Ergun Caner “turned Romans 9 upside down.”

I really wonder if in 125 years or so anti-Calvinists will be trying to quote John Piper to support their philosophical positions. You might read this and think, “That’s ridiculous! Piper’s a 7-point Calvinist! He’s influenced myriads of young men and women to accept Reformed soteriology! He’s about to receive the Puritan Boy award from Purgatorio!” While all of these objections may be true, I still say that there is a possibility, as Piper continues to gain popularity among a wide range of evangelicals, that someone may one day try to take portions of his books and sermons out of context and portray John Piper as supporting their anti-Calvinist agenda.

Want proof?

I submit to you one Charles Spurgeon (d. 1892). This great evangelistic preacher wrote A Defense of Calvinism and preached on the doctrine of Particular Redemption, yet Norman Geisler in his book Chosen But Free and Dave Hunt in his book What Love is This? have both tried to utilize Spurgeon’s teachings to attack the very Doctrines of Grace that the “Prince of Preachers” held so dear.

The most recent notable attempt to enlist Spurgeon for the anti-Calvinist cause has come from the blog of Ergun Caner.


The following is a quote from a speech by Ergun Caner, President of Liberty Theological Seminary at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. This speech was given at Thomas Road Baptist Church on Sunday evening, April 9, 2006. [It is important to note that in this speech, Dr. Caner used the terms “Calvinist” and “hyperCalvinist” interchageably]:

“A good hyperCalvinist will immediately go to Romans chapter 9. And if you have that text, you can look it up yourself later, but you know that Romans 9 teaches, ‘Just as I have said, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we say, then, is there no justice with God?’ (Verse 14): ‘Is there? May there never be.’ So, here the proof is, they say: God loves some, God hates others, and that’s the proof. Ladies and gentlemen, please hear me, ask yourself this simple question: Did God hate Esau from the foundation of the world? Did God hate Esau just ’cause he was Esau? Or did God hate Esau because of what Esau did?”

“But Dr. Caner,” literate Christians everywhere protested after looking it up for themselves later, “How can you assert that God hated Esau ‘because of what Esau did when just 2 verses previous to the text you cited (in Romans 9:11), it is clear that God’s choice in loving Jacob and hating Esau was made, ‘though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad–in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of his call–‘?”

When an objection like this is raised, the anti-Calvinist has but 3 options:

  1. Graciously concede the point that they misinterpreted the verse and continue to interact with the claims of Calvinism, but in a more careful manner to ensure that the Word of God is honored.
  2. Postulate that the passage somehow does not belong in the text, perhaps by asserting that there was a Hebrew original to Romans 1-9, which would render the ‘Esau’s works caused God’s choice’ position. (Some readers will understand what I’m referencing by this.)
  3. Make a mad grab at a Spurgeon quote.

According to his nature, Dr. Caner ‘freely chose’ #3, posting a section of Spurgeon’s sermon Jacob and Esau. Now I encourage everyone reading this to look at the entirety of Spurgeon’s sermon and to notice what Spurgeon said and what he did not say. Spurgeon, indeed, was very clear that anyone hated by God deserves that hatred. All Calvinists believe this. But the question is, ‘Do they deserve that hatred because of things that they do that are worse than things done by those God loves?’ Spurgeon did not think so, as evidenced by his presentation of Jacob’s character, which was as wicked as that of Esau’s. But Dr. Caner seemed to be attempting to lead his hearers to the conclusion that God hated Esau because he was a worse person than Jacob. Coupled with the teaching later in his speech that God chooses people for salvation based upon their foreseen faith arising from ‘free-will’ (a doctrine Spurgeon specifically denies in his sermon), this is very close, if not identical to, works righteousness- the exact theological error the Apostle Paul taught against in Romans.

Update: Anyone reading this article, before commenting, must also read Gene Bridges’ comment below, as he offers some important clarification in regards to the differences between the view of election presented by Dr. Caner and that of Charles Spurgeon.

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33 Comments on “Ergun Caner “turned Romans 9 upside down.””

  1. Nathan White Says:

    Now Andrew, you left out a 4th option, used by Adrian Rogers and many others: run to the Old Testament and show that ‘hate’ doesn’t really mean ‘hate’, and that Jacob and Esau refers to ‘nations’ rather than 2 individuals.

    Actually, you make a good point in that some men are more concerned about perception than they are the truth of God’s word. Spurgeon is seen by Calvinists and anti-Calvinists alike as being a man passionate for the Lord and the proclamation of his word. Caner realizes that if people see that Spurgeon was a staunch Calvinist, then the ad-hominem accusation that Calvinists aren’t ‘soul winners’ (I use that term loosely) will no longer have the same emotional impact.

    BTW, Piper is a Calvinist? He seems to be such a Biblicist to me. 🙂

    SDG

  2. Sam Hughey Says:

    Nathan,

    You stated, Now Andrew, you left out a 4th option, used by Adrian Rogers and many others: run to the Old Testament and show that ‘hate’ doesn’t really mean ‘hate’, and that Jacob and Esau refers to ‘nations’ rather than 2 individuals. If Adrian Rogers was correct that hate does not mean hate then we should also conclude that love does not mean love. Hmmm, how would that affect Caner’s omnibenevolent view of God? Furthermore, as Spurgeon stated about the reference to ‘nations’ instead of an ‘individual’, what’s the difference? Does hate become something other than hate because it is directed toward more than one individual?

    Sam Hughey

  3. Nathan White Says:

    Who makes up nations anyway? Individual people do, right? This kind of argument stems from some kind of hyper-dispensationalism, in my opinion (or complete desperation). That is, instead of letting the author of the New Testament (in this case, Paul) explain his usage of an OT passage, they want to run to the OT to try and show that it really doesn’t mean what the NT author appears to say it means.

    Hey, any way they can get around it, right? Gotta stick it to those hypers.

    SDG

  4. Cary Says:

    I have to admit confusion about what Spurgeon is saying in relation to the text. The text makes it very clear that the love vs. hate was determined prior to the twins being born and before they had done anything. In other words, a sovereign election of God with no possibility of merit from either one. They had not done anything to warrant the love of God or his hate. But it seems Spurgeon is saying that the hate is merely based on what Esau proved to be, whereas the text is emphatic that God made the distinction prior to their birth (elsewhere in Scripture tells us before the foundations of the world). And Spurgeon seems to be distancing himself from a view that the Piper “7-point Calvinist” essay makes:

    “By definition, the decision to elect some individuals to salvation necessarily implies the decision not to save those that were not chosen. God ordains not only that some will be rescued from his judgment, but that others will undergo that judgment.”

