The problem With Calvinism Part 2

There is a second reason that I cannot accept the tenets of Calvinism and it involves the Calvinist postulate that God before the foundation of the world chose the elect to be “in Christ” and those individuals are the ones Jesus died for on the cross to pay the penalty for THEIR sin and THEIR sin alone. Calvinism contends that propitiation and expiation were completed on the cross. Propitiation means God’s wrath is satisfied while expiation means sin has been wiped away. Propitiation involves a sacrifice. So Christ went to the cross to become our substitute and in dying, He paid the price for our sin, expiating our sin and propitiating God’s wrath therefore reconciling us to Him.

People are propitiated and problems expiated. If this is indeed true and propitiation and expiation were completed on the cross for the elect and the elect alone, then two things MUST be true. First of all, the elect are predestined for heaven and never become the elect but rather ARE the elect from the foundation of the world. The second truth is the non-elect can NEVER be redeemed because no expiation was provided for them on the cross and forgiveness is impossible apart from the shedding of blood. According to calvinism, Jesus did not shed a drop of blood to expiate the sin of the non-elect and propitiation is not possible for the non-elect.

There is another implication that must be considered if propitiation and expiation were completed on the cross and that is the eternal state of the elect. Calvinism posits every person being born in an unregenerate state and at the appointed time, the elect are regenerated and repentance THEN takes place and believing faith becomes operative and conversion takes place. The question must be answered is this; are the elect and the non-elect in the same condition prior to regeneration?

I am convinced they are not. If expiation was completed on the cross for the elect or ANYONE for that matter, his or her sin has already been dealt with. If propitiation was completed on the cross, then God’s wrath is placated and reconciliation has already taken place for the elect. Listen to John Piper’s comment on propitiation,

“If ‘the whole world’ referred to every individual in the world, we would be forced to say that John is teaching that all people will be saved, which he does not believe (Revelation 14:9-11). The reason we would be forced to say this is that the term propitiation refers to a real removal of wrath from sinners. When God’s wrath against a sinner is propitiated, it is removed from that sinner. And the result is that all God’s power now flows in the service of his mercy, with the result that nothing can stop him from saving that sinner.

Propitiated sins cannot be punished. Otherwise propitiation loses its meaning. Therefore if Christ is the propitiation for all the sins of every individual in the world, they cannot be punished, and must be saved. But John does not believe in such universalism (John 5:29). Therefore it is very unlikely that 1 John 2:2 teaches that Jesus is the propitiation of every person in the world.” To see Piper’s comments CLICK HERE.

Piper is correct. Propitiation refers to a REAL REMOVAL OF WRATH FROM SINNERS. Given this statement, the following conclusion that Piper makes is problematic: “the result is that all God’s power now flows in the service of his mercy, with the result that nothing can stop him from saving that sinner.” Once expiation and propitiation take place, the result is the sinner IS SAVED not TO BE SAVED. If expiation and propitiation are completed on the cross, there is NOTHING that needs to be done for the one whose sins have been removed. Piper’s own statement confirms this: “Therefore if Christ is the propitiation for all the sins of every individual in the world, they cannot be punished, and must be saved.” Now, he is looking at another angle of his own argument BUT the implications work both ways!

One of two things MUST be true; propitiation and expiation are either completed at Calvary or they are not. They cannot be completed at Calvary and then appropriated at conversion. One thing is absolutely clear; completed means what it means. If one MUST repent and believe BEFORE propitiation or expiation are completed, then they cannot be completed on the cross and the whole foundation of calvinism’s position on limited or particular atonement crumbles.

If propitiation and expiation and the atonement are indeed completed on the cross, then as Piper points out, sin is removed when propitiation and expiation are completed and there is now no more condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus; if propitiation, expiation and atonement were completed at the cross and sin is indeed removed and reconciliation completed, there is no need for regeneration at a later date. If the postulates of calvinism are indeed true, the elect are born the elect and do not BECOME the elect and they cannot not be the elect. There is never a time in the life or an individual who is born the elect where his sin is not paid for in full and as such there is never a time when he is in danger of God’s wrath and in fact he is born reconciled to God.

I understand this is NOT what calvinists teach, but it is consistent with the tenets of calvinism as I have put forth and that is why I cannot subscribe to the calvinist theological system.

