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2010.08.20

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volfan007

Another man that James White doesnt seem to want to formally debate is Bob Ross. Why? Why does he shirk away from Ross?

David

Tony Byrne

If a person is going to write a book on Calvinism, like Mr. Ruggiero now has, then they should know about the traditional orthodox Reformed position before they refute it. When it comes to the topic of divine permission in this video, Ruggiero makes a dichotomy between "decree" and "permission," as if the debate between Calvinists and Non-Calvinists is a simple either/or like that. The Reformed speak of decretal permission, but Ruggiero shows no sign of knowing this. He shows no sign of knowing anything about any of these souces (click). The least he could do is check out the Westminster Confession, the Second Helvitic Confession, Francis Turretin, Johannes Wollebius' strong statements in Beardslee's Reformed Dogmatics, A. A. Hodge, Richard Muller, or just those sources in Heinrich Heppe's standard work, Reformed Dogmatics.

Though James White often does not carefully qualify himself in his responses to questions, nevertheless Reformed theologians generally do, but Ruggiero, again, shows no sign of knowing anything about a permissive sense of decree within standard and common Reformed literature. Whether they (the Reformed) are wrong is beside the point. My point is that Ruggiero, by positing an either/or dilemma between "decree" and "permission" misrepresents the nature of the debate, since he seems to only have one sense of "decree" in his own mind that he assumes everyone else must also mean, i.e. direct causation (rather than concursus) or something equivalent to that.

Frankly, Mr. Ruggiero should not be seeking to debate Calvininsts until he first researches these matters and gets this easily accessible information sorted out, otherwise he is just wasting his own (and our) time (as is frequently the case in the hostile, abusive and generally uncivil Paltalk chat rooms he frequents and participates in). It seems obvious that one should know the location of their target before they press "Fire," otherwise one may just be shooting at holograms and thus wasting time, energy and resources.

peter lumpkins

All,

If you see some comments missing, I purposely pulled them. The commenter and myself took the exchange to email. Thanks.

Tony,

Thanks for your comment here and on the other thread. Always a pleasure. I haven't time now, but I'll read through later.

With that, I am...
Peter

Craig Daliessio

Peter,
I think it is worthy to note that the "minor" technicality that prompted White to withdraw from those Caner debates was that LU...and the Caner brothers...insisted on streaming the debates. Caner has never charged for a debate. Live streaming would have rendered Whites DVD sales negligible and THAT...my dear friends...is really what it's all about.
As for debating the Creative Writing major...perhaps they could debate on creative writing...having read White's blog I think he would serve well as a floor mop on such a debate.
If any good thing has arisen from this shameful and pointless attack on Ergun, it is the continuing exposure of James White as the self-serving megalomaniac that he surely has always been.
Flannery O'Connor is chuckling from heaven...

A.M. Mallett

Tony, would it also be fair to state that your opinion of Lou is somewhat biased by your interaction and fellowship over the years with the Paltalk sect of internet Calvinism, a sect that holds Lou in a rather derisive view? It has been a long time since I have bothered with that media but I recall a lot of animosity among several of the Calvinist gossip rooms toward Lou. Has that changed in recent years?

peter lumpkins

Marvin,

Thanks for the kudos on the site. I trust it remains helpful.

While I do understand your frustration with White (for I get frustrated as well I assure), I do not think the way to express your frustration is to make the suggestion you did, Marvin. Albeit you may have intended it as facetious--since you coupled it with "after all, he believes in eternal security"--it nonetheless was an unbecoming remark, my friend, which should be said about no one. Hence, I removed it.

I trust your day continues to be filled with God's grace, brother.

With that, I am...
Peter

Marvin Merriweather

I understand the sentiment, Bro. Lumpkins. Thinking back on my words, it probably was best to remove the comment. No hard feelings. Blessings once again.

MM

Marvin Merriweather

I must mention that I agree with your definitions that distinguish between Hyper and hyper Calvinism.

