Discussions with a Calvinist

Discussion with Teresa
Round 9


Teresa wrote:

On Aug 4, 2004, at 11:33 PM, Steve Amato wrote:
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.

Do you believe in original sin? Did you have control over Adam?

Do you believe in imputed sin and imputed righteousness?

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.
No . Romans says clearly Jacob was ordained to have that blessing. Before either could do good or evil so that election would stand

Romans 9:11

(For [the children] being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)

Jacob was Gods man from before the creation of the world. But Esau was not without responsibly because he made the choice. Esau was created in such a way that He would by his nature freely make that choice . He choose exactly what he preferred.

Steve there is no such thing as complete free will. Even God does not have a completely free will .

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
Steve why would God need to "choose" someone that He fore-knew with perfect foreknowledge would select him without any intervention? The minute you make election based on Gods foreknowledge you eliminate Grace and mercy. You make God mans debtor owing him salvation for making the correct choice

1 Peter 2:9 But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

Who chose who? By your theology they elected God, he did not elect them .

Who acted first Steve God or man ? "NO man comes to me unless the Father draws him" Every one the father draws is saved..(john 6)

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.
Was Judas a puppet?

Acts4:26-28

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.

Again I find the hatred of the idea of a sovereign God by the saved to be incredible !

No man has a totally free will. You can only choose within the set of choices that God has given you. God know exactly what your choice will be in every situation because He is your creator. You choose what you prefer, but it is God that has given you those preference. I freely choose things every day, but the choices I make are the choices that are the result of the preferences God has placed within me.

I do not resent that , I glory in being a tool in the hand of my creator.

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.
Do you really believe that God is not sovereign over all events ? Consider the litany of small events that had to occur for Jesus to be born of a Virgin and the line of David .

Read the linage of Jesus and then consider the events that brought such as a gentile prostitute and a faithful widow into the line of the savior.A coincidence? Or ordained events ? Do you believe that revelation is not a prophecy? Is God a helpless observer that simply writes out what He sees happen? Who is god in that scenario ? My Pastor draws a large circle with a smaller one inside. The outside circle is labeled Gods will . The smaller one is human liberty . The things in the external circle are things over which we had no choice . Sex , family , nationality, intelligence , time in history etc. The smaller one indicates the things over which we have the ability to make choices. Education, vocation, spouse, location etc. What we notice is that all those choices we make are in some way also in Gods will. What I know is i made many choices , yet today i can look and see how they were a part of Gods plan . I did not decide Gods plane for Him, I did not force Him to alter his plain to fit mine. My plan is His plan and his plan is my plan. I am not God. He is God .

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?
The unregenerate can do nothing that is pleasing to God . He may do right as the world counts right, but what is not of faith is sin (but that is another topic) Does God have a totally free will? Or is God bound by His holy nature and His word? Can God choose to sin?

We are not saved by what we do. We are not saved because we did some thing good or right. We are saved by the grace and mercy of God. heaven will be full of sinners made righteous by Christ. You seem to be inferring that God owes man something for doing some nice things here on earth. that is not what the Bible teaches.

Any rewards for doing the right things will be for doing the works foreordained for us before the foundation of the earth (Eph)

Without Gods grace the unregenerate will never choose Christ.

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 suspect you have not answered because you do not have the answer .

We all carry the effects of the fall of Adam , something over which we had no control , so yes God can and does at times and for His purpose hold men responsible for things over which they have no control .

Jesus was held responsible for the sin of all men, sin he had not committed .

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
Consider that the son was always the son. He was not a man that thought he would like to be his son. The son was always the son . That parable shows Gods mercy for HIS sons , not all the men that show up at His door.

Before one can receive mercy one must be judged guilty. If you have made wise choices in jail, and worked to get a degree , and done good time, when they open that door , it is not mercy you are getting.. it is rewards for your works .

If on the other hand, you did nothing , you just sat in a cell doing as you wish and the governor opens the door for you, what you have received is MERCY . It was something you did not earn and did not deserve. That my new friend is Mercy . That is how I was saved, and I suspect that is how you were saved.

I love the lost chapter, it proves election you know?

The sheep that are found and brought to safety were always the property of the shepherd. He did not sit and wait for stray sheep to come and find him, He went and found them . They ones that were branded with His mark.

The coin was already the property of the one looking for it.

God seeks His own.

