« Too Much to Say, Too Little Time to Say by Peter Lumpkins | Main | Young Reformed Baptist Becomes Agnostic by Peter Lumpkins »

Feb 01, 2011

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451a37369e20148c839fde6970c

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Strict Calvinism's Absurd Denial of Moral Free Will by Peter Lumpkins:

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

darryl brunson

Good stuff, Brother! Keep it up.

Luke

Peter,

I agree with your assessment of Alan's illustration in that it falls short of supporting his assertion. I find it even more interesting though that the illustration he appeals to is not the standard "dead man" who can do nothing. So, we've traded the "dead man" for a "drunk man" at which I would venture that he would say we are all "drunk" because of Adam. YET, in Ezekiel, God puts to rest the excuse that a man is guilty because of what his father did. No longer would the people be able to say "our teeth are set on edge(drunk) because of what our fathers drank(alcohol)". Rather, God says,"the soul that sins, it shall die. Ought implies Can.

Tim Rogers

Brother Peter,

What if Amie were an unbeliever? Does that mean that God ordained Amie to get drunk, in order to get in a car and drive, for the sole purpose of killing someone, in order that God's wrath would be bestowed on her to give Him glory? Isn't that what Kurshner is also indicating? All of this is in order to satisfy God's wrath?

Blessings,
Tim

Michelle

Can't argue with logic...which is where Calvinism breaks down IMO. I've only heard 1 explanation from Calvinists on the breakdown of logic in their doctrine: it's a mystery.

I always wonder, if Calvinist's can claim "mystery" for all lack of logic, why can't non-Calvinists for claim "mystery" for all the perceived lack of logic?

Randy

Wow! I couldn't follow all those twist and turn with my limited intellect. From what I could tell Peter, I think you took Kurschner's analogy way beyond his intention; not that I’d defend him.

You, better than even most so-called "Calvinists" (I loathe the term and don't think Calvin would appreciate it either) know that true, historic Calvinism has never taught that humans aren't morally responsible...contrary to Kurschner's assertion even the unregenerate.

Adam and Eve had true "free will," since then we've been sinners by nature and by choice therefore, when it comes to morals (not salvation) we are responsible. God’s grace does more than save us; His grace doesn’t allow man to be as bad as he could be. Yet, our sin nature prevents one from being good enough to earn salvation or even God’s approval.

Real "Reformers," live in humility with the tension between God's sovereignty and man's moral responsibility. As students of God’s Word, we must acknowledge that we will never fully understand everything the Bible teaches.

Michelle; As for lack of logic, well most Presbyterians I know are engineers, doctors, lawyers, scientists, statisticians and the like...I don't think there is a lack of "logical" minded people who embrace "Calvinism." Wouldn't be fairer just to say that "free-will" leads some to ebrace one thing; while others another...and not be less a Christain?

The Seeking Disciple

The Calvinist reply is simple: Deuteronomy 29:29.

David B. Hewitt

Peter:

Interesting that you would raise this argument at all. The statement "if I ought, I can" is a historical quote by a man named Pelagius, against whom Augustine stood many years ago resulting in the Council of Carthage.

In any case, the denial that we have the moral ability to do as we ought is clearly a scriptural concept, and for all the illustrations and questions you provided, you didn't provide any Scriptural objection to what Alan said. Further, the aforementioned concept is foundational to historic Calvinism.

Besides, there are plenty of Bible passages that give us commands that we cannot obey but we are held responsible to obey. One of my favorites to point to is this:

Matthew 5:48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.


Jesus commanded it, that we be perfect, and given that it comes at the end of a chapter that is very preoccupied with our moral conforming to God's character, it follows that Jesus is demanding that we be morally perfect.

The question must be asked of this passage and of us -- how is that possible? You and I cannot do this, yet Jesus insists that we do it. Can people meet the requirements of Jesus's demand here? The answer is yes, but how is that? The answer is pretty clear to any Christian; one needs the righteousness of Christ to meet the demands.

So, it is clear that, to obey Jesus, we need Jesus providing what we need to do it. I ought to be perfect -- but I cannot be. So then, as Alan wrote, quoting Augustine, "Grant what Thou commandest, and command what Thou dost desire." Ah, Lord, make it so!

sdg,
dbh

David B. Hewitt

Peter:

Further, Alan was clearly saying that we *are* responsible for out sin, even in the very title. Were you suggesting that he was somehow denying it?

dbh

Andy

I'm trying to figure out the difference between you and an Arminian on this issue. I'm not name calling. I'm merely pointing out that your supposed Baptist alternative to the Calvinist vs. Arminian debate doesn't actually offer an alternative. You are saying what Arminians/ Semi-Pelagians have always said.

Once again, I'm not name calling. Many gospel-loving people take that position according to their reading of Scripture. I'm also not implying that you are fully Arminian, just as Reformed Baptists are not fully Reformed(e.g., Baptism).

If you disagree, please help me understand what separates your view from an Arminian on the issue of free will. I might be missing something.

peter

David,

First, as to my citing ought implies can, why would I be reluctant to raise a fundamental premise of ethical norms? The moral premise I raised has many historical defenders, I assure. And if the statement "if I ought, I can" *is* a historical quote by a man named Pelagius, whoopee! (though I doubt the form and content of the statement the way ethicists employ it is identical to the British Monk’s usage). Even so,  unless you’re going to show the precise analogy between my supposed usage and Pelagius, one wonders why you’d mention it—unless, of course, you’d like to grease the bucket a bit.

Second, if you care to show me the exegetical content I overlooked from the Kurschner quote, I’d be happy to oblige a comment.  And as to your assertion that what Allen said was a “concept [that] is foundational to historic Calvinism,” though common, I doubt many would climb aboard such an overstated claim, David.  They might, but I’d need a lot more proof than your bare assertion.

Third, your predictable citation of Matt 5:48 lends no weight to supporting the ridiculous premise that ought does not imply can. The curious thing is, while you totally botch the interpretation of Christ’s words, you nonetheless come to the same implication of the words as do those who deny your premise. It needs to be pointed out that Jesus was speaking to those who’re following Him—or at least wanted to follow Him. He was not making a universal norm for all people. 

Nor was Jesus asking His followers to be morally perfect as you indicate.  The term translated “perfect’ is teleios  and means “complete,” finished,” “mature,” and has the idea of goal and/or end-result embedded within it (cp. Eph 4:13 when the Apostle puts an eschatological focus on the “completion” indicating the process of moral maturity will not fully take place until the future).  Be “complete” as your Father is “complete” hardly demands as you suggest, “that we be morally perfect.”