    From what I am seeing, Spurgeon would not agree with the above based on his description of why God hated Esau in his sermon. What am I missing?

  5. Gene Says:

    For one thing, you’re missing that Spurgeon affirmed the Second London confession.

    Piper’s essay is drawing a conclusion from election that, if true, reprobation follows. That’s pretty standard. Lutherans are the only single predestinationists around, and that’s a highly caveated argument.

    Reprobation means that God passes over those not elected. They may hear the general call but not the inward call. God actively intervenes in the hearts of the elect in order for them to believe. He generally leaves the reprobate to their own devices.

    There are those that God actively hardens, but when he does that, who exactly is it that is hardened? What kind of people are they? We find that those “hardened” are apostates of some sort. They are men like Judas who saw Jesus with his own eyes and still betrayed him. They are men like Pharaoh, who saw the miracles and hated God all the more. They are whole generations, like the wilderness generation who are cut off and rejected. God isn’t putting fresh evil in their hearts, He is giving them what they want all the more. This is judicial on His part. They deserve this treatment, so God punishes their sin with more sin, which is poetic justice served upon them.

    Spurgeon is concerned to point out that God’s hatred of Esau was sovereign but not arbitrary. He had a purpose. (Edom incidentally was founded by Esau, and Edom is, archaelogically home of the Hyksos, who were the Pharaohs in Egypt that would not let the Israelites go and enslaved them). Scripture says that God’s election and reprobation have a purpose, and that no man is reprobated who is not also a sinner.

    He is also concerned to show that Esau confirmed God’s hatred of him by his own nature, which causd his actions later on. So, it’s not as if God was reprobating a man that did not also deserve it. Ditto with Judas Iscariot and the rest.

    Election is unconditional. So, there is a sense in which the decree to reprobate is also unconditional. However, neither decree does anything on its own. Election as justification is conditioned on faith. This, because all are sinners, results in God having to regenerate a man, and this causes him to believe and repent. Thus election as calling is active. Conversely, in reprobation, everybody is already in sin already. So, God simply has to pass them over and does not actively intervene. If He does (as in the case of Pharaoh), it is judicial. The people who experience that are all apostates at least functionally who see and hear a LOT of truth and have no excuse. However, the decree to reprobate is necessary but insufficient to condemn. Reprobation as preterition (passing over) is passive. Reprobation as condemnation is conditional. Namely, on sin. The decree does nothing on its own. It merely leaves you to your wickedness by nature. When you sin, you are then justly condemned, and anything God does in the way of hardening at that point is judicial.

    In the wider scope of Romans 9, terms like love and mercy run parallel with each other. Likewise the terms “Esau I hated,” and “For this purpose I raised you up” contrast and are also in parallel. What is being communicated is (a) God’s reprobation is not without purpose, and (b) no reprobate is unjustly condemned, because his “free will” actions (to borrow a non-Calvinist term) prove God’s decision was not unjust. They can be said to “fit themselves” for destruction, because God passes them over sovereignly and leaves them to their own devices. They sin, thus bringing about their condemnation.

    This is a far cry from Dr. Caner’s claim that God hated Esau because of what Esau did. Spurgeon’s claim is that Esau’s actions proved God’s decree was not unjust because Esau was a sinner who deserved to be passed over. The decree to pass over Esau (“hate” him) is not conditioned on Esau’s condemnation. It is exactly the opposite. God did that apart from Esau’s works, but not without a result that showed in his works. It results in his condemnation by God not showing him mercy and granting him repentance and permitting him to do the things he did.

  6. Cary Loughman Says:

    Thanks for the thorough response, Gene. So if I understand the wider point here, which I did when originally listening to Caner’s sermon, but then became confused with the distinction that Spurgeon was making, which was that Esau confirmed God’s predetermined hatred by his deeds. However, it is not exegetically correct to say these deeds caused God to “hate” (pass over) Esau, which is clear from the qualification Paul made “…though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad…” I think I understand the distinction now.

  7. J. Gray Says:

    Is it a shock that Caner is a poor exegete?

    He is a ranter…nothing more. If a text doesn’t fit his rant, he’ll skip it…or, as we’ve seen in this example, turn it on its head.

    I think this is actually worse than being a poor exegete. It makes him a false teacher. One who manipulates the Word of God to his own end.

    Either he is ignorant or deceptive. Neither is an enviable position.

  8. J.D. Says:

    I remember reading Spurgeon’s sermon on Jacob and Esau about two years ago. It was one of the many steps I was taking toward Reformed thinking, and this sermon helped me along the way. To think that E. Caner would attempt to use it refute Calvinism is beyond the pale.

    In regards to the section in question, is easy to see in the context of the whole sermon that Spurgeon was merely refuting the doctrine of active reprobation which some Calvinists held and some still do I suppose. He was showing us that God’s hatred (BTW Spurgeon didn’t believe it was “less love”, so that puts in squarely in the HC camp according to Caner) of Esau was DESERVED, as opposed to God’s mercy of Jacob, which was UNDESERVED. He did not create Esau for the purpose of hating him, but rather, properly hated him whom he would have otherwise loved if sin had not entered into Adam’s race.

    As Spurgeon so correctly says, the great mystery is not why God hated Esau, but rather, why He loved Jacob.

  9. J.D. Says:

    Alan, Gene, et al.: Somebody ought to challenge Caner to read Spurgeon’s sermon in its entirety in a public venue at LBU.

  10. Sam Hughey Says:

    J.D. stated, Somebody ought to challenge Caner to read Spurgeon’s sermon in its entirety in a public venue at LBU. The problem is not what one is reading, but how to interpret (correctly) what one is reading and allowing one’s view to be challenged. Ergun Caner read the text correctly but he misinterpreted and misapplied the text. The Apostle Paul did not have a problem with the Bereans challenging his teaching. In fact, I get the picture he enjoyed it because he knew they were maturing, that is, if the challenge is productive and meaningful. This type of format will never occur at Liberty.

    Just think, the words free-will and Liberty don’t seem to relate to allowing Christians the opportunity to challenge and be challenged in order to produce an edifying and God-honoring growth in one’s life.

    What a shame for a Christian University to promote a closed-minded ‘free-will’. In years past I was in the same camp so I know what is allowed and what is not. The students at Liberty are those who will suffer the most because they are young, impressionable and willing to believe whatever they are told to believe.

  11. JohnBrian Says:

    “The students at Liberty are those who will suffer the most because they are young, impressionable and willing to believe whatever they are told to believe.”

