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Oct 18, 2014

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Leslie Puryear

Great video. These guys get right to the point and they're right.

Ed

Both sides of this debate in SBC circles is very amusing. Surely you have better things to do. I know of Reformed church today that teaches babies burn in hell.

peter lumpkins

Les,

I agree. The pastors did a good job though they could have tightened up their language a bit. Moreover, I think the reason some of the younger Calvinists did not like the video is because these guys are not "traditional." Instead they have a very polished presentation, obviously appeal to young adults, and look very much like the YRR cats--hip and all--without the YRR theology.

With that, I am...
Peter

peter lumpkins

Hi Ed,

Well, if you're not SB I can understand why you might see it as "amusing." To those of us, however, who've had to pick up the pieces of Calvinistic takeovers by stealth Calvinists, no amusement exists I'm afraid. So pardon me in love if I don't share your self-confessed entertainment. Even so, this particular video has jack to do with Southern Baptists. VBC is not a Southern Baptist church. Nor is Sovereign Grace so far as I know.

As for there's no "Reformed church today that teaches babies burn in hell" may I ask how you intend to prove such a claim? I'm afraid that's a puff of smoke. Besides my point concerned what Calvinism historically has taught. Furthermore, most Calvinists with whom I've dealt who presently entertain the notion of babies burning in hell will clam up and go silent when this is brought up saying something like "the Bible doesn't reveal to us what happens when infants die. Hence, it's best not to say" or some such other copout.

Have a good evening.

With that, I am...
Peter

Mike

I will only comment this once. I dont have time for debate.

First, I only listened to about 30 seconds of the entire tape so it is possible for me to have missed some very key information. However, since I did not have an hour to give to this I immediately jumped to about what I guessed would be the 5 minute mark because it is usually about that time that people's motors start running.
And I was right.
This is what I heard right off the bat from the 5:48 mark through the 6:24 mark.

Quote: "Their doctrine states... and I know the doctrine".

INSERT: Remember, he says, "I KNOW THE DOCTRINE".

He continues, "It states that God only chooses a few. He only chooses some to have eternal life. His decision is only based on whatever. We dont know what it is based on."

INSERT: Whatever? You mean you dont know... and you claim to know this doctrine? Really? Is that the best he can offer?
Peter since you have posted this, because what seems obvious to me, I was wondering what you think the answer to his question might be?

Vietti continues, "He chooses some to be saved. He chooses others to be born with the intention that they will suffer in hell forever and ever and God is glorified in that suffering. A horrible, horrible dotcrine."

INSERT: I wonder if he even knows the difference between Supra or Infra? If he does I wonder if he differentiates them in the video or if he lumps them all together and continue to recklessly represent Calvinists?

After that, I knew that there was absolutely NO reason for me to continue. My conclusion is that these guys are either some of the least knowledgeable people who are inferring authority in regards to something they clearly know very little about or they are flat out intentionally seeking to malign those who hold to the Doctrines of Grace.

By the way Peter, I noticed on the side bar while watching that brief clip that this guy does not know what God's Word says in regards to whether there is a hell or not. What little credit this joker had to begin with was lost when I saw and then watched a bit of that.

Maybe you should write a piece about that and see where it goes in Baptistdom?https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GSNGLRPVd8

Lydia

He focuses mainly on "being chosen" but I will take it a step further. Even those who believe they are one of the chosen have the same problems in the end. If God is controlling every molecule with His Sovereignty then your suffering comes from Him and even makes you more pious.

I write this as a broken hearted mom whose teen friend (who sat through this bizarre Sovereignty teaching using suffering as the example from an SBTS grad) tried to kill herself a week ago just a few days after the teaching and right after parental abuse. Where could she turn in her despair since God is controlling (even orchestrating)
her suffering. Teens who are in abusive situations cannot take this teaching. Instead of her being taught that God wants her to seek healing and love her life, she is taught she is a vile worm who must suffer for God.

The truth is that God wants the adults in her life to protect her from abuse and harm. Not to tell her that her suffering makes her more Holy.

And most of the adults in her life AT CHURCH will never connect the dots on what she is taught because the guys who teach it are so nice and cool. We just did not understand it and misunderstood what they meant. They would never affirm child abuse.

I honestly do not think we have even touched the surface of the fallout from this movement from the athiesm I am seeing from former NC pew sitters to despairing teens to the nasties who can do or say what they want because they are elect.

