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Pilgrimtozion
Jan 10th 2009, 07:59 PM
I'd like to pick the brain of my Calvinistic brothers and sisters in Christ concerning their position on free will. Do you believe man has free will - in the most general sense of the phrase? If so, how does you answer to that question relate to the question whether man has free will regarding salvation?

I'm very eager to engage you in a conversation on the issue, understand your position better, and bounce my own thoughts off you in the process.

Proceed! :D

reformedct
Jan 10th 2009, 08:05 PM
I, as a believer in most of the teachings of John Calvin, believe that man has free will. However, i also believe that the "free will" that man has in enslaved to sin, hostile to God, and that the heart of man is wicked and stony. So i believe that man exercises free will under the bondage of sin. Christ sets us free from bondage. With a new heart, we can now exercise our free will to love and serve God, as it has been set free from slavery.

Out of the heart comes our lives. We need new hearts, as God has said he will remove our hearts of stone and give us a heart of flesh.

Adam and Eve had total free will. They were not sinful until they sinned. However they used their ability to do evil and therefore became enslaved. As the Bible declares, through one mans disobedience many were made sinners. Unlike Adam, we are not born in right relationship with God.

So, in relationship to salvation, it is my belief that those who exercise free will to repent and believe have been given a new heart to do so. As Christ said, you did not choose me, but I chose you. Although the disciples did willfully choose Christ, it was Christ who initiated the relationship. He sought them out and called them by name. Many are called but few are chosen

i think that saying that a person with a heart of stone and a mind hostile to God can repent and believe while at the same time having that heart of stone that is desperately wicked is a little off. It is my conviction currently that that would be against what Scripture teaches. Its not that the hard-hearted dont know about God or His ways however. They know the truth, but they supress it in unrighteousness. So those who do not choose God are rightly condemned. They used their own free will to do exactly what they wanted to, which was to gratify their sinful passions. It wasnt like they did not know what the right path was

just my belief

jrick
Jan 10th 2009, 08:30 PM
Man does have a free will (God did not create us as robots), but He has already chosen what our decisions will be. In the case of I in TULIP (Irresistible Grace), if God has chosen us, then we can do nothing to deny Him. However, if He did not choose us, then we can do nothing to choose Him by ourselves (Total Depravity). To us, it seems that we do have a free will to choose Him, but it is actually God that causes us to believe.

I guess what I am trying to say is that while man does have a free will in most situations, God has already decided whether or not you will be saved.

Yukerboy
Jan 10th 2009, 08:37 PM
Man does have a free will (God did not create us as robots), but He has already chosen what our decisions will be. In the case of I in TULIP (Irresistible Grace), if God has chosen us, then we can do nothing to deny Him. However, if He did not choose us, then we can do nothing to choose Him by ourselves (Total Depravity). To us, it seems that we do have a free will to choose Him, but it is actually God that causes us to believe.

I guess what I am trying to say is that while man does have a free will in most situations, God has already decided whether or not you will be saved.

Which is another way of saying "I want to believe in free will, but I don't."

I would not call myself a calvinist, although I am an eternal securist. I am probably more TULIP than Calvin was.

With that said. No, no such thing as free will. It's a man made concept that sounds nice and all and keeps the blame on us as logical to us, but it isn't Scriptural.

Pilgrimtozion
Jan 10th 2009, 08:41 PM
Which is another way of saying "I want to believe in free will, but I don't."

I would not call myself a calvinist, although I am an eternal securist. I am probably more TULIP than Calvin was.

With that said. No, no such thing as free will. It's a man made concept that sounds nice and all and keeps the blame on us as logical to us, but it isn't Scriptural.
So who is to blame for our decisions if we are not ourselves?

humbled
Jan 10th 2009, 08:42 PM
Yes. Man has a free will.

jrick
Jan 10th 2009, 08:45 PM
Which is another way of saying "I want to believe in free will, but I don't."

I would not call myself a calvinist, although I am an eternal securist. I am probably more TULIP than Calvin was.

