A Question for Calvinists

Here is my question and I would appreciate any serious answers.

Lets say you have 4 children and 8 grandchildren. Twelve is a good Scriptural number. God came to you and said I have some wonderful news! As you know all of the 12 are sinners and do not deserve my love nor my grace but one of them is going to receive my unmerited favor and I am going to forgive them and take them to heaven with me.

I want YOU to pick which one gets the blessing of my grace.

How would YOU choose one of the 12?

I am sure you are connecting the dots here or I certainly hope you are because that is exactly what Calvinism says God does. This is why I see calvinism as detestable and abominable.

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Interested in bringing the issues facing The Southern Baptist Convention to light.
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85 Responses to A Question for Calvinists

  1. Randy says:

    I addressed this in a similar note on my facebook page a couple of years back if you want to see a parallel illustration of this:

    https://www.facebook.com/notes/randy-alan-donahue/a-true-father/414688730016

  2. Les Prouty says:

    Hey Bob.

    To your question: If God said, “I want YOU to pick which one gets the blessing of my grace. How would YOU choose one of the 12?”

    I wouldn’t. I couldn’t. I would respond that since He is infinitely wise and I am not, I would have to leave the choice with Him.

    I have 5 children and 5 grandchildren BTW. I trust God wholly with their eternal destiny.

    • sbcissues says:

      God is sovereign. He said YOU CHOOSE. You do not have an option here.

      So another question: you are ok with KNOWING 1 of the 12 (or 10 in your case) is going to be saved and the others being condemned to hell… with no possibility of redemption? Really?

      You can tell them that God loves them but He is only going to save one? The cry, “What must we do to be saved” has no answer for you. I simply cannot accept that as an answer not for my children, not for yours or anyone else’s for that matter. I cannot fathom a gospel message that offers no hope for ALL WHO BY FAITH BELIEVE that God is indeed everything He says He is and that He will do everything He says He will do.

    • Les Prouty says:

      Bob,

      “He said YOU CHOOSE. You do not have an option here.” Now He could force me to choose in your example. But that’s the only way I would choose. By force, and God doesn’t operate that way in salvation.

      “So another question: you are ok with KNOWING 1 of the 12 (or 10 in your case) is going to be saved and the others being condemned to hell… with no possibility of redemption? Really?”

      Ok with it? What I said was, “I trust God wholly with their eternal destiny.” And I do. But the truth is I don’t know the destiny of anyone else with any certainty at all. None of us does. God does though. But from earliest days I told my children and I tell my grandchildren that they are made in God’s image and that He has made covenant promises to them to be their God. I teach them to sing “Jesus Loves Me” from the earliest days. I believe His promise to be a God not only to me but to my children. Oops, now I’ve opened another can.

      • lydiasellerofpurple says:

        “By force, and God doesn’t operate that way in salvation”

        Huh? Predestination (as defined by Calvinists) = no choice. No choice = force.

      • Les Prouty says:

        Oh hello Lydia. Been a while.

        “Predestination (as defined by Calvinists) = no choice. No choice = force.”

        Sister, you are showing your lack of understanding of the doctrine of predestination as it relates to soteriology. Now queue up the tired old, “see, they always say we don’t get it” response. Well when you don’t, what else are we supposed to do other than let you know that you don’t get it?

        Predestination does not mean no choice, unless you can demonstrate from scripture that it does.

        Have a blessed day.

      • lydiasellerofpurple says:

        “Sister, you are showing your lack of understanding of the doctrine of predestination as it relates to soteriology. Now queue up the tired old, “see, they always say we don’t get it” response. Well when you don’t, what else are we supposed to do other than let you know that you don’t get it?

        Predestination does not mean no choice, unless you can demonstrate from scripture that it does.”

        Sorry Les, but it is becoming a tired worn out mantra that we don’t get it and the only reason we don’t get it is because we don’t subscribe to your doctrine. Therefore we don’t get it. The problem lies in the fact we are to agree and never reiterate your beliefs back to you because when we do they don’t make much sense in the light of day. It is not some cosmic mystical thing UNLESS man has no volition. Then it has to be.

        If God is controlling every molecule 24/7 then your “no choice” was predestined for you and that is a form of “force”. No way around it. Your choice was made for you. If that is not force, I don’t know what else it could be. Gentle force? :o) You had nothing to do with it at all. In fact, your comment was predestined for you and you have no volition in writing it. If you murder someone tonight, that was predestined for you, too. So, no matter what you do, God predestined it because humans are taken out of the equation.

        I know you say that is not what you believe but it is the result of what you believe. That is why all the debating and arguing is really moot when one thinks about it. If all is predestined then why do you try to persuade anyone they have Calvinism wrong? God determined we think the way we think. :o)

      • Les Prouty says:

        Well of course you queued up well as expected. Anyway, of course you were predestined to resist reformed theology. No worries though. Three things we all know. 1) All Christians are Reformed (even if they don’t know it) at salvation. Now you’ll be the exception if you asked yourself to save you. 2) All Christians are Reformed when praying for others to become Chrostians. Unless you are the exception who prays not that God saves them but that they save themselves. and 3) All Christians are or will be Reformed in glory.