Craig Daliessio

I am sovereign over my daughter. That doesn't mean I have to exercise that sovereignty. Calvin's God is so darned insecure. "I'll show YOU how sovereign I am!"
Calvinism has become it's own idolatry.
These people are wearing me out

rhutchin

We read above, "See what I mean? On the one hand, even when, out of courtesy, Vietti refuses to name names and target specific churches, Vegas presumptuously claims Vietti named him."

Vietti does name John Piper, Acts 29, the Gospel Coalition, Reformation (something), and anyone who buys into "divine election" as Calvin defined it. Chad Vegas appears to place himself within that grouping. So, describing Vegas as presumptuous is a little unfair.

I listened to 25 minutes of the 50 minute video. Their complaint is against the doctrine of divine election as Calvin taught it. Since they started repeating this theme after about 10 minutes in, I suspect that I heard all they had to offer. My conclusion is that they are basically clueless about Calvinism - and divine election specifically - despite their claim to understand whereof they speak.

At the beginning, Vietti says that he is going to be personally attacked by Calvinists over this video. So, I found it interesting that they attacked Calvin on his personal failures. Calvin's personal failures have nothing to do with the doctrine of divine election.

Max

"God says, seek me and you'll find Me when you search for Me with all your heart ..."

Peter, if your paragraph which begins with the above line was printed in next Sunday's bulletins at SBC's 45,000+ churches, the sleeping majority might just wake up! To date, millions of Southern Baptists have been uninformed, misinformed or willingly ignorant regarding Calvinization of the Southern Baptist Convention. The reformed message spreading through SBC's YRR ranks is a misrepresentation of the character of God ... period.

Lydia

"So, I found it interesting that they attacked Calvin on his personal failures. Calvin's personal failures have nothing to do with the doctrine of divine election."

That "New Life in Christ" thing just does not apply in Calvinism, does it?

Lydia

Mike,

Most of us Non Cals are well aware that NO ONE can understand Calvinism unless they agree with it. :o)

peter lumpkins

rhutchin,

"Vietti does name John Piper, Acts 29, the Gospel Coalition, Reformation (something), and anyone who buys into "divine election" as Calvin defined it. Chad Vegas appears to place himself within that grouping. So, describing Vegas as presumptuous is a little unfair."

Please. Naming any one of the Calvinist celebrities had anything whatsoever to do with Vietti and Crews naming Vegas for crying out loud. Following your logic, no one could ever identify an unhealthy doctrine without it being objectionably personal.

Nor is your broad-brush suggesting your "conclusion is that they are basically clueless about Calvinism - and divine election specifically" have any teeth, especially after you admit you didn't even listen to them but tuned them out after 10 minutes. I suppose the other 15 mins. you claim to have listened was white noise.

And, of course, you take the winning award of the thread for being the first to log the mantra about non-Calvinists not having a clue what Calvinism is all about, the very fact I lamented in the post. Again the logic of Calvinist critics is revealing--If no one but Calvinists are able to get Calvinism right, perhaps if follows no one but non-Calvinists can get non-Calvinism right.

If this is so, then stop the criticisms of non-Calvinism because, according to your logic, you don't know what the heck you're talking about.

With that, I am...
Peter

peter lumpkins

Hi Mike,

A) "First, I only listened to about 30 seconds of the entire tape so it is possible for me to have missed some very key information" You think?

B) Since you only listened to about 30 secs of the entire tape, then you're more than irresponsible for logging any criticism at all toward Vietti and Crews on this thread. Indeed you make a mockery of legitimate criticism. Hence, even if you get time, do not log back on here with any comment toward these' guys understanding of election until you can responsibly speak to the subject of this post which includes an attempt to understand their stated position.

C) for purposes of this post, I don't give two shakes of a gnat's behind what either Crews or Vietti's view is on the eternal condition of unbelievers. That's not the subject here. I know where I stand. I know also where the overwhelming majority of SBs most likely stand. But again, that's not the issue. In fact, I think you only logged on just to post the link. It's obvious you don't know your own nose from a hole in the ground about Vietti and Crews' view on this video since you announced you only watched 30 secs (and that included skipping through it!). Now why would you do that? It's called "poisoning the well" in informal logic textbooks. I've come to call it greasing the bucket.

With that, I am...
Peter

PS. For the record, Vietti & Crews' view on the eternal fate of unbelievers may be something similar to the late John R.W. Stott's view, a view about which Calvinists gave, for the most part, Stott a free pass I'd like to add...

rhutchin

Peter writes, "...the winning award..."

