J.I. Packer on Evangelism and the Extent of the Atonement

[The following post is a section from J.I. Packer's Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God. I cannot overly stress enough how much I would like to recommend this little book to everyone reading this post. I highlight the following portion of the text due to its relevance to my last post.]

We must not present the saving work of Christ apart from His Person. [Note: This admonition follows a section in which Packer made the point that, "We must not present the Person of Christ apart from His saving work."]

Evangelistic preachers and personal workers have sometimes been known to make this mistake. In their concern to focus attention on the atoning death of Christ, as the sole sufficient ground on which sinners may be accepted with God, they have expounded the summons to saving faith in these terms: ‘Believe that Christ died for your sins.’ The effect of this exposition is to represent the saving work of Christ in the past, dissociated from His Person in the present, as the whole object of our trust. But it is not biblical to thus isolate the work from the Worker. Nowhere in the New Testament is the call to believe expressed in such terms. What the New Testament calls for is faith in (en) or into (eis) or upon (epi) Christ Himself- the placing of our trust in the living Saviour, who died for sins. The object of saving faith is not, strictly speaking, the atonement, but the Lord Jesus Christ, who made the atonement. We must not in presenting the gospel isolate the cross and its benefits from the Christ whose cross it was. For the persons to whom the benefits of Christ’ death belong are just those who trust His Person, and believe, not upon His saving death simply, but upon Him, the living Saviour. ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved,’ said Paul. ‘Come unto me… and I will give you rest,’ said our Lord.

This being so, one thing becomes clear straight away: namely, that the question of the extent of the atonement, which is being much agitated in some quarters, has no bearing on the content of the evangelistic message at this particular point. I do not propose to discuss this question now; I have done that elsewhere. I am not at present asking you whether you think it is true to say that Christ died in order to save every single human being, past, present, and future, or not. Nor am I at present inviting you to make up your mind on this question, if you have not done so already. All I want to say here is that even if you think the above assertion is true, your presentation of Christ in evangelism ought not to differ from that of the man who thinks it false.

What I mean is this. It is obvious that if a preacher thought that the statement, ‘Christ died for every one of you,’ made to any congregation, would be unverifiable, and probably not true, he would take care not to make it in his preaching. You do not find such statements in the sermons of, for instance, George Whitefield or Charles Spurgeon. But now, my point is that, even if a man thinks that this statement would be true if he made it, it is not a thing that he ever needs to say, or ever has reason to say, when preaching the gospel. For preaching the gospel, as we have just seen, means inviting sinners to come to Jesus Christ, the living Saviour, who, by virtue of His atoning death, is able to forgive and save all who put their trust in Him. What has to be said about the cross when preaching the gospel is simply that Christ’s death is the ground on which Christ’s forgiveness is given. And this is all that has to be said. The question of the designed extent of the atonement does not come into the story at all.

The fact is that the New Testament never calls on any man to repent on the ground that Christ died specifically and particularly for him. The basis on which the New Testament invites sinners to put faith in Christ is simply that they need Him, and that He offers Himself to them, and that those who receive Him are promised all the benefits that His death secured for His people. What is universal and all-inclusive in the New Testament is the invitation to faith, and the promise of salvation to all who believe.

Our task in evangelism is to reproduce as faithfully as possible the New Testament emphasis. To go beyond the New Testament, or to distort its viewpoint or shift its stress, is always wrong. And therefore- if we may at this point speak in the words of James Denney- ‘we do not think of separating (Christ’s) work from Him who achieved it. The New Testament knows only of a living Christ, and all apostolic preaching of the gospel holds up the living Christ to men. But the living Christ is Christ who died, and He is never preached apart from His death, and from its reconciling power. It is the living Christ, with the virtue of His reconciling death in Him, who is the burden of the apostolic message… The task of the evangelist is to preach Christ… in His character as the Crucified. The gospel is not, ‘believe that Christ died for everybody’s sins, and therefore for yours,’ any more than it is ‘believe that Christ died only for certain people’s sins, and so perhaps not for yours.’ The gospel is, ‘believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, who died for sins, and now offers Himself as your Saviour.’ This is the message which we are to take to the world. We have no business to ask them to put faith in any view of the extent of the atonement; our job is to point them to the living Christ, and summon them to trust in Him.

It was because they had both grasped this that John Wesley and George Whitefield could regard each other as brothers in evangelism, though they differed on the extent of the atonement. For their views on this subject did not enter into their gospel preaching. Both were content to preach the gospel just as it stands in Scripture: that is, to proclaim ‘the living Christ, with the virtue of His reconciling death in Him,’ to offer Him to sinners, and to invite the lost to come to Him and so find life.

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60 Comments on “J.I. Packer on Evangelism and the Extent of the Atonement”

  1. Darrin Says:

    Andrew, this is an absolutely profound quote, and I have forwarded your post to others because it so clearly addresses the core of the gospel message. Packer very well shows that even if you believe in universal atonement (which he obviously does not advocate), you have no biblical basis for using such statements as grounds for evangelism.

  2. kangaroodort Says:

    The fact is that the New Testament never calls on any man to repent on the ground that Christ died specifically and particularly for him.

    Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word 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 in accordance with the Scriptures…” (1 Cor. 15:3, 4 ESV- emphasis mine)

    Maybe Packer needs to read his Bible a little more ;-)

  3. Darrin Says:

    I suspect Packer is more familiar with scripture than either of us.

    The term “brothers” and “our sins” should make it clear to whom Paul is speaking. Note the use of the past tense – he is not calling them to faith, but discussing conversion that has already taken place.

  4. WesInTex Says:

    Kangaroodort,

    I think you need to re-study 1 Cor. 15:3-5 … it is a wonderful passage that clearly teaches particular atonement.

    The “you” that Paul uses is plural referring to the church at Corinth which had been saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. The fact that Paul writes “Christ died for our sins …” further illustrates that he and the church had been saved because Christ made atonement for the sins of those are saved. This is not the same as telling a lost sinner that “Christ died for you.”

    Maybe its not Dr. Packer who needs to read his Bible a little more. 8->

    Grace Abundantly,
    Wes

  5. kangaroodort Says:

    Darrin,

    It is past tense because he is discussing the content of the gospel that he initially preached to them, which was “Christ died for our sins”. This is the gospel he preached to them while they were unbelievers. He is referring to when they had been called to faith initially and the content of that gospel message. The past tense only strengthens my contention.

    The fact that he refers to them as “brothers” now is irrelevant since he is reminding these “brothers” what the gospel message is that was first preached to them and that they need to cling to it (note that he also says they “received it”). One of the primary aspects of that gospel that was preached to them before they believed was “Christ died for our sins”. That is the message that was preached to them and that is the message they “received” (i.e. believed). This is the very thing that Packer tells us should not be part of the proclaimed gospel. Paul would obviously have disagreed.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  6. kangaroodort Says:

    Wes,

    See my comments to Darrin above. They address your objection just as well.

  7. strangebaptistfire Says:

    Ben,

    I would appreciate it if you would interact with Dr. Waldron’s exegesis of the text you mentioned, as found in the last post on this blog.

    -Andrew

  8. kangaroodort Says:

    Can you give me the link?

  9. kangaroodort Says:

    Nevermind. I found it.

  10. WesInTex Says:

    Ben,

    You write: “See my comments to Darrin above. They address your objection just as well.”

    Thank you for your response, but I must disagree. I don’t think you are reading the text correctly at all. Paul is writing: “Christ died for our sins …” not “Christ died for your sins.” The past tense of the texts is in reference to what he preached in Corinth that the people received through the work of the Holy Spirit. The word “our sins” is a possessive plural – Christ died for our (as those are saved) sins, not Christ died for “your” (as unregenerate sinners) sins. Paul’s inclusion of himself in that category indicates those to whom he was writing. Certainly there were those who heard Paul preach in Corinth that did not receive the message – are you saying that Christ did for their sins too? If Christ died for (atoned for) the sins of those who did not receive the message – then what is the bases for the judgment of God against them – which sins were atoned for and which sins were left un-atoned for?

    Grace Abundantly,
    Wes

  11. kangaroodort Says:

    Wes,

    I am anxious to address what you wrote here, but I am out of time for today. I think you have further confirmed that my interp. is correct, but I will explain that sometime tomorrow.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  12. strangebaptistfire Says:

    Everyone:

    I offered a response to Ben under the previous post.


  13. Someone seriously needs to read the context of the passage.

    First, the “ours” might be referring only to those which Paul subsequently lists: Cephas, the twelve, five hundred brothers, James, the apostles, me. It is an exclusive list. And one must wonder, why, if the message is “ours” inclusively exhaustive of all mankind, Jesus didn’t appear to everyone rather than only to those select few. Perhaps it is tied to: “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

    Beyond that Paul is contrasting those of the faith over against those who deny the resurrection, which would eliminate the inclusiveness from the equation, seeing that he is contradicting “some of you” who he says are making “your faith…vain.”

    That is where he started: “unless you believed in vain.” The “our sins” cannot be the same as “your sins,” for this passage is arguing that there is a distinction, and not a familiarity in kind between the two.

    The fact then, is that it is speaking of Christ, the acts of Christ, and of the extent of those acts. The context of the chapter is false faith, vain faith, over against the true which by some is rejected. True faith is reflected as the resurrected Savior and the belief that those who being in Christ in his death are also the very ones in Christ in his resurrection (the whole purpose of the resurrection argument). If Christ is resurrected, then those who were in him will be. This is where the limitation is best expressed in this passage. For as Andrew rightly asserts, this passage views Christ, the person as inseparable from his covenantal work of bringing many sons to glory, and that being, that the death and resurrection include the same members; the latter, glorified. So we preach Christ crucified and resurrected for sinners and offer peace to all who believe. In this passage, Paul is offering no such peace to those who deny the resurrection even though they believed Christ crucified.

    “Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning (believing falsely). For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.” (my emphasis)

    Those who do not have right knowledge, cannot possibly be included in “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures…” And, we know from the second chapter that only those who have the Spirit have such knowledge.

  14. strangebaptistfire Says:

    Re: “For as Andrew rightly asserts,”

    -I can’t take credit for that, it was a quote from Packer! :)

  15. kangaroodort Says:

    Wes,

    You wrote:

    Thank you for your response, but I must disagree. I don’t think you are reading the text correctly at all. Paul is writing: “Christ died for our sins …” not “Christ died for your sins.”

    And the natural way to understand “ours” is “yours as well as mine”.

    The past tense of the texts is in reference to what he preached in Corinth that the people received through the work of the Holy Spirit. The word “our sins” is a possessive plural – Christ died for our (as those are saved) sins, not Christ died for “your” (as unregenerate sinners) sins.

    The presence of the possessive plural does not dictate that Paul is speaking those saved rather then the unregenerate. It can apply to both. Christ died for all unbelievers and that provision is applied when we believe. So Christ died for both believers and unbelievers, but only believers benefit from that provision (1 Tim. 4:10). So as a believer I can tell an unbeliever that Christ died for me as well as him. And do you really think Paul was just telling these Corinthians that Jesus died for “us who already believe” but not necessarily for you? Is that the “good news” of the gospel message? Christ definitely died for me and might have died for you?

    If Paul was just saying , “Christ died for us who are saved- the church” how would this encourage the Corinthians to believe if the possibility remained that they could not become a part of that saved community because no provision had been made for them?

    Again, the fact that Paul is referring back to the content of his initial gospel message to these Corinthians strengthens my contention. Paul preached to unbelievers, “Christ died for our sins” and he does not qualify “our” as you have, nor does he limit it to “us saved guys”, so I feel justified to take Paul at his word.

    Paul’s inclusion of himself in that category indicates those to whom he was writing. Certainly there were those who heard Paul preach in Corinth that did not receive the message – are you saying that Christ did for their sins too?

    Yes. Of course that is what I am saying.

    If Christ died for (atoned for) the sins of those who did not receive the message – then what is the bases for the judgment of God against them – which sins were atoned for and which sins were left un-atoned for?

    At the judgment none of their sins will be atoned for since they are separated from the source of atonement, Jesus Christ. Atonement and forgiveness is provisional in Christ. Those who come to be in Christ through faith are forgiven and free from condemnation (Rom.8:1). Those who remain outside do not receive the benefit of all the spiritual blessings which reside in Christ alone (Eph. 1:3). Yet those blessings were genuinely provided for in Christ and by rejecting Christ they reject that provision and remain condemned. For more on that see here.

    A better question would be on what basis does God condemn unbelievers if God made no provision for them? The Scripture is clear that unbelievers are primarily condemned for their rejection of Christ (e.g. see my comments on 1 John 5:10-13 that I left in the last post). Now, how is God just to condemn unbelievers for rejecting an atonement that was never intended for them nor provided for them?
    I have more to say regarding the context of 1 Cor. 15:3, but I am out of time for today.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  16. kangaroodort Says:

    Twitchell,

    I hesitate to interact with you since you have not been above questioning my salvation for disagreeing with your Calvinism in the past. I also know that you tend to write long convoluted posts which I often have trouble unraveling. But I do want to address your comments concerning the context and I intend to do that when I get some more time. I am still confident that the context of the passage supports my reading and works against yours. So I intend to make a general post addressing contextual elements and maybe touch on a few of your comments along the way.

    After that I will probably need to bow out of this conversation as I just don’t have the time to devote to it (and I know I won’t get the last word here anyway). I will just be content to let anyone who reads these posts to make up their mind concerning who is trying to allow the text to speak for itself and who is reading something into the passage that does not belong.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  17. Darrin Says:

    Kangaroo of Dort, :)

    You say “At the judgment none of their sins will be atoned for since they are separated from the source of atonement, Jesus Christ.” Yet you also maintain “Christ died for all unbelievers”. Your logic is faulty, in view of God’s immutability and foreknowledge.

