ALL BLOG POSTS AND COMMENTS COPYRIGHT (C) 2003-2016 VOX DAY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRODUCTION WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION IS EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mailvox: awaiting enlightenment

I am sure we all await, with no little interest, the enlightenment that Freddy, the Calvinist, is sure to shed upon the arrogant, and yet somehow feeble little brains of the "Arminians" here at Vox Popoli:
The Arminians here act just like Jehovah Witnesses. They deny Trinity and the Diety of Christ because they can't wrap their feeble little brains around those concepts...just like what the fundy Arminians do with the Sovereignty of God. The height of arrogance and intellectual pride.
Well, Freddy, since you have apparently been able to wrap your powerful and enormous, yet humble and not-at-all intellectual brain around the Trinity, the Diety of Christ, and the Sovereignty of God, I can't imagine that you will have any trouble whatsoever in explicating the true and correct theology of those three concepts, slowly and patiently, for the edification of the less capable minds here.

I certainly look forward to hearing your explanation of how a man can be held responsible for something he cannot do, for how God can simultaneously know and not know the hour, (still less forsake Himself), and to hear your opinion on whether it was God, in His Sovereignty, who personally contemplated the issue before finally deciding how many times your pair of anal sphincters would constrict in the process of your daily defecations over the previous 24 hours. I am also curious to know if you believe a Calvinist, who by his own assertion cannot choose to worship God, will be damned or saved in the event that human action is required for salvation. Perhaps we can call it Jamsco's Wager, the idea that the Calvinist who claims he is incapable of making a choice has nevertheless made it in the event that he is wrong about his incapability.

We've long assumed that Calvinism isn't a salvation issue, but I am not so sure in this one regard. After all, how can someone claim to have done something they simultaneously claim cannot be done? Perhaps it was this dichotomy, and not his panoply of evil actions, that explains why the Robispierre of Geneva went to his grave wondering if he was not one of God's Elect after all.

The "Arminian", after all, needs fear nothing. What is it to him if God laughs at his illusion of ability and tells him, "you did not choose me, my friend, I chose you!" The Calvinist, on the other hand, is once more in exactly the same position as the atheist, in attempting to explain to the Almighty why he did not choose to submit himself to the Lord Jesus Christ when he had the opportunity.

The atheist will say: "It's not my fault! I didn't choose to worship you because I didn't believe you existed!" The Calvinist will say: "It's not my fault! I didn't choose to worship you because John Calvin, and RC Sproul, and John Piper told me I couldn't!"

Labels: ,

214 Comments:

1 – 200 of 214 Newer› Newest»
Blogger The Deuce March 29, 2012 9:18 AM  

I didn't read through the endless previous thread, but is the deity of Christ really under question? That doctrine is hardly unique to Calvinists.

Blogger Markku March 29, 2012 9:23 AM  

I am also curious to know if you believe a Calvinist, who by his own assertion cannot choose to worship God, will be damned or saved in the event that human action is required for salvation.

Obviously saved. After all, a choice has happened. The Calvinist merely thinks that the appearance of having made the choice himself is an illusion and God has worked behind the scenes so that it was bound to happen. If this turns out not to have been the case, but that the choice was in fact genuinely his own, it doesn't affect anything.

Blogger The Deuce March 29, 2012 9:28 AM  

In fact, it seems like the really extreme ultra-Calvinist position, where humans are fully material, deterministic machines without free will (as per wrf3's remarks that I highlighted in the previous thread), is the one that is incompatible with the incarnation, since it would require a soulless, deterministic machine with no free will to be God the Son.

Anonymous Mike T March 29, 2012 9:32 AM  


is the one that is incompatible with the incarnation, since it would require a soulless, deterministic machine with no free will to be God the Son.


And in doing so, they deny the Hypostatic Union for which we declare them anathema as heretics.

Anonymous Daniel March 29, 2012 9:40 AM  

Markku
If this turns out not to have been the case, but that the choice was in fact genuinely his own, it doesn't affect anything.

So...despite the numerous defenses made on its behalf, it is a wholly irrelevant doctrine?

Then why the strenuous defenses?

That's like arguing that the train always leaves on time while running through an airport to catch a flight. It makes no sense.

Anonymous Andre March 29, 2012 9:43 AM  

Seriously, Calvinists are generally the most arrogant people on Earth. I used to think atheists were impossible to beat, but lo and behold, Calvinists do take the cake.

Yesterday I was browsing William Lane Craig's Facebook page and there were a bunch of Brazilian Calvinists discussing there, in Portuguese no less, how Craig is a "good" apologist but a terrible theologian, because he is not a Calvinist. They discussed, among other elegant topics, the boycotting of Craig's books because he's such a bad theologian.

So you have a sect of Christians who are against almost all other Christians, boldly proclaiming them all to be heretical, but which agrees with atheists on the subject of free will, interestingly enough.

Seriously, Calvinists would try to shove their stupid theology down the throat of Christ Himself. I bet if Jesus told them "YOU ARE WRONG", they'd turn and say "we're probably wrong because God wills us to".

Blogger DrewG March 29, 2012 9:46 AM  

Still trying to figure out what Calvinist parents tell their children, just hit them with the “you are predestined to Hell or Heaven, nothing you can do about…now run along and play”…or what?

See I tell my children that God loves us, wants a relationship with us; we need to seek him, pray, love one another, read our Bible for guidance, and try to draw closer to God.

What does the Calvinist say? God might love you, he might hate you, he may not want a relationship with you and has already rejected you, you can try and seek him, pray, read your Bible, but it is a waste of time, you are either already saved or not. See, little Johnny, God really likes puppets, he likes to play with some and burn/torment others, ok, run along now, but remember God MIGHT love you.

Blogger Markku March 29, 2012 9:51 AM  

Daniel So...despite the numerous defenses made on its behalf, it is a wholly irrelevant doctrine?

The relevance is whether or not you ever have reason to fear that you had salvation once, but you have sinned too much and are now lost.

Then why the strenuous defenses?

As for me, the Calvinism war was already taking place when I first arrived, and it would have seemed cowardly to not identify as a Calvinist, as it seemed like the minority position here. The theological whipping boy, so to speak.

Anonymous Parodyus March 29, 2012 9:52 AM  

Let me help you out, Vox. This is Jewish, Christian and Islamic theology in a nutshell.

1. God is perfect, eternal and omnipotent.
2. God created everything that exists.
3. God is not responsible for evil.
4. God loves all of us.
5. Those of us who do not properly accept, worship and obey God will spend eternity in Hell, where there is weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.

There. That was easy.

Anonymous VD March 29, 2012 9:52 AM  

Obviously saved. After all, a choice has happened. The Calvinist merely thinks that the appearance of having made the choice himself is an illusion and God has worked behind the scenes so that it was bound to happen.

So you're insisting that the illusion of a nonexistent choice must count the same as an actual choice. This means that the illusion of the pantheist is every bit as valid and relevant as the illusion of the Calvinist or the Arminian. Do you agree or disagree?

Anonymous jamsco March 29, 2012 9:56 AM  

Another question for Markku.

I have added the word "by" in your previous statement:

The Calvinist merely thinks that the appearance of having made the choice [by] himself is an illusion and God has worked behind the scenes so that it was bound to happen.

I would agree with this statement. Would you?

Blogger Markku March 29, 2012 9:57 AM  

So you're insisting that the illusion of a nonexistent choice must count the same as an actual choice.

It is an actual choice. My mind has gone through the exact same motions as if it were any other choice. So, it is not nonexistent. Only the feeling that I made it myself and without external influence is an illusion. But the choice is real.

This means that the illusion of the pantheist is every bit as valid and relevant as the illusion of the Calvinist or the Arminian. Do you agree or disagree?

The illusion of the former has the wrong contents, so it is not valid. So, disagree.

Anonymous jamsco March 29, 2012 9:59 AM  

Very good, Markku. Agreed.

Blogger Markku March 29, 2012 9:59 AM  

Jamsco I would agree with this statement. Would you?

I cannot tell how the "by" affects it. I probably agree, but it might have some effect that I'm not seeing.

Anonymous jamsco March 29, 2012 10:00 AM  

So once again, Vox, the main premise of your post is incorrect. I wish you'd go back and correct these so the skimming reader wouldn't get the wrong impression.

Blogger DrewG March 29, 2012 10:07 AM  

@Markku

What a silly bit of BS. Calvinists are teaching predestination, we see all over the world that beliefs do matter and do affect behavior. Once adopting predestination the rational person realizes they are either saved or not and can not change it so they walk through life not worrying about it or seeking God, why would they, who worries about something they can not change.

Calvinist doctrine (or any doctrine that is believed by an individual) does affect behavior. That may be a grave issue at judgment for the Calvinist, did teaching predestination cause someone to not seek God and lose out on salvation?

If you witness to an Atheist and explain to them that they are either pre-saved or pre-damned what affect, if any, would you expect your words and ideas to have on the Atheist?? Do you really think the concept of predestination would cause them to seek Christ?

Blogger DrewG March 29, 2012 10:10 AM  

@Markku

The relevance is whether or not you ever have reason to fear that you had salvation once, but you have sinned too much and are now lost.

How does your above sentence jive with predestination? Can one have salvation then lose it?

Blogger 罗臻 March 29, 2012 10:10 AM  

Muslims tend to become atheists when they fall away from God because their theology is deterministic. Do Calvinists become atheists at higher rates than other religions?

Anonymous jamsco March 29, 2012 10:10 AM  

Once adopting predestination the rational person realizes they are either saved or not and can not change it so they walk through life not worrying about it or seeking God

This is predestination as Vox defines it, not as most Calvinists define it.

Blogger Markku March 29, 2012 10:13 AM  

DrewG What a silly bit of BS.

I assume you are referring to "The relevance is whether or not you ever have reason to fear that you had salvation once, but you have sinned too much and are now lost"

By relevance I meant, what would change if Calvinism were true, as opposed to if Arminianism were true. I wasn't talking about a psychological effect that a random Calvinist's words might have on someone.

If someone is teaching Calvinism stupidly, then that is his own fault. It has nothing to do with me.

Anonymous ZT March 29, 2012 10:15 AM  

Choice in salvation for the Calvinist and Arminian are the same. The theological reasoning behind it is what separates the two.

Calvinist: I have genuinely chosen to follow Christ, I guess that means I one of the chosen. I'm saved!

Arminian: I have genuinely chosen to follow Christ of my own freewill. I'm saved!

Fortunately for us bad theology (regardless of which side you stand on) is not a barrier for entry into heaven even to the chagrin of various theological zealots.

Blogger Markku March 29, 2012 10:16 AM  

DrewG How does your above sentence jive with predestination?

Calvinism is the option in which you don't need to fear it.

Can one have salvation then lose it?

No. If you become an apostate, you merely make it obvious to everyone else, and not just God, that you were never saved.

Anonymous ZT March 29, 2012 10:16 AM  

(Miss being able to edit my post)

Only barrier to entry is a genuinely belief and commitment to follow Christ.

Blogger Vox March 29, 2012 10:20 AM  

So once again, Vox, the main premise of your post is incorrect.

It's not incorrect in the least. It is merely contradicted by the inept and illogical defense offered. Markku is claiming that a nonexistent choice is real. Logic dictates he is wrong. X cannot be Not X.

1. The Calvinist merely thinks that the appearance of having made the choice himself is an illusion.

2. It is an actual choice. My mind has gone through the exact same motions as if it were any other choice. So, it is not nonexistent.