Where are the editors when you need them?

Peter also writes, "If this is so, then stop the criticisms of non-Calvinism because, according to your logic, you don't know what the heck you're talking about."

Calvinism is not difficult to understand. I think most grasp it easily. Why is it then that Vietti & Crews have to distort Calvinism in order to argue against it. We see this when they use the example of the burning house (with the opening about babies instructive also). What should I conclude: that they purposely distorted Calvinism to argue against it or that they are clueless. I thought it nicer to say that they are merely clueless.

I agree that, "Following [my] logic, no one could ever identify an unhealthy doctrine without it being objectionably personal." A person is known by the company he keeps.

peter lumpkins

rhutchin,

Like Mike above you continue to write words but the words mean jack squat. If my count is correct, you've accused Vietti and Crews with "distorting" Calvinism but not a single specific has been logged. Nothing. Yours is a bit better than Mike since he only listened to 30 sec. and tried to criticize what he didn't even listen to. Even so, you come up short by just logging "they distort Calvinism." So, please find another venue to log empty complaints.

With that, I am...
Peter

Andy Williams

"I agree. The pastors did a good job though they could have tightened up their language a bit. Moreover, I think the reason some of the younger Calvinists did not like the video is because these guys are not "traditional." Instead they have a very polished presentation, obviously appeal to young adults, and look very much like the YRR cats--hip and all--without the YRR theology."

1. I would be interested to know what exactly you feel these two pastors could have done better to make their presentation more effective. Specifically, was this a good and fair way to begin their presentation: "Look at these cute babies...if you agree with Calvin...you hate babies."

I can easily find much better arguments against Calvinism online, without the emotionalism. (Roger Olson, Michael Brown, Austin Fisher, to name a few)

2. Do you really think that young Calvinists are that fickle? ...That they are fine if old guys in suits argue against Calvinism, but they can't handle if young cool people do it?

Are you basing this assessment of their character on nothing more than their soteriological position?

peter

Hi 'Andy Williams'

I think I would have done a lot differently actually. And I have when I've presented my own reservations contra Calvinism in a local church setting.

As for the pics of babies specifically, I'm unsure what all the uproar is about. What more stirring image could one use to illustrate the sheer repulsive nature of determinism than babies? Remember these babies are either elect or non-elect from all eternity, with not a scintilla of change in their eternally fixed destiny no matter how old they live to be. And, remember also we're speaking of what Calvin's view of election was, a view which Vegas says he presently embraces. And Calvin was certain unelect babies burned in hell as did most mainstream reformers before the 20th century or so (excepting Baptist Calvinists who seemed to always have argued vehemently against babies burning in hell...at least until recently).

As for my opinion about Calvinists in general and later the YRR particularly, I base it on my continued observations since my early years embracing of and advocating toward Calvinism (around 1982 or so) and my slow but definitive move away from Calvinism beginning somewhere in the latter 90s I think. That doesn't include my public criticisms since circa 2006 and the rise of the YRR in the SBC around 2008 or so. Hence, my opinion is based upon a fairly long even varied engagement with Calvinism.

Hope that helps.

With that, I am...
Peter

volfan007

Peter,

What I have found in a LOT of my conversations about Calvinism is that trying to pin them down on certain things they believe is like trying to nail jello to the wall. It's almost like anything that you say....that they either don't want to admit, or don't see as the logical conclusion to their beliefs.... they cry, "You're misrepresenting Calvinism!" Or, "You don't understand Calvinism!" It's like they are the ONLY ONES, who know their secret code to the Bible.

David

Andy Williams

Peter,

Thanks for taking the time to reply.

I am not familiar with Calvin's views on elect infants...only with the views of the majority of Calvinists I know and have heard/read. ..most of which either think they all go to heaven, or might say they aren't sure.

As to young calvinists getting worked up because young cool guys are arguing against calvinism...I suppose I just tire of both sides assuming the worst about the other...I tire of hearing calvinists say arminians are man-centered, manipulative evangelists who think man saves himself...and I tire of non-calvinists assuming that any person who is a calvinist is automatically trying to decieve and hide their beliefs in order to sneak them in the back door. Both of those get old really fast and don't contribute much to the discussion.

