Did God ever prevent people from believing the gospel?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Skandelon, Dec 24, 2009.

  1. Skandelon

    Skandelon
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    Yes. I, as an Arminian, believe God, in His sovereignty, has prevented people from believing at times throughout history. The fact that He did so proves Calvinism's teachings of Total Depravity are erroneous.



    Here are some examples of God's active judicial hardening of men in scripture:



    1. It is clear in scripture that Jesus hid the gospel in parables so that those on the outside wouldn't understand and repent. (Matt. 13; Mark 4) In fact, these passages also indicate that "otherwise they might repent." How is that possible absent the Irresistible regenerative work that Calvinism insists on?

    2. It is clear in scripture that God sent the Jews a spirit of stupor so they couldn't see and understand. (Rom. 10) Again, why send any such "spirit of stupor" if indeed they are born totally dead, deaf and blind? Seems redundant doesn't it?

    3. It is clear that the Jews were being temporarily judicially hardened by God while the Gentiles were being grafted into the covenant of grace. (Acts 28; John 12; Romans 11). But Paul still clearly felt that those being hardened had hope of being provoked and saved (Rm. 11:14).

    WHY WOULD GOD DO THESE THINGS TO PREVENT MEN FROM BELIEVING, IF INDEED ALL MEN ARE BORN UNABLE TO WILLINGLY BELIEVE?

    (There is a big difference between God never allowing people to believe from birth and God temporarily preventing people from believing in order to bring the world salvation. Calvinists make the mistake of taking passages that refer to the latter to support the former.)
     
  2. Winman

    Winman
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    Great points Skandelon.

    Matt 13:15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

    When Jesus says this people's heart is waxed gross, he is referring to OT scripture. It is speaking of wicked people, especially the rich who oppress the poor. They are proud, trusting in their ownselves.

    Psa 17:8 Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings,
    9 From the wicked that oppress me, from my deadly enemies, who compass me about.
    10 They are inclosed in their own fat: with their mouth they speak proudly.


    Psa 73:3 For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
    4 For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm.
    5 They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men.
    6 Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment.
    7 Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish.


    These men do not want to turn to Christ. They gain their wealth by oppressing the poor, widows, and fatherless. We can see that today in our own society, we see the super-rich who take advantage of the common man. They work us hard and pay us the lowest wage they can get away with. They place oppressive laws upon us and tax us. And when they get in trouble, they steal from us to bail themselves out.

    This is the type of person Jesus is speaking of here. They want nothing to do with God, they are enjoying the pleasures of their sin.

    And notice Jesus said they closed their own eyes. They do not want to know the truth, because the truth would reprove them and show themselves wicked sinners. They are proud, they do not want to believe this about themselves.

    And it is true, that at a certain point God quits striving with a man and gives him up. At this point God will allow these persons to be deceived to believe a lie.

    2 Thess 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
    12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.


    These are those whose hearts are waxed gross.
     
  3. Skandelon

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    Exactly. And notice it never indicates they are born in this condition. They BECOME defiled and God "gives them over" to their lusts and evil desires. They are not born in that condition, but instead that condition is an act of judgment against their continual rebellion. This FLIES in the face of Calvinism's doctrine of Total Depravity. I'm used to them ignoring this issue. It is difficult for them since it is so obvious in scripture.
     
  4. Winman

    Winman
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    Yes, in Romans chapter 1 it says repeatedly that God gives men up, and he gives the specific reasons why.

    Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
    19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
    20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
    21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
    22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
    23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
    24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
    25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
    26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
    27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
    28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
    29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
    31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
    32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.


    God is patient and longsuffering. God is not willing any should perish. But at some point which only God knows men cross the line. At this point God allows them to believe a lie and be deceived.

    God is actually giving these men what they want. They want to believe a lie, so he allows them to do so.

    I told the story once of my son when he was about 2-3 years old. I was sitting on the couch reading. My son came over and looked up at the lamp beside the couch. He reached up to touch the hot lightbulb and I yelled, "Don't touch that, it's very hot!". He jerked his hand down. But then he got this devious little smile on his face and reached up again. Again, I yelled at him not to touch it, and he jerked his hand down. But once again, he gave me that devious smile and reached up. He was being rebellious and playing a game with me and we both knew it. This time I said, "Go ahead, touch the light." Well, he did and immediately screamed in pain and ran crying to his mother. She came in and wanted to know what happened. I explained that he kept trying to touch the light and I told him not to do so, but he wouldn't listen, so I let him touch the light.

    My son got a big blister on his fingertip, but he was alright. He never again tried to touch a hot lightbulb.

    And this is how it is, I tried to protect him from hurting himself, but he would not listen. He insisted on touching that light, so finally I allowed him to touch it. I gave him what he wanted.
     