God's choice is not Markku's choice for the obvious reason that Markku is not God. If Markku is not capable of making a choice, then Markku cannot and has not made a choice, regardless of how he feels about it. Contemplate this question: if you are not capable of picking up a ball but you nevertheless feel that you picked the ball up, did you actually pick up the ball whether or not the ball is still lying on the ground?

The illusion of the former has the wrong contents, so it is not valid. So, disagree.

How does that matter? God makes His choice irrespective of our own, correct? So, the pantheist who feels he is one with God can just as readily be selected as one of the Elect as the Calvinist who is incapable of choosing God.

Blogger DrewG March 29, 2012 10:24 AM  

@Jamsco and Markku

So is one chosen by God to be either pre-saved or pre-damned pre-birth or not, simple yes or no question.

I feel like I am currently trying to catch a greased pig.

Anonymous guest March 29, 2012 10:24 AM  

Using the Libertarian concept of methodological individualism and applying it to the book of Genesis might shed some light. Adam and Eve had choice in the Garden of Eden did they not Markku?

Blogger DrewG March 29, 2012 10:27 AM  

@Markku

“but you have sinned too much and are now lost.”

Either I am having reading issues this morning or you are not making any sense. Your above sentence leaves the impression one can “sin too much” and “become lost”. I didn’t like one could lose salvation under Calvinism, what I am missing here?

Blogger DrewG March 29, 2012 10:29 AM  

like=think

Ok, Co Comment might not have been perfect but I liked it way better then this.

I can adapt, but better is better.

Blogger JartStar March 29, 2012 10:31 AM  

So, the pantheist who feels he is one with God can just as readily be selected as one of the Elect as the Calvinist who is incapable of choosing God.

Exactly. Calvinism destroys the means of grace.

Anonymous jamsco March 29, 2012 10:32 AM  

God's choice is not Markku's choice for the obvious reason that Markku is not God.

It sounds like you're saying that it's not possible for two people to choose that the same thing happens. This is incorrect.

Anonymous jamsco March 29, 2012 10:37 AM  

So, the pantheist who feels he is one with God can just as readily be selected as one of the Elect as the Calvinist who is incapable of choosing God.

Vox, even if we believed what you're saying we believed (that it is completely God's choice and not ours) your Pantheist statement would be wrong.

God places Christians in Box A
God places Pantheists in Box B
God states that only those in Box A are elect.
Thus Pantheists are not saved.

Blogger Markku March 29, 2012 10:38 AM  

Vox God's choice is not Markku's choice for the obvious reason that Markku is not God.

You are talking about two different choices. The choice that God has made is that I am to be elected. This one has no participation from me.

The choice that has happened in my mind is that I will give my life to Jesus. God's participation in this was not making the choice on my behalf, but using unknown means to make me make the choice.

If Markku is not capable of making a choice, then Markku cannot and has not made a choice, regardless of how he feels about it.

When we say "not capable", we obviously mean not capable without aforementioned unknown means from God's part. If God has used them, then the choice has happened and I am currently holding the ball according to your metaphor. The question is just, what moved my hands when I picked it.

How does that matter? God makes His choice irrespective of our own, correct? So, the pantheist who feels he is one with God can just as readily be selected as one of the Elect as the Calvinist who is incapable of choosing God.

The pantheist has not requested that the blood of Jesus should pay for his sins because of the wrong contents of his beliefs. If he dies in that condition, he will go to Hell, and at that point it becomes evident that he was not Elect.

Likewise, the Calvinist in whose mind the choice to give his life to Jesus has never taken place, will go to Hell, and the same fact becomes evident for him too.

Anonymous jamsco March 29, 2012 10:38 AM  

In short, if I heard someone say what you say we're saying, I would disagree with them right along with you.

Anonymous guest March 29, 2012 10:39 AM  

"God places Christians in Box A
God places Pantheists in Box B
God states that only those in Box A are elect.
Thus Pantheists are not saved."
- Jamsco

Ok Jamsco lets say "Box A" is the Garden of Eden then what?

Anonymous jamsco March 29, 2012 10:41 AM  

guest - please elaborate.

Blogger JartStar March 29, 2012 10:41 AM  

It sounds like you're saying that it's not possible for two people to choose that the same thing happens.

Even if the Calvinist coincidentally happened to choose God isn't it irrelevant due to monergism? Unless of course God only elects those who happens to agree with His choice.

Blogger Markku March 29, 2012 10:43 AM  

DrewG Either I am having reading issues this morning or you are not making any sense. Your above sentence leaves the impression one can “sin too much” and “become lost”. I didn’t like one could lose salvation under Calvinism, what I am missing here?

I said "The relevance is whether or not you ever have reason to fear that you had salvation once, but you have sinned too much and are now lost." I didn't think I'd have to spell it out that Calvinism is the option where you don't need to fear that.

But since I apparently do, then no, you cannot lose salvation in Calvinism. You can only reveal that you didn't have it in the first place.

Anonymous guest March 29, 2012 10:45 AM  

guest - please elaborate.

Sure, "Box A" = Garden of Eden. Christians or in the case of Genesis Adam and Eve leave by choice Box A.

Anonymous MendoScot March 29, 2012 10:45 AM  

I always thought that I learned Calvinism from my mother, but it turns out I learned it from Derek & Clive's The Great Train Robbery:

Interviewer: So who do you believe is behind the robbery?
Chief Inspector: We believe this to be the work of a mindermast.
I: A mindermast?
CI: Yes, a mindermast.
I: What, exactly, is a mindermast?
CI: A mindermast is what we at the yard call a mastermind. It depresses the men to think they are up against one of those chaps, so we call him a mindermast in a futile endeavour to deceive ourselves.

Blogger The Deuce March 29, 2012 10:48 AM  

Alright, having beat up on ultra-Calvinist mechanists, who's position is incompatible with the Word made Flesh, I think I should put my own understanding on the table, since I actually do consider myself a Calvinist.

Here's how I see it. When I say that people can't come to God on their own, I don't mean "can't" in the same sense that I can't jump 100 feet into the air.

A better example would be a doctrine that is non-controversial among Christians: that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Most Christians, regardless of denomination, accept the premise that we can't just stop sinning on our own because we are fallen. But we don't see this as a problem for free will, because nobody *forces* us to sin. We sin because we want to. Each individual sin is a genuine choice, of course, so hypothetically you could (in one sense) go through life without ever making the choice to sin, but nobody does so because we are all fallen and we don't *want* to. It's an internal "can't." It's our own desires we are slave to.

The sense in which we can't turn away from sin on our own is the same sense in which I believe we can't turn to God on our own. We don't really want to because we are fallen and our intellect is darkened. We don't want to submit to his authority, so we choose not to. We might have episodes where we feel guilty and think we want to turn to God, just as an unbeliever has episodes where he feels guilty for his deeds and feels that he wants to stop doing bad things, but we don't make it last because we don't really want it at the end of the day, just as the unbeliever will find that he doesn't really want to stop doing bad things (else he would actually stop doing them). There's not some "unfallen" part of us that might override the other parts and turn to God, just as there's no unfallen part of us that might override the other parts and make us stop sinning. That's my understanding of the "total depravity" doctrine, btw - not that we're as awful as we could possibly be, but simply that there's not some unfallen part of us by which we might pull ourselves up by our bootstraps.

So, anyhow, that's my take on Calvinism. I admit I could be wrong, both about how things actually are, and about my understanding of Calvinism being a correct assessment of it. I think that the full workings of salvation, free will, and God's sovereignty over the universe are all well beyond the capacity of our minds to grasp, and that there's surely much more to it. I readily admit that a lot of Calvinists are theologically arrogant in their certainty that they've got salvation all figured out and packaged in a nice tidy little box and that everyone is a heretic, and I agree that some even (wrongly, in my view) take Calvinist premises to imply a heretical position that is tantamount to deterministic, materialist atheism, and that this is infinitely more dangerous and wrong than Arminianism. But I don't think that what I've said here is a problem for free will, any more than the doctrine that we're fallen and slaves to sin.

Blogger Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus March 29, 2012 10:48 AM  

"I can't imagine that you will have any trouble whatsoever in explicating the true and correct theology of those three concepts, slowly and patiently, for the edification of the less capable minds here."

Yeah, but why would he waste the time to cast pearls before swine?

Blogger JartStar March 29, 2012 10:52 AM  

But since I apparently do, then no, you cannot lose salvation in Calvinism. You can only reveal that you didn't have it in the first place.

I have a good friend that was in his opinion an admitted Christian for years with all of the usual internal and external sign. He is fully convinced that he was a Christian, but according to Calvinism he likely was not as he rejects Christ now.

How can a Calvinist know that he's not the same as my friend even if he considers himself to be a Christian in the present? Specifically Markku how do you know that in a few years that you will no longer be one of the Elect regardless of how you think and feel now?

Anonymous revrogers March 29, 2012 10:52 AM  

I've never quite understood how under the Calvinist system there is anything real about a human being other than being a meat puppet.

(1) God ordained everything before He created everything.

(2) Everything includes the ordination of an individual's thoughts before the individual existed. (That is, if we assume the meaning of the word "everything" actually means all things.)

(3) The compatibilistic free-will choice of an individual comes from the specifically designed nature that God ordained before the creation of the individual.

(4) The compatibistic free-will choice of an individual does not originate from the individual but originates from God.

(5) The individual is not actually a secondary "cause" of the choice but merely one link in the chain of process of the action of the choice ordained by God's initiating action.

(6) The only thing that an individual brings to the equation that God does not is the meat puppet suit that is the location of the ordained thought that comes from God. (God created the meat puppet suit, but since pantheism is rejected and God is Spirit, the meat puppet suit is not God and thus belongs to the individual.)

I would find it helpful if the Calvinists would explain how each statement that is made above is incompatible with their system. Reference to the statement number would be helpful.

Thanks

Anonymous civilServant March 29, 2012 10:53 AM  

I certainly look forward to hearing your explanation of how a man can be held responsible for something he cannot do, for how God can simultaneously know and not know the hour, (still less forsake Himself), and to hear your opinion on whether it was God, in His Sovereignty, who personally contemplated the issue before finally deciding how many times your pair of anal sphincters would constrict in the process of your daily defecations over the previous 24 hours.

They come in pairs?

Blogger Markku March 29, 2012 10:54 AM  

DrewG So is one chosen by God to be either pre-saved or pre-damned pre-birth or not, simple yes or no question.

You are using the wrong words, so technically the answer is no. But that would be misleading.

One is chosen by God to be either pre-elect or pre-nonelect pre-birth. But before the pre-elect person actually comes to Christ, he is damned and after that he is saved. Election merely guarantees that the change will take place before he dies, because God uses unknown means to make it happen.

If a nonelect would come to Christ, God would accept him and then he would be saved. But they choose to not come.

Blogger JartStar March 29, 2012 10:58 AM  

Correction* Specifically Markku, how do you know that you aren't fooling yourself about being the Elect? My friend seems to have been mistaken though he thought he believed.

Anonymous jamsco March 29, 2012 11:04 AM  

Say, Vox, how about after two or three of these "Calvinists are Insane" posts we get to ask you another question. I have one on dock that I'd love to ask you.

Anonymous guest March 29, 2012 11:06 AM  

Calvinists sound like they struggle with their salvation/eternal security, no?

Anonymous civilServant March 29, 2012 11:09 AM  

Once adopting predestination the rational person realizes they are either saved or not and can not change it so they walk through life not worrying about it or seeking God, why would they, who worries about something they can not change.

