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2014.06.24

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peter lumpkins

“Looking forward to the answer you offered. Unless you were being disingenuous? I'll assume it's just taking longer to prepare an answer.” Two things. First, no, I was not being disingenuous. Why would I be? Second, you seem to think I’m having to study your question over as if it’s entirely profound—“I'll assume it's just taking longer to prepare an answer.” I assure you, Josh, your questions are hardly intimidating. Broadly speaking, your position has been logged here and discussed since 2006. I doubt you can think of any question which we’ve not in some way dealt with before. There is an aspect of your position—the Hyper-Calvinistic idea that God has no salvific love for some people—that’s not been as forthright as with you. At any rate, I’d not be so cocky were I you that somehow your questions are baffling.

I'm also very curious to hear you explain how God can love someone salvificly who he knows will not be saved. Unless you hold to open theism? You get bonus points if you actually use scripture as a basis. First, what open theism has to do with anything I’ve said thus far is confusing. I personally think there’s no problem whatsoever in affirming an Omniscient, Omnipotent Being is perfectly capable of actually knowing the future free acts of human beings without determining what those future free acts of human beings will be. In fact, you are the one who’s probably closer to Open Theism than I am at that juncture because you reason that God knows the future because God determines the future. That is, you deny God can infallibly know apart God infallibly determining. 

Second, God can love someone salvificly whom he knows will not be saved and actually did. In fact, Jesus said God “so loved” the entire kosmos of human beings that He gave His Son to be a vicarious sacrifice for them. Hence, if God so loved the entire kosmos of human beings that He salvifically gave His Son, then it follows God “so loved” some unsaved human beings that He gave His Son as a vicarious sacrifice for them.

Third, as for bonus points in using Scripture, leaving aside that I just referred to John 3:16—I know Hyper-Calvinists loath it but it is Jesus’ words after all—my question now is, why would I want to employ Scripture when you a priori deny any Scripture is applicable? According to your own words, no Scripture exists which teaches God’s salvific love for all people. You’ve already proved this by interpreting Matt.23:37 as addressed to the Pharisees alone, a standard claim by Hyper-Calvinists. So why would I want to bring Scripture to the table when you a priori deny its relevancy, Josh? The only reason I can imagine is to argue about it.

Finally, you seem to poke out your chest and brag a bit that “this Calvinism stuff was born from a serious study of the scripture, and a desire to understand the truth of God.” No, I tell you what it is like with your standard, predictable arguments. It’s like you’ve swallowed hook, line, and sinker every single argument James White has made. Most of your exchange could almost be copy/pasted from his website. Serious study of Scripture? No. I’m afraid not. It’s a serious indoctrination of Calvinistic apologetics you’ve done, Josh. You’re parroting precisely what you got from James White and other extreme Calvinist internet ‘apologists’. I’d bet a week’s worth of Starbucks on it.

With that, I am…

Peter 

Scott Shaver

I guess "Josh" couldn't bear the weight of self-disclosure. Interesting thread indeed.

peter lumpkins

Scott

Well, perhaps Josh will be back and publicly allow his supporters knowledge he holds to Hyper-Calvinistic beliefs. I don't know. I know that many Calvinists like Josh routinely hide their beliefs from unsuspecting believers.

For the record I do allow some commenters to be anonymous but we've communicated via email and I know who they are and why they must remain anons. On the whole, however, I've never been fond of anons and rarely allow them a long line to comment. Many of them spew hatred, hijack threads, and make outrageous assertions while being free of any responsibility for doing so.

With that, I am...
Peter

Andrew Barker

Well I count myself lucky. According to Josh I only made TWO mistakes. An improvement then!

On a serious note, Josh, why is it that like most of your contemporaries you can quote:
"
1) The father draws (Election) Jn 6:44
2) ALL who are drawn come. (Irresistible Grace) Jn 6:37
3) ALL who come are saved. (Perseverance of the Saints) Jn 6:37,39,40,44"

But somehow the verse in John 12:32 just doesn't spring to mind. I guess it's because it's more than a wee bit awkward ..... like you need to be dragged kicking and screaming to the truth. It's your choice in the end though! There's nobody who can change your mind for you, probably not even God!

Scott Shaver

He never touched Lydia's suggestion that an infinite holy God could foreknow and allow free will at the same time.

Forrest Gump figured that one out and he didn't even go to seminary.

Lydia

Scott, Not sure it was my suggestion but I will add this:

Calvinists really discount the "relationship" factor between God and humans. And that causes problems in practical application.

In their paradigm God forces a relationship which is not really a love relationship at all. I have always wondered about the function of the Holy Spirit in that determinist paradigm. What would be the point with the reliance on mystery/determinism?

As to foreknowledge without forcing outcome, I can pretty much guarantee you my kid will pick the donut with pink sprinkles over the one with red ones. This is because I know her so well. I did not force her to choose pink sprinkles but she will, I guarantee it.

Now that is a pedantic metaphor but you get my drift. I am the mom who KNOWS her so well.

David Wallace

Waiting for Josh to respond...

Scott Shaver

Lydia:

Pedantic metaphor works for me as I also have three daughters. When they were young I would also bet on the pink as opposed to red sprinkles.

They could choose chocolate or plain....my money would have been on pink sprinkles as their first choice however.

Max

"Calvinists really discount the "relationship" factor between God and humans."

Lydia - In my interaction with New Calvinists who attend an SBC church plant near me, I've found that they mistrust believers who speak of a personal experience with Christ. They spend too much time stuffing their intellects with Piper Points, Driscoll Drivel, and Mohler Moments to develop a relationship with the living Lord. I hear them talk a lot about God, little about Jesus, and hardly a mention of the Holy Spirit. When it comes to relationship vs. religion, my personal experience is not at the mercy of another man's argument ... so I just share what Christ has done and is doing in my life. Some listen and want to talk more; others stare back at me like raccoons caught in auto headlights. When this movement blows over (and it will), one of the greatest mission fields on the planet will be among the disillusioned generation exiting reformed works.

peter lumpkins

Josh would be welcome to respond when he is ready to reveal who he is. He's had plenty of space on this site to promote his Hyper-Calvinism without his identity. It will be interesting to see if he's as willing to promote Hyper-Calvinism with his identity. What foreign missionary sending service would approve of a missionary who flat denies God's salvific love for all people?