Tony Byrne

A.M. Mallett,

My opinion of Lou is only biased by my theological perspective and historical studies, so far as I can tell, and not by any rooms in Paltalk I have been in. Quite frankly, the self-described "Calvinistic" or "Reformed" rooms in Paltalk are mostly just nests of rabid hyper-Calvinism, either of the Clarkian, Hoeksemian or Gillite varieties. They despise me because I have contended for 1) God's general love for all mankind, 2) common grace, 3) the well-meant gospel offer and 4) Christ's redemption of all mankind, and 5) because I have sought to correct their errors in the past. Most "TULIPers" on Paltalk are just as hostile and abusive, if not more so, than the others I described. Consequently, I no longer even bother logging on.

So, it would be an error to think I am like the "Palvinists," as some call them. They're so profoundly ignorant that they think I am an Arminian.

Marvin Merriweather

Tony,

I hate the equivocation that many 5-pointers make in assuming those who don't adhere to all five tenets are Arminians. You are indeed correct in referring to them as ignorant.

MM

Tony Byrne

I might also add this:

One of the problems wit those who have interacted a lot in Paltalk (like Lou has) is that they think they are talking with normal, orthodox Calvinists. They're not. It's more like you're on the Jerry Springer Show there, and you should not assume that you are seeing normal family behavior. What you're witnessing is actually the lunatic fringe, or people who can't get a hearing in any respectable or influential context. They radicalize people to extremes, whether it is those who generally agree with them or those who come in an disagree with them.

Another problem is that these extreme "Palvinists" associate with, hang around, listen to, or promote James White. They are satellites around planet White. Why? It is not because White always agrees with these extreme people in terms of their thoughts of God and the nature of salvation. It is because their errors don't get challenged around him and they usually share a singularly decretal focus. For example, while White affirms God's love for all men, he barely admits it (leaving it only to be implicitly inferred in some debates and discussions), and hasn't made any effort to refute those who deny God's general love. Again, while White affirms common grace himself, he does not challenge those who deny it, or think that these errors are significant enough to refute. This is especially the case on the will of God and the well-meant nature of the gospel offer. They have never been challenged on their denial of God's desire for the salvation of all men in the revealed will. They actually feel quite safe around White because they can think that 1) God only loves the elect, 2) God only shows grace to the elect, 3) God is only giving a well-meaning offer to the elect, and/or 4) God only desires the salvation of the elect without ever being challenged to think otherwise. They may know, in some instances, that White disagrees with them, but he doesn't so much as lift a hand to correct their perverted and blasphemous views of God in these specific areas. It's as though he is just pleased to have their support and aid, so their errors are left unchecked. Consequently, some people (like Lou sometimes and other opponents of Calvinism on Paltalk) don't distinguish between what "Palvinists" believe and what White believes because they can hardly tell any theoretical difference, if any at all.

That's how I tend to see the LouRugg/James White situation when it comes to some theological issues touching Calvinism.

Marvin Merriweather

Brilliant analysis, Tony. As I have observed for decades now, Calvinists have no many different brands, sub-sets, and theological idiosyncracies that the term "Calvinist" has become rather ambiguous. I just do not have the intellectual capacity and theological acumen to convey it in the same superb manner you did!

SelahV Today by Hariette Petersen

Tony, hello. I've written some stuff about grace and the sovereignty of God in my life. I never really dissected it into common, special, or saving. Didn't know it had categories. Do I understand you to say that you believe common grace is given to all, and as well, all can experience saving grace? ("All" as in all--meaning everyone?) selahV

Tony Byrne

Hi Selah,

1) I do believe in common grace (as traditional Calvinists have taught), as distinguished from prevenient grace (as Arminians believe). God is gracious to all humanity. It is only modern day hypers (like the Hoeksemians in the PRC), for the most part, who deny that.

