A Question for My Arminian Friends

On the eve of the night where there was supposed to be a debate over Baptists, Calvinism, and/or omnibenevolence (or something like that), I thought I’d pose a question that I had been thinking about since yesterday afternoon to my Arminian friends. Let me provide the context of my question first if I may.

According to the Arminian theological framework, God’s election of a person is conditioned on the basis of foreseen faith. The faith which God sees is an act of trust that is inherent within a sinner (that is derivative of man and not a gift from God) who freely, of his own accord and without any external or internal influence, chooses Christ. The Arminian position readily emphasizes the human responsibility to “call upon the name of the Lord” and right they should, but the nature of the free will is libertarian and carries the idea of “power of contrary choice” in where there is no efficient cause (“contra-causal freedom”) resulting in a framework of indeterminism. So there are three key aspects: conditional election (foreseen faith), saving faith derivative of man, and libertarian free will – all components in the soteriological underpinnings of Arminian theology.

So my question comes regarding God’s foreknowledge and the nature of saving faith. God’s foreknowledge assumes (apriori) that His knowledge carries some measure of determinacy, for to know something in advance is more than a prediction; it is definite, certain knowledge. And, according to the Arminian position, God foresees those who place their faith in him and therefore elects them. But, in actuality, they have not existed at the time of God’s foreknowledge and have not placed their faith in Jesus Christ. And, if they possess libertarian free will, they must necessarily be able to choose contrarily if they are to really be free. So in essence, God cannot foreknow what a man who possesses libertarian free will will do, whether he believes or not, because if God knew they would put their faith in Him, they would not be free. So here’s my question:

How can God, in his foreknowledge, know something that, according to your theological construct, cannot not be known?

It appears to be that one either has to forfeit God’s foreknowledge or forfeit man’s libertarian free will. So your two options are either Calvinism (the biblical position) or Open Theism. The former holds to a deterministic (compatibilism) view of free will and retains the doctrine of foreknowledge while the latter is forced to logically conclude that God cannot foreknow the future acts of (libertarian) free agents (abandoning God’s omniscience). This is why many who have been staunch proponents of Arminianism are now Open Theists. They have realized the logical inconsistencies and have sought to develop a system more internally consistent and fully explanative. The only problem is they do it while gutting the very nature of God and reformulating the message of salvation according to Scripture.

As a follow-up question then would be: Where in the Bible can you show me that libertarian free will exists? Conditional election? Faith derivative of man and not a gift from God?

Now, before you answer, let me tell you I know Norm Geisler’s answer, so please don’t read Chosen But Free and regurgitate it to me (and worse, please don’t consult Dave Hunt). I would like to know what your answer is to this dilemma. Biblically, I can show you where election is unconditional, free will is compatibilistic (and deterministic), and saving faith is a gift from God.

When I think about this question and the consequences to the answers, I am led to ask myself which system honors God, is grounded in Scripture, and represents the Gospel according to Jesus. When I look at Arminian theology, what I find is philosophical constructs like libertarian free will that is not in the Bible and doctrines like foreseen faith that confuse the nature of God’s omniscience. Furthermore, I do not see where a synergistic gospel (God + me [and my faith]) gives glory to God alone. What is worse is that ultimacy is attributed to me (man), my free will, and my faith. On the other hand, Calvinism gives ultimacy to God in that He accomplishes the ends (my salvation) and provides the means (saving faith) according to His election which is unconditional and irrevocable. So at the heart of my question is, in my mind, a real dilemma for non-Calvinists who do not want to go off the deep end into Open Theism. Either you admit the inconsistencies in your doctrinal framework and its unbiblical elements or you change those elements. In that change, you can either choose to glorify God and His supremacy and sovereignty in salvation, or you can glorify man and his autonomy and self-determination in which he contributes to his own salvation with his own faith.

If I have misrepresented the theological framework of Arminianism, please let me know. The purpose of my question is to discuss this matter because I believe it is essential to the gospel and how we communicate it to others. My hope and desire is that we would be radically God-centered in our thinking (theology) and our practice (methodology) so that our worship (doxology) can truly be “from him, and through him, and to him all are things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:36). May our minds and hearts be ignited with wonder of God’s amazing grace and taste afresh the goodness of God.

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14 Comments on “A Question for My Arminian Friends”

  1. Josh Says:

    “It appears to be that one either has to forfeit God’s foreknowledge or forfeit man’s libertarian free will.”

    It always boils down to this. Is it God or is it man who is in charge?

    Good read this.

    Josh


  2. Your question is one that cannot be answered by the Arminian as it reveals an internal contradiction in their system and it is always easier to avoid the contradiction altogether than embrace it and become a process theologian/panentheist or an open theist. Good article brother!

  3. Allan Says:

    I may be wrong but I heard this debate was cancelled. (Baptistboard.com)
    due to one thing or another.

    I haven’t had the opportunity to look into it, but I am hoping it will continue for nothing else but to keep open dialog.

    Let me know please if it is still on.

  4. Peter Says:

    “Now, before you answer, let me tell you I know Norm Geisler’s answer, so please don’t read Chosen But Free and regurgitate it to me (and worse, please don’t consult Dave Hunt). I would like to know what YOUR answer is to this dilemma.”

    I’m sorry but I dont understand. I’m not allowed to take Geisler’s position on this issue? Interesting rules of discussion. I dont like Geisler’s book either, but apparently I can’t agree with anything in it?

    “Biblically, I can show you where election is unconditional, free will is compatibilistic (and deterministic), and saving faith is a gift from God.”

    My Calvinist friend, can I take you up on your offer to show that faith, in the Calvinistic sense, is a gift of God and also where it shows that election is unconditional, biblically speaking of course.
    What do you mean by compatibilistic and deterministic? Can you describe this a little more in-depth for me?

    Sincerely,
    Peter

  5. Allan Says:

    Oh and in relation to your post, the vast majority of Baptists are not Arminian. Therefore the Arminian framework by which you are developing your argument is incomplete as you do not address what the Non-Arminian and Non-Open Theists believe, although if this is strictly for the Arminian, then yes I concur.
    In order for a person to even be an Arminian, they must adhere to ALL of the system of theology just as the person claiming to be a Calvinist MUST agree with and adhere to ALL 5 points. There is no such thing as a 4 point Calvinist just as there is no such thing as a 4 point Arminian since both systems of theologies points are built upon each other. Take one away and the system has been destroyed.

    What you tend not to choose to understand is that “we” (the vast majority of true born-again believers) all hold to the same immutable truths. Calvinistic Theology is only a VIEW of the mechanics of these truths set out in a systematic way. This is why it is still being debated 500 years later. Many of the same scriptures you use for your view are the same scriptures Non- Cal use for theirs. Why, because we are both stating the SAME truths but differing ways by which they come into fruition. That said, I’ll try to show you what I mean with regard to some of your statements.