Nonetheless, you rightly observe that while Christians cannot within themselves accomplish moral maturity, by God’s grace working in them through Christ’s presence, they can—“I can do all things through Christ”; “without me ye can do nothing…”

The problem is, you fail to understand what ought implies can means. It does *not* necessarily imply we can in our own power. But we most certainly can and *will* obtain moral maturity in His! (cp. Eph 4:13). Hence, to suggest Jesus is asking us to do something impossible for us to do within ourselves without also supplying the ability to do so is patently absurd, David. Not to mention morally questionable and surely unjust.

Finally, my OP concerned Allen’s statement—its bare absurdity.  And, unless you can show how I mischaracterized it, or the scenario I teased out somehow doesn’t follow, I’ll take it you only want to get focus off the absurdity and talk about other things.

With that, I am…

Peter

peter

All, thanks for your contributions. I answered David at length. It never fails for Matt 5:48 to be cited as if Jesus calls us to be "morally perfect." I think it comes from EE...

Andy,

Why be so confused? If I argue we're chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world as did the Apostle in Eph 1 (and to which I adhere, by the way), you probably would be confused about me sounding a Calvinist line. I claim no system (even though I have systemic tendencies)--especially with a man's name attached to it.

And, you are correct--I hold tenaciously to a form of what's today called libertarian free will. As you can see from the OP, to hold to determinism, is to hold to moral nonsense. For the record, there are some noteworthy "Reformed" thinkers who also hold to a form of libertarian free will--Francis Schaeffer and Alvin Plantinga come to mind.

With that, I am...
Peter

Tim Rogers

Brother David,

Here is the issue. Either one is responsible because of a free-will choice, or one is controlled by a puppet master and as such all actions are a result of the controlling puppet master. If it is the latter, which Calvinism is Kustner's analogy then our moral choices are a result of the Puppet Master leading us to make them and we are not responsible.

As to our moral ability, I have not seen Brother Peter arguing against one not have moral ability. His argument, from what I see, centers around the doctrine that we are responsible for our choices even when, according to Kurstner, we do not have the ability to make the right choice.

As for the Pelagius quote. Wasn't it Spurgeon that said; "Calvinism is the Gospel?" Are you suggesting we throw out everything Spurgeon said because he was wrong on that point? Also, Augustine, in his argument against Pelagius, argued for a the need for infant baptism because of original sin. Are you suggesting that we go to infant baptism because of the original sin nature we all possess? I do not believe you are. I am just pointing to the argument you make that is really preposterous because it involves one argument from someone who denied original sin. His statement "if I ought, I can" certainly can be accepted as a logical, philosophical, religious and moral truth. Wouldn't you agree?

Blessings,
Tim

David B. Hewitt

Peter, Tim:

I won't address all the things said, as I will saving them for a fuller response later, save to save I was aware of the meanings of the word "perfect" (teleios). I wanted to say this, citing Tim Rogers:

"His statement "if I ought, I can" certainly can be accepted as a logical, philosophical, religious and moral truth. Wouldn't you agree?"

No, I would certainly not agree. The issue of the bondage of the will versus the freedom of the will was one of the most important battlegrounds in the Reformation itself (Luther vs. Erasmus). God's Word indicates well that our wills, bound to sin, are unable to please God (Romans 8:7--8). Whatever philosophical notions we may have, the Word of God must indeed rule our understanding.

sdg,
dbh

Bart Barber

David B. Hewitt,

You might profit from reading Jonathan Edwards's "Freedom of the Will," particularly his very helpful differentiation between natural inability and moral inability. Edwards would say that you are indeed able (naturally) to be perfect as God is perfect. Edwards quite nicely demonstrated the natural "can" that necessarily corresponds with God's "ought."

Of course, Jonathan Edwards was probably a Pelagian, too. ;-)

peter

David,

If you were *aware* of the meaning why would you completely ignore the meaning? Good heavens, man...

All
I may be able to approve comments but that's about it till ton ite

Peter

David B. Hewitt

Peter:
I didn't completely ignore it, but rather implied it with my comments about the chapter's preoccupation. I was simply getting to an inescapable conclusion with regard to God's perfection that Jesus includes in the statement. :)

Off to go break up some of the ice that is preventing my getting to work so I can tomorrow.

sdg,
dbh

David B. Hewitt

Bart:
I am fully aware of the distinction that Edwards made between natural and moral freedom, and I affirm it. I was talking about moral freedom, not natural freedom, and it was in that context which I framed my comments. John Piper sums it up well when, talking about our inability to please God, has said, "We CANNOT because we WILL not!" The will is what needs to be changed.

This link refers to an article that I think sums the matter up nicely, and I agree with its contents completely.

The moral freedom of man was also what Peter was talking about given the title of the original post. :)

sdg,
dbh

Don Johnson

David,

I noticed Tchividjian's article did not give any specifics. I was wondering if you could give about a dozen things you are free to do that your unsaved neighbor is not free to do.

peter

David,

You first wrote, "it follows that Jesus is demanding that we be morally perfect"


I responded: "Nor was Jesus asking His followers to be morally perfect as you indicate. The term translated “perfect’ is teleios and means “complete,” finished,” “mature,” and has the idea of goal and/or end-result embedded within it...[hence]...Be “complete” as your Father is “complete” hardly demands as you suggest, “that we be morally perfect.”

Your response: "I was aware of the meanings of the word "perfect" (teleios)... I was simply getting to an inescapable conclusion with regard to God's perfection that Jesus includes in the statement"

You're perfectly *aware* of the meaning of Jesus' words but nonetheless insist on an "inescapable conclusion" which is not found in His words nor implied in the (con)text? OKay...

In addition, immediately after puffing and snorting about the Word of God ruling our understanding over "philosophical notions we may have"--a rule with which I have no qualms whatsoever--not to mention the lecture I received for not providing any "Scriptural objection to what Alan said," you turn right around and affirm wholeheartedly one of the most philosophically charged pieces of literature in the modern Christian era (Edwards on the will).

What a West Georgia hoot!

Makes one want to just crawl up under a tree in Valdosta and eat himself to death on sweet peaches.

With that, I am...
Peter

Ron Hale

Peter,

Kurschner writes:
"The Bible describes our human condition as slaves to our sinful will. Both Jesus and Paul use that terminology. Jesus did not come to affirm a free will; he came to set the will free. Both teach that the unregenerate person does not posses any moral free will." Then he quotes John 6:44 and Romans 8:7-8.

