Sunday, January 08, 2006

Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth

Several months ago Nathan and Andrew were kind enough to provide me with scripture which they feel prove the doctrines of Calvinism. The discussion can be read here, here and here. I've studied the scriptures provided and have finally taken the time to repsond, though I do plan to make at least one more post on the subject which hopefully will be a little more cohesive.

My response to the latest discussion:

Let me preface this post by saying that when I type in all caps I am not yelling; I am merely emphasizing my point, so please take it in the spirit in which it is meant. Thank you.

Also, any emphasis to the scripture is added.

Nathan: “First off, we do choose to ‘accept Jesus’, but only after He changes our will so that we then desire spiritual things. We are unable to perform or desire spiritual things until God grants us a new nature which in turn grants us the ability for faith and repentance."

That is not completely true. We have the God-given ability to choose right from wrong and have faith enough to believe in God. (John 1:9; Romans 1-2, 12:3 (more on this later); John 12:46-48) We are all born with a conscience which is the law of God written on our hearts (Romans 2:15). We are dead in sin, but that does not mean that we cannot make a decision to do good. It simply means that our spirit is dead and that we cannot fully understand the things of God or enter the kingdom until we are born of God. Our soul (mind, will and emotions, in other words our heart) is NOT dead; therefore, we can make good decisions. I understood that I was going to Hell if I did not accept Jesus and I didn’t accept Him right off the bat, though I KNEW better. I was dead in sin. I was also a slave to sin. That doesn’t mean that I could not ask for HELP from Jesus Christ to get out of sin and to avoid Hell. There was no POWER within ME that could revive my spirit or keep me from being a slave to sin. That’s all that means. It doesn’t mean that we don’t have the ability to recognize and choose the means to get ourselves out of sin and avoid Hell. I agree that after God has given us a new spirit that we will desire and understand the things of the spirit. But HE first draws us (no autonomy here) and He has given us the ability to accept or reject him: see below. Why would God need to DRAW us if there were not some sort of decision to be made on the part of the person? Why not just QUICKEN OUR SPIRITS?!

None of us is good because we are judged by God’s standards. And yes, we are truly depraved in the eyes of a Holy and Righteous God, but being truly depraved does not mean that we cannot do good. (It is our so-called righteousness that is as filthy rags, thus the need for a savior. Our righteousness is ONLY through the applied blood of Jesus Christ.) Ted Bundy was able to do good and he was about as depraved as they come. Like I’ve stated before, if we can choose not to murder or steal, then we can certainly choose to follow the Lord Jesus when he draws us. I’m not saying that WE are good for we are not. But we DO have the ability to accept or reject Jesus. If we did not then he would not command us to repent or say that IF we would believe on Him we would have eternal life. OF HIS OWN VOLITION, God leaves the choice up to us.

John 12:46-48I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

Acts 7:51Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.

Proverbs 1:24-33Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.

John 5:38-40And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

You have twisted the word of God to mean what you want it to mean by stating that we cannot choose God without first being born of God. You do that because you believe that God has predestined people to heaven or hell due to their so-called "inability" to make a good choice. So everything is predicated upon that doctrine; a doctrine which is inherently and patently false. Being born of God is to be born again which only happens once someone has received and believed on Jesus. John 1:12-13 explains this very well.

John 1:12-13 "But as many as received him, to them GAVE he power TO BECOME the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."

ANYONE (God is no respecter of persons and God died for the WHOLE world) who RECEIVES God, God GIVES them the POWER to BECOME the sons of God. It doesn’t say that one must be born of God FIRST. Saying otherwise, now THAT would be eisegesis. The part that says, “nor of the will of man” doesn’t mean what you try to make it out to be. It simply means that through our own wills we CANNOT (meaning we have not the POWER to) make ourselves sons of God. The power is simply not in us, that is what God must GIVE us. Let the reader understand.

You say that John 1:9 doesn’t mean that the light that shines on every man that comes into the world is the light that Jesus gives in order for us to have a measure of faith, then what does it mean? (I see you’ve answered this question further down and I have responded further down.) He is the light which shines throughout our darkness. THAT is the point. Those who love darkness REFUSE to see or come to the light. They KNOW God exists, but they reject Him and are “without excuse.” How can man be "without excuse" if he has no ability to choose? He can't, not if God is a just God, and He certainly IS a just God.

Romans 12:3 is talking about faith IN GENERAL which encompasses the faith it takes to believe AS WELL AS the faith it takes to use the gifts God has given His believers. Even if the context is only speaking of the faith in accordance to the gifts (and I don’t think it is), the statement is ALSO true for faith in general. Romans 1:17 speaks of degrees of faith. And we know that faith comes by hearing the word of God. (Romans 10:17)

There are myriad scirptures which state that we have the ability to choose, to seek and to call upon the Lord without having first been born of God. I will list those in my next post.

Nathan: “Why did these Jews not understand the truth Jesus was speaking? He says the He speaks truth and because they were not of God they could not understand Him. He didn’t say they couldn’t hear God because they WOULD not hear God, He says they couldn’t hear God because they were NOT ‘of God’, or in other words, born of God.

They did not understand because they chose not to believe Jesus to be the Messiah. They were not "of God" because they chose not to believe on whom God sent to be the Messiah. (Matthew 13:15) There are many people who believe in God but who do not believe Jesus to be God come in the flesh. It is when they BELIEVE Jesus is the only way to salvation that they can THEN become the sons of God as shown in John 1:12-13. BELIEF from their God-given ability (the light that lights every man i.e., God has shown them: Romans 1:19) must come FIRST. God allows us to choose whether or not to believe (It is stated throughout the entire Bible). Their hearts were evil and they were religious. They thought just because they were born of Abraham (physically) that they were Godly people when they were only religious. God didn’t make them that way, they did it to themselves. Those who choose to disbelieve cannot understand the things of God.

So to recap: They first WOULD NOT hear and BECAUSE they would not hear they COULD NOT hear. God kept their eyes and their ears closed upon their choosing to NOT hear and choosing to NOT believe. God did not close their eyes and ears first.

Matthew 13:15 "For 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.

John 8:24I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

But of course your stance is that God arbitrarily chooses whom he gives belief to and that it is not given to every man. That is not what the Bible teaches. That interpretation is one of eisegesis and not one of exegesis. God loves the WHOLE world and He would that NONE should perish. NONE. That means NONE of mankind. US. US=Mankind, not just believers. Remember Jesus asked the Father to forgive those who crucified Him because they knew not what they had done? Who killed Jesus? The Jews that rejected Him along with the Romans. He STILL loves them and does not want them to perish, but rather wants them to repent! (Ezekiel 18:21-32)

[Edited to clarify and correct part of the first sentence in the above paragraph. It should read:

But of course your stance is that God arbitrarily chooses whom he gives belief to and that He does not give faith to every man. That is not what the Bible teaches.]

Ezekiel 18:32For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.

Nathan: “If this is a man-made doctrine, why does Jesus say that ‘all that the Father gives to Me will come to Me’? Is there the possibility that the Father will give someone to the Son and that one will fail to come to the Son?

No, like the scripture states, the Father gives to Jesus all who hear and learn of Him. (John 6:45) Those aspects are key. The parts that are man-made are the notions that God is arbitrary in his selection and that man has no freewill when it comes to accepting or rejecting Jesus. Calvinists always assert that God chooses whom HE will to go to heaven or hell out of His own good pleasure and for no apparent reason. That is NOT what the scripture teaches. It teaches that out of His good pleasure He chose to provide a way of salvation for mankind even though man does not deserve it. A way of salvation is His good pleasure, not that He sends people to heaven or hell. He LOVES us ALL.

Nathan: “Since the bible says we are dead in sins and then Christ awakens us to the light, this analogy works perfect for those who are humble enough to accept it.

I’ll humble myself and just let that jab go.

Nathan: “So we have freewill to give ourselves physical life? No, we cannot choose to give ourselves physical life. So then, if you are consistent with yourself (in the above statement), then you must affirm that we do not have the freewill to give ourselves spiritual life. Man is DEAD in his sins, and can do nothing but sin. Why would the scriptures repeatedly say we are dead if we are in fact only injured?

I affirm that we do not have the power to give ourselves spiritual life. Do we have the ability to choose spiritual life? YES! Freewill to choose to receive spiritual life is very different from actually giving spiritual life and that is where Calvinists err.

We ARE dead spiritually, but we are not dead mentally. It is our spirits which must be raised so that our souls can have true life!

Nathan: “Man’s will is enslaved to sin until we are granted spiritual life.

True, but that does not mean that we cannot choose to want out of that enslavement. You are inserting your beliefs into the biblical teachings. Again, we have the ability to not commit murder, so we certainly have the ability to choose to accept the love of Jesus who will free us from that BONDAGE of sin once we are shown through the law that we are indeed sinners and that we are in need of a savior in order to escape the penalty of hell.

Why would the bible say that the law is our schoolmaster if we are not able to see that we are evil and that we NEED a savior?

Nathan: “Paul is not talking about his response to Christ in the matter of salvation. He is talking about his obedience to PREACH the resurrected Jesus.

Touché.

Nathan: “There is nothing in the passage to suggest that God forsees anything or that the Father gives those who ‘accept Him’. The text says exactly the opposite! You are inserting your own beliefs into the text, not getting it out of the text, and that is called isegesis.

Believe on Him means to accept Him! Does it not?!

I know very well what eisegesis is and that is what Calvinism (total inabilty/irresistible grace/predestination) is based upon. I was referring to John 6:64-65 which explains 6:37-42. This could be a word of knowledge, though God does have foreknowledge of EVERYTHING. I don’t know if this scripture is saying that Jesus knew from the beginning of when He began His ministry or from the beginning of the foundation of the world. Now that I’m thinking about it is probably since His ministry because Jesus (as a man) got His information from God as in words of knowledge as in “I do as my Father tells me or I know what the Father shows me," etc.

Having said that the actual text is speaking of whom the Father gives to Jesus, though it is in no way an irresistible grace/predestination thing as taught by Calvinists. Again, the Father gives to Jesus those who truly believe.

John 6:64-65But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.

Nathan: “John 1:9 says nothing of the like. John is simply stating that God coming in the flesh gives the glimpse of the Divine to every man.

I thought it was your belief that unregenerate man cannot SEE the divine. How is it that God can give a GLIMPSE of the divine if WE, who are not born of God, CANNOT SEE? It says that Jesus LIGHTS every man. That means, as Romans 1 and 2 teach, that WE KNOW BETTER! You’re the one who is inserting their beliefs into the scripture by taking certain scriptures and not reading them with the WHOLE counsel of the word.

Romans 1:19-21Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

Please tell me how, with your theology, a man who is NOT born of God can KNOW God as this scripture reveals. The scripture is quite clear that it is MAN who puts Himself in hell because of His REFUSAL to acknowledge and obey God. True, WE cannot SAVE ourselves. It IS a gift from God. True, God GIVES us our faith, but He gives that to EVERY man. It is up to MAN to do right by it from His GOD-GIVEN abilities to CHOOSE as we ALL have a conscience and the commandments of God written on our hearts.

While you’re at it, please exegete this:

1 Timothy 2:3-4For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who desires to have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

John 3:14-21And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Deuteronomy 30:19 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.

2 Peter 2:1 “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”

Acts 3:19Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;”

Why would God command men to repent, to choose or to believe when they have no ability to do so. Isn’t it a bit absurd for Him to say things that are IMPOSSIBLE? And God makes these commands THROUGHOUT the Bible. It is what the Bible is about! It is about God’s love for every man and providing a way to salvation! I feel very sorry for anyone who cannot see the love of God in His book to us. It is SO obvious.

Nathan: “Again, your not reading the full text [John 6:37-45]. Jesus says that ALL who are called are RAISED. So then, if you believe that ALL are called, that is, every single human, then you have to believe ALL are going to be raised on the last day. That is what the text says, and I’m certain you are not a universalist.”

I think it is you who needs to read the full text. It does NOT say all who are called are raised. It says that all whom the Father GIVES Jesus will be raised. Who are the ones whom the Father gives to Jesus? Those who HEAR AND LEARN. Who are those who HEAR? Those who choose to BELIEVE. Those who choose to believe THEN LEARN and are thus BORN AGAIN. Those who refuse to hear cannot hear and are damned already.

Matthew 10:14 ”And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.

Matthew 13:15 “For 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.”

There are plenty more scriptures where God shows us that it is the people THEMSELVES who CHOOSE not to hear or see. It is because they love the darkness more than the light.

Nathan: “Again, where is any notion of ‘foreknowing’ in this text? It’s absent once again. You cannot keep inserting your own beliefs into such a clear text and expect the truth to be revealed. And no, you cannot read the text backwards. I’m not sure where you got that interpretation, but whoever provided it doesn’t know anything about Greek.”

I got the interpretation from my knowledge of the scriptures as a whole. And no, I don’t know anything much about Greek other than looking up greek words in the concordance. What? Are you a greek scholar? Must I know greek before I can exegete the scriptures? I think not. Please, Nathan, don’t let your seminary teaching go to your head and think more highly of yourself than you ought.

Nathan: “If you want to accuse me of wrongly dividing the word of truth, please show from the actual text of Acts chapter 13 where exactly your belief is stated, otherwise, your accusations are baseless."

That is precisely the problem with the doctrine of “irresistible grace/predestination,” those who hold to the belief have to take scripture out of context to prove their point while disregarding the whole of the scripture. Predestination and Grace are taught in the Bible, but not as the Calvinist would teach it. You want me to stay with Acts 13:48 because of how is SOUNDS. It SOUNDS like ONLY those whom God has “arbitrarily chosen” are ordained to eternal life. But a proper exegesis of the scripture says otherwise.

Acts 13:48 "And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed."

Who are those who are ordained to eternal life? It is those who(soever) believe and receive. (John 1:12) Romans 8:29-30 tells us that those who are ordained to eternal life ARE foreknown. Ephesians 1 shows us what exactly it was that was foreordained/predestinated. It is predestined that those who believe and receive (accept) Jesus will be saved. (Not that God arbitrarily chooses a person out of His own good pleasure. That God chose to provide a savior AT ALL was what was out of His own good pleasure. That is not to say that God does not do other things out of His own good pleasure, but this is certainly one of them.) So all that put together (a right division) is where I get my interpretation of Acts 13:48. No greek needed! Imagine that! :-D

Nathan: “So ‘breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord’ was Paul with his heart right? [Later down in verse 15]: “[Paul] is a chosen vessel of mine”. Amazing how similar this wording is to Romans 9. But you affirm that Paul could have rejected the Lord while he was lying on the road blind?"

When I say that Paul’s heart was right, I mean that he was not evil like some of the other Pharisees. Paul says he did all that he did out of ignorance and unbelief. I could be completely wrong about the condition of Paul’s heart, but that doesn’t change the fact that Paul could have rejected Jesus.

1 Timothy 1:12-13 “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.”

Yes, I believe that Paul could have rejected the Lord, but I think God knew that He would not.

Ok I’m confused, are you now saying that anyone who is a “chosen vessel” cannot disobey? Because this is what you said before:

Nathan: “I never said that we are unable to be disobedient....But again, you do not understand my position. I never state that we have no choice in the matter. We DO have a choice, but unless one is born of the Spirit we will always choose the wrong choice.”

Romans 9 doesn’t mean what you make it out to mean. None of it has to do with salvation. It certainly doesn’t mean that God created someone evil or created someone for the PURPOSE of going to heaven or hell. And maybe I’ve misunderstood you and that’s not what you are saying either, but that’s what it seems like to me. That’s all I’ll say about it because I plan to go more into it in my next post.

Unless one is born of the Spirit we will ALWAYS choose the wrong choice?! No, you dit-unt! I guess everyone who warms a pew, feeds and clothes the poor, visits the prisoners, donates money and time to charities, etc. MUST be one who is born of the Spirit? I know you don't believe that! Do you?


Nathan: “No matter how hard you may deny it, but if you ‘made the right call’ while others failed to repent and place faith, the final glory goes to you. Yeah I know you will affirm that you could never earn heaven, or that God gets the glory because He supposedly provided a way out, but if the FINAL decision lies in your will, your will is to be gloried and honored above all else. Please review the Martin Luther quote Andrew provided to you in the comments section several months back.”

That is absurd. That is NOT what the Bible teaches. The Bible teaches that man sinned and deserved death and that God has provided a way for man to reconcile with God. God provided that reconciliation for EVERY MAN.

"He supposedly provided a way out"? (emphasis added) Care to explain that one?

1 Timothy 2:3-4 "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth."

1 Timothy 2:6 "Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time."

Romans 5:18 "Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life."

John 12:32 "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me."

1 John 2:2 "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."

Hebrews 2:9 "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man."

No, the final glory does not go to me and I don’t regard ANY glory in myself for having heeded the call of God. I don’t get ANY glory for making the right choice. How could I? There wasn’t anything “I” did to provide salvation. What I feel is THANKFULNESS! What I have done is to humble myself before God. (Matthew 18:4; James 4:6) But the other side to that is that you all could boast that you were CHOSEN. How is that any different than what you’ve stated? It could still be perceived that God loves those HE supposedly arbitrarily chose MORE than those He did not. God is no respecter of persons. He loves us all equally as the few scriptures I’ve provided above show.

I’ve just re-read Andrew’s Luther quote and I still disagree with it. To have a freewill does not negate the need for Jesus. The idea that it does is absurd.

Nathan: “You [Dawn] said: All who "hear" or "believe" (i.e., accept or put their faith in) and "learn" come to the Father.

Nathan: “That is not what the text says. You cannot read it backwards and ‘rightly divide the word of truth’.
Let’s look at it again."


John 6:44-45 "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me."

Where have I read it backwards? When we’re taught of God that is one way in which God draws us. Every man who has heard and learned comes to Jesus. Again, where have I read it backward. Jesus makes a statement and then EXPLAINS the statement. In other words, everyone who has ears to hear and eyes to see because they CHOOSE to believe and do not REJECT but rather RECEIVE the commands of God are those whom the FATHER GIVES TO JESUS. It is really very simple.

Nathan: “Actually, it makes no sense to elect someone who ‘elected’ themselves. Why would God need to choose us if we chose Him? Again, this is not what the verse says. It says that NO MAN can come to Jesus unless the Father draws. And does the Father draw every man? No He doesn’t, because the rest of the verse says ALL who are drawn are raised.”

When you elect a candidate do you not elect them on certain criteria? Are there certain credentials that must be met in order for them to get your vote? And no, I’m not talking about works here. I’m talking about making a decision which in no way means “works.” God elects us when we meet certain criteria (i.e., belief, receipt and a willingness to repent). Yes, the Father draws every man. (John 12:32) And no, you are wrong, everyone who is given to Jesus is who is raised, not everyone who is drawn. (Please provide the scripture if I’ve got the wrong one.) Why would Jesus die for every man (Hebrew 2:9) if every man weren’t capable of being saved?

The bible teaches that we are all invited to receive salvation, those who receive and believe will be given the power to repent. Those who do not receive and believe are not given the power to repent. It is that simple.

Nathan: “Why would you have us believe that ‘no man can come’ actually means ‘every man can come’?

It means that no man can come to the father on his own and that it is God who first DRAWS someone to Him. Once a person is drawn by God and chooses to believe and receive that drawing by believing what he is taught through the scripture, that person will then be given the power to repent. Read John 6:44 AND 6:45. The fact that all men are drawn has already been established. That is the WHOLE counsel of scripture, not scripture taken out of context.

