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Aug 03, 2009

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Steve G

yeah, agreed Peter.. .. wow I am impressed that you waded through some pretty tedious stuff... (oh no I must be terribly disappointing...) the only books of RC's that I found stimulating was "Classical Apologetics" (with which I partly disagree) and "What is Reformed Theology?"... for his distinction: infallibility describes the nature of God who produces an inerrant Scripture. Yes I probably have them all... (all partly read or less, they are a bit boring for me...).
In your former life Brother Peter, you must have been an ardant (hardlined) calvinist... phew.. I am glad I didn't know you then! But bro, in your reaction to the hard hearted calvinists, please don't reject a glad hearted calvinism.
Blessings bro,
Steve

octoberday5@yahoo.com

Dear Peter:

Good analysis!

R. C. Sproul does not represent Baptist Calvinism! All men have their good points and bad. R. C. has his errors and his "born again before faith" error gives Calvinism a bad name.

Blessings,

Stephen

Darby Livingston

"The felicitous inconsistency Sproul mentioned concerns one thing: Arminians do not embrace irresistible grace. Yes. That’s correct. Irresistible grace."

I think Peter says that even the righteous are scarcely saved, so in that respect, we're all barely Christian. And I think that fully reformed folks are going to be thankful for salvation in the midst of "felicitous inconsistency" when they must answer for mixing up the covenants and baptizing infants. Even so, I embrace irresistible grace. I think Arminians do as well since I don't see many resisting it. :)

Darby Livingston

I should have clarified the Peter, the apostle, rather than Peter, the owner of this blog.

Todd Burus

Peter,
So let's see. A few posts back you got up in arms about showing Baptist Calvinists who hold to RPF but then here you bring in a most assuredly non-Baptist Calvinist to attack Baptist Calvinists? Nice.

Then, let's not mention the caricatures among caricatures. Did Sproul say that "there is no difference between" Pelagianism and Arminianism. Also, to accuse Sproul of "mak[ing] no careful distinction between Pelagianism and semi-Pelagianism" is rather convenient, seeing as how you selected the quotes. If you have absorbed Sproul as widely as you claim you would easily know that he (rightly) considers Pelagianism to be wholly non-Christian while asserting semi-Pelagianism as its' Christian, if barely Christian, analog.

Lastly, you continue to avoid answering the question posed about what non-RPFers believe makes the difference in regeneration. Sproul says that Arminians fallaciously believe that, "The sinner, who is dead in sin and in bondage to sin, must somehow shed his chains, revive his spiritual vitality, and exercise faith so that he or she may be born again." You disagree with this and accuse him of caricature. However, Peter, if it is as you say and faith precedes regeneration, even allowing as you say that there is a "real presence and work—indeed necessary presence and necessary work—of the Holy Spirit in the person’s heart prior to faith," what in the end is it that makes the difference between a person who the Spirit regenerates and the person he doesn't? Please answer this for me.

peter

Steve,

Never, brother. If ever I were a Calvinist, I'd want to be like you.

With that, I am...
Peter

peter lumpkins

Darby,

Thanks. And, you're right in many respects. I don't want to resist God but my want-er is busted so much of the time ;^)

With that, I am...
Peter

peter lumpkins

Todd,

Sproul brought in to "attack" Baptist Calvinists? For the life of me, Todd, I don't think you hardly read a word I ever write. The kneejerk responses attempting to 'catch me' gives the hand up every time, dude.

And, yes, if words mean anything, Sproul implied no meaningful difference between the notorious threesome he inevitably links together without any hesitance whatsoever: "These verses fall like a hammer on any kind of Pelagianism, semi-Pelagianism, or Arminianism. Each of these positions in its own way teaches that somehow fallen humanity still has the ability to please God..." (bold mine). For me, "any kind of" and "each...still" seals the fate of meaningless distinction, Todd.

As for my "convenient" selection, you're correct about selection but incorrect about "convenient." And, unless you can show how I somehow ripped the first quote from its context, Todd, your point is exactly what?

Finally, as for my "continu[ing] to avoid answering the question" concerning what makes the difference in regeneration, I'd say, Todd, I've not "avoided" anything. This is not a hard question. Why would you think it is?