    But then your whole stream of reasoning is riddled with unbiblical inconsistencies. Talk about settling on a viewpoint and wresting scripture to match it. But like you, I just don’t have the time to address everything.

    “how is God just to condemn unbelievers for rejecting an atonement that was never intended for them nor provided for them?” He is just no matter what He does, according to His judgment, not yours or mine – He makes that quite clear. He is just to condemn them for their sin. Period. They do not love, obey or even acknowledge Him – thus they fully deserve judgment (as do we). What makes you to differ from them? Was it something inherently better about you, or did Christ place it there Himself?

    But I realize you believe you can refute John Owen – so I don’t expect you’ll much value our arguments.

  18. kangaroodort Says:

    Here are some contextual reasons why I believe the passage is best read as meaning that Paul preached that Christ died for his sins as well as his unbelieving hearers (“our sins”). All Scripture is ESV.

    Verse 1: “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand,”

    Paul is reminding them of the gospel he once preached to them and the gospel that they now cling to (“in which you stand”)

    Verse 2: “and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you–unless you believed in vain.”

    This gives us quite a bit of insight into the intention of verse 3. Paul does not say that those who might not “hold fast” the gospel they received (verse 3) “were never true believers” or “never really believed in the first place”, nor does he say that it was a false faith. Rather he says that their initial faith would then prove to be in vain since it did not continue (they did not “hold fast”- big trouble for “P”). Nor would they “believe in vain” because the content of the gospel message was not intended for them (“Christ died for our sins”), but simply because they have ceased to believe that message that they had once embraced. And what is the message?

    Verses 3 and 4: “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,”

    This is the primary content of the gospel message that Paul shared with them and they received; and the message that they need to cling to even now. Why share the content of this initial message again? Obviously it is so they can be reminded and encouraged to keep believing it. They received the truth that “Christ died for our sins” and was raised again on the third day, according to the Scriptures.

    Now let’s suppose that Paul only meant “our sins” as “us saved people- the church, and not any of you unbelievers that I am preaching to”. What about that message can they receive? Did they embrace the gospel by saying, “Yes, I receive the truth that Jesus died for you and the church Paul”? Will such a confession save? How can we be saved if we do not personally put faith in Christ’s blood and believe that blood was shed for us, for our salvation? What if someone said, “I don’t have a problem believing that Christ might have died for you, but I just can’t believe He died for me.” What would the Calvinist say to such a person? He can’t assure the person that Christ died for him since it is more likely that Christ did not die for him. So what can he do?

    It seems obvious that these Corinthians didn’t receive the message that Christ died for Paul and the church since to believe such a thing doesn’t make one a part of the church. No. To become a part of the church and be forgiven, one must believe that Christ died for him (Rom. 3:25), else they can never know that they are part of the church, or have any share in it. Saving faith is confidence that the promise of God is for us. That promise is forgiveness of sins and a future resurrection for all that believe. That is the content of the rest of the chapter, that they must believe in the resurrection or their faith is in vain. But what good does it do to believe in the resurrection if Christ did not die for you? None at all. We look forward to the future life secured by Christ’s resurrection because we believe Christ died for us (“our sins”).

    This is the natural way to read the text. The alternative is very awkward and downplays the meaningfulness of the gospel received to those who receive it. So the context only supports the contention that “our sins” means “mine and yours” for three important reasons.

    1) Paul is speaking of and reminding them of his initial gospel proclamation to them before they believed. He was preaching “Christ died for our sins” to unbelievers.

    2) To read “ours” as “the elect, but not necessarily you” empties the message of any direct relevance to those who are being called on to embrace it.

    3) It would be nonsense to ask them to “hold fast” to the gospel which says only that Christ died for “the elect” but not necessarily for them.

    4) If the possibility remains that they might not “hold fast” (as is obviously true from verse 2) and fall away, according to Calvinist theology this would mean that they were never really saved and Christ didn’t actually die for them. In that case they would prove they were never saved because they refused to continue believing that Christ died for the elect, but not necessarily for them. And this is plainly absurd.

    5) It makes much more sense to believe that these Corinthians received Paul’s message the Christ died for their sins as well as his (“ours”), and that this was confirmed in the resurrection, which was confirmed by those whom He appeared to (vss. 5-8). It makes much more sense to believe that they are being admonished to continue to believe that Christ’s death was for them and His resurrection will be their resurrection, and not to abandon that truth, else their initial faith in that truth will prove vain (which undermines the Calvinist “P” in TULIP as well).

    Now to suggest, as Twitchell does, that Paul means only him and the apostles described in verses 5-8, does not fit the context and more importantly the context alone certainly does not dictate this specific limitation to “ours”. It must be read into the text without warrant. The reason that Paul mentions the apostles is to confirm in his hearers’ minds that Christ truly did rise from the dead since He was seen by the apostles, the 500, and Paul, and that this truth was part of the original content of the gospel they received (vs. 4) and that they were now in danger of rejecting (vss. 2, 12-58). This, again, is the natural reading of the text and not that Paul is mentioning the other apostles as a subtle means to limit “our” in verse 3 to “me and the other apostles.” And really, we would probably need to then limit “our” to those alone who had seen the risen Christ. Do we really want to suggest that Paul meant only that Christ died exclusively for the sins of those that Christ appeared to, and no one else?

    When we read the passage in context and take Paul’s words in the most natural way it seems clear that he is saying, “Let me remind you of the gospel you received, that Christ died for our (yours and mine) sins and that He rose again. You need to continue to believe this else your initial reception of this truth will be for nothing. Remember that Christ appeared to the apostles and the 500, and remember that your hope is in that resurrection life that His forgiveness provides for us. Be careful not to deny the the possibility of future resurrection, since in doing so you will deny Christ’s resurrection as well, and in essence deny the gospel and forfeit your hope. Instead, continue to hope in Christ who died for us and secured everlasting life for us.”

    As usual, much more could be said, but I need to leave it here and let any readers decide for themselves which interpretation makes the best sense of the context and specific language Paul uses in these passages.

  19. kangaroodort Says:

    Darrin,

    You say “At the judgment none of their sins will be atoned for since they are separated from the source of atonement, Jesus Christ.” Yet you also maintain “Christ died for all unbelievers”. Your logic is faulty, in view of God’s immutability and foreknowledge.

    The answer is simply that the atonement is provisional in Christ. So yes, Christ died for all and thereby provided atonement for all, but only those who receive that atoning work by faith will benefit from it (only those who come to be “in Christ” by faith). You assume that the atonement can only be unconditionally applied. I obviously deny that assumption.

    And if you have a problem with the atonement being provisional, then you should have a problem with Calvinism as well since even in Calvinism the atonement is provisional until it is applied, else the elect would be forgiven from birth, which is plainly unbiblical.

    As for immutability and foreknowledge, you have not made your case in the least. Are you saying God can’t provide atonement for those who He foreknows will reject that atonement? That is quite the assertion. But of course you understand foreknowledge differently than I do. Let me suggest that God provides atonement for those who will reject that atonement for the sake of justice and the integrity of His character. Otherwise He would be condemning them for rejecting something that was never offered them, nor intended for them, nor provided for them (as explained in my last post).

    I understand the philosophical objection here, but I believe [as I know you also believe] that we need to look to Scripture to understand the mind of God [what He would do, wouldn't do, did do, didn't do, etc.].

    I see problems with this understanding based on the parable of the banquet found in Matt. 22 and Luke 14.

    In both of these accounts, it seems that the feast was prepared for those who would refuse the invitation [specifically the Jews]. The invitation went out to them, and the invitation was genuine. They refused the invitation and angered the king [not specified as a king in the Luke account]. Now if the feast was not intended or prepared for these Jews, then why was the king angry with them when they would not come? In your understanding, He never intended them to come and made no provisions for them. Look at Matt. 22:4. After the initial invitation was refused, the king sent His servants a second time saying,

    “Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.”

    Those invited refuse again and mistreated the servants. The king is enraged. He then says,

    “The wedding banquet is ready, those I invited did not deserve to come.”

    Notice the reason why the guests were refused was not because the dinner was not provided for them, but because they refused the invitation, and thereby proved unworthy to attend.

    If the banquet had not been provided for them, then the king had no right to be angry with them for not attending, after all, according to Calvinism, the king never intended for them to attend, and was therefore being dishonest when he told the guests that the dinner had been prepared for them.

    The issue, then, is not foreknowledge, but the genuineness of the offer and the integrity of the one making the offer.

    The Arminian understanding of foreknowledge is that God knows as certain all future events without necessarily causing those events. This does not mean that those events foreknown by God become artificial or meaningless because God knows them. They are still very real, and God’s interactions with us are still very real and completely genuine.

    The king made the dinner even for those who [since the king represents God] He had always known would reject it. God is just, however, and because He is just He cannot condemn men for refusing something that was never provided for them.

    But then your whole stream of reasoning is riddled with unbiblical inconsistencies. Talk about settling on a viewpoint and wresting scripture to match it. But like you, I just don’t have the time to address everything.

    Well, I think you need to be careful claiming that my stream of reasoning is “riddled with unbiblical inconsistencies”, etc., while not taking the time to explain how that is the case. It really amounts to bear assertion and nothing else.

    “how is God just to condemn unbelievers for rejecting an atonement that was never intended for them nor provided for them?” He is just no matter what He does, according to His judgment, not yours or mine – He makes that quite clear.

    So you have no answer accept to say, because I say so. I was not making an arbitrary claim concerning God’s integrity and justice but basing it on the revelation of God in Scripture (He is a God of truth and would never condemn sinners for rejecting what was for them a lie, etc.). But you claims do seem to be arbitrary.

    He is just to condemn them for their sin. Period. They do not love, obey or even acknowledge Him – thus they fully deserve judgment (as do we).

    And why do they act this way? Is it not because God necessitated those actions by way of an irrevocable and eternal decree? We are heading down another road here and I really don’t want to start a new debate, but I will point out that you all over the place now and have not addressed the actual exegesis of the text in question. I think you have demonstrated that your commitment to TULIP theology is fully controlling your exegesis, rather than allowing exegesis to control your theology.

    What makes you to differ from them? Was it something inherently better about you, or did Christ place it there Himself?

    Let me direct you to a few posts that I think address this question rather than moving this discussion even farther away from the original disagreement (the meaning and implications of 1 Cor. 15:3).

    link
    link

    But I realize you believe you can refute John Owen – so I don’t expect you’ll much value our arguments.

    I value any argument that is logical and comports with the reality of God’s self revelation. I do think Owen was wrong, and I am hope you will not hold that against me as I am sure you would agree that no man is infallible.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  20. kangaroodort Says:

    Sorry, should have said “five important reasons” in the post on contextual considerations above.


  21. “I value any argument that is logical and comports with the reality of God’s self revelation.”

    And just what is that self-revelation? Do you agree that Jesus did not pray for all men, but only those who the Father gave him out of the world? Do you believe that we can actually know the Father as Jesus did and behold his glory as he prayed we would, being one as they are, and knowing in truth, or is it just a “belief?”

    By the way, how is it logical to use differing definitions for concepts? You say that Calvinism asserts that Christ made provision. But, you define provision differently than we do. When we say provision we do not men potential. That is what you mean. When we say provision we mean what is actually accomplished. Which, by the way, is exactly the contestation of this passage. You would like to make the provision one which might not include the resurrection except that one holds on to the faith. Contrary to that, the passage is contradicting those like yourself who only provisionally believe; those who would deny the resurrection already accomplished. You mischaracterize our position on the provision, and if you doubt that salvation has been provided for those who will be his from their birth, it is simply a matter that you have not read the Scripture: “Listen to me, O coastlands, and give attention, you peoples from afar. The Lord called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name…But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace,
    (Greek set me apart from my mother’s womb). That is the nature of the provision, whether you accept it or not, the Scripture declares you to be a false teacher.

    This goes along with the illogical way you approach the argument. You make the blood of Christ a common thing, one which can be denied, ergo, provisional. We make it efficacious, one which when shed, actually accomplished the work it was intended to accomplish, which includes the resurrection, a purchased inheritance. By the way, the High Priest has yet to come forth from the Holiest of All. So if you were not included in the blood shed, you surely will not be included when he comes again to apply salvation to the elect with that blood.

    Like the vain teachers and those who profess an insufficient faith, who deny the resurrection, you deny that Christ’s work actually accomplished the resurrection for believers. To wit, you say, that one can lose their salvation if they do not hold on to the confession until the end, as if it were possible to deny the resurrection. But, Paul’s view is that it is impossible to deny that which was witnessed. And Paul makes no separation between those who saw Christ’s bodily resurrection and those who have received the revelation by faith. In other words, the kind of faith that you assume to be Christian actually denies Christ’s very words that he reveals himself to his own. It is quite a different faith that you put forth, as Paul says, it is a vain faith, which denies the resurrection of Christ in fact because it does not apprehend the resurrection as accomplished in believers.

    So what self-revelation of God are you speaking about, a Christ who has not appeared to his own? You see Haterofdort, faith is not found in only the belief that Christ has resurrected and we with him, but is founded upon the revealtion of it; we know it because we are witness to it and know it as being true of ourselves. Or, to put it another way, true faith is as if we were among those who Paul had listed. Do you believe that “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free,” or do you only have a provisional faith that you have been set free from the law of sin and death? To put it another way, do you have eternal life, the resurrection, or do you deny it?

    Which leads us to, how do you know that Jesus was resurrected from the dead? Only by second hand knowledge, or, has he revealed himself to you by the Spirit? And, if it was by the Spirit, how is it that you say that you can deny what you know to be true? Now, that is illogical; that the truth can be not true?