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41 Comments:

At Monday, January 09, 2006 12:35:00 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

P.S. I don't presume to change those minds that are made up, just want to show what the word says about man's responsibility when it comes to salvation.

 
At Tuesday, January 10, 2006 8:27:00 PM, Blogger Leo said...

Dawn,

Wow, nine printed Microsoft Word pages - quite a work! I look forward to reading it all.

 
At Tuesday, January 10, 2006 10:01:00 PM, Blogger ajlin said...

[from Sproul, R.C. Put on the New Man. Audio recording. St. Andrew’s Chapel, Sanford, FL. October, 2001.]:

Any Christian who wants to be biblical knows that they have to have some doctrine of election- some doctrine of predestination- because its on every page. So you gotta deal with it. So then the question is, 'How do you understand election?' And the way that this is usually done is that they say, -"Well, yes God elects people but He elects them on the basis of what they do. And He knows in advance- from all eternity- what they're going to do when they come to certain crossroads. And on the basis of that foreknowledge- or prescience- then He issues His election."
But election, then, is rooted and grounded in the work of the individual.
To get this very simple- down and dirty- I say, "OK, are you a Christian?"
-"Yes"
"Do you have a family member or friend who's not a Christian?"
-"Yes."
"Please tell me why you are a Christian and that other person isn't."
-"Well, I believed and the other person didn't."
And I say, "I understand that, but why did you believe- why did you say 'yes' to the Gospel- when your friend said 'no' to the same Gospel? Is it because you're better than they are?"
And what do they say, a hundred times out of a hundred?
-"No! Of course not!" They know they can't say that.
I say, "Is it because you're smarter?"
-"No."
"Let me ask it again, when you're neighbor said 'no' to the offer of the Gospel, is God pleased with that?"
-"No."
"Is that the right decision?"
-"No."
"Is that the wrong decision?"
-"Yes."
"Is that a bad decision."
-"Yes."
"Is it a sin to say 'no' to God?"
-"Yes."
"Well, you didn't commit that sin, you did the right thing, the good thing, and the virtuous thing. So, in reality, you're telling me that the reason you're a Christian and that your neighbor is not is because you did the right thing, and they did the bad thing. And so, though you protest as loudly as you can, if you really believe what you're telling me, you're trusting in your ultimate salvation in your good behavior. You may say, 'Well I couldn't have done it except for the grace of God!' But its the same grace He gave to your neighbor. In the final analysis, there was some 'island of righteousness' in you that caused you to say 'yes' to that grace where you wicked neighbor said 'no'. You have something of which to boast. Not to mention how Paul not only destroys that position, but wipes off the spot where it stood in Romans 9 when he makes it emphatically clear that it is 'not of him who runs, not of him who wills, but of God who shows mercy'(Romans 9:10)."

 
At Thursday, January 12, 2006 5:00:00 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

Sproul: "But election, then, is rooted and grounded in the work of the individual."

Election is rooted and grounded in whatever route GOD chooses to elect someone. His route was that man must meet a certain criteria to be elected. That criteria is belief, receipt and a willingness to repent. God then gives the individual the power to become one of the sons of God. These actions are NOT a work. They are REQUIREMEMTS. Requirements that GOD laid out from before the foundation of the world.

Sproul: "You may say, 'Well I couldn't have done it except for the grace of God!' But its the same grace He gave to your neighbor. In the final analysis, there was some 'island of righteousness' in you that caused you to say 'yes' to that grace where you wicked neighbor said 'no'."

No, there is NO "righteousness" in a person's receiving (a requirement set by God) God's grace. It is a gift that God gave them which was ACCEPTED. To call the act of receiving the Lord an "island of righteousness" is a definition made up by MAN. Once a person "believes" and "receives" the gift of grace it is THEN accounted to him as righteousness. I don't remember the bible stating that God CAUSED Abraham to believe, do you? Hebrews tells us that Abraham's faith was accounted to him as righteousness. Did God first approach Abraham and choose Abraham? Yes. But Abraham believed and received.

Sproul: "You have something of which to boast."

That is not true. There may be some who would boast, but they'd be wrong to do so. Like I said in my post, someone who believes they were CHOSEN of God, for no apparent reason, can boast that they were SPECIAL and MORE LOVED of God. Either side can BOAST for their own reasons!

SproulYou have something of which to boast. Not to mention how Paul not only destroys that position, but wipes off the spot where it stood in Romans 9 when he makes it emphatically clear that it is 'not of him who runs, not of him who wills, but of God who shows mercy'(Romans 9:10)."

Of course mercy comes from God as stated in Romans 9:16. God shows mercy on His terms. But His terms are not ARBITRARY. He shows mercy on those who believe and He hardens those who do not believe.

God did not harden Pharaoh’s heart FIRST. He hardened it AFTER Pharaoh chose not to believe and hardened his own heart. I realize that you don’t believe this, but it is what the scriptures teach. And, yes, I know that you believe that no one can believe until they are born again, but that is not what the scriptures teach. And because you believe that God chooses to give belief to those whom He will you read the scriptures very differently.

I don’t want to get too deeply into Romans, but God’s choosing to have Esau serve Jacob has nothing to do with salvation in the sense that this means God chose Esau to go to hell and Jacob to go to heaven. It is that God chose Jacob’s lineage to be the one to bring about the Messiah. There are other truths in this scripture, but I won’t go into all that.

I know you think I don’t get it, but I DO. I just disagree. I am, however, very curious as to how Nathan reconciles the scriptures I’ve given with Calvinism.

I thank you for having taken the time to provide the scripture references to show me where the Calvinists get their doctrine and for having taken the time to discuss this with me. The only one I could really see for myself was Romans 8:29-30 and someone else mentioned the Pharaoh thing.

 
At Thursday, January 12, 2006 5:05:00 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

Leo, 9?! YIKES! I knew it was long. Nathan has said he is working on a response. As I stated to AJ, I'm very curious as to how he will reconcile those scriptures.

 
At Saturday, January 14, 2006 2:21:00 AM, Blogger ajlin said...

On the Sproul quote:
The point was, WHY did you believe when your neighbor did not?

 
At Saturday, January 14, 2006 2:33:00 AM, Blogger ajlin said...

On the hardening of Pharoah:
It is true that Pharoah's heart was hardened due to punishment for his own sin, but it is also true that Pharoah's heart was hardened as a result of absolute necessity, for God determined beforehand exactly what the outcome of Moses' encounter with Pharoah would be. As Luther explains concerning this passage in his Bondage of the Will:

"And Moses by no means obscurely sets forth this meaning, where he saith, "But Pharaoh shall not send you away, that many wonders might be wrought in Egypt." And again, "For this purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew in thee My power; that My name might be declared throughout all the earth." (Ex. ix. 16; Rom. ix. 17). Here, you see that Pharaoh was for this purpose hardened, that he might resist God and put off the redemption; in order that, there might be an occasion given for the working of signs, and for the display of the power of God, that He might be declared and believed on throughout all the earth. And what is this but shewing, that all these things were said and done to confirm faith, and to comfort the weak, that they might afterwards freely believe in God as true, faithful, powerful, and merciful? Just as though He had spoken to them in the kindest manner, as to little children, and had said, Be not terrified at the hardness of Pharaoh, for I work that very hardness Myself; and I, who deliver you, have it in My own hand. I will only use it, that I may thereby work many signs, and declare My Majesty, for the furtherance of your faith.

And this is the reason why Moses generally after each plague repeats, "And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, so that he would not let the people go; as the Lord had spoken." (Ex. vii. 13, 22; viii. 15, 32; ix. 12, etc.). What is the intent of this, "as the Lord had spoken," but, that the Lord might appear true, who had foretold that he should be hardened?—Now, if there had been any vertibility or liberty of will in Pharaoh, which could turn either way, God could not with such certainty have foretold his hardening. But as He promised, who could neither be deceived nor lie, it of certainty and of necessity came to pass, that he was hardened: which could not have taken place, had not the hardening been totally apart from the power of man, and in the power of God alone, in the same manner as I said before; viz. from God being certain, that He should not omit the general operation of His Omnipotence in Pharaoh, or on Pharaoh's account; nay, that He could not omit it.

Moreover, God was equally certain, that the will of Pharaoh; being naturally evil and averse, could not consent to the word and work of God, which was contrary to it, and that, therefore, while the impetus of willing was preserved in Pharaoh by the Omnipotence of God, and while the hated word and work was continually set before his eyes without, nothing else could take place in Pharaoh, but offence and the hardening of his heart. For if God had then omitted the action of His Omnipotence in Pharaoh, when He set before him the word of Moses which he hated, and the will of Pharaoh might be supposed to have acted alone by its own power, then, perhaps, there might have been room for a discussion, which way it had power to turn. But now, since it was led on and carried away by its own willing, no violence was done to its will, because it was not forced against its will, but was carried along, by the natural operation of God, to will naturally just as it was by nature, that is, evil; and therefore, it could not but run against the word, and thus become hardened. Hence we see, that this passage makes most forcibly against "Freewill"; and in this way—God who promised could not lie, and if He could not lie, then Pharaoh could not but be hardened. "

 
At Saturday, January 14, 2006 2:58:00 AM, Blogger ajlin said...

On the arbitrariness of God:
I believe that the position represented by Nathan and me has been misrepresented several times by the assertion that we are characterizing God as one who is "arbitrary." But this charge is entirely false, as explained by R.C. Sproul in his book Chosen by God:

"That God chooses us not because of what he finds in us, but according to his own good pleasure, gives rise to the charge that this makes God arbitrary. It suggests that God makes his selection in a whimsical or capricious manner. It seems like our election is the result of a blind and frivolous lottery. If we are elect, then it is only because we are lucky. God pulled our names out of a celestial hat.
->To be arbitrary is to do something for no reason. Now, it is clear that there is no reason found in us for God to choose us. But that is not the same as saying that God has no reason in himself. God doesn't do anything without a reason. He is not capricious or whimsical. God is as sober as he is sovereign.
->A lottery is intentionally left up to chance. God does not operate by chance. He knew whom he would select. He foreknew and foreloved his elect. It was not a blind draw because God is not blind. Yet we still must insist that it was nothing that he foreknew, foresaw, or foreloved in us that was the decisive reason for his choice."

This statement is supported by the words of the Apostle Paul:

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved." (Ephesians 1:3-6)

It has often been affirmed that "Man's chief end is to glorify God (1 Cor. 10:31), and to enjoy him for ever (Ps. 73:25-26)."
This is God's chief end as well- God is no idolater. And so, as he elects His people "according to the good pleasure of His will" it is for His glory alone. God knows exactly how He is best glorified and which radically depraved sinners to choose to bestow mercy upon in order to magnify His glory. This decision is neither arbitrary, nor is it left up to the sinful will of the creature, as if God needed some outside council on how to accomplish His purposes.

 
At Saturday, January 14, 2006 7:58:00 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

AJlin: "On the Sproul quote:
The point was, WHY did you believe when your neighbor did not?
"

The Bible tells us WHY some do not believe in Romans 1:19-21 and many other places. Those who do believe are the opposite. When God shows them they harden not their hearts toward God. Those who believe have humbled themselves whereas the non-believer trusts in his own intellect. There are many variables that go into one's beliefs. That is why God warns people to train up a child in the Lord. That training matters does it not? That is not to say that there is a "guarantee" that their child will be a believer does it? I realize the same goes with someone who is raised in an atheistic atmosphere. There is no "guarantee" that they will be an atheist, but I would say that the chances great that they will be just as the chances are great that a person raised in the Lord will serve the Lord.

Would you be willing to experiment with your child and never teach him about the ways of the Lord since it is up to God as to whether or not he is one of the elect?

So my answer is that YES there IS something within US that has to do with whether we believe or do not believe. That, in no way, means that we have any "island of righteousness" within us (our righteousness is as filty rags) for choosing God once He has drawn us. He has given us that ability.

I do not feel Calvinists have proven that we don't have the ability to choose. Being "dead in tresspasses and sin" doesn’t mean we cannot choose right from wrong or choose to accept or reject Jesus/God. The bible is quite clear on this. We ARE dead spiritually and, as Spurgeon says, we have been given a reprieve. We've been given a chance to make it right with God by believing, being forgiven and being born again. But if we PHYSICALLY die in our sin (spirit not re-born) then we REMAIN spiritually dead which sends our soul and spirit to eternal hell.

 
At Saturday, January 14, 2006 10:52:00 PM, Blogger Nathan White said...

Nathan has said he is working on a response. As I stated to AJ, I'm very curious as to how he will reconcile those scriptures.

There is no trouble whatsoever reconciling the scriptures you gave me. It's not like I didn't deal with those a long time ago. The problem is that your response was so long -it's taking me forever to get through. Time is short right now. But it's also tough because you do not properly understand the reformed position. Half the time I am correcting your misrepresentations instead of actually dealing with the argument. I recommended to you a long time ago that you read some of the Calvinistic writers before you take on this issue -and that clearly was not done. So I'm having to start at ground zero and that is taking me a while. But I'm almost done, you'll have a book from me soon :)

 
At Saturday, January 14, 2006 11:44:00 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

Nathan, please, take your time. I only said that you were working on a response and that I was curious. I'm not saying anything about time. So please do not misunderstand. I know that you are VERY busy and that these repsonses take time.

 
At Sunday, January 15, 2006 10:15:00 PM, Blogger Nathan White said...

Dawn,

It is with pain that I respond to you. When this discussion first began I recommended that you go and read some Calvinistic works before you attempt to tackle this issue. And that was not done. It seems as though you spent your time reading Dave Hunt and other ante-calvinist material, instead of actually reading and understanding what the Calvinist themselves teach. Thus, your reply is full of misrepresentations, mis-citations, straw men, unnecessary arguments, and other just plain poor arguments that do not deal with the real issues. You are advocating synergism, which is the belief that God’s grace is dependent on the creatures cooperation to save, and that, as I show below, is not the truth of scripture.

So it is with sadness that I post this reply, as a last-ditch effort to try and get you to look directly at scripture. I pray that you would read through it carefully.

I can only recommend that you go back and read some reformed material before you attempt to tackle this issue again. But for now, here is my reply. It is long, it is basically a book, but it is my last attempt to try and get you to listen to the actual words of scripture.

And also, I do not expect a response to this. To do so would be in book form. So do not feel obligated to do so. Any response I get from you I do not plan to respond back to anyway, that is, unless you want to start arguing from actual the actual texts themselves.

You words are in BOLD, (although I do use a few bold to empasize my points, don't get these mixed up).

Nathan: “First off, we do choose to ‘accept Jesus’, but only after He changes our will so that we then desire spiritual things. We are unable to perform or desire spiritual things until God grants us a new nature which in turn grants us the ability for faith and repentance."

That is not completely true. We have the God-given ability to choose right from wrong and have faith enough to believe in God. (John 1:9; Romans 1-2, 12:3 (more on this later); John 12:46-48)


Check the context of John 1:9 – “That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. 10He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.”

Please point out in this text where faith is mentioned. That is, can you please show where ‘light’ is said to mean faith? Please give us one indicator in the text where light is meant to equal faith.

Also, your statement above is contradicted by the John 12 passage you quoted. For Jesus says “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness” -rightly affirming that only those who believe in Him have light. As opposed to your view, in which you say every man has light.

In addition, in support of my view that every man is blind to spiritual things unless God opens their eyes and grants them belief, and that ‘the light’ is only seen by those whom the Father gives, please see:

12Then His disciples came and said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” 13But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. 14“Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.” – Matt15

Why were these men blind? Jesus explains in verse 13: ‘every plant in which My Father has not planted will be uprooted”. Can you please explain this analogy of planting and uprooting? Does this not fall right in line with ‘all that the Father gives Me’? That is, the Father is always mentioned as giving, drawing, and planting, and the will of man is never mentioned? If not, please explain the analogy of ‘planting and uprooting’ in light of your statements. And if you again run away from the text and claim ‘foreknowledge’, please point out in this text where foreknowledge is mentioned so that you may not be accused of isegesis.

Furthermore, please explain how some will go the hell if they have saving faith in their heart. As we know, salvation is never a matter of mental comprehension, as it is a matter of the heart. Please explain where the scriptures teaches us that a man can be condemned to Hell despite having a portion of his heart that is morally good –that is, if saving faith abides in that portion.

All John is saying in John 1:9 is that Christ is the image of God Who manifested the light of life here on earth. Light means absolutely nothing to a blind man does it? This notion is perfectly explained in 2 Corinthians 4:3:

“But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”

Light does nothing for a blind man –what I have been saying all along. And if you understood reformed theology you would understand that we are ‘dead’ in our sins, we are ‘blinded’ until the Lord gives us seeing eyes, and we are ‘born of flesh’ until the Spirit chooses to ‘born us’ in the Spirit. Therefore, John 1:9 has absolutely no bearing on this discussion, it is pointless to ever mention it again.

But just to conclude, the notion that light ‘is the god-given ability to choose’ is found nowhere in the passage. You insert that notion in as your own leisure.

We are all born with a conscience which is the law of God written on our hearts (Romans 2:15).

Agreed.

We are dead in sin, but that does not mean that we cannot make a decision to do good.

In light of this, please explain this passage: Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil –Jer 13:23

Are there some humans who are not accustomed to doing evil? If the answer is yes, then please point us to a scripture so we may believe you. If no, then I guess it is possible for a black man to become white at anytime he desires?

Also, in light of the comments above, please explain this passage: “There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.” “Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit”; “The poison of asps is under their lips”; “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; Destruction and misery are in their ways; And the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” –Rom 3

How can you say man is capable of doing good if the bible says ‘there is none who does good, no, not one’? Please explain how ‘no not one…does good’ does not contradict your view of ‘that does not mean that we cannot make a decision to do good’.

It simply means that our spirit is dead and that we cannot fully understand the things of God or enter the kingdom until we are born of God. Our soul (mind, will and emotions, in other words our heart) is NOT dead; therefore, we can make good decisions.

Can you please give me a text of scripture that teaches us this truth? That is, where it says our spirit is dead, but our fallen will, mind, and emotions (heart) is not. Please point us to where you made this assertion so that you may not be accused of isegesis.

In light of this fact why does Paul explain: “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells;” – Paul was just talking about his spirit?

In light of this assertion of yours, please explain why this verse is necessary for salvation:

26“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27“I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.” – Ezekiel 36:21

Why is a new heart necessary if it is not dead? Why does God have to cause us to walk in His statutes with this new heart if we are perfectly capable of doing this with our old heart? Could this passage be backing up my thesis, which is that we must be ‘born of God’ and have our wills (heart) changed and redeemed to obey Him? It most certainly is. For we are given a new heart, and a ‘heart’ in scripture always refers to our will and inclinations.

In light of your comment, please explain this verse:

Rom 8:5 – 9 - For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.

“The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” – can you explain how a person can be an unbeliever and yet not be carnally minded? Because that is what you are saying is possible. Also, can you please explain how ‘cannot please God’ and ‘not subject to the law…nor can be’ leaves any room for man to do something pleasing to God such as faith and repentance?

Furthermore, those who are ‘in the Spirit’ live according to the Spirit –that is, they can please God. But verse 9 says that if we do not have the Spirit we do not have Christ. Thus, if we do not have the Spirit, we are carnally minded and do not have Christ. Can you please explain how this passage leaves room for us to choose to do good without the Spirit and without being spiritually minded? How can one choose to please God without the Spirit present in his body?

