Discussions with a Calvinist

Discussion with Teresa
Round 7

Sorry this is so late in coming. We have recently moved and there are many things to be attended to.

On Jul 25, 2004, at 3:03 PM, Steve Amato wrote:

Teresa,

You say that you cannot answer the question as to whether or not Calvinism teaches that God holds people accountable for things they have no control over, because you say that you "do not believe that anything happens that a man does not have control over"

I do not believe that is a difficult concept Steve . I do not know why that is not a plain simple statement .

All men will make the choice that is in what they consider their best interest. They will always maker their choices based on what they prefer.

I could understand your excuse, if indeed you believed that there was no area in life which is not under people's control. But that position is neither a Calvinistic position, nor do I think you actually believe it. For you had previously implied that you didn't believe that man was in control of everything by your rhetorical questions. "Did you chose your sex? Did your chose your parents? Did you choose your country or city of birth? Did you chose your intelligence?" I could come up with my own like are you in control of whether the sun rises or sets? But let's relate it to behavior. Are you in control of whether your neighbor sins? If indeed you are in control of everything then you must logically be in control of whether you neighbor sins. And he is in control of your behavior as well. If indeed as you say you "do not believe that anything happens that a man does not have control over" Is that right?
Your argument here is very weak, and actually off the topic of mans own responsibility (For his own actions) . I believe you understood my poorly worded Sunday morning response was regarding the actions of a man himself , not others.

We have only a limited ability to affect the behavior of others. If your neighbor is about to kill his wife, and you walk in on that ( providentially of course ) .

You may be able to talk him out of it or to wrestle away his weapon or to shield his wife.

The topic from the beginning was does God hold a man responsible for his own actions. So lets stick to that and not be silly ok?

So which is it? Let's say you're on Jeopardy again and they ask you, "for $10,000, 'yes' or 'no', is man in control over everything that happens?"
Man is fully accountable before God for HIS actions .

You have shifted from accountable to control . Two different words with two different meanings.

Let me ask you this. Was judas in "control " of the events of the crucifixion or was God? Was Judas held responsible for his actions?

Now if you answer 'yes', you would not be a Calvinist. And your argument would not be defending Calvinism.
My answer stands Steve . Man is held accountable before God for every act , for reward or punishment . Yet nothing happens over which God is not sovereign .

Pro 16:9 A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.

But if you answer 'no', then you have no excuse for not answering with a 'yes' or 'no' the $25,000 question as to whether or not Calvinism teaches that God holds people accountable for things they have no control over.

So which is it?

We return to the fact that man is held accountable for every act . If your point be that how does God hold man accountable for a foreordained act ,it is because man is acting according to preferences. God foreordained the event well aware of the preferences of that man and how he would respond to the circumstances. Man still chose the response.

Jer 10:23 O LORD, I know that the way of man [is] not in himself: [it is] not in man that walketh to direct his steps.

Steve the question is do you believe this or not?

Isa 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times [the things] that are not [yet] done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

Look again at this scripture

Act 4:26-28

The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.

For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,

For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.

Were the people who killed the Lord in control or if the Father was in control.  ? Were they held responsible or not?

Have a good day

Terry


BCBSR Reponse

Teresa,

you claimed that "The topic from the beginning was does God hold a man responsible for his own actions."

No that's not the question I asked. I asked the question: "Does God hold people accountable for things they have no control over?"

I didn't ask whether God hold's a man responsible for his own actions. You're simply misreading my question. It's a simple question requiring only a "yes" or "no" answer. Looking forward to your answer.

But thanks for answering a question I didn't ask. In your explanations I noticed you had a non-Calvinistic interpretation of the Jacob/Esau situation concerning Romans 9:11. Indeed you may not be a Calvinists afterall. First let me show you the interpretations of John Gill - a Calvinist, and John Calvin himself concerning that verse, and compare them to your interpretation:

Concerning Rom 9:11 - Jacob and Esau John Gill (Calvinist) "when the one was chosen,  and the other rejected; they were neither of them as yet born,  and had they been born,  their birth and parentage could have been no reason why one was chose and the other not,  because in both the same; nor had the one performed a good action,  or the other an evil one; so that Jacob was not loved for his good works,  nor Esau hated for his evil ones; which confirms the truth of this doctrine,  that the objects of predestination"

John Calvin "Now, by adding, not through works, but through him who calls, he means, not on account of works, but of the calling only; for he wishes to exclude works altogether. We have then the whole stability of our election inclosed in the purpose of God alone: here merits avail nothing, as they issue in nothing but death; no worthiness is regarded, for there is none; but the goodness of God reigns alone. False then is the dogma, and contrary to God's word, - -that God elects or rejects, as he foresees each to be worthy or unworthy of his favor."

But your interpretation was that their election was based upon their works which God foresaw they would perform. (Could be that you're not actually the Calvinist you think you are!)

Now you also said that man is fully in control of his actions. And what about his will? Is man "fully in control" of his will? And if not, does God hold people accountable for things they have no control over? For though you say that Calvinists "strongly believes in true free will. The free will of Adam was lost in the fall." You're point is therefore mute concerning free will. For the "free will" you say Calvinists believe in is simply a "free will" that used to be.

John Calvin does not use the rhetoric you used concerning freedom of choice.

What does Calvin say about free will. Here's the title of Calvin's Institutes of Christian Religion Volume II Chapter 2: "MAN HAS NOW BEEN DEPRIVED OF FREEDOM OF CHOICE AND BOUND OVER TO MISERABLE SERVITUDE"

Calvin denies the unregenerate having control over their will. In contrast to what you say, "There is no such thing as man not having control over his actions." and "All of these acts were foreordained, yet they were freely chosen by men." (Could be that you're not actually a Calvinist afterall!) Yet on the other hand you deny free will also saying, "The free will of Adam was lost in the fall." If they don't have free will, then how is it you propose they have free choice?

Good talkin with you,

Steve



The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources Jul 29,2015