Why are there some that go to Hell?

By Andrew Lindsey
The following section of an article from Agape Press was previously posted on the old anti-Calvinist BaptistFire.com website, which has been out of commission for some time now, but the article may still be read by following the link at the end of the quote:

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary president Dr. Albert Mohler embraces traditional reformed theology, and believes that all Christians at some point must believe in limited atonement unless they are universalists.

The question comes down to whether the atonement is limited by God’s electing purpose or whether it’s limited by human beings and their free decisions,” Mohler explains. “I think the Scripture is very clear that God is sovereign in the process of salvation, such that God’s saving work will be completed in Christ.

Instead of “limited atonement,” Mohler affirms what he calls “particular redemption” — which, he says, is based on the fact that “scripture speaks of an unconditional election of the saints in Christ, the fact that God’s electing purpose is the ground of our salvation, and the fact that we are told that those who are saved are those whom God has chosen.

Some persons would categorize that as limited atonement,” he says, “but if you’re going to talk about God’s sovereignty and His omniscience and human responsibility, you can look at it either way.

But Dr. Elmer Towns, Liberty University co-founder and dean of the School of Religion, says Mohler does not understand the true nature of the cross. “Jesus died for all. No man goes to hell for his sin — people go to hell for unbelief … they have not believed in Jesus Christ,” Towns says. “Therefore, the atonement covers the sin of every person — but that’s not universalism. We must give them the message, they must believe.” [from Jim Brown, “Theologians Differ on the ‘All’ for Whom Christ Died” , Agape Press, Jan. 13, 2003. Emphasis added .]

It is my intention in this post to carefully examine the above quote from Dr. Towns and to show why his statements are in error. At the outset, I would like to note that I fully believe that Dr. Towns’ statements tend to give credibility to Universalism (the belief that every individual person who ever has or will live will also go to Heaven), but that even if everyone who follows Dr. Towns’ philosophy of the atonement is as careful as he is to avoid Universalism, the direct effect of his statements on this issue is the muddling of Christians’ thinking on matters of the Law, the Gospel, and how to present the Gospel to non-Christians.

Points of Agreement

From Dr. Town’s statements in the above article, I would like to point out two obvious points of agreement between the position that he takes in regards to the atonement and my own position, which is represented by the above quotes from Dr. Mohler, and which I (of course) fully believe to be the biblical position.

First, I agree with Dr. Towns that the atonement provided by Christ on the Cross actually made payment for sin. This truth is clear from the book of Hebrews, chapter 10, verses 11-18:

Now every priest stands day after day ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after offering one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God. He is now waiting until His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are sanctified. The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. For after He had said: This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws on their hearts, and I will write them on their minds, He adds: I will never again remember their sins and their lawless acts. Now where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer an offering for sin. (HCSB)

Now, the people to whom these verses actually apply are a point of disagreement between Dr. Towns and myself, as I hope to explore in some following sections, but for now, out of Christian charity, I would like to note that we seem to basically agree on the essential nature of what Christ did on the Cross- that He provided “one sacrifice for sins forever,” which takes away the sins of those to whom the atonement is applied.

Secondly, Dr. Towns and I agree that not everyone will enter into heaven on the basis of Christ’s atonement. Dr. Towns is not a Universalist. In fact, Dr. Towns and I agree on a basic point of fact in identifying the group that will not enter into heaven. That is, we both agree that no one who fails to believe in Christ will enter into heaven and I am sure that we agree that anyone who does, in fact, believe in Christ will certainly enter heaven.

So I would like to conclude this section by clarifying what claims I am not trying to make in this post. I am not accusing Dr. Towns of being a heretic. That he believes in the Substitutionary Atonement and that he is not a Universalist indicate to me that (from what I can discern in the little bit I have read from him) Dr. Towns is a brother in Christ.

But I would also like to stress that I firmly believe that Dr. Towns’ statements, quoted above, contain gross error and that this error is deadly if left unchecked. For as the Body of Christ on earth, it is the solemn duty of every Christian to proclaim the Truth of Jesus’ work on the Cross, which provides the only way of reconciliation between a holy God and sinful people. And if we allow our proclamation of Truth to become mixed with error, then we will be held accountable before God and we will cause great detriment to the spreading of His kingdom.

Now, to examine specific statements from Dr. Towns- “…people go to hell for unbelief.”

This statement by Dr. Towns is certainly true, and I made passing reference to it in the section above. People certainly go to Hell for unbelief, and no one who believes in Christ alone for their salvation will ever go to Hell. The text that Dr. Towns seems to have in mind (given the context of this statement) is the gospel account of John, chapter 3, verse 18:

Anyone who believes in Him is not judged, but anyone who does not believe is already judged, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. (NASB)

Other verses also draw a direct connection between unbelief and suffering in Hell, such as:

Therefore I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” (John 8:24 HCSB)

But the cowards, unbelievers, vile, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars–their share will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8 HCSB)

“No man goes to hell for his sin-“
With this statement, the views held by myself and Dr. Towns sharply diverge. This statement by Dr. Towns, that “no man goes to hell for his sin,” is, in fact, the main reason that I felt compelled to post on this topic. For this statement is clearly contradicted by Scripture. For even in the verses listed above, Jesus makes it clear that unbelievers will “die in [their] sins.” And the Apostle John prophesies, listing unbelief with other sins for which people will be judged and sent to “the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” So people do go to Hell for their sins. Unbelievers die in their sins and suffer the second death, for “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a), and unbelief itself is a sin.

John Owen, in his book The Death of Death in the Death of Christ (1647), addressed the exact assertion raised by Dr. Towns above:

Why are not all free from the punishment of all their sins? You will say, ‘Because of their unbelief; they will not believe.’ But this unbelief, is it a sin, or not? If not, why should they be punished for it? If it be, then Christ underwent the punishment due to it, or not. If so, then why must that hinder them more than their other sins for which he died from partaking of the fruit of his death? If he did not, then did he not die for all their sins? Let them choose which part they will.

“Jesus died for all.”
By this statement, Dr. Towns means to say, “the atonement covers the sin of every person.” But the Bible clearly limits the intended extent of the atonement in passages such as the following (NASB, with emphasis added):

By oppression and judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered That He was cut off out of the land of the living For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke {was due?} (Isaiah 53:8)

As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see {it and} be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities. (Isaiah 53:11)

“She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)

“just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)

“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and redeemed His people.” (Luke 1:68)

“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. (John 10:11)

Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. (John 13:1).

Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. (John 17:1-2)

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us –for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE”– (Galatians 3:13)

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, (Ephesians 5:25)

And in the section of Hebrews previously quoted, we are told:

For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are sanctified. (Hebrews 10:14 HCSB)

By this verse, we know who is directly impacted by Christ’s offering on the Cross- “those who are sanctified”- and we also know there is a promise given to all those who are sanctified by this offering- that of being perfected- and this promise is so certain that it is spoken of in the past tense- “He has perfected…” The only group to whom these phrases apply are believers, who are also known as the elect (Luke 18:7, Romans 8:23, Titus 1:1, etc.). These phrases, and therefore the offering of Christ on the Cross, do not apply to anyone else.

That “All” Does Not Always Mean “All”
Reading the above verses, some may offer an objection. Some may ask, “Aren’t there verses that say that Christ died for the sins of all men.” A primary text in this regard is Paul’s first epistle to Timothy, chapter 2, verses 3 through 6:

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time. (NASB)

Responding to this verse, we must note three things:

1. Context is key. The verses surrounding the above passage make it clear that Paul’s main thrust in writing these words was to break down racial and class distinctions that were prejudicing members of the early church against proclaiming the Gospel to everyone. So before the passage cited above, Paul makes mention of offering prayers for “all men” (I Tim. 2:1), specifically indicating “kings and all who are in authority” (I Tim. 2:2)- the same class of men from whom so few of the early Christians came (cf. I Cor. 1:26-27), and the same class of men who so often persecuted the early church (cf. James 2:6). And after the passage cited above Paul immediately explains that he was appointed as an apostle to the Gentiles (I Tim. 2:7). So the primary thrust of this passage is that God desires all kinds of men to be saved and that Christ died as a ransom for all kinds of men.

2. There is a very real sense in which God desires all men to be saved. This is clear from other verses of Scripture such as Ezekiel 18:23 (NASB):

“Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked,” declares the Lord GOD, “rather than that he should turn from his ways and live?”

But there is also another very real sense in which God delights in causing the destruction or perishing of some who rebel against Him, as is made clear from verses such as Deuteronomy 28:63 (NASB):

It shall come about that as the LORD delighted over you to prosper you, and multiply you, so the LORD will delight over you to make you perish and destroy you; and you will be torn from the land where you are entering to possess it.

Taking both of these verses seriously, we must come to the conclusion that the will of God is two-fold. For God in His goodness and love toward all of His creatures desires only good and not evil. But due to reasons beyond our understanding (Deuteronomy 29:29, Isaiah 55:9) God has not chosen to change the heart (Ezekiel 36:26) of every individual. He has not chosen to bring each and every person out of spiritual death and into spiritual life (Ephesians 2:1-5).

This doctrine of a two-fold will of God is the only way that the teaching presented in above Scriptures, as well as the entire chapter of Romans 9, can be shown to be compatible with the whole counsel of God. The ‘two-fold will of God’ may seem odd to us at first, but it is not wholly outside of human comprehension. John Piper makes this clear by way of the following historical illustration:

The way I would give an account of this is explained by Robert L. Dabney in an essay written over a hundred years ago… Dabney uses an analogy from the life of George Washington taken from Chief-Justice Marshall’s Life of Washington. A certain Major André had jeopardized the safety of the young nation through “rash and unfortunate” treasonous acts. Marshall says of the death warrant, signed by Washington, “Perhaps on no occasion of his life did the commander-in-chief obey with more reluctance the stern mandates of duty and of policy.” Dabney observes that Washington’s compassion for André was “real and profound”. He also had “plenary power to kill or to save alive.” Why then did he sign the death warrant? Dabney explains, “Washington’s volition to sign the death-warrant of André did not arise from the fact that his compassion was slight or feigned, but from the fact that it was rationally counterpoised by a complex of superior judgments . . . of wisdom, duty, patriotism, and moral indignation.
Dabney imagines a defender of André, hearing Washington say, “I do this with the deepest reluctance and pity.” Then the defender says, “Since you are supreme in this matter, and have full bodily ability to throw down that pen, we shall know by your signing this warrant that your pity is hypocritical.” Dabney responds to this by saying, “The petulance of this charge would have been equal to its folly. The pity was real, but was restrained by superior elements of motive. Washington had official and bodily power to discharge the criminal, but he had not the sanctions of his own wisdom and justice.” The corresponding point in the case of divine election is that “the absence of volition in God to save does not necessarily imply the absence of compassion.” God has “a true compassion, which is yet restrained, in the case of the . . . non-elect, by consistent and holy reasons, from taking the form of a volition to regenerate.” God’s infinite wisdom regulates his whole will and guides and harmonizes (not suppresses) all its active principles.”

3. “All” does not normally mean “every single person in the world” either in Scripture or in our daily speech. The people to whom the phrase “all” applies is always to be understood from the context in which it is given. If we hear someone at work say, “all employees must attend this meeting,” we do not understand him or her to be referring to all the employees of every company in the world, but only to our own particular company. And Bible teacher James Montgomery Boice pointed out how the Biblical use of the word “all” is similarly defined by its context:

Isaiah 53:6 says that God laid on Jesus “the iniquity of us all.” But it is clear from the verse immediately before this that the ones for whom Jesus bore iniquity are those who have been brought to a state of “peace” with God, that is, those who have been justified (cf. Rom. 5:1). Again, they are those who have been “healed” (v.5), not those who continue to be spiritually sick or dead. In the same way, the passages in John’s Gospel that speak of Jesus being the Savior of the world mean only that Jesus is the only Savior the world will ever have, not that he will save every individual in it. Many other scattered passages that use the word “all” mean only “all of us.”

And so it should be clear that when the Bible declares that Christ Jesus “gave Himself as a ransom for all” this phrase is intended to indicate “all within our particular company” and our particular company includes all kinds of individuals from every class and race of men.

Conclusion
So, “why are there some that go to Hell?” One Biblical answer to this question is that some go to Hell because Christ did not make Substitution for their sins. They remain lost in their unbelief and they are bearing the just wrath of God against sin forever.

I would like to end this rather lengthy post with the following quote from the great evangelist, Charles H. Spurgeon. In this quote, the phrases “universal atonement,” “universal redemption,” and “died for all men” are all meant to indicate the view which I am opposing in this post- that Christ made payment for all the sins of every individual person who ever has or ever will walk the face of the earth (Pharoah, Pilate, and Nero included) by His death on the Cross.

Some persons love the doctrine of universal atonement because they say, “It is so beautiful. It is a lovely idea that Christ should have died for all men; it commends itself,” they say, “to the instincts of humanity; there is something in it full of joy and beauty.” I admit there is, but beauty may be often associated with falsehood. There is much which I might admire in the theory of universal redemption, but I will just show what the supposition necessarily involves. If Christ on His cross intended to save every man, then He intended to save those who were lost before He died. If the doctrine be true, that He died for all men, then He died for some who were in hell before He came into this world, for doubtless there were even then myriads there who had been cast away because of their sins. Once again, if it was Christ’s intention to save all men, how deplorably has He been disappointed, for we have His own testimony that there is a lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, and into that pit of woe have been cast some of the very persons who, according to the theory of universal redemption, were bought with His blood… To think that my Saviour died for men who were or are in hell, seems a supposition too horrible for me to entertain. To imagine for a moment that He was the Substitute for all the sons of men, and that God, having first punished the Substitute, afterwards punished the sinners themselves, seems to conflict with all my ideas of Divine justice. That Christ should offer an atonement and satisfaction for the sins of all men, and that afterwards some of those very men should be punished for the sins for which Christ had already atoned, appears to me to be the most monstrous iniquity that could ever have been imputed to Saturn, to Janus, to the goddess of the Thugs, or to the most diabolical heathen deities. God forbid that we should ever think thus of Jehovah, the just and wise and good!

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67 Comments on “Why are there some that go to Hell?”

  1. kletois Says:

    We often hear the phrase “Jesus died for ALL”, but what does the bible say?

    “For God so loved the world that he gave His only Son, so that those believing in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16.

    In case anyone missed it, the Son was given to save believers, not everyone.

    “Jesus died for ALL” is correct only in the sense of Jesus being the only way to be reconciled to God. For as Peter said before Annas and others:

    “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

  2. Bill Combs Says:

    Can you tell me where the quote from Spurgeon comes?

  3. William Cronister Says:

    Bill,

    The quote of Spurgeon above is from A Defense of Calvinism. You can find it at http://www.spurgeon.org/calvinis.htm.