Scott Shaver

What foreign missionary sending service that denies God's salvific love for all people would even bother?

That money could be better spend spent identifying the elect and sequestering them for further indoctrination.

peter lumpkins

Josh emailed me his name so I'm allowing him to comment again. He says he did reveal his name in a comment that didn't post. Not sure. If so, my apologies to him and ya'll.

As for me, I'm fairly well through with exchanging with him. Anyone who a priori denies there's biblical evidence that God possesses salvific love for all people embraces a classic tenet of classic Hyper-Calvinism. Even Calvinists themselves reject this aberrant view. And, since no Scripture passage can be considered since it is a priori rejected I'm not sure what one can actually accomplish by answering with Scripture.

With that, I am...
Peter

Mary

""Calvinists really discount the "relationship" factor between God and humans. And that causes problems in practical application""


And with no relationship you can see why some of the most rabid Calvinists fall away and then declare atheism. Calvinism seems to appeal to people who are in love with their intellect. Josh is a perfect example. So much for "humility"


Dave Cooke

He told them to preach the gospel and make MORE disciples, who would in turn carry out the Great Commission of a disciple of Christ. Well, here’s what Jesus said—“Go…make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them… teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.” He says nothing about the disciples being made to carry out the “Great Commission of a disciple.” That’s your addition to Jesus’ specific command to THEM and THEM alone. Of course, it makes no sense. But following your to ‘US’ and ‘YOU’ in 2 Peter 3:9, et al being limited to Peter’s original recipients, that’s what you’re stuck with.

Peter, Sorry, but this makes no sense... If Jesus commissioned the disciples to make disciples, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you... Wouldn't that include teaching them to make disciples? That would be something that he had JUST taught them to observe.

Lydia

"They spend too much time stuffing their intellects with Piper Points, Driscoll Drivel, and Mohler Moments to develop a relationship with the living Lord."

Max, I might have to steal that.

Lydia

"And with no relationship you can see why some of the most rabid Calvinists fall away and then declare atheism."

Atheism is determinist, too. As is Universalism. I have been alarmed by some of the former YRR in my neck of the woods who are now atheists. And are determined to convince me that believing in God is anti intellectual. Their embracing atheism makes sense from the determinist pov. I have learned one thing though. Just love them and keep the door open as a friendship. Don't try to convince them of anything. Same focus on constant debate.

In my experience, people will "backslide", question, doubt but rarely become actual atheists and not even agnostic. That has been somewhat of a shock to me with some who leave this movement. If they embrace determinism it makes it harder to see anything else.

Randle Beechwood

Everyone stop naming English verses. Whenever you all can exegete the Greek get back to me. Until then, leave your mailing address so I send you some tissues.

Andrew Barker

Nice one Randle. That's put the clock back some 600 years! :-)

Luke

Lydia,
You peaked my curiosity. Even though it is a rabbit trail, will you please explain a little more the relationship between determinism and atheism. I've never connected the two but have observed some of the things you say you've seen so I'm interested in your thoughts there.

Lydia

Luke,

It sounds strange and makes no sense based on how many of us have been taught to think. But if you think about it determinism really takes us, as responsible humans, out of the picture. No matter what we are or do the outcome of your life has been pre determined for you.

This is true for atheism, universalism, Islam and Calvinism. (And pagan religions) Some of these have higher degrees of determinism than others, some practice or believe these degrees of determinism more than others.... but the foundational premise is the same: Your eternal life has been pre determined. You have no input.

And they end up for the most part, producing a culture of death and are soul crushing...for many who do not have "position" within their system.

Read history. Determinism is all over the bloody evil parts of it. Much of it, done in the Name of God. For Atheism, think Stalin. Determinism ends up with some cult of personality assigning value to humans. Think Stalin, Hitler, Calvin, Puritans, etc.

It is of no irony to me that the Founders defied that thinking. If you read Locke, they were quoting him quite a bit. What a powerful idea: All humans are of value. We can govern ourselves. So powerful that slavery could not stand against it. Nor the disenfranchisement of women.

Another place you will find the value of humans proclaimed: Judaism. Read the History of the Jews. And it is interesting to note the hatred of the Jews by the Magisterial Reformers and their persecution. Stalin, too.

All of this is a very general overview. Read tons of history. Lots of evil comes out of determinism. I am very thankful for our Founders because now it is illegal to persecute heretics. And remember, for them, it had not been that long ago the Puritans were hanging Quakers and burning women at the stake when they declared human value from God and tolerance of different beliefs.

Lydia

"Everyone stop naming English verses. Whenever you all can exegete the Greek get back to me. Until then, leave your mailing address so I send you some tissues."

Luke, Randall gives us a clue as to why so much of "religious" history after Jesus Christ Resurrected REMAINED deterministic in nature. Only special people could interpret scripture for the masses who were kept illiterate peasants.

Scott Shaver

The superior psuedo-spirituality of hyper Calvinism raises it's ugly head once again.

Greek or no Greek.

Paul counted his intellectual prowess as rubbish compared to the mystery of the cross and God's UNIVERSAL offer of salvation through faith in Christ.

Randle Beechwood, when you can speak English, come back and toss that one around with me.

Joshua David Kelso

"As for me, I'm fairly well through with exchanging with him. Anyone who a priori denies there's biblical evidence that God possesses salvific love for all people embraces a classic tenet of classic Hyper-Calvinism. Even Calvinists themselves reject this aberrant view. And, since no Scripture passage can be considered since it is a priori rejected I'm not sure what one can actually accomplish by answering with Scripture."

Just to confirm, yes, my name is Josh Kelso, and no, I am not being supported by people who are unaware of my theology.

I assume by your last post Peter that you have decided not to answer the question I asked, even after I have provided my name? Just to remind you:

I’d like an answer to that question, Josh. In fact, I want you to straight-forwardly answer the question or consider the exchange over. Nor do you have the option to ignore the question and continue to post as if I didn’t ask. Please answer. When you do, I’ll answer your question at the end of your last comment: “Could you perhaps just clarify one thing for me? Did God show salvific love to the same vessels he prepared for destruction in Romans 9:22?”

