The full context of what I said was:

You essentially said, by way of analogy, that God offering salvation to everyone but not securing it for anyone was more loving than God who “knew they couldn't come and didn't genuinely desire them to come (total depravity) and didn't really have anything prepared for them (limited atonement).”(I’m still not sure how that statement applies to Calvinism)

God obviously knew they couldn't come. You're assuming the lack of a genuine desire, and again, there was no "them" to have anything prepared for (unconditional election).


How does this demonstrate my misunderstanding of Calvinism?

John Wootten said...

Bookborn:

If you have ears to hear, you will receive instruction, John.

Do you not think your character and behavior in this comments section disqualify you from giving me sound instruction?

If I cannot trust you to honestly, and with integrity, account for my own beliefs, which are inconsequential, then how can I trust you to accurately convey the matters of Scripture, which are of eternal consequence?

All you have demonstrated to me is that you care nothing for my soul, but only to mock the beliefs of others and exalt your own beliefs. I find this behavior incompatible for anyone in your position, and I request that you refrain from referring to me in any of your future posts.

Bookborn said...

Somebody out here (won't point any fingers) sounds a lot like James White's dividing line. In essence, "You guys have hurt my feelings and didn't show me the respect of which I am worthy, so don't ever talk to me again." I guess that makes us pre-embryos or fetuses in contrast. Maybe someday we'll grow up into the doctrines of Grace and be babies/toddlers. "I'm not gonna share my Lincoln Logs with you. I'm gonna close my eyes and you'll go away. I'll put my Binkie in my mouth and ignore you."
I simply pointed out that parables are designed to confuse and confound. Read the verses again. Receive instruction from God's word. Don't be so proud you can't admit you are wrong. Yea, let God be true, and every man a liar.
Arminius backwards, since John won't come out and play & allow me to partake in his Little Tykes Waffle Blocks, what sayest thou? Are parables designed to clarify matters?
How readest thou?
Here's Matthew 13:10-15"
10And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?

11He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

12For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.

13Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

14And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

15For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. "
Here's Mark 4:11-12"
11And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:

12That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them."

J. Gray said...

Wow...I go away for the weekend and there are like 50 more posts to weed through.

suinimra,

Nice job not answering any of my questions.

I simply asked for scriptural support for your previous comment about God having to save more than he damns in order to be considered loving...then you act like I'm putting words in your mouth.

You said it.

Defend it.

bookborn, nice attack on james White. It seems you've misrepresented him and the reason the debate won't take place. Not a shock. Are you sure you aren't a Caner? Your inability to discuss an issue without mockery and personal attacks/comments are straight out of the Caner playbook. Next thing you know you'll be setting up debates and then waiting until 2 weeks out to change the rules. Sad.

Figures the Caners would change the rules...they couldn't even argue their original thesis, seeing as it was non-sense...now they know they would get embarassed and so they change the rules. Seems like them....if the fights not rigged in their favor, get out of it...but somehow try and make the other people look bad in the process. With brothers in Christ like them, who needs enemies.

Bookborn said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bookborn said...

Gray, if you can't address me with dignity and honor, then I'm telling my Mommy.
Go and listen to White's Dividing Line at www.aomin.org; it's funny.
I didn't say the Caners were angels, but White's response is amusing.
I'm not Caner - will you quit thinking that? Caner teaches that everybody on earth with breath in his nostrils is a candidate for salvation. This was on his "Why God predestined that I not be a Hypercalvinist" sermon in recent months. This concept is foreign to scripture since there really are reprobates and people who have committed the sin unto death (don't even pray for them, etc.).

John Wootten said...

I didn't come here to play, or to display the depths of my ignorance and arrogance.

I'm looking for serious dialogue.

My feelings are not hurt, and I am certainly not leaving the discussion.

I simply refuse to participate if all you're going to do is babble off a bunch of childish mockery.