I remember my time in college when we would sit around late at night in our dorms and discuss/debate sovereignty and free will...but I don't remember it causing the animosity that it causes now. We we all good friends after those discussions, even the Nazarene who though she could lose her salvation... :-)

Scott Shaver

"Pinning Jello to the wall" is an apt description.

"Tossed to and fro by every wind and wave of doctrine"

Peter Lumpkins

Andy,

You may not be familiar with Calvin's view. Granted. But Vegas claims Calvin's view as his own. Hence, it's Calvin's view which is relevant. And since Vegas didn't attempt to distance himself from Calvin's view, a view which includes the damnation of nonelect infants, one cannot or at least should not think criticizing Calvin's view as grossly repulsive to be unfairly expressed.

You may be correct that many if not most Calvinists among the YRR do not agree with Calvin's position at that point. I grant this as well. On the other hand as I stated and you reiterated above, more and more Calvinists are now attempting to 'remain silent' on the issue suggesting there's not enough biblical data to make a solid judgment on the fate of infants dying in infancy. This is a new phenomenon among Baptists who've historically affirmed all infants dying in infancy are received in grace. It's Reformed churches in general which have historically followed Calvin down that path.

Finally, yes animosity exists on this issue. But your experience as a college student has little to no relationship to what happens in the real world. Unfortunately neither will your seminary experience if you go.

Lord bless.

With that, I am...
Peter

eric

Peter,
I'm one that remains silent on the issue. And a point of clarification, no babies are in hell and no 105 year old invalid is in hell. Neither are they in heaven. Babies, the young, the old, are resurrected with a new body of some form.

God is clear, that only those who die "in Christ", with faith in Christ will be saved, we agree on that.

My personal conflict is that when I accept the idea that God has special grace for babies, who are dead in sin, and have no faith in Christ (for obvious reasons), why cant he have special grace for those unreached folks in the woods who have never heard the name Jesus, never had a chance to believe.

There are a few passages which indicate grace for babies. So I don't know, I don't have to know, I don't have to have a direct yes or no answer. What I do know (because he declared it), is that God is just and right in his ways, I cant rest in that answer.

Scott Shaver

Huh?

"Neither are they in heaven..."

What has God "declared" about this limbo area between heaven and hell if you don't mind me asking, Eric.

peter lumpkins

Eric,

"My personal conflict is that when I accept the idea that God has special grace for babies, who are dead in sin, and have no faith in Christ (for obvious reasons), why cant he have special grace for those unreached folks in the woods who have never heard the name Jesus, never had a chance to believe." Yes, I'd say that's a conflict for anyone who embraces inherent Adamic guilt. But as Scott mentioned, you've more than a single conflict.

With that, I am...
Peter

eric

Peter,
Am I wrong in thinking that the SBC teaches that People are born in sin and in need of Jesus.

Scott, I'm not referencing a limbo state. Simply stating that I don't think heaven or hell will have babies in it. When a baby dies, he doesn't enter heaven as a baby, when a 105 year old dies, he doesn't enter heaven with a 105 year old body.

Mike

Peter because I saw no need to respond after my first comment, I stated as much. However, because you misunderstood my intent I decided to respond.

To begin with, there was no need for me to continue past 30 seconds. These guys showed their true colors and their knowledge of Calvinism by that brief statement in that 30 second span. If these guys don't even know a Calvinist’s biblical response to why God chooses some and not others, then it is evident that the rest of their answers will be off course.

My point in pointing out these guys view on the eternal condition of unbelievers was to show that not only do they not know a Calvinists view on election (despite the fact that they claim to know what they are talking about) they don't even know where people go when they die (quote “We don’t know”). Therefore I see no reason to give stock to them and am amazed that you are. So, no, I did not log on just to post that link.

For the record, Stott knew where he stood. Though I disagree with his view, he could back it up with something other than “We don’t know”.

peter

Sorry Eric. I just don't have the energy to answer cryptic questions.

Have a good evening.

With that, I am...
Peter

peter lumpkins

Mike,

I see. Logging on here to criticize without the first inkling about what these guys said was insufficient. You now log on again to defend your irresponsibility.

I learned in the 80s (from a Mormon educator of all people) one of the seven habits of highly effective people: seek first to understand, then to be understood. No amount of rhetoric is going to relieve you of asinine behavior: a priori criticism.

With that, I am...
Peter

DrJamesAch

What Do Calvinists Really Know About Election?

Mike says, "If these guys don't even know a Calvinist’s biblical response to why God chooses some and not others, then it is evident that the rest of their answers will be off course."