    It seems to me that that is the reason why the debate earlier this week did not happen. After Caner preached this sermon Falwell could not have allowed Caner to be challenged because he is held in such esteem by the students at Liberty.

    I had a tremendous amount of respect and appreciation for Caner up until now (and by extension for Liberty) but not anymore. It was disappointing to hear the sermon, and see the misrepresentation of Scripture. That is inexcusable for a preacher but more so in Caner’s case because he is the President of a seminary.

  12. Andrew Says:

    To whoever it was that posted the EIGHTEEN PAGE response to this blogpost (it really was eighteen pages long, I checked it on Microsoft Word): As you see, I deleted your comment. Eighteen pages worth of material in response to a post barely a page-and-a-half long is entirely inappropriate- it is a sign that you have some axe to grind that has very little to do with the post with which you’re supposedly interacting. If you would like, you can put your eighteen pages on your own blog, and we’ll allow you to post a LINK to your blog in the comments section here.

  13. wayne searfoss Says:

    My long answer was part of my book. It says that the problem is clarified when we realize that reformed theology defines God by adding the definitions of pagan Aristotle. The living God of the Bible is not static but in interaction with everyone in all his creation. Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
    The passages in Romans 9 & 11 cannot be used ignoring Chapter 10. Faith is responding to the voice of God who is speaking to every man. The father of the faith had no Bible. Grace is properly defined as whole hearted communion with our personal God. This false concept of God is exposed in Heb 4:3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
    My blogg http://themartyrcall.blogspot.com

  14. Gene Says:

    It says that the problem is clarified when we realize that reformed theology defines God by adding the definitions of pagan Aristotle.

    Well, let’s see now, if that’s true, then it would apply to the whole of Protestant and Catholic Scholasticism and would also apply to Arminianism and Amyraldianism, since Amyralt and Arminius both drew on Aquinas for their thinking. It would also be a defeater for for the Greek Orthodox who are Neo-Platonists. You’d also have to negate the idea that covenant theology, on which modern Calvinism is built, not speculative Scholasticism is equally Aristotelean. So, we can only assume you have no exegetical objections to Reformed theology, you simply want to talk about philosophy.

    A. Where does Scripture define faith as “the voice of God who is speaking to every man?” You’ve very nicely used anthropomorphism there, but you provide no exegetical definition for it. Who here is denying Romans 10 and the universal offer of the gospel? Are you asserting that corporate election and general atonement are necessary to underwrite that offer? If so, then you are a functional hyper-Calvinist yourself.

    B. Incidentally, if you affirm libertarian free will, pray tell, why do you exempt yourself from the charges of Aristoteleanism and Platonism?

    C. Ironically, its Platonic, not Aristotelean categories for which Reformed Theology gets charged historically.

    D. Or are you making a general objection to the Grammatical-Historical Method? The School of Antioch favored Aristotle over Plato. That too would be considered “Aristotelean.” So, it seems you give yourself far more passes than you are willing to give others.

    E. So, to do that you would, at a bare minimum have to do the following, Mr. Searfoss.Historically, there are several links in the chain from Neo-Platonism or Aristoteleanism to Calvin. What is the Platonic doctrine of God with direct quotes from Plato? What was Aristole’s refutation? What is Philo’s doctrine of God, since Philo was a pre-Christian Jew? Did Philo keep his Judaism intact? If not, how? Is his Platonism also colored by his Judaism, not merely his Judaism by Platonism?

    Then there’s Plotinus. What was his doctrine of God? He was a post-Christian philosopher who studied under Ammonius of Saccas. Then you need to summarize the doctrine of God in Origen, Pseudo-Dionyus, Athanasius, and the Cappadocian Fathers, preferrably with counter-exegetical arguments. This is just the Eastern Church.

    The West has a doctrine of God too, and it interacted with the Eastern Church. One would have to trace the doctrine of God through Augustine, Boethius, Anselm, and Aquinas. That gets us to Maimonides and Avicenna. This feeds into the Middle Ages and Scholasticism. From there, we get to Calvin and the Reformers and their doctrine of God and then Reformed Scholasticism.

  15. wayne searfoss Says:

    Thank you Gene for your questions. It seems necesary to go little by little.
    Yes, from the times of Origin the so called fathers were more philosophers than Christian. Origen called everyone who believed the Bible litterlly a heretic. See
    A Revelation of the Everlasting Gospel-Message Jane Lead – 1697.htm
    We are wrong to build on them.

    Faith is responding to God in our soul or heart. God is striving with every man now as he did with the millions before the flood. Gen 6:3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
    Jesus lights and livens every man. Jn 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men… 9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. Note the every man in Jer 17.9
    Every man is illuminated by God from his embryo. Psaa 139:15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. Al humans are taught by God’s spirit right and wrong from birth. Children are so sweet because of their communion with God. But we all come to a day when we say; I don’t care what Daddy says or mommy says or what God says I will do what I please. The sweetness is lost for our communion with God is broken. Repentance is clearly understood as returning back in submission to come again to communion with God
    The definition of faith is in Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Abram heard and obeyed God’s voice and it was counted to him for righteousness. In Heb 4. 12 It is speaking about the word of God Heb 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
    I understand that this is the spirit of God speaking to every creature in his soul and spirit.
    A little more later.
    Wayne Searfoss wsearfos@hotmail.com 956 772 4222 http://themartyrcall.blogspot.com

  16. Gene Says:

    You’re taking Tertullian’s view…but in so doing, you’re still preferring Plato over Aristotle.

    You’re creating a false antithesis. Should we not affirm the Trinity? The language of the creeds goes back to Origen? Or should we not agree with the Fathers where they were correct and where they were not? Your view still is not Tertullian’s, because even he agreed with the other Ante-Nicene Fathers that there was some truth in human philosophy, because of common grace. Men suppress it, but it does come out, and sometimes it is quite correct. What you need to do in your work is trace the line that I recommended you trace, and you need to show direct quotes that show DIRECT DEPENDENCY. You need to demonstrate the exegetical flaws of Reformed Theology as well. Many have attempted the latter, but nobody to date has produced a scholarly treatise on the former.

    What’s more, you seem to affirm libertarian free will. But that, too, is a concept derivative of pagan Greek philosophy, so you seem to feel very free to agree with philosophy when it suits you.

    It’s true that Protestant Scholasticism picked up where the Catholic left off, but it is also true that Calvin and Beza were exegetes, as well as trained classicists. You are assuming, without argument, that their exegesis did not color their philosophical ideas and vice versa. Then you have to deal with the inter-relation of the covenants, because later Reformed Theology, more so than that in Bucer or Calvin, was built not on Protestant Scholasticism regarding divine decrees but on Covenantal Theology, which is a wholly exegetical category and tends to temper the earlier Scholasticism.

