Wednesday, December 26, 2007
God is For you
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Friday, December 21, 2007
Facing a Certain Eternity
God bless, and have a merry Christmas!
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Dr. Jerry Vines on Calvinism in the SBC
Jerry Vines asks: “If you’re Born Again before faith, what does faith accomplish?” (Calvinism: A Baptist and his Election)
That's a fair question. In his message, he shares many of his reservations with Calvinism, and he also shares his own personal experiences with Calvinists. This was a very enjoyable message, and well delivered. Simply listen to what he has to say, and listen to him speak from his heart.
Now I would like to offer two objections. One is minor and the other is a little more significant. The minor issue is that he indicated that Jacob Arminius and the Remonstrants had taught that you could lose your salvation, which is actually not true. The Remonstrance clearly states that they took a neutral position on the matter of Eternal Security, which was likely a compromise in order to ease tensions within their own group, in order to maintain unity and focus on confronting the more significant challenges posed by Calvinism. The second concern is that Dr. Vines embraced the Calvinist doctrine of Unconditional Election. Though Calvinists may be a diverse group, it is this one doctrine that unites all Calvinists. The problem is that once you go down the path of Unconditional Election, the rest of Calvinism must logically come with it, in one form or another. Calvinist, Charles Spurgeon, once prayed: “Lord, hasten to bring in all Thine elect—and then elect some more.” (An Intimate Interlude) However, when you consider the eternal aspect of Election, according to Ephesians 1:4 and 2nd Timothy 1:9, such a statement seems logically absurd, which just goes to show that when you embrace the “U” in TULIP (with the possible exception of “L”, Limited Atonement), trying to reject the rest of TULIP will succeed only in making you into a salmon in the hands of a hungry bear, as a determined Calvinist will theologically pick your bones clean. For if you embrace Unconditional Election, obviously only the “elect” in such a system, can be saved, and thus the rest of humanity has to have Total Inability to one degree or another, while the predetermined “elect” must ultimately be saved, which can only lead to an Irresistible Grace, to one degree or another. Logically speaking, there is simply no way around it. For once you start down that path, there is no turning back, until you reach all of its logical conclusions.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
John Goodwin's "Redemption Redeemed"
Goodwin is a tremendous and tireless Bible expositor. As a quote hunter for the verse by verse discussions on my website, "Redemption Redeemed" has proven to be a treasure trove. I am greatful to the editor, John Wagner, for bringing the wisdom of John Goodwin to our generation.
I've quoted Goodwin in a number of verses on the website. If you have reviewed Goodwin's book, and would like to recommend additional quotes from him, please do so.
These are the confirmed places that I have quoted him. There are likely to be a few more as well, which I simply don’t recall.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Acts 13:48: "ordained to eternal life"
Q1: When does this passage say that these were “ordained to eternal life”?
This passage doesn't answer when, nor does it define what the phrase means. Most Calvinists will point out that at least we know that believing follows the ordination, and that's true, and Arminians agree that the new birth instills within us, a nature that not only implants the desire to want to do the things of God, but also instills a measure of faith, necessary to fulfull each Christian's assigned vocation within the Body of Christ.
The picture above is of ministers and their wives praying for a newly ordained minister. Sometimes Calvinists give people the impression that there is only one type of ordination, and that being a fore-ordination, but such is not the case within our own process of ordaining ministers. Consider Acts 14:23 which states: “And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.” This is a present-tense ordination. However, consider three verses which explicitly reference an eternal aspect of ordination, and notice how the Bible writers make the eternal aspect unmistakable. Ephesians 2:10 describes a “before” ordination. Jude 4 describes an “of old” ordination (Jude 4) and 1st Peter 1:20 describes a “foreordination.” (1st Peter 1:20) Therefore, if Luke had wished to make it clear that Acts 13:48 had a pre-ordination in mind, he could have said: 1) foreordained to eternal life, 2) ordained of old unto eternal life, or 3) before ordained to eternal life. If Luke had intended an eternal ordination at Luke 13:48, why didn't he use any of the aforementioned methods?
I believe that being ordained to eternal life speaks of when the Holy Spirit seals a person in Christ, that is, when a person is made Born Again, and is made a New Creature in Christ. Therefore, I infer Acts 13:48 to mean that, as many of these Gentiles as had been made Born Again, believed. However, the way that a Calvinist approaches Acts 13:48 is with the perspective that there a two classes of humans, that is, one class of eternally elect sheep contrasted by a class of eternally non-elect goats. Therefore, if a Calvinist infers Acts 13:48 to mean that as many as were foreordained to eternal life, believed, it must also mean that if any did not believe, after having heard that sermon, they must not be what?, a foreordained eternally elect sheep. Therefore, the Calvinist must infer there could not have been anyone there among that crowd who disbelieved on that day, but who later did repent and became saved. Think for just a moment about how absurd that would be, and how unrepresentative it would be of evangelism. For even the apostle Paul himself, initially disbelieved after hearing the sermon of the martyr, Stephen.