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45 Responses to The problem With Calvinism Part 2

  1. rhutchin says:

    “People are propitiated and problems expiated.”

    I think it might be more accurate to say that “sins” are propitiated – Christ is the propitiation for the sins of the world. I think expiation relates to the action required to deal with the problem of sin so an atonement is required to expiate or resolve the problem sin created. I am not sure that there is a big difference between the two terms – Christ is the propitiation for sin by virtue of having expiated those sins.

    • sbcissues says:

      Propitiation means God’s wrath is satisfied while expiation means sin has been wiped away. So propitiation applies to people for God’s wrath is satisfied where people are concerned… expiation is the wiping away of sin which allows propitiation. Both are as you suggest, intertwined but there are differentiating aspects to them; the interchangeability actually applies to which word to interpret the original Greek.

      • rhutchin says:

        I think the word in 1 John 2:2 and 4:10 is a noun making it “the means” (the propitiation) by which God’s wrath can be satisfied; it would not “mean” that God’s wrath is satisfied (propitiated) as that would require that it be a verb.

  2. rhutchin says:

    Quoting Piper, “Propitiated sins cannot be punished. Otherwise propitiation loses its meaning. Therefore if Christ is the propitiation for all the sins of every individual in the world, they cannot be punished, and must be saved.”

    I think Piper misreads the Scriptures on this point. 1 John 2 says that Christ is “the propitiation” for the sins of the world; it does say that Christ “propitiated” the sins of the world – I think Piper confuses this above. Christ can be the propitiation for the sins of the world without propitiating the sins of the world.

    John also writes, “[God] sent his Son to be the propitiation for our (believer/elect’s) sins.” (4:10) This is more specific than the earlier general statement.

    It is because of sin that Christ is the propitiation for sin (2:2). It is because God loves the elect that he sent Christ to be the propitiation for the sins of the elect (4:10).

    • sbcissues says:

      Christ can be the propitiation for the sins of the world without propitiating the sins of the world.

      Not sure that will fly brother. However, even IF it would my point is that propitiation is either provisional and only effectual when applied or it is completed at the cross (which is where Calvinism stands) and given THAT position the elect are born as such and there is no need for additional reconciliation; reconciliation is reconciliation and nothing is needed to accomplish what was already completed at the cross.

      • rhutchin says:

        Propitiation had to be completed at the cross even if provisional. There is nothing more that Christ needs to do to propitiate the sins of the world – Christ is the propitiation for the sins of the world by virtue of His death on the cross. The issue is when and how that propitiation is then applied to a sinner. The Calvinist says that it is automatically applied to the elect at the cross as it was God’s intent to save the elect and He sent Christ specifically to make that possible by going to the cross. The non-Calvinist says that it is not applied until God actually saves the elect in the course of time. It’s a technical disagreement that affects nothing in my opinion.

        What about the non-elect whom God has no intention to save? Christ is still the propitiation for their sins but their sins are never actually propitiated. Provisional or not, that propitiation is never applied to the non-elect else they would be saved thereby denying that they were ever among the non-elect.

  3. DP says:

    Dr H, I think I follow your overall objection but am a little unsure of your explanation.

    When you say, “The question must be answered is this; are the elect and the non-elect in the same condition prior to regeneration? I am convinced they are not.” Do you mean they are not *in the Calvinistic view* or your view? I’m thinking you mean they are not in the same position in the Calvinistic view.

    Also when you say Piper is correct. What are you referring to?

    Also, “One of two things MUST be true; propitiation and expiation are either completed at Calvary or they are not.” [Agreed]

    “They cannot be completed at Calvary and then appropriated at conversion.” [Why not? Who is saying this? That is what Romans 4 teaches.]

    • sbcissues says:

      You are correct… in the calvinist view, the two are never the same.

      Piper is correct. Propitiation refers to a REAL REMOVAL OF WRATH FROM SINNERS.

      One of two things MUST be true; propitiation and expiation are either completed at Calvary or they are not. They cannot be completed at Calvary and then appropriated at conversion.

      Calvinism contends propitiation and expiation and atonement for that matter were completed at Calvary. That then becomes the basis for limited or particular atonement. If that is true, THEN there is no need for conversion; if application is necessary then they could not have been completed at the cross. The provision FOR atonement and P and E can be completed at the cross but not atonement and P & E if application are necessary.