Since when have Calvinists ever claimed to know why God chooses some and either reprobates or passes over the rest? That's always been one of the "great mysteries" even among Calvinists, so why would they expect a Calvinist Critic to explain it when Calvinists themselves don't agree?

Furthermore, they WHY of election (as if they knew, anyway) is actually a tacit Calvinist defense of Open Theism. Now follow along closely my little Calvinist children because either God didn't know who the elect and non elect were, or He DID know, and if He DID know, the only way that could be known is if he deliberately selected who would be lost which is something most modern Calvinists reject, the only other alternative is that God passed over the non elect without actually knowing who they are or would be (although the WCF rejects any election based on foresight):

The Calvinist explanation for election (at least for those who will shun the hyper-Calvinist label) is that God merely passes over the unelected, that God didn't actually actively choose who would go to hell, but that He merely passively selected some and the rest are just victims by failing to get chosen.

The problem with that view is that it implies God didn't know who He actually chose to be elect. The only way for God to not have actively singled out the elect, and to have passively skipped the non elect, is if God rolled the cosmic dice because He didn't want to appear biased in His arbitrary selection of humans. If His selection was not arbitrary, then it has to have been calculated, and calculation implies deliberate thought and planning. Yet Calvinists maintain the arbitrariness of election while at the same time maintaining it's chosen design.

Either way, Calvinists have actually NOT given an explanation as to "why God chooses some and not others" which explains why they are so offended when a Non Calvinist fills in the blanks for them. The only possible answer is that God intended and desired to create a minority
group to save, and then a majority to watch burn. When Satan fell, it wasn't good enough that God meted and displayed His justice and wrath on the devil and his angels, God had to add to His entertainment by making humans reprobate as well. In other words, if the sole point of making a reprobate class was so that God could show His holiness, He could have just stopped with the devil and his angels, and then elected everyone in humanity to worship Him and watch God prove His wrath on sin and evil by putting the eternal smack down on Lucifer.

But NO, God wasn't satisfied with that, He had to guarantee that Adam would sin -how else would His "eternal decree" for the elect come to fruition if Adam chose NOT to sin? God couldn't possibly elect anyone if Adam chose to refrain from the fruit.

Why? Where's the Calvinist explanation otherwise? When have the Calvinists ever explained these conundrums other than merely shifting the burden of explaining theodicy on to their opponents, punting to mystery (which is still not an explanation) and blaming "hyper-Calvinism" which is an imaginary theological demarcation line when a Calvinist really wants to blame blatant contradictions on the Invisible Man (Don't believe me? Look up the train wreck among Calvinists when Calvinists themselves used Phil Johnson's definition of Hyper Calvinism and applied it to James White-WHO'S NEVER HIMSELF STUCK TO A DEFINITION OF HYPER CALVINISM--hmmm why not?)

It is ironic that Vietti and Crews got so much attention over this. When you don't see Chad Vegas or Steve Swarts writing 100 page essays on Norman Geisler, William Lane Craig, Dave Hunt, Jerry Walls, Laurence Vance et al, who have written and lectured extensively on Calvinism.

We have a short response to Chad Vegas response to Vietti and Crews, and we've explained the places where they nailed it, regardless of how much Calvinists want to claim "misrepresentation" (shocker). http://dorightchristians.wordpress.com/2014/10/15/worst-calvinist-response-evah-to-a-calvinism-exposed-video-part-2/

Dr James Ach

Lydia

"My personal conflict is that when I accept the idea that God has special grace for babies, who are dead in sin, and have no faith in Christ (for obvious reasons), why cant he have special grace for those unreached folks in the woods who have never heard the name Jesus, never had a chance to believe."

Yes, I'd say that's a conflict for anyone who embraces inherent Adamic guilt. But as Scott mentioned, you've more than a single conflict."

Oh yes. When one starts with the belief that babies are vipers in diapers there will be a ton of conlict to deal with and the need to historically create many confusing and dissonant teachings to affirm such a premise. Paul Washer claims babies want to rip the shiney watch off our arms and crawl over our bleeding bodies.


So that answer is: don't start with "evil babies". If I were conceived in "sin" then I can also be washed clean with hyssop. Right? It says it right there in the same Psalm. Do you have any idea where I can buy some or where it grows in the US?

