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You're right that I haven't read of all of MikeL's posts. I have paid closer attention to his responses to me, and only a little attention to his other interactions. My impression was that he came with honest (and probing) questions, became offended by someone's overly rough approach with him, and began to cause more trouble after that. In other words, my impression was that MikeL was only partly to blame for the less than charitable tone of the discussions, and that we might be able to improve the overall tone if we were more careful not to be disrespectful towards him. That said, my overall impression is not as informed as it would have been had I read all of the conversations that he has been involved in, and I will defer to whatever decision you guys make as administrators. You've been paying closer attention than I have.

Take care,
John


"He that hath light thoughts of sin, never had great thoughts of God." ...John Owen
jmp #43578 Wed Oct 21, 2009 8:21 AM
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John,

Also, as I have reminded MikeL several times and thus now to you also, his initial statement of intent here was to learn about Calvinism, most likely because he alleges that two of his sisters have "converted" and are now somewhat enamored by John Piper; something which most of us here openly lamented. However, it has been demonstrated by MikeL that this initial intent of learning was perhaps less than ingenuous as he has repeatedly refused to read anything referenced to him, mainly articles resident on The Highway website which would have given him much clarification and additional information about all the topics (arguments and personal beliefs he holds) presented by him. Further, he stated he is not interested in reading these articles but rather his interest is more in hearing what we on the board would say (answer/respond) to his criticisms and rejection of all things Calvin. Given that I have been doing this for nearly 14 years and have seen thousands of individuals come and go here, perhaps I and others like Kyle have learned some measure of discernment as to what motives and intents people have. No, we are not infallible, but to be perfectly honest, my accuracy rate is somewhere in the high 90% range. wink

And, perhaps you have received more cordial responses from MikeL because your presentations are more in line with his own beliefs, at least that is how he has understood you and said so explicitly. This may be something you should think seriously about, eh?

Lastly, it is not unusual nor unexpected that someone who holds to semi-Pelagianism as does MikeL should be antagonistic toward Calvinists. We believe in a totally different God, embrace another Christ and preach/teach a totally different Gospel than what he does. In his eyes, we are rank heretics and understandably so. Thus, his antagonism and opposition is natural both intellectually and spiritually, Rom 8:7,8; 1Cor 2:14; Eph 4:17-19, et al. However, despite the natural opposition, there needs to be some structure and etiquette administered on the board. Some doubtless won't care for the way it is done. But we have found the vast majority are more than appreciative for the way we have and will continue to conduct things here. We often get PMs and e-mails relating how one is astonished over the display of patience the Staff exhibits toward many individuals who venture here. They are most appreciative of the order that is maintained and that obnoxious and combative individuals are removed after being warned to cease and desist.

All that takes place here is done prayerfully and with due consideration after consulting with one another as a Staff of administrators and moderators. Again, we make no claim to be infallible in our judgments, but we do believe that the Spirit of God is guiding us to do that which is right, glorifying to God and edifying to the saints.

In His grace,


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Kyle writes:

[Apart from Esau selling his birthright to Jacob, Esau did not personally serve Jacob that I can recall.]

Then I think the issue of individual salvation or damnation is closed: the text is not talking about individuals named Jacob and Esau. I suggest, in line with Malachi, from which this text in Romans is drawn, that Paul is actually talking about their descendants.

[In this passage Paul is arguing that God chooses some individuals & not others on no basis other than His own good pleasure (v. 18). Salvation is not on the basis of fleshly descent...]

But chooses them for salvation? Perhaps we're putting that into the text - but it isn't there. Neither the word "salvation" or any of its close concepts is there.

Choosing is there, that we agree. But nothing related to the eternal states of Jacob, Esau, or their respective descendants.

[Indeed, Mike, let us not be too hasty to conclude from Psalm 5 that:

-God takes no pleasure in wickedness;
-no evil dwells with God;
-the boastful shall not stand before God;
-God destroys liars;
-God will grant David entrance to God's house by God's abundant lovingkindness;
-God blesses & protects the righteous.]

Yes, Kyle, I think we need to be careful about these claims you divined. The boastful will surely stand before God - in the judgment. God doesn't destroy all liars - what did Jacob do to secure his brother's birthright? Was Jacob destroyed? And by destroy, do you mean damned? Was Jacob damned? We know that isn't the case. We know David is expressing God's hatred of the sin.

Look, I am not a Unitarian. I don't believe everyone goes to heaven. I know hell is a real place, a terrible place. And I am very sceptical about a theology that damns souls before they're born.

"There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him..."

Besides the verse from Proverbs, at least, seems to indicate God hates things. And what does detestable mean? Is this really a verse that strongly supports that God hates people eternally?