Is saving faith pleasing to God? Is repentance leading to salvation pleasing to God? Then why does this verse say that the carnally minded ‘is not subject to the law of God nor indeed can be’ if it is perfectly capable of performing acts of repentance, faith, and belief all on its own?

I understood that I was going to Hell if I did not accept Jesus and I didn’t accept Him right off the bat, though I KNEW better. I was dead in sin. I was also a slave to sin. That doesn’t mean that I could not ask for HELP from Jesus Christ to get out of sin and to avoid Hell.

Yes you are correct. And Who revealed to you your sin? You showed yourself that you needed Christ? No, it is God who draws…and like John 6:44 says, all whom He draws He saves. You came because He chose to draw you, otherwise you would have never come to Him, you would have stayed in your sin.

There was no POWER within ME that could revive my spirit or keep me from being a slave to sin. That’s all that means. It doesn’t mean that we don’t have the ability to recognize and choose the means to get ourselves out of sin and avoid Hell.

Again, in light of the passages I provided above, how can one recognize their sin without being drawn? Does not the scripture say that the only way to come to Christ is if He draws? What does ‘draw’ mean if it isn’t showing us our sin and revealing to us our need for a Savior?

Furthermore, please explain how one has the ability to recognize and choose in light of this passage: 14But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ”

Does the natural man refer to all unbelievers or not? If so, then how can he ‘receive the things of the Spirit’ if he is natural? How can he recognize his sin if he is natural and cannot accept the things of God?

Also, how can one judge (your wording says recognize and choose), unless he is ‘spiritual’ as the verse says? As Paul says in verse 16, the mind of Christ is needed to understand (recognize and choose) spiritual things. Can you please explain how a lost man, who does not have Christ, somehow has the ‘mind of Christ’? This passage by itself completely refutes your position if you would only read it word for word.

I agree that after God has given us a new spirit that we will desire and understand the things of the spirit. But HE first draws us (no autonomy here) and He has given us the ability to accept or reject him: see below.

Why does John 6 say that all who He draws He raises? Do you not see that your interpretation that God ‘draws us and gives us the ability to accept or reject Him’ falls to shambles with this verse? You have completely contradicted the passage without any indication in the text to do so. Unless, of course, you affirm that God draws those who do not come to Him? Is this what you believe? Can you please show from the scriptures where this belief is stated and thus better explain the John 6 passage that says all whom He draws are saved?

Why would God need to DRAW us if there were not some sort of decision to be made on the part of the person? Why not just QUICKEN OUR SPIRITS?!

Please read any Calvinist material from a Calvinist perspective and this subject will quickly be addressed. We are responsible for making a decision for Christ – I never said otherwise. God has ordained the ends as well as the means. Furthermore, your view would face this problem as well. For you believe that God elects according to foreknowledge; then why not immediately save who He see’s will get saved? After all, if God foresees things and then elects (even though scripture does not say this), then how is there any free will? For everything will already be determined right? So, as we will see a hundred times, your position is again inconsistent with yourself and with your arguments directed at my position.

None of us is good because we are judged by God’s standards. And yes, we are truly depraved in the eyes of a Holy and Righteous God, but being truly depraved does not mean that we cannot do good. It is our so-called righteousness that is as filthy rags, thus the need for a savior.

Yes, our righteousness is filthy rags. But having saving faith is real righteousness. Thus, if you affirm that all men have the capability to perform saving faith, then you are affirming that all men have a little island of righteousness within them –and that is semi-pelagianism. However, I affirm that we need a savior to supply all of our righteousness, thus, we cannot even make the decision to save ourselves, God must change our hearts and grant us His spirit to do so. (This fits perfectly in with Rom 8 and many other passages). So I can truly say all our righteousness is filthy rags, you are forced to say that most of our righteousness –except for our island that is free to be righteous if it wants to- is filthy rags. Another clear contradiction of a passage you provided yourself.

Our righteousness is ONLY through the applied blood of Jesus Christ.)

Applied blood of Jesus? So, Jesus’ blood, if left unapplied, essentially goes to waste? In effect, if Jesus died on the cross and nobody ever chose to believe, then His blood would have been wasted right? Is that what you are saying? Can you please show from scripture where the term or similar term ‘applied blood’ appears?

Also, how are we not righteous when we have the ability within ourselves to decide to be righteous?

Ted Bundy was able to do good and he was about as depraved as they come. Like I’ve stated before, if we can choose not to murder or steal, then we can certainly choose to follow the Lord Jesus when he draws us.

You misunderstand the nature of spiritual things. Are you familiar with ‘Spiritual fruit’? Do you understand why the Bible calls it ‘spiritual fruit’? It is because it comes from what? Our goodness? Something imbedded within us? No, it is called Spiritual fruit because it comes from the Spirit of God. It is not something we can produce on our own.

Again, in light of Romans 8, unless you can show from the text where ‘not able to do so’ does not mean that the carnally minded cannot please God, or that the carnally minded is not describing the man who does not have the Spirit, then your assertion above has been proven false.

Furthermore, your example of ‘lost’ people performing good deeds is a little ridiculous. Any deed that is done out of a heart that is not submitted to Christ is not a good deed –it is from selfish motives. Someone who has elevated something else above Christ (they have not submitted to Him as Lord and savior) does good deeds only for whatever else is elevated above Christ: namely self. You are labeling idolatry as ‘good deeds’. That’s like saying a Muslim is performing a good deed towards God when he helps out a friend, or refuses to steal, or honors his parents –and that is ridiculous. Spiritually good is what I am referring to, things that stem from the Spirit of God. Man cannot submit to the law of God without the indwelling of the Spirit, without a new heart of flesh, without eyes that see etc. Spiritual good is not the same as good that anyone can do.

I’m not saying that WE are good for we are not. But we DO have the ability to accept or reject Jesus. If we did not then he would not command us to repent or say that IF we would believe on Him we would have eternal life. OF HIS OWN VOLITION, God leaves the choice up to us.

No, sinners, by definition, cannot live up to the standard of God’s law –but that doesn’t mean that God stops commanding it. This is a huge foundational error of yours. Man cannot perfectly obey even the first and greatest commandment (“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind”—Matt. 22:37). Much less can man fulfill the demand of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). Do you seriously believe obedience to those commandments lie within the scope of our abilities? If not, will you then argue that Jesus unjustly set the standard too high? Why would God command those things if they were not possible? Why will man be punished for not obeying those commandments if it wasn’t in our power to do so? Again, man is described as dead, not sick, not maimed, but dead in sin. He can do nothing but sin unless he is rescued from it.

John 12:46-48 “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.”

Acts 7:51 “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.”

Proverbs 1:24-33 “Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.”

John 5:38-40 “And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.”


Can you please explain how any of these passages hurt my position? Did I ever say that man doesn’t reject God? Did I ever say man does not refuse to come to Christ? These in no way hurt my position –they actually support it. Why in the world would anyone reject eternal life? Are they just stupid (or are you just better?)? No, they reject eternal life and they refuse the call of the Lord because they can do nothing without the Spirit. Only an idiot would pass up the blessings of eternal life in Jesus, but they do because they are dead in sin and they love their sin.

Furthermore, in regards to the John 5 verses, please look a few verses back and read: 21“For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.

Do the dead have a choice whether or not to be raised? Does the Son give lift to just anyone who comes along or to whomever He wills? Again a scripture you provided speaks out against you.

In addition, the Acts 7 verse supports my view as well: ‘Uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit’.

As I have said, we must be given a new heart (circumcised heart –Rom 2:29), and we must be given ears to hear. Stephen is stating what I have been trying to tell you: Without a new heart, without being given ears to ear and eyes to see, we will what? –Always resist the Holy Spirit. Not sometimes resist, always resist. That is why Jesus said in John 8 ‘because I tell you the truth you do not believe’. You see? He spoke the truth, and because it was the truth they resisted it. If He had said a lie they would have accepted it. 10 times out of 10 –they would always refuse to believe because He was speaking truth. And when truth is spoken to those whom do not have eyes and ears to hear what happens? –They always resist the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit here isn’t the Spirit desperately doing what He can do to save; anytime the truth of God is proclaimed the Holy Spirit is speaking –so they are resisting the verbal words of the Holy Spirit.

You have twisted the word of God to mean what you want it to mean

Dawn, I am the only one in this discussion who actually wants to go word by word through a text of scripture. Your thesis is wildly stated throughout with obscure and irrational interpretations completely absent of any exegesis. I would like twice before you make such a drastic statement. Just because my view contradicts your tradition does not mean you have to resort to this kind of rhetoric.

…by stating that we cannot choose God without first being born of God.

No I didn’t say that, Jesus did:
John 3:5-8 “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6“That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7“Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Like I have said before, you must be born again. This language of ‘being born’ does not make sense if this is an option we can do ourselves. Furthermore, it entails much more than that: Did you choose when you were born? Did you choose the circumstances of how you were born? Did you choose your race, your hair color, your parents, your birthplace etc? Nope, all of that is under the one who ‘begotten you’ See these KJV passages:

3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” – 1 Peter 1:3

Who begot whom? He begot us. Please explain how we choose to born ourselves if Peter says He begot us.

And a quick look at the Greek grammar will show this truth in 1 John 5:1:

1Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him.

‘Believes’ is in the present tense; ‘born of God’ is in the perfect. What does that mean? It means that the ‘born of God’ comes before the ‘believes’. The Greek is clear; the text is clear –you have rejected the plain rendering once again.

You do that because you believe that God has predestined people to heaven or hell due to their so-called "inability" to make a good choice.

Man predestined himself to Hell because he chose to sin –God doesn’t have to predestine anyone to Hell because we all did it ourselves. Man chose to give himself ‘inability’ by disobeying God in the garden. You would know that if you had studied reformed theology.

And do not misunderstand ‘good’ with ‘spiritually good’. Man is not able to make a spiritually good choice –or anything spiritual (fruit of the Spirit includes faith) without the Spirit present. That is why it is a ‘fruit of the Spirit’.

Furthermore, in light of your statement that God does not predestine people to heaven, please explain this passage:

But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, - 2 Thess 2:13

I see the words ‘chose from the beginning’ –which is another way of saying ‘predestine’, I see the words ‘salvation’ –another way of saying heaven, but I do not see the words ‘foreknowledge’, or ‘forseen faith’, or ‘foreseen goodness’, or anything of the kind. Please point out in the text where your belief that God does not predestine to heaven is stated so that you may not be accused of isegesis.

In light of your statement that God does not predestine people to hell, please explain these passages:

Prov 16:4 –“The LORD has made all for Himself, Yes, even the wicked for the day of doom.”

Rom 9 – “Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? 22What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory,”

The potter is identified as God, the clay is identified as man, so why does the passage say ‘prepared for destruction’? Prepared, as in creating for destruction. Please point out what Paul means here so that we can understand your view of predestination.

So everything is predicated upon that doctrine; a doctrine which is inherently and patently false.

You are not calling my doctrine false, you are calling the testimony of scripture false. Please study this issue further before you come to such a hasty conclusion.

Being born of God is to be born again which only happens once someone has received and believed on Jesus.

John 1:12-13 explains this very well.

John 1:12-13 "But as many as received him, to them GAVE he power TO BECOME the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."

ANYONE (God is no respecter of persons and God died for the WHOLE world) who RECEIVES God, God GIVES them the POWER to BECOME the sons of God. It doesn’t say that one must be born of God FIRST. Saying otherwise, now THAT would be eisegesis. The part that says, “nor of the will of man” doesn’t mean what you try to make it out to be. It simply means that through our own wills we CANNOT (meaning we have not the POWER to) make ourselves sons of God. The power is simply not in us, that is what God must GIVE us. Let the reader understand.


Ok, first of all, the passage does not say ‘anyone’ does it? Why do you feel the need to insert that in? ‘But as many as received Him’ is the same as saying ‘all who will believe’. In no way, shape or form does it entail ‘anyone’, as in ‘any person without exception’. This is why you do not understand the real meaning of this passage (see below).

Secondly, those who receive God are born of God -1 John 5:1 tells us that. What you refuse to acknowledge is the meaning of ‘born of God’. How that can mean something we choose to do to ourselves is just dizzying to the intellect. It makes no sense to the studious reader.

Thirdly, your interpretation of John 1:12-13 is very inconsistent. Where do you get the notion that ‘nor through the will of man’ refers to the power that God gives us to become sons of God? The last part of the text says …‘who were born’, which is describing those who received Him (remember, the passage does not say ‘anyone’)! Basically it says ‘these are children of God who received Him, and those who received Him were not born not of the will of man.’ I am puzzled how you can take one part of the verse (sons of God) and ascribe the entire ending of that verse to one part of the verse. That is not exegesis. The ending which starts with ‘who were born’ describes the people that receive and believe. It does not mean the ‘anyone’ that you so subtly inserted into the verse. Where in the text do you get that the last part refers only to the ‘sons of God’ part? It simply says: These people do this, and these people were born of the Spirit by the will of God. It is describing the nature (born of God) of the people that receive and accept Him. I am sad to see you accuse me of esigesis when you clearly changed the wording of the passage to fit your interpretation of it (you turned ‘but as many’ into ‘anyone’).

Furthermore, please see:

"They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not of God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error."
1 John4: 5-6

See, my thesis on John 1:12 is strengthened further. In the passage above, John shows two complete opposites: those of the world and those of God, those who have the Spirit of truth and those who have the spirit of error, those who listen to the world and those who listen to God. If you are from/of God, you have a listening ear because he has pierced it with his voice. Dear ears cannot hear the voice of truth because they have not been tuned into the frequency of God by the Holy Spirit. (see Acts 7 again as well).

Again, please explain:

John 10:22 - Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. 23And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. 24Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, “How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. 26“But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. 27“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28“And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29“My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30“I and My Father are one.”

‘You do not believe because you are not My sheep’ –they do not believe because they were not ‘of God’. Did you hear that? They did not believe because…because…because…Jesus says because you are not born of God. You however, must change this wording and actually contradict the wording to insert your belief. It saddens me to see you handle scripture in such a ridiculous manner.

‘My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me…the Father has given them to Me’ –your thesis dies a quick death with these verses. The Father gives (all that the Father gives Me), when the Father gives, and Christ knows His sheep, what do they do? Follow Him. No one can follow Christ unless they are given by the Father.

Furthermore, Jesus says ‘My sheep hear My voice’. Now, I know what you will try to say hear ‘this just means that those who accept Jesus will listen to Him’. But that is not what the text says. This is talking about salvation is it not? It is not talking about listening to God after salvation –check the context. Jesus is talking about those who hear His voice before they are saved. Those who are given by the Father will come to Jesus. Those whom are given are drawn. Those whom are given will be taught of God because they hear God’s words. Amazing, it all fits together just perfectly. Everything I have said up to this point is strengthened by this passage. Why preach the gospel to dead men? -Because those whom God has chosen will hear His voice and repent. Who can hear the voice of God? Just any sheep that comes along? -No, only those whom are given. And also note, foreknowledge is absent once again –as it is throughout the rest of scripture.

Again, your thesis has fallen to shambles not by anything I have inserted into the text, but because of words like ‘because’ and ‘My sheep’ that our Lord puts into the text. But I am the one accused of not rightly dividing the word? Well, you gotta read the Word before you can divide it, I would suggest you go back and start reading it word by word.

You say that John 1:9 doesn’t mean that the light that shines on every man that comes into the world is the light that Jesus gives in order for us to have a measure of faith, then what does it mean? (I see you’ve answered this question further down and I have responded further down.)

You have inserted: ‘Jesus gives light in order for us to have a measure of faith’ into the text from the outside –something that is not anywhere in the text. Again, please show where light equals faith. And please see my breakdown of this passage above.

He is the light which shines throughout our darkness. THAT is the point.

Agreed. But again, what is light to a blind/dead man? Can a blind man or a dead man respond to light? Of course not. But you ignore the many passages in scripture where unbelievers are described as blind and dead. It clear as day if you will only open your eyes and let go of your man-made tradition.

Those who love darkness REFUSE to see or come to the light.

Agreed.

They KNOW God exists, but they reject Him and are “without excuse.”

Agreed.

How can man be "without excuse" if he has no ability to choose?

Man did have the ability to choose –Adam chose to sin. He blew the chance to ‘choose’ for all of mankind. This is the doctrine of original sin. Read Romans 5 on that one.

Furthermore, man is without excuse not because he doesn’t have the ability to do spiritual good, but because he continues to sin and love his sin despite the obvious revelation that God exists. God isn’t forcing man to sin, man chose to sin and chose to absolutely love it –that is why they will be held accountable.

But is God obligated to give every single person a second chance (after Adam)? If a Warden graciously decides to pardon a few, does that mean he is unjust for not pardoning them all? Clearly your presuppositions of what God should or should not do to be ‘just’ is way off base (more on this below).

He can't, not if God is a just God, and He certainly IS a just God.

I’m very thankful you said this. For your foundational error throughout this whole discussion is shown here. For you ask the very same question that the Apostle Paul addressed in Romans:

You (basically) ask: How can God judge the world and still be just if man is predestined before the world began (or more clearly, if man chooses to stay in his sin because he cannot choose to do good)?

Paul says: “What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God?” – Rom 9:14

You see? You say God is ‘Just’, and that without giving man a second chance He is not ‘just’.

To which Paul replies (essentially to your question):

Certainly not! 15For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” 16So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. 17For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” 18Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.”

Do you not see this testimony that God has the freedom to do what He wants with His creatures? “it is not of him who wills” –again, this issue of ‘will’, as in John 1:12, is described as not the factor in salvation. Please explain how ‘it does not depend on the man who wills’ does not contradict your position.

Further down in Romans Paul again asks a very similar question as you do:
19You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?”

–In other words, why does God find fault (eternally punish sin) when He willed (predestined them) to this end?

And Paul again addresses this question, which is very similar to yours:

“But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? 22What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, “

Who are we to reply against God? He created us! Who are we to sit and judge God and say ‘You’re unjust if you do this’?? We, as sinful beings, haven’t the slightest clue what real justice and real righteousness is –even as the redeemed we only have a glimpse of this. I encourage you to not question whether God is just. For the creature cannot sit in judgment of the Creator.

In addition, when all of mankind falls into sin because of the sin of one man (Adam), in order to be consistent you would label this as unjust right? That is, if we all die in Adam, thus we do not have the ability to refrain from sinning on our own; thus, we ultimately do not have the power to not act sinful in thoughts or deeds, then how is that just in your opinion? In order for ‘justice’ in your mind you would have to have every man born in the original state of Adam before the fall. That is not the case. Things are not ‘fair’ as you would say anyway because we all were ‘conceived in sin’, thus we are sinful even from the womb. If you were consistent, then you would also label this unjust because God has not given every man the opportunity to live a completely sinless life.

Furthermore, why do I grow up in a home where I was taught the gospel every day of my life, the bible was available on every street corner, churches and godly teachers filled the radio airwaves in my home, and yet there are millions of muslims over in Iraq who will never get a chance to hear the gospel, or if they do it will be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Is that just? Please explain how me hearing the gospel thousands of times is as ‘just’ as a Muslim in Iraq hearing the gospel once in his life. Is God really obligated to be fair here? We are sinners, we all spit in His face, why should He give anyone a ‘second chance’ to choose? If you believe God is only just if He gives all men a second chance, then please explain how He is just by bringing me up in a home where I had a thousand chances to repent, as opposed to the Muslim who hardly ever/if ever has a chance to repent.

