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Oct 25, 2006

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Timotheos

Good Morning Peter,

This thread looks very, very interesting, and will be sure to "stir" things up again ;~) I am certain, now that you have posted some of the actual interview, that I will need to purchase the book, so that I may have Dr. Olson's explication of statements made in the interview, some of which are quite amazing, e.g. "everyone is elected to be saved - if they will choose to be..."

As Elizabeth Bennett says to her father in the classic Jane Austen novel Pride and Prejudice - "I am all astonishment!" I hope the book will allay some of my initial astonishment... he he.

Grace and peace to you,

Timotheos

peter

Timotheos,

My brother. A very welcome guest. I do hope the interview stirs the pot. Perhaps your fellow Calvinist apologists will forget about me and start after him After all, he is a much worthier opponent. :)

Just kidding. Mama told me if I could not stand the heat, don't sleep behind the stove (we had a pot-belly stove in the living room of our little house).

And old fatso Eli had a great point. Upon news of his sons' deaths, he said: "it is the Lord; let Him do what seemeth Him good".

Sorry I did not get around to posting the next position essay you penned. It was a very good piece. I think Keith may respond to you.

May God's grace be yours today, Timotheos. With that, I am...

peter

Christopher Redman

Peter,

I'm reading your posts. I'll go ahead and pose a couple of observations.

1) According to Dr. Olsen, we Calvinists are right on target by labeling the vast majority of non-calvinists in the SBC as Arminian seeing that it is primarily the U-L-I that is rejected by his camp. By his definition, Jerry Vines is Arminian.

2) Dr. Olsen asserts God's universal love for all which necessitates an equal opportunity to all for acceptance or choosing to be saved. Does Dr. Olsen have a way of reconciling the billions of people in both OT, NT, and post-NT that have lived, died, and never heard the gospel or been included in God's chosen people? (ie: Israel in OT)

In other words, we agree that God is sovereign and omnipotent. Do we agree then that God has the power (ability) to give every man, woman, and child who ever lived a valid opportunity to make a decision pro or con? If He does have that power, why has He allowed so many to live and die without the gospel? Even today, with Jet Airplanes and Internet and so forth, we still have billions without a gospel witness.

It seems that God's character is still impuned using the logic of Dr. Olsen's view because God could reach every man, woman, and child so they have a valid opportunity but does not.

I don't see where this view changes anything substantial in regards to God's character toward those who perish w/o a gospel witness.

Just initial thoughts :-)

Blessings,
Chris

SelahV

TIMOTHEOS!!!!!, how wonderful to see you again. I can't begin to tell you how touched I was from the prayer you offered in my behalf several (months I think) ago. I'm amongst the living again. Thanks. No time to read your interchange yet, but wanted to tell ThisIsTheDay, that you are who I have been talking about that she should read on Peter's blog. So, so glad you are back. selahV

Joop

It good to be on a side which is positive towards 'Arminianism'. I am in a pentecostal / evangelical church. It's true that, while NEVER ever mentioning 'Arminianism', I believe most of us in our church will agree on 'Arminianism' (free will etc).
I believe too God is sovereign. However, to me God is also Love and Holy. For that, I cannot believe God will forordain or decree people to hell without them ever being born. That's not love to me (and not biblical!!).

A short answer to Christ who asked about people who died never ever heard the Gospel:
I personally don't believe all people will end up in hell after they died. One day 'books will be opened' and people will be judged according to their works.
You may also ask, Chris, what will happen to all those unborn, or very young children. Lost forever? Some lost because of some 'sovereign' decree? I don't believe that.
God bless you all,
Joop

volfan007

it's so interesting to hear what an arminian really is. i have heard of this bird many, many times, and what i heard about him does not line up with what he really looks like. this arminian bird is not as bad as i heard he was.

well, i aint ready to become an arminian yet. and, honestly, i never will be an arminian nor a calvinist. i will leave these two systems to those who think that they can find truth in a system. i had rather just be a bible believing christian who is seeking after God.

from the hills of tn,

volfan007

Christopher Redman

Brother Joop,

Friend, please do not believe that Baptist Calvinists believe that God predestines people to hell arbitrarily. Our position is that all deserve hell and by grace, God chose to save some while leaving the rest to their just end. This is not double-predestination and does not impune God's character but rather magnifies the glory of His grace.

Secondly, I am sure that some ancient Calvinist somewhere might think babies who die go to hell but I've never met one and I don't hold to this view either.

Also, you said, "I personally don't believe all people will end up in hell after they died. One day 'books will be opened' and people will be judged according to their works."

I'm going to be gentle on this point...Titus 3:5 "Not by works of righteousness which we have done but according to His mercy He saved us." When the book is opened, those whose name is in the Lamb's book of life will be found in heaven. When were those names placed in the book of life?

(Hint: before creation)

Good day,

Chris

SelahV

Chris...no one's words, actions or inactions can impugn God's character. God is Holy,[as in without a single solitary depraved thought, attitude or action]

God Almighty is Sovereign [without any need of defense, explanation or human discussion, dialog, doctrine, creed, statement of faith, or critical apology].

God is I AM. [He is not someone's idea of who He is, nor system of logicical points or illogical points]

Not one single soul needs fear God NEEDS we mortal souls and followers of Jesus Christ to spread HIS story of grace, love and redemption. He delights that we are ready to "go". He delights in "obedience". He delights in our "praise" TO him, [and not "about" Him]. He rejects our offerings and sacrifices and delights in our "brokenness".

May God Almighty be delighted today with his fiance. However, I fear there is much work and preparation needed before the Bride's gown is ready for the grand Wedding march.

Father God thank You Jesus, for Your mercy where there is none elsewhere. selahV

peter

All,

I appreciate the very good discussion...