    You’ve appealed above to John 1, but that’s about the incarnation, not faith or prevenient grace. So, you’re still out in left field. We sin because we are conceived in sin. You quote Psalm 139:15 but what about Psalm . Ps 58:3-4.? We go astray from birth. We are conceived in sin (Psalm 51:5). Are you denying original sin? If so, then why do we sin from birth?

    You mentioned Psalm 139:15, but this is about God’s knowledge of us, not our knowledge of God. What’s more, the very next verse explicitly defines one of the primary tenets of Reformed Theology, the foreordination of our days of life on earth. Do you agree with this? If God teaches us from the embryo, then why is it such a failure when we leave the embryo? Why does one man believe and not another? You’re left with the same questions we would put to any Arminian.

    Romans 10:17 has to do with the general call of the gospel. It does not define faith. What is the lexical meaning of the Greek word? Nobody here denies justification by the instrument of faith, but faith does not merit our justification. God’s grace saves us by the instrumentality of faith.

    You also need to do more that quote Bible verses. You need to demonstrate that these verses teach what you say that they teach. A few sentences of exegesis or exposition would be helpful.

    I honeslty do not believe you understand Reformed Theology, and I’m not very sure you understand the historical relationship between philosophy and the Reformation. You accuse Reformed Theology of Aristotlean ideas, but it was this against which Luther and the other Reformers reacted. Reformed Theology is historically accused of Platonic, not Aristotlean tendencies.

    You say on your blog, Mr. Searfoss, that you are a “black sheep among preachers.” To what eldership are you accountable as a missionary? To whom are you accountable for your doctrine?

    This thread, however, is about Romans 9, not your views on the relationship between philosophy and theology. There is, however, now a thread at the Calvinist Gadfly about your website. My suggestion is that you pop over there to interact with your critics, as I think that would be more profitable both for them and for you.


  17. Thank you Gene for agreeing with me that pagan philosophy is a poison root in your theology. You, as many, seem to be a victim of scholasticism. They speak of the opinions of others without having a firm opinion of your own. It is true I am from a Pen Dutch heritage in Ohio and struggling with two languages since 1960, and do not seem to do well at expressing myself. I have lived by faith these more than 40 years, with no denomination, walking with Jesus every day, never mentioning my personal need. I have preached Jer 17:5 Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.
    I was pastor of 3 Baptist churches before coming to the field by finding a job here.
    I am leaving on a more than 2000 mile trip this morning to work at bringing a tent to the mission field. The semi truck has not been started in more than 6 years.
    I will get with you as I can. I wish to talk about the true and false covenant of redemption. Let me know where you are, if possible I will invite you to lunch.
    wsearfos@hotmail.com http://themartyrcall.blogspot.com/

  18. Gene Says:

    On the contrrary, I disagree that pagan philosophy is a poison root to my theology, because my theology is not based on pagan philosophy. It is exegetical. What’s more if pagan philosophy is the poison root to my theology, then it applies equally to your own, because you seem to affirm libertarian free will, which the is a pagan idea that comes straight from the serpent in the Garden of Eden itself. You have YET to produce a single exegetical objection. You give yourself free passes on using philosophical language, but deny this to others.

    You said in your original post that Calvinism borrows from Aristotle. You have YET to make good on this. Catholic Scholasticism borrows its methods from Aristotle, and it was this AGAINST which Luther and the Reformers stood. They REJECTED Aristotleanism, and in fact are most often charged with NeoPlatonism. Historically, then, your thesis pulls in the OPPOSITE direction if you truly believe as you said above that Reformed Theology is “Aristotelean,” or what from Aristotle is unScriptural.

    Yes, Aristotle’s God was the “unmoved mover,” but except for those of the past who accepted the impassibility of God, the vast majority of Reformed Theology has REJECTED that notion, not accepted it. What’s more the old philosophical proofs for God’s existence are still useful and largely valid. Philosophy is not our enemy; it is our friend, if tempered correctly. Your entire thinking is built on the notion that there is an antithesis between philosophy and Christianity, but Paul himself used it when it suited him in order to communicate the truths of Scripture to others. Common grace has its uses. I submit that your view is, itself, a pagan idea derivative of Marcion and Gnosticism. This is just metaphysical dualism by another name. Dualism is heresy.

    You have YET to show that Covenant Theology is incorrect and philosophically derived. I gather you are coming from an Anabaptist background, since you come from PA Dutch. Very well, but Anabaptistism is a function of the Radical Reformation and is just as suspect in regard to philosophy, if not moreso, than Reformed Theology.

    All I stated was that we should agree with Plato and Aristotle where they agree with Scripture and reject them where they do not. This was the same position as Macrina and her two brothers, both of which were Cappadocian Fathers. If you wish to show that Reformed Theology is dependent on “pagan philosophy” then you need to to produce material that shows it, and, to date, not a soul has done this. I asked you to whom you are accountable for your doctrine? You did not answer except to say you are on your own. That’s unbiblical for you to minister apart from elders, so you stand in blatant violation of Scripture. You say on your blog that you are a “black sheep” among preachers, which tells me you have been rejected by enough persons that your doctrine has been marked as likely false doctrine. I pointed you to a thread at the Calvinist Gadfly where your website is the topic of discussion. I do not believe you chose to go there. Honestly, I don’t believe you understand anything much about Reformed Theology.

    Here is the thread: http://www.calvinistgadfly.com/?p=337#comments

    Do you even know what the Covenant of Redemption is? It’s the pre-creation agreement between the Three Persons of the Trinity. See for example here: http://www.founders.org/library/covenants/ch4.html and here: http://www.biblelighthouse.com/covenants/02CovenantofRedemption.htm

    I simply don’t have time to spend chasing you down, as I am preparing for surgery shortly and will be offline, but I am aware that you have begun showing up elsewhere. From what I have read so far, you do not know what you are really talking about.

    What’s more, it’s exegetical in derivation, not philosophical. All you have done is confirm that you are just another frivolous critic of Calvinism who cannot make good on his accusations.

  19. Evan May Says:

    Thank you Gene for agreeing with me that pagan philosophy is a poison root in your theology.

    Gene said this? Really? Where? I bet you’ll have a hard time finding a statement of his where he refers to any “poison roots” in Reformed Theology.

    It doesn’t help to put words into other’s mouths. It is far from edifying.

    I have lived by faith these more than 40 years, with no denomination, walking with Jesus every day, never mentioning my personal need.