      That is MY point in this article.

      • rhutchin says:

        The basis for for limited or particular atonement is God’s choosing of the elect before He created the world.

      • rhutchin says:

        Thus, the U (unconditional election) comes before the L (limited atonement).

      • sbcissues says:

        I maintain the U supports the L and was so constructed to make the L viable.

      • rhutchin says:

        Unconditional election identifies God’s decision to choose the elect in the first place.

        Man is depraved and has no desire for God. God chooses whom to save but not on any condition but based only on the counsel of His will. Having chosen His elect, God then takes the actions required to save His elect – sending Christ to propitiate their sin and regenerating them. He draws the regenerated elect to Christ by the preaching of the gospel. He preserves His elect as they come to Him.

        The atonement is limited because those chosen by God are limited (He did not choose all). If the atonement is first limited and then the elect chosen, then God’s decision would be conditioned (and limited) by the limited atonement. To preserve the unconditional nature of election, the choosing of the elect must come before the atonement.

  4. rhutchin says:

    Dr. Hadley begins, “There is a second reason that I cannot accept the tenets of Calvinism and it involves the Calvinist postulate that God before the foundation of the world chose the elect to be “in Christ” and those individuals are the ones Jesus died for on the cross to pay the penalty for THEIR sin and THEIR sin alone.”

    The Calvinist makes three claims:

    1. Before He created the world, God knew the elect .
    2. God knew the elect because He chose them.
    3. God chose the elect unconditionally without regard to any value in them or foreseen merit.

    When God created the world, it was God’s intent to save those whom He had chosen and He sent Christ to the cross deal with their sin. Having dealt with the elect’s sin through Christ’s death, God then could deal with the sin nature through regeneration and putting the elect so regenerated under the care of His spirit to bring their salvation to completion.

    The issue then is what Christ’s death on the cross did for those not chosen. The Calvinist finds nothing really – Christ’s death, while providing the propitiation for their sins, did not consummate the deal and God had no intent to consummate the deal.

    • sbcissues says:

      One of the provisions of propitiation is reconciliation; so calvinism does not allow for propitiation for the sin of the non-elect as you suggest. My point is that if propitiation and expiation were completed on the cross there is no intent or need to “consummate the deal” as you state. If they are indeed complete on the cross, then complete is complete and there is nothing that is needed or if consummation is needed then it could NOT be completed on the cross.

      That is the essence of my point. I know calvinists point to the consummation side in their presentation of conversion and even regeneration but complete cannot mean two different things in the same setting.

      For the record, I believe Jesus completed the provisions of propitiation, expiation and atonement at Calvary and those provisions are effectuated at repentance and belief. My problem is that THIS position will not allow the specificity of the atonement as presented by the tenets of calvinism even though they turn around and teach both… completed and effectual later.

      I do not believe BOTH to be congruent.

  5. rhutchin says:

    Dr. Hadley writes, “if propitiation, expiation and atonement were completed at the cross and sin is indeed removed and reconciliation completed, there is no need for regeneration at a later date.”

    There are two issues here. (1) People are sinners; (2) Because people are sinners they sin. Christ’s death dealt with the person’s sin. Regeneration addresses the sin nature from which the sin sprang.

    Propitiation, expiation, and atonement are terms describing how God chose to deal with a person’s sin. Regeneration is still required to deal with the sin nature.

    Paul says this regarding sin, “Now the works (sin) of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

    Jesus said with regard to the sin nature, “Verily I say unto you, Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

    We have two separate actions dealing with two separate problems.

    • sbcissues says:

      rh,

      I agree with most of what you just said. Once again, IF propitiation and expiation are completed at the cross… stop right there… that is a conditional statement… if that is true THEN my conclusion MUST be true.

      Your response is ignoring my premise… which calvinism itself argues FOR. Do you see what I am trying to say?

      • rhutchin says:

        To say that “propitiation and expiation are completed at the cross” means only that the problem of sin has been completely addressed. There still remains the need to deal with the sin nature of the person. Propitiation does not change (regenerate the person). Even you recognize that regeneration is a separate action by God in addition to propitiation. Your quibble with the Calvinists is on the timing of that regeneration.