Chris, thank you for your questions. You always seem to go for the "jugular" so to speak...:)By the way, I think Olson's point had to do with the multitudes being "semi-pelagians", not classical Arminians.

Joop, welcome. I am glad you signed on. You pose some stimulating points, I might add...

Volfan, thank you. As for me, I hope I am wed to no particular system anymore, though I cannot leave system behind completely, I am sure.

I with you was surpised at Professor Olson's criteria of Arminianism. Interestingly, most would have Classical Arminians denying the "P" but Olson argues that Arminiansim has never taken an official stand on losing one's salvation.

With that, I am...

Peter

Christopher Redman

Selah V,

It was Dr. Olson who stated in a bottom line, summary fashion, "So for us--that is, for Arminians--what is at stake is the character of God. We believe that God is unconditionally good toward all, and from our perspective anyway, though Calvinism has good intentions in that regard, Calvinism ultimately undermines that vision of the character of God by believing that He could save everyone but chooses not to for His glory."

Dr. Olson believes that Calvinism undermines God's character and that the Arminians are the saviors of God's character by believing in an all loving God committed to giving everyone an equal opportunity at gaining eternal life.

This position by Olson is why I made the statements in my comment. This is, btw, the basic objection to Calvinism by non-calvinists - God's character is impuned if He commands men to do what they cannot do and thus doesn't give a fair opportunity for all to respond positively.

Thus my response to this philosophical meandering of fairness, character, sincerety, etc -

1) Fairness = justice = universal death and judgment.

2) Grace = unobligated, freely given, gift of favor and mercy to those who don't deserve it.

3) We want grace not justice. Without the election of grace in saving sinners - not one would be saved, not one could be saved, much less a host so great that no man can number.

4) God does command man to do what they cannot do and hold them accountable for not doing it. Right, wrong, or indifferent, it is true. Example: God commands all men to obey His law and commandments (ie: 10 Commandments) and failure of man to do so is sin and the wages of which is death. No one can keep His law fully but we are still judged for our failure to do so. Example 2: God commands all men everywhere to repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ but no one can unless they are drawn by the Father (John 6:44) but God still holds man responsible for not obeying His command to repent and believe the gospel.

Is this unjust? No. As you have rightly said, God is holy, is not the author of sin, does not tempt anyone of sin, nor is tempted by sin. Therefore, He is holy and just to demand these things of His creatures because all of us deserve equally His judgment and wrath. Therefore, those who are saved are saved by His grace alone and not by works or merit within themselves.

Got to go...

Chris

Jim Porter

Chris,

It seems that as soon as "the character of God" is mentioned, immediately "fairness" becomes the topic. What is the character of God revealed in scripture? I personally love the verses in Exodus where God describes Himself to Moses ... abounding in love and faithfulness, forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. And yes, sin does not go unpunished (the following verses). But God starts His declaration with compassion. Also, John 4:7-8 ... God is love. In my humble opinion, it seems that Calvanism trumps God's love with sovreignty ... BOTH are attributes of Him.

In Christ,
Jim

peter

Dear Chris,

Pardon my jumping in here with the very lively conversation you and SelahV are having. I trust you do not mind, my Brother.

First, Chris, you write: "Dr. Olson believes that Calvinism undermines God's character and that the Arminians are the saviors of God's character" While Dr. Olson does appear to believe the Calvinist view undermines God's character, as you rightly point out, I am equally certain he would not agree to your characterization of his position as being a "savior of God's character".

Unless, of course, you do not mind your position being characterized as being "a savior of God's sovereignty". Jim well pointed out that Calvinists appear to emphazsize God's sovereignty while non-Calvinists emphasize God's love.

Second, I am unsure that to non-Calvinists, "the basic objection to Calvinism by non-calvinists - God's character is impuned [sic] if He commands men to do what they cannot do and thus doesn't give a fair opportunity for all to respond positively." I think it's unclear, Chris, that Arminians hold that every man, woman and child are owed a "fair" opportunity as you state it.

They do believe that since God loves all, He has provided the same means of salvation to all, regardless of whom they may be. Part of the answer lies in the Arminian rejection of Unconditional Election to Eternal life & death.

That is, for non-Calvinists, they do not see a salvation vision that stands eternally fixed such that a certain race of people cannot believe because they were not chosen to be regenerated to believe.

Third, my Brother Chris, I do not again believe Dr. Olson would agree with your characterizing his view in such terms as “philosophical meandering”. Indeed, Dr. Olson did not bring up either “fairness” or “sincerity” in the quote you offer.

And the character issue is not “philosophical meandering” but goes to the heart of Who God has revealed Himself in Scripture—A Loving Creator Who sustains His creation, a Loving Redeemer Who saves His creation, a Loving Sovereign who rules His creation, a Loving Father Who protects His creation, etc. God’s character “philosophical meandering”? I don’t think so, Brother Chris.

Interestingly, Chris, you bring into the post, so many issues that are just not implied at this stage of the interview with Dr. Olson. For example, you write "Without the election of grace in saving sinners - not one would be saved, not one could be saved..."

Allow me to offer you a little comfort, if I may: I do not think Dr. Olson would disagree with any of what you wrote here. Not one word. Arminians believe every bit as much in total depravity as do Calvinists. Classical Arminians believe no one can possibly be saved apart from the work of the Holy Spirit in both prevenient grace and regenerating grace.

They do not believe it is irresistible as do their Calvinist brothers. They believe the Holy Spirit’s gracious work must necessarily precede salvation nonetheless.

Finally, Chris, I would take a slightly different view than do you on this final point I'd like to make. These are your words: "God commands all men to obey His law and commandments (ie: 10 Commandments) and failure of man to do so is sin and the wages of which is death".