This statement assumes free-will. The Bible says that those who are of God manifest themselves as being of God.

Blogger Markku March 29, 2012 11:11 AM  

JartStar I have a good friend that was in his opinion an admitted Christian for years with all of the usual internal and external sign. He is fully convinced that he was a Christian, but according to Calvinism he likely was not as he rejects Christ now.

If he has not died yet, then you cannot conclude that he is not Elect. As for likeliness, I couldn't possibly assess it from that. If I knew him well, then I might be able to make a better assessment. Not a certain assessment, though.

How can a Calvinist know that he's not the same as my friend even if he considers himself to be a Christian in the present? Specifically Markku how do you know that in a few years that you will no longer be one of the Elect regardless of how you think and feel now?

I can't know it with the same degree of certainty as I know that, say, 2+2=4 (under the standard axioms and using decimal numbers). But I can know it with more certainty than if Calvinism were not true. If it weren't, then I could find the perfect evidence of my salvation and it would still mean nothing, because I might throw it away later. But if Calvinism is true, then the evidence gives me real information as long as I'm examining it as honestly as I can. If it is there, then it tells me about what will happen to me when I die, and not just what would happen if I died now.

John Piper's principle is, read A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections from Jonathan Edwards, and if you still think you are saved, then you probably are saved.

Blogger wrf3 March 29, 2012 11:17 AM  

JartStar asked: How can a Calvinist know that he's not the same as my friend even if he considers himself to be a Christian in the present?

You don't. One's salvation is entirely up to God. All one can do is trust Him to save us and keep us.

Do you really think that if at the end of all things God said to you, "Ha ha, you silly person. You were deluded all along" that you would have any recourse to make Him change His mind? "But I did this..." would be sufficient?

Blogger DrewG March 29, 2012 11:19 AM  

@Markku,

Ok, I see now what you meant. Part of the reason I missed it is it is a distinction without any difference. Daniels calls it irrelevant doctrine and your retort is that elect is elect, non elect is non elect, and the elect have no reason to fear becoming non elect, except for the fact that they have no idea if they are elect or not, so there is still plenty of reason to fear.

Back to Daniel’s point, Calvinism is irrelevant and so was your retort.

Anonymous civilServant March 29, 2012 11:21 AM  

How can a Calvinist know that he's not the same as my friend even if he considers himself to be a Christian in the present? Specifically Markku how do you know that in a few years that you will no longer be one of the Elect regardless of how you think and feel now?

I can't know it with the same degree of certainty as I know that, say, 2+2=4 (under the standard axioms and using decimal numbers).


Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Anonymous guest March 29, 2012 11:22 AM  

"I can't know it with the same degree of certainty as I know that, say, 2+2=4 (under the standard axioms and using decimal numbers). But I can know it with more certainty than if Calvinism were not true. If it weren't, then I could find the perfect evidence of my salvation and it would still mean nothing, because I might throw it away later. But if Calvinism is true, then the evidence gives me real information as long as I'm examining it as honestly as I can. If it is there, then it tells me about what will happen to me when I die, and not just what would happen if I died now."

If somebody is not saved they are not going to be worrying about their salvation.

Blogger wrf3 March 29, 2012 11:25 AM  

Vox wrote: It's not incorrect in the least. It is merely contradicted by the inept and illogical defense offered. Markku is claiming that a nonexistent choice is real. Logic dictates he is wrong. X cannot be Not X.

Marrku is not saying that the choice is non-existent. Our brains make choices. But they choose according to the laws of physics, and God is in charge of the laws of physics. You don't ultimately control the motion of electrons in your brain. God does.

Anonymous MendoScot March 29, 2012 11:27 AM  

They come in pairs?

Inner and outer, thank God.

Anonymous DrRansom March 29, 2012 11:28 AM  

DrewG: I feel like I am currently trying to catch a greased pig.

See y'all next year! ;)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DaGPJ67jA6A

Blogger wrf3 March 29, 2012 11:31 AM  

RevRogers wrote: I would find it helpful if the Calvinists would explain how each statement that is made above is incompatible with their system.

Those statements are not incompatible with "our" system. The only thing wrong with it is the pejorative term you use to describe it. What you call "meat puppet" I call "a kite in God's hands".

Another way to put it is, "your destiny is controlled by God, not you." Now, who better to control a person's destiny? God, or that person?

Anonymous Mr. Nightstick March 29, 2012 11:34 AM  

Let's look at this with a game analogy.

In Bealism, God is the needy one at the bar and the Christian is the pick up artist.

In Calvinism, God is the seducer and the Christian is the needy one.

Blogger DrewG March 29, 2012 11:36 AM  

"Another way to put it is, "your destiny is controlled by God, not you." Now, who better to control a person's destiny? God, or that person?"


LOL, well shucks wrf3, I guess if the God has decided that my destiny is eternal torment in Hell…well I guess I would rather be in charge of my destiny seeing as how I would choice eternal life in Heaven.

Blogger JartStar March 29, 2012 11:37 AM  

Do you really think that if at the end of all things God said to you, "Ha ha, you silly person. You were deluded all along" that you would have any recourse to make Him change His mind? "But I did this..." would be sufficient?

No, as it could be a giant cosmic prank. If I did what God asked, and He does ask His creatures to do things, and then God decides not to do what He said He would, then I have no ability to change His mind but it makes him a cosmic monster.

Blogger Giraffe March 29, 2012 11:38 AM  

Mr. Nightstick:

In Calvinism, God is the seducer and the Christian is the needy one.

I bet the pickup artist wishes he had the equivalent of irresistible grace.

God as seducer is arminianism.

Anonymous jamsco March 29, 2012 11:39 AM  

Where's Nate? We haven't heard five times that this is a landslide victory for Vox.

Blogger DrewG March 29, 2012 11:40 AM  

@Dr Ransom,

I never considered it, Markku made a cameo on Family Guy?!?

Anonymous Mr. Nightstick March 29, 2012 11:45 AM  

Giraffe:

I bet the pickup artist wishes he had the equivalent of irresistible grace.

It was my understanding that to someone like Roissy, a slut cannot resist him. I think Vox may have said as much at some point.

Blogger Giraffe March 29, 2012 11:48 AM  

...... to someone like Roissy, a slut cannot resist him. I think Vox may have said as much at some point.

Nobody bats 1.000. I don't read Roissy much, but I think I read him to say that even his success is the result of a lot of at bats.

Blogger Vox March 29, 2012 11:49 AM  

It sounds like you're saying that it's not possible for two people to choose that the same thing happens. This is incorrect.

As happens all too often, you are imagining things. It is neither incorrect nor is that what I'm saying.

Vox, even if we believed what you're saying we believed (that it is completely God's choice and not ours) your Pantheist statement would be wrong.

That's not true, but it's much less interesting than what you just said. Are you now saying that you do not believe that it is completely God's choice and not yours?

My understanding is that it is completely God's choice and your "choice" to the extent that it exists, is illusory and totally devoid of significance. Markku has stated that while he feels he made a choice, the choice only took place because God forced him to do so.

Anonymous Mr. Nightstick March 29, 2012 11:51 AM  

Nobody bats 1.000. I don't read Roissy much, but I think I read him to say that even his success is the result of a lot of at bats.

Touche. But I would still say that if "God as seducer is arminianism." Then God as super seducer is Calvinism.

Blogger Vox March 29, 2012 11:52 AM  

I have one on dock that I'd love to ask you.

Email me. I'll give it its own post.

Blogger Giraffe March 29, 2012 11:53 AM  

Anyway, to fix your game analogy:

In Bealism, God is the Alpha and Omenga and the Christian is the dirty slut needing to be made clean if she just repents and takes his hand.

In Calvinism, God is sitting in his room in his mother's basement, and the Christian is the sex doll that says all the right things.

Anonymous revrogers March 29, 2012 11:54 AM  

wrf3

So are you saying none of the statements are compatible with Calvinism?

(1) God ordained everything before He created everything.

Calvinists don't believe "God ordained everything before He created everything"?

(2) Everything includes the ordination of an individual's thoughts before the individual existed. (That is, if we assume the meaning of the word "everything" actually means all things.)

Calvinists don't believe that an individual's thoughts are ordained and decreed by God as part of the everything ordained?

(3) The compatibilistic free-will choice of an individual comes from the specifically designed nature that God ordained before the creation of the individual.

Calvinists don't believe in "compatiblistic free-will that comes from the specifically designed nature that God ordained before the creation of the individual"?

(4) The compatibistic free-will choice of an individual does not originate from the individual but originates from God.

Calvinists don't believe that God is the initiating origin of the compatibilistic free-will choices of an individual?

(5) The individual is not actually a secondary "cause" of the choice but merely one link in the chain of process of the action of the choice ordained by God's initiating action.

Calvinists believe that an individual human being actually contributes a causation to what God has ordained and thus is responsible for their contribution even though the ordination of the specific thoughts and the specifically designed nature that produces the thought was originated before the individual existed?

(6) The only thing that an individual brings to the equation that God does not is the meat puppet suit that is the location of the ordained thought that comes from God. (God created the meat puppet suit, but since pantheism is rejected and God is Spirit, the meat puppet suit is not God and thus belongs to the individual.)

I will re-phrase "The only thing that an individual brings to the equation that God does not is the physical "kite" that is the location of the ordained thought that comes from God."

What else does an individual being contribute?

God is better to "control" a person's destiny. But, what do you mean by "control"? Do you mean omni-causation? I thought it was an individual's "unbelief" that determined his or her damnation. Does God control the "unbelief"? Did he decree the continued unbelief of those who will never believe?

Anonymous revrogers March 29, 2012 11:59 AM  

wrf3 and any Calvinist that responds to me,

I can only hang around for a little while. I will, however, review any response that is made.

Thanks and blessings even in our disagreement,

David

Anonymous Mr. Nightstick March 29, 2012 12:00 PM  

Bealism: If only she would take my hand then I could save her.

Man what a pussy.

Anonymous jamsco March 29, 2012 12:01 PM  

Are you now saying that you do not believe that it is completely God's choice and not yours?

Yes, it is our (real, legitimate, responsible, free will) choice as well as God's. I'm glad it is interesting to you but I don't see why it is, since it's what Markku and I (not to mention Pastor Piper) have been saying all along.

Blogger Giraffe March 29, 2012 12:05 PM  

Calvinism: She can't choose me so I'll rape her.

Blogger Vox March 29, 2012 12:08 PM  

Yes, it is our (real, legitimate, responsible, free will) choice as well as God's. I'm glad it is interesting to you but I don't see why it is, since it's what Markku and I (not to mention Pastor Piper) have been saying all along.

Very well. And since it is our real, legitimate, responsible choice, then obviously free will exists and God will not save us if we do not make it, correct?

Anonymous Mr. Nightstick March 29, 2012 12:09 PM  

Bealism: Those mean marital rapists Calvinists.

Blogger Markku March 29, 2012 12:09 PM  

DrewG so there is still plenty of reason to fear.

There is indeed. But now you can do something about it, as you can get information to decrease that fear. It needs work, but we were warned in advance that this Christianity thing would be difficult.

Calvinism is irrelevant and so was your retort.

I would say that the consequences of Calvinism being true are much smaller than one might think at first glance, but there are some. Another consequence along the one already mentioned, is about evangelizing. If it is the people in the audience who make the choice (without God's participation), then it is all about how well you can persuade. That's a lot of pressure on you. Might be very discouraging if you aren't seeing any effects right now.