A little later on (Prov 21), we are told that false witnesses "perish" and that those who listen to them are "destroyed forever." This again seems less about making claims about eternal state, and more about the seriousness of sin.

Tom writes:

[The words "Accordingly as he hath chosen us in him before the foundations of the world," indicate people God has chosen in Christ, before the foundation of the world."]

Well, I have to respect the form of this point, since I used it myself. Yet compared to Romans 8:29,

"For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers."

Can't I say that God's chose us because he foreknew we'd freely choose him?

Mike

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Mike,

The question should really be, Why does God chose anyone to be saved? There is no one righteous, no not one. BUT GOD, who is rich in mercy has chosen a people for Himself. Can't He do that and not be unjust?
I am more and more amazed by God's grace every day.


Be killing sin or it will be killing you. John Owen
MikeL #43584 Wed Oct 21, 2009 6:42 PM
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Originally Posted by MikeL
Kyle writes:

Quote
Apart from Esau selling his birthright to Jacob, Esau did not personally serve Jacob that I can recall.

Then I think the issue of individual salvation or damnation is closed: the text is not talking about individuals named Jacob and Esau. I suggest, in line with Malachi, from which this text in Romans is drawn, that Paul is actually talking about their descendants.

Yes, the text IS speaking of individuals named Jacob & Esau. The few verses before incontrovertibly speak of an individual named Isaac; and the following verses incontrovertibly speak of an individual Pharaoh. Rebekah did not conceive two nations by her husband Isaac, but two sons. These sons were not yet born, & they had not done either good or bad, when God made His choice between them & told Rebekah that the older would serve the younger, i.e., that God had chosen Jacob & not Esau. Yes, these men were the fathers of two nations, and the prophecy pointed forward to the Edomites serving the Israelites; but God chose to establish His people through the one individual, Jacob, while rejecting the other individual, Esau. The blessings of the God's promise to Abraham & Isaac fell to Jacob, not to Esau, and God's choice had nothing to do with anything which Jacob had or had not done. The blessings of God's promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob fall to all who believe, and it is believers who are regarded as the true descendants of Abraham (Rom. 4:16).

Originally Posted by MikeL
Quote
In this passage Paul is arguing that God chooses some individuals & not others on no basis other than His own good pleasure (v. 18). Salvation is not on the basis of fleshly descent...

But chooses them for salvation? Perhaps we're putting that into the text - but it isn't there. Neither the word "salvation" or any of its close concepts is there.

Choosing is there, that we agree. But nothing related to the eternal states of Jacob, Esau, or their respective descendants.

Oh no, not at all. Of course "vessels of wrath prepared for destruction" (v. 22) has no referrence to an eternal state; much less would "vessels of mercy ... prepared beforehand for glory" (v. 23) have referrence to an eternal state. Indeed, there can be no doubt that when Paul speaks of the Gentiles attaining righteousness by faith (v. 30), he is by no means speaking of anything to do with salvation! And let us not forget, although Paul's discourse spans chapters 9-11, Paul most certainly is not referring to eternal salvation when he says, "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" (10:9).

Originally Posted by MikeL
Quote
Indeed, Mike, let us not be too hasty to conclude from Psalm 5 that:

-God takes no pleasure in wickedness;
-no evil dwells with God;
-the boastful shall not stand before God;
-God destroys liars;
-God will grant David entrance to God's house by God's abundant lovingkindness;
-God blesses & protects the righteous.

Yes, Kyle, I think we need to be careful about these claims you divined. The boastful will surely stand before God - in the judgment. God doesn't destroy all liars - what did Jacob do to secure his brother's birthright? Was Jacob destroyed? And by destroy, do you mean damned? Was Jacob damned? We know that isn't the case. We know David is expressing God's hatred of the sin.

"Standing before God" has the meaning of standing upright in the presence of the Judge. And no, the boastful, who do not repent, will not "stand before God" - they will be forced to their knees before Him. As for liars, yes, God destroys liars - those liars who do not repent. David was a sinner too, but he repented, & God spared him. But nothing in Ps. 5 is untrue of God. God hates all who do iniquity (v. 5) - but as we know from many other places, He spares the repentant. Does this diminish the truth that God hates sinners? Not in the least. This psalm displays explicitly God's hatred of sinners.

Quote
Look, I am not a Unitarian. I don't believe everyone goes to heaven. I know hell is a real place, a terrible place.

I believe you mean you are not a universalist, although I have no doubt that you also are not a unitarian. But speaking of hell, I asked you before whether hell was God's love for those who were doomed to it - you haven't answered yet.

