I happened to notice your comments about "Why you are not a Calvinist"
I appreciate your zeal but my friend, please spend more time in study of the principles of the Reformation.
I personally find it a tremendous blessing and comforting to know that God left NOTHING to "chance" or up to ANY person to make ANY final decision...
The TULIP is an acronym and is only used for mnemonic purposes. Understanding the nature of man, God's Sovereign choice of whom He decides to bestow mercy and what Christ actually did and accomplished (not made possible or hypothetical - Amyraldianism) will give you a much greater and in depth understanding and appreciation of Soteriology.
John Owen's classic The Death in The Death of Christ is a good place to start regarding the nature and work of Christ.
Please don't cheapen the grace of God and blood of Christ by somehow attempting to perform theological gymnastics where salvation becomes a synergism. Christ's blood removed (expiation) and paid (propitiation) for the sins of those whom He came to redeem. If Jesus removed and paid for everyone's sins then everyone would be saved. Salvation is of God (monergism) and by grace alone. The reprobate pay for their sin because Christ did not. Why? Because He shall have mercy upon whom he shall have mercy and give justice to whom He chooses. God is NOT a respector of persons. Who is any creature to cast back to the creator anything at all? He is the Sovereign and we are NOT... Jesus' death and resurrection accomplished the salvation of His people and nothing can snatch His people from His hand.
Pride is what causes people to either fight or flee "Calvinism/Reformed Faith"... Somehow thinking that they have a part of their salvation and that they "choose" Jesus is nothing but sheer arrogance and pride. We only love Him because He first loved us...
I trust that you will perform due diligence and read more and learn more about the Reformed Faith and/or Calvinism before you try to "kick at the goads"...
Wishing you all the best of providence.
Who is "email"?
http://www.insearchoftruth.org/articles ... inism.html
I don't know if you realized it, but this article is actually a type of conclusion for a series:
http://www.insearchoftruth.org/articles ... #calvinism
Typically, I examine people's objections and respond based on the Scriptures; however, I am struggling with your comments, since you did not base a single argument on the Bible. It seems we may be operating from two different, irreconcilable platforms.
Please look over the entire article series. If after studying the referenced verses, you still have objections that are rooted in Scripture, please let me know. I would be thrilled to open the pages of God's Word and discuss His "classic" on the subject with you.
In the meantime, whom do you believe is responsible for man's sin?
May God help us to have a sincere love of truth,
Thanks for writing back...
Please forgive me for assuming that we were both assuming that scripture is the final authority. I personally take a presuppositional approach to apologetics...
The problem with your polemic is that when you quote "Calvinism" you are not quoting and referencing in context what "Calvinists" make their argument from.
Good scholarship is essential when taking on an endeavor as you have... You lead yourself wide open to be considered credible when you do not quote and reference from source the position you wish to dispute.
Regarding references to scripture, I submit all the scripture proofs from the Synod of Dort, the Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF) and all the scripture references in John Owen's The Death in The Death of Christ.
If you have taken the time to read the Synod of Dort's response, The Westminster Confession of Faith and John Owen's polemical work you would be quoting from each in context and use proper parenthetical reference to source and then make your argument.
To answer your question, it is simple. God is not the author of sin. I'm able to accept what is a mystery and what is a paradox for what it is... This is what makes Christianity not logical (according to the laws of logic) and that is OK...
Any and all the scriptures I referenced from the Synod of Dort, The Westminster Confession of Faith and John Owen's The Death of Death in the Death of Christ I would be happy to engage you with...
In the meantime as part of this, we are all told to 1 Peter 3:15 and specifically
2 Timothy 2:15
Good scholarship of the word in context and history is essential for good hermeneutics...
Look forward to you implementing good scholarship and quoting from source in context when taking on a polemical work as you have...
Please let me know when you have done so...
All the best of providence.
Who is "email"?
Invoking the 3 works (Owens, WCF, SoD) you mentioned is quite lazy. Please allow me to demonstrate:
There, did that help? Did that persuade or convict you? Why not? What if I threw a bunch of books at you that are opposed to Calvinism? Would you have been moved to study them, assuming you had not already? If you are not interested in discussing the Bible with me, please just say so.I invoke the Bible. Please go read it.