Friday, August 31, 2007
And God said to Moses: “But I know that the king of Egypt will not permit you to go, except under compulsion. So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My miracles which I shall do in the midst of it; and after that he will let you go.” (Exodus 3:19-20)
How does God know that after compulsion, Pharaoh would finally relent, and let Israel go? Is the answer simply because that is what is in God's alleged, Script of Life, and Pharaoh must ultimately play his role in God's Deterministic script, or is the answer because God has perfect Middle Knowledge, that is, knowing all possible contingencies, and knowing all of the what-ifs, which in this case, means knowing what Pharaoh would do in every single circumstance put to him?
God knows man, better than man knows himself. God controls the situations and God controls the range of a man's choices. 1st Corinthians 10:13 states: "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it." How does God know what any man is able to endure, if He does not have perfect Middle Knowledge? This verse shows that the parameters of a man's choices are set by the Providence of God.
Why does the Bible say that Pharaoh hardened his heart (Exodus 7:13, 22, 8:15, 19, 32; 9:7), and after which, God hardened his heart? (Exodus 9:12, 34-35, 10:1, 20, 27, 11:10; 14:8) We have two answers from the Scriptures:
1) 2nd Samuel 22:27 states: "With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself unsavoury." [KJV]
2) Jeremiah 18:5-11 states: "Then the word of the LORD came to me saying, 'Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?' declares the LORD. 'Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.' At one moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to uproot, to pull down, or to destroy it; if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it. Or at another moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to build up or to plant it; if it does evil in My sight by not obeying My voice, then I will think better of the good with which I had promised to bless it. So now then, speak to the men of Judah and against the inhabitants of Jerusalem saying, 'Thus says the LORD, "Behold, I am fashioning calamity against you and devising a plan against you. Oh turn back, each of you from his evil way, and reform your ways and your deeds."'"
So what have we learned? I learned that God's molding is explicitly conditional. Pharaoh was a froward man and God dealt with him as such. But is it possible for a man to harden his own heart? Answer: If not, then what did God mean when He warned: "Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness." (Psalm 95:8) God knew exactly what made Pharaoh tick, and he being froward in the sight of God, God raised him to power and prominence in order for him to serve a useful purpose to God the Potter. It's not God's will that Pharaoh be froward, but God will deal with him as he is. If Pharaoh had repented, like Ninevah, then Scripture records that God would have relented.
What did John Calvin teach about Proverbs 21:1? Here is a link to my write-up on this passage:
Sunday, August 26, 2007
The Greatest Question Ever Asked
The second question that comes to mind is the question that Jesus posed in response to the rich young ruler who called Him “good.” Mark 10:18 states: “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.” Many people suppose that Jesus was a good man, or a good teacher, but certainly not God. Yet, if no one is good but God alone, and if you do not believe that Jesus is God, then how can you call Him “good”? If you agree to call Him good, though not in the way that you mean that God is good, then you are merely calling Jesus nice or kind in common terms. But the fact is that Jesus truly is “good” because He truly is God. So is this the greatest question ever asked? Though it’s a powerful question, it’s not the greatest question ever asked.
I agree with Adrian Rogers. That, indeed, was the greatest question ever asked.
Friday, August 24, 2007
What is the Gospel?
John Calvin states: “If we are not ashamed of the gospel, we must confess what is there plainly declared. God, by His eternal goodwill, which has no cause outside itself, destined those whom He pleased to salvation, rejecting the rest; those whom He dignified by gratuitous adoption He illumined by His Spirit, so that they receive the life offered in Christ, while others voluntarily disbelieve, so that they remain in darkness destitute of the light of faith.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.58)
One Calvinist at oldtruth.com explains: “A wonderful friend of our family once commented that coming to understand the Doctrines of Grace was akin to a type of salvation within salvation.” (oldtruth.com)
Another Calvinist states: “My transition to Calvinism was somewhat reluctant, but the inevitable result of Christian maturity....” (Sovereign Grace Church)
These are very strong claims. So what is "the Gospel"? Is it Calvinism?
The Gospel is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1st Corinthians 15:1-11), in whom there is life by believing in His name. (John 20:31)
1st Corinthians 15:1-11: "Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed."
Knowing this, why would Calvinists want to say that the Gospel is actually Calvinism?
Friday, August 17, 2007
When do you become "In Christ"?
