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Oct 29, 2014

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Andrew Barker

Arthur W. Pink agrees with Shedd. He says the sinner is to “ask God…to bestow upon him the gifts of repentance and faith.”3

With the above quote in mind, surely this doesn't square with Heb 11:6 ... whoever comes to God must believe that he is...

The Calvinist/Reformed camp have invented a catch 22. You can't get faith unless you believe in God and you can't believe in God if you haven't got faith.

Bill Mac

I'm more of a molinist than Calvinist these days, but even if that were not the case, #3 just seems crazy to me. I feel no need to adhere to what ye olde calvinists thought, because that's just silly. It is ridiculously tautological.

volfan007

Peter,

Maybe this is what the old, Mourner's Benches were about? You know, they would gather there to beg and plead with God to save them...sometimes, they would be at those benches for a long time...which I always found a little odd when mixed with their 5 points of Calvinism.
Also, I had a very strong Calvinist as a Deacon in my first Church to be a Pastor. And, he got absolutely mad at me for preaching that a person can be sure of their salvation. He told me that we won't really know until we get to Heaven at the Judgment.

David

Bill Mac

David: I've never been able to figure out those in my own camp who don't think you can have assurance. To me it is the opposite end of the spectrum from hard core arminians. One group doesn't know if they ever were saved and the other doesn't know if they've lost their salvation. Neither view is sustainable by scripture.

Eric

In the reformed baptist church, how popular do you think the idea of not having assurance is?
in my neck of the woods, we live by assurance.
Eric

Mary

Eric it seems in my neck of the woods the Reformed are only assured when they feel like they're working hard enough. Unfortunately, many of the Reformed leaders (see Mars Hill) have taken advantage of this idea that assurance in salvation is based on an individual's works by being quite abusive when members aren't living up to the standards set up by modern day High Priests.

Benjamin Musclow

Have yet to read the whole article cited by Mr. Lumpkins, but as seems to be the norm with "refutations" of the doctrines of grace, where is the exegesis? Where is the grammatical study of the text in Ephesians 2?

Max

"One group doesn't know if they ever were saved and the other doesn't know if they've lost their salvation."

Yep Bill Mac, too many flower theologians out there. There's the TULIP folks. And the DAISY bunch which pick their petals ... He loves, He loves me not, He loves me, He loves me not ...

peter lumpkins

"Where is the grammatical study of the text in Ephesians 2?" In the article cited by Lumpkins.

Nor is it the "norm" to ignore biblical exegesis in challenging the so-called doctrines of grace. You must be new here.

With that, I am...
Peter

Andrew Barker

I'm still waiting for an attempt at exegesis of Eph 2:8-9 from one of our Calvinist friends. I would be genuinely interested to hear from them. Julie doesn't appear to want to play ball.

Eric

Mary,
That is very unfortunate for those souls being taught such an ungodly view of a believers assurance in the God who justifies.

Very sad........

Max

"I'm still waiting for an attempt at exegesis of Eph 2:8-9 from one of our Calvinist friends."

Andrew - You bring up an interesting passage. It's as if there are only two books in the Calvinist Bible: Romans and Ephesians. As with most teachings and traditions of men, Calvinism is based on cherry-picking verses which will fit a theological grid. However, this is not only a problem in reformed ranks ... 41,000 Protestant denominations worldwide are separated by how they bring the cherry harvest in.

An oft-quoted verse use by Calvinists as definitive support for their doctrine is “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). In a grammatical and contextual mistake, they interpret “that” in the passage as faith; they argue faith is a gift from God. But, what does “gift” really refer to here … faith or salvation? Applying proper sentence structure to the passage by mapping its components, it’s clear that saved/salvation is the subject here not faith. Indeed, the overall context of the first three chapters of Ephesians is man’s salvation as found in Christ, where Ephesians 2:8-9 flows naturally and contextually.

Since Calvinists like to also camp out in Romans, Paul sheds further light on faith in Romans 10:17 ““faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Whoa, now wait a minute, you mean I have to do something?! Yep … hear the Word and believe … that is a faith which saves. Whosoever will may come.

Have you ever noticed that you don't hear Calvinists quoting the Gospels much? They tend to drift the debate to Paul's epistles. If you read Paul first, you might read Jesus wrong. But if you read Jesus first, the writings of Paul come into perspective.