    Quick aside question: do you attend a local church anywhere?

    The living God of the Bible is not static but in interaction with everyone in all his creation.

    What, exactly, is a “static” attribute of God? Would you say that, instead, the Bible presents a “dynamic” view of God? “Dynamic” in what way?

    The problem here is not just that you are using deeply philosophical terms while you condemn philosophy. The problem is also the ambiguity in your statements. Let’s be specific and not merely hide behind generic propositions. In what way is Reformed theology affected by “pagan philosophy”? In what way does it present a “static” God?

    The passages in Romans 9 & 11 cannot be used ignoring Chapter 10.

    I don’t think anyone would disagree with this, just as chapter 10 cannot be used ignoring chapters 9 and 11. But what is suspiciously lacking in your presentations is actual exegesis of these passages.

    Faith is responding to the voice of God who is speaking to every man.

    And where, specifically, in Romans 10 do we find this proposition?

    9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

    You quote this passage without any supporting exegesis. And you take it out of its context (the incarnation of Christ) and apply it to the topic of your present agenda (faith and prevenient grace).

    Look, Mr. Searfoss, I’m sure that you have the best intentions. But you simply aren’t making your case. You’ve thus far given us assertions, not arguments. You’ve asserted about the “poison roots” of Reformed theology, but haven’t gone beyond this. You’ve cited a few passages of Scripture which you feel support your position, but have given us no relevant corresponding exegesis.

    ———————

    Anyway, let’s abandon this discussion for a moment. I’m curious about your life and mission. It would seem that you are doing some great things for the Lord, and, as a testimony to the glory of God, I’d like to hear about them. Tell me, if you are willing, a little more about yourself. I’d love to hear about what God is doing.

    In Christ and him Crucified,

    Evan.

  20. Gene Says:

    The living God of the Bible is not static but in interaction with everyone in all his creation.

    What, exactly, is a “static” attribute of God? Would you say that, instead, the Bible presents a “dynamic” view of God? “Dynamic” in what way?

    –Taken to its logical end, a “dynamic” God is the god of process theology, not the God of the Bible. That’s the god of panentheism, and that is deeply rooted in pagan philosophy.

    RT does not deny that God interacts with creation teleologically. A doctrine of foreordination does not deny this at all, for God’s decrees include His responses to our actions along those decrees. RT denies, and rightly so, that God ontologically changes in His actual being. It seems to me, on a cursory reading, Mr. Searfoss is confounding ontology and teleology.


  21. It is particularly annoying to me that Mr. Searfoss charges reformation theology with drawing upon Aristotelianism (a charge I have yet to see him withdraw), as it was the Roman Catholic scholastics who actually looked to Aristotle and the Reformer himself, Martin Luther, in responding to the Roman Catholic scholastics, wrote, “Briefly, the whole Aristotle is to theology as darkness is to light– this in opposition to the scholastics” (Martin Luther, Disputation against scholastic theology, Thesis 50).
    And, as Gene mentioned, it is actually the ‘free-will’ position, which Mr. Searfoss seems to support, that has its basis in pagan philosophy. The doctrine of ‘free-will’ was actually first made popular in the teachings of the Church by the early apologists who combated Stoic and Gnostic fatalism by an appeal to pagan philosophical notions that they believed to be more in line with Bible teaching. As church historian Jaroslav Pelikan noted, “[I]t was chiefly this sense of fate and necessity that impressed itself upon the interpreters of the gospel as the alternative to their message rather than, for example, the Socratic teaching that with proper knowledge and adequate motivation a man could, by the exercise of his free will, overcome the tendency of his appetites toward sin” (Jaroslav Pelikan. The Christian Tradition, Volume 1: The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100-600),.Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1971. 281). That the teachings of the early apologists on ‘free-will’ were derived from pagan philosophy is easily demonstrable for anyone willing to look. To take one example, consider the following quote from Clement of Alexandria, “Plato in what follows gives an exhibition of free-will: ‘Virtue owns not a master; and in proportion as each one honours or dishonours it, in that proportion he will be a partaker of it. The blame lies in the exercise of free choice'” (Clement of Alexandria, “Greek plagiarism from the Hebrews,” The Stromata, or Miscellanies, 5.14).


  22. A little more of little by little for Gene, Evan May, Andrew, Allen, Kletois, Pete, Reft, Mark, Joel, Highland, Pilgrim and Rett.
    I appreciate that you all have studied many books of scholasticism and are perhaps much more intelligent than I. I need your response to help me in my understanding of your Reformed Theology. You have asked me for a specific instance to show that Reformed Theology is based on pagan philosophy. In the THE WESTMINSTER CONFESSION OF FAITH (1646) and many other creeds as well as the Methodist it is stated. There is but one only living and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions, immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible…Chapter II,1
    There are about 50 places in the Bible where God appeared to men. It is true that no one can behold Him in the flesh and live because of his glory. However we find that God turned down his glory and spoke with men, as in Exodus 33:18 “And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory…”
    My question for you is: How do you handle this when you read Gen 3? “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them. And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.”
    I ask you why this statement in your confessions is accepted by you?
    I understand that it is because the Philosopher Origen had this view in 22oAD. Listen to what is said about him under the title of Eternal Motion of Souls.
    A common motif in Platonism during, before, and after Origen’s time is salvific stasis, or the idea that the soul will achieve complete rest and staticity when it finally ascends to a contemplation of the good. We notice this idea early on in Plato, who speaks in the Republic (517c-d, 519c-e) of a state of pure contemplation from which the philosopher is only wrenched by force or persuasion. In Origen’s own time, Plotinus developed his notion of an ‘about-face’ (epistrophê) of the soul resulting in an instant union of the soul with its divine principle, understood as an idealized, changeless form of contemplation, allowing for no dynamism or personal development (see Enneads 4.3.32, 4.8.4, for example). Influenced indirectly by Plotinus, and more directly by later Neoplatonists (both Christian and pagan), the Christian theologian St. Maximus the Confessor elaborated a systematic philosophical theology culminating in an eschatology in which the unique human person was replaced by the overwhelming, transcendent presence of God (see Chapters on Knowledge 2.88). Origen managed to maintain the transcendentality of God on the one hand, and the dynamic persistence of souls in being on the other. He did this by defining souls not by virtue of their intellectual content (or, in the Plotinian sense, for example, by virtue of their ‘prior’ or higher, constitutive principle) but rather by their ability to engage in a finite manner with the infinite God. This engagement is constitutive of the soul’s existence, and guarantees its uniqueness. Each soul engages uniquely with God in contemplating divine mysteries according to its innate ability, and this engagement persists for all eternity, for the mysteries of the godhead are inexhaustible, as is the enthusiastic application of the souls’ intellectual ability.
    The true root of Reform Theology is exposed as being the god of pagan philosophers by your denial of the existence of God’s spiritual body.
    It is a subtle wicked definition of God as a “divine principle” that is at the root of reformed theology. This is illustrated by denying the plain statement in the confession that God has no body. The belief in the divine principle god of reformed theology takes away from the book of Revelation and the name of these theologians is taken out of the book of life as stated by Rev. 22:19
    Rev 22:3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:
    Rev 22:4 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.
    For the love of your soul I speak plainly that you may repent of worshiping this false pagan god and return to the Living God.
    Thank you all for spending this time with me out of your busy lives. I have returned from my trip.
    Wayne Searfoss wsearfos@hotmail.com 956 772 4222 http://themartyrcall.blogspot.com/