    Grace and Peace,

    Bill

  4. Allan Says:

    Since encountering this website I have been looking into Calvanism, I noticed quite a bit of difference in present day Calvanism and those of Spurgeons day. I agree with Spurgeon on Calvanism but not the present day calvanists. Forgive the length of the post here but I feel that Spurgeon is seldom represented correctly as a Calvanist by other Calvanist. You will see what I mean as you read further, mostly it will be excets from Spurgeons own sermons. And unfortunatelly Andrew you left out of Charles Spurgeons view that there IS mans freedom of responciblity in the same sermon “Defense of Calvanism.” in which you quote, He also states:

    “…I do not think I differ from any of my Hyper-Calvinistic brethren in what I do believe, but I differ from them in what they do not believe. I do not hold any less than they do, but I hold a little more, and, I think, a little more of the truth revealed in the Scriptures. Not only are there a few cardinal doctrines, by which we can steer our ship North, South, East, or West, but as we study the Word, we shall begin to learn something about the North-west and North-east, and all else that lies between the four cardinal points. The system of truth revealed in the Scriptures is not simply one straight line, but two; and no man will ever get a right view of the gospel until he knows how to look at the two lines at once. For instance, I read in one Book of the Bible, “The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Yet I am taught, in another part of the same inspired Word, that “it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” I see, in one place, God in providence presiding over all, and yet I see, and I cannot help seeing, that man acts as he pleases, and that God has left his actions, in a great measure, to his own free-will. Now, if I were to declare that man was so free to act that there was no control of God over his actions, I should be driven very near to atheism; and if, on the other hand, I should declare that God so over-rules all things that man is not free enough to be responsible, I should be driven at once into Antinomianism or fatalism. That God predestines, and yet that man is responsible, are two facts that few can see clearly. They are believed to be inconsistent and contradictory to each other. If, then, I find taught in one part of the Bible that everything is fore-ordained, that is true; and if I find, in another Scripture, that man is responsible for all his actions, that is true; and it is only my folly that leads me to imagine that these two truths can ever contradict each other. I do not believe they can ever be welded into one upon any earthly anvil, but they certainly shall be one in eternity. They are two lines that are so nearly parallel, that the human mind which pursues them farthest will never discover that they converge, but they do converge, and they will meet somewhere in eternity, close to the throne of God, whence all truth doth spring…”

    And again in His sermon on “Soveriegn grace and mans responciblity” he also states :

    “…Lost sinners who sit under the sound of the gospel are not lost for the want of the most affectionate invitation. God says he stretched out his hands. You know what that means. You have seen the child who is disobedient and will not come to his father. The father puts out his hands, and says, “Come, my child, come; I am ready to forgive you.” The tear is in his eye, and his bowels move with compassion, and he says, “Come, come.” God says this is what he did—”he stretched out his hands.” That is what he has done to some of you. You that are not saved to-day are without excuse, for God stretched out his hands to you, and he said, “Come, come.” Long have you sat beneath the sound of the ministry, and it has been a faithful one, I trust, and a weeping one. Your minister has not forgotten to pray for your souls in secret or to weep over you when no eye saw him, and he has endeavoured to persuade you as an ambassador from God. God is my witness, I have sometimes stood in this pulpit, and I could not have pleaded harder for my own life than I have pleaded with you. In Christ’s name, I have cried, “Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” I have wept over you as the Saviour did, and used his words on his behalf, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered thy children together as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not.” And you know that your conscience has often been touched; you have often been moved; you could not resist it. God was so kind to you; he invited you so affectionately by the Word; he dealt so gently with you by his providence; his hands were stretched out, and you could hear his voice speaking in your ears, “Come unto me, come: come now, let us reason together; though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as wool; though they be red like crimson they shall be whiter than snow.” You have heard him cry, “Ho every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters.” You have heard him say with all the affection of a father’s heart, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him turn unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and unto our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” Oh! God does plead with men that they would be saved, and this day he says to every one of you, “Repent, and be converted for the remission of your sins. Turn ye unto me. Thus saith the Lord of hosts; consider your ways.” And with love divine he woos you as a father woos his child, putting out his hands and crying, “Come unto me, come unto me.” “No,” says one strong-doctrine man, “God never invites all men to himself; he invites none but certain characters.” Stop, sir, that is all you know about it. Did you ever read that parable where it is said, My oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready; come unto the marriage.” And they that were bidden would not come. And did you never read that they all began to make excuse, and that they were punished because they did not accept the invitations. Now, if the invitation is not to be made to anybody, but to the man who will accept it, how can that parable be true? The fact is, the oxen and fatlings are killed; the wedding feast is ready, and the trumpet sounds, “Ho every one that thirsteth, come and eat, come and drink.” Here are the provisions spread, here is an all-sufficiency; the invitation is free; it is a great invitation. “Whosoever will, let him come and take of the water of life freely.” And that invitation is couched in tender words, “Come to me, my child, come to me.” “All day long I have stretched forth my hands.”
    And note again, this invitation was very frequent. The words, “all the day long,” may be translated “daily”—”Daily have I stretched forth my hands.” Sinner, God has not called you once to come, and then let you alone, but every day has he been at you; every day has conscience spoken to you; every day has providence warned you, and every Sabbath has the Word of God wooed you. Oh! how much some of you will have to account for at God’s great bar! I cannot now read your characters, but I know there are some of you who will have a terrible account at last. All the day long has God been wooing you. From the first dawn of your life, he wooed you through your mother, and she used to put your little hands together, and teach you to say…”

    A little further he states in the same sermon:
    “…If God has kept on stretching out his hands every day and all the day, it will be a hard thing for you when you shall be justly condemned not only for your breaches of the law, but for your wilful rejection of the gospel. It is probable that God will keep on stretching out his hands to you until your hairs grow grey, still continually inviting you: and perhaps when you are nearing death he will still say, “Come unto me, come unto me.” But if you still persist in hardening your heart, if still you reject Christ, I beseech you let nothing make you imagine that you shall go unpunished.
    This doctrine is as much God’s Word as the other. You ask me to reconcile the two. I answer, they do not want any reconcilement; I never tried to reconcile them to myself, because I could never see a discrepancy.

    If grace be free and sovereign in the hand of God, down goes the doctrine of priestcraft, away go buying and selling indulgences and such like things; they are swept to the four winds of heaven, and the efficacy of good works is dashed in pieces like Dagon before the ark of the Lord. “Well,” says one, “I like the doctrine; still there are very few that preach it, and those that do are very high.” Very likely; but I care little what anybody calls me. It signifies very little what men call you. Suppose they call you a “hyper,” that does not make you anything wicked, does it? Suppose they call you an Antinomian, that will not make you one. I must confess, however, that there are some men who preach this doctrine who are doing ten thousand times more harm than good, because they don’t preach the next doctrine I am going to proclaim, which is just as true. They have this to be the sail. but they have not the other to be the ballast. They can preach one side but not the other. They can go along with the high doctrine, but they will not preach the whole of the Word. Such men caricature the Word of God. And just let me say here, that it is the custom of a certain body of Ultra-Calvinists, to call those of us who teach that it is the duty of man to repent and believe, “Mongrel Calvinists.” If you hear any of them say so, give them my most respectful compliments, and ask them whether they ever read Calvin’s works in their lives. Not that I care what Calvin said or did not say; but ask them whether they, ever read his works; and if they say “No,” as they must say, for there are forty-eight large voluines, you can tell them, that the man whom they call “a Mongrel Calvinist,” though he has not read them all, has read a very good share of them, and knows their spirit; and he knows that he preaches substantially what Calvin preached—that every doctrine he preaches may be found in Calvin’s Commentaries on some part of Scripture or other. We are TRUE Calvinists, however. Calvin is nobody to us. Jesus Christ and him crucified, and the old fashioned Bible, are our standards. Beloved, let us take God’s Word as it stands.

    He also beleived babies when died that some went to heaven (elect) and some to hell. He believed ALL went into glory. Yet he himself defines himself as a Calvanist and a Hyper-Calvanist as well. I state all this to say that he was not the only Calvanist to state such things and He ever states that John Calvan stated as much.

    By the Way Kletois I know you have read Rom 9 but what the rest of Romans. Chapter 5 states in vs 6 …he (Jesus) died for the sins of the ungodly. This is not in relation to the elect because vss 12-21 explain that Christ died for the Whole World. I is kinda hard to get around Spurgeon on this issue but even harder to get around God especailly in vss 12-19 in Rom. Sorry for the length of this

  5. Allan Says:

    I case you were wondering, I like this website because I can honestly look into Calvanism NOT to fault it but to better see scripture in light of how others see it. I can not in truth hold to a view because one says it is truth when many say they are truth, and as I have always taught my students “study to know it for yourself becuase otherwise it is a borrowed faith and that is not faith at all. Pray God helps me understand His Word better. Who knows maybe one day I will call myself a calvanist but for know I think i would best be described as a Spergeonite. 🙂

  6. Gene Says:

    I’d add that “world” in the New Testament in relation to the atonement takes on the imagery of the Tabernacle, not the people. Hebrews connects Christ’s atonement to the Day of Atonement. Whose sins were covered on that day? Answer: the covenant people and those with them who were considered part of the covenant people (aliens, stranger, and servants “in their tents,” who had, by definition been circumcised and thus were part of the covenant community). Jesus Himself answers to the role of high priest. This is a tad disanalagous here, even to the author of Hebrews, in that He is both sacrifice and high priest and is sinless, so He is not puriified for sin (rather, He is vindicated for His work by the Father who makes Him king as well as high priest and prophet). Lastly, the Tabernacle / Temple itself was purified. This, folks, is “the world” for which Christ died. It is the dwelling of the covenant community where they meet God; it is not “every person without exception.”

    Notice the image that Scripture repeats:

    The universe and world are a 3 storied structure, cf. Genesis 1 and 2.
    Eden is the holy place. The center, where the two trees are located is the Most Holy Place. It is cut off from Adam and Eve and they are expelled into the vestibule, out of the holy place, cut off from the Most Holy Place by 2 cherubim.

    The ark: Noah builds the ark in a 3 story manner to protect his family and the creatures God preserves from the waters (water is another Gen.1 image).

    The Tabernacle: 3 main parts, follows the same construction as “the world.”

    The Temple, 3 parts: vestibule/courts; holy place, Most Holy Place, the ark is where the mercy seat of God rests over His law, just as in the Garden, and the way to it is guarded by 2 cherubim (See 1 Kings on the construction of the Temple).

    The Day of Atonement: the high priest makes sacrifice, etc. and purifies Himself, the people, and the tabernacle/temple. Jesus is the sacrifices, He sacrifices Himself, is the High Priest, is vindicated by the Father, who accepts His sacrifice, and Jesus intercedes for them. The Holy Spirit then applies the atonement to the elect (the covenant people) and the world is purified in the process (notice how in Scripture, when the gospel spreads the world itself is exorcised of the demonic), culminating in the eschaton.

    I’d also add about the “all comments” that committing to “every person without exception” as Dr. Towns does presents several problems. I’ve discussed the fallacy of extension before. Here I’ll add this:

    Douglas Stuart has a new critical commentary on Exodus out now. He writes: So commonly in the Hb. expression ‘all Israel,’ which in many contexts refers only to representatives (e.g. 1 Sam 12:1; 1 Kgs 18:19; 1 Chr 11:1; 15:3) or soldiers (Josh 8:24) or leaders from all segments of the nation (2 Chr 1:2) or the like, not literally to every single Israelite’,” ibid. 224, n.89.

    This has relevance to “all means all,” that common phrase we here so much, does it not? Also, Dr. Towns, if we take the logical position he should take, should affirm that all livestock in Egypt were destroyed, without any exceptions. He would be powerless against an atheist arguing that the Exodus narrative is incoherent and contradictory. Now, I suspect Dr. Towns handles this text very like Dr. Stuart. If so, he’s massively inconsistent to insist on “all” meaning “everyone/thing without exception.”

    Stuart writes:

    “The verse [9:6] also contains a translation choice in the NIV that creates a possible misimpression for the reader. The NIV translation ‘all the livestock of the Egyptians died’ would seem to suggest that no Egyptian livestock survived the plague, especially when this statement is followed by the (correctly translated) statement ‘but not one animal belonging to the Israelites died.’ Yet when one reads on to the account of the seventh plague, it is clear that there were plenty of Egyptian livestock still alive, since they are mentioned as being in danger of being killed by the next plague, that of ferocious hail (9:19-21). Moreover, Egyptian livestock are described as alive at the advent of the account of the final plague, that of the death of the firstborn (122:29). This apparent contradiction is not due to inconsistency among the plague accounts, multiple contradictory sources for them, or any similar cause. It is due simply to the fact that the Hebrew word ‘kol,’ usually translated ‘all,” can mean ‘all sorts of’ [n.88] or ‘from all over’ or ‘all over the place’ [n.89]. In this verse, the better translation of the full expression would be ‘all sorts of Egyptian livestock died’ or “Egyptian livestock died all over the place,” ibid. 223-24.

    “That ‘kol’ can mean ‘all sorts of’ or the like is well known. E.g. it is usually translated either ‘all sorts of” or ‘all kinds of’ in modern Eng. translations in the following sampling of contexts from early and late biblical Hebrew: Gen 4:22; 24:10; 40:17; Exod 35:22; Lev 19:23; Deut 6:11; 2 Kgs 8:9; 1 Chr 18:10; 22:15; 29:2; 2 Chr 2:14; 32:27-28; Neh 9:25; 13:15; 13:20; Ps 45:13; Prov 1:13; Eccl 2:5; Ezek 8:10; 27:22; 39:20; 47:12,” ibid. 223, n.88.

    Okay…I’m back on vacation now. Just thought I’d add a bit…Adios!

  7. Gene Says:

    I feel that Spurgeon is seldom represented correctly as a Calvanist by other Calvanist.

    a. Spurgeon stated clearly that he approved of and offered A. A. Hodge’s book Outlines of Theology, except for the bits about paedobaptism, “to the letter” for teaching at the Met. Tab. school.

    b. Spurgeon affirmed all five points of Calvinism using the same logic as we do here.

    c. Nobody here disaffirms human responsibility. When Nathan writes, “So, “why are there some that go to Hell?” One Biblical answer to this question is that some go to Hell because Christ did not make Substitution for their sins. They remain lost in their unbelief and they are bearing the just wrath of God against sin forever.” He assumes they are condemned because of their sins.

    d. Your objection confuses a necessary and a sufficient condition. God’s decrees are a necessary, not a sufficient condition for condemnation. Men sin based on their desires and motivations.

    e. Spurgeon affirmed total inability using the same expressions we do here. This subtracts from men’s ability, not their moral responsibility.

    f. The sermon you quoted on hyper-Calvinism has to do with the errors of hyper-Calvinism. He even names them: fatalism and antinomianism. Hyper-Calvinism is fatalistic. In Spurgeon’s day, as in John Gill’s day, hypers were using the doctrine of decrees to justify their sin. He is specifically refuting their assertion that men are not responsible for what they cannot do and should not, therefore, reform or repent of sin, unless they find they have a “warrant to believe.”

    g. All persons writing on this blog affirm “duty faith.” We affirm that duty faith is generated by the commands of God, however, not the coextensive scope of the atonement. What, exactly, is there in the offer of the gospel (or whatever we want to call it) that we should not urge upon elect and reprobate alike? Take repentance. Don’t all men have a moral duty to obey God? And if they sin, don’t they have an obligation to repent? Total depravity subtracts from their ability, but not their duty. To say otherwise is to say that the more wicked we are, the less responsible we are for sin. By that line of logic, the more evil I am, the more innocent I am. Talk about another gospel! This is the thing that Spurgeon is addressing here. What about faith in Christ? If it is true that Christ is the Savior of the world and the Lord of the universe, then shouldn’t everyone believe that and trust in Him? Isn’t there a standing obligation on the part of everyone to believe in whatever is true?

    Ah, but if Christ didn’t die for the reprobate, then they are not qualified to believe in him, right? Wrong! It’s Arminians who define the offer of the gospel in those terms. In the examples of Gospel preaching in the New Testament, you never run across a conversion formula which consists of believing that Christ died for me as a condition of salvation. The *fact* that Christ died for the elect alone is a condition of salvation, but *believing* that Christ died for the elect alone is not a condition of salvation. Since the Scriptural offer of the gospel is never framed in those terms, it is applicable to elect and reprobate alike.

