221 Comments
  1. Lee,

    To respond to your two questions (and thanks for your gracious comments):

    1) The analogy of the High Priest can’t be taken too far, since you could simply ask: What about all the people who lived before Aaron and his descendants were instituted as priests (and/or, before the Day of Atonement)? Salvation is ultimately through the blood of Jesus, not animals. However, in so far as the analogy can be rightly applied, it works against Calvinism, as I stated in answer to Dr. White. Also, on a wider level, weren’t there godly people outside of Israel in ancient times? How then were they made right with God? Jewish tradition, plus scriptural texts like 1 Kings 8:41-43 would point to the efficacy of Israel’s sacrifices, joined with their repentance (like the repentance of the Ninevites).

    2) The teaching of the universality of Christ’s atonement is, to me, one of the clearest teachings of Scripture. As pointed out by Prof. Vernon C. Grounds, dealing with verses like Jn. 1:29; Jn. 3:16; Rom. 5:17-21; Rom. 11:32; 1 Tim. 2:6; Heb. 2:9; 2 Pet. 3:9; and 1 Jn. 2:2), “It takes an exegetical ingenuity which is something other that a learned virtuosity to evacuate these texts of their obvious meaning: it takes an exegetical ingenuity verging on sophistry to deny their explicit universality.” And Jesus truly saves to the uttermost “those who come to God through him” (Hebrews 7:25). There is no limitation of His power. He has made a complete bridge that goes from death to life, and those who receive what He has done on the cross enjoy its benefits to the full.

    Again, this is one of those subjects in which, as far as I can see it, Calvinists declare what full salvation must look like and how it must be appropriated, and then claim that anything less than that is not full or complete. Not so. By God’s grace, throughout eternity I will enjoy the benefits of God’s glorious and complete salvation as much as any Calvinist in the world.

  2. Hello Christophe

    You wrote:”I had my share of encounters with JWs… I have seen all three of them (they come usually in 3s) sitting in my living room with a puzzled look on their faces and not able to respond to presented arguments and asking me five times what kind of faith is this Reformed Faith.”

    You see, it really is true that everything is bigger in America — the JWs only come round in twos over here! Witnessing to them is like peeling an onion — there are layers and layers to take off. Actually it’s like stripping paint off a very old window. Before you can put on the new paint, you’ve got to take off the rubbish. They can come out of it, though. You must have got through to the people you met. They were actually responding to you — instead of going on with their prepared speech, they were asking 5 times about your faith. You planted one BIG seed that day.

    “I salute you for witnessing to these lost souls.”

    Ooh, you are being too nice, I don’t deserve praise. JWs are the easiest people in the world to witness to:

    1. They come to your house — so, no travelling 2. They actually want to talk about eternal life 3. They are easily won over with tea and homemade biscuits (cookies) 4. They are all too aware that their works ain’t saving them, even if they seem happy enough 5. Everyone is horrible to them, so it totally shocks them if you are cordial, smile and say,”I would love to talk about God”
    6. You have the Holy Spirit to tell you what to say 7. After you have gone, no matter how rotten your day, you feel great, cos you just talked about salvation. One time, after they had gone, I shut the door and said to myself, “You know, that Gospel — it really is good news, it’s really good!”

  3. “it takes an exegetical ingenuity verging on sophistry to deny their explicit universality.”

    Dr.Brown,

    I present to you that it takes a very superficial reading verging on ignoring the context to maintain this implicit universality.

    Just one example:

    “But do not overlook this one fact, B E L O V E D, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

    1 Peter 3:8-9 ESV

    SDG

    Christophe

  4. I find the Calvinist persuasion of total depravity intriguing…

    Men are so dead in trespasses in sins that God must regenerate them in order for them to believe.

    So were all the OT prophets, priests, patriarchs, and kings regenerate? How were they able to respond to God? What about John the Baptist, Simeon, and Cornelius?

    Didn’t Jesus tell Nicodemus, “You must be born again”?

    Didn’t Jesus say that though John the Baptist was the greatest prophet, the least in the Kingdom was greater than he (Luke 7)?

    Thus, John was outside of the Kingdom, yet was able to respond to God (John 1:33).

    The idea that God must regenerate us in order for us to respond to Him – to believe in Him – is wrong.

  5. “You have the Holy Spirit to tell you what to say 7. After you have gone, no matter how rotten your day, you feel great, cos you just talked about salvation. One time, after they had gone, I shut the door and said to myself, “You know, that Gospel — it really is good news, it’s really good!”

    Anthy,

    You are right nothing beats the privilege of witnessing to the truth and there is an unbelievable power present when you do that according to Lord’s will.
    JWs used to come in 2s years ago now they come in 3s. I don’t know what happen but it must be some kind of JW inflation 🙂

    SDG

    Christophe

  6. Christophe,

    Please be assured that your argument here is the one I used as a Calvinist, and I would simply state that I cannot express how strongly I differ with your assessment that only a “very superficial reading verging on ignoring the context” could see texts like John 3:16 and 1 John 2:2 as not speaking of a universal atonement.

    Once again, your statement indicates to me that you do not grasp for a moment the mountain of solid exegesis that utterly refutes your claim.

  7. “The idea that God must regenerate us in order for us to respond to Him – to believe in Him – is wrong.”

    Greg

    “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.”

    God
    John 6:44

    Take a pick

  8. Christophe,

    Please show Greg and me where John 6:44 says regenerate.

