The Dunamis Word 2

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Upholding The Light Of Jesus In A Dark World

Is Reformed & Evangelical Theology Biblical? Pt. 2

This is continued from Is Reformed & Evangelical Theology Biblical? Pt. 1

For those who have not read part one of this article, I would advise that you stop a moment and do so now for much of what you will read is in direct response to Reformed and Evangelical Theology.  As Stated at the end of part one, our objective is to point out the critical flaws associated with Reformed Doctrine while simultaneously offering what we feel is a better and more biblically credible alternative to many biblical intepretives rendered by reformed theologians.

This debate has raged for over 400 years and I do not expect to settle it here however, that does not disuade me from trying…<:)

Observations, Assertions & Questions:

1- Reformed Theology begins with the premise of a characteristic of God rather than that of HIS essence.

As demonstrated, monergism begins with the thought that God is Sovereign. Although it is correct that God is soveriegn, sovereignty describes a characteristic of God and does not describe his essence. This simply describes what he chooses to do or HIS actions. I submit that this is simply not the best place to begin when it comes to matters of salvation toward humanity.

A much better place to begin a theology of salvation is where God has revealed his essence to humanity through Jesus Christ. Rather than Sovereignty, which is a prerogative of God’s will and actions, one is better served to express the love of God. HIS love is the unending river from which HIS sovereignty is exercised among men. Love better indicates the nature and essence of God according to scripture:

(I John 4:8) ~ “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love”

(John 3:15) ~ “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved”

(John 15:13-14) ~ “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”

(I John 4:16-19)  ~ “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us.”

(I John 3:16) ~ “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”

 

 

This concept is vitally important to understand. Why? Because God has communicated truth to the WORLD because he loves the whole of mankind and has moved to free man from his sin, not to destroy man in his sin. This is one of the first acknowledgements that must be made in order to have a more effective understanding of our union with the Creator. Reformed Theology as commonly taught and understood in many circles today does not begin from this perspective and therefore neglects that God’s sovereignty, as it pertains to the salvation of mankind, is exercised from the position and nature of God’s love.

Although God is sovereign, HE has invested all to save humanity from their sins and HIS grace is abundant throughout HIS creation to ALL of his creation not just a select group.

2 – By virtue of his essence or nature (LOVE), God has not Limited HIS atonement or grace toward humanity. If that were true, HIS atonement would be ineffectual to the world and powerless to those who in Dr. Calvin’s view, were not the elect. Grace therefore would become a penalty to some and a blessing to others.

 

 

(Titus 2:11) ~”For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,”

The grace that has appeared to ALL men is the grace that BRINGETH salvation

(John 12:32) ~ “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”

The purpose of the Cross was to DRAW ALL men not a select few, and certainly not to reject those who would come.  

(II Corinthians 4:6-7) ~ “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”

God shined in our hearts “out of darkness” meaning that when we were in darkness he shined to give the light of knowledge. Darkness indicates two things:
  1. The darkness (overwhelming entanglement) of our sins
  2. The darkness of our understanding or illumination

(I Timothy 2:3-4) ~ “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth”

(II Peter 3:9) ~ The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Saved folk need no repentance only sinners who don’t know God.

(Matt. 9:12-13) ~ “But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

 (Romans 5:2) ~ “By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

(Romans 5:15) ~ “But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many”

These scriptures explain 2 types of Grace. One Grace “wherein we stand” after being saved (v.2) and a Second grace that “hath abounded to many” or extended to us (all individuals) to be saved (v.15) through and by our Lord Jesus Christ. 

(II Cor. 4:14) ~ “For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.

(I Timothy 1:13) ~ “And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.”

3- The Calvinist/Reformist says, “OK, then, since man is Totally Depraved without the natural ability to hear or respond to God, where did the faith come from that repentant sinners exercise? Certainly not of themselves. So from where did it proceed?

 

 

We acknowledge that faith came from God given to man. For the scripture has said this:

(II Peter 1:3) ~ “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:”

 

“All things that pertain unto life and godliness” also includes faith, and the ability to believe. That ability, given by God, includes the free-will of man. Therefore, it is improper to believe that God has somehow restricted or prohibited men from belief or the ability to come to saving faith since the complete object of God’s position towards mankind was to provide a savior.

 4- The reformist would hold that what I set forth (in point 3) is a form synergism or a combination of God’s grace and man’s free-will being exercised in order for one to be saved and therefore contrary to Sola Gratia or grace alone.

One of the best examples here is this: God has written a check that you did not earn. It is a free gift . Is it really considered work or helping God when you take the check to the bank and cash it? NO. You do yourself a favor by using what he has delivered to you, but you gave yourself nothing. Cashing the check in no way dimishes the roll of God, HIS grace, or HIS sovereignty.

The free gift of grace that has been given by God is no less powerful and no less effective when I turn to God with the same free-will that he has allowed to come alive in me because of the propitiation of Jesus in the world.

The illumination of our free-will and conscious has been done by God through a process called Reconciliation through the process of Regeneration:

(Romans 5:8-10) ~ “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”

“Reconciliation”~ is the process by which God and people are brought together again. The Bible teaches that they are alienated from one another because of God’s holiness and human sinfulness. Although God loves the sinner (Rom. 5:8), it is impossible for Him not to judge sin (Heb. 10:27). Therefore, in biblical reconciliation, both parties are affected. Through the sacrifice of Christ, people’s sins are atoned for and God’s wrath is appeased. Thus, a relationship of hostility and alienation is changed into one of peace and fellowship. The uniquess of Christian theology is that the initiative in reconciliation was taken by God—while we were still sinners and “enemies,” Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8, 10; Col. 1:21). Reconciliation is thus God’s own completed act, something that takes place before human actions such as confession, repentance, and restitution. God Himself “has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 5:18). Paul regarded the gospel as “the word of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:19). And knowing “the terror of the Lord,” Paul pleaded, implored, and persuaded people to be “reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5:20).

 

This reconciliation is the very act of the preceding grace, or the grace that was taught by Jacob Arminius to be “prevenient grace”.

(II Cor. 5:18-19) ~ “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”

(Col. 1:21-22) ~ “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:”

 

When did this special act of grace occur on behalf of mankind?

Throughout all humanity culminating in the work and ministry of Jesus and specifically on the cross when Jesus, hung his head and died. The Roman Centurion was among the first to have been illuminated as a result of the finished work of grace and truth. (Mark 15:38-39, Luke 23:45-47)

(Matt. 27:50-54) ~ “Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.”

 

The veil was what ceremonially separated between God and man. It represented the part of God’s knowledge and revelation that the common man or common sinner could not experience. Although the grace of God was ever present on the outside of the veil, when the veil was torn apart, there remained nothing that could further separate God and man. 

I contend that it was at that point that man (mankind) gained the ability to have an enlightened conscious. Although man’s free-will was still tainted by the sin nature, now a light shined which did not shine previously and that could not be dimmed. Man was given a renewed sense of the ability to choose good and evil. This ability was present BEFORE the cross of Christ but was made efficacious after the sacrifice on the cross.

(Deut. 30:19) ~ “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:”

 

The Law (Pentateuch) provided clear evidence that a choice for or against the will of God could be exercised at a time BEFORE the sacrificial offering and atonement of Jesus.

(John 1:4) ~ “In him was life; and the life was the light of men”

The New Testament outlines that that “life” and “light” was in Jesus. This scripture indicates 2 things primarily:

1- That there was a replacement of death (life = redemption) provided by the Jesus and

2- That life was the illumination (light = regeneration) of men (aka mankind)

5- The Reformationist believes solidly in election and predestination. In fact the most strict monergist believes that the “elect CANNOT miss their salvation” no matter what they do because they are elect to participate in the grace of God from the beginning. Likewise he also believes that there are certain individuals (the non-elect) that are born or destined to go to hell.

This particular element of Reformed Theology is probably one of it’s most exasperating and divisive teachings. The doctrine of unconditional election if taken to it’s logical conclusion would teach that salvation is totally dependent upon God’s choice as is his prerogative, and that man does not under any circumstance have the ability to provide a response to the call of salvation or the resultant end which is the salvation of God.

This element is class distinction between the elect and those that are not elect and is dangerously close to fatalistic pre-determinism, which offers no room for choice and at best sets parameters by which free-will operates. In essence this doctrine creates only an illusion of free-will. To the atheist and non Christian, this becomes a great source of contention for obvious reasons and in large part a reason that many Christians do not accept reformed theology. It should be noted that many reform believers reject this element of the doctrine. Strict adherence to this element and other more restrictive elements of the theology are not necessarily essential to the application of reformed theology.

To further demonstrate the point, Reformed Blacks Of America addresses the issue of Limited Atonement in the following manner:

“Jesus died and rose for those whom the Father predestined. If God were to die for all, then all would be saved. The atonement is sufficient for all, but not efficacious for all. The atonement is accomplished and eternally secured for the elect through the cross of Christ. Christ did not die a hypothetical death for every single human being, but rather a real death for his people, his sheep whom he actually and really saves. Therefore, the atonement is not limited in power, but in extent.”

This doctrine, when coupled with double predestination inspires questions and attitudes such as,

  • “Since I’ve been born to go to hell, I may as well enjoy myself”
  • “I was created to go to hell.”
  • “I will go to heaven anyway, therefore I do not need to live like a Christian.”
  • “Free-will is the ultimate deceit of God.”

One should keep in mind what Dr. Calvin actually taught in this regard:

(John Calvin stated) “…(God) does not create everyone in the same condition, but ordains eternal life for some and eternal damnation for others.” (Cited in Alister McGrath, Christian Theology, p. 396)

By his own statements Dr. Calvin sets forth the idea that some people are born to be lost. This is a rather despairing way to live or exist especially since the doctrine also teaches a literal, perpetual hell coupled with torment and not annihilation.

Although many credit Saint Augustine with the formulation of Evangelical doctrine, Dr. Calvin’s teachings in this area were clearly at variance with Saint Augustine’s teaching. St Augustine (-Life-) taught that God is active only in the salvation of the elect, while he is passive (inactive) with regard to the non-elect. This may be a way for some to reconcile this problem.

Another interpretation regarding this issue and much closer to the source of the original Apostles was Clement Of Alexandria. In debates against the gnostics of his day, Clement Of Alexandria (150-115 CE) wrote the following in 195 CE regarding election:

“Therefore, all having been called, those who are willing to obey have been named “the called”. For there is no unrighteousness with God…To these, prophecy says, “If you are willing and hear me, you will eat the good of the land,” proving that choice or refusal depends upon ourselves.”

Here Clement Of Alexandria acknowledges that ALL have been called but only them that “obey” have been named “the called” ie: elect. He goes on to provide his support for his position by invoking Isaiah 1:19 restating that in his understanding God has not withheld salvation from any man. 

6. Is Sola Scriptura (scripture alone) a valid doctrine?

Sola Scriptura ~ by the Scriptures alone, our only foundation in reference to authority. 

For many, this teaching of reformed theology is the most essential element. Without it no other teaching is solidly affirmed. But is this teaching practical or meant to be applied in the way that many reform theologians apply it?

Remember the imputus of the reformed theology is to return to the scriptural message that God has delivered to his people through the Bible and to remove “tradition” especially “indulgences” from matters of faith. The aim was against the tradition of the Catholic Church which had taken liberties that were unbiblical. This was Martin Luther’s purpose for nailing the 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Whittenburg, Germany.

It is taught and commonly understood that the written word is the only current revelation whereby man can know God. It is the final place of arbitration for all matters of Christian living and practice and that God’s written word is the capstone of all Christianity and without it we are in trouble. Please note that all of things are generally held to be true among most protestant Christians. However, there are problems in understanding that must be addressed that cannot be overlooked regarding this issue. Serious questions are outlined as follows:

  1. In applying Sola Scripture does one dogmatically assert that each letter of the written text is an exacting copy of what was originally written within the first manuscripts?
  2. Is it necessary to assert that what was written in the New Testament is an all inclusive or a verbatim disposition of the sayings of Christ, the disciples and eventually apostles in the gospels and Acts? 
  3. Why is it that many adherents to Sola Scriptura revert to “tradition” as it pertains to the exclusionary teachings against the understanding of the perpetuity of Spiritual Gifts and the dispensation of the 5 fold ministry offices?
  4. What role does Oral Historicity and Oral Tradition have in establishing the scriptures that we have today, and why has that tradition since the closing of the canon of scripture in 367 AD by Athanasius been minimized?
  5. How do we account for the fact that all of the Apostles including Paul and the brother of our Lord, James, were only persuaded in salvation after an experience with Christ in the resurrection? This is to say that although the WORD (Pentateuch) was present, that was not the final place where salvation was gained.   

Although this type of argument can be a two-edged sword if not placed within proper context, we cannot overlook the current works and studies of Professor Bart Ehrman, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of NC and one of the worlds leading textual critics. Professor Ehrman has stated in his work “Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why” (2006 San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco pg. 10) the following:

“These copies (in refrence to biblical texts and manuscripts) differ from one another in so many places that we don’t even know how many differences there are.”

In fact Dr. Ehrman’s conclusion is that there were over 200,000 to 400,000 textual variants found within scripture itself. This means that there were a significant number of changes and or scribal additions to or from the original text.

In this writing I don’t have time to settle every issue as it pertains to the variants that Dr. Ehrman points out but I will conclude this section by saying that the meaningful and viable variant number is approximately 1% or less of all variants. Further those variants that are both meaningful and viable only suggest a difference in orthopraxy (the practice of the Christian faith) and not orthodoxy(what the Christian faith teaches). With that said even conservative scholars confirm that there are yet variants.

Is Sola Scriptura as taught in reform theology able to withstand the fact that variants within the scriptural text exist? If so, do the variants affect the doctrine of scriptural inspiration in the way that inspiration is often interpreted and applied under the monergist system?

As we can see these are not simple issues and do not deserve cavalieer answers. However people are effected by many if not all of the doctrines set forthin this study.