  6. DP says:

    You guys are making my head spin.

    For the simple layman among us, how about a couple of easy, but related, questions based on Dr Piper’s statement. They get to the bottom line without all the verbal gymnastics.

    In the Calvinistic system, will the reprobate ever have a real and actual *opportunity* to be forgiven for their sins? Or, are some babies born with absolutely no hope of ever being forgiven for the inevitable results of Adam’s sin? Biblical texts are helpful.

    • It all depends on what you mean by “opportunity.” The death of Christ is sufficient to cover the sins of the entire world, and is freely offered to the entire world. Strictly speaking, the only thing that keeps any one from getting saved and receiving eternal life is our own sinful refusal to repent. That being said, the only people who will come to Christ are those whom God has chosen to save, and in order to save them He has to overcome their stubborn sinfulness and draw them to Christ. Since this is a matter of pure grace on God’s part, He is not obligated to do it for everyone, and in point of fact He does not choose to do it forever.
      When you say “in the Calvinist system” you should probably be aware that there are actually two different traditional varieties of this. What I just outline above is what is known as “Infralapsarianism” (the decree to elect comes AFTER the decree to permit the Fall). There is a more radical / extreme position called “Supralapsarianism” (the decree to elect comes BEFORE the decree to permit the fall). In Infralapsarianism God is seen as extending mercy to individuals who are already sinners. In Supralapsarianism the emphasis is placed on God’s right to do as He pleases. Infralapsarianism does more justice to texts like John 3:16 and I John 2:2, not to mention others. Supralapsarians would emphasis Rom. 9:20-24 and Eph. 1:4-6.

      • Sorry folks! The phrase “He does not choose to do it forever” should read “He does not choose to do it for everyone.” Maybe I should read before I click!

      • Randy says:

        I really do not understand the logic here. So let me explain how I see it and please correct me where I may be misreading something, and tell me how you are okay with this if it is the way things are.

        (1) Due to the Fall, and the inherent sinful nature of all mankind, we are destined for condemnation.
        (2) Due to this inherent sin nature, no man will ever choose to turn to God on his own.
        (3) God by his own mysterious will has chosen certain individuals, the elect, through no merit of their own, but by his grace, to receive salvation
        (4) The price / ransom / wrath for their salvation was carried out on the cross, making Christ’s death effectual only for the elect

        Now stick with me because here is where I have a problem. This belief indicates God is capable of saving whomever he desires. Therefore, if he wanted to save all mankind, he could easily do so. However, by some capricious / mysterious process of his divine will, he only chooses to save certain people. Salvation is strictly determined by his election. If he chooses you, you are saved. If he doesn’t choose you, you are eternally condemned. Could you please explain to me how you are okay with this? Could you explain to me how this does not make God a monster? I always see the argument turned to, “but it’s amazing God chooses to save any” but if you had the opportunity to save someone from death, if you had all the means to do it, and you chose not to, people would consider that a horrific act. This egregious theology vilifies the benevolent God of Christianity, and I simply cannot accept it or stand by and let my Lord and Savior be painted in this fashion.

      • rhutchin says:

        “However, by some capricious / mysterious process of his divine will, he only chooses to save certain people. Salvation is strictly determined by his election. If he chooses you, you are saved. If he doesn’t choose you, you are eternally condemned. Could you please explain to me how you are okay with this? Could you explain to me how this does not make God a monster? ”

        God is all wise and makes decisions after the counsel of His will. How God decides is mysterious to us but not capricious. God is also love. Thus, not a monster. I am comfortable with God doing anything He wants simply because He is God.

      • Randy says:

        @ rhutchin

        You said, “God is all wise and makes decisions after the counsel of His will. How God decides is mysterious to us but not capricious. God is also love. Thus, not a monster. I am comfortable with God doing anything He wants simply because He is God.”

        I have four daughters, a grandson and a granddaughter. You would have me believe that a loving and wise God would before time choose some of them to be elect and some to not be elect. He has already determined which of my children will spend eternity in glory and which will spend eternity in a fiery hell. My prayers, no matter how fervent, will have no influence on their eternal destiny. I can do nothing that will make them choose one way or the other because God has already chosen.

