145 Comments
  1. True, God must change our heart in order for us to love Him; and He does this after we believe. Hallelujah.

    Galatians 3:22
    “22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.”

    1 John 5
    “1 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him.”

    Ephesians 1:13
    In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,”

  2. Harold,

    Two quick things:

    First, in none of the verses that you cited should the Hebrew be translated with “evil.” Rather, the word in question would mean “calamity” or “disaster” or “bad” in the sense of something bad (not evil).

    Second, regarding wingfooted1’s biting comment that the lost sinner could say, “I hate Him because He first hated me,” how would you respond to this? if, as alleged by Calvinists, Esau was hated by God and was a vessel of wrath prepared for destruction, then his alleged hatred of God would have been his only possible response, correct? He would have been doing exactly what he was formed to do (to glorify God forever as an object of wrath), and he would have been doing the only possible thing he could ever do: hate God, because he was first hated.

    Your thoughts?

  3. The incredible volume of time and energy Christians divert to putting God into their theological box is quickly put into perspective with Paul”s declaration in Romans 11:33-36

    Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, OR WHO BECAME HIS COUNSELOR? Or WHO HAS FIRST GIVEN TO HIM THAT IT MIGHT BE PAID BACK TO HIM AGAIN? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

    Oh how I pray for the ability to accept Him with childlike faith!

  4. To add some flavor to this, consider the following quotes….

    “That men do nothing save at the secret instigation of God, and do not discuss and deliberate on any thing but what he has previously decreed with himself and brings to pass by his secret direction”. – John Calvin

    “He hated the reprobate and planned their sin and damnation” – Robert Morey

    “God has predestined whomever he saw fit, not only to damnation, but also to the causes of it…The decree of God cannot be excluded from the cause of man’s corruption.” – Beza

    “It is certain that God is the first cause of obduration. Reprobates are held so fast under God’s almighty decree, that they can do nothing but sin…” – Zanchius

    “God inclines and forces the wills of wicked men into great sins.” – Martyr

    “God moves the robber to kill. He kills because God forces him to. But, you will say, then he is forced to sin; I permit truly that he is forced.” – Zwingli

    “Reprobate persons are absolutely ordained to this twofold end, to undergo everlasting punishment, and necessarily to sin; and therefore to sin, that they may be justly punished.” – Piscator

    It appears to me that all of mankind keeps God’s secret decreed will perfectly, yet most are eternally damned for doing so. If there is any truth to Calvinism, then not only should the Lost hate God, but they are perfectly “just” in doing so.

    I asked one Calvinist… “When a homosexual tells me ‘God made me this way’, are they speaking the truth?”

    His response?

    “If God did not make them this way, who did? Is there some other creator-being out there?”

  5. AN APPEAL TO ALL MY CALVINIST FRIENDS POSTING HERE

    Please read the previous post from wingfooted1, backing up his contention that the lost can ultimately say, “We hate God because He first hated us.”

    Please look at all the quotes from Calvin to Piscator that he cites and then tell me:

    1) Do you agree with the quotes? All the better if you can say, “Yes” or “No” before getting into further discussion.

    2) If you agree with them, do they present any problem for you in terms of reconciling these concepts with the biblical truth that God is love?

    3) If you disagree with them, would you say that they do not represent true Calvinism? (Perhaps, you would claim that they are taken out of context or inaccurate or not representative?)

    I’m truly interested in hearing your thoughts on this.

    Thanks!

  6. Dr. Brown,

    I do agree with the above quotations generally, in as far as they point out that God is the ultimate cause of all things. I think that you would agree with that.

    However, to answer the above question, I will first simply answer the question about whether or not the sinner can say, “I hated you because you first hated me.”

    The simple answer is that fromthe point of view of the sinner, the sinner cannot say that he hates God because God hated him. Why? Because that is never why anyone hates God.

    The sinner never does nor can ever say that he because God predestined it, because the sinners motivation for hatred of God is that the sinner’s heart is evil.

    Yes of course God predestines all things, but this can never be said to be the sinners motivation because of several reasons:

    1.) The sinner does not make decisions based upon what the sinner knows that God has predestined.

    2.) The sinner does his evil out of his own heart’s desire.

    3.) God never has to make a sinner hate Him because this is not second nature but first nature.

    4.) God only holds us responsable for the will of God that He’s revealed.

    So the question is, Did God predestine the damnation in the same way that He predestined the salvation of those in Christ?
    The answer is NO.

    Why?
    It is not necessary. It’s not necessary because the natural inclination of the sinners heart is to hate God through devaluing His worth. This s the sin for which all will be held accountable. This is why a verse Romans 8 says, “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.” The basis for the sinner’s will not is the sinner’s cannot.

    The thing to be kept in mind is that God never holds us accountable for keeping His hidden will, but only His outward will.

    You may respond by saying that there is no hidden will, but I must point out the fact that God consistently accomplishes all of His will in the Bible, even through the sin of men. God never responds that to a sin by saying, “Oh, no! How will I ever redeem the pointless evil?”

    Rather God has planned to create the world from all eternity and had a point for all evil happening. This is even more glorious than the idea that God just simply wishes that sin never happened, because it were pointless.

    No, I take great comfort and empowerment to know that God has a point for all evil, calamity, bad or disaster that He has to come to pass.

    That’s why He’s to be praised.

  7. wingfooted1,

    Please consider what I’ve posted above because I deal with much of what you said. So I welcome your thoughts.

    Peace

  8. Harold,

    With all due respect to you personally, but with all my heart, based on the Scriptures and my understanding of who the Lord is, I deeply differ with your representation of the Lord (as being in harmony with the quotes posted by wingfooted1). Thanks for your candid answer!

    I don’t doubt your love for the Lord, but I cannot relate to the God described in some of those quotes — again, based on the Scriptures and confirmed in my walk with Him.

    “God moves the robber to kill. He kills because God forces him to. But, you will say, then he is forced to sin; I permit truly that he is forced.” – Zwingli

    If the quote is indeed accurate, I can only say: Not so!

  9. As I watch the sun rise this beautiful Easter morning and enjoy the sweet fellowship of a Blessed Savior, I can’t help but feel sorrow for anyone that agrees with this statement:

    “He hated the reprobate and planned their sin and damnation” – Robert Morey

    Surely this quote is meant of Satan, not our precious Lord, SURELY…

  10. Dr. Brown,

    I don’t think it is as simple as it may seem to one who has happened upon these quotes, however.

