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Nov 27, 2006

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volfan007

very interesting and very enlightening. i am not an arminian, but it was interesting to hear this man share....in a very intelligent manner...what arminians truly believe. we have heard from the five pointers so much about arminians this and that.....until we only knew what five pointers said that they are. now, i feel that i know better what an arminian is, and they are not the monster that the five pointers say that they are.

thanks peter,

volfan007

Seth McBee

Interesting...I am a five point Calvinist and so of course have a lot of problems with Dr. Olson's descriptions but I do agree with him and want all to know that we as theologians need to know that we must come together to preach the true gospel. Although I don't agree with him in soteriology does not mean that I wouldn't go out and evangelize with him. I would hope that Calvinists would never make an Arminian to look like "a monster" as the previous comment said. I love my arminian brothers and I currently stand next to quite a few where we still evangelize with each other. May our unity be our theology lived out.

peter

Volfan,

Thank you for the encouraging comment. i'm glad it was helpful. I cannot see myself as an Arminian but I surely appreciate better their perspective resulting from my conversation with Dr. Olson as well as reading his book.

Grace. With that, I am...

Peter

peter

Dear Seth,

Thank you for dropping by. I very much identify with your irenic tone and hope, by our Lord's grace, I can continue to appreciate others' views without necessarily agreeing with them.

Though I am a former Fiver, I still possess much in my bucket I drew from their well. Stop by anytime. Peace. With that, I am...

Peter

Stephen

Peter,
As a Five Point Calvinist I want to say I appreciate your discussion of this subject. Even If we disagree, and i do disagree with Dr. Olson, I am glad that brothers in Christ can come together and really discuss these issues. Many Non-Calvinist engage in flat misrepresentation of our position. I am glad to finally see a non-calvinist blog that can speak about these issues without resorting to the empty unchristian rhetoric. Perhaps your blog can be the link for good christian discussion between our two different sides. Maybe you can include an interview with a Calvinist theologican and ask him some of the hardest questions that your side has toward Calvinism.
Grace and Peace
Stephen

peter

Stephen,

Thank you, my Brother, for coming by. Also, I appreciate your encouragement. Surely, somewhere we must stop our unfair critiques and/or yelling so loud, we simply are never going to gain a greater understanding of each other.

I like your suggestion about a Calvinist theologian to interview. I feel surely that will come about in the future.

Also, I plan to post with permission, beginning this week, two essays originally written for The Alabama Baptist almost 12 years ago. The first is by Herschel Hobbs on "God's Sovereignty & Man's Free Will". The second is an essay by Timothy George entitled "Amazing Love, Amazing Grace." I trust them to be helpful for further discussion.

Have a peace-filled evening. With that, I am...

Peter

selahV

Peter: I like Stephen's suggestion. Who is the most notable of all Calvinists at present time? John Piper? selahV

Keith Schooley

Thanks for posting this interview, Peter. This installment is especially interesting.

I'd like to thank Stephen and Seth for their contributions, and for their kind words toward their Arminian brothers. Stephen, you write that "Many Non-Calvinist engage in flat misrepresentation of our position." I'd be interested to know what types of misrepresentations you see most often (since Dr. Olson has devoted his book to Calvinist misrepresentations of Arminians). I guess I'd like to see what you regard, from your point of view, as misrepresentation. (My guess is that most cases of misrepresentation in this debate involve filtering the positions of the other side through the presuppositional grid of one's own side. What one side views as a gross misrepresentation, the other side views as simply the logical conclusion of the positions the other side takes.)

For those, including Peter, who reject 5-point Calvinism and yet don't want to self-identify as Arminians, may I ask why? Is it just the name? Is it that many Arminians (though not all) also don't hold to eternal security? Is it that you don't regard yourself as part of the theological stream of tradition that flows from Arminius through Wesley, so therefore you don't want to adopt the name?

Personally, I don't really care about the streams of tradition. The dividing line for me is why it is that some don't get saved. If you think God didn't give those people the grace to be saved, I'd say you were a Calvinist; if you think God offered those people the grace to be saved and they rejected it, I'd say you were an Arminian.

Just my 2 cents. Incidentally, I offer my own "positive defense" of Arminianism on my own blog at http://schooleyfiles.blogspot.com/2006/06/why-i-am-not-calvinist-with-apologies.html Some of you have been kind enough to stop by; I don't know if you dug up that post. I'll warn you that it's long. But if anyone has any feedback, it would be much appreciated.

Grace and peace,
Keith

peter

Keith,

As always, I appreciate your remarks. Concerning the absence of desire to self-identify as Arminian, I really have not thought much about it to be quite honest. And, now that a renowned Arminian theologian has offered what he understands the essence of the Arminian salvific vision to be--the TULIP, minus the "ULI"--my reluctance appears even more paradoxical I suppose.

I think in the end, my hesitation may stem from a) little desire to formally identify with any "system" per se, being the post-Calvinist into which I appear to have evolved (And, know my appreciation for systematic theology spawns still another paradox for me to contend:) b) little desire to identify with a system so definitively misunderstood as Dr. Olson ably demonstrated Arminianism to be.

It may be best to plea a copout and just call myself a "continually reforming believer"; that is, one who possesses no reluctance to drink out of the same dipper as another who unashamedly names the Name of Christ. And, since very few embrace that label, I am relatively free to make up my own defintion :) Cowardly perhaps; but oh! How liberatingly awesome!

Have a faith-filled day, Keith. I hope our new Calvinist readers will neither be only drive-bys here or fail to carefully consider your well-argued posts at The Schooley Files, offering some enriching dialog with you. Know you have my respect as a Christian gentleman as well a formidable Christian scholar. With that, I am...

