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Pilgrim #46913 Sun Jul 03, 2011 10:24 AM
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I was watching a video from John McArthur yesterday and I think one of the differences between free-will and reformed theology is something he mentioned. He said that the tension between what the Bible states about God's sovereignty in choosing whosoever He will, and what is understandable to us, is a huge distance. He stated that he was fine with God knowing more than we do and not choosing to make it crystal clear. He is God, we are not. The whole situation is so easily and neatly defined for the free-will believer. It is all wrapped up and delivered for our comfort and understanding. Just an observation...

rachel #46917 Sun Jul 03, 2011 12:05 PM
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Rachel,

I do understand what MacArthur was driving at, i.e., what appears to be a contradiction or incompatibility between God's total sovereignty in BOTH power and authority and man's full responsibility. However... the salient point is, Does the Bible teach these two ideas (doctrines)? If they are biblical doctrines then it doesn't matter whether we can comprehend the relationship between them. What everyone must do is accept them, not by faith alone but upon the testimonty of the written Word. Faith embraces the teachings AND it loves them because it is God's unassailable revealed will.

Martin Luther, who sparked the Protestant Reformation, was vehemently opposed to this Pelagian/semi-Pelagian heresy, which the Roman State Church held dear and continues to do so as one can see from the responses given by the Catholic members here.

Here's an article showing Luther's polemic against it: Martin Luther on Free-will.

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Pilgrim #46926 Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:42 PM
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Hello Pilgrim,
Great article! Thank you so much. You know I know it is never good to measure ones own perceptions to calculate the truth, but when you are looking into something like this matter in the word of God I have no other real facts of anyone's life but my own. As I look back on all the things in my life only I know of, how many times I should have been dead, how many times I went blithely on my journey in life without a thought of God, how many times God has intervened in my behalf, there is only one conclusion- He is the one that pursued me and enabled me to come to Him. To say other wise is to either be blind or a liar.
We are moving in a couple weeks and our new area has a PCA church! YES! I will finally get to be in a church where they see the truth. Can't wait.

rachel #46927 Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:44 PM
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Originally Posted by rachel
We are moving in a couple weeks and our new area has a PCA church! YES! I will finally get to be in a church where they see the truth. Can't wait.
I do hope and pray that this PCA church is one of the exceptions rather than the rule, e.g., it is faithful in both doctrine and practice to the Westminster Standards; its worship is according to the "Regulative Principle" and not 'contemporary' man-made will worship, that it loves and observes the Christian Sabbath, that it preaches and teaches the pure Gospel of sovereign free grace and not one of the popular heresies, e.g., Federal Vision, or the semi-Pelagian 'gospel' of the Four Spiritual Laws or Evangelism Explosion, etc. Doubtless, you will come to find out what this PCA church is all about soon enough.

Keep us informed as to how it goes, please. grin


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Pilgrim #46931 Mon Jul 04, 2011 9:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Pilgrim
Originally Posted by via_dolorosa
Free will is interwoven throughout the Bible. The problem isn't Calvinists denying free will, the problem is in how they define it.
1. It has not been established that free-will is interwoven throughout the Bible. It is assumed but not proven.

Using that standard, it has similarly not been established that Calvinism is interwoven throughout the Bible. It is, after all, a matter of perspective. I don't see the unfettered free will of man as a threat to the sovereignty of God. Calvinists do.

Originally Posted by Pilgrim
2. Calvinists define free-will as the ability to choose that which is contrary to one's nature. This has been established with myriad passages from Scripture.
People choose what is contrary to their nature given the right circumstances. A juror may, by nature, abhor capital punishment, but because of the special and aggravating circumstances of a crime, vote for death. Along the same school of thought, someone's "come to Jesus" moment is often preceded by a devastating loss, going to jail, guilt over sin, or a myriad of other circumstances that make them vulnerable and ready to receive the gospel. Though our nature is to reject God, God orchestrates the events of our lives to change our perspective and finally see our desperate need to be saved. The convertee never has his free will violated and is never dragooned into his decision. At the decision point, fashioned by God, a man can choose to reject still, small voice...and many do. For Calvinism to make sense, God would not go to this effort for somebody to reject his overtures. The very fact that people reject God after such a great effort to woo them undoes Limited Atonement and the rest of the TULIP with it.