It's unfortunate, because I was very interested in his answer. Additionally, he didn't answer my request to explain how God can love someone Salvificly He knows will not be saved. Instead of even attempting to try and explain, he simply stated it as fact, and then proceeded to once again artificially impose a narrow definition to a word in order for it to only support his view:

"In fact, Jesus said God “so loved” the entire kosmos of human beings that He gave His Son to be a vicarious sacrifice for them."

Notice that for Peter, "world" can only mean "the entire kosmos of human beings", and "gave" must involve offering "a vicarious sacrifice for every human being." It may be more clear now why I was interested to hear someone who believes this to expand on Romans 9:22.

Joshua David Kelso

Andrew, sorry for the delay in getting back to you:

"But somehow the verse in John 12:32 just doesn't spring to mind. I guess it's because it's more than a wee bit awkward ..... like you need to be dragged kicking and screaming to the truth. It's your choice in the end though! There's nobody who can change your mind for you, probably not even God!"

It's not an issue of it not springing to mind...I just view scripture as complementary, not contradictory:

"32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself."

Christ is referring to the fact that his death will draw "all" peoples to himself, not simply the Jews. He is, in this sense, the Saviour of the whole world, not simply the Saviour of the Jews.

I don't understand why you felt John 12:32 contradicted my interpretation of John 6.

Luke

Lydia,
Thank you. I should have searched the internet before I asked you that. I don't know if I slept during a class when this was discussed or mentioned but now I'm completely fascinated. Found a decent site and am seeing some things in a different light.

As far as the Greek being able to answer all the theological problems, if that were the case, why are there Greek scholars that disagree with one another?(no need for anyone to answer that!) In my case, studying Greek gave me a greater appreciation of the English language, KJV English more specifically. I often tell my congregation that if they better understand English grammar and syntax, they have no reason to feel inadequate if they do not read Greek.

Peter, thanks for letting me sidetrack with the rest of 'em. I lurk FAR more often than I comment but I'm still here. And just in case, I'm not that other "Luke" that comments at times. I link my name to my blog for that clarification.

peter lumpkins

All

The tardiness of Josh's comments falls entirely on me. I've been pretty much out of touch with anything other than BPC today.

My sincere apologies to both Josh and you.

With that, I am...
Peter

Andrew Barker

Josh: "I don't understand why you felt John 12:32 contradicted my interpretation of John 6."

Here's why Josh: you quoted "32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself." (I can't find which version you've used here. No recognised version uses the word 'peoples'. Is this your own translation?)

However, the same word translated draw or drag is used in both passages. But you chose to see it as meaning irresistible grace in one passage and just a general drawing or call to all 'peoples' in the other. So unless your proposing universal salvation (which I'm sure you're not) by the use of the word 'draw' in John 12, then it's difficult to see how the use of 'draw' in John 6 supports irresistible grace. Of course, it is possible that John is using the same word with slightly different meanings in the two passages, but that's a bit tenuous.

You need to dig deep into the lexicons to sort this one out as a casual look only reveals the meaning draw/drag which granted does sound very physical and somewhat forceful. Thayer's Strongs lexicon will split the meanings up for you into physical draw ie passages like Acts 16:9 where Paul and Silas are dragged in front of the magistrates and John 6:4: John 12:32 where it is metaphorical. Of course you could argue that the metaphorical drawing is also irresistible, but most people will not see this as so likely, or indeed the intended meaning. The lexicon certainly does not support anything irresistible for these two passages.

Slipping in the word 'peoples' in your quote of John 12:32 is a bit naughty. The word used here is 'pas' and means all. Nothing to do with people groups as in Jews or Gentiles. At least, I've never heard of anybody translating Rom 3:23 as “for all Jews and Gentiles have sinned and fall short” ....! It's the same word in both cases. All have sinned and all are drawn.


Jonathan Basdeouf

Peter,

Did you attend the convention this year? Did you get a chance to ask Dr. Mohler more pointless questions and waste cooperative dollars?

John Krainis

Hi Peter,

Long time appreciative reader here, who gets the urge to comment every five years or so :)

Josh,

While Peter is of course eminently able to answer, I’ll bite on your question:

“Did God show salvific love to the same vessels he prepared for destruction in Romans 9:22?”

Of course He did.

Paul is referring here to the large body of Israelites, whose longstanding rejection of God has recently culminated in their rejection of His Son. Here’s how He showed salvific love:

1. He gave them creation (Ro 1:20)
2. He gave them adoption to sonship, the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises, the patriarchs, and finally, the Messiah (Rom 9:4-5)
3. He “held out His hands all day long (centuries!) to a disobedient and obstinate people” (Ro 9:21)
4. He sent “prophets and sages and teachers” (Mt 23:24), knowing that they would be violently rejected
5. The Gospel, the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes, came to the Jew first (Ro 1:16)
6. Even after their rejection of Jesus, Jews could be saved by repenting and believing in Him (Ro 10:9-13, 11:23, Acts 2:36-38, 3:13-19)
7. He gave the Jews an apostle who grieved for them in the presence of the Holy Spirit, who would forfeit his own blessed state to bring them to Christ (Ro 9:1-2), who prayed for their salvation (10:1), and worked to “arouse (them) to envy and save some of them” (11:14)

I’d also point out that the potter/clay imagery would not have given a Jew the idea that his eternal fate had been determined. Rather, it would likely be taken as a warning, a call to action: “Behold, I am shaping disaster against you and devising a plan against you. Return, every one from his evil way, and amend your ways and your deeds” (Je 18:11)

Isaiah 64-65 had to have been in Paul’s mind when writing Ro 9-11. It has the potter and clay, God’s patience in the face of Israel’s provocations, and His wrath which leads to the inclusion of the Gentiles.

So Josh, you read Ro 9:22-23 as “God pre-determined that the majority of men and women would be the objects of His wrath, and would endure endless unspeakable punishment. He pre-determined not to save them, so as to display His power and wrath to those He did pre-determine to save”.