    Also, John 12:32 uses the exact same verb in terms of the Messiah drawing all men to himself through the cross (and, presumably, the preaching of the cross). I’m aware of Calvinistic attempts to separate the usage in John 6 from John 12, but once again, it requires special pleading.

  9. “Please be assured that your argument here is the one I used as a Calvinist,”

    I appreciate that but what is a biblical weight of your past experience? I used to be an Arminian but I do not point to that as that has absolutely no gravity at all…

    “and I would simply state that I cannot express how strongly I differ with your assessment that only a “very superficial reading verging on ignoring the context” could see texts like John 3:16 and 1 John 2:2 as not speaking of a universal atonement.”

    Dr.Brown,

    My statement is a direct reciprocal to the statement provided by you. John 3:16 is has the dubious privilege to be the most abused verse in the whole Bible and does not teach universalism at all.

    “For this is the way36 God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

    John 3:16 NET Bible

    There is a qualification here Dr.Brown, not everyone but EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES.

    “and he himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for our sins but also for the whole world.”

    1 John 2:2 ESV

    Again Dr.Brown this is not universalistic but refers to the extent of Atonement as to the locations and times in which redeemed live or will live.

    I am sure you are aware of different usages of “cosmos” by John some of it present in the very same chapter:

    ‘Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him, because all that is in the world (the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the arrogance produced by material possessions) is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world is passing away with all its desires, but the person who does the will of God remains forever.”

    1 John 2:15-17 NET Bible

    Once again, your statement indicates to me that you do not grasp for a moment the mountain of solid exegesis that utterly refutes your claim.

    Dr.Brown, very well and I respect what seems to you. Contrary to you, I actually present those stones of exegesis instead of attempting to impress you with a talk about the mountains of exegesis.

    Regards,

    SDG

    Christophe

  10. Are you saying that the drawing of God and spiritual rebirth are the same thing? Because I read two different words with two different meanings…

    Helkuō – To draw or drag.
    Paliggenesia – Regeneration, rebirth.

    Please show me in the scriptures where God causes spiritual rebirth in us in order for us to believe in Him.

    By the way, quickening and regeneration, are also two separate words that have different meanings.

    Additionally, you haven’t addressed my previous point. What about everyone that preceded Christ in death the were able to respond to God? Were they regenerate as well?

  11. “Please show Greg and me where John 6:44 says regenerate. ”

    Dr.Brown,

    It does not have to. It points to the INITIATOR. God is life and truth if he DRAWS to himself those who are dead in sin and a lie what happens to them?

    With all due respect and this is only for the purposes of illustration and not analogy this type of argument “show me” is exactly the same JWs use when they tell me “show me where in the Bible it say TRINITY” Again it does not have to.

    As far as “DRAW” – helkuo in John 6:44 perhaps this will spark some interest as far as your notion of absolute free will of the creature:

    ἕλκω impf. εἷλκον; the future (ἑλκύσω) and first aorist (εἵλκυσα) are formed as if from ἑλκύω; tug, draw, drag; literally; (1) of a sword draw, unsheath (JN 18.10); (2) of a person, forcibly led drag (AC 21.30); (3) of a net haul, drag (JN 21.6); (4) as a legal technical term lead by force, drag into court (JA 2.6); figuratively, of a strong pull in the mental or moral life draw, attract (JN 6.44)

    Friberg, Timothy ; Friberg, Barbara ; Miller, Neva F.: Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich. : Baker Books, 2000 (Baker’s Greek New Testament Library 4), S. 144

    Dr.Brown,

    Same ἕλκω – helkuo is used for draw in John 12:32. I affirm that but that is no argument for you at all. Does all means all all the time? No, Dr. Brown it does not. And it definitively does not here either.

    Please read below:

    Jesus said that at the cross He would draw all men to Himself. He did not mean everybody will be saved for He made it clear that some will be lost (John 5:28-29). If the drawing by the Son is the same as that of the Father (6:44), it means He will draw indiscriminately. Those saved will include not only Jews, but also those from every tribe, language, people, and nation (Rev. 5:9; cf. John 10:16; 11:52).

    Walvoord, John F. ; Zuck, Roy B. ; Dallas Theological Seminary: The Bible Knowledge Commentary : An Exposition of the Scriptures. Wheaton, IL : Victor Books, 1983-c1985, S. 2:318

    SDG

    Christophe

  12. An unusual thing happened to me last month. A Jehovah’s Witness came over to talk to me BY HIMSELF! We had a really good discussion, too. Unfortunately, he hasn’t come back.

  13. “With all due respect and this is only for the purposes of illustration and not analogy this type of argument “show me” is exactly the same JWs use when they tell me “show me where in the Bible it say TRINITY” Again it does not have to.”

    UNCLE.

    God bless you Christophe. Have a wonderful week 🙂

  14. “Additionally, you haven’t addressed my previous point. What about everyone that preceded Christ in death the were able to respond to God? Were they regenerate as well?”

    Yes, Righteousness of Christ is applied to whom God wills on both sides of Cross.

    “Please show me in the scriptures where God causes spiritual rebirth in us in order for us to believe in Him. ”

    “for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring cword of God.”

    New American Standard Bible 1 Pe 1:23

    Why do you think Peter mentions the IMPERISHABLE SEED?
    For purely poetical reasons or it points of something ETERNAL, ALIEN TO US, and PLANTED in us?