I will say, however, from my perspective, it's not a genuine question. When this question is posed, it's not really to get what another sincerely believes about how the Spirit operates.

Instead it's a setup question, one of those "gotcha" questions where one has a pat 'comeback' he or she's learned; in this case, probably from Sproul himself. It's designed to make the non-Calvinist think he or she holds to a works-oriented salvation (in essence, what it actually does is decimate the apostle Paul's sharp, incontrovertible polarities between faith and works).

So what's the answer you may be looking for?

I can tell you most probably what Sproul looks for. At least four of Sproul's books pushes this button. An answer like the old 70s chorus is perfect for this game: "I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back." Sproul would love this answer, as would you of course.

Here's how it works, Todd:

"So, you decided to follow Jesus, ah? But why did you decide to follow Jesus? Was your decision more intelligent than someone who didn't decide to follow Jesus? Was your decision to follow a good decision, and was the other person's decision a bad decision, and thus a bad thing? Did your decision to follow make you better than if you decided not to follow Jesus?"

This could go on a while, and the purpose is, obviously, to "demonstrate"--at least to the satisfaction of the trickster asking it--that salvation "ultimately" depends upon the person's decision, not God.

Clever indeed.

But also disingenuous. Attempting to trap others in one's spider web is not the way to persuade people concerning one's position, Todd.

The truth is, the question is a complex one. By "complex" I do not mean the opposite of simple. Instead I mean answers to other questions inevitably affect the answer to this question. In other words, this question involves answers to a cluster of questions.

A classic way to illustrate the presence of complex questions is this old standby: "Have you stopped beating your wife?" No answer is sufficient (at least to the guy who's never beat his wife) of itself. It depends on answers to other questions.

Nonetheless, for the record, the reason I'm regenerated and the other is not is because the sovereign Spirit of God--unilaterally, fully, and completely without one microscopic handout from me--miraculously worked a sovereign work in my life, transforming me into a new creature in Christ Jesus, and He did not so work in the other person. The ultimate difference is our Sovereign Lord. Period. He deserves all honor, all glory, all praise. And, from this poor sinner, as much as in me is, He's gets it.

Now, with that said, Todd, you may continue to believe what you wish about my position. However, it's best not come back here and rehearse that I believe in a works-oriented salvation.

With that, I am...
Peter

volfan007

Peter,

Amen and amen and amen and amen!!!

Wow...what a post, and what answers you have given to some misinformed, tow the party line, swallowed the bait hook line and sinker type fellas. Good stuff.

And, just think...you're from Tennessee.

David

Todd Burus

Peter,
All that just to give a non-answer? What you have said above is simply "I am regenerated because God regenerated me and he didn't the other person." That's obviously not addressing the question I asked, and please don't try and blame any of the presumed ill intent you read into my question as an excuse for it. Oh well.

Oh, and as for if I "hardly read a word [you] ever write", you said, "Indeed [Sproul] may be one of the most influential Calvinists among Southern Baptists." If that is not "bring[ing] in a . . . non-Baptist Calvinist to attack Baptist Calvinists" then I don't know what is. You berate Sproul for far less insinuation.

peter lumpkins

Dear Todd,

Thanks!

And, have a great day.

With that, I am...
Peter

volfan007

Peter,

When you give answers as you did above, and some people still cant see it...then what else is there to do but pray for them? I mean, some people are so intwined in thier system that they cannot, or will not see beyond it. They refuse to see it.

David

peter lumpkins

David,

I think you're right. The level of difficulty at this point in communicating with some--for example, Todd above--no matter how clear I am or sincere I am or consistent I am with my premises--my response constitutes a "non-answer" because it does not fit preconceived expectations of what was supposed to have transpired.

I think for some of the young and restless Calvinists, they're used to catching unsuspecting people in the web they spin. Unfortunately, they get their webs from people like Sproul. Not that I am so slick I cannot 'fall' for something. However, I'm not so naive that I'll fall for just anything either.

Grace, David.

With that, I am...
Peter

Todd Burus

Peter,
I'm glad that you have me and my ilk so figured out. It is interesting though how you have chosen to avoid giving responses when pressed for hard or uncomfortable answers in recent days. Why is one man regenerated and another not? Should Morris Chapman be transparent and accountable to the local church and its leaders? You can mock and belittle me all you want, but the questions still remain for you to answer.