    As to, “God moves the robber to kill. He kills because God forces him to. But, you will say, then he is forced to sin; I permit truly that he is forced.” – Zwingli

    Ultimately the robber can only do his deeds evil. However, the direct reason that the robber does so is that that is the robber’s deepest desire. It is his deepest desire because he is in his heart of hearts a hater of God, who would worship anything but God’s worth.

    So I want to emphesise that it is NOT as though God is standing over Him saying, “Do this evil thing.” God gives the sinner NO motivation to do such acts, because all the sinner’s evil is an overflow of his evil heart, as Jesus said.

    I think it would be accurate to say that the objection you have to this is not in what I’ve said of God, but rather what I’ve said of man. I believe that since a man acts out of the overflow of his heart, the mans heart must be changed for him to make his first decission free from sin. You however think that the sinner while still unable to please God can do a most pleasing of coming to Christ.

    I think this is unbiblical according to the above text quoted which says that the mind of the flesh cannot please God.

    So with all respect I do feel with all my heart that it is contrary to the word to say that people are free unless the Son sets them free.
    I say that only then can they be free indeed.

    Peace

  11. Harold said, “So I want to emphesise that it is NOT as though God is standing over Him saying, “Do this evil thing.” God gives the sinner NO motivation to do such acts, because all the sinner’s evil is an overflow of his evil heart, as Jesus said.”

    So you would agree then that Pharaoh first hardened his own heart toward the Israelites and God subsequently hardened that which was already set (i.e. Pharoah’s will)?

  12. Greg,

    Of course it was Pharoah’s will that was against God. The human, sinful, corrupt will is always the problem. This is why John is so explicit in his first chapter that it is not because of the will of the flesh OR because of the will of man that we are born again, but because of God.

    Hence, God works all things after the plan of His will. He does not just try to redeem evil.

    Peace.

  13. Harold,

    For you, this is the bottom line: The sinner sins because God created him for that purpose, in Calvin’s words, doomed from the womb to destruction. Such a thought, to me, is obscene, based on the Scriptures — as I often say, from Genesis to Revelation.

    Probably nothing troubles me more about Calvinism than this misrepresentation of the God of the Bible.

    I do worship a God who perfectly accomplishes His will, but that will included giving limited freedom to His creation and, in the midst of human choices for good or evil, He works out His purposes perfectly.

    I will forever rejoice in the revelation of God in Jesus — laid out in John 3:16 and 1 John 2:2 and so many other passages. What a God! What a Savior!

  14. Harold,

    Again, to be perfectly clear, let me state this again, quite simply. You wrote, “It is [the sinner’s] deepest desire because he is in his heart of hearts a hater of God, who would worship anything but God’s worth.”

    And he is so because God made Him so, according to your theology. We part ways here, quite profoundly, dear brother.

  15. Harold, briefly, you said, “…it is NOT as though God is standing over Him saying, “Do this evil thing.” God gives the sinner NO motivation to do such acts, because all the sinner’s evil is an overflow of his evil heart…”

    However, for all intents and purposes, this is PRECISELY what the Calvinists quoted are effectively saying. Note (and you might want to read all the quotes again”:

    Calvin: “That men do nothing save at the SECRET INSTIGATION OF GOD…”

    Martyr: “God INCLINES AND FORCES the wills of wicked men into great sins.”

    And of course Zwigli: God MOVES the robber to kill. He kills because God FORCES him to…I permit truly that he is FORCED.”

    Therefore, if the sinner sins from the intentions of an evil heart, it is because God has given him evil intentions to sin. It is the divine giving of a reprobate heart that precedes human intention, makes God the author of sin.

    Also, these quotes speak beyond mere “permission”. It cannot be said God permits sin if he grants them an evil heart, and moves in and/or forces men to do evil.

    And, if we include the doctrine of monergism, it is God doing the raping of children; all of God!

    I’d rather not discuss this further. The implications of such a God are themselves too terrible to comtemplate…

  16. Blessings, Herald.

    Let me say I greatly appreciate your openness to share what you believe.

    Obviously, many here find your explanations and responses disturbing. I have come across remarks just like these many times when I venture into Calvin-Land.

    Our blessed Lord and Saviour said in Matthew 18:7-9….
    “Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come! If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.”

    Jesus said if my hand causes me to sin, I should throw it away. If my foot causes me to sin, I should throw it away. If my eye causes me to sin, I should throw it away. Wonder what I should do if God causes me to sin?

    Consider the following……

    “By PREDESTINATION we mean THE ETERNAL DECREE OF GOD, by which he determined with himself whatever he wished to happen with regard to every man. All are not created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation; and, accordingly, as each has been CREATED for one or other of these ends, we say that he has been PREDESTINATED to life or TO DEATH.” – John Calvin

    “Let him, therefore, who would beware of such unbelief, always bear in mind, that there is no random power, or agency, or motion in the creatures, who are so governed by the secret counsel of God, that nothing happens but what he has knowingly and willingly decreed.” – John Calvin

    “The decree, I admit, is, dreadful; and yet it is impossible to deny that God foreknow what the end of man was to be before he made him, and foreknew, BECAUSE HE HAD SO ORDAINED BY HIS DECREE…….Thus, if there is any just or plausible complaint, it must be directed against PREDESTINATION.” – John Calvin

    The apostle Paul tells us in 2 Thessalonians 2:10 regarding the Lost……

    “They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.”

    However, “the truth” according to Calvinism is that God hates them (unconditionally of course) before the foundations of the world. They are predestined to suffer for all eternity because this is the specific reason why God created them. And yet, the Lost perish because they refuse to love this truth?

  17. Blessings, Dr. Brown.

    Every calvinistic congregation should have the following posted on their street signs…

    “You didn’t reject God. God rejected you!”

    The constant characteristic I continue to see within Calvin-Land is no remorse for the Lost. Talk about a “heart of stone”.

  18. Harold,

    In case you over-looked it, my previous question regarding your statement below still stands…

    “He makes us alive so that we can…”

    Do you promote the calvinistic notion that “regeneration precedes faith”?

  19. Wingedfooted1 asked Harold, “Do you promote the calvinistic notion that “regeneration precedes faith”?

    On account of numerous debates with Harold regarding this very issue, I can assure you that this is “precisely” what Harold “currently” believes. I say currently because I’m a man of FAITH!