It seems that Strict Calvinists teach that God is sovereign in salvation, but what about in sanctification? Would Kurschner teach that the sinner (unregenerate person) has no moral free will prior to salvation, BUT... what about after he or she is saved?

If He [God] is totally effective in irresistibly drawing the hearts of the elect to salvation ....then should He not be just as effective in sanctifying the elect? If their will is free in Christ ... should not "all" or "most" of their decisions be good and Godly?

A good friend of mine asks, "If God is sovereign in salvation, why is He not sovereign in sanctification? If God is at work in the greater, regeneration, why is He not at work in the lesser, sanctification?"

Is this not a contradiction; if God is sovereign in regeneration, as Calvinists teach, why is He not equally sovereign in the sanctification of the elect?

My friend would ask, "Why doesn't God's irrestistible grace, that is so powerful toward sinners, create perfectly obedient lives after sinners are saved?"

<><

David B. Hewitt

Peter:

You said:
"You're perfectly *aware* of the meaning of Jesus' words but nonetheless insist on an "inescapable conclusion" which is not found in His words nor implied in the (con)text? OKay...

I would contend that the demand that we be morally perfect is indeed implied in the text and context. Certainly we are to grow to maturity, something that is implied with the use of the word "teleios" as it means mature, complete, and by extension, perfect (from BibleWorks 8).

However, given that the word is used twice in that verse, and once referring to God ("as your heavenly Father is perfect"), and since we are to be like God in His perfection here, are we to think that God is somehow matured? Or do we think that God is now complete? God is morally perfect and we must be also; this must be Jesus's point. The examples He gives all throughout Matthew 5 (and 6, and 7) and how we are to be reflect God's character. Jesus makes this point a few verses earlier by saying we should love our enemies:

Matthew 5:44-45 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, (45) so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.


Why are we to love our enemies? We are to do so because such love would conform to God's perfect character.

sdg,
dbh

peter lumpkins

David,

You may contend as you wish.  The difficulty you face is all but insurmountable, David. Here’s why.

First, you concede the word translated “perfect” means “complete,” finished,” “mature,” and has the idea of goal and/or end-result embedded within it (cp. Eph 4:13 when the Apostle puts an eschatological focus on the “completion” indicating the process of moral maturity will not fully take place until the future). Nor is the qualifier “moral” which you supply necessarily implied, David.  You supplied the term.

Second, the text most certainly does state God is mature and fully complete.  But it does not imply He has ever been anything other than mature and complete—as your Father in heaven *is* perfect. Jesus was simply stating a fact.  Moreover, the assumption behind our Lord’s stated fact about the Father’s perfection is our obvious imperfection (or incompleteness or unwholeness, if you will)—”be ye therefore.”

Third, the context is decidedly against your understanding. As I understand your meaning, you’re suggesting Jesus puts obviously impossible requirements upon human beings who cannot possibly achieve such demands. And, consequently, the moral maxim stands, God holds humans responsible (and guilty) for not obeying what they had no ability to obey.

However, Jesus makes no such statement. Nor is anything like this implied in the context. First, you’re completely ignoring to whom Jesus is speaking (I mentioned this in my first comment but you ignored it there too).  He’s speaking specifically to His disciples about how different their behavior in the Kingdom is to be from what was considered societal norms of the 1st century—including both from religious communities (v.21) as well as the “publicans” (vv.46-47)  He most certainly was not speaking to all people in general and stating a fundamental principle about “free will” or “moral inability” or the like.  A reading of this text with those notions in mind can only mar God’s Word, David. 

Consider: the call Jesus made to being “perfect” specifically relates to His concern that His disciples show a comprehensive (“complete” “mature” “perfect”) love which goes beyond what publicans do. They merely love those who love themselves (vv.47-47).  Jesus calls us to love even those who show no love to us—a broader, “complete”, “mature” love expressed by His Kingdom citizens. 

This understanding is certainly substantiated by several scholars:

  • This passage was not talking about ethical perfection (5:4). Rather, it was commanding believers to be as consistent and generous toward people as God is (causing rain and sun). The law of Christ freed believers from having a provincial attitude toward other people, toward the extent of God’s love, and toward the intent of the Law” Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary, Rev. ed. of: New Bible companion. 1990)
  • “Manifestly, our Lord here speaks, not of degrees of excellence, but of the kind of excellence which was to distinguish His disciples and characterize His kingdom…He refers to that full orbed glorious completeness which is in the great Divine Model, “their Father which is in heaven” (Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, A. R. Fausset et al., A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments)
  • “Disciples’ love, like the heavenly Father’s, must be “perfect” (v. 48), that is, all-inclusive (cf. neb). As God’s common grace is showered upon both the evil and the good (v. 45), so disciples’ love is to extend not just to those who love them (v. 46), nor just to fellow Christians (v. 47), but to enemies and nonbelievers as well (cf. Matt. 22:39; Luke 6:36)”  (Walter A. Elwell, vol. 3, Evangelical Commentary on the Bible)
  • “The paragraph begun in v. 43 closes with a command that may equally summarize all six antitheses. “Perfect” here is better translated as “mature, whole,” i.e., loving without limits (probably reflecting an underlying Aramaic tamim). Jesus is not frustrating his hearers with an unachievable ideal but challenging them to grow in obedience to God’s will—to become more like him. J. Walvoord rightly observes, “While sinless perfection is impossible, godliness, in its biblical concept, is attainable.” But such godliness cannot be comprehensively formulated in a set of rules; the ethics of the sermon are suggestive, not exhaustive. The parallel passage in Luke (6:36) uses synecdoche (the use of a part for the whole) to capture the essence of God’s image in which we are being renewed, namely, mercy (cf. Exod 34:6–7a). Even as God sets higher standards in his new covenant than in the law, he reveals himself as more forgiving of our failures” (Craig Blomberg, New American Commentary, Matthew)

I assure you I could cite many, many more scholarly sources. And, while there are some differences between them, there is a decided agreement that Jesus was *not* making moral demands on fallen humanity generally to demonstrate their latent inability to obey impossible demands.

Hence, the formidable ethical principle ought implies can suffers no setback by your single verse upon which you’ve built your denial, David.

From my view, strict Calvinists too often get free passes when they quote their favorite ‘proof-texts’.  But when  we look closer into the texts they often cite, no real substance is there.  Just assertion. Unfortunately, all you have to maintain your interpretation is assertion, David. Just assertion.