  23. Mr. Searfoss,

    I want to make sure I’m understanding you correctly. You’re saying that Reformed Theology is dependent upon Platonism because we do not believe that the Father is eternally embodied?

    -Andrew


  24. Mr. Andrew,

    Thank you for your question. I am saying that the reason for the denial of the spiritual body of God stems from the Reformed theology’s definitiion of God as the “divine principle” which is derived from paganism instead of the Bible. How can we disbeiieve all of these parts of the Bible?
    1. Gen 2:7 Adam
    2. Gen2:15
    3. Gen 2:22
    4. Gen 3:8-19 Adam and Eve
    5. Gen 4:6 Cain
    6. Gen 4:9
    7. Gen 11:5 Babel
    8. Gen 12:7 Abram
    9. Gen 17:1-27
    10. Gen 18:1 ate
    11. Gen 26:2-4 Isaac
    12. Gen 26:24
    13. Gen 28:12-15 Jacob 35:1
    14. Gen 32:24-32 Jacob `
    15. Gen 35:9-33
    16. Ex 3:1-4
    17. Ex 15:11 in sight of people
    18. Ex 24:1-11 74 people ate with him
    19. Ex 24:12-18 face to face
    20. Ex 33:9-11 in tabernacle
    21. Ex 33:22-23 see his glory
    22. Ex 34:5-9 ascending
    23. Lev 9:23-34
    24. Num 12;4-5
    25. Lev 10:1-2 Moses, Aaron, Miriam
    26. Deut 23:14
    27. Deut 31:2, 15-16
    28. Deut 34:5-7 ascension
    29. Num 22:20 Balaam
    30. Num 32:33
    31. Num 22:24-25
    32. Num 32:26-27
    33. Num 32:22-28
    34. Num 23:3-10
    35. Num 23:16-24
    36. Joshua 5:13-15
    37. Judges 2:1-5 before the people
    38. Judges 6:11-23 called the Lord 14
    39. Judges 13:3-7 birth of Samson
    40. Judges 13:18-23 Manoa and wife together
    41. 1 Sam 3:10 called Samuel
    42. 1 Sam 3:21 again
    43. 1 King 19:11-18 Elijah
    44. 1 Chron 21:16-17 David
    45. Job 42:5
    46. Isaiah 6
    47. Ezeqiel 1:26
    48. Ezeqiel 43:6
    49. Daniel 3:25
    50. Daniel 7:9-14
    51. Amos 9:1
    52. Acts 7:54-60 Stephen
    53. II Cor 12:2 Third heaven
    54. Rev 4:2-11 John
    55. Rev. 7:15
    56. Rev 20:11 Judgment
    57. Rev 22:1-5 Visible on his throne forever

    All of these literal appearances of God are denied by the Seminaries and Bible schools who train our ministers. They are taught from another higher source than the scriptures which they call the one ultimate metaphysical principal. To adjust things to this principal they declare that these scriptures were given for the simple people but those who have been enlightend by philosophy understand that they are anthropophorisms.
    In fact they are teaching the impersonal god of destiny of the pagan Greeks and ancient Babilonians that can be manipulated by using his laws to an advantage.

    __Wayne


  25. Mr. Searfoss,

    One more question for clarification of where you are coming from: Are you Mormon?

    -Andrew


  26. Mr. Andrew,
    Thank you for responding out of the 176 who came here today.
    Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. Jer 17
    For me, men will forever be men, angels will forever be angels and God will forever be God. In no way have I ever considered being part of the mormans and thier worship of angels. Col. 2 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.
    Are you a prof?
    Feel free to call me.

    I realize that the standard tactic is to rail against some known sect to answer difficult questions. You have not told me if you personally believe God has a personal body.
    Thanks again.

    A student for life
    Wayne


  27. A little more of little by little for Gene, Evan May, Andrew, Allen, Kletois, Pete, Reft, Mark, Joel, Highland, Pilgrim and Rett.
    Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. Heb 3:12 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, … shall inherit the kingdom of God. I Cor 6:12 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? II Cor 6:14. Reformed Theology is an idolatry that has made men friends of the world. Because of combining paganism with your Christian concepts you have been religious but at death will die and go to Hell. James 4 says Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
    Have I misapplied these texts in any way?

    In Jesus
    Wayne

  28. Nathan White Says:

    Wayne,

    Would it accurate to label you some sort of anthropomorphite?

  29. Gene Says:

    Mr. Searfoss,

    The reason I have not replied to you is that I am recovering from major surgery and am unable to come here for long periods. That said:

    A. Platonism selects for metaphysical dualism. Dispensationalism for example is dualistsic, not Reformed Theology, for covenantalism is our paradigm.

    B. We do not deny that God appeared in any of those texts. We have a doctrine of theophany and angelophany. God can be seen when He wishes to be seen as can angels. The Son is the one we see, not the Father or the Holy Spirit, so, contrary to your assertion, we do NOT deny that God has been seen. Are you a Trinitarian?

    (1) Some of your texts are incorrect. Exodus 15 is a song Moses sung about God being known by His acts, not by His literally being seen by people. The events of Exodus 24 state that they saw God, and ate before Him, not ate along with Him. In Genesis, it appears God, as theophany, can eat. To require a real body of these events places YOU in the realm of paganism, as such a view is implicitly pantheistic or panentheisitic.

    C. In embodying God, you have laid claim to a paganized Aristotle. So, you, sir, are guilty of the very thing of which you accuse us. This is a double standard.

    D. It appears your god is the god of process theology. That would fit one who is in Latin America where process theology is very popular. You should just admit this. Do you affirm that God has an unchanging aspect with respect to his essence and an changing aspect with respect to his existence?