        And yes, I was predestined to write that, happily and they are my words, not God’s. He already wrote a book and it’s done.. 🙂

      • sbcissues says:

        Les…

        I think this is the BETTER statement:

        1) All Christians are Transformed (even if they don’t know it) at salvation. Now you’ll be the exception if you asked yourself to save you.
        Not really… if someone seeks to save themselves they are lost and not Christian so no exception!

        2) All Christians are Tranformed when praying for others to become Christians. Unless you are the exception who prays not that God saves them but that they save themselves. and

        3) All Christians are or will be Transformed in glory.

        That’s why I believe in Transformed Theology as opposed to Reformed Theology!

        🙂

  3. Javy says:

    This kind of rhetoric is behind us in the convention isn’t it?

    As to your questions; emotional pleas are irrelevant to revealed truth that God has a sovereign purpose in creating; we are not the story but a part of that story and his purpose is redeeming a people for Himself for His glory. May I *emotionally* struggle, perhaps can I still plead with God hoping that He will grace them with repentance of course. We don’t know God’s decree, nor can we postulate with foolish mathematical equations.

    • sbcissues says:

      This kind of rhetoric is behind us in the convention isn’t it?

      Sadly the answer is NO.

      “Emotional pleas are irrelevant to revealed truth that God has a sovereign purpose in creating;” Agreed. I believe God’s sovereign purpose in creating mankind is for men to respond to the gospel so that their souls will be in heaven for eternity.

      You ask, “can I still plead with God hoping that He will grace them with repentance of course.” My answer is simple; no pleading with God is necessary; share the gospel with those you love and be a living testimony of the power of God in their lives and the gospel message itself demands a response; that response is to believe God’s promises or not.

      I maintain we know enough about our lost condition and God’s provisions settled on the cross to believe Him and be saved.

      The real issue has very little to do with God’s sovereignty but everything to do with His omniscience and that is the real problem with calvinism. Calvinism is based on man’s limited view of omniscience not sovereignty.

      • Javy says:

        “My answer is simple; no pleading with God is necessary; share the gospel with those you love and be a living testimony of the power of God in their lives and the gospel message itself demands a response; that response is to believe God’s promises or not.”

        So, what you’re saying is that we shouldn’t pray that God mercy sinners? Besides that, there is no *real* practical difference in how we would share the gospel with sinners, including family members (elect or not)

        “I maintain we know enough about our lost condition and God’s provisions settled on the cross to believe Him and be saved.”

        When you say ‘we’ do you mean unbelievers?

        “The real issue has very little to do with God’s sovereignty but everything to do with His omniscience and that is the real problem with calvinism. Calvinism is based on man’s limited view of omniscience not sovereignty.”

        Can you explain this? What do you mean?

      • Les Prouty says:

        Javy, I’m happy you’re here brother. I was getting lonely as the only Reformed guy.

  4. If I may offer a critique of the question: the difference is that God is not picking and choosing from His family. His family, the Church, will be saved. Everyone is not part of the family of God; we were, in fact, enemies of God (Ephesians 2)

    • sbcissues says:

      Come on Eric… you know you are side-stepping the cow piles here.

      The implications of the illustration turn the tables where the tenets of calvinism are concerned… calvinism pictures a God who decides who does get saved and by default solely decides who does not have an opportunity to repent and believe and therefore perish.

      You do not want to answer the question because you know the answer does not bode well for the calvinist position. So you do what is commonly done; evade the issue and raise other issues hoping you can get away with it.

      If I were a calvinist, I would simply answer the question. It is what it is but most calvinists do not want to own the consequences of their theology because they know people will say… I do not believe that… hit the road Jack!

      That is Shameful.

      • It’s not shameful that I point out that your question is loaded. I tried to do so nicely, without accusing you of the really bad theology implied. I figured you just had not considered it in that light, but given your reply, I am now wondering: do you believe everyone is a child of God?

        I stand by my statement. Why would I answer a question that is supposed to set up a comparison of my choice and God’s when the premise is flawed?

    • Randy says:

      Eric thanks for taking the time to reply and wade in to this conversation. I honestly do not mean to ask this question in hostility but I’m trying to think of how to rephrase this to wrap my head around your stance. You state that God’s true family, the Church will be saved. You also state that not everyone is part of the family of God.

      It seems one thing you and I can agree on 100% is that we were all once enemies of God. To dig deeper into your response, God is choosing who will become part of his family, and by default then excluding others from his family. The implication then becomes that God is ordaining some to salvation and some to damnation. I understand that by default damnation is the fate of all mankind. But it sounds like you are saying that out of those dead in their sins, God adopts some, not based on their merit but by his grace, into his family. That family is the one Jesus died for and they are thus saved because of this. All others are excluded from this free gift of salvation. Is that correct?

      Now to address something Les said earlier:
      “But the truth is I don’t know the destiny of anyone else with any certainty at all. None of us does. God does though. But from earliest days I told my children and I tell my grandchildren that they are made in God’s image and that He has made covenant promises to them to be their God.”

      First, is it possible to know my destiny? Or must I live my life uncertain if I am “elect”? I’m just wondering where you guys stand on this. I wasn’t sure that you stated anything either way on that Les. However Les, my other question to you is this: Let’s say you get to glory and you find that after one of your beloved children passes he is not bound for the same destination but has been condemned to the pits of hell for eternity. Here is where I see the problem with the Calvinist view – I must reconcile for all eternity with myself that the God I servedchose not to adopt my child into his family, for reasons I cannot comprehend. He chose me, for reasons I cannot comprehend. How can I worship this God?