A) Before the foundation of the world
B) At Calvary
C) Before he believes the Gospel
D) After he believes the Gospel
Adrian Rogers: “Now what does it mean to be in Christ Jesus? Well, God wants us to be saved; He’s given us so many illustrations of salvation; one of the illustrations of salvation is Noah’s Ark. Noah’s Ark, the Bible teaches us in 2nd Peter, is an illustration, a type of the Lord Jesus Christ. And so, if you want to know what it is to be in Christ Jesus, know what it was for Noah to be in that Ark.” (Turning Hurts Into Hallelujahs: Romans 8:8-11)
Sunday, June 3, 2007
Why tell the Jew, Nicodemus, that he must be born again?
Consider 1st Corinthians 6:16-17 which states: “Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, ‘The two shall become one flesh.’ But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.”
When a Jewish couple became “one flesh” in marriage, that which was born of their union was another Jew, and also a member of the chosen race of Israel. Deuteronomy 14:2 states of Israel: “For you are a holy people to the LORD your God, and the LORD has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.” The Jews were a chosen people. But look at what 1st Peter 2:9 says about Christians of all races: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
When a person believes in Jesus, he or she becomes “one spirit” with God (1st Corinthians 6:16-17), and that which is born of that union is a member of the New Covenant, chosen race. That means that these uncircumcised, yet believing Gentiles are now among a chosen race!, that is, the chosen race of the redeemed in Christ. To summarize, you had to be born into the elect, Jewish race, and similarly, you have to be born into the elect race in Christ. You were physically born into Election in the Old Testament, and you are spiritually born into Election in the New Testament, through faith in Christ. If you are a member of the New Testament “elect,” it is purely so by spiritual, new birth.
In Christ, we are now free from condemnation (Romans 8:1), as the old creature in Adam was nailed to the cross with Christ. (Galatians 2:20) Once someone is in Christ through faith in Him and sanctified by the Holy Spirit, then by the principle of Mutual Inclusion, one must simultaneously therefore also be in the Father, because anyone who has the Son, has the Father also (1st John 2:24), because the Son is in the Father and the Father is in the Son. (John 14:11) To the Arminian, our legal adoption in the Father is purely on the basis of our position in Christ, whereupon the Holy Spirit cries out in our hearts “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15) In contrast, the result of Calvinistic, Unconditional Election is that your position in Christ is purely on the basis of an eternally hidden position in the Father with the ultimate end of being chosen to become in Christ. Arminian’s counter that Election does not end with being chosen to become in Christ, but rather begins with being chosen in Christ. (Ephesians 1:4) Calvinists place the foundation of Election in the Father while Arminians place the foundation of Election in the Son, and the only way to get to the Father, is through the Son. (John 14:6)
I’ve had a Calvinist tell me that he was predestined “to be” in Christ because the Bible says so. However, the Bible says no such a thing. Rather, the Bible teaches that we are predestined in Christ. That speaks of all that we have, and will ever have, in Christ, namely that in being a Christian, even being foreknown in Christ (Romans 8:29), we have a unique calling as Christians, as well as justification, glorification, and being conformed to the image of Christ, all on the sole basis of what God the Father has in store for those who are Christians in Christ, such that when God the Father sought a place for His grace, He found none other than His Son, and that all who are enjoined to His body through faith as “one spirit” with Him (1st Corinthians 6:17), may share in His grace. Therefore, Arminian Election and Adoption are hinged upon a foundation in Christ. In fact, the whole purpose of Ephesians chapter one is to expound upon all that we have in Christ, and not what we have in the Father independent of being in Christ.
If you are not in Christ, then you are not among the New Covenant elect. Unbelievers are condemned. (John 3:18) Believers in Christ are free from condemnation. (Romans 8:1) The elect in Christ are also said to be free from condemnation. (Romans 8:33) Therefore, there is no such thing as a New Covenant elect, unbeliever.
Therefore, who are the elect? They are Christians who have been spiritually born again into a royal, holy chosen race of the redeemed in Christ.
Summary: A Jew is physically born into Election in Abraham, while believers of all races are spiritually born into Election in Christ. This is the eternal plan of God in Christ, who, before the foundation of the world, has chosen us in Christ (Ephesians 1:4), in that we have been eternally foreknown in Christ. (Romans 8:29)
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Jesus explains the Atonement
Jesus states: “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.” (John 3:14-15)
What is Jesus referencing?
