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March 29, 2010

Comments

Greg - I appreciate your explanation. I believe part of the understanding problem is that people feel that God's choice starts with people in a neutral (or even slightly favorable) guilt position. Visually this would be like God standing at a fork in the road and seemingly arbitrarily sending people randomly down the different paths. Another part of the problem is that the fairness objection seems to assume that we are somewhat equal to God. Neither viewpoint is Biblical. Instead, I think a more accurate visualization is that we are all like slaves guilty of treason, and God chooses some to be spared the death penalty. The beauty is that God went further than that - he punished his own son for our treason to spare us.

Greg, if God can just "cancel debts" on his side of the ledger, why did He crush his Son on the cross? My understanding has always been that he *can't* just cancel debts because his perfect justice would not be fulfilled. That's why the debts are in fact paid for. They were just paid by someone else on our behalf.

The trickiness of this (and to me the weakest point in traditional 5 point Calvinism) is the question of why was Jesus' payment only "good enough" to pay for the sins of some people. Would He have had to die and be separated from the Father more somehow to cover the debt of more people (as if there are somehow degrees of dead)? If not, shouldn't that credit be enough to cover all the debt, at least in theory?

Ruben and Samuel,

You should be aware by induction that Greg isn't there.

Samuel,

I think the answer to your question is that Jesus' payment was good enough to pay for the sins of everybody. John the Baptist said of Christ "The Lamb of God who take's away the sin of the world." So, there was enough "credit" for all the debt. But not all those that are eligible (everybody) to receive this credit accept it.

San...I believe you are mistaken to assume that God can simply cancel the debt of sin outright. He would not be holy if He did that. You see...that is why sin is a LOT more serious than most of us understand it to be.

Fact is..God NEVER cancels any sin...ever. It all has to be paid for. He promises that justice will also reign and at the same time all will be perfect. The ONLY way that can ever happen is if God Himself takes the punishment we deserve.

By giving His only begotten Son...justice is served (all sin really IS cancelled, the debt is paid in full...and we are made not just innocent...but perfect as he tells us we must be. The Good News is not cool, neat or intriguing. It is wondrous beyond comprehension.

In a similar way, when people ask "Why did God allow so many people to die in [insert natural disaster]"

How is the response: "Why does God allow us who weren't killed to be alive?"

Anair...

Exactly. Asking why God puts (not just "allows) tradgedy as he sees fit into our lives has behind it the false assumption that we do not DESERVE that kind of treatment from our loving Heavenly Father. Thinking like that proves we have never really understood God, oursleves nor the Gospel.

Actually...I did not express the complete thought process when saying that God cancels sin by Giving us His Son. I don't think sin can ever be truly
cancelled. It can only be paid for...in full. I should have said the "penalty to US is cancelled...but the debt must still be (and is) paid in full".....

This incoherent stuff would crack me up if there weren't people taking it seriously. It doesn't look at all like God allows anybody to 'be saved', live, or die. It looks like there's nothing to be saved from. It looks like sometimes stuff happens. It looks like sometimes some people get in the way.

RonH

Joe did crack me up.

Ron...

Its not important what it "looks' like to you. You see what you want to see...no more no less. On the other hand I think you are bluffing. You see alright. You don't LIKE what you see...but you do see. Why else would you keep coming back?...concern over us wasting our time perhaps? If so..thanks in advance.

I was just thinking this morning that how we characterize this issue seems to determine how problematic it is or how much it grates against our intuitions.

One way to look at it is like this. God has two people standing before him, and both are just alike. There's nothing in either one of them that would cause God to choose one over the other. But God chooses one over the other anyway.

Another way to look at it is this. God creates individuals for different purposes. He creates some for the purpose of demonstrating his grace, and he creates others for the purpose of demonstrating his wrath.

In this second case, it isn't as if God is really choosing between two people who already exist (or who he knows will exist). It's more like he just created each of them for a specific purpose.

If I had two identical bows on my bow rack, and I decided to keep one and give the other to a friend, you might very well wonder why I made the choice I did. But if I made a bow for myself, and then made another bow just like it for my friend, nobody would wonder why I chose to keep one bow and give the other away instead of vice versa.

It seems to me this second characterization has some support from the Bible. There's the whole potter and vessel analogy Paul uses in Romans 9:21-23 where he says:

"Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory."