With that said. No, no such thing as free will. It's a man made concept that sounds nice and all and keeps the blame on us as logical to us, but it isn't Scriptural.

Well, I do agree with reformedct. Adam and Eve, like us, did have a free will. How would it be pleasing to God for Him to create robots that did everything He told them to? It wouldn't, because they would only have the ability to "praise" Him. It would only be pleasing if God created man with a free will, able to serve perfectly, and then did so.

reformedct
Jan 10th 2009, 08:55 PM
Well, I do agree with reformedct. Adam and Eve, like us, did have a free will. How would it be pleasing to God for Him to create robots that did everything He told them to? It wouldn't, because they would only have the ability to "praise" Him. It would only be pleasing if God created man with a free will, able to serve perfectly, and then did so.

Yes. this is why those who go to hell are rightly condemned. They supress the truth in unrighteousness. If God doesnt save them, it is because He is giving them over to exactly what they have chosen. They have chosen to live apart from God and so God will allow them to do that.

Pilgrimtozion
Jan 10th 2009, 08:59 PM
Yes. this is why those who go to hell are rightly condemned. They supress the truth in unrighteousness. If God doesnt save them, it is because He is giving them over to exactly what they have chosen. They have chosen to live apart from God and so God will allow them to do that.
Now this is where things get interesting. To me, this sounds like a circular argument. People suppress the truth in unrighteousness and God gives them over to that which they have chosen. At the same time, they cannot choose life unless God actually chose them first and worked the choosing in them. So where is there any actual freedom of choice? How is the condemning of sinners 'right' if they had not other choice than to choose to sin because of their sinful nature?

thepenitent
Jan 10th 2009, 09:12 PM
I'd like to pick the brain of my Calvinistic brothers and sisters in Christ concerning their position on free will. Do you believe man has free will - in the most general sense of the phrase? If so, how does you answer to that question relate to the question whether man has free will regarding salvation?

I'm very eager to engage you in a conversation on the issue, understand your position better, and bounce my own thoughts off you in the process.

Proceed! :D

Man has free will to do whatever he wants to do but not what he ought to do.

Brother Mark
Jan 10th 2009, 11:12 PM
I am not Calvinist. But I don't believe in "free will" either. Man cannot will himself to grow wings. There are many ways in which man's will is bound.

jrick
Jan 10th 2009, 11:23 PM
I am not Calvinist. But I don't believe in "free will" either. Man cannot will himself to grow wings. There are many ways in which man's will is bound.

I think "free will" is more about things like... I can choose respond to this post or ignore it. Of course you can't "free will" to do something physically impossible. ;)

Brother Mark
Jan 10th 2009, 11:27 PM
I think "free will" is more about things like... I can choose respond to this post or ignore it. Of course you can't "free will" to do something physically impossible. ;)

Right. So our will is limited. But, I'll go a step further, if God doesn't draw a man, can man use his will to come to God? According to scripture, he can't. So God must enable man to come to Him. Man's will is not free to act towards God without God influencing him.

Jesus said it this way... that he came to set the captives free. Can a captive choose to set himself free or does he need Jesus to do it for him?:hmm:

jrick
Jan 10th 2009, 11:31 PM
Right. So our will is limited. But, I'll go a step further, if God doesn't draw a man, can man use his will to come to God? According to scripture, he can't. So God must enable man to come to Him. Man's will is not free to act towards God without God influencing him.

Jesus said it this way... that he came to set the captives free. Can a captive choose to set himself free or does he need Jesus to do it for him?:hmm:

Yep, I absolutely agree. We don't have a free will over everything. One of these things is salvation.

But, even though free will is limited, it still exists. I can choose (more or less) what time I want to go to bed tonight and what music I want to listen to.

Brother Mark
Jan 10th 2009, 11:33 PM
But, even though free will is limited, it still exists. I can choose (more or less) what time I want to go to bed tonight and what music I want to listen to.