Numbers 21:6-9: “The LORD sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. So the people came to Moses and said, ‘We have sinned, because we have spoken against the LORD and you; intercede with the LORD, that He may remove the serpents from us.’ And Moses interceded for the people. Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live.’ And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived.” 4-Point Calvinist, Ron Rhodes, explains: “John 3:16 cannot be divorced from verses 14-15, wherein Christ alludes to Numbers 21 with its discussion of Moses setting up the brazen serpent in the camp of Israel, so that if ‘any man’ looked to it, he experienced physical deliverance. In verse 15 Christ applies the story spiritually when He says that ‘whosoever’ believes on the uplifted Son of Man shall experience spiritual deliverance.” (The Extent of the Atonement: Limited Atonement Versus Unlimited Atonement) Question: For whom was the fiery serpent, set on a “standard” erected? Answer: For those who were “bitten.” This answers the question of, "For whom did Christ die?" It is for everyone who has been bitten by sin. Therefore, just as “if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived,” so too, if sin has bitten any man, and it has bitten every man, if he looks to the Cross of Christ, he will spiritually live.
4-Point Calvinist, Ron Rhodes, explains: “John 3:16 cannot be divorced from verses 14-15, wherein Christ alludes to Numbers 21 with its discussion of Moses setting up the brazen serpent in the camp of Israel, so that if ‘any man’ looked to it, he experienced physical deliverance. In verse 15 Christ applies the story spiritually when He says that ‘whosoever’ believes on the uplifted Son of Man shall experience spiritual deliverance.” (The Extent of the Atonement: Limited Atonement Versus Unlimited Atonement)
Question: For whom was the fiery serpent, set on a “standard” erected?
Answer: For those who were “bitten.” This answers the question of, "For whom did Christ die?" It is for everyone who has been bitten by sin. Therefore, just as “if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived,” so too, if sin has bitten any man, and it has bitten every man, if he looks to the Cross of Christ, he will spiritually live.
Calvinist, D. James Kennedy writes: Calvinist, D. James Kennedy, writes: “Our faith and our repentance are the work of God’s grace in our hearts. Our contribution is simply the sin for which Jesus Christ suffered and died. Would you be born anew? There has never been a person who sought for that who did not find it. Even the seeking is created by the Spirit of God. Would you know that new life? Are you tired of the emptiness and purposelessness of your life? Are you tired of the filthy rags of your own righteousness? Would you trust in someone else other than yourself? Then look to the cross of Christ. Place your trust in him. Ask him to come in and be born in you today. For Jesus came into the world from glory to give us second birth because we must--we MUST--be born again.” (Why I Believe, p.140, emphasis mine)
There are no two Calvinists that I respect more than Ron Rhodes (author of Reasoning From the Scriptures with the Jehovah's Witnesses) and D. James Kennedy, (author of Evangelism Explosion).
Monday, April 23, 2007
Contradictions in the Bible?
That quote does not sit well with an Arminian, at all. From the Arminian perspective, John MacArthur is basically giving up the integrity of the Scriptures for the sake of a particular theology. At least, that's what the Arminian perspective is.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Calvinist, James White, writes: “Does He accomplish His purpose? Does He actually save, or only make savable? If He actually saves, does this not limit the scope of the ‘lost’?” (Debating Calvinism, p.176)
For an answer, click on the link below:http://www.examiningcalvinism.com/files/Gospels/Luke19_10.html
Sunday, April 15, 2007
What is the Calling of God?
Question: Who are “the called of Jesus Christ”?
Answer: There are two calls, though not the same two calls taught by Calvinism. There is the universal call to live in Christ. Matthew 22:14 states: “For many are called, but few are chosen.” There is also the call to live for Christ, which speaks of the Holy Calling, in terms of the function in which each Christian has been uniquely gifted by the Holy Spirit and predestined by God the Father to perform within the body of Christ. 2nd Timothy 1:9 states: “...who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity.” Lest the Calvinists think that this is what they had in the Father, notice that this is what is in Christ. Essential to Calvinism is a notion of two Elections, a primary election in the Father, by sovereign grace, and a secondary election in Christ, by faith. However, the Calvinist’s ‘primary election’ never happened, and couldn’t happen, because apart from the basis of being in Christ, we would have no standing with the Father. Jesus states: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6) The fact that we have our calling in Christ from all eternity, speaks to the fact that having been foreknown in Christ (Romans 8:29), God has an eternal plan for each Christian. Paul referred to Christians as “the called” in order to emphasize this fact, that is, that each Christian has a unique calling and a unique election, according to the unique gift of the Holy Spirit bestowed upon each believer in Christ for the evangelization of the lost world, and for the edification and growth of the body of Christ. (What is amazing to me is that every time the Calvinist reads the word "foreknowledge," they see "foreordination." As to the answer of why, refer to the discussion below on The Glasses of a Calvinist. The glasses of Determinism dictates that foreknowledge is not prescience of free choices, but of decreed choices. To suggest that foreknowledge determines choices is a gaffe in logic.)
For a more detailed discussion, here is a link to Romans 1:6:
Thursday, April 5, 2007
Complaint is a Gift
So does that mean that when someone shows up on your Blog and goes flying off the handle, that that is somehow a gift? No. But if you can keep the discussion civil, by responding respectfully, passionate emotions may settle down, and their critical review will bring focus to the debate.