Of course, Calvinists have a knack of spinning what I just said … so you will just have to let the Spirit lead you on this one. Which, by the way, is at the core of the SBC debate ... not much leading by the Holy Spirit these days (we have grieved and quenched Him too much for that). Debating is not preaching the Gospel.

Mary

Max, you make several excellent points. One thing I have learned and am teaching my children about how to read the Bible is this "Read the WHOLE THING!" I spent a lot of years reading a book of the Bible here and there, but these last many years I've been diligently reading through the entire Bible and it's amazing how the verses just jump off the page. So many people get hung up on reading church history/church "fathers" when what they should be doing is sitting down with the Holy Spirit and a good Bible translation or two or three. It's not that commentaries and such are not helpful but I find that people tend to make their Biblical Study foundation everything but the Bible when it should be Bible first then other helps and never helps more than the actual Bible.

Your comment on the Holy Spirit struck a bell with us here this morning as we were discussing the Mars Hill situation. Our experience with the reformed community is that many are being elevated as "High Priests" (some living some dead) and so instead of encouraging Christians to "test the Spirits" people are being told by people such as Mark Driscoll to avoid studying things on their own because he will tell them what the Bible actually says and means.

I was reading a comment stream over at Warren Throckmorton's blog about the use of "Groups" in these reformed churches to ensure that everyone is conforming to the church's doctrine in there thoughts and questions and those not conforming are seen as divisive. No Holy Spirit. Men are attempting to control what church members think about in their Biblical Study. Very 1984ish.

Andrew Barker

Peter: I tried to post this reply to Julie but comments have been closed on that post. If it's OK, I'm happy to post it here. I don't think it's too out of place but if you think it's not appropriate I shall understand. :-)


Julie: Thank you for your reply which I read with interest although it does not relate to Eph 2 in any specific way. I'm sure you can provide a proper exegesis in due course.

Your argument centres around using the clarity of thought of those who you view as substantive figures in the world of theology. I can see that at first sight this may appear an attractive option but it does leave you open to criticism. These men may have been very worthy in their time, but they also held views which I doubt you would count as tenable. So the very first on your list, John Stott, may hold views on predestination that you agree with, but his views on infant baptism? Do you see infant baptism as part of a covenant which has replaced circumcision? He held these views in line with none other than John Calvin, also on your list of the 'great and the good'.

These theologians are viewed with varying degrees of respect by many today but they are not universally agreed with and certainly you can't use them as the basis for believing any one particular theological viewpoint or not.

You also quote John 3:3 in support of regeneration precedes faith, but again you have provided no supporting evidence. So I shall do the spade work for you. If you look at the greek you will find that the word used is idein (this is the aorist form of horao) which does indeed mean to see. However you will be aware that the word see can have quite a few nuances so we need help with Strongs to see just what this word is actually saying to us. It turns out that Strongs suggests the word means to see as in experience.

So I think it would be legitimate to write out John 3:3 as saying that a “person cannot experience (see) the kingdom of God unless they have been born again”. So this passage is not saying that the unregenerate person cannot believe or have faith but simply that they won't experience the things of God unless they have been born again. I suspect the majority of Christians would go along with that view. Your assumption that this passage supports 'regeneration must precede faith' has just been squashed somewhat.

You view of 1 Cor 2:14 also fails to appreciate that Paul is already talking to believers. If you read on you will see that he says he can't treat them as “spiritual men but as ….. men of the flesh”. Is he really saying they are NOT believers? I think not. This passage is dealing with how believers can understand the things of God. They need to 'have their spiritual hats on' and not rely on their human understanding or thinking. It says nothing about non Christians not being able to hear the Gospel message and to respond. The message is the power of God unto salvation and is quite sufficient for the task to which God designed it.

I would appreciate an exegesis on Eph 2:8-9 and a reasoned account of just why you think this supports the erroneous assumption that faith is a gift of God.

My apologies for the length of reply. I have tried to keep things as short as possible!

Lydia

Mary, The "groups" are very cultic. When you hear first hand stories from SGM, Mars Hill and now even Sojourn about these groups (Care GRoup, redemptive groups are some of the monikers) it is chilling how much they want to control your thoughts. One thing they do is encourage you early on to share your secret sin past or current. And if you have none because you don't want to "share", well you know the drill---you are a liar. These confessed sins are often used later if you dare disagree or even try to leave.