Peter

selahV

Peter: Maybe that's it! I can't identify with either in totality because they can't even agree in totality about their own system of beliefs. I do, however, like the simplicity of Keith's statement above on you either are this or you are that.
Keith said:
"The dividing line for me is why it is that some don't get saved. If you think God didn't give those people the grace to be saved, I'd say you were a Calvinist; if you think God offered those people the grace to be saved and they rejected it, I'd say you were an Arminian."
Would that it were that simple. P.S. Thanks Keith, been to your site. Thanks for pointing out your exact post. I will read with interest. Blessings for all of you in all your days. Selah V

Seth McBee

Men.
As far as positioning ourselves with a "system" is always a fun discussion on whether we should be doing these things. I don't want to be a "promoter" of my site but we had a good discussion on this topic, check it out if you would and I will try and stop by for discussions as I love talking theology with men of different views who are willing to discuss without getting angry.

With that...

http://contendearnestly.blogspot.com/2006/11/lutherans-and-luther_24.html

volfan007

seth,

in regards to peter's statement of not wanting to be a part of a system...i wholeheartedly agree with him. and, i will tell you what a very dear saint of God....a very intelligent man...a seminary prof. with calvinistic leanings....once said that calvinism and arminianism were young men's religions. this is so true.

volfan007

peter

SelahV,

I too appreciate Keith's very clear distinction he argues between Calvinism & Arminianism's vision of salvation. Essentially, what I hear him saying is whether grace intrinsically possesses resistibility or not. "Yes" spells Arminian and "no" spells Calvinist...

Seth

Thank you Seth for your invitation. I will swing by later. Also, I'm carefully thinking about your comments on Wanda. I'll pick that up later...

Volfan,

I think your statement about both Calvinism & Arminianism being young men's religion may constitute the most profound thing you've ever written here. But don't get too puffy, for it really wasn't yours, was it?:)

BTW, poor SelahV. Both young women & old women (which I will never suggest which she is) must have no religion.

To all a great afternoon. I'm off to the Coffee Shop for a tall, black Americana and some good chat with a new friend. With that, I am...

Peter

Wren

Nice blog.
God bless you.

volfan007

peter and everyone,

you really ought to go to ben coles blog and watch the video entitled ...coming to a southern baptist church near you...about kenneth copeland and hagin at a charismatic church where they laugh uncontrollably...act as if they are drunk...fall on the floor and jerk and twist...start making what sounds like dove noises...and they declare that this is a level of the manifestation of the spirit that they had never reached before.

the video is very enlightening... especially to all of you who want to know what tongue speaking and ppl's can lead to.

all those who want to widen the tent need to watch this video and see where it could lead.


from the hills of tn,

volfan007

ps. i aint barking like a dawg, and i aint handlin no snakes...no matter how wide the tent gets.

Michael Westmoreland-White

Thanks for this series. I can see I need to get Olsen's book. It's nice to see him argue for the same positions that Dale Moody was so villified for! :-) I can agree with almost everything Olsen says in your interview--and always have. It's good to see these things discussed among evangelical Baptists again.

Michael Westmoreland-White

In my first semester at seminary, Timothy George and Dale Moody had a friendly debate over Calvinism and Arminianism. George the Calvinist went first and Moody brought him a tulip. Next day, it was Moody's turn to go first and George brought him a daisy. Moody said, "What's this for?" George replied, "O, you know you Arminians: He loves me, He loves me not." Even Moody laughed.

Alas, that was the last semester that such divergent views got along so well. The rest of my education was in a school under siege and with a denomination determined to keep shrinking tents. Thus, these days I am a Baptist, but never again a Southern Baptist.

Christopher Redman

Dr. Olsen has stated what I believed Arminians to hold in the past...

1) Nobody goes to hell for their sins, only for rejecting Christ. (Which is a sin?)

2) Prevenient Grace is held in John 6? No way unless John 6 teaches universalism. "...I will raise him up at the last day" is eternal life in glory. There is no other way to understand it.

3) Arminians hold to the "love" of God as the highest attribute. However, from my understanding, love is just one of the myriad attributes that make God "glorious".

With this said, thanks Peter for the experience. Perhaps some day I'll have time to review Olson's book for myself.

Have a wonderful day and great holiday season!

Chris Redman

Seth McBee

The one thing I will put here is this topic on "love" between the Arminians and the Calvinists. When I am told that I teach that God doesn't love everyone equally and that I am wrong for God should love everyone equally, my question is this, "am I, as a father and husband to love my wife and kids more than a stranger?" I would contend that yes we are and yes we do. Love is shown differently to different people. The ten commandments explicitely say, Love thy father and mother and then Eph 6:1 and 2 expound by saying this is the first commandment with a promise.

Seth McBee

As far as jokes are concerned by the way, I find it funny that Peter has a thing where you have to verify your comments by putting in those random letters so that "robots can't put in comments" I find that funny cause I feel as though some of us Calvinists can be seen as robots at times...just a funny thought

selahV

Peter: You wrote (in jest, I know):
"BTW, poor SelahV. Both young women & old women (which I will never suggest which she is) must have no religion."
Although I am the latter, and proud of it, you are so right. We woman have no religion. And our dear Seth McBee has made sure his invitation to his blog was to MEN, in case you didn't notice. He reemphasizes this when he says, "I love talking theology with "men". Guess that leaves me out. Ha. No matter. Don't understand this stuff no how.