    Did you planted your IMPERISHABLE SEED in you yourself?
    Congratulations then…

    SDG

    Christophe

  15. Hello Christophe

    You wrote:” John 3:16 is has the dubious privilege to be the most abused verse in the whole Bible” I totally agree with you there(enjoy this beautiful moment while it lasts). The verse is abused mostly by being overused.

    What’s wrong with Romans 6:23, or the verse in Isaiah where God says that our sins have cut us off from God so that He can’t hear us? (“You used THAT verse to share the gospel?” Yes, and as my opening comment. It wasn’t planned, OK, the Holy Spirit made me do it. And, yes, she is a Christian now, so I suppose it was the right verse for her. Ever since I started sharing my faith a bit more, the STUFF comes out of my mouth! Verses I never ever memorised, ideas I never even knew I knew — Jesus was not joking when He said that the Holy Spirit blows whereever He wants to!)

    Yes, I am going to bed now. (Bad gurl)

  16. Dr.Brown,

    I appreciate the reference. I would say the same please read some fine Calvinistic commentaries available out there. I can assure you that reformed Faith has been strengthen and Reformed scholars were mightily busy since 1982 on.

    Even more, I would appreciate a couple of your own exegetical stones thrown here my way on the account of the exegetical mountain that you have mentioned.

    Perhaps tomorrow as I am tired and time to do other things.

    Adieu for now with warm regards,

    SDG

    Christophe

  17. Ooh, just one more thing. I must endorse Craig Keener. I have not read the commentary, but I have heard a series of 8 radio interviews with Mr Keener, about John’s gospel. They were aired on Trans World Radio and I downloaded the mp3s. I learned so much. The shows are great. He’s a real expert who can communicate clearly and with warmth. If I can find the link to the shows, I shall post it for you.

  18. Anthy,

    Good night!

    ” For the payoff of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

    Romans 6:23

    I personally think that this is one of the most beautiful and powerful verses in Romans.

    SDG,

    I am off for tonight. Have a good night dear Arminians.

    Christophe

  19. Christophe,

    We had a road-slowing snowstorm here this weekend, hence giving me some unexpected extra time over these last two days. I doubt I’ll be online nearly as much once normal schedule starts up tomorrow.

    But FYI, I’ve been reading and enjoying fine Calvinistic commentaries for almost 35 years now, so you need not be concerned on that end. By all means, however, start digging in the mountains I mentioned. You’ll find much gold there.

  20. Hi Christophe,

    You implied that 2 Peter 3:9 does not refer to all men, but to the “beloved” he references in verse 8. That is the standard Calvinist interpretation. I understand your reasoning there, though I respectfully disagree. I have a few questions for you, though:

    Ezekiel 18:23 seems to say the same thing. Do you believe this refers only to the “beloved” or does it apply to all men? If it applies to all men, then why does the Arminian interpretation of 2 Peter 3:9 become a sticking point? Even if they are wrong about 2 Peter 3:9, the doctrine would still be supported by Scripture.

    “Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord GOD, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?” ESV, because I know you prefer it. 🙂

  21. Dr. Brown,

    If I remember right, James White mentioned in your debate that he prefers the term “Particular Redemption” over Limited Atonement. Although he believes the atonement was sufficient for all, he believes it can only be applied to the elect. One verse I have not heard him address is 2 Peter 2:1:

    “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves.”

    Do you know how Dr. White (or any Calvinist for that matter) would respond to this verse? It seems to leave no room for the Limited Atonement view. This verse says that even the false prophets were “bought”…is it safe to assume that this refers to the blood atonement of Christ, as described in Revelation 5:9?

    “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.”

    I’m no scholar, so I rely only on a plain reading of these texts. But they sure seem to refute the doctrine of limited atonement. If any 5-point calvinists on this thread can shed some light on these verses, I would much appreciate it!

    Thanks,
    Jake

  22. Jake,

    They claim that in 2 Pet 2:1, there’s a different word used for “Lord” and a different word used for “bought,” so, allegedly, the text is not speaking of being bought with the blood of Jesus, but the arguments are quite specious, and your plain reading of the text here is surely right — as many scholars would confirm.

    I expect that some of our Calvinistic friends here will chime in and give a more full answer.

  23. Jake,

    Just after posting the last note, I realized I was not entirely accurate. The emphasis is normally placed on “Lord” (despotes in Greek) more than on “bought” — but again, it is an easily refuted argument, especially in light of the use of “bought” (agoradzo) in the NT (see, e.g., 1 Cor 6:20; 7:23; Rev 5:9; 14:3-4). As for despotes, it is used with specific reference to Jesus in Jude 4 — a book closely related to 2 Peter.

    So, again, your plain reading of the text is completely right: Jesus bought these people with his blood as well, yet they denied him.

  24. I am really enjoying this discussion. I come with some presuppositions like everyone else, I lean toward the “calvinist” side, though I personally don’t like the term. I don’t believe a number of things that Calvin did and I’m sure that Arminians don’t believe a number of things that Arminias did. I do believe in God’s choosing through predestination. I believe this because of what I see in scripture. There are a couple of verses that make things particularly difficult for me to believe otherwise, but maybe someone here can help with that.

    To those who believe that God exercises the “patience, not willing that any should perish” to all to the same degree, how do you interpret verses like those in Joshua 11:20?