Scott Shaver

We've moved now from no implication of limbo to a theology of uniformity of appearance in spiritual bodies. Not afraid of the idea but all seems far too speculative for any dogmatism.

Can't claim misrepresentation when we get into this area, there's nothing to misrepresent.

Carl Peterson

Saw the video. Wow! the pastors did a very poor job explaining Calvinism or even understanding it. For instance one of their arguments is that people could cry out to be saved by God but God would reject them because they are not chosen. Who believes this? Not Calvinism. Reformed theology clearly teaches that an unregenerate person has chosen not to believe in God and WILL NOT choose God. They will not call out or cry out to God.

I could go on but this was one of the first statements from the pastors and clearly demonstrates a lack of understanding of their topic.

Andrew Barker

Carl Peterson: "Reformed theology clearly teaches that an unregenerate person has chosen not to believe in God and WILL NOT choose God. They will not call out or cry out to God.

This is quite a claim. I would be interested to hear which scripture verse you feel supports this. When exactly did this unregenerate person choose NOT to believe? Did they really have a choice ie were they actually already 'saved' but then they chose not to be? Or where they unsaved and somehow 'choose' to be a little more unsaved?

If you wish to go confessional you might say that God chooses according to his good pleasure. This is before the foundation of the world so I can't see how unregenerates are in any position (according to Reformed Theology) of choosing at all!

I am no fan of this video and for me it has issues of style and presentation. But it didn't say anything about Calvinism that I haven't actually heard from a Calvinist at one time or another. Which is more than I can say about your contribution which appears rather 'novel'.

So my question is simply this .... when does your unregenerate person make this choice not to believe in God?


Carl Peterson

Andrew, First are you saying to me that the unsaved do not chose not to be saved?

In Isaiah it says that everyone has turned to his own way (sin, idolatry). So we make a choice.

Isaiah 53:6 - All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way.

In Romans see how the person as not understood and turned aside. The man does not seek,etc. This demonstrates a choice.

Romans 3:9-12 - What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and G+reeks, are under sin, as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” (c.f. Psalm 14:1-3, 53:1-3)

Joshua is even more clear.

joshua 24: 14 “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as f+or me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

The questions is not whether man has a choice or not. That is clear. The questions is whether the person is a slave to sin or a slave to righteousness.

See Romans 6. we are either one or the other. See that man presents himself as an obedient slave. man chooses to be a slave to sin or to obedience.

15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves,[c] you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God%2+C that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.

20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been%+20set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

My position is not novel. Listen to Sproule and major Reformed theologians as they talk about the choice of man. They do not say that man cannot make any choices. What they say is that the unregenerate man will not choose God. This is because God must regenerate him or take him from death to life. Because of original sin man will continually choose death and sin. No major reformed thinker that I know states that te unregenerate man does not choose sin. Please find me one+ who states that man cannot choose sin.

I think where you are getting confused is that you do not believe that the sins of others affect us (future mankind). This is clearly not the case in the Bible. Even traditional Baptist believe that Adam's sin affects us. We have a sin nature because of the fall. I personally did not choose to have a sin nature. Somehow mankind is linked together (and with all of creation). This is something that has been taught all throughout church history. look at Gregory of Nazianzus in the 4th century. He said "What Christ has not assumed is not healed" to the appolinarians. The Apollanarians believed that Christ was not fully human (he had a human body but a divi+ne mind or soul). My point is Greg. of Naz assumes that connection or union between all of mankind when he teaches that Jesus must have assumed all of what is mankind to heal mankind.

But really it is clear from Romans 5. It is another long quote but I think you can see that through Adam something was passed to all men. Some say it is original sin and others say it was a sin nature. But either way the individual received it and thus has a proclivity to sin because of it.

12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men[e] because all sinned— 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given,%2+0but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.

15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. 16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man's sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. 17 For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who rec+eive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

18 Therefore, as one trespass[f] led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness[g] leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous. 20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

So to answer your last question. The unregenerate man chooses every day not to believ+e in God. He chooses everyday to sin. He receives his sin nature and original guilt (of course not all believe that latter) as a result of Adam's sin. Either way we all suffer the affect of that choice.

Andrew Barker

Carl Petersen: I think you have missed what I was driving at.

In your first comment you quote " Reformed theology clearly teaches that an unregenerate person has chosen not to believe in God and WILL NOT choose God.

Then in your reply you quote: "The questions is not whether man has a choice or not. That is clear. The questions is whether the person is a slave to sin or a slave to righteousness.

