Arminian vs. Calvinist handling of scripture

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by npetreley, Feb 2, 2003.

  1. npetreley

    npetreley
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    I thought it might be useful to examine a bit how scripture is used, what it says on its own, and what must be added to reach a conclusion.

    The free will argument

    This is one of the most commonly used scriptures for the free-will point of view:

    What does this scripture say?

    1. It says to choose for yourselves whom you will serve.

    What does this scripture not say?

    1. It does not say that you are able to choose for yourselves of your own free will.
    2. It does not say that you are unable to choose for yourselves of your own free will, either.
    3. If one can assume people did choose to serve the LORD, it does not explain where they got the inclination or ability to make that choice.

    These "missing points" would not be as big a problem for free-will advocates if they would simply provide other scriptures to address them. But they do not. There are no scriptures that say that the mechanism by which we choose to serve the LORD is free will. So when pressed on this, they add these conclusions from logic, inference, or just-so stories about how we were created and what that means.

    ----------

    The Calvinist/election argument

    Instead of picking a commonly used scripture, I have deliberately selected one that also leaves some points unresolved.

    What does this say?

    1. That Jesus gives life to whom He will.

    What does it not say?

    1. It does not tell us what criteria Jesus uses to decide to whom He gives life.
    2. It does not explain the mechanism through which Jesus gives life.

    We can figure out at least part of the answer to #2 from scripture. For example:

    What does this scripture say?

    1. Everyone who believes in Jesus may have eternal life.

    So we know that belief is at least part of the mechanism by which we are given life. This still leaves some points unspecified and questions unanswered.

    What does this scripture not say?

    1. It does not say that Jesus wills to give life to those who believe after they choose to believe, or because they choose to believe.
    2. It does not say that when Jesus wills to give life to someone, He does so by giving that person the faith they need to believe.

    So we need to figure out where belief comes from. Does it come from a free will choice on the part of man? Or does it come from God?

    What does this scripture say?

    1. Faith comes by hearing. Hearing comes by the word of God.

    What does it not say?

    1. It doesn't say that faith comes by hearing the word of God.
    2. It doesn't explain what it means that hearing comes by the word of God.
    3. It doesn't tell us that we choose to hear of our own free will.

    We could stop here, but one more scripture might help round out the lesson:

    What does this scripture say?

    1. He who is of God hears God's words.
    2. He who is not of God does not hear God's words.

    --------

    The bottom line

    Are the free-will advocates beginning to get the point?

    IMO the plain meaning of the above scriptures is difficult to dispute, but I know many of you will find ways to explain these scriptures differently. I'm not trying to illustrate how bullet-proof the Calvinist argument may be.

    What I'm hoping you'll understand is that Calvinists are starved for the opportunity to argue the interpretation of your follow-up scriptures. But they cannot, because you provide none. You simply provide scriptural hypothesis, exhortation or command and then rely entirely on inference. I don't recall anyone even attempting to support the conclusions by drilling-down through the scriptures.

    So when someone says that everyone thinks their private interpration is "scriptural", that may be true. And they might also think their private interprtation comes directly from the Spirit, or from aliens. Nobody can prove you aren't getting messages from the Spirit or aliens, so it's rather futile to go that route. So we are left with the scriptures.

    So. once again, when someone says that everyone thinks their private interpration is "scriptural", that may be true. But it is one thing to say your interpretation is scriptural. Anyone can do that. It is quite another to actually present the scripture, point by point, to back up your interpretation. I challenge the free-will advocates to do that.

    [edited to make the q/a format more consistent]

    [ February 03, 2003, 10:19 AM: Message edited by: npetreley ]
     
  2. Sularis

    Sularis
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    I ask whoever feels led to respond to this post please PM your response and verses - and Ill take them into consideration -


    I wish to respond to this one personally as God has told me He has a word concerning this - and I would like a chance to seek it.

    SO please no response I will try and respond within a week or less - depending on how well I seek the face of the Lord
     
  3. npetreley

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    So please no response?!?!

    I challenge the free will advocates to engage in a scripture-based discussion. What could possibly motivate you to attempt to subvert this and turn it into a PM-only process? Are you not aware that this is a discussion board, not a "moderated through Sularis" board? By all means, respond to this personally if you feel led. But to tell others not to respond is, IMO, entirely uncalled for.
     
  4. sturgman

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    In addition to your point npetreley,

    The verse in Joshua is not spoken to the world. It is spoken to the people of Israel. You may know them as "God's Chosen People". The audience of a verse is very important when trying to understand it's meaning. It is similar to a verse that is often misused in Revelation 3. "Behold I stand at the door and knock..." you know the rest. Since the 1940's or abouts evangelist have been throwing that around as a call to salvation. This text was written to the church. This dramatically changes the meaning of the text. The church was having church without its bridegroom. In Joshua, the people of Israel, who are already God's chosen people are told to choose whom they will serve. It is like me standing before my church and saying to a group of believers, "Choose today who you are going to serve, God or yourself." It would dramatically change the meaning of the text.
     