    “For it was the LORD himself who hardened their hearts to wage war against Israel, so that he might destroy them totally, exterminating them without mercy, as the LORD had commanded Moses.”

    Another one that makes this concept difficult for me is the account of Moses and Pharaoh. The account constantly gives the idea that God is hardening Pharaoh’s heart on purpose to show His might to Israel. To the extent that even the death of the first born of Egypt has to be clearly laid at the Lord’s feet. If it is true that God desires everyone to come to a knowledge of Him, which I agree in a sense is true, doesn’t it appear that God had a greater desire in these things which was to declare is power and might to Israel (eventually us)? If someone can explain how the people God hardens to destroy fit into this fairness deal I would honestly be open to hear it. But as it is now, I see the bible say that God desires something, but then God acts, of His own will, contrary to something that He says He desires. The only conclusion that I can make is that while part of God is grieved at the death of anyone who bares His image, there is at the same time a greater desire of God to perform certain acts that will result in the death of people because it will bring glory to His name. This doesn’t appear to be a secret will. God says that these things happened to declare his power and might. He had a purpose and it seems to trump a desire that God had that He is not willing that any perish without Christ. It is my understanding that to look at these verses and try to argue them away, like I have seen some do with interaction of Pharaoh, brings dishonor to the text. If you believe that all means all, then when it says God hardened so that He would not show mercy then that is what it means as well.

    I guess these thoughts do not argue for predestination, but rather show some trouble I have with the idea that God is “not willing that any perish” is absolute and His highest desire. That doesn’t seem to be the case.

    I welcome your thoughts.

    Lord’s Blessings,
    Matt

  25. Ben2, I have been reading your comments regarding what you think Arminians believe and, I must respectfully submit, your idea of Arminian theology is terribly flawed. It might help you to read Roger Olson’s, “Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities.”

    Christophe, as far as God having “two wills”, although it is asserted that “Although the will in God is only one and most simple, by which he comprehends all things by a single and most simple act “, Calvinism cuts it in two pieces (if not more) and makes it so complex to the point that there is no way anyone can really figure out what God really desires or will actually do.

    In an nutshell, the Calvinistic notion of soteriology needs reams and reams of explanation, mostly to extricate themselves from a proposition that clearly contradicts the Biblical text. And that is what I usually get from Calvinists when I ask a simple question a ream of explanation.

    Like I said in an earlier post, common sense seems lost in Calvinism; the exegetical concern in Calvinism seems to be to protect the presuppositions inherent in their creeds rather than discern the simplicity of the “most simple” will of God, which is revealed in the Bible.

    I have downloaded the article you suggested, Christophe, for further reflection, but if the whole article is anything like the first paragraph, it only supports my contention above. For example:
    1. There may be a confusion with equating the mind with the will; the will being an expression of intent or act issuing from the divine mind; the mind being that which sees and apprehends all things giving reason for intent and act of the will. No call for a dichotomy of wills, even as a “human” illustration, here.
    2. Of course the divine mind can be “occupied differently about various objects” but that is no reason to maintain a dichotomy within the “most simple” will of God or “two wills”. Shucks, we do it all the time. What we don’t do is will the best for our children and give them cocaine! Or tell them, “Trust me and you’ll be safe” and then (irrespective of whether or not they trust you) throw them in front of a speeding car because that was our original intention!

    I’ll read your article as objectively as it is possible for me, but I think it’s a matter of “Does he make good ol’ common sense?” rather then whether or not I am objective.

    Please note, I’ve read quite a few Calvinists. Some of my commentaries are Calvinist (like Barnes’, which I love!). I own Reymond’s “Systematic Theology”, which I find quite useful in understanding Calvinism (I gotta get Calvin’s “Institutes”). I use to own Chafer’s “Systematic Theology” and (respectfully) disposed of it because I saw it was absurd (and that was before I knew anything about Arminianism or that there was such a thing). No, I decided not to give them to someone because I thought, “Why should I give someone a book I thought confusing”. Of course, Reymond is not that much better but I need one Calvinist to get a grip on what they teach. One of my favorite preachers was Spurgeon – he certainly has umph! in some of his sermons – but, as much as I liked him there were things that seemed not so “right on” as it first appeared.

    However, when someone (a Calvinist it seemed) warned me not to read “Christian books” by Finney or Arminius because “they were from the devil”, that was a mistake. I quickly purchased Finney’s “Revival Lectures” and, later on, “The Works of Arminius” (I mean, he did say they were “Christian books”); these guys are on the top of the list as essential reading for me.

    Here’s an aburd statement made by a prominent theologian (can’t rememeber who): “When someone becomes a Christian, they start out as an Arminian and end up a Calvinist” As a sports newscaster would say, “Give me a break!”

    Anyway, just want you guys to know (1) The Calvinist deny that God’s nature has “two will” but they effectively dichotomozes God’s will in a way that one can only suppose it is his nature; and (2) To say God desires all men saved but certainly intends to damn most gives God a Romans 7 dilemma: “I do the very thing I do not wish to do.” Who will save God from his predicament?

    Well, for my part, I would love to continue the conversation but other pressing needs require my attention.