    And, as a practical matter, the reprobate will never believe it any way, while only the elect will believe it, so where’s the harm? The elect will believe that Christ died for them as a result of believing in him. Let’s not get the cart before the horse.

    h. Apropos G, if you state the the offer of the gospel must necessarily be coextensive with the atonement, you make the hyper-Calvinists same error that they make with the respect to ability and responsibility (for they affirm that ability must be coextensive with responsibility for moral responsibility to be valid). In short, this is the mirror-image of the hyper-Calvinist, for he is saying that the objective offer of the gospel is invalid unless certain divine preconditions are acknowledged and respected. It isn’t enough to call on everyone to repent and believe: unless you (the preacher) believe that God seconds your call from the pulpit, then the offer is insincere and sub-par.

  8. Gene Says:

    Allan, as for Romans 5, this text does not state “the whole world,” in fact, that term is never used. Jesus died for the ungodly. Who are they in 5:6?

    For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. This is merely a descriptor for Paul’s own audience: Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

    2through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.

    3And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;

    4and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;

    5and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

    Is every person without exception justified? No. We have peace we God, because Christ died for the ungodly. Who are they? Us.

    Now, as to 5:12 – 21, if this “all” is every person without exception, then you have no choice but to affirm universalism, and I know you don’t affirm it:

    12Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned–

    13for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

    14Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.

    15But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.

    16The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification.

    17For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

    18So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.

    19For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.

    20The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,

    21so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    It begins, “Therefore” (This points us to what has gone before. Paul has said that we are helpless and that through Christ we (believers) have received reconciliation. This will limit the scope of those whom Christ represents in the following text. All men without exception have no received reconciliation. All men without exception have not exulted in God’s work.

    The text continues, “just as sin entered into the world and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned—“
    Just as! Just as what? Did you notice that the “so also” is way down in the text in v.18. “Just as,” points us to the Lord Jesus Christ, further down in the text. Just as this happened in Adam, so also, something else happened in Christ.

    Vs. 13 – 17 is an excursus between the” Just as…so also.” If we look at 5:12 and 5:18 as a single statement, this becomes apparent:
    Just as through one man sin entered the world
    (and death through sin)
    and death spread to all who are in Adam
    and his sin was imputed to them (v.13 takes up this notion of imputation)
    so also through one man, Jesus Christ, righteousness entered the world
    (and life through righteousness)
    and life spread to all who are in Christ
    because all were righteous in him
    and his righteousness is imputed to them.

    Paul is saying: Just as we believers (referenced in v.11) have received the reconciliation through the one man, Jesus Christ, sin entered the world through Adam (the one man) and his one sin. Through this one sin, came sin and death. As a result of Adam’s one sin, death spread to all men, because all sinned in Adam…not that they sinned individually, but that they sinned IN ADAM. In other words, he is their representative head. If death results because all men on their own individually sinned, then, by this same logic, all men are justified, not because of the obedience of Christ, but by their own individual obedience that Christ helped. That would be salvation by works! Let me explain (I realize this is not your argument, but I’m making it for a reason to help explain the reason we affirm Adam is our representative):

    The text would read, if that view is correct: “Just as through Adam sin and death entered the world, and death spread to everybody because all sinned individually, so also, through Jesus Christ, righteousness and life entered the world, and life spread to all, because all individually did acts of righteousness. In other words, justification would not be God’s removing guilt from us on account of Christ alone and further declaring us righteous legally on account of Christ alone, but by our doing individual acts of righteousness with Christ’s help, which would then be counted as our righteousness. That turns Romans 1 – 5 completely on its head!

    The only way to properly read this with respect to individual sins is: “Just as the result of the one sin of Adam is that it is just as if all individuals he represents had sinned individually and are guilty and condemned, so also, as the result of the one act of obedience by Christ, it is just as if all individuals He represents had done nothing but acts of righteousness—but both are the result of the one act of Adam and the one act of Christ respectively, not the individual acts of men.”

    The very next verse refutes the one making that argument. It says, “For until the Law (the time of Moses) sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed where there is no law.” Now, if sin is not imputed (e.g. counted against men) where there is no law to tell them about their sin, then how is it that men died as the wages of their sin? Answer: God counted all men forensically guilty of Adam’s one sin, and, from that point on their many sins arose. For, “Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of him to come.” (Many exegetes say this refers to directly to infants. If so, this directly refutes you. See John Piper’s Counted Righteous in Christ.) Personal, individual sin cannot be the reason all died without transgressing a known law the way Adam did (v.14), and thus, without the ability to have their personal sins reckoned to them in the sense of which he is speaking (v.13), they died, therefore, because of the imputation of Adam’s guilt to them. “All sinned” means that all sinned through the one man’s disobedience (v.19).

    V. 15 says, “By the transgression (singular) of the one (Adam) many died.” Right here, what you say must not be true, Paul says is true, through the transgression of Adam, many died. It does not say that many died because each and every man sinned himself. It says through the death of one, many died. The next verse says with respect to Adam, the judgment from God arose from one transgression. From one and only one transgression comes condemnation to all. From this condemnation of all men, come their many transgressions afterwards. This is exactly what Calvinists teach. Men are condemned in Adam, imputed as guilty. Their many transgressions come as a result.
    The free gift comes as a response to the many transgressions that followed that condemnation. Paul even repeats himself. “For by the transgression (singular) of the one (Adam) there resulted condemnation to all men (plural), even so through one act of righteousness” (singular) (either the whole life of Christ including His death or His obedience at the cross, either are acceptable interpretations), “there resulted justification of life to all men (plural).” Many are made sinners through the transgression of Adam by virtue of condemnation coming to them, and through Christ’s obedience many will be made righteous. The question of the scope of each turns on those whom the two federal heads represent. Adam represents all of humanity. The referent for “all men” and Christ is “Christians, e.g. all persons, Jew and Gentile, who are justified by Him,” not all men without exception!

    Notice here: In Adam all died. Did they really die? Yes. In Christ, justification came to all men.” Really, are all men justified? No. If you are correct, Allan, then all men are justified already, for the verb here is such that is an actual result. The atonement and union with Christ has effacious results according to this text, and that is justification.

    “All men” w/reference to Christ refers to those whom Christ represents, not all men without exception. You have assumed something about the text that you have not established, e.g. that “all men” refers to all men without exception for both Adam and Christ. It refers to all men for whom each the covenant head.

    The text says, “The free gift is not like the transgression.” How? Answer: Because all men without exception are in Adam. Also Adam really fell. Therefore, all men without exception fell. If Christ’s death really satisfied the wrath of God, then either:

    a. The scope of this is limited to believers, which fits “the many will be made righteous. It stands to reason that since condemnation really came to all men, justification really comes to those Christ represents, and, since not all persons will be made righteous, since all have sinned, the “all” here, refers to Christians only, not all men without exception.

    b. The power is limited and men must believe in order to effectuate it, which still means “the many will be made righteous,’ but not all men. However, this option means that Adam’s fall was real but Christ’s death was not, for all men whom Christ represented did not “die” with Him at the cross. This renders the cross of no real effect, but Adam’s fall has a real effect. Why say Adam’s fall has a real effect, but not the cross? That’s inconsistent at best.

    c. Universalism is true, which both Calvinists and Arminians deny.

    Either a. or b. is viable and proves that those whom are represented by Christ are not all men without exception, but those who believe only.

    To recap:
    “So, as through one offense, there resulted condemnation to all men, so also, through one righteous deed, there resulted justification of life to all men.”
    The literal, word for word, translation of Romans 5:18 is:
    so therefore as through one offense into all men into condemnation, so also through one righteous deed into all men into justification of life”
    So, therefore, as through one offense, into all men into condemnation,
    so, also, through one righteous deed, into all men into justification of life.
    Because there is no verb in this verse (it is not unusual in Greek for there to be no verb in a sentence), a verb must be borrowed or implied. Since there isn’t a verb close enough in the previous verses to borrow and that would fit appropriately, one from the context must be derived. A smoothed out version would be:
    So, as through one offense, there resulted condemnation to all men,
    so also, through one righteous deed, there resulted justification of life to all men.
    We know that inserting the words “there resulted” into the text is correct by simple logic. The offense of Adam resulted in condemnation to all men–no one disputes that. Adam represented all his people (everybody) in the garden. When he sinned, we fell with him. There was a result, an actual result to his sin: condemnation. It follows that “there resulted” should be in the second part of the sentence as well because the second part has the same syntax as the first and says “also.” That is, Paul is implying a parallel between the actions of Adam and the actions of Jesus. Adam represented his people; Jesus represented His.
    1) The structure of the first and the second parts of the verse are the same: adverb(s), preposition, noun, (verb place), noun, and object.

    Paul is trying to make it clear in this verse that the deeds of the respective persons had definite results upon those whom they represented. That is why the verse is really two sentences of identical structure.
    Adam’s sin resulted in condemnation to all
    Jesus’ sacrifice resulted in justification to all

    Where the first Adam brought condemnation to all, the second Adam (Jesus is called the second Adam in 1 Cor. 15:45) brought justification to all–that is what the text says, despite the apparent problem of “all people being justified.”

    Justification is being declared legally righteous before God. If someone is declared legally righteous before God, then he is saved. Only the saved are justified: “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him ” (Rom. 5:9). Since the Scriptures clearly teach that not all men are saved (Matt 25:31-33), we know that the “all” in this verse can’t refer to every individual. It must refer to something other than everyone who ever lived. Thus “all” can only mean the Christians. The text also speaks directly about imputation (v.13), so if all men without exception are imputed as guilty in Adam, then on your view, all men without exception are imputed as righteous in Christ. How do you avoid universalism on your view, but saying that not all men believe? If all w/o exception are really imputed with sin and its guilt in Adam (and we agree they are), then, logically all men w/o exception must really be imputed righteous in Christ. If so, then why does God impute the righteousness of Christ to them and then hold them accountable for unbelief? That is double jeopardy, and that truly is unjust.

  9. Cary Says:

    Here is an interesting twist on the atonement from Tony Evans’ Totally Saved that I would be interested to hear a response to:

    “…Christ’s act of rigteous obedience on the cross reversed the condemning effects of Adam’s sin, so that the Bible can say the whole world has been justified and reconciled to God in Christ.
    What this means is that people are no longer condemned for Adam’s sin. Nobody goes to hell because Adam sinned, because Jesus Christ paid for that sin. That is why babies and people who are mentally incapacitated from infancy and cannont be held accountable go to heaven. They have no sin of their own to answer for. Anyone who goes to hell goes there because of his or her own sin, not Adam’s.” p. 289

    So, apparently, after Christ’s death on the cross, we are no longer born sinful as Evans’ idea of the Atonement does away with the effect of Adam’s sin for all mankind.


  10. Wow, Gene! If you ever publish a theological book of some kind, let me know where I can buy it!

    SDG,
    Dave

  11. Allan Says:

    Wow, and I thought I was long handed, thanks Gene.
    That is a lot to reveiw but very thorough.

    Spurgeon never cited it as (duty/faith) but even himself stated mans freedom to choose (though he calls it mans responciblity, man is still free to MAKE a responcible choice and be judged on it). He did not seperate it into natural/supernatural faith or anything else. He quite plainly states These are two DOCTRINES THAT DO NOT SEEM COMPATIBLE (paraphrase) but if I will hold to the Word I MUST believe the one (Calvanism) and the other (obvisouly an opposite view otherwise why call it another) Mans free choice to Choose Christ as savior.
    Spurgeon does NOT state that hyper calvanism is wrong, He calls himself a Hyper-
    “…I do not think I differ from any of my Hyper-Calvinistic brethren in what I do believe, but I differ from them in what they do not believe. I do not hold any less than they do, but I hold a little more, and, I think, a little more of the truth revealed in the Scriptures…”

    and states if you don’t hold to BOTH seperate views you can become a fatelist and so forth. Spurgeon was a calvanist as I stated. But I have not read any of his works that state what I have heard present day Calvanists claim, such as… Duty/faith…natural faith and supernatural faith…God will and Gods hidden will. There are others but Time prohibits

    On your “c.” You are correct that this veiw is only one view. there are others. You do disaffirm mans responcibility (as Spurgeon states) by stating God decreed a certain thing however He gives man two choices, (man assumes he is choosing) but God will not allow him to chose differently than he has decreed. Spurgeon parts from that drastically, specifically where Spurgeon himself (and I refer to him because he is known to be Scholor, educacted, and a man of God beyond reproach.) shows the Calvanistic view does not answer bible accounts of mans choice to repent and believe without God “MAKING” him – I FIRMLY hold no man can come to Christ unless the Father via the Spirit draw and reveal Christ Jesus. However from there we differ-.

    In relation to -e.-
    Spurgeon did state of mans inability but ALSO states the scripture of mans moraly choosing God. He states in many of his sermons that Mans free will and the opposite Gods sovereignty are two themes though contradictory ARE NOT in fact (how can Calvanisms 5 point contradict themselves). Many would say his teaching (contrary to present day Calvanism – Let me clarify- that I have read of) that can not be so with GOD. But we have another doctrine in much the same way. So vast our minds can’t properly concieve enough to merge them into one easy doctrinal teaching, but that God in one God, and is three persons, seperate and distict but still one God. Spurgeon states that even Calvans won writtings speak of these two opposites as correct.

    Regarding f.-
    The fact it is assumed your “line of logic” (refering not specifically to you but calvanism -i’m assuming) coming to a logical conclusion is in fact illogical. You propose (a), (b), or (c) assuming how you view the text based upon your understanding is how everyone else views it. This is illogical because for if that were the case, all would believe like you and come to your conclusions. But they do not so your logic MUST entail not your rendering but theirs to conclude with logic how they will end in thought. The reason there is so much disagreent on this is not always so much as to its end but where you TRY to place those who disagree. Your logic puts them either as false or heritics, either way it would appear either God is sovereign and these men are ordained to be wrong or .l..
    What you state in g. is not consistant with what Spurgeon stated
    “…“…If God has kept on stretching out his hands every day and all the day, it will be a hard thing for you when you shall be justly condemned not only for your breaches of the law, but for your wilful rejection of the gospel. It is probable that God will keep on stretching out his hands to you until your hairs grow grey, still continually inviting you: and perhaps when you are nearing death he will still say, “Come unto me, come unto me.” But if you still persist in hardening your heart, if still you reject Christ, I beseech you let nothing make you imagine that you shall go unpunished.
    This doctrine is as much God’s Word as the other. You ask me to reconcile the two. I answer, they do not want any reconcilement; I never tried to reconcile them to myself, because I could never see a discrepancy…”

    He even says because they preach such true, other Calvanists call them “Mongrel Calvanists” why would OTHER CALVANISTs call another (such as Spurgeon) a Mongrel if he was teaching what you are trying to make his say… which is contradictory to what I pasted he actually said.

    Your terms of reprobate and elect are where others disagree in terms of who can respond. ALL are reprobate, unless God the Father draws the reprobate to Christ via the Holy Spirit, who is to do the actual drawing and to also reveal Christ (something we will not do ourselves. Come to God) but no where in scripture does it state man lost the ability to chose (point of reference – what I understand is Calvanism states man in Adam never actually had that ability anyway because God decreed man to fall) There are verses by which assumptions are made but NO doctrine should ever be made on any assumption and I know you agree. But there are other verses that state the opposite. THIS IS WHY I QUOTED SPURGEON, HE STATES THAT WHAT YOU BELEIVE DOES EXIST, (contradiction) DOES NOT IN THE FREE CHOICE AND SOVERIEGNTY. (caps are not yelling I just don’t know how to bold or Italics here, sorry)

    How about this veiw
    God being all sovereign knowing every choice you COULD ever make (either as Savior or Judge) and gives you the freedom to make a choice (this however is ONLY in light of God drawing people to Christ and at THAT POINT offing this choice-parable of the wedding feast), but no matter what your choice be He being soveriegn still is working all things to his decreed end, regardless of your choice. However, being God in timelessness seeing all things (past, present and future) at once knows who will choose him and who will not calls them from the beginning what they will be at the end. Elect or dammed not because He made them to be but because He knew every mans heart and let them chose. Does God not call you holy, righteous, blameless? Are you those things right now before a holy God? Yet what you will be He states and a present tense fact, Elect or Dammed.