  5. tyndale1946

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    Sularis... Well excuse me!... I didn't see the brother post as he was waiting for someone who had a personal revelation from the Lord to answer him?... What is going to make your answer any better than the one I might give?... Then again I agree your response was uncalled for and if you want to solve this question PM with other brethren go for it. The rest of us will direct our answers to the post at hand and the forum in question. Some brethren have a lot of gall... Are you one of them?... You want to make this your personal sounding board I would check with the webmaster first he runs the board... And I am the co-moderator of this forum... Then there is Pastor Larry who is the other moderator... I wonder what he will say? :eek: ... Brother Glen :eek:
     
  6. sturgman

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    Ouch! Sounds like someone's in the corner... [​IMG]
     
  7. Gina B

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    Solaris, you're scaring me! You're not mormon are you? :(
    Gina
     
  8. Pastor Larry

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    The only word that God has told on this is the one found in the Bible. If you are praying for something else, your prayers will be in vain. Such pursuit of unbiblical direction has no place in this forum. God has revealed himself to us in his word and that word is not of any private interpretation (2 Peter 1:20). God is not speaking "words of the Lord" in this age. In his word are "all things necessary for life and godliness" (2 Peter 1:3) and what is necessary to be "equipped for every good work" (2 Tim 3:17). There is no need to seek anything else. What you need to do is bring your thinking into conformity with what God has already said, rather than seeking to change it.

    If you are seeking a "word from the Lord," why are you asking people to PM you and saying that you will take them into consideration?? That shows how your "word from the Lord" is not really a word from the Lord. It will be the product of your imagination.

    There will be, as always, responses encouraged. Your post and request will be disregarded.
     
  9. npetreley

    npetreley
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    Absolutely. Plus, the part the free-will defenders tend to miss in that verse is, "if anyone hear my voice", which brings us back to the question, "how does anyone hear His voice?" And so on...
     
  10. ScottEmerson

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    So do you deny the direction of the Holy Spirit? Do you deny that the Holy Spirit can direct a man?

    How can you apply II Peter 1 specifically here? The verse is talking about the fulfillment of the prophesy of the prophets, in specific, how Christ fulfilled the prophecies. Peter is talking about how God revealed himself to the prophets.

    So when he said that "prophecy" was a spiritual gift, somehow that was confined to the present and not applicable today?

    That's not what Peter says - He states that "3His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness." he doesn't mention the Bible at all here, so I'm not sure how you can say unequivicably that "Divine power" = "Holy Bible."

    Paul is speaking specifically of the OT, which can be found by simply looking at the 51 occurances of the word "graphe."

    And perhaps you may want to understand how your thinking is conforming what you are reading...
     
  11. Sularis

    Sularis
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    Ive only sent a single prayer heavenwards - since prayer is not my gift - but Im praying as I write this

    I fully intend(ed) to respond publicly and then open it up - I feel that God is holding something for me to take - and that He wants me to share it as soon I taste and see that the word of the Lord is good

    I apologize that this isnt going to be quite the answer from God I was hoping, but I ask that He will control my fingers, my thoughts, my heart as I write this.

    God uses other people to speak - the slave girl saved Namaan by just mentioning a prophet existed.
    Perhaps one of those PM's might have had the word I was looking for. As an example Sola Scriptura believes in faith by works, and I do not, but as he presented his case, I realized that there were things man had to do in order to be saved - things demons could not do for even demons believe and they tremble - but that that work must not be a work of which man could boast.

    The Word I seek is not new scripture or new revelation but it is rather if I am an adequate vessel, but clarification of existing Scripture - for no new Scripture shall be written - not one jot nor tittle - for it is finished - God has done everything necessary unto salvation!

    I havent even dealt with your points npetreley and Im sorry - I just need to stop here and cry - because I read this board - and i see dryness, dustiness - Im uncomfortable around charismatics but they drink the water of the Spirit - while we eat the meat of gospel truth - here is where I dont know what to type I want to type that I dont expect healings, and miracles, and mass conversions to burst forth - but then I think why am I typing that - is not God the same, can He not accomplish what He desires for His greater glory.

    My words are not better then any others - unless they echo and repeat the perfect Words of God - so thus my response is no better then anyone else's unless my response is of God - again I asked for time for that reason - not to offend - nor to turn it into a private thread; but because as I read the threads in this forum I felt God was telling me He had something to say - and that I felt in order to better let the voice of God be heard to not clutter up the thread until posted. Again I felt that - it wasnt a command of God not to post

    I ask why - all too often - I am not perfect

    However I still hope to seek the Words of the Lord

    I hope to answer your question npetreley - but with the Words that God would have me speak - so if you are willing to wait - I wish to seek them
    In the Bible - in prayer - in fellowship
     
  12. romanbear

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    Hi Npetreley; [​IMG]
    A quote from you;
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I thought it might be useful to examine a bit how scripture is used, what it says on its own, and what must be added to reach a conclusion.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    my question;
    Why do you feel it nessessary to add to scripture to reach a conclusion?
    Are you aware of the warnings in the Bible of adding to scripture?
    Romanbear [​IMG]
     
  13. npetreley

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    Perhaps the smiley shows you already know this, but perhaps I was unclear. What I meant was that it is the free-will advocate who seems to think one must add things to scripture in order to reach their conclusions. That's what I am asking them to avoid and instead present a defense from scripture for each point in their process of discovery. That was the point of the contrasting approach for election, where each unspecified part of the doctrine led to searching for the answer from another scripture, not from one's emotions or logic based on inference alone.
     