I read it this way: God’s wrath is just, and is incurred by those who reject God and His ways (Ro 1:18-32). It is based on deeds (Ro 2:5-9). The Israelites, who have provoked God throughout their history, and have now rejected His Son, their Messiah, have incurred God’s wrath and destruction. Yet similar to the hardening of hard-hearted Pharaoh, this dreadful state of affairs has a glorious outcome, in that the riches of the Gospel now come to the Gentiles, and they become His people.

Josh, a question for you:

If God has irrevocably pre-determined to damn these “vessels of wrath”, why is his holy apostle groaning, praying, and actively working for their salvation?

peter lumpkins

Josh,

First, on the one hand it’s good to know those who support your ministry are aware you hold to at least one major tenet of historic Hyper-Calvinism—God has salvific love for only some people. On the other hand, it’s discouraging to know there’s pockets of professing Christians who support classic Hyper-Calvinism.

Second, you assume by my saying I was pretty much finished with exchanging with you that I decided to not answer the question you raised. To the contrary, I most certainly did answer the question though I didn’t mention Romans 9:22 explicitly. Namely, if the vessels of wrath in Rom 9 are human beings, and all human beings are included in Jesus’ words about God “so loved the world that He gave…” in John 3:16, then it follows, does it not, that vessels of wrath (i.e. human beings) are people for whom the only begotten was given since God loved them so much.

Third, you suggest also I didn’t answer your request about explaining how God can love someone salvificly He knows will not be saved. Excuse me, Josh. I gave an extended answer here ( http://goo.gl/Bjt0wE ). Now granted you may neither like the response nor agree with it. But to suggest I didn’t respond is hardly accurate. Nor did I “artificially impose a narrow definition to a word in order for it to only support his view.” Excuse me, Josh. I imposed nothing. The term “kosmos” is used repeatedly throughout the NT to refer to this fallen world, a rebellious creation against God, a world of sinful human beings. To suggest I imposed this meaning on “kosmos” can only mean either wilful deception or extreme ignorance. Hopefully--and I trust it is—you’re only expressing ignorance on the matter. To reduce “world” into the “world of the elect” as you MUST do for your position to work flies in the face of every Greek lexical authority available to us. What is even more stunning is, you frame your criticism of my words making out as if I’m the one with the “narrow definition”! That’s about as creative a description as ever I’ve encountered. You limit “world” to “world of the elect” while I interpret “world” to encompass all humanity but somehow I’ve got a “narrow definition.” What a Georgia hoot!

Here’s the deal, Josh. Bring us back some scholarly sources on the Greek text you must have acquired from your Liberty professor and prove to us “Kosmos” should sometimes be translated to reference the “world of the elect.” When you do, I’ll concede I have a “narrow definition.” Deal?

Finally, yes for me, "world" means "the entire kosmos of human beings", and "gave" must involve offering "a vicarious sacrifice for every human being." What else could it mean, Josh? Is John 3:16 expressing redemptive love? Is salvific love the kind of love Jesus references when He says God “so loved the world”? Furthermore, isn’t the image Jesus used of the Father in “giving His only begotten Son” because He loved them so much an indication of vicarious sacrifice? If so, the only question left is for whom is the vicarious sacrifice made. According to my interpretation, it’s made for the whole world, elect or non-elect notwithstanding. Jesus made no distinction. It takes a Calvinist beginning 1600 years after the fact to limit “world” to “world of the elect.”

With that, I am…
Peter

peter lumpkins

Hi John,

Thanks for the contribution!

Lydia

John, Great comment.

On a more pedantic non scholarly level: The potter metaphor is really taken to extremes. I have to chuckle sometimes thinking of how they are using it. So the potter goes to incredible trouble to create a piece of pottery through a myriad of steps because the potter "planned" to destroy it when done? That is how they read that metaphor?

All Calvinists should be required to take a pottery class. Then whey they have to start over and over because the clay won't cooperate, they might get it. :o)

Scott Shaver

Basdouef:

You comment belies that most "cooperative program" dollars in the new SBC are a "waste".

Same holds true for questions directed at Mohler by anyone who doesn't share his views.

Scott Shaver

let's substitute "demonstrates" for "belies". Correction.

Joshua David Kelso

Andrew - "(I can't find which version you've used here. No recognised version uses the word 'peoples'. Is this your own translation?)"

Take your pick: NKJV, ESV, NIV. Unless you don't view these as 'recognised'? They are the tree most used versions here by far, not including the Jerusalem Bible. NASB and KJV use "men" instead, but that doesn't have to mean "all humans everywhere without exception."

Are you really suggesting that what Jesus was teaching in John 12:32 was that his death on the cross was going to draw every single human being to him? Or have I misunderstood?

"But you chose to see it as meaning irresistible grace in one passage and just a general drawing or call to all 'peoples' in the other."

No no, they are both talking about Irresistable Grace. 6:44 is explaining how the process has it's origins with an action of God, 12:32 is explaining that the process will affect people (or men) from all the nations.

Not a "general calling TO all peoples", a specific calling of individuals OUT FROM all peoples.

Again, look at the text: (Jn 6:44)

‘No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day."

God Draws.
Then they come.
All who come are raised up.

Therefore, All cannot be drawn, or all would be raised up, and as neither of us are universalists, that cannot be the correct interpretation.

John and Peter - Thanks for your questions/answers/counter points, I will get to them later.

Joshua David Kelso

(Peter: I'm not ignoring your "deal" mentioned in your last post, I'm just responding in order post order)

John:

"3. He “held out His hands all day long (centuries!) to a disobedient and obstinate people” (Ro 9:21)"

Not sure why you quoted Isaiah 65 but referenced Romans 9:21, or why you can't see how incompatible your views are to the actual text:

Romans 9:21 says that the potter has the right to MAKE two DIFFERENT vessels from the SAME lump of clay.

Your view says that the potter is watching two different vessels "make themselves" (by either belief or unbelief) from the same lump of clay, and then choosing one over the other based on it's choices.

My view states that the whole lump is sinful and has rejected God and is worthy of wraith, and God then makes some vessels for honour, and some for dishonour.

Why view fits the passage better?

"I’d also point out that the potter/clay imagery would not have given a Jew the idea that his eternal fate had been determined."

Actually, that's exactly the idea Paul expected it might convey, hence his preceding comment in v19-20. If Paul's argument is CLEARLY "Man has true free will", how on earth would someone ever come to the conclusion that God's will cannot be resisted?