    This (though not in it’s entirety) is a the view that is not accounted for in any of the logical (a), (b), or (c) catagories. Have read the Arminian priciples and the 5 points of Calvanism (and many books on it) and I don’t hold to all of any view not because I pick and chose out of the air but becuase I believe scripture and not creeds nor formulas. I want to SEE scripture say it OR clearly lay it out and NEITHER do this without adding philosphy to it. I have studied the greek sophist and historic philosiphers, and to me all I see are pages of view (or trying to change word meaning to better suit view) and few scriptures that either state it as such or clearly lay it out. I believe if there is ONE scripture that contradicts via plain reading your doctrine you need to re-evaluate it. Not that it is wrong but that there might be something you are negleting. I am a scholar by no means nor will I claim intellect near yours Gene. But Scholorship nor education a equal wisdom or understanding. They are merely tools that God can use to help us gain what we need but God can make a pig farmer the greatest theologian without any schooling.

    Tell you what Gene you can e-mail me shetar@hur.midco.net or beladorn@yahoo.com I enjoy hearing and sharing (and yes I do listen)

    P.S. I personally have not found anywhere is scripture that hell was created for mankind since some were predestined for hell even witht he angels. But I do find in scripture that Hell WAS CREATED FOR Satan and his angels and all those who followed them (choice) shared their punishment. Why was Hell (if God created some for hell) not stated to be created for those decreed, forordain, predestined (whatever you want to call it) by God to be in hell a place supposedly created for them?

    I know it is choppy and disjointed but time isn’t on my side at this moment so if you don’t understand most that is ok. God is still OUR God and He will always be greatly praised. And Gods people said – Amen

  12. Allan Says:

    Gene,
    I did some some looking and most scholors don’t agree with you on your concept of what “world” means unless it is specifically within the text speaking of the tabernacle.

  13. johnMark Says:

    Allan,

    You stated, “but no where in scripture does it state man lost the ability to chose.” Do you believe man in his natural state can chose God?

    Check out this Spurgeon quote, “Free will carried many a soul to hell, but never a soul to heaven” and this ” believe that nothing happens apart from divine determination and decree … We shall never be able to escape from the doctrine of divine predestination – the doctrine that God has foreordained certain people unto eternal life.”

    You can find more here:
    http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/spurgeon2.html

    Mark

    Ps. FYI – It’s spelled Calvinism. 🙂

  14. Allan Says:

    Yes He does, but what is seldom stated from the rest of the same sermon is that he can not escape the fact that scripture states an equal opposite, case in point.
    “… Now, if I were to declare that man was so free to act that there was no control of God over his actions, I should be driven very near to atheism; and if, on the other hand, I should declare that God so over-rules all things THAT MAN IS NOT FREE enough to be responsible, I should be driven at once into Antinomianism or fatalism. That God predestines, and yet that man is responsible, are two facts that few can see clearly…”

    besides if you read what I wrote you would know that I DO NOT beleive man can chose God when, where, and or how he so choses. I did state this.
    “…God being all sovereign knowing every choice you COULD ever make (either as Savior or Judge) and gives you the freedom to make a choice (this however is ONLY in light of God drawing people to Christ and at THAT POINT offing this choice-parable of the wedding feast), but no matter what your choice be He being soveriegn still is working all things to his decreed end, regardless of your choice…” He is soveriegn regardless of your choice.

    I believe that both are accurate (man is able to choose once God has drawn and revealed ((I hold he does this for ALL)(and that God is soveriegn (according to statement above))


  15. I just wonder where Towns and others came up with the idea that unbelief is not a sin. But I guess if you let your doctrine determine your reading of the Bible, rather than the other way around, then you end up having to redefine things.

  16. Gordan Says:

    Cary,

    The short answer to that is this: Every single New Testament epistle was written after the time at which (supposedly) original sin was completely done away. Therefore, the condition of the “natural man” which those epistles describe is the condition of man-without-Christ even after the crucifixion/resurrection.

    This would of course include 2 Corinthians 2 and its declaration that the natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit; as well as 1 John and its constant idea that the natural state of man is one of darkness and alienation from God. If the cross definitively removed the effects of Adam’s sin, then it is at least curious that the NT would describe the atoned-for world as “in the power of the evil one.”


  17. Stephen said: “I just wonder where Towns and others came up with the idea that unbelief is not a sin.”

    In response to the quote from Dr. Towns that, “No man goes to hell for his sin — people go to hell for unbelief … they have not believed in Jesus Christ.”

    Stephen,
    You ask a good question. And you’re right in that Dr. Towns’ statement would seem to indicate that he doesn’t consider unbelief to be a sin. But the *usual* view in this regard- the view that I believe would be expressed by Dr. Towns if he were pressed on this subject- is not that “unbelief is not a sin,” but that unbelief is a different kind of sin than all others. People holding this view usually take John 3:18, “Anyone who believes in Him is not judged, but anyone who does not believe is already judged, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God (NASB),” to mean that Jesus’ work on the Cross paid for all sins *except the sin of unbelief* [which is how I’ve heard some famous evangelists express this view before] and that now unbelief is the only sin that counts against us in God’s judgment. But this view not only discounts verses such as Rev. 21:8, quoted in the blogpost above, which clearly indicates that unbelief is one kind of sin among the many kinds of sins for which people will be judged, but also this brings about the crucial question, ‘If Jesus did not atone for the sin of unbelief, then how is it dealt with by God?’ Are we left to deal with this sin on our own so that we become, in effect, our own saviors by taking care of the one sin that really matters after the Cross? Does God deal with the sin of unbelief without reference to the work of His Son? And if God deals with this ultimate sin apart from the crucifixion, why did He choose to let His Son suffer for all other sins and not summarily dismiss them as well as He does (according to this view) with the sin of unbelief?

    I know, Stephen, that this is probably a longer response than you bargained for, but I wanted to advance this conversation to make the point that BOTH views- the traditional reformed view and the view represented, I believe, by Dr. Towns- limit the extent of the atonement, though in different ways. The traditional reformed view teaches that the atonement is limited in quantity, but not quality. The quality of the atonement is such that absolutely every sin is paid for *on behalf of a particular people unconditionally chosen by God*. The view expressed by Dr. Towns teaches that the atonement is unlimited in quantity- each and every person is included in the intended benefits of the atonement- but it is limited in quality- NOT every sin is paid for by Jesus in this view, because the sin of unbelief is outstanding.

    -I hope the above is helpful to someone.


  18. Allan said: (man is able to choose once God has drawn and revealed ((I hold he does this for ALL)

    I would like to ask you 2 questions regarding this statement:
    1. Assuming that you are a Christian and not a Universalist, I would like to ask you, “WHY did you choose to accept the Gospel whereas other people choose to reject it?”
    2. What of those who never hear the Gospel?

  19. johnMark Says:

    Allan,

    So that I can better understand a couple of things. You stated: “(man is able to choose once God has drawn and revealed ((I hold he does this for ALL)”

    How do you believe God draws and reveals Himself? (What do you mean exactly?)
    On what basis does man chose God? I.e. Does the one whose choses have his choice predicated on anything?

    Thanks,
    Mark

    Ps. You have stated several times about sovereignty and the responsibility of man. I get the impression that you misunderstand the Calvinist position since none deny these two things. Also, it seems inaccurate to say that Spurgeon called himself a “hyper-calvinist” rather he was just comparing and contrasting his position. I could compare my beliefs in the same way with a Roman Catholic, but that doesn’t mean I am calling myself one.

  20. bel Says:

    I normally just read the blogs, and do not post, but I had to post now. Allan, I am very confused by the collective of what you have written. I could bring out many confusing points, but I’ll try to be brief. You say that you agree w/ Spurgeon; then you say you disagree w/ the 5 points of Calvinism. Are you aware that Spurgeon believed these 5 points? You can’t have it both ways.

    Yes, Spurgeon believed in both election and free-will. What I don’t think you realize, is that so do most “Calvinists” today, including the people who post here! The ones who don’t are a few hyper-calvinists, and I truly believe that they are a minority.

    You say you believe in God’s sovereignty, but I don’t think that you do, concerning salvation. May I humbly suggest that you have many misconceptions about what the vast majority of Calvinists believe.

    In Christ,
    Bel

  21. Peter Says:

    johnMark, can u answer your own question? How do YOU believe God draws and reveals Himself? Because for the Calvinist this is certainly true also–God draws and reveals Himself.

    johnMark you also said:
    “You have stated several times about sovereignty and the responsibility of man. I get the impression that you misunderstand the Calvinist position since none deny these two things.”

    I think the majority of non-calvinists know that Calvinists are good Christians who do not deny sovereignty and responsibility, but how do you reconcile the two? Very often I hear Calvinists say “I dont deny these two things”. Of course you don’t, thats not the non-calvinist’s problem with calvinists (aside from Towns I guess). The problem is in explaining how they are reconciled within calvinistic theology.

    Also, in response to the 1 Tim 2:3-6 verse I have often heard this explanation of “all kinds of people” ie kings, high positions, etc, from the surrounding verses. However, lets say it does mean for all kinds of people. Does that still limit it to some? No. For example, a campus of 45000 people announces “All people — staff, students, and faculty are welcome to join the graduation” From this statement, how is the invitation to the graduation limited to less than 45000? It does not. The logic is not necessitated even if we take it for “kinds” of people. Secondly, to me at least, this verse and its surrounding context screams of calling Christians to stray away from this perspective of “some”. To get rid of this perspective that its for Jews only. It goes out of its way to mention those who are typically unseen as candidates, ie kings, people of power, gentiles, etc. In other words, the Calvinists believe its explaining that all types are being invited, whereas the non-Calvinists believe that it truly is open to all – “yes, even kings and gentiles.”

    Since Charles Spurgeon is being spoken of so much, I thought I would mention what he said once in reference to 1 Tim 2:3-6:

    “What then? Shall we try to put another meaning into the text than that which it fairly bears? I trow not. You must, most of you, be acquainted with the general method in which our older Calvinistic friends deal with this text. “All men,” say they,—”that is, some men”: as if the Holy Ghost could not have said “some men” if he had meant some men. “All men,” say they; “that is, some of all sorts of men”: as if the Lord could not have said “all sorts of men” if he had meant that. The Holy Ghost by the apostle has written “all men,” and unquestionably he means all men. I know how to get rid of the force of the “alls” according to that critical method which some time ago was very current, but I do not see how it can be applied here with due regard to truth….My love of consistency with my own doctrinal views is not great enough to allow me knowingly to alter a single text of Scripture. I have great respect for orthodoxy, but my reverence for inspiration is far greater. I would sooner a hundred times over appear to be inconsistent with myself than be inconsistent with the word of God. ”

    -“Salvation by Knowing Truth”, CH Spurgeon, sermon no.1516 at spurgeon [dot] org

  22. Brett Says:

    “I think the majority of non-calvinists know that Calvinists are good Christians who do not deny sovereignty and responsibility, but how do you reconcile the two?”
    Peter, that is actually very refreshing to hear. It seems that all I encounter are those who claim that I deny the freedom and responsibility of man. I don’t, I deny libirtarian freedom, but I affirm a compatibilist freedom and man’s responsibility. So thanks for acknowledging that and getting to the real question of “How do you reconcile them?”
    I know this was directed to johnmark, but I’d like to offer a response if I may. I’d like to approach it soctratically, not to hide my thoughts, but in order to better present my thinking. As I ask some questions of you, they represent the kind of questions I asked of myself in wrestling with the issue. First, do you think that man, in his fallen state, has the moral ability to come to God entirely outside of God’s gracious work? At this point I am not so much interested in differentiating between the notions of effectual grace and prevenient grace, I am only asking if God’s grace is required in order for man to turn to God.

  23. Tim Says:

    Well Brett,

    The answer will be interesting. It will either make one a heretic or orthodox. It is impossible for men to be saved according to Jesus, BUT with God all things are possible. GRACE is not only required for men to turn to God, it is foundational, the prerequisite and the All in all.

  24. Peter Says:

    Thanks Brett, I don’t like to take needless shots at people, but would rather empathize their perspective the best that I can. So thanks for the recognition!

    To answer your question, I would most certainly say yes God’s grace is required in order for man to turn to God. I am not an Arminian by the “purest definition” nor a Five-pointed Calvinist by the “purest definition” (ppl please dont grill me on what i mean by this)–especially on this question that you have just asked. W.G.T. Shedd, who is in fact a Calvinist, however some would argue what kind of Calvinist, supports my view more succinctly, “If the sinner voluntarily rejects the offered mercy of God, he is culpable for [it]…Man is responsible for sin because he is both the author and the actor of it; but he is not responsible for holiness, because he is only the actor and NOT the author…” (Dogmatic Theology 3:298-299, emphasis mine).

  25. Allan Says:

    Bel, I will say to many here my thinking is “different”, but mostly because I do not hold a staunch Calvinistic view.
    However, with regard to your comment on beleiving Spurgeon and not 5 pointism… I never stated I beleived everything C.H. Spurgeon beleived. What I stated is I beleive what he beleives concerning soveriegnty and free will.

    Concerning what most Calvinists believe regarding free will and sovereignty (I speak here with admitted lack of knowledge of what all believe) but what I have always been met with are as follows: — The same words but differing meanings, or same words and meanings but differing ways we see them play out. Case in point:

    Gods will and His secret will (soveriegnty and free will played out) – God has a will for your life (lets say salvation). So He brings you to a point were you can choose door one or two (this is just a very simple break down of principles ok) His secret will is that you WILL be saved (door one) but offers two choices for you (God will is I guess the choice – admitted lack of certainty here). You think you can choose either door but His decree will not allow you to choose door two so you assume because you chose door one it was your choice all along.
    that is one I have heard – how truely prevelent it is held – got no clue. However it is pure silliness either way, if God offered man a choice but in truth there WAS NO choice, it puts God not only as insincere (hypocritical) but quite technichally a liar as well since there was no choice.

    Another I hear the most is this: Calvanists believe man is responsible just like I do, but the difference is that man does not have the ability to chose God. (truthfully this makes no sense and do not see how or even why it is still used)
    Definition of RESPONSIBLE (adj)-
    1. Liable to be required to give account, as of ones actions or of the discharge of a duty or trust.
    2. Involving personal accountability or ABILITY to act without guidance or superior authority
    3. BEING a SOURCE or CAUSE
    4. ABLE to make moral or rational decisions on one’s OWN and THEREFORE answerable for ones’s behavior
    5. ABLE to choose for oneself between right and wrong

    Definition of ABILITY (n)
    1. the quality of being able to perform: a quality that permits of facilititates achievement or accomplishments.
    2. POSSESSION of the QUALITIES REQUIRED to do something or get something done.
    (CAPS in definition are my emphasis added)

    As I’m sure you will notice that Ability is a noun and Responsibility is an adjective (thus denoting of itself inherent ability) Responsibility is the action one takes and ability is the quality of that action taken, so by Responsibles very definition ability is not only apparent but mandated. Its’ very definitions ascribes inherent ability for the action to be taken. So if God has given man the responsibility to choose salvation but the in-ability to do so on his own, you must then state his God given “responsibility” is a farse. Why? Because as stated over and over Responsiblity is contengent on your ability . You can not have responsibility apart from ability.