My immediate question is, Chris, where in Scripture does it teach that people who do not know the revelation of the Mosaic Law as given in the Ten Commandments must obey all Ten nonetheless? I am curious if this is so, why is it that Paul would make such a stellar point about the Law, which some do not possess, being written on their hearts (Romans 2.14ff)? Is it the Biblical Ten Commandments penned there?

As for me, Chris, I do not think the Apostle had in mind the Ten Commandments. Rather I think he was refering to what C.S. Lewis called the "moral" argument for God's existence.

That is, our conscience reveals--even if in a fallible sort of way--God Himself--via our intrinsic moral sense all humans possess.

In closing, my Brother Chris, you rightly quoted that God commands all men everywhere to repent (though I do not think Luke adds as do you, "and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ").

The final fate of those who never hear the Gospel, Chris, stands as a thorny little burr for not only Arminians but also Calvinists. We’ve traveled this dusty road before, have we not? :)

We definitively know exactly how God deals with those who spurn the Gospel they hear—they will be banished eternally from our Lord. Those, however, who never hear, while not getting off the hook, so to speak, seems to be left to the light they do possess and will be judged accordingly by a righteous Judge.

But to be condemned to Hell from disbelieving in a Jesus about whom they have never heard, appears, from my perspective, Chris, to be going beyond what Scripture explicitly says. Condemned they may be. But not because they refused to hear and obey the Gospel. At least that’s part of my take on it. Actually, Reformed author, R.C. Sproul says somewhere similarly the very same thing, Chris.

I trust you will continue to monitor the interview, my Brother. And thank you once again for stimulating discussion.

With that, I am...

Peter

SelahV

Chris: Okay, I can see that any statement I address to you is going to have to be prefaced with a direct quote from your post. So...let me just say this, I can't talk to Olson, he ain't here. I'm talking to you about you saying what you say about what Olson says. If that ain't clear, then I'm sorry. I apologize.

However, my previous post still stands. To you, to Olson or to anyone who thinks God's character needs defending by ANY system of thought, ANY theological dialogue or ANY messenger in or out of the pulpit. I hope I cleared up my original post addressed to you.

From now on I'll address no one and talk outloud to myself. Peter don't care..except when I go over 25 words like I promised him.

However to WHOSOEVER [meaning anyone on God's green earth or desert sands, or ocean waves] is interested, I have an answer...be it right or wrong to Chris's previous questions above which I will quote:

CHRIS SPEAKING HERE: "Do we agree then that God has the power (ability) to give every man, woman, and child who ever lived a valid opportunity to make a decision pro or con? If He does have that power, why has He allowed so many to live and die without the gospel?"

SelahV here: Yes to the first question. And it's none of our business to the second. If God wanted us to know that answer He woulda also given us salvation with a computer-operated-glitch-free brain stored with an answer to every question we ever could conjure up in our stubborn "do-it-my-way" minds. The ways of God are not man's. GOD's ways are incomprehensible. Un fathomable. Flawless.
Check out JOB. GOD IS GOD. I AM. That means for we simple pewgals, that He is God and I ain't. Ain't it enough that He gave us His third person of His holy Self? The Holy Ghost, Comforter, Teacher? Oh no! We selfish gotta have more have to have ALL God's treasures before we get to heaven. We want our inheritance NOW. Why in the world would a God so HUMONGOUS trust our finite minds with answers to questions like that when we can't even accept the fact that He's gonna supply our daily bread? And if ya don't believe that we don't trust him, think on how much we are stewing over the Dow Jones (can't understand that no more than I can Calvinism), minimum wages, medicare and all that other junk. OPPS! I smell a red herring.

Open my eyes Lord that I may see, I am nothing without Thee.
Nothing
nothing
nothing!
Forgive our arrogance, Lord when we deign to wonder why. Teach us Lord to simply Be Still and KNOW. SelahV

Christopher Redman

Selah V -

If I understand what you have stated and I think I do, I agree with you in total. Blessings!

Jim,

I echo your statement regarding a discussion on God's character always gravitating to fairness. In fact, I'm going to develop this idea further in a future post. But, for now may I say, I also love God's character revealed in Exodus to Moses. And the character I see is both love and sovereignty. I'm afraid you have skipped over the heart of God's revealed character in this passage and that is described as His goodness..."I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion and I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy." This my friend is sovereign grace. I find it amazing also that Paul chose to quote this same text in Romans 9 in dealing with God's election of spiritual Israel.

I disagree that Calvinism trumps God's love with God's sovereignty. However, you are correct. It is both and the greatest expression of love is manifest in God's grace toward an innumerable company of redeemed, undeserving sinners standing before the throne singing the song that we Calvinist preach here on earth...Salvation belongs to our God and to the Lamb who sits on the throne.

Peter,

You say that Dr. Olson would disagree that Arminians are the saviors of God's character but is this not a fundamental reason why he and you and others deny U-L-I? "For us what is at stake is the character of God..." Olson stated. You may disagree with the term "savior of" and that is fine but I think you get my point.

Secondly, you state that Arminians do not hold that all people are owed a fair opportunity. But Olson stated, "Arminianism is the belief in the universal love of God...and does not select some to whom He does not offer the same chance." I think "same chance" is resonably characterized as a fair opportunity, don't you agree?

Thirdly, you state that Dr. Olson would take offense to the term I used, "philosophical meandering" and to this I believe you are correct. :-) Althouth, offending Dr. Olson is not my hope or intent.