      If on the other hand, my child has condemned himself to hell by his actions and continued rejection of Jesus as his Savior, spurning God’s love and grace over and over, I can reconcile that. I know my marvelous, glorious God has extended every opportunity to my beloved child.

      That’s where my struggle is with Calvinistic theology, and I hope maybe you can shed some light on that. Thanks.

      Randy

      • sbcissues says:

        Randy,

        Well worded. I believe these guys understand the position but are not willing to own the implications of their own theology, which is the gist of my question. I just wanted to see if ANYONE would do so.

      • Les Prouty says:

        Randy,

        I’ll jump in with my responses to something you asked Eric. Of course he can speak for himself. You wrote:

        “The implication then becomes that God is ordaining some to salvation and some to damnation. I understand that by default damnation is the fate of all mankind. But it sounds like you are saying that out of those dead in their sins, God adopts some, not based on their merit but by his grace, into his family. That family is the one Jesus died for and they are thus saved because of this.”

        I would state it this way:

        God has ordained some to salvation and some to damnation. After all, I believe as the London Baptist Confession says, “God has decreed in Himself from all eternity, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely and unchangeably, all things which shall ever come to pass.” The LBC says other important things on God’s decrees including, “By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestinated or foreordained to eternal life through Jesus Christ, to the praise of His glorious grace. Others are left to act in their sin to their just condemnation, to the praise of His glorious justice.”

        Because of the fall damnation is the fate of all mankind. Out of those dead in their sins, God adopts some, not based on their merit but by his grace, into his family. That family is the one Jesus died for and they are thus saved because in time God opens their hearts and they exercise faith in Jesus.

        Now to your questions of me: “Let’s say you get to glory and you find that after one of your beloved children passes he is not bound for the same destination but has been condemned to the pits of hell for eternity.”

        I suppose you are assuming I died first and would know that one of my children then dies and I become aware of that. Is that right? If that’s what you’re asking, I don;t think I would know from heabven. Maybe there is scripture I’m not aware of telling me otherwise. But if your example were the case, well I can’t cry. There are no tears in heaven.

        But I suppose in theory, since we cannot know here with absolute certainty where anyone goes when they die…i.e. we can’t see hearts…but in theory if God so chooses that who am I to rail against holy God? Romans 9 speaks to this actually. He is the potter. We are the clay. And you’ve already stated that we all deserve damnation. By definition of grace, any who receive heaven receive it as a gift, underserved and if they don’t receive it they have no standing to complain since we humans are sinners deserving of eternal damnation.

        “If on the other hand, my child has condemned himself to hell by his actions and continued rejection of Jesus as his Savior, spurning God’s love and grace over and over, I can reconcile that. I know my marvelous, glorious God has extended every opportunity to my beloved child.”

        And as you have stated, this is the reason anyone goes to eternal destruction. You’ve stated it well.

      • Randy, your comment doesn’t seem hostile at all to me. I kept waiting for the hostile part! LOL. Let me try to answer your question:

        I would say you have fairly adequately described what I am saying. We are all God’s creation, but not all his “children”. I wouldn’t state it as God is choosing to damn some and save some. My understanding of Scripture is not that we are born morally neutral and must decided which way to go, but that we are all born sinful and dead in our sins (Romans 5:12-21). Damnation is a natural result, a just result, for all of us. God does not have to damn some; we are already condemned to damnation. In his grace, He saves some – I honestly don’t know how He decides and I don’t try to understand to be honest, I just try to be obedient to share the Gospel with all and leave results to God (Romans 9-10).

        That said, yes, I do not think we are all children of God. I would cite verses like John 1:12, Romans 8:15-17, 1 John 3:1-10 as some quick references to this belief.

        I obviously cannot answer for Les, but since I think the questions where for both of us, I would answer you question with a question of my own, I guess. To what extent, do you mean “know”. There is some extent that we can know that we are children of God or not, so we know are destiny in that sense – though it is doubtful those who don’t believe would agree with that; however, there are also indications that some believed they had a different destiny (Matthew 7:21-23), so it may not be completely known. That said, again, I would argue to an extent Revelation tells us our destinies. So, just not sure exactly what you’re asking.

        I suspect that once we are in heaven, if we actually can know who is there and who is not (and I am not sure that we can), are understanding and knowledge of God will be such that we understand and even praise God for his justness that others are not there. I know that sounds harsh now, but I think of 1 Cor. 13:12. I just do not see any place in Scripture where anyone in the presence of God is upset at God, so I find it difficult to believe we would be. It also seems to put more of an emphasis on being around each other more so than being in the presence of God. Also, remember that relationships will be different in Heaven, as well (Matthew 22:30)

        Not sure if that answers your questions or not. If not, I can try again if you direct me more towards what you were asking.

      • Les Prouty says:

        Bob, brother I own it. Totally!! I just will not let you brothers paint me into a false dilemma corner.

      • please excuse all my typos! Need to proof before posting!

      • Bob, not willing to own the implications of our theology is a strong statement. To some extent, couldn’t that charge be made against everyone. For example, you clearly believe in the fact that you chose to accept God. It seems that God had no charge over if you did or not. I wonder: why did you accept when others have heard that same Gospel and have not accepted? Isn’t the logical implication because you are somehow smarter or not as bad as they were, so you were able to see the truth and they were not? Isn’t the logical implication of this belief to highlight the goodness of you, as you were wise enough to make the right choice?

