Discussions with a Calvinist

Discussion with Teresa
Round 8


Teresa wrote:

On Aug 4, 2004, at 6:45 PM, Steve Amato wrote:
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?"
My assumption was the question was in regard to the actions of one man...not his neighbor or the events of his country . Is man accountable for his own actions.. Yes he is fully responsible before God.
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.
Your question makes no sense if you extend it to the acts of others.
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!)

I am a fan of Gill. Would you show me where i said that ? I do not believe any action of God is based on His foreknowledge of how men will act.So i can not see that I said that ever..

That makes man god not God .

God foreknows HIS work .

Act 15:18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

I accept Romans 9 as written .

My comment was that God foreordained the selection of Jacob, but that Esau was held FULLY RESPONSIBLE for his foreordained actions . We see that clearly in Hebrews 12

God ordained the succession of the birthright to jacob and the circumstances that brought it to pass.

YET Esau was judged guilty of the sin of the disrespect and the denial of his birthright.

Hebrews 12:16-17

Lest there [be] any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

He was fully responsible for that foreordained act .

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?
Men will always do as he wills to do . He will always choose according to his preferences. Man is free to choose as he wishes.

The question is what does man choose and why? Men always choose what they understand as their best interest. They always choose from the set of choices available to him.

And if not, does God hold people accountable for things they have no control over?
Lets clarify here are you talking about hurricanes or their neighbor or the actions of the man himself? Seems you like being vague:>)

Men have control over all their own choices. They always choose what they will desire. They will always be held responsible for their choices. Are men held responsible for the predestined choices of God. Yes. because the choices are the willing choice of the man . The bible holds examples of that .

Steve,
Do you so resent the thought that God is sovereign that you need to keep asserting your sovereignty over Gods will ? I am constantly amazed at how men , even saved men, hate the idea of not being independent of that bothersome God . That men like to believe that God is surprised or please when YOU make a correct choice.

I have news for you THAT is not the God of the bible.

The Bible clearly teaches that nothing happens outside the will and design of God .He was not surprised on the day of your salvation. He ordained it , He ordered it, it was HIS time not yours.Kairos. He did not fall on His knees with joy at your decision. He had saved you before the foundation of the earth .
 

Unless He drew you, you could not have and would not have come. That is why we call it grace , that is why we call it mercy.

The Arminian position wipes out Grace and Mercy and makes it wages due . God becomes man's debtor.

Steve was anyone saved at the cross?

Eph 2 1-10

And you [hath he quickened], who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Men are held fully responsible for their actions .Men are held completely responsible for doing as they will to do. The question Calvinists ask is what is the will of the unregenerate man ? Is the unregenerate man ever going to make a God pleasing choice? Or is every choice of the unregenerate man a sin to God ?

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.
No, it is an active but damaged free will. The will is bound in sin (the sin of adam ). Man is born in the image of Adam . He still runs and hides from God.

I chose things every day before I was saved. I did not choose God. Today I choose things every day.I make choices, yet I know that the choices I make are the ones that were ordained for me.

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

All acts are foreordained, every single one. From my first breath until my last is all God foreordained plan . Yet I freely chose to repent and believe. After a man is quickened by the Holy Spirit he desires Christ. His will has been changed from one of rebellion against God to one desiring God.

Steve At the moment of my salvation I did not even know what being saved was. I had never heard a sinners prayer . I simply asked God who Jesus was. At that moment God showed me what I was. I knew that I was unworthy to even be in His presence. I fell to my knees weeping at the sight of my sin. I asked God to forgive me , and I gave him my worthless life. No "just as i am" , no salvation sermon or altar call. Only the work of the Holy Spirit only the life of this useless woman He says He is found by those that do not seek him. That we are saved not by works of righteousness or the will of man, but the will of God.

How does that fit into the idea of men choosing God and not God choosing a man?

I have asked you several questions about the crucification of Christ and the men that were ordained to be the ones that betrayed and arranged the crucification , an ordained plan of God, yet they were fully responsible. Jesus asked that they be forgiven the sin of that ordained plan .