    It is about “whosoever WILL…not can…but WILL (desires to). Let all who are weary…come…

    I would say this for BRET..
    The issue isn’t is it grace that draws us (we know it is) the real question is to whom does He offer it? Now the question divides into Are you speaking of the grace that draws or the grace that saves. God draws all men but not all are saved. Jesus himself wept over Israel because they would not beleive. Interesting since he was here to seek and save, I might be wrong but this could be concieved as God trying to draw His people unto himself. YLT: Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that art killing the prophets, and stoning those sent unto thee, how often did I will to gather thy children together, as a hen doth gather her own chickens under the wings, and ye did not will. You also have Paul stating in Rom 9 that God was stretching out his hands to Isreal and they rejected him (clear drawing but clear rejection)
    (Jerusalem refers to Jews in general not specifically the spiritual Jews seeking after God ) Anyway, You may state there is no difference in the two types of grace, (drawing and saving) Ok, maybe maybe not but then how do you deal with the verse where Jesus states to those who profess to be his children “…depart from me…” (we know they were not true beleivers) but the question is if they were not true believers what made them believe they were his in the first place? If we do not SEEK God on our own accord or desire (which is true) but God MUST draw us to himself, then how can they say Lord, Lord unless there was a drawing and if a drawing what kept them from be effectaully his children? – Many are Called but few are chosen –

    This is just way to Long and I want to appologize that I got this thread off course (at least it appears I did) You can answer me fine but I would like to respect the author of the editoral and get this back to his peice.

  26. serrevin Says:

    well let’s talk about “ability” v “responsibility” once again it must be asked. was god being hypocritical or lying when he commanded us to follow the law? he commanded it with full knowledge that not one man would be able to follow it. yet all through the old testament we see god condemning people for not following the law. was he being hypocritical? maybe our sense of justice and responsibility is different from the lord’s? I believe that this a common error made by arminians the idea that we must have total ability to be held responsible for our sins, this simply isn’t true when you look at the biblical record. it is also clear that God does not draw all people the same. can it be said that God was drawing esau the same way he was drawing jacob? moses the same way he “drew” pharoh? the apostle paul the same way he drew caiphas? that’s absolute nonsense. God worked in the heart of paul to save paul, he hardened the hearts of the others. what kind of “drawing” do we see being done in the heart of pharoh? before the confrontation even started God told moses that he was going to harden him, it’s clear that God had no salvific intentions for pharoh, or caiphas, or those people in first peter who were “destined for disobedience”
    by the way the story of pharoh illustrated plainly god’s will of command (let my people Go) and god’s will of decree (I will harden pharoh’s heart so that he will not let the people Go) now we do well to submit to what the lord says about himself in his word as opposed to using human terms to question divine justice.

  27. Nathan White Says:

    Excellent thoughts Serrevin. You have exposed the philosophical roots of Arminianism, and have identified how flawed they really are.

    At the core, the Arminian fails to understand the effect of sin. Not only can man do nothing but sin outside of the Spirit, but he is unable to do any good deed whatsoever without the regeneration of the Spirit. Clearly, repentence and faith are the fruit of the Spirit’s work in a heart, not the cause of such.

    SDG

  28. Peter Says:

    Allan,

    Thanks. That is precisely the question I asked johnMark to clarify (which he actually brought up himself). The answer shall be interesting. To layout the problem more generally, both camps have grace, responsibility, and faith as key pieces in the puzzle, its how you put them together that we end up with our different implications and perspectives. However, we must remind ourselves to be humble in this pursuit. To quote Charles Spurgeon again:

    “Men who are morbidly anxious to possess a self-consistent creed, a creed which will put together and form a square like a Chinese puzzle, are very apt to narrow their souls. Those who will only believe what they can reconcile will necessarily disbelieve much of divine revelation. Those who receive by faith anything which they find in the Bible will receive two things, twenty things, ay, or twenty thousand things, though they cannot construct a theory which harmonizes them all. (“Faith,” Sword and Trowel, 1872)”

    Both (multiple?) camps are here to reconcile the issue of sovereignty and responsibility, however we must never let this pursuit “alter a single text of Scripture”, as Spurgeon once said.

    Peter

  29. Brett Says:

    Ok. Second question. In your view, do all the people that God draws with an intent to save actually come to him?

  30. Brett Says:

    Allan, reformed theologians often make a distinction between a natural and a moral ability. Man has all the natural faculties for making choices, and he excercizes them all day every day. We deny, however that man has the moral ability to make spiritually good choices. Man’s choices are not arbitrary decisions, rather, they are tied to man’s desires. This is why man is responsible for his decisions, because he wanted to choose as he did. We would not hold a person responsible for vandelism if they had a ceasure and broke a glass.
    Man has the ability to choose anything he wants, but what will a sinful free will choose? Sin. The reason that reformed thinkers say that man is unable to come to God is not because man is lacking the ability to make choices, but because man’s heart is corrupt and can only make choices that are in accordance with his corrupt desires.
    I hope this makes sense.

  31. Peter Says:

    No, not all that God draws actually come to Him.

    I am assuming in your view that God does not draw all men, but only the elect–in other words, if he draws you, then you will be saved (assuming the drawing and coming are two separate acts)? (I don’t want to put words in your mouth). And that he only “intents” on those things that will absolutely come to fruition. Thus, he only draws his elect?

  32. Allan Says:

    Brett, I agree with you on: “Man has the ability to choose anything he wants, but what will a sinful free will choose?”

    Without God WE KNOW we can not come to him. A man can desire (will) to be a superhero, but does not have the ability to de such. But how can he desire something he has no knowledge of. It must first be revealed to him in order to even be a consideration. I beleive every mans responsibility is limited because his ability due to the fall to be IN fellowship with God was greatly damaged. Man can still do good and choose good choices but unable to maintain any choice for long, but good does not bring man into union with God only perfection of spirit (sinless).

    With all due respect serrevin and Nathan, first I am NOT Arminian so that argument falls by the wayside. Second Serrevin you comment:
    “…was god being hypocritical or lying when he commanded us to follow the law? he commanded it with full knowledge that not one man would be able to follow it. yet all through the old testament we see god condemning people for not following the law. was he being hypocritical?”

    The REAL question that needs to be asked is WHY God asked them to obey his law? IF God accually wanted sinless service then the answer to your statement would be an infatic yes, God would be a liar and hypocritical. So we can KNOW for CERTAIN that was not His intent. The obvious answer is that man can chose to go agaist his inherent nature (spiritually dead) and follow God. I don’t know of one born agian Jew in the OT, but if you know of some please show me. God was not angry with all of them all of the time (He would be however if He expected absolute obedience) but the majority of the time He was angry at the NATION not the indiviuals. David was a reprobate to but he was a man that God loved. The same can be said of many who could not keep the law but God was not in perpetual anger towards them. He was angry for the most part that there heart was not stayed on HIM. That was why the sacrifice was so great, it was the one thing that could reconsile and change them from the inside out toward union with God.

    The whole Pharoh arguement not even in its remotest context is a valid one. God DID NOT harden pharrohs heart toward salvation. He hardened pharrohs heart to NOT do what Pharroh ALREADY wanted to do, let Gods people go. Gods hardening was actually a withholding. And of course everyones drawing is different and not the same. The issue is not the drawing but the willingness to accept. If you only know one way of life (depraved) and you are shown another way (offered a choice)it is only then you can even choose to will. To speak about caiphas in a way that states God did not have any salvic notion toward him, is not only extremely bold, but totally premature in that scripture is completely silent on the issue of his heart and IF GOD EVER did draw at him. That fact he was in contention could be shown either way, he was never to be saved or that God was drawing at his heart and he would not yeild becuase it was not the way he wanted it

    By the way scripture does not say I will have grace upon whom I will have grace. (grace – getting what you don’t deserve) God Himself says I WILL give grace unto the humble…

    But I will have mercy on who I will have mercy. (mercy – NOT getting what you deserve)

  33. Nathan White Says:

    Allan said: With all due respect serrevin and Nathan, first I am NOT Arminian so that argument falls by the wayside.

    Forgive me sir, I should have used a more accurate label. I believe labeling you a synergist is much clearer.

    Allan said: God DID NOT harden pharrohs heart toward salvation.

    If we stick to the OT account alone, then yes, this is true. However, Paul, being inspired by the Holy Spirit, uses this story as an example in Romans 9 when making a point about God’s choice for salvation.

    Allan, I would be curious to see your answers to Andrew’s questions above. In addition to that, I would also like to know whether you believe that we are all held guilty and responsible for Adam’s sin in the garden.

    SDG

  34. serrevin Says:

    I must admit that I was a bit amazed as I read your response allan

    “The obvious answer is that man can chose to go agaist his inherent nature (spiritually dead) and follow God.”

    that’s quite odd. it was not as obvious to the apostle paul who says that the natural man is:

    “hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God”

    paul was not of the opinion that men could pick or choose what he was going to do relative to God’s law. he was of the opinion that man would not submit AND COULD NOT DO SO.

    one wonders how we can look at romans chapter nine and not say that god’s hardening of pharoh’s heart had no salvific consequences. once again it seems that you and the apostle paul are at odds. because he speaks of jacob and esau and moses and pharoh when he makes the case for unconditional election.

    ultimately the questions is: if God gives all of us grace and the same type of “chance” then why is it that some make the right choice and others do not?
    were you smarter?
    more humble?
    more rational?
    better versed in theology maybe?
    what caused you to differe from the man who had the same grace and made the wrong use of his libertarian free will?

  35. Allan Says:

    Ok, I will answer these, and will let it lie here. None of you can put your theology down in 5 or so paragraphs in such a way that it can not be refuted and neither can or will I. I am answering your questions but have seen very few answers to mine. But that doesn’t matter to me. Cause I’m not hear to specifically debate or win you over, just stating my views.

    Nathan (I liked the Sir part, Cool 🙂 ) You can try to label me all you want but it does not make it any more acurrate. But if you want a more accurate label, I would probably be…hmm…. a Calminian (part Calvinst and part Arminian) Has a nice sort of ring to it, doesn’t it 🙂 However, I will AGREE (and yes I said agree) with you concerning the relation to Pharroh and the OT account alone. Though (for me) I don’t see Pharroh as being refused for salvation when it appears (at least to me) the scripture is giving an example of the fact God can and does choose to do what He wants regarding if He will show mercy or pour out His wrath. We see just a couple of verse down concerning the statement of Pharroh, (paraphrase) If God hardens us why are we still found guilty (obviously not about salvation but sin).
    I find it most interesting that Calvinst tout Rom 9 (and so they should for it is in my bible as well), but don’t talk much about Rom 10 dealing with mans ability to choose. It most interests me that Paul via the Holy SPirit just spoke on the fact that God has the right to chose but we find in Rom 10:1 Paul praying for those (Israel) whom “apparently” God had rejected (though just like in Rom 9:1-3 Paul Wished he could be accused (seperated) from Christ if it would bring his brethren to the Lord. He is speaking of those who are not elected, Why? Doesn’t he understand God Hates them and has rejected them and that He made them for his pleasure, and that pleasure is that like all who stand against Him will be cast into Hell (lake of fire) forever and ever. What is up with Paul, He just told us God will have mercy on whom God will have mercy? Is Paul more mercifull than God? Please don’t answer that, we ALL KNOW he isn’t. Some say that Israel means only the elect (re-defining words). But, if Israel means only the elect of Israel then you must hold that same view when looking at it each time it appears in this chapter (10). If that is true then a problem occurs when you get to 19-21 and espeacially with 21 which states God stretched out His arms to them (calling them to Himself) and they rejected His call. You have quite a problem stating God was calling the elect and they rejected Him. Israel is the Jewish nation in general and regarding all of them.

    Serrevin, concerning my comment “The obvious answer is that man can chose to go agaist his inherent nature (spiritually dead) and follow God.”
    I admit I could have worded it better and will try to clear it up. but also your comment:

    “paul was not of the opinion that men could pick or choose what he was going to do relative to God’s law. he was of the opinion that man would not submit AND COULD NOT DO SO. ”
    That is odd, since we find in MANY instances that Isreal (people dead in their sins) pleased God via faith, and obeyed His law and flurished (isn’t all this contrary to their nature). OR…maybe it could be that Paul was talking about the natural man (spiritually) cannot be contrary to its very nature UNLESS God steps in. What we do is based on what we know (and we know sin) but when God reveals truth to us we can know chose to continue in our life of sin or by faith chose the revelation of God himself. Look also at this: Paul qualifies his statement with the words “those controled by…can not please God” Please God in what sense? OT such as Israel pleasing God via faith and no regeneration, or NT in a relationship with God via faith of regeneration. Obvously he is talking about the NT (becoming a New Creature in Christ, pleasing God by faith)

    Why do people reject Gods grace and others do not? All of this can be summed up (much more neatly than I can put it. And quite frankly (at least in writting on a blog) would in writting mess up even what I know to be true. I never claimed to be a writer or scholar, but I am a speaker. So, I will end with an exert from a Calvinst on who holds to this same view as I from a sermon called “Gods will and Mans will” –

    II. MAN’S WILL HAS ITS PROPER PLACE IN THE MATTER OF SALVATION.

    “Whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.” According to this and many other texts the Scripture where man is addressed as a being having a will, it appears clear enough that men are not saved by compulsion. When a man receives the grace of Christ, he does not receive it against his will. No man will be pardoned while he abhors the forgiveness. No man will have joy in the Lord if he says, “I do not wish to rejoice in the Lord.” Do not think that anybody will have the angels pushing them behind into the gates of heaven. They must go there freely or else they will never go there at all. We are not saved against our will; nor again, mark you, is the will taken away; for God does not come and convert the intelligent free-agent into a machine. When he turns the slave into a child, it is not by plucking out of him the will which he possesses. We are as free under grace as ever we were under sin; no, we were slaves when we were under sin, and when the Son makes us free we are free indeed, and we are never free before. Erskine, in speaking of his own conversion, says he ran to Christ “with full consent against his will,” by which he meant it was against his old will; against his will as it was till Christ came, but when Christ came, then he came to Christ with full consent, and was as willing to be saved-no, that is a cold word-as delighted, as pleased, as transported to receive Christ as if grace had not constrained him. But we do hold and teach that though the will of man is not ignored, and men are not saved against their wills, that the work of the Spirit, which is the effect of the will of God, is to change the human will, and so make men willing in the day of God’s power, working in them to will to do his own good pleasure. The work of the Spirit is consistent with the original laws and constitution of human nature. Ignorant men talk grossly and carnally about the work of the Spirit in the heart as if the heart were a lump of flesh, and the Holy Spirit turned it round mechanically. Now, brethren, how is your heart and my heart changed in any matter? Why, the instrument generally used is persuasion. A friend sets before us a truth we did not know before; pleads with us; puts it in a new light, and then we say, “Now I see that,” and then our hearts are changed towards the thing. Now, although no man’s heart is changed by moral persuasion in itself, yet the way in which the Spirit works in his heart, as far as we can detect it, is instrumentally by a blessed persuasion of the mind. I do not say that men are saved by moral persuasion, or that this is the first cause, but I think it is frequently the visible means. As to the secret work, who knows how the Spirit works? “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit;” but yet, as far as we can see, the Spirit makes a revelation of truth to the soul, whereby it sees things in a different light from what it ever did before, and then the will cheerfully bows that neck which once was stiff as iron, and wears the yoke which it once despised, and wears it gladly, cheerfully, and joyfully. Yet, note that the will is not gone; the will is treated as it should be treated; man is not acted on as a machine, he is not polished like a piece of marble; he is not planed and smoothed like a plank of wood; but his mind is acted on by the Spirit of God, in a manner quite consistent with mental laws. Man is thus made a new creature in Christ Jesus, by the will of God, and his own will is blessedly and sweetly made to yield.