But if it is about election, then the Elect who is ready to be saved will drop like ripe fruit on your lap at due time, even if your own skills are less than perfect. You might have tried 20 years to get someone saved, and it is no logical grounds to give up on him because his due time might be in the 21st year. That would then change everything, and your job suddenly gets extremely easy.

Of course, many Christians learn the exact wrong lesson, and go with hyper-Calvinism (in its historical definition) but that is just because we are selfish creatures. The position is not a logical one. We were explicitly given the task of evangelizing. We cannot refuse the command just because God would then eventually do the work for us. We are still responsible for the refusal even if He does. I would treat the hyper-Calvinist much more harshly than I would treat the Arminian.

Blogger Markku March 29, 2012 12:11 PM  

Vox totally devoid of significance

My choice is totally devoid of merit, not significance.

Anonymous jamsco March 29, 2012 12:15 PM  

"And since it is our real, legitimate, responsible choice, then obviously free will exists and God will not save us if we do not make it, correct?"

Correct

Anonymous Mr. Nightstick March 29, 2012 12:22 PM  

@Markku,

I think that one of the reasons that it's hard to take some of Vox's criticism seriously is because of all the missionaries we know.

I mean I could provide lists and lists of Reformed missionaries but I could not find one Bealist missionary.

Blogger Markku March 29, 2012 12:23 PM  

Unless Calvinism turns out to be false, in which case I learn that it did have merit after all, and now I have grounds to look down on anyone who is stupid enough to not have made the same choice. I might get really arrogant.

Anonymous BradA March 29, 2012 12:24 PM  

An underlying thread here is that many still judge salvation by outward actions. It would be too much to type on this iPad, but e basic idea I see is:

- Man's spirit is dead.
- being reborn/saved causes that spirit to be reborn and thus destined for Heaven.

What anyone does othoerwise is insufficient to change the alive or dead state of one's spirit. No amount of good deeds will make it good enough to make it alive. Though the opposite is also true, no amount of bad deeds will cause it to die again.


Living a life that denies your born again reality is not smart, but doesn't guarantee a one-way ticket to hell.


The problem with Calvanism is that a choice that is compelled is no longer a choice. You cannot chose to do something you are compelled to do. If I make you rob a store, you did not chose to rob the store, assuming the choice to not do it is not present, per Calvanism. I could hold you accountable for the robbery, but I will not be just if I do so.

Blogger DrewG March 29, 2012 12:27 PM  

@Markku

Seriously, how are you missing this, Christianity, under Calvin doctrine IS “easy” earlier you said,

“One is chosen by God to be either pre-elect or pre-nonelect pre-birth.”

Since I am either pre-elect or pre-nonelect, there is nothing I can do either way. If I am elect, my prayers, bible reading, seeking of God, sins, all of it, is completely irrelevant, I am going to Heaven, period. If I am non-elect no amount of seeking, praying, reading, or “getting information to decrease fear” will change anything, I am going to Hell, period.

Christianity, the Christian walk, all of it, is completely irrelevant under Calvinism, it changes nothing. Matter of fact I am not sure why God bothered with Christianity or Christ, He certainly has the power to do whatever he wants, so why all the theatre, the Calvinist God is some sort of bored Sadomasochistic deity, wanting some puppets to play with and some to watch burn…forever.

Anonymous jamsco March 29, 2012 12:27 PM  

The problem with Calvanism is that a choice that is compelled is no longer a choice. You cannot chose to do something you are compelled to do. If I make you rob a store, you did not chose to rob the store, assuming the choice to not do it is not present, per Calvanism. I could hold you accountable for the robbery, but I will not be just if I do so.

If I believed that this what Calvinism was, I would disagree with it, too.

Blogger DrewG March 29, 2012 12:39 PM  

@Markku

“If it is the people in the audience who make the choice (without God's participation), then it is all about how well you can persuade.”

That is a misrepresentation of the non Calvinist position. God is and does participate, he just not force, he did not create puppets. I do grant God has the power to force, I simply strongly disagree that Calvinism accurately represents God’s love and character, for all of his creation.

Blogger Markku March 29, 2012 12:43 PM  

DrewG Seriously, how are you missing this, Christianity, under Calvin doctrine IS “easy” earlier you said,

Getting to Heaven "only as through fire" (1Cr 3:15) is easy for the Elect. Fulfilling your obligations towards God is hard. As C.S. Lewis says, God is easy to please but hard to satisfy.

If I am elect, my prayers, bible reading, seeking of God, sins, all of it, is completely irrelevant, I am going to Heaven, period.

As far as going to Heaven goes, yes. But Heaven is about worshipping God forever. How fun is THAT going to be, if you mostly neglected those things?

If I am non-elect no amount of seeking, praying, reading, or “getting information to decrease fear” will change anything, I am going to Hell, period.

Correct, if you are non-elect. But if you did those things, that is extremely unlikely. There is inherent, huge selection bias in your scenario. So huge, that you might end up selecting nobody at all.

so why all the theatre

It's not theatre. We have our own wills. It just so happens that those wills are evil, unless God fixes that. The choices we made are our own. God didn't write them in some cosmic script, except for ONE particular choice for a minority; The choice to accept Christ. Because nobody would have done so otherwise, and God apparently likes having human beings in His kingdom. It is difficult to understand how He could like human beings, but so it happens to be.

Blogger DrewG March 29, 2012 12:47 PM  

@Markku

Christianity under Calvinism is “easy”, if it has all been predetermined…nothing is “easier” then that. What is hard about being forced into salvation?

Granted, being pre-damned to eternal torment would suck, but it is what it is, if it can not be changed it can not be changed.

Amazing the parallels between Atheism and Calvinism, it is like John Calvin added an Evil God to Atheism and viola, Calvinism.

Anonymous paradox March 29, 2012 12:47 PM  

As for the Trinity I know my view isn't orthodox. I view Christ as a paradox He has always been yet begotten in Mary's womb. He has authority from God the Father and is inseparable from Him and that makes Him God. Now the Holy Spirit is the power and personification of God the Father. A personification of God the Father is God. All Three are different persons each coeternal, inseparable and God.

Anonymous revrogers March 29, 2012 12:49 PM  

Dear wf3 and any other readers,

I just realized I misread your post. Please ignore my response. Just shows I need to read more carefully.

David (slinking away in shame)

Blogger DrewG March 29, 2012 12:50 PM  

@Markku

So my post did post, I see you responded…what happened to it??

Blogger Markku March 29, 2012 12:52 PM  

DrewG Christianity under Calvinism is “easy”, if it has all been predetermined…nothing is “easier” then that. What is hard about being forced into salvation?

Christianity doesn't refer to only just barely getting to Heaven, with nothing to show (Again referring to 1Cr 3:15). The word means being a disciple of Christ:

Act 11:26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church, and taught a large company of people; and in Antioch the disciples were for the first time called Christians.

Being a disciple is hard. The bare minimum for getting saved is easy for the Elect, but nobody should be satisfied with just the bare minimum.

Anonymous freddy March 29, 2012 12:56 PM  

When the transcendent and immanent realms intersect there is mystery, divine mystery. The doctrines of the trinity, creation ex-nihilo, dual natures of Christ, sovereignty of God/man's moral responsibility and the supernatural regeneration of spiritually dead individuals are all clearly taught in the Bible and are apprehended as much when one submits himself to the authority of Scripture as his ultimate epistemic authority. Exegetically, the Calvinists win, handsdown. The Arminians have a moral and philosophical problem with some of these doctrines no doubt and this is when you start to resemble the JW's.

It is not up to me to exhaustively demonstrate for the autonomous Arminian Ilk that frequent here how these great and mighty doctrines are to be thoroughly comprehended, after all we do see through a "glass darkly."

A simple childlike faith instructs the believer to say "I know that these doctrines are true eventhough I don't know how they are true." It is not up to me or anybody to get into the mechanics of how these weighty truths are so because we don't have the epistemic capital to do so.

Your mistake is confusing the how with the that.

You did not include the late Dr. Greg Bahnsen http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greg_Bahnsen in your list of Reformed theologians.

As brilliant as he was he knew he could not persuade any of the autonomous Arminians here of the truth of the Reformed position without the supernatural working of the Holy Sprit to change the will of the individual.

Again, how do you reconcile your position with the below text?

Acts 2:22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know— 23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken[c] by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death..."

Do you really want to held accountable for advancing Open Theism here on this growing blogsite if in the end it derrogates God's glory?

I do appreciate many of your insights in other areas as do many who travel here but I'm just saying bro, be careful.

Blogger Markku March 29, 2012 12:57 PM  

DrewG: Yes, your posts seem to be disappearing. I don't know what's going on. If the powers that be were deliberately removing them, I would expect my responses to disappear too.

Blogger wrf3 March 29, 2012 12:58 PM  

DrewG wrote: LOL, well shucks wrf3, I guess if the God has decided that my destiny is eternal torment in Hell…well I guess I would rather be in charge of my destiny seeing as how I would choice eternal life in Heaven.

So what you're saying is that your choices are better than God's. Which is exactly the problem that happened in Eden.

Blogger wrf3 March 29, 2012 1:00 PM  

JartStar wrote: No, as it could be a giant cosmic prank. If I did what God asked, and He does ask His creatures to do things, and then God decides not to do what He said He would, then I have no ability to change His mind but it makes him a cosmic monster.

God is what He is, irrespective of what He appears to be at the end of all things. Potentially calling Him a monster means that you know better than He does what He ought to be. Another term for monster, of course, might be "adversary".

Blogger wrf3 March 29, 2012 1:04 PM  

RevRogers asked: So are you saying none of the statements are compatible with Calvinism?

I wrote: "Those statements are not incompatible..."

God is better to "control" a person's destiny. But, what do you mean by "control"? Do you mean omni-causation? I thought it was an individual's "unbelief" that determined his or her damnation. Does God control the "unbelief"? Did he decree the continued unbelief of those who will never believe?

Sure.

Anonymous jamsco March 29, 2012 1:07 PM  

Vox, I'll try to send that question sometime Friday evening. Right now I'll be gone for awhile.

Anonymous Josh March 29, 2012 1:13 PM  

So what you're saying is that your choices are better than God's. Which is exactly the problem that happened in Eden.

No you retard. If one chooses to believe in the atonement of Jesus Christ, you're saying that God could make them not believe, and that would be a better choice for them?

Blogger wrf3 March 29, 2012 1:20 PM  

Josh wrote: No you retard.

I think I ought to institute a policy of not responding to posts that contain personal insults.

If one chooses to believe in the atonement of Jesus Christ, you're saying that God could make them not believe, and that would be a better choice for them?

I'm saying that the choice to believe, or not believe, is ultimately up to God and not to the individual. And, yes, that's the better choice for them. Eden was all about man thinking otherwise.

Anonymous civilServant March 29, 2012 1:26 PM  

A simple childlike faith instructs the believer to say "I know that these doctrines are true eventhough I don't know how they are true."

Most people are willing to accept things they fail to comprehend. Most people however are reluctant to accept contradictions and inconsistencies. Calvinism is questioned not because people fail to comprehend it - it is very simple - but rather because it inspires a feeling of "What are you talking about? That makes no sense whatsoever."

Blogger JartStar March 29, 2012 1:39 PM  

God is what He is, irrespective of what He appears to be at the end of all things. Potentially calling Him a monster means that you know better than He does what He ought to be. Another term for monster, of course, might be "adversary".