By the way, Peter, I asked Dr. Ascol a question and would like to know if you could answer it, too. From what I understand about "reformed faith" and Calvinists, thus far, the question isn't ARE you saved anymore, but CAN you be saved. Am I correct?

When I became a Christian (which many would question anymore), folks asked me to pray for a lost loved one. They still do. Is it necessary according to election doctrine to even do that? I went back and read the Lord's Prayer and I don't see anything about praying for the lost.

In the realm of Calvinist reformed faith, are there only elect that haven't come to Jesus, now? And of course, they aren't lost because they are elect, right? Has "lost" and "unsaved" become obsolete terms? I mean, why else would invitations be abandoned in worship assemblies? Simply seeking, selahV

Stephen

Hi keith,
You asked what are the common misrepresentations toward calvinism. There are alot. I will only name a few. 1.) that Calvinism puts a dagger in evangelism.- once we look at history this is proven wrong. Actually the reasom why Calvinism became the dominate protestant theology in the 1600's was becuase Geneva had fostered a climate of sending out missionaries. Most educated arminians dont make this claim but there are quite a few that do. 2.) Calvinism teaches that people are saved before justification. That is that being elect is being saved. This is a catagory error. Again most arminians that understand the terms predicated will not make this mistake. Election is not salvation but a plan to save those who are elect. Justification comes at a particular time in the persons life. 3.) That Calvinism teaches that some will be saved against their will or that some will not be saved who want to be saved. This is another error. This again is an error that those who dont take the time to understand reformed theology make. I have also hve noticed that among non-calvinist and non-baptist like Lutherans or Catholics seem to be able to debate calvinism in an informed manner without misrepresentation. However I have noticed, and i dont know why it is the case, but non-calvinist Baptist seem to understand Calvinism the least and instead of good arguements they produce non-arguements like the above. Anyhow I will contitue to stop by this site. It is my hope that this is a non-calvinist site that really deals with issues intelligently. I really liked the Dr. Olson interview. I am glad tht brothers in Christ can discuss these issues truethfully and in Christian love.
Stephen

Seth McBee

SelahV
Embarassed I am. didn't realize that there was a lady in our midst. Did not mean it to sound as it did so please forgive me.

As far as praying for the lost as a Calvinist, yes of course we. Check out Romans 9:1 and Paul's love and prayers for those that are lost. I will the first to admit, I don't know the things of the Lord for His ways are higher than mine (Isaiah 55:8,9) I don't know who are the elect and who aren't. It is my job and God uses the foolishness of preaching (1 Cor 1) to save souls. I just know that it is NOT my job to try and "woo" someone to Christ all I can do is plant the seed and water it but it is God who causes the growth. (1 Cor 3) The one misrepresentation that I despise the most is that I don't love the lost or that I don't pray for them or evangelize. It is just the opposite. I will also be the first to tell you that I don't know the ins and outs of how our prayers are used but I can tell you this, when I pray things happen and when I don't I am spiritually hurting. Good questions though, and again I apologize for the "exclusion" of you in the conversation, please forgive my "numbskullness"

selahV

Hey Seth...no offense taken. I love to harrass you guys. You are for the most part quite gentile with me as in gentlemenly. :)
My Peter is such a kidder...he thinks my age doth bother me...however, he is but five years short of me, so who is he to talk about the aged. He needs to show a bit more respect to me...I am his elder after all. Hee.

Seth: To one thing you said. You "don't don't know who are the elect and who aren't. It is my job and God uses the foolishness of preaching (1 Cor 1) to save souls." Well, ya see, I don't preach. I am a lady and I feel compelled to sit in my pew for the most part. However, the good Lord has blessed me with the humorous gift of gab and I'm not a bit shy when it comes to sharing my faith, and testimony. However, I find from what I've been gleaning from blogsites and the like, that according to what I "think" Calvinists believe, they see no need for invitations in a service. Am I wrong? If not, then how does one go about becoming a Christian in a reformed church? Do they just one day stand up and say, "hey, I get it!"

And from what I thought I'd been reading about reformed theology, the "elect" are already predestined to be saved, so I guess I'm asking if they are gonna be saved, then why do ya need to preach to them. Isn't that kinda like a tomato growing on a vine. It's gonna be a tomato and ripen when God wants it to ripen, so if wooing don't matter, why does watering or fertilizing?

Before you think I am pulling your leg with these questions, I am serious. I just don't get it. And every time I ask someone a question they pat me on the head and send me over to read about the forefathers who were martyred and burned and wives drowned for simply being married to the scoundrels who would dare declare that Christ was Christ and not the Pope. So all I'd like is to interview a real bonafide compliant Calvinist OR REformed Theologian who could explain all this in a bit more simplistic fashion so we folks who do understand those "bus" and "wanda" and "mexican" stories could get a better grasp of it all.

And I don't want to put anyone down for their faith...and especially a Southern or Northern or Independent Baptist who believes in the same crucified Christ who I trust in as my Savior. I just wanta talk. Ya know? If I lived closer to Enid, I'd whip up there and sit in on Wade Burleson's church a bit and see if I could figure this out. But I live too far away and my car is a piece of junk. Just don't trust it that far. So if you would be so kind as to chat with me now and then, then I would appreciate it. I do follow Peter's site but I am a bit short, so some of the dialog goes whipping over top of my head. If you know what I mean.

I try not to ask dumb questions. But sometimes even the simple questions seem to rankle the fellas. I wonder if they just think I think they are wrong. And if they think that, then I do think they are wrong. In fact I know they are wrong. Because I have no true grasp on this theology, but want to grasp it. Even if I NEVER adhere to it. I still want to know what they believe. I mean, what if I'm wrong and get on the wrong bus?