    If one can deny the truth and not hold to it to the end saying the had at one time received it, it is evidence that he never did receive the revelation of Christ. So, it is up to you, deny that you are a part of the Resurrection (for if you died with him you surely have been raised with him and have eternal life) and take your place with those who Paul is speaking of in the negative here, or at least admit, that you have never beheld the resurrected Christ, even though you believe it true. Which is it?

  22. Darrin Says:

    kangaroo,
    Be content then to think I am more committed to TULIP than to scripture if you will. I am traveling this weekend and enjoying the break. I imagine that no matter what I say, you will continue to think me terribly inaccurate, as I do you. It seems some of your responses to others have been “you just proved my point” when they’ve actually quite well refuted it. Answer Thomas and Andrew’s questions, for starters. And please try to quote in context.
    I’m sure that Owen was fallible, but also incredibly more solid in argument than are you.

  23. Darrin Says:

    I just got back, and I’ve been convicted about the lack of grace on my part – I’m sorry, Ben. Tough week, but that’s no excuse.
    Yours in Christ,
    Darrin

  24. kangaroodort Says:

    That is the nature of the provision, whether you accept it or not, the Scripture declares you to be a false teacher.

    And this is exactly why I said that I was reluctant to dialogue with you, and it is why I will not dialogue with you any more. And this is really difficult for me since I think that your arguments really should be addressed and are mainly unjustified assertions without careful consideration to context. But it is obvious that you do not respect me and think yourself and your interpretations infallible, so it would really be a waste of time to continue this conversation.

    You make an assertion and declare it to be infallible truth to the extent that you declare me a false teacher if I do not agree with your assertions. This is what I was describing before. If someone disagrees with you on how to interpret a certain passage then you assume them to be unregenerate, evil, or a false teacher, etc. This strikes me as incredibly arrogant. I pray that you will rethink the manner in which you interact with fellow believers (assuming you even see me as a fellow believer).

    God Bless,
    Ben

  25. kangaroodort Says:

    Darrin,

    No apology necessary from my perspective, but if the Spirit prompted you to apologize then I very much appreciate your humility and sensitivity to the Spirit’s leading. You and I disagee and I am very confident in what I believe. I think it is good to challenge each other’s presuppositions and methods of interpretations. We will likely continue to disagree but at least we will have learned something from each other, even if it is just a clearer and more accurate picture of the opposing view we are criticizing. And that is never a bad thing.

    I respect you as a person and I do not think myself smarter than you, nor do I think myself infallible. I am confident in what I believe and I am trying to explain to you where that confidence comes from. If I have direspected you in that process, then I owe you an apology.

    I think this is an important discussion and I wish I had the time to continue it, but I really need to focus my energy elsewhere, so this will probably be my last post in this thread (I have not looked at the other thread since my last response, but if I respond there, it will probably my last response in that thread as well).

    God Bless,
    Ben


  26. kangaroodort- The name is such because you hate Dort and believe those who carried the day were wrong, false teachers, and those who hold to Dort are false teachers also.

    You find my dogmatic stance offensive but you do the same. Further, you claim that yours is truth and by doing so say mine is false. You call me a false teacher.

    You defend what you believe, not because you do not believe that it is the truth, and the only truth, but because you do. Or, you would not defend it at all. Your concern, like mine, is that others do not remain in darkness, entrapped by lies, and that is commendable. You defend your beliefs dogmatically as truth out of what you consider to be love. So do I.

    You find offense. But, in the passage we were considering, isn’t it the truth that Paul used such language. And isn’t it the truth that he questioned their faith? Didn’t he promise to come in power to correct if they did not repent? Paul ordered Timothy not to allow false teaching and to insist upon the truth. When confronting Peter, it did not matter that he was also an apostle. Paul treated him as an enemy of the faith as if he were an unbeliever for the things he was doing. In confronting the Galatians, he called them fools and not only condemned their adherence to the doctine you espouse of self-santification to complete there salvation, he questioned whether or not his preaching to them was in vain. He worried that they had not truly been converted. Instead of approaching them as you would have others approach you, he directly challenged their salvation. And his harsh language is reminiscent of the Lord’s using simular language when dealing with his disciples: anoetes and bradus put together means stupid fools. And this, when they were at their lowest, in grief, having lost hope :”that it was He who was going to redeem Israel.” So I am not outside Scriptural warrant. In either case, it was not from a heart of condemnation, regardless of the tact, but one of compassion desiring repentance.

    I could care less that you respond at all, even at that. My charge is to be faithful to the trust which I have been given, whether it makes you my enemy or not. My hope is that it would not go toward no effect. But, even Jesus was not bound in grief for those who turned away from the word of truth.

    I ask the questions in all seriousness. Because just as you are doing in dogmatically asserting your doctrine, and like Paul, I an in pains as one in child-birth, until Christ is formed in you. That is what you desire of me, yet, I have not responded to you with the recalcitrance you exhibit and my responses are no less and no more loving. They have one goal. I am all too open to hear your challenges. More than that though, I am willing to be hated by you for telling you the truth because, far from your assessment of the matter, this is the proper way to handle falsehood.

    If you sincerely believe that all opinions are equal, then drop the name, and drop the pursuit of trying to change the minds of others. It is really not logical at all and the insistance that others treat you on equal grounding with equal right to hold opinion is irrational in view of the command to speak the truth in love, to grow in to the unity of the faith in the full knowledge of the Son, to be instance in and out of season to give an answer to all who challenge, to rebuke, reprove and train, and insist on these things.

    So, I assume nothing about you. I presume based upon the facts that you convey and draw the same conclusions as Paul. I do not know, but I am worried.

  27. Darrin Says:

    Thomas,
    I was concerned about Ben’s posting name too – unless he corrects me, I assume it is a knock on the brothers of old at Dort, which I do find offensive, considering the great respect I have for them. One place where readers can go through their articles, formed after long and diligent effort, is

    http://apuritansmind.com/Creeds/SynodOfDordt.htm

    While I feel I addressed Ben in the wrong manner, I do not retract my strong opposition to his assertions. I meant to ask, for example, about his use of the banquet parable to make a point, and yet he didn’t mention that verse at the end “For many are called, but few are chosen.” As in many cases, the omitted lines cast a rather new light than that for which the Arminian argues.


  28. Partitioned versing I think is called exesnipenpastegesis.

    Ben’s name has been a point of contention between us before, as you probably surmised.

  29. kangaroodort Says:

    Thomas and Darrin,

    The name “kangaroodort” is a defensive screne name and not meant to be “offensive”. It is primarily my way of saying, “I will not be labeled a heretic by Calvinists”. I don’t really have a problem with the men of Dort themselves (since I didn’t know them personally), but I do have a problem with the way those proceedings were conducted and the resulting persecutions to the Remonstrants. That is quite “offensive” to me. So I do believe it was essentially a “kangaroo court” and hence the name.

    I have heard Calvinists point to Dort as some kind of significant condemnation of Arminianism as if it proves Arminiansim to be heretical. This is plainly not the case. It was a case of a bunch of Calvinists condemning Arminianism based on their Calvinistic Creeds and Confessions. Hardly surprising what the outcome would be. The fact that Dort condemned Arminianism means as little to me as the fact that the Roman Catholic church condemned Luther and protestantism at worms.

    The fact that you guys seem offended is puzzeling to me. Are you Dort? Were you a part of that synod? Is Dort the same as Calvinism? To me your offense is as strange as the offense taken by Mormons of Christians who argue against Mormonism (which they call “anti-Mormons”) when Joseph Smith condemned all Christian creeds as “abominations”. Do not Christians have the right to defend themselves against such charges? Don’t I have a right to defend myself against the charges of heresy from Dort and point out the lopsided nature of that “synod”?

    I hope it is not the case that you want to defend Dort because you want to paint me as a heretic, though I can certainly see that of Twitchell as He continues to do just that. In that case it does not surprise me that he wants to stand up for Dort and is “offended” by my screen name. Hope that clears up some confusion. Just know it is not a personal attack on either of you, nor an attack on Calvinism, but a refusal to wear the label of “heretic” that so many Calvinist want to place on me. Make sense?

    But I have seen some personal attacks coming from Twitchell, both here and in the past. Yet I have never questioned his salvation. I have never called him a heretic. And I have never suggested he is unregenerate because he disagrees with me or is not convinced by my arguments. Yet he has done all of these things to me and continues to do so. Then he has the nerve to tell me how offensive my screen name is to him. Sorry, but that doesn’t seem very consistent to me.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  30. kangaroodort Says:

    As far as “many are called” but few are chosen, that doesn’t disagree with Arminianism in the least. Rather it supports it. The provision is real and the call goes out to all based on the reality of that provision and the genuine intentions of God for all to partake of that provision (sounds like Arminianism to me).

    Those who respond are the “chosen”. They do not respond because they are “chosen”, but are chosen because they responded. That is the natural reading of the text. To say that some responded because they were unconditionally preselected to respond is nowhere in the text, nor is it even hinted at. It must be read into the text. So it seems to me like the entire text comports perfectly with Arminiansim while it cause difficulty for Calvinism. I respect your right to disagree.

    May God bless you both as you continue to seek Him and His truth.

    Ben

    • DFB Says:

      “…but are chosen because they responded.”

      The general questions:
      1.Did God choose us because we responded positively?
      2. Who was the source why we responded positively?
      3. Does God save us because we will respond positively?

      The more specific questions:
      1. Are you saved? If yes…
      2. Who saved you? If it was Jesus…
      3. Whose purpose was it? Is it yours or is it His?

      The answers:
      ACCORDING TO HIS GOOD PLEASURE, NOT OURS:
      Ephesians 1:5 “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, ACCORDING TO THE GOOD PLEASURE OF HIS WILL”

      ACCORDING TO HIS OWN COUNSEL, NOT OURS:
      Ephesians 1:11 “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the PURPOSE OF HIM who WORKETH ALL THINGS after the counsel of HIS OWN WILL:”

      ACCORDING TO HIS WILL, NOT THE FLESH:
      John 1:12-13 “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, BUT OF GOD.”

      IF GOD SETS THE HEAVENS IN PLACE, WITHOUT YOUR HELP, HE CAN ALSO DRAW YOU TO HIMSELF WITHOUT YOUR HELP:
      Psa 8:3-4 “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?”

      WE ARE ONLY GRASSHOPPERS IN HIS SIGHT:
      Isa 40:22-23 “It is he who sits above the circle of the earth,
      and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers;who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in;who brings princes to nothing, and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness.

      IF GOD CHOSE YOU, IT WAS BECAUSE OF HIS LOVINGKINDNESS OR MERCY, NOT BECAUSE YOU MADE A DECISION FOR CHRIST:
      Jer 31:3 “The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying:
      “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;
      Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.

      If God chose me because I responded positively, where is grace then? It is no longer grace. It becomes a payment of God to me because I chose Him. What makes salvation then? It is now “work-oriented” and “man-centered” salvation. It is no longer based on God’s purpose! It is no longer based after the counsel of His own will! It is no longer according to His good pleasure but my pleasure instead. What makes God then? He is no longer the “Almighty God!” HE WOULD NOT EVEN QUALIFY AS GOD!!!

      Let us define grace first:
      “Grace has been defined as the unmerited favor of God; and if unmerited, then none can claim it as their inalienable right. If grace is unearned and undeserved, then none are entitled to it. If grace is a gift, then none can demand it. Therefore, as salvation is by grace, the free gift of God, then He bestows it on whom He pleases. Because salvation is by grace, boasting is excluded and God gets all the glory.”

      Let us explore the word “WILL”:
      1.As the dictionary defines it, “the power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one’s own discretion.”
      2. God is a free agent and therefore has His own free-will in His decision-making.
      3. Therefore, if He chose you because, you responded, it is no longer based on His own will but yours.
      4. What makes God then? He is no longer independent in His decision-making! He is no longer “omnipotent.” He now becomes a God who relies on man when He saves.
      5. What becomes of our salvation? It becomes man-oriented! God is merely a beggar, begging us to repent. God becomes a mere spectator waiting for you and me to accept Him!
      6. The bible says, otherwise! John 6:44 stresses that “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

      Conclusion:
      The “will” of God emanates from Him and His nature alone! No outside entity like yours and mine affect “HIS WILL!” Otherwise, His will becomes a slave to ours. Most of all, His will is no longer free! What do we make of Him then?We make Him a liar! I tell you…

      If God waited on man to come to Him instead, what is bound to happen? No one gets saved! Why? Here are the answers:
      1. No one understands God! (Psalm 14:1)
      2. No one seeks God! No, not one! (Romans 3:11-18)
      3. No one would to come to Jesus (John 5:40)

      You chose God because He chose you first! You love God because He loved you first. If the whole issue of salvation is because it was you who made a decision for Christ, then heaven will be filled with Pharisees, self-centered saints and boasters who would utter such words:

      “Lord, I thank thee for I am not like others. I made a decision for you while on earth and so here I am walking with you in the streets of Gold.”

      Will God get the glory with this kind of saint in heaven? I can tell you no boasters, nor pharisees will enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt 7:21-23)!

      Lastly, “consider your calling, brother: not many of us were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that NO HUMAN BEING MIGHT BOAST IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD (1 Corinthians 1:26-29).

      DFB

  31. kangaroodort Says:

    Twitchell,

    Your comments to me are not very helpful. You are right that I am confident in my position, but I still believe that I could be wrong. I pray that I am not, but admit that I may be misuderstanding Scripture. I would like to be able to seek truth along side you and other Calvinsists without condemning them at every turn as heritics and false teachers, or being condemned in like manner. I also hesitate to put myself on the level of the inspired apostles and those who were directly taught by them. Afterall, we are struggling to undertstand their very words, are we not?