  20. To explain,

    Very simply, all things whatsoever come to pass do so because of God’s hidden and unchangable will, including the most horrible acts.

    This were evil if it were for no reason, which I close to what I think Dr. Brown is saying about evil–that is, I think he’s saying that God created a world which He knew would have evil which have no point. So you are left hoping that God might be able to bring some good out of pointless evil.

    It is true that all things are “caused” by God because God “caused” all things. This is ultimately what these quotes are saying. However this does NOT mean that God’s unknown will is the reason or motivation FOR THE SINNER to sin. The sinner only can act from the sinner’s own evil will.

    It is true that without God the sinner were never sinful, because God controls all things. But God’s judgment is based on the human motivation for sin, which includes the first one.

    If any man had freedom of will in any sence, it could only have been Adam. He did without a sin nature chose to value what is not God, and so sin. After him we have all been enslaved by sin according to the Scripture.

    So when a person sins, he acts out of his own corruptness.

    God always acts toward holy and righteous ends, even through evil, which is how he causes “all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

    I do not think one can give justice to the Scripture by saying that God just tries to make the best of evil that He couldn’t do anything about, so He just tries to redeem it.

    I will say that this is not the description of God in Ephesians 1 or Isaiah where God says that He does all His will IN ALL THINGS, not some.

    If God is only doing good with some evil in the world that He is not half as amazing as He is in doing the best good, in all his infinite wisdom, in all things–even the evil ones.

    This is why I can know that He is doing ALL things in my life for His glory and my Joy.

    If not, then I loose this confidence, because the best I can hope is that He’s trying.

    I know He is actually doing all things for His glory and my Joy, I could not value anything more because there is nothing more precious that the fact that God’s doing all things to show Him self good and amazing.

    Peace

  21. Cont…

    Just a note,

    I do think it is a very sad thing when a theology builds everything around the ultimate goal of God being just to save as many as possible.

    It is very true and right to say that God loves to save sinners. But I must point out that that is NOT a goal in and of its self. Rather, all things are and exist to show God amazing and awesome and encridicredible, even salvation, like all things.

    So God is the good news, God is the goal, and so to God is the glory–even in salvation which is one very great act of God in shing Himself sweet.

    Taste and see that the LORD is good.

  22. Sorry, meant to say, “So God is the good news, God is the goal, and so to God is the glory–even in salvation which is just one very great act of God in *showng* Himself sweet.”

    🙂 Peace

  23. wingedfooted1,

    Sorry I missed your question.

    Yes, I believe that it is impossible for a person who is only in the flesh to do a most pleasing thing, trust Jesus for salvation. They cannot obey Jesus’ command to repent and believe the Gospel, and so please God.

    Among many other passages and entire texts, I get this from Romans 8:7-8 which says,

    “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

  24. Harold,

    It’s best that you not speculate as to my beliefs about God and evil, OK? I categorically reject your position, based on Scripture, but what you present as (apparently) mine is far from accurate.

    I have 100% confidence that God is at work 24/7 in my life and the lives of His people to work out His plan, and I entrust myself to Him fully with absolute and unwavering trust in His goodness and power — and I do so without believing for a moment that, in your words, “all things whatsoever come to pass do so because of God’s hidden and unchangable will, including the most horrible acts.”

    God forbid!

    You can go ahead and glory in a God who, ultimately, is responsible for every child being raped right now, every person being brutally tortured, every blasphemous and perverse act, every idolatrous rite — and on and on. I, for my part, will glory in the God who, time and again in the Word, distances Himself from such atrocities, renounces them, rebukes those who perform them, and attributes them to the actions of Satan, demons, or the flesh. Please show me just one verse in the Bible where God is praised for the rape of a child or the torture and murder of a baby. The idea, scripturally speaking, is obscene.

    Harold, if you want to see who God is, gaze at Jesus, who could only do what He saw His Father do — surely He knew the Father’s alleged secret will — and what He did was to heal and deliver and combat evil and ultimately give His life to destroy it.

    May the Lord open your eyes to His true nature. You will then experience a rest and trust and awe beyond anything you have known so far.

    You write, “God is the good news, God is the goal, and so to God is the glory–even in salvation which is one very great act of God in shing Himself sweet.” Of course He is and of course it is, without a doubt — but minus the horrific things that you attribute to Him. He is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.

  25. wingedfooted1,

    As to your comment about the lost,

    I don’t agree with it in the least and find it to be against not only my person desire to see people saved, but also the work of many of these historic reformed missionaries who had the courage to risk their life to witness to people everone might give up on exactly because the trusted in God’s absolute power to bring spiritual life through the Word preached.

    The error of your statement is in the fact that you assume that Calvinist think they know who is to be raised to spiritual life. We do not of course.

    From my point of view I pray all the more for lost people I k ow and witness to because I know that if I is according to God’s will, God shall save them. God will not try. God will save against all earthy powers not be hindered from His rescue of sinners from blindness and deafness to the Gospel. It would be very discouraging to me if I though everything depended on the sinful will of man rather than the good and holy will the the sweetly sovereign God.

    I get a lot of encouragement from the fact that my work is never in vain in the Lord, but that God will without exeption save every single person from every tribe, language, people, and nation that God had in His good pleasure chosen to save. I have that confidence, but I’d hate to be thinking that no matter what God did, it is possible for no one to be saved in a particular mission or people because of their own sinful choices.

    I say God is completely free to save, which makes me happy that He saves anyone, let alone the numberless people He shall have saved.

  26. Dr. Brown,

    You say, “Please show me just one verse in the Bible where God is praised for the rape of a child or the torture and murder of a baby.”

    Of course I do not say that the act it’s self is the cause for the praise of God. It is the fact that there is not one rape of a child that will be pointless, because every single one that sinful humans do will be made by God to cause the greatest good which is His greatest glory.

    I do see how in even what I did say of what you think I was unclear, I am sorry for any misunderstanding.

    I think that it was brought out in the debate that you think that God created a world in which there would be pointless evil, that is evil with no purpose. You do of course think that God redeems evil. But if I understand you, that’s all.

    So that would mean that God is just trying to bring as much good as He can out of evil, even though there may be much evil that served no purpose but Satan’s.

    You may not agree with my point but I think you said this plainly. Please feel free to clarify you position on pointless evil.