Kevin Jackson

Peter, enjoyable post. And thanks for the link.

volfan007

Todd,

I believe he did answer...sorry that it does not fit into your scheme of looking at things.

David

Todd Burus

David,
I apologize for being dense if this is the case. I'm not looking for any scheme for this to fit in (thanks for asking), but if you wouldn't mind could you please explain the answers to me?

peter lumpkins

Todd,

Here's the deal, dude. I gave an answer. If you don't like it or still think it's a non-answer or whatever, be my guest. But to suppose you're a victim here, is absurd.

Now, if you don't mind, I'd kindly ask you to drop it.

With that, I am...
Peter

Todd Burus

Peter,
Why must you avoid answering? If that's the way it is, that's the way it is. But if you are actually interested in having helpful dialogue then something needs to give. You completely avoided answering the question of whether Chapman should be transparent and accountable. And when you did give an answer to the question about regeneration any honest observer can see that you did not respond to the actual question I asked. Instead you have chosen to denigrate me because of my age and soteriological convictions. Who are you to assume this on me? It is this type of dishonesty and self-preservation which continues the divide inside our convention. You may have difficulty viewing me as an equal and engaging me as such, but none of that is an answer to the questions you have been asked and none of it will get us any closer on the issues that separate us.

volfan007

Okay, Todd, I will attempt to answer you again. Here is the answer that Peter gave you,"Nonetheless, for the record, the reason I'm regenerated and the other is not is because the sovereign Spirit of God--unilaterally, fully, and completely without one microscopic handout from me--miraculously worked a sovereign work in my life, transforming me into a new creature in Christ Jesus, and He did not so work in the other person. The ultimate difference is our Sovereign Lord. Period. He deserves all honor, all glory, all praise. And, from this poor sinner, as much as in me is, He's gets it."

What do you not get? I will try to answer.

David

Todd Burus

David,
My original question was "what in the end is it that makes the difference between a person who the Spirit regenerates and the person he doesn't?" A good definition for regeneration is "the sovereign Spirit of God--unilaterally, fully, and completely without one microscopic handout from [the individual]--miraculously work[ing] a sovereign work in [their] life, transforming [them] into a new creature in Christ Jesus." Thus Peter's answer tells me the difference between a regenerate person and a non-regenerate is that the regenerate person has been regenerated and the non-regenerate person hasn't. I agree with him on the definition, but clearly this is not what I'm asking. My question recast in light of what Peter wrote is, why did "the sovereign Spirit of God--unilaterally, fully, and completely without one microscopic handout from [person A]--miraculously [work] a sovereign work in [their] life, transforming [them] into a new creature in Christ Jesus, [while] He did not so work in [person B]"?

volfan007

Todd,

I cant answer for Peter, but what I would say is that I am saved by the grace of God, because the Lord chose to save me, planned to save me, all by His grace. Those who are lost are lost because they rejected the light that the Lord gave them, and they resisted the calling and convicting of the Holy Spirit.

Thus, person A is saved by the grace of God, and person B is lost because they rejected the light that was shed upon them. Person A is saved because they responded to the call of God, and person B is lost because they rejected the call of God. Person A is saved all by the grace of God, and person B is lost due to his sin.


David

Todd Burus

David,
Thank you for your response. I appreciate your honesty in writing this all out. For my part, I see an initial inconsistency in this view. When you say, "person A is saved by the grace of God, and person B is lost because they rejected the light that was shed upon them," I would immediately reject that as a false dichotomy. If person A is saved by grace, then the opposite is that for person B there was no grace. If person B is lost because they reject the light shed upon them, then the opposite is person A is saved because they accept the light shed upon them (which is I believe what your second sentence says: "Person A is saved because they responded to the call of God, and person B is lost because they rejected the call of God").

To me this is where the divide is, why did person A respond to the call of God and person B not? This is the question that I believe separates the views of a consistent 5-point Calvinist from those of others (I say 'consistent' as pertains to 5-point Calvinists, as there are some who would seem to me to be inconsistent 5-point Calvinists). Thus, why do you, David or Peter or anyone else out there, believe that person A responds positively and person B does not? I am not trying to play "gotcha" or "catch" anyone. I honestly want to know because from where I stand this seems to be an impassable line to carry out fully and that the onus rests on those who do not hold to RPF to explain why their belief is consistent with the Scriptures.