Is Reformed and Evangelical Theology biblical? Certainly elements of the theology are biblical without question, but yet there are important elements that are only constructions of men. One should be careful as to not overstate his/her case when discussing these issues and related matters matters of faith. There are, as I have demonstrated valid and more powerful and persuave arguments to be made from scripture regarding many points that reformed theology attempts to address.

Question: Pastor Burnett will you become a “reformed” theologian or believer?

Answer: Don’t hold your breath. 

Additional Reading & Study:  Has God Condemned Some While Saving Others?

83 Responses

  1. Diane says:

    I dont know how Reformed believers get around the desire and Will of God, as shown in Ezekiel 18 “Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord God, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?”

    • tommichnay says:

      John Piper has an excellent response to this in a chapter entitled “Are there two wills in God?” I believe the book is called The Pleasures of God. D.A. Carson also handles this issue in a small book entitled, “The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God.” I recommend you look into these. Both of these men are Reformed.

      As for your question Eze. 18:23 you quoted, in v.30 reads “Therefore, I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways declares the Lord GOD, Repent and turn from all your transgressions,lest iniquity be your ruin. v.32 so turn and live.”

      Reformed believers don’t try to “get around” this verse. These verses are a call to repentance. Reformed theology is clear. God is Sovereign in Salvation and man is dead in sin. The Scriptures also teach that man is responsible for his sin. Calvinism affirms that sinners perish for one reason and only one reason, refusing to repent.

      [PHB~ Tom, Thanks for stopping by and thanks for reading and giving a critique on the article. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that we clearly disagree on some pretty significant points regarding this issue and the basis and wielding of the soveriegnty of God about which we both agree. The problem I have is this, what you say in the preceeding statement is inconsistent. You say there is a “call to repentance” (once again we agree), that man is “responsible for his sin” (once again we agree) and that sinners will perish for “refusing to repent” (once again, we agree)…but on your site you clearly say this:“Many individuals falsely assume that ALL are called to be saved. While this is true in one sense (the General call of the Gospel that goes out to everyone,) it is quite the opposite in another as this text bears out. This “call” that Paul is speaking of here is a special one. Theologians draw a distinction between general revelation and special revelation.”There we totally disagree and that total disagreement is the whole deal in my opinion, because under your theological system fatalism to damnation exists. We’re not talking about mere quality of life as in saying that not all men will be rich or something of the sort, what you hold to is that God has decided to ultimately and completely withhold his goodness and salvation from certain of his creatures while simultaneously and as far as we know arbitrarily provide that goodness to others. I contend that your approach IS NOT biblical and is further ungodly and is a twisting of scripture and an unwarrented interpretation of scripture. Under your system, the call to repentance is false and is only mechanical in nature and not done to save the whole world even though the whole world is preached to. Under your construct God acts within the world as a deceiver, even if his intent is to only save those that have been “predestined” he ‘acts’ as if he has a sincere call to all only to limit the actual appeal to them that are elect. So although the “elect” may be lost at the time of the call, noone outside of that group will be saved or is really being preached to. So that is a fault of the theology as promoted by most reformed apologists, teachers and promoters such as yourself.]

      Peter taught this in his sermon in Acts. Jesus was delivered over by the predetermined plan of God, but was crucified by the hands of evil men. You have Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility. Scripture affirms BOTH of these concepts. See Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God by J.I. Packer for a more detailed explanation.

      [PHB~ These things are not in dispute, however your obtuse teaching of it is. Jesus had a WILL that he subjugated to the WILL of God. This is a crucial distinction. It is one of the basis upon which the “Person” of God the son or the second person of the Trinity is determined. To merely claim that Jesus was fatalistically assigned to his actions without the acknowledgement of his free-will decision to do so is yet another fault and one with significant theological implications and considerations. Although that’s certainly not an easy one, man, having been given the same or similar type of free will enjoins a similar decision making process that certainly is constructed or shaped by God but not fatalistically predetermined by God. there is a sharp and poignant distinction that you fail to make or address.]

      • tommichnay says:

        In view of the elect being lost at the call please allow me to clarify with Romans 8:30 Moreover, whom He predestined, these He also called; whom he called,, these he also justified; and whom He justified, these he also glorified. Here you see my dear friend that the called are guaranteed to be justified and consequently glorified. No one gets lost through the cracks.

        This is not determinism, According to the Westminster Confession under God’s Eternal Decree Point 1. “God from all eternity did by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so as thereby neither is God the author of sin; nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.” It is my sincere hope that this addresses your concern.

        Respectfully yours, Tom Michnay

  2. tommichnay says:

    It is a shame that you misrepresent Reformed views. Augustine wasn’t the first to come up with these views. Paul was and to predate Paul, Christ. I would encourage you to visit my blog 5pointcalvinism.wordpress.com for a somewhat detailed explanation of election/predestination.

    [PHB~ I know that is what you claim, however this is the point of the argument in general. I don’t believe there is adequate scriptural support of that claim when the nuance of scripture is considered. See my response to your other commentary to get more detail on at least one criticism that reformed apologists work with and struggle to answer currently regarding the reformed thesis.]

    Your questions. As for point 1. Scripture Alone affirms that Scripture is ALL that is necessary for us today, period. God has spoken and His word is contained within the 66 books. (It seems to me you have questions lie more with textual criticism.) Sola Scriptura doesn’t address this, it wasn’t an issue historicaly when it was addressed. Evangelicals affirm that Scripture is infallible and inerrant in its’ original autographs. Furthermore, thus the need to continually compare various texts to ensure accurate translation i.e. various codices, UBS Text, Nestle Aland, et cetera.

    PHB~ Absolutely correct. What is transferred in the text? what Jesus said word for word or what jesus meant by what he said? For example, how long does it take to read through teh Sermon On The Mount? If this is one of his greatest messages, do you think that there may have been more actual content? Granted i affirm with you that what we have is from the Lord. so that’s not in question. The question I raise is that since we know that Jesus more than likely said a more abundance of actual words, it sounds more like “alphabetic worship” to say that each letter was what Jesus specifically spoke. God has specifically and expressly spoken it by his Spirit and we have teh letter taht we do according to the will and word of God, but to set forth a dogmatism based on the physical letters and words themselves I believe is more than we are called to do. Is what we have infallible in the original? Yes I believe so. Is what we have the revealed word of God? Yes! Should we limit our complete understanding to God by the letters written on the page? NO. To do so will reduce the scripture itself to “spiritless” rendering which is not supported by scripture itself. John 6:63~ It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, [they] ARE SPIRIT, and [they] are life. Now when you can tell me how you can confine “spirit” to a mathematical equation or letters on a page you can let me know.]

    Point 2. Yes, it is absolutely necessary to say that the 66 books known as canon are ALL inclusive. To say anything to the contrary immediately calls into question what actually is and is not the Word of God.

    Point 3. It is wrong to assume that many who affirm Sola Scriptura are cessationists (denying the spiritual gifts/charismata). Wayne Grudem, Vern Poythress, both of whom are reformed do not fall into this category. Also as a former Assembly of God member now Reformed, I had several Professors who attended Reformed Seminaries that definitely affirmed Sola Scriptura and believed the gifts were in operation today. Dr Douglas Oss, Dr. Dale Brueggeman, and Dr. Waverly Nunnally just to name a few.

    [PHB~ That is good to note and maybe I can reword that section because I didn’t mean to broadbrush. So thanks for looking out.]

    Point 4. I believe you misunderstand the closing of the canon. This wasn’t singlehandly done by Athanasius. Nor was canonicity decided by a group of men in smoke filled rooms forcing people to accept/reject what was canon and what wasn’t. Most of canonicity had already been determined by what was being accepted by the local churches. F.F. Bruce has done some great work on the subject along with Norman Geisler’s work How We Got our Bible (even though Norm isn’t Reformed).

    [PHB~ I haven’t really set forth and accounting of this issue. so statements toward this are incidental, however onnce again, I’ll review and see the context in which I make certain conclusions. Sawyer, Wallace and Komoszewski have also set forth a good and detailed account in Reinventing Jesus also. Thanks again.]

    Point 5. Your last point is ambiguous to say the least. Salvation in the Old Testament was accomplished the same way it was in the New Testament. By Faith Alone. In the O.T. they looked forward to the coming of the Messiah, In the N.T. they had to Repent and Believe the Gospel, Today, We look back. Lastly we account for Paul’s salvation and James salvation the same way we do for anyone’s, solely on Christs Righteousness, plus or minus nothing.

    [PHB~ Yes, ultimately you’re correct, but in practice there’s a lot to be said here. In the NT all judgement is based on works whether that was for reward or for eternal destiny. I take a look at that in my article, “Are Works & Faith Inseperable?” This is a hot topic and one deserving of additional research and study in my opinion and one that should not be merely discarded as many withyin reform circles have done.]

  3. tommichnay says:

    Faith and Works haven’t been discarded in reformed circles as many have wrote concerning this. Your statement here is without suffficient ground or warrant. Dr. Norman Shepherd (formally from Westminster Seminary), John MacArthur in “The Gospel According to Jesus”, and his “Gospel According to the Apostles.” Earlier, J. Gresham Machen in “What is Faith?” Calvin himself dealt with this topic in his institutes;moreover, so did the Westminster Confession of Faith” Lastly Luther in his Commentary on Romans. This list is not meant to be exhaustive by any means, but to provide a starting point as the backbone of what Reformed Theology represents.

    In the Westminster Confession of Faith (hereby referred to as WCF) The larger catechism in Q. 76 asks, “What is repentance unto life?” A. Repentance unto life is a saving grace wrought in the heart of the sinner by the Spirit and the Word of God, whereby, out of the sight and sense, not only of the danger, but also of the filthiness and odiousness of his sins, and upon the apprehension of God’s mercy in Christ to such as are penitent, he so grieves for and hates his sins…purposing and endeavouring constantly to walk with him in all the ways of new obedience.” See II Cor. 7:11

    When you ask are works and faith inseperable, I believe you are contemplating the doctrines of Justification and Sanctification. See WCF Q.77 Wherin do justification and sanctification differ? A. Although sanctification be inseparably joined with justification, yet they differ, in that God in justification imputeth the righteousness of Christ; in sanctification his Spirit infuseth grace, and enableth to the exercise thereof; in the former sin is pardoned in the other it is subdued….”

    Machen in What is Faith pg. 204 wrote “But if the faith regarded insufficient by James is different from the faith commended by Paul, so also the works commended by James are different from the works commended by James are different from the works regarded as inefficacious by Paul. Paul is speaking of the works of the law, he is speaking of works that are intended to acquire merit in order that God’s favor may be earned; James on the other hand is speaking of works like Abraham’s sacrifice of Issac that are the real result of faith and show that faith is real faith.”

    The difference of works in reformed thinking is that they establish nor gain any merit in salvation. (This includes initial saving faith.) Pelagian, or semi-Pelagian thought emphasizes works as the basis for salvation. Consequently many falsely assume that the reformers tossed works altogether. Martin Luther flies in the face of this kind of thinking in his commentary of Romans in his introduction pg. 17
    “Faith, however is a divine work in us…Oh it is a living busy, active, mighty thing, this faith and so it is impossible for it not to do good works incessantly. It does not ask whether there are good works to do, but before the question rises, it has already done them. He gropes and looks about after faith and good works and knows neither what faith is nor what good works are….it is impossible to seperate works from faith, quite as impossible as to separate heat and light fires. Beware therefore of your own false notions and of the idle talkers who would be wise enough to make decisions about faith and good works, and yet are the greatest fools. Pray God to work faith in yo; else you will remain forever without faith, whatever you think or do.”

    Calvin discussing James 2:21-22 (see MacArthur Faith Works pg. 92) wrote this “It appears that he is speaking of the manifestation, not of the imputation of righteousness, as if he had said, Those who are justified by ture faith prove their justification by obedience and good works…And as Paul contends that men are justified without the aid of works, so James will not allow any to be regarded as justified who are destitute of good works. Due attention to the scope will thus disentangle every doubt; for the error of our opponents lies chiefly in this, that they think James is defining the mode of justification, whereas his only object is to destroy the depraved security of those who vainly pretended faith as an excuse for the contempt of good works.Therefore let them twist the words of James as they may, they will never extract out of them more than the two propositions: That an empty phantom of faith does not justify, and taht the believer, not contented with such an imagination, manifests his justification with good works.”

    In addition it is absolutely essential to understand that justification is by faith alone. Works merely illustrate that truth. The WCF mentions that justification and sanctification are inseperable. I urge you kindly not to say this topic has been discarded by people of the Reformed Faith. This is a gross misunderstanding on your part. In response to it needing additional research, I can kindly assure you that a multitude of articles in Theological Journals like JETS, WTJ and practically every Puritan wrote on this topic. I hope you find this helpful.

    Respectfully Tom Michnay

    [PHB~ Tom, Thanks for posting once again, I’ve placed your response in the comments section of the post I mentioned (Are Faith & Works Inseperable?)and it is a good read…shaky, but a good read. What I see is a desire to have it both ways. On one hand works can’t save (a sentiment to which I agree) however they also can’t be discarded or minimized because eternal bliss or reward may just depend upon them to a certain degree. Now the debate is over who the “Goats” are in Mt. 25 as a “sinner” isn’t expected to do or have any good works so why and how would they be judged according to their works? Secondly they would have already been separated not because they didn’t do “Christian” things but because they didn’t follow the Lord. But what I see in Reformed Theology is an equivocation on the issue to make faith and works have some sort of systemmatic appeal. There is much lacking however, which cannot be simplified by reading a few reformed theologians mental exercises and simply saying, “now take our word for it”. That may well be what they say, but none of it squares with the rest of their doctrine and IF the teaching is effectual it is only effectual for them who are elect and predestined according to your view. So in essence, this is much greater than a pelagian/neopelagian argument (which NONE of my arguments resemble in the least bit) and I don’t believe my any of my statements misrepresent what is traditionally and openly espoused and taught within reformed circles. So labeling doesn’t help the argument, but an honest look at scripture might depending upon what you’re willing to rethink and pray about.