      • sbcissues says:

        Les and Eric are gentlemen and are demonstrating great grace in their responses! Les and I have shared this stage on numerous occasions and I have a lot of respect for his contribution even though it is heavily Presbyterian leaning.

        Eric… to your question… For example, you clearly believe in the fact that you chose to accept God. It seems that God had no charge over if you did or not. I wonder: why did you accept when others have heard that same Gospel and have not accepted? Isn’t the logical implication because you are somehow smarter or not as bad as they were, so you were able to see the truth and they were not? Isn’t the logical implication of this belief to highlight the goodness of you, as you were wise enough to make the right choice?

        No. I do not see my position as you describe. Yours is not a logical deduction and here is why. I clearly do believe that it is our responsibility to respond to God’s revelatory and reconcilatory work by accepting or rejecting God’s initiative in both. The very nature f revelation and reconciliation require responses. Why did I accept or believe when others did not?

        I do not know. My answer might be the willingness of the church that made sure we were at church on Sunday when I was a kid. It was the faithful SS teachers that I had that loved me and demonstrated the Love of Christ in my life. It was the preaching of the Word of God and the teaching that I received and the convicting work of the Holy Spirit in my heart that caused me one Sunday night in a revival service to KNOW that I was a sinner and I was lost and needed a Savior whose name was Jesus. I prayed and asked God to forgive me of my sin and actually cried myself to sleep 4 nights in a row and on a Thursday night in my bedroom after 4 nights of revival services at church, it was as if the Lord reached down and picked me up and help me close in his arms and I went to sleep in His arms and I have never gone to sleep since wondering whose I am.

        I believe that my conversion is in part the result of the faithfulness of those who planted their lives into mine. It is not that I was any smarter than anyone else. That is the illogical part of your argument. If A+B=C and D+E=F then C and E have no expressed relationship. Your conclusion may be related to the condition but not necessarily.

        God certainly saved me. His Word was planted in my heart; His Spirit certainly convicted me and while I could have said no, I said yes and opened my heart to His promised provisions.

        Why do we do anything? Why are we even engaged in this discussion? We made the choice to do so. I believe that being created in God’s image we have a need to know God that only He can fill. However being created in His image we also have the desire to fill that void ourselves. Some choose that path and other choose to let God fill the void. I really do not know WHY some do and some do not but I am not inclined to say that God makes that decision for me.

        That is the decided difference as I see it. It is one thing to say I don’t know. It is another to say, God did it.

      • ewlockhart says:

        Well, I can agree with you not knowing why you chose – as I am not sure why I was chosen, save for His grace.

        I cannot think that plenty of others have had very similar upbringing as you and have not accepted. Nor do I see that it is illogical to think it implies you were smarter, at least in that decision. So we don’t agree there.

        For me, I find “God did it” to be much more comforting than “I don’t know”. However, my feelings aside, I think Scripture clearly indicates that God always had a chosen people – chosen by God not them. I think this is why Nicodemus finds Jesus’ answer of being born again so crazy. It defies logic. You cannot choose when you are born.

  5. Christian says:

    Well a Calvinist friend of mine told me if you are elect, your children are too. :). How wonderful you don’t even have to “bring them up in the way they should go.” Calvinism is a false gospel from the pits of hell!

    • Les Prouty says:

      Well Christian, your Calvinist friend is wrong.

      Signed “from the pits of hell” I guess. But at least you are clear in what you believe about us.

  6. Shane Dodson says:

    I wouldn’t chose any. Your question presupposes that man can make wiser decisions than God can.

    Is this question somehow supposed to disprove Reformed theology?

    Uhhhh…no.

    • sbcissues says:

      Shane,

      Fortunately, God is NEVER going to ask anyone to make this choice. The point is that is what Calvinism says about God. Those who are saying that God’s ways are higher than our ways etc etc are avoiding the obvious: just like you did.

      My question did not presuppose ANYTHING; I asked a question. You do not want to answer the question because you understand the underlying implications that calvinism posits making God the One who decides who is saved as opposed to you being the one to make that choice.

      Neither is the case Scripturally. Calvinists want to define the terms and control the language and avoid at all costs any response to practical implications of their theology they cannot control. That is what is happening here.

      I knew that would be the case because there is no good answer to the question but that is exactly what calvinists are saying God does and that is so wrong.

      • Shane Dodson says:

        As opposed to the implications of your theology, which features a God who TRIES His hardest to save everybody…but, darnit, He just can’t do it!

      • sbcissues says:

        Shane,

        That is an incorrect statement as well; I do not in any fashion whatsoever believe that God’s hand is shortened that it cannot save; I believe He said what He meant and He meant what He said that whosoever believes shall be saved.

        I do know this: He did not say, all those that I give the ability to believe will be saved. Nowhere in the Scriptures is that even remotely hinted to. That is a philosophical theological position proffered by calvinism.

        I will stick with the TEXT as it is written.

      • ewlockhart says:

        Is it not possible that the “whosoever” are led to believe by God?

      • sbcissues says:

        Is it not possible that the “whosoever” are led to believe by God?