Darby Livingston

"Thus, why do you, David or Peter or anyone else out there, believe that person A responds positively and person B does not?"

Plenty of reasons, Todd. Perhaps person A is more righteous than person B. Perhaps person A is more intelligent than person B. Perhaps person A is more humble than person B. Perhaps person A is more open-minded than person B. Perhaps person A was more loved by his parents than person B. Perhaps person A reads better than person B. Perhaps person A has fresher breath than person B. See; there are many reasons why person A responds positively while person B does not.

Dr. James Galyon

Todd:

Perhaps I'm an "inconsistent Calvinist," but I'm very familiar with Sproul (not to mention MacArthur, Piper, et al) and I don't think he (or the others) would disagree with the assertion that one is "saved by the grace of God, because the Lord chose to save me, planned to save me, all by His grace. Those who are lost are lost because they rejected the light that the Lord gave them, and they resisted the calling and convicting of the Holy Spirit. Thus, person A is saved by the grace of God, and person B is lost because they rejected the light that was shed upon them."

Having said that, it is fair to say there is a definite difference between the Reformed and non-Reformed positions regarding the deciding factor in why one is regenerated and another is not. Peter would seem to agree with you that regeneration is a sovereign work of God alone, etc., yet one may ask why God ultimately regenerated Person A. Was Person A regenerated because of God's eternal choice of him/her or because of his/her choice in time of Him?

Does the assertion of "free will" make a non-Calvinist an automatic promoter of works salvation? No, not if they simply assert they receive God's gift of salvation through faith (and not *for* faith).

Darby - How can Person A be "more righteous" than Person B? "There is none righteous, no, not one." Does God really save people on account of greater intelligence, humility, open-mindedness, parentage, or better breath? Perhaps you are just writing tongue-in-cheek. Nonetheless, the Apostle Paul writes to the Corinthians in his first epistle to them, "For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, 'Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.'" Seems like Person A believes solely on account of God's grace through Christ Jesus.

Todd Burus

Dr. Galyon,
I do not propose that I nor the men you have mentioned would disagree with the first paragraph (at least not radically). What I was referencing by "inconsistent" is 5-point Calvinists who don't hold to regeneration precedes faith-- a position I, Sproul, MacArthur, and Piper all ascent to.

I am not saying that faith initiating regeneration is automatically works, but I think that the burden is on the person who holds this position to prove such is true biblically and to show how this does not constitute synergism. I am not flatly asserting it does, but I do not think one can just flatly assert it doesn't either.

Todd Burus

Dr. Galyon,
By the way, how would you explain the difference between "through faith" and "for faith"?

Dr. James Galyon

Todd:
Yes, there is definitely a difference between monergism and synergism. I think that was another post, however. ;)

By "through faith" I mean that forgiveness, salvation, etc., are all received by faith. Faith is the avenue by which one receives the gift.

By "for faith" I mean that an individual considers himself/herself to be saved, not ultimately because Christ died for sinners, but ultimately because he/she believed. In this sense, faith becomes a "work." May want to read some Luther on that topic. Good stuff!

Steve G

Hey David :) just humerously.. if you are praying that Todd will be willing to understand your position, are you praying that God will irresistably change Todd's understanding?
Steve

peter lumpkins

Dr. Galyon,

Thanks for your contribution. I especially appreciate the assumption non-Calvinists are not necessarily works-oriented heretics. And, we agree the exclusive nature of the Holy Spirit's work in regeneration is unilaterally His own. I nor anyone else contributes to it.

While I agree there is a distinction between monergism and synergism, I think there's a lot of confusion surrounding this because of the way the terms are used particularly in Calvinist circles.

That you brought in election pertaining to the "why" one believes and not the other is precisely the reason the question Todd continued asking is complex. I would add not only is it the doctrine of election but also, total inability and irresistible grace must inevitably be addressed in the equation.

Finally, I'm unsure concerning the distinction you make between "through faith" and "for faith," one being saving faith and the other being "work." Do the Apostles make such a distinction? If so, what texts tease this out?