Quote
And I am very sceptical about a theology that damns souls before they're born.

Well, since God hated Esau before Esau was born - regardless of whether we understand Esau as an individual or only as a nation - then you ought to be skeptical of what the Bible teaches very clearly.

Quote
"There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him..."

Besides the verse from Proverbs, at least, seems to indicate God hates things. And what does detestable mean? Is this really a verse that strongly supports that God hates people eternally?

A little later on (Prov 21), we are told that false witnesses "perish" and that those who listen to them are "destroyed forever." This again seems less about making claims about eternal state, and more about the seriousness of sin.

Somehow perishing & being destroyed forever do not communicate the eternal end of false witnesses & those who heed them? You're stretching things, Mike. Of course sin is serious - so serious, in fact, that God hates all those who sin, i.e., sinners.

By the way, why haven't you addressed what I wrote in response to you on Ephesians?

Last edited by CovenantInBlood; Wed Oct 21, 2009 6:45 PM.

Kyle

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Originally Posted by MikeL
Can't I say that God's chose us because he foreknew we'd freely choose him?
yep You can say that but you would be in error in doing so.

1. Can you offer any biblical passages which specifically show that God chose certain individuals to salvation based upon His for-seeing them as believing upon Christ?

2. Rom 8:29 is a corollary to verse 28 since it begins with "For whom He foreknew..." Thus we must look at what precedes vs 29:

Romans 8:28 (KJV) "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose."

Thus, the election/foreordination to salvation precedes foreknowledge and predestination follows there after.

3. Let's follow your view through for the sake of argument to see if it works.

Quote
Romans 8:29-30 (KJV) "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified."
I believe the argument goes much like this:

a. Those whom God foreknew as believing, having looked down the corridors of time, or peering into the future, or some such thing, those He predestinated. And those whom He predestinated He also called... etc.
b. Now, what did God call them to? The answer is always, "He called them to faith; to believe upon Christ."
c. So, God saw some as having already believed, yet He calls them to believe?
d. Conclusion... illogical! It simply doesn't work. Why would God call men to believe if He had already seen them as having believed? Secondly, if God did see some as believing and predestined them to salvation, then doesn't this mitigate and totally eliminate any possibility that these people could choose otherwise? I mean, where does the "free-will" come in that would allow Joe Smith to not believe if he didn't want to if he was predestined to believe? scratchchin

4. Now, the problem with this view of foreknowledge determining God's foreordination of things is that it denies the very definition of the biblical God; particularly the three major incommunicable attributes: Omnipotence, Omniscience and Omnipresence. Let me demonstrate how this is so:

1. Omnipotence: by the simple definition, it means all power and authority over all things. The problem with this view is that God responds to what He allegedly foresees. That which he allegedly perceives as taking place is not something He has determined nor authority over as they are allegedly the free-will actions of men.

2. Omniscience: by simple definition, it means prescience; knowledge of facts. The problem here is that God had to learn something which He was not always privy to. Since the "believing" which it is alleged that God "saw" was done freely and outside of an eternal decree and of necessity not according to His authority. The actual believing could not have been known until the believing actually took place. It matters not whether the element of "time" is considered or not. The fact remains, God did not know who was going to believe since He had to perceive it as taking place and upon that basis, predestine/decree it to happen. Consistent Arminians/semi-Pelagians admit to this being true and assert a view known as "Middle Knowledge" or "Open Theism". They admit that logically, if man is in possession of a "free-will" it is impossible for God to have all knowledge.

3. Omnipresence: by simple definition, it means God is everywhere He being pure spirit and infinite in His being. The problem here is that God had to gain additional knowledge of facts from a source which He did not create. Or, put another way, what God allegedly perceived existed outside of Himself. Thus what He allegedly saw had to exist where He was not. This "place" where this pre-created populated earth existed could not have existed within the mind of God such as what we call a dream, for this would also violate #1 Omnipotence and #2 Omniscience.

Bottom line... This view that purports that foreordination follows foreknowledge denies the very definition of the biblical God.

Quickly now... as I suspect you are going to ask how it is possible that God's foreknowledge follows foreordination, it is easily explained aside from the myriad biblical passages supporting it, by an earthly illustration; arguing from the lesser to the greater:

It is more than reasonable and logical to assert that a human being can relay future events with absolute certainty. And this proves the case that "foreknowledge" follows "foreordination". How? What if the man is an architect? He can drive to a vacant lot and explain in full detail that on this site will be a 100 story building, built out of granite and brick with walnut paneled walls, 383 offices, 5 elevators, etc., etc. How can he do that? He can simply because he is the designer. He had it all planned out long before the construction would begin. He didn't look into the future to see how some construction company was going to erect a building and then decide to copy it. dizzy No! He, himself pre-determined what he wanted to build and all its details. And because he specified all things according to his own desires, he "foreknew" what that building was going to be.