Sorry Peter...I got carried away. I'll send you a bag of that fancy coffee you drink. What was it again? selahV

peter

Wren,

Thanks for dropping by! Also, blessings to you...

Michael,

I too am glad for our "civil" forum. Also, I think the Moody/George snapshot is a hoot! By the way, where is a Moody when you need one to help us with our Calvinist brothers?:)

Christopher,

I've missed you! As for Arminianism holding that no one goes to Hell for their sins, I do not believe that is precisely what Dr. Olson suggested. If my memory does not fail me, he suggested no one is sent to Hell for 'original sin" which, of course, is not at all the same.

Pertaining to "no other way to understand John 6" but via, I only presume, the Calvinist lens, I have no comment. I will comment on "love is just one of the myriad attributes that make God "glorious"." I appreciate your view, Chris. For me, however, love seems Biblically much more than "just one" of many attributes. I do not see the many other attributes sitting where the Apostle sat Love: "God IS love" Perhaps a post on that is in order for some good interaction...

And to you, my Brother, a very gracious Christmastide...

SelahV,

Personally I think you question is not at all unfair if it is used for rhetorical purposes (my guess is you will not get too many takers to pursue it). Actually, it places the question of Salvation in eternity where Calvinists, it would seem, to be most comfortable.

Stephen,

You've got a lot of things out there. And know I both appreciate your spirit and the engaging questions. I'm unsure Keith possesses the time to address them all. I will offer a few comments.

First, I know of few who would not concede that surely there are differing ways love is expressed not only by us but by our Lord as well. The difficulty becomes, at leeast for me, not whether differing expressions of love are expressed among differing peoples. Rather whether redemptive love is expressed toward all people. That appears to me to be the crux of the non-Calvinist question to the Calvinist.

As for your analogy of a father/husband's love toward his family being distinct from his love for a stranger, for me, lacks any real persuasion. You appear to confuse the one and the many. A Biblical view of Families suggests distinct, microscopic societies. Closed if you will. A unit. Oneness--created by marital union and merged DNA for children--yet distinctness.

Thus if you really want to analogize the Family to a proper love relationship, it may be better to make it analogous to the Trinity where oneness and distinctness is perfected.

The question you may ask now is does the Father love the Son more than He loves the Spirit? Or does the Spirit love the Father with any greater love than He does the Son? Contrastingly, does the Husband love the wife any more than his offspring or one offspring more than another offspring? Sorry for such an abstract answer but analogies are very tricky little kritters.

Unfortunately, I have experienced many Calvinists using the analogy you just cited to argue that God need not redemptively love the "stranger" as He does His family [that is, His Elect]. For me, that simply lacks any moral power at all.

As for your theory that Calvinism grew during the 16th century because of its missionary passion, Stephen, though I am no historian or the son of an historian, I would bet a days' wage that State Law had much more to do with Calvinism's popularity than than did passionate evangelists.

I know in Holland, immediately after the Synod of Dort and Calvinism was vindicated as the official expression of the state, heretics--that is, the followers of James Arminius--were defrocked, banished and some beheaded...a real motivation to be a Calvinist, I'd say. Thus Calvinism grew because Calvinism WAS the official interpretation of Scripture.

As for "being elect equal to being saved" demonstrating a "category error" I would have to see that drawn out on paper, Stephen, being the simpleton I sometimes am, I confess.

My question(s) would simply be these:

In the Calvinist view,
is it possible for the Elect person for whom Christ would die and the Holy Spirit would regenerate to never come to faith in Christ?

Contrarily, Stephen, is it even remotely possible for a non-Elect person for whom Christ would not die to actually come to faith in Christ?

From my view, my Brother, Calvinists answer "No" to both questions. I may be wrong here so hesitate not to correct me if I am.

Now, please bear with me just once more:

In the Calvinist view,
is it necessary for the Elect person for whom Christ would die and the Holy Spirit would regenerate at a divinely appointed time to actually come to faith in Christ?

Contrarily, Stephen, is it also necessary for a non-Elect person for whom Christ would not die to actually never come to faith in Christ?

From my view, my Brother, while Calvinists answer "No" to the first pair of questions, they answer "Yes" to these two questions. I may be wrong here so hesitate not to correct me if I am.

If I am correct, it seems to me that one possesses sufficient reason to conclude that, in the Calvinist vision of salvation, people are, at least in some real sense, either necessarily saved or lost by Election. The rest is just decoration for the holidays.

I trust your day a good one. With that, I am...

Peter

Keith Schooley

Stephen--

Thank you for your response. I'm going to try to be brief:

1) Granted. I knew plenty of Calvinists in seminary who were also very motivated toward evangelism. From their POV, evangelism was God giving us the honor of participating in the salvation of the elect. I have no reason not to take them at their word.

3) Granted. Given depravity, no one could want salvation without God giving them that desire; when He does, He changes their will, so that they're not saved "against their will." The change of will itself could be construed as being "against their will," but that is such an act of mercy, who could complain?

2) Mostly granted. I recognize the distinction that you are making. However, I know some (not all) Calvinists regard Jesus' death as having propitiated God's wrath for all the sins that His elect already have or will commit; i.e., the sins were somehow metaphysically "there" to be propitiated, and therefore God's wrath for them has already been appeased. Therefore, there is no more wrath to be appeased. If God no longer bears wrath toward His elect, then in what sense can they be said not to be justified? They may not realize it yet; it may not have made any impact on their life from their subjective point of view; but how can God postpone the judgment of aquittal (which is what justification means) from those against whom His wrath has already been appeased? I understand that even these Calvinists continue to make the distinction; I can't see how the distinction makes any sense.