Romans 1:17 speaks of degrees of faith. And we know that faith comes by hearing the word of God. (Romans 10:17)

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” –Rom 1:17

Can you please point out in this text where the phrase ‘degrees of faith’ is mentioned? Can you please explain how and where ‘degrees of faith’ is described in this passage? How does this fit into the rest of what Paul is saying in this passage?

There are myriad scirptures which state that we have the ability to choose, to seek and to call upon the Lord without having first been born of God. I will list those in my next post.

Please don’t waste your time. These have no bearing on the argument at hand. Dave Hunt makes the same mistake because he does not understand the reformed position. We do not deny the passages that call man to make a choice, to repent, and to turn to Christ, rather, we preach them! These are the means God has chosen to bring in His elect –something I have explained again and again above. Who listens to these passages that call men to repent? Those who are given; those who are drawn; those who are ‘born of God’; those who are ‘His sheep’, etc.

Nathan: “Why did these Jews not understand the truth Jesus was speaking? He says the He speaks truth and because they were not of God they could not understand Him. He didn’t say they couldn’t hear God because they WOULD not hear God, He says they couldn’t hear God because they were NOT ‘of God’, or in other words, born of God.”

They did not understand because they chose not to believe Jesus to be the Messiah.


Of course they chose not to believe. Anyone who is not born of God will not choose to believe (1 John 5:1). But again, read what the actual words say, because ‘they chose’ is not in the passage. Jesus said they were not ‘of God’, something that does not make sense if supposedly they had the ability to choose what was right. But seriously, look carefully at what Jesus is trying to say here. Jesus is explaining their unbelief, He is not stating it. You have the two mixed up. Jesus says ‘this is why you do not believe Me –you are not born of God’, your interpretation is that Jesus is saying ‘you do not believe because you did not choose to believe’ doesn’t make sense. It’s obvious that they choose not to believe!! He isn’t stating the obvious! He isn’t stating what they have already verbally confirmed! He is stating the meaning behind it all –why they chose not to believe. Look at the wording carefully! And they did this because they were not born of God. Again, your thesis dies a quick death if you will only read scripture word for word instead of by ‘presupposition for presupposition’. The whole point of the verse is not so Jesus can be ‘Captain obvious’, He is stating why it is these Jews did not believe. And they did not believe because they were not born of God.

They were not "of God" because they chose not to believe on whom God sent to be the Messiah. (Matthew 13:15)

Yes they chose not to believe; when have I denied that they didn’t choose to believe? Choosing not to believe does not mean that they could have chosen otherwise! That is where you are confused! Again, the passage says they were not ‘of God’ which means they would definitely not chose to believe. You seem to completely bypass this notion of not being ‘of God’ without ever giving it a second thought. Please see my above comments, Jesus isn’t stating the obvious here, He is explaining why they chose not to believe. They chose not to believe because they were not ‘of God’. You must insert your belief into the text to get your interpretation; my interpretation is provided by the specific wording itself. One cannot ‘born himself’.

There are many people who believe in God but who do not believe Jesus to be God come in the flesh. It is when they BELIEVE Jesus is the only way to salvation that they can THEN become the sons of God as shown in John 1:12-13.

‘Sons of God’ does not mean ‘born of God’. ‘Sons of God’ in John 1:12 is simply a characteristic given to those who were born ‘not of the will of man, but of God’.

And how does the scripture describe the people who believe and become sons of God? – it says they ‘were born (of God), not of blood (not because they were Jews), nor of the will of the flesh (not because they wanted to be), nor of the will of man (not because someone else wanted them to be), but of God (because of the will of God)." He who is born of God will believe. Its God’s will that they become the ‘sons of God’, not mans. Again, my interpretation comes out of clear exegesis; you must go outside of the text and insert a foreign idea in order to get your meaning. My interpretation is provided by the text itself.

BELIEF from their God-given ability (the light that lights every man i.e., God has shown them: Romans 1:19) must come FIRST. God allows us to choose whether or not to believe (It is stated throughout the entire Bible).

Romans 1:19 is another text taken way out of context. Read Romans 1:19 and keep reading: all it is saying is that through creation and stuff it is obvious that there is a God and that is why they are without excuse. How that means ‘God-given ability’ is mind-boggling. That is clearly not what the text says.

Also, please show where light means belief, and if it does mean belief, that is, every man has this belief, then why are not all saved? If this passage was talking about ‘light’ meaning ‘the ability to believe’, wouldn’t you think it would add a disclaimer that says ‘but you must exercise this light or it doesn’t apply to you’. No, it doest, but that doesn’t stop you from putting it in there itself.

If it is ‘stated throughout the entire Bible’, they why does Jesus say they could not believe because they were not born of God? That doesn’t make any sense. Why use the words ‘could not’? Again in this passage:

37But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, 38that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke:
“Lord, who has believed our report?
And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?”
39Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again:
40 “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts,
Lest they should see with their eyes,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them.”

Therefore they could not believe is the complete opposite of ‘they had an opportunity to choose to believe’. Please explain, from this specific text, why Jesus says ‘could not’ instead of ‘they could have if they had only wanted to’. Again, as you do dozens of times, you automatically believe that just because Jesus says that one rejected Him that this means they could have done otherwise if they had only exercised the righteous island of goodness in their heart. You repeatedly insert things into the text that simply are not there.

Their hearts were evil and they were religious. They thought just because they were born of Abraham (physically) that they were Godly people when they were only religious. God didn’t make them that way, they did it to themselves. Those who choose to disbelieve cannot understand the things of God.

Of course they did it to themselves; I never said otherwise. All die in Adam remember? Because we are children of Adam we are paying for his sin; his sin causing the rest of mankind to be born dead and blind to truth.

But again, the text contradicts your statement. These people were ‘from beneath’ and ‘of this world’, they were not born of God. Jesus makes it clear that all who are of God hear God’s words –therefore, because Jesus spoke in truth, in was outside of their ability to hear Him. I have explained this in detail above.

So to recap: They first WOULD NOT hear and BECAUSE they would not hear they COULD NOT hear.

Please show from the passage of John 8 where this is stated. That is, they could not hear because they would not. Again, for the umpteenth time, you have inserted something into the text that is nowhere to be found. So that you may not be accused of isegesis, please show where ‘first would not’. Where is this stated? And why didn’t Jesus add in that disclaimer?

God kept their eyes and their ears closed upon their choosing to NOT hear and choosing to NOT believe. God did not close their eyes and ears first.

Again, of course they chose not to hear and believe. The burden lies on you to prove how they had the opportunity to choose and believe –which you cannot. You automatically insert your own understanding into the passage, that is, you automatically assume that when Jesus says ‘you did not believe’ that He is implying that they in fact had a perfectly good opportunity to do so. This is where your error lies, for Jesus says ‘you are not born of God’. So that you may not be accused of isegesis, please show your assertion where God ‘kept their eyes closed’. I’m looking through the chapter but I don’t see it stated.

In light of your statement, please explain this passage out of John 12: But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, 38that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke: “Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?” Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again: “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, Lest they should see with their eyes, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.”

Why does this passage say ‘could not believe’? What in the text leads you contradict this wording?

In addition, if this prophesy was foretold 400+ years before it happened, how did those Jews really have the free will to ‘hear and choose not to believe’? Could the prophesy have failed? How is this free will if 400 years earlier Isaiah said they ‘could not believe’? Please explain this huge question mark in your assertion.

Matthew 13:15 "For 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.

Can you please explain the verse 2 verses back: “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.

‘To them it has not been given’ –why doesn’t it say ‘it hadn’t been given to them because they chose not to accept it’? Why didn’t it say ‘because you first rejected it’? I’m glad I’m not keeping a count here, but once again you insert something into the passage that is found nowhere.

John 8:24 “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.”

But of course your stance is that God arbitrarily chooses whom he gives belief to and that it is not given to every man.


And why did they not believe? Why? It is stated right in the text but you refuse to believe it (ironic isn’t it?). Why did they not believe? One verse back it says ‘you are from beneath’. And then the dialogue goes on for awhile before Jesus states again: ‘You are not able to listen to My word’. How is ‘not able’ able in your book? How can you contradict the wording here? ‘therefore you do not hear because you are not of God’. And again, if you don’t read verse 24 in light of what else is said you will come to the wrong conclusion.

In addition, please explain this verse: 29For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, 30having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me.- Phil 1:29

In your view, all men have been given belief. But above Paul is telling the Philippians that they have ‘been granted’, not just only belief, but to suffer also –the entire phrase ‘believe in Him but also to suffer’ comes after the part about granting. Thus, in your view, if this passage is meant to convey that all men have been granted belief, then this would also affirm that all men have been granted to suffer for Christ’s sake. Do you believe that the lost, unbelievers of this world suffer for Christ’s sake? If not, please explain lest you be accused of isegesis.

In addition, see Eph 2:8-9: 8For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9not of works, lest anyone should boast

In light of your view, the above passage speaks of faith that is ‘not of yourselves’. But notice where the ‘not of yourselves’ is placed –at the end. In fact, the Greek grammar affirms that ‘not of yourselves’ refers to the entire preceding phrase: grace, saved, and faith. So, in light of the grammar in this passage, if all men receive faith then all men receive grace, correct? Grace is necessary for salvation right? So if this passage teaches us that all men receive grace and faith, then it also includes ‘saved’ in there as well. Thus, will you please explain why this passage, which in your view tells us that all men have been given faith and grace, how all men are not saved since ‘saved’ is part of ‘that not of yourselves’? Or, do you believe that all men will be saved? To be consistent with your belief (that all men have faith), you would have to affirm that all men will indeed be saved. But as we have seen, you seem to be anything but consistent with yourself.

That is not what the Bible teaches. That interpretation is one of eisegesis and not one of exegesis. God loves the WHOLE world and He would that NONE should perish. NONE. That means NONE of mankind. US. US=Mankind, not just believers.

I have showed you your error in 2 Peter 3:9. Does ‘Beloved’ mean every Muslim? Every Hindu? Every Atheist? In your interpretation, the ‘us’, which the passage identifies as the ‘beloved’, is all of mankind, and that is ridiculous. Amazing that you can accuse me of eisegesis when your heart is hard to this clear fact. ‘Beloved’ doesn’t mean ‘mankind’, even a child can see that from the text.

In addition, are you trying to say that God loves all men equally? Then why do I have more chances to repent than do Muslims in Iraq? Also, are you trying to say that God had the exact same love for Pharaoh as He did for Moses? Is that what you mean? It seems as though that is what your are saying.

Ezekiel 18:32 “For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.

Remember Jesus asked the Father to forgive those who crucified Him because they knew not what they had done? Who killed Jesus? The Jews that rejected Him along with the Romans. He STILL loves them and does not want them to perish, but rather wants them to repent! (Ezekiel 18:21-32)


Of course He does not delight in the death of the wicked, but He does not decree that they be saved. If He did then all would be saved at the drop of the hat. It is easily within His power to give all people the favorable circumstances (such as with me) in order to bring all to eternal life. Again, if God doesn’t choose to save one out of the bondage of sin, we cannot free ourselves. We are dead –unless of course, you understand dead as being injured.

In addition, you ask the question ‘who killed Jesus’. To that I must answer:

Isaiah 53:10 says “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him” -implying that God killed Jesus.

Also: Acts 4:27-28 says “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together 28“to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.”

Can you please explain how the Jews, Herod, Pilate, and the Gentiles had libertarian free will if God’s purpose ‘determined before to be done’? Could they have refused to do this wickedly sinful deed of killing Jesus? How are they held responsible for this action if God purposed it beforehand to be done? Also, if this was based on foreknowledge, could they have ever –even when God was looking through time- refused to take part in this sinful deed? Will they pay for these deeds (of crucifying Jesus) in hell?

Nathan: “If this is a man-made doctrine, why does Jesus say that ‘all that the Father gives to Me will come to Me’? Is there the possibility that the Father will give someone to the Son and that one will fail to come to the Son?

No, like the scripture states, the Father gives to Jesus all who hear and learn of Him. (John 6:45) Those aspects are key.


Dawn, that’s ridiculous. Talk about a desperate attempt to get around the obvious. I have exegeted the passage below.

Does the passage really say that?

“But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. 37“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. 38“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39“This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40“And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
41The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” 42And they said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” 43Jesus therefore answered and said to them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. 44“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45“It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.”


In verse 36 Jesus states that they do not believe. Clear enough.
In verse 37 Jesus states why they do not believe, and at the same time shares with them the sovereignty of God to save all of those given to Jesus.
In verse 39 Jesus reiterates that all who are given will be raised.
In verse 41-42 the Jews were again voicing their unbelief, which in turn led Jesus to again explain why they didn’t believe.
In verse 44 Jesus says that ‘no one can come’ unless they are drawn, and all who are drawn will come.
And in verse 45 Jesus parallels hearing and learning with drawing.

Do you see the pattern here? Look:

6:37 Action: Given by Father Result: All come to Christ
6:39 Action: Given by Father Result: None lost, all raised up
6:44 Action: Drawn by the Father Result: Come to Christ, raised up
6:45 Action: Hear from and Taught by Father: Result: Come to Christ

There is an irrefutable line flowing here that cannot be denied. Jesus lists actions that come before coming to Christ. This verse is not discussing something different, but expressing the same truths in different words. The Lord did not all of a sudden insert some foreign idea here, but is now using hearing and teaching as another way of speaking of the divine work of God whereby He draws those unto the Son. Who is Jesus referring to? All who are given by the Father to the Son, of course, and all who are drawn by the Father to the Son. Your view inserts a sudden change in the entire thesis and thus contradicts the clear rendering of verse 37 and 44.

Again, your view changes ‘no one’ to ‘everyone’. Why do you do that to the holy Word?

And lastly, please see John 6:65 for this truth to be reiterated:

“60Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?” 61When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you? 62“What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? 63“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. 64“But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. 65And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” 66From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. 67Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” 68But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69“Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 70Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” 71He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve.

Please note a few things here: in verse 63 Jesus says ‘it is the Spirit who gives life’ in response to the contention that nobody could understand Him! He was explaining to His disciples that the Spirit chooses, so don’t flip out over some walking away! He says this again in verse 65. He explains to His disciples that it isn’t some tragic social blunder on His part for driving these people away, they went away because they had not been granted to come. This theme is undeniable, yet you try to deny it and chop up the passage in the process. And finally, the disciples try to take credit for hanging around Jesus and so He corrects them as well: Did I not choose you? Clearly, your argument dies a quick death. The same subject line discussed in verse 37-45 is the same subject that is being addressed in verses 64-71. That is, why it is that some don’t believe.

The parts that are man-made are the notions that God is arbitrary in his selection and that man has no freewill when it comes to accepting or rejecting Jesus.

I never said man has no free will when it comes to accepting Jesus. I said that man, without the Spirit quickening us to life, cannot do this on his own. And once he has been quickened to life (given and drawn by the Father), then he will never fail to come (raise up on the last day).

Please see Eph 2:

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2in which you once walked according to the course of this world… and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. 4But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),”

Who made who alive? Why is the word dead used if we’re not really dead?

Calvinists always assert that God chooses whom HE will to go to heaven or hell out of His own good pleasure and for no apparent reason. That is NOT what the scripture teaches.

If my assertion is incorrect, please explain:

But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, -2 Thess 2:13

Sounds pretty straightforward to me. Chose me from the beginning for salvation. Where is my decision mentioned? There is: ‘through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth’ –After the part about Him choosing me. You see, you have it backwards again and again. We do choose! After He chooses us. And all that He chooses will eventually choose Him.

Also, it’s funny that you use the term ‘out of His own good pleasure’, in a mocking way, because that’s exactly what the Bible says!! See this:

3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will…11In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will...”

Verse 4 says He chose us before the foundation of the world….
Verse 5 explains this predestination how?...”according to the good pleasure of His will”. Why do you say that Predestination is based on foreknowledge when Paul says is according to HIS will? HIS will is not the same as saying OUR will is it?

Verse 11 says we have been predestined according to WHAT? According to the purpose of Christ who works all things according to the counsel of OUR will? No, it says HIS will. Why do you impose your view on the sacred text?

Can you please explain why Paul would keep saying HIS will if our will was the determined election and predestination?

Lastly, please explain this: “For many are called, but few are chosen.” –Matt 22:13

What does this mean? Could it mean that the gospel goes out to all of man kind (the dozens of scriptures begging sinners to repent, the light coming into the world and lighting every man), and that only those who are chosen will obey it? It certainly does. Again, your thesis falls on this verse alone.

It teaches that out of His good pleasure He chose to provide a way of salvation for mankind even though man does not deserve it. A way of salvation is His good pleasure, not that He sends people to heaven or hell.

So why does Paul say in 2 Thess that He chose us for salvation? Doesn’t salvation equal heaven? Why does it say He chose us for salvation instead of ‘He chose a plan of salvation for us’? Can you explain why Paul was so stupid to leave out ‘plan of salvation’ when writing the text?

Furthermore, why would He need to choose us if we first chose Him? That doesn’t make sense. Also, please point out from Ephesians 1 and 2 Thess 2:13 where Paul uses the term ‘way or plan of salvation’ as being the object chosen.

Again, Eph 1:5, and Eph 1:11 say we were predestined according to the good pleasure of His will. Where in the text is this notion of being predestined according to foreknowledge, in which it essentially means ‘according to our will’? Do you see that you have contradicted the text? Again, your thesis is shown to be way off.

He LOVES us ALL.

So He loved Pharaoh in the same manner and in the same intensity as He loved Moses? So He loved Jacob the same as He loved Esau? Is that what you are saying? Seems like it.

Nathan: “Since the bible says we are dead in sins and then Christ awakens us to the light, this analogy works perfect for those who are humble enough to accept it.”

I’ll humble myself and just let that jab go.


I didn’t know humility announced itself. That seems like the opposite of humility to me. But this was not a jab at you, I was just pointing out that those who understand that they do not come to Christ out of anything good within themselves do not build up their pride and proclaim some kind of inner goodness that is not dead in sin. I was just trying to convey that it takes a whole lot of humility to understand these truths. ‘God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble’ takes on a whole new meaning. We are naturally self-righteous and we want credit for what we do! So it goes against our nature to accept the truth of unconditional election.

But yes, since this is there, I will again state that Lazarus could not have refused to be awaken from death. Yes he still had responsibilities, but not until life was breathed into his lungs. This analogy works perfect with the truth that we are ‘dead in sins’.

Nathan: “So we have freewill to give ourselves physical life? No, we cannot choose to give ourselves physical life. So then, if you are consistent with yourself (in the above statement), then you must affirm that we do not have the freewill to give ourselves spiritual life. Man is DEAD in his sins, and can do nothing but sin. Why would the scriptures repeatedly say we are dead if we are in fact only injured?

I affirm that we do not have the power to give ourselves spiritual life. Do we have the ability to choose spiritual life? YES! Freewill to choose to receive spiritual life is very different from actually giving spiritual life and that is where Calvinists err.