    What I’ve stated and continue to state is that scripture does not support that works are simply overlooked and are only an afterthought of the Christian experience as is commonly expressed. They are more closely tied to the actual experience of salvation, but do not flow from the vessel receiving salvation, nevertheless are so important that Paul said that they which “do such things” will NOT inherit the kingdom. Works are repeatedly taught as determing factors of both God’s blessings, rewards and eternal bliss. The same isn’t said of faith. The scriptures are dramatically clear on the issue.

    So I know this may seem a little shocking and certainly does not fit reformed dogmas or systematic theological structures, BUT if our aim is to value the word of God and make it our only authority, we can’t arbitrarily accept what we wish while discarding other parts that offer an equally as intense and clear message. I’ll respond to further inquiry on this particular subject (faith and works) at the aforementioned blog.]

    • dunamis2 says:

      Tom,

      Thanks for the comment and the call. I’m sorry I haven’t returned the call as of yet but I saved your number. I appreciate the commentary even if it’s in variance to my primary position. One thing to keep in mind in these type of discussions is that people who are Christians and disagree with you are not the enemy. Calvinism and Reformed Theology is a systematic approach to many difficult biblical problems but it is not the ONLY approach and does address some problems that many Reformed theologians are aware of and try to address frequently. I think researching doctrines are a good thing and does not automatically lend itself disintegration of the scripture but helps open a more full dimension of it that will help all of us who only “know in part” and “prophesy in part” (1 Cor.13:9) In modern times no one system can claim superiority before an endless and timeless God. I thank God for that because we are creatues who soon forget who we are worshipping at times. Thank God that we all have an opportunity to know the ultimate and complete plan of God for us and we’ll know if we follow on to know (Hos. 6:3).
      So thanks and hopefully we’ll speak soon. If not have a very Merry Christmas!

  4. Seekerman says:

    Reformed Theology is of the devil, for only the devil would want people to believe that God only died for a certain few, and that is death on the cross didn’t atone for total humanity.

  5. Michael says:

    Wow. You have really not grasped Reformed theology. I know this because I am Reformed, and I disagree with most if not all of your assertions about the interpretation of Reformed theology. If “Reformationists” held your interpretations I also would be disgusted by the doctrine.

    [PHB~ Michael, thanks for stopping, reading and commenting, but your defense is, “you don’t know what you’re talking about because I’m reformed” is simply dumb! I’ve acurately represented reformed doctrine and you can disagree with my conclusions but do it on a basis that displays that there is an actual intelligence or rationalle behind what you’re communicating]

    There are plenty of good written works on the subject, easily researched on the internet, which it appears you’ve either deliberately ignored or haven’t taken the time to research properly.

    May I suggest a sermon series by Brian Borgman of Grace Community Church in Nevada (Blank) he has done a series on Reformed Theology recently that excellently handles these basics, and shows the truth of the doctrine for what it is – Soli Deo Gloria.

    [PHB~ May I suggest that you actually read the bible and denounce many of the fallacious doctrines of Reformed Theology such as that there are some people that cannot escape hell, because they are predestined to hell??? Do that for me based on the bible, not some obtuse scholar trying to interpret what he obviously doens’t have discernment to rightly divide…There’s nothign worse than a person who doesn’t support their arguments]

  6. Michael says:

    Do you get away with being this rude in day to day life? Please don’t put words in my mouth. I would never be so rude as to say something as dumb as “you don’t know what you’re talking about because I’m reformed”!

    [PHB~ Well Ya DID…whether you like it being pointed out or not. Then talk about arrogance!!! WOW…fro the first commentary on thsi board you’ve displayed that. You get what you put out and what you deserve. I’m not out here to play and or twist minds and hearts. Your’s fighting for a pet doctrine, I fight for the Kingdom and sound, and literate biblical interpretation and have not incorrectly set forth concepts and ideas that are solidly rooted, promoted and supported by reformed theologians.]

    My point is, I hold to this doctrine and do not come to the interpretation you have.

    [PHB~ Then you shoudl say you don’t accept that particular tenet of reformed theology, NOT that it doesn’t exist or that it is not taught and or promoted with reformed circles. you try to paint me as a liar and unstudied and wonder why you get handled like you do. You are a promoter of man and not God and I don’t appreciate it and will simply call you on it everytime.]

    I don’t have time right now to respond to all your points, I’m having too much fun researching why Jehovah’s Witnesses are wrong. 🙂 I may come back here and take the time to do so, but I hope that others who come here and read might take the opportunity to read other authors or listen to preachers who are able to articulate the Biblical doctrines of election better than I. Your comment above is more than a little arrogant concerning Pastor Borgman, perhaps you’d like to take the time to listen to him before you malign him so viciously?

    [PHB~ Im “malign” noone, only that if he teaches what you say he has a wrong interpretive and does not promote the best possible rendering of scripture in that area, that’s all.]

    You would do well to approach the comments left by your readers with a little more graciousness. By doing so, you might encourage more people to interact with you. As it is, if you insist upon tearing down anyone who disagrees with you with language such as you’ve used above, I find myself asking which fruits of the Spirit do you see in your own responses?

    [PHB~ And from the first comment you’ve rendered no godly fruit only unfounded doctrine…If you were gracious in error, I’d be gracious in addressing such, but one reaps what they sow. I believe that scriptural also!]

  7. Michael says:

    I will take the time to respond to one point, because it’s a commonly misrepresented and misunderstood aspect of Biblical election. I am not a theologian, I am simply a computer operator who loves the Lord our God. I do say “our” because I can see from your articles that you are zealous for the faith. The differences we have in points of theology such as election and reprobation should be considered “in house” discussions, not dividing lines to separate brothers in Christ. On that conciliatory note, let us begin.

    “The purpose of the Cross was to DRAW ALL men not a select few, and certainly not to reject those who would come.”

    I would be surprised if you could find any Reformed writer who says God would reject any who would come to Him.

    [PHB~ Thank you for your tone but this is where the serious difference begins. Without reading any further you will introduce the fact that no man comes to God except he “draws” them and further introduce the fact that not all men are drawn THEREFORE some will be lost, because they did not come. However the construct in your view is that it is because GOD DID NOT draw them because they weren’t chosen or elected to salvation. So effectively, the shift is then to God’s soveriegnty in drawing or as theologians would state election. I say that’s carefully constructed BUNK! There is no scriptural precident for it and God does NOT as the hypercalvinist would affirm, out of hand commit the greatest resource, Jesus Blood, to the salvation of all souls and then limit those to who he extends teh priveledge of salvation. That may work with material blessings or even certain spiritual or material gifts, but salvation was bought at a much higher price, and to disaffirm the intent of God in the effort to save ALL MEN from their sins is a inadequate method and system of biblical interpretation.]

    From my reading and study of the doctrine of election, this is just some of what I can tell you is a Reformed position.

    Our natural state is to be dead in our sin and unable and unWILLING to turn to Him (Psa 14:3, Eph 2:1, Rom 5:6-8, I Cor 2:14, I Cor 1:18, Rom 8:7 and many many more).

    So I ask you this … who *would* come to Him?

    The answer is given by Christ Himself in John 6:44 – those whom the Father draws (note: Greek ελκυση – literally “to drag”) to Himself.

    [PHB~ This is called limited atonement, meaning that the Father will only draw certain that he has chosen to draw. Next up are double predestination and election. This part is another carefully constructed error filled with all kinds of spiritual, logical and social contradictions.]

    Nobody can come to Christ by their own power, it it only through a work of the Holy Spirit on their sinful hearts. Without that work of the Holy Spirit, we are dead in our sins and the Cross is foolishness to us. (1 Cor 2:14)

    So who would come to God? Those whom God has worked on their heart! Who are they? Those whom God has chosen! (John 15:16,19) When were they chosen? Since before the foundation of the world! (Eph 1:4) How do we know who is chosen? We don’t! Which is why we should go and do what Jesus told us to do preach to everyone who will hear, because those He has a plan for could be one of those YOU share the Gospel with!

    What you’ve said above reminds me of an example used by D.A. Carson, when he described a meeting where the doctrine of election was being explained. I’ll try to remember this story accurately.

    A woman came up to the preacher and said, “It’s just not fair, why would God reject people like that?” The minister said to her, “You are assuming that it’s as if there is a great throng of people at the gates of Heaven, and God is there saying, ‘I’ll take you, and you, but not you, or you, yes you and you, not you’, which would indeed be abominable. But in Scripture we read that it is more like this – God stands at the gates of Heaven, arms wide open, saying COME TO ME, COME TO ME, COME TO ME, and the totality of humanity is rushing headlong in the other direction, straight to Hell, and happy to do so. God, in His infinite wisdom and grace, reaches out and snatches this one, that one, away from the very edge of the pit.”

    Rom 9:19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? 20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? 21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? 22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: 23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, 24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

    The synergistic viewpoint is often described like this: we are swimming in the pool of humanity, and Jesus hovers over us, arm outstretched, saying “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” And some of us reach up our hand, take His, and are saved.

    If we take Scripture to heart, that we are dead in our sins, then we are not swimming in the pool at all, but we are dead carcasses, lying lifeless at the bottom of the pool. Dead. Dead. Dead. And quite happily so. Jesus CALLS to the sheep who know His voice, “COME OUT”, and like Lazarus, we arise, and are made alive in Him.

    I hope I have made at least this point clear. Let us reason together as brothers in Christ, not as adversaries to tear each other down in public.

    [PHB~ The problem with the story is that you believe the dead is motionless. Paul’s analogy to death was to indicate ineffectiveness or to point out one’s inability to please and or serve God, not to indicate that one was motionless as in being in a sin straight jacket. So the story does not render a correct parallel to what Paul’s phrase “dead in tresspasses and sins” was actually about. For example if we are dead and unable to move as you and the writer assert, then just as we cannot add righteousness to ourselves, we could also not add any additional sins. once choice is restricted we do not maintain choice either way, for either righteousness or for sin. This is very important.

    Throughout the gospels Jesus came to save the people from their SINS (collective of the people) however individuals also are described as having multiple sins as pointed out Mt, 9:5-6, Mt. 26:28, Mk. 2:5-9, Mk. 4:12, Lk. 5:20, Jn. 8:24, Rom. 4:7. to name a few scriptures that clearly identified a person or individual as having SINS or more than one sin. Both you and i had multiple SINS in our lives that we CHOSE of our own accord to add to us. It was primarily due to the overarching principle of sin in our lives, but the pint is that we had teh ability to choose additional and more sins. We were not immobile or motionless, only we counld not free ourselves from SIN nor the SINS that we were committing. The point I am making here is that sin does not equate inability to act spiritually. A sinner cannot save himself but he can go further into sin and all sin is not at the same level.

    So sin is a condition and individuals exercise their spirits unto multiple more sins. Our wills are exercised to increase sins and go deeper into sin. Our redemption through Jesus is not one that is withheld in some fashion. It is one whereby a path that otherwise was not there has been provided as an escape from our sins. We were dead in the fact that without Jesus that path does not exist and there is an inability to be free.

    Now, this reveals another error in reformed theology. In order to believe that sin makes a person spiritually immobile, and more specifically unable to choose good, you also have to believe that freewill of a sinner does not exist, and if it does exist it is noly limited to choosing sinful things to one lever, degree or another.

    The problem is however, if sin is the constraining factor then a person is not acting out any different than is their ability as they have been stripped of true freewill or that freewill is somehow limited in scope.

    Reformed theology has to be constructed the way it is because there are so many pitfalls and in my opinion is AT BEST a theological system constructed by men in many aspects and especially those aspects dealing with salvation, freewill and ultimately what Christi’s mission was when he came and ultimately God’s plan of salvation. Sorry Bru…I can’t get with that!]

  8. Michael says:

    No, they are not drawn because they did not come, they did not come because they were not drawn. Incidentally, the Greek word for “drawn” is used in Acts 16:19 and 21:30 where Paul is being dragged to the rulers and out of the temple.

    [PHB, the problem Michael is that you make the dragging like it’s kicking and screaming. Paul went WITH the will of God for his life even if that was to the death chamber. He recounts his rediness to die. Now in that context, his freewill was exercised to that extend BEFORE he was physically drawn away. I’ll get more at it a little later.]

    In your treatment of the “dead in sins” comment, you have created an idea that neither I nor the Reformers have articulated, then proceeded to tear down that idea. It is simply incorrect to conclude from my example that our position is that we are immobile in sin and that the position is incorrect because then we wouldn’t be able to add to our sin. That representation is yours only.

    On the subject of free will – I used to believe in man’s free will to choose his destiny, but then I started reading the Bible, and I realised I couldn’t find anything in the Bible about man being able to turn to God by his own power.

    As you’ve pointed out above, Paul clearly states that man is unable to please or serve God. You’ve also stated that man is unable to save himself.

    Which is it to be? Please answer me this question: Why do people turn to God?

    [PHB~ For a myriad of reasons, but I believe you are pointing to the point where that decision or turning is made and asking what sparks that? I mean it’s like asking what is the cause for the first cause? It’s somewhat circular and leaves 2 possibilities. Either man decides to turn or God decides to turn him. The biblical concept is that teh grace of God has appeard to all men (Titus 2:11) (ALL, meaning sinner and saint alike) The sinner not knowing what it is, the Saint identifying it through and by the Grace of God. The one to one that you’re trying to make is a fundamentalist and literalist error. you expect to draw a straight line to a cause. There’s a greater diversity than that. We’ll look at freewill here in a minute]

    You cannot, based on your own words and the words of Scripture, say that man turns to God out of his own free will. It is simply a denial of Scripture and your own words to say that. Man’s free will, if there is such a thing, enables him to choose that which is dearest to his heart. Scripture tells us clearly that without God drawing us, through the work of the Holy Spirit, our natural CHOICE and WILL is AWAY from God.