2) I am not sure what you mean by "saving grace." I usually associate that with one who has been evangelically saved through faith in the gospel (and thus apply that to the elect alone), though some in the past have perhaps spoken of "saving grace" in a general, physical preservation sense with a degree of inward illumination and along with other operations of the Spirit.

lol@"all as in all--meaning everyone"

I'm fairly plain spoken (and honest) so I won't equivocate on terms (or play word games) when I think I know what you mean :-)

GTY,
Tony

Tony Byrne

I just looked again at your words, "all can experience saving grace?" It may be that you're also thinking of "saving grace" as I do (applying it to those who believe alone), but that you are asking me if all men are saveable, or in some sense able to experience "saving grace." If that is what you're asking, then yes, I do believe that all men are saveable, since they have all the faculties necessary to believe (minds and wills) and they have a sufficient, God-ordained Savior in Christ who suffered for the sins of the whole human race, even as he shares humanity with all men.

Yes, it is possible for an historic Calvinist to say such things, although some would charge me with inconsistency :-)

Tony Byrne

It should be observed, incidentally, that the title of Ruggiero's book "The God of Calvinism" is inflammatory, as it tends to convey the idea that they are worshiping a different God than Non-Calvinists are. Actually, they are just differently conceiving of the same God's nature and actions in human history and salvation, as is the case with Arminian views as opposed to Calvinistic theology proper. Are Calvinists guilty of having the same kind of inflammatory titles for their works throughout their history? Absolutely! Nevertheless, that is no grounds for acting in kind.

Having provocative titles like Ruggiero's book may get attention and increase sales, as people generally tend to pay more attention to heated controversy (especially on the Internet), but it will not likely produce irenic conversation and mutual understanding. That's also a massive problem today, and the heated rhetoric in the SBC in general is evidence of that fact, unfortunately. So, I would say that Ruggiero's title alone conveys a lack of wisdom, and a disposition of one who has absorbed the hostile climate of Paltalk.

Michael

Hmmm, I can see *Why* Mr. James "Please Validate Me" White WON'T debate Mr. Ruggiero....

Craig Daliessio

"James "please Validate Me" White"

You've met? :)

A.M. Mallett

Tony,
Thank you for clarifying that matter. I had my fill of the "I woke up saved" "Willyites" several years ago and left them to their own means. As for Lou, I have my differences although I do not think he is devoid of any understanding of Calvinism as you imply. He engages in some of the same rhetorical devices as Dr. Oakley er .. Mr. White and that is not to his good graces.

SelahV Today by Hariette Petersen

Tony, thanks for answering me. I'm wallowing it all around in my mind. I appreciate a person who doesn't dance around words, but speaks straight. I do question what the specific difference is between pervenient and common grace.

Could you bear with me with your own definition between the two (as you understand them)?

Yes, I believe all men are "saveable", as in God doesn't create specific men/women/children to go to hell. Is that the same "saveable" you mean? Thanks so much. selahV

SelahV Today by Hariette Petersen

Tony, spelled prevenient wrong earlier. I hate it when I don't edit before I post. selahV

Tony Byrne

While I am able to get along with Willy sometimes, he can be quite mean and he is definitely a hyper-Calvinist (denying God's love for all, common grace and the well-meant offer). He has even differed with me over the issue of faith being the act of man, since he is confused about what it means that "faith is the gift of God."

Regarding Lou, I didn't say (or imply) that "he is devoid of any understanding of Calvinism." He is not. I was saying that he, in his simplistic dichotomy, seems completely unaware of the different senses in which Calvinists can use the term "decree," specifically as it relates to divine permission. When it comes to the evil actions of men, they do not think that God directly causes evil (Lou's sense of "decree"). They also think that God "permits" evil, but that these things are completely under his governing power, i.e. Herod could not do his evil action to Christ unless it had been granted (i.e. willingly permitted) from above. There is a concursus on God's part, not a responsible involvement in the evil acts of men. This is what I was saying Lou doesn't seem to know anything about.