For instance, most Calvinists are aware that the 5-Points of the TULIP system did not originate from John Calvin, but from the Calvinist response to the Arminian Remonstrance. The point is that godly, wholesome debate can bring deeper understanding of the issues, and sculpt arguments like a bodybuilder sculpts muscle.
Some pointers that I've learned from debating Calvinism vs Arminianism are these:
1) Keep it simple. Stick to a few points at a time, and be economical with your word count. Realize that posting encyclopedias will never foster an effective dialogue.
2) Do not attempt to slowly build your arguments. Use probing questions to immediately get right to the heart of the issue.
Tuesday, April 3, 2007
What's wrong with an "Alter Call" or "Gospel Invitation"?
If someone hears the Gospel message, and then is invited to meet with a prayer counselor in order to repent of their sin, and publicly commit their life to Christ, what could be wrong with that? Answer: There is nothing wrong with that. Only Satan would oppose someone giving their heart to Christ. Therefore, is the policy of opposing "Alter Calls" and "Gospel Invitations" born in the heart of Satan? Is such a policy, Satanic?
One Calvinist explains: "I do not like alter calls because I understand them to be an emotional appeal which pressures people to do something that the Bible does not necessitate." (http://www.mdcbowen.org/cobb/archives/001559.html, emphasis mine)
In terms of emotion and pressure, Calvinist, Charles Spurgeon, states: “I further believe, although certain persons deny it, that the influence of fear is to be exercised over the minds of men, and that it ought to operate upon the mind of the preacher himself.” (How to Win Souls for Christ, emphasis mine)
I'm not saying that Spurgeon supported Alter Calls. I'm simply using Spurgeon to dispute whether emotion and pressure should be applied to the lost in evangelism, and apparently Spurgeon agrees.
Question: Where is the desire for "Alter Calls" and "Gospel Invitations" born?
Answer: It's born out of the heart of concern for the lost in a desire to see the lost saved?
Question: So where is the apathy toward "Alter Calls" and "Gospel Invitations" born?
Answer: It's born ouf of the heart of casual indifference concerning the salvation of the lost.
What's the point of presenting the Gospel, if you are unwilling to pray with someone to receive salvation, as salvation is described at Romans 10:9-10? What should we say, that Calvinists are willing to pray with the lost to receive Christ, but are just unwilling to advertise it? My former Calvinist Pastor, Chip, who opposed the practice of "Alter Calls" and "Gospel Invitations" would instead announce: "If you have any questions, you can see the Pastor afterward." Is that sad or what?
Besides the fact that an "Alter Call" or a "Gospel Invitation" invites someone to receive Christ in their heart, it also serves as a public profession of faith. Consider what Jesus states about public affirmations: "But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 10:33)
Sunday, April 1, 2007
Why did Jesus waste His time with a despised, immoral Samaritan woman?
Saturday, March 31, 2007
1st John 5:1
Have Calvinists taken a passage on the characteristic of a Christian, and rendered it the causation of becoming a Christian?
There is no question that the Holy Spirit gives the new creature in Christ (2Cor 5:17), gifts, among which includes a measure of faith. (Romans 12:3) In fact, it is through the Holy Spirit that Christians are able to confess Christ as Lord: "No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit." (1st Corinthians 12:3)
In order to understand Calvinism, you must know that one of its most central teachings is that unless a man is made Born Again, he cannot believe in the Gospel. In this way, Calvinism teaches that a man must be made preemptively Born Again in Christ, in order to repent, believe and be saved. Arminianism, in contrast, teaches that a person is not made Born Again in Christ until after he has been sealed in Christ with the Holy Spirit, as per Ephesians 1:13. So here you see the divergence. Also realize that a contrast among Calvinism and Arminianism is NOT whether man is depraved, but the solution to man's depravity. Is the solution a preemptive new birth in Christ, as per Calvinism, or is it the supernatural power of the living and active, faith-producing Gospel (Romans 10:17), as per Arminianism? Arminians often ask of Calvinists: Do you believe that the Gospel is powerful enough to persuade any unregenerate sinner to confess his sins and repent? The Arminian feels that the Calvinist answer is "Yes," only if it's accompanied by a preemptive new birth in Christ, which the Arminian ultimately takes as a "No" answer.
So it's here at 1st John 5:1 that the Calvinist attempts to prove that one must be made born of God in order to believe in God and become saved. However, the Arminian protests that such is not the point of the apostle John, who is merely identifying the marks of true Christians, from false pretenders. So is the Arminian protest, a valid one?
Friday, March 30, 2007
What is the origin of sin?