        I submit to you sir that this is absolutely not love. This is an insult to the love that the Almighty truly has. A wise God, who is a heavenly Father, would know that any earthly father would see this as unacceptable. I am okay in praying fervently for my children, sharing the gospel with them, and resigning myself to the fact that if they reject that majestic gospel and the Lord Jesus Christ then they are condemned. I am NOT okay with a God that has already predetermined this course of action.

      • Les Prouty says:

        Randy I’m late to the discussion. So pardon. But you seem to not be comfortable with the idea that God chooses to save some but not all, and his decision was made before the foundation of the world. And that makes God horrible.

        But in real time the net effect is the same in how you view it. The only difference is in the timing of God choosing to NOT save some. Or am I misunderstanding?

        i.e. you are not comfortable with God choosing some long ago to save but you are ok with Him choosing not to step in, in real time, to save some. Because the result is the same. God chooses to not save all, right? I mean He could, couldn’t He? But He doesn’t.

      • Randy says:

        Les -
        This is where it gets kind of interesting in these discussions. We both agree that God has the power to save all but he chooses not to. The BIG difference comes in where we take things from there. I believe that God has chosen to save those who put faith in him. As sovereign God, he exists out of time as we know it. So from the foundations of creation he has known who those people would be. I believe we depart from each other in this area quite drastically. In my view, God chooses those who choose him. By the power of the Gospel (this is outlined pretty good in Bob’s Part 3 discussion) God convicts the atrophied, sinful heart of mankind. Thus the opportunity for salvation arrives, but I do not believe God makes his grace irresistible (he could of course, he is God, but he does not). I believe that the blood of Christ was sufficient to pay the price for all sin past, present and future. After all, does that not bring the greatest glory to God? Man need do nothing but merely accept the gift. We differ in that you say he does not have the ability to do so under any circumstances. I believe through the power of the Gospel message, man’s heart is pricked (see Acts 2:37) and he has the choice to respond positively or negatively. God has made a way for all men to be saved. I can go anywhere in the world and honestly say, “God loves you. Jesus died for you. Repent and believe for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” What does a Calvinist say? “God loves you…if you are elect. Jesus died for you…if you are elect.” I am far from okay with that.
        You see, I was an atheist until I was 32 (I was saved 12 years ago). I would never choose to follow a God like that. If the glorious gospel of Christ had been presented in Calvinism’s flavor, I would have spit it out like poison. It does an awful disservice to the glory of the Lord God Almighty and I will continue to vehemently oppose it. But I love you man as my brother. You are always gracious in your arguments and I appreciate that.

      • rhutchin says:

        “I have four daughters, a grandson and a granddaughter. You would have me believe that a loving and wise God would before time choose some of them to be elect and some to not be elect.”

        That is the implication of omniscience. There is nothing about the world that was unknown to God before He created the world. Certainly the elect are known to God before He created the world. The question then is how those elect came to be known to God. The Calvinist say it is because He chose them and did so unconditionally. What’s an alternative?

      • Les Prouty says:

        Randy, thank you brother for the gracious way you interact.

        You said, “I believe that God has chosen to save those who put faith in him. As sovereign God, he exists out of time as we know it. So from the foundations of creation he has known who those people would be.”

        It seems to me that what you are saying is the “God looks down the corridors of time and sees who will believe and chooses those people” theory. Is that fair?

        “I believe that the blood of Christ was sufficient to pay the price for all sin past, present and future.” I believe that as well.

        “We differ in that you say he does not have the ability to do so under any circumstances. I believe through the power of the Gospel message, man’s heart is pricked (see Acts 2:37) and he has the choice to respond positively or negatively.”

        I do affirm that no one has an innate ability to respond to the preached gospel. I affirm that anyone who does so respond so as to be converted must be acted on by God to be able and made willing to respond positively.

        As to the “power of the Gospel message,” as I have been saying over at Bob’s post today, the power to save is from God. The passage says just that…

        “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

        Note..”power of God.” As I state on the other post, God uses the word and His Spirit to convert sinners. The power is God, not the vocalization of certain words or printed letters making up words on a page.

        “Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And of course I believe this as well, and in fact see it as bolstering my point of the need for regeneration (“cut to the heart”) so the sinner will see Christ in all His glory and repent and believe.