It might be, but isn't. I could always side with the monster, or the monster-god could make me side with him. I could relish in his child killing capricious ways with tornadoes and lavish praise on him as he slowly tortures his children in preordained N. Korean camps. If I followed him I'd likely find these things much to my liking and to the monster-god's greater glory.

When Piper said Jesus killed kids with tornadoes did you thank Him for further revealing His glory?

Anonymous Andre March 29, 2012 1:39 PM  

wrf3, are you saying that, when God chooses people to be separated from Him and dooms them to eternal damnation in the flames of hell, that is a better choice for THEM? The DAMNED?

Also, did God choose for Adam and Eve to sin against Him, thus requiring a future picking of a horde of damned people to be cast into hell?

Anonymous Daniel March 29, 2012 1:39 PM  

It really does come down to this: At worst for the non-Calvinist, it is Vox's O. Henryesque error - "you did not choose me, my friend, I chose you!"

Why should the Calvinist even care that we, in conjunction with God's will and neurological control over our brain cells, choose the wrong illusion as He saves and matures us?

Blogger Nate March 29, 2012 1:42 PM  

"I think I ought to institute a policy of not responding to posts that contain personal insults."

This is a good plan. And do remember when we call you a depraved immoral utterly worthless pile of filth that we're not insulting you... we're simply agreeing with your theology.

You pathetic pile of dung.

Anonymous revrogers March 29, 2012 1:44 PM  

wrf3

You are right. I did misread your response. Sorry about that.

Roger Olson, an Arminian theologian, posted recently saying this in response to The Gospel as Center, Chapter 5: “Sin and the Fall” by Reddit Andrews III

[T]he biggest problem with Andrews’ (and most Calvinists’ view) of God’s sovereign ordaining of sin and evil is that sin and evil are no longer really bad. Andrews quotes Bavinck that God “willed it [i.e., sin and evil] so that in it and against it He might bring to light His divine attributes.” (p. 81) Really. Please. If that’s the case, then there is no getting around it that sin and evil are good because without them God’s glory could not be fully revealed. It’s only a baby step from there to “Those suffering in the flames of hell for eternity can at least take comfort in the fact they are there for the greater glory of God.” But it’s not even a baby step to belief that sin and evil are really good.

Of course, one traditional Calvinist way of getting around that is to say that the evil of a sinful act lies in the intention with which it is done. But, within a Calvinist doctrine of meticulous providence, even the “evil” intention had to be ordained and rendered certain by God. Then it, too, is not really evil but good.

I truly do not see how Calvinists like Andrews can cope with this conundrum. If this is true, then why not celebrate sin and evil and hell? They are God’s will and bring him glory. Why don’t Calvinists smile over them as God does (referring to Cowper’s hymn “God Moves In A Mysterious Way”—“behind a frowning providence he [God] hides a smiling face”).


Any thoughts of response.

Anonymous jayuf March 29, 2012 1:44 PM  

@Markku
The bare minimum for getting saved is easy for the Elect
If it's so easy, why would one need to read A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections? Even then, you seem to think one can not possess certainty. How can you state that it is easy?

Anonymous Stickwick March 29, 2012 1:45 PM  

OT: Sociologist claims that conservatives' trust in science is at a record low.

"[Sociology professor Gordon] Gauchat says conservatives' rebellion against the 'elite' and the shifting role of science in society is to blame for the decline. He argues that the conservative minority has rebelled against science in the same way it has against media and higher education.

"'It kind of began with the loss of Barry Goldwater and the construction of Fox News and all these [conservative] think tanks. The perception among conservatives is that they're at a disadvantage, a minority,' he says. 'It's not surprising that the conservative subculture would challenge what's viewed as the dominant knowledge production groups in society — science and the media.'

Blogger JartStar March 29, 2012 1:46 PM  

when God chooses people to be separated from Him and dooms them to eternal damnation in the flames of hell, that is a better choice for THEM? The DAMNED?

Westminster Confession, first question:

Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

The people in hell glorify God by being there in Calvinism. What is good for them is irrelevant.

Blogger Markku March 29, 2012 1:47 PM  

If it's so easy, why would one need to read A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections? Even then, you seem to think one can not possess certainty. How can you state that it is easy?

As I said, for the Elect. But that assumes that we know who they are, which is not the case. I was just going along with the somewhat counter-factual scenario that DrewG proposed.

So, the need for the book would be to answer the question of whether or not you are Elect.

Anonymous patrick kelly March 29, 2012 1:48 PM  

No-one is going to be saying anything, let alone pleading "not my fault". Everyone will be bowed, on their faces, trembling, either with great awe and wonder, or terror and agony.

Blogger wrf3 March 29, 2012 1:57 PM  

RevRogers wrote: Any thoughts of response. Absolutely. An excellent concern. But later tonight. I do have to get some work done...

Blogger wrf3 March 29, 2012 2:01 PM  

JartStar wrote: What is good for them is irrelevant.

On the contrary, that's the exact issue. Who gets to decide what is good for you? You? Or God? Or some standard that is external to both man and God, to even which God Himself must conform? Those who are in Hell will demand that it is their opinion that counts, even over that of God Himself.

Blogger JartStar March 29, 2012 2:03 PM  

wrf3, I'll answer this if you answer my question about Piper first.

Anonymous kh123 March 29, 2012 2:08 PM  

"And do remember when we call you a depraved immoral utterly worthless pile of filth that we're not insulting you... we're simply agreeing with your theology."

Somewhat fitting, since Vox previously dubbed it Total Chocolate.

Blogger Vox March 29, 2012 2:11 PM  

Yes, your posts seem to be disappearing. I don't know what's going on. If the powers that be were deliberately removing them, I would expect my responses to disappear too.

Speaking for at least two of said powers, we're not responsible. I cannot, of course, speak for any other powers that might be out there lurking about the aethereal plane of Google.

Blogger Vox March 29, 2012 2:14 PM  

It is not up to me to exhaustively demonstrate for the autonomous Arminian Ilk that frequent here how these great and mighty doctrines are to be thoroughly comprehended, after all we do see through a "glass darkly."

And he runned away. All these feeble little brains awaiting enlightenment on these important theological concepts and the powerful, yet humble Freddy does not deign to provide it to us. I'm not certain if I am more surprised or disappointed.

Anonymous Andre March 29, 2012 2:15 PM  

wrf3, let me get this straight. Because Calvinist theology is just incredible, it's hard to imagine that people actually agree with it. So let's keep this up with simple questions.

Is there an objectively better state for a human being to exist in, between these 2 choices?

1) Union with God and enjoying everlasting peace in Him;
2) Separation from God and suffering everlasting torment in hell.

Does God Himself believe there is one of those two states that is better then the other for man to exist in?

Anonymous jayuf March 29, 2012 2:16 PM  

@Markku
Just trying to make sense of your (and Piper's?) view of salvation here. Assuming "getting saved" = being Elect, are you saying that I must meet the distinguishing qualifications found in "A Treatise" to be saved/Elect? That does not seem "easy" to me!

Blogger wrf3 March 29, 2012 2:17 PM  

JartStar asked: When Piper said Jesus killed kids with tornadoes did you thank Him for further revealing His glory?

No, but only because I really didn't pay any attention to it.

Everything that happens happens for His glory. He is, after all, in charge, is He not?

Blogger wrf3 March 29, 2012 2:23 PM  

Andre asked:

Is there an objectively better state for a human being to exist in, between these 2 choices?

I can't possibly know that, since all I know about what comes next is what He has revealed. But, for the sake of argument, let's suppose that heaven and hell are the only two possibilities.

Does God Himself believe there is one of those two states that is better then the other for man to exist in?
Sure. As C. S. Lewis said, "there are only two types of people. Those who, in the end say 'Thy will be done' and those who say 'My will be done.'" (paraphrasing).

While people in Hell will be miserable, they certainly wouldn't be any happier in Heaven. Heaven is where Jesus is Lord, not the individual. How can anyone who says "my will be done" be happy in Heaven? It would be like, oh, I don't know, having to be on a football team with Tim Tebow.

Blogger R. Bradley Andrews March 29, 2012 2:26 PM  

Jamsco, you said you didn't believe what I posted about compulsion, but what do you believe then. Isn't the idea that God foreordained some to sin as well as to salvation the same principle of what I noted about a lack of choice? How is the lack of choice different in Calvanism than what I noted? I purposefully used a negative case to demonstrate the principle, though it works for the positive case as well.

Side question for Calvanists: Why spend any time in missions or personal evangelism? What compelling case can you make for either if each individual's salvation is predetermined?

Anonymous IanB March 29, 2012 2:27 PM  

Mr. Nightstick:

I'm guessing you've never read Hosea, because it describes God in exactly those terms. Or the gospels for that matter.

Blogger JartStar March 29, 2012 2:28 PM  

wrf: God wants everyone to be saved so it is not good that people are in hell.

Everything that happens happens for His glory. He is, after all, in charge, is He not?

God is in charge but not everything transpires brings him glory any more than everything which happens in an English monarchy glorifies the king.

Blogger DrewG March 29, 2012 2:30 PM  

Jayuf,

I would say he thinks basic salvation is easy, but gaining (in this life) all the rewards one might possibly gain (for the next) is difficult. Markku does not want to be God’s garbage man…he might be shooting for middle management or something.

To say salvation is “easy” under Calvinism is it self nonsensical, if it has been predetermined it just IS, period, there is no spectrum of difficulty.

I (and Markku I think) believe that there will be greater rewards and punishments in Heaven or Hell depending on ones actions (or lack of action) in this life. The bible clearly says this (IMHO).

It is only difficult to achieve great reward in Heaven or earn only small torment in Hell, one’s destination is what it is…or very “easy”.

Blogger wrf3 March 29, 2012 2:31 PM  

R. Bradley Andrews asked: Side question for Calvanists: Why spend any time in missions or personal evangelism? What compelling case can you make for either if each individual's salvation is predetermined?

He delights to use us in His work.

This really isn't this hard. Our thoughts are based on the dance of electrons in our brains. The movement of electrons in our brains, while ultimately resting on the laws of physics (which is under God's control); can be influenced by externalities. He uses us as part of that external influence to accomplish His goals.

Blogger wrf3 March 29, 2012 2:40 PM  

JartStar wrote: God is in charge but not everything transpires brings him glory any more than everything which happens in an English monarchy glorifies the king.

Who says? You? The people who don't particularly like what transpires? Where does the fault like, JartStar? In what transpires, or in beings that have a sense of good and evil that is not congruent with God's?

Anonymous jayuf March 29, 2012 2:44 PM  

@DrewG
I too think there will be a spectrum of reward s/punishment depending on how we live our lives.

I'm trying to point out how Piper (and most Calvinists) conflates discipleship with getting saved. "A Treatise" would be better suited to determine whether one is a disciple, not whether one is "Elect".

Anonymous Andre March 29, 2012 2:46 PM  

wrf3, even though C. S. Lewis claimed there are only those two types of people, my question was if God believes if one of those 2 states were better for men to exist in.

I tend to agree with you that when people choose separation from God, it's their choice and God respects that, after all He gave us free will. But from what I understand, what you're saying in fact is that God declares "look, it will be better for you if I make you hate me, so that you'll suffer in hell. This will be better for you. You wouldn't like heaven anyway. After all, I made you hate Me".

So, does God choose for a person a fate that is, objectively speaking, in His own eyes, for the person, a worse state than living in union with Him?

Blogger JartStar March 29, 2012 2:47 PM  

wrf3: I want to be very clear here: Does sin glorify God?