Will is limited. That is true. And sometimes we do have freedom to choose some things. At other times, we lose that freedom. Many prisoners cannot choose when to go to bed. Some people are in such spiritual bondage they can't choose things either. Remember the man with Legion? He couldn't choose to be free. But Jesus set him free!

The man ran to Jesus and the demons rose up and threw him to the ground. The man ran to Jesus for help and Jesus helped him.

IMO, will that is limited is not free. ;) But I understand what you are saying.

alethos
Jan 11th 2009, 10:21 AM
Unregenerate man is Totally Depraved from birth and has a will inclined continually to evil, and cannot please God. Regenerate man has a new disposition, and a new nature along with a will which has been enabled to desire to do God's will, and that not by force but willingly.

Yukerboy
Jan 11th 2009, 11:38 AM
So who is to blame for our decisions if we are not ourselves?

By saying man has no free will does not mean man does not have responsibility or accountability.

Some will ask "Why does God still blame us if we are only dong His will?"

Who are we to talk back to God? If I make a vase for roses and use that same lump of clay to make a urinal, will the urinal say to me why'd you make me like this?

What if God, wanting to show His power and make His wrath known, was patient with objects He will take His wrath out on, objects He prepared for destruction, and did all that so that to make the riches of His glory known to His objects of mercy?

I mean, how would I know what mercy was if all had it?

alethos
Jan 11th 2009, 12:07 PM
how would I know what mercy was if all had it?

A similar question would be

How would I know what chicken tasted like if everyone tasted it.

Yeah that makes sense.

Yukerboy
Jan 11th 2009, 02:30 PM
A similar question would be

How would I know what chicken tasted like if everyone tasted it.

Yeah that makes sense.

Not similar.

God condemns those to make the riches of His glory known to us.

If he did not, we would not know the riches of glory....including mercy.

Which shows that if God had mercy on all then mercy is not known.

YahwehIsGod
Jan 11th 2009, 04:47 PM
Now this is where things get interesting. To me, this sounds like a circular argument. People suppress the truth in unrighteousness and God gives them over to that which they have chosen. At the same time, they cannot choose life unless God actually chose them first and worked the choosing in them. So where is there any actual freedom of choice? How is the condemning of sinners 'right' if they had not other choice than to choose to sin because of their sinful nature?

Paul answers this very objection in Romans 9.


What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

19 You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?" 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?" 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?

BroRog
Jan 11th 2009, 05:42 PM
I'm not a Calvinist, but I have read Johnathan Edwards who was a Calvinist. In his book "The Freedom of the Will" he points out that men and women do not make choices in a vacuum. (my wording) Each man has his own personal motivations and desires from which he makes his choices. In order for a man to "own" his choices as "his" these choices must arise meaningfully from his own desires, wants, hopes, dreams, aspirations, preferences, etc. And as such, our choices say something meaningful about who and what we are as creatures.

He then goes on to argue that while our free choices are in our control, our nature is not. Our meaningful choices arise from WHO we are; but WHO we are is under God's control. While we decide what to choose, we don't decide who to be; God does, since God is the one who creates everything.

We make our own choices, but we don't make ourselves.

reformedct
Jan 11th 2009, 05:45 PM
Now this is where things get interesting. To me, this sounds like a circular argument. People suppress the truth in unrighteousness and God gives them over to that which they have chosen. At the same time, they cannot choose life unless God actually chose them first and worked the choosing in them. So where is there any actual freedom of choice? How is the condemning of sinners 'right' if they had not other choice than to choose to sin because of their sinful nature?

because. God doesnt owe anyone salvation. When Adam sinned, God would have been just to let him and all sinners go to hell. The most popular lie is that we deserve a chance at redemption. God said the day you sin you will die. None of us even deserve to breathe right now. Because of this, we must understand that the moment we sin, we deserve to die. That is what we deserve, period. We absolutely have freedom of choice. However as Scripture says we are slaves to sin. A slave has freedom WITHIN THE BOUNDARIES of his slavery. A slave can do many things of his free will but his choices are limited. He cannot choose to be free. He can choose many many many other things but he cannot simply choose to be free, unless the master lets him go, or unless another person outside of the equation brakes the slave loose from the master by destroying the master or paying for the slave.

