January 28, 2010

Further Reflections on Calvinism

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221 Comments
  1. Christophe,
    You said “Calvinism upholds human responsibility in the face of God’s sovereign choice”, yet you point out that anyone rejecting the Father’s drawing is not possible because that implies God’s failure. If God desires for ALL men to be saved, does that mean ALL men will be saved? Hardly so. How about verses like 1 Samuel 15:10-11? “The word of the Lord came to Samuel: “I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following me and has not performed my commandments.” God regretted? Yes He did! God is also jealous and grieves. What does that mean to a Calvinist? Are these responses from God only pretended emotions? Of course not!

    Regarding John 6:35-40, of course it is the Father’s will that the Son should not lose any of those who the Father has given him (those who have come to him and believed). It’s also the will of the Father that EVERYONE who looks on the Son and BELIEVES should have eternal life. You see, God’s WILL is that EVERYONE who looks on the Son and BELIEVES will have eternal life. That is His will, but we have the ability to reject His will. Even Jesus praying in the Garden prayed if it were possible for the cup of death to be removed from him, but then said “nevertheless, not my will, but your will be done”. His human nature for a moment indicated a will opposing that of the Father. Now back to the other point you mentioned, I agree you cannot exegete from these verses alone that those who were given to the Son independently made choices to follow him previously. That’s why you have to understand the entire context of Scripture and not form your theology on a few verses. I would also encourage you to read Johh 17, where Jesus is praying to the Father for his disciples, especially praying for protection against the evil one.

  2. Hello all

    I promised to let you know about the radio talks on the gospel of John by Craig Keener. TWR have taken them off the website, but I have the mp3s on my USB stick. If you would like them, I could email them to you as an attachment. They can be understood and appreciated by those who do have seminary experience, and by those who don’t.

    Craig Keener also gave sermon on John at a bible college, but I have not yet heard that, so I won’t post the link until I have had a listen.

  3. Some of you are getting a little bit grumpy and taking it that people are questioning your salvation. This Calvinism/Arminianism thing is not a salvation issue. No one is going to hell because of their beliefs about the extent of atonement. If, however, one does not avail oneself of Christ’s atoning sacrifice, then one is headed for hell.

    If you are getting fed up, remember that all of us are believers.
    That’s good news! We are not Arminians or Calvinists, we are Jesusits. Having thrown that big rock into the debating pond, I must get off t’Internet as son wants to read some books about the Greeks and the Romans. (Yes,he is still wiping his nose on his sleeve.)

    See the fun you could be having?

  4. WHOA! Christophe, sorry I steppe don some toes, but that was anything but my intention. You have accused me of a lot of things that I haven’t said at all. I have never called any Calvinist either prideful, heretics or false teachers. I was simply doing exegesis of the text of 2 Peter 2, not applying it at all to Calvinism. (I think that is the impression that you had by reading your post)

    Christophe, all that I’m saying is that the text doesn’t support the Calvinistic position, never that the text applies to Calvinism. I have not slandered Reformed faith or Reformed martyrs. Where on earth did you get that from? Like you do with the Arminians, I consider Calvinists my brothers and sisters in the Messiah. In fact, I have defended people such as James White in front of Arminians who condemned James White as not being a Christian many times.

    Again, Christophe, if it seems as though I labeled Calvinists as heretics or any such thing, then please let me know where I did that. I repeat, that was not my intention at all and as far as I am concerned I have not written that either.

    But I do look forward to you addressing my “shockingly subjective and inconsistent” eisegesis and my “convoluted argumentation, inconsistent theology,lack of any serious hermeneutics and ignorance of the history”. Please address those texts and show us where I went wrong.

    Shalom in the Messiah,
    Nakdimon

  5. Christophe,

    Back off from the rhetoric and the attacks on others, as referenced here by Nakdimon. You’re misreading people’s posts, taking things personally, and lashing out in your own posts, and this is not the place for that.

    Step higher, dear brother, and the dialog can continue. Otherwise, your posts will be delayed by the monitor. (Please don’t respond to this post publicly, but feel free to write to us privately if you feel that you’re being singled out unfairly or being misunderstood.)

  6. “How about verses like 1 Samuel 15:10-11? “

    Michael K,

    I have specifically asked you exegit from John 6 and with John 6:37. I have specifically asked you to not to jump to some other text. This clearly you are unable to do because John 6:37 clearly demolishes your Arminian agenda.

    “You see, God’s WILL is that EVERYONE who looks on the Son and BELIEVES will have eternal life. That is His will, but we have the ability to reject His will.”

    That is NOT in John 6:37 but only in your presupposed expectations.

    “That’s why you have to understand the entire context of Scripture and not form your theology on a few verses.”