    Then, mark you-and this is a point which I want to put into the thoughts of any who are troubled about these things-this gives the renewed soul a most blessed sign of grace, insomuch that if any man wills to be saved by Christ, if he wills to have sin forgiven through the precious blood, if he wills to live by a holy life resting on the atonement of Christ, and in the power of the Spirit, that will is one of the most blessed signs of the mysterious working of the Spirit of God in his heart; if it is real willingness, I will venture to assert that that man is not far from the kingdom. I do not say that he is saved, nor that he himself may conclude he is, but there is a work begun, which has the germ of salvation in it. If you are willing, depend on it that God is willing. Soul, if you are concerned about Christ, he is more concerned about you. If you have only one spark of true desire for him, that spark is a spark from the fire of his love to you. He has drawn you, or else you would never run after him. If you are saying, “Come to me, Jesus,” it is because he has come to you, though you do not know it. He has sought you like a lost sheep, and therefore you have sought him like a returning prodigal. He has swept the house to find you, as the woman swept for the lost piece of money, and now you seek him as a lost child would seek a father’s face. Let your willingness to come to Christ be a hopeful sign and indicator.

    But once more, let me have the ear of the true seeker. It appears that when you have a willingness to come to Christ, there is a special promise for you. You know, my dear listeners, that we are not accustomed in this church to preach one side of truth, but we try if we can to preach it all. There are some brethren with small heads, who, when they have heard a strong doctrinal sermon, grow into hyper-Calvinists, and then when we preach an inviting sermon to poor sinners, they cannot understand it, and say it is a yes and no gospel. Believe me, it is not yes and no, but yes and yes. We give your yes to all truth, and our no we give to no doctrine of God. Can a sinner be saved when he wills to come to Christ? Yes. And if he does come, does he come because God brings him? Yes. We have no “nos” in our theology for any revealed truth. We do not shut the door on one word and open it to another. Those are the yes and no people who have a no for the poor sinner, when they profess to preach the gospel. As soon as a man has any willingness given to him, he has a special promise. Before he had the willingness he had an invitation. Before he had any willingness, it was his duty to believe in Christ, for it is not man’s condition that gives him a right to believe. Men are to believe in obedience to God’s command. God commands all men everywhere to repent, and this is his great command, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” “This is the commandment, that you believe in Jesus Christ whom he has sent.” Therefore, it is your right and your duty to believe; and once you have got the willingness, then you have a special promise-“Whosoever wishes, let him come.” That is a sort of extraordinary invitation. I think this is the utterance of the special call. You know how John Bunyan describes the special call in words to this effect. “The hen goes clucking about the farmyard all day long; that is the general call of the gospel; but she sees a hawk up in the sky, and she gives a sharp cry for her little ones to come and hide under her wings; that is the special call; they come and are safe.” My text is a special call to some of you. Poor soul! are you willing to be saved? “O, sir, willing, willing indeed; I cannot use that word; I would give all I have if I might but be saved.” Do you mean you would give it all in order to purchase it? “Oh no, sir, I do not mean that; I know I cannot purchase it; I know it is God’s gift, but still, if I could be but saved, I would ask nothing else.

  36. Allan Says:

    One last question: Did God hate Esau? I mean hate regarding damnation and judgement. And love Jacob regarding salvation as well? If that be true then that places a whole new light on the scriptures where Jesus says “We are to love him and hate our mother, father, wives…” the same greek words are used for love and hate in both places of scripture. and the context is the same in its sentencing structure. I find it interesting (it is my new word) that the greek Hate here is love less in both scripture texts. Jacob have I loved and Esau have I loved less. Love me and all others less.

    I’m done here, but I do thank you for your insights, seriously. I enjoy listening to others and reviewing their views to see if mine are flawed. I think I can definately get better on my writing skills and setting down my thoughts in a more accurate and thought provoking way. That is another reason I like to blog here. I can do it (even if you beleive me wrong) but still will not be overly critisized for it. Thank you for that blessing. God be Praised, as He increases and we decrease. Bring them Elect or willing just bring them in.

  37. serrevin Says:

    And so ends (it appears) the correspondence between me and brother allan. A few things to note as a postscript

    A. mr. allan seems to be confused as to what the calvinistic belief of the human will is and God’s operation of regeneration. calvinists do not believe that man is a robot with no will at all, we believe that men are sentient being with a real genuine will. as a matter of fact it is the will of man that gets him in trouble in the calvinistic system. his will is absolutely entrenched in LOVE TO SIN and HATRED TO HOLINESS and as a result he chooses sin. the fact that God gives him another will through regeneration does no violence to the concept of choice rather it gives the ultimate validation of it.

    B. I don’t think the question was answered as to why some improve grace and others do no (by the way i’ve never heard a synergist give a coherent response to this question) rather he posted a quote from spurgeon (I believe) which was quite odd to me because it seemed to butress my point. spurgeon believed in irresistible grace so when he speaks about men being made willing “in the day of his power” he was saying that men will NECESSARILY choose christ if God decides to operate in that man’s heart to do so. how this casts synergism in a positive light is beyond me. as a matter of fact, one of spurgeons more famous quotes is a bit of a mockery of a synegerist praying to God boasting that he’d improved the grace given to him while the poor chap down the street did not: http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/spurgeon_prayerfreewill.html

    C. he seems to concede that romans 9 teaches the doctrines of unconditional election and reprobation yet he says right after that “but look at paul in romans 10, he feels bad about people going to hell and wants them saved” one wonders how this proves anything? of course he did, most of my friends are five point calvinsits and we have conversations all the time about the horrible fate that is to befall those we go to work with every day and the conclusion we come to is “well then, since evangelism is the primary means by which god saves his people, let us preach all the more” the doctrine of romans 9 isn’t meant to quell evangelistic fervor, so the fact that ten highlights it gives us no trouble.

    D. the whole “hate means loved less” line has been used so many times one wonders if the old testament has ever been consulted. for example, read psalm 11 and 5 and simply insert “loves less” everytime you see the word “hate” and see where it gets you

    psalm 5
    “The arrogant cannot stand in your presence;
    you hate all who do wrong.
    You destroy those who tell lies;
    bloodthirsty and deceitful men
    the LORD abhors.”

    maybe we can also substitute “likes to a lesser degree” for the word “abhor”

    psalm 11
    The LORD examines the righteous,
    but the wicked [b] and those who love violence
    his soul hates.
    On the wicked he will rain
    fiery coals and burning sulfur;
    a scorching wind will be their lot”

    so god rains down fire and burning sulfur on those he loves?
    interesting indeed

  38. Brett Says:

    Allen,
    ” I beleive every mans responsibility is limited because his ability due to the fall to be IN fellowship with God was greatly damaged.”
    So then does this mean the more depraved we are, the more we are enslaved to sin, the less responsible we are?
    I would agree with what you said if it were man’s ability to make choices that was impared. But man can still make choices.
    “The obvious answer is that man can chose to go agaist his inherent nature (spiritually dead) and follow God.”
    With this view of free will, I have a hard time seeing how man is responsible. If some big brute were to pick me up and throw me onto the table, could I be held responsible for messing the table up? I was put on the table against my desires, and therefore I am innocent. So in my view man is only responsible if he is acting according to his desires. So the reason that some sinners do come to Christ (even though their nature, and thus their desires, are corrupt) is bacause God has worked in their heart and,as Spurgeon so wonderfully put it, “Man is thus made a new creature in Christ Jesus, by the will of God, and his own will is blessedly and sweetly made to yield.”

    Peter,
    Of those who do come, in your view, were they forced to come? Were they robots because they responded positively? (And yes, I would hold that God does not draw everybody savingly. I believe that the general call to salvation should go out to all people indiscriminiatly, and I believe that God showers His grace upon every individual, and provides opportunity after opportunity for repentence. But when all these are refused, then God in His mercy further sets to the task of working in the heart of His people to take out the heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh, and thus savingly draws some).

  39. Nathan White Says:

    Allan said: Though (for me) I don’t see Pharroh as being refused for salvation

    I do not think that anyone is advocating a refusal of salvation, as if the creature somehow deserved the right to it. Instead, Romans 9 is emphasizing the sovereignty of God in salvation, in granting it to whom He wills. I believe you err by way of looking at this text philosophically, and with the presupposition that man deserves the right to work his way to heaven, and that God is somehow obligated to extend the same grace to every single human being.

    Allan said: I find it most interesting that Calvinst tout Rom 9 (and so they should for it is in my bible as well), but don’t talk much about Rom 10…

    I recently heard Johnny Hunt say the same thing. But the answer of this question is very simple: Romans 9 explains Romans 10. They are not 2 isolated chapters that contradict each other, Romans 9 lays the groundwork and clearly defines who the ‘whosoever’ is that Paul speaks of in Romans 10. The synergist, affirming that man must cooperate with God in order to be saved, must put Romans 10 before Romans 9, and then use it and try to redefine Romans 9 by placing it back into the OT context.

    Allan said: Rom 10dealing with mans ability to choose.

    Any ‘ability to choose’ that is interpreted out of this text is clearly one of presupposition, not one of exegesis. Saying ‘all who come will be saved’ is not the same as saying ‘everyone has the moral goodness in and of himself to come and be saved’.

    Allan, I would encourage you to contemplate this issue further, and seriously wrestle with some of these questions. I believe you are pretty far in the semi-pelagian/synergism camp, and although you do not like labels, that is a scary place to be.

    SDG

  40. Peter Says:

    Brett,

    No they were not forced to come. They were not robots for responding positively. Aided by the Holy Spirit, they had a free choice. Having rejected, it was by their own self-determination.

    If you could also give your answer to each question along this socratic path we are going on, I would have something to think about as we go about it. I have a feeling you’re going to put this all together at the end so I think it would be only fair if I could see your alternative and hold you accountable for your logical progression as well. Thanks.

  41. Brett Says:

    I’ll go ahead and wrap things up, thanks for your patience. According to your answer, God’s drawing does not turn people into robots. I agree. Now just as a thought exercise, let’s attach figures to this. Suppose that out of 100 people whom God draws 23 of them respond positively. As you said, this does not make them robots. Suppose we find that 64 respond positively, or perhaps 87 or even 99? Still I would suggest that their positive response does not mean they are robots. Taking the last step, suppose all 100 respond positively? Does the fact that one more person responded positively now make everyone a robot? I had to answer “no.” It was my intuition that if everyone whom God drew came to Him, then that must violate their will in some way. But as I thought through these things I realized that there was no logical problem with a 100% success rate.
    Thus, God can unchangeably ordain the salvation of His elect, and effectually draw them to Himself, yet so, as there is no violence offered to the will of the creature. In this way, God’s absolute sovereignty is maintained, and the will of man remains in tact, and thus his responsibility also is preserved.
    Does this make sense?

  42. Peter Says:

    Brett I have absolutely no problem with this. I understand your point, it is as if I went about promoting the idea that 1+1=2, well (HOPEFULLY) I would most definitely have a 100% success rate in people freely believing this is true.
    What you fail to denote is that the evidence in the Bible clearly shows that all are drawn, but not all accept–in other words, some resist.
    So the difference here goes back to the idea that, for the Calvinist, only SOME are drawn, and only those who were on the elect list get drawn–and because of that one will come since God’s drawing has a 100% success rate in your view, in other words, he’s just that good. (Just to clarify, you admitted to
    There is a difference between the 100% and the Less-Than-100% ideas, that difference is found in the question “Does the Bible show a 100% drawing success rate or not? ”
    The Bible clearly shows that there are people who reject and resist the Holy Spirit–a percentage who were drawn but resisted by their own self-determination. Acts 7:51 for example. Perhaps my conclusion that “God doesnt have a 100% success rate because some refuse/resist the drawing of the Holy Spirit” may seem offensive, but I find it unsettling to derive a conclusion from what one might perceive to be offensive in order to infer truth, rather than going from Scripture to truth.
    Also, my disposition for believing “all” to truly mean “all” are drawn does not derive from a disposition against five-pointed Calvinism, or some emotional belief that it would be “unfair” of God. Rather, it derives from my own objective reading of the text on this point–in other words, I react the same way Spurgeon does about 1 Tim 2:3-6.
    I think the difference between us then is not really whether or not God is a 100% effective drawer, or a 86% effective drawer, it is whether he draws all or not. If he does draw all, then obviously, he is not 100%. If he doesn’t draw all, then you reason that he is 100% for every chance he takes–which is not for everyone. However, I think i can understand your perspective on how calvinistic theology reconciles these two. in other words, the answer to this question of “why some dont believe” for the calvinist is easily answered by not allowing those nonbelievers to be drawn. thus negating them from the same sort of choice scenario that the believers were in? (allowing believers to be in a different choice scenario–with a 100% success rate?)

  43. Peter Says:

    in the above comment there is a line that says “(Just to clarify you admit to” and it gets cut off. just ignore it, it didnt get fully edited. thanks

  44. Brett Says:

    Peter,
    I was not answering the question, “Does the bible teach that all are drawn, or that some are drawn?” The question that I wanted to answer was “how do you reconcile sovereignty and responsibility?”
    It sounds as though we agree that there is no logical reason that God could not sovereignly ordain the election of a people and have a 100% success rate in drawing them, all the while maintianing their power of volition.
    Now, I agree that the real question is does God draw all or only some. We agree that there is no logical problem with a 100% success rate, the only question left is what is it in actuality?
    In answer to that question, I would recognize three different levels or three different kinds of drawing. On one level God has graciously revealed Himself to all of mankind (without exception) through the record of nature, an innate understanding, and the common grace that He pours out on every creature day after day (Rom 1:18-32). This is enough that no one has an excuse, all should recognize their Creator and how good He is, and turn to Him giving thanks for all that He has done. But as we learn later in Romans, no one does.
    The second level of grace that God extends is the preaching of the gospel. Now while we are commanded to preach it too every person, in actuality that does not happen. So unlike the first grace which God Himself does, the preaching of the gospel has not been preached to every person. However, it should be (Matt 28:18-20). That is why we should be passionate about missions. Now then, we recognize that not everyone who hears the preaching of the Word comes to Christ (in keeping with some of the passages that you listed). So in both of these first two graces, people resist. God graciously reveals and calls for repentance and provides opportunity after opportunity for repentance, yet people resist.
    This brings us to the final grace, God’s effectual drawing or effectual calling. As you observed, just because effectual calling is logically possible does not mean that it is actual. So I would have no reason to believe it unless scripture taught it. And indeed, the only reason that I do believe it is because I think scripture does teach it. While one could go to other places to support the case, two passages that I see which teach this concept are Rom 8:30 and John 6:44. In Romans 8:30 we read that those who are called are also justified. If we believe that everyone is called, then everyone will be justified. But since universalism is contrary to other portions of scripture it seems best to recognize that the “calling” in Romans 8:30 is something different from the general preaching of the gospel. This is what we refer to as God’s effectual calling, since those who are called are also justified. Moreover, in John 6:44 we read that “no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.” The “him” that is drawn is the same “him” that is raised up. Thus if you are drawn, you will be raised up.
    So yes, people resist God’s grace all the time. Man is constantly rejecting God’s working. This is plain from the first two graces that we looked at. However, there seems to be another kind of calling or drawing which is effective. This is what we mean by effectual calling (also called “irresistible grace” although most of us don’t like that wording).
    Sorry I went kind of long there. I really only meant to answer the question of sovereignty and responsibility, but you have been so amiable in our discussion that I didn’t want to leave you hanging.
    Regards.