They are cults. I cannot emphasize this enough to SBC'ers. Mohler and other REformed SBC'ers have brought the shepherding cult tactics into the SBC and we have actually been helping to pay for them.

Max

"... the use of "Groups" in these reformed churches to ensure that everyone is conforming to the church's doctrine ..."

Mary, local SBC reformed church plants call these "Life Groups", with a format which is indeed indoctrination to New Calvinism. Life Group leaders are carefully chosen and required to stick to presentation materials blessed by the "lead pastor." Rather than Bible study, most are based on study guides of books by leading Calvinists (e.g., John Piper, Tim Keller ... and, yes, Mark Driscoll). They appeal primarily to 20s-40s who have become disillusioned with "church" and looking for something more "culturally relevant." Praise God, I've always found Jesus to be contemporary ... He is the eternal contemporary! I see a scarlet thread woven throughout the Bible.

Regarding the Holy Spirit ... if you listen closely to New Calvinists, you will hear a LOT about God, little about Jesus, and hardly a mention of the Holy Spirit. Instead of "Believers", New Calvinist adherents in my neck of the woods call themselves "Christ Followers" even though they would more aptly be called "Paul Followers", with their emphasis on Paul's writings rather than the Gospels. They are out to make God look BIG in our community (as if He wasn't already big and almighty), but have no evangelistic outreach in the name of Christ.

Strange days in the SBC. It will only take a generation to change the SBC as we have known it ... that's why New Calvinist leaders target our youth.

Lydia

"I've always found Jesus to be contemporary ... He is the eternal contemporary! I see a scarlet thread woven throughout the Bible."

Bingo, Max. NT Wright puts it another way and I paraphrase...'every generation needs to seek the historical Jesus because otherwise they invent their own Jesus'

This is exactly what happened in Nazi Germany. They used Luther, of course, to bring the Lutheran church in line with the party goals. How could they so easily miss that Jesus Christ came as a Jew and died on the Cross as a Jew? because they made him into a Gentile for a reason.

What we often see is more of a European Jesus reporting to a pagan god. Jesus was the perfect Israelite as God in the Flesh and we often miss that part of Him.

Andrew Barker

Julie: Your comments on Eph 2:8-9 What seems clear to me concerning the clause in question is that if “for by grace you have been saved through faith,” is not of myself, but a gift from God, then I am entitled to infer that the parts are also a gift. The parts make up the whole. All that is salvation, salvation by grace through faith, is a gift. All the parts make up the whole. If the whole is a gift, also then the parts.

You are of course entitled to draw your own conclusions, but that does not mean they are valid. It is what Max termed cherry-picking!

rhutchin

Quoting Aldrich, "A doctrine of total depravity that excludes the possibility of faith must also exclude the possibilities of “hearing the word,” “giving serious application to divine truth,” and “praying for the Holy Spirit for conviction and regeneration.” The extreme Calvinist deals with a rather lively spiritual corpse after all."

I think Aldrich draws the wrong conclusion. The point of Total Depravity is that a sinner CANNOT hear the word (He considers it foolishness 1 Corinth 1), CANNOT give serious application to divine truth (You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. John 8), and CANNOT pray to the Holy Spirit (For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. Romans 8).

The Calvinist (extreme or otherwise) deals with dead people; dead in trespasses and sins.

peter lumpkins

rhutchin,

How you assert Aldrich "draws the wrong conclusion" makes little sense to me. The reason they "CANNOT" according to the Calvinist is they are dead. But if they are dead and therefore "CANNOT," then it follows that counsel to "hear," "give application to," or "pray," becomes spiritual nonsense.

Nor does proof-texting apart from argumentation and exegesis assist, rhutchin. Just like before when you attempted to sell your theological wares on regeneration precedes faith without a shred of exegetical demonstration, your bare proof-texting method is not going any further on this thread either, I'm afraid. Sorry.

With that, I am...
Peter

Andrew Barker

rhutchin:The point of Total Depravity is that a sinner CANNOT hear the word
Jesus John 5:25 .... the dead will hear ... and will live.

I think I'll stick with Jesus and what he said. Or maybe you think Jesus was selling them a line when in vs 39 he says ....they were unwilling to come? Note, unwilling! Not deaf. Not stupid. Not unable. But NOT WILLING to believe!

Max

"Not deaf. Not stupid. Not unable. But NOT WILLING to believe!"