        Not only is it possible it is essential. No one comes to the Father but by the Lord Jesus. To posit otherwise would be Pelagianism. Understand that there is a profound difference in one being “let to believe in God” and one being born again to THEN believe.

        This is the difference in our two respective positions.

    • Tim G says:

      Shane,
      I would like to point out that no one says God can’t – no one. In God’s sovereignty He allows us a choice. If you confine your thoughts into the position of Calvin, our love for and to God would be stripped away by the simply fact that we are just His puppets. God can do anything He desires within the constraints of His own nature. It is His nature that reveals His love for all making the choice He offered. It is easy to see that Calvin missed the nature of God in his conclusions.

      • ewlockhart says:

        Tim, is it fair to say that you believe that God can save everyone, he just chooses not to do so? If so, I am not sure how this is deemed more loving than stating that God can save and he chooses to definitely save some. Could you explain that to me?

      • Tim G says:

        But where did I say that God made the decision to not save someone?
        Salvation is not a forced act by God on anyone. From the beginning of scripture God allows each person to make many choices. What I said was that God desires and yet knows that not will be saved.

        If salvation is forced, it is contrary to His nature. If salvation is forced, people are just what I said, puppets.

        Grace reveals God’s provision to do that which we do not deserve. Why is grace needed if God has already determined and so acts on our behalf? That would be so much less than grace. Grace is God making a provision that merit would not. If we are born elect, thus will be under all circumstances, saved, what is grace?

      • ewlockhart says:

        Ok, so you believe God is loving by allowing people to freely choose to go to Hell. Is that a better wording of what you believe? Not trying to be as contrary as it might seem, trying to understand. Why is it against God’s nature to “force” something? Does Satan have a say in if he is going to be destroyed? Or did Judas have a chance to not be the son of perdition?

      • ewlockhart says:

        Grace is grace because it is given despite the fact that we deserve different. To be fair, no Calvinist I know is saying that a response is not needed. It’s in understanding what prompts the response.

      • Tim G says:

        Has not mankind had a choice from the beginning? Adam and Eve had a choice. Abraham had many choices.

      • Tim G says:

        EW,
        Did not Satan make a choice which resulted in him being booted out of heaven?

      • ewlockhart says:

        Let’s say he did, and don’t forget the angels with him – is God less loving because he did not die to save Satan and the fallen angels?

      • sbcissues says:

        ewlockhart,

        Tim, is it fair to say that you believe that God can save everyone, he just chooses not to do so?

        I believe this is better stated as follows: I believe God can save EVERYONE… absolutely. It is not that He chooses not too but He chooses to save those that believe. The calvinist will AMEN this statement as well. The problem is in the believing. Calvinism posits that a person MUST BE BORN AGAIN in order to believe and that is a monergistic work of God and God alone. His work is the essential element in one’s believing.

        My position is from the Scripture that says the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to the Jew first and also to the Greek. So God’s revelation of who He is and what it is that He has dne for sinful man and what it is that He WILL DO FOR sinful man demands a response: “Anyone that calls on My name shall be saved.” Seems pretty simple to me. God did not say “I will birth you so that you can believe.”

        God does not decide to not save some: He saves those that repent and by faith believe His provisions and promises.

      • sbcissues says:

        EW…

        I appreciate this statement:

        Grace is grace because it is given despite the fact that we deserve different. To be fair, no Calvinist I know is saying that a response is not needed. It’s in understanding what prompts the response.

        You are correct. The central difference in our views is “in understanding what prompts the response.” This is ALL I have been saying for what seems like decades now!

        Calvinism posits that regeneration prompts the response. My position is that the gospel prompts the response. Calvinists cry… we believe that… I beg to differ and here is why I say that.

        The gospel has NO POWER TO SAVED the unregenerated individual. NONE. If a person is dead the gospel falls on deaf ears and a dead heart. That is the fundamental foundation for calvinism. One MUST be born again TO BELIEVE. So the gospel cannot be the means of conversion if regeneration MUST take place prior to the gospel having any effect on a person.

        So it is the proclamation of the gospel which is revelatory and reconciliatory that both demand a response that I believe is what prompts a response from the sinner that God responds to in salvation.

      • ewlockhart says:

        Read your responses. I don’t think much is needed to be said on the other two, but will respond to the last part of this one – later. Sorry, going to be crazy for the next couple days. But wanted to let you know I saw it and not just ignoring you.

      • sbcissues says:

        understand for sure!!!!!!! Hope your 4th is a good one… no a blessed one!

      • ewlockhart says:

        It’s probably too late to do this, not as

      • Tim G says:

        But therein is the point. God gave His best to Satan and yet Satan still chose to make the decision to challenge God and thus he chose to NOT follow God. God knew and yet God did not force. The choice and lack of force are clearly seen from scripture – beginning to end!

      • Les Prouty says:

        Tim G,

        Eric asked you an important question that you never really answered. Neither dod Bob.

        He asked, “is it fair to say that you believe that God can save everyone, he just chooses not to do so?”

        Your reply was “But where did I say that God made the decision to not save someone?” and Bob re worded the question.

        We all agree that God saves, right? So, God has to make concious decisions to save, right?

        I think this is where non Cals really get tripped up. You all know that God COULD save everyone. So the fact that anyone perishes means that God, who could have saved them, chose not to.

        That is is we all agree that “Jehovah saves.”