Adam was the head of humanity. He was the representative. The false notion is that if we were in Adams place we would not have sinned. Thats easy to say in hindsight, but if we were Adam and never had any idea over the depth of destruction that sin would cause we would have done the same thing. God is just in condemning those who have sinned against Him.


That being said, it is not circular. All deserve death. All should go to hell. God, in His mercy, desires that all would repent. UNfortunately man is wicked and will not because his heart is hard. God, in His mercy, overrides the wicked will of man by giving him a new heart and causing him to walk upright before Him. Those who are not saved are simply allowed to go after exactly what they want: everything but the true God. God respects these people by letting them chase after their own passions. He lets them be. However, for some, in His great mercy, He knocks down, blinds, and changes their course of life forever.

"God does not choose us because we believe, but that we may believe" -Augustine

I have experienced this first hand as many others have as well. God changed my heart in a time where i was not searching for Him. I was worried about doing my own thing when God operned my heart and changed me. He gave me an appetite for His word, and it was like the blinders came off. I wasnt seeking diligently after God when He changed my heart.

This is one of the main reasons i believe God chooses. Because of Scriptureand my own experience. My experience as well as others looks something like this:

1. God penetrated my heart
2. I responded

In the beginning was God. In my opinion and by reading Scripture i am convinced that everything begins with God. I did make a free will choice for God but it was a result of my changed heart!:cool:

reformedct
Jan 11th 2009, 05:53 PM
I'm not a Calvinist, but I have read Johnathan Edwards who was a Calvinist. In his book "The Freedom of the Will" he points out that men and women do not make choices in a vacuum. (my wording) Each man has his own personal motivations and desires from which he makes his choices. In order for a man to "own" his choices as "his" these choices must arise meaningfully from his own desires, wants, hopes, dreams, aspirations, preferences, etc. And as such, our choices say something meaningful about who and what we are as creatures.

He then goes on to argue that while our free choices are in our control, our nature is not. Our meaningful choices arise from WHO we are; but WHO we are is under God's control. While we decide what to choose, we don't decide who to be; God does, since God is the one who creates everything.

We make our own choices, but we don't make ourselves.


good point there;)

reformedct
Jan 11th 2009, 05:56 PM
A similar question would be

How would I know what chicken tasted like if everyone tasted it.

Yeah that makes sense.

mmmmm, chicken lol:D

scourge39
Jan 11th 2009, 05:57 PM
I, as a believer in most of the teachings of John Calvin, believe that man has free will. However, i also believe that the "free will" that man has in enslaved to sin, hostile to God, and that the heart of man is wicked and stony. So i believe that man exercises free will under the bondage of sin. Christ sets us free from bondage. With a new heart, we can now exercise our free will to love and serve God, as it has been set free from slavery.

Out of the heart comes our lives. We need new hearts, as God has said he will remove our hearts of stone and give us a heart of flesh.

Adam and Eve had total free will. They were not sinful until they sinned. However they used their ability to do evil and therefore became enslaved. As the Bible declares, through one mans disobedience many were made sinners. Unlike Adam, we are not born in right relationship with God.


So, in relationship to salvation, it is my belief that those who exercise free will to repent and believe have been given a new heart to do so. As Christ said, you did not choose me, but I chose you. Although the disciples did willfully choose Christ, it was Christ who initiated the relationship. He sought them out and called them by name. Many are called but few are chosen

i think that saying that a person with a heart of stone and a mind hostile to God can repent and believe while at the same time having that heart of stone that is desperately wicked is a little off. It is my conviction currently that that would be against what Scripture teaches. Its not that the hard-hearted dont know about God or His ways however. They know the truth, but they supress it in unrighteousness. So those who do not choose God are rightly condemned. They used their own free will to do exactly what they wanted to, which was to gratify their sinful passions. It wasnt like they did not know what the right path was