Andrew - I continue to be amazed that so many otherwise-intelligent folks hold so dearly to teachings and traditions of mere men. Not deaf, not stupid, or not unable ... it's as if a veil has been cast over the minds of Southern Baptists in both camps. There is a spiritual battle going on in SBC more than a theological debate of men. Outreach to a lost world from a once-great evangelistic people is being hindered ... the enemy knows this. 2 Chronicles 7:14 is our only way out of this mess. IF my people ... THEN will I. But will we?

rhutchin

Peter writes, "he reason they "CANNOT" according to the Calvinist is they are dead. But if they are dead and therefore "CANNOT," then it follows that counsel to "hear," "give application to," or "pray," becomes spiritual nonsense."

Under the Calvinist system, the gospel is to be preached in all the world. That preaching is done to draw God's elect out of the world (it also has the effect of preparing the reprobate for judgment). The preaching of the gospel includes counsel to hear, give and pray because these are the responses of any person to the gospel (who would be the elect). The ability of the elect to respond to the preaching of the gospel comes from the work of God's irresistible grace.

rhutchin

Andrew Barker writes, "I think I'll stick with Jesus and what he said. Or maybe you think Jesus was selling them a line when in vs 39 he says ....they were unwilling to come? Note, unwilling! Not deaf. Not stupid. Not unable. But NOT WILLING to believe!"

The cited Scripture says, "Search the scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life."

That they were unwilling is also explained by Paul in 1 Corinth 1 where he says that the gospel is a stumbling block to the Jews. This unwillingness is consistent with their Total Depravity.

The question is how a Jew can accept Christ given his unwillingness to do so which is tied to the gospel being a stumbling block to the Jew. Must God intervene to "draw" the Jew to Christ in order for the Jew to accept Christ? John 6 says that such is the case.

rhutchin

Peter writes, "Nor does proof-texting apart from argumentation and exegesis assist, rhutchin."

There is nothing wrong with proof texting - as it relates to the Scriptures - because the Scripture is truth and truth can always be applied to any argument. Any objection can only claim that the context does not fit the situation to which the proof text is applied. You have not made that claim (perhaps, you meant to imply it) and I think I have maintained context so that the truth I cited is a legitimate application of that truth to my statement.

Exegesis is nothing more than the search for truth in the Scriptures and the application of truth to doctrine (and argumentation). Exegesis becomes eisegesis when a person claims a truth that does not exist or misapplies that truth.

peter lumpkins

"There is nothing wrong with proof texting - as it relates to the Scriptures - because the Scripture is truth and truth can always be applied to any argument." Please address what I actually claim, rhutchin. I clearly asserted, "nor does proof-texting apart from argumentation and exegesis assist...bare proof-texting method..."

With that, I am...
Peter

peter lumpkins

"Under the Calvinist system, the gospel is to be preached in all the world. That preaching is done to draw God's elect out of the world..."

Please give us a single "proof-text" where the biblical purpose of preaching the gospel is to "draw God's elect."

Sweet Georgia Peaches! The gospel is good news to hell-bound sinners. You make it into revealing God's elect!

With that, I am...
Peter

rhutchin

Peter writes, "Please address what I actually claim, rhutchin. I clearly asserted, 'nor does proof-texting apart from argumentation and exegesis assist...bare proof-texting method...'"

OK. There is nothing wrong with "BARE" proof texting (if there is such a thing). To assert anything that the Scriptures say is to engage in argumentation and exegesis. If I were to simply state John 3:16, and nothing more, I have made an argument - that which the verse says - and the exegesis is implied - the verse means what it says without further explanation. That the verse says one thing to you and something else to me would only mean that the verse is more complicated than a simple exegesis suggests - but this is not the verse's fault.

I made some statements above and added Scriptures in support of those statements. I think those Scriptures state clear truths in a straightforward way that is easily understood. You seem to be disagreeing. That is fine. You need only say so. For example, you might have said, "I disagree that 1 Corinth 1 means that the unsaved regard the gospel as foolishness in every case, the exception being..."