  27. Dr. Brown,

    I never want to misrepresent you, so all I’m asking is, Do you or do you not think that there is pointless evil and that God is just trying to redeem evil?

  28. Harold,

    God is not “just trying” to do anything. He is accomplishing His perfect will in the midst of everything that takes place in the earth, much of which is in rebellion to His plan.

    As for “pointless evil,” ultimately, everything that happens in this world has a purpose — even if it is to expose human guilt and depravity, or to justify God and to condemn people, or to expose the devil and his works, or to remind us of our frailty and need — but I do not ascribe evil to God, either in its origins or its activities.

    So, it is both the phrasing of your statements and the presuppositions that lie behind them that I reject. From your vantage point, if you are being consistent, since everything about God is good and worthy of praise, and since you have stated clearly that “all things whatsoever come to pass do so because of God’s hidden and unchangable will, including the most horrible acts,” then you should stop writing right now, fall to your knees, and praise God for every child being abused by a parent; for every woman being sold as a sex-slave; for every idol worshiper sacrificing their baby to their “god”; for every satanic ritual taking place; for every drug deal and murder . . . and on and on it goes.

    Harold, can you or can you not praise God FOR THESE VERY THINGS? Given your theology (and I take the time to post here, despite my constant time constraints, not only for your sake but to help many other readers), you should be able to answer with an unequivocal yes. Again, that is grotesque to me, based on the revelation of God in His Word.

  29. The “pointless evil” argument seems quite invalid if thought about for even a moment. Since nothing can happen unless God allows it, then he obviously has a purpose in allowing any evil that takes place. But he is not the author of any evil, not one bit, as the Calvinist view logically demands (since it holds he irresistibly causes all evil by unconditional decree!). Rather, he is the Holy one, who is light and in whom is no darkenss at all, whose eyes are too pure to even look upon evil, who would never tempt anyone to sin, but only does what is good and right.

  30. Harold wrote not realizing how his words reveal the falsity of calvinism:

    “Ultimately the robber can only do his deeds evil. However, the direct reason that the robber does so is that that is the robber’s deepest desire. It is his deepest desire because he is in his heart of hearts a hater of God, who would worship anything but God’s worth.
    So I want to emphasize that it is NOT as though God is standing over Him saying, “Do this evil thing.” God gives the sinner NO motivation to do such acts, because all the sinner’s evil is an overflow of his evil heart, as Jesus said.”

    Here is one of the fatal flaws of calvinism clearly on display.

    They want to claim that it is the sinner’s heart that causes him/her to sin and so they try to shift the responsibility away from God. But this does not work and completely FAILS because, the dirty little secret of the system that claims God PREDETERMINES ALL THINGS.

    Is that if God predetermines all things, then that would include the DESIRES of the sinner as well.

    So in fact Harold, if God predetermines all things, including the sinful desires of a person which then necessitate their sinful actions, then it **is** just like “God is standing over Him saying, “Do this evil thing.” And Harold’s statement that “God gives the sinner NO motivation to do such acts” is again completely false if God predetermines all things including the desires of people then he in fact does give people their motivation to sin and even necessitates their sins.

    When will calvinists be more honest on this issue of the cause of sin and how God if he predetermines all things does in fact necessitate that people do sins? The calvinists play games here and try to put these dirty little secrets in the closet or under the rug, but it will not work. The non-Calvinist immediately sees that if all is predetermined then that includes our desires and our actions and our destinies, **everything** is predetermined so **everything** is necessitated.

    Robert 777

  31. The Sermon on the Mount, in my opinion, is clearly at odds with Calvinist doctrine.

    Matthew 5:43-48 states:

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

    If God has created a large percentage of mankind for the specific purpose of eternal death and torment for His “GLORY,” then He would be quite “imperfect” because He would not be abiding by His own precepts listed in this, and MANY other, passages.

    The greatest rebuke that Jesus had for the Pharisees was their hypocrisy. Regarding the Pharisees, He told the multitudes (Mat.23), “whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.”

    I find it interesting that this very same characterization could be made of the “Jesus” of Calvinism. He tells “us” to love our enemies, but “He” never even offers His enemies an opportunity to repent and believe!

    If you tell someone to “love your enemies,” but assign “your” enemies to eternal burning then YOU ARE A HYPOCRITE!

    Also, Calvinists sometimes remark that non-Cavinists are just emotional and even dull minded which I find amusing because of the many crystal clear doctrinal problems they have such as above.

    Examples of hypocrisy:

    Love your enemies. (But I don’t)
    Be merciful. (But I’m not)
    Do not render evil for evil. (But I do)
    Bless those who curse you. (I create many to BE accursed)

  32. Dr. Brown, I apologize if I’m having you repeat yourself, but how would you answer this question? “Who makes you to differ from another?” 1 Cor 4:7

    I believe all of the arguments made against the doctrine of God’s sovereign election have been clearly answered. This question however has not been answered (in my opinion) by Arminians. So how would you answer? If God has given prevenient grace to all sinners so that they are left to choose or reject Jesus, then God has done his part. The difference therefore is in the creature! What was the difference in you that caused you to choose Jesus and the reprobate did not and went to his death without Christ? Again, you may have answered this question elsewhere but I have not seen it. Thank You.

  33. Robert 777: Regarding Calvinism’s “Dirty little secret”

    In Isaiah 10, Did God ordain that the Assyian army would attack Judah as “the rod of MY anger?”

    “Woe to the Assyrian, the rod of my anger, in whose hand is the club of my wrath! I send him against a godless nation, I dispatch him against a people who anger me, to seize loot and snatch plunder, and to trample them down like mud in the streets.”

    Yet, after “The Lord had finished his work” he held the King of Assyria responsible for doing it for his own selfish purposes:

    “But this is not what he intends, this is not what he has in mind; his purpose is to destroy, to put an end to many nations. ” v7
    When the Lord has finished all his work against Mount Zion and Jerusalem, he will say, “I will punish the king of Assyria for the willful pride of his heart and the haughty look in his eyes. v12

    Did God forbid his people from intermarrying with pagan nations? (Deut 7:1,3)?

    Yet when Sampson chose a Philistine wife, the bible says that it was “from the Lord, who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines.”

    At one and the same time, Sampson violated God’s command and yet it was done by God to fulfill his plans.