just my belief

Well put! I agree! Calvinism doesn't deny the existence of free will. It stresses the effects of sin upon it more strongly than Arminianism typically does. Many Arminians allege that Calvinism denies free will, especially at the popular level. Dave Hunt and the late Jerry Falwell made the accusation pretty regularly. For a good MISrepresentation of Calvinism, here's a sermon against Calvinism from Ergun Caner of Liberty University. The sermon itself and accompanying analysis from James White of Alpha & Omega Ministries are over an hour and a half long in total length, so be forewarned. James White's corrective comments that explain Calvinism more accurately should be immensely helpful to you. Even if you disagree, you'll at least better understand the Calvinist perspective. The analysis of Falwell's benediction is worth listening to at least once. (Notice how strikingly Calvinistic Falwell's closing prayer is at the end of Caner's sermon. Talk about irony!):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3yZMlempDw

RogerW
Jan 11th 2009, 07:24 PM
Well, I do agree with reformedct. Adam and Eve, like us, did have a free will. How would it be pleasing to God for Him to create robots that did everything He told them to? It wouldn't, because they would only have the ability to "praise" Him. It would only be pleasing if God created man with a free will, able to serve perfectly, and then did so.

This takes the discussion in an interesting direction. Consider: man is created with so-called free will. However God knew man would sin and need a Savior because he could not save himself, therefore Christ is the lamb slain from before the foundation of the world. Also consider: God predestined an elect people and wrote their names in the Book of life before the foundation of the world, assuring they alone would become saved. Clearly God knew they would sin and need a Savior before any sin existed. What does this tell us? Does it show us that man has free will? Or does it show us that God knows the hearts of man, and therefore He (God) has provided a way to save HIS people from their sins, not because they will freely choose Him, but because He has already chosen them?

Many Blessings,
RW

jrick
Jan 11th 2009, 07:53 PM
This takes the discussion in an interesting direction. Consider: man is created with so-called free will. However God knew man would sin and need a Savior because he could not save himself, therefore Christ is the lamb slain from before the foundation of the world. Also consider: God predestined an elect people and wrote their names in the Book of life before the foundation of the world, assuring they alone would become saved. Clearly God knew they would sin and need a Savior before any sin existed. What does this tell us? Does it show us that man has free will? Or does it show us that God knows the hearts of man, and therefore He (God) has provided a way to save HIS people from their sins, not because they will freely choose Him, but because He has already choosen them?

Many Blessings,
RW

You're right. God, even before creating the world, knew how everything would work out. He knew that we would rebel against Him, and that we could only be saved through Christ. If God decided that He would save us, sinners that we are, then there is no way that man can say "no you won't". God will have his will accomplished, and so on the issue of salvation, man has no free will. A sinner can not decide one day that he will start following God's will, unless God has chosen to save that person.

reformedct
Jan 11th 2009, 09:33 PM
You're right. God, even before creating the world, knew how everything would work out. He knew that we would rebel against Him, and that we could only be saved through Christ. If God decided that He would save us, sinners that we are, then there is no way that man can say "no you won't". God will have his will accomplished, and so on the issue of salvation, man has no free will. A sinner can not decide one day that he will start following God's will, unless God has chosen to save that person.


Yes, even if you agree with free will, you must accept the fact that no one can make a free will choice for God unless God draws them to the truth. A muslim cannot choose Christianity unless the Spirit leads him to truth. Who initiates that leading? Can a fallen man find his own way apart from a move of God? Do we ultimately seek and choose God, or does He ultimately seek and choose us? When God says i have chosen and appointed you to do something, did He choose us because of some good thing we did, or does He choose us because he wants to and he is God? Throughout the story of the Bible it seems that it is God who calls individuals and nations to do according to His will. He chose Abraham, whose family served false gods. Did Abraham do something good that made God respond to him? It doesnt look that way at all to me. Did David seek to be used by God? No, he was a sheperd boy when God sent His prophet to get Him. Throughout Scripture we see God as the initiator of pursuit for relationship. God sought me out and drew me to Him, even though i did choose Him, it was a result of Him drawing me unto Himself. The Bible says it was God who saved a remnant.