With that, I am…

Peter

peter lumpkins

Ron,

An excellent question. Perhaps David will oblige.

With that, I am...
Peter

David B. Hewitt

Peter:

Didn't address the fact that Jesus was specifically talking to the disciples because I agreed with you. :)

Also, very interesting commentary that you cited. I appreciate it to be sure, and there are some things that I learned from it, especially that from Walter Elwell. The indications from the context are obvious and helpful! At the same time, I still don't think my implication is not in the text. Since God is perfect, even if this is limited only to the fact that, like God's love, we are to be "all inclusive" as He is with His common grace, it begs the question:

How can I truly love like that? In my sinful self, can I truly do as Jesus commands here? Can I truly eliminate all prejudices?

In any case, thank you for elucidating a point in the text that I had, at least in part, overlooked.

With regard to a couple of Ron's questions:
"A good friend of mine asks, "If God is sovereign in salvation, why is He not sovereign in sanctification? If God is at work in the greater, regeneration, why is He not at work in the lesser, sanctification?"

Is this not a contradiction; if God is sovereign in regeneration, as Calvinists teach, why is He not equally sovereign in the sanctification of the elect?"

He is at work in sanctification and is certainly sovereign over it. Though the believer operates with a renewed will, it is God that maintains and grows that will. It is His power that keeps us in Christ, and causes us even to want to obey Him. Such is seen in Philippians:

Philippians 2:12-13 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, (13) for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Yes, if we even truly desire to obey our Father, we have Him to thank for it! I find such a great encouragement that I belong to Him, don't you?

sdg,
dbh

peter lumpkins

David,

Thanks for the concession, David; and we'll leave it at that...

With that, I am...
Peter

peter lumpkins

All,

So far as I can tell, employing Matt 5:48 which Calvinists so often do in attempting to "prove" God commands all people to morally perform what is impossible to perform and then holds them both responsible and guilty nonetheless was made widespread through D.James Kennedy's Evangelism Explosion course. I used to use the verse as suggested in the manual. Needless to say, I stopped when actually paid attention to what Jesus was saying.

Sadly, though David could not offer a single, credible reason for retaining his view, he chooses to retain it nonetheless. I think this is indicative of the almost impregnable grip a strict Calvinist view has on reading the Bible. On a personal note, it took years to wash strong Calvinism out of my system so I could read the Bible apart from Geneva's approval.

Finally note that when the exchange began between David and myself, he confidently claimed:

"...there are plenty of Bible passages that give us commands that we cannot obey but we are held responsible to obey. One of my favorites to point to is this: [Matthew :5:48]"

Even so, no other biblical passages were called to rescue the strict Calvinist's claim that God commands us to act and holds us both responsible and guilty even if we are incapable of acting. In a sense I was surprised since David claimed there exists "plenty of Bible passages" to demonstrate their claim. On the other hand, I was not surprised at all since I've found Matt 5:48 as virtually the only Scripture passage ever cited to "demonstrate" their denial of the sound moral principle, ought implies can.

Grace all.
With that, I am...
Peter

David B. Hewitt

Peter:

Well, the reason I didn't go into other verses is because we started talking about a particular verse. Sorry if you don't think my reasons credible; I surely do. Anyway, we'll leave that verse as you requested.

With regard to inability, and if we are to move from the ability of believer to that of non-believers, then this is really where the issue of ought and can becomes very important. The lines have been blurred a little with Matthew 5:48, though I would say that God's standard overall doesn't change from person to person; it is still wrong for a saved and lost person alike to steal, for example.

Matthew 5:48 is one of my favorite verses to point to. Yet, the ones that probably spell it out most plainly have to be from Romans chapter 8.

Romans 8:5-8 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. (6) To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. (7) For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. (8) Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

From these verses, it is clear that, though we know it is the responsibility of all men everywhere to repent and believe, no one can. The reason is that...

...people who live according to the flesh set their minds on things of the flesh (sin).
...the mind set on the flesh is death.
...the mind set on the flesh is hostile to God.
...such minds, and therefore such people, do not submit to God's law.
...such also cannot submit to God's law.
...such cannot please God.

So, since it is part of what God has commanded to turn from sin, to believe in the One He has sent, and that such would be...

...pleasing to God...
...submitting to God's Law...
...friendly to God, rather than hostile to God...

Then is must be true that it is impossible for the sinner to do what he truly ought to do. He ought to believe -- but he cannot. Why he cannot has been discussed a little earlier, but suffice to say, it is his sin. He does not come into the light, because he does not want his deeds to be exposed (John 3:19-20).

This is why, perhaps more than any other verses, it can be demonstrated that ought does not imply can. It is one of the foundational passages for Total Depravity too, I might add. :)

sdg,
dbh

peter lumpkins

David,

So much for your concession.

First, David, ley me back up to your previous comment a moment. You wrote, “Didn't address the fact that Jesus was specifically talking to the disciples because I agreed with you.” Honestly, David, it’s assertions like this that make me sense you have no intentions on this site for authentic exchange.  If you concede Jesus was speaking specifically to His disciples about Kingdom ethics in Matt 5:48, upon what basis is one justified in concluding Jesus was also making a comprehensive statement about the moral constitution of humankind in general as fundamentally unable to meet divine imperatives?  You’re doing nothing more than pulling a rabbit out of a hat. In addition, I could have multiplied the scholarly evidence four-fold whose biblical expertise fundamentally agrees with the interpretation I’ve offered and consequently voids out yours. Yet you still confidently hold the implication you’ve asserted nonetheless.

As for your “reasons” being “credible”?  What reasons, David?  What reasons?  You’ve made no case at all and even conceded my interpretation! I’m not at all surprised you’d like to “leave” that verse. But citing the reason you didn't go into other verses is because we started talking about a particular verse is humorous, David.  You’re the one who claimed a plethora of biblical passages which denies ought implies can.

Second,  you write, “if we are to move from the ability of believer to that of non-believers, then this is really where the issue of ought and can becomes very important.”  Please, David.  The OP was decidedly concerned about whether God held anyone morally accountable to keep a requirement impossible for him or her to keep.  I used Allen’s “teen drunk driver” as illustrative of the principle he was denying.  Hence, the question is *not* moving from believer to unbeliever.  Indeed the only reason this came up was because you employed the words of Jesus specifically directed to disciples and Kingdom ethics as applicable to humankind generally and wrongly concluding Christ was calling everyone to keep the law perfectly and held them guilty even if they had no ability to do so. Hence, that you now say, “The lines have been blurred a little with Matthew 5:48” is your own doing, David.,  You’re attempting to push the words of Jesus into a mold He never intended.