"So Josh, you read Ro 9:22-23 as “God pre-determined that the majority of men and women would be the objects of His wrath, and would endure endless unspeakable punishment. He pre-determined not to save them, so as to display His power and wrath to those He did pre-determine to save”."

No. God did not "force" Adam and Eve, who I believe did have true free will, to fall(but he knew they would). In falling, they condemned the whole of humanity to the same sinful nature. We are all from "The same lump". We are all rebel sinners. In order to display both his grace and justice, he elected to save some.

"God’s wrath is just, it is based on deeds (Ro 2:5-9)."

God's wrath is just, and it is based on our nature (Eph 2:3), which is CONFIRMED by our deeds. Besides the fact that Romans 9:11 confirms that election is not the result of deeds.

"If God has irrevocably pre-determined to damn these “vessels of wrath”, why is his holy apostle groaning, praying, and actively working for their salvation?"

Where does the text say Paul is "actively working for the salvation of the vessels of wrath"? He says national Israel contained both elect and non-elect (Romans 9:6), and that one day national Israel will indeed be saved(Romans 11:26).

Joshua David Kelso

Ok Peter, thank you for your patience.

"First, on the one hand it’s good to know those who support your ministry are aware you hold to at least one major tenet of historic Hyper-Calvinism—God has salvific love for only some people. On the other hand, it’s discouraging to know there’s pockets of professing Christians who support classic Hyper-Calvinism."

I'm never considered myself a Hyper-Calvinist, because a) I don't seek to minimize the responsibility of man (man knows right from wrong, and yet he still selfishly chooses to do wrong, and reject God, and b) I don't minimize the responsibility of the church to proclaim the gospel, that whoever believes in Jesus Christ will be saved. It's not an exaggeration to say that barring vacations and illness, this is a weekly portion of my ministry workload, though Open Air Evangelism, door to door, and gospel invitations at meetings.

Those two thngs separate me from every self-confessed Hyper-Calvinist I've ever met, by their own admission.

"Namely, if the vessels of wrath in Rom 9 are human beings, and all human beings are included in Jesus’ words about God “so loved the world that He gave…” in John 3:16, then it follows, does it not, that vessels of wrath (i.e. human beings) are people for whom the only begotten was given since God loved them so much."

Ok, I missed that this was a direct attempt to answer that, so I apologize. I guess I still don't see any explaination of how it is logically possible to love someone SALVIFICLY who you know will not be saved. Surely for love to be salvific, it must save, just as verbal love must be vocal.

"Here’s the deal, Josh. Bring us back some scholarly sources on the Greek text you must have acquired from your Liberty professor and prove to us “Kosmos” should sometimes be translated to reference the “world of the elect.” When you do, I’ll concede I have a “narrow definition.” Deal?"

Deal. I'll use The Sovereignty of God, by A.W.Pink, and it was first presented to me by Dr. Gary Habermas as part of a debate between himself and another professor who's name escapes me (It may have been Dr. Pettus, but don't quote me):

"Thus it will be seen that "kosmos" has at least seven clearly defined different meanings in the New Testament:

Kosmos is used of the Universe as a whole: Acts 17:24
Kosmos is used of the earth: Joh 13:1; Eph 1:4
Kosmos is used of the world-system: John 12:31
Kosmos is used of the whole human race: Rom 3:19
Kosmos is used of humanity minus believers: John 15:18; Rom 3:6
Kosmos is used of Gentiles in contrast from Jews: Rom 11:12
Kosmos is used of believers only: John 1:29; 3:16,17; 6:33; 12:47; 2Co 5:19."

Peter, in your theological system are John 3:17 and John 6:33 failed prophecies? Or do you interpret "kosmos" here as something other than "all humanity"?

Would you agree that Kosmos can sometimes refer to a specific group within the entire spectrum of humanity?

John Krainis

Thanks Lydia. Pottery class is a fine idea!

John Krainis

Hi Josh,

God “held out His hands all day long (centuries!) to a disobedient and obstinate people”

Sorry, the citation should have been Ro 10:21 (I’m gonna have words with my editor!)

The question is, “Did God show salvific love to the same vessels he prepared for destruction in Romans 9:22?”

My answer is, yes, and one way was by holding out His hand - a gesture signifying kindness, openness, willingness to accept and welcome. In Romans 10 the context is about the logistics of hearing and responding to the Good News, and of course most of Israel did not. I believe the point is that God gave manifold opportunities, which were rejected.

As for God making two vessels from one lump, could that not mean that the original lump was Israel, and the new lumps were 1) the Israelites who believe in Jesus, and 2) the Israelites who do not (vessels of wrath)?

And why are they vessels of wrath? Because of an a-Biblical, hypothesized eternal decree of reprobation? Or because they did not pursue righteousness by faith in Jesus (Ro 9:31-33), did not accept the good news (Ro 10:16), and were “broken off because of unbelief” (Ro 11:20)? Think about the way the Jewish leaders treated Jesus in the gospels - that is why they are vessels of wrath.

Now Josh, in all honesty, which answer has contextual support?

Andrew Barker

Josh: Take your pick: NKJV, ESV, NIV. Unless you don't view these as 'recognised'? They are the tree most used versions here by far, not including the Jerusalem Bible. NASB and KJV use "men" instead, but that doesn't have to mean "all humans everywhere without exception."

I didn't have access to the Jerusalem Bible, but you are just plain wrong in your assertion. None of these versions use the word peoples. They all either use people or men because that is what the translators think is implied.

So I think unless you are able to provide proof to the contrary we must accept that John 12:32 refers to all men, everywhere, without exception.

John Krainis

Hello again,

“Where does the text say Paul is "actively working for the salvation of the vessels of wrath"?

Ro 11:13-14: I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I take pride in my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them.

It's indirect - he works at his Gentile mission, but hopes through this to save some of his own people. Paul’s people here are the unbelieving Jews, the vessels of wrath, and he wants to save some.

He knows that some day in the future “all Israel will be saved”, but his pain, prayer and efforts are for his contemporaries, the vessels of wrath, that you say God does not love salvifically.