    But your comments suggest to me that you feel you stand infallibly on their side and alone properly understand their words to the point that you feel no shame in pronouncing anathema on those who disagree with you. Again, that strikes me as very arrogant. Really, your words remind me of the papacy that you rightly denounce.

    And I really don’t appreciate you telling me what I believe as in the following comment:

    In confronting the Galatians, he called them fools and not only condemned their adherence to the doctine you espouse of self-santification to complete there salvation, he questioned whether or not his preaching to them was in vain.

    I don’t believe this and have never claimed to believe in “self-sanctification”. Now I know that you think I believe this based on your own presuppositions and misunderstanding of Arminian theology, but since I have never claimed to hold to such a stance, I am insulted that you feel no shame in attributing it to me anyway.

    I am also concerned that you feel you need to lead me to “repentance” and yet have such a hard time objectively evaluating the nature of your interactions with me.

    God Bless,
    Ben


  32. krd-

    Why defensive if you believe you might be wrong? And if wrong, wouldn’t that make it false, and if false, where in that is confidence in the faith and what justification is it of your attempts to convert others? What are you trying to convert them to, doubt?

    You say: I don’t believe this and have never claimed to believe in “self-sanctification”.

    Do you believe that someone can lose their salvation? Correct me if I am wrong. Does your free-will doctrine demand that it is by your effort that you remain in the faith? Is it possible once one is saved, to exercise free-will and chose not to be? In other words, unless one continues in the faith the way they started, according to your doctrine, by choice, i.e., self-sanctification, will they destroy the work of Christ? Doesn’t that make the blood of Christ a common thing that cannot truly take away sin?

    When you exposit the word of God, are you or are you not putting yourself on the level of the apostles?
    Do you believe that if you speak that you are to speak as an oracle of God? If you teach others do you not teach yourself. If you are a teacher of the blind, are you blind yourself? You say so.

    There are somethings, I am sure, that you are convinced of, right? Isn’t it the height of arrogance that you would disallow others the right to be convinced of what you are in doubt of (“I could be wrong”)? How is it, that you can tell others that they are wrong if you do not hold the truth yourself? By what light do you shed light if the light in you is darkness?

    Go look at DJP’s post at Pyro: Bible interpretation dodge #1 — plastic text (NEXT! #4).

    It is a simple propostition. How do you know that I am wrong if you admit that you might be? It can only be knowledge of my fallacy if indeed you do not believe yourselve wrong. Now, the question is, when you speak definitively about what the Scripture means, are you, or are you not saying that it does not mean something else. In which case, if I say it does, you call me a false teacher, de facto, and what is sauce for the goose is gravy for the gander. You present yourself as the end all definition of truth but take offense when challenged. Get a backbone, live with it, or drop the name. There is no reason to be defensive if you have nothing to defend. I take offense because your name is an attack, and you know it. It is a derogatory view. It would be quite different if you called yourself “arminiandefender”. It is quite a different thing when you purposely call those who defend Calvinism fools and false teachers and caricature us as unrighteous judges and lynch party partisans. You have the right to, and it is commendable that you are so invested. So why the disrespect of my self-investment? Isn’t it fair that others call you by the names that are inferred if not explicated by you.

    Whether I am regenerate or not is not at issue. If I am, I could still be as those in Galatia. If an apostle can be captured by Satan to do his will as Peter was, then I certainly could be. As you have admitted, you don’t know what is true, for you say that you might be wrong, and if wrong, you may be captured by Satan to do his will, right? Was Peter merely asserting orthodoxy, or did he really believe that what he was doing was right? He was doing what he believed to be true, or he wouldn’t have been doing it, and was acting upon the instructions of James. Paul told him in love that he was being like the unregenerate teachers of the law. In doing so, his rebuke reached above Peter to Jerusalem and below him to Galatia. Instead of taking offense as you have done, he repented. He did not get all afuzz like a challenged feline and demand that Paul apologize for questioning him or his regeneration. As Paul says, “Are you not still in the flesh?” Meaning that the behavior, as Peter speaks to elsewhere, denies the claim that Jesus bought them. So too, false doctrine does the same.

    My appropriation of Galatians was about the right to be condemnatory. My apologies for opening up the wound of your doubting your perseverance.

    Thanks for coming back after saying that you would not. In all sincerity, I grieve for your conversion. Not that you are not regenerate, but that your doctrine says differently.

  33. kangaroodort Says:

    Twitchell,

    I don’t even know how to respond to this. You wrote,

    “…and if you doubt that salvation has been provided for those who will be his from their birth, it is simply a matter that you have not read the Scripture”

    “That is the nature of the provision, whether you accept it or not, the Scripture declares you to be a false teacher.”

    “Like the vain teachers and those who profess an insufficient faith, who deny the resurrection, you deny that Christ’s work actually accomplished the resurrection for believers.”

    “In other words, the kind of faith that you assume to be Christian actually denies Christ’s very words that he reveals himself to his own. It is quite a different faith that you put forth, as Paul says, it is a vain faith, which denies the resurrection of Christ in fact because it does not apprehend the resurrection as accomplished in believers.”

    “So, it is up to you, deny that you are a part of the Resurrection (for if you died with him you surely have been raised with him and have eternal life) and take your place with those who Paul is speaking of in the negative here, or at least admit, that you have never beheld the resurrected Christ, even though you believe it true. Which is it?”

    “I could care less that you respond at all, even at that. My charge is to be faithful to the trust which I have been given, whether it makes you my enemy or not. My hope is that it would not go toward no effect. But, even Jesus was not bound in grief for those who turned away from the word of truth.
    and like Paul, I an in pains as one in child-birth, until Christ is formed in you.”

    “I am willing to be hated by you for telling you the truth because, far from your assessment of the matter, this is the proper way to handle falsehood.
    I presume based upon the facts that you convey and draw the same conclusions as Paul. I do not know, but I am worried.”

    “Instead of taking offense as you have done, he repented. He did not get all afuzz like a challenged feline and demand that Paul apologize for questioning him or his regeneration. As Paul says, “Are you not still in the flesh?” Meaning that the behavior, as Peter speaks to elsewhere, denies the claim that Jesus bought them. So too, false doctrine does the same.”

    “My appropriation of Galatians was about the right to be condemnatory. My apologies for opening up the wound of your doubting your perseverance.
    I grieve for your conversion. Not that you are not regenerate, but that your doctrine says differently.”

    Do you really see humility and grace in these words?

    You seem to think that if I don’t embrace limited atonement (a doctrine that was unheard of among all Christian writers prior to Calvin and Beza) and inevitable perseverance (a doctrine that was universally rejected by the church for the first 1500+ years of church history) then I am unsaved. That is simply amazing to me.

    I sincerely hope that you will reconsider what you think should be the test of orthodoxy.

    God Bless,
    Ben

    What bothers me most is the way you continue to misrepresent my position. There are numerous straw man attacks in this last post of yours and you have put words in my mouth that never even entered my mind.

    All I see here is a lot of effort being put into justifying your behavior.


  34. “Do you really see humility and grace in these words?”

    Yes. Do you see that you are not being humble nor graceful in not granting others the liberty you take for yourself?

    “(a doctrine that was unheard of among all Christian writers prior to Calvin and Beza)”

    Here’s your problem. I could care less what these men taught. That they held to the same I embrace, but that is not why I embrace what they taught.

  35. Arminian Says:

    Darrin,

    I would like to ask you to weigh in on the discussion between Thomas Twitchell and Ben. For you have seemed to side with Twitchell against Ben, yet seem also to embrace Arminians as brothers in Christ, just as Ben, and me too, embrace Calvinists as brothers in Christ. Twitchell seems to charge that Ben is not a true Christian because he does not believe in Calvinism. I would think that you do not agree. I would like to call on you to denounce that sort of divisiveness. It is hurtful to the body of Christ and unhelpful for fruitful discussion between Arminians and Calvinists who preach the same basic gospel and serve the same Lord.

    As for further comment on Twitchell’s posts, it seems crazy to think that if someone is confident about his position, but humbly acknowledges that he can be wrong about it, that his position is meaningless or one of doubt or can’t validly think his own position correct or another position wrong. But this helps explain why Twitchell comes off as so arrogant and apparently feels free to denounce those who disagree with him as unregenerate. Perhaps this type of thinking helps to fuel the arrogance that so many have found in Calvinists, to the point that Calvinist leaders have been calling attention to this and calling on fellow Calvinists to humility. Not all Calvinists are arrogant, that’s for sure. But there is a certain element that is, and it may well be fueled in part by this attitude that one is incapable of being wrong. Well, it’s probably more accurate to say that arrogance fules the position that one is incapable of being wrong. Is that really your position Thomas Twitchell? And have you been saying or implying that Ben is not a true Christian? It is hard to see how you have not been given the words you have posted. But now you have the opportunity to say that you embrace Ben and Arminians generally as brothers in the Lord, and that it is possible for you to be wrong about secondary doctrines like the one’s position on Arminianism and Calvinism.


  36. In other words, unless one continues in the faith the way they started, according to your doctrine, by choice, i.e., self-sanctification, will they destroy the work of Christ?

    If our strength to persevere is by God’s grace, it cannot be truthfully classified as ‘self-sanctification.’ that’s a rather juvenile smear tactic.

    Doesn’t that make the blood of Christ a common thing that cannot truly take away sin?

    Not at all, those who do endure unequivocally do have their sins taken away, and could not have have been so apart from Christ’s blood; hence such a conclusion as you draw is shown to be completely incoherent by basic counter-example. The belief that salvation can be forfeited by those who have received it is strongly rooted in numerous scriptural warnings against apostasy delivered to those who are saved.


  37. “if someone is confident about his position, but humbly acknowledges that he can be wrong about it…

    I am confident that I am saved, but I may be wrong about it?

    “…feels free to denounce those who disagree with him as unregenerate.”

    Never did that.

    “…this attitude that one is incapable of being wrong…”

    I am capable of being wrong, I was an Arminian ;) Are you capable about being wrong about me? Or are you too arrogant? If I know what I believe is true, isn’t it arrogant of you to tell me it is wrong when you admit that you might be wrong about my being wrong?

    “Is that really your position Thomas Twitchell?” I am often wrong. But where I am right I am right, and until you can prove me wrong I am right even if I am wrong. But as touching these doctrines, it is my position that they are right, that I am as confident about that as I am about my salvation.

    “Ben and Arminians generally as brothers in the Lord”

    I accept that too. It would be rediculous for me to testify otherwise, I was Arminian for most of my new life in Christ. That is not the issue. Look again at what Paul did with Peter. His position was that by submitting again to the circumcision, Christ became of no effect. He challenged his regeneration, but think about it for a minute. He knew who Peter was, he also knew his own doctrine and was confident that nothing could separate him from Christ, so he was not doubting Peter was regenerate, rather, his doctrine was not that of the regenerate. Get it now? It is not arrogance, but a fair question. Paul’s question to the Galatians bears the same plea for self-examination: “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” If it was by grace that salvation is granted and not grace plus human effort as JCT would have one believe, it is by the Spirit and not by the Spirit plus human effort that it is perfected. There is no self-sanctification. Any work that man does is not man, but as Paul said, “yet, not I, but Christ.” So Philippians also testifies that he who began the work will complete it. Just as it began unilaterally it is completed unilaterally and we do only that which the Holy Spirit empowers, “For it is he who works in you both the will to do, and the doing, of his good pleasure.” By his will, by his power, not our own, nor any of our strength.

    I know that you would like me to recant, I can’t. What I know to be true is true and it would not serve you or anyone else for me to admit that I might be wrong when that is not the truth.

    “If our strength to persevere is by God’s grace, it cannot be truthfully classified as ’self-sanctification.’ that’s a rather juvenile smear tactic.”

    Paul was such an idiot, such a juvie: ‘But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.’

    As is typical of you JCT, liking to put yourself first, you get it backwards.

    Just when was the sin taken away JCT? The Hebrews argument is predicated upon the fact that the work is initiated and completed by Christ, not by anything added to it by man. As the blood of the OT sacrifices could never take away sin in that their effecaciousness was insufficient being temporary, so those who make the blood of Christ insufficient in itself by allowing that it can be nullified, make it as those common sacrifices. It wasn’t the blood of goats, it was a perfect sacrifice of a Lamb, which accomplished the thing intended without the intercession (the receiving of it) by men. Quite the contrary it was received by the Father. As I’ve told you before, you make it to be your sacrifice which completes the works of Christ. No matter how you frame it, that is not the grace which God offers. You will never even with God’s help be able to supply your strength to the finished work of Christ without taking away the very idea that it was perfect and finished when Christ sanctified himself by it. You were either in that sanctification or without it. And nothing you can do with your semi-Pelagian grace will ever annul what Christ has done without you.

    Call it arrogance if you will. I could care less.

  38. kangaroodort Says:

    Calvinist: You reject Calvinism? You are a heretic and a false teacher!

    Arminian: You reject Arminianism? Paul condemns you for you reject the gospel and bring on yourself an anathama!

    Calvinist: You are a false teacher! You promote self-sanctification (even though you deny it, you can deny it all you want but you are wrong, a false teacher and a liar!). You need to repent!

    Arminian: You make God the author of sin! You malign His character! You mock His justice! You turn God into a monster and worse than the Devil with your exhaustive determinism and doctrine of reprobation! You make men into puppets and robots! You slander the Scriptures! You need to repent!

    Calvinist: You dare rebuke me!? Don’t you know that Paul was a Calvinist? Don’t you know that Jesus was a Calvinist? When you rebuke me you rebuke Paul. When you rebuke me you rebuke Jesus. I pray you will repent before Christ spews you and your venomuous Arminianism from His mouth. You make me and Jesus sick!