Butch5
Jan 11th 2009, 09:48 PM
Well put! I agree! Calvinism doesn't deny the existence of free will. It stresses the effects of sin upon it more strongly than Arminianism typically does. Many Arminians allege that Calvinism denies free will, especially at the popular level. Dave Hunt and the late Jerry Falwell made the accusation pretty regularly. For a good MISrepresentation of Calvinism, here's a sermon against Calvinism from Ergun Caner of Liberty University. The sermon itself and accompanying analysis from James White of Alpha & Omega Ministries are over an hour and a half long in total length, so be forewarned. James White's corrective comments that explain Calvinism more accurately should be immensely helpful to you. Even if you disagree, you'll at least better understand the Calvinist perspective. The analysis of Falwell's benediction is worth listening to at least once. (Notice how strikingly Calvinistic Falwell's closing prayer is at the end of Caner's sermon. Talk about irony!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3yZMlempDw

For an understanding of Calvinism, why not read Calvin instead of white?

scourge39
Jan 11th 2009, 10:17 PM
For an understanding of Calvinism, why not read Calvin instead of white?

That's a ridiculous statement. Anyone reading this thread is encountering different perspectives on Calvinism already apart from reading Calvin himself, are they not? I'm not saying don't read Calvin himself. Caner's sermon is filled with misrepresentations and common charicatures that Arminians frequently make of Calvinism today that Calvin himself didn't have to face. White simply responds to those objections and cites other Reformed writers in so doing. It's important to see modern objections to Calvinism and how they are refuted just as much as it is to read Calvin on his own terms. The fact is, most Arminians haven't seriously grappled with Calvin's writings and Reformed Biblical interpretation. Caner's sermon is a good example of just how uninformed some modern Arminians are concerning Calvin's teachings and Reformed Biblical interpretation. Modern defenses of Calvinism are necessary because people are challenging it from different angles today than they did during the Reformation. White's analysis is very thorough in it's refutation of modern criticism of Calvinism is simply a good synopsis for Arminians who sincerely desire to understand why Reformed Christians interpret Scripture as they do. Not every person is capable of understanding Calvin's writings (They're not exactly light reading) or has the time to pour through his Institutes. It's the modern objections to Calvinism that the average layperson encounters from Arminians first that either lead them to read Calvin for themselves or completely write his teachings off as heresy. I'm not suggesting in any way that James White is the ultimate interpreter of Calvin, but he has made being an apologist for Reformed Christianity a substantial part of his ministerial work and articulates Calvin's salient teachings in a manner that is extremely accessible to those outside of the Reformed tradition. He's an excellent starting point for Arminians willing to listen to Calvinist theology.

Bliz
Jan 11th 2009, 10:22 PM
Both Calvinists and Arminians are correct. The best illustration of this can be found in this simple illustration:

Imagine walking down and endless corridor with nothing but doors on both sides. As you make your way down this endless hallway, you notice a door that has something very peculiar written on it. It says "Whosoever shall will, enter through this door". Upon seeing this, you decide, I will! You then enter in through this door to find that there is an elegant banquet going on with many dressed up people sitting at the table. As you make your way over to an empty seat at the table, you see something even more peculiar. You notice that there is a place-card on the table, and you soon discover that it has your name on it. Come to find out, your presence was expected at this banquet. Then suddenly you look down and notice that you are now dressed the same as all the other guests, and as you look back at the door you had entered through, you see written above it "Preordained before the foundation of the world".

The apparent paradox exists, because we see salvation from the perspective of space time from the outside of the door, whereas it was always the hand of God from the perspective of eternity on the other side of the doorway. The Scriptures clearly show us that both views are correct. Try John 3:16 for example... For God so loved the world... that He have His only begotten Son, that...whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. If you pay close attention, the Scriptures teach both views, and they are indissolubly linked throughout the Bible. John 3:16 is a beautiful five fold harmony of God's magnificent grace involving the Godhead, the condition of mankind, and Gods beautiful saving Grace. Lets look at John 3:16 from this perspective.