  26. Dr. Brown,

    I don’t see how Calvinists can get out from under 2 Peter 2:1. To claim that this is not about Yeshua just because the word “Kurios” is not used is just a desperate attempt to try to escape from what the text actually says, namely, that the atonement of the Messiah was anything but limited. Besides the fact that, just as you point out, Jude 4 says that Yeshua is our “only Savior and Despotes” (same word used in 2 Peter 2:1), it is obvious that there is an allusion to the blood of the Messiah that has bought those that deny him. And even if it was about the Father, what else were they bought with? I have heard Calvinists claiming that this is not talking about Yeshua but about the Father buying His people from out of Egypt. I cannot see how this at all can be about a past event, since all the verbs are in future tense:

    “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there WILL be false teachers among you. They WILL secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. “

    So the same group that WILL be among those that Peter warns, “WILL secretly introduce destructive heresies” by which they deny “the Lord who bought them”. There is no reference to the past but to the future. Therefore, to make the claim that this is about the Exodus is just not what the author meant to say. Peter then goes on to say:

    “2 Many WILL follow their shameful ways and WILL bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed THESE TEACHERS WILL exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.”

    Again, Peter refers to the future saying that many WILL follow the practices of these teachers. And in verse 3 Peter is referring back to the teachers in verse 1, saying that they WILL try to exploit Peter’s audience. There is just no way this can refer back to the people in the Exodus, but is clearly about the contemporaries of Peter, that weren’t bought from Egypt by the Father, but bought by the blood of the Son.

    Another text that tares down the entire TULIP, with the probable exception of Total depravity is Hebrews 10:26-29:

    “26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 27Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?”

    I really hope people see the implications of this statement. As Calvinists claim, you can only receive the Gospel after you have been regenerated and once regenerated one cannot become an unregenerate person. Calvinists also claim that one is only sanctified by the blood of the Covenant if one is of the elect and once one is of the elect one cannot resist God’s grace and cannot fall away from the faith. Yet all these negatives are all positively attested to in this short passage. The writer clearly says here that those that receive the Gospel CHOOSE to leave the faith, CHOOSE to trample “the Son of God under foot”(bye bye Total depravity and unconditional election), CHOOSE to treat “as an unholy thing the blood of the Covenant” and that those people ARE sanctified by that same blood (bye bye Limited atonement) and that these people definitely fall away and are judged. (bye bye Irresistable grace and Perseverance of the Saints) Now I know of the Calvinist argument that this is talking about “people that want to go back to the old ways” (i.e. go back to sacrificing animals, etc), but this argument is just completely unconvincing.

    Sacrificing animals when the Temple was still standing while acknowledging the atonement of the Messiah is in no way equal to the severe allegations brought against those spoken of in Hebrews 10:26-29. The disciples were still keeping the so-called “ceremonial laws” of sacrifice after the ascension of the Messiah, as evident in Acts 21, where Paul sponsors the Nazirite vow of believing men, who, according to Ya’akov (James), were “zealous for the Torah”. (Acts 21:20)
    We all know that the Nazirite vow (Numbers 6) was to be made by way of an offering in the Temple, offering two doves and one lamb (Numbers 6:10-12) when taking the vow and when the period of the vow is ended it he is to offer again, this time two lambs and a ram. (Numbers 6:14) Paul and James endorsed this! How can the Calvinist interpretation of Hebrews 10:26-29 be correct, when James and Paul endorse that which the Calvinists claim brings about judgment on those that supposedly “go back to the old ways”? And there are many more points to be raised against the Calvinists interpretation on this text based on the book of Acts alone, but I think this will suffice. I have also heard Calvinists argue that the passage in Hebrews 10 talks about people that “thought” they were sanctified but really weren’t. This argument is so indefensible that I even hesitate to go over it.

    One last text that I would like to point out against the Calvinist position is the parable of the Sower in Matthew 13, in particularly the part where the Messiah explains about the “rocky places”:

    “18 Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: … The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.”

    I think anyone can see what is going on here. We have to look at the Calvinistic teachings again before we can fully understand the implications of this statement. According to the Calvinist, one can only receive the Gospel if one is regenerated. And, of course, once one is regenerated one cannot fall away. Here, again, this teaching is undermined. This parable is clearly talking about a man who hears the word and receives it! So, according to Calvinism, this person must be regenerated or else he cannot receive the Gospel, since he is “dead in trespasses and sin”. But then the Son goes on to say that this person eventually doesn’t fall away, having no root. Again, we have an instance here where the person is not totally depraved, the election is not unconditional, the atonement is not limited, grace is not irresistible and the saint does not persevere.

    I’ll stop now or I’ll fill up the entire blog. 😉

    Shalom,
    Nakdimon

  27. Sorry, my final comment should be “But then the Son goes on to say that this person eventually DOES fall away, having no root”

  28. “Of course the divine mind can be “occupied differently about various objects” but that is no reason to maintain a dichotomy within the “most simple” will of God or “two wills”. Shucks, we do it all the time. What we don’t do is will the best for our children and give them cocaine! Or tell them, “Trust me and you’ll be safe” and then (irrespective of whether or not they trust you) throw them in front of a speeding car because that was our original intention!”

    Dear Nelson,

    I am sorry you cannot see what is visible in the article and what is solidly backed up by the Scripture. I think you need to discard anthropomorphistic view of God’s will (your example about human parenting) and be consistent in your theology. That is if you affirm God’s complex unity you should be able also to affirm complexity of God’s will as perceived from our point of view.