Originally Posted by Pilgrim
Originally Posted by via_dolorosa
Unfortunately these arguments with Calvinists go in circles because they are thinking along a different paradigm. From the outside looking in, Calvinists believe man cannot have complete, unfettered free will outside of what has been preordained for him because that would subtract from God's sovereignty. Man is free to ride the train, but the tracks only go in one direction. Man is free to cast his vote, but his ballot only has one candidate. So in the Calvinist mindset, man freely chooses what has already been predetermined for him. It's an oddly hilarious circular paradox, but it makes perfect sense to them.

Originally Posted by Pilgrim
1. As explained elsewhere, IF man has this Pelagian/semi-Pelagian 'free-will', then if held consistently, which some do, then you end up with "Open Theism/Middle Knowledge" where God is not Omnipotent. Why? Because God cannot know the future, regardless if God is 'outside of time' or not, due to the fact that He cannot know what any individual will do until that individual decides to exercise this free-will.
Or God knows the beginning from the end without interfering with the choice of individuals who bring the future about. The slippery slope argument doesn't quite fit here.

Originally Posted by Pilgrim
2. IF free-will is true, then prophecy is impossible, for there is an infinite number of possibilities concerning the creation, which could take place that would thwart its fulfillment. Only if God has foreordained all things and providentially governs all things to their appointed ends is prophecy possible.
Or both free-will and prophesy are true. Though the Calvinist proclaims God's sovereignty, t's a meager view that the Calvinists hold of God's sovereignty that requires cohersion at every level in order to bring about God's plan. A far more mysterious and grander view has God's plan being brought about to the tiniest detail while never violating the will of man. This calls for a level of control would certainly boggle the mind of man.

Originally Posted by Pilgrim
3. The epitome of the biblical, Calvinist system is marvelously displayed in the crucifixion of Christ. No one was forced against their will to crucify Him. Each individual did exactly and most freely what they wanted to do... YET, all was done in complete conformity to God's eternal foreordination.
I'm failing to connect the dots here. Yes, nobody was compelled. Yes, people did what they wanted to do. Yes, God's plan was brought to fruition. How does this prove Calvinism?

Quote
Acts 2:22-24 (ASV) "Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God unto you by mighty works and wonders and signs which God did by him in the midst of you, even as ye yourselves know; him, being delivered up by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye by the hand of lawless men did crucify and slay: whom God raised up, having loosed the pangs of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it."

Acts 3:17-18 (ASV) "And now, brethren, I know that in ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. But the things which God foreshowed by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ should suffer, he thus fulfilled."

Acts 4:26-28 (ASV) "The kings of the earth set themselves in array, And the rulers were gathered together, Against the Lord, and against his Anointed: for of a truth in this city against thy holy Servant Jesus, whom thou didst anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, were gathered together, to do whatsoever thy hand and thy council foreordained to come to pass."
[/quote]

Perhaps one more passage to be quoted is Joseph, executor of Egypt's, words to his brothers that what they meant for evil, God meant for good. God's plan to save his people from famine would have been accomplished through the brothers' good deeds or evil. They were completely free to choose, and yet completely helpless to thwart God's plans, regardless of their choice. That's sovereignty worthy of the greatest wonder.


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via_dolorosa #46937 Tue Jul 05, 2011 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by via_dolorosa
I don't see the unfettered free will of man as a threat to the sovereignty of God. Calvinists do.

If God knows certainly what man will choose (and he does!), then man's choice has been determined already - whether by God, or by some other agency. And there's the rub. If God did not determine, who or what did? If God is omniscient but does not determine the choices men will make, then free will becomes little more than blind chance - it is fatalism, ultimately outside of God's control, thus denying God's omnipotence. The only other alternative is to deny God's omniscience.

But we say that God's omniscience cannot be divorced from his omnipotence - God knows all because he in his omnipotence determines all. There are no "corridors of time" which God must look down to see what you will choose to do 5 minutes from now. There is no knowledge that exists in some parallel sphere outside of God's mind. There is no chance or fate. Everything happens exactly as God has determined, to his own glory.