Fourthly (Sp?), you stated, "Arminians believe every bit as much in total depravity as do Calvinists." Peter, this is not true. Granted Dr. Olson has not stated his definition hear but Jerry Vines explained his definition of "TD" as being fallen but not morally incapable of "choosing" Christ. In other words, any definition of "TD" that includes the Semi-Pelagian view of Free Will is not the same. Further more, Calvinists to not believe in prevenient grace enabling all men to have free will. We believe in effectual grace in regeneration and effectual calling and we believe in common grace to all but not prevenient grace.

Peter, I know you brought other subjects up but I am pressed for time right now. I'll try to come back later and catch up.

Blessings to all including my emerging Arminian friend...volfan.

Chris

Scott

Peter,

I'm looking forward to the rest of the interview. You said,"Arminians believe every bit as much in total depravity as do Calvinists." This is certainly untrue. Arminians and Calvinists hold different views on the extent of man's depravity; hence, Calvinists believe regeneration precedes faith. Perhaps you could clarify your comment?

Timotheos

Good Morning Brethren,

Peter, no worries about the follow-up response I sent to you and Keith. I thought that I owed some response to you, although it became clear that as more time passed from the initial discussions, interest would progressively wane in proportion to the passing time. If no one else gains from our theological intercourse, I surely have.

SelahV, so nice to "see" you again and to know you are alive in His grace. I see you have a blog now - and not only one, nor two, but three! How trinitarian of you. I enjoyed meandering around your blogiverse - you write very well.

On the character of God issue, one thing is for sure - men are idolaters, and idolatry stems from mistaken notions of the character of God. As evidenced in the Bible, idolatry calls for some of the harshest treatment of men and angels by the One whose character has been slandered in the commission of idolatry. The story of Job (as SelahV noted) chronicles, in literally mouth-shutting detail, the insidious, often mistaken attempts of the creature to size up - and worse - employ the character of Yahweh to its own ends.

We "post-modern" men would undoubtedly profit from quietly revisiting the final chapters of Job often enough to at least be struck by the notion that maybe - just maybe - WE (like Job) should "occasionally" (God have mercy) put our hands over our mouths when the urge to vociferate upon some favored aspect of Yahweh's character seizes us.

Well, shut my mouth...

Timotheos

volfan007

first of all, what in the world does vociferate mean? are you cussing? speaking in tongues? timmy, what in the world are you saying?

secondly, chris, i am no arminian...as much as you apparently would like for me to be.

thirdly, everyone have a blessed day. God bless you all real good. God is gooooooooooooood.

from the hills of tn,

volfan007

Timotheos

Vociferate means "the act of being vociferous"...of course! :~) And remember, Volfan, Chris said you were an "emerging" Arminian, and that's different than a full-fledged one...heh heh.

SelahV

PETER: So I get up this morning and have a cup of coffee. And decide to check your blog. (always come here first, even before mine, cuz no one hardly talks to me on mine.) Guess with all I say, their fangers get frozen to their keyboards.

I'm gonna speak out loud to myself now, Peter: began reading the comment section in peter's site. just wondering if anyone had anything to say to selahV.And low and behold, my dear Timotheos had posted something. I will talk to you later T, I'm talking outloud to myself now, cuz I don't want to offend anyone or cause a ruckus [verbal pingpong games]. And I know you and I can actually chat and communicate so let me post following this other thang, okay?

Anyway...having read a comment posted to selahV, i thought: Kinda reminds me of holding my 1-month old granddaughter yesterday. She wanted her momma to nurse her but momma was gettin' ready to go to church. So I was holdin' her, singing sweet Jesus songs to her and she weren't a bit happy. I wasn't really answering her desire, ya see. My response to her wasn't what she really wanted to hear. So I stuck one of those awful plastic plugs in her mouth. That pacified her. She stopped vociferating. How ya like that red-herring, selahV?
Well, if I understand you correctly, I totally agree, selahV.

SelahV

Timotheos: How sweet of you to read my blogs. Yeah, I got three so far. Multiple personality disorder. I ain't even begun to expose all I am yet. Thank you so much for confirming my thoughts on JOB. I absolutely love that book. Reading it, and having had my pastor preach on it verse for verse for over 4 months AFTER I'd read it through a couple of times, truly set me straight as to why my 33-year-old son was killed on Mother's Day of 2005. Ya see, I DO understand the Sovereignty of God.

I pray no one else has to be broken like me to get their attention on that subject, or doctrine, or ideology or whatever the PHD's, MD's wanna call it. God teaches me stuff about Him in a very different way sometimes.

Opps! I've gone over my 25 words a post again. sorry, Peter...selahV

SelahV

Volfan: Doncha ever listen to Bill O'Reilly on Fox News? Invest in a dictionary for crying outloud. I'm vociferating now for emphasis, if ya would...hee, hee..(If ya look it up, you'll see that vociferate means to Voice or...to utter loudly : SHOUT intransitive senses : to cry out loudly :CLAMOR).

Personally, I'd rather just chit-chat and everyone could take a page out of Timotheos's book on how the tone of a blog response should sound.
Even when one disagrees, one can disagree kindly. Love ya guys! Gotta go write my blog now. selahV

Joop

To my brother Chris,

You said:

"[First] Our position is that all deserve hell and by grace, God chose to save some while leaving the rest to their just end. This is not double-predestination and does not impune God's character but rather magnifies the glory of His grace."

And then you said:

"Secondly, I am sure that some ancient Calvinist somewhere might think babies who die go to hell but I've never met one and I don't hold to this view either"

I see some inconsistence here: "We all deserve hell" and "babies don't deserve hell"

Well, so which statement is true then?

Then you say:
Titus 3:5 "Not by works of righteousness which we have done but according to His mercy He saved us."

Then what about Matt. 25:31-46 (about looking after the hungry, the poor, the naked, etc.).
I think it's all about attitute. Just works won't save us, but a proper attitute...might?