Thus, if a measly created being can claim to "foreknow" things because he "foreordained" them as their designer, then how much more is it possible that God foreknows all things because He has foreordained them?


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[The question should really be, Why does God chose anyone to be saved?]

You are begging the question: Does God choose people to be saved? Others follow: Does God choose people to be damned? What does it mean when God "chooses"? Is it independent of human action or intent? Does it involve some cooperation on the part of invididuals to repent and believe?

I would have to say that all these questions have been discussed and debated in one form or another, and to attempt to answer your question would neglect them.

Mike

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Kyle wrote:

[As for liars, yes, God destroys liars - those liars who do not repent. David was a sinner too, but he repented, & God spared him.]

So what you're saying is that when Psalm 5 declares that God destroys liars, we should not base an entire theology on the claim.

I totally agree.

When God says he hates false witnesses, I'd say this is no evidence that God damns them.

Mike

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[d. Conclusion... illogical! It simply doesn't work. Why would God call men to believe if He had already seen them as having believed?]

Illogical? I thought we were going to leave human logic out of it, and rely solely on scripture?

Scripture says foreknowledge comes before predestination.

If it doesn't make sense you to, imagine how I feel when I read how men are responsible for their predetermined lives.

Mike


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Originally Posted by MikeL
Scripture says foreknowledge comes before predestination.
In Rom 8:29, predestination follows foreknowledge which follows foreordination (vs. 28) as already explained more than once. CONTEXT, context, context. Secondly, and much to your consternation, the same word can have different meanings. One cannot read Scripture nor any written material with a "psycho-statistical-mean' hermeneutic... that's just plain silliness. How you can actually understand anything you read, if you use the same mindset as you espouse for reading the Bible, is beyond comprehension. igiveup

Now, which verse are you going to choose to prove your contention that foreknowledge determines foreordination? scratchchin

1. Romans 8:29: "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son," (with the allowance of this text ripped out of its immediate context)

OR

2. Acts 2:23: "Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken,..."

OR

You can opt for the view that denies the divine inspiration of Scripture which then allows contradictions, errors and myth to exist which would explain the above apparent contradiction. scratch1


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Originally Posted by MikeL
Kyle wrote:

Quote
As for liars, yes, God destroys liars - those liars who do not repent. David was a sinner too, but he repented, & God spared him.

So what you're saying is that when Psalm 5 declares that God destroys liars, we should not base an entire theology on the claim.

I totally agree.

When God says he hates false witnesses, I'd say this is no evidence that God damns them.


As I recall, the issue of God's hatred was raised because you insisted that "God is love" & he could never hate someone enough to damn them, but instead God hates sin rather than sinners. Well, we've established scripturally that God does hate sinners. And you & I both agree that sinners who remain unrepentant go to hell. We've also established scripturally that God hated Esau before Esau had been born or had done anything good or bad - although I have argued that the individual named Esau is clearly indicated, we can allow even here that God hated the nation of Edom before it had come into existence or done anything good or bad (God as a racist?) - in any case the matter is the same: God hated someone before they had ever come into existence, and He rejected them from being His children before they had ever done anything at all. Biblically, the dilemma is not for the Calvinist to resolve, who affirms that out of the mass of sinful humanity God chose some & rejected the rest; the dilemma is rather for the proponent of libertarianism (i.e., unfettered free-willism), who affirms that God loves some people enough to send them to hell because of their free choice to sin even though He'd prefer to save them!

Last edited by CovenantInBlood; Fri Oct 23, 2009 8:13 PM.

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Originally Posted by CovenantInBlood
Biblically, the dilemma is not for the Calvinist to resolve, who affirms that out of the mass of sinful humanity God chose some & rejected the rest; the dilemma is rather for the proponent of libertarianism (i.e., unfettered free-willism), who affirms that God loves some people enough to send them to hell because of their free choice to sin even though He'd prefer to save them!

And that view - that God is helpless and impotent, and forced to bow to the will of the almighty sinner's "choice" - would rob God of His omnipotence as well as His omniscience and sovereignty.

The image of a frustrated Father God pacing heaven's floors and wringing His hands, hoping that someone on Earth will "let Him have His way," is frankly insulting to Him. The Scriptures infallibly give glory to God and to no one else. The popular semi-Pelagian mythology turns the Almighty into a mere genie-servant, subject to the will of his own created beings.

Can anyone who truly loves God really view Him that way? I would be more likely to pity such a "god" than to worship him!

-R

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