    E. Having actually taken the time to read early Reformed Theology, I have to say again that we are accused of Platonism on the one hand and Aristotleanism on the other today. Nobody can make up their minds. These two theses pull in opposing directions. Which one are you going to defend? They do use Aristotelean method, but what content is Aristotelean.? There is no such thing as a “Scholastic” theological content, so it’s not enough to say that some of their ideas show up in pagan theology, because common grace itself tells us that the common grace of God makes God’s invisible attributes, his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen. You’d expect them to recognize, at some point, some of those attributes of God.

    F. You need to show WITH DIRECT QUOTES FROM PRIMARY SOURCES the genetic relationship between Platonism’s teachers and ours. I’ve already given you the list to trace. You have yet to do so. Therefore, I can only conclude you don’t know what you are talking about.

    G. You seem hung up on the invisibility of God. Try out John 1:18, John 6:46, 1 John 4:12; 1 Tim. 1:17.

    H. As to God’s impassibility, this has been disputed since the WCF was framed. It was disputed beforehand as well. You should know this.

    I. Origen is accounted as a heretic by the Western church and highly disputed in the Eastern Church. Quoting a secondary source doesn’t cut it. Origen also affirmed the Trinity but he also believed in the eternal preexistence of souls and universalism. We affirm the first but not the second or third items in that list. So, dogmatic language, at most affirms that from the Early Fathers which we agree is found in Scripture and that which is not. Your beef is not with us, but the Eastern Church, for Reformed Theology finds its roots in the Western, not the Eastern Church; what’s more, the Western Church followed after the ancient School of Antioch, not the ancient school of Alexandria, so you’ve misread church history.

    J..Once more, this thread is about ROMANS 9. It is NOT about your metaphysical views. You have a blog for that. If you wish to get the attention of the other bloggers, might I suggest you email Steve Hays of Triablogue. He’s a trained classicist and more than able to handle your objections.

    This is now the second or third time I have asked you to remain on topic. There are rules here, which you can read from the main page under “Rules of Engagement” including:

    —Do not argue by assertion, argue by demonstration. Do not quote Bible verses as if they prove your position, unless they are so explicit that it is easy to see. In other words, simply quoting the “all” passages won’t cut it. Likewise, quoting the use of “world” won’t cut it. These are points at issue, and you need to be able to make your case.

    You regularly quote strings of Scripture that are often unrelated and / or you assume what you need to prove (as with your string a few posts above). You are asked to DEMONSTRATE your point for each. Given your list, that is too long for the comment section, so, once again, we have this rule:

    >>>If an exchange in the meta grows lengthy, then proper blog etiquette has for most of us been simply to start a blog of your own to help facilitate the exchange and not coopt entire threads. Please do not be insulted if you are asked to do this in the event you post repeatedly long posts, particularly if you post the same material over and over. I say this as one known for his long posts. I try not to repeat myself, and, if you pay attention, I rarely visit a comment thread on a blog multiple times to post multiple posts to carry on a discussion.

    Thus far, Mr. Searfoss, the past ten or so posts have related to your views and not to the text of Romans 9, and you have yet to answer many of the questions put to you in a coherent manner. You tend to come back with more assertions that you do not bother to demonstrate support your position. I would advise you, therefore, to answer all the questions put to you ON YOUR BLOG, then find a way to draw attention to yourself. There are any number of higher profile blogs than this one out there, including Pyromaniacs, Triablogue, The Calvinist Gadfly, and Fide-O, where you will find more interaction. If you cannot remain ON TOPIC, then please find another outlet.


  30. Dear Gene,
    I am thankful you have made it through surgery. A little more of little by little. I studied the life of Christ under Dr. Johnson who was head of the school of religion at Mercer Univ. in 1955. He explained away every miracle of Jesus. SBC paid his salary out of missions. As I have asked our Lord, He has opened up to me how Reformed Theology wraps the Bible around the “divine principle” and that the concept of covenant is really speaking about everything being based on the Divine decree as expressed by Zanchias in his book Absolute Predestination. This destroys Paul’s gospel.
    I understand that Paul suffered 39 stripes by the Jews as an answer to his preaching we know as Romans 9 through 11. It is a shame that these chapters have been used to trash his message of the gospel. Calvinist assert that God predestined Esau and Jacob from before the foundation of the world. However as I read Heb 4:3 “For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.” It says that the works of God were finished from the foundation of the world but because of unforeseen unbelief God in anger changed his plan. This being true in only one case brings the theory of all things by decree tumbling down, for contingency is proven. Really, almost all things are contingent. “Whosoever” 9:33 is contingency. That we have to die and face the judgment are not contingent but what is written in the books by which we will be judged is contingent.
    Paul speaks to Jews, who unlike ourselves grasp the phrase “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” as it is written; understood the long space of time between their birth and the conditions of their tribes centuries later as he quotes from Mal. 1:2
    His message is that of John the Baptist “think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father:” you must not trust in your covenant of your blood of birth but in the testimony of constant communion with God which made Abraham the father of the faith.
    Paul goes on to say there is no unrighteousness with God. God does not save by a legal act before the foundation of the world. The concept of Reformed Theology that we are saved by decree before the foundation of the world makes them the greatest legalists. God’s righteousness is not partial. God is completely applying the same standard of repentance and full surrender for all to enter into communion with himself.
    The Jew’s felt that they were far better than others and to preach to the gentiles that they could enter by faith a great error. Paul says God has said to all as in the second commandment “I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.” (Ex 20) If Pharaoh had kept this commandment he would have shown the power of God in him. His heart was hardened by the rejection of God’s supernatural workings and thus was his end to in this matter have God “visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon himself and his children unto the third and fourth generation.” for they hated him. God work as potter takes place in this life. We refuse His work in our hearts and are marred.
    Rom 10:8 “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach…” The Jews looked to the written law and not to God who is speaking to every heart. They who resisted his will (9:19-20) in their heart were unrighteous. They or we as creatures dare not suppose to change his criteria. “O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?”
    You see Reformed Theology accuses God of unrighteousness by teaching that he arbitrarily made some to be saved and others to be lost, teaching that it was God who chose only 7000 out of Israel to resist Baal in their hearts. That whole scene was God’s will from eternity, they say. Instead of teaching that God faithfully called every man and only 7000 out of all Israel had responded in their hearts whom he was faithfully keeping.
    So now the gentiles have gone full circle and they of Reformed Theology as unnatural branches are cut off for the natural to be grafted in just as Paul predicted.
    Just a little more so that this blog will not be so long.
    In Jesus,
    Wayne


  31. Mr. Searfoss,

    I cannot now reply to every line you have written, but I would like to address some of those things that seem to be driving your animosity towards Reformed Theology.