    [B]You State:[B/]
    According to the Arminian theological framework, God’s election of a person is conditioned on the basis of foreseen faith. The faith which God sees is an act of trust that is inherent within a sinner (that is derivative of man and not a gift from God) who freely, of his own accord and without any external or internal influence, chooses Christ.

    This is the same problem that Calvinist have with people like Dave Hunt – Completely misrepresenting the other side due to lack of understanding. This is not what Non-Arminians believe, Yet it IS what the Arminian believes. Us Baptist’s who are not Calvinistic nor Arminian (and don’t even pretend to put Pelegian) DO NOT hold this view – that man can come to God any time he (man) chooses. God is the first cause of Salvation and (so to speak) the last clause (or say in the matter). [U]Man can do good in a sense but not in the [B]salvic[B/] sense.[U/] Scripture even shows this: [B]Example[B/} – Our righteousness is as filthy rags. No matter our good work or intention it is always tainted, therefore nothing we do is without some measure unrighteousness. In contrast we still have the potential to do some aspect of good. And since we are in sin this basic good can not even penetrate the sin filled blindness that they even are in NEED of God. That is why God must FIRST be the initiator (the Call) to anyone or they will NEVER know their need.

    [B]You also state:[B/]
    And, according to the Arminian position, God foresees those who place their faith in him and therefore elects them. But, in actuality, they have not existed at the time of God’s foreknowledge and have not placed their faith in Jesus Christ.

    Before we go on it needs to be remembered that we do not know all that God did before the creation of the world in relation to how He set its order; ie. – what decree came first. Yes, we can postulate and draw theoretical conclusions but for the most part that is all these are.

    First sentence is correct even for the Non-Arm but Non-Cal.
    [B]Second sentence[B/] – What??
    Can/Does God decree something He does not FIRST foreknow?
    God must FIRST know, in order that it be decreed – established or irrevocable.
    You are the one putting the cart before the horse my brother. As God foreknows (mankind in this instance) He so decrees. Even Adam didn’t exist until God literally created Him but God did foreknow him and therefore to God he existed, and all of Mankind before we were ever physically created was the same.

    [B]You State:[B/]
    How can God, in his foreknowledge, know something that, according to your theological construct, cannot not be known

    As stated above: How can God decree what He does not FIRST foreknow!? It is not the other way around for you then have a decree that was not thought out much less thought of.
    Could it be that God is just all knowing enough to know the outcome of every possibility of every choice in relation to a zillion people at the same time at every second within time concerning all manner of possible things to chosen. And He just may be Sovereign enough to be at work in or through every person’s life at the same time to bring forth His glory no matter their choice. And in knowing All they COULD choose, and knowing that ALL He CAN do concerning the people and those choices, decrees what He explicitly knows to so be, and still have ample time to answer every individual prayer.  There is no sneaking up on God or something that could happen He did not foreknow. Based upon His foreknowledge of events and His part within that construct, He decrees them to be.
    And yes, God does foreknow those who will place their faith in Him and those who will reject Him. And in knowing this He decreed it to be so. But it will be a waste of both your time and mine to post these scriptures since many are the same scriptures you use for your view but we just see them from a differing theological bent. It is indeed impressive however since you can now prove conclusively your view that has not been able to be established as the other immutable truths we hold dear as beleivers. Life deity of Christ, virgin birth, death, burial, resurrection, His coming again, salvation of the elect and damnation of wicked, ect… Thus my point it is only a view of the truths we hold dear. That is why are are brothers in Christ still, and able to reach out to a lost and dying world.

    It was once said by a Calvinist:
    Preach like an Arminian but pray like a Calivinst. – I thought it neat.

    As stated earlier your entire premise is based on the faulty pretense that you are dealing with an advocate of Arminianism, when in fact you are not.

  6. GOWITHGOSPEL Says:

    PERSEVERE!

  7. Gene Says:

    My Calvinist friend, can I take you up on your offer to show that faith, in the Calvinistic sense, is a gift of God and also where it shows that election is unconditional, biblically speaking of course.

    Romans 8:29 – 30, Ephesians 1, Deut. 6, shall we continue. There is no text of Scripture that states that election is based on God foreknowing ahead of time who will believe and who will not do so. The word “foreknow” is derivative of the Greek verb “prognosko,” which means “to love beforehand.”

    As to faith being the gift of God, might I suggest 1 John 5:1. It very explicitly says we believe because we are born again. We do not believe and then are born again.

    John has a very specific style. He writes in parallel constructions and spells out the relationships between them. John 8:43 is very clear:

    Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.

    First, note: “Why do you not understand what I am saying?” It is because you cannot hear My word. This is stated verbatim. Jesus says there is a causal relationship between their ability to understand and hearing. They do not understand because of their inability to hear. John then parallels this with:

    8:47 He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.

    John writes a grammatical construction exactly like I John 2:29, 5:1, and 4:7! He first spells out, verbatim, the causal relationship between ability to hear and understanding in v. 43 and endcaps with v.47’s end that says “for this reason…” “He who is of God, hears the words of God.” for this reason, you do not hear them, because you are not of God. There is a logical, temporal, causal relationship, verbatim.

    Again, 1 John 2:29, 4:7, and 5:1 also are this same construction:

    He who is of God hears the words of God.

    They hear because they are “of God.”

    You do not hear them because you are not of God

    They do not hear because they are not of God

    Everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.

    They practice righteousness because they are born again.

    Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

    They love because they are born again and know God.

    Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.

    They believe because they are born again.

    What do you mean by compatibilistic and deterministic? Can you describe this a little more in-depth for me?

    These are terms that are related to the will. Compatibilism is a species of determinism, namely soft determinism. Your other choice is libertarianism, aka, contra-causal freedom. If libertarianism is true, then our choices are uncaused. The libertarians include Socinians, Molinists, Arminians, Open Theists and a growing number of Evangelicals.

    Libertarianism has no exegetical argument. Representing this for us we can look to Jerry Walls and Joseph Dongell in their popular book Why I am not a Calvinist:

    (1) “The essence of this view is that a free action is one that does not have a sufficient condition or cause prior to its occurrence…the common experience of deliberation assumes that our choices are undetermined.”

    (2) “…It seems intuitively and immediately evident that many of our actions are up to us in the sense that when faced with a decision, both (or more) options are within our power to choose…Libertarians argue that our immediate sense of power to choose between alternative courses of action is more certain and trustworthy than any theory that denies we have power.