With that, I am...
Peter

Byroniac

Peter,

So far I have refrained from commenting, but I wanted to throw in my couple of cents if I may. I believe I asked the same question of you repeatedly before Todd asked it, and I believe others have asked it of you before I did, and really, the question is not a complex one at all. The answer to it may be complex, but the question itself is pretty simple. What is the ultimate deciding factor of your personal salvation? Every system I have read (in my admittedly limited) study has had one, though it might take awhile to find it and tease it out of its teachings.

Where I think Sproul is coming from is not that Pelagianism, Semi-Pelagianism, and Arminianism have no distinctions (something he surely does not believe and I trust he does not accidentally intend to communicate such an idea here), but that all three systems share a common link. Salvation is ultimately a product of the human will, in a sense, or at least, it would seem to be a logical conclusion (if faulty one, in your estimation). They all differ on the initial freedom of the will in the spectrum from Pelagianism and man's natural freedom of will all the way to Arminianism depending on prevenient grace to initially free the will to choose. But ultimately all agree that salvation is chosen by the will, do they not?

So the reason why one person is regenerated and another not is that one chooses to be and another does not. Todd's question, and mine, was why is this? And what is that deciding factor that causes one to choose and one not to do so? This is what I think might be a very difficult, or even unanswerable, question in Arminianism, just like certain questions are for Calvinism, such as what is the origin of sin? True believers, whether or Arminian or not, give God the full glory as you did above (Amen!). But answering why God should get the full glory in salvation seems to me at least to be harder to answer in your system than in Calvinism (though in all fairness, the questions of evil and suffering are harder to solve and less pleasant).

Luke

Peter,
I am going to wade into this question and see just how far this issue is/can be pressed with your indulgence.

Byron,

I think John 3:20 pretty much addresses why one does not come to the "light".

I think John 3:21 pretty much addresses why one does come to the "light".

Is this sufficient for you?

Luke

volfan007

Darby,

Person A is not more righteous...not more intelligent...nor anything else. Person A humbly responded to the Gospel. Person B pridefully did not.

Just as the Israelites who looked at the statue of the brass snake in the wilderness were healed of the deadly snake bites, and those who did not look were not healed...they died. And, just as that brass snake on a pole was lifted up, so Jesus was lifted up on the cross. And, all who look upon Jesus and HIs work on the cross...in faith....will be saved.

David

peter lumpkins

Byron,

That I've been repeatedly bombarded with this question as you appear to suggest will have to be demonstrated to me. Nor is it a question with which I am unfamiliar. I noted Sproul uses it in at least four different writings.

Nor Byron are you clear on my use of complex. I went out of my way to explicitly note what I meant by "complex" yet you suggest the very idea I attempted to avoid--a "simple" question with a "complex" answer.

This is what I said:

"By "complex" I do not mean the opposite of simple. Instead I mean answers to other questions inevitably affect the answer to this question. In other words, this question involves answers to a cluster of questions."
It's discouraging to continue repeating over and again.

Third, you write: "Where I think Sproul is coming from is not that Pelagianism, Semi-Pelagianism, and Arminianism have no distinctions... but that all three systems share a common link."

Here's what I wrote:

"Since you make no careful distinction between Pelagianism and semi-Pelagianism (this explains much for the earlier quote), and the essence of Pelagianism is retained in Arminianism..."
Hence, I did not assert Sproul made no distinctions but no careful distinction between the notorious three.

Also, the "common link" you mentioned, I highlighted as the "essence of Pelagianism" being retained in Arminianism (A lot of this could be avoided, if you'd carefully read before you respond, Byron).

Fourth, the way I understand you is, for Sproul--and I suppose yourself--the "common link" is salvation is ultimately a product of the human will for Pelagianism, Semi-Pelagianism, and Arminianism (P/S/A), even though they possess a continuum acceptance of the freedom of the will. Perhaps I misunderstood. If I did not misunderstand, you've placed all semi-pelagians and Arminians out side historic Christianity.

Fifth, Byron, why should I even answer the question you pose to me? Since your foregone conclusion to the question you insist I answer is, as you said, "very difficult or even unanswerable," why waste time with it since you are already aware of the outcome?

That's one reason why I mentioned earlier concerning the disingenuousnees expressed in this question. Even for you, as many times as you claim I've avoided it, you thought to yourself, it was "unanswerable."