    If you insist on denying of the complexity God’s will you have a problem and you have a serious inconsistency in your Arminian theology. That is if you keep on believing that God foreknew who would be saved then you cannot say at the same time, believe and proclaim that God is trying to save every man. This is illogical fallacy, inconsistency as well scriptural fallacy.

    By the same token no Arminian who values consistency can say that God foreknew which sinful creatures will be lost and then say that it is not in God’s will to allow them to be lost.

    Sadly, consistency does not bother many Arminians that’s why they are not willing to take their beliefs to the next steps and logical conclusions…

    “However, when someone (a Calvinist it seemed) warned me not to read “Christian books” by Finney or Arminius because “they were from the devil”, that was a mistake. I quickly purchased Finney’s “Revival Lectures” and, later on, “The Works of Arminius” (I mean, he did say they were “Christian books”); these guys are on the top of the list as essential reading for me.”

    Finney is a father of hyper arminianism is he not? That takes you even further from the balanced theological position on these maters.

    SDG

    Christophe

  29. Nelson,
    Soooo well said!

    Calvinists,
    I still can’t get over how you take and run with John 6:44 – “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him”, as you presuppose with unscriptural cooked-up theology that it is impossible for anyone to reject the Father drawing them. Again, it should be simple to understand that although the Father is trying to draw us to Him, we have the choice to accept or reject, as is consistent in the rest of Scripture.

  30. I understand your points much better than you realize. At one point I wrestled with fully embracing being a seven point Calvinist. I realize that the system is so full developed it is almost impossible to see things any other way when you are in it. I also understand why you have such difficulty with not understanding why we keep saying faith is not room for boasting because from your POV

    Man can’t move toward God at any time of His life.
    God gives faith to man to believe, and keep on believing until the end when you get into heaven.

    I understand why you have such trouble with the statement show me where in the Bible faith is ever grounds from boasting. From an Arminian POV this is the issue.

    From a Calvinist POV it makes no sense. In your mind you think “that’s silly man has no desire for God unless God put that desire in him.” So you are trying to prove that because it is of faith it is not a work meaning because God gives a man faith there is no room for boasting.

    And we Arminians are using the same language and making a totally different point. Because God has set up a system where people can respond to His offer of salvation that is not a work at all and it excludes boasting.

    So we use the same language but we mean something totally different when we talk about faith. That is why I said at one point it would be helpful to define the terms faith.

    Calvinists believe faith is given as a gift of God. It it came from man it would be a work. But since it doesn’t come from man God is most glorified because he does it all.

    Arminians believe faith is a simply a human response to God’s offer, putting trust in the work of Christ salvation.

  31. “But false prophets arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you.These false teachers will infiltrate your midst with destructive heresies, even to the point of denying the Master who bought them. As a result, they will bring swift destruction on themselves.”

    2 Peter 2:1 NET Bible

    Nakdimon,

    To claim, to assert and to read into this passage anything about Reformed Christians is to arrogantly slander Reformed Faith and what God did through Reformation. It is to laugh at Reformed martyrs who were burning alive all over France in XVI and XVII century while going into the flames singing psalms and praises to God because they would not succumb to Roman Catholic Church and its teaching frequently overlapping with Arminian teaching…

    You are or you choose to be blissfully ignorant about these matters and the movement of Holy Spirit accomplished through people who you now ignorantly call or imply to be “false teachers” or “heretics.”

    This is too frequently visible face of Arminianism. I have said on this forum prior that we Reformed Believers recognize Arminians as Christians, as brothers in Christ. We know that most of Arminians are in this position because of default and ignorance but not always. Yet the same is denied to us by so many Arminians as Nakdimon attested above. The most irritating thing is that the same Arminians that can so easily deny salvation of Calvinists after making that denial and accusation equally easy turn around and speak about “prideful Calvinists”

    Who is really prideful here I ask? Who?

    Nakdimon,

    I am not even going to present how shockingly subjective and inconsistent really is your massive eisegesis of the texts that you quote in your vain witch hunt against the Reformed Faith and Reformed Believers. That can be only done with a person who does understand the issues and does not presuppose that the other side is not Christian.

    I believe you are a Christian despite your convoluted argumentation, inconsistent theology,lack of any serious hermeneutics and ignorance of the history.

    Be blessed in the Lord.

    SDG,

    Christophe

  32. Christophe,
    I don’t think there’s any advantage to focusing on what God foreknew. That’s like trying to wrap your brain around where did God come from, or His tri-unity? As you understand, God is complex beyond all understanding. Just because God knows the end result doesn’t mean He chose all the individual happenings in between to take place. If you try to understand this point to match with your own views, you’re still trying to make perfect sense of our very complex God, which cannot be done. God has set up systems beyond our understanding. We know he limits Himself on certain things also, as He did when He came in human flesh. One thing is clear, God desires for ALL men to be saved. And we know that God is just, so He punishes the wicked. Leave it at that. And regarding one’s assurance of salvation, be reminded of the parable of the sower. I’m sure those who grew up and got choked out with the weeds could have assumed their salvation was sure at one point.

  33. “Again, it should be simple to understand that although the Father is trying to draw us to Him,…”

    Michael K,

    Trying? Trying? You imply that All Mighty God is trying and if the creature says “no” then the same All Mighty God fails to accomplish his will? How paradoxical you can be in your defense of your free will at the cost of God’s will?