Here is a link to an article examining the Calvinistic perspective on the origin of sin:
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Why do Calvinists believe the way they do?
Having said this, what are the presuppositions of the Calvinist and the Arminian?
The presupposition of the Calvinist is that God has an eternal decree whereby he has decreed all that will ever come to pass.
Calvinist, James White, explains: "The conjunction of God's absolute freedom and His Creatorship results in the doctrine of God's decrees: the soul-comforting truth that God has wisely and perfectly decreed whatsoever comes to pass in this universe." (The Potter's Freedom, p.45, emphasis mine)
This is the primary presupposition of the Calvinist who puts on these glasses, so to speak, whenever they attempt to interpret Scripture. As an example, with these glasses, the Calvinist will turn to Ephesians 1:11 and read "works all things after the counsel of His will," but because of the Calvinistic glasses of Determinism, see causes all things.
On the other hand, the Calvinist accuses the Arminian of possessing the presupposition that Free Will must be preserved at all costs, which is absurd. The true presupposition of the Arminian, that is, the rose colored glasses of the Arminian, is the wild belief that God's word is not the charade of contradictions that Calvinism makes it out to be.
In terms of contradictions, take note of what Calvinist, John McArthur, explains: "That's one of the reasons I know the Bible is written by God, because men would fix it. If I wrote a book that had those contradictions, Phil [Johnson] would edit them all out. One of the bench marks of divine inspiration is the fact that you're dealing with transcendence." (http://www.gty.org/resources.php?section=articles&aid=231301, emphasis mine)
The presupposition of the Arminian makes no allowance for any alleged contradiction in the Bible, and cannot accept a Calvinistic "Secret Will" theory which flatly contradicts Scripture, such as at Matthew 23:37. The primary complaint of the Arminian is that Calvinism makes the Bible into a charade. For more on this point, refer to the book, Debating Calvinism, p.309, in which Dave Hunt argues that Calvinism turns the Bible into a "charade." That's where the Arminian is coming from.
Depravity, Judgment and Prevenient Grace
Jesus states: "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:18)
"Judged already." Therefore, if any man is going to be saved, God must intervene. Man is not left to himself. Jesus states: "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." (Luke 19:10)
Question: How is man, who is morally depraved, able to voluntarily repent, believe and be saved, when Jesus comes seeking after him? According to Calvinism, the answer is that man (that is, only those of the alleged, eternal flock of the Father), voluntarily accept Christ because they are preemptively made Born Again, through being preemptively placed in Christ, before he hears and believes in the Gospel and is sealed in Christ, as per Ephesians 1:13. In contrast, the Arminian answer is that man is NOT in Christ until he is first sealed in Christ, and that a man is not sealed in Christ until AFTER he first hears and believes in the Gospel. On that basis, the Arminian dismisses the Calvinist explanation of preemptive placement in Christ.
The Arminian next asks whether God is powerful enough to save an unregenerate man through man's own morally depraved will? The answer is Yes, and Adrian Rogers explains how God does this:
Adrian Rogers explains: “Spiritual blindness makes beggars of us all. ... The blind need more than light in order to see. ... I used to think, as a young preacher, that what you had to do to get people saved is just to tell them how to be saved. Just turn on the light. But it doesn’t matter how much light there is, or the person is blind because he cannot see it. It takes more than light, it takes sight. And a person who is blind cannot see the light, no matter how strong the light is or how pure the light is. It takes more than preaching to get people saved. That’s the reason I frequently say to you, I can preach truth, but only the Holy Spirit can impart truth. That is the reason why we must be a praying church. That’s the reason you must be a spirit filled soul winner. That is the reason that we must have the anointing, because we are dependent upon God to open blinded eyes to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It takes more than light, it takes takes sight. We need to understand that nobody can be argued into the kingdom of heaven. Nobody can be educated into the kingdom of heaven. I’m not against letting the light shine. You must let the let shine. You must preach. But remember, there is another dimension.” (Jesus is God’s Answer to Man’s Darkness: John 20:30, emphasis mine)
In order for a man to receive the light of the Gospel, he must receive sight from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit convicts the world of its sin (John 16:8), pricks the heart of the lost (Acts 26:14), pierces the heart of the lost (Acts 2:37) and opens the heart of the lost so that they can respond to the Gospel. (Acts 16:14) This is not what God does to the regenerate heart, but the unregenerate heart. It’s not the new birth either, which new birth is solely reserved for the redeemed in Christ. Rather, the Holy Spirit's Illumination of the unregenerate, who are condemned and already judged, is the spiritual sight given to the lost in order that the lost may see, and receive Jesus into their heart. Supernatural Sight is the working of the Holy Spirit, through the supernatural Light of the faith-producing Gospel (Romans 10:17), that enables a man to repent, believe and be saved. Adrian Rogers explains that this is why Christians need to pray for the lost, that God may touch their hearts in order to receive sight, that they might respond to the light. Though it is not irresistible, God, for His part, is willing that you become in Christ, and share in all that which God the Father has sovereignly bestowed in His Son, who stands knocking on the door of your heart. (Revelation 3:20)
1st Corinthians 3:16 states: "Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?"