These are the type of games which frustrate me, quite frankly. Not to mention the horrible position it puts young believers in when aggressive "Reformed" brothers bully new believers with questions they know are "very difficult or even unanswerable." Yet they pound away at their new-found faith with charges of "heresy" or "works-oriented" salvation.

Finally, Byron, I must state once again the complex question Todd and now you--not to mention the untold others who've cornered me with this question but I managed to skirt--would like an answer to.

You asked, "What is the ultimate deciding factor of your personal salvation?" I answer. God is the ultimate deciding factor of my personal salvation. How could I possibly say any other?

Now, will that satisfy either you or Todd? Not on your life. Why? Well, because answers to other questions must necessarily be pursued. And, it's not a matter of "teasing it out" as you put it; instead, it's a matter of working backwards to more fundamental premises (in the very same sense one works backwards on the question, "Have you stopped beating your wife?).

Interestingly, soon after you asked your question, Byron, you began to address a more fundamental subject, the nature of the human will which includes the question of human depravity. And, the answer to that question affects the answer to your question.

In addition, even if we could agree on depravity, it's not just a matter of divine influence upon the depraved human soul, it's divine causality. Recall another version of your "simple" question:

"And what is that deciding factor that causes one to choose and one not to do so?"
In your case, exclusively irresistible grace, or, a raising from the dead--since dead men don't believe.

And, I haven't even mentioned going all the way back to eternal election. Am I elected because I believe or do I believe because I'm elected?

In a real sense, Byron, the question you raise assumes premises on your behalf of at least three petals of the TULIP. Yet, it is posed as a straight-forward question.

Now, I don't know in the end why the question is significant to you and Todd. I do know, I think why it's so significant to Sproul. He writes:

"The logical priority of regeneration in Reformed theology rests on the doctrine of total depravity or moral inability. Because fallen man is morally unable to incline himself by faith to Christ, regeneration is a logical necessity for faith to occur. If we were to posit that faith precedes regeneration, then we would be assuming that unregenerate people, while still in an unregenerate state, have the moral ability to exercise faith. If the unregenerate can exercise faith, then it follows clearly that they are not fallen to the degree of moral inability, as claimed by classical Augustinian and Reformed theology. This would involve an Arminian or semi-Pelagian view of the fall" (R.C. Sproul, Willing to Believe,194).

For Sproul, the reason the question is pushed is because of his unalterable commitment to moral inability of human beings.

I don't think it's too much to say, that for Sproul, if a person possesses the moral ability to believe before one's fully born again--in spite of all the powerful influences of the gospel and the Holy Spirit can do, just short of full regeneration--if a human being responds to the gospel influences short of re-birth, the entire theological construct of Calvinism falls flat on its face.

That's how significant moral inability is to his version of Calvinism, and consequently, why he thinks the question you and Todd seem to have cloned becomes the question of questions.

So I won't be misunderstood, let me once again answer your question, Byron: "What is the ultimate deciding factor of your personal salvation?"

I answer...

God is the ultimate deciding factor of my personal salvation. How could I possibly say any other?

I trust this is clear.
With that, I am...
Peter

Darby Livingston

"Person A is not more righteous...not more intelligent...nor anything else. Person A humbly responded to the Gospel. Person B pridefully did not."

Is humility a righteous thing to be?

Ian D. Elsasser

Peter:

Your assertion that Calvinists caricature Arminians is correct. I have visited enough Reformed and Calvinist blogs – both Baptist and non-Baptist – over the years where the blog hosts and sympathetic commenters employed against Arminianism/Arminians such terms and phrases as semi-Pelagian, “works(-based) righteousness,” man-made salvation, self-salvation, decisional regeneration, etc. I have also observed that many of these Reformed and Calvinist types are quick to cry foul that they and their views are misrepresented yet will not own that they may be misrepresenting the views of those who do not hold to their views. Alas! I think your attempt to demonstrate that Calvinists caricature non-Calvinists will prove unsuccessful, though I wish this not to be the case.

Ian D. Elsasser

Todd Burus said:

"What I was referencing by "inconsistent" is 5-point Calvinists who don't hold to regeneration precedes faith-- a position I, Sproul, MacArthur, and Piper all ascent to."
Thankfully this is not the only view on regeneration and conversion left to Calvinists, notwithstanding your opinion that it the only consistent position.