    Now does this sound like productive discussion among Christians? Do you think that either side will be persuaded by such correction? But this is not far from where you think the conversation should go. Anything less would reveal a lack of confidence, doubting one’s position to the point of being meaningless, and by extention doubting one’s salvation (????) If we don’t speak like this then we don’t stand with Paul in rebuking Peter (and BTW Paul’s rebuke wasn’t about doctrinal distinctives, but an act of hypocrisy, since Peter “who lived like a Gentile” was withdrawing himself from those Gentiles and associating with the Jews). We don’t stand for truth.

    Really? Is that how you think Arminians and Calvinist should talk to one another? Do you really think it is OK to continually label Arminians as Pelagian when they are not, tell them they believe things they do not, even after they explain that to you? Say, “it doesn’t matter if you deny believing the things I tell you that you believe, you do believe them, and I don’t care if you disagree, you are wrong.” etc.?

    I suspect that if we were face to face you would not speak to me that way. I suspect if you were in my home, you would show me more respect. I suspect that if we were in your Pastor’s office, and in his presence, you wouldn’t dare to say half the things that you have said to me in this thread. If that is true, then I hope you will think very carefully about why you find it not only acceptable, but somehow honorable and Christ-like to speak in such a manner in this thread.

    If you want to know what I believe about perseverance, you can find a series of exegetical studies on the topic at my site (and you will find why I believe it is actually the Calvinist position that undermines salvation assurance). If you want to know what I think about sanctification, synergism, and monergism, you can find that at my site as well. You will find me affirming again and again in posts and in comment threads that God alone can justify, regenerate, and sanctify. There are many problems with your position, in my opinion, and I have pointed them out in many posts at my site. But it would be unfruitful for me to barrage you with all of that in this thread, especially when it takes the focus off the topic at hand, the scope of the atonement.

    Maybe you think this is some sort of ministry, or some sort of calling, to come on threads like this and call those who disagree with you false teachers. To point the finger at those who disgaree with you and say that in disagreeing with you they are only disagreeing with God, Jesus, and Paul. To question salvation on basis of doctrines that the church has rejected for most of church history. You say you don’t care what Calvin and Beza taught, but that was not my point. The point was that prior to Calvin, the doctrines you think are the test of orthodoxy were universally rejected by the church, going all the way back to those who were taught by the apostles themselves (I could link you to several articles that document this fact). Will you point the finger at them too and call them false teachers, liars, carnal, and whatever else? It strikes me that you say you don’t care what Calvin taught, and yet you stand up for Dort to such an extent that you feel personally insulted by my screen name.

    And will you try to tell me that you came to your Calvinism out of your “Arminianism” by simply reading the Bible, without being influneced at all by Calvinists or Calvinist writers? Do you give Calvin no credit for the doctrines of inevitable perseverance and limited atonement that you think are the test of orthodoxy?

    Anyway, I have already made a liar of myself by continuing to dialogue with you. It greives me that things have developed just as I thought they would. I am sorry that you could “care less” about what I am saying. I respect your passion and commitment to truth, but I think it is rather clear that you have let your passion get the best of you. If I am right about this then I pray that God will reveal this to you and convict you concerning the way you have interacted here. If I am wrong, then I pray God will reveal that to me and forgive me.

    God Bless,
    Ben


  39. Any work that man does is not man, but as Paul said, “yet, not I, but Christ.”

    It is Christ who works through us, it doesn’t follow that such work is irresistible, for men do resist the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:51).

    Paul was such an idiot, such a juvie: ‘But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.’

    But my position agrees with Paul’s entirely, which is why I firmly believe in the necessity of prevenient grace. It merely flies in the face of your bizarre mischaracterizations.

    Just when was the sin taken away JCT?

    When I believed of course.

    It wasn’t the blood of goats, it was a perfect sacrifice of a Lamb, which accomplished the thing intended without the intercession (the receiving of it) by men. Quite the contrary it was received by the Father.

    Now you’re equivocating what ‘intercession’ means, which is by definition on behalf of another party, not one’s self. Receiving is not intercession; and no, no sinner is sanctified by Christ apart from receiving Him. What Christ’s sacrifice intended was to give salvation to all who believe in Him (John 3:14-16), which it does.

    No matter how you frame it, that is not the grace which God offers.

    You will never even with God’s help be able to supply your strength….

    “With God’s help…supply [my] strength??” How is it my strength if it’s God who supplies it? You do realize that your statement doesn’t make one iota of logical sense.

    …to the finished work of Christ without taking away the very idea that it was perfect and finished when Christ sanctified himself by it.

    Christ didn’t sanctify Himself by His death. In the context of Hebrews, Christ is He who sanctifies, not one of the sanctified:

    For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren…. (Hebrews 2:11)

    I am often wrong. But where I am right I am right, and until you can prove me wrong I am right even if I am wrong.

    You can’t be right and wrong in the same sense simultaneously; not to mention the fact that what is wrong is always so whether it’s conclusively proven to be so or not. Additionally, as can be seen here, a large portion of your ‘arguments’ consist of accusations and wild conjectures about what other people must believe if they disagree with you, most of which are easily shown to be untrue. The burden is not upon us to “prove you wrong,” but it’s rather your burden as the accuser to prove what you accuse us of, else you are a false accuser and bearer of false witness against your neighbor. Examples from just your last post include:

    There is no self-sanctification.

    It’s peculiar that you keep ignoring the centrality of God’s grace behind all good action in our theology and just keep repeating the same benighted smears.

    The Hebrews argument is predicated upon the fact that the work is initiated and completed by Christ, not by anything added to it by man.

    Those who believe do not ‘add’ to Christ’s sacrifice. Faith is the condition to receiving its benefit, not the benefit itself. I’ve explained this to you before, but you just blindly press on and continue to insist that I believe notions I’ve never even entertained.

    As I’ve told you before, you make it to be your sacrifice which completes the works of Christ.

    And you equivocate ‘sacrifice’ as well, or are you proposing that I somehow died for my own sins? What evidence do you cite that faith is a ‘sacrifice?’ Faith in and of itself does not atone for sin, it’s the condition for receiving what does: Christ’s sacrifice.

    You were either in that sanctification or without it. And nothing you can do with your semi-Pelagian grace will ever annul what Christ has done without you.

    And yet another false accusation that you bring: You’ve repeatedly asserted that I’m Pelagian/Semipelagian, yet history plainly refutes such a claim. Grace in the Semipelagian view comes with man’s initiative, not God’s, which is quite different from what I believe. So if the opinions of which you’re so certain are true, then where is your historical evidence of Semipelagianism on my part oh accuser?

    Call it arrogance if you will. I could care less.

    Actually, I believe you’re the one who has accused me of arrogance on more than one occasion. It would be interesting to see your evidence for judging my thoughts and intentions as well.

    Concerning the eternal security issue,

    So Philippians also testifies that he who began the work will complete it.

    Yes, to the body as a whole, this does not preclude individual branches from being cut off (Romans 11:22).

    Just as it began unilaterally it is completed unilaterally and we do only that which the Holy Spirit empowers, “For it is he who works in you both the will to do, and the doing, of his good pleasure.” By his will, by his power, not our own, nor any of our strength.

    The sacrifice on the cross was unilateral, but coming to and remaining in the faith for a believer is synergistic, and hence not irresistible. This is made very apparent in Christ’s lament over Jerusalem (Luke 13:34).

    As the blood of the OT sacrifices could never take away sin in that their effecaciousness was insufficient being temporary, so those who make the blood of Christ insufficient in itself by allowing that it can be nullified, make it as those common sacrifices.

    Christ’s blood is sufficient of itself to cleanse one from sin, but is not unconditionally applied, for its benefit is conditioned upon faith in Him as stated above. Therefore, if one does not believe (before or after initial salvation), one is not clean; Christ would become of no effect to such a one (Galatians 5:4). If nothing that men can do would result in such a personal catastrophe, the scriptures would not warn us,

    …and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. (Revelation 22:19)

    Were it a subversion of the gospel to think it even possible for a saint to fail to endure, then would the book of Hebrews be subverting the gospel when its author warns the saints,

    Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. (Hebrews 4:11)?


  40. Taken from the CRTA Archives: “The Council of Orange was an outgrowth of the controversy between Augustine and Pelagius. This controversy had to do with degree to which a human being is responsible for his or her own salvation, and the role of the grace of God in bringing about salvation. The Pelagians held that human beings are born in a state of innocence, i.e., that there is no such thing as a sinful nature or original sin.

    As a result of this view, they held that a state of sinless perfection was achievable in this life. The Council of Orange dealt with the Semi-Pelagian doctrine that the human race, though fallen and possessed of a sinful nature, is still “good” enough to able to lay hold of the grace of God through an act of unredeemed human will. The Council held to Augustine’s view and repudiated Pelagius. The following canons greatly influenced the Reformed doctrine of Total Depravity.

    ——————————————————————————–

    The Canons of the Council of Orange
    (529 AD)
    CANON 1. If anyone denies that it is the whole man, that is, both body and soul, that was “changed for the worse” through the offense of Adam’s sin, but believes that the freedom of the soul remains unimpaired and that only the body is subject to corruption, he is deceived by the error of Pelagius and contradicts the scripture which says, “The soul that sins shall die” (Ezek. 18:20); and, “Do you not know that if you yield yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are the slaves of the one whom you obey?” (Rom. 6:16); and, “For whatever overcomes a man, to that he is enslaved” (2 Pet. 2:19).

    CANON 2. If anyone asserts that Adam’s sin affected him alone and not his descendants also, or at least if he declares that it is only the death of the body which is the punishment for sin, and not also that sin, which is the death of the soul, passed through one man to the whole human race, he does injustice to God and contradicts the Apostle, who says, “Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned” (Rom. 5:12).

    CANON 3. If anyone says that the grace of God can be conferred as a result of human prayer, but that it is not grace itself which makes us pray to God, he contradicts the prophet Isaiah, or the Apostle who says the same thing, “I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me” (Rom 10:20, quoting Isa. 65:1).

    CANON 4. If anyone maintains that God awaits our will to be cleansed from sin, but does not confess that even our will to be cleansed comes to us through the infusion and working of the Holy Spirit, he resists the Holy Spirit himself who says through Solomon, “The will is prepared by the Lord” (Prov. 8:35, LXX), and the salutary word of the Apostle, “For God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).

    CANON 5. If anyone says that not only the increase of faith but also its beginning and the very desire for faith, by which we believe in Him who justifies the ungodly and comes to the regeneration of holy baptism — if anyone says that this belongs to us by nature and not by a gift of grace, that is, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit amending our will and turning it from unbelief to faith and from godlessness to godliness, it is proof that he is opposed to the teaching of the Apostles, for blessed Paul says, “And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6). And again, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8). For those who state that the faith by which we believe in God is natural make all who are separated from the Church of Christ by definition in some measure believers.

    CANON 6. If anyone says that God has mercy upon us when, apart from his grace, we believe, will, desire, strive, labor, pray, watch, study, seek, ask, or knock, but does not confess that it is by the infusion and inspiration of the Holy Spirit within us that we have the faith, the will, or the strength to do all these things as we ought; or if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, “What have you that you did not receive?” (1 Cor. 4:7), and, “But by the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Cor. 15:10).

    CANON 7. If anyone affirms that we can form any right opinion or make any right choice which relates to the salvation of eternal life, as is expedient for us, or that we can be saved, that is, assent to the preaching of the gospel through our natural powers without the illumination and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, who makes all men gladly assent to and believe in the truth, he is led astray by a heretical spirit, and does not understand the voice of God who says in the Gospel, “For apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5), and the word of the Apostle, “Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our competence is from God” (2 Cor. 3:5).

    CANON 8. If anyone maintains that some are able to come to the grace of baptism by mercy but others through free will, which has manifestly been corrupted in all those who have been born after the transgression of the first man, it is proof that he has no place in the true faith. For he denies that the free will of all men has been weakened through the sin of the first man, or at least holds that it has been affected in such a way that they have still the ability to seek the mystery of eternal salvation by themselves without the revelation of God. The Lord himself shows how contradictory this is by declaring that no one is able to come to him “unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44), as he also says to Peter, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 16:17), and as the Apostle says, “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:3).

    CANON 9. Concerning the succor of God. It is a mark of divine favor when we are of a right purpose and keep our feet from hypocrisy and unrighteousness; for as often as we do good, God is at work in us and with us, in order that we may do so.

    CANON 10. Concerning the succor of God. The succor of God is to be ever sought by the regenerate and converted also, so that they may be able to come to a successful end or persevere in good works.

    CANON 11. Concerning the duty to pray. None would make any true prayer to the Lord had he not received from him the object of his prayer, as it is written, “Of thy own have we given thee” (1 Chron. 29:14).

    CANON 12. Of what sort we are whom God loves. God loves us for what we shall be by his gift, and not by our own deserving.

    CANON 13. Concerning the restoration of free will. The freedom of will that was destroyed in the first man can be restored only by the grace of baptism, for what is lost can be returned only by the one who was able to give it. Hence the Truth itself declares: “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).

    CANON 14. No mean wretch is freed from his sorrowful state, however great it may be, save the one who is anticipated by the mercy of God, as the Psalmist says, “Let thy compassion come speedily to meet us” (Ps. 79:8), and again, “My God in his steadfast love will meet me” (Ps. 59:10).

    CANON 15. Adam was changed, but for the worse, through his own iniquity from what God made him. Through the grace of God the believer is changed, but for the better, from what his iniquity has done for him. The one, therefore, was the change brought about by the first sinner; the other, according to the Psalmist, is the change of the right hand of the Most High (Ps. 77:10).