So then you admit that you contradicted yourself? But no, you are affirming that all men have the power (to just say the magic words) to give themselves spiritual life. We cannot born ourselves, spiritually or physically. Furthermore, what you seem to be saying is that being ‘born again’ is actually the act of God giving spiritual life. That is, when God talks about being ‘born again’, He is actually talking about giving the plan or the ability to ourselves to ‘exercise our options’. Your view is like God giving us a gift card and telling us its up to us to use it. If so, this interpretation runs into serious errors with 1 John 5:1 and John 8 among many, which for the sake of space I will not address again. But your arguments do not make sense. Please decide what ‘born of God’ means. Does it mean being born of the Spirit or does it mean that being potentially born into a plan of salvation God made available? It cannot mean both can it?

We ARE dead spiritually, but we are not dead mentally. It is our spirits which must be raised so that our souls can have true life!

John 6:63 -It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. Jesus makes it clear here that the mind (our flesh) plays no real part in salvation. Mental comprehension is not the deciding factor in saving faith, a new heart must be given instead.

Nathan: “Man’s will is enslaved to sin until we are granted spiritual life.”

True, but that does not mean that we cannot choose to want out of that enslavement.


We will not want out of that enslavement until Jesus draws us. We cannot see our own sin! We are stuck in our own self-righteousness! ‘No man can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him’ –once again spells out this truth. And once again you affirm that ‘no one can come’ actually means ‘every man can come’. Your repeated contradiction of scripture has really piled up here.

You are inserting your beliefs into the biblical teachings.

OK, who is going word for word here? Who? And Who goes back and inserts ‘foreknowledge’ and turns ‘light’ into faith, and etc? Your own words condemn you.

Again, we have the ability to not commit murder, so we certainly have the ability to choose to accept the love of Jesus who will free us from that BONDAGE of sin once we are shown through the law that we are indeed sinners and that we are in need of a savior in order to escape the penalty of hell.

Again, we must be ‘made alive’ by Christ, and granted faith and repentance before we will ever recognize that we need to be released from bondage. You do not understand that the ‘natural man does not receive the things of Christ’. Also, you equate something that is not a fruit of the Spirit (not murdering someone) with something that is a fruit of the Spirit: Repentance and saving faith. Those who are ‘carnally minded’ cannot submit themselves to the law of God –it is out of their capabilities. I have explained this above, please refute it there.

Why would the bible say that the law is our schoolmaster if we are not able to see that we are evil and that we NEED a savior?

The Law is God’s gift to His elect. It is here on earth to call all His elect to Himself (faith comes by hearing). God has ordained the ends (our salvation) and the means for bringing that about (giving us His law, evangelism etc). I have explained this above; and this is clearly explained in all types of reformed material. I encourage you to research the reformed teaching from those who teach it before you attempt to engage in this sort of argumentation.

Nathan: “Paul is not talking about his response to Christ in the matter of salvation. He is talking about his obedience to PREACH the resurrected Jesus.”

Touché.


So then, could Paul have refused this call? If Paul was a chosen vessel, did he really have the free will to refuse God’s call?

And why didn’t God reveal Himself to any of the other men with Paul? Didn’t He not love them enough, and want their repentance enough to do this? Please explain.

Nathan: “There is nothing in the passage to suggest that God forsees anything or that the Father gives those who ‘accept Him’. The text says exactly the opposite! You are inserting your own beliefs into the text, not getting it out of the text, and that is called isegesis.”

Believe on Him means to accept Him! Does it not?!


Of course it does. Why do you ask me this though? Does this question have anything to do with this discussion? No it doesn’t, cause when have I ever said someone can be saved without believing? Those who are of God hear God’s words (that is Jesus talking), and those who hear Gods word believe.

But to reiterate, yes, you contradict the meaning of the text by inserting your tradition at your own leisure. The fact that you hold to this position is fine, but to say that is exegesis is inherently false.

I know very well what eisegesis is and that is what Calvinism (total inabilty/irresistible grace/predestination) is based upon. I was referring to John 6:64-65 which explains 6:37-42.
John 6:64-65 “But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.”


Your right, verse 64 and 65 do explain verse 37-42 somewhat (see above).

This could be a word of knowledge, though God does have foreknowledge of EVERYTHING. I don’t know if this scripture is saying that Jesus knew from the beginning of when He began His ministry or from the beginning of the foundation of the world. Now that I’m thinking about it is probably since His ministry because Jesus (as a man) got His information from God as in words of knowledge as in “I do as my Father tells me or I know what the Father shows me," etc.

OK, first of all, John is talking about the last half of verse 64, not Jesus (when it says that Jesus knew from the beginning). But Jesus never mentions any kind of foreknowledge –ever, not even once. So please explain why He didn’t. But John is just explaining that Jesus was not afraid to say that these people were not of God, and that they were not going to come to God, because He knew that they were not part of those whom the Father had given Him. Jesus wouldn’t taunt them with ‘does this offend you’ if they were part of those given to Him to save on the last day. This is why Jesus did not care that they walked away. Which begs the question, why did He let them walk away? Did He not love them as much as He loved others?

Having said that the actual text is speaking of whom the Father gives to Jesus, though it is in no way an irresistible grace/predestination thing as taught by Calvinists.

So then you do affirm that ‘all that the Father gives Me’ does not mean that all who are given, which are all that are raised, is not stating that all who have been chosen will eventually come? Wow, Jesus put it in terms that a child can understand it and yet you still reject.

But how can you make this assertion when you cannot refute it from the text? It does no good to say ‘this doesn’t mean this because I just know’ when you can’t back it up. We would never get anywhere with that. Please refute this from the text so that you may not be accused of isegesis.

Again, the Father gives to Jesus those who truly believe.

And again, that is not what the text says, and that notion is nowhere found in scripture. Can you please point me to where it is found if I am wrong? Please, I am dying to see it stated where Jesus explains that ‘those given’ are given on the basis of their belief instead of on the basis of the Father’s will. And at the same time, please explain why –if it is in scripture- Jesus uses wording that completely contradicts this thesis. Completely contradicts it!

“All that the Father gives to Me will come to Me”…why in the world state the ‘will come to Me’ if they were given on the basis of His foreseeing their coming? You make no sense! Why state they will come if they already came in the first place! Again, please, please consider how your assertions are completely absent from the actual wording. Your interpretation makes no sense in light of the actual wording of the text. I am dumbfounded how the clear reading of English words can be so distorted! Read it line by line to a 4 year old and he will tell you what it means. It isn’t difficult! You just have to get rid of your tradition first.

Nathan: “John 1:9 says nothing of the like. John is simply stating that God coming in the flesh gives the glimpse of the Divine to every man.”

I thought it was your belief that unregenerate man cannot SEE the divine. How is it that God can give a GLIMPSE of the divine if WE, who are not born of God, CANNOT SEE? It says that Jesus LIGHTS every man. That means, as Romans 1 and 2 teach, that WE KNOW BETTER!


Of course all men are blind –but not physically blind! The men who walked and talked with Jesus each and every day saw a glimpse of the Divine. As far as spiritually, no man can choose to obey the Divine without the Spirit of God present. That is because all men are depraved and ‘carnally minded’ –Rom8. This is where your circular argumentation is frustrating. Deal with Romans 8, Jer 13, Eph 2, 1 Cor 2, Rom 3, etc first please.

You’re the one who is inserting their beliefs into the scripture by taking certain scriptures and not reading them with the WHOLE counsel of the word.

I would argue that you are trying to read the whole counsel of God, but because of your tradition (what you’ve always heard), your emotions, the natural sin of the heart that makes God out to be one of us (defining ‘Just’ as we see it), and the natural sin of the heart that wants to take credit for everything, that because of these things you your beliefs magically find there way into passages such as John 6, Eph 1, John 1, and Romans 9 –without any indication of these beliefs from the actual wording.

Romans 1:19-21 “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”

Please tell me how, with your theology, a man who is NOT born of God can KNOW God as this scripture reveals.


This has no bearing on the argument. Knowing there is a God and actually obeying Him are two different things. Creation shows every man that there is a God; that is what the text is saying. Your beliefs magically find there way in there without any clear wording in text whatsoever.

Again, please see Romans 8. A man without the Spirit is ‘carnally minded’ and is unable to obey God. Is faith and repentance obedience to God? Then it must require the Spirit to perform. This has nothing do to with knowing God, seeing God, outwardly obeying God etc. Even the Demons believe and tremble.

The scripture is quite clear that it is MAN who puts Himself in hell because of His REFUSAL to acknowledge and obey God.

Agreed. I never argued otherwise.

True, WE cannot SAVE ourselves. It IS a gift from God.

So is it a gift to every man or not? If so, why is that notion not taught in scripture explicitly, by my position can be read to a 4 year old and understood?

True, God GIVES us our faith, but He gives that to EVERY man. It is up to MAN to do right by it from His GOD-GIVEN abilities to CHOOSE as we ALL have a conscience and the commandments of God written on our hearts.

Please show where it says that God gives saving faith to all men. And also, if He gives saving faith to all men, does this come from the Spirit or not? If it comes from the Spirit, then I’d assume that you believe that every single man has the Spirit within him? If it doesn’t come from the Spirit, which would contradict scripture as a whole (fruits of the Spirit etc), then how is this not an autonomous work of man? Please explain yourself, because talking in circles is not helping this discussion.

Essentially, you know you are preaching salvation by works right? Man must do this to be saved? How is that not different than the Muslims who say you must do their law to be saved? Salvation by works is not the teaching of scripture.

While you’re at it, please exegete this:

It’s not like you will listen to exegesis; you have refused my clear exegesis in other places. I have shown you your error on Romans 12, John 6, and 2 Peter 3, but you brush the meaning of actual words aside and hold fast to your tradition. Nevertheless, here is a brief summary:

1 Timothy 2:3-4 “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who desires to have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

If we look to the context we see this:

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 3For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 6who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, 7for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle—I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying—a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.”

Paul is talking about ‘kinds of men’. How can I say this? On what basis in the text do I assert this? On verses 1,2,5 and 6.

Verse 1: ‘prayers for all men’. Does he mean that we should open up the phone book and pray for every single name in there? No, that is ridiculous. Paul is just saying ‘don’t exclude anyone’.

Verse 2: ‘for kings and all who are in authority’. – Kings were hated in this day because they persecuted Christians.

Paul is just saying ‘hey, God desires all men to be saved, he doesn’t just desire the poor or the oppressed’. It was not uncommon for early believes to believe that only a certain group of people were called to salvation. The Jews didn’t believe the Gentiles were called, and these believers hated the kings so much that Paul tells Timothy to pray for all men, don’t exclude anyone. God desires to save people from all walks of life.

Furthermore, in verse 5 and 6 he says that Jesus is the Mediator for all men. Do you understand what ‘mediation’ is? That is where Jesus intercedes with the Father for the benefit of the elect. This is shown in John 17:

I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.

(This verse presents problems for your view in other areas as well). Mediation is when Jesus goes to the Father and justifies a believer. This cannot happen unless one believes and places faith in Christ because their sins are forgiven upon the mediation. So then, if all men in verse 4 means every single man without exception, then the all men in verse 6 means the same because the context hasn’t change. Thus, you are left with two options: A) The Son goes to the Father for mediation and the Father refuses (which I doubt you believe), or B) The Son goes to the Father for every single man without exception –thus all men are saved. And I doubt you are a universalist.

Lastly, if we are to reject the interpretation above (which I believe is clear), then you still don’t have much of an argument. God desires a whole lot of things that He doesn’t decree. He desires that men repent right? He desires that men obey His law right? Does the fact that He desires it mean that He decrees it? No. So even if you reject the meaning above, which is the only meaning that one can come to if they consider the context, then you still have to deal with the fact that God has many desires that He does not decree.

John 3:14-21 “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”

If you understood the Calvinist position you would not ask this question. This verse has no bearing on the argument. Furthermore, look up the definition of ‘whosover’. It only means ‘all the one’s who believe’ –which in no way hurts my position, it only affirms my position.

Deuteronomy 30:19 “ See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.

Again, this has no bearing on my position. I would proclaim this text just as it is read. It does not discuss soteriology, it only calls man to repent and discusses those who refuse to. Your glaring error is that just because God says ‘repent’, ‘believe’, ‘come to Me’ etc, that somehow that entails an ability to given to all men?

2 Peter 2:1 “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”

The word for ‘Lord’ in the Greek is not the common named used for the Lord Jesus, it is better translated as ‘master’. This is describing false teachers (check the context) who join the assembly and then turn away from the faith, thus identifying themselves as believers and bringing worse destruction upon themselves. This passage is not discussing soteriology or the atonement in any way shape or fashion. Christ is not mentioned, his vicarious death is not mentioned, propitiation is not mentioned etc. It clearly refers to apostates who once were in the church, essentially putting themselves under the control of the ‘Master’ which is the Father, and have subsequently denied the authority He has placed over them.

But if you were consistent in this interpretation, then you must affirm that believers can lose their salvation after first receiving it. Because if you take ‘Lord’ as Jesus, and ‘bought them’ as the atonement –which is a stretch, then you must affirm that these false teachers lost their salvation. And I hope you do not say that, as that is salvation by works and is essentially a heresy.

Acts 3:19 “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;”

Why would God command men to repent, to choose or to believe when they have no ability to do so.


I have explained this above. God commands a lot of things that He does not give man the ability to perform. The burden lies on you for proving how a command automatically entails an ability to obey it. The burden also falls on you to explain the Rom 3, Rom 8, Jer 13, Eph 2, 1 Cor 2 etc passages that tell us man is dead and hopeless in sin and cannot obey God on his own.

Isn’t it a bit absurd for Him to say things that are IMPOSSIBLE? And God makes these commands THROUGHOUT the Bible. It is what the Bible is about!

Isn’t it a bit absurd to have all of mankind pay for the sins of Adam? We should not stand in judgment of God.

It is about God’s love for every man and providing a way to salvation! I feel very sorry for anyone who cannot see the love of God in His book to us. It is SO obvious.

So where do you get the notion that God is nothing but love? From downtown bagdad? From a cancer ward? From Pakistan? Where do you get the notion that God loves all men equally? How is it fair to give me a thousand chances to repent and yet give some Muslims none? How is it fair not to give mentally retarded or unborn babies a chance to repent? Is that fair? No, fair would be if God damned all of mankind to Hell without saving a remnant. That would be fair, and we do not want fair.

Nathan: “Again, your not reading the full text [John 6:37-45]. Jesus says that ALL who are called are RAISED. So then, if you believe that ALL are called, that is, every single human, then you have to believe ALL are going to be raised on the last day. That is what the text says, and I’m certain you are not a universalist.”

I think it is you who needs to read the full text. It does NOT say all who are called are raised.


Excuse my error, it says all who are ‘drawn’ are raised. What I was thinking about when I said this was Rom 8 which does affirm that all who are called are raised. That is, irresistibly called.

It says that all whom the Father GIVES Jesus will be raised. Who are the ones whom the Father gives to Jesus? Those who HEAR AND LEARN.

Um, that is not what it says. Verse 45 continues to describe those who come to Jesus, it doesn’t place another addition onto how they can come. We cannot read the text backwards, and we cannot contradict what was already said in verse 37,44 and also in 65. Please see my exegesis above.

But basically you are saying this: (Jesus talking) ‘no man can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws Him, and I will raise him up at the last day. Whoops! Did I just say that? Just kidding guys, every man can really come to Me. I didn’t mean all of that stuff about the Father giving and ‘no man’.

That is what you turn the text into. Instead of verse 45 explaining the text, that is, verse 45 saying that all who are drawn will hear and learn from the Father after they are drawn, you are making verse 45 contradict the previous statement! Wow, and to think I am the one being accused of not ‘rightly dividing the word’. Verse 45 does not contradict the text, it explains it! And it supports what I have already said on John 1:12-13, John 8:47, and 1John 5:1! Those who are born of God, those who are given by the Father, those who are drawn by the Father, those who have been raised from the dead, those who have been ‘planted by the Father’, those who have been given ears to hear and eyes to see, THESE people ALL come to learn and be taught of God. Those who do NOT come to hear and learn are not drawn, not given, not ‘born of God’ etc. It is as clear as the day is long.

Who are those who HEAR? Those who choose to BELIEVE.

Yes they choose, clearly, as Jesus says, after they are given and drawn. Please do not contradict the wording of the text again.

Those who choose to believe THEN LEARN and are thus BORN AGAIN. Those who refuse to hear cannot hear and are damned already.

No, it says that those who are given and drawn and thus, when they are given and drawn, giving and drawing is essentially being ‘taught’, then they come. It is such clear language, please don’t make it confusing by desperately looking for a way out. Being taught of God and learned from the Father happens once they are given and drawn!! That is an obvious fact of the wording. The text flows very clear and fluent, your interpretation of it renders verse 37, 44 and 65 very confusing.

Matthew 10:14 ”And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.

Matthew 13:15 “For 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.”

There are plenty more scriptures where God shows us that it is the people THEMSELVES who CHOOSE not to hear or see. It is because they love the darkness more than the light.


Yep. I agree. And yet, it does not hurt my position one bit. You need to understand that the reformed position in no way neglects human responsibility.

Nathan: “Again, where is any notion of ‘foreknowing’ in this text? It’s absent once again. You cannot keep inserting your own beliefs into such a clear text and expect the truth to be revealed. And no, you cannot read the text backwards. I’m not sure where you got that interpretation, but whoever provided it doesn’t know anything about Greek.”

I got the interpretation from my knowledge of the scriptures as a whole.


Where is this ‘knowledge of the scripture as a whole’? You can’t just say that and not produce evidence. But here it is clear: this is not exegesis. Exegesis never goes outside of the text.

Please enlighten us with this ‘knowledge of scripture’ so that we may see our error.

And no, I don’t know anything much about Greek other than looking up greek words in the concordance. What? Are you a greek scholar? Must I know greek before I can exegete the scriptures? I think not. Please, Nathan, don’t let your seminary teaching go to your head and think more highly of yourself than you ought.

Please do not lie and say ‘you can actually interpret this phrase backwards’ when clearly you have no idea what your talking about. You cannot play with scripture in such a flippant way and expect me to take anything you say seriously.

Oh, and I have no seminary training. I am not boasting of my greek at all. I was simply saying (based on the fact that I have seen many try and refute this text, only to have the Greek prove them wrong), that you cannot produce one single viable translation that reads Acts 13:48 in that manner.

Nathan: “If you want to accuse me of wrongly dividing the word of truth, please show from the actual text of Acts chapter 13 where exactly your belief is stated, otherwise, your accusations are baseless."

That is precisely the problem with the doctrine of “irresistible grace/predestination,” those who hold to the belief have to take scripture out of context to prove their point while disregarding the whole of the scripture.


Who is staying in the context here? How can you accuse me of this when two lines back you stated that you got the ‘foreknowledge’ argument from your ‘knowledge of scripture as a whole’? Who wants to read the texts line by line? Who wants to stay in the text and the specific text alone to determine the truth? Please, your accusations of taking stuff ‘out of context’ are baseless and cannot be proven. Do you not think about your own words before you accuse?

Predestination and Grace are taught in the Bible, but not as the Calvinist would teach it.

But grace has no real meaning if man has the ability to choose on his own! Why is grace necessary if we all have saving faith given to us?

You want me to stay with Acts 13:48 because of how is SOUNDS. It SOUNDS like ONLY those whom God has “arbitrarily chosen” are ordained to eternal life. But a proper exegesis of the scripture says otherwise.