Third, David I spent a fair amount of time showing—I think conclusively but I’ll let the readers decide—your take on Matthew 5:48 was neither reasonable nor possessed any substantial scholarship to commend it.  Nonetheless, you still maintained your identical premise at the end of a fairly lengthy exchange. In addition, the verses you cite in Romans completely miss the issue Allen raised (and I addressed)  for Paul is dealing with believers’ sanctification and their struggle with the flesh. Even so, I’m very confident that if I struck up an exchange with you on Romans 5:5-8, demonstrating, at least in some ways I’m very sure, your conclusions do not follow, nothing at all would be gained. I’m afraid it would be precisely as it was with Matthew 5:48—concede my interpretation but retain your conclusion!

So, not interested now.  Maybe in the future..

With that, I am…

Peter 

David B. Hewitt

Dr. Lumpkins:

I am not certain what it is that I said which led you to conclude that I am uninterested in authentic exchange; my apologies if I was putting that forward in any way.

The reason I left Matthew 5:48 I thought I stated; you had said in an earlier comment that I had made the claim of many passages, and then seemingly criticized me for not going into more of them. So, I brought another forward, and offered some brief commentary on it. You then call my rationale for leaving the passage in Matthew humorous, and seem to suggest that I am uncomfortable in the passage which is why I left for another -- when I am merely trying to answer the challenge you brought up about more passages.

My "concession" was not to your position, but to the fact that there was more in the text than I had brought out. As I discussed what you had said with my wife and reflected on it, I had come to similar conclusions in the past yet still retain my originally stated position. Why is that? The reason is that the passage I believe has multiple implications, not just yours or mine, but both. I hope that explains it a little better.

Truthfully, I am quite interested in hearing, er, reading what you would have to say about Romans 8, but if you are not interested now, that certainly is fine. I can be patient. :)

May you have a blessed Lord's Day.
sdg,
dbh

peter lumpkins

David,

You write: "My "concession" was not to your position, but to the fact that there was more in the text than I had brought out...[and]...still retain my originally stated position. Why is that? The reason is that the passage I believe has multiple implications, not just yours or mine, but both."

Look, David. No one remotely suggests a text cannot have "multiple implications" least of all, me. On the other hand, when more than one implication is considered, all the implications cannot be acceptable and remain opposed to one another. And, the fact is, not only do my and your implications oppose one another, your implication conflicts with both the exact words of Jesus as well as the context in which He spoke them as shown by the plethora of biblical scholars I cited. In short, to accept my understanding is to reject yours, vice versa. Such is not always the case but in this particular case, it most certainly does mean one cannot have his cake and eat it too.

With that in mind, if you cannot see why I have little interest in pursuing yet another extended exchange with you over an even longer passage, I'm afraid we'll need to leave it at that. In the end, you can always state about Romans 5 what you did about Matthew 5--why, both of us are correct!

With that, I am...
Peter

David B. Hewitt

Peter:

Well, I guess we're talking past each other to some extent with regard to Matthew 5. I wasn't seeing the implications as contradictory. I guess that must mean that either you were not understanding me correctly or I wasn't understanding you correctly, as you think the implications we presented are contrary, at least not while affirming the implication I set forward. :) You are explicitly denying my interpretation, so that part of it of course is contradictory. Oh well.

And, no, I do not think for a moment that somehow we can both "[be] correct" about Romans 8 (that's Romans 8, not 5). I affirm the biblical position, embraced by Calvinists, that Romans 8:1-10 is speaking of, among other things, the complete inability of lost man to do anything pleasing to God. The text is very explicit.

Think that might make a good new post? :) If you don't, then I will (eventually -- my blogging is much slower than it used to be). :) I'll comment in here when it shows up (it will show up as a trackback, right?). Anyway,

sdg,
dbh

David B. Hewitt

Besides Peter, with regard to Matthew 5, it isn't as if there are not scholars, past and present, who don't see my implication as the ultimate conclusion of Jesus.

D.A. Carson in his commentary that appears in Expositor's, for example (emphasis added):

"Some interpret this verse as the conclusion of the last antithesis (vv. 43-47; e.g., Allen, Hendriksen). In that case the perfection advocated is perfection in love. But "perfection" has far broader associations, and it is better to understand v. 48 as the conclusion to the antitheses.
The word teleios ("perfect") usually reflects tamim ("perfect") in the OT. It can refer to the soundness of sacrificial animals (Exod 12:5) or to thorough commitment to the Lord and therefore uprightness (Gen 6:9; Deut 18:13; 2Sam 22:26). The Greek word can be rendered "mature" or "full-grown" (1Cor 14:20; Eph 4:13; Heb 5:14; 6:1). Many judge its force to be nonmoral in Mt 5:48, which becomes an exhortation to total commitment to God (e.g., Bonnard; B. Rigaux, "Revelation des Mysteres et Perfection a Qumran et dans le Nouveau Testament," NTS 4 [1957-58]: 237-62). But this makes for a fairly flat conclusion of the antitheses.
A better understanding of the verse does justice to the word teleios but also notes that the form of the verse is exactly like Leviticus 19:2, with "holy" displaced by "perfect," possibly due to the influence of Deuteronomy 18:13 (where NIV renders teleios by "blameless"; cf. Gundry, Use of OT, pp. 73f.). Nowhere is God directly and absolutely called "perfect" in the OT: he is perfect in knowledge (Job 37:16) or in his way (Ps 18:30), and a man's name may be "Yahweh is perfect" (so yotam [Jotham], Judg 9:5; 2 Kings 15:32). But here for the first time perfection is predicated of God (cf. L. Sabourin, "Why Is God Called `Perfect' in Mt 5, 48?" Biblische Zeitschrift 24 [1980]: 266-68).
In the light of the preceding verses (vv. 17-47), Jesus is saying that the true direction in which the law has always pointed is not toward mere judicial restraints, concessions arising out of the hardness of men's hearts, still less casuistical perversions, nor even to the law of love (contra C. Dietzfelbinger, "Die Antithesen der Berg predigt im Verstandnis des Matthaus," ZNW 70 [1979]: 1-15; cf. further on 22:34-35). No, it pointed rather to all the perfection of God, exemplified by the authoritative interpretation of the law bound up in the preceding antitheses. This perfection Jesus' disciples must emulate if they are truly followers of him who fulfills the Law and the Prophets (v. 17).
The Qumran community understood perfection in terms of perfect obedience, as measured exclusively by the teachings of their community (1QS 1:99, 13; 2:1-2; 4:22-23; 8:9-10). Jesus has transposed this to a higher key, not by reducing the obedience, but by making the standard the perfect heavenly Father. Ronald A. Ward (Royal Theology [London: MMS, 1964], pp. 117-20) points out that in classical and Hellenistic usage teleios can have a static and a dynamic force, "the one appropriate to One Who does not develop, and the other suitable for men who can grow in grace" (p. 119, emphasis his): "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."
The Gospel writers refer to God as Father only in contexts pertaining to the Messiah or to believers. He is not the Father of all men but the Father of Jesus and the Father of Jesus' disciples (cf. H.F.D. Sparks, "The Doctrine of the Fatherhood of God in the Gospels," in Nineham, Studies, pp. 241-62). Just as in the OT it was the distinctive mark of Israel that they were set apart for God to reflect his character (Lev 19:2; cf. 11:44-45; 20:7, 26), so the messianic community carries on this distinctiveness (cf. 1 Peter 1:16) as the true locus of the people of God (cf. France, Jesus, pp. 61-62). This must not encourage us to conclude that Jesus teaches that unqualified perfection is already possible for his disciples. He teaches them to acknowledge spiritual bankruptcy (v. 3) and to pray "Forgive us our debts" (Mt 6:12). But the perfection of the Father, the true eschatological goal of the law, is what all disciples of Jesus pursue."