Anonymous revrogers March 29, 2012 2:50 PM  

Our thoughts are based on the dance of electrons in our brains. The movement of electrons in our brains, while ultimately resting on the laws of physics (which is under God's control); can be influenced by externalities. He uses us as part of that external influence to accomplish His goals.

Ultimately resting on the laws of physics? Don't you mean ultimately resting on God's will in how the laws of physics actually enact the movement of the electrons? I would assume that God is the Prime Externality and all others are just means of accomplishing His influence.

Thus, the thoughts of the child molester are determined by the dance of electrons that God spins specifically to produce the child molesting nature that produces the child molesting thoughts at the specific time for the molestation to occur. . . all for the glory of God.

Blogger wrf3 March 29, 2012 3:06 PM  

Andre asked: So, does God choose for a person a fate that is, objectively speaking, in His own eyes, for the person, a worse state than living in union with Him?

No. God always chooses what He deems to be best. So your question contains an inherent contradiction. What the Potter makes is best in the Potter's eyes.

Blogger wrf3 March 29, 2012 3:12 PM  

JartStar asked: I want to be very clear here: Does sin glorify God?

Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one object for special use and another for ordinary use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the objects of wrath that are made for destruction; and what if he has done so in order to make known the riches of his glory for the objects of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory...

So the answer is, "those that were made to sin glorify God by sinning, and those that were made to be conformed to the image of His Son, glorify God by their obedience." (the latter part being standard Romans 6).

Anonymous Mr. Nightstick March 29, 2012 3:16 PM  

Ianb:

I'll bite. How am I interpreting Hosea wrong? Please be sure to post the scriptures you are referring to.

Blogger wrf3 March 29, 2012 3:18 PM  

RevRogers wrote: Thus, the thoughts of the child molester are determined by the dance of electrons that God spins specifically to produce the child molesting nature that produces the child molesting thoughts at the specific time for the molestation to occur. . . all for the glory of God.

Along with my response to JartStar, I am reminded of the story of this woman.

Has this, or has this not, brought glory to God?

Anonymous Andre March 29, 2012 3:24 PM  

wrf3, you knew this was coming, obviously, but let's touch this for a while:

1 Timothy 2:3-4
God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved.

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is ... not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

So what you're saying, in essence, is that when God makes a person that He willfully chooses to hate Him, and thus be damned to hell, this is actually better for the person?

Even though God wills all men to be saved, from the passages above? He will, even though He'd like everyone to be saved, make some people hate Him because that's best for those people?

Anonymous artie March 29, 2012 3:32 PM  

wrf3 wrote: So the answer is, "those that were made to sin glorify God by sinning, and those that were made to be conformed to the image of His Son, glorify God by their obedience." (the latter part being standard Romans 6).

If everything glorifies God, why did he send his son to earth to carry the burden of our sins?

Why is God angry at men not being obedient to his commands? As you say, even this sin glorifies him. Shouldn't he be happy that people sin, because it glorifies him?

And isn't it telling that in your quiote, the 'latter' part is part of the bible, but you can't find a quote to confirm the first part?

I hope for short specific answers, but suspect another detour.

Anonymous civilServant March 29, 2012 4:35 PM  

If that’s the case, then there is no getting around it that sin and evil are good because without them God’s glory could not be fully revealed.

Romans 11:32
For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all.

Except for the "all" part ....

Anonymous civilServant March 29, 2012 4:52 PM  

Islam has a much better grasp of pre-destination.

"Abu Darda reported that the Holy Prophet said: Allah created Adam when he created him. Then He stroke his right shoulder and took out a white race as if they were seeds, and He stroke his left shoulder and took out a black race as if they were coals. Then He said to those who were in his right side: Towards paradise and I don't care. He said to those who were on his left shoulder: Towards Hell and I don't care. - Ahmad" (Mishkat ul-Masabih, translated by Karim, v. iii, p. 117)

Anonymous Andre March 29, 2012 4:56 PM  

Allah sounds pretty bored in that passage, doesn't he? Like he wants to get rid of the whole Creation and Fall stuff and go back to play videogames.

Anonymous servant March 29, 2012 5:09 PM  

I have endured (and reading each comment requires endurance) through two different commenting systems on Calvinism vs common sense. Even if Calvinism is true (particularly the virulent kind) I would be extremely tempted to rebel against it given that many of its defenders (in particular wrf3) appear (maybe they are maybe they aren't - I said appear) arrogant and presumptuous as to God's nature in particular.

Yes, God determines the laws of physics, but please, determining individual electrons - being so informed of physics and particularly quantum mechanics one should know that there is novelty in their actions (at least observed), in fact one can make a case that many experiments with individual particles seem to destroy the theory of locality.

We do indeed see through a glass darkly - it is beyond our ken, I will believe (until I am judged by God) that God would like all men to be saved, and that sin separates us from God. That hearing the gospel will bring conviction from the Holy Spirit and thus allowing an election to be made. Yes God caused this, but He caused it for every one who hears the gospel, not some per-determined elect.

If you cannot be saved by works, then you cannot lose your salvation by works - the plain fact is, if one is truly saved, he truly does not want to sin, and when he does - for he will- he is repentant, asks for forgiveness through Jesus and it is given (as promised). Indeed your intentions are what is judged here.

That God is sovereign has never been a question in my mind, He is. But I do not believe He relishes in evil, although has allowed evil to exist for if He didn't there would be no choices to be made. He is good, defines good.

Think of the trinity as an object in OOP. God is a class, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are instantiations of that class with their own attributes. One God, three different objects.

I have tired of the Calvinism versus the rest of the normal world debate but it did cause me to refine my own thinking so I will assume that is good.

Blogger wrf3 March 29, 2012 5:22 PM  

Andre observed: wrf3, you knew this was coming, obviously, but let's touch this for a while:

I'd rather not. At least, not here. We just went through this on the previous Calvinism debate. Unfortunately, those comments were lost with the demise of CoComment. Maybe I'll reconstruct the answers and post them on my blog for future reference. Maybe.

[Does God] make some people hate Him because that's best for those people?
Since it is God who decides what's best for those He has made, and not the objects themselves, yes. How could it be otherwise? The whole point of Eden is that since the Fall we think we know better than God what is good for us. Is that not obvious?

Anonymous JT March 29, 2012 5:32 PM  

? http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1871949/posts

Blogger Duke of Earl March 29, 2012 5:39 PM  

Markku

The relevance is whether or not you ever have reason to fear that you had salvation once, but you have sinned too much and are now lost.

As opposed to believing that you may never have been saved at all? I hold that a person can lose their salvation, but not by sin as such. It requires an act of the will to deliberately reject Jesus' authority and leave his people.

When I break the speed limit I do not cease to be a New Zealander, and when I sin I do not cease to be a member of the kingdom of Heaven. The only way I could cease to be a citizen is to renounce my citizenship.

Anonymous Andre March 29, 2012 5:45 PM  

wrf3, not really, no. Because I personally believe there's a clear distinction between "denying God's purpose and thinking/acting against it", which is sin, and what Adam and Eve committed in Eden... and this view presupposes a purpose... and the view, which I think you endorse, that "God actively caused them to sin and then cursed them for it".

It should be obvious by now that I completely agree with you that we, humans, think we know better than God. However, I am defending that this arrogant belief of ours is fruit of our own volition. Not a sovereign command from God to sin and be punished for it, because "that's better for us".

wrf3, it really does not make sense. I'm sorry. It doesn't. You're choosing to accept a very nonsensical view of God. I fear Calvinists in general are so afraid of sinning against the sovereignty of God that they will accept any confused worldview that denies complete control of every particle of the Universe by God, at all times.

Really, you're telling me that when God causes a person to hate Him and thus damns that person to hell, it's better for the person because he/she wouldn't enjoy heaven anyway, since God made him/her hate Him. You can't even decide if "eternal bliss" is objectively better, through God's own eyes, than "eternal torment in flames" for His creation.

This is like arguing with an atheist about morality, when the atheist finally admits that raping and killing a child is not objectively wrong. It's such a terrifying absurd that there's nothing more to be said.

Anonymous JT March 29, 2012 5:47 PM  

I don't argue this, because it's fruitless to argue when everyone I've ever written, spoke to, or known can't even accurately describe what salvation is, what it covers, is it a process of regenerating all function of mind and body, or is it a once and for all thing which regardless will be fulfilled at one certain point in time (I don't think those two are mutally exclusive either). And what of the idea of rewards or recompense (for what?), what of the idea of inheritance (of what?), how do you reconcile them all coherently?

I don't fully trust in anyone's answer.

Anonymous Andre March 29, 2012 5:52 PM  

Edit: where I wrote "denies" (3rd paragraph), please read "endorses".

Anonymous JT March 29, 2012 6:07 PM  

"everyone that calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved"

Anonymous Sean March 29, 2012 6:07 PM  

As someone who has given the subject some thought due to a Calvinist friend and this forum, I think the Calivinists have certainly made their point. If Calvinism is true, it is useless. And more, it is a doctrine so confusing that anyone with less than a 110 IQ would have trouble understanding it, much less explaining it to others.

As demonstrated, it isn't sufficient to say that God has predetermined salvation for certain individuals and not for others. No, that's too simple. Each time we're tried to pin down the belief system, it seems to twist and shift like a writhing snake. Choice? It's there, but it's an illusion. Predestination? Simple brain physics like steams leading to a single river.

Freddy, you've been shown to share a growing tenant of Atheism and you're response is to compare the rest of us to...Jehovah Witnesses? Are we supposed to feel shamed? Can you really hate a people that have produced this?!

Anonymous Wild Bill March 29, 2012 6:09 PM  

"Also, did God choose for Adam and Eve to sin against Him, thus requiring a future picking of a horde of damned people to be cast into hell?"

I've been following all of the Calvinist threads on here for the last 2-3 months and I'm surprised no one has even mentioned Matthew 25:41, "Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels."

Notice there is NO mention of humans when Jesus explains WHY hell was created. If God had ordained a reprobate group of men before time to burn there for his glory, then hell would have been created for them, too. So Jesus seems to be leaving out a crucial piece of information if you buy into the Calvinist theology.

Furthermore, this verse goes in perfect harmony with 2 Peter 3:9 "...not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."

Calvinists seem unable to comprehend that sovereignty can be delegated and if God chooses to do this it is a sovereign decision, hence Satan's authority on this earth as "prince of this world." If Jesus was really tempted by Satan, then Satan actually had authority over the cities - not an illusion, not puppets on a string for God's amusement, but ACTUAL authority.

Anonymous Zartan March 29, 2012 6:16 PM  

OT: Geology finds out radiocarbon dating is WRONG - oldest rocks Much younger than thought...

AND

Uranium isotope uptake hasn't been constant.

Link

DUN DUN DUN!

naturally they now claim that "Both findings mean that researchers will be able to date rocks — from here on Earth, as well as throughout the Solar System — with an even greater degree of accuracy."

Wasn't I told that the old numbers were highly accurate and could be 100% trusted?

Blogger Nate March 29, 2012 6:35 PM  

on of the most amusing things about the idiocy spouted by wrf3 is the notion that those meant to sin... are glorifying God by sinning. Thus... we could argue that Satan is amongst God's most obedient and faithful servants... and it is Satan that has done more to glorify God than almost anyone else.

Wonderful.