No, as I explained before, you either have no clue what exegesis is or you are denying the obvious. Exegesis never goes outside of the text.

Furthermore, please don’t say this and run. Exegete Acts 13:48 for us so that you will not be accused of isegesis and of making statements you cannot back up.

Acts 13:48 "And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed."

Who are those who are ordained to eternal life? It is those who(soever) believe and receive. (John 1:12)


Hmm, that is not what Acts 13:48 says. Imagine that! But in actuality, you are right. Those who believe and receive do PROVE that they were ordained to eternal life. Who believes and receives? All who are drawn, all who are given, all who are born of God (1 John 5:1), all who are ‘of God’.

When did I deny this?

?

Romans 8:29-30 tells us that those who are ordained to eternal life ARE foreknown.

But wait, I thought he foreknew our faith!? Our good decision? Our choosing Him? See you error here again? God foreknows people, that is, “Whom He foreknew”. Why is the object the person instead of the person’s foreseen deeds? Because it is not based on anything foreseen. Want another example of this? Please explain your ‘foreknowledge’ argument for this one:
"And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.”" (Romans 9:10-12, NKJV)
“before they had done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand”. Yes, it is very clear that election is not based on foreseen ‘good or evil’. But even still, a plethora of other passages affirm this truth as well. If God were to grant eternal life on the creature’s goodness would be salvation by works –something you are essentially affirming if you would only open your eyes to it.
But back to Rom 8. What does ‘know’ mean in biblical terms? If Adam ‘knew his wife’ what does that mean? It means he has sexual relations with her. It speaks of intimately knowing an individual. That is, in the Greek, foreknowledge means ‘intimately knowing that person beforehand; having a close relationship beforehand’. It speaks nothing of foreknowing any facts –you insert that at your own leisure.

So ‘WHOM He foreknew, He predestined.’ Nothing of foreseen goodness or faith is mentioned, as that view doesn’t know the proper definition of the word ‘foreknew’.

Even still, irresistible grace is again taught in this passage (you know, the doctrine you earlier called man-made). For Rom 8 says that all whom He called were justified and glorified. Does this speak of calling every single person? Well, if it does, then all would be justified and glorified –according to this passage. So then, He only calls those whom He justifies and glorifies, then that would entail a certain group (the elect obviously). And all whom He called were all whom He predestined, which means if they are to be glorified then they will all come to Him. Thus, the doctrine that ‘all that the Father gives to Me will come to Me’ is again proven to be true. And you position dies a quick and painful death. This cannot be refuted from the text.

Ephesians 1 shows us what exactly it was that was foreordained/predestinated. It is predestined that those who believe and receive (accept) Jesus will be saved.

Can you please point us to a wording in the text itself that teaches this? That is, unless you want to assert things and run, thus proving your isegesis.

(Not that God arbitrarily chooses a person out of His own good pleasure. That God chose to provide a savior AT ALL was what was out of His own good pleasure. That is not to say that God does not do other things out of His own good pleasure, but this is certainly one of them.) So all that put together (a right division) is where I get my interpretation of Acts 13:48. No greek needed! Imagine that! :-D

Right, and Acts 13:48 was never dealt with, not once. Well at least we know you cannot exegete the passage. For exegesis never goes outside of the text.

Furthermore, I have already stated what Eph 1 says:

Lets look at verse 5: "having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will," (Ephesians 1:5, NKJV)

Nope, don’t see the ‘chose to provide a savior’ in this wording. It says he predestined US, according to the good pleasure of our will? Our goodness? No, His will. You contradict the plain reading of the text. Again, we mustn’t insert our own understanding into the wording. He predestined US –that’s what I’ve been saying all along!

And again in verse 11:
"In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will," (Ephesians 1:11, NKJV)
Wow! Here it is again! WE…being predestined (no plan of salvation here, no ‘predestined a plan that would give us the choice), NOPE, WE are predestined according to whose will again? Whose? Ours? Nope. His will. Again clear as day. Again you position is easily defeated.


Nathan: “So ‘breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord’ was Paul with his heart right? [Later down in verse 15]: “[Paul] is a chosen vessel of mine”. Amazing how similar this wording is to Romans 9. But you affirm that Paul could have rejected the Lord while he was lying on the road blind?"

When I say that Paul’s heart was right, I mean that he was not evil like some of the other Pharisees. Paul says he did all that he did out of ignorance and unbelief. I could be completely wrong about the condition of Paul’s heart, but that doesn’t change the fact that Paul could have rejected Jesus.


Paul could have rejected Jesus? When does Jesus ever give Paul an option? Where does Jesus ever say ‘now Paul, you better choose to obey Me?’ He doesn’t. He just gives commands. And again, if Paul was a chosen vessel of the Lord, which aligns perfectly with Romans 9 by the way, but if he was a chosen vessel, does that mean he could have resisted the Lord in light of being ‘set apart from the womb’?

1 Timothy 1:12-13 “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.”

Yes, I believe that Paul could have rejected the Lord, but I think God knew that He would not.


I know what you think, but what you think is not the standard for truth. The scriptures are the standard. And if Paul was a ‘chosen vessel’, then he did not have the option nor did he desire to reject the will of the Lord.

Ok I’m confused, are you now saying that anyone who is a “chosen vessel” cannot disobey? Because this is what you said before:

Nathan: “I never said that we are unable to be disobedient....But again, you do not understand my position. I never state that we have no choice in the matter. We DO have a choice, but unless one is born of the Spirit we will always choose the wrong choice.”

Romans 9 doesn’t mean what you make it out to mean. None of it has to do with salvation.


Ok, please show from the text instead of making statements and running. Cause that is a wild claim that I have never seen proven from the actual wording, it is speculation only by those who refuse to take a literal approach to scripture. And I do not think you want to side with the liberals.

It certainly doesn’t mean that God created someone evil or created someone for the PURPOSE of going to heaven or hell.

‘Vessels of wrath fitted for destruction’. That’s all I need to say. The Bible contradicts you statement above (and Prov 16:4).

And maybe I’ve misunderstood you and that’s not what you are saying either, but that’s what it seems like to me. That’s all I’ll say about it because I plan to go more into it in my next post.

Unless one is born of the Spirit we will ALWAYS choose the wrong choice?! No, you dit-unt! I guess everyone who warms a pew, feeds and clothes the poor, visits the prisoners, donates money and time to charities, etc. MUST be one who is born of the Spirit? I know you don't believe that! Do you?


Wow, your understanding of my position is so shallow that I will not even attempt to explain this one. Please do us all a favor and go read some reformed material so that you understand what they believe, then ridiculous questions like this will not be asked.

Men have been trying to work their way to heaven for thousands of years, and many do that within the church. Again, you do not understand the nature of spiritual good or ‘spiritual fruit’. There is a reason its called that you know!

Nathan: “No matter how hard you may deny it, but if you ‘made the right call’ while others failed to repent and place faith, the final glory goes to you. Yeah I know you will affirm that you could never earn heaven, or that God gets the glory because He supposedly provided a way out, but if the FINAL decision lies in your will, your will is to be gloried and honored above all else. Please review the Martin Luther quote Andrew provided to you in the comments section several months back.”

That is absurd. That is NOT what the Bible teaches.


You right! It is absurd and its not what the Bible teaches! But it is what you are teaching.

The Bible teaches that man sinned and deserved death and that God has provided a way for man to reconcile with God. God provided that reconciliation for EVERY MAN.

Again, again, if you made the right call you have something to boast about. Your good works got you into heaven while another one failed to ‘join the team’. Clearly saying ‘that’s not what the Bible teaches’ does nothing to sway from the obvious facts at hand. You have no defense for this accusation. You made the call, you ultimately get the glory.

"He supposedly provided a way out"? (emphasis added) Care to explain that one?

I used supposedly because you believe God died to make a plan rather than what the Bible says, that He died to save His people from their sins.

In your view, Christ’s death could have accomplished absolutely nothing had nobody come on their own free will. That is ‘supposedly’ saving instead of my view in which He actually saves those whom He went to the cross for. No ‘potential’ saving here.

1 Timothy 2:3-4 "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth."

1 Timothy 2:6 "Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time."

Romans 5:18 "Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life."


So I guess then all men will be saved? Are you a universalist? Sound like it to me.

John 12:32 "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me."

1 John 2:2 "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."

Hebrews 2:9 "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man."

No, the final glory does not go to me and I don’t regard ANY glory in myself for having heeded the call of God. I don’t get ANY glory for making the right choice. How could I? There wasn’t anything “I” did to provide salvation.


Yes you did, you made the FINAL call. And the FINAL call is the most important if it decides your fate. You do deserve glory if you made the deciding decision. There is no getting around that one.

What I feel is THANKFULNESS! What I have done is to humble myself before God. (Matthew 18:4; James 4:6)

And you can boast in your humility right? I see that you did that above when you said ‘I will humble myself here’.

But the other side to that is that you all could boast that you were CHOSEN.

How can I boast in choosing if the choice did not ride on anything I did in and of myself? You do not make sense here.

How is that any different than what you’ve stated? It could still be perceived that God loves those HE supposedly arbitrarily chose MORE than those He did not.

Obviously He loves His elect with a special love does He not? But it’s not based on us, it’s based on His choice. Did He not love Israel more than any nation in the OT?

God is no respecter of persons. He loves us all equally as the few scriptures I’ve provided above show.

So here is where you position is shown to be erroneous again. God loves everybody equally. He loves me the same as He loves the Muslims in Iraq, He loved Pharaoh the same as Moses, He loved Abraham the same as He loved Sodom and Gomorrah, He loved Paul the same as He loved those who were traveling with him at the time of his conversion. That is ludicrous! You haven’t shown anything from scripture to support this view.

Your right, God is no respecter of persons. Precisely why He does not ‘elect’ because of one’s goodness.

I’ve just re-read Andrew’s Luther quote and I still disagree with it. To have a freewill does not negate the need for Jesus. The idea that it does is absurd.

No, to have a free will does give you something to boast and glory in. That is the point; that your will is King of Kings and Lord of Lords! That is what you essentially say.

Nathan: “You [Dawn] said: All who "hear" or "believe" (i.e., accept or put their faith in) and "learn" come to the Father.

Nathan: “That is not what the text says. You cannot read it backwards and ‘rightly divide the word of truth’.”
Let’s look at it again."

John 6:44-45 "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me."

Where have I read it backwards? When we’re taught of God that is one way in which God draws us.


‘One way’? So there are some who come to the Father who are not taught and learned? Please explain.

Every man who has heard and learned comes to Jesus.

Yep, and who are those? Are we going to contradict verse 37, 44 and 65? Or are we going to understand the reformed teaching that says all who are given are drawn, and all who are drawn are taught by God. Its as clear as day. See above.

Again, where have I read it backward.

By desperately trying to find a way out in verse 45 and in the meantime contradiction the previous verses of 37 and 44.

Jesus makes a statement and then EXPLAINS the statement. In other words, everyone who has ears to hear and eyes to see because they CHOOSE to believe and do not REJECT but rather RECEIVE the commands of God are those whom the FATHER GIVES TO JESUS. It is really very simple.

Yes it is simple. You would have us believe that every man is ‘given’, every man is ‘drawn’, and every man is the meaning of verse 44 instead of ‘no man’. Clearly you have run yourself into a hole.

Nathan: “Actually, it makes no sense to elect someone who ‘elected’ themselves. Why would God need to choose us if we chose Him? Again, this is not what the verse says. It says that NO MAN can come to Jesus unless the Father draws. And does the Father draw every man? No He doesn’t, because the rest of the verse says ALL who are drawn are raised.”

When you elect a candidate do you not elect them on certain criteria?


Wait, I thought God was no respecter of persons? And I thought there was no good in us?

Are there certain credentials that must be met in order for them to get your vote? And no, I’m not talking about works here.

Yes you are. If we have to do something in and of ourselves, then that is a work! Autonomous equals work!

I’m talking about making a decision which in no way means “works.” God elects us when we meet certain criteria (i.e., belief, receipt and a willingness to repent).

Please state your scripture for this instead of saying and running.

Yes, the Father draws every man. (John 12:32)

Ok, if He draws every man, then you are a universalist according to John 6:44.

And no, you are wrong, everyone who is given to Jesus is who is raised, not everyone who is drawn.

John 6:44 – “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws Him; and I will raise him up at the last day”.

Again, you are shown a clear error in your interpretation. Please let Jesus finish the sentence! All who are drawn are raised on the last day. It is as clear as day once again. There is no period, no change of subject, and no hiding meaning to this sentence.

(Please provide the scripture if I’ve got the wrong one.) Why would Jesus die for every man (Hebrew 2:9) if every man weren’t capable of being saved?

If Jesus died for every man then all men would be saved. But again, I am not going to discuss this with you because of your refusal to see the obvious truth in the other 5 points of Calvinism, which are necessary to understanding this one. But here’s a hint, read John 10. Who does Jesus lay down His life for? ANY sheep that comes along?

The bible teaches that we are all invited to receive salvation, those who receive and believe will be given the power to repent. Those who do not receive and believe are not given the power to repent. It is that simple.

It is that simple. However, those who receive are those who are ‘given, drawn, born of God, planted by the Father’ etc. It is that simple.

Nathan: “Why would you have us believe that ‘no man can come’ actually means ‘every man can come’?”

It means that no man can come to the father on his own and that it is God who first DRAWS someone to Him.


Then why are all who are drawn raised up? How does that fit into the above statement?

Once a person is drawn by God and chooses to believe and receive that drawing by believing what he is taught through the scripture, that person will then be given the power to repent.

Again, if all who are drawn are raised, the above statement makes no sense. All who are drawn are raised! There are none who are drawn that are not raised!

Read John 6:44 AND 6:45. The fact that all men are drawn has already been established. That is the WHOLE counsel of scripture, not scripture taken out of context.

Please Dawn, read the text before you make these wild assertions. The whole counsel of God doesn’t neglect the last half of verse 44. When you say that ‘all men are drawn has already been established’ you just prove to me that you do not think about a text before you slap it down on paper. Read verse 44 and tell me how all men are drawn and yet some will go to hell? How is that in light of Jesus finishing the sentence?! Again, your assertions have been proven to be baseless, wild, and a desperate attempt to get around language a 5 year old can understand.

Dawn, I have spent a lot of time writing this reply out. I have tried to be as gracious and patient as possible with you, but your mocking tone and refusal to be corrected have led me to using some harsh language in this reply. Please know that I have prayed that you would accept this reply with an open heart, and that you would let scripture interpret itself instead of running off with a tradition that you’ve always heard.

I do not plan to respond to you anymore. I think that your refusal to be corrected by specific words in the text has been shown, and if scripture is not used when determining truth then I will never convince you of anything. I cannot argue with philosophy or anything else, I can only use the words of scripture. And if you will not listen to the words then I will not continue to place them in front of you for you to trample over. Please, please, read some additional reformed material and consider each one of my arguments. I always stayed in the text, can you not see that you never did? Let the words speak for themselves.

SDG

 
At Thursday, January 19, 2006 5:08:00 AM, Blogger Dawn said...

AJ, if you're still here, I've read your posts and hope to respond soon, meaning in a day or two, but don't hold your breath.

Nathan, I will read your response after I have responded to AJ.

 
At Thursday, January 19, 2006 10:27:00 AM, Blogger Daniel said...

Dawn,

I'm an Arminian. So I'm sympathic to your views. However, you made some interesting comments about total depravity.

You write,"We have the God-given ability to choose right from wrong and have faith enough to believe in God. (John 1:9; Romans 1-2, 12:3 (more on this later); John 12:46-48) We are all born with a conscience which is the law of God written on our hearts (Romans 2:15). We are dead in sin, but that does not mean that we cannot make a decision to do good. It simply means that our spirit is dead and that we cannot fully understand the things of God or enter the kingdom until we are born of God. Our soul (mind, will and emotions, in other words our heart) is NOT dead; therefore, we can make good decisions."

I agree with the Calvinist explanation of total depravity as did all historic Arminians.

I believe that we cannot respond to Christ in faith without the grace of God. I believe that our conscience has been corrupted by sin. Yes, I believe that the heart is dead spiritually as well. We need God's pre-regenerating grace in order to trust Christ.

Read "And Can It Be" by Charles Welsey. This is a good Arminian song.

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

 
At Thursday, January 19, 2006 11:20:00 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

My view on total depravity is that in the eyes of God we are totally depraved since He is Holy and Righteous. Our hearts, if left to themselves (meaning no Godly influence whatsoever), would end up totally depraved. I believe the Bible teaches that God's influence IS upon all and that is why we do not all act out our total depravity.

So you are saying that you believe our souls to be dead? And do you believe that our spirit and soul are the same thing?

I've been thinking really hard about the actual meaning of spiritual death. I'm not saying that I am right, but this is the way I see it; we are trichotomous beings: spirit, soul and body. Our spirit is born dead. The state of our spirit drives our souls since spirit and soul are so closely connected. However, we do have the ability to choose to do right from wrong since the law of God is written on our hearts.

This whole debate has caused me to re-think many things. Even if I'm wrong about the spirit and soul, I don't think I'm wrong about man's responsiblity in salvation. The Bible is written like we do have a choice.

I typed up a last response on Nathan's blog and then went over to your blog. I wasn't able to stay long, but I did see that you've written about Romans 9. I read your latest entry on it and I think we probably agree about Romans 9.

Do you believe that God lights every man and gives to every man a measure of faith? Is that the grace you are speaking of?

 
At Thursday, January 19, 2006 11:37:00 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

I agree that God hardened Pharoah's heart for His own purposes after Pharaoh had hardened His own heart.

Luther: "Now, if there had been any vertibility or liberty of will in Pharaoh, which could turn either way, God could not with such certainty have foretold his hardening."

This I do no understand. God FOREKNOWS everything. If God FOREKNOWS everything, how could He not be certain of anything?

The whole last paragrah I disagree with. It smacks of making scripture say what it does not. Of course, without God's light we would not seek God or choose to do the right thing, etc. But God's grace IS with all of us. I'm not saying that it is saving grace, but it is grace enough for us to accept or reject Him and His ways. If God's grace wasn't prevalent in this world we would have all killed each other out by now.

But I DO understand how YOU, and other Calvinists, see it. You think that because we don't have it in us to choose good then naturally we will not do as God says. I get that, but I don't see that teaching in the Bible.

 
At Friday, January 20, 2006 12:17:00 AM, Blogger Dawn said...

Sproul: "He foreknew and foreloved his elect."

Yes, He did, but He also foreloved the whole world.

The Ephesians 1:3-6 is true. Yes, God foreknew whom it was that would be the elect. God draws then God CHOOSES those who choose to believe and receive. It IS for His glory, etc. He draws ALL men, but not all will come. It was the pleasure of His good will to provide a way for MANKIND to be redeemed. That way is to believe, receive and repent.

Sproul: "Yet we still must insist that it was nothing that he foreknew, foresaw, or foreloved in us that was the decisive reason for his choice."

Yeah, because it blows Calvinist doctrine right out of the water. What do you do with Romans 8:29-30? Maybe Nathan has answered this.

AJlin: "And so, as he elects His people "according to the good pleasure of His will" it is for His glory alone."

And what is the good pleasure of His will? It is that He has provided a way for ALL men to reconcile with Him. They only need to believe, receive and repent. And, yes, it IS for His gloy ALONE. Allowing us to choose takes not one iota of glory or sovereignty away from God because that is the way HE set it up. He determines the beginning from the end.