Also: Faith without (good) works is a dead faith.

Double predestitation or not, I believe everybody has his own responsibility, either to believe Jesus or not, or, when never heard of the true Gospel, either look after other people too,(like the good Samaritan) or only being selfish.

I hope to challenge you with my response, Chris,and maybe other Chris(ians) as well!

God bless you all!
Joop

Christopher Redman

Joop,

My response in order of your comment -

1) Yes, we all deserve hell and no I did not say that babies don't deserve hell. I said that I don't believe babies who die go to hell. The reason they don't go to hell, in my mind, is because they are covered by the blood of Christ as elect children. This is consistent with the 1689 London Baptist Confession which is a Calvinistic document and this is consistent with C.H. Spurgeon's view who was also a 5 point Calvinist. (Regardless of Jerry Vines claim to the contrary)

2) Again, I really want to be gentle here but I must say that you sound more in line with Roman Catholics than Protestant Reformers.

Salvation is exclusively by grace through faith in Christ. There are no works involved in a person being saved. Ephesians 2:8-9 states, "For by grace you have been saved through faith and that is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast."

The works that you speak of in James and Matthew and any other passage are the works the flow out of a person's conversion and faith not the source of their salvation. As John Calvin said, "We are justified by faith alone but faith is never alone." This is the expression of Paul, James, and the whole of scripture.

3) You said, "I think it's all about attitute. Just works won't save us, but a proper attitute...might?" The troubling factor with this statement is that you seem to equate "faith" that saves with "attitude". In doing this, you have just made salvation primarily psychological as opposed to supernatural. Being Pentecostal, I know that you are interested in the things of the Spirit.

For time, let me cut to the chase. The Bible says, "For without faith it is impossible to please God..." not without a good attitude. Scripture tells us that no one has a good attitude toward God. See Romans 3:10-18.

What is necessary for a fallen, sinful person to come to faith in Christ and be saved is nothing short of a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit which only accompanies the gospel of Jesus Christ.

That's why Romans 10:9-17 is so important to this subject. It addresses what saving faith is, what the object of saving faith is, how salvation is recieved, and how salvation is spread to others, and finally that faith comes through the preaching of the gospel of Christ, the Word of God.

In short, the gospel of Christ is absolutely necessary for salvation of any sinner. Any other view dishonors the gospel of Christ and explicitly denies clear biblical teaching.

Thanks for challenging all Chris(ians)!

Chris


peter

All,

What a day! Been gone most of it. My the traffic has been heavy here and a few fenderbenders I see.

Just a reminder for us all: we are here to openly share our varying perspectives. Be as respectful of others' views--no matter how wrong you feel them to be--as you would want others to respect your view.

I am 53 years old guys. I finally have realized not everybody is going to see things as do I. And, I have also learned they possess the very same right to be wrong as I do to be right :)

"And be kind to one another..."--The Apostle Paul

With that, I am...

Peter

peter

Dear Chris,

Thanks for your response. Allow me to clarify and then I will move on from this. I feel like we are going to breed too many rabbits to chase.

First, while I may not have been clear before, allow me a second opportunity. Dr. Olson would perhaps disagree, Chris, with the characterization that Arminianism is attempting to be a “savior of God’s character” in the very same sense that most Calvinists would disagree to them being characterized as “saving God’s sovereignty”. That’s all.

And, further, to speak for myself: my answer is an emphatic "no". The fundamental reason why I reject--at least Limited Atonement & Irresistible Grace is not to “save God’s character” but to be, in my view, true to Scripture.

Secondly, you seem to explicitly deny what I affirmed that Arminianism holds. You write: "you [Peter] stated, "Arminians believe every bit as much in total depravity as do Calvinists." Peter, this is not true. Granted Dr. Olson has not stated his definition hear [sic] but Jerry Vines explained his definition of "TD" as being fallen but not morally incapable of "choosing" Christ. In other words, any definition of "TD" that includes the Semi-Pelagian view of Free Will is not the same."

First, Chris, what Dr. Vines believes is irrelevant here. We're discussing Dr. Olson. Second, to assume, as do you, that "any definition of "TD" [Total Depravity]that includes the Semi-Pelagian view of Free Will is not the same" begs the question, Chris. We're trying to learn what Arminians believe but you appear to hold preconceived notions about what MUST be the case about Total Depravity.

In addition, Chris, to bring "semi-pelagianism" into the equation is simply unfair. Dr. Olson takes specific pains to distinguish between Classic Arminianism and semi-pelagianism. It is increasingly difficult, to seek understanding, when one appears to already have one's mind made up before the dialog unfolds.

Finally, you state that I am incorrect in my assertion that Classic Arminianism holds total depravity every bit as strongly as do Classical Calvinists.

Granted Chris. I may be wrong in my assessment. But if I am, I stand absolutely lost when statments like the following are made by Arminians themselves. Read them very carefully.

"In this state [that is, after Adam's Fall], the Free Will of man towards the True Good is not only wounded, maimed, infirm, bent, and weakened; but it is also imprisoned, destroyed, and lost: And its powers are not only debilitated and useless unless they be assisted by grace, but it has no powers whatever except such as are excited by Divine Grace" (Jacob Arminius, "Public Disputations", Works, 2:192)

"...Nothing can be spoken more truly concerning man in this state, than that he is altogether dead in sin" (Jacob Arminius, Ibid, p.194)

"Man therefore hath not saving faith of or from himself; nor is he born again or converted by the power of his own free will: seeing in the state of sin he cannot so much as think, much less will or do any good which is indeed savingly good...of or from himself: but it is necessary that he be regenerated and wholly renewed of God in Christ by the Word of the Gospel and by virtue of the Holy Spirit..." (Simon Episcopius, Confessions of Faith of Those Called Arminians, 1684, p.204. Epicopius was Arminius' star student, successor and who, most believe, was responsible for the Remonstrance Document that Dort Calvinists discarded and created the classic 5 Points as a rejoinder).