Byroniac

Well, I have been at work most of the day, then church, then an accident on the freeway sent me on a lengthy detour home, then I get home and my highspeed internet is out, so I am on dialup for the time being.

Luke,

Thank you, but not really. I would have to ask you for your exegesis of "wrought in God" (KJV) in 3:21. At best, it tells me what men do and why they are condemned, but not why they are evil or what makes them differ, which is the essence of the question I am asking Peter.

Peter,

"That I've been repeatedly bombarded with this question as you appear to suggest will have to be demonstrated to me." First, I do not know how to do this. All I can do is confess that I have asked it of you numerous times, and Todd has in my memory asked it at least twice following me. I hope that is sufficient.

Second, for complex questions, I misunderstood your meaning. I was focusing on the complexity of the question, not of the answer. That is why I could imply that the question of evil and suffering is a very simple question with a complex answer. "What is the origin of evil" and "Why do we suffer" do not have simple, easy answers (at least for me).

Third, for distinctions, I concentrated on your question to Sproul, "You mean there is no difference between 'any kind of' Pelagianism and 'any kind of' Arminianism?" (quoting you, but not exactly due to embedded quotes). Later, you apparently clarify with the, "Since you make no careful distinction between Pelagianism and semi-Pelagianism..." I am not sure why you ask the former, then, since apparently that is not your understanding of his words, then? However, I acknowledge your correction, "A lot of this could be avoided, if you'd carefully read before you respond, Byron" in most cases (perhaps this one, as well).

Fourth, I do believe you understand, but I have not "placed all semi-pelagians and Arminians out side historic Christianity" because of that understanding. All I am saying is I see an inconsistency of the common link of salvation being "ultimately a product of the human will for Pelagianism, Semi-Pelagianism, and Arminianism (P/S/A), even though they possess a continuum acceptance of the freedom of the will" and your later remark that, "God is the ultimate deciding factor of my personal salvation." I understand you to mean that you affirm the second statement and disavow the first, correct? I have no qualms with the second statement, and I believe both of us can heartily amen the idea that salvation is a work of God and we add nothing to it. But it seems to me that God's salvation (and salvific will) can be thwarted by the will of the creature in Arminianism, so without creaturely consent there is no regeneration and no salvation. If salvation does occur, it must always occur because God is faithful to honor His invitation to salvation, so the ultimating deciding factor becomes not God's power to save but man's will to choose (since it seems to assume higher priority in whether salvation happens or not). That to me seems like the logical conclusion, but Arminians tell me I'm wrong. I may be, but I cannot see it yet. I am NOT affirming that Arminians are heretics, but that their theology seems to me to be inconsistent (and I am forced to admit my own is inconsistent due at the very least to my faulty understanding and lack of knowledge).

Fifth, you state this: "That's one reason why I mentioned earlier concerning the disingenuousnees expressed in this question. Even for you, as many times as you claim I've avoided it, you thought to yourself, it was 'unanswerable.'" Peter, what I meant was, I believe it is unanswerable within the system of Arminianism, not that it has no answer and can have none. For me, the answer to this question is simply one of many answers that form the system of Calvinism. However, I have to admit Calvinism has some unanswerable questions of its own, but this isn't one of them (I also, in the sense of fairness, admitted the questions of evil and suffering are more difficult to solve than in Arminianism, but now I think I misspoke and should have said these questions probably have no solution in Calvinism, at least as far as I know).

"For Sproul, the reason the question is pushed is because of his unalterable commitment to moral inability of human beings." I agree with Sproul. I also agree with your next paragraph concerning Calvinism.

Then you end with, "God is the ultimate deciding factor of my personal salvation. How could I possibly say any other?" Amen! I believe you, Peter. Though my understanding of your theology faces a contradiction in that, I have no problem believing your sincerity and that you believe that this is true. All I was hoping for you to do, then, is to acknowledge the question we asked of you.