I would also say that James White's simplistic "Yes" response to the question put to him on The Bible Answer Man was unwise at best. He was asked, "when a child is raped, is God responsible and did he decree that rape?" There are two questions there, actually, and he should have immediately started making careful distinctions. First, of course Calvinists do not think God is responsible. Only the agent doing the evil act is responsible. That is what is meant by the "author" of the act, i.e. the immediate cause. Second, it depends on what one means by "decree." The questioner on The Bible Answer Man broadcast, like Lou, probably has in mind a direct causation sense of "decree." If so, then no, God did not "decree" that rape any more than he "decreed" (in that sense) the evil death of His own Son (which is infinitely more evil than rape). However, if one is asking if God willingly permitted the act, since all things are under His governing power, then yes, God decreed it in the sense of willing permission. After giving these kinds of standard Calvinistic responses, White could have then gone on the offensive and said that "if God did not willingly permit the act, then it is utterly meaningless evil, being totally outside of God's control, etc." However, that is not what White did, unfortunately. That kind of response, I think, would have been helpful to the discussion, for mutual understanding at least, even if others go on to disagree.

Tony Byrne

Don't worry about the typos. I've already made a good share of my own, such as typing "Helvitic" instead of "Helvetic." If White or his zealous defenders responded, they would immediately harp on and magnify any and all typos so as to embarrass and condescend to their opponent. I thinks it is just best to pass over any mistake and quote the person (making any corrections), without typing "sic," "sic," "sic," over and over to try to humiliate other people. You'll notice that White "sic's" (and "sir's") his opponents deliberately, but he won't do it to his friends and supporters, like Tom Ascol, who frequently makes typos on his blog, as we all do more or less. It's a noticeable double-standard, and those associating with White tend to behave the same way when they interact. I think "sic-ing" one's opponent all the time rather than making subtle corrections is quite condescending and stems from pride, so I think it is best to avoid that, particularly if helping/serving other people is actually our Christ-like goal.

Tony Byrne

I would be happy to try to explain the distinct senses in which I (and Calvinists historically) use the term "common grace" and how that differs from Non-Calvinist views of "prevenient grace," but I do want to be sensitive to the subject of Peter's post above. He has to constantly deal with people veering off in to other unrelated topics in his comment section.

Without going in to all the details of what Calvinists mean by "common grace," perhaps it is best just to talk about that component of "prevenient grace" with which they differ. PG ("prevenient grace") is thought to liberate the will of man, putting it in to a state of equilibrium, so that it is now free to choose either for or against the gospel (or between other virtues and vices), such that it now has no dominating, governing bias and bent either way. The will of man, by "prevenient grace," is now "free" in that sense. The opponents of Calvinists maintain that this sense of "free will" is either given to all men or at least given to all men that hear the gospel, which thus expresses God's gracious and **EQUAL** willingness to save each and every man, and not one man over against another. This grace of God, as it were, goes before the gospel, equally assisting and liberating the will of every person in order that they may obey, but not being the ultimate determining cause of the salvation of any believer. Herein is one significant split or difference between Calvinists and Non-Calvinists. While Calvinists maintain that God is being gracious to all men, and there is commonly some assistance and restraint given to all men through 1) checks of conscience, 2) through government generally, 3) through the church in society and 3) through the benefits in the bounties of providence, these things do not put the will of the lost man in a state of equilibrium (i.e. having an equal, unbiased, undetermined will). The Calvinists believe that only "special grace" (which is given only to some [the elect]) can free man to believe the gospel sincerely and savingly, and that when this special gracious activity of God is given to a man, he always effectually or voluntarily comes to the Lord, with no violence done to their wills, as if they are forced to comply against their consent.

The key difference is this:

"Common grace" for the Calvinist does not have the particular component of the Non-Calvinist "prevenient grace" which involves putting the will of all men (or at least all those that hear the gospel) in a state of equilibrium, so that they all have what the philosophers call the "liberty of indifference."

I hope that's clear and I apologize to Peter of that is too much or too off topic. It might be better if we discuss this elsewhere, or at another time, if Peter prefers that. I've tried to keep things merely a *descriptive* level, and objective, rather than telling people what they *ought* to believe is biblical in this matter.