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?
Who seeks after God? the bible says no man. Who will seek repentance? The bible says the ones that God gives it to. They came and repented because they were drawn by the father. it was grace that drew them Grace is Gods UNMERITED favor.
Jesus was under no obligation to forgive them just because they sought him. Your agument is non sequitor.
Who sought Him ? Why did they seek Him, while other turned from him or shouted to kill him.

See steve the question that reformation doctrine asks is who and why. The answer is those drawn by the father , and the why Gods grace.

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)
You would be wrong in that bet. Spurgeon used to say that if the elect had yellow stripes down their back, we would go around lifting up shirts. The first missionaries and some of the most successful missionaries were calvinists. We rejoice that God has graciously made us co-workers in HIS field. We are to call men everywhere to repentance and belief. but what we do know is, the only ones that will have the ears to hear and the heart to come will be those that were chosen before the foundation of the world. They will not come because the like us or like our sermon or the songs that we sing. They will come because God has given them the ears to hear and the desire to repent and the faith to believe. Salvation is of God 100%

John 1: 12-13
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

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.
Quite the opposite His holiness and his Justice demand that he have full authority .
Looking forward to the answer to my original question. ("yes" or "no") -your "free choice"!
Steve
Sorry this is so late, my life is pretty busy right now. I look forward to the answers to the questions I have asked before. And I add one more to it.

The Jewish laws and system of sacrifices were prophetic foreshadows of Christ. Were they limited or unlimited?

Gods best blessings to you,

Terry


BCBSR Reponse

Teresa,

FINALLY! You admit that Calvinism teaches that God holds people responsible for things they have no control over. That wasn't so hard now was it? What was all that rhetoric about Man's OWN responsibilty in contrast to that of his neighbor? And what was that you said, "Your question makes no sense if you extend it to the acts of others." What did you mean by that? Under Calvinism God holds you accountable for a sin committed by someone else thousands of years before you were born. But consider, if God holds people responsible for things they have no control over then God is unjust, and as such unholy as well. But since the Bible teaches that God is just and holy therefore Calvism is wrong. What Calvinism does is to redefine the concept of justice so as to fit their theology into the Bible. But the Biblical concept of justice is not the Calvinistic concept of justice.

I don't understand why it is you say concerning your questions, "I suspect you have not answered because you do not have the answer", when you quote the very paragraph which explains why I didn't answer your questions. Furthermore the following will show your "suspicions" are incorrect.

You ask for example about original sin. The Biblical concept of original sin is that as a result of Adam's sin, people are born with a sinful nature. That is different than the Calvinistic concept of original sin - derived from Augustine - whereby the guilt of Adam's sin in imputed to people who hadn't committed that sin. And yet the Bible says, "Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for his own sin." Deut 24:16

As for imputed righteousness, yes I believe in imputed righteousness. For while it is unjust to condemn the innocent, the guilty can be forgiven if atonement is made. Calvinistic justice on the otherhand holds that since righteousness can be imputed to the guilty therefore guilt can be imputed to the innocent.

Then you quote 1 Peter 2:9 and ask, "Who chose who?  By your theology  they elected God, he did not elect them." Peter writes in the previous chapter, " who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge." So my answer is God chose. He chose according to his foreknowledge.

Then you ask, "Who acted first Steve God or man?" God acted first, based on his foreknowledge.

As for the quote, "NO man comes to me unless the Father draws him", I suggest you also the verse that follows it

"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: 'They will all be taught by God.' Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me."

Thus God takes initiative and it is up to us to respond - to listen and learn. (Are you listening and learning?)

You ask, "Was Judas a puppet?" It seems to me you're not denying that fact. Under Calvnism it appears that Judas was a puppet. But as Judas as held accountable for his actions and since God is just therefore the Bible indicates that Judas was not a puppet.

You make the statement, "Again I find the  hatred of the idea of a sovereign God by the saved to be incredible!" I don't deny God being "sovereign". But yet again Calvinism has its own view of what "sovereign" means. It seems under Calvinism "sovereign" simply means to control things in a puppet-like fashion.

As for Calvnistic concept of "free choice", is it "free choice" between two things when one is unattainable? But again we a significantly differnt concept of what the word "choice" means. There is no actual "choice" on man's part under Calvinism.
 

Notice for example in response to my statement concerning Calvinism, "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.",

you say, "Do you really believe that God is not sovereign over all events?" Notice that you didn't deny what I said. I am correctly portraying Calvinism with it's bizzare misconception of what is meant by God's "sovereignty".

Then you have questions about Jesus' lineage. You ask, "A coincidence? Or ordained events?" They were Biblically "ordained", which is not to say that they were Calvinistically "ordained". You ask, "Do you believe that revelation is not a prophecy?" No, I believe it is a prophecy. Don't see your point.