  14. tyndale1946

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    Sularis... Why didn't you say this in the first place... I'm sure all brethren understand how you feel and have been there themself... I know I have when I wait for light upon a certain passage of scripture I don't understand... I pray and study and implore God to add to the understanding with greater understanding and knowledge so I can know him and his son Jesus Christ better. I'm sure every brother and sister is looking for a clearer picture of Christ and the beauties of his wonderous works in all of our lives. We can only get that through much searching and digging to bring to the surface those gospel treasures for all to see and examine... Though we may at times disagree with each other we are all here to help!... Thy word is a light unto my path!... Brother Glen [​IMG]
     
  15. Pastor Larry

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    No.

    He is talking about his own writing, why it is important for him to write his own words to remind his readers of his teaching (vv. 12-15). He also applies it to the words of Paul (3:15). In addition, the first century church regarded the whole OT as prophecy, not just the predictive portions. This should be understood to argue for the whole of Scripture.

    Yes, as Scripture teaches about the use of prophetic gifts, the nature of prophecy, and the sufficiency of the closed canon.

    [/qb]He says "through the knowledge of him who has called us ..." ... That knowledge comes only through the word. There is no knowledge of his calling apart from his word.

    Paul's writings are included in Scripture (2 Peter 3:15) as are Peter's (2 Peter 1), as are the apostles (john 17, 14, etc.).

    I have many times. I have taken the word of God and shown how it fits together. That is what must be done and that is where you position you falls short. You must redefined some passages and leave some out to get ot your conclusion. I reject that treatment of Scripture.
     
  16. 4study

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    npetreley,

    Regarding Joshua 24:15
    Joshua 24:15 says nothing of the mechanics of choice. As sturgman stated, the context is to Israel, the covenant people of God. Their choice here does not regard regeneration.

    Regarding Romans 10:17
    The proposition, “we need to figure out where belief comes from”, is biased. There is an inclination in it that assumes personal faith is a product of something. This in itself may be disputable.

    The quoted version of Romans 10:17 uses similar terminology and so leads to the conclusion that the proposition had this verse in mind. In short, the proposer is speaking from a predetermined view.

    The context of Romans 10:17 is explained as regarding “personal faith”. Yet the word translated “hearing” in 10:17 is the same word translated “report” in the previous verse. The word “faith” in 10:17 also has the definite article before it, thus “the faith”. So it may be arguable that this is not speaking of personal faith at all but rather “the revelation of God”.

    So the statements in 1-3 come from personal theology concerning the subject and do not support or disprove the proposition.

    Regarding John 8:47
    The presumption of this interpretation is that the phrase “of God” or “not of God” regards an “all or nothing” relationship. In other words, to be “of God” is being a “born again child of God” and to be “not of God” is to be “lost and without any relationship whatsoever”. This implies there is no other kind of relationship other than filial. This is also disputable (i.e. covenant relationship).
     
  17. npetreley

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    Right. I thought I said that.

    You aren't making sense. Even if faith is the result of brain chemicals randomly colliding, that makes it the result of something.

    As I said, no doubt free-will advocates will find alternate explanations for the analysis in my example. And I'm glad you are doing so, since at least you are basing your argument on an analysis of scripture and not just your personal perception of inference.

    But by doing so, you have obviously missed my point by a few light years. The challenge isn't to pick apart my example or any examples of Calvinism argued from scripture. The challenge is to to provide your own examples of scriptural support, point-by-point, for free-will.
     
  18. ScottEmerson

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    The whole of the OT, perhaps.

    Yes, as Scripture teaches about the use of prophetic gifts, the nature of prophecy, and the sufficiency of the closed canon.</font>[/QUOTE]The burden of proof is on you to show that this is so.

    And this comes from where?

    I've addressed the first two. Where specifically do you see the apostles?

    I don't leave any part of the Scripture out of my understanding of God. I understand things differently than you. My position only falls short when examined by your personal understanding of hermeneutics, just as your position falls when examined by mine. I would like to understand more clearly how you maintain that Matthew knew that he was writing something that he would consider Scripture, as well as the rest of the writers of the NT - for the purposes of examining how we can be sure that the Spirit will not lead us outside what is written.
     
  19. 4study

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    npetreley,

    I thought your proposition was well stated which is why I found it easy to add comments. No offense was intended.

    My scriptural support of my understanding of “choice” comes from Genesis 1 – 3. It regards my belief of Adam’s nature, the purpose of Adam in the Garden of Eden, and the results of the Fall.
     
  20. npetreley

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    It's fine with me if you want to ignore the challenge, but I hope you don't think that what you just provided is a scriptural defense for your position.
     

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