One vessel is made for honorable use, and another for common use. One person is prepared for destruction, and another for glory. So it isn't as if God created people or saw that he would create them and then chose them arbitrarily or anything like that.

You see the same thing in Proverbs 16:4. "The LORD has made everything for its own purpose, even the wicked for the day of evil."

Of course that raises different issues. It seems to solve the problem of God appearing to be arbitrary in his choice of who to save and who not to save, but it raises the issue of why God would blame somebody for being sinful if he made them that way. They didn't ask to be made for that purpose.

But I won't go into that. I'll just say that Jonathan Edwards dealt with that issue in quite a bit of depth in his book on "The Freedom of the Will."

Sam...

Is there a problem with God being arbitrary? Isn't that exactly what Romans 9 says He is?

I would like to give a quote from the Westminster Confession of Faith from chapter 5 on God's Providence--specifically paragraph IV

"The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God so far manifest themselves in His providence, that it extends itself even to the first fall, and all other sins of angels and men;[14] and that not by a bare permission,[15] but such as has joined with it a most wise and powerful bounding,[16] and otherwise ordering, and governing of them, in a manifold dispensation, to His own holy ends;[17] yet so, as the sinfulness thereof proceeds only from the creature, and not from God, who, being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin.[18]"

The numbers are scripture proof footnotes to be associated with each premise. [this was copied from here: http://www.reformed.org/documents/wcf_with_proofs/index.html

It'd be no small challenge to be doubting the Westminster Divines and the scriptural support for the phrases like "and not by bare permission", or "joined with it a most wise and powerful bounding".

The struggle to understand the doctrine of election must include wrestling with His sovereignty, and creaturely obligation. Problem is we think we are "all that AND a bag of chips" when we are not.

Vic...
I can tell you Love the LORD and want to see Him lifted up. This is awesome. My deep concern for anyone who reads Romans 9 that way is that they have simply mis-exegeted the text of Romans 9? You should read Leon Morris on Romans 9-11 in the 'Pillar Commentary Series' (D.A. Carson, General Editor).

I have found His exegetical syntactical work to be very fitting to the greek text.

Blessings,

Jesse

Greg,

I often hear the "God is not obligated" to save anyone 'argument'. This argument saddens my heart in the deepest degree. Has God not bound Himself to bless all the families of the earth in Gen. 12? Your argument diminishes the covenant God made with Abraham!! God bound Himself to bring salvation to the world (all people, Jn 3:16) in the Abrahamic covenant! And Has God not atoned for the sins of entire world in Jesus death (1 Jn 2:2)? Does God not want all to repent (1 tim 2:4)? Does God not want none to perish (2 Pet 3:9)? He is the savior of all men (1 Tim 4:10)! Many men will reject Him, even though He has purchased them with His own blood (2 Pet 2:1). Your argument completely ignores the universal reconciling work of Jesus on the cross (2 Cor 5:18-21, Col 1:19-22, Rom 5:8-10). My heart is breaking because, in my judgment, you are ignoring the gospel.

Its not important what it "looks' like to you.

I don't know what to think of this. It sounds to me like you are saying "evidence doesn't matter".

You see what you want to see...no more no less.

What could convince you otherwise? If nothing, I guess you must be right.

On the other hand I think you are bluffing. You see alright. You don't LIKE what you see...but you do see.

All I can do is tell you I'm not bluffing. Would it be un-Christian to believe me? I work hard to see how I might be wrong. I listen to others. I look at things from both sides. I will say 'that is a bad argument' to either side. I look for the best questions, the best arguments, and the best replies. The result is I am where I am. Do you believe me? Or Paul?

Why else would you keep coming back?...concern over us wasting our time perhaps? If so..thanks in advance.

Why am I here? You guessed one reason. But everyone wastes time. So that wouldn't be nearly enough.

There's money wasted too. Check out the Easter Lillies next Sunday. Check out the building. Anytime. It might be sold for a large sum and given to the poor.

This is getting closer to my reasons now.

On what grounds have you questioned my honesty? You don't even know me. You think you know me. From Romans 1, perhaps?

Now we are getting close to my reasons for being here. On what grounds have you questioned my honesty? What should I think about that given that I am honest? Honest, in this case, about what I believe.