    Re: Mercer.
    Mercer, as most SBC seminaries and universities, definitely went through a time of theological liberalism. But much has changed in the SBC since the conservative resurgence. I personally was at the SBC annual meeting where we voted to censor Kirby Godsey, who was then the president of Mercer, due to his heretical views. Mercer resisted the conservative resurgence and is now no longer affiliated with the SBC (or, rather, the GBC, as state conventions are in oversight of the universities). Still, I do not know how this anecdote bears on the subject at hand as this Dr. Johnson you refer to– if he explained away the miracles of Jesus– certainly did not hold to Reformed Theology under any historically acceptable definition of the term.

    You write that the Lord revealed to you that Reformed Theology is false, but you have yet to demonstrate this exegetically (the most I have seen are de-contextualized proof-texts).
    You write that Calvinists “assert that God predestined Esau and Jacob from before the foundation of the world,” but we here at SBF are simply affirming the Bible’s own statements in Romans 9:10-13.
    You write that “almost all things are contingent,” but the question is, ‘What are all things ultimately contingent upon?’ Your view seems to make all things contingent upon the choice of Man (so, praise Man!). Our view is that all things are contingent upon the will of Almighty God.
    You seem to misunderstand Reformed Theology as attributing salvation simply to a legal decree before the foundation of the world. But we at SBF understand that God’s act of salvation– for God alone is Savior– involves taking sinners, who have freely rebelled against Him, who are still in rebellion against His holiness and under His wrath until the Gospel work is done in their lives, and bringing these sinners into a new covenant through the blood of Christ Jesus. This covenant is no mere legal decree, but an active force by which sins are forgiven and the law is written on the hearts of formerly wicked people. This covenant required the death of God’s own Son. [See my recent SBF articles on Heb. 10:14 for more on this.]
    You write of Pharaoh’s rejection of God as the cause of his hardened heart (an important point to make), but you fail to take into account God’s charge to Moses in Exodus 3 and 4– before Moses even brings the Word of the Lord to Pharaoh– which includes Exodus 4:21, “And the Lord said to Moses, When you go back to Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the miracles that I have put in your power. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go.”
    You write that “Reformed Theology accuses God of unrighteousness by teaching that he arbitrarily made some to be saved and others to be lost.” But we at SBF do not teach God’s choice in salvation to be arbitrary– God chooses bases on His desire to magnify His glory– for we simply affirm with Eph. 1:11 that God “works all things according to the council of His will.” [If you read the context of this verse, you see that it is specifically speaking in regards to matters of salvation.]

    I invite all SBF readers to consider both sides of the information presented with an open Bible. I believe that we have exhausted any meaningful interaction on this subject that would have any semblance of a relationship to the original post and that further conversation will be circular, so I will allow Mr. Searfoss one more comment, if he wishes, of approximately 1 page (according to Microsoft Word) in length, then we will respond to that comment and I will close this comment section so that SBF bloggers can focus on current projects.


  32. A little more of little by little for Andrew, Gene, Evan May, Allen, Kletois, Pete, Reft, Mark, Joel, Highland, Pilgrim and Rett.
    Contest Eph 1:11 in one page? Just one line. Reconcile the texts about names being blotted out with it. Ex 32:32-33, Rev 3:5, Rev 22:19
    I am sorry for you who suppose you are believers in the Bible but find yourselves so confounded that you break off your discussion at the point that we get into personal righteousness and the impossibility of being saved while holding to the first mover god of Aristotle who has predestinated all things as a “divine principle”. This has happened on various occasions and illustrates how the theologian’s attitude is that of the prophets of Baal, God must do this for me, God you must save me because in Rom. 10:10 as you said I have believed with my heart and confessed with my mouth. This defiant attitude will disappear at your moment of death and we come into the presence of Jesus and every knee must bow and every tongue confess. Ph 2:10 His glorious presence will find yourselves as those of the 6th seal Rev. 6:15-17, seeing Jesus speaking the terrible results of being religious but lost. “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Math 7:27 The bottom line is I Jn 5”18 “We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. The true definition of saving grace is constant communion with God. Rom:8:16
    You see, no one can leave off sinning without the joy of the Lord. I, a miserable rebel surrendered to God in 1942. God you know everything I have ever done, I have nothing to recommend me., only what Jesus did for me. I cannot resist temptation, control my temper, or keep my word. If I serve you Jesus, you must do everything. Help me, not my will but thine be done. The joy of the Lord in his personal presence fell on me. I have stayed before Jesus in this way each day. Each day I have been helped to continue faithful. I thought I could not stay true even one day but each day He has sustained me until now. Jesus said Jn 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing. I can do nothing, I have no works, just what Jesus does in me. What works are there in not sinning? Not stealing, nor lying, nor killing? Act 24:16 And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.
    Dear ones, I am not trying to kill you but to save you. Millions of evangelicals are in hell because of the theologians and Reformed Theology.
    I am naturally part of the churches God has raised up in our ministry.
    I invite you to come visit me in Queretaro, Mexico 1 956 772-4222
    Wayne wsearfos@hotmail.com

  33. Gene Says:

    Certainly,

    The text of Exodus refers to the Book of the Living. If you’d check Jewish theology, you’ll see that this was viewed as the book of those alive at any given time. Concerns about eternal life and the Book of Life with the name of believers in it until the time of Daniel. Ergo, Moses is asking God not to kill the people.

    In Revelation, Christ says he will not blot out the names of those who overcome. Those who overcome are defined in 1 John 5 as those who believe. Who believes? Those that are born again believe. Who are they? The ones given to Christ, drawn by the Father, and who will never perish, and no one will snatch them from Christ’s hand.

    In addition, if you construe the the Exodus such that it is the book of all believers, then what is God’s purpose in threatening to blot them out? It is to incite Moses to act as a covenant Mediator. In both Revelation and in Exodus, we find that the role of the covenant Mediator is what keeps God from “blotting out” the names of those in his books.

    There is no conflict with Reformed Theology here. Had you bothered to take a look at a standard Reformed commentary, you’d know that.

    Oh, and Romans 8:16 deals with the doctrine of adoption. It’s ironic you appeal to Romans 8, when verses 29 and 30 deal directly with sovereign election and predestination.

    You have not yet bothered to answer any of our questions, nor have you made an attempt to deal with the Reformers repudiation of Aristotle nor anything written by Richard Muller, for example.. Nothing, zero, zip, nada, nunca. You are thusly banned.


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