    GOD is not trying He accomplishes what he sets out to do. Exegetical proof from the same chapter of John 6:

    “Everyone whom the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will never send away.”
    John 6:37 NET Bible

    Can you see and perceive this:

    “EVERYONE whom the Father GIVES me WILL COME”

    Can you understand these words, their meaning and above all the sequence of these words?

    #1 EVERYONE #2 GIVES #3 WILL COME

    SDG,

    Christophe

  34. “I don’t think there’s any advantage to focusing on what God foreknew. That’s like trying to wrap your brain around where did God come from, or His tri-unity? As you understand, God is complex beyond all understanding. Just because God knows the end result doesn’t mean He chose all the individual happenings in between to take place. If you try to understand this point to match with your own views, you’re still trying to make perfect sense of our very complex God, which cannot be done.”

    Michael K,

    You have just voiced again a serious inconsistency and evasion so visible in Arminian theology and thinking. When Arminian asked about so called and so perceived “two wills of God” I have provided a solid theological argument voiced by Francis Turretin (http://bit.ly/c72Zqc) argument that prtialy mentions God’s complexity and therefore complexity of His will.
    Yet recognition of this complexity have been denied and simplified by Arminian Nelson Banuchi as you can read above.

    When I have presented the inconsistency of Arminian thinking and theology as clearly visible in Arminian assertion about God foreknowing who will come to faith as that would in any way, shape or form take Arminian Theology off the hook of God knowing who will not be saved and who will be damned and not acting on it in his will I am being told about “complexity and mystery of God’s will”

    Can you Arminians be more inconsistent in that? I say no. You cannot have your cake and eat it at the same time. Make up your minds.

    SDG,

    Christophe

  35. Sorry…I’m late to the game here…but I was reading several of the posts with great interest. Mostly the ones that ask about what amounts to the critical, practical differences between Calvinism and Arminianism.

    I think it all comes down to what works “stick” in the end. Paul speaks of works being burned up and the individual being saved so as by fire. The Calvinist seems to be the one who is most interested in ensuring that what is done is “wrought in God”. Not that the Arminian isn’t interested in that, but the sense that the only way those works can be so wrought is that they originate in Christ is more thoroughly addressed in Calvinism. The Arminian seems to be interested in doing the will of God, but that all that is necessary so to do is to be told what it is. There is – associated with doing that will in Arminianism – nothing fundamentally and inextricably tied to that work knowingly and apparently originating in Christ Himself (though the will of God is so revealed, the work itself – that is the means – are not so clearly attributed to God). It seems to me that this is where the biggest practical chasm lies between Calvinism and Arminianism – if I understand them correctly. It goes to the heart of man’s will ruling whether he comes go God or not AS WELL as how he tries to fulfill the revealed will of God. Since the Calvinist ties the will of God to salvation itself, the two can’t be extricated when it comes to carrying out what God wills in Christ beyond the act of salvation. Since the Arminian can choose if he is saved, he can choose how to do what God wants done. The Calvinist not only does not want to choose (once regenerated) but cannot choose the means by which God fulfills His will. That the will of God is that man believe in Christ is to the Calvinist a total covering of everything from faith in Christ to every act done in Christ. To the Arminian it is merely that God wills that you be saved – to will to do it and to come to Him and to do His Will is up to the will of man.

    To the Calvinist, the Arminian is at great risk of doing his own works and calling the God’s. At least that’s my observation.

    On a more subjective note, does the Arminian “sense” (I’m not talking about mere feelings or emotions, but an internal sense of what happens in salvation) that a man’s salvation (in Christ, of course!) simply changes what is already there? Or is there an overwhelming sense that not only has something changed fundamentally changed, but that there has been a total and utter overhaul – a replacement or exchange more than a tinkering with and fixing of what is already there? Since this is a subjective thing, I’m more curious to see if there might be an association than asserting that there is a correlation….

  36. Christophe,

    Where did Nakdimon imply that Calvinists fall into the “false prophet” camp described in 2 Peter 2:1? I read his post twice and didn’t see that anywhere.

    We appreciate your zeal for the Lord, but please try to relax a little. We’re all brothers in Christ here.

  37. “To the Calvinist, the Arminian is at great risk of doing his own works and calling the God’s. At least that’s my observation.”

    William,

    Great point. That is why there are some, I repeat some Arminians who walk around with constant mantra on their lips of:
    “my ministry…” , “my spiritual gifts…” , “my vision…” , “my sacrifice for the Lord…” etc.etc.

    That is not to say that there are some Calvinists who go overboard as well because they do. One thing we have to remember majority of the Church today is Arminian and that is a massive majority.

    SDG

    Christophe

  38. Christophe,

    At least how many points does one have to support in order to be considered a Calvinist? 3 or 4 points?

  39. “Where did Nakdimon imply that Calvinists fall into the “false prophet” camp described in 2 Peter 2:1? I read his post twice and didn’t see that anywhere.”

    Jake,

    Maybe you should read it again. I see quit a bit about “implications” for Calvinists and Calvinism in Nakdimon post.
    When you quote 2 Peter 2:1 and Hebrews 10:26-29 which both speak about rejection of truth and falsehood and you speak about implications for Calvinism it is not really hard to connect the dots that Nakdimon have placed in front of us…

    SDG

    Christophe

  40. Ben KC,

    The tulip is just a short hand for Reformed Faith. It is just an appetizer before the meal of theological truth. I would encourage you to taste it.