But now, we are bogged down in philosophical distinctions between proof texting and bare proof texting.

peter lumpkins

rhutchin,

I am not going to argue with you about whether you think '"BARE" proof texting' exists. From my perspective, it most certainly does since you have a nasty habit of practicing it. You need to take a lesson or two from Julie who explains why she thinks a certain text (e.g. Eph. 2:8-9) demonstrates her position. To drop texts like John 8 or 1Cor 1 without the least hint how the text is supposed to be relevant makes for clarity in what way exactly? That's what's not going to pass here, rhutchin. Period. Numerous Calvinists like yourself make it a habit of frequenting blogs and logging your theological presuppositions without making clear how Scripture specifically supports your view. But not here. Sorry.

With that, I am...
Peter

rhutchin

Peter writes, "Please give us a single 'proof-text' where the biblical purpose of preaching the gospel is to 'draw God's elect.'"

First, to establish that God draws His elect in case there is any disagreement on that point:

"No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:44)

I don't think the verse needs further explanation, but for you I will add more.

The phrase, "I will raise him up at the last day," is a promise to those who are saved - who are by definition "the elect." So this verse is assurance to God's elect.

The phrase, "No man can come to [Christ]," is truth. It is followed by an exception, but standing alone, it tells us the truth, "No man can come to Christ." Pretty harsh statement.

Then we have the exception, "except the Father which has sent me draw him:" God must draw the person to Christ.

Those whom God draws, Christ gives this promise, "I will raise him up at the last day." When Christ says, "I will raise him up at the last day," we can recall 1 Thess 4:16-17 where Christ said through the apostle Paul, "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven...and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."

Second, it link the preaching of the gospel to the elect:

"...a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God." (Hebrews 7:19)

This verse, in context says that the law was useless but we have a better hope (Christ) by whom we draw near to God.

If Christ is the key, then Paul in Romans 10:14, asks, "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?" This explains the need for the preaching of the gospel.

To summarize. No person comes to Christ except God draw him. Christ promises to raise up those drawn to Him by God on the last day (identifying them as the elect). The preaching of the gospel is the means that God sues to draw people to Christ. Only the elect are drawn as only the elect will Christ raise up on the last day.

The Universalist says that God draws all people to Christ so that Christ raises all people on the last day. The non-Universalist (like the Calvinist) says that God draws a number less that all.

So, I could not do it with a single proof text (but I never claimed that I could).

Andrew Barker

Julie: If I may, I would like to clarify why I think you should not 'cherry-pick' especially with regard to Eph 2:8-9.

Neither grace, faith or salvation can be viewed individually as the specific gift. But 'salvation through faith' is the gift and the gift is all of God's grace. If salvation can be shown to be a gift in itself, then God will be the giver. This means that God must either give this gift to everyone (which I assume none of us agree with) or God decides to whom this gift is given. I can see why, from a Reformed/Calvinist perspective, this is an attractive option but I don't think the rest of scripture backs this up. God does not go around dispensing salvation to all and sundry. It is always conditional on belief and or obedience to his word. "If my people" .....

I'm certainly not aware of any verse which comes close to saying specifically that faith is a gift. Neither can I come up with one which says the same about salvation. The verses for salvation will all be qualified in some way. So it is salvation by or through faith etc. Come back to me on this one if you think you have verses which say otherwise though.

peter lumpkins

rhutchin,

"First, to establish that God draws His elect in case there is any disagreement..." You know well enough there most certainly is disagreement on God 'drawing the elect,' rhutchin. Why under the blue sky can't you just answer the simple request--a single verse--one little verse--where the biblical purpose of preaching the gospel is to 'draw God's elect'? Instead of giving the verse, you must explain to us the Calvinist theory of what "drawing" means. I requested a verse which basically says, "go into all the world and preach the gospel so I can draw the elect." Where's it at, rhutchin? Where? What you've effectively done is turned the gospel on its head to feed your theological obsession with eternal election, a focus upon which even Calvin himself encouraged his followers to avoid.

One can easily see why you had to dance all around the question. The truth is not a single text in the New Testament which mentions either evangelizing or preaching the gospel so much as hints that its purpose is to "draw the elect." When Jesus appointed the twelve, He "sent them out to preach" (Mk. 3:14),  and the message they preached was that "men should repent" (Mk. 6:12). Not a hint of "drawing the elect." They went "preaching the gospel and healing everywhere" (Lk. 9:6). Where's "drawing the elect" here, unless one reads that into these passages? When Peter preached at Pentecost, they were "pierced to the heart," and afterward the crowd asked, what shall we do? (Acts 2:37). "Repent and each be baptized" was Peter's reply (v.38). Where's "drawing the elect" at here? Peter said nothing about election. In fact, he didn't even correct their works-oriented request (what shall we do?). He spoke precisely what they must do--repent.  Nothing about eternal election. Nothing about "drawing the elect" as a purpose of his gospel preaching.