Byroniac

Still having internet troubles, so let me add this separately. I wanted you to acknowledge the question either in the sense that it shows an inconsistency in your system (which I honestly think you do not believe there is), or to please show us where our misunderstanding lies, since this question, however inaccurate it may be in reflecting your theological viewpoint on this issue in salvation, is probably the best I personally can come up with for explaining my difficulty in understanding and need for clarification. Thank you, Peter, and please understand, I am not questioning or challenging your salvation. I am simply confessing my lack of understanding and seeking clarification.

Byroniac

I meant to state earlier that Arminian theology, at least as I understand it, seems inconsistent with the idea that the ultimate deciding factor in salvation is God Himself, and that God gets all the glory for salvation, because salvation seems to depend upon the creaturely will in order to operate, and in the case of classical Arminianism, can even be undone by the effect of the will.

peter lumpkins

Ian,

Thanks. And, you are correct. I'm quite sure many of the y&r Calvinists will ever own up to caricature.

With that, I am...
Peter

peter lumpkins

Byron,

Here’s the deal, Byron. I don’t want a long drawn out comment I have to wade through. Show me clearly, succinctly and to the point how “my system” is inconsistent with its own premises.

With that, I am...
Peter

Byroniac

Peter, with all due respect, I give up. I've done that now twice. I thought I expressed it with enough clarity at the end of my last round of comments, or at least I hoped. Thank you for your time, though, and have a good day!

peter lumpkins

Byron,

No, Byron, what you've done is not even close. Instead, you've shot out long comments I've waded through asserting I'm inconsistent...charging that "my system" is inconsistent within itself. That's all.

Now I've asked you to, in strait-forward fashion, show me clearly, succinctly and to the point how “my system” is inconsistent with its own premises. Yet you retort, "I give up." Sorry, dude. That just doesn't do it for me. I have no time for games like this.

But if you want to "give up," you may do as you wish, Byron. But until you can, in strait-forward fashion, show me clearly, succinctly and to the point how “my system” is inconsistent with its own premises, do not come back here again making the charge that "my system" is inconsistent with its premises.

If you are unwilling to state clearly, succinctly and to the point precisely how the incoherence is established, nothing will be accomplished with your unsubstantiated assertions.

With that, I am...
Peter

Byroniac

Peter, I have tried several times throughout my history here at this blog to do precisely that. I am sorry that you feel my comments are obtuse and incoherent. I cannot help that, apparently. I really can't. There just comes a point in time when you do the best you can, and when that seems insufficient or unacceptable to another person, you learn contentment in letting such things be. Sometimes, the conversation really cannot be furthered, and in this case, that is a shame.

peter lumpkins

Byron,

I'm uninterested in your playing the victim. Nor did I remotely suggest your comments are "obtuse and incoherent." Instead I asked you to state clearly, succinctly and to the point precisely how the incoherence to "my system" is established. That you have decidedly not done.

Now, either attempt to do so, or let's just let it go.

With that, I am...
Peter

Byroniac

As you wish.

Todd Burus

Peter,
Just to jump back in, this infamous question which you have been asked and somewhat responded to several times now, is not meant to be as complex as you make it. I will grant you election by foreknowledge of future faith. I will grant you man is not faced with total inability Two men, fully able to make a choice for God, one gets regenerated and one doesn't. What did they do differently? If you don't like those premises, set them however you want. I'm just interested in what makes the subjective difference between persons versus the objective difference in God, since apparently this hasn't been clear.

peter lumpkins

Todd,

I am not going to discuss with you whether the question is complex or not. I've made my best case for it. If you still believe it's not "as complex as [I] make it" so be it.

Now, presumably you're asking why one person experiences regeneration and another does not. In response, I'd say the same as I did two posts back: Non-Calvinists (as well as many Calvinists) usually confess regeneration is conditioned upon repentant faith, and consequently the new birth is subsequent to rather than antecedent to, saving faith.

To clarify, however, it's hardly a matter of "doing" indicative as it seems to be of your question: "What did they do differently?" It's more about 'receiving' and/or 'believing.'

With that, I am...
Peter

volfan007

Todd,

One received the gift of salvation, and the other did not. God desired that both men be saved, and the death of Jesus was sufficient to cover both men's sins.

The man who got saved responded to the call of God and got saved.

The Lord planned to save him, and called out to him for salvation. The Lord chose to save him.

The other man is lost because he rejected the call of God, and did not believe.

Trying to see anything beyond that is purely the speculation of man.

David

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