I'm weary of searching through hundreds of words worth of your confusing, off-topic rants only to find malicious criticism. Take the picture of mine you have altered and set as your default picture, http://img518.imageshack.us/img518/250/johncalvinlk8.jpg.

I have witnessed similar behavior by juveniles on MySpace, but I find it discouraging that it would find its way to the Founders Blog.

I plan to stay, in moderation, in hopes that others will have the integrity, honesty, and maturity to talk about our theological differences.

Bill Formella said...

Quite honestly I had become so disgusted with what was transpiring on this post that I stayed away from it. However, I'll post one last message and move on to more important ones. I truly think we should just let this one die as I believe our opponents really aren't interested in an open discussion but are just looking for an opportunity to fire cluster bombs.

The one thing that strikes me about the grotesque way bookborn and so many other opponents to a biblical understanding of the Sovereignty of God portray it is their insistance that God's ordaining something to be means he must be acting by way of simple puppetry. If God ordained that Adam and Eve fall into sin then He must have "caused" it in the same way that a puppeteer causes a puppet to move his arms and legs, making God the author of sin. My question is why is it so difficult to accept that there is a mystery here that we can't comprehend? Is it not possible for God to ordain something that man "freely" chooses to do in such a way that makes him truly responsible for his own actions?

Take Joseph and his brothers. Scriptur certainly teaches that God "meant" it for good in the same way the brothers "meant" it for evil. He ordained that this situation would happen. Does that mean he actually reached down and put the evil desire into the hearts of the brothers? I don't believe that for a minute.

Bookborn, your foolish reformed friend may believe that God puts "gay genes" into people to make them homosexuals, but that is nowhere found in scripture and to try to tie it to what we believe is unfair and you know it. I've known some very disturbing people from within the Christian Reformed and Reformed Church in America denominations as well. (However, I'm sure there are some solid believers to go along with them.) In fact, Robert Schuller church belongs to one of those denominations. I've also met a few evolutionay hyper-calvinists that believed that world was governed by god ordained naturalism, supposedly to His glory. There are foolish extremists shooting out from every theological vein, but you won't find any of us believing that garbage.

I'm going to leave this post by suggesting four articles available at www.desiringGod.org:

Are There Two Wills in God?

Is God Less Glorious For Ordaining that Evil Be?

How Does A Sovereign God Love?

What We Believe About The Five Points of Calvinism.

I recommend that every one print these out, make copies, and use them with your friends that are asking the same types of questions...hopefully with a little more respect and courtesy.

Suinimra said...

Open question:
Do you guys have any verses besides Rom.5:12 which indicate that we sinned in Adam? Not that we are made sinners or die in Adam, but that we sinned in Adam?
Thanks.

Suinimra said...

john wooten,
I think we will just have to agree to disagree. I don't have the time to devote to this as I had hoped.
We are talking past each other a bit, but I think you guys are simply rephrasing the statements in a most favorable way. Yet with the eloquence stripped away Calvinism looks alot like Fred Phelps.
Thanks again for your time.

John Wootten said...

suinimra:

I'm afraid it's not as simple as agreeing to disagree. Much in the way of explaination bas been offer, not just by me, but by others, that has been overlooked, and apparently ignored.

You have not communicated why you disagree with the vast majority of arguments that have been presented. The conversation has been very one-sided, and I don't know what we disagree over. You still reject Calvinism while only understanding a small part of it, and apparently I have failed in conveying more understanding.

I have also suffered the consequences of spending too much time here, but my respect for the authority of God's Word compels me to face such consequences.

We are talking past each other a bit, but I think you guys are simply rephrasing the statements in a most favorable way.

This is simply a side effect of the modern lack of a complete understanding of Calvinism. I realize this seems cliche, but as you can see from your own example, the claim that Arminians don't understand Calvinism often results from the ignoring of Calvinists' explanations.