    [PHB~ Totally incorrect on many points and I’ll point out the primary fallacy here. If a person could not choose righteously or things that aren’t sinful, then before salvation every choice that we could make would be evil. That’s not the case and sinners don’t only choose to do evil now. Let’s take a married couple, married for 30 years but yet unsaved. now, did they make a choice that God honored or that the devil honored? According to you they had an inability to do good, but yet the Bible says that marriage is honorable in ALL. (Saint and sinner) Heb. 13:4. Other examples abound. in your literalist world sinners have an inability to do good, right and things that are not sinful. Based on the evidence what do we see? Sinners can do good things and even exercise great nonsinful virtues, BUT they cannot save themselves. Sinners DO NOT always choose sin, many of them choose good and God pleasing things. This is an error and will hinder you in reaching sinners. If you think their capacity is only to do evil as you have communicated, your communication with them will be ineffective and that will show forth. Many sinners live ethically and morally good lives, BUT they cannot save themselves from the SIN that resides within themselves no matter what they do.]

    So let me present you with a small challenge. Please find for me all the Scriptural references that say we have a free will to choose good, to turn ourselves to God of our own volition.

    [PHB~ A small challenge it is…Heb. 3:7-15 ~ 7-Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, 8-Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: 9-When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. 10-Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in [their] heart; and they have not known my ways. 11-So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) 12-Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. 13-But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14-For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; 15-While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.”

    This is a repetition of the OT story of the children of Israel in teh wilderness and a repetition of Ps. 95. What elements do we see that were seen through the scripture? 1-God made the call (that’s not in question) Thats teh path of salvation…but man exercises his WILL to hear…”today if ye “will” hear his voice…”harden not your hearts” This is an exercise of freewill and the context was savific NOT merely materialistic blessing. the materialistic blessing of the OT represents the place of promise or relationship and fellowship with God (ie salvation) in the NT. V. 14 signifies that a person can be deceived by sin to continue in it, but that doesn’t strip us of freewill in exercising a response to God and the ability to choose righteously. Man cannot save himself, but he can choose the path that God has given to be saved. So we can chose to harden our hearts IF we choose to do that, at either rate God has already revealed salvation by the present state of Grace that exists in the world. As you can see I thoroughly and biblically reject limited atonement]

    Would you say that if there are twins, brought up in the same house, loved equally by their parents, trained in the way of the Lord and raised with a positive view of God, then one comes to Christ as an adult and the other simply doesn’t … is one smarter than the other? Is one more faithful than the other? Is one more gifted than the other? Is one more holy than the other? Is one more inclined to believe? Is one better than the other? Is the one who doesn’t come to Christ less holy? less righteous? more sinful?

    Fortunately, God has provided an answer for us on this question in Scripture:

    Rom 9:11-13 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) 12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. 13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

    The Bible tells us there is nothing within any of us that would make us righteous in God’s eyes. No, not one.

    [PHB~ Once again, the pasture is confused with the cow. They are not one in the same. We cannot make ourselves righteous. God has done that through Jesus. That is the path…ie: the way, truth and the life right? however that has nothing to do with our ability to choose righteously as evidence by our ability to choose righteous things.]

    God loves all mankind, to be sure, this is called common grace, but simply look around you … do you see anything in mankind that gives you the impression they are oriented toward God?

    Do you believe all are covered by the blood of Jesus? If you honestly believe that all of mankind has been made righteous through the blood of Jesus, doesn’t that require you to believe that all are saved? Doesn’t that make you a Universalist? No? Okay, so all are not saved … then who is saved? Some are saved, assuredly.

    [PHB~ Those who have turned away from their sins, NOT those who are somehow elected, but covered up or like a diamond in the ruff waiting for somebody to preach to them…You make this far too difficult. Salvation is present the sinner need choose God. That doesn’t add one thing to salvation, the path is constructed and a way made by HIM and HIM alone. Choosing the path is a right response to what he has done.]

    Who, then, determines who will be saved? I see three options: Mankind individually, Satan or God. Do you see any other source of salvation?

    [PHB~ Once again this is a confused question and flawed logic. God is not willing that ANY should perish right? 2 Peter 3:9“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that ANY SHOULD PERISH, but that all should come to repentance.”

    Scripturally it’s clear, that the devil intends our destruction, God wills our salvation and man can’t save himself. God wouldn’t be God withouit knowing who will be or (in his case) who IS saved but that is not on a fatalistically predetermined basis. What you are describing is hypercalvinism as best as I can figure. That path is determined based on the foreknowledge of God, not fatalistically but omnisciently. So the question doesn’t match the nature of God, teh abilities of man, nor the power of the devil]

    If it is mankind, then by Scripture we have made our choice – it’s the Pit for us. Or, if you want to ignore Scripture, or create a new religion, then mankind believes each of us individually to be good in some way, and therefore all mankind would be saved. Clearly, this is not the case.

    If it is Satan, then all would go to Hell. I don’t think we would need to labour that point, but suffice to say that clearly Satan does not choose who is saved.

    The only other option is that God chooses who will be saved, and Scripture clearly tells us this, over and over and over again.

    Do a word search on “chose”, “chosen”, “elect”, “election”, “predestined”, “foreknew”, “knew”, and make sure you use a Greek reference or something with Strong’s numbers that will allow you to search across all Scripture including the LXX and I can’t imagine you could come away still believing that God is not sovereign in salvation.

    I have more thoughts on this but I need to get to work so I’ll leave it at this for now.

    [PHB~ God being soveriegn in salvation has nothing to do with HIM witholding salvation from some while conferring it upon others and that’s only because the blood of Jesus was so precious. Before that i would agree, like most Jews did, the plan of God was nationalistic and exclusive, that wall has been torn down brother. Calvin mixed up some concepts and made God only save some. I haven’t written on this yet, but I am inclined to believe that this was in part constructed to justify the enslavement and mistreatment of men assuming taht if God wanted them to be saved they would hear and submit to the slavemaster’s preaching. There is much more to all of reformed doctrine than meets the eye…that’s all I’ll say for now. Thanks!]

  9. Michael says:

    I am preparing a more detailed response to this, but a quick note on your passage in Hebrews is that the whole of that chapter is directed at believers.

    Hebrews 3:1 Wherefore, holy brethren …

    The reference to the OT account of the Exodus is that these were people who had already been saved from Egypt, and then began their grumbling … “9-When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.” They were punished for their unbelief. Were they still believers? Had they stopped being God’s people? Does God’s promise that they would not enter His “rest” indicate a greater punishment than simply their physical bodies not entering the physical Promised Land? I don’t know. We know it’s possible to believe and still struggle with unbelief … ?

    Mark 9:24
    And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

    So I can’t see how you can make that passage fit a free will in salvation argument.

    True enough, Pharoah hardened his heart, but God also hardened Pharoah’s heart. (Exodus 9-10)

    I think you’ll find the answer in verse 16 of Romans 9:

    Romans 9:15-18
    15For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
    16So then [it is] not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
    17For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
    18Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will [have mercy], and whom he will he hardeneth.

    So I believe my challenge still stands.

    [PHB~ Michael, I appreciate your heart but there is so much of a misapplication of both typeology, spiritual and metaspiritual truth and all I just don’t know where to begin. Look I’ll take it point by point either in this post or another in real shortly. Thanks for your renewed approach and I appreciate you dealing scripturally]

  10. Michael says:

    Pastor, I’ve got over 150 verses that support predestination, election and the sovereignty of God in our salvation including calling and saving. I asked you for one reference that supports a free will view, and you provided a reference that is clearly written to believers.

    [PHB~ And I have equally as many that affirm that God does not withhold good things from his children. A good thing would be salvation, which is available to them that ask. I also have proof that God’s WILL is not for ANY to perish but that all should have everlasting life. I also have proof that men can ask God for salvation as repeated over and over in scripture and that salvation will be granted by God. What you have is an interpretation of scripture whereby people are excluded from the greatest gift that GOd ever gave and the blood of Jesus is minimized and rationalized away. Predestination, election and the soveriegnty of GOd ARE NOT in question. Your understanding of those things are in question and the basis upon which you understand how those things are done are in question. You seem to think that scripture is interpreted in an exclusionary manner. This creates classism. This is exactly what the progenetors of reformed theology wanted to create. A class of have’s and have nots using the bible as support. This is the yet another problem with many teachings prevalent in reformed theology.]

    Now, as far as us choosing good as per the longer reply above, how do you interpret Isaiah 64, particularly verse 6?

    4For since the beginning of the world [men] have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, [what] he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.
    5Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, [those that] remember thee in thy ways: behold, thou art wroth; for we have sinned: in those is continuance, and we shall be saved.
    6But we are all as an unclean [thing], and all our righteousnesses [are] as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
    7And [there is] none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.
    8But now, O LORD, thou [art] our father; we [are] the clay, and thou our potter; and we all [are] the work of thy hand.

    Hebrews 13:4 says:
    4Marriage [is] honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

    The ESV translates this verse:
    4 Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.

    The whole passage is full of exhortations to believers. Context is a wonderful thing. Are you saying that an unbeliever’s marriage is honorable in God’s eyes because they stayed together?

    [PHB~ Look, what does any of that have to do with the sunject?]

    How do you interpret Romans 3:10-11?
    10As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
    11There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

    [PHB~ So there is none, that would include you right? I mean to interpret this as you means that you’re included. If that’s the case how can you be saved?]

    How was your heart opened to God, Pastor? Was it through your own understanding? Did you seek God by your own will?

    Luke 24:45
    45Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,

    2 Timothy 2:7
    7Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.

    Acts 16:14
    14And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard [us]: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.

    1 John 5:20
    20And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, [even] in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

    John 1:13
    13Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

    [PHB~ And the meaning of that is??? and further how is that applicable??? I see no connection to God witholding salvation from those who ask and can choose it of their own free will.]

    Eph. 2:8-9
    8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:
    9Not of works, lest any man should boast.

    To even be able to understand enough Scripture for you to be saved, God had to open your heart and give you understanding, which comes as a result of God’s will, not man’s.

    [PHB~ That’s not in question. There isenough grace revealed throughout the world. AS I STATE IN THE ARTICLE: Titus 2:11
    For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath APPEARED TO ALL MEN,” that grace that brings salvation has appeared. Through the sacrifice of Jesus the foundations of hell were destroyed. So you tirade offers NOTHING that hasn’t been addressed

    To assert free will from a few verses on the love of God (which we Reformed folk embrace wholeheartedly) and the writings of philosophers (including Erasmus of Rotterdam) is to oppose the surfeit of Scripture that establishes conclusively that God chooses who is saved, that He did so sovereignly before the foundation of the world, and we should ascribe to Him worship and joy in our salvation, that He chose us. We cannot conclude from Scripture that we can say “I chose God”.

    [PHB~ Man has his part in the matter. God saves noone apart from their choice to be saved and some of them that he calls reject his voice of their own accord. Your efforts to create a God of exclusion on supports the fallacy of reformed theology. It’s scriptural applications and suggestions such as yours that is the greatest strength for the anti-Christ movement in the world today. For almost 3 years I’ve been in the trenches with atheists and God rejecters. The chord that unifies them is the same when they have been in church. It’s the hypercalvinism that you expouse that is not only damaging teh church but creating a growing and increasing number of atheists because they are able to read for themselves and see that if the God you preach wants them to be saved then under your interpretation, he’s moved contrary to what he has promised by excluding more than he will save. They conclude that if GOd exists that you don’t know jack about him. With doctrines and teachings like you espouse, I conclude the same. Any system whereby God denies salvation to them that freely come is of the dEVIL, plain and simple. All of the resource and greatest love of God has been poured into the blood of Jesus it’s systems like your that allow that blood to be trampled on to give you an excuse and make you feel better about them that are lost. You’re finished here, I won’t entertain any more ridiculous assertions and misinterpretations fo God’s word on this site. Thanks for your contribution, false teachings like that are the reason I wrote the article to begin with. ]

  11. Michael says:

    I don’t expect you to put this up as a response, so please consider this a personal reply.

    If I’ve misrepresented the doctrine of election, I apologise.

    The main idea I’d like to leave with you is the one I started with in my first comment. The caricatures of Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism that you’ve asserted are simply false. Please hear me out.

    No Calvinist/Reformist believes that God turns away those who would come to Him. Please don’t assert that, as you cannot support that from any Reformed writing. If there is anyone saying that, they would be considered heretical by Reformers.

    Hyper-Calvinism is primarily evidenced by a teaching that missions should not be done, as God will save whom He will without man’s help. Quite simply, this is a gross distortion of Scripture, and an outright denial of Jesus’ words to go out into all the world and make disciples of all nations.

    Reformed theology should spur mission, as the primary focus of Reformed teaching in that area is that until the Judgement Day, we should assume that ALL are elect and proclaim the Word of the Gospel to ALL, as it is the work of the Holy Spirit to draw those to Him.

    So what I’m getting at is that as I read your original article, and as I read your responses to my posts and others, I just keep thinking, “but that’s not what we believe!”

    I have to go to a meeting, but I pray you’ll take this in the tone and intent I’m trying to convey. I truly hope you personally meet some Reformed folk who display the love and grace of God I see in the teaching of those I listen to, such as CJ Maheney, D.A. Carson, John Piper, R.C. Sproul, etc.

    I hope the Reformers you meet help you see the side of this doctrine that promotes the love and grace of God in everything, rather than the aspect you’ve represented above, which really makes me feel sad.

    Kind Regards,

    Michael.

    [PHB~ Michael, thanks for setting forth your understanding of the reformed theological system of biblical interpretation. I appreciate the interraction. God bless and feel free to comment on other subjects as you are moved or as they arise. Just to be clear I don’t consider you an enemy. Thanks again.]

  12. Michael says:

    I was following up some more study on this, and had heard about a sermon preached by Pastor Mark Driscoll at Mars Hill Church *in Seattle* (to distinguish it from the heretical Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids led by Rob Bell) called Unlimited Limited Atonement, so I went and found it here:
    http://www.marshillchurch.org/media/christ-on-the-cross/unlimited-limited-atonement

    The notes for the sermon are here:
    http://cdn.marshillchurch.org/media/2005/11/20/20051120_unlimited-limited-atonement_document.pdf

    Pastor Mark points out the unfortunate behaviour of both sides in making it an either/or situation, slinging Scripture verses at each other and claiming one side to be right, and essentially denying the Scriptural validity of the other “side’s” position (something I have also been guilty of). (PHB~Me Too!)