Dr. Olson--being a self-identified Arminian believer, as well as a renouned Arminian Theologian--says Classic Arminian Theology holds to a very strong view of total depravity.

Now I simply ask the readers: Given the quotes above by original "Arminians" and given Dr. Olson's authority as an Arminian theologian affirming Arminians do not deny total, radical depravity, but to the contrary hold to it firmly--how is it that we legitimately form the conclusion that Arminians deny total depravity? You decide.

Have a great evening. With that, I am...

Peter

Jazzy Cat

(Calvinism ultimately undermines that vision of the character of God by believing that He could save everyone but chooses not to for His glory.)

Does Dr. Olsen's view of Arminianism hold that God is powerless to save everyone? If not then I guess both systems are dead even on this point.

SelahV

Jazzy Cat: at the risk of answering your questions without a shred of historical text to back up my answers, I want to try to say what I think about them. First they, on the surface seem very simple statements and questions. I get in trouble here, because words can be misconstrued to mean something I have not tried to mean. But the first point on Calvinism, I too would like that addressed...by Peter and Timotheos if possible.
To your question on whether Olson holds that Arminians believe God is powerless to save...I don't think so. Correct me if I'm wrong, Peter. But surely NO ONE (Armenians or Calvinists) adhere to any doctrine that suggests God is powerless to do ANYTHING, do they? selahV

Scott

Peter,

Regarding the comments on total depravity, you said that Armininans hold to the same view as Calvinists. Now it may be true - this remains to be seen -that Dr. Olson holds the same view as Calvinists, and you may assert that Arminius himself holds the same view as Calvin (I disagree with this as did the Council of Dort), but I assert that the vast majority of people who claim they are Arminian or non-Calvinists do not agree with the Calvinist view of total depravity. I suppose I should provide some supporting evidence for my assertion, but I don't think it is necessary. After all, if our view of total depravity is the same then much of the remaining disagreements should evaporate, shouldn't they?

Thanks for your ministry.

Scott

peter

Scott,

Thank you, Brother for your encouragement and always for your lively engagement.

Remember, though--and this is definitively NOT to be taken as back-peddling in any form--I did not exactly say that Calvinists and Arminians, in your words, Scott, "...hold to the same view as Calvinists." Rather, my remarks were: "...that Classic Arminianism holds total depravity every bit as strongly as do Classical Calvinists."

They decidedly DO NOT believe that fallen human beings, in and of themselves, can make a move toward God. Grace ALWAYS precedes...

There are differences. Perhaps Dr. Olson will fill us in :)

Peace this weekend, Scott. With that, I am...

peter

volfan07

peter,

i appreciate your effort to help five pointers to see the light. but, they just cant seem to see beyond thier five points.

from the mule in tn,

volfan007

Joop

Chris,

Thanks for your response, on which I have the following questions and remarks:

Chris, you said:
" (...) The reason [I believe babies] don't go to hell, in my mind, is because they are covered by the blood of Christ as elect children. This is consistent with the 1689 London Baptist Confession which is a Calvinistic document and this is consistent with C.H. Spurgeon's view who was also a 5 point Calvinist."

Sure, it is consistent with the 1689 London Baptist Confession and with C.H. Spurgeon's view, if you say so. But can you support this view with Scripture?
And if babies are 'elected', can they be 'unelected' as well? If so, how then? By some sin as disobeying their mother, or lying about taking candy?
Or, mayby I misunderstood you, you mean only babies who died were elected?

Then you said:
"Salvation is exclusively by grace through faith in Christ."

I, even as a non-Calvinist wholeheartly agree, brother!

You also said my remarks are somehow Catholic. Well, maybe that is because I sited Scripture which also sound somehow Catholic.

Chris, you are right that a right attitude alone can't save us.
However, the pagans Cornelius, the Roman Centurion, and the eunuch from Ethiopia had the right attitude, yet weren't saved, until God revealed Himself through Peter and Philip.

"(...) and finally that faith comes through the preaching of the gospel of Christ, the Word of God."

Amen!

Even pagans can have a right 'attitude' (see Acts 10:1-2). Well, anyway, having read these verses, that's my opinion.
Feel free to give your comment(s).

God bless,
Joop

Christopher Redman

Joop,

Sorry for the delay in response. I'm glad we cleared up the works/attitude thing even though you brought up other issues. For now, we both agree that the gospel of Christ is essential for salvation and that salvation is by grace through faith. The reason we started down this path to begin with was our discussion and consideration of the Arminians view of equal opportunity to respond to Christ. My statement is simply that not all have equal opportunity therefore to build a case that election is unfair if it is not based on an individual's choice.

As for the babies who die being elect. Follow me here for a moment...

1) Only the elect are in heaven. There are no non-elect in heaven. Even Arminians agree here.

2) No human, fallen and corrupted by the sin of Adam, will enter the presence of the Holy One without the being covered by the blood of Christ.

3) I don't believe babies who die go to hell, therefore, I believe that they are elect and covered by the blood of Christ.

4) As for a baby becoming un-elect, I'll clarify by saying that I believe babies who die were among the elect along with those with mental handicaps and so on. This I believe because of my view of the nature and character of God's grace and His glory in redeeming sinners.

5) As far as proving this from scripture, I can only point out some rather vague verses that seem to support that children who die go to heaven. However, where I differ from the Arminian concept of the "age of accountability" is that I don't believe babies who die go to heaven because they are innocent. I believe they go to heaven because they are covered by the blood of Christ in the particular atonement.