    (3) “Libertarians take very seriously the widespread judgment that we are morally responsible for our actions and that moral responsibility requires freedom” That is, a person cannot be held morally responsible for an act unless he or she was free to perform that act and free to refrain from it. This is basic moral intuition.”

    Wall and Dongell end their definition of libertarian freedom by asserting that to prove the validity of libertarian free will “…Arminians rely on contested philosophical judgments at this point.” By their own admission, then they RELY on philosophy, not Scripture as an ultimate basis for their conjecture.

    Freedom as understood in the libertarian sense means that a person is fully able to perform some other action in place of the one that is actually done, and this is not predetermined by any prior circumstances, our desires or even our affections. In other words, our choices are free from the determination or constraints of human nature. All free will theists hold that libertarian freedom is essential for moral responsibility, for if our choice is determined or caused by anything, including our own desires, they reason, it cannot properly be called our decision or free choice.

    Representing compatibilism are the Scriptures that attribute the choices of man to his motives and desires. When men like Geisler or Hunt or these other appeal to the motives of a man that lie behind his desires, they are contradicting themselves. Any such appeal is not a libertarian argument. Likewise Scripture tells us that God works all things after the counsel of His will (Eph. 1). What you don’t see in the English text is the repetition of the Greek word for “all.” Paul is emphasizing that there is not a single thing that is not under the sovereign decree of God.

    That said, it is a category mistake to then conclude that God is the author of sin on this view. Libertarians typically see what we believe about the ends without acknowledging what we believe about the means. Let’s take the fall. It’s typical to hear people say that our belief that God decreed the fall makes God the author of evil.

    a. This overlooks the action of God by way of secondary causes. The 2nd London Confession is very blunt about stating that the decree of God underwrites the efficacy of second causes.

    b. Historically, Arminians also affirm this. The order of decrees for the Arminians is: Creation, Permission of Fall, Atonement; General Call; Election of all who believe.

    For the typical Infralapsarian Calvinist, the order is: Creation, Permission of Fall, Election/Reprobation; Atonement; Application. Supras differ over the placement of election.

    All three positions affirm God decreed the Fall.

    c. They all three affirm that God decrees the Fall by PERMISSION. He did not make them fall. He was under no obligation to grant constraining grace, and the fall occurred with the right people at the right time, for a particular reason, so that God Himself can be said to have bound over both Jews and Gentiles to sin, in order to show mercy to both (Romans 11). Historically, that view goes back at least as far as Iranaeus, so it comes with a pedigree as long as the first recognitions in the church about the Trinity.

    d. Libertarianism is employed as an ethical way to get God off the hook. It is argued that compatibilism makes God morally responsible for evil. But that turns on the confusion of a necessary and sufficient condition. Responsibility is a necessary, but insufficient condition for moral responsibility. For that, you need a moral motive. The decree does nothing on its own. It only renders a thing certain. Men are left to their own desires, and God does nothing to men who He is going to condemn that they do not want. They do nothing against their wills. In fact, God hardens apostates precisely because they are steeped in sin. He piles sin onto their sin by letting them sin all they desire. He simply removes his constraining grace and let’s them do what they want. Arminianism’s argument is that God, to be truly morally “off the hook” must give men what they want and honor their “free will” choice. Why then do they object to what we have to say about this, since that is exactly what we teach.

    Typically, libertarians will accuse determinists (Calvinists) of believing in fatalism. That too is a category error.

    John Frame once said in regard to the difference between Determinism & Fatalism: Determinism means that all events are rendered unavoidable by the causes, which include our choices. Fatalism says all events will happen, regardless of our choices. Calvinism is not the same as fatalism. In fatalism, Oedipus cannot escape his fate, try as he might. Indeed, he fulfills his fate by trying to avoid it. He is at the mercy of the impersonal forces of the universe. In Calvinism, the reprobate are not trying to escape their fate. Indeed, they regard themselves as masters of their own destiny. In short, fatalism says that God accomplishes his purpose apart from the will of man. In other words, the ends occur regardless of the means. God fulfills his plan regardless of the will of man. But this is not Calvinism. Calvinism, however, states that God accomplishes his will through the will of man; God controls both the ends and the means.

    Ron Hanko rightly notes:

    The [fatalist], then, makes the same mistake as the Arminians and free-willists, only he draws a different conclusion. Both think that to command or demand repentance and faith of dead sinners must imply that such sinners are not dead and have in themselves the ability to repent and believe. The free-willist says, then: “To command must imply ability, therefore, men have the ability.” The [fatalist] says: “To command must imply ability, therefore we will not command any but the elect.”

    This is fatalism:
    • If it is fated for you to recover from your illness, then you will recover whether you call a doctor or not.
    • Likewise, if you are fated not to recover, you will not do so even if you call a doctor.
    • So, calling a doctor makes no difference.

    In Calvinism the first order good establishes the second order relation’s nature. The end is determined through the choices made by the second order relation, and the only way to know if the first order relation has determined an end is to make the action. You can’t go wrong, but that doesn’t abrogate your responsibility, because God has told you what you should and should not do. You make that choice on your own and with a motive. It is this motive that makes your actions blameworthy, sinful, etc. If men would sin because they loved God and wanted to glorify God, they would not be condemned as sinners, and that’s the problem for if they loved God, they would obey God. They don’t love God, they hate God, and their choices are made apart from knowing the sovereign will of God itself.

    God can withhold constraining grace or offer it. If He wants to secure salvation, he offers it and regenerates a man. He further underwrites it with the indwelling Holy Spirit. The rest, He leaves to go on their own way. I can change the ends, if I actually want to do so. The ends are fixed, but men do what they will do. Calvinism/determinism looks like this: You are sick. God’s revealed will is that sick people are to call the doctor to get better.

    • If it is determined for you to recover from your illness, then you will call for a doctor.
    • Likewise, if you are determined not to recover, you will not call a doctor.
    • So, calling a doctor makes a difference.

  8. Peter Says:

    Hi Gene, your posts are lengthy and gratuitous, but mostly because they were written in another context of explanation/teaching rather than a response to a post and the context of the current blog. I always take the time to copy phrases from your posts and google them. Sure enough the entire post ends up being a cut and paste of formerly written articles. Thank you for writing them in the first place, but please save the gratuity for the waiters and waitresses.

    For this reason, my response will not be as lengthy cuz I know how to filter through your posts.