Was Paul wrong, not realizing that they were non-elect?

But if he was right, and God was willing to save those who believe, doesn’t that show that God loved them savingly?

Joshua David Kelso

John -

I see the picture you and Peter are trying to paint of God's patience, I just don't see it in the text. You say that God shows salvific love to the vessels of wrath by "holding out his hand" and offering the chance to repent(and yes, I see you meant 10v21 now), but that's just not why 9v22 says he is being patient:

"What if God, wanting to show HIS WRATH and to MAKE HIS POWER KNOWN" ---> "endured with much longsuffering." Here is Paul's train of thought:

Someone may ask, Is God unrighteous for choosing one over another? (v14)
No, because humans are God's to do with as He wills. (15-16)
Well then, how can he find fault if He's in total control of who will be saved? (19)
Who are you to ask such a question of God? What God desires is for the full range of his nature to be displayed, both his powerful wrath, and his glorious mercy.(21-23)

"As for God making two vessels from one lump, could that not mean that the original lump was Israel, and the new lumps were 1) the Israelites who believe in Jesus, and 2) the Israelites who do not (vessels of wrath)?"

Not as I see it(although I do see where you are coming from):

9v18 doesn't say "He has mercy on those who believe, and He hardens those who don't believe", it says He has mercy on whomever He WILLS, and hardens whomever He WILLS. And this is given right after vv11&16, which again points out that it's not up to man OR HIS DEEDS, but God.

Look at it this way...if you are correct, how can v16 and Eph 2:8,9 be true? It WAS of him who willed - he freely chose to accept the gospel, and if he hadn't, God's desire to save him would have been in vain. And he CAN boast, because he passed the test of belief of his own free will, allowing God to save him, while others did not.

The way I see it, you desperately want a verse that says "Election follows, and is dependent upon, belief", while what the text actually says, in many different places, is that "Belief follows, and is dependent upon, election."

So it's not really a-Biblical hypothesis to simply reiterate what the text naturally says, as opposed to insisting that free will needs to be allowed to fit in somewhere.

So to answer your question in a sentence: In all honesty, I have to say that my view has contextual support, because other than demanding that I start with a free-will presuppostion, I just can't find any illusive "Election follows, and is dependent upon, belief" verse.


peter lumpkins

Josh,

First, you say you’ve never considered yourself a Hyper-Calvinist, because a) you don't seek to minimize the responsibility of man; b) you don't minimize the responsibility of the church to proclaim the gospel. Combined, you conclude “Those two things separate me from every self-confessed Hyper-Calvinist I've ever met.", by their own admission. In response, I fear you have little, if any, understanding of what historic Hyper-Calvinism is. For example, Hyper-Calvinism is not about minimizing the responsibility of the church to proclaim the gospel but concerning to whom the Gospel ought rightly to be proclaimed. More significantly, historic Hyper-Calvinism is wed to the theological notion that God does not possess salvific desire for all people to be saved, the theological harp I’ve continued to strum on this thread.

E. Hulse, for example, says “The hyper-Calvinist denies that God loves all mankind and that the gospel is good news to be declared to all without exception” (italics added). Curt Daniel and Iain Murray also connect Hyper-Calvinism to God’s having no desire to save all people. Hulse, Daniel, and Murray are all convictional Calvinists. Hence, not only are you denying express claims of Scripture, you’re embracing a clear tenet of Hyper-Calvinism by denying God salvifically loves all people. Nor is it especially relevant that you do not “self-profess” to be a Hyper-Calvinist. You continue to lay at my front door step “Open Theism.” James White constantly tells me and others we’re semi-Pelagian and Arminian neither of which we “self-profess.”

Second, you assert “I guess I still don't see any explaination [sic] of how it is logically possible to love someone SALVIFICLY who you know will not be saved.” What does “logically possible” have to do with it, Josh? I can see how one might object to an emotional connection or even a practical connection. But to make salvifically loving one who is known to be unsaved into a logical impossibility seems entirely unwarranted. What is logically contradictory about A redemptively loving unbelieving B? Is it logically contradictory to say God redemptively loved a person by providing a fully vicarious sacrifice for the person’s sin even though the person deliberately chose to reject the redemptive sacrifice? If it is logically contradictory, please demonstrate it.

Third, you assert “Surely for love to be salvific, it must save, just as verbal love must be vocal.” In response, first, let’s deal with your analogy—“just as verbal love must be vocal.” Josh, I’m afraid your choice of analogy makes no sense whatever. Verbal has to do with words while vocal pertains to being uttered with the voice. But verbal love, if I understand your meaning, might not have anything to do with the voice. Verbal love could just as well be literarily expressed. Next, you make a similar mistake by misstating the connection between “salvific” and “save.” Salvific in the sense I was using it as in “God salvifically loves all people” or God’s possesses a salvific desire to save all people” is an adjective or adverb denoting redemptive power God possesses or saving acts God performs for all people thereby expressing His desire that all people be saved. You confusingly but apparently assume salvific love to be God infallibly saves all people—“Surely for love to be salvific, it must save.” If God’s salvific love reduces to actually applied redemption to human sinners, who would argue with the assertion “God possesses salvific love only for the elect”?

Fourth, you offer The Sovereignty of God by A.W. Pink as the scholarly sources on the Greek text for which I asked. I appreciate the effort. Know also your selection may indicate a lot about where your theology derives. A.W. Pink was also a Hyper-Calvinist. However, I specifically asked for scholarly sources on the Greek text not itinerant preachers. Does Pink offer any Greek lexical authorities for his claims about how the word kosmos is to be translated? He does not. He merely lists the verses where he thinks kosmos means this or that.

Why then would you think Pink qualifies as a scholarly source on the Greek text? How about Kittel, Brown-Driver-Briggs, Liddell, Thayer, Danker, Louw or any number of other Greek language sources your might check. Find us one where kosmos is used of either “believers only” or of the elect. To cite Pink as a scholarly source on the Greek text, however, only demonstrates from whence you’ve gleaned your theology, Josh. Not from any serious study of the Word itself but from extreme Calvinist preachers like A.W. Pink who was not a Greek scholar by anyone’s estimation. Yet you cite him as scholarly source on the Greek text.