BTW, can you give me a verse that reveals the "age of accountability"?

I thank you for you thoughtful questions and profitable discussion.

Oh and Peter, I sure wish you could help all these non-calvinists see past their non-calvinism but some just refuse to see past their non-calvinism. :-)

Chris

Joop

Christ,

Thank you for your responses. I noticed you don't know (all) the answers to my -specific- questions, but I don't blame you.
For it is -also to me- a fact Scripture is rather vague about the destiny of babies, retarded persons etc. after they die.
However, I don't agree babies automatically go to heaven and are thus saved forever.
(If so, we could send by ourselves children to heaven by committing the sin of abortion! And where then is here the sovereignty of God?)
There are no scriptures to support that view so I cannot just accept your thoughts and considerations, althought sympathetic, again, I find no scriptural support.
I also don't believe any baby will automatically go to hell because of some 'Sovereign decree'. There are no scriptures to support that view either.
I firmly believe everybody has once to make his/her own choice. So, I think, after a baby dies, it will once reach the 'state of accountability' so it can make his/her own choice, for or against Jesus. But, again, I can't support this, however, I do believe God is rightious and love. So I won't worry to much about children's eternity.
I'm not quite sure about the 'age of accountability.' Scripture says every child needs to be disciplined. Like God is disciplining us because we are His children.
Maybe we reached the age of accountability when disciplining (by our parents) was needed for the first time.
So, maybe about 2 - 4 years? Just a guess though.
Maybe some other Arminians or Calvinists have some additional thoughts...

Oh, Chris, you better get used to all these non-calvinists; heaven is full with those guys. ;-)

God bless,
Joop

Christopher Redman

Joop,

In heaven, everyone is a Calvinist :-)

And they sang a new song saying...salvation belongs to our God and to the Lamb who sits on the throne.

Chris

SelahV

Timotheos: Should you check into this site, can you tell me how the Calvinist stands on the urgency of the gospel being spread? I feel I can ask you this without my question being construed as bait for some other end that I'm going after. thanks...selahV

SelahV

Joop: If I understand your stream of thinking on babies going to heaven, you are saying that Chris has nothing to back up his beliefs via Scripture but you don't agree with his stream of thought on the subject. And that's because you believe another way, but don't have anything scripturally to back up your own thoughts? At least Chris offers the circumstantial evidence of Grace. And since the Savior says "let the little children come unto me and forsake them not", and "unless we become as little children"...ya'll know the chapter and verse...(and I know you'll probably have 14 ways to Sunday to interpret those verses as to whether "children" in these passages mean young converts and all that), BUT, for the sake of argument, I'm gonna throw my own bonnet of belief on the subject in.
Christ is the door...He paid the price for all sin. Attonement. No one comes to the Father but through Him. Rightful passage is entirely up to Him. For his sheep and lambs will know His voice.

And given the stuff I know about Jesus, I have the faith to believe I don't need to worry a bit about where my firstborn son, Paul is. He was born 41 years ago to this day and lived 23 hours. His younger brother is rocking him right now. And it's an irony of sorts to me. My eldest being rocked by his younger brother who was 33 when he died less than two years ago. So since no one has any other scripture to back up their thoughts and beliefs, well, that's my offering of the "substance" and "evidence" of MY "unseen" things. His grace is sufficient to meet all MY needs whether or not His grace is sufficient to meet all yours is entirely up to you. God give you wisdom and increase your spirit with love. thanks for your thoughts, Chris...SelahV

Joop

SelahV,

thanks for your thoughts and concerns about little children (or about children in general).
My response to Chris was only short, so I'll try to explain some more.
First, I'm sorry about the loss of your firstborn, Paul. And I'm sorry you lost your other son not long ago. I understand these discussions and dialog can be painful for you.

Then here I also say that God is a loving and caring God, not wishing anyone to perish, as Scripture says. That verse alone is for me sufficient to oppose certain aspects of Calvinism.
For me God is Love more than He is just sovereign.

However, it is my intention to honesty look at the Scriptures.
Therefore I just don't believe children are born (or conceived) in a saved state. To get saved, you have to believe. Salvation by faith alone, right?
And supposed, children ARE born saved, at what point are they unsaved then? After being naughty, disobedient, when they are two years old?
You mentioned grace. Yes, grace is all important for us. Without grace no salvation. Still Scripture says we have to obey and believe. Then grace will be abundant. And what is grace then when a little child loses its salvation by lying about taken a candy?
Maybe you or somebody can give some more thoughts about this.
You sited Scripture where Jesus told children are welcome to come to Him. However, the question is, does this mean those children were SAVED here? To be honest: I'm not sure. What did those children know about being born again, atonement, etc. Where they born again when they were in Jesus' arms? Also the 1 - 2 years old? Maybe I ponder to much ;-).

May the Lord comforts you.
I am sure God is not sending anybody to hell because of some preordained decree. There are many, many scriptures which oppose that horrible doctrine.