    Concerning your first set of verses, thank you for citing two entire chapters Eph 1 and Deut 6 and giving absolutely no explanation about your standpoint in light of those chapters. I seriously have no idea what to do with it.
    Concerning Romans 8:28-29, Arminius himself acknowledged the greek meaning of prognosko. Arminius stated the meaning to be “previously loved and affectionately regarded as His own”. Arminius uses the prognosko definition of foreknowledge and goes onto saying “God can ‘previously love and affectionately regard as His own’ no sinner unless He has foreknown him in Christ, and looked upon him as a believer in Christ”. Would you state the opposite? That God can previously love and affectionately regard as His own sinners of whom He does not know in Christ?
    Picirilli makes note that Jewett’s explanation of the Arminian standpoint is incorrect. Jewett states: “Arminians came to the final conclusion that God foresees the choice the sinner will make and bases his own choice thereon”. Picirilli corrects the last five words stating: “The last five words of this are not appropriate: saying that God “based” His choice on the choice of believers is not the same thing as saying that God chose believers. This truth coexists with the fact that foreknowledge is personal and individual.
    Both you and Timmy make this mistake. As Timmy notes, “According to the Arminian theological framework, God’s election of a person is conditioned on the basis of foreseen faith.” It would also be interesting to see Timmy respond to some of the comments made here, although I do appreciate the packages that you put together as a response. I feel that the “interaction” is a bit less than genuine.

    However, just to level the playing field, I will do a little cutting and pasting of my own. Bob Ross has noted concerning your interpretation of 1 John 5:1 :

    “John is teaching believers how they may “know” that they are born of God, and he tells them that “whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God,” and he goes on to state the fact that their “faith” is the “WHATSOEVER” which is “born of God” (1 John 5:4). Faith is therefore proof of their being born of God.
    Therefore, if one has faith, he may know and be assured that he is “born of God” for his faith is “born of God,” according to 1 John 5:4. Since faith is the victory which overcomes and is that which is born of God (1 John 5:4), the one who has faith (believes) may thereby “know” that he is “born of God.”
    Gene Bridges, like the normal Hardshell, has distorted the verse to teach that one is “born again before faith.” Accordingly, the passage should read, “Whosoever believeth was already born of God before he believed.”
    But John is not saying a word about “regeneration comes before saving faith.” He is rather saying that faith is the proof that the believer is born of God.
    Since the Holy Spirit uses the Word to give faith its birth (1 Peter 1:23; James 1:l8; 1 Cor. 4:15; 1 Thess. 1:5), the person who has that faith which is born of God may know that he is indeed a born again believer. Obviously, if faith is born of God (1 John 5:4), a person would not have faith if he were not born of God.”

    This is in full line with the text quoted in 1 John 2:29, 4:7.

    By the way, Im still waiting for an explanation on your assertions about Arminians akin to Open Theists and your agreement to that explanation of Junius’ quote given by Pastor Segers, in light of the fact that both of you thought it was Arminius’ quote:
    http://strangebaptistfire.com/2006/09/14/arminian-jabberwocky-1/
    Timmy, you might wanna read that article I posted in the above blog post’s discussion section.

  9. Gene Says:

    >>Thank you for writing them in the first place, but please save the gratuity for the waiters and waitresses.

    >>I feel that the “interaction” is a bit less than genuine.

    Thank you for this comment. It just goes to show that what you have to say is not as irenic as you demand of us on your blog, Mr. Lumpkins. (Yes, I do believe you are Mr. Peter Lumpkins, whom I have read on a number of blogs now.) I repeat myself because I need not reinvent the wheel every time I post. I’m sorry for not pandering to your need for attention. Your assertions have been answered by many in many contexts, myself included. You asked a question, and it was answered.

    >>Concerning your first set of verses, thank you for citing two entire chapters Eph 1 and Deut 6 and giving absolutely no explanation about your standpoint in light of those chapters. I seriously have no idea what to do with it.

    Deuteronomy 6 contains the Shema. The proclamation of the Law signifies the sovereign imposition of the covenant. Deut. 7 contains an explicit statement about the election of Israel in that covenant. Where is anything like “foreseen faith” mentioned? On the contrary, we have parallels to the covenant of redemption in the faithfulness of God to the Patriarchs, so that the gist is that God simply says “I chose you because of my name,” as, in the sweep of the Pentateuch, God’s faithfulness to His covenant is reflective of His name and not the faith of the persons in the covenant. They are chosen, then they believe as a result. His election is relective of His name. It is not dependent on us. We have explicit statements about the nature of Israel’s election in that regard. Yes, this refers to corporate election, but this is the paradigm for individual election. The nation poised to enter the Promised Land, in Hebrews, answers to believers/the elect, members of the New Covenant. The previous generation answers to those living under the Old Covenant. Yes, there are non-elect persons in the OC, but the writer of Hebrews is concerned about OT typology respective to the elect and the covenants.

    Ephesians 1 is a standard text. In your criticisms of those who criticize Dr. Vines, you asked if Dr. Vines misrepresented Calvinist exegesis. I presume you therefore know how we exegete these texts. Since these are standard texts, I’ll choose not to do your homework for you in a comment thread. I have real life beyond this blog, and, in fact, I am now writing for 3 separate groups. If you were concerned, you’d do the legwork and not feign ignorance. Monergism.com, for example, has ample resources. Many more texts could have been offered, including John 6: 37 – 45 and Acts 13:48. Since you are reading Arminius and Picirilli, why not take a look @ some standard exegesis of these texts?

    What’s more, you appeal to Picirilli, but he deals with this text himself. Did you not go to read that against which he was writing, or did you imbibe what he says on Ephesians 1 without a critical eye? He says Eph 1:4 is neutral on the question of whether election is conditional or unconditional. So, you knew already that we appeal to this text. What is the standard Calvinist exegesis of it? You see, you may not feel that my interaction was genuine, but I don’t think your ignorance is genuine either since you were able to cite specific examples from the book.

    >>Picirilli makes note that Jewett’s explanation of the Arminian standpoint is incorrect. Jewett states: “Arminians came to the final conclusion that God foresees the choice the sinner will make and bases his own choice thereon”. Picirilli corrects the last five words stating: “The last five words of this are not appropriate: saying that God “based” His choice on the choice of believers is not the same thing as saying that God chose believers. This truth coexists with the fact that foreknowledge is personal and individual. Both you and Timmy make this mistake.”

    For one, Arminius, like Calvin and Calvinism is not the sole spokesperson for Arminianism and neither is Picirilli. Arminianism comes in many stripes. Jewett is most often responding to Wesley’s Arminianism as I recall, so any criticism of him must take this into account. Picirilli is very clear that he is promoting one particular variety, so I fear it is you who are mistaken.

    “The Scriptures tell us plainly what predestination is: it is God’s fore appointing obedient believers to salvation, not without, but according to His foreknowledge of all their works from the foundation of the world. God, from the foundation of the world foreknew all men’s believing or not believing. And according to this, His foreknowledge, He chose or elected all obedient believers, as such to salvation.” That’s Wesley on the basis of election. It has been construed that perseverance to the end is included, which would make sense given the additional decree they add.