I have asked you if at the VERY moment you accepted Christ if you had any indecision at all, or if you fully desired God above all things at that moment. You have chosen not to respond. I can only assume that is because you know the answer is one that shows the sovereignty of God in your decision as it was in the decision of the men that hung Christ .

Steve I do not care if you ever agree with Calvinism. It is not a matter of salvation. it is a matter of honoring God and giving ALL the glory to Him.
 

Steve what does the Bible say?
 

Blessings and Christ's peace.


BCBSR Reponse

Teresa,

You say, "My assumption was the question was in regard to the actions of one man...not his neighbor or the events of his country." So now that you understand that you had been misreading the question, you should be able to answer my original question. Once again the question is: "Does God hold people accountable for things they have no control over?" It's a simple question. I'm not being vague. I am talking about everything which you regard man as not having control over - whether it be your examples of hurricanes, their neighbors actions or whatever else you assume an individual has no control over. I would think even a child should be able to answer a question like that. It's not a hard question. It's very simple.

I fail to understand why you say, "Your question makes no sense if you extend it to the acts of others."  Or are you just trying to say your answer is "NO, God does not hold people accountable for things they have no control over"? Let me know if that is your answer. Thanks.

As for Romans 9:11 I may have misunderstood your point. I thought your point was that Esau could have inherited the blessing if he had made the right choice - a choice which was free for him to make, as you say, "Esau chose freely to treat the birthright without respect." And so he lost the blessing by chosing wrongly. But such an interpretation I thought nullified the idea that Rom 9:11 was talking about God chosing in a monergistic unilateral fashion, unless you were viewing Rom 9:11 as chosing in accordance with God's foreknowledge, like people being "elect according to the foreknowledge of God" 1Peter 1:2

You say, "Are men held responsible for the predestined choices of God. Yes. because the choices are the willing choice of the man." If the idea is not that God foresees the choices we will make and choses His plan in view of those choices, then your statement just ends up being a puppet theology. In puppet-like fashion God forces man's will to be so inclined to carry out God's preordained choices that there is no "freeness" to the choice on man's part whatsoever. Whatever happens God chose to happen and as such when man sins it is God who is the one "freely" chosing him to sin. If God ordains that sin occur, man can do nothing but sin. There is no freeness, nor even choice on man's part. For God is sovereign over all choices and over all events. Nothing happens that God has not chosen to happen. To me this line of reasoning logically follows from Calvinistic assumptions. Under such conditions you cannot speak of there being a "choice" on man's part, let alone it being a "free" choice.

Your "free will" rhetoric contradicts Calvinist theology. In Calvinist theology the will is not free. Yet now I understand that when you say "free" you don't actually mean "free". Can the unregenerate "freely" chose to do what is right? If a person does not have the ability to chose what is right, will God hold that person responsible for not chosing what is right?

You've asked me questions and you now say that I have chosen not to respond. Let me remind you of what I said earlier in my email on July 24th. I quote, "And after I get a "yes" or "no" response to the question I asked, then I will deal with your questions. Fair enough?" So once again I repeat what I said. All you have to do is answer "yes" or "no" to my original question and then I will deal with your questions. Fair enough?

I notice also you misrepresent (or perhaps are simply ignorant of) the Arminian position saying "The Arminian position wipes out Grace and Mercy and makes it wages due . God becomes man's debtor." Or don't you consider it grace and mercy when the prodigal son chose to come home and confess his sin, or when Jesus forgave the woman who sought Him as Simon's house. How can you say that Jesus was in their debt because they sought after Him for forgiveness? Jesus was under no obligation to forgive them just because they sought him. Your agument is non sequitor. And I can give many other examples of people seeking Jesus. And not only that but Jesus even instructs people to seek God and God's kingdom. And do you consider it heresy when Peter declared to the crowd, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation." Acts 2:40 (Something I doubt I'll ever hear a Calvinist say)

While you say that the Arminian position wipes out God's Grace and Mercy I can argue that Calvinism wipes out His Holiness and Judicial nature.

Looking forward to the answer to my original question. ("yes" or "no") -your "free choice"!

Steve



The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources Jul 29,2015