Thanks again for your thoughts and honesty,

God bless,
Joop

SelahV

Joop: Me thinks you are overusing your marvelous mind a bit. There are some other things one must love Jesus with: heart, soul, and strength. (Please don't think I think you don't know that) In the command: "thou shalt love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength) and love your neighbor as yourself", I believe that some who are blessed with great ability to use their minds, need to use a bit more strength to commandeer their hearts and souls. For as a man thinketh in his heart--HEART-- (not mind), so is he. From our mouth comes forth what our hearts think. I think you are overdoing loving Him with all your mind. His new covenant is written on our hearts. Jesus says, "I and the Father are one" Paul says we are "crucified in Christ" yet Paul also says in Ephesians that "once crucified, God raised him from the dead and made him to sit at his right hand in heavenly places, far above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion...etc." Christ was raised to sit at the right hand of the Father. Positionally that is where I am as a Christian, sitting with the Father. For it further states, "and raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in heavenly places." (he didn't suggest we come, he made us to sit with him kinda like I do when I want to show my grandchildren a better view of the pastor on Sunday morning.) And from my position I recognize with my heart, soul, carnal body, and mind...that the Lord Jesus is holding my sons in His lap. He's got a really big lap, you see. That said, and probably overstated, is selahV's doctinal thought for today. I don't know what category it goes under, so I place it under Grace, since "Grace is sufficient to meet all my needs." Nice talking with you Joop. selahV

peter

Chris, Joop, & My SelahV,

How intriging the conversation took the little twist it did--whether or not those tiny little creatures made in the Image of our Sovereign if, sadly, they do not live past early infancy, will live blissfully in eternity.

Personally, I do not desire to travel a long distance down this road, at least for now. Interestingly, I am presently reading several sources on this very subject and hope to post a little essay one day soon.

At risk of later redundancy, I'll mention a couple of things I feel are helpful.

First, B.B. Warfield, in his excellent essay "The Development of The Doctrine of Infant Salvation" writes "[While]The first Christians had no difficulty in understanding and confessing that Christ had come into a world lost in sin to establish a kingdom of rightousness...[and to affirm] that infants were admitted into this citizenship, they did not question...[Nevertheless] the whole Patristic Church agreed that, martyrs excepted, no infant dying unbaptized could enter the kingdom of heaven."

This was due, in part, because of the sub-apostolic Church's early slip into baptizmal regeneration.

Even more dark, the Medieval Church of the Middle Ages, Professor Warfield reminds us, held that infants dying unbaptized not only were excluded from Heaven but were doomed to Hell--a medieval hat some still sport today.

Not until the Reformation did the doctrine develop of infants who die "automatically" enter Heaven's Kingdom. Zwingli held that death in infancy was the definitive sign of election. Others tenaciously still held to the Patristic belief.

Yet, according to Warfield, "the great body of Calvinists took their positions between these two extremes. Many held that faith and the promise are sure signs of election, and accordingly all believers & their children are certainly saved..."

That is, Calvinism tied the salvation--at least of believer's children--to Covenant Theology and 'household salvation." Unfortunately, for toddlers of unbelieving parents, were they to die as a little one, that, most Calvinists held, was a sure sign of reprobation.

An early Baptist Confession--Propositions and Conclusions Concerning True Christian Religion (1612)--offers a novel view, at least for me, about all infants who die. It confesses that "all actual sinners bear the image of the first Adam, in his innocency, fall, and restitution in the offer of grace (1Cor. 15.49), and so pass under these three conditions, or threefold estate."

In essence, according to them, all persons though born as an inevitable rebel, are born innocent of any actual rebellion. And, as did Adam their father, go through a period of "innocency" until the time of their "actual fall" (perhaps a forerunner to the "age of accountibility"). In their post-fall condition, they pass from inevitable sinner to actual sinner and stand in condemnation under God, similarly once again to Adam.

Thus, "original sin" does not transfer as "born as sinner" but as "born inevitably to sin." They dub "original sin as an "idle term". That is, it lies dormant until it comes alive and kills a person making them "dead in sins". Indeed the Apostle Paul said "For apart from the Law, sin is dead. Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died" (Romans 7.8-9).

Thus, because infants are only potential sinners and not actual sinners, we can be assured that scattered across Heaven's fields are God's beautiful little buttercups. I do not yet know if this view will stand serious scrutiny. But it stands not only as an interesting line of Biblical thinking, it paints a picture consistent with our view of an all-Loving Savior.

If you guys want some food for thought, Al Mohler has written at length about this. here is a link https://www.albertmohler.com/commentary_read.php?cdate=2005-01-05

Also, the late Professor Ronald Nash wrote a little book entitled 'When a Baby Dies". He and Mohler take the same view, I think, which is almost identical to Chris's position. Nash, as always, is the most exhaustive.

I plan to post on this soon. Perhaps we can dialog further. I do desire to caution us here. Many like SelahV possess deep experiential connections here. Please. May we all be sensitive in our discussions and use language consistent with that sensitivity.

Have a great Lord's Day. With that, I am...

Peter

Joop

Peter,

thanks for your comments and links. I might join into the discussion when you bring up this subject. Meanwhile I'll do some more studies on this subject.

SelahV, thanks for your response,
we might meet again here, or else, in eternity, expecting to see your children.

All, have a nice day and God bless you all!
Joop

Timotheos

SelahV,

Forgive the dimwitted question, but are you asking if calvinists have any sense of urgency to promiscuously spread the gospel far and wide? If that is the right question, I would say some do and perhaps some don't. Those with whom I have fellowship all do. Is that what you are asking? Do you want me to elaborate?

Grace and peace to you,

Timotheos

SelahV

Timotheos: Preaching Jesus to the lost world. Sending Missionaries. Individual accountability to sharing Jesus. You think your question is dimwitted? Ha..mine is the dimwitted one. To my knowledge, I don't know one single Calvinist other than those I am reading about on these blog sites and communicating with via this site. Wouldn't even dare go to another site to ask a question. So asking this question of you is just me trying to clear up some fuzzies in my head. Reading all the posts have me wondering what a Calvinist worship service would be like. What the people would be like. What their mission emphasis is like. And exactly what is evangelism to Calvinists? Do Calvinists have evangelists? If you'd rather answer off site, you can email me at selahVexchange@aol.com
thanks for taking time to answer my question. selahV

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