Quote
People choose what is contrary to their nature given the right circumstances. A juror may, by nature, abhor capital punishment, but because of the special and aggravating circumstances of a crime, vote for death. Along the same school of thought, someone's "come to Jesus" moment is often preceded by a devastating loss, going to jail, guilt over sin, or a myriad of other circumstances that make them vulnerable and ready to receive the gospel. Though our nature is to reject God, God orchestrates the events of our lives to change our perspective and finally see our desperate need to be saved. The convertee never has his free will violated and is never dragooned into his decision.

Neither of these are examples of "choosing against one's nature." In the first case, the juror's nature was either never opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances, or the juror's nature was changed to accept death penalty in at least one particular circumstance. In the second case, the nature of the sinner is changed - regenerated by the work of the Holy Spirit. It is simply impossible to choose anything that is entirely against one's own nature.

Quote
At the decision point, fashioned by God, a man can choose to reject still, small voice...and many do.

I.e., man, not God, is ultimately responsible for his own salvation, because man's salvation rests finally on his own choice to be saved. This is what you are saying.

Quote
For Calvinism to make sense, God would not go to this effort for somebody to reject his overtures. The very fact that people reject God after such a great effort to woo them undoes Limited Atonement and the rest of the TULIP with it.

God does not expend any effort needlessly, & he does not intend to save everyone. I can think of not a single example in Scripture in which God went to "great lengths" to save an individual only to find his will thwarted by man's free choice. His overtures to mankind generally & to his visible people always accomplish the salvation of the elect, which is the intended effect.

Quote
Or God knows the beginning from the end without interfering with the choice of individuals who bring the future about. The slippery slope argument doesn't quite fit here.

You aren't responding to the dilemma. If God does not determine the choices men make, then how is it possible for God to know what choices will be made before they are made? These choices must have been predetermined somehow for God to have full & certain knowledge of them.

Quote
Or both free-will and prophesy are true.

Again, you are simply ignoring the dilemma. Free will, understood as the ability of man to make any choice available, is not compatible with prophecy, in which the choices man will make must be known with absolute certainty. If man's will is actually "free" in the sense described, then it is not possible that his choices could be known with absolute certainty before those choices are made, because there is an indefinite number of series of choices that could be made. A single different choice made than predicted would completely undermine the reliability of prophecy.

Quote
Though the Calvinist proclaims God's sovereignty, t's a meager view that the Calvinists hold of God's sovereignty that requires cohersion at every level in order to bring about God's plan. A far more mysterious and grander view has God's plan being brought about to the tiniest detail while never violating the will of man. This calls for a level of control would certainly boggle the mind of man.

Calvinism does not propose that man's will is ever "coerced" or "violated" by God. To the contrary, man always acts in accordance with his will. So what you've described here actually applies to Calvinism. wink Now, God may change man's will:

Quote
Prov. 21:1 (ASV) "The king's heart is in the hand of Jehovah as the watercourses: He turneth it whithersoever he will."

But this is not "coercion" or "violation." A will, once changed, is simply changed. It does not act contrary to itself in the act being changed.

Quote
I'm failing to connect the dots here. Yes, nobody was compelled. Yes, people did what they wanted to do. Yes, God's plan was brought to fruition. How does this prove Calvinism?

It could not be by God's "determinate counsel & foreknowledge" if men had free will, because in that case it would not be possible to determine or foreknow what choices men would make - or, at any rate, it would not be by God's determinate council.

Quote
Perhaps one more passage to be quoted is Joseph, executor of Egypt's, words to his brothers that what they meant for evil, God meant for good. God's plan to save his people from famine would have been accomplished through the brothers' good deeds or evil.

Here's what the verse says:

Quote
Gen. 50:20 (ASV) "And as for you, ye meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive."

Note that it does not say that whatever their deeds were, God would have accomplished his plan. Rather, it says that God meant for their evil deeds to accomplish his good plan.

Quote
They were completely free to choose, and yet completely helpless to thwart God's plans, regardless of their choice. That's sovereignty worthy of the greatest wonder.

Yet you say that men regularly thwart God's plans for their salvation when they reject his wooing?