Incidentally, nothing about regeneration preceding faith. They were but "pierced" in heart, a term denoting distress, despondance, pain, and agony. In short, they were convicted of their sin, a phrase used by Southern Baptists and other evnagelicals for generations to describe one's spiritual condition in response to gospel preaching. No amount of linguistic gymnastics can beat this verb into actually meaning regeneration. But that's for another time. The point is, the narrative gives no hint whatsoever Peter preached so the elect could be drawn. Instead, he preached so hardened hell-bound sinners could get saved through faith in God's Messiah.

Now if I'm incorrect, show me, rhutchin. Where in the text is a word, a verb, a noun, an adjective, a single preposition which necessarily implies the purpose of preaching the gospel is to draw God's elect? If it's there, please advise. If you can't find it in any of these verses I've supplied, then offer one yourself. But do not come back and log an answer until you can. 

Paul says the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to all who believe (Rom. 1:16). Where's eternal election in these passages, rhutchin? It's not. It's not, of course, unless you read election into it. God's gospel is preached to save sinners not gather the saved which is what you're suggesting. According to my understanding of your view, the only consequent preaching the gospel makes toward the non-elect is to assure they are a hundred-fold more guilty than they already are. It only makes hell hotter. It's not good news at all. It's condemning news. It's news they should run from with as much strength as they can muster! The peoples of the world may be better off without it actually. Statistically, there will be less eternal suffering in hell if no one ever knows about Jesus. That's the kind of twisted, topsy-turvey world your theology seems to make.

No wonder strong Calvinists have such a poor historical record in evangelism. What's the urgency to evangelize? It's only, after all, to "draw God's elect." But if they are God's elect, they cannot not be drawn. They must be drawn, right? Therefore, why should any one person feel bad for not evangelizing? Frankly, it would be wrong to feel bad for not evangelizing. Just as it would be wrong for condemning the church for not evangelizing. Why, people who are now lost, or who go to hell are obviously not God's elect. Every place on the globe right now that has no gospel witness is precisely where God wants them to be. How's that? Well, if any of God's elect were there, there'd right now be a witness to "draw God's elect" wouldn't there? If there were a single elect-person in that gospelless country or region, God will make sure a witness is there to "draw the elect." Why? God's elect cannot not be elect. They must be elect. Hence, His means are also elect.

Well, if I don't go, then I'm obviously not His means, am I? And, if you fail to witness to a person you meet at school, no sweat. You obviously were not His means. For if you were His means, you'd have witnessed. If I were God's means to "draw the elect" I would have witnessed. But since you didn't witness, you have no reason to fear whatsoever. God's elect cannot not be drawn. They must be drawn. Nor should I fear or be anxious whatsoever. Sorry. I guess Ezekiel was just wrong. No blood can be on either of our hands since the elect cannot not be drawn and the non-elect cannot not be reprobate. The fact is I'm wasting my time preaching to the lost since the lost are never going to be found. They are all going to hell. I should preach to the elect so they can be "drawn" not found since God never lost them. They were saved in eternity for all eternity while the non-elect were always lost, an eternal casuality to glorify God's justice.

With that, I am...

Peter 

rhutchin

Andrew Barker writes, "God does not go around dispensing salvation to all and sundry. It is always conditional on belief and or obedience to his word."

Even if salvation is conditional on belief and obedience, this is not contrary to the Calvinist conclusion.

The issue is how one person comes to faith and to believe and another does not. If it is God who takes some action to bring one person to faith while passing over another, then we have one explanation.

However, absent God's intervention, how do we explain how one person comes to belief and another does not. Free will does not explain it since both are presumed to have a "free" will. Some other factor must explain it. What is that factor?

rhutchin

Peter writes, "Why under the blue sky can't you just answer the simple request--a single verse--one little verse--where the biblical purpose of preaching the gospel is to 'draw God's elect'?"

Because there is no "single verse" that does this. Single verses will provide us with true statements, but do not give the whole story on any issue/doctrine.

rhutchin

Peter writes, 'What you've effectively done is turned the gospel on its head to feed your theological obsession with eternal election,..."