        So Tim, do you think that “…God can save everyone, he just chooses not to do so?”

        Thanks brother.

      • sbcissues says:

        Les,

        I did respond to Eric’s question, “is it fair to say that you believe that God can save everyone, he just chooses not to do so?”

        My answer was that God has saved those that He said He would save; those who believe in Him.

        So is it fair to believe that God can save everyone? Absolutely.
        Is it fair to say that he just chooses not to do so… namely not to save some? Absolutely.

        The real question is now, Why does God who CAN save all not save some?

        Answer… because some or many do not believe in Jesus who is the only way to heaven.

        The calvinist cannot say that God CAN save everyone because they posit Jesus only died on the cross for the elect. Who determined who the elect are? God.

        Who determined who the non-elect are? God.

        So given this foundation, cavinism posits God has decided in eternity past who would be saved and go to heave and who would not be saved and go to hell.

        Your assertion is that calvinism makes God sovereign over salvation and the non-calvinist position makes man sovereign over his salvation is absurd because God is sovereign in BOTH scenarios!

  7. Tim G says:

    I find it simple to grasp from the Word of God when I look at the heart of God – for all to come to faith in Christ and then the mind of God, knowing that not all will. From the previous thread – to keep consistent with scripture, God specifically says he wants all to be saved but knows not all will be. To add to that truth a determinate action on the part of God that forces the contradiction is a corruption of scripture vs. scripture and a deliberate forcing of mans thoughts upon His Holy Word.

  8. Randy says:

    Before heading out for a LONG weekend, I just want to thank Les and Eric for being such good sports here. Y’all are two of the nicest Calvinists I’ve ever had the opportunity to talk with. I truly appreciate you entertaining my questions. I have a good friend named Jim that is in the Calvinist camp and we have equally edifying conversations. You’ve not moved me any closer to your theology, but you have helped me to understand it better. One of the greatest dangers is that we assume we perfectly know the other side’s position when we don’t. Hope to see you again soon out in the blogosphere.

  9. lydiasellerofpurple says:

    Bob, I for one appreciate simple questions like you ask in this piece. It is important we carefully think about God’s character and ALL His attributes. As one agnostic once said and I believe he is correct as we see throughout history: Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man. (Thomas Paine)

  10. lydiasellerofpurple says:

    “We all agree that God saves, right? So, God has to make concious decisions to save, right? ”

    This is why I weary of discussing salvation with Calvinists as they frame the debate with black and white questions and if one dares come out of that framework they all of a sudden do not believe God is Sovereign. God in the Flesh has done what was needed in a powerful way for us to be saved (and I am sure I will not say that right) but we now have to believe it and have faith. We have to make a “conscious” choice. The Holy Spirit convicts and helps us. It is relational. Not arbitrary force.

    What to look for is that Calvinists take man totally out of the equation. They say they don’t but they do and that is what to look for and focus on. When humans are taken out of the equation real relational love is also taken out of the salvic equation.

    • Lydia,

      “This is why I weary of discussing salvation with Calvinists as they frame the debate with black and white questions and if one dares come out of that framework they all of a sudden do not believe God is Sovereign.”

      Then why do you keep discussing Calvinism with Calvinists?

      “God in the Flesh has done what was needed in a powerful way for us to be saved (and I am sure I will not say that right) but we now have to believe it and have faith. We have to make a “conscious” choice. The Holy Spirit convicts and helps us. It is relational. Not arbitrary force.”

      Calvinists agree that “we now have to believe it and have faith,” though that is actually a redundancy. I would say we now have to repent and believe.

      “What to look for is that Calvinists take man totally out of the equation.They say they don’t but they do and that is what to look for and focus on. ” Not so. Man has to repent and believe to be saved.

      “When humans are taken out of the equation real relational love is also taken out of the salvic equation.”

      Agreed.

      Lydia, that God can be sovereign in salvation (I prefer to say that He is monergistic in our new birth) and we play a part as in actually repenting and believing is just two things seeming to not be reconcilable. They are actually compatible.

      It is not unlike how we see the inspiration of scripture. Here are the two truths: God is absolutely the author of the scriptures. They are his words, every jot and tittle. And, men wrote them, including their individual styles, etc. But wait. How can that be so? Because the two truths are compatible and Christians have held that for thousands of years. Did Paul write? Or did God write? Yes.

  11. Ben Simpson says:

    Bob,

    Your question is on its face absurd because you are putting man in the position of God. In putting it forward, you’ve appealed to nothing but sentimentalism.

    You can rail against the doctrine of unconditional election all you want, but when you get to heaven, you will eventually fall on your face before God and say, “Thank you, God, for graciously choosing me to be saved! Otherwise, I would have never chosen You.” It’ll be an awesome day because for the first time in your life, God will get 100% of the credit from you for your salvation, and you’ll be beside yourself with gratitude unspeakable.

    • sbcissues says:

      Ben,

      I am going to SHOCK you… when you say “Your question is on its face absurd…” I agree! It absolutely is absurd. The thing that you are missing is that is the point of the question in the first place.

      Let me explain it once again so maybe you can understand my point. It is absurd to ask a parent and grandparent to choose one of his kids and grand kids to live knowing that the rest will perish.

      My question is simple: why would anyone think that it is ok to posit that this is what God does?
      It is NOT what God does but that is what the calvinist system basically says God does. It is WRONG.