AJlin: "God knows exactly how He is best glorified and which radically depraved sinners to choose to bestow mercy upon in order to magnify His glory. This decision is neither arbitrary, nor is it left up to the sinful will of the creature, as if God needed some outside council on how to accomplish His purposes."

Neither you nor Sproul has proved that Calvinism does not teach that God is arbitrary in choosing His elect. You are right, God's choosing the elect was NOT left up to the sinful will of man and He did not seek our counsel. If it were left up to us, I dare say that we would have done it much differently. God chose to allow us to choose.

AJ, you've been really great about all of this and I really appreciate that. Thanks so much.

 
At Friday, January 20, 2006 11:51:00 AM, Blogger Daniel said...

Nathan,

Have you already had some seminary training? I thought that you were just planning to attend Master's. Just curious. Dawn's statement in her original post kinda confused me.


Your interpretation of 2 Peter 2:1 seems pretty far-stretched to me. Are you saying that "the sovereign Lord" here doesn't refer to Jesus? That is highly unlikely. The Greek word "δεσπότης" often is used to refer to the Father or Jesus. Check out Luke 2:29, Acts 4:24, and Rev. 6:10. It is pretty clear that "δεσπότης" and "κύριος" are synonyms in this passage in 2 Pet.

In fact, 2 Pet. 2:20 makes it pretty clear that this denial is a denial of Jesus Christ. The term "bought" implies purchase. It's pretty clear that Jesus in some way purchased these individuals, who were denying Him. And since the redemption metaphor that Paul is so fond of involves the concept of purchase, it is safe to say that the passage deals with the atonement.


Dawn,

I'm not sure what I think about the trichotomous vs. dichotomous debate. I tend to think that words like "soul," "spirit," "heart," "mind" just refer us as persons. There's probably subtle differences in usage. However, for the most part, they refer to the same thing. That's my opinion.

You also asked, "Do you believe that God lights every man and gives to every man a measure of faith? Is that the grace you are speaking of?"

I believe that Scripture is the means of God's pre-regenerating grace. As the Bible is read, preached, and studied, the Holy Spirit works in the life of the unbeliever to create faith. Unlike Nathan and Andrew, I believe that this work can be resisted.

I also that the church is a means of God's pre-regenerating grace. Since the church is a community of believers who are endwelt by the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit works in the lives of unbelievers as they come in contact with believers to create faith. This is the theological basis for relationship-driven ministry. Most of the Christians I know are believers partly because of the impact of some other Christian.

 
At Friday, January 20, 2006 6:22:00 PM, Blogger Nathan White said...

Daniel, I find it absolutely comical that you are trying to get me to pay attention to the specific wording in 2 peter 2:1 -something you have refusen to do elsewhere. Do you realize how all over the map you are?

All I was saying is that Peter uses a unusual word for 'Lord' which I would translate as Master. And since Peter is obviously not trying to give teaching on the atonement, I would understand Peter as giving an analogy. Like a human master over slaves or something. Because these teachers were in the church they had a responsibility to sumbit to their 'master'. Again, we cannot read 'atonement' into the passage beyond a shadow of a doubt, as Peter is obviously not giving his theory on the atonement.

If we want to read about the atonement, why don't we go where it is systematically discussed? Like Hebrews? There we will find things in much clearer terms.

 
At Friday, January 20, 2006 8:29:00 PM, Blogger Nathan White said...

P.S.

And to reiterate what I said above to Dawn, if you believe 2nd Peter 2:1 to be discussing the atonement (which obviously I do not), then you must be a universalist to be consistent with yourself.

The master 'bought' these teachers right? But wait, the view you are advocating is that Christ 'potentially' bought these men, that is, that Christ died for all and left if up to them to decide whether or not Christ's blood was shed in vain.

So again, and again, and again, there is no consistency. Unless of course, you believe a true Christian can lose their salvation (which Daniel, I think but am not sure that you do). OR, if you believe that all will be saved.

So what is it guys? If this is talking about the atonement, did Christ really buy these men (and thus we will see them in heaven), or did they lose the faith and Holy Spirit they once possesed? OR, are we again going to insert our own understanding in the text and say He 'potentially bought them'?

SDG

 
At Saturday, January 21, 2006 1:10:00 AM, Blogger Dawn said...

Nathan, thanks for the very thorough response. You've once again given me a lot to think about.

Right now I'm a little speechless, so can't say much of anything. My brain is on overload. And I know this discussion is over as far as you're concerned. I have objections, but I can't even remember what they are right now.

Daniel, I thought Master's was a seminary and that Nathan was currently attending. Sorry for the mix-up.

Also, I've always thought that exegesis was a study of the text in context as well as the text as a whole. Am I wrong? This question is for whoever cares to answer.

Nathan, thanks again for your response.

 
At Sunday, January 22, 2006 12:40:00 AM, Blogger Dawn said...

Daniel,

I agree that the grace of God comes in many forms. Faith comes by hearing the word of God. That's how I interpret the meaning of Paul plants, Apollos waters and God gives the increase. We receive a certain amount grace and faith through the word and God gives us saving faith.

 
At Wednesday, January 25, 2006 6:34:00 AM, Anonymous Michael (Friend of Leo) said...

I have to admit, I envy people that know the scripture as well as you do Dawn. I accepted Christ as Lord and Savior when I was 16 years old. The years before that had been spiritually turbulant because, I believe, Christ was talking to me and guiding me to salvation. However, I did not live the live of a Christian despite my honest and true acceptance. Again, Christ spoke to me (not literally as in a voice, but that tug on the heart..) and I have finally commited my life to God. I feel now, I am born again, because the word of God sounds so different to me, with more meaning.

 
At Wednesday, January 25, 2006 12:06:00 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

Nathan: "The master 'bought' these teachers right? But wait, the view you are advocating is that Christ 'potentially' bought these men, that is, that Christ died for all and left if up to them to decide whether or not Christ's blood was shed in vain."

I know Nathan isn't reading here, but I would like to respond to this anyway.

Just because Christ died for the world and some do not accept His call does not mean He died in vain. If it does, I've never seen a scripture for it.

 
At Wednesday, January 25, 2006 1:02:00 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

Michael, thanks for stopping by and commenting. I had a similar experience as you did. I was not raised in church, but I believed in God and had attended church on several occasions. I think I was 16 the first time I said the sinner's prayer. I also had a similar experience as Nathan did (see the quote below from Nathan's blog) in that I prayed to God almost every night as a child, but had no idea about "salvation." Anyway, like you, I, too, felt tugs throughout my life to commit to the Lord, but wouldn't heed the call. Once I did it sincerely, God showed me the truth of His Spirit. I felt that I was a new creature and I was a different person. I felt that my eyes were opened to spiritual things through His word.

Nathan: "I grew up in a free will church and believed in free will all of my life. I also believed I was truly saved at the age of 6, but in reality I most certainly was not. However, in 2003 the Lord started working in my life through some very excruciating circumstances, and I began to seek Him out of desperation. I still remember pulling out my Bible and reading John chapter 6, alone on a business trip almost 4 thousand miles away from home (Seattle), and being struck with an overwhelming since of helplessness. I had grown up my entire life believing that because I had prayed the prayer, had walked the aisle, had grown up in church, had professed to know God almost my entire life -that I had saving faith! In reality, my faith was only in my own will –as I can still remember at age 10-12 I prayed the ‘sinners prayer’ every single night so as to make sure I really *meant* it. Anyway, I was literally trembling when I read the words of Jesus, and my eyes were opened. I realized there was nothing I could do to save myself, no prayer I could pray, no obedience that I could do, absolutely nothing. The blunt force of John 6 opened my eyes to the true gospel. My only hope was to fall on my face and beg for mercy, beg for Christ to save me. And that’s what I did, and that’s when my life completely changed. Over the next three months, by Gods grace, I left the partying, the drinking, the gambling, the girls, the thievery and a plethora of other sins in pursuit of Christ. My life has never been the same since –all things definitely became new.

So I said all of that to say this, John 6 is extremely important to me on a personal level, for if I hadn’t realized that there was nothing I could do I would have gone on trying to please God in my own way.
"

Nathan's own testimony contradicts his Calvinistic views. I'm very happy that Nathan finally saw the truth of God through John 6. But his story is not unlike many of ours. God saw Nathan's heart. God looked upon Nathan's heart and eventually gave him saving faith. True, there was NOTHING in Nathan that could save him. NOTHING. There is nothing he could have done to save himself but to obey the commands of Jesus by believing, receiving and repenting. God gives us all that grace.

We see that Nathan was, in fact, seeking God. At least that is how it appears to me from this very small excerpt of his testimony. How could he have been seeking God without being born again first? He was reading John 6. (But maybe he was reading John 6 for some other reason than trying to seek and understand God. Even so, he seems to have sought Him all his life.) I'm sorry that Nathan thought he was saved while going out and blatantly sinning. I knew the difference. I knew that I was not really saved. I knew that it took more than just going down the isle and praying at the altar; though, sadly, there are many who do not.

God deals with us all differently to get our attention, but those of us who are born of God come to the same saving faith and that is through the belief, receipt and repentance of God through Jesus Christ.

 
At Wednesday, January 25, 2006 3:46:00 PM, Blogger Nathan White said...

Dawn, it amazes me how you continue misunderstand my position. Do you not read what I write to you? Apparently not; if I had to guess you just skim over my words looking to catch me with one if your favorite proof texts.

I’m sorry, but if you understood the reformed position you would not make the comments you made about my conversion. Please, do yourself a favor and study up on this subject so that you can address it properly.

But to briefly clear up your error: if I am truly saved (which I believe I am), then I am one of the elect. If I am one of the elect, how did I come to salvation?

Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. –Rom 8

No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. – John 6

You might want to take credit for bringing yourself to seek Christ, but that is not something I can take credit for. I was drawn and called by the Father –THAT is why I picked up the Bible to read the book of John.

God saw Nathan's heart. God looked upon Nathan's heart and eventually gave him saving faith.

That is a ridiculous statement supported by no, none, zero, nada, scriptural texts. I’m sorry, but this is a figment of your imagination. It isn’t in the Bible. And you should be ashamed of yourself for saying God does something that He hasn’t said.

SDG

P.S. I seriously don't mind you replying on my blog (as the post you alluded to is on my blog), I just am not going to respond to your 'book' replies -with a book reply of my own :) If it's not too long, by all means!

 
At Wednesday, January 25, 2006 6:39:00 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

First of all, you continually misrepresent and misunderstand me. I do not give myself any credit for seeking God for I know that I could not seek Him unless HE gave me that ability by drawing me/calling me.

Second, I'm not a malicious person. I have NOTHING against you. I simply disagree with you. You some how for some reason see me as the enemy. I am NOT your enemy. I simply disagree with your interpretation of the scriptures. Good grief! Obviously, you see ME as the enemy. If that is so, then that is too sad. I see you as my brother in Christ. I really don't think you see me as your sister. It makes me wonder if you think I'm even born again just because I don't agree with the five points! Do you think people who don't believe in the five points are born again?

I'm not looking to catch you at anything. I was simply reading your comments section and your post kind of floored me.

Did you not seek God all your life? What do you call praying and asking God to save you every night if it is not seeking Him? What was it that you were doing? Please tell us.

Third, you mentioned in one of your posts that I had a mocking tone. I'm sorry that you felt that way, but that was not my intention. Some of it was passion and some of the time I was teasing you. Sorry if you can't take a joke. I've noticed that you can dish it out, but you can't take it.

Nathan: "Please, do yourself a favor and study up on this subject so that you can address it properly."

You continue to say that I don't understand this subject. I do, though I may not understand every little aspect. I just disagree. However, feel free to suggest a work(s) which you think best explains the five points of Calvinism in question. It would be great if you knew of one that refutes all the Arminian proof-texts.

Nathan: "You might want to take credit for bringing yourself to seek Christ, but that is not something I can take credit for. I was drawn and called by the Father –THAT is why I picked up the Bible to read the book of John."

As I stated above, I take no credit for seeking the Lord nor do I feel like I sought Him on my own.

I agree. You WERE drawn by the Lord and that IS why you picked up the Bible to read the book of John. I never said you weren't. I meant that even if, in your mind, you were reading it for a totally different purpose it is what God used to open your eyes.

One thing I would like clarification on in Calvinism is this. Once you have been born again is it at that point that you ask God to save you? Or did you just do that on your own and it wasn't required? I'm not being sarcastic. I am serious.

"My only hope was to fall on my face and beg for mercy, beg for Christ to save me. And that’s what I did, and that’s when my life completely changed."

 
At Thursday, January 26, 2006 3:03:00 PM, Blogger Nathan White said...

First of all, you continually misrepresent and misunderstand me. I do not give myself any credit for seeking God for I know that I could not seek Him unless HE gave me that ability by drawing me/calling me.

Dawn, when you say things like “Nathan was, in fact, seeking God” and “God looked upon Nathan's heart and eventually gave him saving faith” you by necessity give credit to the creature for salvation, rather than to the Creator. When God can’t save unless we first ‘seek Him’, or ‘set our heart right’, then that is giving credit to the creature. Your comments that I was seeking God and that God smiled on me because I set my heart right led to me saying that you may want to take credit, but I cannot.

Second, I'm not a malicious person. I have NOTHING against you. I simply disagree with you. You some how for some reason see me as the enemy. I am NOT your enemy. I simply disagree with your interpretation of the scriptures. Good grief! Obviously, you see ME as the enemy. If that is so, then that is too sad. I see you as my brother in Christ. I really don't think you see me as your sister.

I’ve never stated nor hinted at such things. Please do not mistake my firm words as being hatred. However, I was upset to see you take the story of my conversion off of my weblog to bring it over here for you to mock and pervert with your own theories. That is uncalled for, and that is why my tone before was so firm. But as Paul said: “Have I become your enemy because I tell you the truth?”

It makes me wonder if you think I'm even born again just because I don't agree with the five points! Do you think people who don't believe in the five points are born again?

Of course not. I have never stated that the 5 points is required for salvation –that is ridiculous. However, I am sad to see what I believe to be a firm refusal to be corrected by the written word. That, is by far more important than understanding deep theology such as the 5 points.

I'm not looking to catch you at anything. I was simply reading your comments section and your post kind of floored me.

I really didn’t see it that way; maybe I misunderstood your intentions. But what I saw was you taking a story that is very dear to me, over to your sight so that you could rip it apart so as to make me look bad. I apologize if I jumped to conclusions.

Did you not seek God all your life? What do you call praying and asking God to save you every night if it is not seeking Him? What was it that you were doing? Please tell us.

A quick look at John chapter 6 will clear all of this up. There were multitudes of ‘disciples’ who were seeking Jesus because of His miracles. Toward the end, however, all but the twelve left Him. People seek ‘God’ all the time –for selfish and sinful reasons. Only when God opens our eyes to our sin and our need for a savior will we ever truly submit to Him. Again, and again I have said, salvation is not based on some ‘decision’ we make, but on the grace of God. If it was based on a decision, then I was saved hundreds of time as a youth.

Third, you mentioned in one of your posts that I had a mocking tone. I'm sorry that you felt that way, but that was not my intention. Some of it was passion and some of the time I was teasing you. Sorry if you can't take a joke. I've noticed that you can dish it out, but you can't take it.

If you believe I cannot take a ‘joke’ as you call it, just look back at the original post of this thread. Your long reply, the heading of this post, was at times very ‘passionate’, ‘mocking’, ‘joking’, or whatever else we could call it. I had no problem with it, and even gave some of it right back :)

Nathan: "Please, do yourself a favor and study up on this subject so that you can address it properly."

You continue to say that I don't understand this subject. I do, though I may not understand every little aspect. I just disagree. However, feel free to suggest a work(s) which you think best explains the five points of Calvinism in question. It would be great if you knew of one that refutes all the Arminian proof-texts.


Just look at almost any church father –they are all Calvinists with the exception of a notable few like Wesley or Finney. Calvinism ruled orthodox Christianity up until around the late 1800’s.

Oh, and I sure would like to see ‘all the Arminian proof-texts’, that you talk about. For I do not find a verse in scripture that presents the least bit trouble with my position.

I agree. You WERE drawn by the Lord and that IS why you picked up the Bible to read the book of John. I never said you weren't. I meant that even if, in your mind, you were reading it for a totally different purpose it is what God used to open your eyes.

Of course in my mind I didn’t know I was being drawn. I would venture to say that most, if not all of Christians believe in free-will upon their conversion. Our self-righteousness wants to take credit for everything. We look back and say ‘yep, I received Christ’, without realizing the “we love Him because He first loved us”. God draws, we respond, and usually we don’t understand the ‘drawing’ part until much later in life.

One thing I would like clarification on in Calvinism is this. Once you have been born again is it at that point that you ask God to save you? Or did you just do that on your own and it wasn't required? I'm not being sarcastic. I am serious.

Repenting, believing, surrendering to Jesus IS required for salvation –please don’t misunderstand that. We are NOT justified before God until we do so. However, when we believe and repent, this is evidence of God already working in our hearts. There really is no process to it, for the Bible gives us none. But the Bible does say that whoever is born of God will believe (1 John 5:1 –the tense of ‘born of God’ comes before ‘believes’).

The simplest way to break it down is John 6: The Father gives before the foundation of the world. The Father draws, which entails being ‘taught of God’, and then we come to faith in Christ. Do we have a will? Yes, we must respond to the drawing of the Father. But remember, every person chosen before the foundation of the world will come (all that the Father gives to Me will come), and every person drawn will be saved (and I will raise Him up).

When I asked God to save me, that was the indicator that the Spirit was present in my heart (Rom 8), and at that point I manifested the evidence of God raising me from the dead.

Just think of Lazarus, he’s sitting there dead, cannot do anything, and the Lord opens his eyes. He still had to get up and obey the Lord, but he was raised on the basis of the Lord’s will and not his.

”And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there. 14Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. 15And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” So she persuaded us.” - Acts 16:13

Lydia worshiped God, but she was not saved. The LORD opened her heart to hear the gospel. A perfect analogy of my conversion!! (only I was a little further off the deep-end).

SDG

 
At Monday, February 06, 2006 6:43:00 PM, Blogger Antonio said...

Dawn,

Keep Up the Good work of defending the Bible and God against the Experimental Predestinarians!

Antonio

 
At Wednesday, February 08, 2006 8:33:00 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

Nathan: "When God can’t save unless we first ‘seek Him’, or ‘set our heart right’, then that is giving credit to the creature."

I've never said that. What I've said is that God gives us free-will. He draws us, every one of us, and that through His drawing (whatever form of drawing that may be e.g., creation, trials, tribulation, etc.) we have the ability to seek Him. That is how I see Acts 17:26-27 to name just one scripture. That, in no way, gives credit to the creature, especially when God set it up that way and the fact that God drew us first. You have repeatedly said that it is impossible to seek God without being born again, but the bible states otherwise. I believe that it is true that without His grace (not speaking of saving grace here) we could not seek Him. But His grace is with us all in one form or another. It is what is in our hearts that determines whether we seek God for truth or whether we seek a God of our own making. Just do a search on the word “heart” for the scriptures that show this.

Nathan: "However, I was upset to see you take the story of my conversion off of my weblog to bring it over here for you to mock and pervert with your own theories. That is uncalled for, and that is why my tone before was so firm."