    What is also shown by Pastor Mark is that the “Calvinist” position was developed by the FOLLOWERS of Calvin, NOT by Calvin, something I was generally aware of but not to extent shown in this study. The position that Mark’s church has taken on the atonement is actually along the lines of what Calvin himself REALLY wrote about. Mark also points out that Jacob Arminius (although unfortunately Mark persists in calling him James for some reason) was supportive of Calvin, and actually recommended that his students read Scripture as their first priority, then Calvin’s Institutes Of The Christian Religion as their second!

    (PHB~ Now, that’s another good point because as far as I was able to research Arminius was certainly a student of Calvin and his arguments. he made some significant distinctions of course, but the fact is that Calvin spoke against going too far into certain subjects and creating division. That wasn’t his motivation, but it seemed to be the motivation of some of those who promoted many of his teachings and actually over emphasized certain aspects of the doctrine that calvin said not to over-emphasize.)

    I can’t remember right now who he attributes the quote to, it might have been Spurgeon, but when asked if there was a way to reconcile Arminians and Calvinists, the response was, “Why is there a need to reconcile friends?” or something to that effect.

    Please take the time to at least read the notes at the above link, but essentially what it boils down to is this (taken from the notes):

    ~~~~~~~~
    … since Jesus died for the sins of everyone that means that He also died for the sins of the elect. Second, Jesus’ death for all people does not accomplish the same thing as His death for the elect. This point is complicated, but is in fact taught in Scripture (1Tim 4:10; 2Pet 2:1).

    Simply, by dying for everyone, Jesus purchased everyone as His posession and He then applies His forgiveness to the elect by grace and applies His wrath to the non-elect. Objectively, Jesus’ death was sufficient to save anyone, and, subjectively, only efficient to save those who repent of their sin and trust in Him. This position is called Unlimited Limited Atonement or Modified Calvinism.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    So, while I don’t expect this will settle the issue for everyone, it has certainly contributed significantly to my understanding and appreciation of how to do theology in general and the doctrine of election specifically.

    I trust you will take the time to listen to Pastor Mark’s sermon, as he takes a refreshingly frank overview of both “sides” that would benefit anyone concerned about this issue.

  13. Michael says:

    Sorry I realised I made a mistake with the last comment. It wasn’t Calvin’s Institutes that Arminius recommended his students read, it was Calvin’s Bible commentaries.

  14. I am not quite sure how I found this article, but it has provided great inspiration for serious thought and prayer searching of the Scriptures.

    Thank you.

  15. Seekerman says:

    Simply put, Jesus died for everyone, however, everyone will not choose the free will offering provided by Jesus, because of their own free will-not because of some pre-ordained plan from God.

    Only Satan would want you to believe that Jesus’s death on the cross/the atonement wasn’t for everyone, but for a select few in the “Jesus Loves You” club. Only Satan would want you to believe that God preordains every sinful and vile act, as well as every good act, and that ultimately it is God’s fault, the reason why human beings wind up in a Christless eternity, because God didn’t truly love them enough to preordain their salvation.

    I’m sorry, but you can put a nice spin on this, with whip cream and a cherry on top, but when all is said and done: REFORMED THEOLOGY HAS THE HANDPRINTS OF SATAN WRITTEN ALL OVER IT.

  16. Seekerman says:

    In the first paragraph, I meant to say “free gift” offering.

  17. Seekerman says:

    The elect are those who freely come to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. It doesn’t make sense for Jesus to die for the elect and non-elect, with provisions only for the elect, seeing as how the elect was already preordained by God to salvation, whereas the non-elect was preordained to hell, even though Christ died for them, but yet wants them in hell. This doesn’t make any sense at all.

    I’m just cutting through all of the bunk that hyper-calvinist, and reformed lite calvinists believe at the root. In other words, the difference between hyper-calvinists who gleefully and proudly boast, that God only died for them, and loved them, and will adamantly defend their status in the “Jesus Only Loves Me And Not Them Club,” and the Calvinist/Reformed Lite crowd, is what differentiates the role of the “good cop,” and “bad cop” role, in police interrogation: THEY ARE ALL SAYING THE SAME THING, WITH A DIFFERENT SPIN, THAT WILL ULTIMATELY PRODUCE THE SAME OUTCOME. Remember, the devil, as well as these cops, will always come at you from different angles, in order to draw you into his vortex. Some people he can come at raw and unadulterated, because of the predilections and character traits and flaws, these people may have, whereas others he must come at with a syrupy and sweet presentation, mixing lies with enough truth, in order to put folks to asleep, deceive, and fool the “very elect,” with their evil teachings.

    As I said before, so say I now and again, and that is-CALVINISM/MONERGISM, HAS THE HANDPRINTS OF SATAN WRITTEN ALL OVER IT, ONCE YOU SCRATCH BENEATH THE SURFACE.

    Only the devil would like for you to think this doctrine that shuts off salvation from the human family, with claims that the gifts of the Spirit have ceased-IS TRUE REFORM.

  18. Seekerman says:

    Oh and of course Reformed types don’t believe that God will turn away those that will come to him, because-THEY ONLY BELIEVE THAT THOSE WHO WILL COME TO GOD ARE PREORDAINED TO COME TO GOD, WHEREAS THOSE WHO DON’T COME TO GOD WERE PREORDAINED, BY GOD, NOT TO COME TO HIM.

    Don’t get fooled by the “good cop.”

  19. Seekerman says:

    Just think, anyone group of folks, who will make fun of those who speak in tongues, and will claim that the Gifts of the Spirit have ceased, and that God only died for a certain few, and not those over there, somewhere down there, can only be influenced by teachings that come from below, instead of above.

  20. Seekerman says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that you can be reformed, and still serve the same Jesus that I serve, who died for everyone, and who loves everyone. HOWEVER, you don’t serve the same biblical Jesus if you zealously defend, and get off, on the fact that you’re saved because you’re of that special “Jesus Loves You Club And Not Them,” to where you reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaally want folks to know this about you, and your God. If the God you claim to serve, have you obsessed over the fact that God only died for a select few, whereas he preordained the rest to hell, because he’s sovereign, then I’m sorry-THAT AIN’T GOD; THAT’S THE DEVIL INSPIRING YOU TO BELIEVE SUCH THINGS.

  21. Seekerman says:

    The black spiritual sojourn in this country has possessed many black folks to foolishly seek out religious movements that make them feel special and set aside by God, whether it was due to their suffering, or race, or a combination of the two. Many sought out religious movements that gave them a sense of understanding, concerning their sufferings, trials and tribulations that allowed them a sense of being or feeling “chosen” or special.

    Black folks descent into Reformed theology, with its teaching that God only loves certain people, or died for certain people and not all, and that those who are saved, are “special” and “elect,” reveals an intense character flaw on the part of many black folks who believe in such a system.

    This system does for black christians, the same thing that non-black christian cults (e.g. NOI, Moorish Science Temple, Black Hebrew Israelites, etc.) do, in that it feeds their egos; makes them feel special, buttressed by a false humility; and makes sense of all of their suffering, which was supposedly based on a divine plan.

    I can say more, but have said enough.

  22. Michael says:

    Friend, thank you for your considered input to the discussion. Could I trouble you to read Romans 7 through 9 very slowly and carefully, then get back to us on your thoughts?

    I am confident that the many caricatures, misrepresentations and misapplications of Reformed theology are the failings of men, not the failings of God’s word in the Bible.

    God be with you.

  23. seekerman says:

    Michael, I am familiar with Romans 7 through 9, because people on your side of the aisle will occasionally throw those chapters at me, however, their interpretation of those chapters are misguided, because you will run into scriptures that teach the opposite of what message reformed types are trying to deliver, via the misinterpretation, contortion, reconfiguration and perverting of Romans 7 through 9.
    Not only that there are patterns throughout the Bible that details man’s free will, as well as a plethora of scripture that outlines Christ’s atonement on the cross being efficacious for everyone, if they choose-not just a select few. It’s all about reading scripture in light of clearer scripture, and properly synergizing them, as oppose to reading into them.
    Secondly, I’ve talked to many on your side of the aisle, who have told me to my face, as well as on the net, that God doesn’t love everyone, and that our perceptions about the love of God is faulty and unscriptural. I’ve heard folks on your side of the aisle, who have told me to my face, as well as on the net, that God preordains every act, whether it is good or evil (one cat over on a hyper-Calivinist site told me that God ordained black slavery, and justified the acts of oppression associated with it). I’ve even heard these same folks tell me that the Gifts of the Spirit have ceased; that folks who speak in tongues are just babbling, or demon possessed; Arminians aren’t truly saved; etc.
    Only Satan would want folks to believe that such beliefs are truly REFORMED.

    Many of your brethren, who take great pride, joy and zeal, in being a part of the “Jesus only loves you club,” or “God loves you better than thee or thine club,” are similar to Pharisees in one respect, in that you guys looooooooooooooooove to shut up the kingdom of heaven to all men and women. Why-because to embrace the very biblical concept that Jesus died for everyone, and that everyone has a crack at salvation, WOULD MAKE YOUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS FEEL LESS SPECIAL.
    The humility that many of you have, that will stand in awe over the fact that God purposely chose you for salvation, as oppose to those losers over there, across the way, is a false humility and modesty, contingent on the fact that others are not able to benefit from the atonement. Simply put, many (not all) will feel less special, and less beloved in the sight of God, and wouldn’t appreciate and be as zealous for God, if you believed that God has an open admissions policy for all those who will freely come.

    So no friend, I’m pretty familiar with your side of the aisle, and have become somewhat of an expert on the seamier side of Calvinism, to where I can tell the difference between true Calvinism, and what it teaches, as opposed to spokesmen and women from your side of the aisle, who are in public relations mode.

    In the end, I understand your policy; I’m just not buying…

  24. seekerman says:

    And explain this one-how can God preordain an evil act, yet not approve of it? What type of twisted deity will do such a thing? I can understand giving human beings the type of free will that will allow them to dig their own ditch, but to say that God preordains everything, as opposed to allowing for certain things, is like me saying that God preordained Satanism; voodoo; witchcraft; child sacrifice; the actions of Hitler, Pol Pot, Amin; 911; all types of slavery; child rape victims; adult rape victims; folks who were victims of cannibalism; all murders; all evils on the face of the earth; etc.

    (I believe that God preordains some things, based on his reading of the future; and real time circumstances- a pattern which is backed up by scriptures. God is sovereign in that regardless of how human beings will choose, he, being God, will be vindicated in the end, and will have everything under submitted under his feet in the final consummation.)

    Oh for sure, on one hand, it does sound simplistic and powerful, to label God as being in charge of everything, via preordaining everything, because to some folks logic, it denotes an all powerful God. But if your logic leads you to believe in the type of sovereignty that says that God preordained every single act on the face of the earth, from the Garden until now, then you have to deal with the seamier side of this implication, which is that-GOD IS THE AUTHOR OF EVIL, SATAN AND HIS DEMONS, AND ALL TYPES OF WICKEDNESS ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH, EVER SINCE THE BEGINNING.

    Saying that God preordains everything only makes him a little better than the devil, because at least God does preordain some good things, whereas Satan only preordains evil, exclusively. But does that really make the reformed theologian’s concept of God any better, just because he preordains some good things, seeing as how HE’S PREORDAINED EVERY EVIL ACT ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH, SINCE THE BEGINNING! And boy did he create some evil.

    Is this the type of God you truly want to claim, because you know the net effect of the sovereignty teachings your side espouses portrays God as being as being a masochistic puppet master/ruler, who will do good when he feels the “spirit”, and create evil to such macabre proportions, simply because he feels like it, or is in the mood.

    Oh sure, you will say that this conception of God is holy and righteous, and cannot tolerate sin, but yet-HE CREATES SIN EVERY MILLISECOND OF HIS EXISTENCE!

    If you truly lift up the mask on this “reformed” concept of deity-YOU WILL SEE THE FACE OF SATAN, MASQUERADING AS AN ANGEL OF LIGHT!

    Don’t be deceived.

    Only Satan will cause such confusion about God, not God.

  25. seekerman says:

    I meant to say in the 2nd and 5th paragraphs what is written below:

    “I believe that God preordains some things, based on his reading of the future; and real time circumstances- a pattern which is backed up by scriptures. God is sovereign in that regardless of how human beings will choose, he, being God, will be vindicated in the end, and will have everything submitted under his feet in the final consummation.”

    And

    “Is this the type of God you truly want to claim, because you know the net effect of the sovereignty teachings your side espouses, portrays God as being a masochistic puppet master/ruler, who will do good when he feels the “spirit”, and create evil to such macabre proportions, simply because he feels like it, or is in the mood.”

  26. seekerman says:

    Just think- as was stated in the above- if God preordains every single act on the face of the earth that means he CREATES every single act on the face of the earth, including sin. This also means that his mind is constantly on sin, and in the gutter (of course I don’t believe this, because I am a free will Arminian), for a sin is created every millisecond, or way less than that.

    Just think of all the insidious, and lascivious, and pernicious acts that God doesn’t allow, but PREORDAIN (i.e. created beforehand), and think of the imagination it takes to create such sinful and highly wicked acts, but yet we are told that God wants us to think of holy, pure and righteous things? We are told to think on that which is good, pure and edifying, yet we serve a deity who is perpetually plotting on how to rape, murder and kill?

    This God of the reformed variety has an imagination that would give the vilest and sickest human being on the planet, a run for his or her own money. Now that I think about it-MY BAD! This God of the reformed variety GAVE BIRTH TO THE SICKEST AND VILEST OF THIS PLANET. (It is said that Jack the Ripper claimed to have given birth to the 20th Century, due to his hideous acts, but truth be told, if you believe in the reformed concept of deity-it was GOD who gave birth to Jack the Ripper, his thoughts and actions, as well as the subsequent consequences that followed.) He’s even more sinister than his adversary, the devil, seeing as how the devil didn’t create anything that is perniciously evil, but rather God created it, or inspired Satan to create the evil that was left to him, by this reformed God’s blueprints.