With that, I am…
Peter

Joshua David Kelso

"None of these versions use the word peoples"

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+12%3A32&version=NKJV

"So I think unless you are able to provide proof to the contrary we must accept that John 12:32 refers to all men, everywhere, without exception."

The burden of proof is on you, not me. You interpretation is nonsensical. How did Christ's crucifixion draw the people living under the Han Dynasty in China "to Him"? Or the Preclassical Mayans? Or the Inuit? Of course it doesn't mean "all men, everywhere, without exception", it means "men of all nations", as opposed to just the nation of Israel.

Joshua David Kelso

Peter -

My issue with you calling me a Hyper-Calvinist is that I don't believe you have any desire to understand the differences between the full spectrum of my beliefs and the full spectrum of Classic Hyper-Calvinism, I think you just want a "shock value" word you can use to dismiss anything I say.

"Is it logically contradictory to say God redemptively loved a person by providing a fully vicarious sacrifice for the person’s sin even though the person deliberately chose to reject the redemptive sacrifice?"

If you believe in an omniscient God, yes. Because he knew full well what he was offering could not and would not be chosen. Like lowering a rope to a chained up man.

"God’s possesses a salvific desire to save all people”

So his desire to punish unbelief was stronger than his desire to save all people?

"Find us one where kosmos is used of either “believers only” or of the elect."

Peter, I think Pink is a fine source. I think your long-winded dismissal of Pink was intended to hide the fact you've backed yourself into a corner by saying, in your own words that world means "the entire kosmos of human beings".

Peter, in your theological system are John 3:17 and John 6:33 failed prophecies? Or do you interpret "kosmos" here as something other than "the entire kosmos of human beings"?

Would you agree that Kosmos can sometimes refer to a specific group WITHIN the entire spectrum of humanity?

peter lumpkins

Josh,

First, I’m basing my understanding on Hyper-Calvinism from scholars who’ve studied Hyper-Calvinism. And, one of the tenets routinely mentioned is a flat denial that God salvifically loves all human beings. You’ve not only flat denied God salvifically loves all human beings, you’ve unequivocally stated no Scripture exists which assert God wishes all to be saved. Every passage which typically is used to affirm God desires all people to be saved is interpreted so as to redirect that love toward the elect only. That’s what Hyper-Calvinists historically do. Thus, my contention has nothing to do with either the “full spectrum of [your] beliefs” or the “full spectrum of Classic Hyper-Calvinism” because we’re not referring to the full spectrum of belief system. One can be entirely orthodox in one doctrine while holding an entirely unorthodox belief in another. An example would be Catholicism’s orthodox doctrine of the Trinity and unorthodox view of justification. And, I’ve not Hyper-Calvinism as some sort of "shock value" word just to dismiss what you say. To the contrary, I’ve been rather verbose in explaining my objections as well as explaining Hyper-Calvinism.

Second, you say “If you believe in an omniscient God, yes [it’s a logical contradiction]. Because he knew full well what he was offering could not and would not be chosen.” Sorry, Josh that’s not a contradiction. You’re simply confusing categories. A contradiction would be a) God infallibly knew a person was not going to receive the salvation He offered; b) the man received the salvation He offered. That’s a logical contradiction. But you’re saying is a) God knew what He was offering; b) and also knew what He was offering would not be accepted. In essence, you’re suggesting God knew what God knew. OK. It might be a tautology but a contradiction?

Third, you assert, “Like lowering a rope to a chained up man.” Excuse me? I think that’s Calvinism’s standard line not mine. More popularly stated, it’s like throwing a life preserver to a dead corpse. But I am glad you see that as a blatant logical contradiction as many non-Calvinists do (I’ll remember this line if we ever get around to total depravity. Logical contradiction! :^)

Fourth, “So his desire to punish unbelief was stronger than his desire to save all people?” No. Remember “God’s not willing any should perish but all come to repentance” (it seems so long ago we actually were dealing with this!). He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. Christ is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world. God so loved the WORLD, He sacrificially gave His Son. God’s intention in giving His Son was not to save everybody. If it was, everybody would, in fact, be saved since God’s design and purpose cannot fail. Instead God’s intention in giving His Son was to make full salvific provision for everyone. The Cross, therefore, is the foundation of salvation for those who believe and the foundation of condemnation for those who reject it.

Fifth, you can “think” Pink is a “fine source” all you wish, Josh. But don’t come here quoting him as a reputable Greek scholar. I asked you specifically for scholarly sources of the Greek language which support your claim (via Pink) that kosmos may be legitimately translated as denoting “world of the elect.” You failed. And, you will continue to fail because there are no sources which do so. I’ve had a long standing challenge to Calvinists to bring back the goods. No one ever does so. Now, you are the one who indicated you studied at LU. What are the Greek sources they taught you to employ? And, don’t say A.W. Pink. He doesn’t count, Josh, and for you to insist he does only serves to show once again that for all the rhetoric you employed about context, language, and studying the text itself, was little more than blowing smoke in our face. Pink is the source of your Calvinism as is James White and perhaps a few others. But you didn’t get your Hyper-Calvinism from Scripture. You undoubtedly got it from Pink and White.

Nor have I “backed yourself into a corner” because I’m viewing kosmos as referencing the entire human race. Dr. Phillip Comfort, Professor of New Testament at Wheaton College writes of John 3.16: “This is the Good News in a nutshell: God so dearly loved all the people in the world that He was willing to give His one and only Son…” (Opening The Gospel of John, p.51). George Beasley-Murray, past Professor of New Testament, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary notes in his commentary on John that the Gospel “originates in the love of God for a disobedient world, it centers in the giving of the only Son to and for the world…” (p.51). D.A. Carson, hardly a theological friend of non-Calvinism, as he comments on John 3.16: “God’s love for the world cannot be collapsed into his love for the elect” (The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God, p.17).

Even more telling is, John Calvin himself read kosmos in John 3:16 as encompassing the entire human race:

“Christ brought life, because the Heavenly Father loves the human race, and wishes that they should not perish…And He has employed the universal term “whosoever”, both to invite all indiscriminately to partake of life, and to cut off every excuse from unbelievers. Such is also the import of the term “world”, which He formerly used; for though nothing will be found in the “world” that is worthy of the favor of God, yet He shows Himself to be reconciled to the whole world, when He invites all men without exception to the faith of Christ…”(John Calvin’s Commentaries, Vol.17, p.122-125).
Backed myself into a corner? Hardly.