Just as a caution in your future dealings with Calvinism, in many of your analogies, you were either confusing or ignoring the implications of total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, and irresistible grace. As a last attempt, analogies make this understanding extremely difficult, as they inadequately capture the full relationship of these doctrines as they exist in reality. Unless you reform your understanding of these things, you will find future discussions equally frustrating.

Yet with the eloquence stripped away Calvinism looks alot like Fred Phelps.

Given your lack of understanding Calvinism, I realize why you think this. However, that doesn't make this statement any less false.

It appears that no one will benefit from our discussion, and I fear that neither of us gave God the full glory of our interaction.

John Wootten said...

John, not sure what you mean by the eisegesis statement. Can you clarify? And not with a parable please.

Bookborn, I have gone over our interaction, and found this question that I left unanswered.

By eisegesis, I meant reading your own meaning into what I stated. I never said that parables "are to make difficult subjects easier to understand." That is your own meaning that you inserted onto my statement that parables "teach a single point, not a different point in every detail."

Let me use this to answer another point you raised when you said:

Same with the ‘strawman’ rebut. What did I say you believe that you don’t? You’re not helping NonCalvinists to understand when you don’t sit still long enough to discern your doctrine!

What usually happens is Calvinists will make a statement about Calvinism, then you will insert your own meaning into what was said (as you did with my statement about parables), thus creating a strawman argument (a make-believe argument which you claim that I am making, even though it is completely different from what I said).

You then launch into a tirade burning down your created strawman argument, as you did in your posts from Oct 7, at 2:42pm and 2:52pm, thereby winning your "argument," all the while completely ignoring my entire actual argument.

J. Gray said...

bookborn,

Fair enough. I've given you enough grief about that. I'll let it go.



suinimra,

What if that one passage was it? Do you reject it because it's only in 1 place? Does that make it less true?

BTW, I am still waiting for your scriptural defense that God must "love more than he hates" (and by love you mean "save people" and by hate you mean "damn people") and thusly MUST save more people than he condemns to hell in order to be loving.

Stephen A Morse said...

John Wootten!

You are so right. I am proud to have you as a dear friend.

At least you got it right on our blog about bludgeoning our opponents!

I haven't seen this much rhetoric since our resident British Mithranistic atheist librarian appeared earlier this year (and even she was cordial!)

BTW... I like the "I Love Calvin" picture that they made of you better than the "I'm Humble" buttons they have on their lapels!

Why don't you invest a little more time posting and less time commenting?

Bookborn said...

John,
I never commented on your 'single point' statement re: parables. But, I've heard that argument from a pastor who said you can't teach individual truths from a parable, but only the overarching truth of the parable. This arbitrary hermeneutical principle is self-defeating. Consider the parable of the sower. The devil taketh the word. This truth can be extracted from the parable and used to prove that Satan will take God's words. The parable of the talents contains the teaching that God can reap where he hasn't sown, and gather where he hasn't strawed. Jesus taught in one parable (unjust steward), "The children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light." These are independent truths - nothing wrong with extracted single points from a parable. "ALL scripture is given by inspiration and is profitable for doctrine...etc." But I never commented on that point, but I pasted exactly what I was addressing (will repaste the entire post below). But if now you are saying that the purpose of parables was to confound and not clarify, then I will heartily Amen and no since arguing what we agree. Here's the orignal post:
John, you said, "I agree that analogies are sometimes useful, but to my knowledge, the purpose of an analogy, even when used in Scripture, is to explain a difficult concept to someone who is either completely foreign to the subject, or for some reason is unable to comprehend the subject. This is why on several occasions Jesus would use a parable when addressing a crowd, but later would more plainly explain it to his disciples, who would no doubt benefit from a greater understanding because of more consistent exposure to Jesus’ teachings."
John, Parables are to make difficult subjects easier to understand? That was a blunder, brother, and especially from a Calvinist of all people. You might want to reconsider that statement in light of Matthew 13:10-15 and Mark 4:11-12. The purpose of parables WAS NOT TO CLARIFY, but just the opposite. How readest thou?
Here's Matthew 13:10-15"
10And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?