    This is why the God of the reformed variety doesn’t want folks praying to him, so as to effect change, and would like folks to sit idly by, with all passivity, and accept the present status quo-because the present status quo is drenched in depravity, that has an agenda that is congruent with the prince of the power of the air: SATAN!

    Not only that, Satan doesn’t want you to seek after God, but run away from the true God.

    And yes, I will admit that reformed types are tight with the scriptures, but that’s not telling me much, because in order to have this false teaching spread with such power, SATAN HAS TO COME HARD WITH IT.

  27. seekerman says:

    Now I’m through, unless the Holy Spirit dictates otherwise…

  28. seekerman says:

    I meant to say in the second paragraph:

    “Just think of all the insidious, and lascivious, and pernicious acts that God DON’T allow, but PREORDAIN (i.e. created beforehand), and think of the imagination it takes to create such sinful and highly wicked acts, but yet we are told that God wants us to think of holy, pure and righteous things? We are told to think on that which is good, pure and edifying, yet we serve a deity who is perpetually plotting on how to rape, murder and kill?”

  29. seekerman says:

    I apologize for the grammatical errors, for I know they abound. When you’re in a rush, such things will happen. Too bad there isn’t an edit button…

  30. seekerman says:

    Pastor Burnette, you’ve written an excellent treatise on the matter, despite what anyone will say, in an attempt to diminish your impact. Even though you and I may not agree on everything, on this one thing, we are definitely in accord. More importantly, we are in accord with scripture, and with God, concerning this particular matter.

    What’s being said needs to be said.

  31. seekerman says:

    JESUS DIED FOR EVERYONE, NOT JUST YOU!

  32. seekerman says:

    ONLY SATAN WOULD WANT YOU TO THINK THAT JESUS DIDN’T DIE FOR EVERYONE!

  33. seekerman says:

    ONLY SATAN WOULD WANT YOU TO THINK THAT ALL SLAVERY AND SUFFERING IS ORDAINED BY GOD.

  34. seekerman says:

    SLAVEMASTERS BACK IN THE DAY, WHO BELIEVED IN GOD PREORDAINING THINGS, BELIEVED THAT BLACK FOLKS WERE PREORDAINED TO WHITE RULE, SLAVERY AND SUFFERING. I know this is what the devil wanted us to believe.

    The devil didn’t want black folks to feel that their enslaved condition was wrong, but rather ordained by God, along with the very oppressive acts inflicted upon them.

    Thank God the slaves intuitively believed in a God that answered prayers that challenged the wicked status quo, and loved everybody-not just a select few.

    If black folks during the Civil Rights movement were burdened with black clergymen of the reformed mentality, then we’d still be sitting on the back of the bus, because the belief would be that our second class status was ordained by God-EVEN THE MURDER OF EMMITT TILL!

    I don’t serve that type of God, but rather the God of scripture, who loves everyone; died for everyone; and doesn’t preordain every evil act on the face of the earth, from the Garden, until now.

  35. seekerman says:

    ONLY SATAN WOULD WANT YOU TO BELIEVE THAT SPEAKING IN TONGUES, VIA THE INDWELLING OF THE HOLY GHOST, IS OF THE DEVIL, OR INCOHERENT BABBLING.

  36. seekerman says:

    ONLY SATAN WOULD WANT YOU TO BELIEVE THAT YOU CAN’T PRAY TO GOD, IN ORDER TO EFFECT CHANGE. SATAN WANTS YOU AWAY AND DETACHED FROM GOD. HE WANTS YOU TO THINK THAT GOD CAN’T WORK A MIRACLE IN YOUR LIFE, OR DOESN’T ANSWER PERSONAL PRAYERS-WITH EITHER A “yes” OR A “no.”

  37. Michael says:

    I’m not sure if you’ve read through all the preceding comments, perhaps you’d like to read what I’ve already written, but let me repeat myself by saying there are, without doubt, awful people claiming to represent Reformed theology but not showing the love of God at all. For these I am deeply grieved. I also openly acknowledge the terrible things that have been done by people claiming God’s approval on their side. In the movie “Kingdom of Heaven” you have knights shouting “GOD WILLS IT!”. Indeed, but ironically they themselves are not of God. I pray you meet and interact with the same sort of people I interact with, who see the wonder of God’s grace and show love and care to others rather than the attitudes you’ve described. How tragic. I would want to explain the theology fully to those people even more than yourself, so they don’t fall into the trap of human pride and arrogance through poor understanding, which usually comes from poor teaching. And no, this is not PR mode. We need not use such language as “sides”, as I’ve expressed earlier. We can be brothers in Christ, seeking to learn more about Him.

    Also, there are many greater men than I who have articulated the Doctrines of Grace much more thoroughly than I. John Owen’s work, The Death of Death, can be accessed here at the Christian Classics Ethereal Library: http://153.106.5.3/ccel/owen/deathofdeath.html – you can also find many other works of great men at that site, and I encourage anyone to spend time there. If you have a few spare dollars, you might like to buy James White’s book “The Potter’s Freedom” from this site: http://www.aomin.org/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=48&osCsid=b4316160208b6e05987dc6e6b0daf569 or you can get it on Amazon and pay a bit more. If you’re really interested in understanding this, I know you’ll follow those up.

    Briefly, to address some of your questions/statements:

    God is not the author of sin. This is clear from the Bible. God is sovereign in all things. This is also clear from the Bible. If you say, “If you believe xxxx, then you are saying God is the author of sin”, you must bring yourself to the point where you can appreciate that you have come to ONE logical conclusion, not THE logical conclusion. Once you have come to this point you will be able to consider the opinions of other without discounting them out of hand.

    So, if we know God is not the author of sin, but He is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent, then this presents a challenge, does it not? We must reconcile these perspectives, and I believe Romans 9 addresses this admirably. I will leave it to you to review, again slowly and carefully, what is written there. I could write more but as I’ve said, others have done a better job than I.

    Now, if you are going to say God is not sovereign, please say so, but I’m not sure you want to go there. Either He is sovereign, or He is not. If He is not, then we are suffering under the greatest delusion in all history. If He is, then we must deal with the consequences of that fact, no matter how uncomfortable it makes us feel.

    Now as to the things you are saying about what is of Satan. I agree with most of what you’re saying! And most Reformed writing would also! This is what you need to work on – what you think you know about Reformed theology is simply not correct. Please take that as it’s intended – simply an encouragement to look deeper, to not take things on face value. Do you really believe that your brothers in Christ, who truly have the Spirit within them, would believe such awful things? I acknowledge, sadly, there are people in Reformed circles who do not show the fruits of the Spirit, just as there are in every church. We can only pray for them, that God will work on their hearts in love and grace, and try to correct them if we become aware of them behaving badly.

    Now to a few questions for you. Please let us keep our responses to each other short and concise, as I’m sure we, Pastor Burnett and the readers are busy people. Consider what I’ve already written and the talk by Mark Driscoll I’ve referenced above if you’re thinking about using the list of “all”, “world”, and “whosoever” verses, and let us not “sling” Scripture at each other, but consider everything in context and balance. 🙂

    What is your understanding of Open Theism? Feel free to provide a link to external web pages if you feel someone else has ably represented your views in a readily presentable format.

    Do you want to re-word your statement “reading of the future”? God is God. He is not a seer. Following that line of reasoning though, if God “looks down the corridor of time and sees those who will believe, and then elects them” (not quoting you, but others who I believe represent this viewpoint), does that not mean their future is set, and they WILL believe? Doesn’t that become self-contradictory?

    How do you see Christ’s death in God’s plan of salvation from eternity past?

    Was this, the greatest travesty of justice in all time and a terrible murder that included horrific torture, under God’s control, or was it not? Consider Luke 22:42 ref Jesus’ desire, as God, not to endure “this cup”, but His willingness, as God, to submit to the Father’s will. Here we have what I believe to be the clearest statement in Scripture of the two wills of God. “Not my will, but yours, be done.”

    Was Isaiah’s prophecy breathed out by God, as a plan, or was it just one possibility among millions of possible outcomes?

    What about the rest of the Old Testament, do you see it as pointing towards Christ as the Savior, God With Us?

    Do you agree with the writing of Paul where he compares Adam and Christ?

    Let’s see where we get with that and see if we can dialog in love and grace. I look forward to reading your responses to these questions.

  38. dunamis2 says:

    Yea, I see that this is a pretty hot topic and one that deserves attention.

    Please don’t get angry at one another just try to debate the facts and points of scripture applicable to the argument being made.

  39. Michael says:

    You’re up late, Pastor! Please forgive me for jumping in again before seekerman has had the chance to respond, but I feel that a great work that needs to be highlighted is Al Martin’s “The Practical Implications of Calvinism”, which addresses a number of what I believe to be our mutual criticisms of badly represented theology. It is also significantly shorter than John Owen’s work, and therefore might serve our readers well to use it as a small introduction if they’ve never really taken the time to read material from Reformed writers. I feel it accurately represents my position.

    You can find the article here:
    http://thirdmill.org/newfiles/al_martin/al_martin.PracticalImplicationsofCalvinism.html

  40. seekerman says:

    Michael, I’m not going to answer any of your questions, because I’ve debated this topic, ad infinitum, over on other websites (and in real life), dealing with folks from your crowd, and from what I’m able to get a handle on, you guys have what I call the raw and unadulterated Calvinists/reformed types, who come raw and honest with it, and those, such as yourself, with silver tongues, who will operate from a public relations mode, similar to a fox- and I don’t trust foxes.

    Now if you’d like, I may consider posting up those links where I debated many from your side of the aisle, if I’m so inclined, but truth be told, I don’t feel that you’re worth the effort in going back and forth with, or answering any questions coming from you, for the simple fact of the matter is, as was stated by me before-your doctrine is of the devil.

    I’ve been on websites where I debated calvinists/reformed types who will tell me on the net (and yes in person), that God doesn’t love everyone and that the net effect of your teaching is that God preordain folks to hell. This is what your side teaches. I’ve had these raw and unadulterated folks come at me with a fury, only to be bombarded by what I call Calvinist/Reformed lite folks, who try and come at me similar to how a “good cop” would (similar to you), with a different spin, while I’m debating their raw and unadulterated brethren- -but still preaching the same thing, that the rest of their brethren are, on these very sites.

    Why didn’t these “good cop” “public relations” “Calvinist/reformed lite” folks rebuke those hardliner Calvinist folks on these very websites they were on, if there was such a difference between the two camps? I’ll tell you why they didn’t: BECAUSE AT THE CORE, EVERYTHING THAT I’VE OUTLINED THAT FOLKS FROM YOUR SIDE OF THE AISLE BELIEVE IN, IS WHAT THESE CALVINIST/REFORMED LITE FOLKS LIKE YOURSELF, BELIEVE IN, DESPITE WHAT YOU TRY AND PRESENT WITH YOUR PRESENTATION HERE.

    Simply put, I DON’T TRUST YOU.

    Any time I’m at a reformed centered bible study, and some quack of a “reformer” tells me that God preordains people to hell, and that he has that right to, simply because he’s sovereign, and if I don’t believe that, then I believe God to be impotent, because I don’t believe in his sovereignty-then that’s saying a lot. Any time I challenge such a person, only for me to get jumped up on, with scripture twisting zeal, with the implication and inference that I’m not saved, because I serve another Jesus and don’t believe in his sovereignty (I believe in God’s sovereignty, but not the way you guys believe): then that’s saying a lot. And for the person who invited me to the bible study, to come at me the way you’re coming at me, AFTERWARDS, while apologizing for the experience that I went through, only to agree with those who were coming at me, while at this particular “event”: that says a lot. And for this same person to use the same arguments you’re using (Calvinist/lite, public relations spin, to entice and convert free will free will arminian types, or 4 point Calvinists), so that I can look at certain things from a “different perspective,” but yet he doesn’t tell those on his side of the aisle where they are wrong: SAYS A LOT!

    The net effect of your teaching, or the ultimate gist of what you’re getting at, despite masking and hiding your presentation to me, and others on this site, with theo babble, and scripture reconfiguration, is that: THAT GOD LOVES SOME, AND HATES OTHERS, AND PREORDAINS EVERY ACT, INCLUDING THE MOST SINFUL ACTS, BECAUSE HE IS SOVEREIGN. IF HE DIDN’T PREORDAIN EVERY SINGLE ACT ON THIS EARTH, THEN HE WOULDN’T BE A SOVEREIGN GOD. IF JESUS DEATH ON THIS CROSS IS WASTED, IN THAT EVERY PERSON HE DIED FOR DIDN’T COME TO HIM FOR SALVATION, AND GET SAVED, THEN GOD ISN’T SOVEREIGN; THIS IS WHY HE ONLY DIED FOR A SELECT FEW, AND TO HELL WITH THE OTHERS. NO NEED TO PRAY TO GOD, IN ORDER TO EFFECT CHANGE, BECAUSE WHAT IS ALREADY INSTITUTED IS ALREADY SET IN PLACE. ETC.

    And another thing, you guys believe that God preordained every single sinful act, but yet claim that your God is holy?

    When I try to tell folks on your side that God has foreknowledge, and will allow certain things to come about, due to the free will nature he has given to man, and that he will preordain some things (according to biblical examples), but isn’t the author of sin, the devil, and all types of wickedness (which is what your side ultimately believes, regardless of the politically correct, 21st century face lift your attempting, in order to convert free will arminians and 4 point Calvinists to this Satanic inspired teaching), all they can say in essence is: “Oh well.” They tell me that God can do anything he wants to do, and every good and evil act that he creates, is done for his own sovereign purposes, and that God is only good, holy and righteous, BECAUSE THE BOOK SAYS SO.
    This is why some critics of the bible have a problem with the God of the Bible, because they conflate it with the satanic inspired teachings of Calvinism/reformed theology, that ultimately teaches, regardless of what you say, and try to spin it-THAT GOD IS THE AUTHOR OF SIN, THE DEVIL, AND PREORDAINS EVERYTHING, EVEN THOUGH HE DOESN’T APPROVE OF EVERYTHING THAT HE PREORDAINS, BECAUSE HE IS A HOLY AND RIGHTEOUS GOD.