Anyone that knows anything about what went on in Geneva can surely see that the god John Calvin served was Satan. There is no other logical conclusion. Christ's grace, mercy, and love, are not found there during Calvin's reign of terror. Only suffering, violence, misery, and woe. By their fruits we know them. Indeed.

Anonymous civilServant March 29, 2012 7:43 PM  

Anyone that knows anything about what went on in Geneva can surely see that the god John Calvin served was Satan.

From Wikipedia.

One proposal required the use of unleavened bread for the eucharist. The two ministers were unwilling to follow Bern's lead and delayed the use of such bread until a synod in Zurich could be convened to make the final decision. The council ordered Calvin and Farel to use unleavened bread for the Easter eucharist; in protest, the ministers did not administer communion during the Easter service. This caused a riot during the service and the next day, the council told the ministers to leave Geneva.

The horror.

Anonymous guest March 29, 2012 7:50 PM  

"DUNNNN! DUN! DUN! DUN! DUUNN!"

There fixed it for ya ;)

"OT: Geology finds out radiocarbon dating is WRONG - oldest rocks Much younger than thought..."

Thanks for the story Zartan. Notice instead of it being a teachable moment on the fallibiblity of scientific predictions, the usual suspects turn it into a mockfest of Christianity once again displaying the maturity level of the typical atheist. They really hate that pink unicorn don't they?

Anonymous guest March 29, 2012 7:52 PM  

fallibility...

Anonymous guest March 29, 2012 8:00 PM  

"naturally they now claim that "Both findings mean that researchers will be able to date rocks — from here on Earth, as well as throughout the Solar System — with an even greater degree of accuracy." - Zartan

Its like "we're in error let's double down." Not surprising that Keynesianism was also formulated by another morally bankrupt atheist.

Anonymous IanB March 29, 2012 8:03 PM  

Mr. Nighstick:

God likens himself to a man repeatedly trying to win over a treacherous whore.
God routinely allows himself to be limited and subjected to demeaning and ignorance.

Anonymous IanB March 29, 2012 8:08 PM  

God doesn't flex his muscles by micro-managing the universe but through painful sacrifice and service.

Blogger wrf3 March 29, 2012 8:17 PM  

RevRogers citing Roger Olson, wrote: [T]he biggest problem with Andrews’ (and most Calvinists’ view) of God’s sovereign ordaining of sin and evil is that sin and evil are no longer really bad.

This criticism fails at the outset. Consider the laws of physics. We cannot sin against them. We live inside the universe that is governed by those rules. Everything we do is in accordance with them. They are sovereign.

Within this universe there are creatures which are capable of reproduction. Their biology dictates that they basically follow four goals: feeding, fighting, and fleeing -- all towards the goal of reproduction. One of these creatures is able to both partially introspect those goals and is able to create their own goals. This introspection of our goal creation/attainment ability is what we call morality. Paths toward a goal are considered good; paths away from a goal are considered bad.

The two fundamental goals are life and death. Without life, there can be no other goals, and death is the opposite of life. We know from game theory, in particular, consideration of iterated prisoners dilemma's, that there are behaviors that allow cooperating species to out-reproduce species that do not have that behavior. See Axelrod's "Evolution of Cooperation" for details.

Not coincidentally, God is a God of "the living" who constantly commands us to choose the goal of life (e.g. "be fruitful and multiply" as one of many, many examples). Also not coincidentally, the strategies that enhance reproductive success are very similar to the basics of Christianity.

To sin, then, is to choose goals that are incompatible with life, which just happens to be the goal that God commands.

So you can't sin against laws of physics, nor can you escape them, but you can choose against life.

Anonymous artie March 29, 2012 8:40 PM  

wrf3: you're dancing around the question. In an amusing way, I give you that. But you still failed to give a straight answer: is sin evil (in as the opposite of good)? to you or to God? Is sin something that God wants? Is sin something that God commands?

Anonymous JartStar March 29, 2012 8:47 PM  

on of the most amusing things about the idiocy spouted by wrf3 is the notion that those meant to sin... are glorifying God by sinning.

I give him credit for taking the position to its logical conclusion and being consistent with hard determinism.

Anonymous civilServant March 29, 2012 8:57 PM  

I give him credit for taking the position to its logical conclusion and being consistent with hard determinism.

So he is logical. Then this means he is correct? And if not then why not?

Blogger wrf3 March 29, 2012 9:05 PM  

artie wrote: wrf3: you're dancing around the question.

Hardly. I have white man's disease.

is sin evil (in as the opposite of good)?
By definition, sin is bad (the Greek word means "to miss the mark", i.e. to fail to attain a goal). If you want to call reaching a goal and missing a goal opposites, then go ahead. But, technically, both are paths in a state space envisioned as a graph.

to you or to God?
God has told us the path we ought to choose. However, the goals that God has set for us are not necessarily His goals. For example, it is not evil for Him to do things that He has forbidden us to do.

Is sin something that God wants?
It must be, since He could end it in an instant. After all, that will be the state when the "sea of glass" dividing heaven and earth is no more as told in Revelation.

Is sin something that God commands?
Yes, but not in the sense that I think you're asking the question. God directs some people to violate His general commands. It's no different from an author creating characters which violate the rules of a story.

Anonymous JartStar March 29, 2012 9:09 PM  

Then this means he is correct? And if not then why not?

No. The evidence does not support hard determinism.

His premise is wrong, but what follows from his incorrect premise is logical.

Blogger wrf3 March 29, 2012 9:12 PM  

JartStar wrote: The evidence does not support hard determinism.

Really? And what evidence is that? Add this one to the list of questions awaiting an answer from you.

Anonymous JartStar March 29, 2012 9:35 PM  

Really? And what evidence is that? I will let the entire non-Calvinist, Christian, theological tradition speak to that.

Remind me of the other questions and I will answer.

Blogger wrf3 March 29, 2012 9:49 PM  

JartStar wrote: I will let the entire non-Calvinist, Christian, theological tradition speak to that.

Except that the non-Calvinist theological traditions are wrong. It doesn't do any good to throw vague evidence at a specific question. You could, for example, try by saying that quantum mechanics rules out determinism -- we cannot know the state of the universe until we measure it. Not only the, the universe doesn't know it's state until it is measured. But this leads to the question, does God know? Is it under God's control? (And, if by some chance it isn't, it still doesn't help the issue of free will. Assuming our thoughts obey the laws of physics, we don't control quantum mechanics.)

Remind me of the other questions and I will answer.

See March 29, 2012 2:01 PM, March 29, 2012 2:40 PM, and March 29, 2012 3:18 PM.

Anonymous JartStar March 29, 2012 10:06 PM  

March 29, 2012 2:01 PM - God. No. God. No.

March 29, 2012 2:40 PM - God. No. Their opinion can count as God listens to His children and respond to their prayer. "Where does the fault like, JartStar?" You need to rephrase this and the next to make more sense.

March 29, 2012 3:18 PM - It appears to have, but to use this specific instance of a horrible situation being used by God for good does not mean that the other Vietnamese children that were incinerated completely by napalm did glorify God.

I just answered eight questions, so instead of spamming me with more and then adding to a list try being more succinct or I will ignore the rest.

Anonymous JartStar March 29, 2012 10:08 PM  

I said before that I wasn't going to engage you anymore in this debate and I made the mistake of doing it. I'll end it here again and you can claim whatever victory you'd like.

Anonymous Toby Temple March 29, 2012 10:19 PM  

wrf3, i did say before that you are being willfully obtuse. but after this, I am starting to think that you are suffering from early dementia or you are not paying much attention to what you say.

Does adultery glorify God? How about murder? How about having another god before him? How about stealing? How about not honoring your parents? How about committing blasphemy? How about fornication and other forms of sexual immorality?

If doing these things do glorify God, then why did God forbade man to do these things?

Does God not want to be glorified?

Anonymous Andre March 29, 2012 11:22 PM  

Toby, it seems to me that for the Calvinist, God likes to look good in contrast to depravity. Like the hot girl who likes to hang out with the fatties to look super good. So He prohibits some things, then commands men to do them anyway, sends them all to hell for eternity, and then hangs out in paradise with His chosen, where they will praise Him forever. That's Calvinism in a nutshell, from what I've been reading in this thread.

Anonymous Toby Temple March 30, 2012 12:08 AM  

It is actually worse than that, Andre. In Calvinism, everyone is God's puppet. This includes Satan. So even God's main adversary is doing His will. All Satan did throughout his existence was according to the will of God.

Blogger R. Bradley Andrews March 30, 2012 12:21 AM  

wrf3, you didn't answer my question. Dancing electrons has nothing to do with the time, cost and effort involved with evangelism and missions.

Or can no Calvanist case be made for those?

Missions were very sparse when Calvanist ideas ruled much of Europe. That seems like a more likely state of affairs than a vigorous program if it is all predestined. Though I would love to know what point I am missing if I am missing something.

Anonymous Morris March 30, 2012 12:34 AM  

Quoting: "when God chooses people to be separated from Him and dooms them to eternal damnation in the flames of hell, that is a better choice for THEM? The DAMNED?

Westminster Confession, first question:

Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

The people in hell glorify God by being there in Calvinism. What is good for them is irrelevant.


This makes no possible sense to my mind. If I am not able to freely choose to obey and love God, how can I possibly bring Him any glory?? I cannot understand how I could possibly bring Him any glory by being just a meatbag robot. And how could I possibly 'enjoy God forever' if I do not make that choice freely?

I freely admit I'm not the worlds best thinker by any means but that's just crazy to me.

Anonymous Outlaw X March 30, 2012 12:40 AM  

I define Christianity by the Nicene Creed, If you don't believe it all then I don't consider that true Christianity.

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Anonymous Outlaw X March 30, 2012 12:50 AM  

"This makes no possible sense to my mind. If I am not able to freely choose to obey and love God, how can I possibly bring Him any glory?? I cannot understand how I could possibly bring Him any glory by being just a meatbag robot. And how could I possibly 'enjoy God forever' if I do not make that choice freely?

I freely admit I'm not the worlds best thinker by any means but that's just crazy to me." - Morris

You are not crazy, and have a lot of insight.

Anonymous Outlaw X March 30, 2012 1:01 AM  

One more thing that vox pointed to indirectly. There is no sense to argue with a Calvinist because if everything was preordained then so was the argument. They have shut down any convincing argument to the contrary by their own beliefs so it becomes a fruitless exercise. But the one thing that puzzles me most is why they argue with free will believers in the first pace if their is none, why would they even care what others believe who have no choice? That's my summation of the arguments so far.

Blogger Markku March 30, 2012 3:30 AM  

jayuf
Assuming "getting saved" = being Elect, are you saying that I must meet the distinguishing qualifications found in "A Treatise" to be saved/Elect? That does not seem "easy" to me!

They are not the same. You are elect or not elect before you were even born. But you are saved only after you come to Christ and have your sins forgiven. Election is merely about God's intent to make sure this happens at some point. It might happen comfortably or less comfortably. If the elect doesn't resist, it is in his own advantage.

In practice, "saved" is the much more useful word, "elect" is mostly good for theological discussions. Before someone is saved, we couldn't get any information at all whether or not he is elect.

Blogger Markku March 30, 2012 3:32 AM  

So, it is not "easy" in practice because we don't have the information about election. The original question simply assumed that a person is Elect, but in reality we don't know that. It was an answer to a counterfactual question.