Last edited by CovenantInBlood; Tue Jul 05, 2011 11:30 AM.
CovenantInBlood #46942 Tue Jul 05, 2011 6:38 PM
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An old but well-known poem sums up the conundrum of the free-will position if God doesn't have absolute control over everything, determining the beginning and the end, even in regard to the most minute particle He created.

For want of a nail a shoe was lost,
for want of a shoe a horse was lost,
for want of a horse a rider was lost,
for want of a rider an army was lost,
for want of an army a battle was lost,
for want of a battle the war was lost,
for want of the war the kingdom was lost,
and all for the want of a little horseshoe nail.


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CovenantInBlood #46943 Tue Jul 05, 2011 6:45 PM
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Originally Posted by CovenantInBlood
Originally Posted by via_dolorosa
I don't see the unfettered free will of man as a threat to the sovereignty of God. Calvinists do.

If God knows certainly what man will choose (and he does!), then man's choice has been determined already - whether by God, or by some other agency. And there's the rub. If God did not determine, who or what did? If God is omniscient but does not determine the choices men will make, then free will becomes little more than blind chance - it is fatalism, ultimately outside of God's control, thus denying God's omnipotence. The only other alternative is to deny God's omniscience.
That's a fallacy of logic to suggest that God cannot know everything without controlling everything, even man whom he made in his own image.

Originally Posted by CovenantInBlood
But we say that God's omniscience cannot be divorced from his omnipotence - God knows all because he in his omnipotence determines all. There are no "corridors of time" which God must look down to see what you will choose to do 5 minutes from now. There is no knowledge that exists in some parallel sphere outside of God's mind. There is no chance or fate. Everything happens exactly as God has determined, to his own glory.
I never liked the "corriders of time" analogy either. I rather like the image of God looking at a sphere that contains all of time and creation; seeing the beginning from the end. The fact that God created this sphere, in every exhaustive detail, in accordance with his perfect will, with every event conducted by people of entirely unhindered free will, is astounding.

Originally Posted by CovenantInBlood
Quote
People choose what is contrary to their nature given the right circumstances. A juror may, by nature, abhor capital punishment, but because of the special and aggravating circumstances of a crime, vote for death. Along the same school of thought, someone's "come to Jesus" moment is often preceded by a devastating loss, going to jail, guilt over sin, or a myriad of other circumstances that make them vulnerable and ready to receive the gospel. Though our nature is to reject God, God orchestrates the events of our lives to change our perspective and finally see our desperate need to be saved. The convertee never has his free will violated and is never dragooned into his decision.

Neither of these are examples of "choosing against one's nature." In the first case, the juror's nature was either never opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances, or the juror's nature was changed to accept death penalty in at least one particular circumstance. In the second case, the nature of the sinner is changed - regenerated by the work of the Holy Spirit. It is simply impossible to choose anything that is entirely against one's own nature.
Incorrect. A person can be wholly opposed to capital punishment having never been exposed to a perpective that would change his mind. By the same token, Saul was wholeheartely committed to pursuing and prosecuting Christians and driving the movement out of existence...until he had an experience that changed his view. To suggest that Paul, all that time, contained the nature to persecute Christians until he had the nature to not persecute Christians is to misunderstand what nature is.

Originally Posted by CovenantInBlood
Quote
At the decision point, fashioned by God, a man can choose to reject still, small voice...and many do.

I.e., man, not God, is ultimately responsible for his own salvation, because man's salvation rests finally on his own choice to be saved. This is what you are saying.
Salvation is a result of the perfect, unaugmented death and resurrection of Christ as a propitiation for sins. The responsibility to receive forgiveness and eternal life is man's. The all-or-nothing thinking that if man chooses salvation over perdition it means he is saving himself is absurd. But then, the thought process of Calvinism as a whole is incontinent once one thinks outside of it.

Originally Posted by CovenantInBlood
Quote
For Calvinism to make sense, God would not go to this effort for somebody to reject his overtures. The very fact that people reject God after such a great effort to woo them undoes Limited Atonement and the rest of the TULIP with it.