    CANON 16. No man shall be honored by his seeming attainment, as though it were not a gift, or suppose that he has received it because a missive from without stated it in writing or in speech. For the Apostle speaks thus, “For if justification were through the law, then Christ died to no purpose” (Gal. 2:21); and “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men” (Eph. 4:8, quoting Ps. 68:18). It is from this source that any man has what he does; but whoever denies that he has it from this source either does not truly have it, or else “even what he has will be taken away” (Matt. 25:29).

    CANON 17. Concerning Christian courage. The courage of the Gentiles is produced by simple greed, but the courage of Christians by the love of God which “has been poured into our hearts” not by freedom of will from our own side but “through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us” (Rom. 5:5).

    CANON 18. That grace is not preceded by merit. Recompense is due to good works if they are performed; but grace, to which we have no claim, precedes them, to enable them to be done.

    CANON 19. That a man can be saved only when God shows mercy. Human nature, even though it remained in that sound state in which it was created, could be no means save itself, without the assistance of the Creator; hence since man cannot safe- guard his salvation without the grace of God, which is a gift, how will he be able to restore what he has lost without the grace of God?

    CANON 20. That a man can do no good without God. God does much that is good in a man that the man does not do; but a man does nothing good for which God is not responsible, so as to let him do it.

    CANON 21. Concerning nature and grace. As the Apostle most truly says to those who would be justified by the law and have fallen from grace, “If justification were through the law, then Christ died to no purpose” (Gal. 2:21), so it is most truly declared to those who imagine that grace, which faith in Christ advocates and lays hold of, is nature: “If justification were through nature, then Christ died to no purpose.” Now there was indeed the law, but it did not justify, and there was indeed nature, but it did not justify. Not in vain did Christ therefore die, so that the law might be fulfilled by him who said, “I have come not to abolish them, but to fulfil them” (Matt. 5:17), and that the nature which had been destroyed by Adam might be restored by him who said that he had come “to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).

    CANON 22. Concerning those things that belong to man. No man has anything of his own but untruth and sin. But if a man has any truth or righteousness, it from that fountain for which we must thirst in this desert, so that we may be refreshed from it as by drops of water and not faint on the way.

    CANON 23. Concerning the will of God and of man. Men do their own will and not the will of God when they do what displeases him; but when they follow their own will and comply with the will of God, however willingly they do so, yet it is his will by which what they will is both prepared and instructed.

    CANON 24. Concerning the branches of the vine. The branches on the vine do not give life to the vine, but receive life from it; thus the vine is related to its branches in such a way that it supplies them with what they need to live, and does not take this from them. Thus it is to the advantage of the disciples, not Christ, both to have Christ abiding in them and to abide in Christ. For if the vine is cut down another can shoot up from the live root; but one who is cut off from the vine cannot live without the root (John 15:5ff).

    CANON 25. Concerning the love with which we love God. It is wholly a gift of God to love God. He who loves, even though he is not loved, allowed himself to be loved. We are loved, even when we displease him, so that we might have means to please him. For the Spirit, whom we love with the Father and the Son, has poured into our hearts the love of the Father and the Son (Rom. 5:5).

    CONCLUSION. And thus according to the passages of holy scripture quoted above or the interpretations of the ancient Fathers we must, under the blessing of God, preach and believe as follows. The sin of the first man has so impaired and weakened free will that no one thereafter can either love God as he ought or believe in God or do good for God’s sake, unless the grace of divine mercy has preceded him. We therefore believe that the glorious faith which was given to Abel the righteous, and Noah, and Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and to all the saints of old, and which the Apostle Paul commends in extolling them (Heb. 11), was not given through natural goodness as it was before to Adam, but was bestowed by the grace of God. And we know and also believe that even after the coming of our Lord this grace is not to be found in the free will of all who desire to be baptized, but is bestowed by the kindness of Christ, as has already been frequently stated and as the Apostle Paul declares, “For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake” (Phil. 1:29). And again, “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6). And again, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and it is not your own doing, it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8). And as the Apostle says of himself, “I have obtained mercy to be faithful” (1 Cor. 7:25, cf. 1 Tim. 1:13). He did not say, “because I was faithful,” but “to be faithful.” And again, “What have you that you did not receive?” (1 Cor. 4:7). And again, “Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights” (Jas. 1:17). And again, “No one can receive anything except what is given him from heaven” (John 3:27). There are innumerable passages of holy scripture which can be quoted to prove the case for grace, but they have been omitted for the sake of brevity, because further examples will not really be of use where few are deemed sufficient.

    According to the catholic faith we also believe that after grace has been received through baptism, all baptized persons have the ability and responsibility, if they desire to labor faithfully, to perform with the aid and cooperation of Christ what is of essential importance in regard to the salvation of their soul. We not only do not believe that any are foreordained to evil by the power of God, but even state with utter abhorrence that if there are those who want to believe so evil a thing, they are anathema. We also believe and confess to our benefit that in every good work it is not we who take the initiative and are then assisted through the mercy of God, but God himself first inspires in us both faith in him and love for him without any previous good works of our own that deserve reward, so that we may both faithfully seek the sacrament of baptism, and after baptism be able by his help to do what is pleasing to him. We must therefore most evidently believe that the praiseworthy faith of the thief whom the Lord called to his home in paradise, and of Cornelius the centurion, to whom the angel of the Lord was sent, and of Zacchaeus, who was worthy to receive the Lord himself, was not a natural endowment but a gift of God’s kindness.”

    What’s that old child’s rhyme… something, something pants on fire…

    Calvin relies heavily on Augustine, so he did not manufactured it out of whole cloth. JCT tried your stupidity bastardizing the facts, is that a common mode of operation in the realm of Arminian propangada?

    “And will you try to tell me that you came to your Calvinism out of your “Arminianism” by simply reading the Bible, without being influneced at all by Calvinists or Calvinist writers?”

    No, I didn’t. But I didn’t read Calvin or Luther for a year of two afterwards. My primary influence was me in teaching my daughter Arminian concepts. When I came to the point of explaining God’s foreknowledge and man’s freedom of will I ran into an insurmountable wall. It was at that point that I began to listen more closely to Mike Horton and the likes, men who up to that point I had been disputing.

    I didn’t come on this thread to do anything you’ve accused me of, to the contrary, it was you who came here to do what you have accused me of, you just don’t see how it is that you do that.

    Let me give you an example: “To say that some responded because they were unconditionally preselected to respond is nowhere in the text, nor is it even hinted at. It must be read into the text.” Here you accuse the Darrin of eisogesis, which is another way of calling him a perverter of the text; a false teacher. The reality is that he has exegeted it properly, many are called and few are chosen says nothing about the actions of those called or chosen. That is they were selected. True enough, all were called, but only a few were chosen. The contrast is between those who think that self-rigteousness allows them to disregard the invitation and the ones chosen, are those who have no means of self-sanctification, are halt, lame, poor. The parable is not isolated as single text. And the fact is that the servants are told to go and compel them to come in, in fact all the words such as bring and compel are words that reveal the passive nature of the object as if they were sticks gathered and bundled and carried inside. The one not dressed properly also lays before you a stumbling block. Who dresses them? Who does Scripture say dresses them? And why if this one wanted to come, didn’t the host dress him? Why not call for his repentance instead of casting him into hell? This parable belies the fact that there is no self righteousness that is acceptable, even for those who accept the message but are not made fit by the master of the feast. Darrin was right, you do not go far enough and selectively quote to make your point.

    My apology to the blog owners for this mess. Feel free to delete all that I have written. It is your blog, not mine, and I did not mean to monopolize or to bring you embarrassment.

  41. Darrin Says:

    Thomas, you’re welcome here as far as I’m concerned, as are the others. I appreciate the knowledge and insight that you bring.

    I was actually simultaneously writing a comment, but it got blocked as spam! So now here it is below:

    ————————

    Grace, everyone.

    First, since I was asked to interject here, let me give the caveats that my time is limited of late, and this post wasn’t mine. Yet I know Andrew is extremely busy as well, and I appreciate these thoughtful posts he continues to take time to put out here.

    Regarding the doctrinal conflicts which at times may be less than gracious: I would urge everyone to focus on the doctrines and try to avoid personal inferences and criticisms.

    I know that Thomas has been accused of this, but I have to say to all – if you feel someone is acting un-Christlike, then don’t answer him accordingly! I see harsh words coming from both sides of the proverbial aisle. (I originally wrote “fence”, but perhaps “aisle” sounds better.) And yet I understand that we are to speak strongly against error. It’s a tough line to discern at times – my exhortation is to aim at personal piety and try to ensure that any strong words are coming from the spirit, and not the flesh. Also please be careful not to put words in other folks’ mouths.

    I obviously agree quite well with Thomas’ soteriology (or I wouldn’t be a moderator here), and though our approaches are different, I understand his concerns about the problems and dangers of the synergistic position. Thus far I fail to see the logic or biblical accuracy in Ben’s or JC’s arguments, yet I need to read more carefully. I’m sorry that I’m using a broad brush here – I would love to address the specifics in the near future if I just have more time. My aim in this comment is obviously not to counter any doctrinal assertions.

    You are all welcome here – and I encourage others to join in the conversations. Let’s attempt, by God’s grace, to reason through these issues, and perhaps acknowledge where we agree also. (I think there must be one or two places.)

    To my fellow Reformed brothers – I hope that I am not conveying to you that my love for or conviction of the doctrines of grace is any less than it is. In fact, the concepts of libertarian free will and such become more sickening to me as time goes on. I am just desiring to keep the door of communication open and follow the Lord’s call to “honor all men”.

    Regarding “Arminian”s question about my view of who is saved: At this point I would tend to agree with Tom Ascol of Founders, who recently wrote this in a comment on Founders blog:

    “While I would make substitutionary atonement a test of fellowship, I would not say the same for particular redemption, although I believe the latter is the best, most biblical expression of the former.”

    He also wrote that, where upholding biblical doctrine becomes a “cause” rather than an expression of our loyalty to Christ, “the doctrines of grace tend to be espoused without much regard for the grace of the doctrines–and that is a travesty.”

    This lack of grace is of course a snare to be watched for on both sides of the aisle. I can’t pinpoint exactly when strong words, seemingly without grace (as exemplified even at times by the Lord and the apostles), are appropriate – I would simply ask everyone to lean toward Paul’s exhortation to Timothy about not being quarrelsome but gently correcting.

    By grace alone,
    Darrin

  42. kangaroodort Says:

    Twitchell,

    I am sure JCT will have some things to say on the CANONS of Orange as he has written on the subject on his site. Nothing in those CANONS contradict Arminian theology. In fact, they promote synergism,

    According to the catholic faith we also believe that after grace has been received through baptism, all baptized persons have the ability and responsibility, if they desire to labor faithfully, to perform with the aid and cooperation of Christ what is of essential importance in regard to the salvation of their soul. (from the CONCLUSION emphasis mine)

    But this statement would seem to be in response to Augustinianism:

    We not only do not believe that any are foreordained to evil by the power of God, but even state with utter abhorrence that if there are those who want to believe so evil a thing, they are anathema.

    You are right that Calvin was influenced by Augustine. I have written about this more than once at my blog. However, the features of Augustine’s teachings that Calvin expounded on and modified were universally rejected by the church prior to Augustine. The features of determinism, unconditional election, and irresistible grace that appeared in Augustine’s later writings (when he was a new convert he embraced libertarian free will, resistible grace, and conditional election, just as all of the church father’s before him), were not accepted by the church prior to Augustine (and not much after either). The primary place that you will find such theological features as the later Augustine developed were in the writings of the gnostic sects (one of which Augustine was a memeber of for nine years prior to his conversion to Catholicism).

    If you read the Ante-Nicene fathers you will find that they universally rejected those Calvinistic features and argued rigorously against them, using many of the exact same arguments that Arminians do today. They opposed determinism, unconditional election, and eternal security. And who were they primarily opposing in denouncing these doctrines? The gnostics. Like it or not, those are the facts from church history.

    Now Augustine did not believe that regenerate believers would inevitably persevere in the faith. He believed that only some regenerate believers were given the “gift” of perseverance. So the idea that regenerate believers cannot fall away and perish was invented by Calvin in the 16th century. I should think that would at least give you pause when you call those who reject that doctrine false teachers.

    All of us make mistakes with Scripture, so I don’t think it is the same thing as calling Darrin a “false teacher” by pointing out that his theology seems to be controlling his exegesis and pointing out that the context of the passage does not lend itself to a Calvinistic understanding of election. And I understand that when he is challenging my interpretation, he is not intending to call me a false teacher. We are trying to teach and instruct each other and examine our own interpretations in the process. That involoves diagreement, but there is not the need to call one another false teachers, or carnal, or question each other’s salvation (do you really think that whenever Christians disagree on doctrinal points or features of those doctrinal points, or exegesis, that they should just “be honest” and call each other “false teachers” and “perverters of the text”?).

    Now if you had stuck to plain exegesis without the “your a false teacher” stuff. I would have gladly engaged you and we could have had a productive discussion, even if we came away from it thinking each other terribly wrong.

    I posted at my site this morning on the parable of the feast. You are welcome to read it and comment if you can do so in a civil manner. You can also look under the side bar on the right under the heading “Faith/Perseverance” and find articles regarding the history of the doctrine and numerous quotes from the Ante-Nicene fathers. And if you look under “Catagories” on the right, you will find a link to “Warning Passages in Hebrews”. That will lead you to several posts that deal with the nature of the priestly sacrifice, Old/New covenant, and warning passages as I understand them from my own personal study.