For God so loved the world (The Father) Part One

that He gave His only begotten Son (The Son) Part Two

that whosoever believeth in him (by the illuminating ministry of the Holy Spirit who reveals Christ to us) Part Three

should not perish (condition of mankind) Part Four

but have eternal life (God's Amazing Grace) Part Five

Five in the Bible means Grace, and when it comes to salvation, the process of the new birth involves both the full Godhead as well as man.

Additional evidence of the two views can also be seen in the tenses by which conversion and regeneration are spoken about in the Bible. Scriptures speaking about conversion are more often found in the imperative tense which involves action on the part of mankind, and the Scriptures speaking of regeneration are often in the indicative tense where God is telling us what He is going to do. I love the fact that our Father loves us so much that he allows us to play a part in our salvation considering the fallenness of our nature.

What a beautiful love story!!!

If you need a reminder of His beautiful Grace, simply look at your hand and count your fingers. I honestly believe that the design of our hands are to serve as a reminder of His magnificent Grace upon our lives.

I'll bet it was intentional.

Butch5
Jan 11th 2009, 10:26 PM
I'm not saying don't read Calvin at all. Caner's sermon is filled with misrepresentations and common charicatures that Arminians frequently make of Calvinism today that Calvin himself didn't have to face. White simply responds to those objections and cites other Reformed writers in so doing. It's important to see modern objections to Calvinism and how they are refuted just as much as it is to read Calvin on his own terms. The fact is, most Arminians haven't seriously grappled with Calvin's writings and Reformed Biblical interpretation. Caner's sermon is a good example of just how uninformed some modern Arminians are concerning Calvin's teachings and Reformed Biblical interpretation. Modern defenses of Calvinism are necessary because people are challenging it from different angles today than they did during the Reformation. White's analysis is very thorough in it's refutation of modern criticism of Calvinism is simply a good synopsis for Arminians who sincerely desire to understand why Reformed Christians interpret Scripture as they do. Not every person is capable of understanding Calvin's writings (They're not exactly light reading) or has the time to pour through his Institutes. It's the modern objections to Calvinism that the average layperson encounters from Arminians first that either lead them to read Calvin for themselves or completely write his teachings off as heresy. I'm not suggesting in any way that James White is the ultimate interpreter of Calvin, but he has made being an apologist for Reformed Christianity a substantial part of his life's work and articulates Calvin's salient teachings in a manner that is extremely accessible to those outside of the Reformed tradition. He's an excellent starting point for Arminians willing to listen to Calvinist theology.

Well, as an ex-Calvisnist, I would not recomend anyone read Calvin, unless they were going to give a refutation of his teachings. The main problem as I see it, is that even Calvinists can't agree on what doctrines they believe. I partake of a forum that is basically Calvinistic and cannot get them to agree on their own doctrines.

scourge39
Jan 11th 2009, 11:07 PM
Well, as an ex-Calvisnist, I would not recomend anyone read Calvin, unless they were going to give a refutation of his teachings. The main problem as I see it, is that even Calvinists can't agree on what doctrines they believe. I partake of a forum that is basically Calvinistic and cannot get them to agree on their own doctrines.

As I suspected, there was an ulterior motive behind your previous post, but I wanted you to 'out' yourself rather than confront you directly. I was a staunch Armininian myself once, and don't see most of it's basic tenants as exegetically defensible in any way, shape or form. Simply translating the NT from the original Koine Greek caused my shift from a thoroughly Arminian perspective to a staunchly Reformed one. Arminian interpretations of John 6, John 10 and Romans 9 were consistently inconsistent and failed to seriously account for the meaning of the original Greek used in those chapters. That's why my perspective changed. Regardless of your obvious objections to Calvinism, I find it extremely troubling that you completely disrespected the OP's request for Calvinist responses only on this thread. So much for Christian charity even regarding matters over which we disagree.

Sorry gang and mods, I wasn't intentionally trying to derail this thread, someone else was.