God does not expend any effort needlessly, & he does not intend to save everyone. I can think of not a single example in Scripture in which God went to "great lengths" to save an individual only to find his will thwarted by man's free choice. His overtures to mankind generally & to his visible people always accomplish the salvation of the elect, which is the intended effect.
Perhaps you're not looking for it in Scripture, having already made up your mind. When Agrippa told Paul, "thou almost persuadest me to become a Christian," there is a keen example of one nearly being convinced but turning away at the last moment. To suggest that God was not pursuing Agrippa is to suggest, contrary to reason, that God had not sent Paul to him in the first place. This is a simple matter of not seeking out any evidence that might confound your theological system. The reason I know that a person can come close to believing, being cut to the heart with the gospel message, is because I've seen it myself in some people I tried to bring to Christ. To say that God was not pursuing them (in sync with the Agrippa example) is to suggest that God had not prevailed upon me to try to reach them. Multiply this by the testamony of many other Christians who have similarly been turned down after trying to save someone. Maybe even yourself! Did you conclude that God not send you with the gospel to try to save someone just because they turned you down? Do you see the fallacy of logic here? If God did not die for someone and did not predestine them to life, then it follows that there would be no effort to prosecute them and would never send someone to bring the gospel to them. The very fact that the Hound of Heaven pursues all men flies right in face of Calvinistic thought.

Originally Posted by CovenantInBlood
Quote
Or both free-will and prophesy are true.

Again, you are simply ignoring the dilemma. Free will, understood as the ability of man to make any choice available, is not compatible with prophecy, in which the choices man will make must be known with absolute certainty. If man's will is actually "free" in the sense described, then it is not possible that his choices could be known with absolute certainty before those choices are made, because there is an indefinite number of series of choices that could be made. A single different choice made than predicted would completely undermine the reliability of prophecy.
So Jesus made Peter deny him 3 times? Or is it more likely that Jesus knew what state of mind Peter would be in and what conduct would follow it? Why is it so hard to understand that Jesus could know Peter's future choices without making those choices for him?

Originally Posted by CovenantInBlood
Quote
Though the Calvinist proclaims God's sovereignty, t's a meager view that the Calvinists hold of God's sovereignty that requires cohersion at every level in order to bring about God's plan. A far more mysterious and grander view has God's plan being brought about to the tiniest detail while never violating the will of man. This calls for a level of control would certainly boggle the mind of man.

Calvinism does not propose that man's will is ever "coerced" or "violated" by God.
No, Calvinism is a man beside himself. While it proposes that man has free will, it juxtaposes that man can only make one choice. This way, Calvinism can deny man's free will while insisting it never denies man's free will. This is patent lunacy in my view.

Originally Posted by CovenantInBlood
Quote
I'm failing to connect the dots here. Yes, nobody was compelled. Yes, people did what they wanted to do. Yes, God's plan was brought to fruition. How does this prove Calvinism?

Originally Posted by CovenantInBlood
It could not be by God's "determinate counsel & foreknowledge" if men had free will, because in that case it would not be possible to determine or foreknow what choices men would make - or, at any rate, it would not be by God's determinate council.
The "foreknowledge is impossible without micromanagement" argument is stale. I can't tell you how many times I've heard it to the point my eyes glaze over with this miscarriage of logic. It's here that attrition sets in, but let's indulge anyway. It's not difficult to know that the pharisees and religious leaders wanted to kill Jesus they had been planning to do so for nearly his entire 3 year ministry. God did not orchestrate their choices, he orchestrated the opportunity to do what they had been wanting to do. If God knows the hearts of men, then he would know they would choose Barabbas over Jesus without making them do it. This isn't difficult to grasp.

Originally Posted by CovenantInBlood
Quote
Perhaps one more passage to be quoted is Joseph, executor of Egypt's, words to his brothers that what they meant for evil, God meant for good. God's plan to save his people from famine would have been accomplished through the brothers' good deeds or evil.

Here's what the verse says:

[quote]Gen. 50:20 (ASV) "And as for you, ye meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive."

Note that it does not say that whatever their deeds were, God would have accomplished his plan. Rather, it says that God meant for their evil deeds to accomplish his good plan.
While we're discussing what scripture does not say, it also does not say God made them do it. Quite the opposite. In that Joseph says, "you meant evil" their guilt is highlighted. They chose to commit their crime and God used their crime to bring about His purposes. Not implied here is that the crime was necessary for God's plan.



