A Calvinistic contradiction

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Skandelon, May 30, 2004.

  1. Skandelon

    Skandelon
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    Calvinists often argue that if we do make the decision in salvation then we get some measure of credit and therefore that must be unbiblical. (The bible does teach we are not saved by merity through the works of the law, but it never indicates that faith is a work of the law, nor does it ever indicate that we are not fully responsible for our faith based response, but that is for a different discussion)

    On the other hand, Calvinists also argue that men are able to respond in faith but just not willing to respond unless God regenerates them and gives them that new desire. Now here is the contradiction. Once a man has been born again or regenerated he still must choose to follow Christ, which according to Calvinists he will certainly do, but he must be the one who does it. It must be him who believes and him who chooses to follow, therefore he still has a measure of credit applied to him. Even if Calvinists claim that faith is not possible without regeneration and even if they teach faith is a certain response of one who has been born again it does not take away from the fact that man must choose and believe and therefore, by the logic first imposed, must be given some measure of credit for his part.

    We are saved by Grace through faith so if you insist that faith, in and of itself is a work of man even if it is caused by God, then you MUST admit that we are all saved through works.

    "But, God is the one who caused the faith, so that doesn't count toward the man," one may argue. So, Arminians believe the same. The Holy Spirit wrought gospel is what caused my faith, so that shouldn't count toward my credit either. The fact that the faith is effectual in the Calvinistic system doesn't change the fact that it is an act of man and must be credited to him by that logic. It's a clear contradiction.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. John Gilmore

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    Where have I heard that before? Oh, yes, now I remember!

     
  3. Pastor Larry

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    The error here is your misunderstanding. In the first scenario, the impetus to believe stems from the individual, thus giving him credit. In the second, the impetus to believe stems from God, giving God credit.

    In the arminian scenario, the Holy Spirit wrought gospel is not what causes faith. Because both the believer and the unbeliever hear the same gospel and respond differently. That shows that it is not the gospel that is "causing faith." If it were, then all would respond the same.
     
  4. ballfan

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    Gal 3:6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.

    Gen 15:6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.


    Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
     
  5. Skandelon

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    Ballfan,

    Thanks for posting these verses because they perfectly support the premise of this thread. Notice that Paul has NO problem crediting a man for something. A modern day Calvinist would never make such a statement without some type of disclosure statement like, "but his belief in God was really accounted to God and not to him because it was God who caused it." Paul doesn't say this. He doesn't even hint toward it. He gives Abraham credit for his belief, period.
     
  6. Skandelon

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    This is well stated and I understand you perspective perfectly, yet I still must disagree. (Suprise, Suprise) [​IMG]

    Just because the Holy Spirit wrought gospel doesn't effectually "cause faith" in everyone who hears it doesn't mean its not the "cause" for those who do believe.

    Suppose I had ten tickets to the big game next month and offered them to ten of my friends and 5 of them accepted and the other five rejected so I found 5 other friends to take the remaining five tickets. Now, would the ten friends who got into the game have any problem saying thanks for getting them in? Of course not. Would they have a problem given me all the credit for their being at that game? Of course not. Would I be the ultimate reason they got into the game? Yes. I offered them the tickets. Without my action they wouldn't have got in. The fact that 5 people rejected my offer doesn't change the cause and effect of those who did accept my offer. You can "cause" something without it being "effectual."

    But my point was that even if something IS effectual it doesn't change the fact that it still must happen and if it happens it must be credited to someone and the one it is credited to is the one who does it, regardless of the initial causation. In regard to faith that is the man, not God. It is our faith, not his. We are the responders. He doesn't do that for us. Calvinists may be right that he effectual causes faith but it doesn't change the fact that man is still the one doing the faith. Man must believe and if one makes the argument that faith is a work then to be consistant he must believe that we are saved through works. A Calvinist can preface it by saying they are works effectually caused by God, but nevertheless it is a work by their own defination. Therefore, you must teach, to be consistant that we are save by Grace through a work.
     
  7. semamiyth

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    God gives you your faith to follow Jesus Christ.

    For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly that he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. Romans 12:3

    And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith. But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil. II Thessalonians 3:2-3

    If the Holy Ghost was removed from one of his own, which won't happen of course, that person would have no more faith then before he first recieved the Holy Ghost. Your faith in following Jesus Christ comes from God working in you. So it is not of yourself.
     
  8. Skandelon

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    We all agree that faith originates with God. All good things come from him, but that really misses the point.