Would my staying away from here or staying silent take care of this issue for me and those like me? I don't think so.

Is it just my feelings I'm worried about? What some people think of me (and others)?

Well that's probably all I/we have to be concerned about when it comes to you, Vic. It's not pleasant hear this stuff. But I understand where it comes from so it's no big deal.

But others go further. And that really motivates me.

RonH

Vic, what I was trying to explain (apparently unsuccessfully) is why I think Romans 9 does NOT make God arbitrary.

I agree with Jesse that it is in the nature of God's holiness that if he offers the gift of undeserved grace to all, and someone accepts that gift, God cannot renege on the gift. The obligation is conditional upon the acceptance of the gift. But this is not salvation by "works", because the only "work" done is accepting the gift, and this "work" would not be possible if God had not offered the gift, or would not be necessary if salvation was deserved.

C.S. Lewis somewhere likened free will to a play written by God in which the human actors have some freedom in how they say their lines. Exercise of the freedom causes a change in the plot of the play, but God can flip ahead a few pages in the script and make changes of his own based on what the actors have done. In particular, God puts Himself into the play and at the high point of the drama offers the gift that no future actors can undo.

Jesse, are you advocating universalism?

Whooooooooa!

Jesse...

please tell me how you would explain Romans 9? I wasn't aware that there we multiple ways. If doesn't mean that God is the one with the choice, not us...what does it mean?

Also Jesse...

You say you don't like the idea that God is not obligated to save. Aside from what we might prefer to believe...what does the book SAY about the matter.

Please note Jesse that if God truly wanted to bring the gospel to the whole world (that is...every last person on earth)...then He has failed miserably. Have you not read that Jesus came to save HIS sheep...the ones whom the Father has given me (NOT everyone)...and that NO ONE (not even the cutest evangelical) can come to me UNLESS it is given to them by the Father?

Sam...

I know what you were saying and I am suggesting that you have it backwards. God most certainly IS arbitrary...as He ought to be. Its HIS universe. He has a plan for it all and not one jot nor tittle will fail to come to pass...and He is not asking us for advice on how it ought to have been done. We are not required to understand all of God's ways as to it ought to have been done. However....We ARE required to admit that it is HE who raises nations up and brings them down.

Ron....hang in there. I will get back to you just as soon as my little legs will carry me.

Have a good day all.....

Vic, I wonder if maybe we are using "arbitrary" in different ways. I'm using it to mean "without a cause or reason." It seems to me that if God always does exactly what he wants to do (Psalm 135:6), and if his desires are part of or follow from his nature, and if his nature could not be otherwise, then nothing God does is arbitrary.

The ambient cultural knowledge I've been receiving all my life says that the good and bad things you do in this life will—more or less—determine your fate in the next life. Whether you agree with the idea or not, I trust it sounds familiar. To my knowledge, this idea is the source of the claim that a Christian worldview gives our lives a foundation and structure they wouldn't have if there were no God. Atheism is often frowned on because “everything is permitted” if this top-down moral administration doesn't exist.

But, if I understand Mr. Koukl correctly, this is all wrong. God doesn't care what we do; He judges us for what we are, and what we are is sufficient to condemn us to eternal torture. He will save us, if He saves us, for reasons of His own which are unpredictable by definition. Our fate is a coin toss minus the good odds.

So my ignorant layperson's question is this: what's left of that moral foundation Christians are so eager to claim credit for, if nothing we do in this life affects our destination in the next? Why “do good,” if what you do is irrelevant to God? Why not do whatever you want? You're going to burn (or not) anyway. Are Calvinists really closeted secular humanists, who believe they should “do good” for others simply because it's good for others?

Greg's video seems like a fair assessment of the issues. However, I don't personally understand how he fits all this into his head and his heart. He really seems quite comfortable with it all. Personally, it just causes me too much cognitive dissonance to regard it as very likely. Sometimes it turns my stomach, other times it fascinates or amuses me.

Maybe the doctrine of election is just easier to accept for those that are elect? I guess to those that are depraved and have no hope, it just seems kinda silly.

Have any Calvinists here had to deal with loved ones that have died and clearly were not among the elect? How did you deal with it? Do you have trouble fitting this into your head and your heart? What doubts do you have?

Sam...