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via_dolorosa #46949 Tue Jul 05, 2011 11:19 PM
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Originally Posted by via_dolorosa
That's a fallacy of logic to suggest that God cannot know everything without controlling everything, even man whom he made in his own image.

What I have actually suggested is that, if man has a free will in the sense you understand it, either God's omniscience or his omnipotence - or both - must be abandoned. You have yet to provide an explanation how God may know everything but not determine everything.

Quote
I never liked the "corriders of time" analogy either. I rather like the image of God looking at a sphere that contains all of time and creation; seeing the beginning from the end. The fact that God created this sphere, in every exhaustive detail, in accordance with his perfect will, with every event conducted by people of entirely unhindered free will, is astounding.

Assertions without the benefit of an argument. How could God create this world in exhaustive detail & in perfect accordance with his will without also immutably foreordaining whatsoever comes to pass? From your own position, in the very act of creating this world, in which God knew infallibly each choice that would be made by man, he thereby predetermined those same choices. After all, he was under no compulsion to create this world in the first place!

Quote
Incorrect. A person can be wholly opposed to capital punishment having never been exposed to a perpective that would change his mind. By the same token, Saul was wholeheartely committed to pursuing and prosecuting Christians and driving the movement out of existence...until he had an experience that changed his view. To suggest that Paul, all that time, contained the nature to persecute Christians until he had the nature to not persecute Christians is to misunderstand what nature is.

What you're positing is a mutable nature. Yes, men have mutable natures. Their natures can be changed. They never act contrary to their own natures, however. When Paul was convinced of the necessity of persecuting Christians, he did not act contrary to himself. When he was convinced otherwise, he changed his ways immediately. In either case he acted in accord with his own nature.

Quote
Salvation is a result of the perfect, unaugmented death and resurrection of Christ as a propitiation for sins. The responsibility to receive forgiveness and eternal life is man's.

So, once again, man's salvation is up to his own choice. If he chooses to receive salvation, he will be saved. If he chooses to reject salvation, he will be damned. The choice is his & his alone - according to you.

Quote
Perhaps you're not looking for it in Scripture, having already made up your mind. When Agrippa told Paul, "thou almost persuadest me to become a Christian," there is a keen example of one nearly being convinced but turning away at the last moment. To suggest that God was not pursuing Agrippa is to suggest, contrary to reason, that God had not sent Paul to him in the first place.

First, Paul is not God. If God were trying to save Agrippa, then God's will in the matter could not possibly be thwarted, because God always accomplishes his desire. Paul's desires are frankly irrelevant to that point. Second, Paul was giving his defense against the accusations of the Jews. God's purpose in bringing him before Agrippa was that Agrippa would send him to Rome, as becomes clear in the following chapters of Acts.

Quote
This is a simple matter of not seeking out any evidence that might confound your theological system.

Refrain from insulting me.

Quote
The reason I know that a person can come close to believing, being cut to the heart with the gospel message, is because I've seen it myself in some people I tried to bring to Christ. To say that God was not pursuing them (in sync with the Agrippa example) is to suggest that God had not prevailed upon me to try to reach them. Multiply this by the testamony of many other Christians who have similarly been turned down after trying to save someone. Maybe even yourself! Did you conclude that God not send you with the gospel to try to save someone just because they turned you down? Do you see the fallacy of logic here?

And perhaps God did not especially prevail upon you to try to reach them! Why is that not a possibility? Is your experience infallible? Regardless, our duty is to speak the truth of God, whether that truth soften & save them, or harden them in their reprobate state. It is not for us to second-guess the secret purposes of God.

Quote
If God did not die for someone and did not predestine them to life, then it follows that there would be no effort to prosecute them and would never send someone to bring the gospel to them. The very fact that the Hound of Heaven pursues all men flies right in face of Calvinistic thought.

Countless millions of men have died with no further knowledge of God than what may be derived from nature. This reality flies in the face of your claims. You also ignore the very real possibility that God's purpose is in some cases to remove all excuses they may claim for their rebellion, magnifying his justice.