11He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

12For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.

13Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

14And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

15For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. "
Here's Mark 4:11-12"
11And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:

12That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them."

PARABLES ARE NOT TO MAKE A SUBJECT EASIER, BUT MORE DIFFICULT.
This is why doctrine is line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little - so it CAN BE EASIER TO UNDERSTAND? No, so that they can be taken back and snared! The Bible is booby-trapped and will catch the wise in their own craftiness.
Here's the entire Isaiah quote: Isaiah 28:13.
"But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken."

Bookborn said...

I really enjoyed the Freudian slip to Arminius backwards stating, "You need to REFORM your understanding."
That's the truth. Arminius reversed, if you would just REFORM your understanding, you would then understand Calvinism.

jdlongmire said...

My last comment on this post:

http://www.reformation21.com/Reformation_21_Blog/Reformation_21_Blog/58/pm__114/vobId__4326/

A Hateful Calvinism

...Phelps-Roper is a case study in this error.

...

Obviously, this is a very extreme case of doctrinal abuse, but I wonder if the rest of us Calvinists ever sound this way, at least to some ears. After all, these are our doctrines she is perverting. Do we teach that everyone deserves to suffer God's wrath? Yes, we do -- and must. But do we teach that in a context that presents God truly? Not if we extract it from other of God's attributes, such as mercy, love, long-suffering, and goodness. Despite the shards of "truth" in Phelps-Roper's words, the God she presented looked essentially like the twisted killer who murdered those precious girls -- indeed, worse. And do we teach that man is a totally depraved sinners, a "child of wrath" who deserves to suffer eternal torment? Yes, but that truth is not true without the context of man's dignity and glory as created in the image of God and without the incarnation of God the Son. The Christian message is not "you are a worthless scum." Rather, it is "you are precious image-bearer of God, so valued by God and so tragically captured by sin that God sent his own Son to enter your race and provide for your redemption."


-JD

Suinimra said...

Gray,
Glad to see there is still some animation there, but I must encourage you to utilize that gray matter a bit more.
Somehow you think I said this:
"suinimra,
BTW, I am still waiting for your scriptural defense that God must "love more than he hates" (and by love you mean "save people" and by hate you mean "damn people") and thusly MUST save more people than he condemns to hell in order to be loving.
I did not say that or imply that. I was making the point that salvation was a legitimate offer, not that more would be saved. That for God to make a real offer that can be received or rejected shows more love than if God makes a disingenuous offer that was never possible of being received, and nothing was really being offered.

Also you ask:
"What if that one passage was it? Do you reject it because it's only in 1 place? Does that make it less true?"
Talk about jumpin' the gun. I am not convinced it teaches that. Also when you have only one verse to establish a doctrine you should be very careful of 'private interpretation'.
I feel like I should remind everyone that I write in good fun, I am not attacking gray nor his gray matter. Way too much sensitivity out here.

John Wootten said...

I really enjoyed the Freudian slip to Arminius backwards stating, "You need to REFORM your understanding."
That's the truth. Arminius reversed, if you would just REFORM your understanding, you would then understand Calvinism.


Actually, I specifically chose that word, because it's a very good and appropriate word. I'm not surprised that you are once again changing the meaning of what I said. You're assuming I post like you, with a bunch of pot-shots and off-topic snide remarks. Unfortunately, I meant what I said.

I've noticed that whenever I write a post, I end up deleting quite a bit because I try to anticipate how you will twist it. That sentence was one of them, but I decided to include it as an attempt to disassociate it from your preconditioned response to the word "reform." In this case, it means to improve or change for the better.

Suinimra said...

Open question:
Do you guys have any verses besides Rom.5:12 which indicate that we sinned in Adam? Not that we are made sinners or die in Adam, but that we sinned in Adam?
Thanks.

No Takers?

Suinimra said...

Hello?

Suinimra said...

Is everyone gone? Or just no other verses?