    So no man, I’m not going to dialogue with you, for to do so would be similar to me “casting pearls before swine.” I’m not trying to be mean or callous, but just telling the truth of the matter.

    If you want to get a glimpse of my side of the argument, go read Pastor Burnette’s treatise, or I may, again, if I’m so inclined, post up my links from other websites, whereas you and I can go over line by line, and point by point, concerning my positions; because other than that-I just don’t trust you to be honest, when it comes to your presentation. This is why I’m not going to answer any of your questions, because I know your agenda already, and where it will inevitably land: GOD IS THE AUTHOR OF SIN (which is the net effect of what you guys teach, despite what you say); GOD ONLY LOVES A FEW, WHICH IS EVIDENT IN THAT HE ONLY DIED FOR A FEW (which is the net effect of what you guys teach, despite what you say); IF MAN CHOOSES TO COME TO GOD, THEN THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD IS GREATLY COMPROMISED (believing that Jesus died for everyone, isn’t an endorsement of “universalism,” which is what many on your side of the aisle disingenuously put forth); YOU DON’T HAVE TO SPREAD THE GOSPEL, THE WAY FREE WILL EVANGELICALS DO, BECAUSE IF FOLKS ARE GOING TO BE SAVED, THEY’LL BE SAVED ANYWAY; YOU REEEEEEEEEEAAAAALLY DON’T HAVE TO PRAY TO GOD, IN ORDER TO EFFECT CHANGE, BECAUSE WHAT IS IN PLACE, HAS BEEN PREORDAINED BY GOD (You know this is what your peeps teach) INCLUDING EVERY EVIL ACT ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH; ETC.

    So again, take your questions, and use your stuff on someone else, because as I told you yesterday, which was akin to: I understand what you’re trying to sell in your policy, and how you’re trying to present your policy in a different light, that will ultimately result in the same outcome, therefore-I’M JUST NOT BUYING IT.

    You may fool others, but I’ve dealt with enough of you-to have your number, and the number of those on your side, who represent, what you represent. In other words, I don’t trust you, or the integrity of the information that you will put forth, because it all leads back to the handprints of Satan.

    One comes at you playing the “mean” cop, whereas the other comes at you, playing the role of the “good” cop; without the perp, or victim realizing-THAT THEY ARE ALL ON THE SAME TEAM. You never see the “good” cop telling the “bad” cop, publicly, and to their face, that he, or she is wrong, but they will tell you that the “bad” cop is wrong, only for you to be put to sleep, let down your defenses, and buy what they’re selling.

    Or I’ll put it this way:

    One minister of Satan will come at you hard, raw, unadulterated, and straight, no chaser; whereas the other minister of Satan, will come gentle, with a smile, full of scripture enough to deceive the masses, while presenting himself as an “Angel of Light.”

    With that said, I hope you’re not angry with me.

    If you’re trying to reach me, specifically, then try a different approach.

  41. seekerman says:

    Atheists, agnostics, and those who question the God of the Bible, discern correctly, when they say that certain types of Christians are claiming that God preordained everything, including every sinful act on the face of the earth, and including folks going to hell. They may be wrong about a lot of things, but on this end, they realize that the net effect (key term) of reformed theology, or reformed lite theology, regardless of how they try and spin it, and how much theo-babble they utilize-IS THAT GOD ONLY DIED FOR A SELECT FEW, WHEREAS THE REST HE DAMNED TO HELL, BECAUSE THAT’S HOW HE PREORDAINED IT.

    Oops, my bad! According to the reformed lite folks, God didn’t preordain folks to hell, but had “foreknowledge (I believe in God having foreknowledge, but not with the spin they put on it)” of their descent into hell-that’s why he didn’t die for them, and provide for them a way out, ONLY FOR A SELECT FEW, thus having the ultimate net effect of PREORDAINING THOSE FOLKS TO HELL, BECAUSE HE NEVER GAVE THEM A CHANCE TO BEGIN WITH.

    Only Satan would want you to believe that Jesus doesn’t love everyone and that God didn’t provide salvation for everyone, via the sacrifice of his Son’s life on the cross. Satan wants you to believe that. Satan wants you to ultimately draw conclusions that God plays favors when it comes to where human beings will spend eternity, despite how reformed and calvinist lite folks are trying to spin it. Satan also wants you to believe that God preordained every sinful act, but yet he is still to be considered righteous and holy, because he says so.

    This is a perverted deity, but yet this is the type of deity Calvinists/Reformed types preach and teach about, regardless of their spin.

    As I said before, and that is despite what these politically correct, free will arminian terminology using, 21st century, spiritually correct, reformed lite folks will say, or try to coerce you into believing, via their deceit-CALVINISM/REFORMED THEOLOGY, REGARDLESS OF HOW IT’S PACKAGED, HAS THE HANDPRINTS OF SATANISM WRITTEN ALL OVER IT.

    I mean if you were to lift up its’ dress, and/or take off its’ mask-YOU’D SEE THE FACE OF THE DEVIL.

  42. seekerman says:

    God isn’t the author of confusion, but the Calvinist/reformed concept of God is, as well as the ultimate author of sin, for he is sovereign, and nothing will come into existence, unless he PREORDAINS IT; including folks going to hell.

  43. seekerman says:

    Calvinists/reformed types believe that God will not turn away anyone that comes to him for salvation, but the catch is-THE ONLY ONES THAT WILL COME TO HIM ARE THOSE WHOM HE DIED FOR; TO HELL WITH THE REST WHOM HE DIDN’T DIE FOR, BECAUSE THEY WERE NEVER GIVEN A CRACK AT SALVATION, FOR JESUS NEVER DIED FOR THEM, NOR INTENDED TO.

  44. seekerman says:

    If Satan had his druthers, Jesus would only have died for a select few…

  45. seekerman says:

    This is what Satan and his ministers of “light” would want you to believe:

    “The system of Calvinism adheres to a very high view of scripture and seeks to derive its theological formulations based solely on God’s word. It focuses on God’s sovereignty, stating that God is able and willing by virtue of his omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence, to do whatever He desires with His creation (like WILL SIN INTO EXISTENCE). It also maintains that within the Bible are the following teachings: That God, by His sovereign grace PREDESTINES people into salvation; THAT JESUS DIED ONLY FOR THOSE PREDESTINED…”

    http://www.calvinistcorner.com/tulip.htm

  46. seekerman says:

    Here’s an example of a silver tongued, honey throated, full of scripture twisting, Calvinist:

    “Some may object and say that God does not will sin (Okay?). I agree (Oh really?). However, this is not what I am saying (then what are you saying). I am saying that God wills the circumstances to exist that make sin possible (if he wills the circumstances, he then preordains and authorizes it)but that He is not responsible for the sin that occurs (how can he not be responsible, if he preordains and authorizes it).”

    http://www.calvinistcorner.com/desireall.htm

    So I see, God wills for sin to place, I mean, he wills the circumstances for all sin to take place (same difference), but yet he isn’t responsible for the sinful acts that take place, under his “will.”

    Man, this vision, or concept, or understanding of deity, isn’t the God of the Bible, but is the DEVIL.

  47. seekerman says:

    There’s a difference between a sovereign God turning an evil act, perpetuated by human beings with free will, into a situation that will produce good, as opposed to a God who will at ALL times, preordain evil acts, in order to produce good, or not produce good.

  48. seekerman says:

    Let me get this straight-if I were to will, or set up the circumstances, or climate, for that little girl in the Carolinas to be a victim of rape, prostitution and murder, then it isn’t my fault, because I don’t condone, nor approve of the acts? Or better yet, even if I do approve of such acts, I shouldn’t be held accountable because I didn’t physically touch or harm the little girl, but just set up the conditions and environment, based on my will.

    Oh, my bad again! I as a human being, according to Calvinist/reformed types, don’t have a “will,” where I could perform actions that I can choose, or choose not to do. Oh noooooooooooo! Any action I perform, whether it is good, or bad, happy, or sad, was preodained by God ahead of time for me to do, because it was according to his “sovereign” will, that the little girl in the Carolinas be a victim of rape, prostitution, and murder.

    (Of course I’m speaking tongue and cheek here, because I’ve never been involved in such wicked behavior, and pray by the grace of God, that I will be involved in such behavior. I’m speaking hypothetically, and playing the role of the “fool”, in order to impart a broader message.)

    Silly me, and here it is I’m thinking it would be my fault, because I chose to set up the circumstances that allowed these actions, when all along I had nothing to do with it, for it was all on God, who willed the circumstances into existence, and just used me as a tool for his “glory.”

    Yeah right. Only SATAN can get glory out of the rape, prostitution, and murder, of that little girl in the Carolinas, not God.

    But I see, I’m only able to absolve God from having any hand in this wicked matter, simply because the book supposedly says he’s innocent, and because he says so.

    That’s Satanic double-speak.

  49. seekerman says:

    I meant to say in the third paragraph:

    “Of course I’m speaking tongue and cheek here, because I’ve never been involved in such wicked behavior, and pray by the grace of God, that I will NEVER be involved in such behavior. I’m speaking hypothetically, and playing the role of the “fool”, in order to impart a broader message.”

  50. seekerman says:

    If God wills everything evil act into existence, and what he wills was preordained, then the net effect is-GOD IS THE AUTHOR OF SIN, THE DEVIL, VOODOO, MURDER, RAPE, TORTURE, CANNIBALISM AND ALL TYPES OF WICKED MACHINATIONS.

    This is what the reformed God ultimately is…

  51. seekerman says:

    God mustn’t like black people, because he willed everything that we went through, and what were going through, into existence beforehand…

  52. seekerman says:

    God wants black men to have high unemployment rates, for it is based on what he wills, what he wants, so he sets up the circumstances for it to occur.

  53. seekerman says:

    God wants black families to be broken, and for the black community to be in a state of moral seige, and not collectively come up, because according to his sovereign will-HE CREATED THE CIRCUMSTANCES.

  54. seekerman says:

    Black fathers not being there for their children, has nothing to do with the will of the fathers, but with the will of God, for he set up those circumstances, based on his sovereign will.

  55. seekerman says:

    God gets the glory, in every wrong thing, the black community does, even from dirty rap lyrics, because every thing that black folks do, is according to the circumstances he’s ultimately willed.

  56. seekerman says:

    Black folks ought not blame the white man, themselves, or any mortal, for what they went through, or are going through, or will go through, because in the end, God preordained it, by his will (whether it be perfect or permissive; Satanic double speak if you ask me), by setting up the circumstances: SO BLAME GOD!

  57. seekerman says:

    My perfect will is not to steal, but that don’t mean I won’t set up the circumstances that will allow me the opportunity to steal, which is my permissive will, which is again-SATAN DOUBLE SPEAK.

  58. Michael says:

    Wow. I would hate to associate with the Calvinists you’ve been around. Let me just copy and paste the specific section you’ve used above.

    ———————-
    GOD IS THE AUTHOR OF SIN (which is the net effect of what you guys teach, despite what you say); GOD ONLY LOVES A FEW, WHICH IS EVIDENT IN THAT HE ONLY DIED FOR A FEW (which is the net effect of what you guys teach, despite what you say); IF MAN CHOOSES TO COME TO GOD, THEN THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD IS GREATLY COMPROMISED (believing that Jesus died for everyone, isn’t an endorsement of “universalism,” which is what many on your side of the aisle disingenuously put forth); YOU DON’T HAVE TO SPREAD THE GOSPEL, THE WAY FREE WILL EVANGELICALS DO, BECAUSE IF FOLKS ARE GOING TO BE SAVED, THEY’LL BE SAVED ANYWAY; YOU REEEEEEEEEEAAAAALLY DON’T HAVE TO PRAY TO GOD, IN ORDER TO EFFECT CHANGE, BECAUSE WHAT IS IN PLACE, HAS BEEN PREORDAINED BY GOD (You know this is what your peeps teach) INCLUDING EVERY EVIL ACT ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH; ETC.
    ———————-

    Nobody I know or read or listen to believes or teaches any of that. Not in those words and not with the vitriolic spin you’re putting on it. In my not so humble opinion, if you really want to know how the theology works, I think you need to spend more time reading stuff written by respectable authors and less time listening to idiots. This is why I keep giving you links to what others have written, as the doctrines of grace have been worked through by far greater men than I, and I beg you to do some reading. I’m really not sure you’ve read any of what I’ve written above in earlier comments, let alone followed any of the links. It is a long comments page though, so I can understand if you’ve missed some.

    Call me naive if you like, but I just don’t see this the way you do. If you read the material I read, and see it from my perspective (which is NOT how people who oppose it keep presenting it), you’ll see the lies you’ve been told for what they are.

    Anything that isn’t done in an attitude of grace and love should be viewed with suspicion, so I understand your reticence given your past experiences, but if you want to dialog on this I need to ask you to make an effort to get educated on the position you’re opposing. At the moment what you’re presenting is vehement opposition to something I don’t even recognize.

    By the way, let’s be careful not to engage in unnecessary insults like the “silver tongue” comment. This is how I talk and write. This is who I am.

    If you want to tilt at windmills, well I suppose it’s up to Pastor Burnett as to what he allows here.

  59. seekerman says:

    Jeffrey Dahmer’s actions were willed into existence by God, via the circumstances it created, because it ultimately brought glory to God.

    I mean eating a human rib showed all of us, who’s sitting on the throne!

  60. seekerman says:

    Of course I don’t believe any of what I posted above, about God, rather I’m proving a point here.

  61. seekerman says:

    I’ve said enough. You guys can have this topic back. I know what I’ve said was harsh and a little too raw for some folks, but what has been said, needed to be said.