    Yes, God is sovereign over all things, including the wicked actions of men, yet men are still held responsible for their wickedness. Is it not ironic that it is the Arminian who makes the same complaint against the “Calvinist” doctrine as Paul says would be made against the sovereignty of God: “One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?” Romans 9:19

    And what does Paul answer? “But who are you, O man, to talk back to God?”

    I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do.
    Isaiah 46:9-11

  34. Greg,

    You wrote: “I find it interesting that this very same characterization could be made of the “Jesus” of Calvinism. He tells “us” to love our enemies, but “He” never even offers His enemies an opportunity to repent and believe! ”

    First, you are confusing the attributes of God! Yes, God is love, but the attribute that is most emphasized is not “love, love, love” or “mercy, mercy, mercy!” The attribute of God most emphasized is “Holy, Holy, Holy.” Isaiah 6:3

    Second, you also imply that in your statement that if God is love, then necessarily, he should be fair by offering an “opportunity” to repent. But God owes no man anything and if he sent ever single human being to hell he would still be holy and just! If you think that God owes you an “opportunity” then we are no longer talking abour “grace” and “mercy.” See Romans 4 the Apostle Paulsl explanation grace vs debt owed.

    Third, God does not follow a set of standards outside of himself! He does whatever pleases him (Isa 46:9)

    “All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?” Daniel 4:35

    Finally, we are commanded to “love your enemies” because we have not right to take vengeance, we are just as guilty as our enemies. When one sins, even against another person, the bible says it against God that he has sinned. We have a mediator who will judge a person who sins against us, but God has no mediator, therefore, God MUST stand in judgement of sinners, he cannot just “love” everybody; and if he chooses to give mercy to one and not another, that is HIS choice!

    “Vengeance [is] mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” Rom 12:19

    “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. ” Psalm 51:4 (David had killed Uriah and made an adultress out of Bathsheba, yet God forgave him)

    “If a man sins against another man, God [fn] may mediate for him; but if a man sins against the Lord, who will intercede for him?” His sons, however, did not listen to their father’s rebuke, for it was the Lord’s will to put them to death. ” 1 Samuel 2:25

    “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy…” Romans 9:14

  35. Roland,

    If you have the time, you might want to listen to the different shows I’ve done on Calvinism, perhaps beginning with the one on hardening the heart (you can search for it), along with listening to my DL shows with Dr. White, and then reading the relevant posts here where most of these issues have been discussed in some depth already. That being said, thanks for your serious posts here, and I’m sure that our Arminian friends will be responding to you in detail.

    In particular, though, I would challenge this statement of yours: “Yes, God is sovereign over all things, including the wicked actions of men, yet men are still held responsible for their wickedness. Is it not ironic that it is the Arminian who makes the same complaint against the ‘Calvinist’ doctrine as Paul says would be made against the sovereignty of God: ‘One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?’ Romans 9:19”

    How many times I have heard Romans 9:19 used as the answer to all citations of other verses throughout the Bible in terms of God’s justice and nature, rather than interpreting that verse in light of the rest of the Word (and even, the rest of the context in Romans 9-11).

    As for your citation from Isaiah 10 (sorry, but I don’t have time to post more here), once again, the text proves the opposite of what you want to prove. Because of Israel’s sin, God used a ruthless king to carry out his justice, but the king went too far (see God’s anger with the foreign nations for “overdoing the punishment” — with Babylon in special focus there), hence God’s subsequent judgment on Assyria.

    Re: 1 Cor 4:7, it is not talking about salvation there but about gifting in the Body, and as Paul noted in 1 Corinthians 12, the gifts of the Spirit are given according to His purpose and plan, not ours. (For example, I can’t take pride in being gifted as a teacher or communicator, etc., just like someone else can’t take pride in being gifted as an administrator, etc. As for salvation — I’ve never yet met a believer who took pride in themselves for being saved, although, sadly I’ve met lots of Calvinists who take pride in their Calvinism!)

  36. Roland said, “Finally, we are commanded to “love your enemies” because we have not right to take vengeance, we are just as guilty as our enemies.”

    That’s nice Roland and certainly true. However, in the context of this passage, we are commanded to love our “enemies” so that we “may be sons of our Father in heaven.” Suggesting, naturally, if we did NOT love our enemies, we would be UNLIKE our Heavenly Father.

    This command is also duplicated in Luke 6 where Jesus says, “35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.”

  37. Roland you started with: “Robert 777: Regarding Calvinism’s “Dirty little secret”, but then you missed the “target” completely. But that is no surprise as you *****completely ignored *****my point and instead simply chose to engage in typical calvinist proof texting.

    Before dealing with your proof texts allow me to state a phenomenon that Scripture sometimes refers to. It is this. God has the ability to foreknow future events. He also has the ability to intervene in any situation as He sees fit (that is called “sovereignty”, which means that He does as He pleases). He also decided to create human persons with the ability that we call “free will” as ordinarily understood. Now if God foreknows some events involving people exercising their free will and He decides not to intervene but to allow these choices to take place, then the events will occur with certainty (as His foreknowledge is never wrong) exactly as he foreknows they will go. And since the human persons involved were freely choosing their actions there is no difficulty holding them responsible for those actions. The best example of this phenomena is the crucifixion of Jesus. God foreknew what the response of people would be to the incarnation and God did not intervene to prevent these responses from occurring. So evil men made evil choices that God foreknew they would make and allowed them to make. So **they** did the evil actions, not God, and so they can be and are held responsible for these actions. And yet God used their evil actions to accomplish good. So in the crucifixion of Jesus we see God’s foreknowledge, God’s permitting of sin/evil, evil men being responsible for their evil and freely made choices, the presence of free will as ordinarily understood and God using it all to accomplish good. Now this is very different from calvinism/exhaustive predetermination of all events in which God gives people their evil actions and causes them to do their evil actions. Using men’s freely made evil actions is very different from using the actions of men who freely choose their evil actions.

    In addition to the example of the crucifixion we see this same phenomena in the case of Joseph in the book of Genesis. God foreknew there would be a major famine, allowed evil men to freely choose to do evil actions, God did not intervene to prevent any of these actions, and the outcome was for Joseph to be second in command and in position to help deliver the Jewish people from the famine. Again, God used the evil actions of men to accomplish an outcome that he desired.

    Now Roland you bring up the example of the Assyrians in Isaiah 10. The Assyrians were not made into evil men by God. God did not cause them to be evil and cause them to do their evil actions. Yet God foreknew their evil actions and allowed them, and so he used their freely chosen and evil actions in order to discipline his own people Israel. Again we see God’s foreknowledge operating with men’s free will and God not intervening and so using their evil actions to accomplish a good.