Finally, I’m open to any number of ways the Greek language itself bears out meaning and translation. Thus, world (kosmos) surely has differing nuances in various contexts. All Greek lexical study sources from reputable scholars indicate various meanings for world. However, not a single, reputable Greek language source ever renders kosmos to mean world of the elect. Period. This is a theological innovation of systematic Calvinists imposing upon the text of Scripture a necessary rendering of the text which fits their system.

Now unless you can show otherwise, Josh, I’m done here.

Thanks for the exchange.

With that, I am…
Peter

Joshua David Kelso

"God's intention in giving His son was not to save everybody. If it was, everybody would, in fact, be saved, since God's design and purpose cannot fail."

Amen. I completely agree. And therefore, John 3:17's use of kosmos, by your own reasoning, cannot refer to "everyone", but instead refers to those who will be saved, I.e. The Elect in it's totality, or "world of the elect" as you insist on rather confusingly putting it. No Greek scholar was necessary for you to come to the correct conclusion. Hence my belief that God does not love all people salvificly, as His intention (as you rightly say) was to save some, not all.

However It does amaze me that you are willing to base the interpretation of scripture on the opinions of men like Thayer who denied the inerrancy of scripture, and not Godly Christian men like Pink, who believed in letting Scripture speak for itself, in a NON-contradictory way.

"But you didn’t get your Hyper-Calvinism from Scripture. You undoubtedly got it from Pink and White."

Well, while the non-Calvinists in this thread have appealed to non-orthodox scholars, philosophical conspiracy theories, anecdotes about the doughnut preferences of children, theological strawman arguments, demands for personal disclosure, and opportunities to put down bugbear Calvinist authors, I have tried to argue directly, consistently, and solely from scripture. I am sure I have not fully succeeded, but at least I'm slightly more prepared for the next conversation.


Lydia

"I have tried to argue directly, consistently, and solely from scripture"

Yes, using your determinist god filter. You start with that foundation so you cannot possibly see another view that is not univeralism. I believe man has volition so determinism is not my foundational filter for reading scripture. Determinism is your starting point.

And since you have no volition, not sure why should trust anything you say at all. :o)

Andrew Barker

Josh: "None of these versions use the word peoples"

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+12%3A32&version=NKJV

Well Josh, hats off to you, you found one version which uses the word peoples. It wasn't listed in biblos.com. However, without wanting to rain on your parade you need to look carefully at the verse in the NKJV.

32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”

The reason peoples is italicised is because the word doesn't exist as such in the original and it is put there by the translators who are trying to convey the meaning. The fact is, just about every other version you care to mention will use either people or men to indicate that it is all inclusive. Truth be told, Jews and Gentiles is pretty all inclusive as well actually!

Neither is this explanation nonsensical as you would have it.
" You interpretation is nonsensical. How did Christ's crucifixion draw the people living under the Han Dynasty in China "to Him"? Or the Preclassical Mayans? Or the Inuit?"

Are you really suggesting that Jesus' words do not apply to all men? When Paul speaks about how faith comes about he is quite clear that "how will they believe in Him whom they have not heard?" But Paul doesn't question whether or not the gospel applies to them. The point is you can't expect people who haven't heard to respond. Kind of common sense really!

Quite why you think the burden of proof is on me, I can't see. No version contains a direct translation to back up your claim which I have to say is hanging by one rather slender italicised thread!

John Krainis

Josh,

The problem is, Calvinism imports ideas into Romans 9-11 that simply are not there. There is no record that the Roman churches shared Calvinism’s concerns. But they were facing questions about Jews/Gentiles.

Some of the differences in how you and I read Romans 9:

1. To whom does God show mercy?

You: To those He unilaterally chose by eternal decree

Me: First to Abraham, then Isaac (not Ishmael, contra Abraham’s request), Jacob and his posterity (not Esau, contra Isaac’s will), Moses (when God was ready to abandon the Israelites), and now, the Gentile church.

2. What is entailed in God’s mercy?

You: Eternal destiny

Me: God’s promise, His presence, His dealings with man, the honor of bearing His name and being His people

3. Whom does He harden?

You: Those He chose not to elect (though I’m not sure why totally depraved non-elect need to be hardened)

Me: First Pharaoh, and now the unbelieving Israelites

4. What is entailed in God’s hardening?

You: ?

Me: With Pharaoh, the effect was increased hostility against God and His people. The main body of Israelites of Paul’s time were hardened (Ro 11:7), and they showed a similar hostility. “Hardening” here may be similar to the “giving over” of Chapter 1, which was the Divine response to people who knew God but suppressed the truth in unrighteousness.

5. What was the result of hardening?

You: The non-elect go to hell

Me: In the case of Pharaoh, God’s power and majesty were displayed to the world in rescuing a race of slaves and utterly humbling a super-power. In the case of the Israelites, the Gospel comes to the Gentiles as foretold by the prophets.

6. Why does Romans 9 include a forceful discussion of God’s sovereignty/free choice?

You: To show that He has the right to decide everybody’s eternal destiny

Me: To assure His hearers that a) it is God’s right to determine the means of salvation and who are His people, and b) God was still in control despite the defection of Israel - in fact, following centuries of defiance, it was God Himself who hardened their resistance, and in His unsearchably wise way, used their defiance to multiply blessing to the rest of the world.

7. Who are the vessels of wrath?

You: The non-elect

Me: The hardened - first Pharaoh and Egypt, now Israel

8. What does “choosing to show His wrath and make His power known” refer to?

You: Eternal damnation of the non-elect

Me: First the plundering and destruction of Egypt, now the rejection and destruction of Israel

9. What is the purpose of making His wrath and power known?

You: God eternally damns the non-elect to show His glory to the elect

Me: Through the rejection of Israel, the Gentiles become God’s people (Ro 9:23-33, 11:15)

Again I ask, assuming I have fairly represented your position, which viewpoint tries to use the flow and concerns of the text, and which imports alien ideas?

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