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So Jesus made Peter deny him 3 times? Or is it more likely that Jesus knew what state of mind Peter would be in and what conduct would follow it? Why is it so hard to understand that Jesus could know Peter's future choices without making those choices for him?

No, Jesus did not "make" Peter deny him thrice. Peter did that quite willingly; but God had predetermined that Peter would do so, hence Jesus was able to prophesy it with absolute certainty. If he had not predetermined that Peter would do so, then there is no basis on which Jesus could expect that his prophecy would hold true. What you are consistently failing to grasp is that God's complete & infallible knowledge of our choices necessarily implies that those choices have already been determined, before we have ever had the opportunity to make them. That being the case, the question is who or what determined them. The only appropriate answer is God.

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No, Calvinism is a man beside himself. While it proposes that man has free will, it juxtaposes that man can only make one choice. This way, Calvinism can deny man's free will while insisting it never denies man's free will. This is patent lunacy in my view.

Calvinism simply denies "free will" as you have defined it. It holds rather that man is "free" to act in accordance with his will. Since the will of man is in bondage to sin as a result of the fall, man will only ever act sinfully (i.e., apart from faith in God), unless his will is changed. Calvinism does not propose that man is compelled by God to act in any way that he does not fundamentally wish to act.

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The "foreknowledge is impossible without micromanagement" argument is stale. I can't tell you how many times I've heard it to the point my eyes glaze over with this miscarriage of logic. It's here that attrition sets in, but let's indulge anyway. It's not difficult to know that the pharisees and religious leaders wanted to kill Jesus they had been planning to do so for nearly his entire 3 year ministry. God did not orchestrate their choices, he orchestrated the opportunity to do what they had been wanting to do. If God knows the hearts of men, then he would know they would choose Barabbas over Jesus without making them do it. This isn't difficult to grasp.

Your continual assertion that God's infallible knowledge of our choices is just possible without predetermination is what's stale. You have not presented a single argument how it is possible; you've only merely asserted it & told us how mysterious & wondrous it all is. On the other hand, I & Pilgrim have already gone into detail why it is impossible that God to have infallible knowledge of our choices without predetermination. As far as death of Christ is concerned, since the Pharisees had free will on your view, they could have chosen at any time to change their minds about Christ. Moreover, the involvement of the Romans - who were at best indifferent to the fate of Christ - complicates matters further. Pilate could readily have decided to release Jesus, since he himself found no real reason for Christ to be condemend. Any of the Roman guards could have decided to let Jesus go, for whatever reason they might have. Ergo, God's counsel could not have been "determinate," only a best guess based on the circumstances prevailing at the time he decided to deliver his Son over. Much less still could God have promulgated immutable prophecy concerning Christ's suffering & death centuries earlier! No, but because innumerable human choices were involved in orchestrating this "opportunity," it would not have been possible to orchestrate it at all without foreordaining the choices that would be made. As it is written:

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Acts 4:26-28 (ASV) "The kings of the earth set themselves in array, And the rulers were gathered together, Against the Lord, and against his Anointed: for of a truth in this city against thy holy Servant Jesus, whom thou didst anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, were gathered together, to do whatsoever thy hand and thy council foreordained to come to pass."

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While we're discussing what scripture does not say, it also does not say God made them do it. Quite the opposite. In that Joseph says, "you meant evil" their guilt is highlighted. They chose to commit their crime and God used their crime to bring about His purposes. Not implied here is that the crime was necessary for God's plan.

No one here has ever said that God "made them do it." I suggest you do not insist on this caricature of the Calvinist position. Indeed, God did use their crime to bring about his purpose; in fact, God MEANT (i.e., he intended) for their crime to bring about his plan. Whether it was "necessary" is not the question. God, being omnipotent, could have brought about his plan in whatever way he deemed fit. But the fact remains that God chose this particular course, in which Joseph's brothers made their particular evil choice, in order to bring about his plan. In other words, God not only intented their crime for good; he intended their crime in the first place. But they committed the crime willingly & for their own evil purposes, thus incurring guilt.

Last edited by CovenantInBlood; Wed Jul 06, 2011 1:17 AM.

Kyle

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified.
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