    This is all to say that one’s responses to Arminianism are often tailored to the variety. At the same time, there are certain generic characteristics. Wesleyan Arminianism and Old Arminianism are different in five different ways, but the basis of election, contrary to what you may think, is not one of them. Old Arminianism affirmed the bondage of the will, but it was inconsistent and affirmed that man could cooperate with grace from a state of nature. Wesleyanism renewed the emphasis on prevenient grace already in Old Arminianism, and strengthened it by his affirmation that the corruption is fuller than that for which the Remonstrants argued.

    Wesleyanism, on election, often has a tendency to highlight the individual nature of election. That is, for any one person, God chose them on the basis of His foreknowledge of their faith. In Arminianism, as with Picirilli, the corporate aspect is affirmed more strongly. That is, believers are elected as a class. God’s purpose is to save believers (a class of persons), not particular individuals, as relates to the decree. However, that’s just the regressive fallacy. Why are people believers?

    As for Pircirilli, this is, of course, just a rehearsal of the regressive fallacy on his part and assumes that Picirrili’s comments are valid. His response to Jewett only moves the question back by one step. Picirilli essentially believes the truism that God chose believers. I agree. So, what makes them believers? Their faith. So, why does God choose to love believers? As it stands the objection you have offered in appealing to Arminius’ use of Romans 8 (and Picirilli’s work) amounts to the tautology that God elects believers, and all believers were once sinners anyway, so grace is involved. Who here denies this? Nobody denies that believers are “elected” and “foreloved” and that the means of their justification is faith. However, the issue is why any single individual is elected. Are they elect because God elects them as a class or as individuals? What makes them belong to the class? Their faith? Then why does one believe and not the other if UPG is true? Are they elect because they believe or do they believe because they are elect?

    The way Romans 8 is contructed it is the latter, not the former. Paul’s thought extends to calling. Without this calling, justification and glorification don’t happen, and the language is clear; those who are called, are justified and glorified. Election can’t possibly be based on foreknowledge since justification first depends on God’s calling. You have a series of clauses that denote that one causes the other. Those foreknown are predestined, called, justified, and glorified. This matches John 6:44. No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him and I will raise him up on the last day.” Also, “those” is in the accusative case, here, so this is not merely a group with no definite members; this is a particular set of persons, and their calling depends directly on their election. Election precedes their calling in causal relation, where calling speaks to the instrumentality by which the electing purpose of God is brought forward from God’s mind to the flow of history itself. It reflects the Hebraic understanding that election is God’s activity in chosing individuals, not mere classes of individuals.

    If he affirms corporate election only, then that is still the regressive fallacy, because what we have there is believers elected as a group, but why are believers believers? He cannot escape saying that foreseen faith lies at the basis of election.

    Picirilli lays his emphasis on universal prevenient grace. He is to be commended for this, and in my own criticisms of Arminianism I have differentiated between this form of Arminianism and that which lays at the basis of what passes for soteriology in the SBC’s anti-Calvinist camp. Thus, he can say that saving faith, while distinguishing the saved from the lost, is not a meritorious performance, and thus object to Jewett’s assertion. I still disagree, because men are still improving on UPG on this view. Their fulfilling the condition of faith becomes the deciding factor in their election. Morever, Jewett’s assertion, and that of others, is not made in a vacuum. Arminians have long taught the very thing that Jewett has stated.

    However, in response to Picirilli, we must ask (a) if God choses to forelove believers, and (b) if He gives UPG to all people without exception, then (c) why does one person believe and not the other? He has not alleviated Jewett’s objection. Laying at the basis would have to be the response of the person to UPG.

    Let’s put this another way. If you follow Picirilli, you would conflate two ideas: conditional salvation and conditional election. In his view, God elects those who are saved. Faith is the condition for salvation, so God elects those who have faith. We agree, but with respect to salvation and election, these are not at all the same thing. To say that faith is a condition of salvation does not mean that faith is a condition of election. What’s missing is a distinction between objective and a subjective condition. There is quite a difference between saying that election is contingent on faith, and saying that faith is contingent on election. To say that only believers are chosen, as he does (and I presume you agree) is ambiguous at best. He falters on the horns of an equivocation. All believers are chosen. Are they chosen because they are believers, or are they believers because they are chosen? This was the question put to Arminius. Do you know what his answer was?

    He has failed to alleviate Jewett’s characterisation. Why? Because election is ontologically timeless for God (the order of His being) yet “before the foundation of the world”, (the order of knowing). Now, whereas election is timeless, salvation is temporal. If he is correct about his theory of God’s knowledge, then God is dependent on man for His knowledge. God “foreloves” believers and choses them. Okay, and they are believers, because they are saved, and they are saved because they exercise faith. Salvation is temporal, and they cannot be classed as believers without believing. Ergo, God elects (timelessly) in a manner dependent on their faith.

    If you think that it is inaccurate to state that Arminians believe this, then perhaps you have not read the Remonstrance and the Opinions.

    Here is the Remonstrance.

    That God, by an eternal and unchangeable purpose in Jesus Christ his Son, before the foundation of the world, hath determined, out of the fallen, sinful race of men, to save in Christ, for Christ’s sake, and through Christ, those who, through the grace of the Holy Ghost, shall believe on this his son Jesus, and shall persevere in this faith and obedience of faith, through this grace, even to the end; and, on the other hand, to leave the incorrigible and unbelieving in sin and under wrath, and to condemn them as alienate from Christ, according to the word of the Gospel in John 3:36: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him,” and according to other passages of Scripture also.

    The Synod asked for clarification before responding. Here is the response from the Remonstrants:

    1. God has not decided to elect anyone to eternal life, or to reject anyone from the same, prior to the decree to create him, without any consideration of preceding obedience or disobedience, according to His good pleasure, for the demonstration of the glory of His mercy and justice, or of His absolute power and dominion. (This is against the Supralapsarians).

    2. . Since the decree of God concerning both the salvation and perdition of each man is not a decree of the end absolutely intended, it follows that neither are such means subordinated to that same decree by which the elect and the reprobate are efficaciously and inevitably led to their final destination. (This is against the Infralapsarians and the idea that the decrees of the fall and election are effacious. They held to the same order on these two but differed on the effacious working of them.)