    The question has to do with the effectual nature of the means that God has selected to bring faith to mankind. He may give man faith but they may refuse to act in faith, or they may deny what they know to be true. Romans 1 indicates that these people had clearly seen and understood God's divine attributes and eternal natue but still refused to acknowledge God as God. It wasn't that they didn't have the capasity to believe in God, it was that they REFUSED to acknowledge what they knew in their hearts to be true. God has given all that we need to believe in him.

    Plus, think about it for a second. Why would Christ rebuke men for their lack of faith if indeed all of it is up to God? Shouldn't he rebuke God for not granting them the capasity to believe? Or for at least not dealing out enough faith for them?
     
  9. Gina B

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    You raise good points, but they only seem to confirm the phrase "God alone" for me.
    For example, Jesus himself was here in the flesh. There was no denying the fulfillment of the scriptures, the power of His miracles and the resurrection.
    How can one see this all and still deny it if there was any capability of good in themselves?
    Why did those who mocked and crucified Christ not believe until after Christ prayed for them? They did not know. "Father forgive them for they know NOT what they do."
    They didn't know because it fulfilled God's purpose to keep them blinded until He chose to grant them the faith to believe.
    Gina
     
  10. Skandelon

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    Gina,

    I agree with you to some extent. The Jews of that day were being hardened and couldn't believe because of the "spirit of stupor" sent to keep them in the dark. The scripture is quite clear that the Jews were being hardened but had they not been hardened the scripture is also clear that they could have heard, understood and believed.

    Some certainly resist the Holy Spirit and deny the obvious for their own temporary pleasures, but they do this despite the fact that God has done everything to give them all they need for abundant life in Him and they stand without excuse because of that very fact.
     
  11. semamiyth

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    The men in Romans 1:18-32, have not been given faith.

    Look at the truth that Paul is speaking about in Romans 1

    That's not the point I was trying to get across, however I may have not explained well enough. Or, most likely I am missing your point.

    Are you saying that God gives faith to everyone, but some choose Christ and others don't? Universal grace? It maybe that I need a lot of things defined to me?
     
  12. Skandelon

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    I'm saying all who hear the gospel have the capasity to believe it because God made them that way. The only people who don't have the capasity to believe were those who were being temporary judicially hardened in the first century by God in order to accomplish His ultimate purpose of redemption through their unbelief.

    The people of Romans 1 were without excuse. Why? What did they KNOW, UNDERSTAND and CLEARLY SEE? Calvinists seem to claim the non-elect can't know, understand or even see the truth of God unto salvation and that contradicts the very reason these stand without excuse on that day of judgement.
     
  13. npetreley

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    God was not crediting a man FOR anything in those verses. God took their faith and credited to their account as righteousness. The question still remains, where did they get their faith? That question is not answered in those verses.
     
  14. Skandelon

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    God was not crediting a man FOR anything in those verses. God took their faith and credited to their account as righteousness. The question still remains, where did they get their faith? That question is not answered in those verses. </font>[/QUOTE]Like I've said, we both agree that the faith came from God. You believe it came effectually and I don't, but it really doesn't matter because its still man's faith, not Gods. Man is held responsible for not having faith, not God. This highlights the Calvinistic contradiction. You claim faith is from God but maintain that man is responsible for not having it. That is unbiblical and nonsensical.

    I think I'm going to go beat my child now because he won't read the book that I have locked in my safe. That makes sense!?!
     
  15. Skandelon

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    BTW, Abraham's faith, which we both agree was God's gift, was credited to his account, right? So, Abraham was saved by what was in his account? It was "credited" to him, so he gets "credit", right?

    Remember God can give a non-effectual gift and still get the credit for giving it. For some reason Calvinists forget that a gift is still a gift even if it can be refused or resisted by someone. God still gets the glory as the giver even in the Arminian system. You guys don't have the sole rights to God's glory in salvation as you seem to think.
     
  16. Skandelon

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    (post 3 of 3 cont'd)
    Two men are standing on a cliff and you walk up to each of them and push them both equally as hard. One falls off the cliff and dies and the other resists the force of your push and stays alive. Whose is the only person held responsible for the death? You are. Why? You pushed him. But he wasn't strong enough to resist my push like the other guy was therefore its at least partially his fault. Wrong. It's completely your fault because had you not pushed him he would be alive. You directed cause the man's death. Now who is resposible for the second man being alive? The second man gets the credit because of this ability to resist the push, but you could still be held responsible for attempted murder. What does this teach us? The pusher is held responsible for what he has done and if he is successful he is completely responsible, if he is not successful he is not completely responsible because the one who was pushed successfully resisted the push and the consequences of it. Now turn this analogy around and pretend that falling off the cliff was a good thing that lead to eternal salvation and God was the pusher.