    Roland wrote:

    “Woe to the Assyrian, the rod of my anger, in whose hand is the club of my wrath! I send him against a godless nation, I dispatch him against a people who anger me, to seize loot and snatch plunder, and to trample them down like mud in the streets.”

    That is right God USED them like a Rod to discipline his people Israel.

    “Yet, after “The Lord had finished his work” he held the King of Assyria responsible for doing it for his own selfish purposes:”

    And why wouldn’t he hold them responsible? They acted freely, they did what they wanted to do and what God foreknew and allowed them to do.

    “Did God forbid his people from intermarrying with pagan nations? (Deut 7:1,3)?“

    Yes.

    “Yet when Sampson chose a Philistine wife, the bible says that it was “from the Lord, who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines.””

    When Sampson did WHAT???

    When he CHOSE, and he did so freely, he was not coerced to do so or forced to do so (unless his actions were completely predetermined in which case he **was** forced to do so).

    “Yes, God is sovereign over all things, including the wicked actions of men, yet men are still held responsible for their wickedness.”

    Define what you mean by sovereign here. Invariably it will be a mistaken definition, not the biblical definition which is: that He does as He pleases.

    “ Is it not ironic that it is the Arminian who makes the same complaint against the “Calvinist” doctrine as Paul says would be made against the sovereignty of God: “One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?” Romans 9:19”

    Actually this is a muddled and mistaken interpretation of Romans 9:19, the one making the objection is not an Arminian but a Jewish person (this is especially clear if you interpret Romans 9 in its context and also if you note that Paul deals with the same objections by the same unbelieving Jews in Romans 3). But you probably missed that since you are proof texting from Romans 9.

    “And what does Paul answer? “But who are you, O man, to talk back to God?””

    Again, this is not an Arminian but an unbelieving Jew that Paul is dealing with in Romans 9. But again since you are proof texting you ignore the context like everyone does when they are proof texting.

    “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do.
    Isaiah 46:9-11”

    No problem with any of that, it means that when God wants to do something he will do it. He wanted to create the world, He did it. He wanted to create a human person capable of doing their own thinking and making their own choices and so being able to rule over creation and God did that too. God always does what He wants to do. He also designed a plan of salvation based on his desire to save all men in which he decided that Jesus would be provided as atonement for all men and yet designed the atonement so that while it is provided for all men it will save only those who trust the Lord alone for their salvation. It is the calvinist who denies God’s plans, his plan of salvation and his plan for human nature.

    Robert 777

  38. Dr. Brown, not to be disrespectful, but I understand the context of 1 Cor 4:7. However, the question is still a valid one and you did not answer the question. Why were you different than the unbeliever who did not use his free will to “choose” Christ and thus perished? Again if God did his part, than the difference was in you! My simple question is “What was that difference?” I understand that you do not intentionally “take pride” in your salvation, but the logical end of your doctrine is that you indeed have the right to do so; For you did with God’s grace what the reprobate did not! You were either smarter, wiser, more righteous,…something was different about you. Again, I am simply requesting a reply as to what made the difference? I have not yet seen an Arminian give an honest genuine answer to this question! Respectfully, what is your answer?

    Roland

  39. Roland,

    Not to be insulting to you, but I gave an honest, exegetically correct answer, and you didn’t accept it. Shall I accuse you, then, of not giving an honest response?

    Perhaps it’s best to leave the “honest genuine answer” stuff out and simply say you differ with my interpretation of a text. You are reading something into the text that is not there — I could give you hundreds of verses where God commends one person for obeying Him and rebukes another for disobeying Him, so I have the whole Bible against your reading of the verse — and then, quite ironically, claiming that I failed to give you an honest answer.

    In point of fact, the one thing you demonstrate in your post is a complete misunderstanding of what I believe, otherwise you could never possibly say that I take pride in my salvation. What nonsense! Perhaps I shall accuse you of taking pride in being chosen?

    Once you read through the hundreds of posts and listen to the hours of broadcasts, feel free to raise some questions again, but not these same, invalid questions based on a complete misunderstanding of the non-Calvinistic position. And please drop the “honest” rhetoric too, if you have any intention of having serious dialog with the folks posting here.

  40. Greg, I understand your point. So are you suggesting that God has “loved” everybody equally but unfortunately man’s free will is too strong for God and so he is unable to save many? The love that Jesus demonstrated on the cross is an effectual love that takes away sin fully and finally for “those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness ..” Rom 8:17 True free will belongs to God! Unless HE chooses to do a work in somebody, they will remain (by nature)as enemies of God; and when he does choose to do a work, the work does not depend on “man’s desire or effort but on God’s mercy.” Rom 9:16.

    “No one know the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom THE SON CHOOSES to reveal him.” Mat 12:11 ……” …The Son gives life to whom HE is pleased to give it.” John 5:21…………….”OF HIS OWN WILL begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” James 1:18
    Does God “begat” everybody?

    Yes, the bible says God “loved Jacob and hated Esau.” The word hated does not mean “loved less.” In Gen 37:4 the same word is used (Sane)…..
    “When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.” Yes, Joseph’s brothers “hated” him; so much in fact that they wanted to kill him!

    Of course we could go back and forth forever, the main point is that God is sovereign and if he chooses to save some and not others, that is his business! If “All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing” and
    “He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. ” (Dan 4:35) Who is anyone to object that God is “not fair” when he does not offer salvation to everybody? Did God offer salvation to the Amorites or any of the other pagan nations? (With Ninevah being one of the few exceptions) Yes there were a few gentile “God fearers,” but overall the bible says that he revealed his word and his law to Israel only in the O.T. and not any other nation. (Psalm 147:20) Was God unfair or unloving for not “offering an opportunity” to the millions that perished, not having known the God of the bible? Again, since God has shown those whom he has called a love that has forgiven them and wiped away their sins, then those who claim to know him have no right to do anything other than “love their enemies.” And yes, these same enemies, whom you say God “loves” will in the end be consumed by the wrath of God’s judgment.

    Not that I or God “take pleasure in the death of the wicked,” but it’s a fact!

  41. Mr. Brown, you still have not answered the question! Your response is the same evasive tactic I have seen before ” I answered your question but you did not accept my answer.” If God did not make the difference than who did?