2nd Corinthians 5:17 states: "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come."
Having read these things, how do you feel that they compare with the promise of Ezekiel 36:26?
Ezekiel 36:22-32: "Therefore say to the house of Israel, `Thus says the Lord GOD, "It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went. "I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD," declares the Lord GOD, "when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight. "For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land. "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. "Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. "I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. "You will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God. "Moreover, I will save you from all your uncleanness; and I will call for the grain and multiply it, and I will not bring a famine on you. "I will multiply the fruit of the tree and the produce of the field, so that you will not receive again the disgrace of famine among the nations. "Then you will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and your abominations. "I am not doing this for your sake," declares the Lord GOD, "let it be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel!"
The new creature that is reborn in Christ through the new birth, is given a new heart and a new spirit that they may be renewed in the image of Christ. This is the promise of the New Covenant.
Friday, February 2, 2007
Dialogue on John 17
Sealed in Christ
Listened to the Gospel, believed in the Gospel, sealed in Christ. That is the order of operations.
So what is in Christ? In Him, there is Redemption (Romans 8:1) and Regeneration (Titus 3:5), that is, the washing of regeneration, through which the old creature in Adam passes away, and is crucified with Christ, and a new creature in Christ now lives, and is born again in its place. 2nd Corinthians 5:17 states: "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come." However, just as Calvinism teaches at Ephesians 1:4, that "the elect" are chosen in Christ, similarly, at Ephesians 1:13, Calvinism teaches that "the elect" are sealed in Christ. Calvinists often put Calvinism into a verse, in order to get Calvinism out of a verse.
What Calvinism teaches about Regeneration is that those of the alleged, eternal flock of the Father, are preemptively placed in Christ and thus given access to what is in Christ, namely, regeneration to becoming the new creature, so that by the new heart received in the new birth, they might irresistibly believe in the Gospel, as in Irresistible Grace. It is extremely important to remember that Calvinistic Preemptive placement in Christ, is not about opening hearts (Acts 16:14), but about changing hearts, so that by the new heart and new spirit received in Christ, those of the alleged, eternal flock of the Father, may irresistibly repent.
Calvinist, James White, who states: “When the time comes in God’s sovereign providence to bring to spiritual life each of those for whom Christ died, the Spirit of God will not only effectively accomplish that work of regeneration but that new creature in Christ will, unfailingly, believe in Jesus Christ (‘all that the Father gives Me will come to Me’).” (Debating Calvinism, p.191, emphasis mine)
So you can clearly see that Calvinism teaches that a person is preemptively placed in Christ, and is made a new creature, in order to irresistibly believe. This is exactly what I've been alleging about Calvinistic, preemptive placement in Christ. Yet, can an unbeliever, who is condemned (John 3:18), be preemptively placed in Christ where there is no condemnation? Romans 8:1 states: “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Thus, you cannot, in any way, be in Christ among the redeemed, while being an unbeliever, condemned in Adam. The two are mutually exclusive, and hence, a cardinal teaching of Calvinism appears to implode.
The Arminian alternative is that a person becomes in Christ, only upon becoming sealed in Christ, and thus receiving the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, through which the believer receives regeneration, new birth, sanctification, ect.
Step 1 and 4 shows just how dysfunctional Calvinism truly is, by placing unbelievers preemptively in Christ, in order to access what is IN Christ, namely a new heart, via regeneration, prior to being sealed in Christ.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Calvinism: a sweet treat, but with a rotten core
If you had an eternal favor with God the Father, apart from the basis of the Cross, and apart from your hope in His Son, then your alleged, eternal favor with God has circumvented Christ, who instead says: "No one comes to the Father but through Me." (John 14:6) The reality is that your favor with God the Father stems from your faith in His Son, and that apart from your faith in His Son, you have no favor with God. Your favor with God the Father begins at the very moment that you trust in His Son. Apart from trusting in Christ, you are a dog.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
In the Father?