The simple way of putting this is, Should a sinner who repents pray that his sins be forgiven? On (that type of) Calvinist's premises, that would be superfluous; they already have been.

Keith Schooley

Peter - you wrote:

Essentially, what I hear him saying is whether grace intrinsically possesses resistibility or not. "Yes" spells Arminian and "no" spells Calvinist...

Essentially, that is correct. I view U, L, and I as essentially three ways of asking the same question: "Does God choose only certain individuals on whom to bestow salvation?" or "Is the atonement limited only to certain individuals?" or "Is the offer of grace limited only to those who will inevitably receive it?" No matter which way you word it, this is the crux that separates us. (Technically, this is not necessarily true. One could posit a limited atonement with resistable grace: only some are offered salvation; of that group, only a subset choose to receive it. But I don't know anyone who has ever held to such a view.)

BTW, better be careful of calling me a "scholar." You Know Who may give us a double whammy again! ;-)

peter

Keith,

I indeed do get your meaning. However, we could also generate a lot of traffic for our sites as a result--provided, of course we survived the inevitiable display of righteous indignation...:)

With that, I am...

Peter

Seth McBee

Everyone, I will try and answer these questions, if I forget one let me know.

SelahV.
You asked about "the invitation" at the end of the service. First, let me ask you do you ever see the time in the church or the church when they meet for the Lord's Day offering one? Or do you know of any of Paul's writing's in the Pastoral Epistles telling Titus or Timothy to preach to the lost on the Lord's Day? The answer would be, No. The Lord's Day service is NOT for the sinner but for the saved to worship and exalt Christ and Christ alone, this, by the way, is where the "seeker churches" are way off base. As far as you being a woman and not preaching, I agree, but your job, which is sounds like you are doing, is to evangelize the lost OUTSIDE of the Lord's Day Service. We are to GO and make disciples, look in Acts and see how the Apostles evangelized it was always, as far as I have studied, outside of the church.

So many questions I really can't keep up but want to continue.

Remember that Christ says in John 15 that there is no greater love than this that someone lay down his life for his friends. Then Christ says, you are my friends. John 10 says that the Shepherd dies for the sheep, He does not say that He dies for both the sheep and the wolves (enemies of God which is every one apart from Christ i.e. James 4) John 17 in the High Priestly prayer He only prays for those God gave Him not for the world.

Peter, as far as your actual questions your comments I would say yes, only those that are elect and every one of them will come to Christ, and those you are not of Christ cannot come to Christ nor do they want to. If you would like me to expound on Scripture let me know for I will.

All.

If we could keep the questions at one of a time, I will come back throughout the day. I would love to answer all your questions so that you will at least know what we believe. I will never answer you with history or what this guy or that guy says, just Scripture.

Make sense?

peter

Seth,

I think may have caused some confusion, my Brother, by commenting upon a comment you made about love as if Stephen made it. For that, confusion, I am very sorry.

However, your last post offers me ample opportunity to say a couple of things, my Seth.

First, please do not think you are obligated to answer every question someone here poses. Understandably, in a community setting, no one expects, if you happen to be bombarded, to keep up with a host of questions. There's always another opportunity to pick it up. Nor does no response mean you lack a very good response. Plus one can carry on a private conversation via email.

Second though, Seth if you are not careful, and attempt to respond to every question posed to you, you may end up offering a weak respone. I hope I can say this without the least offense, but as for the response to me in the last post, I count worse than no response at all. Evidently under such constraints, you failed to grasp the thrust of those questions I posed (to Stephen, by the way), not to mention if I actually know that is, in fact, those questions to which you are refering.

Finally, Seth, to insist you will never answer questions here but with Scripture alone, appealing neither to history nor the Church's theologians is a committment that is neither necessary nor, for that matter, possible. From my point of view, the Church's Belief IS history, not Scripture itself, which stands over history as history's judge. Consequently, Calvinsim is not canonically encoded in the NT nor is any other theological view--certainly not mine.

Thanks again, my Brother Seth, for dropping by. Also, know your passion for expressing your convictional belief is very much appreciated.

Relax...Take it easy...have a good afternoon cup of coffee:). With that, I am...

Peter

peter

Stephen,

Ignore the first portion of my response to you, please. I confused Seth's comment on love with your comment. I regret the confusion, my Brother.

With that, I am...

Peter

volfan007

peter,

did you delete my comment to seth? if so, why?

volfan007

stepehn

Hey Keith and Peter,
I am responseing to keith response to mine. I am glad that we can agree on some of the misrepresentation against Calvinism. I think that is very important step toward real Calvinism and Arminianism/ synergistic conversation.
First in respone to your point on 2 i would like to say that if you think there is a logic problem with justification at a point and election in eternity this is not necessarily a misrepresentation. That fact that you believe that to be the case does not mean it to be true and our two sides can discuss whether your percieved problem is really a problem or not. The misrepresentation come when person X says that calvinist believe in eternal justification. Confessional Calvinism does not believe this. Again, you may think that is where my position logically leads but this is a different matter altogether tham whether I believe such a position. Likewise, I believe your position logically leads to justification by works, however I know that is not what you believe (at least I am assuming this to be the case- you could be a roman catholic). My suggestion is this: Becuase these issues are difficult to wade through as it is, lets keep the discussion away from missrepresentations, stick to issues and have real discussions and not simple non-arguements. Lets also keep in mind brotherly love. In my opinion to little clear thinking and too much heated bashing has been going on. Note: I am not saying this about you guys! I appreciate your post Keith. Your brother in Christ
Stephen

selahV

Seth: Goodness, I believe I stirred up a bit of agitation in you with my questions. I am truly sorry. As to my "invitation at the end of the service" question, I meant absolutely no criticism toward you, if that is indeed what Calvinists and Reformed Churches do. I was just wanting to know if what I "thought" I read about the invitation time was true. And if so, how does one, be he/she a lost or a non-Calvinist, get to become part of the Calvinist or Reformed community of believers?