        And though we have never met, it is apparent that you love the Lord and I love you as well brother.

      • Les Prouty says:

        Also Randy, do you agree with what I wrote earlier?

        “i.e. you are not comfortable with God choosing some long ago to save but you are ok with Him choosing not to step in, in real time, to save some. Because the result is the same. God chooses to not save all, right? I mean He could, couldn’t He? But He doesn’t.”

        Thanks brother.

      • Randy says:

        @ Les

        I believe I am comfortable and in agreement with what you are saying.

      • Les Prouty says:

        Thanks Randy. So given that you agree with how I characterized it as,

        “i.e. you are not comfortable with God choosing some long ago to save but you are ok with Him choosing not to step in, in real time, to save some. Because the result is the same. God chooses to not save all, right? I mean He could, couldn’t He? But He doesn’t.”

        I cannot understand why you are so vehemently opposed to my view that places God’s choice of who to rescue and who not to rescue back at “before the foundation of the world.”

        Your view still has God choosing NOT to rescue some but your view just has Him making that choice at the point of the sinner being confronted with the gospel, maybe several such encounters, and ultimately dying with God not choosing the sinner. In both cases God chooses some and does not choose others.

        Blessings brother,

        Les

    • rhutchin says:

      “In the Calvinistic system, will the reprobate ever have a real and actual *opportunity* to be forgiven for their sins?”

      Based on omniscience, God knows the elect and the reprobate at the time He creates the universe. The elect are certain and will not be increased and the reprobate are certain and will not be decreased. The Calvinist thereby concludes that the preaching of the gospel has two purposes; (1) to draw the elect to Christ and (2) to prepare the reprobate for judgment.

      The Calvinist asks the question: In what sense can the reprobate ever have a real and actual *opportunity* to be forgiven for their sins? Their destiny is certain and cannot change.

      Given that it is God who must enable the lost to respond positively to the gospel and it is God who has decided not to save the reprobate, then it is God who has decided that He will not enable the reprobate to be saved so they get no opportunity to be forgiven.

      • sbcissues says:

        Two comments… one which will probably be my next article.

        I am afraid OUR definition and understanding of omniscience where God is concerned may be terribly skewed. After all, if we understood the full ramifications of omniscience, would that not make us like God… which obviously we are not. I do believe this is part of the problem calvinism tries to solve.

        Secondly, I want to comment on your statement, The Calvinist thereby concludes that the preaching of the gospel has two purposes; (1) to draw the elect to Christ.

        I adamantly disagree with this conclusion and will argue that it is not only inconsistent WITH calvinism it is impossible in the calvinist system. Now, understand, I did not say this is inconsistent with what calvinists maintain but it is impossible where calvinism is concerned.

        The preaching of the gospel in calvinism CANNOT draw the elect to Christ and here is why: until regeneration takes place the unrepentant person has a dead heart, deaf ears and blinded eyes; he is dead. He cannot respond to the gospel unless and until he is FIRST regenerated. Once regeneration takes place, he can do no other than respond with repentance and believing faith so in all actuality, the gospel has NO bearing at this point… repentance and believing faith are the result and response to regeneration… and effectual calling NOT the gospel.

        This has to be true or the whole concept pf total depravity and inability fails and the calvinist system in total with it.

        Like it or not, for the calvinist, the gospel is for sanctification NOT conversion.

      • rhutchin says:

        “Once regeneration takes place, he can do no other than respond with repentance and believing faith so in all actuality, the gospel has NO bearing at this point… repentance and believing faith are the result and response to regeneration… and effectual calling NOT the gospel. ”

        Once regeneration takes place, there must be something to which the person can respond. Regeneration only removes the sin nature. Regeneration does not regenerate faith. It provides the environment in which faith can now prosper. It is still true that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Regeneration removes a person from the captivity of the sin nature and provides them with a free will. The rational response of a person with free will is to submit to the gospel when he hears it preached – he will do no other than respond with repentance and believing faith to the effectual calling of the gospel preached.