Then you ask, "Does God have a totally free will? Or is God bound by His holy nature and His word? Can God choose to sin?" No God cannot chose to sin. But is God a Calvinistic puppet as man is portrayed under Calvinism? No. Furthermore under Calvinism since God imputes sin to the innocent, do Calvinists also impute sin to God who is innocent? Should we reckon God sinful even though He is holy? Actually under Calvinism God does chose to sin. For He imputes guilt to the innocent and thus violates His judicial nature.

You say, "You seem to be inferring that God owes man something for doing some  nice things here on earth. that is not what the Bible teaches." Concerning your allegation here can you point out to me where I said, "God owes man something for doing some  nice things here on earth."? Or is it that your reading into my email your own ideas, or reading out of them what I actually say. Afterall it took many emails just for you to understand the question, "Does God hold people responsible for things they have no control over" actually means what it says. For so long you thought I was asking an entirely different question. So also I suspect with many other things I write. It may take a while before you listen to what I actually say, rather than miscontruing what I say to fit your attitude of contempt towards non-Calvinistic ideas. Seems to me Jesus was also misunderstood by many who held him in contempt primarily because they held him in contempt.

You say, "Without Gods grace the unregenerate will never choose Christ." And therefore Calvinism teaches that a person has to be born-again before believing in Jesus, contrary to to John 1:12. (More discussion perhaps?)

> We all carry the effects  of the fall of Adam , something over which we > had no control , so yes God can and does at times  and for His purpose > hold men responsible for things over which they have no control .
> You furthermore admit that Calvinism teaches that "Jesus was held responsible for the sin of all men, sin he had not committed." I don't hold that view. See my web page on the atonement at http://www.bcbsr.com/topics/atonement.html

I don't quite understand what your take is on the prodigal son. For you say, "Consider that the son was always the son." Are you saying that the elect automatically become children of God at birth? I thought the Bible teaches that they didn't even have the right to become children of God until they received and believed Jesus. (John 1:12)

You say: > Before one can receive mercy one must be judged guilty. > If you have made wise choices in jail, and worked to get a degree , and > done good time, when they open that door , it is not mercy you are > getting.. it is rewards for your works .
> > If on the other hand,  you did nothing , you just sat in a cell doing > as you wish and the governor opens the door for you, what you have > received is MERCY . It was something you did not earn and did not > deserve. > That my new friend is Mercy . That is how I was saved, and I suspect > that is how you were saved.

Actually if you served your time even if "you did nothing", your release would not be a matter of MERCY it would be a matter of JUSTICE. That my new friend is Justice! Have you not even read, "In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, UNTIL he should pay back all he owed." Granted that what we owe is too much to ever pay back. Furthermore the illustation of mercy you give does not correspond to the actual situation according to the gospel. What the Bible say as to what a person must DO to be saved? How does it answer the question, "What must I do to be saved?" You can read it for yourself in Acts 16:30,31. Notice that the Bible categorizes "faith" as something that you DO. This in contrast to DO-NOTHING Calvinism which is a merely stepping stone to Antinomian Free Grace Theology.

And lest you read into what I wrote some anti-Biblical heresy, while the Bible categorizes faith as something that you DO, it does not categorize faith as a WORK. Faith is an ATTITUDE, not a WORK.

You say: > I love the lost chapter, it proves election you know?
> > The sheep that are found and brought to safety were always the property > of the shepherd. He did not sit and wait for stray sheep to come and > find him, He went and found them . They ones that were branded with His > mark.

And then again the father did not go after the prodigal son. He waited for the son to return to him.

> The coin was already the property of the one looking for it.

And then again it was "lost" as was the "lost sheep" and while he was lost the prodigal son was categorized as "dead".

Were Christians saved when they were dead in trespasses and sins? The Bible says:

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. Eph 2:1-3

They were not children of God, but children destined to wrath at that time, prior to their being saved. And is it not also written, "No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother." 1John 3:9,10 Thus those who behave as children of the devil are actually children of the devil. That's what the Bible teaches.

Furthermore concerning "ownership" it says, "if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ." Rom 8:9 So unless your position is that the elect are born with the Spirit - being "born-again" even before they're born the first time - then there must be a point of time in their life when they receive the Spirit. And lo and behold the Bible affirms the idea that a person receives the Spirit AFTER faith in Christ. Notice Peter's declaration, Acts 2:38  Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." When they receive the Spirit, THEN they belong to Christ in the New Covenant sense, not before. That's what the Bible teaches.