Yes it could be we are using arbitrary in different ways. It can mean "capricious"...and we both know God is not capricious. Let me clarify what I mean by it. The choice of who is redeemed and who is not...is HIS...not ours...and we have no clue as to what motivates Him to do as he does. We simply cannot see beyond the veil at this point in time. We ARE assured that whatever His choice is...it is good and right because "The Lord of all the earth will do right". He can do no other. And that is as far as any of us are allowed to go.

My point in being adamant about this being HIS choice is because I hear much lip service being given to God's soveirgnty...but not THAT sovereign.. Calvinism is the ONLY doctrinal guide I know of that faces this squarely.

Ron...

Yes evidence matters....and there is plenty avialable...if we are willing to consider it.

Would it be "unchristian" of me to say you are bluffing? I don't think so. After all you have been given lots of evidence and you keeping ignoring it....and we both know why too.

You ask Who do i believe...you or Paul? Answer: Paul (hopefully he and i are in agreement). To wit ...Paul says that ALL of us, Ron...not just a few fundys, KNOW that God exists...and further that there is no excuse for your saying you don't "know". As i said..you obviously "know"...you just aren't too happy with what is clear. Don't take it too hard though...you certainly are not alone if that is any consolation.

You think I do not know you? Of course I know you. I know you are a sinner just like me...except that you deny what you know to be true. What else do i need to know?

You say "others" go further....meaning yourself perchance? I would hope that you WOULD be willing to consider the evidence...and in fact would challenge you to do so.

I assume that Neither of us would claim to have all the answers...but we do not NEED to have all the answers before God's existence is absolutely clear to every one of us...no exceptions. Still willing to go further? Yes...I'm calling your bluff.

Jesus employed this logical argument saying, "Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God."
John 8:47
What are the premises? What is the conclusion? What are the consequences of rejecting His premises or the validity of the conclusion?
Where would it land us on the theological spectrum if we embrace His premises and conclusion?

Vic,

In my previous comment, 'Others' is part of a link. Please follow it to find out what I mean by 'Others'.

RonH

Roberto, reformulating a person's statements into tidy syllogisms is one of my favourite things to do, so I'll take a stab at it.

1. If a person is of God, then that person hears the words of God.
2. You do not hear the words of God.
3. Therefore, you are not of God.

Jesus is using a modus tollens. Wahoo!

If you reject the conclusion, then you have to reject one of the premises. I don't think his argument in this case helps solve the problem of calvinism/arminianism/etc.ism. All the argument tells us is that we can tell whether we are of God based on whether we hear the words of God or not. It doesn't tell us what CAUSES us to be of God--whether an act of God's sovereign will, or a free choice on our part.

Johnie...

If you are still around, the anology given by Lewis and stated by you is false....at least according to Romans 9. What man will do or not do plays no part in God's predestinating grace. If what a man does plays any part in "deserving"...grace...then we are not talking about grace any longer.

To wit: "Before the twins had done ANYTHING good or bad"..Jacob was chosen over Esau....in order that GOD'S name might be glorified. What Jacob wass going to do played no part in God's choice of him over Esau. It was sealed before the twins were even born. Do you see that?

Ron....
Not sure what I was supposed to get from the link. Seems to be neither here nor there as applied to our conversation. You began discussing the fact that you needed evdidence...but evidently you don't need it that bad?

Janney, I think you have misunderstood Greg. In fact, he argued against what you are attributing to him in one of his commentaries. I can't find it right now, but he made an analogy to explain himself. If you had cancer, but you refused treatment, it's not the refusal of treatment that kills you. It's the cancer that kills you. The treatment would've saved you. In the same way, if you don't embrace the gospel, it's not your lack of belief the sends you to hell. It's your sins that send you to hell. Jesus is the cure for your sinfulness.

So Greg thinks we all deserve to go to hell because of what we do. Our actions are not irrelevant.

Jesus put it like this: "Unless you believe that I am he, you will die in your sins" (John 8:24). So what we do has everything to do with why we are sent to hell.

People who are saved are saved in SPITE of what they do. But it isn't as if a saved person could just do anything he wanted to do. As Paul said in Romans 6: "Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?" When Jesus saves us, he saves us completely. He changes our hearts, curing us of our rebellion so that we can't live a life in rebellion against him. If a person lives a life in rebellion against God, yet claims to be a Christian, there's no reason to take his claim seriously. So while a saved person's actions may not cause them to be saved or damned, their actions do provide evidence of whether a person is really saved or not.