      • sbcissues says:

        For the record, I agree with most of what you said. However, since calvinism is based on the premise of TD/TI AND regeneration is necessary to overcome this TD/TI by giving new birth and a new heart and new life… which is what regeneration is…

        the gospel has had NO effect until one is made alive, has ears and eyes opened and most calvinists admit this is all simultaneous… repentance and faith which calvinists maintain are GIFTS that come from God… not so much responses… but the natural response to new life like a baby breathing when it is born.

        I understand WHY you say what you do and by the way yours is one of the best responses I believe i have read… so cudo’s to you.

        But you are still side stepping the argument that I am making and I believe that is critical to the validity of the system that I believe is errant.

    • rhutchin says:

      “…are some babies born with absolutely no hope of ever being forgiven for the inevitable results of Adam’s sin?”

      For by grace a person is saved and this the gift of God else it would not be grace. Children are saved the exact same way adults are saved – by grace. God may have decided to save all babies, some babies, or no babies. Given the example of David in the death of the baby born to Bathsheba, we might conclude that the babies born to believers will be saved. Given the example of the flood of Noah and Sodom, we might conclude that the babies of unbelievers will not be saved or it is uncertain. The best course of action is to do like David and petition God for the life of a baby until the baby dies.

      • Randy says:

        This begs the question, are all infants that perish elect? I always feel the Calvinist tries to dodge this question with talk of mystery and uncertainty. If as you say some are chosen as elect and some not, why is it such a problem to extrapolate that some infants are elect and some are not? Does that offend even the sensibilities of the Calvinist? Why is it so hard to admit if you hold to Calvinism that this is the logical conclusion?

      • Les Prouty says:

        Randy, I won’t dodge it. I believe all babies dying in infancy (as well as severely mentally impaired) are elect.

      • Randy says:

        Thank you so much Les for a straight up answer in this area.

        Now please excuse me on this question because I am not trying to be confrontational. I am trying to take it out to the logical conclusion that someone might. As a father, I cannot be sure that all of my children are God’s elect. However, if they die in infancy, then I can be sure they will spend eternity in glory. One might arrive at the logical (yet disturbing conclusion) that as a good parent, seeking to insure the eternal destiny of my children, I should make sure they die in infancy. That way any chance of their eternal condemnation is eradicated.

      • Les says:

        Randy,

        Yes that would be a disturbing logical conclusion. One could add that more abortions are called for too.

        But, I think it’s better to trust Gid with our children’s salvation and not attempt to apply a flawed human logical conclusion to our theogical positions. All He does is right even if we cannot understand it. Even a lost child, hard as that is humanly.

      • rhutchin says:

        “This [invites] the question, are all infants that perish elect?”

        The Bible does not tell us what happens to babies.

      • Randy says:

        @ rhutchin

        You said, “The Bible does not tell us what happens to babies.”

        That is a convenient way to dodge the question. I’m just curious how you can say this when you have said that God has determined the elect before time began. So there are actually only two possible answers in that case:

        (1) All infants who die are elect – Les’ position (who I thank again for not dodging the question)
        (2) Some infants who die are elect and some are not

        Why is this such a mystery in your theology? I believe it makes Calvinists uncomfortable to consider this situation so most throw out the old “Bible doesn’t say” answer to avoid the issue.

    • Randy says:

      @ Les

      Well, here’s the deal man. I believe every person has the opportunity to be saved.

      The Lord is not slack concerning his promise as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

      I just cannot resolve that verse, and others, with a 5 point view of Calvinism. And consider both John 3:16 and 1 John 2:2 concerning God’s love for the “world” and Christ as the propitiation for the sins of the “world.” The word there is “kosmos” and there is absolutely no way to shoehorn it into meaning only the “elect.” If the Holy Spirit had intended it to be written that way, he surely could have seen to it.

      Even in the Old Testament God’s feelings seem clear:

      Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? (Ezekiel 33:11)

      It seems clear from the beginning of the Law that God gives man a choice, that he presents the opportunity for sin filled, fallen man to make a decision:

      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. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

      And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. (Joshua 24:15)

      Calvinism must ignore a good portion of Scripture to proclaim it’s tenants. I have not problem admitting there are some mysteries in election and that my feeble human mind cannot totally grasp it. The systematic theology of Calvinism that proclaims an understanding of it deeply concerns me, because in many places it runs contrary to the Scriptures.