  45. Peter Says:

    Actually, in keeping with the passage that I listed, Acts 7:51, it says “…you always resist the Holy Spirit.” Which obviously means that there was some sort of meeting between the two, them and the Holy Spirit. Now are you then saying that “preaching of the gospel-second-level” is the type of grace being shown in this verse? Despite the fact that it shows he is not resisting the call of the preacher or some general call, but more directly makes the connection that he is resisting the call of the Holy Spirit on his heart, the multitude of attempts of the Holy Spirit. Now hypothetically speaking, I want you to be honest with yourself here, what if the verse and its context wrote “…you CANNOT resist the Holy Spirit.” Would your categorization of this verse, between the three levels of grace you describe, be different? Why? I guess the question I am getting at is: on what basis are you categorizing the verses that are examples of resistance and rejection into the “general call” column? Are you going first from theology TO scripture?
    Now what else comes to my mind is that, in your view, the Holy Spirit would then be giving effectual grace to some, while general grace to others. In your view, this is the way to take care of the “all”s and the concept of “no excuse”. After all, the Bible constantly calls us to seek Him. I agree that we need divine assistance in this free choice towards positively receiving. You also believe that we need assistance. Now what we are then left with is that the Holy Spirit “Really (Effectually) Draws” Bob and then only “Kinda (Will-Not-Happen-Drawing) Draws” Al. All the while the Bible is telling both of them “seek Me”. Now obviously, Al will have no chance. Take note that my argument here is not a cry of “that’s not fair to Al!”, rather, my point is that your differential categorizations of drawing leads to a rhetorical half of what the Bible tells all individuals to do—seek God. We end up with the calls heard by elect individuals being effectual, real, and hopeful “Seek Me!”, and the other non-elect part being a rhetorical “um…yah…seek Me…” The Calvinist must render these versus as *rhetorically* “all”.

    You must be careful with how you use the term universalism, it refers also to a totally different view. Anyways, I know what you mean by it. I think if we look at this verse alone, or 29-30 even, we are not given the entire picture. Obviously faith is a prime factor. It is not just Call-to-Justification. You are equating the Calling = Regeneration and Faith, on what premise?. This verse doesn’t mention the Holy Spirit in its chain of causes—what should we conclude then? The Holy Spirit takes no part in it? It doesn’t mention Righteousness, only Justification, what shall we conclude that Righteousness doesn’t exist for the elect? Of course not. There is a premise that you are getting away with when you say “But since universalism is contrary to other portions of scripture, it seems best…” Can u show me what you mean by this?

    Also in John 6:44 we see the DRAWING and the COMING. However, lets not just camp there, later on Jesus states in 12:32 that when I be lifted up I will draw all men to myself. Jesus does not state “when I be lifted up all men will come to me”. Therefore, there is no problem here and there is no need for the Law of Noncontradiction here. The condition is by faith. Its like if I said, “No one can get on the plane unless the Father gives you a ticket”, and later stating “When I leave I will give everyone a ticket” well surely you would not respond to this and say “See, not everyone can come because you need a ticket”.
    You stated, “Thus IF you are drawn, YOU WILL be raised up”. I don’t see how this is shown in the verse. It says “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” That is like saying “No one can enroll in ART 32B, unless you are a University student”. We have an object and a necessary condition for that object to positively occur. –namely the drawing in order to either accept or reject Christ’s offer. You would then state that “Thus if you are a University student, YOU WILL take ART 32B”. I think your logic is mistaken here.
    Sorry this took so long.

  46. Brett Says:

    Actually, in keeping with the passage that I listed, Acts 7:51, it says “…you always resist the Holy Spirit.” Which obviously means that there was some sort of meeting between the two, them and the Holy Spirit. Now are you then saying that “preaching of the gospel-second-level” is the type of grace being shown in this verse? Despite the fact that it shows he is not resisting the call of the preacher or some general call, but more directly makes the connection that he is resisting the call of the Holy Spirit on his heart, the multitude of attempts of the Holy Spirit.
    I never said people resisted the preacher, I fully asserted that they resisted the Holy Spirit. Verse 52 does suggest that it was against the teachings of the prophets that their fathers rebelled (but ultimately it was against God; the prophet and the preacher are only secondary). Either way, my point was to fully acknowledge that people do resist the working of God in their lives and hearts.
    I guess the question I am getting at is: on what basis are you categorizing the verses that are examples of resistance and rejection into the “general call” column? Are you going first from theology TO scripture?
    No, first from scripture.
    We end up with the calls heard by elect individuals being effectual, real, and hopeful “Seek Me!”, and the other non-elect part being a rhetorical “um…yah…seek Me…” The Calvinist must render these versus as *rhetorically* “all”.
    I see no reason to render them rhetorical. If scripture teaches that God commands all men everywhere to repent, I see no reason to try to assign an ill motive to God. If I then see from scripture that there is a calling which is effectual, then I believe that too. Again I see no need to question God’s motives. If scripture teaches it, that is what I want to believe.
    I think if we look at this verse alone, or 29-30 even, we are not given the entire picture. Obviously faith is a prime factor…This verse doesn’t mention the Holy Spirit in its chain of causes—what should we conclude then? The Holy Spirit takes no part in it? It doesn’t mention Righteousness, only Justification, what shall we conclude that Righteousness doesn’t exist for the elect? Of course not.
    I never said that everything was contained in this verse. So pointing out that the Holy Spirit is part of the process, and faith is part of the process is neither here nor there. I never claimed they weren’t. The point that I was making is that those who are called are also justified. Yes, they still exercise faith and all of that, but the point still stands that those who are called end up justified. So if you believe that everyone receives the calling of Rom 8:30, then it follows that everyone will be justified.
    Also in John 6:44 we see the DRAWING and the COMING.
    I never denied that people do come.
    However, lets not just camp there, later on Jesus states in 12:32 that when I be lifted up I will draw all men to myself.
    We need to do our homework in the immediate context before we cross reference to other passages.
    You stated, “Thus IF you are drawn, YOU WILL be raised up”. I don’t see how this is shown in the verse.
    It is shown in this verse because the drawn “him” is grammatically linked to the raised up “him.”
    It says “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” That is like saying “No one can enroll in ART 32B, unless you are a University student”.
    There is a difference between “can” and “may.” “Can” is a term of ability, “may” is a term of permission. Thus the enrollment sign should read, “No one may enroll in ART32B unless you are a University student.” But this is a different topic from the question we have before us.

  47. Peter Says:

    No, first from scripture.

    Okay great. You do accept that we can resist the Holy Spirit, that we can “resist the working of God in [our] lives and hearts”. But then you are saying that you cannot resist the Holy Spirit in Romans 8:30 because the Holy Spirit is in Effectual Mode. It lets its “guard down”, if you will, when it is in General Mode when dealing with a Non-Elect—in which that person WILL have no different outcome than when the Holy Spirit didn’t call him because he WILL definitely resist. But then there is some other purpose to this, that they will be left without excuse in comparison to what? Please draw out what you mean by this.

    I see no reason to render them rhetorical….

    But you see, it is from the presupposition that Romans 8:30 is an effectual calling verse that you create this scenario in the first place. I asked you to justify on what basis are you making these distinctions?

    The point that I was making is that those who are called are also justified. Yes, they still exercise faith and all of that, but the point still stands that those who are called end up justified. So if you believe that everyone receives the calling of Rom 8:30, then it follows that everyone will be justified.

    I do believe that everyone receives the calling of Romans 8:30. However, that justification is based on the fact that they accept what Christ has offered. This is what I mean when we must take into account the condition of Faith (ex. Eph 1:13, Eph 2:8). Hebrews 11:6 states “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”

    I never denied that people do come.

    That wasn’t the point. I was clarifying that there is distinctly two concepts being shown here, drawing and coming. Drawing, is a condition needed in order to have the possibility to come. The Coming is the positive outcome from that Drawing, as opposed to the Resisting of the Holy Spirit.

    We need to do our homework in the immediate context before we cross reference to other passages.

    Well please explain what more needs to be studied in the immediate context.
    The way I see it is that verse 37 shows that all that the Father gives Christ will come to Christ. Then verse 38 states that Christ came to do his Father’s will. His will, shown in verse 39 is that Christ will lose none of all the Father has given him. Verse 40 then explains how the individuals are part of that group, by looking to the Son and believing in Him. And of course, we cannot do this unless the Father draws us. Now this doesn’t bother either of us. Cuz the question of some being drawn or all being drawn isn’t answered. That is why I brought up John 12:32.
    Also, I stated that you get away with a premise which seems to be your deciding factor for labeling Romans 8:30 as a third kind of grace, effectual. “But since universalism is contrary to other portions of scripture it seems best to recognize that the “calling” in Romans 8:30 is something different from the general preaching of the gospel.” If you don’t want to go into an explanation of this, then that is fine—I will not hold it against you as I can already see the outwards progression towards the entire Calvinistic debate that we are trailing into (as this pretty much happens all the time on the topic of Calvinism).

    It is shown in this verse because the drawn “him” is grammatically linked to the raised up “him.”
    I understand that it is the same him. I always interpreted that the “him” was the same “him” in the “raised up”. But I do not see how that proves your point.

    There is a difference between “can” and “may.” “Can” is a term of ability, “may” is a term of permission. Thus the enrollment sign should read, “No one may enroll in ART32B unless you are a University student.” But this is a different topic from the question we have before us.

    I am aware that there is a difference between can and may. I agree that CAN is about power to/capability of, while MAY is a month in the year, just kidding, MAY is the permission to do something. But there is no conflict with how I was interpreting it. As I said before, the DRAWING of the Father is a necessary condition which gives us the power to/capability of COMING to Him. What I was interpreting AGAINST, was your interpretation that the verse 44 meant that one WILL come to Him if he is DRAWN. The necessitation which you are stating is not shown here. And I don’t understand why you even bring up the concept of MAY with the example that I gave you. Because just as equally, I am showing that the student has the capability/ability/power to enroll/not-enroll in Art 32B (this equates to the coming, coming to Art 32B) only because the University accepted him as a student (this equates to the drawing condition of the Father). The non-student, has only one choice—to NOT-ENROLL in Art 32b because he does not have the capability to.

  48. Brett Says:

    “But then there is some other purpose to this, that they will be left without excuse in comparison to what? Please draw out what you mean by this.”
    I’m not sure I understand what you’re asking. Let me attempt a response, and then you may need to correct the direction. I believe that each person sins willingly, and that is enough to condemn them. God is not obligated to reveal anything of himself. Yet He does reveal himself, in many ways, and their continued rejection only confirms the justness of their condemnation before God.

    “I do believe that everyone receives the calling of Romans 8:30. However, that justification is based on the fact that they accept what Christ has offered. This is what I mean when we must take into account the condition of Faith.”
    Ok, I think I understand what you are saying. Based on what you seem to be saying, the universalism argument is no longer applicable. Let me try to clarify how I see Rom 8:30. There are at least two ways to look at Rom 8:30. First is to see the progression as “some of those He predestined He also called, and some of those He called He also justified” and so on. So you are suggesting that because some of those who receive the call reject it, then only some of the called are justified. The second, which is how I understand it, the progression is that “all those who were predestined He also called, and all those who were called He also justified” and so on. I don’t see how one could support (from the text) the notion that only some of those called are justified.

    “Well please explain what more needs to be studied in the immediate context.…the question of some being drawn or all being drawn isn’t answered. That is why I brought up John 12:32…I understand that it is the same him. I always interpreted that the “him” was the same “him” in the “raised up”. But I do not see how that proves your point.”
    It seems to me that if we posit that a person can be drawn but not raised up, then we have disconnected the drawn “him” from the raised up “him.”

    “And I don’t understand why you even bring up the concept of MAY with the example that I gave you.”
    Sorry, I just misunderstood what you were saying.

  49. Allan Says:

    I have a couple of questions if I may Brett.

    Since man is sinful and completely depraved (of which I beleive) and hates/wants nothing to do with God and in fact will not even seek after God; Then why does/will Jesus say to those who CLAIMED to be His followers to depart from Him into everlasting darkness/fire? I thought that man will not seek after God at all unless he is regenerate? (just interested in your responce)

  50. Brett Says:

    Man can conform externally to the laws of God. A person may go to church, tithe, and do any number of religious actions all the while having a heart that serves only self. The Pharisees are an example of this kind of person. In Matt 23:13-26 Jesus pronounces seven woes on the scribes and Pharisees. In v. 14 Christ says, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows’ houses, even while for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you shall receive greater condemnation.” Moreover, in v. 25 he continues, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence.” Jesus condemns them for their outward show of religiosity while they neglect their heart condition.
    That said, total depravity does teach that man will never actually seek God until God first works in His heart.

  51. Allan Says:

    So man can seek to be appeasing to God as his Lord (religiously) but not seek after God as his Lord, even though man hates God in his unrepentent nature?

  52. Brett Says:

    Yes. I have heard it said that if we only worship God for what He can do for us, then we are only worshipping ourselves. If unregenerate man can recast God into a different form, and worship that god on their own terms, then yes, man can “seek” and be very religious.

  53. Allan Says:

    I guess then I have another question (concerning something I not 100% on in understanding) If those who call Jesus Lord were not His, who could the cast out demons in His name (by His authority) I DO NOT BELIEVE you can loose your salvation. Maybe they just make the claim?

    2nd. I guess I’m confused on the the fact that Rom 3 states man hate God, man will not seek after Him, we love the dark and hate the light … run from it (John 3), ect… If these statements are as absolute as they appear about mans depravity, would that not mean that a person could not desire to serve God no matter how pretensious or self serving we might try to make it for ourselves?

    Can you show me where the scriptures state man can choose God for selfish purposes and or choose God for redemptive purposes? maybe that will help clear some up.

  54. Brett Says:

    ”If those who call Jesus Lord were not His, who could the cast out demons in His name…. Maybe they just make the claim?”
    I think that is exactly right. In fact, if you look at that verse, God says, “Depart from me, I never knew you.” This demonstrates that they were never Christians to begin with (thus they were only making a claim to be Christian). As far as how they did miracles, there is some debate. Some think that they never really did any of this (perhaps akin to some of the televangelists of today who just make a big production), and others think they really did perform wondrous signs (perhaps akin to Pharaoh’s magicians, maybe even assisted by demons). I am prone to think that that their claims were spurious.
    ”2nd. I guess I’m confused on the the fact that Rom 3 states man hate God, man will not seek after Him, we love the dark and hate the light … run from it (John 3), ect… If these statements are as absolute as they appear about mans depravity, would that not mean that a person could not desire to serve God no matter how pretensious or self serving we might try to make it for ourselves?”
    If we are pretentious and self-serving then we are not seeking God, we are demonstrating our love of darkness by the way we worship. I don’t see any difference between those in the OT who would worship at the idols of Baal, and modern religious people who fashion idols in their mind. In either case they are still supplanting God and by so doing they demonstrate their depravity. John Piper has noted that, “The moral legalist is always the elder brother of the immoral prodigal. They are blood brothers in God’s sight because both reject the sovereign mercy of God in Christ as a means to righteousness and use either morality or immorality as a means of expressing their independence and self-sufficiency and self-determination.”
    ”Can you show me where the scriptures state man can choose God for selfish purposes”
    Mk 7:6 “And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.”

    Here Christ condemns those who just give an outward show of service, but their hearts are as dark as ever.

    Amos 4:4-5 “Come to Bethel, and transgress;
    to Gilgal, and multiply transgression;
    bring your sacrifices every morning,
    your tithes every three days;
    5 offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving of that which is leavened,
    and proclaim freewill offerings, publish them;
    for so you love to do, O people of Israel!”
    declares the Lord God.

    Here again, God says that Israel multiplies its sins whenever they “worship” Him according to their own design (Bethel and Gilgal were not the place that God appointed for them to worship Him). Hearts may be just as dark and averse to God even though they have a show of religiosity.