Thanks,
Tony Byrne

Tony Byrne

You also asked:

Yes, I believe all men are "saveable", as in God doesn't create specific men/women/children to go to hell. Is that the same "saveable" you mean?

Me now:
I don't think that God created some people (the non-elect) to go to hell as if he never in any sense desired to save them, or that God doesn't take their sin in to consideration when He determines to damn them. While I do think that God eternally determined to pass over some human beings in His discriminating "saving grace," I think it is only on account of their sin (both original and actual) that he hates, judges and finally damns any of them.

I am persuaded that Christians must say that God is in some sense willing in eternity that some human beings go to hell, otherwise they would not go there. But we should not think it is apart from the supposition of their sin, or that He never meant them well in this world through either providence or His gospel appeals.

God infallibly knows who will be damned and who will be saved from all eternity, and thus if He chooses to create humans that finally meet either end, He "wills" that end, but not in the same sense of "willing." With respect to the finally damned, He "wills" is by way of willfully permitting them to abide in their sin and thus to incur His aweful wrath. But it is not as though He was never kind to them, sincerely wishing them to obey unto happiness. No man is ever condemned on account of them merely being created, but only on account of sin, and they abide therein and meet their final ruin only by God's willing permission, I would say.

Grace to you,
Tony

SelahV Today by Hariette Petersen

Peter, please forgive me for taking a bit of a rabbit trail with Tony. You know me. I see something in a stream and just gotta go fishing.

Tony, while I think I understand part of what you are saying, I will have to do some deep thinking about it. I don't understand some of the terms, so I'll have to look them up. Sorry.

One thing, however...that is just popping from my brain to my fingertips, is this: Jesus said we are condemned already. So all men are created condemned. But I don't believe that means God created anyone to go to hell. Hell was created for the devil and his angels. So, when man refuses the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, he places himself in hell as I see it. Don't really know which grace covers all that--just reading scripture points me to those conclusions as I understand them.

Will stop conversing on this because I don't want to hijack the thread, and I do not know a thing about Ruggiero, or for that matter, James White, and why White doesn't debate people who want to debate him--or why he chooses to harrass people who don't want to debate him. From all I've read in various blogs, I don't care to cross paths with him, nor do I blame one solitary soul for avoiding debates with him.

Glad you aren't into pointing out every flaw (i.e. "sic") in a person's writing to humiliate. I don't mind someone pointing out my errors, but hope it is only to clarify, not humiliate or appear smarter-than-I. :-) When I run into them, I just move on down the road.

Blessings be yours, Tony. May God's grace abound. I checked out your site and it seems a bit too intellectual for my simple mind. But maybe I'll find something on the topics we've chatted about here and I can engage you there sometime. Thanks for taking time to respond. selahV

Yahya Snow

Hello Craig,

I'm sorry to put you on the spot but I feel compelled for some evidence regarding your detailing of this "minor" technicallity.

Sir, can you please give evidence for the reason you cite for White's withdrawal from the debate

Sir, I merely ask in order to satisfy my curiosity and I in no way do so to cast aspersions upon your character.

Personally, I can believe White to be focussed on sales and things of a monetary capacity thus I find your claim to register with me but proof is key

Thanks Craig

God bless

Peace

[email protected]

Tony Byrne

Here are a few last observations. You said:

Jesus said we are condemned already. So all men are created condemned.

Me now:
Actually, Jesus said that he who does not believe is condemned already, but I think I know what you mean. All men being born in fallen Adam stand condemned. That's orthodox Christianity. Also, technically, all men are not created condemned. There are two exceptions, Adam and Christ. All other men in fallen Adam stand condemned, but not by virtue of God creating them, but on account of their legal union with Adam in his sin.

You said:

But I don't believe that means God created anyone to go to hell. Hell was created for the devil and his angels. So, when man refuses the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, he places himself in hell as I see it.

Me now:
God created men whom He knew would persist in sin and whom he willingly permitted to persist in it unto condemnation. In that sense, I think we can say that God created some men whom He was willing to go to hell on account of their sin (original and actual), but that does not negate the fact that God sincerely wishes all men to obey him and enjoy true happiness thereby.