  42. Roland,

    Perhaps you don’t understand the rules of decorum that we have established here on this forum, but you’re quickly crossing the line. First you claim my answer is not honest, then you claim I’m being evasive. Since my time is precious, I’ll not answer again, but once you do listen to all the relevant shows and read all the relevant posts, by all means feel free to ask me further questions.

    Should you decide to call me or others evasive or dishonest in our answers, we’ll be happy to pull your posts and allow others who are willing to debate and dialog with civility and respect to continue profitable discussions here.

    I’ll attribute this to ignorance on your part, but you’ve been politely warned.

    Thanks for complying! Within our ground rules here, you are quite welcome to post and to disagree with me and others.

  43. Blessings, Harold.

    Again, let me please say that I greatly appreciate your willingness to discuss these matters. Also, I believe it says a lot about you, personally, to come to what a Calvinist would consider “hostile territory” to interact. You are showing great courage and I applaud you for that. I know in my own personal interactions with other Calvinists in this type of forum, my thoughts and beliefs have not been well received and I was “shut out”, “put down” or “damned to hell”. It is my hope and prayer that is not what happens to you here.

    I believe this notion of “regeneration precedes faith” is pivotal. R. C. Sproul has stated in his “Dead Men Walking” article….

    “This is why the axiom of Reformed theology is that regeneration precedes faith. Rebirth is a necessary pre-condition for faith. Faith is not possible for spiritually dead creatures. Therefore, we contend that apart from spiritual rebirth there can be no faith.”

    Again, this issue is pivotal. Either this notion is true or it’s a lie. Like the Bereans, we should “search the scriptures” to see if it is so. Personally, I cannot find any verses or biblical examples to support it. For example, you quote Romans 8:7-8….

    “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”

    These verses simply tell me that as a sinner, believer or non-believer (remember, Paul regarded some of his Christian brothers at Corinth as “carnal-minded”), we are incapable of keeping God’s law of works perfectly. He reiterates this again in Galatians 2:16…

    “…for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”

    There is nothing in Romans 8:7-8 that even suggests that a sinner must be “born again” in order to believe.
    Calvinism teaches us that man must first be “born again”, or regenerated (given spiritual life) before they can repent or believe. The “ordo salutis” in Calvinism is regeneration (spiritual life), faith/repentance, and then justification. However, I ask you to please consider the following verses…..

    Romans 4:5….
    But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth THE UNGODLY, HIS FAITH is counted for righteousness.

    Who does God justify? The regenerate? No, the ungodly (or wicked). I can’t see someone “born of God” classified as ungodly or wicked.

    Romans 5:18…..
    Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings (spiritual) life for all men.

    Please notice the order. It is justification that brings spiritual life, not spiritual life that brings justification.

    John 5:39-40….
    You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me (believe in me) to have (spiritual) life.

    Notice Jesus was telling the unbelieving Jews that is was their unbelief that prevented them from obtaining spiritual life.

    John 20:31…….
    But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have (spiritual) life in his name.

    Notice it is by believing that we obtain spiritual life.

    Acts 11:18…” “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to (spiritual) life.”

    Notice it is repentance that leads to spiritual life. Not spiritual life that leads to repentance.

    I believe the following verse is what puts in end to idea of “regeneration precedes faith”.

    Romans 8:10…
    But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.

    Now read that verse again carefully. What causes your spirit to be “alive”?

    RIGHTEOUSNESS.

    Now WHEN are we as sinners declared righteous before God?

    When was Abraham declared righteous?

    Romans 4:3….
    What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

    Paul goes on and tells us in Romans 4:22-24….
    This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—FOR US WHO BELIEVE IN HIM who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

    Romans 3:22….
    Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ UNTO ALL AND UPON ALL THEM THAT BELIEVE.

    Please notice that we are declared righteous by God AFTER we believe. And it is BECAUSE of this imputed righteous from God (Romans 8:10) that we are “born again”, regenerated, or given spiritual life.

    Galatians 3:26….
    “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”

    We are not children of God until AFTER we put our faith in Jesus Christ.

    The order is clear. We believe, we are declared righteous before God, we are given spiritual life/born again. Regeneration precedes faith is just not biblical.

    It is my hope and prayer that you reflect on these Spirit-breathed verses. There are many more verses I could share.

    Grace.

  44. Roland not only tried to engage in proof texting while ignoring my point about God necessitating our sins if all is predetermined. He also trotted out the old: who makes you to differ argument:

    Roland wrote:

    “However, the question is still a valid one and you did not answer the question. Why were you different than the unbeliever who did not use his free will to “choose” Christ and thus perished? Again if God did his part, than the difference was in you! My simple question is “What was that difference?” I understand that you do not intentionally “take pride” in your salvation, but the logical end of your doctrine is that you indeed have the right to do so; For you did with God’s grace what the reprobate did not! You were either smarter, wiser, more righteous,…something was different about you.”

    I believe it was Owen (though it may have been Hodge or someone else)who first invented this argument. And the structure while logical is completely out of touch with the actual reality of how people become Christians/get saved. First let’s look at the structure of this little argument and then contrast it with the actual reality of how God saves people.

    Here is the way it’s supposed to go: you start by bringing up two people (usually identical twins) who hear the identical gospel presentation, but with two opposite results. One is saved and the other continues in their unbelief. You next add that prevenient grace or the grace given to each one is identical (this is dubious as God works sovereignly with each individual even if they hear the same message, but let’s put that fact aside, to continue to understand this little argument). You want to make the point that from God’s “side” they got identical treatment. So God treats them identical gives them the same identical grace. But here comes the set up: one believes and one does not. So the difference could not have been with God so the difference had to have been with each individual. Specifically the one who chooses to believe you then argue that that person could then in some way believe that he was saved while the other one was not because he is somehow smarter, more intelligent, more spiritual, somehow better than the one who did not believe. So this ***saved*** (this has to be emphasized) as the argument alleges that a genuinely saved person **might** do this, may end up boasting about some effort or character trait or whatever that he has or does that makes him differ from the poor guy that remained an unbeliever.