Despite your reply at length, you have still not answered the basic question. Instead you have deflected it by answering a question which wasn't asked. I would suggest to you that Reformed theology doesn't give the unregenerate person a choice in the matter. After all, is it not at God's pleasure that a person is either chosen or not? How then can they be said to have any choice in the matter. Please explain.

Carl Peterson

Andrew,

Did you miss this comment in my reply "So to answer your last question. The unregenerate man chooses every day not to believe in God. He chooses everyday to sin. He receives his sin nature and original guilt (of course not all believe that latter) as a result of Adam's sin. Either way we all suffer the affect of that choice"?

I deflected nothing. I said that man chooses to disobey God and to choose sin. Man is responsible for his actions.

You are the one who did not answer my simple question. You are also confused. Reformed theology has always taught that mankind chooses to sin and the elect will end up choosing faith. Man's choice is always involved.

First mankind has chosen to sin and go against God. Mankind has been a stubborn and rebellious people. God did not force mankind to sin nor is he the author of sin. Sin did not surprise God. He is sovereign.

God has chosen to regenerate and save the elect. His salvation is definite but again it is through man's choice. God brings man from death to life and man chooses to have faith. the unregenerate man is still choosing to sin. He is freely choosing although I do not know how free will is tenable in any system. There are always many factors that influence our decisions. No one is really completely free to choose one way over another without influences pushing him to choose one way or the other.

I am not really following your question since it seems to be confusing different items (Sovereign will of God, man's choice to sin, God's choice to save, etc.). Are you asking how any choices could occur if Calvinist theology is true? This post might not be clear because your question is all over the place. Can you be more clear?

Lydia

Then why do God's chosen "regenerate" humans still sin?

This is another thing I could never understand about Calvin's theology. How would he know who is elect since church attendance was mandatory in Geneva?

What you have explained above still begs the question about choice but you do have a fancy way of explaining it.
(They have a choice not to sin but not to be regenerate. Weird)

You make it sound like the unregenerate have a choice to be judged by the law and if they choose not to sin, then what? Do you think they would be saved if they kept the law but were not of the so called elect?

Andrew Barker

Carl Petersen: No I did not miss your comments. But they contain assumptions which are not supported in any meaningful way.

eg "The questions is not whether man has a choice or not. That is clear. The questions is whether the person is a slave to sin or a slave to righteousness."

It may be clear to you, but you haven't addressed it or answered the question, have you! I would refer you back to your Reformed confessional stance which says that God chooses in accordance with his sovereign will and for his good pleasure those who will be saved aka his elect. It is a fundamental tenet of Reformed theology I think. God makes the choice!

Stop me at this point if I've got anything wrong because I don't want to put words into your mouth. But if you hold to that statement, I can't see how you can then argue than a person has any real option of exercising a choice in the matter of salvation. Indeed, even those who are the so called 'chosen' according to your system (Reformed theology) only make the 'choice' because God enables (regenerates) them first. Even the option of choosing is chosen for them!

In which case, I can't see how the unregenerate man can make a choice either, because he has no options open to him other to sin his way through life and of course, suffer the consequences of being at the wrong end of God's good pleasure!


Julie

Ephesians 2:1 "And you were dead in your trespasses and sins," I would contend that dead men cannot chose faith prior to regeneration. Further, in using a proper grammatical hermeneutic, verse 8 of this same chapter clearly states that "by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." Faith is clearly a gift of God, not from man's choosing.

peter lumpkins

Hi Julie,

Thank you for the comment. You might like the latest post I hung up which addresses the very point you make. Here's a link:

http://peterlumpkins.typepad.com/peter_lumpkins/2014/10/is-faith-a-gift-of-god-regeneration-precedes-faith-implies-salvation-by-works.html

With that, I am...
Peter

Julie


Peter,

I would encourage you to watch all three parts of the attached video's regard the history of Calvinism.

Be amazed by His grace,

Julie

Julie


Sorry, I forgot the link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oCtrOqYXekE

peter lumpkins

Thanks Julie. But I've already watched the videos. In fact I own them.

In addition, there's few men on the video series I haven't read and some at extended lengths. Take Sproul (senior), for example: I think I've read most everything he's ever written. He's one of my favorite contemporary Reformed authors.

Even so, the videos are, by and large, little beyond an extended infomercial on Reformed doctrine. None of it, if I recall correctly, deals with substantial objections offered to Calvinists, objections like Roy L. Aldrich makes in the link I gave you above.