I wrote more about that here.

JimT, I was very uncomfortable with Calvinism for a while after I had decided it was true. I didn't like it at all, but I became convinced it was what the Bible taught. Jonathan Edward's book on "The Freedom of the Will," went a long way in helping me with my discomfort with Calvinism. There are still things about Calvinism and Christianity in general that I don't like, but I still think they are true.

I guess I've been lucky that I haven't had too many people close to me who have died. I do worry about some of my family members who are not Christians, though.

Whether you're a Christian or not, reality is a tragic thing, and there is plenty to be upset about. Hopefully we don't delude ourselves in believing only in what we WANT to be true.

Sam,

Universalism is unbiblical in the highest degree, that is not what I am arguing for. In my judgment, scripture is clear, more people will end up in Hell than heaven, but this is not what God intended. I am affirming here that in this world things do happen that are against the will of God. God does not will for anyone to go to Hell (2 Pet 3:9, Ezek 33:11). That is why He sent Jesus to take away our sins through His universal atoning death (Jn 1:29, 1 Jn 2:2, 1 Tim 4:10, 2 Pet 2:1), and that is why He sent the Spirit to convict the world of Jesus (Jn 16:8-9). God commands all men everywhere to repent (Acts 17:11). Why does God command men to repent? Because He has appointed a day when He will judge the world in righteousness by Jesus Christ. He commands men to repent, because He does not want them to go to Hell (2 Pet 3:9, 1 Tim 2:3-4).


Look at Jesus parable of the Final assize, when He separates the sheep from the goats. The sheep (believers) inherit life eternal, and the goats (unbelievers) inherit death and hell. If there was ever a better time for Jesus to tell us plainly about How God prepared Hell for certain people this would be it, but what does Jesus say to the unbelievers? Jesus says in Matt 25:41 to those on His left hand at the assize "Depart from Me, you cursed, ​​into the everlasting fire prepared for ​the devil and his angels." Why does Jesus not say to the cursed, "Depart from Me, you cursed into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil, His angels, and you!" with an angry sneer in His voice. Why? Because God did not prepare Hell for anyone, nor does He have pleasure when people go there (2 pet 3:9, Ezek 33:11).

It saddens me in the deepest degree that we do not love sinners the way Jesus did. However, it is as Jesus said it would be in the last days

"And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow ​cold." (Matt 24:12)

Vic,

Here's what the link is about.

Both you and the Hutaree draw conclusions from scripture. Neither of you would come to these conclusions via everyday moral reasoning.

It's rude, outrageous of you to say I'm not being honest about my beliefs. You wouldn't do this if we were talking about belief in homeopathy. But you do it in this case. Why? Because you can shift the blame to Paul. Paul says there's no such thing as honest disbelief in God. Since Paul was inspired it's ok for you to say I'm not being honest.

No it's not just ok, it's required isn't it? Once you buy the idea that all scripture is god-breathed. That's it. Where the scripture goes you follow.

For you then, if scripture says as a non-believer I'm automatically suppressing the truth in unrighteousness, well by God, I must be whatever I tell you about my sincerity.

For the Hutaree, if scripture says “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” well, by God, they're going to find away to do it and lay down the lives of a few good police officers in the process.

The Hutaree's actions are more extreme but the mode if 'thinking' is just the same.

Suggest you skip the perchance's and to-wit's. They make you sound puffed up - not sophisticated.

RonH

Only those of God hear God’s words.
(Only if p, then q)
You are not of God.
(Not p)
Therefore, you are not hearers of God’s words.
(Therefore, not q)
I consider this verse in which our Lord employs a logical argument to be relevant to the issues that divide Calvinists and non-Calvinist believers.
Let the reader not forget that the Lord explicitly says that the "reason" (i.e., the CAUSE) that the audience did not hear God's word coming from Jesus Himself is that they were not of God.
Our Lord said, “You do not hear, [the "reason" being because] you are not of God.”
One side of the theological spectrum is wrong and the other side is correct. One side turns our Lord's words around, thus changing the Lord's meaning. The other side does not. This verse alone may not settle all differences. But it most certainly is relevant for all believers searching the Scriptures to answer some of their concerns on divine sovereignty and human choice.