My work is based on reading some of the works you mentioned. (I am not indebted to read them all to form a judgment against the whole.) Furthermore, it is also based on numerous discussions with Calvinists, some of which are posted online:
Furthermore, as you know "Calvinism" today has many splintered variants. For example, it's curious to me that John Calvin would be considered a "Hyper-Calvinist" by most Calvinist's definition today. If my depiction of Calvinism is inconsistent with what you believe or what you have studied, then please allow for some variability, as Calvinism is a belief system that is much larger than any one living person today, even R. C. Sproul.
Ultimately, my concern is not what you believe or what "Calvinists" teach. My primary concern is what the Bible teaches, as should be your own. If I have misquoted or misrepresented somebody, then fine, tell me who, where, and why. Then, I'll correct it, as soon as I am shown the reference. Afterward, I will happily re-analyze and compare to the Scriptures.
Now, may we cease with the "cat and mouse game"? My interest is the Bible, which I hold is the revelation of truth (John 17:17). Your "maneuvering" to justify one's a priori claim to truth or to substantiate one's unsubstantiated assertions is childish.
To be straightforward, I find your words to be shocking, although not surprising:
Frankly, I worry that this may indeed be a form of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:22, 28-30)! With these words, you place yourself beyond the touch of Scripture, which is the Spirit's means of convicting us. Please listen:To answer your question, it is simple. God is not the author of sin. I'm able to accept what is a mystery and what is a paradox for what it is... This is what makes Christianity not logical (according to the laws of logic) and that is OK...
God used words to reveal His will and truth to us. And, these words and truth are the means to our sanctification:
These words contain all that we need to know, and they have the power to save, because the Holy Spirit has infused them with such power:Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. (John 17:17)
To ascribe these words to the Devil or originating from chaos would clearly be to blaspheme their originator, the Holy Spirit. Doing so makes one unreachable, since he has cut off from himself the very thing and the only thing that can save him - the gospel message through God. Although you have not dismissed God's Word, you have dismissed the means by which God reaches us through the Word - logic, reason, and our mind.... and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (II Timothy 3:15-17)
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith." (Romans 1:16-17)
... and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; (Ephesians 6:17)
Even from ancient days, God used "reason", derived from words, to reach out to His people."Come now, and let us reason together," Says the LORD ... (Isaiah 1:18)
Our service to God is reasonable and logical, in that the service is for just cause and the service involves the identification of cause, reason, and logic. Please note the use of the Greek word, logikos!I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable (Gr: logikos) service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)
We are to desire the pure milk of God's Word, here described as logic or reason, so that we can grow by it. Furthermore, this "milk", the logical Word of God, is the noted means of experiencing ("tasting") the grace of God!... as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word (Gr: logikos), that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. (I Peter 2:2-3)
To dismiss logic or the rules of logic is akin to dismissing words, definitions, grammar, and the rules of grammar! You have removed yourself from the reach of the power God gave to convict and save!But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason (Gr: logos) for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; (I Peter 3:15)
What you are labeling as a "mystery" or a "paradox" is no "mystery" or "paradox". It is an outright contradiction! To demonstrate, a paradox is an apparent contradiction, like so:
Paul became stronger spiritually, when through virtue of his physical weakness, he became more dependent upon Christ. There is no real contradiction, as the explanation is obvious to anyone with a smattering of Bible study.Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (II Corinthians 12:10)
Now, a mystery would be like the following:
There is no contradiction here at all! We only have the partial revelation of facts that have been previously hidden. However, once they are revealed, they belong to us and are for our learning:Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed -- in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (I Corinthians 15:51-52).
Now the following is a contradiction:"The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law." (Deuteronomy 29:29)
Do you believe that God is just? I do (Romans 3:4). In fact, God describes Himself as being fair, just, and righteous:God is just. God is unjust.
Please read the whole chapter, carefully. This one chapter alone eliminates all the unique, major tenets of Calvinism, but let us just focus on God's fairness for the moment.The word of the LORD came to me again, saying, "What do you mean when you use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying: 'The fathers have eaten sour grapes, And the children's teeth are set on edge'? As I live," says the Lord GOD, "you shall no longer use this proverb in Israel. Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father As well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die. But if a man is just And does what is lawful and right; ... If he has walked in My statutes And kept My judgments faithfully -- He is just; He shall surely live!" Says the Lord GOD.