      Now to your latter comment about what I am going to say when I get to heaven… “Thank you, God, for graciously choosing me to be saved! Show me in the Bible where that phrase exists and I might concede your point. It ain’t there.

      I believe a better statement will be… “thank You Jesus for paying the penalty for MY sin and dying in my place so that I might live with You forever.” That sounds like a plan to me.

      It’ll be an awesome day because for the first time in your life, God will get 100% of the credit from you for your salvation, and you’ll be beside yourself with gratitude unspeakable.

      Really? He gets 100% of the credit today and always has. God forgave me of my sins. I had nothing to do with that. He saved me and it was totally and completely His doing.

      His Word revealed His promises to me; His Spirit convicted me of my sin and my lost condition and I bowed my head and gave Jesus my heart as I asked God to forgive my sin and for Him to save me from the penalty of my sin. He did. He did it all.

      Here is the difference that I believe is more important than the position you offered here and that is this:

      God did not choose me so that I could choose Him. He sent His Son to the cross to pay the penalty for my sin and that in believing in the finished work of Christ on the cross I could THEN be saved. God does not save someone so that they can THEN repent and exercise faith and start down the road of sanctification. Basically that is the calvinist position.

      Man is dead in his trespass and sin and is a slave to his sin nature and God has to regenerate Him or re-birth him so that he can THEN repent and by faith begin the walk with God. The cavinist position places the indwelling of the Holy Spirit prior to repentance because the only way regeneration or new birth can take place is IF the Holy Spirit takes up residence in one’s heart.

      So I believe I will stick with what I believe the Bible teaches about the God who loved me and gave His Son for me. Amen. Can I get a witness!

      • Ben Simpson says:

        Bob,

        How about 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14?

        “13But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.
        14It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

        Looks pretty clear that for those who are saved, God chose them for salvation from the beginning.

      • sbcissues says:

        Ben,

        I agree. This passage can be taken in the way you suggest. However, I also believe it can be read.. “We give thanks to you (Who are saved) beloved brothers.. because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation THROUGH SANCTIFICATION:

        This is God’s plan from the beginning… and it has NOTHING TO DO WITH particular redemption because Paul specifically talks about walking with God as a Christian not a lost person coming TO Christ.

        Now, as I said your interpretation could be a valid one but my point is that your interpretation is the ONLY ONE. In fact, I really believe Paul is speaking about growing IN CHRIST as opposed to COMING TO Christ.

        Appreciate the dialogue.

      • Randy says:

        I get really tired of Calvinists telling me I am not giving God 100% credit for saving me because I believe I had a choice in the matter. The Lord Jesus Christ paid my sin bill and extended the invitation to me to be one of his family. I have never claimed to be responsible for my salvation in any shape or form. This is a fallacious argument tossed around by Calvinists on a regular basis and is getting pretty old and tired. None of the non-Calvinists I know give themselves any credit for their salvation. I’d like to know where this whole false argument came from.

    • lydiasellerofpurple says:

      “Your question is on its face absurd because you are putting man in the position of God. In putting it forward, you’ve appealed to nothing but sentimentalism.”

      Calvinism is a systematic mixture of deterministic pagan Greek Philosophy most of which is mysticism. It has some commonality with Islam, too. When one is predestined in the determinist way Calvinists define it, love and relationship BETWEEN God and man has been taken out of the salvic equation. God chose you to love Him. You have no choice in the matter.

  12. lydiasellerofpurple says:

    Thanks for owning it, Les. :o) Islam is determinism, too. That is the commonality.

  13. lydiasellerofpurple says:

    It is about time you came out of the closet! Is it a purple one for ruling elder? (wink)

  14. Matt says:

    Here is my question and I would appreciate a serious answer: why did God have people born in places they’d never hear the Gospel?

  15. lydiasellerofpurple says:

    “Here is my question and I would appreciate a serious answer: why did God have people born in places they’d never hear the Gospel?”

    Why are you assuming God specifically determines “where” people are born?

  16. So neither of you would say that God has any say in where people are born? Even if he has no sovereignty in the matter, in what way is his love expressed to every person ever if some never hear of what Jesus did on the cross?

  17. sbcissues says:

    Adam,

    I made it about as clear as anyone could that Lydia had missed that one terribly! God most assuredly is responsible for who is born where! If He is the giver of life there can be no other conclusion.

    I have also answered your second question somewhere… I have no idea how or what God does in situations He does not address. What I do know is that the Bible is clear that God does not choose who is and is not saved and who does and who does not go to heaven. There is no real correlation between the two lines of thought.

  18. lydiasellerofpurple says:

    “uh… hello… who else specifically determines where people are born? I think you blew a fuse on that one my dear.”

    Well, here is how I understand it. It was determined I would be born in American because some people in England decided to come to America (long before the Rev war) and some Huguenots in France, who were being persecuted, escaped to America. They seem to have determined where I would be born because of their decisions made of their own free will although they did not determine my state. That was determined by later folk in both groups who came down the Ohio looking for land. Then my mom determined what city I would be born in when she came here to attend college and my dad came here to run a company where she eventually worked. Perhaps it was determined I would be born in a Baptist hospital, too. :o)

    Now if God is controlling every molecule 24/7, these people were doing what God specifically determined they would do . (I hope that does not include the horse thieves in our genealogy!) But I tend to believe they were acting on free will and I hope seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit in all of it.