      So to conclude, where we differ I believe that every person may be saved. I believe that Christ died so that anybody could put their faith in him and be saved. I can step into any place around this world and confidently say: “God loves you. Jesus died for your sins. Repent and believe!”

      • Les Prouty says:

        Randy,

        I totally understand where you are coming from. And when you say, “Calvinism must ignore a good portion of Scripture to proclaim it’s tenants,” I will respond by saying that Calvinism has an answer to all those verses that are used to try to disprove Calvinism. But you already know that and I need not try that here.

        My final point, and one I don’t really see where you’ve replied to it, is what I have been pointing out. At the end of my system and at the end of you system, God still has graces some with heaven and He chooses to not grace others with heaven. He has the power to grace all with heaven, and in both our views He chooses not to do so. Earlier you wrote,

        “…but if you had the opportunity to save someone from death, if you had all the means to do it, and you chose not to, people would consider that a horrific act. This egregious theology vilifies the benevolent God of Christianity, and I simply cannot accept it or stand by and let my Lord and Savior be painted in this fashion.”

        Your view ends up here as well brother. He has “all the means to do it, and…[chooses] not to…”

        I choose to believe that God does all things well. He knows best.

  7. DP says:

    TSaint, I know what you mean as far as posting comments. The internet is indeed “wet cement”. What we put out there… is out there for keeps…warts, typos and all. Thus, we are all well advised to read (and re-read) before we click. :)

    To your point about the “opportunity” for the non elect to be saved: During my tenure as a Calvinist I, of course, did come to wrestle with the distinction between the Supra and Infra positions among Calvinists. In reading James Boice (the early SBC President) on the subject, I came to the conclusion that I was off the map… I needed to go back and see where I made a wrong turn. It really doesn’t matter which “Lapsarian” position we take to the answer the question about “opportunity”. The answer is a resounding NO in both views. There is no bona fide, that is good faith, offer of salvation to the reprobate. In either the Infra or Supra position. The non elect could never become the elect. They can’t be saved. They weren’t chosen to have faith, Jesus did not die for their sins, and the Holy Spirit will never effectually call or regenerate them… in real Calvinism. This is the window dressing that I was referring to in previous posts. Smoke and mirror – to cover the startling conclusions.

    I have come to the conclusion that God is absolutely trustworthy. He would never make a universal offer/promise of salvation unless He backed it up with a universal provision. Promising salvation to the reprobate if they meet an impossible condition (and if Jesus did not die for them) would be a sleazy deception far beneath the dignity of the biblical God..

    Randy, You got it and I’m with you friend. But understand this about sincere Calvinists: They are genuinely trying to protect salvation by grace alone from salvation by works. They over-correct, and, thus, impugn the holiness and justice of God; but church history is full of those who tried to sneak a works righteousness into salvation. You will also see that Calvinists logically build their system on a false premise. The false premise is that every baby deserves to go to hell from birth because of what Adam did. Calvinism stands or falls upon their imputation of Adam’s GUILT to his posterity. This is why we must resist any attempt to use THEIR definition of the “Federal Headship of Adam” in the SBC creedal statements. Thanks for chiming in on the discussion.

  8. Randy,
    I wanted to respond to your comment of this morning in which you described unconditional election as “some capricious / mysterious process of his divine will” by which God “only chooses to save certain people,” and you wanted me to explain “how this does not make God a monster.”
    The first point I would want to make about this is that God sends people to hell for the simple reason that they are sinners. They have lived their entire lives in sin and rebellion against God. Paul says that they know the truth, but that they suppress it, “so that they are without excuse.” (Rom 1:20). Thus they have no one to blame but themselves
    Secondly, the only thing that God owes the lost is the just punishment their sins deserve. God is not being unfair or unjust by not electing them and sending them to hell.
    Thirdly, the fact that God would save anyone is a demonstration of His grace and mercy. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).
    Why, then, you ask, does He choose to save some and not others? You suggest that it is the result of “some capricious / mysterious process of his divine will.” Actually, the term “unconditional election” is a bit misleading — it does suggest “some capricious process.” But the fact of the matter is that the Bible tells us the rationale behind election. “For you see your calling, brethren, that no many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. For of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God — and righteousness and sanctification and redemption — that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord” (I Cor. 1:26-31). You could not ask for a better summary of “Calvinist” theology!

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