    3. Therefore God has not with this plan created in the one Adam all men in a state of rectitude, has not ordained the fall and the permission of it, has not withdrawn from Adam the grace which was necessary and sufficient, has not brought it about that the Gospel is preached and that men are externally called, does not confer on them any gifts of the Holy Spirit by means of which he leads some of them to life, but deprives others of the benefit of life, Christ, the Mediator, I not solely the executor of election, but also the foundation of that same decree of election: the reason why some are efficaciously called, justified, persevere in faith, and are glorified is not that they have been absolutely elected to eternal life. That others are left in the fall, that Christ is not given to them, that they are either not called at all or not efficaciously called – these are not the reasons why they are absolutely rejected from eternal salvation. (This is against unconditional election and effacious grace; it is an affirmation of the structure of universal prevenient grace).

    4. . God has not decreed to leave the greatest part of men in the fall, excluded from every hope of salvation, apart from intervening actual sins. (This reacts to a belief that the supras were condemning the majority of mankind to perdition unjustly. It would be a point of agreement with Infras.).

    5. . God has ordained that Christ should be a propitiation for the sins of the whole world, and by virtue of that decree He has determined to justify and to save those who believe in Him, and to provide for men means necessary and sufficient for faith in such a way as He knows to be in harmony with His wisdom and justice. But He has by no means determined, by virtue of an absolute decree, to give Christ the Mediator solely to the elect, and through an efficacious calling to bestow faith upon, justify, preserve in the faith and glorify them alone. (This affirms general atonement. It affirms that God has chosen to justify those who believe, but it denies particularism).

    6. . No one is rejected from life nor from the means sufficient for it by an absolute antecedent decree,, so that the merit of Christ, calling, and all the gifts of the Spirit can be profitable to salvation for all, and truly are, unless they themselves by the abuse of these gifts pervert them to their own perdition; but to unbelief, to impiety, and to sins, a means and causes of damnation, no one is predestined. (This is a denial of unconditional election and reprobation, and an affirmation that salvation is a matter of what you do with UPG).

    7. The election of particular persons is decisive, out of consideration of faith in Jesus Christ and of perseverance; not, however, apart from a consideration of faith and perseverance in the true faith, as a condition prerequisite for electing. (This is a direct affirmation that the basis of election is faith in Christ. God elects those who exercise faith in Christ. Since this is about the order of decrees, this is about foreseen faith).

    8. Rejection from eternal life is made on the basis of a consideration of antecedent unbelief and perseverance in unbelief; not, however, apart from a consideration of antecedent unbelief and perseverance in unbelief. (This is a denial that reprobation is unconditional).

    If that doesn’t do it for you try Cottrell. “Through his foreknowledge God sees who will believe upon Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, and become united with him in Christian baptism; then even before the creation of the world he predestines these believers to share the glory of the risen Christ.” (Grace Unlimited).

    Here is exactly what Arminius himself stated in reply to the Synod:

    Question:1. Which is first, Election, or Faith Truly Foreseen, so that God elected his people according to faith foreseen?
    1. Is the decree “for bestowing Faith on any one,” previous to that by which is appointed “the Necessity of Faith to salvation?”

    If therefore “Election” denotes “the decree which is according to election concerning the justification and salvation of believers.” I say Election is prior to Faith, as being that by which Faith is appointed as the means of obtaining salvation. But if it signifies “the decree by which God determines to bestow salvation on some one,” then Faith foreseen is prior to Election. For as believers alone are saved, so only believers are predestinated to salvation. But the Scriptures know no Election, by which God precisely and absolutely has determined to save anyone without having first considered him as a believer. For such an Election would be at variance with the decree by which he hath determined to save none but believers.

    Calvinists agree with the first in that the means of obtaining salvation for the elect as a whole as to the decree is faith, but the second is the one we reject. So, there you have it from Arminius. Election’s basis is foreseen faith. Faith is antecedent to election. He affirms that God “chose a plan” so to speak, and within the plan was to elect those who believe, which is exactly what he means by his exegesis of Romans 8:29.

    Incidentally, I noticed in your review of Frank Page’s book, you seem to labor under the conclusion that Arminianism is connected to libertarian action theory. I find that odd considering that Piccirili states: “If, in fact, those who crucified Jesus had to do so…then they were not free to do otherwise–could not do otherwise, and were therefore not responsible.” That’s an affirmation of indeterminism. You also labor under the illusion that classical Arminianism’s affirmation of the bondage of the will and UPG alleviates our objection that Arminianism is based largely on libertarian action theory, but that is a misapprehension. The bondage of the will is alleviated by UPG, but it is UPG that underwrites the libertarian freedom of the will. To borrow from Peter Bryant, who writes for the Wesleyans: “That Arminius advocated free-will is a well-documented fact of history.”

    You also seem to believe that the Remonstrants did not believe you could fall from grace. Its true that the Remonstrance reads agnostically:

    That those who are incorporated into Christ by true faith, and have thereby become partakers of his life-giving Spirit, have thereby full power to strive against Satan, sin, the world, and their own flesh, and to win the victory; it being well understood that it is ever through the assisting grace of the Holy Ghost; and that Jesus Christ assists them through his Spirit in all temptations, extends to them his hand, and if only they are ready for the conflict, and desire his help, and are not inactive, keeps them from falling, so that they, by no craft or power of Satan, can be misled nor plucked out of Christ’s hands, according to the Word of Christ, John 10:28: “Neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” But whether they are capable, through negligence, of forsaking again the first beginning of their life in Christ, of again returning to this present evil world, of turning away from the holy doctrine which was delivered them, of losing a good conscience, of becoming devoid of grace, that must be more particularly determined out of the Holy Scripture, before we ourselves can teach it with the full persuasion of our mind.

    But the Opinions read:

    True believers are able to fall through their own fault into shameful and atrocious deeds, to persevere and to die in them; and therefore finally to fall and to perish.

    Accordingly, they rejected: 1) True believers are not able to sin deliberately, but only out of ignorance and weakness. 2) True believers through no sins can fall out of the grace of God. 3) A thousand sins, even all the sins of the whole world, are not able to render election invalid. 4) To believers and to the elect no sins, however great and grave they can be, are imputed; but all present and future sins have already been remitted. 5) True believers, having fallen into destructive heresies, into grave and most atrocious sins, like adultery and homicide, on account of which the church, after the justification of Christ, is compelled to testify that it is not able to tolerate them in its external communion and that they will have no part in the kingdom of Christ unless they are converted, nevertheless are not able to fall from faith totally and finally. The next set deals with mortal sins of apostasy/heresy and murder, essentially stating the same thing.

    This is an affirmation that a true believer can lose his salvation, it is not an affirmation that such persons were not saved from the start. This is only true if election is based on foreseen faith, in some way contingent on perseverance in that faith.