No to mention someone on the other side of the fence, so to speak, John Wesley (from e-sword, again, emphasis added):
"Therefore ye shall be perfect; as your Father who is in heaven is perfect - So the original runs, referring to all that holiness which is described in the foregoing verses, which our Lord in the beginning of the chapter recommends as happiness, and in the close of it as perfection. And how wise and gracious is this, to sum up, and, as it were, seal all his commandments with a promise! Even the proper promise of the Gospel! That he will put those laws in our minds, and write them in our hearts! He well knew how ready our unbelief would be to cry out, this is impossible! And therefore stakes upon it all the power, truth, and faithfulness of him to whom all things are possible."

So as you can see, I'm certainly not alone, nor is this an exclusively Calvinistic interpretation. :)

God's blessings to you tomorrow, sir.
a worm,
dbh

peter lumpkins

“I affirm the biblical position, embraced by Calvinists, that Romans 8:1-10 is speaking of, among other things, the complete inability of lost man to do anything pleasing to God. The text is very explicit”

Why, of course you do, David.  *the* Biblical position embraced by Calvinists

Unfortunately, again you are attempting to take a passage of Scripture—Romans 8:5-8—and draw from it implications and hence, conclusions not intended by the context in which the passage is found. Paul is definitively *not* speaking ontologically concerning human ability—natural or moral or otherwise—but rather speaking of the conflict within the believer’s life (i.e. sanctification). 

Sorry David. To deduce from this passage ontological implications concerning the fall, total depravity, moral inability and a host of other Calvinist niceties remains another example where one’s theological assumptions color the text of Scripture. So, yes,  the text is  “explicit” but only when one places the categories a priori within the text to begin with.

Finally, thanks for mentioning both Carson and Wesley, two eminent scholars if ever there were some.  First, there is not one syllable in Carson which negates a single significant  thing I’ve said, David.  Nothing.  He makes it clear Jesus was speaking to His disciples about Kingdom ethics—“it [perfection] pointed rather to all the perfection of God…this perfection Jesus' disciples must emulate if they are truly followers of him who fulfills the Law and the Prophets (v. 17). Again, just as it was the “distinctive mark of Israel” that they were “set apart” for God to “reflect his character,” so the Kingdom community carries on this distinctiveness as the true locus of the people of God. Nothing about "inability” or “impossibility” to meet the demands here or to overturn ought implies can.

And why you chose to embolden the conclusion is not clear: 

“This must not encourage us to conclude that Jesus teaches that unqualified perfection is already possible for his disciples.” 

And, just who believes this or even implies this, David?  Surely not me nor have I implied such (however, see below).  

And as for acknowledging “spiritual bankruptcy,” Carson does not indicate it is implied in v:48 but in v:3. He finally concludes,

“But the perfection of the Father, the true eschatological goal of the law, is what all disciples of Jesus pursue" (embolden mine).

Hence, Carson agrees substantially with precisely what the other scholars I mentioned suggest. Indeed what sense would it make to suggest that the perfection of the Father is what all disciples pursue if Jesus were implying, as you assert, an utter impossibility—moral inability of the human constitution?  Sorry, David.  Carson does not rescue your impotent position on Matt 5:48.

But does Wesley?  It sounds at first like he does. But again, your habit of reading into sources is on display here just as above. The fact is, whatever Wesley meant by “…our unbelief would be to cry out, this is impossible! And therefore stakes upon it all the power, truth, and faithfulness of him to whom all things are possible” he most certainly did not have your sense about moral inability in mind. About the only agreement is verbal; there is no substantial agreement here with what you’re suggesting, David. Why do I say such?

While I am not schooled in Wesley’s theology to be sure, I am aware he embraced a form of perfectionism in this life. And, such a notion seems to be implied in his exhortation for readers to look to Him Who makes “all things possible.”

What’s more, Wesley translated in his version of the NT (yes there is a Wesleyan translation of Scripture!) Matthew 5:48 as follows:

“Therefore ye shall be Perfect, as your Father who is in heaven is perfect”

Note Wesley’s translation differs substantially from the standard English versions which makes Jesus’ words into a command: “Be perfect…”  Instead Wesley translates the verb “to be” as it is literally in the Greek—“ye shall be”—a future indicative which normally indicates the contemplated or certain occurrence of an event which has not yet occurred. Hence, Wesley did not see Matt 5:48 as a command but as a definitive statement of what would be. Thus, your insistence on Jesus making demands of depraved humankind generally which proved impossible because of moral inability falls flat on its nose under Wesley's view  

The difference between Wesley and my own view, for example, is only when this perfection takes place, the Wesleyans believing here & now, and myself being then & there. 

So, David, your barking about Wesley and Carson coming to your rescue is, I’m afraid, just that—bark but entirely no bite. Sorry.