    Now that we have this little gem out in the open, let’s destroy it with reality, with the truth, with facts. First fact, consider your own salvation experience, if you are truly born again, did YOU have any reason to boast in something that you did during the process of your coming to the Lord for salvation? No. I did not experience it like this, nor did any other Christian that I know or talk to about this. And we could ask this of Roland or any other person who brings up this argument: in YOUR salvation experience did you boast that there was something about you that makes you to differ from the nonbeliever who rejected the message? Third, I happen to do a lot of evangelism and whenever I hear someone propose this argument I immediately start thinking that this guy has little or no experience actually being involved in leading others to Christ for salvation. I say this because any real evangelist knows that for a person to be saved they must be humbled, shown their own sinfulness, to the point that they are like the publican who did not even want to look up at God. I have experienced this humbling myself and seen it so many times that again, I can only believe that those who propose this argument do not do much evangelism. Or they have never been involved in leading someone to the Lord and then discipling that person.

    Besides the facts of personal experience scripture itself says that if a person experiences saving faith, the nature of that faith is that it excludes boasting (Romans 3:27). This one alone should lead people who take their Bibles seriously to reject this “who makes you to differ” argument. If the bible EXPLICITLY says that saving faith does not involved boasting but in fact EXCLUDES BOASTING, then any argument or claim that faith and being saved involves boasting is necessarily false.

    I often use the term “begging faith” for the faith that is involved in a person coming to the Lord and being saved. By “begging faith” I mean that the person if they have experienced the powerful and convicting and illuminating work of the Holy Spirit will have a faith that begs God to deliver them to save them, a faith that completely relies and puts their confidence in God alone to save them.

    One of my favorite analogies may help here. People who have addictions and get involved with AA groups will tell you that they are not ready to be saved from their addiction until they literally “hit rock bottom”. Till they reach a point where they are absolutely desperate and absolutely convinced that they cannot be saved/delivered from their addiction unless a “higher power” acts on their behalf and saves and delivers them. Now you may not appreciate AA or have problems with the term “higher power”. But forget the words, look at what they are saying. The addict has to come to the end of their resources, be convinced that he/she can’t escape the addiction without divine intervention. Without God Himself intervening and miraculously delivering them from what they are addicted to.

    Prior to coming to this point of abject moral poverty, they know that whatever they were addicted to ruled their life, controlled their lives, trapped them in the cycle of addiction. They need to be freed from this addiction and they have to “hit rock bottom” and realize they can’t save themselves from the addiction only the “higher power” can do so. From knowing many addicts and hearing many of their stories and also having been born again, it seems to me there are remarkable parallels between the addict being delivered from their addiction and the believer being set free from slavery to sin. In both cases you have to “hit rock bottom”. In both cases you cannot save yourself, you know it, and you beg the “higher power” or Jesus to save you. In a word you experience “begging faith”. Now there is no way anyone who has been delivered from an addiction or been born again, would ever be boastful about his or her deliverance. Ask an addict if they were delivered because they were smarter, or more intelligent, or more spiritual, or a better person, or a more moral person, etc. etc. The same goes for people who have been truly saved, ask them if they were saved because they were smarter, more intelligent, more spiritual, better or more of anything, and true believers would say you were speaking nonsensically about their experience of being saved. This is why I say this whole who makes you to differ argument shows someone out of touch with how God actually saves sinners. If you truly understand the dynamics of recovery from addiction and the dynamics of how God saves sinners, you would see this “who makes you to differ” argument to be completely out of touch with the reality of how people are actually delivered from their addictions or slavery to sin. For the person who ends up being born again their reaching “rock bottom” occurs when they realize they cannot save themselves, that God must save them, that they must throw themselves on the mercy of the court! Only when a person hits “rock bottom” spiritually will they be ready to beg God to save them from their slavery to sin. And those who hit “rock bottom” in their personal experience know that when they are in this state mentally, there is no room for boating, nor will boasting in any way even cross their minds!

    Robert 777

  45. Robert777,

    Thanks for taking the time to explain things with such scriptural and logical clarity. Immediately I thought of Luke 18:9-14: Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

    According to the very wrong logic of some of our Calvinistic friends, the tax collector might have gone home proud of his brokenness and humility!

    Thankfully, Jesus leaves us no doubt: Those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

    That’s where the difference is found, and the one who cries out, “God have mercy on me a sinner” has no grounds for boasting. Who would ever imagine that he would?

  46. Robert 777

    Thank you for the response, I want to clear up a few things:

    1. I think I have been respectful and not sarcastic. I would appreciate the same treatement.
    2. I, through the reading of scriptures, understood the argument that I put forth. Only later did I find that it was in fact John Owen who had posed the question long before I did.
    3. I completely agree, the true believer has nothing to boast about and I too have understood the “beggin faith” as you call it, knowing that I am a wretch and that apart from God’s grace, I cannot be saved! I say with David in Psalm 8, “What is man that you are mindful of him?”

    However, in all of your words, you still have not answered the question! regardless of the state of the man, has God or has God not given ALL people his grace that they may believe or reject the gospel (according to what you believe)? If he has, and the fault for not “choosing” God lies with the individual than you have yet to explain why one man would be inclined to “choose” Christ and another man would not! Why in fact, did you ,”hit rock bottom?” Could it be because God in his sovereignty brought you there on purpose? “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word. In faithfulness you afflicted me..” (Psalm 119:67,75). The goodness of God leads men to repentance, it does not leave them in their sin!

    You said: “You next add that prevenient grace or the grace given to each one is identical (this is dubious as God works sovereignly with each individual even if they hear the same message, but let’s put that fact aside, to continue to understand this little argument).”

    Dubious? what is dubious? What do you mean God works sovereignly with individual? If you mean God works differently, than welcome to Calvinism!
    Because God in fact does work sovereignly and differently with individuals. Some “HE wills” to bring to himself through giving them birth through the living word and some he does not. Some HE chooses to take away a heart of stone and give a heart of flesh and some he does not! Some “soil” he prepares for the seed and some he does not. Did God plant good seed or weeds in Math 13? Do goats turn into sheep or were we God’s sheep from the foundation of the world whom Jesus came to seek and save? Does Jesus say you are not my sheep because you do not believe or does he say “You do not believe BECAUSE you ARE NOT MY SHEEP?” (not yelling just emphasizing) (John 10:26)

    You completely missed what I said. I did not say that you did boast about your salvation. I said that yor doctrine gives you the right to. You saying that you “chose” God is like Lazarus saying he “chose” to come alive when Jesus called him. Lazarus had nothing to do with his physical life being restored and we have nothing to do with Jesus “quickening” us! Again, he “quickens whom he wills.”

Leave Your Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


*