Please don't take my question as a point of criticism of doctrine or of what you see the "service" of the Lord's day to be. Nay, nay, my brother. I'm just wanting to know some stuff. I have no idea what you do in your services on Sunday. And until your answer to my post, I had no idea that Calvinists considered the Lord's Day for the regenerated, sanctified and reformed thinkers only.
Which does bring me to a second question, if you would be so kind as to indulge me. How do you segregate the lost pre-elected from the saved post-elected in your congregations?

I was in an integrated worship assembly when I was saved. So go figure. It was even on a Sunday morning. And the preacher was preaching about Jesus dying on the cross and how He suffered for the sinners of the world. And for some reason I thought that was me. So when the preacher asked people if they'd like to have a relationship with the crucified Lord, I for some reason found myself walking down the aisle as they were singing, "Lord, I'm coming home." I guess I thought I'd been away from home and was finally coming home.

You said, "The Lord's Day service is NOT for the sinner but for the saved to worship and exalt Christ and Christ alone, this, by the way, is where the "seeker churches" are way off base."

You have opened another point of curiosity for me. What is a "seeker church"? Is it what I just described in my explanation of how I became a follower of Jesus and a baptized Southern Baptist in Connecticut?

That's four different questions, Seth. Don't feel the need to answer them all at once. But I am very interested in what you have to say. Should you care to go to my Question/Answer site to answer them, I will copy and post them to my site and you can come over there and answer whenever you feel you have the time. Just click on my name or copy and paste the link below. http://selahvquestionoftheday.blogspot.com SelahV

peter

Volfan,

I did not delete your comment, volfan, my Brother. I did delete one of Stephen's since it was a duplicate.

Did your comment actually post? That is, did you see it after you posted?

By the way, was it such that I should have considered deleting it? I'll keep my eye on you, now, my Tennessee friend:)

With that, I am...

Peter

stepehn

Hello Peter,
I am responding to your post now. I am sorry i did not see it before. I can tell that you were being sarcastic about being a simpleton. I dont think you are. Please dont think I am saying this. You asked for me to draw is our on paper. I will do my best to illustrate. Consider two different sentences:
1.) Election is salvation
2.) Election unto salvation
What differentiates these two sentences or do they have the same meaning? The predicate "is" and "unto" are what diffentiates 1 and 2. Becuase the predicates are different they convey very different meanings.
1.) George Bush is president
2.) John McCain elected to be president.
2a.) Becuase John McCain was elected he will become our president in January.
2b.) Becuase a Majority of Democrats were elected they will become, but are not yet, the majority within the house.
2c.) The Republicans are in the majority now, however the Democrats were elected and will become the majority come January.

Peter also i disagree with your theory of state intervention. First, I was speaking about before the Council of Dort. Secular historians have noted Calvinsim from 1555 onward had a characteristic that the other protestant groups (anabaptist and lutherans) did not have that caused them to be more activistic and missional. I am not reading from the book now. I will send you the source if you dont believe me. It is not with me now. But these characteristics were 1.) A clear,coherent systematic understand of the christian faith 2.)A view that they were strongly right and the bible was on their side. 3.)God Lordship was over everything that they beleived God would bring others to convert to their beliefs.4.) Geneva trained men for the ministry to send them to other countries. John Knox trained there before going to scotland and spreading the Gospel there. Also they translated the bible (geneva bible) into various languages for the common people. In the late 1500's france was so overwhelmed with Calvinst that the King Phillip the 2 slaughtered thousands of them in St. Bartholomew massacre. Before the remonstrant movement Calvinism had spread all over due to missionary efforts even to south america. This is not just an view point that Calvinist have been argueing for but many secular historians. I am sure that non-calvinist will even admit this. For us Baptist we must note that the early baptist missionaries were also calvinist.

With all this aside. I think the real issue with Calvinism and synergism is whether they are true. Is it true or not, that is the important question. It wont be solved by saying "does it take away our motivation to witness" You might think it does. I think history is against you and i disagree. These points don't answer whether a synergistic solution can really fit Romans 9 or Ephesians 1 and 2 or whether Calvinism can explain John 3:16 or 2 peter 3:9 or any of the rest of the controverted verses. Anyhow thanks brothers for your kind words to me and for discussing this issue.
Stephen
PS in honor of thanksgiving i must note that this country would not have been founded or at least not the same way without calvinist. King James really did not like calvinism.

Seth McBee

to all.
Sorry if I seemed agitated in any way, as I was not, that is the problem writing and not speaking. Sorry that I seemed agitated in any way for I was truly not. And just for the future I want all to know here that I don't usually get agitated when speaking about doctrine so please don't take my comments in any way as being answered agitated...

phew...

SelahV;
I didn't mean to say that when we congregate for the Lord's Day that we would not WELCOME sinners into the sanctuary nor would we segregate them in any way. By the way I grew up Southern Baptist, just to let everyone know...But when we preach it is for two reasons, to exalt Christ and to equip believers. Do we still speak to the sinners during the message for repentance? Yes, of course, do we still convict those who are not a part of the universal Church of Jesus Christ, yes of course. Do we surround the preaching though to the lost? No, and I don't see that in Scripture. We worship Christ on Sunday, as do most here, and you cannot truly worship Christ unless you are one of Christ's own. Notice, I did NOT say unless you are a Calvinist.