With that, I am…

Peter

P.S. Now, David, if you desire to respond, do so; but whatever you want to respond with, make it good because I’m going to wrap this up. We could continue this but I fear it will be a long exchange with no tangible results to simply keep going on. 

David B. Hewitt

Peter:

Thanks again for your offer to me to respond. I will make it brief, and focus on your comments on Romans 8.

"Unfortunately, again you are attempting to take a passage of Scripture—Romans 8:5-8—and draw from it implications and hence, conclusions not intended by the context in which the passage is found. Paul is definitively *not* speaking ontologically concerning human ability—natural or moral or otherwise—but rather speaking of the conflict within the believer’s life (i.e. sanctification).

Sorry David. To deduce from this passage ontological implications concerning the fall, total depravity, moral inability and a host of other Calvinist niceties remains another example where one’s theological assumptions color the text of Scripture. So, yes, the text is “explicit” but only when one places the categories a priori within the text to begin with.

I would disagree about your claim that Paul is talking about a believer's sanctification in Romans 8:4-10. Such cannot be the case with the words he uses. Rather, he is talking about what people after the flesh do -- and explicitly says that they are not in the flesh but in the Spirit. So, Paul is encouraging them after having said what he did in chapter 7 by saying, in effect, "this is what you were like when you were in the flesh, but you are not any longer! You are in the Spirit, take heart!"

They are no longer in the flesh, period. Such a change happened when they were saved. That's a summary of course.

You says I am coming with a priori assumptions, and I would contend you are doing the same. Both of us claim that we are letting the text speak for itself. Both positions cannot be correct in this case to be sure. So, only detailed exegesis will resolve it. Are you willing to meet the challenge, sir?

sdg,
dbh

peter

David,

Ok. Let’s wrap this up.

First, I’m glad you chose not to attempt more rationalizations concerning your incorrigible take on Matt 5:48, David.  After neither Carson nor Wesley rescued your drowning assertion that there’s plenty of scholars who agree with your take, it was good to see you move on.  Second, I am surprised you didn’t insist you were not “reading into” both Wesley and Carson your own take, fundamentally botching Wesley all the way around.  But again, it’s hard to argue with facts, is it not? ;^)

Third, as for what you chose to engage,

“I would disagree about your claim that Paul is talking about a believer's sanctification in Romans 8:4-10. Such cannot be the case with the words he uses. Rather, he is talking about what people after the flesh do -- and explicitly says that they are not in the flesh but in the Spirit….Are you willing to meet the challenge, sir?”

David, to suggest Paul is *not* referring to believers in Romans 8 is fundamentally absurd.  He begins the chapter  “there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” and all through the first part he speaks of the struggle believers experience between the flesh and Spirit and ends with undeniable certainty believers will ultimately be vindicated in their struggle with the flesh and their new life in Christ.  Romans 8 is a classic passage on sanctification.  What in the world are you thinking, brother? 

And, since it *IS* a passage on the believer wrestling with flesh after he or she has been made new in Christ Jesus, one cannot ipso facto draw raw ontological conclusions pertaining to all unbelievers in their state apart from Christ.

Hence, as for “meeting the challenge,” David, I honestly don’t think you have one.  Like Matthew 5:48, your strict Calvinist spectacles inform and—at least in my view—taint the text of Scripture.  It’s as if you're wearing glasses with green lens. Hence, everything always looks green to you.

Hope that helps. And, thanks for the exchange.

With that, I am…

Peter 

David B. Hewitt

Peter:
The point I was making was not that the passage of Romans 8 is not referring to believers at all -- it most certainly is.

My point was that when Paul talks about those who are after the flesh is that he is not then talking about believers. With all of the qualifications that he provides in the passage, you cannot but escape that conclusion.

That's the challenge, and such is easily demonstrated through exegesis. :)

sdg,
dbh

ps -- I hope that you are not somehow suggesting that you aren't looking at the text without a certain kind of lens when you said I was doing so with "green" ones. :)

David B. Hewitt

Also sir:

No, I am not persuaded that you have demonstrated that Carson and Wesley didn't help me at all, either. :)

David B. Hewitt

Peter:
one last thing -- you have misunderstood Paul's statement in Romans 8:1 significantly, not to mention that the last phrase of the verse isn't in the best manuscripts anyway. ;)

See you later.
sdg,
dbh

peter lumpkins

David,

I think I made it clear this exchange was over. Yet you added three innocuous comments, one right after the other. What is it about some of you strict Calvinists who cannot seem to get the simple fact that belligerence alone cannot make up for absence of content? You miserably failed to make your point on Matt 5:48 but continue to log about it just the same!

Not being enough, you oddly assert I "misunderstood Paul's statement in Romans 8:1 significantly" (my emphasis) when the only comment I made about it was, "to suggest Paul is *not* referring to believers in Romans 8 is fundamentally absurd."

Significantly? Misunderstood significantly!?

Good heavens, man. Was Paul *not* speaking about believers in Romans 8:1? Those who have no condemnation? Those who are in Christ Jesus?

And, your sidebar note about the ending of the verse not being in the best manuscripts adds exactly what to your point or subtracts exactly what from mine, David? Does it significantly affect my understanding of the first part of the verse, the part where Paul explicitly frames the discussion of chapter eight in believer's terms?

It's the type of loopy exchange like this, David, that frankly I'm sick to my gut about. I have no time to mess around with guys like yourself who just want to keep on and on and on with unmitigated nonsense like this posing as legitimate exchange.

When you have a real point, please do not hesitate to return. If all you can post is loopy, lengthy drivel, please post it on your blog.

Sorry, brother. But that's just the way it is.

I trust your day a good one in the Lord.

With that, I am...
Peter

Don Johnson

David,

"I affirm the biblical position, embraced by Calvinists, that Rom. 8:1-10 is speaking of, among other things, the complete inability of a lost man to do anything pleasing to God. The text is very explicit."

The inability mentioned in the text is of keeping the law. However, in this text nor in any other does it state man is unable to believe the Gospel of Christ. Calvinist's must use eisigesis with the text to maintain their theology.

What really surprised me was your stating Rom. 8:1-10. Which I assume you meant to include verse nine. If so, you would probably be the first Reformed Calvinist that believes what Rom. 8:9 states. I know RC Sproul and James White don't believe the verse, nor would anyone who believes in the "golden chain of redemption."