    We’re left with an ambiguous and muddled doctrine of election from your chosen author. In fact, if I recall, one of the weaknesses folks have laid at the feet of his book is that it is incoherent on this point. For example, in his discussion of 1 Peter 1, does he not ask the question “foreknowledge of what?” This is a prejudicial frame of reference, because he is freighting the word before approaching it. . His conclusion is the choice is related to “prescience, with a hint of wise foreplanning.” Okay, and what does this mean? We are not really told. Again, this does not alleviate his objections to Calvinist characterisations of evangelical Arminianism’s doctrine of election.

    I happen to agree that Pauline usage is not strictly parallel to confessional terminology, and what he says in that respect is well taken, but we Reformed do affirm Romans 8 predestination is inclusive of election, whereas in Rom 8:29, “predestination” is instrumental to “election.” Okay, all this would prove is that we speak with slightly different vocabularies; but, since in Reformed theology, election is inclusive of predestination, so as long as we distinguish, we should be okay.

    They are “predestined” to what end? To be conformed to the image of Christ. The verb proginosko is an idiomatic expression for prior choice, going back to Septuagintal usage. God chose them for a particular end: “In the second step he uses proorizein, which means ‘decide beforehand, predestine’ (BAGD, 709a), referring to God’s gratuitous election (to the status to be described in the next phrase,” J. Fitzmyer, Romans (Doubleday 1993), 525. Whereas the first term directs our attention to the persons whom God elected and only in a general way to their final destiny (everlasting life,glory), the term foreordination fixes our thought more definitely on the purpose for which they were elected and on the means of attaining it. (Hendricksen, Baker, 282). These same ones are the called ones; the justified ones, the glorified ones. What’s more appealing to this passage is fatal for Piccirilli, for he denies that all who are elected perservere to the end; yet this text is emphatic that they do.

    >>However, just to level the playing field, I will do a little cutting and pasting of my own. Bob Ross has noted concerning your interpretation of 1 John 5:

    Actually, you have just tilted the playing field far in my favor. It’s rather telling you had to run to Bob L. Ross for your exegesis of 1 John 5:1. In point of fact, what Ross, and you it seems, miss is that in the article to which he was responding I *also* wrote about the context here being a test for regeneracy. What you, and Ross further do not begin to attempt to deal with is the grammatical construction of the text.

    If you say here that regeneration is the result of faith (1 John 5:1), then why not say that regeneration is the result of works or the result of loving the brethren? You’re missing the logical and causal relation of the two. It makes no sense to say that good works are evidence of regeneration if regeneration is not causally linked to good works. In fact, if you’re a consistent Protestant, you can’t deny that regeneration precedes good works without denying Sola Fide. So, you’ve put yourself in a fine pickle. I must commend you for this.

    Bob L. Ross is also overwrought with spreading the lie that I and many others deny that instrumentality is involved in the new birth. In fact, the very quote you cite states this.

    In fact, this assertion:”Accordingly, the passage should read, “Whosoever believeth was already born of God before he believed.” is true of a Hardshell Baptist and some in the Kuyperian tradition. Dr. McMasters @ the Met. Tab sees regeneration as more of a process. When we say “regeneration precedes faith” in RB circles, we are simply stating the regeneration is the proximate cause, and using a two-tiered dogmatic usage that has been around since Turretin. I’ve been over this ground before, and you can find that here on this blog. Any references to temporal relations are derivative of other arguments, and, as I consistently pointed out, we are talking about a logical, causal relation, not a temporal relation here, nor are we denying means.

    As I stated, John 8:43 and 8:47 is quite clear that there is a causal link here. He writes (Jesus is speaking) Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God. First, note: “Why do you not understand what I am saying?” It is because you cannot hear My word. This is stated verbatim. Jesus says there is a causal relationship between their ability to understand and hearing. They do not understand because of their inability to hear. John then parallels this with:

    8:47 He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.

    John writes a grammatical construction exactly like I John 2:29, 5:1, and 4:7. He first spells out, verbatim, the causal relationship between ability to hear and understanding in v. 43 and endcaps with v.47’s end that says “for this reason…” “He who is of God, hears the words of God.” for this reason, you do not hear them, because you are not of God. There is a logical, causal relationship, verbatim. Thus, regeneration is the cause of good works, loving the brethren, and, yes, saving faith. We have a text of Scripture that says very clearly that regeneration is the cause of faith and that it precedes faith. It would be meaningless for us to say, “They practice righteousness because they are born again, but regeneration is not antecedent to practicing righteousness, or “They do good works because they are born again,” but regeneration is not antecedent to good works.

    At best, the verse is ambiguous if taken alone, and therefore neutral on this question, but where John does clarify the causal relation in 3:9, regeneration takes precedence. These are all grammatical parallels, so the case, as I pointed out in that to which Ross was attempting to respond is cumulative. The point of procreative imagery is to tell us we cannot beget our own existence as children of God.

    Grammatically, in each of these, you have parallels. Present participle + perfect passive. We also have an aorist active participle “the one generating.”E.g. every one (who goes on) believing…has been born of God. Present, continuous action; perfect completed action with abiding effects. The entire verse taken together proves that regeneration precedes faith, because it names “the one begetting” and assigns an active participle there using the same verb (gennao).

    The text literally reads: Everyone believing (present active participle) that Jesus is the Christ out of God has been begotten (literally “generated/born”) – (perfect passive participle), and everyone loving (present active) the one begetting (aorist active participle) (NAS idenifies this as The Father, but pater is not in the text) loves the one having been begotten of him (God).

    In this construction we have Every one believing that Jesus is the Christ (present active participle) has been born of God (Him) (perfect passive). The perfect passive form of the verb gennao (beget) is followed by an active participle that comes across as “the one begetting.” So, the one being “born again” is passive in being born again and active in having faith. The active participle that refers to God generating (begetting) is in the aorist expressing a single occurrence in which God is active and the believer is passive (denoted by the passive participle “has been born again.” This is precisely what we teach about monergistic regeneration. The perfect passive participle referring to the child of God indicates abiding effects.

    So, not only do we have a logical relation of order, we have a causal relation in which, in being born again, the one being described as believing is passive. He does not believe in order to be begotten by God. He is begotten by God, and then he believes. He is begotten by God, and then he does God works, loves the brethren, etc. Believing is thus a direct consequence of being generated by God (what we call in dogmatic language “regenerated”) and thus serves as a proper evidence of the new birth. This is further confirmed by the direct affirmations of causal relations in the parallel texts I have cited already and in other articles.

    Respecting a previous interaction. I apologize for not keeping track of every comment thread at SBF, especially one month out. In the portion of Arminius’ Works you cite, his interlocutor is discussing the order of decrees. The three theories are what we know as Supralapsarian, Infralapsarian, and Arminian. The first, the classic Supra scheme, places the discriminating decree at the top. Infra places it after creation. The Arminian and the Infra match in order but not content. The second decree is a decree of “bare permission,” whereas the Infra and Supra decrees of the fall are effacious permission.