Again, I did not mock your conversion. I was very happy about your conversion and even said as much. So please don't accuse me of things I have not done, especially when I said I was happy for you in the original post. Besides, you had made it quite clear that you might not respond to me on your blog! I actually DID begin to respond on your blog, but deleted it and backed out of the comment because I figured you would not respond, so why bother? (You’ve since clarified your position.) When I read Michael's comment above, your statement seemed to fit the conversation so I brought it over here.

Nathan: "But as Paul said: “Have I become your enemy because I tell you the truth?”"

No, you are not my enemy and I'm not real sure you are telling me the truth. I know you think you are though. The difficulties of this subject are not over for me, but I am still very much leaning toward a free-will interpretation.

It is much of what Paul writes which, to me, disproves Calvinism. After John 3:16, Romans 10 (the whole book of Romans for that matter), for example, is probably one of the most popular chapters quoted from for preaching salvation.

Nathan: "However, I am sad to see what I believe to be a firm refusal to be corrected by the written word. That, is by far more important than understanding deep theology such as the 5 points."

I believe very much in correction by the written word. And I very much want to be obedient to the Lord. I GLADLY receive a rebuke from the word when it is truly warranted and is in fact the truth. I'm still not sure that this rebuke is indeed from the Lord.

Nathan: “Again, and again I have said, salvation is not based on some ‘decision’ we make, but on the grace of God. If it was based on a decision, then I was saved hundreds of time as a youth.

I agree, salvation IS based on the grace of God, but it is ALSO based on our sincerity in believing, receiving and willingness to repent, which is where the heart comes in. I know you believe that God changes the heart first. But that’s not how I see it. Especially with wording like whosoever will, etc. The entire sacrificial system allowed whosoever would to come forth and receive forgiveness of sin. Of course God always looked upon the heart in determining whose sins were actually forgiven. Yeah, yeah, I know that the heart is evil and deceiving. But God says He searches the hearts and tries the reins to give to every man according to his ways. God speaks to us in many ways throughout His word. One of those ways is by giving us choices. Just look up the word choose or choice.

Nathan: “But the Bible does say that whoever is born of God will believe (1 John 5:1 –the tense of ‘born of God’ comes before ‘believes’).

1 John 5:1Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.

You’re doing the same thing you reprimanded me for doing. It doesn’t say “will believe,” it says whosoever believes is born of God. I agree. A person who has committed their life to the Lord IS born again. I guess it is OK for you to read the scripture backward, but it isn’t for me?

Nathan: “Lydia worshiped God, but she was not saved. The LORD opened her heart to hear the gospel. A perfect analogy of my conversion!! (only I was a little further off the deep-end).

It says that Lydia was a worshipper of God. All she lacked was hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ. Obviously she was already receptive to His word and, yes, the Lord opened her heart to give her saving faith. Your and Lydia’s conversion is not in opposition to what I believe.

Look back at 1 John 5:1b. It states that those who love God love Jesus. That is what happened to you, to me, to Michael, to Lydia, etc. We love Him because He first loved us.

I've finally been able to finish one of the articles on the Monergism site. I hope to be able to read more. Also, I've begun to re-read the New Testament with an eye out for Calvinism and see where God leads since, to me, the New Testament seems to contain more of the paradoxical statements where salvation is concerned. After that, I plan to do the OT in the same manner.

P.S. You mentioned that my title for this blog post was mocking. I did not mean for it to be mocking. I still feel that rightly dividing the truth is the key to this issue. At this point in time, I believe that free-will is what is being taught when the word is rightly divided.

 
At Wednesday, February 08, 2006 8:52:00 PM, Blogger Consecrated said...

This is the first time I visit, and I like your blog Dawn. When I read your profile I was impressed because you chose to put the Holy Bible as your favorite reading material. I therefore ventured and was pleasantly surprised to find a solid Christian defending the old time faith. Good job. Keep it up.
I post on penofiron.blogspot.com should you like to visit.

 
At Thursday, February 09, 2006 6:13:00 AM, Blogger Rose~ said...

Dawn,
My heart is with you. I have struggled over this subject far too much.
God bless you.

 
At Thursday, February 09, 2006 10:01:00 AM, Blogger Dawn said...

Antonio, thanks for the encouragement.

Consecrated, thanks for stopping by. I hope to visit your site in the near future.

Rose, thanks for the empathy. I feel I've struggled over this subject far too much myself, though I feel the need to press on and get to the bottom of it for myself. Thanks for stopping by.

 
At Thursday, February 09, 2006 7:51:00 PM, Anonymous Eye said...

Dawn,

Thanks for the opportunity to post a comment. I’ve read your posts and I thank God for your stand for the Truth of His Word. I too have looked into this ‘raging’ debate around the systematic theologic construct commonly called ‘Calvinism’. Yes, the debating is centuries old and it will most likely continue until the LORD returns. However, one of the articles I read recently on this topic by a man who is now a former Calvinist struck a chord in me that continues to resonate. He said that if you can cast doubt on the Calvinist’s definition of ‘total depravity’ – that is, man is incapable of searching the things of God, much less exercising his free will to follow God or choose the things of God, then you can topple the rest of the construct. Let me hasten to add that God’s Holy Spirit will lead us into His Truth if we submit ourselves to Him. With that, if I may, I’ll offer acouple of passages and a few comments around them. The first is from the beginning of God’s creation shortly after the fall of Adam and Eve and the second is right after Pentecost. If you will, at the very beginning of the two Testaments!

Genesis 4:3-13
And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper? And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now [art] thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand; When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth. And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear.


Did you see it? God actually singled out a ‘totally depraved’ man – Cain – and confronted him over his offering and his attitude. God also lovingly ‘challenges’ Cain (and I humbly submit that one can easily see God provides Cain with a choice). The choice is to ‘doest well’ as the KJB says and if Cain does the right thing regarding his offering to the LORD, the LORD promises him that he will be accepted by God. Amazing, a ‘totally depraved’ man is faced with a ‘choice’ to seek and obey God or not to seek Him and as a result he disobeys Him. We know the rest of the story – Cain made the wrong choice. Cain had a body and a soul and his spirit was dead as a result of the fall of Adam and Eve. Truly he was a sinner in need of a savior. God told Adam and Eve, who in turn had told their children, about God’s plan (Genesis 3:15). I humbly submit that I believe God must have informed them of His desire for a sacrificial system which Abel obviously believed and followed. Abel obeyed and Cain did not – Cain chose to do it his way.

The nuggets I glean from this passage are that even in the beginning of earth’s history, shortly after sin entered into the human race, God was actively persuing His creation. God personally encounters Cain in love and with His holy conviction. God does not force or make Cain do anything. He simply holds him accountable for his actions and He asks him to ‘contemplate’ his sinful state (disobeying the understood proper sacrifice methodology). God’s dealing with Cain is motivated by His desire to see Cain ‘do well’ and follow God. It can’t be any clearer. Cain had a choice, yes even as a ‘totally depraved’ man – a choice to follow God. But yet, the Calvinist rejects the idea that a totally depraved man can do such a thing!

John Piper’s qoute from Monergism.com on Total Depravity, “In summary, total depravity means that our rebellion against God is total, everything we do in this rebellion is sin, our inability to submit to God or reform ourselves is total, and we are therefore totally deserving of eternal punishment.”

I ask a simple question. Did not God ask Cain to reform, or better yet repent of his sin and ‘choose’ to “doest well”? The resounding answer is YES! Then God, who created frail man certainly knows our limitations and capabilities. Why would God ask His creation to do something He knows they can’t possibly do – to follow the Calvinistic argument of total depravity? Absolutely makes no sense does it? Then I humbly submit that God put Cain to a test that He knew the outcome of, but He still gave Cain a choice. We don’t know how long Cain wrestled with this, but we do know he failed. Again, a totally depraved man had a choice to make regarding God!

I also submit an early Church example right after Pentecost at the beginning of the Church and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit – Cornelius.

Acts 10: 1-4
There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.


Notice once again that a totally depraved man is ‘seeking’ God! That’s not supposed to be happening according to our Calvinist friends. Get this, his prayers and alms were actually recognized by God, so much so, He summonsed an angel to inform Cornelius.

Acts 10: 22
And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.


Again, a totally depraved man that actually ‘feareth God’!

Acts 10:30 - 35
And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God. Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee. Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God. Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.


Notice above that a totally depraved man fears God and get this – he is also working righteousness! And, let’s don’t forget he is also accepted by God.

Acts 10:44
While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.


Finally, we see that Cornelius heard the Gospel and was saved along with his household. I’m unable to find any reference in these straight forward passages to regeneration prior to placing faith in Jesus! If it’s there, the Calvinist must prove it.

My apologies for the long post, but this has been on my heart for some time! Keep up the good work and fight the good fight.

In Him,

Eye

 
At Saturday, February 11, 2006 6:22:00 AM, Blogger Dawn said...

Eye, thanks for stopping by and no need to apologize for long posts. They don't bother me one bit.

I was thinking about Cain and Abel the other day along the lines of the scriptures you've provided. I believe when God gave Adam and Eve the coats of skin to cover their nakedness is when he instituted the sacrificial system. Thus, they taught it to their children and so on.

I totally agree. The story of Cain and Abel shows us exactly how it works (among other lessons we learn through the account of Cain and Abel) and the rest of the OT accounts are no different. Neither is the NT, but there are a few scriptures in the NT which, if you have a Calvinist view, seem to say that God chose. But I feel that those are taken out of context.

The other thing about the sacrificial system that disproves Calvinism is the fact that ANYONE, whether they were Jew or Gentile, was allowed to agree to serve God and be circumcised and live as a Jew and participate in the sacrificial system for forgiveness of sins and partake of the passover meal. Belief first and then circumcision. It is the same in the NT. We believe and then we are given a new heart, a circumcised heart.

As we all know, the OT is full of types and shadows of things to come and is further explained in the NT. Did something profound change in terms of salvation between the OT and the NT that we were never told about? NO! We know that God has always looked upon the heart. We know that God has always given man a choice.

Read Exodus 12 & Romans 4.

Great points about Cornelius. It goes to show that those who are truly seeking God, God will shed light to the point that salvation is eventually presented. Though He sheds light on us all whether we seek Him or not so that we are without excuse.

Thanks for the encouragement Eye!

 
At Sunday, February 12, 2006 1:36:00 PM, Anonymous Eye said...

Dawn,

I read in one of Nathan’s previous posts some things that didn’t square with Scripture. Since you and I are discussing Cornelius, I thought I would take the liberty to review one of Nathan’s comments in light of Acts 10.

Nathan said: “Furthermore, your example of ‘lost’ people performing good deeds is a little ridiculous. Any deed that is done out of a heart that is not submitted to Christ is not a good deed –it is from selfish motives. Someone who has elevated something else above Christ (they have not submitted to Him as Lord and savior) does good deeds only for whatever else is elevated above Christ: namely self.”

Interesting comment from Nathan in light of the fact that Cornelius, after Pentecost, as an unregenerated man (the Calvinist must prove by Scripture he was regenerated), actually did do good deeds – see Acts 10:2 ‘A devout man, and one that feared God with his entire household, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.’

Wow – let’s see what the Bible says about Cornelius. Sounds to me like Cornelius had more going on in the ‘good deed’ categories than most so-called Christians I know! He was ‘devout’, oh and he feared God, and not only him but his entire household, and let’s not forget that he gave ‘much alms’ to the people. Now that’s a good deed, and I dare say there were no tax deductions in that day so he was most likely giving of his wealth with no strings attached right off the top. Most impressive indeed -- now I submit that Cornelius did these things because he ‘feared’ God. Cornelius was seeking after God as an unregenerated man. The Calvinist must imply that he was regenerated because it is clearly not in the text. Moreover, as we established from Acts 10 in the previous post, God sent an angel to Cornelius to confirm that his prayers and alms came up for a memorial before God. I do believe praying to God and giving alms to the poor are considered good deeds – just ask any first grader.

Acts 10:3-4 He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.

Now here’s where it gets interesting. The above referenced passage says that Cornelius was afraid. Notice the angel did not say ‘fear not’ to him. I believe the Scripture is clearly affirming the fact that Cornelius is not regenerated, and obviously not saved – and this is after the Cross and Pentecost. Based on the Calvinistic construct you must first be regenerated so that you can then place faith in Jesus so that you then can become born again. There are numerous other places in Scripture where people are confronted by angels and those who are in covenant with God are told they need not fear. However, in this case, there was no ‘fear not’ issued. Those who are estranged from God are left in their fear, because ‘fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom’ Proverbs 9:10. Therefore I humbly submit that Cornelius was not born again yet, nor was he regenerated. Now, let’s check out this verse.

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

This verse in Romans 1:16 clearly states that the ‘gospel of Christ’ is the POWER (dunamis – superantural power of God; we get dynamite from the root dunamis) of God unto salvation to every one that believeth (believeth -- pistus in Greek – same word as faith). What’s incredibly interesting to me based on this verse is the fact that the Bible says the gospel of Christ is the power or catalyst that gets one saved, not some mystical or ‘secret work of regeneration’ that occurs prior to someone placing faith in Jesus. I’ve yet to find that teaching anywhere in clear Scripture. Actually the opposite is what the clear teaching of Scripture states. We must first place our faith in Jesus before we can be born again. Please see this Scripture:

John 1:12-13 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Now the word power (EXOUSIA) is indeed a very interesting word in the Greek – please see Strong’s definition below. For brevity, I stopped after the 3 point – it continues in detail beyond…

1) power of choice, liberty of doing as one pleases
a) leave or permission
2) physical and mental power
a) the ability or strength with which one is endued, which he either possesses or exercises
3) the power of authority (influence) and of right (privilege)

This clearly teaches that the new birth is conditioned upon you receiving Jesus Christ. To qoute one old preacher, “There is not a case in the history of the universe where any man was ever ‘born again’ until he received Jesus Christ, and to say that total depravity extends to acts of the will is nonsense.” EXOUSIA pretty much confirms that – see definition above. First you must ‘receive’ Him, and then He gives you the power to become the sons of God. You don’t receive in a vacuum; again just study Cornelieus’ testimony as outlined in the Scripture.

Nathan – in case you read this, don’t you realize that John 6 is before the Cross and prior to Pentecost? In other words, it is still technically during the Old Covnenant. I don’t believe the Scripture supports the idea that any ‘Old Covenant’ saint was ever regenerated before placing their faith God. We do know that Abraham was saved because Galatians 3:6 says so. So, he here is an example of a man that was ‘Old Covenant’ saved by believing (FAITHING) the promise that Messiah would come and He would become sin who knew no sin. 2 Corinthians 5:14 – 21 clearly teaches ‘that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them’. Again in John 6, Jesus is specifically addressing his ‘chosen’ disciples and the Jews in that passage. Moreover, have you ever ‘seen’ Jesus with your two eyes like the people who were beholding him during that famous passage? John 6:40 says that everyone that ‘seeth’ the Son and believeth on Him, him will He raise up at the last day. I haven’t seen any Calvinist with enough honesty to preach that – literally seeing and believing ensures you are resurrected. To take this chapter and clearly build a construct and apply it to the entire counsel of Scripture is foolish. We do see where Jesus later confronts Thomas and tells him in John 20 that there will be those who do believe in Him and they haven’t had the ability to ‘see’ Him! Will they be resurrected? Of course they will!

Selah…

Thanks again Dawn for the opportunity to vent. Keep up the good fight!

In Him,

Eye

 
At Monday, February 13, 2006 2:01:00 AM, Blogger Dawn said...

Eye, thanks for the comment. I still have not re-read his response. I do hope to do that one day and maybe even respond. But what you say in your response to his quote makes total sense.

I hope you don't mind, but I'm going to make it a blog post. Hopefully Nathan will respond, but don't hold your breath. I'm almost postive he has a function where he will be notified if someone links to him in a blog post. So at least he will be aware that it is here.

 
At Monday, February 13, 2006 7:22:00 AM, Anonymous Eye said...

Dawn,

Not a problem -- please do make it a post.

By the way, one of the things that has gotten my attention when dealing with the Calvinist debaters is this -- here is another quote from Nathan which I believe represents the vast majority of them: "It is with pain that I respond to you. When this discussion first began I recommended that you go and read some Calvinistic works before you attempt to tackle this issue. And that was not done. It seems as though you spent your time reading Dave Hunt and other ante-calvinist material, instead of actually reading and understanding what the Calvinist themselves teach."

I mean come on -- let's just see what all of God's Word has to say about the different 5 points of the Calvinistic construct as opposed to reading every Tom, Dick and Harry that ever wrote on the subject. I almost get the feeling its the Bible and... Calvin, Spurgeon, James White, McArthur, Piper, etc. I see as many qoutes from other 'men' as I do from the Bible on most of the 'Nathan' type sites.

Blessings in Him,

Eye

 
At Thursday, February 16, 2006 7:36:00 AM, Blogger Dawn said...

First of all, Nathan is wrong about who my teachers have been. None of them approached or taught the scriptures as "anti-Calvinists" per se, but rather they simply taught the bible. It was never an "issue."

You are right. Calvinists love to quote other Calvinists over the bible. I'm amazed that they've mostly encouraged me to read other men rather than encourage me to read the word. I do give them credit though for actually giving me the scripture which they believe prove Calvinism. That they did do and I'm appreciative of it. However, the ad hominem from Nathan is a bit tiresome.

Anyway, I think the reason they quote other Calvinists is because they think these men have done a good job of explaining their position. They have done a good job of explaining, but I find that much of it is philisophical rather than scriptural. E.g., God's glory is taken away when we say we choose God. They forget that we believe God drew us first and then we're given a choice. THAT is what is biblical.

 
At Friday, February 17, 2006 11:58:00 AM, Anonymous Eye said...

Amen!!

I will openly admit that I am thankful of late that I 'stumbled' across these sites for they have humbled me and encouraged me to take a much more in-depth look at what I confess was a 'nailed-down' issue in my understanding of God's Word. That said, I believe the recent study and dialoguing on this topic has bolstered my faith in God's Word and His plan. No, I can't explain everything, nor will I ever try, but deep inside of me I rest in faith in Jesus!

In Him,

Eye

 
At Friday, February 17, 2006 1:27:00 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

Eye: "I will openly admit that I am thankful of late that I 'stumbled' across these sites for they have humbled me and encouraged me to take a much more in-depth look at what I confess was a 'nailed-down' issue in my understanding of God's Word. That said, I believe the recent study and dialoguing on this topic has bolstered my faith in God's Word and His plan. No, I can't explain everything, nor will I ever try, but deep inside of me I rest in faith in Jesus!"

Eye. That is EXACTLY how I feel. It's made me to remember things that I had forgotten. Maybe forgotten is not the right word...taken for granted? Some of the milk of the word, if you will. Oh well, I think you know what I mean. I've been so used to the meat of the word for so long.

This is going to sound contradictory, but this study has in one sense bolstered my original free-will beliefs yet I'm still keeping an open mind when it comes to Calvinism. Hopefully I'll feel that the issue is totally settled quickly. And maybe it isn't even Calvinism that I'm concerned with (I'm thinking out loud here) but rather are some of the things that I've believed actually biblically correct (e.g., faith is dealt to every man, light is a form of grace, etc.)

Anyway, thanks for the dialogue. You've been a real encouragement. It will be interesting to see if the Calvinists will answer our objections.

 

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