    Again, I will move on, and not bother anyone, anymore, unless moved by the Holy Spirit…

    God bless…

  62. seekerman says:

    Michael, how long have you been a reformed/Calvinist? Are you telling me that you haven’t run across the type of folks I’m describing? Why is it that I have? The very first encounters I had with folks on your side of the aisle, presented the information I claim they believe.

    I’ve been on their websites, and debated some reformed/calvinist associates in real life, and they ultimately affirm what I claim they teach, and imply that I ought to go get with the program. I find it highly suspicious that you’ve been able to avoid these people, and come out unscathed, when all I’ve been running into-until recently, I must confess-are the Calvinist/reformed types I’m talking about.

    And yes, I’ve read some of your earlier links, and it still draws me back to the same conclusion, concerning what your side of the aisle ultimately believes. That’s why I keep using terms like Calvinist lite, or Reformed lite, because to me, the information contained within those links have the net effect of what these other Calvinists/reformed folks are saying-who come raw, hard, and unadulterated.

    To me, the links you provide are just public relations type of information that is layered with theo babble and filibusters, before inevitably hitting upon the points your other brethren, from your side of aisle, believe in.

    Maybe I’ve been dealing with too many black reformed types, who were possessed with a hyper zeal for their newly acquired belief system, because it made them feel “special,” and loved of God, more so than those other folks over there (read my brief statement on the religious experience of black folks in this country), to where they misrepresented their views wrongly. And mind you, I’m giving you and your side the benefit of the doubt by saying this.

    All I know is that the belief system they put forth to me, and all of the teachings they put out there, which I have faithfully recorded, is of the devil.

    And yes, I’ve been told that my free will beliefs are heretical, and that I’m not truly saved, and if I am, the inference was that I was somehow a second class christian. I was also told that if I spoke in tongues, that just babble that doesn’t mean anything, or a sign of demonic possession.

    Trust me, I use to debate these cats with mountains of scripture, so intensely, to where some folks thought I was faking it, but came to realize that in the end, I was merely casting my pearls before swine.

  63. seekerman says:

    Okay man, I’m going to read those links again…

  64. seekerman says:

    Michael said:

    “but if you want to dialog on this I need to ask you to make an effort to get educated on the position you’re opposing. At the moment what you’re presenting is vehement opposition to something I don’t even recognize.”

    You may not recognize it-so you say (I find it strange that others outside your circle, and within your circle, recognize it) but it doesn’t mean it isn’t out there, coming from your side of the aisle. In other words, I am “educated on the position” I’m “opposing.” And I am presenting and targeting that position well, despite the spin.

  65. seekerman says:

    Okay Michael, even though I don’t believe in the spin you’re presenting (it’s foolish and arrogant to believe that the only reason why I don’t believe in reformed theology, is because I don’t understand it; I understand what you’re trying to say, and what those reformed lite folks are trying to say-I simply don’t agree with it), have you guys, who believe in a gentler, kinder reformed/calvinist theology-ever called the folks I, and Pastor Burnette have implicitly called out? We’re not just making this stuff up out of thin air.

    With that said, I am familiar with your arguments as well, coming from, what I call, the reformed lite side, but again, I just don’t agree with them. Now, if you want to say that your spin on reformed theology is the proper theology, and representation (even if I still don’t agree with it), then that’s one thing, but to deny, and/or sit passively by, and not rebuke and admonish those of your ilk out there, who put forth the teachings I highlighted, makes your attempt at dialogue with me, highly suspicious-for I’ve dealt with your kind before (rebuke the actions of their hyper Calvinist brethren to you, but will not confront them to them personally, face to face).

    Again, I said that I will read your links, again, and reconsider your side again, but you should also be mature enough to realize that despite the fact that I may re-read your information, and understand your information-I will not necessarily agree with the information.

  66. seekerman says:

    Michael said:

    “Nobody I know or read or listen to believes or teaches any of that. NOT IN THOSE WORDS (emphasis mine)…”

    Interesting…

  67. seekerman says:

    I meant to say in the second sentence of the second paragraph:

    “Now, if you want to say that your spin on reformed theology is the proper theology, and representation (even if I still don’t agree with it), then that’s one thing, but to deny, and/or sit passively by, and not rebuke and admonish those of your ilk out there, who put forth the teachings I highlighted, makes your attempt at dialogue with me, highly suspicious-for I’ve dealt with your kind before (rebuke the actions of their hyper Calvinist brethren to you, but will not CONFRONT THEM PERSONALLY, face to face).”

  68. seekerman says:

    It appears as if some Calvinist/reformed lite types, want to interpret God’s sovereignty as God willing everything into existence, regardless of how “uncomfortable” it sounds, but once you follow that logic, to its’ logical conclusion, then one can easily say that God is the author of sin. But when you say this-they go berserk, instead of owning up to it.

    If God wills everything into existence, regardless of the perfect and permissive will dichotomy, it then stands to reason that God authorized and preordained every act, whether it is good, or bad, based on reformed folks view of sovereignty.

    In other words, he set up the circumstances, or climate, or atmosphere, for a Charles Manson, for example. And if he set up the circumstance, or climate, or atmosphere for a Charles Manson, according to his (God) will, then he must have, by default, approved of those actions taken by Charles Manson.

    How so you ask? Well, if it weren’t for God, according to the reformers, Manson wouldn’t have had the will to commit the heinous acts he perpetrated, if God hadn’t given it to him. In other words, it was God who guided and ultimately inspired Manson, to do what he did, not Manson. But yet, God isn’t responsible, Manson and his followers are, right? Is this the gist of it, once you take away the layers?

    Okay, let’s say that God doesn’t approve of the actions Manson performed, will reformed lite types admit that God’s will set up the circumstances that led to Manson’s actions, according to their theology?

  69. seekerman says:

    And if God set up the circumstances that led to Manson’s actions, according to reformed theology, again-what is this ultimately saying about the God of reformed theology?

    Again, I do believe that God preordains some actions, based on his foreknowledge, and real time circumstances, so that these actions can give him glory. And I do believe that some actions caused by the free will choice of human beings that was meant for no good, can, due to God’s sovereignty-be restructured for God’s glory.

    But I don’t believe that every act of sinful man, was preordained and willed into existence by God, to where certain human beings wouldn’t have had the druthers, the desire, or the will, to commit certain acts-whether they were good or evil-if God hadn’t implanted, or initiated the thought, the motivation, the desire, the choice and the actions.

    And you’re right; this view of God’s sovereignty is “uncomfortable,” and unsettling.

  70. seekerman says:

    Now I’m through, unless you further this…

  71. seekerman says:

    I know I said I was through, but I feel I was led here. This is one man’s experience with a Calvinist, which has been similar to mine own experiences, as well as the experiences of others. We all can’t be lying.

    Check it out:

    “In my analysis the error that promulgates the other errors is the predestinarians weak view of the sovereignty of God. They believe that God is sovereign but not to the point where He can allow man to have a free will but must FOREORDAIN ALL THAT OCCURS. Sproul (AS IN R.C. SPROUL, FAMOUS REFORMED THEOLOGIAN) goes on to make a very ARROGANT comment (you don’t say?)that if you do not believe that God has foreordained all things “then you are basically an ATHEIST.” I was highly offended that because of his weak view of sovereignty, causing him to not recognize God’s ability to give man a free will and yet still maintain His sovereignty, that he would call everyone else an atheist. His ARROGANCE IS TYPICAL OF MANY PREDESTINATION TEACHERS that I have met. THEY feel as if they have ARRIVED INTELLECTUALLY AND HAVE ATTAINED TO A HIGHER PLANE OF KNOWLEDGE, AND THAT THEIR LESS ENLIGHTENED BROTHERS AND SISTERS ARE JUST TOO STUPID TO UNDERSTAND DEEP TRUTHS. But it is the exact opposite. The proper view and stronger view of the sovereignty of God is one in which GOD BESTOWS HIS GRACE UPON PEOPLE WHO HAVE A RIGHT TO CHOOSE OR REJECT GOD’S WILL AND YET ALL THE WHILE GOD STILL MAINTAINS HIS SOVEREIGNTY.”

  72. seekerman says:

    Okay, now I’m through…

  73. Michael says:

    Thanks for the link, I’ll have a look at that and read it in context. Thank you for what seems to be a willingness to interact on a level of mutual respect in Christ, let’s continue as much as possible in that atmosphere of brothers learning together.

    I might try something I’ve not done before, I will number my paragraphs, which might make it easier for you to reference my comments if you’d like to respond. Let’s see if that’s useful or not.

    1. Let me clarify one thing – I certainly have met those kind of Calvinists, and I certainly rebuke them. I should have been clearer – I “know of” people who think that way but I don’t know them personally because I choose not to associate with them. It’s one reason I choose not to attend a certain hyper-Calvinist church in my area, because I believe them to be indolent *preventers* of evangelism, withholding the Gospel and engaging in zero outreach, which is absolutely an invalid and indefensible position scripturally. So I didn’t mean I haven’t met any like that, I was just expressing sadness that those are the only type you’ve met.

    2. Leading on from that, my comment “not in those words” relates to the reading and listening I’ve done that does not come to those conclusions. It is a pointer to my sense of righteous outrage at those people in point 1, for twisting a theology that I understand to be a driver for evangelism, that should be a source of *humble* joy and spur a desire to share that with as many people as possible.

    3. How long have I believed this? About four years. I was firmly against it but my faith was based on very little personal interaction with the scriptures. This is why I feel compelled to interact with discussions like this, because I see most of my own previous objections in what you’re stating above. I could give you another one that hasn’t come up yet!

    4. I apologize if you got the impression I was saying the only reason you don’t believe my position is because you don’t understand it. Indeed, that would be foolish and arrogant! What I was trying to say was that your understanding appears to be driven more by what people have said to you or how you’ve interacted with people on the internet, which may not be the best way to come to an understanding of a theology. Certainly it’s a good way of seeing the worst of mankind’s inherent fallen nature, but what I was getting at is that I’d like you to expand your reading beyond websites like the one you’ve linked to above, and pursue original source material from respected theologians where you can read and appreciate the entirety of the presentation in context (such as the John Owen work – but that’s some serious reading). Does that make sense?

    5. Let me try something else that’s a bit different. Could you please share with me your understanding of Romans 9:1-13? (we will look at the whole chapter but we don’t need to try to tackle it all at once). Just tell me what that section says to you. I’m genuinely interested in your perspective, I’m not trying to set you up. Don’t make your response about me, or what you think I’m wrong about, I just want to understand what you think when you read that passage, so I’d appreciate it if you could take the time to share your thoughts. Pastor Burnett, feel free to give your perspective, as I couldn’t find anything in your article speaking to Romans 7-9. This isn’t the verse warfare method, where we carpet bomb each other with proof texts, but an interest in seeing more of your heart for God in your understanding of passages of scripture. Feel free to refer to commentaries or external websites if you feel you’ve found something written by someone else that adequately represents your interpretation of the text.

    6. I’m a pretty reasonable guy, I don’t usually get overly excitable, so if something seems to you to be offensive or confrontational, it’s more likely I haven’t expressed myself well, so please confirm that I meant what you think I meant before getting excited about it. 🙂 There’s a great quote from Oscar Wilde: “A gentleman never offends … unintentionally”. Sometimes the things we say will offend others and there’s nothing we can do about it, but I believe we can be offended yet graciously agree to disagree without losing sight of our Savior.

  74. dunamis2 says:

    I did a post on the Limited Atonement issue that seems to come up as a result of this post quite often. Fro reading the dialogue, that’s a major part of the problem here.

    It can be found HERE. Thanks and please continue the commentary and feel free to comment on the other also.

  75. seekerman says:

    I don’t interpret Romans 7 through 9 the way you interpret, but just the opposite, in light of the scriptures that clarify the topic of election, from where I’m coming from, as well as where the totality of scripture hangs.

    With that said, I will, as I did your links, go back over Romans 7 through 9, and will come back at you with questions, or statements.

    In the meantime, here are some links you may want to check out, that contains information you may prayerfully want to consider (the information you will read from these links, may assist you in looking at Romans 7 through 9, from a different perspective):

    http://classicalarminianism.blogspot.com/2010/06/john-piper-are-there-two-wills-in-god.html

    http://www.ronrhodes.org/Atonement.html

    http://www.ronrhodes.org/Atonement.html

  76. seekerman says:

    I will, as I did your links, go back over Romans 7 through 9, and will come back at you with questions, or statements. Now having said that-I don’t interpret Romans 7 through 9 the way you interpret, but just the opposite, in light of the scriptures that clarify the topic of election, from where I’m coming from, as well as where the totality of scripture hangs.

    In the meantime, here are some links you may want to check out, that contains information you may prayerfully want to consider (the information you will read from these links, may assist you in looking at Romans 7 through 9, from a different perspective):

    http://classicalarminianism.blogspot.com/2010/06/john-piper-are-there-two-wills-in-god.html

    http://www.ronrhodes.org/Atonement.html

    http://www.ronrhodes.org/Atonement.html

  77. seekerman says:

    Michael, here are some good links to check out, and prayerfully consider:

    http://examiningcalvinism.blogspot.com/

    http://humblearminian.blogspot.com/

    http://www.nocalvinism.org/

    http://www.evangelicalarminian.blogspot.com/

    http://www.biblical-theology.net/Biblical%20Theology.htm

    http://www.arminianchronicles.com/

    http://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/

    I’ll reread over Romans 7 through 9, even though I now interpret those chapters from the perspective of someone possessing free will and there being unlimited atonement. Hopefully the links I’ve provided can prayerfully have you look at those chapters from a new perspective.

  78. Michael says:

    Thanks for those links, I’ll have a look at them. Like I said above, we can take this slowly, just a few verses at a time, so my question above about Rom 9:1-13 can be a starting point. I’m interested in hearing *your* take on those verses, I really want to see where you’re at with your own understanding.

  79. Paul N says:

    I believe neither in calvinism or ariminism.

    I believe one should look at scripture and not be biased by a set of beliefs. To me that is very dangerous as you feel compelled to believe that you must believe the whole in order to be of that group.

    I think both camps are wrong in certain areas.

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