    Junias is essentially saying that “according to that theory” God is made the author of sin is not necessarily correctly adduced. He is disputing Arminius’ conclusion regarding what appears to be the Supra order.

    When he states that It is one thing to decree acts absolutely, and another to decree the order of acts, in each thing, according to its mode. To translate this for you, God decrees the ends and the means to the ends. Thus, he says: The former is immediate, the latter, from the beginning to the end, regards the means, which in all things, pertain to the order of events. The supra scheme, in its classical form, treats

    Here: He who performs an evil deed is the author of evil. He, who disposes the order in the doer and in the evil deed, is not the author of evil, but the disposer of an evil act to a good end.”

    Junias is offering the classic assertion that calling God the author of evil conflates a necessary and sufficient condition.

    The libertarian cannot affirm this, because freedom is, on that view contra-causal, and Arminianism has historically affirmed that the decree to permit the fall is bare permission. Some have gone so far as to say that God decrees the possibility of the fall, but not the fall. If so, then the fall has no ultimate cause. Simply put, libertarian action theory cuts the causal nerve and lacks explanatory power.

    Ergo, a consistent libertarian must affirm that God arranges the broad outline of events but not the concrete particulars. That’s Open Theism.

    The idea that God only “arrange[s] the order in acts” yet doesn’t in some sense will the details surrounding the acts themselves.”I was responding to this that Dustin said, not Junias. That, Peter, is exactly what Open Theism teaches. God knows the broad scheme, but not concrete particulars. That is logically consistent Arminianism.

    In his view, God’s knowledge contingent on the choice of the human agent. Okay, and why is that? If the human agent is free (the libertarian sense), then he is the the cause. What’s more, his freedom is contracausal and cannot be known until he makes it. That means God is constrained by time as well as dependent on the agent. He affirms the act is indeterminate, but if that is so, then it cannot be known apart from its futurition. That’s not foresight. That is hindsight.

    Lest we forget your original question using that quote was: (Dustin had stated..)God not only knew that the fall would occur, but He planned/decreed it through secondary causation (i.e., Satan, man, etc.). This makes Him the primary cause of all things, yet leaves Him guilt-free as to His character and accomplishes the greatest benefit for His elect and achieves the maximum glory for Himself.” Now keeping your statement in mind, how would you interpret Arminius’ own words here (quote).

    In answer: quoting this does not help your case, as it only affirms what Dustin affirms about secondary causality. Arminius is the one that denies the decrees are effacious and affirms the will is indeterminate. It is “highly ironic” since this *does* represent the typical Arminian understanding, and it carries within it the essence of Open Theism.

  10. Peter Says:

    At first I thought lumpkins was some sort of derogatory comment. Im not sure how to convince you otherwise. But I have no idea who Peter Lumpkins is. Straight and simple.

  11. Gene Says:

    Your comments strike me as increasingly familiar, for example, the sideways comments about gratituities, the appeals to particular works, etc. If I am wrong, my apologies. Nevertheless, I stand by my belief that your ignorance about Ephesians 1 is feigned.

  12. Timmy Says:

    Peter, Alan, and the rest of the commentors,

    I apologize for not having commented on my own post. As you might already know, I also posted this on my other blog and have been attempting to moderate and answer a host of questions over there. Futhermore, shortly after posting this here on SBF, my computer crashed and have been without a computer all week. Hence, I would like to apologize for my absence, especially given it is I who wrote this article.

    However, I am grateful for Gene stepping in as he has been aware of my limitations. I believe, Peter, that Gene has sufficiently answered your question and has offered a genuine response. I never said that you couldn’t agree with Geisler; rather, I said that I knew his answer, and if his answer was yours, then the question was not for you. Generally, Geisler is the default position of contemporary Arminianism; therefore, I was wanting to know how others answered the question. Concerning my answer to explaining the nature of saving faith, unconditional election, and monergistic salvation, I hope to do that in future posts, so I ask for your patience in those regards. I think Gene’s comments, however, are well stated and provide plenty of material for dicussion.

    Allan,

    If I am not dealing with an Arminian, then why, might I ask, are you attempting to answer the question? Secondly, taking your position that if a person does not hold to every point in Calvinism or in Arminianism, how then, what is your theological framework? Is one necessary? If not, then is coherence and consistency necessary? If not, should biblical doctrine be explained and taught propositionally and orderly? I am asking these questions with an honest inquiry, because if this is not necessary, then I do not know how one can relate such matters of say original sin to atonement to grace to sanctification, etc.

    Finally, with the lengthy comments at hand, I will have to copy, paste, and print them out because of time constraints and my internet restrictions at this time. If I do not comment promptly or appear absent, please know that I am interested in the dialogue and will be reading the comments as I hope to find more opportunities in the future to interact with what you have written. Thanks for your patience and understanding as I work to resolve my technical difficulties.

  13. Peter Says:

    It is not my ignorance of Ephesians 1 that was being feigned. You have to realize the different explanations that I have received about Ephesians 1. In the same sense, if I gave you Matt 23:37 and merely said “See!” I’m sure the start of your analysis would be something to the effect of “If by citing Matt 23:37 you mean to say…” This is what I am trying to avoid. I was not feigning ignorance as if I have never heard of the existance of a first chapter of Ephesians, nor was I feigning the fact that Calvinists use this text or that I’ve heard a Calvinist explain this text, what I wanted was something to particularly response to. Namely, Gene’s analysis of Ephesians 1. Should I have merely responded with an explanation of verse 4? Or perhaps you would want me to include verse 11? Had I had done that, I’m sure your response would be filled with things like “No one is arguing you with on that point…” or “You fail to respond to the context!”. Check out some of the things youve said in your most recent post. It is filled with distinctions and commonalities that could only have been brought up if greater detail was present between both you and me. So when I said “I seriously have no idea what to do with that” (that, meaning an entire chapter) I really meant it. I seriously do not know where to start off with a response when you essentially tell me “Ephesians 1, See!”. To say that I am feigning ignorance because of this is essentially to assume as if the Arminian perspective does not have predestination or the word chosen in its biblical vocabulary. I also have a life and so I will take the time to read the rest of your response soon enough.

  14. Ignacio Lacsina Says:

    “George Whitefield said, ‘We are all born Arminians.’ It is grace that turns us into Calvinists.” Charles Spurgeon (Sermons, Vol. 2, p. 124)

    http://www.reformedreader.org/spurgeon/squotes.htm


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