Butch5
Jan 11th 2009, 11:21 PM
As I suspected, there was an ulterior motive behind your previous post, but I wanted you to 'out' yourself rather than confront you directly. I was a staunch Armininian myself once, and don't see most of it's basic tenants as exegetically defensible in any way, shape or form. Simply translating the NT from the original Koine Greek caused my shift from a thoroughly Arminian perspective to a staunchly Reformed one. Arminian interpretations of John 6, John 10 and Romans 9 were consistently inconsistent and failed to seriously account for the meaning of the original Greek used in those chapters. That's why my perspective changed. Regardless of your obvious objections to Calvinism, I find it extremely troubling that you completely disrespected the OP's request for Calvinist responses only on this thread. So much for Christian charity even regarding matters over which we disagree.

Sorry gang and mods, I wasn't intentionally trying to derail this thread, someone else was.

Actually, I am not an Arminian, secondly, I noticed the thread was already off topic, thirdly, I had no intention of derailing the thread. All I did was suggest someone read Calvin instead of White, if they wanted to understand Calvinism. Being an ex-Calvinsit I think I a could easily help answer the questions in the OP

scourge39
Jan 11th 2009, 11:36 PM
Actually, I am not an Arminian, secondly, I noticed the thread was already off topic, thirdly, I had no intention of derailing the thread. All I did was suggest someone read Calvin instead of White, if they wanted to understand Calvinism. Being an ex-Calvinsit I think I a could easily help answer the questions in the OP

And then you said, "Well, as an ex-Calvisnist, I would not recomend anyone read Calvin, unless they were going to give a refutation of his teachings," which is quite different from your original suggestion. All I saw were other posters posing different questions related to the initial topic, nothing added was necessarily 'off topic.' And would you have helped answer the OP's questions by fairly articulating the Reformed perspective, or cast them in a negative light? The OP was likely wanting to eliminate possible negative caricatures from the thread by limiting responses to those who currently hold to a Reformed perspective. I'm not arguing with you and fully accept you as a Christian brother despite our differences, but I know how hard objectivity is to show towards former perspectives to which one once adhered. This is true of myself regarding Arminianism, Dispensationalism, and Pentecostalism. Negativity and misrepresentation are all too common.

Brother Mark
Jan 11th 2009, 11:38 PM
Hey guys, the board really doesn't encourage the threads that try to limit responses. You'll see the mods and ministers jump into threads that are limited and discuss away.

Anyway, instead of getting personal, why not just continue the OP discussion?

Butch5
Jan 11th 2009, 11:40 PM
Hey guys, the board really doesn't encourage the threads that try to limit responses. You'll see the mods and ministers jump into threads that are limited and discuss away.

Anyway, instead of getting personal, why not just continue the OP discussion?

I wasn't getting personal, just trying to be polite and to the point.

Butch5
Jan 11th 2009, 11:49 PM
And then you said, "Well, as an ex-Calvisnist, I would not recomend anyone read Calvin, unless they were going to give a refutation of his teachings," which is quite different from your original suggestion. All I saw were other posters posing different questions related to the initial topic, nothing added was necessarily 'off topic.' And would you have helped answer the OP's questions by fairly articulating the Reformed perspective, or cast them in a negative light? The OP was likely wanting to eliminate possible negative caricatures from the thread by limiting responses to those who currently hold to a Reformed perspective. I'm not arguing with you, but I know how hard objectivity is to show towards former perspectives to which one once adhered. This is true of myself regarding Arminianism, Dispensationalism, and Pentecostalism. Negativity and misrepresentation are all too common.

I could easily articulate the Calvinist position. I said if one wants to understand Calvinism they should read Calvin, however, I would not recommend anyone read Calvin. That's off topic?
I definitely have negative feelings for Calvinism however that does not mean I cannot be objective.

The Parson
Jan 12th 2009, 01:54 AM
This thread is not really productive ya'll. I'm closing it now and if you want to start another it will have to be less exclusive... Sorry.