    I remember as a kid hearing about a tribe that was found in the South Pacific that was so isolated they had no clue about the world. There were discussions about leaving them alone or not. The Christians said we have to tell them about Jesus Christ. Isn’t that how it works?

  19. lydiasellerofpurple says:

    Bob, I think it is perfectly ok we disagree. I hope your Calvinist visitors won’t hold it against you.

    • sbcissues says:

      Well… here is the thing. Once you were born to your English and Huguenot ancestors that may actually be correct. However, I believe one must remember it is God that placed your soul in that seed that was conceived. I cannot conceive of any one being born apart from it being God’s doing. To assert that birth is spontaneously the result of procreation would seem to me to be problematic for sure but in all fairness, I have not really give than much if any thought at all. It has always just been a given for me.

  20. lydiasellerofpurple says:

    Just to clarify, I agree God is the “giver of life” but predetermined the “where” we are born?

    I would also remind you men that many barren women are serious believers who are grieved daily over the inability to have a child while drug addicts have babies galore they do not want. That is a result of our fallen world. And some of those barren women I know are adopting those unwanted babies. Was that predetermined or the result of the kingdom at work overriding horrible sin and caring for the least of these?

  21. lydiasellerofpurple says:

    Bob, I really do not want to fight on this one — think about it and I will sign off. Did God determine the “where” when a baby is born and left in a trash can to die? I hope you will note, I have not touched on the “who” is born. Just the “where”.

    Thanks for the exchange and allowing me to comment.

    • sbcissues says:

      Well I would have to say that I believe He determined who the parents of that baby would be… I do not believe He has anything to do with the baby being dumped in a trash can.

      It amazes me the extent that people go to question God’s involvement in what goes on in our world. I am not sure we are supposed to understand every single detail of how and why something happens.

      Maybe I am just too simple minded. I do not consider it worth fretting over how we got here or why we were born where we were; seems to me the most essential thing to do is work with what we have… and make sure that we do all we can to insure THAT soul gets to heaven.

      Thanks for your part in the exchange.

  22. CALLING ON THE NAME OF THE LORD?

    On the Day of Pentecost Peter quoted the prophet Joel (Acts 2:21’And it shall be that everyone who call on the name of the Lord will be saved.’)

    To call on the name of the Lord is to acknowledge the authority and power of the Lord, and follow in obedience by meeting the terms of pardon.

    The apostle Peter did not tell those on the Day of Pentecost to say the “sinner’s prayer.” Saying the “sinner’s prayer” is not calling on the name of the Lord.

    Peter preached the death, burial, and bodily resurrection of Jesus. Peter declared the Jesus was Lord and Christ. (Acts 2: 22-26) They obviously believed Peter’s preaching because they asked the question(Acts 2:37 …..”Brethren what shall we do?”)
    Peter did not tell them to say the “sinner’s prayer.” What was Peter’s response to their question? (Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.)

    THE NARRATIVE OF CALLING ON THE NAME OF THE LORD.
    1. FAITH: Believe in the death, burial, and bodily resurrection of Jesus. Accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.
    2. CONFESSION: Acknowledge Jesus as the Christ and the Son of God.
    3. REPENTANCE: Make the commitment to turn from sin and turn toward God.
    4. WATER BAPTISM: Be immersed into Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.

    HOW DID THE ETHIOPIAN EUNUCH CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD? (Acts 8:25-40

    1. Philip preached Jesus to him. (Acts 8:35)
    2. He confessed Jesus as The Christ the Son of God. (Acts 8:37)
    3. He was baptized in water. Immersed by Philip. (Acts 8:38-39)
    The Ethiopian eunuch did not say the sinner’s pray nor was he asked to do so by Philip.

    Romans 10:13 for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.”

    Romans 10:9-10 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

    To call on the name of the Lord is to acknowledge His power and authority and confess Him as Lord and Christ . (Acts 2:26,Acts 8:37, Romans 10:9-10) To call on the Name of the Lord is to repent and be baptized. (Acts 2:38)

    WE ARE TOLD TO CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD TO BE SAVED.

    We are never told we are saved by “faith only.” We are never told that saying the “sinner’s prayer” is calling on the name of the Lord.

    IF SAYING THE “SINNER’S PRAYER” IS NOT A REQUIREMENT FOR SALVATION? THEN WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR SALVATION.

    THE REQUIREMENTS!
    1. Faith: John 3:16
    2. Belief and baptism: Mark 16:16
    3. Confession and belief: Romans 10:9-10
    4. Born of water and Spirit: John 3:5
    5. Grace and faith: Ephesians 2:8
    6. Buried through baptism: Roman 6:4-5
    7. Water baptism: 1 Peter 3:20-21
    8. Baptism: Acts 22:16
    9. Baptized into Christ: Galatians 3:27
    10. Believe: Acts 16:30-31
    11. Repentance and baptism: Acts 2:38
    12. God’s mercy, water baptism, and the Holy Spirit: Titus 3:5
    13. Water baptism: Colossians 2:12-13
    14. Repentance: Acts 3:19

    IF YOU HAVE COMPLETED THESE REQUIREMENTS—THEN YOU HAVE CALLED ON THE NAME OF THE LORD!

    YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY CHRISTIAN BLOG. http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com

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