Arminian Question #1 restated, because I only received half of an answer: If you are saying "yes" that Ephesians 1:4 means that "the chosen" are chosen "to be" in Christ, then in whom were they chosen to become chosen in Christ? My point is that it sets up a case for another election, namely, an election in the Father. In other words, Calvinism seesm to suggest: God has chosen us in Himself, and having chosen us in Himself, He has chosen us to become in Christ. Would you agree to that? James White writes: “I just also believe the undisputed and unrefuted fact that I come to Christ daily because the Father, on the sole basis of His mercy and grace, gave me to the Son in eternity past.” (Debating Calvinism, p.306, emphasis mine) What I'm seeing is the making of an eternal "in the Father" election whereby God the Father has an eternal flock of sheep, and that He gives these to His Son in order to belong to Him. Calvin describes these as having been hidden in Him from all eternity. I'm trying to see if you are willing to confess to an eternal "in the Father" relationship.
Calvinist Answer: "The full Godhead is in salvation. The Father does the choosing. The Holy Spirit does the drawing. The Son does the saving. Yet...Christ choose you before you choose Him, No one can come to the Son unless the Father draws him and we are saved by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost."
Arminian Question #1 restated: Do you believe that God the Father chose you in Himself from before the foundation of the world, in an eternal flock of the Father, in order that you may be given and chosen to be in His Son? (Yes/No)
Calvinist Answer: "I would word it this way..God elected me. You want to push your idea of "in Christ" and "in the Father". How about "in the spirit"? Is this 3 elections? I think you need to spend some time thinking about this."
Arminian Question #1 restated again, because it still wasn't answered: "If Ephesians 1:4 meant that God the Father chose "the elect" to be in Christ, then in whom were these elect chosen in order to be qualified for election in the Son? The purpose of this question is to determine whether Calvinism truly does teach a primary election in the Father, with a resulting secondary election in the Son.
Arminian Question #1 never answered. So I asked someone else:
Calvinist Answer: none
Arminian Question #2: If being made Born Again as the "new creature" with the "new heart" is a facet of the new birth in Christ (2nd Corinthians 5:17), and if we are not sealed in Christ until after we believe in the Gospel, as per Ephesians 1:13, then how is that Calvinism teaches that people are made Born Again in Christ before they are sealed in Christ?
Calvinist Answer: Yes...Only the elect are sealed...holy/saint...and changed into His image.
Arminian Summary: According to Calvinists, "the elect" are chosen to become in Christ, and they are elect apart from the basis of being sealed in Christ. Calvinists therefore have claimed for themselves, an elect status with the Father, independent of Christ, which demotes Christ and promotes Calvinists. However, Jesus stated: “No one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6) Thus, the “to be” Election of Calvinism which logically speaking, inevitably places one in the Father from all eternity, is reduced to dust by John 14:6. For the Calvinists who fancy themselves as being eternally plugged in with the Father, before their need for salvation ever arose, have ultimately negated Jesus' role as Mediator, since they would have you believe that they were already, eterally mediated to the Father in His eternal counsels. To that, I say that Calvinism is hogwash.
Either I am chosen TO BECOME in Christ, or.... I am chosen in Christ, speaking of what blessings of Adoption that I can look forward to once I become sealed in Christ.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Adrian Rogers on Prevenient Grace
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
R.C. Sproul and the Author of Sin
R.C. Sproul explains: “If is true that in some sense God foreordains everything that comes to pass, then it follows with no doubt that God must have foreordained the entrance of sin into the world. That is not to say that God forced it to happen or that he imposed evil upon his creation. All that means is that God must have decided to allow it to happen.” (Chosen By God, p.31, emphasis mine)
R.C. Sproul explains: “In spite of this excruciating problem we still must affirm that God is not the author of sin.” (Chosen By God, p.31, emphasis mine)
Why? Why must you fight this argument to your last breath, as if it was the Boogeyman of Calvinism? Suppose that God was, in fact, the author of sin? Why would you need to fight it? If God was not concerned about it, then why should you be? Really, in the end, the only thing that matters is what the Bible says. So for Calvinists to belligerently draw their lines in the sand, concerning the “author of sin” charge, only sets themselves up to be considered, irrational. It seems that you could say almost the same exact thing, but with different wording, and that would pacify the Calvinists, and indeed, that’s exactly what Sproul has done when he claims that God foreordained the "entrance" of sin, but did not "author" sin. I’d like to know where the difference lies. In other words, God is the entrance of sin into the world, but by no means whatsoever, by any stretch of the imagination, is He the author of sin into the world. That, we just can’t have, says the Calvinist, end of discussion. Since Calvinists have tinkered with the definition of "ordain," why don’t they simply tinker with the definition of "author"? In other words, God may have authored the Script of Life which contains sin, but He, by no means, endorses their behavior, no more than J.R.R Tolkien endorses the behavior of Sauron. However, real life is not like a book, in which there is a Script of Life by which men play parts in a Divine play at the direction of God. That is more philosophy than theology. This is not to say that God does not have books, plans and decrees. Of course He does, but do not forget that real foreknowledge is the basis for God’s decrees. (Acts 2:23)