  55. Allan Says:

    Thanks for the information 🙂

    But that still leaves me with this question (only because I can’t get it straight). How could a man whos very nature hates God and anything to do with holiness, please and seek to please God (via faith – lets just use the OT for example)? Is that not going against their nature?

  56. Gene Says:

    He will not turn to God for completely godly reasons apart from effectual grace. We’re talking here about the grace that accompanies conversion on the one hand, and God’s common grace in restraining men’s evil on the other. Calvinism does not affirm that men can do nothing that pleases God at all or nothing that is not good relative to the acts of other men (what one could call acts of civil virtue). Rather, they cannot, because they will not, turn to God with motives that are not untainted by sin and selfishness and an/or an attempt to merit grace (meritorious grace is, after all, an oxymoron), and be converted by the instrument of faith alone, clinging to God/Christ alone apart from effacious grace. It is not against man’s nature to seek to please God at all. It is against his nature to do so with no ulterior motives. Men “seek God” because they want the benefits of hanging out with God and His people all the time and because men have some moral compass. In that latter case in particular, God, by way of common grace, restrains the evil in their hearts so that their lives don’t turn into utter chaos. Hell is not just eternal punishment, it is life under God’s wrath, where there is no restraining grace holding back their evil. Sin is pictured in Scripture as a type of insanity. God’s restraint (through His own power and/or the moral and civil laws of men, His image stamped on men’s hearts, viz. their consciences, etc.) keeps men’s hearts from acting out that insanity completely. Likewise, seeking God for the fringe benefits and genuinely seeking God Himself are not the same things.

  57. Allan Says:

    What?

    Quote “It is not against man’s nature to seek to please God at all. It is against his nature to do so with no ulterior motives.”

    You lost me here. I thought scripture states that “…man will not seek after God…” and other scriptures the like. His very nature is an enimity against God. It is pretty much the same for believers to, is that not the reason for the bema seat Judgement?

    Again confused:
    “…because men have some moral compass.”

    I thought (according to what I have understood on most of the posts speaking on this) Man has the natural ability to do good but was completely morally corrupt?

    quote:
    “God, by way of common grace, restrains the evil in their hearts so that their lives don’t turn into utter chaos.”

    Is this common grace given to all or just to the elect? The reason I ask is again from what I have understood is that God hates all those who are not his elect because they stand against him? I’m even more confused.

  58. Gene Says:

    The doctrine of total depravity subtracts from man’s ability to do any spiritual good accompanying his salvation, not man’s ability or desire to please God in some way, the image of God in man is still there.

    The issue about morally inability to do good, convert to Christ, etc. is the motive that lies behind acts unregenerate men do. Men can please God in the sense that they can live lives of civil virtue, but this is not the same as pleasing God as a highest order good. Men will seek to please God from time to time as a second order, not a first order good. In that sense, men cannot please God at all. They may make the attempt, but the very making of the attempt, apart from repentance from all sin, apart from faith in Christ, apart from any selfish motives at all, apart from any defilement because of other sin tainting his acts of civil virtue in another area of life, is impossible. We are, in that sense, wholly disposed to evil.

    The imputed guilt of Adam results in a presumptive declaration of guilt upon all, upon which time they actually sin themselves, agreeing to Adam’s sin, and so forever defiling themselves and all they touch. They are “unclean” the way a woman was unclean in her menstrual period in the OT; in fact that is the most literal image lying behind the meaning of our righteousness being “as filthy rags.” We can try to please God, but one sin then defiles us such that all we touch is tainted, like a permanent marker all over our hands and everything we touch leaves its smell or the color, no matter how hard we try not to leave it behind, and therefore, it goes to the root motive of even our attempts to please God as unbelievers. Even as believers it still gets in the way.

    See here: LBCF 16:7._____ Works done by unregenerate men, although for the matter of them they may be things which God commands, and of good use both to themselves and others; yet because they proceed not from a heart purified by faith, nor are done in a right manner according to the word, nor to a right end, the glory of God, they are therefore sinful, and cannot please God, nor make a man meet to receive grace from God, and yet their neglect of them is more sinful and displeasing to God.

    This does not mean that men have no moral compass within them at all. God has not left men completely in the dark, though He has the right to do so. They are not as bad as they could be. The reason they have a natural ability to do good is because of this compass. Some (today’s people living in Christian homes for example and the Jews in the OT) had special revelation (the Scriptures, the prophets, etc.) external to themselves too. We are morally unable to truly please God, because we are wholly defiled and corrupt, but we are not so corrupt that we don’t make some attempt, however twisted it may be, to please God. We are unable to do spiritual good accompanying salvation; we are not unable to do acts of civil virtue or attempt works righteousness. Because they are created in God’s image, men have some kind of moral compass by way of ordinary providence. Romans 2:14-17: For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves,

    15in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them,

    16on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.

    Notice here that the Gentiles actually do the works of the Law, showing they have some kind of moral compass, the Imago Dei. They have a conscience that tells them the difference between right and wrong. We also do things like presuppose the law of non-contradiction every time we communicate with each other, so we presuppose the existence of God, but then, when we violate our own consciences, we show ourselves guilty of acting like He does not exist, even though we intuitively know He does. The natural men will run from Christ for His own sake. The regenerate man will run to Him for His own sake. (John 3:18-21).

    They still have a conscience as a moral compass, but it is bent and distorted such that they will only seek the benefits of being in God’s presence, but not God Himself. For this reason, all that unregenerate persons do is touched with sin and as filthy rags. It is not unnatural for men to seek to please God in some way, because we are created in His image. All attempts to merit salvation or live a good life are attempts to please God. The problem is that they are not done perfectly and they are also done with a selfish motive, not a truly pure, Godward motive. Meritorious attempts to please God, by definition, are attempts to get God’s favor in order to benefit you in some manner. That’s not the kind of pleasing God that God requires. He requires we pursue His person and do good for its own sake, not for our benefit. Saving faith receives the righteousness of Christ and repents from sin and clings to Christ’s person, not the benefits of being with Him. It is this that restrains men’s hearts and keeps them from evil. The restraint of evil in men’s hearts is not for the elect only, it is a function of ordinary providence. God can withdraw it, and effectively this leaves a man to his own devices. It hardens men when He does this, like Pharaoh, or the Assyrian king (see 2 Kings 19 and Isa. 10), and it can blind men too (Isa. 6).

    This works out like this:

    The Jews were all about trying to please God. They even created a hedge around the Law for that reason, but that quickly turned into a system of works righteousness, and they wanted no part of what the Law itself taught. Men quickly pervert whatever they touch. Nobody seeks God, they hate God, but they don’t act consistently. Some have special revelation before them: the covenants, the Scriptures, the prophets, and the priests, yet they don’t obey rightly. Their leaders kept the people from any understanding truth. When Jesus came, he came to examine the vineyard of Israel. He found that it had produced vines but no fruit. Nobody understood, so He preached. They still did not understand, and it became apparent that it was the grace of God that would open their eyes. The leaders were just as blind, actually more blind, than the people. The Jews proved beyond the shadow of all doubt that you can have all the benefits of special revelation in external form but require an effectual call to actually cling to Christ alone by faith alone and repent and be converted.

    Others have none of that, but have a moral conscience, so in another sense, they are closer to the New Covenant, which is written not on tablets of stone, but on hearts of flesh, yet they have no understanding, because they have no special revelation. They reject what they have in conscience, but they are often the ones that respond to the gospel. Yet they have no understanding of special revelation. They find it foolish. So, again, it is the Spirit of God, not merely an external call, that must effectually open their eyes and ears so they will come.

    LBCF2:5

    4._____ The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God, so far manifest themselves in his providence, that his determinate counsel extendeth itself even to the first fall, and all other sinful actions both of angels and men; and that not by a bare permission, which also he most wisely and powerfully boundeth, and otherwise ordereth and governeth, in a manifold dispensation to his most holy ends; yet so, as the sinfulness of their acts proceedeth only from the creatures, and not from God, who, being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin.
    ( Romans 11:32-34; 2 Samuel 24:1, 1 Chronicles 21:1; 2 Kings 19:28; Psalms 76;10; Genesis 1:20; Isaiah 10:6, 7, 12; Psalms 1:21; 1 John 2:16 )

    5._____ The most wise, righteous, and gracious God doth oftentimes leave for a season his own children to manifold temptations and the corruptions of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled; and to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their support upon himself; and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for other just and holy ends. So that whatsoever befalls any of his elect is by his appointment, for his glory, and their good.
    ( 2 Chronicles 32:25, 26, 31; 2 Corinthians 12:7-9; Romans 8:28 )

    6._____ As for those wicked and ungodly men whom God, as the righteous judge, for former sin doth blind and harden; from them he not only withholdeth his grace, whereby they might have been enlightened in their understanding, and wrought upon their hearts; but sometimes also withdraweth the gifts which they had, and exposeth them to such objects as their corruption makes occasion of sin; and withal, gives them over to their own lusts, the temptations of the world, and the power of Satan, whereby it comes to pass that they harden themselves, under those means which God useth for the softening of others.
    ( Romans 1:24-26, 28; Romans 11:7, 8; Deuteronomy 29:4; Matthew 13:12; Deuteronomy 2:30; 2 Kings 8:12, 13; Psalms 81:11, 12; 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12; Exodus 8:15, 32; Isaiah 6:9, 10; 1 Peter 2:7, 8 )

    7._____ As the providence of God doth in general reach to all creatures, so after a more special manner it taketh care of his church, and disposeth of all things to the good thereof.
    ( 1 Timothy 4:10; Amos 9:8, 9; Isaiah 43:3-5 )

    See these portions of the LBCF2 for the confessional statements. These may help explain better:

    http://www.vor.org/truth/1689/1689bc05.html

    http://www.vor.org/truth/1689/1689bc06.html

    http://www.vor.org/truth/1689/1689bc16.html

    http://www.vor.org/truth/1689/1689bc19.html

    http://www.vor.org/truth/1689/1689bc20.html

  59. Allan Says:

    OK. So man can choose to follow God however without special revelation, in truth it is really just for the special benifits we assume we can obtain. Correct so far? That is why Jesus (one reason at least) came to be that revelation that was never given before? So up until then all worship unto God was superficial and in the flesh? Am I close?

  60. Brett Says:

    Allen, let me ask you a question. Do you think that Baal worshipers are examples of people “seeking” God?

  61. Allan Says:

    That is not the issue, we are talkin about the one true and living God that none will seek after.

  62. Allan Says:

    oops, I hit my click button.

    I am simply trying to follow the train of thought as ascribed above concerning following the one true God. Anything else is a mute point as we will seek anything not light and truth as God is.

  63. Brett Says:

    I don’t think it is a mute point. They are not seeking the one true God if they recast Him into an image of their liking. Some may say that their god is only a god of love. My response is that their god is cupid, not the God of scriptures. Others (but not near as many) will insist that their god is a god of judgement. Again, I would respond that thier god is Mars, not the God of the Bible. Any time people recast God into a form that they feel confortable worshiping, then they are not really seeking God. Just because a person claims to worship the God of the Bible does not mean it is so. Jews and Muslims both claim to worship Yahweh. Are these true seekers?

    We need not stop here. We may further consider a person who acknowledges God’s existence but wants nothing to do with Him. Is such a person seeking God? What about a person who acknowledges that he exists, but wants everything on his terms? Is there any difference between these two people fundamentally? Each person is seeking themselves. These people are not really seeking God. It just so happens that they like baptisms and crackers and grape juice, but if they liked candles and incense they would be in a different religion. They like the religious trappings, not God. They may like what they think God can give them, but they don’t like God himself. None of these people are really seeking after God. All of them are only seeking themselves.
    The only time a person will actually seek God as God is when God transformes their heart.

  64. Allan Says:

    So your saying a person is saved before the realize they are saved, (given a new nature). That makes very little since as we are given a new nature at salvation and not before. If it is however, I would very much like to see the scripture that states or directly implies that we are changed BEFORE we believe.

    On your point however, I do see where you were going but that still does not anwer the two questions I poised regarding those who seek truly after God (specifically before Jesus.)

    1. “So man can choose to follow God however without special revelation, they actually are really just in it for the special benifits they assume can be obtained. Correct so far?” (a little rewording so clarification)
    2. “This is why Jesus (one reason at least) came, to be that revelation that was never given before. So up until then all worship unto God was superficial and in the flesh? Am I close”

    And I’ll add one more to help me clarify something I’m not sure I grasp.
    Can a man be considered righteous and have faith before God and still be unregenerate (saved). IF so, how?, seeing natural man will run from God, seeks after God for his own benifit, and is in direct contradiction toward God in all things? The regeneration came after Christ via the Holy Spirit.

  65. Brett Says:

    Allen, I am going to take one more stab at this, but then I’ll need to bow out of our conversation. However, I want to thank both you and Peter for your irenic tone, it is quite refreshing.
    “So your saying a person is saved before the realize they are saved, (given a new nature).”
    I would word it different. “Salvation” refers to the whole process: regeneration, justification, sanctification, etc. So for the sake of clarity, I would prefer the term regeneration. I believe that a person’s heart is first changed, and then with this new heart they exercise their faith in Christ.
    Eze 11:19-20 states, “And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, 20 that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.”
    They need a new heart before they can walk in the statutes of the Lord (which statutes by the way include the command to repent).
    This can also be inferred from 1 Cor 2:14, “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” In order for a man to understand (and then put his trust in) spiritual things, he must first be made a spiritual man. Regeneration makes man able to respond, but he is not justified until he does respond by exercising faith in Christ. There are many other places we could look at to support this notion, but these are representative.
    ”On your point however, I do see where you were going but that still does not anwer the two questions I poised regarding those who seek truly after God (specifically before Jesus.)”
    Even with special revelation, men will not seek God until God changes their heart. Now, it is true that it is through the preaching of the word that the Spirit does change a person’s heart. However, there are many who will hear the word and still be in darkness. The inward work of the Spirit is necessary. Thus, I don’t think that all worship up to Christ was superficial and in the flesh, I believe that there were true followers and true worshipers in the OT.
    Finally, no, I don’t think that a person can be truly righteous, have real faith and yet be unregenerate. On a strictly human level, yes, an unregenerate person can perform righteous deeds, but in the eyes of God, all our righteous deeds as unregenerate people are as filthy rags. This is because everything that proceeds not from faith is sin, and without faith it is impossible to please God.
    I hope this clarifies things a bit. If not, I would encourage you to read through Gene’s post again, specifically the quotations he provides from the London Baptist Confession. Take the time to read it carefully and look up the passages, this should be of great value.
    Regards,
    Brett

  66. Allan Says:

    Thank you Bret for your time.

    Just some thoughts:
    I do see what you are saying concerning the natural man and him unable to come to Christ without God interceding on his behalf. I agree there.
    The part about the new heart first and then if a person responds ( I believe you hold that they will/must respond positively) they will recieve a new spirit and at that point be saved. The scripture you point out in Eze (And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them) does not give this quilifier of believing after a new heart has come upon a man. Actually the word “and” between heart and new spirit means “along with this”. So the new heart is not what precedes the new spirit but simotaniously atributed with the new spirit. I will honorably disagree with you on what regeneration means as I hold it to mean salvation, not preceding condition to salvation. Regenation means to (in simplest context) RE (agian) make alive. We are dead in our sins (we both hold this) but alive in Christ Jesus. We can not be alive without being born again. I do thank you for speaking with me and sharing and I agree whole heartedly that it was a great interaction and Christ honoring. I hold you highly brother.

  67. Allan Says:

    OH one more thing If all righteous deeds done before Christ were filthy rags, I have a hard time understanding those whom God called righteous by faith in him (specifically Heb. 11) before Jesus, and were our examples as believers. Just some thoughts though. God Bless


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