Blogger Laramie Hirsch March 30, 2012 3:56 AM  

I just thought I'd contribute this little bit from Father Reginald Garrigou Lagrange's DIVINE PROVIDENCE:

"The first principle is that everything which comes to pass has been foreseen by Almighty God from all eternity and has been willed by Him or at least permitted by Him. Nothing comes to pass either in the material or the spiritual world, but God has foreseen it from all eternity; because with Him there is no passing from ignorance to knowledge as with us, and He has nothing to learn from events as they occur. Not only has God foreseen everything that is happening now or will happen in the future, but whatever reality and goodness there is in these things He has willed; and whatever evil or moral disorder is in them, He has merely permitted. Holy Scripture is explicit on this point, and, as the councils have declared, no room is left for doubt in the matter.

"The second principle is that nothing can be willed or permitted by God that does not contribute to the end He purposed in creating, which is the manifestation of His goodness and infinite perfections, and the glory of the God-man-Jesus Christ, His only Son. As St. Paul says, "All are yours. And you are Christ's. And Christ is God's." (1 Cor. 2: 23)"

Anonymous Outlaw X March 30, 2012 4:00 AM  

"So, it is not "easy" in practice because we don't have the information about election. The original question simply assumed that a person is Elect, but in reality we don't know that. It was an answer to a counterfactual question."

So do Calvinist pray for the sick, or anything for that matter? Why should they even get off the couch? If God chooses one of the preordained or "Elect" there is no reason to raise a prayer or finger. Do Calvinist pray for others and if so why do they? Because they were preordained to do so?

God does not make your breakfast, a paper I wrote years ago, and not about Calvinist, as I have never knew one here in Texas. I am sure they exist here, but in small numbers.

You present an illogical paradox. God may not be logical, but then God may not be God?

Blogger Markku March 30, 2012 4:12 AM  

Outlaw X So do Calvinist pray for the sick, or anything for that matter? Why should they even get off the couch? If God chooses one of the preordained or "Elect" there is no reason to raise a prayer or finger. Do Calvinist pray for others and if so why do they? Because they were preordained to do so?

Yes, except possibly some full predeterminists. The five points only require that one particular choice is predetermined, namely the choice to come to Christ. And even its moment is not necessarily predetermined.

If someone converts on their deathbed, they are worse off than if they converted early in their life and had the chance to serve God for a long time.

Anonymous Outlaw X March 30, 2012 4:20 AM  

Oh and Markuu, could you answer my question as to why a Calvinist who cannot help people make a choice argue their side? It certainly isn't to save souls, is it purely boredom that makes you this way? Or is it your heart looking to prove yourself right? The heart knows and that is nothing but pride.

Blogger Markku March 30, 2012 4:57 AM  

It certainly isn't to save souls, is it purely boredom that makes you this way? Or is it your heart looking to prove yourself right? The heart knows and that is nothing but pride.

I don't remember ever being the one to start the fight, except in the original PUOSU (in that thread the whole point was to pick fights). I only respond to the frequent challenges. And yes, this debate is indeed not for saving souls. It is a useless doctrine for an unsaved person. It doesn't change anything about what he should do (accept Christ), and it is too easy to twist into a rationalization to not accept. It should only be an in-house debate that we only talk about to atheists if they demand to know.

Anonymous Outlaw X March 30, 2012 5:16 AM  

It doesn't change anything about what he should do (accept Christ)"

He can't if God dose not let him?

and it is too easy to twist into a rationalization to not accept. It should only be an in-house debate that we only talk about to atheists if they demand to know.

Why do you think the atheist would care about the difference between Calvinisms and say my Catholic faith? They could care less, unless you think we can change them? Can we?

You are a smart man, can you not see the paradox?

Blogger Markku March 30, 2012 5:53 AM  

He can't if God dose not let him?

God would let any nonelect come if they did come. I'm sure He would be very happy if someone did. But they don't.

Why do you think the atheist would care about the difference between Calvinisms and say my Catholic faith?

If they don't, then they don't demand to know, and so much the better.

They could care less, unless you think we can change them? Can we?

You mean change by debating Calvinism (since that was the topic)? Of course not. Or, if you mean change them at all (especially with evangelism), yes. That is the job that was given to us. We could refuse God's explicit command, in which case He would eventually do it Himself, but we would be held accountable for our refusal.

Anonymous Rantor March 30, 2012 6:41 AM  

wrf3, i did say before that you are being willfully obtuse. but after this, I am starting to think that you are suffering from early dementia or you are not paying much attention to what you say.

Does adultery glorify God? How about murder? How about having another god before him? How about stealing? How about not honoring your parents? How about committing blasphemy? How about fornication and other forms of sexual immorality?

If doing these things do glorify God, then why did God forbade man to do these things?

Does God not want to be glorified?


Among God's attributes are perfect justice. The unredeemed sinner will be punished perfectly and that will bring glory to God. It is an odd sort of glory, in this context but on a worldly level, are you happy when a court case is decided, and it appears the judge and jury have come to the right conclusion and given the offender the right sentence? Are you upset when the guilty go to trial and are released? If yes, then you should be able to understand that God will be glorified on judgement day when he saves those who are to be saved and condemns those who should be condemned. He will display perfect justice.

Anonymous Toby Temple March 30, 2012 7:12 AM  

The unredeemed sinner will be punished perfectly and that will bring glory to God.

The problem with that statement of yours, Rantor, is that in Calvinism, the unredeemed sinner was born that way. God made him/her unredeemable.
Its like making a robot that will only go left and then you command it to go right so that you can punish it for going left.

Blogger Duke of Earl March 30, 2012 7:17 AM  

Markku, if I may?

From your perspective we could as easily say that the elect are those God knows will come to Christ at his calling, and the non-elect those that will not do so?

The exact causal relationship between God's knowledge and election need not be guessed at for the functional distinctions of elect/non-elect to be used.

Jesus told his followers that the Spirit would bring conviction of sin, righteousness and judgement. Revivalists from the centuries past reported that when they preached the gospel their hearers were often cut to the heart and came forward repenting in tears. Sometimes the local Police would find people coming to their door confessing to crimes, and sometimes non-crimes also, because of the weight of guilt they found themselves carrying.

We eat when we're hungry, we find a doctor when we're sick. If we're convinced of the desperation of our situation, not by the persuasiveness of teaching but by the spirit of God, then we have the spur that drives us to "flee the wrath which is to come." However there are some who, no matter what, will never repent. They are the non-elect, the reprobates. God does not attempt to save them because they would spurn him regardless. It would be wasted effort.

Anonymous FrankNorman March 30, 2012 7:26 AM  

What troubles me from this, is how Markku and other "Calvinists" here basically admit that their theology denies them any serious assurance of salvation. This makes it a denial of the promises of Scripture!

"Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved!"

gets turned into:

"If you are believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, then you are probably one of the elect."

and

"I write these things to you who believe in the Name of the Son of God, that you may know you have eternal life"

becomes:

"I write these things just to teach some doctrine. Maybe you guys are saved, maybe not. No way to be sure till you die."

Anonymous FrankNorman March 30, 2012 7:36 AM  

Part of this, I suspect, is theological CYA. If anything could prove for certain that someone was saved, and then someone with that trait later fell away, then that would prove salvation could be lost, and your TULIP-field just went up in smoke. Rather than nail their colors to the mast, so to speak, the Calvinists try to protect their theology from any possible falsification, and this becomes more important to them than faithfulness to Scripture.

Blogger Markku March 30, 2012 7:39 AM  

Duke of Earl From your perspective we could as easily say that the elect are those God knows will come to Christ at his calling, and the non-elect those that will not do so?

That is the default Arminian position, and that's what the entire Calvinism debate is about. In short, my view is that the Bible chooses its words in many places in such ways that it would seem like a deliberate misrepresentation if that were the case. To speak of electing would be nonsense, the cause would still be human choice, to which God "mechanistically" responds.

I don't think there is any point in opening the entirety of the debate all over again in this thread. If there is going to be a response to the PUOSU or some other generic Calvinism thread, then this would be more suitable for that one.

Anonymous guest March 30, 2012 7:43 AM  

FrankNorman is getting it, Calvinists are tortured souls. But the truth will set them free.

Blogger Markku March 30, 2012 7:45 AM  

FrankNorman Part of this, I suspect, is theological CYA. If anything could prove for certain that someone was saved, and then someone with that trait later fell away, then that would prove salvation could be lost, and your TULIP-field just went up in smoke. Rather than nail their colors to the mast, so to speak, the Calvinists try to protect their theology from any possible falsification, and this becomes more important to them than faithfulness to Scripture.

Nope, it's straight from John the Apostle:

1Jo 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out, that it might be plain that they all are not of us.

Anonymous FrankNorman March 30, 2012 8:23 AM  

Markku, John's statement about the apostates there never having been real believers should not be allowed to overcload his assurance to the real believers that they have eternal life.

Saving faith in the Bible is not something so complex or difficult that no one can ever be really sure they have it.

Blogger wrf3 March 30, 2012 10:16 AM  

Toby Temple wrote: Does adultery glorify God? How about murder? How about having another god before him? How about stealing? How about not honoring your parents? How about committing blasphemy? How about fornication and other forms of sexual immorality?

What we have here is a simple inability to read, understand, and agree with the book of Romans:

   We know that all things work together for good for those who love God... [Rom 8:28]

So that even when God decrees evil ("Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?" -- Lam 3:38), it is for His eventual glory.

If doing these things do glorify God, then why did God forbade man to do these things?

Have you not read Romans 6?

Blogger wrf3 March 30, 2012 10:23 AM  

R. Bradley Andrews wrote: wrf3, you didn't answer my question. Dancing electrons has nothing to do with the time, cost and effort involved with evangelism and missions.

That's because you didn't ask about cost or effort. Your question was, "Why spend any time in missions or personal evangelism?"

And the answer for time was "because He delights to use us in His work."

However, I'm not sure I'd give any different an answer for cost or effort.

That seems like a more likely state of affairs than a vigorous program if it is all predestined. Though I would love to know what point I am missing if I am missing something.

God changes His people. He puts His life in them, and His life is concerned with reproduction of that life. Certainly, God doesn't need us to accomplish His purposes, but He does nevertheless use us. He has commanded that we go and make disciples, and this command is congruent with the life that He puts within us at the rebirth.

Blogger wrf3 March 30, 2012 10:25 AM  

Morris asked: This makes no possible sense to my mind. If I am not able to freely choose to obey and love God, how can I possibly bring Him any glory??

"You will say to me then, 'Why then does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?'" -- Rom 9:19

Anonymous Tallen March 30, 2012 10:32 AM  

If sin is an individual executing their own will contrary to and in lieu of God's will, but God designed them to contradict His will in such a manner, then God's will is still being executed. Therefore, there is no spoon - er, sin.

Blogger wrf3 March 30, 2012 10:35 AM  

Outlaw X asked: Oh and Markuu, could you answer my question as to why a Calvinist who cannot help people make a choice argue their side?

Who says we cannot help people make a choice? God uses people to accomplish His purposes. It's that simple.

Consider the physics behind it. Your thoughts are the motion of electrons in your brain. Other electrons are able to influence the path those electrons in your brain take. Some of those electrons are internal to you (there are feedback loops in your brain), others are external to you. God uses what you see, hear, taste, and touch to move the electrons in your brain according to His purposes.

It certainly isn't to save souls,
Of course it is. Do you think that God doesn't use nature to accomplish His work?

1 – 200 of 214 Newer› Newest»

Post a Comment

Rules of the blog
Please do not comment as "Anonymous". Comments by "Anonymous" will be spammed.

<< Home

Newer Posts Older Posts