Also, as far as a "seeker church" Seeker churches, like Rick Warren's church in California, are set up to make sure that the sinner feels comfortable. Don't use the word "sin" and don't have long prayers cause they don't like that, don't dress up because that is too stuffy, have dramas, have short sermons, etc, etc. The point of the seeker church is to make church as much as you can "comfortable" for those who aren't saved. That is NOT church. Church is for Christ and His exaltation and to build and to equip believers. Ephesians 4:12 points to this for us. Will I still have a time in the service where I ask the sinner to repent? Yes, but the focus on the sermon is in the explanation of the word of God. See Ezra 7:10 and also Nehemiah 8:1-8 for these reasons.

Peter. When I said I would answer not from tradition, it is because I see people answering others by stating, he said this or that, instead of Scripture says, etc., etc. So when I respond to people on this thread I will answer through Scripture...

Please, again, I am sorry that I seemed agitated last time and also if I do this time I say sorry ahead of time for I really am not at all.

Hope all is well, this is a great discussion by the way, keep it up.

peter

Seth,

No need for apologies, my Brother. While I did not read all you penned to SelahV, I took nothing you wrote to me as being agitated in the least bit.

with that, I am...

Peter

Seth McBee

As far as 2 Peter 3:9 you can see my exegesis on it at:

http://contendearnestly.blogspot.com/2006/05/2-peter-39-defining-any.html

Peace and hope in Christ,
Seth

volfan07

what i said a long time ago. i dont know what happened to my post. i typed in the numbers and hit the post button. but anyhoooo, i was talking to seth. i asked him did he not know that you, peter, are an old man...sorry....and that you used to be a five pointer? i asked seth did he not know that you have probably heard all the questions and answers that he is bringing up?

also, i asked seth how old he was? just curious.


from another old man in the hills of tn,

volfan007

peter

Stephen,

Thanks for the brief lesson in logic for which I happily accept.

Unfortunately, I do not so easily accept what I faintly detect as a bit of star-gazing that somehow when the immediate post-reformation world was at fever-pitch high, religious wars, massacres religiously motivated by both protestant and Catholic alike, a state church still in existence but passionate Calvinist evangelists sent out by the Calvinist Church were simply concerned about presenting the Roman Road to save souls.

Yes, you can send the resources to my email address. And thank you!

And while I very much appreciate your bringing new issues to the table to discuss, Stephen--whether Calvinism or synergism is true and how they relate to such texts as Romans 9, Ephesians 1, etc--I feel very comfortable in laying those aside for the momsnt.

What I am very much interested in is, in light of the two pair of questions I posed to you, how the Calvinist, in his view, avoids the conclusion that, in a significant sense, the elect are saved by election. Understand, my brother: I possess no motivation whatsoever to misrepresent another person's view. Thus, I am speaking of a real, potential problem I am struggling with in Calvinism itself.

If then, for an elect person, it stands as both impossible to be lost and necessary to be saved on the hand and for a non-elect person, it equally stands as both impossible to be saved and necessary to be lost, how is that one could conclude otherwise than that a person ultimately is either saved or lost via election?

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

Peter

peter

Volfan,

I am old. Very old. But not as old as SelahV:)

With that, I am...

Peter

BTW, There is definitively some truth in your assertion, Volfan. I probably should create a fictious screen name on my site and let him be a Calvinist. Surely I could fill his mouth full of juicy stuff!

Seth McBee

Interesting questions volfan as to age. I didn't know Peter was "old" but it does not matter to me the age of someone. I will preface that I am a PK and most of my family are pastors in the SBC. Very evangelistic family, anyway...

I am 29 years old. Grew up an arminian but when I started to really search the scriptures I became a Calvinist.

Does this change your view of me now that you know that I am "young."

I personally don't care for age and neither did Paul when speaking to Titus and Timothy.

anyway...off track...I really enjoy the discussion and as long as we stick to biblical questions and answers I will continue to enjoy (not saying your question of age was a bad one)

selahV

PETER: Shame on you for not reading what Seth said to me. He had some neat stuff in there. I really like him. He doesn't beat around the bush with his answers. I don't think he will be one of those who gets all flustered every time I ask an obtuse question either. I also think he is confident in what he adheres to and will therefore not think every question I ask is some sort of trap like others have presupposed and thus not answered. (then again it may be cause I'm an old woman.)

BTW, I think the fact that you are 53 and I am 58 has nothing to do with which bus we will get on when the trumpet sounds, so I'm not at all worried that you will have to let me go first...age before beauty, ya know?

I'm so glad you have gotten, Keith, Stephen and Seth chatting with us. It is nice to have some younger voices to round out our conversations, don't ya think? :)

Vofan: Sometimes I have to type them silly letters and numbers into Peter's box 3 or 4 times. Drives me nuts. I've learned to copy my comments before I click the button in case they get gobbled up in cyberland and end up in The Christian Index. (oh, that's right, some already did!)
Would you believe I still haven't found a recipe for chocolate gravy? Nope...good thing, too. I'm beginning to put on a bit of weight in my old age. LOL. selahV said the old folks, goes to show you never can tell...!

Seth McBee

Selahv, Vofan and Peter.