    Let us all remember and cling to that principle of the Reformation that looked to free itself from the tyranny of Rome which dogmatically dictated to the church what the “correct” interpretation of Scripture was. I stand with the Reformers in believeing that we all have the right to interpret the Scriptures on our own based on a humble and Spirit led approach to the truth of God’s word. I treasure that right and refuse to be put under that yoke again, not by Rome or any Theologian, Calvinist or otherwise. And I hope you will forgive me for refusing to be called a heretic.

    Darrin,

    Thanks for your input and gracious response. If I have offended anyone in this thread by what I have said, then I sincerely apologize. I consider you all fellow believers and truth seekers.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  43. kangaroodort Says:

    Sorry, should be “Catagories” on the left above and not “on the right”.

  44. Arminian Says:

    Darrin,

    I did not realize the post was not yours. I addressed you because you seem to have been most active in this discussion of the blog authors.

    Let me clarify that I was only calling on you to denounce any rejection of Arminians as fellow brothers in Christ. That is what I took Thomas to be doing–rejecting Ben and seemingly other Arminians as unsaved. So I said, “I would like to call on you to denounce that sort of divisiveness. It is hurtful to the body of Christ and unhelpful for fruitful discussion between Arminians and Calvinists who preach the same basic gospel and serve the same Lord.”

    But Thomas seems to have clarified that that was not his intent. Ben gave some quotes from Thomas in this thread that made it seem otherwise, such as this gem stated to Ben:

    “In other words, the kind of faith that you assume to be Christian actually denies Christ’s very words that he reveals himself to his own. It is quite a different faith that you put forth, as Paul says, it is a vain faith, which denies the resurrection of Christ in fact because it does not apprehend the resurrection as accomplished in believers.” (–Thomas Twitchell)

    But I will take Thomas at his word that he did not mean to charge Ben or Arminians generally as holders of a vain faith that denied the resurrection of Christ. Let me add that I have seen nothing along these lines from Ben that would call anyone’s salvation into question in this thread.

    I wanted to clarify to you that I was not expecting you to agree with Arminian doctrine. Just as you find some Arminian doctrine sickening, I find some Calvinist doctrine truly heinous, logically making God the author of sin. But that does not mean you actually believe God to be the author of sin nor that you are not a Christian, even though in my opinion that is the necessary logical implication of your doctrine. Again, I was calling on you to state acceptance of Arminians as brothers in Christ and to denounce divisive behavior rejecting Arminians as brothers, which I took Thomas to be doing. happily, he has stated that that was not his intent (though I am still troubled by his comments that are hard to take in any other way).

    God bless.


  45. [...] and deny the resurrection).  You can read the conversation yourself here.  This is becoming more and more of a problem on the Internet and it would be helpful if those [...]

  46. Darrin Says:

    Arminian,
    (BTW – I assume that’s not your name, but at least you gave us a link!)

    I expect you’ve been through this before, but I wonder about your comment that Calvinism makes God the author of sin, especially when Calvin and other reformers have explicitly denied that and carefully shown how that is not the case.

    But just from a simple reasoning process, let me go through my perspective:
    Sin first appeared in Satan, then in Adam. Both had freedom of will, and chose defiance. Man is designed such that the qualities of Adam have passed to his posterity, i.e. where it might have been uprightness and integrity (had he persevered), instead our nature is sinful. Regarding our sins, God has known of them from all eternity, and has allowed us to carry them out anyway. I believe these are things both Calvinists and Arminians would confess. Is God shown to be an author of sin here?

    Or where then do we differ? Do you see God as only passively foreseeing what will take place, but having no hand in the affairs of men, working even their sin for His glory and our good, as scripture attests? Or do you deny the examples in scripture where God is said to have accomplished something in which the sins of men were clearly part of the means? In none of this is God the author of sin – we are inherently sinful, and God can and does direct that for His purposes, with no stain upon Himself whatsoever.

    Grace,
    Darrin

  47. kangaroodort Says:

    Darrin,

    Not sure if Arminian will be back to address your question, so I thought I would clarify things from my perspective (and I think Arminian shares my views).

    We understand that Calvinists (with the exception of hyper-Calvinists) have not been quick to attribute sin to God and have tried to get God off the hook for causing sin. We just believe that those attempts have been unsuccessful given all Calvinistic presuppositions. Let me try to explain.

    First, Calvinism generally equates sovereignty with exhaustive determinism. This is obvious in numerous Calvinistic writings going back to John Calvin. Arminians are often told by Calvinists that they deny the sovereignty of God because we do not see sovereignty as exhaustive meticulous control. For the Calvinist this control must extend to everything or else God is not sovereign (according to the standard C definition of sovereignty). This means that God must also control our every thought and action. This would include our sinful thoughts and actions as well. Calvinists like to remind Arminians that we choose according to our desires, but if exhaustive determinism is true (ED) then even our desires are controlled by God. Everything is controlled and determined by God. This seems to us to lead to the inescapable conclusion that God is the author of sin.

    This is further demonstrated by the Calvinistic account of foreknowledge. Arminians believe that God can foreknow the future and foreknow events that He does not directly cause (e.g. the free choices of His creatures). Calvinists typically deny God this ability to foreknow true contingencies and believe that God’s foreknowledge is based on His eternal decree. In other words, God can only foreknow what He plans to make happen according to His eternal and unalterable decree. His foreknowledge is based on His intentions, what He will infallibly bring to pass. This then would include every thought and action of every person that He would create. Everything is predetermined by God and His knowledge is based solely on that predetermination. So again, it seems that God must then be the author of sin since sin is something that He brought about in accordance with His eternal decree. It makes no sense to say that God allowed sin since permission really only makes sense in reference to LFW, which Calvinists deny. If God controls our every thought and action in order to bring it into conformity with His eternal decree, then there is no room for “allowance” or “permission”.

    This includes Satan’s and Adam’s sin. If God cannot foreknow true contingencies, then Adam’s and Satan’s sin is the direct result of God’s eternal decree, His predetermination. They did not sin because God allowed them to sin, but because God determined that they would sin and infallibly brought that sin to pass.

    Calvinists often speak of permission and allowance, but their other doctrines undercut the use of these words as normally understood. Even appeals to secondary causes are not very helpful since God still directs and controls even those secondary causes, else His sovereignty (according to the C definition) would be jeopardized and He would not be able to “foreknow” (according to the C account of foreknowledge) anything about those “secondary” causes (it would be like a puppet master pulling the strings to the puppet and saying the puppet is responsible and not the puppet master because the strings did the pulling). Most Calvinists throw up their hands at some point, recognizing these difficulties, and appeal to mystery. But Arminians do not find this to be a legitimate appeal to mystery.

    So there you have it. That is why Arminians see Calvinism as making God the author of sin. Some Calvinists freely admit to this, while most refuse to accept this consequence of their system, while failing (in the Arminian’s opinion) to demonstrate how this consequence to their system is not legitimate. Thankfully, Calvinists like yourself refuse to lay the blame for sin at God’s feet, though Arminians like me do not see how you can logically avoid that conclusion.

    Or where then do we differ? Do you see God as only passively foreseeing what will take place, but having no hand in the affairs of men, working even their sin for His glory and our good, as scripture attests?

    God’s foreknowledge includes all free human actions as well as God’s interactions with us as His creatures. There are things that God foreknows that He caused and things that God foreknows that He did not cause (the free acts of His creatures). God surely is able to bring good out of situations that involve human sin, but God did not cause that sin or render it necessary by an eternal decree.

    Or do you deny the examples in scripture where God is said to have accomplished something in which the sins of men were clearly part of the means?

    We don’t need to deny them. We simply understand them differently.

    In none of this is God the author of sin – we are inherently sinful, and God can and does direct that for His purposes, with no stain upon Himself whatsoever.

    But how did we become sinful in the first place according to Calvinism? Did Adam sin freely in a LFW sense? If He did then how does Calvinism account for God’s foreknowledge of Adam’s sin since Calvinism says God can only foreknow what He fisrt decrees? If Adam sinned of necessity due to an irrevocable and irresitible divine decree, then God is to blame for his sinful condition and the sinful condition of all of his posterity.

    Again, I rejoice that you assert that God is not stained by the sin He causes, but it seems arbitrary and illogical to me.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  48. Arminian Says:

    Darrin,

    Reading through my last post, I wanted to clarify something. It might have looked like I was saying that one of the logical implications of Calvinist doctrine is that Calvinists are not true Christians. But that is the opposite of what I was saying, as I think you knew (the context of my comments probably made that clear). But to be absolutely clear, my point was that the logical implication of Calvinist doctrine is that God is the author of sin, though Calvinists do not generally believe what their doctrine logically demands (i.e. that God is the atuhor of sin). But I embrace Calvinists as fellow Christians.

    Now on the charge that C doctrine logically makes God the author of sin, I do agree with Ben, and leave you to his comments. I might just add that I believe some C’s grant that Adam had free will before the Fall, but then this logically contradicts not only the Calvinist view of foreknowledge as Ben already points out, but also the C doctrine of God’s unconditional predestination of all things / exhaustive determinism / the typical C view of God’s sovereignty.

  49. Tsquared Says:

    Do you see God as only passively foreseeing what will take place, but having no hand in the affairs of men, working even their sin for His glory and our good, as scripture attests?

    <God’s foreknowledge includes all free human actions as well as God’s interactions with us as His creatures. There are things that God foreknows that He caused and things that God foreknows that He did not cause (the free acts of His creatures). God surely is able to bring good out of situations that involve human sin, but God did not cause that sin or render it necessary by an eternal decree.

    Answer the question!

    it seems arbitrary and illogical to me.

    And there you have the grounding of his entire testimony, it is not the logic of Scripture, but his own to which he bears testimony. He will not allow that the economy of the Scripture is not his thoughts but God’s. Arminianism it is a humanistic rationalism and not Biblically and exegetically derived. It won’t matter how many ways you explain it, or how many verses you present that support the Bible’s own logic and reasoning, human reasoning and God crafted in its image will trump you, Darrin, every time.

  50. kangaroodort Says:

    Tsquared,

    You have the right to believe whatever you like but you are quite mistaken about me and why I hold to Arminianism. While I do think Calvinism has serious logical and philosophical problems, I reject Calvinism primarily on exegetical grounds.

    Now as for human reasoning, I am not sure what you are talking about. I am talking about reason and not “human reasoning”. If something is true then it is not contradictory. If something is contradictory then it is not true. That is simply the nature of truth that we all hold to. It is not “human reasoning”. So if God is true and represents truth then we can be sure that His revelation of Himself will not be contradictory. The moment you embrace contradiction as truth you make it impossible to determine truth. You also give up the right to criticize any other belief system on logical grounds. Yet I suspect you often indict Arminianism as illogical.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  51. Arminian Says:

    Tsquared said: “And there you have the grounding of his entire testimony, it is not the logic of Scripture, but his own to which he bears testimony. He will not allow that the economy of the Scripture is not his thoughts but God’s. Arminianism it is a humanistic rationalism and not Biblically and exegetically derived. It won’t matter how many ways you explain it, or how many verses you present that support the Bible’s own logic and reasoning, human reasoning and God crafted in its image will trump you, Darrin, every time.”

    This really sounds like more Calvinist arrogance (which not all C’s are guilty of, but it is a frequent problem among C’s that many C ;eaders seem to be concerned about). Somehow “the logic of the Scriptures” is the Calvinist interpretation, and no matter how many verses Arminians present and how much solid exegesis they do that demonstrates the Arminian position, empty assertions of man-centeredness and no scriptural support are thrown. It almost sounds like you reject basic logic, which could account for your Calvinism. Basic logic is used in exegesis and basic reasoning, so if you reject that, then you reject the basis of interpeting Scripture. You jumped in on darrin asking for an explanation about a logic point tha twas made. Ben offers abundant exegesis of scriptural texts at his website, and has offered plenty of sctiprual support even in this thread. Your comment comes off like a cheap shot to try and score some rhetorical points by honing in on a part of the conversation focused on logic. Look, if Calvinism has to jettison logic to hold its position, then let’s agree that Calvinism is illogical. I hope you don’t blame me and other Arminians for going with a theological system that does not abandon logic, but is founded squarely upon Scripture and derived from it in a logical and reasonable way, in harmony with the true logic of the Scriptures.

    God bless.

    P.S. Is that what this conversation has come down to–when the Calvinistic position is shown to be illogical, make grand claims about the other side not following the logic of Scripture without entering into the specifics of what Scripture says? For my part, I don’t have time to ontinue participating in this thread. This should be my last post (unless something quick and easy seems like it needs to be addressed), i.e., I don’t have time to get into a protracted debate.

  52. kangaroodort Says:

    Jut found this discussion again after many years, and noticed that “Tsquared” is actually Thomas Twitchell. Strange that he would post again under a different name.

  53. Darrin Says:

    I see you’re still lurking about, kangaroo. No, it’s not strange to me at all. I would think it obvious that Thomas is not afraid to be identified wherever he posts, as he is quite open, verbose and transparent, as is obvious from his own blog as well. People sometimes refer to him as TT, so the Tsquared is just a play on that, I’m sure. Nothing worthy of consternation. And hey, at least he does use his name, as we Reformed don’t tend to hide things like that!

  54. kangaroodort Says:

    Hi Darren,

    No, I am not “lurking”. Just like you my “WordPress” blog lets me know how people find my blog. Sometimes I click on those links to see what led them to my blog. When it is something old I often review the discussion as well. That is how I ended up here in 2013 and it is how I ended up here again today.

    You seemed to have misunderstood my comment about Twitchell using a different name. I understand that one can use a different name if they like, but it does seem strange (to me) to suddenly switch it in the middle of a conversation. That can easily lead to confusion. You may not find that confusing because you seem to know him well and his various aliases, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be confusing to me (or others who may have read through this discussion).