"If he begets a son who is a robber Or a shedder of blood, Who does any of these things ... Shall he then live? He shall not live! If he has done any of these abominations, He shall surely die; His blood shall be upon him."
"If, however, he begets a son who sees all the sins which his father has done, And considers but does not do likewise; ... has executed My judgments And walked in My statutes -- He shall not die for the iniquity of his father; He shall surely live!"
"As for his father, Because he cruelly oppressed, Robbed his brother by violence, And did what is not good among his people, Behold, he shall die for his iniquity."
"Yet you say, 'Why should the son not bear the guilt of the father?' Because the son has done what is lawful and right, and has kept all My statutes and observed them, he shall surely live. The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself."
"But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has done, he shall live. Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?" says the Lord GOD, "and not that he should turn from his ways and live?"
"But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die.
"Yet you say, 'The way of the Lord is not fair.' Hear now, O house of Israel, is it not My way which is fair, and your ways which are not fair? When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity, and dies in it, it is because of the iniquity which he has done that he dies. Again, when a wicked man turns away from the wickedness which he committed, and does what is lawful and right, he preserves himself alive. Because he considers and turns away from all the transgressions which he committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. Yet the house of Israel says, 'The way of the Lord is not fair.' O house of Israel, is it not My ways which are fair, and your ways which are not fair? Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways," says the Lord GOD. "Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies," says the Lord GOD. "Therefore turn and live!" (Ezekiel 18:1-32)
A fundamental problem with Calvinism is that it teaches God is grossly unfair in His judgment (total hereditary depravity), which sets up the need for salvation. Furthermore, access of His mercy is totally beyond our influence (unconditional election and irresistible grace), so its extension is also unfair and unjust, because in doing so, by its very definition, He becomes a "respecter of persons" (limited atonement) (Acts 10:34, KJV).
You will say, "He is the Creator. Who is the pot to question the Potter? 'I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy.'" However, God's observable and self-declared nature in His will to "have mercy" cannot contradict His nature self-expressed elsewhere.
Now, admittedly, if I derived these qualities of God based on my reasoning, you would have room to quibble; however, God's judgment upon us contradicts His own description of mercy and justice (Ezekiel 18). Calvinism is not contradicting my reasoning, rather it is contradicting God's definition of Himself! God says that He will not punish a son for his father's sin, but that is exactly what Calvinism teaches that God does in condemning all of mankind through Adam's fall!
Contradiction: God is just, per God. God is not just, per Calvinism. -- One of them has got to go! They both cannot be right.
Now, admittedly, there are some passages of Scripture that are difficult to understand (II Peter 3:15-18) and they take diligence and time to unravel (II Timothy 2:15). And, some of God's attributes and actions can be difficult to reconcile. However, and this is a big "however", God made a point of demonstrating His brand of fairness in our justification.
If ever there were an attribute of God which could be clearly seen, it should be God's fairness in judgment and at the cross! If after centuries - almost millennium - of scholarly study, our theology walks away with a big question mark, labeling God's fairness, justness, and righteousness in salvation as a "mystery", a "paradox" - even accepting the words, "illogical" and "contradictory" - then God has utterly failed us in spite of His self-proclaimed intentions!!! Or, our theology is as wrong as wrong can be.... whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:25-26)
God wants to be perceived as fair, righteous, and just in condemnation and redemption. He has gone out of His way to demonstrate that fact, submitting Himself to our scrutiny:
Contrary to the above verse, Calvinism cannot demonstrate the righteousness of God through our unrighteousness. In fact, if anything, Calvinism demonstrates the unrighteousness of God. At best, it vainly dodges the blow by dismissive words, such as "paradox", "mystery", and with cop-outs, such as, "Who are you, oh man?" and "I will have mercy upon those I will have mercy", and in so doing, twisting these verses painfully out of context.For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: "That You may be justified in Your words, And may overcome when You are judged." But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unjust who inflicts wrath? (I speak as a man.) Certainly not! For then how will God judge the world?" (Romans 3:3-6)
My friend, God made a point of showing all of us, including you and me, His justice and fairness right here. If you cannot see it, then you need to let something go, so you can open your eyes.
My sincere prayer is that we will both demonstrate a sincere love of truth,