Also, it is an error, I think, to conclude that because the text says the "everlasting fire [is] prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matt. 25:41) that it is **ONLY** prepared for them. That's the same hermeneutical mistake that some Calvinists make when they read Christ saying that He died for His sheep and concluding that He **ONLY** died for His sheep. Properly speaking, hell is prepared for sinners as sinners, which is why it specifies the "devil" (i.e. the adversary of God) and "his angels" (i.e. those angels in alliance with his evil designs). Hell is also prepared for human sinners as sinners who die in their sin and are therefore still under the sway of the wicked one (1 John 5:19). Sinners go to hell for at least two reasons: 1) They abide in sin (even those that never hear the gospel) and 2) They [some who hear the gospel] "refuse the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ," as you put it. Hell is rightly prepared for **BOTH** these kinds of sinful humans **AND** for God's angelic adversaries who rebelled.

Michael

Craig,
No...we've not met; however...that being said..When you view his website you see pictures of when he was a bike racer and then a powerlifter...now an intellectual-biker-turned-powerlifter-turned-debater. Also, if you view the comments of his sister he refuses to communicate with now, his ego screams of insecurity and I'm not so sure that all this debating is so much about the Truth as it is personal validation. Hey, but that's just my opinion.

Marvin Merriweather

Tony,

You are quickly becoming one of my heroes! You and Bro. Lumpkins are in my prayers daily.

Mlynn

Tony,

The calvinists from the many different camps in paltalk would be all over you like white is on rice!!! ROFLOLOL

I got tickled when Selah made the distinction about what "all" means. I have heard many, MANY times that "all" does not mean "all".

And, I have heard from the many different calvinist camps in paltalk that God DOES decree the rape of a child. This is what really blows me away when they state this: God knows (His omniscience) because He predetermined or predestined (decreed) it. To me, that is an absolute slap in God's face and Who He really is. God is all knowing, PERIOD!! And, there are no "corridors of time" with God -- God created time for us not for Himself. God knows because He KNOWS.

Also, one MAJOR point that I have heard so many times (and, it appears you do not hold to this) is that in order for a man to believe in Jesus Christ, he has to FIRST be regenerated by God so that he can hear the Gospel and respond. Of course, I strongly believe that being regenerated means being born again. So, to me, they are saying man has to be born again so that he can be born again.

Ephesians 1:13,14 clearly spells out the order of salvation: In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. And, of course the scripture that states that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.

Those verses tell me that man hears the Gospel FIRST, and if he believes, he will be saved. I believe all men are given the ability to hear (e.g., John 1:9)and have the ability to choose. Of course, I am also well aware that the Holy Spirit has to be working in a person's heart convicting that person of his/her need of a Savior. I have tried to tell the paltalk calvinists that their "regeneration" prior to faith is more like what we call the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

I know that this topic can go on and on and on. But, Tony, I just wanted to tell you that your brand of Calvinism would NOT be welcome in paltalk by the calvinists there for sure!! I am sure that they would label you as an arminian.

GBU

Craig Daliessio

Yahya,
Various contacts at L.U.
I am a Liberty alumnus and have many friends there. I was told this on several occasions.
Liberty has hosted many such debates over the years, most notably for me, the head of the Philosophy department, and my former hockey coach, Dr. Gary Habermas famously debated Dr. Antony Flue on the resurrection of Jesus for over 25 years, the first of which debates were held at Liberty. The policy has always been not to charge for the debates.
I hope this clears up the matter for you,
It is always nice speaking with you!
Craig

Craig Daliessio

So...in a way you have met. :)
The guy screams "notice me!"
I think your opinion is pretty much spot on
C

Michael

Peter, I was listening to a debate between Lou and Matt slick and I noticed something worth the attention: Whenever a debate happens, the Calvinists either insists or bullies his way into controlling the language being debated. For instance, "All" doesn't mean "All inclusive", it means "All KINDS". Just an observation---set the terms for the language used and the debate will be on a level playing field.