    I do understand the entire context and tou have absolutely no reason to question that. There are times when you need to exegit a specific text for clarification as I asked you to do with John 6:37. This clearly you cannot do without running for cover somewhere else…

    “I would also encourage you to read Johh 17, where Jesus is praying to the Father for his disciples, especially praying for protection against the evil one.”

    I am glad that you have mentioned John 17. I would encourage you to read it as well and pay a very close attention to “them”, “their” , “these.” Attention regarding whom is Jesus talking, for whom is praying:

    “I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. ”

    John 17:9

    Our dialog comes to the end. Thank you for your interaction and may God bless you.

    SDG,

    Christophe
    and more importantly for whom He is going to the cross:

    “And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.”

    John 17:19

  7. Dr.Brown and other respondents,

    Thank you for your time and all responses. I appreciate it.
    I am not perfect but it seems to me that there could be more objectivity here presented here. Since it is not it is time to end this dialog.

    I wish you all the blessings according to Lord’s will.

    SDG,

    Christophe

  8. Nakdimon,

    I apologize if I misread your intentions. I noticed the texts as a Arminian arguments but in light of their theme I understood that you imply that to Reformed Theology.

    In my defense all I can say is that I have seen on this forum assertions that Calvinists have “a different God” and “a different Gospel” Henceforth it was not too hard to read your quotes speaking about falsehood and false teaching on this level as well.

    Thank you and be blessed.

    SDG,

    Christophe

  9. “Anthy says:
    February 2, 2010 at 5:18 am

    Hello all

    I promised to let you know about the radio talks on the gospel of John by Craig Keener. TWR have taken them off the website, but I have the mp3s on my USB stick. If you would like them, I could email them to you as an attachment.”

    I would really like to hear these. Do you mind emailing them to me – gregorama91@yahoo.com.

    Thanks,
    Greg

  10. “In my defense all I can say is that I have seen on this forum assertions that Calvinists have “a different God” and “a different Gospel”

    Christophe,

    I confess that I have engaged in this type of rhetoric. I apologize. However, my intention was never to be purposely offensive. I just have personal concerns about Calvinism.

    If a person either agrees or disagrees with every point of TULIP (which obviously deals with soteriology), than I believe it’s reasonable to assume some degree of negative ramifications if you are on the incorrect side of this debate.

    Again, I hope you’ll forgive my passion and lack of diplomacy with respect to this issue.

    God Bless,
    Greg

  11. Hello Greg

    I saw your comment from 12.09 today, and have sent you the first of the talks. I might have to send them one at a time, as the old laptop is not behaving when I try to send two at once.

  12. Hello Greg
    I sent them to you but I received a notice that the email did not get there. I will try again.

    You could repost your email address on the blog, in case I have the wrong end of the stick.

  13. Hebrews 3:12-14 – “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today’, that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.”

  14. I came across the following quote by D A Carson today that clarifies what I’ve been trying to say:

    “At the same time, to preserve the notion of particular redemption proves pastorally important for many reasons. If Christ died for all people with exactly the same intent, as measured on any axis, then it is surely impossible to avoid the conclusion that the ultimate distinguishing mark between those who are saved and those who are not is their own will. That is surely ground for boasting. This argument does not charge the Arminian with no understanding of grace. After all, the Arminian believes that the cross is the ground of the Christian’s acceptance before God; the choice to believe is not in any sense the ground. Still, this view of grace surely requires the conclusion that the ultimate distinction between the believer and the unbeliever lies, finally, in the human beings themselves. That entails an understanding of grace quite different, and in my view far more limited, than the view that traces the ultimate distinction back to the purposes of God, including his purposes in the cross. The pastoral implications are many and obvious.”

    D. A. Carson, The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God (Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Books, 2000), 73-79.

    S.D.G.

    P.S. Great book! I’d recommend it to anyone who cares to consider the different ways in which the Bible portrays the love of God.

  15. Hi Ben2, I don’t know if I understand Carson’s comment correctly. Could you elaborate.

    A question that comes up is, if man’s will or faith is not the ground of salvation, how does that affect the Biblical idea that grace is unmerited? Such a distinction, however ultimate, has no direct correlation with meriting salvation, does it?

    What am I missing here?

  16. Dear Dr. Brown and/or Staff,

    Have you ever considered making a YouTube channel to upload these shows onto? If not, YouTube/Google has some new very strict copyright laws, so can I have your permission to upload some of Dr. Browns sermons and radio shows on YouTube? Of course it will be made clear this is all Dr. Brown’s material and will have direct links to your websites.

    (The reason why I asked on this “random” thread and I understand it probably would’ve been better to do this through e-mail.. But it was because of the content of this show which I’d like to upload on YouTube with your permission)

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