As for the parables you can of course read my study guides, which by the way are quite popular, at http://www.bcbsr.com/survey/jpbl.html

> God seeks His own.

But then again God "owns" everything, doesn't he? And so it's a matter of what is meant by "own."

You say: > > can you say that Jesus was in their debt because they sought after Him > > for forgiveness?

Isn't that what you're saying? You're saying that if we seek forgiveness, therefore Jesus will grant forgiveness in payment of a debt!! Pretty much a non-sequitor statement from my point of view. It just doesn't follow.

> Who seeks after God? the bible says no man.

Excuse me - the Bible says, for example, "I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears." Ps 34:4  And I can give a multitude of passages that both command us to seek God and examples where people were actually seeking God. Would be a good idea to interpret the Bible in light of what the Bible actually says in the context in which it says it - don't you think?

> See steve the question that reformation doctrine asks is who and why. > The answer is those drawn by the father , and the why  Gods grace.

Maybe they should rather be focussing on WHAT the Bible says, and WHAT the Bible means in context in which it says it. After they've derived a Biblical theology from what the Bible actually says, then they can ask their philosophical arm-chair theological "why" questions.
 

>> 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)
> > You would be wrong in that bet. > Spurgeon used to say that if the elect had yellow stripes down their > back, we would go around lifting up shirts. > The first missionaries and some of the most successful missionaries > were calvinists.

The issue was not whether Calvnists are involved in publically promoting their theology. The issue was whether they would preach IN THE MANNER in which Peter preached saying, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation." Do you have a quote from a Calvnist saying, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation."?

As for Calvnism and missions, seems to me that for hundreds of years the theology of Calvinism hindered missions. Even at the start of the the great missionary movement in the 1800's when Carey went to India, upon his return his Presbyterian minister discouraged him from such things saying, "If God wants those people to be saved he could very well do it without your help." I find it furthermore interesting that the rise of missions corresponded to the growth of non-Calvninistic theologies.

You ask furthermore: > The Jewish laws and system of sacrifices  were prophetic foreshadows of > Christ. > Were they  limited or unlimited ?

With respect to what? Don't know what you mean by "limited or unlimited"? Maybe you could clarify.

Now going back to your previous emails, you asked other questions I promised to answer if you had answered my one question, which you have now done. So let's go through those questions:'

You ask: Were those that crucified Christ held "responsible"? Answer: yes

You ask: "If they were not to be held responsible for this foreordained act, why would there need be forgiveness?" Answer: They wouldn't need to be forgiven.

You ask: Was Judas held responsible for his part in the foreordained for his betrayal? Answer: yes

You ask: Now you tell me , does God hold men responsible for the acts He has foreordained? Answer: Only if they have control over their actions.

You ask: Did you chose your sex? Did your chose your parents? Did you choose your country or city of birth? Did you chose your intelligence? Answer: no, no, no, actually there's a bit of synergism going on concerning the last question.

You ask: Have you read the twin studies? Answer: Think I heard something about it second hand. You're argument is "nature over nuture", but then again, if you plan to raise children, you need to learn that nuture has a significant impact on how people turn out as well.     I can see where Calvinism results in fatalistic attitudes and apathy towards others. Afterall aren't people and situations going to turn out just as they will regardless of your nuturing them? Beyond just giving lectures I wonder if Calvinists are even involved in making disciples. Paul expressed his attitude towards making disciples as for example, "we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us. For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God." And also "you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children." Maybe Paul should have just relied on "nature" to disciple them rather than "nurture".

You ask: Esau chose freely to treat the birthright without respect. He chose what he preferred at that time. That was the pottage over the eternal birthright. Was he held accountable for the decision? Answer: yes

You ask: 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? Answer: Sure I believe it. But we may differ as to what it actually means. It's like me asking you "Do you believe the Bible?" And if so then agree on everything the Bible says. It's non sequitor. For on many points we don't agree on what the Bible means from what it says.

You ask (somewhat rhetorically): "The question is what does man choose and why?" And then you answer your own question with: Men always choose what they understand as their best interest. They always choose from the set of choices available to him. Don't know if you want my answer to the question. Let me know.

YOu ask: Steve was anyone saved at the cross? Answer: yes

Finally you ask: "Steve what does the Bible say?" Answer: Read it!

Now I think I've answered all your questions. Let me know if you have others.

Good Biblestudying to you,

Steve



The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources Jul 29,2015