Hi RonH, your points to Vic are a little off base since Vic is offering a perspective that is accepted as orthodox historic Christianity. The Hutaree are not Christian, and neither do they have any support from historic orthodox Christianity. Just because someone quotes a verse from the Bible doesn't mean they are interpreting it faithfully. It'd seem that you have a point on that note, but not really.

Vic,

I put the word "work" in quotes to say that acceptance of a gift is not a work. If the gift has not been offered, claiming it will have no effect.

Ron...
Is that ALL thats keeping you from becoming a chistian??
Lots of folks claim to be Christian. Heck I've heard that Hitler was Christian by folks who are, at a minimum, slightly confused. Jim Jones had a lot of folks thinking he was the messiah too...did that prove that he was?? Point is...anyone can call themselves anything they like.

You do not need to be miffed about me calling you on your dishonesty...for a couple of reasons.

WE hate to admit it...but we are ALL in the same boat, Ron. Squeaky clean STR types, Hutarees,gangbangers TBN clowns and everything in between.
It is true that the Apostle calls us liars for not admitting what is obvious...but i'm saying it...not just because "its in the bible"..but rather because you really are playing games with truth and its easy to see.

I have read many of your posts here and for the most part all you ever do is complain and ridicule. Don't believe I have ever seen you engage in a dialogue that honestly asks..."What proof is there that God not only exsists but that He has made Himself known to all men?" You simply don't go there because as i said...you KNOW what is at stake.

Ron...if you want to find an excuse for not admitting what is before your very eyes...there is no need to try to blame us Christians for making it confusing. I would ( and have) challenged you to stop the charade and enter into serious dialogue, but again, you wont do that. As i said...its not that you do not see the truth...its that you do not like what you do see. Prove me wrong.

Johnnie...

It doesn't matter whether you claim "accepting" is a work or not. Its irrelevant.. The objective truth of the matter is that your "acceptance" has not one thing to do with God choosing you. The choice is made by God before the foundation of the world...and what you do or do not do is after the fact.

Not only that, but think of the ridiculousness of..."US" accepting..."HIM"!!! What malarky. Us accepting the very One who has caused us to be! Yeah...how good of us to put up with HIM! Isn't that cute? That might work for silly fundamentalism but is a sad sad statement on how far we have fallen in our "religion".

Bottom line....good folk don't go to heaven....because there aren't any.

Roberto..

Could you clarify for me? You said one side has it wrong. Which side would that be?

A Fantastic Four Parable

There's a deep chasm with sheer walls and an uninterrupted sheet of granite at the base. The edges of the chasm are all crumbly. There are signs posted around the cliff edge that say "Crumbly Cliff Edge. Certain Fatal Fall. Stay Back."

Looking closer, we see a broken section of cliff where someone has fallen in.

His name is Stan, and he has no parachute. He's already hit terminal velocity. He has some freedom to twist around. He can go spread eagle to slow down, or straighten up and go headfirst to speed up. But, at some point, Stan will hit bottom and flatten out.

Dr. Doom had convinced Stan that if he would stand next to the cliff edge, he would gain the ability to fly and become the Fantastic Fifth.

Suddenly, Reed Richards (the stretchy guy) grabs hold of Stan. He slows Stan's fall and starts pulling him back up. Stan struggles vigorously against Reed's grip.

As it turns out, the whole country is covered with these terrible abysses. A whole army people are falling to inevitable death, just like Stan.

Fortunately, Dr. Richards has created a fancy splitter machine (because he knows physics and such) that allows him to be at every cliff edge simultaneously and make a grab for every falling person. But the effort of saving Stan and all the rest is quite painful and kills Reed. But don't worry, somehow, Reed is later revived.

BTW - Reed is also the one who posted the signs.

What is the rest of the story?

Calvinist Completion:

Reed's grip is unbreakable. Stan and all the rest whom he chooses to grab will be saved. There is adequate opportunity for Reed to grab all of them, but he chooses not to.

Before the action of our story, Reed pre-conditioned Stan to believe Dr. Doom.

This was in order to prove Reed's power.

Lutheran Completion:

Reed's grip is breakable. It is adequate to hold Stan, even given that Stan is struggling violently. But using any stronger grip might hurt or even kill Stan.