Thanks again.

With that, I am...
Peter

Julie

Good to know that you have read the "other side." You are one of very few people I have talked with, who hold to the synergistic view of arminianism, that have actually done any extensive reading on the early church father's or modern reformed theologian's.

Andrew Barker

Julie: "Faith is clearly a gift of God, not from man's choosing."

I'm glad you see this as clearly, because faith is never seen as a gift in the Bible, except in the list of spiritual gifts in 1 Cor. So what is apparently 'clear' to one person is anything but clear to another!

You mentioned grammar, but gave no example. If you look at the grammar you will find that both grace and faith are written in the feminine form. Saved is in the masculine. This is your first problem in that the pronoun is neuter. If Paul had really wanted to say that faith is what is being referred to he could easily have used the feminine form. But I'm sure you already know this, as do those who are well versed in Reformed theology. It's just that they choose to ignore this fact and will probably look for some example of a neuter form taking a feminine antecedent. I don't think they can find one within the text of scripture, but they may dig up some odd example outside the Bible.

But what I find extraordinary, is that the collective wisdom seems to go out of the window when looking at this passage. For starters, there are no verses in the Greek so you should take v8 and v9 together (at least). You don't need the Greek but it does help.

If you make faith the antecedent in verse 8 it has to be treated similarly in verse 9. So you end up with a passage which says this:

For by grace you have been saved by faith, and this (faith) is not of yourselves it is the gift of God, it (faith) is not of works lest any man should boast.

Now, I don't know if you realise how silly that last section sounds but nobody, nobody is going to say "faith is not of works". It just is not worth mentioning because it is so blindingly obvious! So unless you think Paul was off his trolley or he was given to wasting words, then you really do need to take another look at how you are dealing with these verses.

I could say more, but sometimes I think less is more than enough. I don't think the majority of scholars will support the inference that faith is grammatically the gift in these verses. Neither can you offer any other verse in support of this 'major' doctrine. It is I'm afraid just another example of the way Reformed theology runs into problems and has to manipulate verses so that they fit in line with the theology. It is essentially eisegesis at its best.



Julie

Andrew, So you are asserting that grace is the gift of God and faith is the work, or contribution to salvation of man? I want to be clear on your position.

Andrew Barker

Julie: I'm not sure if you bothered to read my post, but it would appear not. At the risk of repeating myself. The feminine forms of both grace and faith are used and therefore would not normally be seen as the antecedents to the pronoun (this) which is neuter. So the answer is no, neither grace or faith are seen as 'the' gift in these verses.

Of course grace, by its very nature, is a gift but in these verses it's not shown as 'the' gift.


Quite how you would infer that 'faith is the work' from my post is beyond me. Why would anybody confuse faith with being a 'work'? They certainly haven't read and understood Rom 4:1-6 which clearly shows that faith and works are opposites! Faith is never seen as a work in the Bible, or perhaps you can show otherwise?

I trust my position on both points is abundantly clear.

I would be interested to see the 'grammatical hermeneutical' you mentioned. Because as yet, you have provided no substantial evidence at all to support your claim that faith is a gift.

Mary

"Good to know that you have read the "other side." You are one of very few people I have talked with, who hold to the synergistic view of arminianism, that have actually done any extensive reading on the early church father's or modern reformed theologian's"


Julie should probably get out more before she throws around insults such as "synergistic view of arminianism" She demonstrates that she has not read very much of the "other side"

Carl Peterson

Andrew,

First man chooses to sin. nothing in your post suggests otherwise. Nothing in any Reformed confession or catechism i know about suggests otherwise. It seems your real beef is if man has a choice whether to choose to have faith or not. You believe that Reformed teaching makes it so that God alone chooses who will have faith and who will not.

Westminster confession Chapter 10 Effectual calling.

" . . . and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ; yet so as they come most freely, being made willing by his grace."

So God regenerates man so that he can freely choos eto have faith. It is a mystery how free choice and predestination come together but the bible seems to teach both.

Julie

Mary,

Synergism is: the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.

If you say that you have the ability to "choose, by your free will" to accept Christ, then that, by definition, is synergism. If salvation, according to Calvinism, is based solely on God's choice as foreordained before the very foundations of the earth, and He draws His elect to himself, that is monergism.

I found your ad hominem statements rather disappointing.

In His grace,

Julie

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