Is there an issue about eternal election here?? We both agree that God is omniscient and knew His elect and the reprobate when He created the universe in Genesis 1:1. The whole issue is how God's elect come to salvation - Whether God chooses His elect unconditionally or conditionally. Isn't the Calvinist-Non-Calvinist debate basically over technical details about how a person comes to salvation and not who is saved? You are no proposing that God could be ignorant about all this, are you?

Andrew Barker

rhutchin: "Even if salvation is conditional on belief and obedience, this is not contrary to the Calvinist conclusion."

Well, I'll leave you to argue that one with your Calvinist brothers! Good luck.

peter lumpkins

"Because there is no "single verse" that does this. Single verses will provide us with true statements, but do not give the whole story on any issue/doctrine." How convenient, rhutchin.

a) Had I asked you for a "proof-text" to validate your view the elect is "predestined before the foundation of the world" I wonder if you would have plead no "single verse" does this. And, had you suggested we begin with Eph. 1:4, would you have accepted my reply, "Single verses provide us with true statements, but do not give the whole story on any issue/doctrine"? I highly double-dog doubt it. Yet you squirt this junior-high nonsense at me as if it's supposed to be some type of reasonable answer.

b) I never once indicated nor expected a verse that provides "the whole story" on preaching and preaching's purpose. That's a crock. What I asked for is a single verse which in some form or fashion verbally indicates the purpose of preaching the gospel is to draw the elect. Produce it if you can. But I don't think you can. All you apparently can do is dart away from the question by floating nonsense like you did above. For me, this is why Calvinism can never survive in the open market of ideas. Its claims cannot stand up to biblical scrutiny. At best, Calvinism--at least the Calvinism you seem to be peddling--is big theology based upon bad exegesis.

With that, I am...
Peter

peter lumpkins

"The whole issue is how God's elect come to salvation... You are no proposing that God could be ignorant about all this, are you?"

No, rhutchin, that's NOT the issue we're discussing. Once again, you want to ignore your utter failure to produce any Scripture whatsoever for a notion I challenged; namely, where does Scripture teach gospel-preaching's purpose is to draw the elect rather than save hell-bound, condemned to God's wrath sinners? That's the challenge I made. You've danced completely around the simple question by wowing us all with Calvinism's theory of eternal election but not a single verse which necessarily implies we are to preach the gospel to the ends of the earth in order to draw the elect. Nothing. Nothing. N-O-T-H-I-N-G.

Now you want to rhetorically imply I've said something which indicates God is not omniscient. Good heavens, man! Keep on subject. Just answer the question. Where in God's word does He tell us to preach the gospel to the ends of the earth in order to draw the predestined elect rather than save the lost? Calvinists forever boast about being wed to Scripture. Sola Scriptura. Here's your chance to shine.

In fact, shine or drop the issue, rhutchin. I'm not going to keep tit/tatting back and forth with you when you refuse to answer on one hand or continue to caterwaul about other notions on the other.

With that, I am...
Peter

peter lumpkins

All,

I'm told Winston Churchill once said, "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter." Not to be rude, but my experience tells me perhaps the best argument against Calvinism is a five-minute conversation with the average Calvinist. Like with 'rhutchin' above, real answers are rarely forthcoming. And far too often when they are given, they're obtuse and unclear.

With that, I am...
Peter

David (NAS) Rogers

I'm tempted to program a macro for responding whenever a Calvinist proof-text bombs in a comment:

"I believe everything that verse teaches. I just don't believe Calvinism."

Lydia

"Not to be rude, but my experience tells me perhaps the best argument against Calvinism is a five-minute conversation with the average Calvinist. Like with 'rhutchin' above, real answers are rarely forthcoming. And far too often when they are given, they're obtuse and unclear."

It has only been the last few years that non seminary educated people are actually challenging the presuppositions. They were not prepared for that. Their position and power was supposed to make that not possible.

I still say Zack Hunt got it right on the Calvinism argument even if I disagree with him on quite a few other things:

"Which is why, John, it’s hard not to conclude that Calvinism is a sustained exercise in the defense against the obvious. By which I mean you’re constantly on the defense against the obvious conclusions of your claims." - See more at: http://theamericanjesus.net/2014/05/13/dear-john-an-open-letter-to-john-calvin/#sthash.RvcmYXro.dpuf

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