    SDG

    Christophe

  41. Christophe wrote:

    “Maybe you should read it again. I see quit a bit about “implications” for Calvinists and Calvinism in Nakdimon post.
    When you quote 2 Peter 2:1 and Hebrews 10:26-29 which both speak about rejection of truth and falsehood and you speak about implications for Calvinism it is not really hard to connect the dots that Nakdimon have placed in front of us…”

    By “implications,” he means there are logical conclusions following from these verses, and they happen to contradict TULIP. He goes on to list those “implications” and claims they refute at least four points of the TULIP model.

    Thus, the point he was trying to make was that certain verses in the bible refute calvinist theology. 2 Peter 2:1 and Hebrews 10:26-29 are on that list. He is in no way implying that Calvinists are “false prophets”…just that they are mistaken when it comes to the TULIP model.

    Wouldn’t you agree that 2 Peter 2:1 is a troublesome verse for those who hold to the view of Limited Atonement?

  42. Christophe,
    Yes, God is “TRYING” to draw all men to Himself. You act as if someone rejects God, that God Himself has failed. Your understanding of God’s system of salvation is flawed because it is obvious from Scripture that human beings are responsible for their choice to follow Jesus or not. What’s the point of God giving us commands if we can’t make choices as you suppose? By your reasoning, if God desires ALL men to be saved, then everyone is saved because He cannot fail. And you want to blame Arminians for inconsistency?

    Now, lets take a look at some Scripture you provided to show it in it’s proper context:
    “Everyone whom the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will never send away.”
    John 6:37

    I can see how the wording of this verse throws Calvinists off. Jesus uses the word “gives” here with connection to those who had previously decided independently to follow him because they were lead by the drawing of the Father. It must also be understood that others who are drawn by the Father can also reject Him. Those who independently follow Jesus being lead by the Father’s drawing are considered as those who were given to Jesus. Obviously Jesus would never send away anyone who comes after him, but it does not say here what happens to those who later leave him. We know what happens to those that later leave him from the parable of the sower.

  43. Dr. Brown,

    Just wondering if you have studied also the Lutheran Confessions when you walked away from Calvinism?

    The Lutheran Confessions explains Scripture affirms that Salvation from start to finish is through faith in Christ. However, God does this saving through the Word and Sacraments, not just Word but Sacrament as well. This is known as the Means of Grace, i.e. this is how God delivers the salvation won by Christ to sinful man. Whereas repentance and faith are gifts of God, God creates these in sinful man through the Means of Grace. They do not drop off from thin air and zaps you. This is the reason why when man is condemned it is because of his own fault, but when he is saved it is the “fault” of God.

    If you have never bothered reading the Book of Concord, I hope you do in the future. I did and I left my Calvinism (from which I left my Arminianism too).

    LPC

  44. Matt, you said, “Arminians don’t believe a number of things that Arminias did.” What are you talking about? What “things” did Arminius do that an Arminian wouldn’t believe?

  45. “Your understanding of God’s system of salvation is flawed because it is obvious from Scripture that human beings are responsible for their choice to follow Jesus or not.”

    Michael K,

    By this statement above you have confessed how little you actually know about Reformed Faith… Calvinism upholds human responsibility in the face of God’s sovereign choice. So who’s understanding is really “flawed” here…?

    “Jesus uses the word “gives” here with connection to those who had previously decided independently to follow him because they were lead by the drawing of the Father.”

    Excuse Michael, but where does it ACTUALLY SAY THAT in the text?

    ” 35Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 36But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.

    37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.

    38For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

    John 6:35-40 ESV

    So where do you actually see in that in above text provided in the actual immediate context? Where do you see:

    THOSE WHO HAD PREVIOUSLY DECIDED INDEPENDENTLY TO FOLLOW HIM?

    Where I DO ask? Please exegit text at hand that supposedly says what you imply it says and do not jump somewhere else in the Word to conjure up a semblance of argument for your eiesgesis of John 6:37…

    SDG

    Christophe

  46. Dr. Brown,

    To a caller you said some like this: Man is separated from God but that doesn’t mean that man cannot believe, i.e., accept the gift.

    Rom 8:8 says, “and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Certainly, obedience to God’s commands is what pleases God. And God has commanded us to repent/believe in Jesus Christ. And to repent/believe in Jesus Christ is to accept his gift. If what pleases God means to obey him (i.e., receive his gift), but “those in the flesh cannot please God” then those in the flesh (the non-Christian) cannot believe, i.e., cannot receive the gift.

    Ahh, but you say, God initiates the process (which both sides believe) and offers the gift, then man can believe because he has been “graced” (Arminianism) or “regenerated” (some Calvinists) or “effectually called” (some Calvinists).

    I agree. But here’s my point, you didn’t say this last paragraph to the caller. You just emphasized man’s responsibility (and ability) to believe when the discussion was about man’s natural condition (I believe it was with Moe). I think this just confirms what Dr. White stated in the first hour of the debate: Arminianism emphasis man; Calvinism emphasizes God. I understand that both views teach both God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility, but each view has it’s emphasis. I do not mean, though, that the views of Calvinism and Arminianism are the same; they are mutually exclusive views–no hybrid can exist.

    What do you say?

  47. And by the way, the person drawing in John 12:32 is different from the person drawing in John 6. Jesus draws in John 12:32; the Father in John 6. This doesn’t sound like special pleading; it sound like observing all the facts.

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