Secondly, if one were to really think about it, John 4 demolishes the Calvinist argument. While speaking to the Samaritan woman in 4:10, Jesus said..."If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink', YOU WOULD HAVE ASKED HIM, and He would have given you...." Jesus was PROMPTING the woman, not changing the woman's will...

Lastly, there is much bluster over John 6:44 "No one can come to Me unless the Father who has sent me draws him..." in the sense that this is used as a proof text for Limited Atonement. However, taken in context with 6:63-65, it is easy to see that this applied only to those Jesus was speaking to and therefore allows "All" to mean exactly "All" in other scriptures where the Calvinist wants "ALL" to mean "All Kinds". Of all those that initially followed Jesus, several turned away because of the discourse of 6:47-62.."And He said, 'THEREFORE I have said to you..."

Mike

Yahya Snow

Craig,
Interesting stuff
Thanks very much

Peace

janice

Tony Byrne, One question i would like to ask you was it G-d's will for pharoah to be destroyed?

Thanks,

Janice

Tony Byrne

Janice asked:

Tony Byrne, One question i would like to ask you was it G-d's will for pharoah to be destroyed?

Yes and no. It depends on what one means by God's "will," since the bible uses that term in distinct senses. It is God's preceptive will that Pharoah obey him and live, and to be happy thereby; yet, we read that God in another sense willfully permitted Pharoah to disobey Him and to be destroyed thereby. We can see the same complexity when it comes to the most important event in human history: the cross of Christ. It was God's will that men not murder, yet God willfully permitted evil men to violently put His Son to death. We can see these two aspects here:

NKJ Acts 2:23 "Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God [i.e. by God's willful permission], you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death [i.e. contrary to God's preceptive will];

Christ would not have been put to death unless God willed it, yet what they did was against his will. Augustine captured the essence of this teaching long ago, and wisely stated:

Chap. 100.–THE WILL OF GOD IS NEVER DEFEATED, THOUGH MUCH IS DONE THAT IS CONTRARY TO HIS WILL.

These are the great works of the Lord, sought out according to all His pleasure, and so wisely sought out, that when the intelligent creation, both angelic and human, sinned, doing not His will but their own, He used the very will of the creature which was working in opposition to the Creator's will as an instrument for carrying out His will, the supremely Good thus turning to good account even what is evil, to the condemnation of those whom in His justice He has predestined to punishment, and to the salvation of those whom in His mercy He has predestined to grace. For, as far as relates to their own consciousness, these creatures did what God wished not to be done: but in view of God's omnipotence, they could in no wise effect their purpose. For in the very fact that they acted in opposition to His will, His will concerning them was fulfilled. And hence it is that "the works of the Lord are great, sought out according to all His pleasure," because in a way unspeakably strange and wonderful, even what is done in opposition to His will does not defeat His will. For it would not be done did He not permit it (and of course His permission is not unwilling, but willing); nor would a Good Being permit evil to be done only that in His omnipotence He can turn evil into good. Augustine, "On Faith, Hope and Love," in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 1st series, ed. P. Schaff (1888; Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2004), 3:269.

If that answer seems too complicated, it is only because the subject is complicated and requires carefully qualified words in response.

Steve Schueren

"pulling out over what many perceive as a minor technicality." Many others of us, this LU grad included, saw good reason to pull out of the debate which was being completely stacked in favor of the hapless Caner brothers.

peter lumpkins

Steve,

Why, of course. Obviously. How stupid of me for thinking otherwise.

With that, I am...
Peter

janice

Tony,

If you don't mind answering anothering question regarding pharoah...How did G-d harden pharoahs heart? Did the correction reveal pharoah's nature or did the correction cause pharoah to be stubborn?

Thank you,

Janice

Tony Byrne

What God did to Pharoah's heart in hardening it was a judgment, not a correction. That judgment BOTH revealed Pharoah's already corrupt nature AND caused him to persist in his stubbornness. I read it as a BOTH/AND, not an EITHER/OR.

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