At any rate it good to see you are willing to break ranks with fellow reformers.

me.yahoo.com/a/fTY8lOgMhOd6UmMx7shubrHejmn_NoHU.LI-

I'm sorry but the main point about Romans 8:1-10 ISN'T about Sanctification. 8:1-4 of course shows how Jesus did what the Law couldn't which was to SAVE SINNERS! 8:5-10 shows how Sinful man lives in the flesh and his outlook or worldview shaped by the tings of the flesh which is hostile to God or submission to His Law which it does not do NOR IS ABLE TO DO. 8:6 For the outlook 6 of the flesh is death, but the outlook of the Spirit is life and peace. "6 tn Or “mindset,” “way of thinking” (twice in this verse and once in v. 7). The Greek term φρόνημα does not refer to one’s mind, but to one’s outlook or mindset. NET notes"

If man is controlled by the flesh and a sinful worldview which is hostile to God then man will of course be hostile to the Gospel. Sinful man HATES Jesus. Watch ANY video of evangelism and see how hateful men and women are to those who preach the Gospel. So saying that sinful man can come to Jesus under their own sinful flesh is NOWHERE found in the Bible. John 6 alone shows that but of course Mr. Lumpkins will probably twist those Scriptures around too. Romans 8 shows how Christians are no longer slaves to their flesh but are under the Spirit due to what Jesus did. It clearly says the flesh hates God and His Laws. Please tell me how under his own power a man who HATES God's Laws can come to Jesus when he doesn't CARE that the Gospel says he's a sinner, lawbreaker and needs forgiveness???

I have argued with atheists and non-Christians that show their outright hatred for God and His Laws. They say they'd rather go to Hell than follow God. They mock Jesus and His sacrifice. The filth that comes out of their mouths proves how true James was about the wickedness of the tongue. By birth and CHOICE man sins and is totally fallen and depraved. Mr. Lumpkins if you admit that you are a sinner who was condemned by the Law and totally unable to save yourself but was only saved by Jesus then how can you say you were free to chose Him when Jesus Himself said His disciples didn't choose Him but He them??? In fact John 6:64 shows Jesus knew from the very beginning those who would not believe Him and 6:65 shows this by saying "So Jesus added, 110 “Because of this I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has allowed him to come. So after this Jesus goes from having THOUSANDS of followers wanting to make Him king to having only 12 disciples and one who would betray Him! Why didn't Jesus do a better job persuading those people? Now either Jesus is an awful debater and persuader or what He said was true and those people weren't His because the Father didn't give them to Him. Based on your Arminian view you have to say Jesus failed. He had a chance to save people and failed to PERSUADE them to be saved. But I take it Jesus didn't fail to persuade you or you in your own flesh allowed yourself to be persuaded by Him.


me.yahoo.com/a/fTY8lOgMhOd6UmMx7shubrHejmn_NoHU.LI-

Also if you say you were free morally to chose Jesus then you were also free NOT to sin and your Arminian theology should make you feel that you were MORE condemned before your salvation and MORE without excuse for your sins which SHOULD then show how wicked you were for claiming to sin against a Holy God while having a free will and not while being Spiritually Blind.

Your claims of free will should only make you MORE humble that you "freely" thumbed your nose and despised a Holy and Righteous God and instead of praising your free will should only make you loathe yourself more and give more Glory to a Holy God for not killing you but instead saving you.

Akihito007

I'm sorry but the main point about Romans 8:1-10 ISN'T about Sanctification. 8:1-4 of course shows how Jesus did what the Law couldn't which was to SAVE SINNERS! 8:5-10 shows how Sinful man lives in the flesh and his outlook or worldview shaped by the tings of the flesh which is hostile to God or submission to His Law which it does not do NOR IS ABLE TO DO. 8:6 For the outlook 6 of the flesh is death, but the outlook of the Spirit is life and peace. "6 tn Or “mindset,” “way of thinking” (twice in this verse and once in v. 7). The Greek term φρόνημα does not refer to one’s mind, but to one’s outlook or mindset. NET notes"

If man is controlled by the flesh and a sinful worldview which is hostile to God then man will of course be hostile to the Gospel. Sinful man HATES Jesus. Watch ANY video of evangelism and see how hateful men and women are to those who preach the Gospel. So saying that sinful man can come to Jesus under their own sinful flesh is NOWHERE found in the Bible. John 6 alone shows that but of course Mr. Lumpkins will probably twist those Scriptures around too. Romans 8 shows how Christians are no longer slaves to their flesh but are under the Spirit due to what Jesus did. It clearly says the flesh hates God and His Laws. Please tell me how under his own power a man who HATES God's Laws can come to Jesus when he doesn't CARE that the Gospel says he's a sinner, lawbreaker and needs forgiveness???

I have argued with atheists and non-Christians that show their outright hatred for God and His Laws. They say they'd rather go to Hell than follow God. They mock Jesus and His sacrifice. The filth that comes out of their mouths proves how true James was about the wickedness of the tongue. By birth and CHOICE man sins and is totally fallen and depraved. Mr. Lumpkins if you admit that you are a sinner who was condemned by the Law and totally unable to save yourself but was only saved by Jesus then how can you say you were free to chose Him when Jesus Himself said His disciples didn't choose Him but He them??? In fact John 6:64 shows Jesus knew from the very beginning those who would not believe Him and 6:65 shows this by saying "So Jesus added, 110 “Because of this I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has allowed him to come. So after this Jesus goes from having THOUSANDS of followers wanting to make Him king to having only 12 disciples and one who would betray Him! Why didn't Jesus do a better job persuading those people? Now either Jesus is an awful debater and persuader or what He said was true and those people weren't His because the Father didn't give them to Him. Based on your Arminian view you have to say Jesus failed. He had a chance to save people and failed to PERSUADE them to be saved. But I take it Jesus didn't fail to persuade you or you in your own flesh allowed yourself to be persuaded by Him.

Akihito007

Also if you say you were free morally to chose Jesus then you were also free NOT to sin and your Arminian theology should make you feel that you were MORE condemned before your salvation and MORE without excuse for your sins which SHOULD then show how wicked you were for claiming to sin against a Holy God while having a free will and not while being Spiritually Blind.

Your claims of free will should only make you MORE humble that you "freely" thumbed your nose and despised a Holy and Righteous God and instead of praising your free will should only make you loathe yourself more and give more Glory to a Holy God for not killing you but instead saving you.

peter

Dear Anon,

"I'm sorry but the main point about Romans 8:1-10 ISN'T about Sanctification" OKay. Be my guest.

Now if you want to dialog, man-up your real name and I'll be glad to converse--at least for a while.

With that, I am...
Peter

The comments to this entry are closed.