Let me know before you guys get too old and insane so I can get you into some really good Calvinist nursing homes so we can at least turn you before you die...hahahahaha

stephen

PETER,
I DID NOT FINISH MY RESPONSE TO YOU.
a. X DECIDES TO GO THE STORE WHILE SITTING IN HIS LIVING ROOM
b. X WALKS TO HIS CAR, GETS IN, DRIVES TO THE STORE.

HOW DID X GET TO THE STORE. WE WILL SAY ALL OF THE ABOVE. HOWEVER IN (a) WAS X AT THE STORE? NO HE WAS IN THE LIVING ROOM.

1.) BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD GOD CHOSE TO SAVE X THROUGH FAITH ON ACCOUNT OF THE WORK OF CHRIST
2.)GOD CREATED X
3.)GOD PUT X IN THE POSITION OF HEARING THE GOSPEL
4.)GOD BY HIS SPIRIT GAVE X FAITH TO BELIEVE AND CONSEQUENTLY GIVE X JUSTIFICATION.
NOW HOW DID X COME TO FAITH AND BECOME JUSTIFIED? WE WOULD SAY ALL THE ABOVE. HOWEVER IN 1 WAS X JUSTIFIED? NO JUST LIKE IN (A) X WAS NOT AT THE STORE.
ANYWAYS I HOPE THAT I HAVE HELPED WITH THE ISSUE. THANKS BROTHER FOR YOU WILLINGNESS TO DISCUSS THESE ISSUES.
IN CHRIST,
STEPHEN

stephen

PETER,
I HAD JUST WROTE A LONG LETTER IN ADDITION TO WHAT I JUST WROTE ABOVE. SOMEHOW IT DISAPEARED. I A NOT SURE WHAT I DID WRONG. GRRRR MAKES ME A LITTLE FRUSTERATED. OH WELL. YOU HAVE A LITTLE BUT OF MY RESPONSE. i DONT HAVE TIME TO WRITE THE WHOLE THING OUT AGAIN.
THANKS BROTHERS FOR ALLOWING A CALVINIST LIKE ME TO JOIN THE CONVERSTATION.
BLESSINGS IN CHRIST,
STEPHEN

stephen

hey SelahV,
How are you doing? Good i hope. I am glad that your asking these questions. It is great that you seek to understand the Calvinist position. In addition to the discussion i recommend reading "the reformed doctrine of predestination by loraine bettner. He covers alot of the issues. Also try reading the 3rd book to Calvins institutes. I did note that you were tired of getting recommend books by old dead guys however if you really have an interest in understanding the reformed position wholistically that is your best bet. Becuase Calvinism is not simply a small theological article within a whole christian theistic system, but rather a wholitic system, it is better to spend alot of time on. Be sure to do the same thing with Arminianism. I do agree with Dr. Olson that there is no middle ground between arminianism and calvinism.
You asked about how someone comes to faith in a reformed church, my answer is the same way that they do in nonreformed churched. Actually the invitation "system" has only been around for 100 years. That is every sunday "with eyes closed and every head bowed" -that kind of thing. The church has managed to exist much longer than that. Also it is important to note that in reformational churches our doctrine of sanctification is much more centered on christ work, I hope this is not pajorative however i am not sure how to explain modern theology of sanctification (for a good read try lutheran Harold Sankbeil's Sanctification: christ in action) So instead of 9 principles to follow to be more spiritualy mature. We simply point you to trust in Christ to sanctify you by faith. In every sevice. We have law and gospel. Therefore there is an invitation every week to meet the Lord by faith. Both law and gospel apply to Christians and non-christians. It is important to notice that classical arminianism holds that above position. Both Calvinism and classical arminianism agree. Modern synergisim doesnt have as well worked out theology in this area. Anyhow, please read the books. Calvins is more pastoral (and my favorite) but Bettner deals with more of the contemporary objections to calvinism.
Blessings in Christ

peter

Stephen,

Good morning. I know the feeling of losing what one believes is a good bit of writing and all of a sudden a wrong button is pushed and...Well, you just experienced the rest.

As for the answer you offered, I get the gist of it by the last couple of steps. I find it more than telling that X "decided", "walked" "gets" "drove" etc. These are things that X does is time. Not to mention exactly how X came to "decide" perfectly all the proper procedures, my questions were not pertaining to time at all. Rather the questions specifically were about God's decrees in eternity.

Nor, Stephen, was my focus on whether or not X was eternally justified. You've made it quite clear you do not hold such and mainstream Calvinists have rejected such. Rather, my questions dwelt with eternal election and salvation itself.

It's quite all right though. There'll be other opportunities to dialog a bit perhaps even on the same subject.

My caution for us all is to, as much as, possible, stay away from too many formal tecnicalities--hard to understand theological jargon and formal logic, especially--for the simple reason most who read here enjoy clarity and simplicity. After all, our Lord called not all to study advanced theological isues.

Grace today, Stephen. And know I appreciate your participation here. With that, I am...

Peter

selahV

Hey PETER: We have Ice and Snow in Oklahoma. Speaking of writing getting gobbled up. I tried to post 4 blogs yesterday, pictures and all and when I pushed the save and publish buttons. gobble gobble crunch crunch were the silent sounds of my work being eaten and deposited into the cyber bowels of satan. I got ticked for a few seconds, then laughed at how funny God is. I, in my finite self-filled humanity, thought I'd done something really grand, and God comes down and snatches it up before anyone ever gets a chance to read it. So do I get mad at my computer? my internet service provider? my electric company? or my blogspot/google gurus?

None of the above. The sin of self originated with me and the Lord just purged my sweet adorable pride with a bit of cyberoptic humor. Isn't He funny? SelahV

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