    God, through his chosen means, pushes two men but only one falls. God gets full credit (blame) for the one who fell, but for the one who resisted the push He does not. God still get credit (blame) for his attempt but the man is responsible for his not falling. In other words, the consequences are to the man's credit (blame) because he resisted the push. This may better explain how God can get full credit for our salvation while the lost get full blame for their resistance.
     
  17. semamiyth

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    Let me know if I get this straight. Basically, You say God enables everyone who hears the gospel a choice to choose Jesus Christ. If God moves everyone who hears to believe and some resist and dont believe wouldn't this make God's calling of no effect? In this view God calls everyone that hears the gospel of Jesus Christ. And some men choose, and some don't. But doesn't God justify everyone he calls?

    whom he called, them he also justified

    This is exactly what I claim. Put a big CC on my head. Man is on a one way street before God gives him his faith. And justly so. Therefore man is totally responsible for not having faith....he's a sinner. If God decides to give faith to one and not the other that is his choice, and it still leaves the other guilty of sin.

    For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord

    For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

    The lost don't get full blame for their resistance, resistance has nothing to do with it. The lost get full blame for their sin.
     
  18. Skandelon

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    You assume that Paul means that every individual that God calls he will certainly justify. I admit that COULD be Paul intent but I don't believe that it is. Please let me explain and try to be objective. I know its difficult to see a passage from a different perspective when you are so used to seeing it one way, but step back from your perspective for a moment and step into Paul's perspective.

    He, the apostle to the Gentiles, fights with judiazers everyday about the issue of whether the Gentiles were chosen to be apart of God's covenant. Many are doubting his authority and his crediablity as a teacher because he is preaching a message that for the most part only Gentiles are really responding to. Imagine if that were happening today...what if you were told a message given to you by God and all the church goers were attacking you and all the street trash, criminals and bums were responding. Your crediablity would be in question. This is where Paul is. Throughout the text he speaks of Jews and Gentiles being chosen by God from the very beginning, but we can't always interpret that as meaning God individually chooses some and not others. So when Paul mentions that all things are going to work out for those who love God and who are called by him he could be speaking generally about both the Jews and the Gentiles. For those God foreknew, the Jews as well as the Gentiles, he predestined to become like Christ. And those he predestined, both Jews and yes even Gentiles, he called, and those he called he justified...etc.

    Notice that this sequence of things God never mentions faith. Is faith not apart of salvation? Of course it is. It is assumed here because that is not what Paul is addressing, but it can't be omitted. It is assumed and we can't possibly know if Paul is assuming it as an act of man's volition or God's sovereign decree. He is addressing the fact that God is going to work everything out for those who love God from both the Jews and the Gentiles.

    Look at this from another perspective. Go back to the Civil Rights movement and Martin Luther King's leadership. Many people during that day believe that God created the black man to be a slave and some even thought they couldn't be saved, but King was combating that idea. What if in that context he said, "God will work out all things for good for those who love God and who have been called according to his purpose." You would assume that he was speaking about the suffering that his people were enduring because you would know his context. If he continued, "For those God foreknew he predestined us to become like his son." He could be encouraging his people that God foreknew them and had chosen and predestined them to be conformed to his son as much so as any other race. "For those God predestined, blacks and whites, he also called, justified and glorified." See how when you look at these words from more of a general perspective instead of an individual one it can be seen in more than one way. King's words wouldn't mean that all blacks were going to be saved but simply that blacks were as mcuh apart of God's plan as whites were, "for who can bring any charge against those groups of people God has chosen to be his people. If God is for us who can be against us." Again, this is just a possible perspective, but what gives it the most crediablity is the fact that Paul continues on that same train of thought as he continues into Romans 9 by speaking of his desire to see his people, the Jews, come to salvation.
     
  19. gb93433

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    In the strictest sense God is responsible for everything. Without the introduction of the opportunity to sin there would be no rebellion and no sin. That is more of a Jewish philosophical idea and not a Greek philosophy as we understand in the US. So the idea of us having no part is foreign to us. In a Greek philosophy each entity is compartmentalized. Whereas in a Jewish type of culture God is a part of everything. In the Greek philosophy each part of life has a separate compartment. But in the Jewish culture everything fits within a large circle and God is in that circle with everything else.
     
  20. npetreley

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    Oddly enough, I'm half Greek, but I agree 100% with the Jewish philosophical outlook.
     

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