    Now if he had signed off as Thomas Twitchell after using “Tsquared” that would have helped with any confusion. Or, if he made his name a link as he had previously. But the fact that he did not do either is what I find strange and it led to my confusion in thinking I was responding to someone else besides him.

    You wrote,

    so the Tsquared is just a play on that, I’m sure. Nothing worthy of consternation.

    Where did you read “consternation” in my comments? I find that strange as well (which doesn’t imply consternation, mind you).

    And hey, at least he does use his name, as we Reformed don’t tend to hide things like that!

    Not sure what to make of this either. Are you suggesting I hid my identity in this exchange? All you need to do is go back and read to see that I identified myself. I guess I will just say I find this last comment “strange” as well (which again does not imply consternation).

    Anyway, thanks for the response.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  55. kangaroodort Says:

    Oops- sorry for misspelling your name above, Darrin.

  56. kangaroodort Says:

    Well, just for the sake of accuracy, I feel I need to revise this sentence:

    Just like you my “WordPress” blog lets me know how people find my blog. Sometimes I click on those links to see what led them to my blog.

    When I went “back” to my stats page I realized that I got here because someone had clicked a link to this post from my blog and I followed the link to see what it was. So it was a link someone clicked at my blog and not a case of someone finding my blog from here. Either way, the point holds, but I wanted to clarify since I discovered that what I said wasn’t entirely accurate. After doing a search on my blog I found that this is the post that probably led someone to this discussion:

    http://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2009/02/27/roger-e-olson-on-scot-mcknights-neo-reformed/

    So, you are welcome for the traffic :-)

  57. DFB Says:

    Let me lighten up your conversation with this:

    An amusing story tells of a group of theologians who were discussing predestination and free will. The argument grew so heated that sides were drawn, and the group broke up into two fiercely-prejudiced factions.
    But one theologian, not knowing to which camp he belonged, stood for a moment trying to decide. At last, he made up his mind to join in with the predestination crowd. When he tried to push his way in, they asked, “Who sent you here?”
    “Nobody sent me,” he replied, “I came of my own free will.”
    “Free will!” they fairly shouted at him. “You can’t come in here of your own free will. You belong with the other group.”
    So he turned, and went toward the free will group. When he tried to join them, someone asked, “When did you decide to join us?”
    “I didn’t decide, I was sent here,” he answered.
    “Sent here!” they were horrified. “You can’t join us unless you choose to by your own free will.” And so he was excluded from both companies.

    Anyway, the “love of God” is the most abused words in the bible. This is the reason why we have “universalists” and “antinominianists.” John 3:16 for that matter is the most misused and abused verse in the bible. The question is, does God love everybody without exception?

    I have written an article about the love of God and I would like to share it to everyone. This is not to demean anyone out here but to help us realize what the love of God truly is.

    Here it is…

    I love them that love Me…

    Is it true that God so loved the world, that is, “all human beings” that His Son Jesus was sent to the world to die for each one of us whether we believe or not? Still remember this common saying… “God loves the sinner, hates sin?” Who would forget such saying? Is this scriptural? John 3:16 states…”For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Most Christians would interpret this verse as if Jesus died for everyone without exception but if one truly analyzes the same verse, there is not even a hint that Jesus died for everybody! The “world” here simply means “all kinds” ( greek word “pas”) of human beings: not just the Jews but the Gentiles as well.

    The word of God also states… 1 John 2:15 “LOVE NOT THE WORLD, NEITHER THINGS THAT ARE IN THE WORLD. IF ANY MAN LOVE THE WORLD, THE LOVE OF THE FATHER IS NOT IN HIM. FOR ALL THAT IS IN THE WORLD, THE LUST OF THE FLESH, AND THE LUST OF THE EYES, AND THE PRIDE OF LIFE, IS NOT OF THE FATHER, BUT IS OF THE WORLD.” It appears like the bible is contradicting itself! If one would read closer, John 3:16 talks about the world as actual “human beings” as opposed to 1 John 2:15 which talks about “worldly” way of life. The message here is that, do not presume that when the word “WORLD” is being spoken of, it automatically means the whole world! We should interpret biblical passages objectively! That is, interpret exegetically, not eisegetically. Let the bible interpret itself!
    To properly define what John 3:16, it is necessary to read John 13:1 which states, “NOW BEFORE THE FEAST OF THE PASSOVER, WHEN JESUS KNEW THAT HIS HOUR WAS TO COME THAT HE SHOULD DEPART FROM THE WORLD UNTO THE FATHER, HAVING LOVED HIS OWN WHICH WERE IN THE WORLD, HE LOVED THEM UNTO THE END.” Objectively speaking, the love of God is not limited to the Jews, the wise, the noble, or the mighty. Otherwise, the bible will contradict itself. This is the same reason why it is important to study the word of God and rightly dividing the truth so that when one asks why we believe the word, we have an answer to every man the reason for our hope.
    (READ John 12:19, Luke 2:1)

    THE SYNOPSIS OF GOD’S PURPOSE IN SALVATION:
    Jesus died for His chosen ones, the sheep (John 10:11-15) because He separated them physically from their mothers (Gal 1:15)! And because He loved them even before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), He will save them (Matthew 1:21), He will preserve them (Psalm 37:28, Psalm 121:7-8) and complete His work until the day of His coming (Philippians 1:6).

    I do not see any reason why I should debate with anybody as to my strong opposition to the saying ” God loves the sinner and hates the sin.” The word of God is clear that there is no need to expound the verse that supports the Doctrine of the” Holy Love of God” and the Doctrine of the “Holy Wrath of God.”
    Psalm 5:5 “5 The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.”
    Psalm 7:11 “God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.”
    Psalm 76:7 Thou, even thou, art to be feared:and who may stand in thy sight when once thou art angry?
    Deut 25:16 Deu 25:16 16 For all that do such things, and all that do unrighteously, are an abomination unto the Lord thy God.
    Proverbs 15:29 “The Lord is far from the wicked:but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.
    Pro 3:33 “The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation of the just.”
    Rom 1:18 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.”
    John 3:36 “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life:and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
    1Pe 3:12 “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers:but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.”
    Hebrews 12:29 “For our God is a consuming fire.”

    My emphasis on this topic of the “Love of God” is that He is not obliged to love anybody, nor is he a debtor to any of us and yet because of His prodigal love for His chosen ones, He sent His only begotten Son, His most precious Son to die on their behalf (Matthew 1:21). This is how the love of God should be defined so that one realizes it was not him who made the choice but instead God showed His mercy that while we were without strength, Jesus died for the ungodly.
    As the scripture saith… “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins (1 John 4:10).”

    1. God’s love is personal:
    a. Source: Jeremiah 31:3 “The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”
    Scriptural interpretation: God loved His own with an everlasting love and in due time He drew them to Himself in love and in kindness. God never forces salvation on anybody! He just makes them willing in the day of His power (Psalm 110:3).
    b. Source: John 13:1 “Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.”
    Scriptural interpretation: God loved His “OWN” which were in the world and He loved them unto the end!
    c. Source: John 17:6 “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world:thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.”
    Scriptural interpretation: God’s love for His “OWN” was manifested through Jesus. They were of the world but was separated from the rest and they were the ones who kept God’s word.
    N.B. PERSONAL: HIS OWN, HIS SHEEP, HIS FRIEND, HIS SON, HIS CHILDREN, HE CALLS THEM BY THEIR RESPECTIVE NAMES

    2. God’s love is on those who are in Christ Jesus alone:
    a. Source: John 14:21 “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me:and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”
    b. Source: Romans 8:38-39 “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
    Scriptural interpretation: The ones that are loved by God are the ones that love His Son, Jesus! Who are those that love Jesus? The ones that hath His commandments! Not only that! They are the ones that “keep” His commandments! But who are those that keep His commandments? Romans 8:28 is so clear who they are! They are the “CALLED!” There is no way that the love of God is for everybody. It is through Christ alone. This is the reason why Jesus is the only way to the Father (John 14:6)! There is no other way! Therefore, the only way that God would allow a sinner, a rebel, a reprobate and a carnal mind into His kingdom is when Jesus puts His atoning blood in Him (Matthew 26:28; 1 John 1:7; Matthew 1:21).

    3. God cleanses and washes those He loves:
    a. Source: Revelations 1:5 “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,”
    b. Source: John 13:8 “Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.”
    Scriptural interpretation: God’s love is faithful to whom He bestows His mercy (Romans 9:18). When He says “I have loved thee with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3) we ought to believe it! And if He loves us it is imperative that He washes us also! If the love of God is for everyone and without exception it should follow that He washes everyone that He loves as well without exception! If He washes everyone, we can conclude that God eventually saves everybody. Right? Wrong!!! The word of God will contradict itself. It can’t be trusted then. Praise God for He is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). When God loves His own (John 13:1), He guarantees it with an oath (Hebrews 6:17-18). He shall wash them with the blood of the Perfect Lamb. He shall lose none of His loved ones! He will save them to the uttermost until all of them (His sheep or flock) are gathered together, Jews or Gentiles in one accord (John 10:15-16).

    4. God loves those who love Him:
    a. Source: Proverbs 8:17 “I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.”
    Scriptural interpretation: God truly loves those who love Him. In fact He shall never drive them away (John 6:37). Who are those that love God anyway? Who are those that seek God? Does everyone in the so-called “WORLD” love God? Does anyone in his own free-will seek God? The bible is clear…”there is none that seeketh after God, no, not one (Romans 3:11)! Who then loves God? The clear answer is in the scripture also: “All that the Father giveth me…(John 6:37a).” Who are those that the father giveth to His son??? Again, let the scripture explain itself: “…to them who are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28b).” The drawing of the Father through his lovingkindness made us fall in love with our Savior Jesus Christ (Jeremiah 31:3).

    5. God disciplines who He loves:
    a. Source: Hebrews 12:6-8 “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
    b. Source: Revelation 3:19 “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten:be zealous therefore, and repent.” (Read John 17:2)

    Scriptural interpretation: It is becoming clearer who God truly loves! I have three children and as a father myself I try my best to discipline them in the admonition of the Lord. This is because of my love for them. I am not going to discipline my neighbor’s children for it is the duty of their parents to do that. Unfortunately, many of the supposedly parents of this generation have merely become “baby sitters” to their children. They have become selfish in their motivations! There is no love and because there is no godly love, discipline has become a thing of the past. In fact, the “father-figure” is no longer present and so children do whatever is right in their sight even if their deeds are morally wrong (Judges 17:6). God’s love truly keeps the path of His child straight (Proverbs 3:6). Although His child stumbles, this same beloved child is not utterly cast down for the Father uplifts him with His hand (Proverbs 27:34)!

    6. God preserves those He loves:
    a. Source: Psalm 37:28 “28 For the Lord loveth judgment,and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.”
    b. Source: Psalm 121:7-8 “7 The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil:he shall preserve thy soul. 8 The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.
    b. Source: John 6:39 “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.”
    c. Source: John 10:27-28 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

    Scriptural interpretation: The love of God preserves! The only reason why the true sheep perseveres is because there is a preserver outside of him! It is God Himself who does the preserving! God’s gift of salvation is not conditioned upon good behavior because it is His “restraining grace” (Genesis 20:6) that keeps them from utterly sinning that leads to falling from grace. This is how a true convert is differentiated from a false convert (1 John 3:7-10). Most of all, it is irrevocable (Romans 11:29)!

    7. God’s love for His elect is everlasting:
    a. Source: Jeremiah 31:3 “The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”
    b. Source: Jude 1:1 “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:”
    Scriptural interpretation: The love of God is from everlasting to everlasting! It simply just does not end! It does not wax and wane! It does not change! Most of all, it is irrevocable (Romans 11:29)! What else is there to add? Nothing!

    8. God loves those who He called sons:
    a. Source: 1 John 3:1 “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.”
    Scriptural interpretation: God’s love is truly special. It is bestowed to His children when He asserted that they should be called “the sons of God.” This same love was not directed aimlessly. This is the reason why the world knew Him not.

    9. God intercedes for the ones He loves:
    a. Source: Romans 8: 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God ‘s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died —more than that, who was raised — who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
    Scriptural interpretation: If Jesus intercedes for those He loves, they are definitely being kept from falling away. If Jesus intercedes and yet loses one soul to hell, what kind of intercession is that? It is weak and cannot fulfill its purpose.

    Conclusion:
    The love of God is truly amazing! My heart leaps for joy and I praise God for He has shown His great love for me by sending His Son to die for me. I can never repay the Lord even with my present life but the only thing that I could offer as a sacrifice is to love Him with all my heart, soul and strength (Luke 10:27); to do justly, love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God (Micah 6:8). I wrote this topic on “God’s love” because of His overwhelming love that flows through my heart. It overflows that I am drowning inside His unconditional love for me. I am being kept by Him to this day since I got saved 1982, not because of what I have done but because of His stubborn love for me. He restored to me the joy of His saving grace 2011. I finally have read the bible from Genesis to Malachi and from Matthew to Revelations and yet, He continues to reveal Himself to me with new things as I am about to finish the sacred writings of God, the second time around.
    The years of my youth are fast departing from me and soon my life will end but I do not have any regret if He only revealed Himself deeply to me at my present age. Truly, He made everything beautiful in His time (Ecc 3:11). I may not know what tomorrow might bring to me but then again, I know whom I have believed and I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day (2 Tim 1:12). As I go on with life, my faith which is a gift from God would rest on Him alone because I know; He who began a good work in me shall also finish it until the day of my Lord’s return and when I am finally transformed from corruptible to incorruptible. My utmost praise to my God: He is able to keep me from falling, and to present me faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen (Jude 1:24-25).


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