There is adequate opportunity for Reed to grab all of the falling people. And he does. Still, it happens that many squirm free. He recaptures many of these. But there is not adequate opportunity for him to save everyone allowing for indefinite escapes and recaptures.

Reed knew about Dr. Doom's intentions, which is why he posted the signs.

He did all this to prove his love.

So What's the Difference?

In both stories Reed is fully responsible for the salvation of all those he saves.

In both stories, Stan is falling because he foolishly believed Dr. Doom's lies.

BUT

In the Calvinist story, Reed is fully responsible for Stan's fall, and fully responsible for the deaths of all those that perish.

So, in the Calvinist story, Reed is fully responsible for both the lives of those who are saved, and the deaths of those who perish.

While in the Lutheran story, those who perish are fully responsible for their own deaths.

So, in the Lutheran story, Reed is fully responsible for the lives of those who are saved, but he is not responsible for the deaths of those who perish, they are fully responsible for that themselves.

Vic:

Acts 2:41

And they that **gladly received** his word (verb, action, ACCEPTANCE) were baptized....

Acts 2:40

And with many other words did [Peter] testify saying, Save (verb, REFLEXIVE, action) yourselves from this untoward generation.

Johnie...

Of course they "recieved". All who are Christ's.."recieve".

But not before God changes their hearts of stone.

No one, Johnie.....NO one...CAN come to me (recieve??) unless is is...GIVEN to him by the Father.

Remember...Jesus does not even pray for the world to be saved. Who does he pray for?......" HIS sheep"....."HIS people"......"the ones whom the Father has given Me"......and not one of those that have been GIVEN to Christ will be lost. (no matter what we think of their behavior while here on earth, I might add)

From my very first post in this thread:

But this is not salvation by "works", because the only "work" done is accepting the gift, and this "work" would not be possible if God had not offered the gift, or would not be necessary if salvation was deserved.

Your last quote:

No one, Johnie.....NO one...CAN come to me (recieve??) unless is is...GIVEN to him by the Father.

You seem to have come into agreement with me.

Looks like I win.


Non-calvinists turn the words of our Lord around in texts like John 8:47. However, in cases like the aforementioned text, the meaning AND the logic would be wrong on their interpretation and. I happen to be a supralapsarian calvinist.

Johnie says...."Looks like I win"..

Is that important to you Johnie...to "win"?


But, once again, you are mistaken and we are most certainly not in agreement.

God does a whole lot more than simply "offer", Jonhnie. If all He did was "offer"...then not one us is going to be in heaven.


No one is ever invited to come to Christ. We are COMMANDED to come to Him with the threat of ever lasting hell if we fail.

And He does not mean to save every last person on earth either...(as I have referrred to in John)


Johnie...you will have to face the facts sooner or later. Its either, or. Either God saves (forget the "offer or inviation")...or we save ourselves.

On the subject of things one does, or might do, Mr. Koukl is quite clear: God must be free to damn your soul to hell regardless of what you do. To say otherwise would be to presume upon His freedom: “…I don’t think that God is obliged to give everybody the same shake. If that were the case, then grace wouldn’t be grace. It would be obligatory for God.”

He is also quite clear that everyone is damnable by their nature: “…all that are saved are saved by an act of God’s grace that they didn’t deserve, and all that get punished are getting punished by an act of God’s justice that they did deserve.”

So my question stands: why do the right thing, if nothing we do in this life affects our destination in the next? What can a Calvinist minister tell his flock about right and wrong? “Do the right thing. Be kind to others. No, you’ll probably burn anyway. No, if He saves you it will be for inscrutable reasons of His own. Do the right thing anyway.”

Can someone give me a Cliff’s Notes summary of a generic Calvinist morality sermon?

Vic,

I take from your posts that you are a Calvinist. If so, can you please answer a question for me. How is it consistent with God's character to create someone who is not able to avoid sinning, due to the fallen nature he was born with, and yet God can somehow be just punishing that person? In other words, how is God just to punish someone for sin when that person was created by God in such a way that he could not avoid sinning?

Thanks for your feedback.

Janney,

Since I'm undecided about Calvinism, I can't answer your question directly. However, the Bible doesn't teach anywhere that we are saved by our works. We are saved by God's grace. Our works are done out of gratitude for what God has done for us. Works are the evidence of our salvation - not a means of earning it. Hope this helps.

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