    #4 Winman, Dec 24, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 24, 2009
  5. Skandelon

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    i think i hear crickets
     
  6. David Michael Harris

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    Thing is, I lean to Arminian things at the moment but only with regards to how we accept grace, whether we can be lost after salvation does not really come into it, the Bible speaks for itself on that and leaves us fearing God as it should.

    But with total depravity I would agree, we need God's grace. We are totally cut off from God. It's what makes God choose that fascinates me. Said it before I know but I still do not know why. It's Righteousness for sure.
     
  7. Skandelon

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    I know many non-Calvinists who say the same thing, but in my experience, after speaking with them a few minutes I find out that really are affirming the doctrine of Original Sin, not Total Depravity. There is a huge difference. There is NO reason in scripture that I have found to believe that the Holy Spirit's work in bringing the gospel to the ears of a lost man is insufficient to provide all that that person needs to be reconciled. NOTHING.
     
  8. annsni

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    I was reading my Bible this morning and came across this verse. The first part I've heard many times but for some reason the second part had escaped me until now.

    1 Peter 2:7-8

    So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe,
    "The stone that the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone,"
    and
    "A stone of stumbling,
    and a rock of offense."

    They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do
    .
     
  9. Winman

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    Exactly, people overlook that they first "rejected" this stone.
     
  10. Skandelon

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    Ann,

    As I addressed in detail in the other thread, this is addressing the Judicial Hardening of the Jews....please go back and read that to get a full understanding from another perspective. That is if you really want to know another perspective...some are fully convinced of their view and don't want to objectively consider anything else...I'm not sure which you are.
     
  11. Skandelon

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    Never really got an answer to my original question in this post: WHY WOULD GOD DO THESE THINGS TO PREVENT MEN FROM BELIEVING, IF INDEED ALL MEN ARE BORN UNABLE TO WILLINGLY BELIEVE?

    Any "Calvinists" want to take on this question?
     
  12. annsni

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    You are asking why my car is blue if they painted my car blue. It's the same question.
     
  13. Winman

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    No Ann, he is not.

    He is asking why God would need to blind unregenerate people from understanding and believing the gospel if it were already impossible for them to understand and believe without God's grace as Calvinism and the Doctrines of Grace teach.

    It is an excellent question I would also like to see the Calvinist's here answer.
     
  14. Skandelon

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    No, but to keep your analogy the question would be: Why would you paint your car blue if it was made totally and completely blue from the time of its creation and had no ability to be anything other than blue? Understand?

    Winman's response was correct as well. Thanks
     
  15. annsni

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    Do you not think that God Himself speaking to man would cause man's heart to open to Him? Calvinists and those who believe in the doctrine of grace believe that it is God alone who can open a heart to respond to Him. When Jesus walked on the earth, if He had spoken clearly to man then ALL would have responded to Him. But that was not His desire - otherwise He would have never been crucified.

    But man's heart is hardened to God because that is our nature. It is confirmed through all of Scripture that NONE seek God. None.
     
  16. Johnv

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    These concepts are not mutually exclusive. God opening a man's heart does not preclude a man's responsibility to accept or reject the gift of salvation. The mainline Calvinist position does not compromise God's soveriegnty, nor does it preclude man's accountability.
     
  17. zrs6v4

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    My answer without detail to the OP:

    What if God chooses to blind people by leaving them in their depraved nature? Or
    How does God blind people?

    Is it that He goes into them and covers their heart in darkness, or does He have to try to prevent them from coming to Himself so they wont be saved?

    Or is it because He leaves them in utter darkness where they already chose to go by sin because that was their destiny?
     
  18. Skandelon

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    So, you are arguing that God had to further harden man even beyond their already totally depraved natures so that they would not effectually be drawn to his clear teachings? That means you believe that everything Christ taught was effectual in bringing about certain salvation to those who heard it, unless they were further hardened by God? Do you believe this is true of the gospel truth if you or I were teaching it, or was it only when Jesus said it that it was effectual?

    I'm just trying to understand your position because I've never heard this argument before.

    Actually the scripture clearly says that some men's heart BECOME HARDENED otherwise they might see, hear, understand and repent. It never says men are born in that condition. Please show me if I'm wrong about that.

    And we all agree that none seek God on their own, but this says nothing of man's ability to willingly respond in faith when God's message of reconciliation seeks to save them, does it?
     
  19. Skandelon

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    That doesn't address the question John. It sounded real good though. All you told us is that God doesn't have to give man the ability to respond in order for a man to be responsible for responding. That has nothing to do with what we are discussing. However, I think it should be noted that the very word "responsible" comes form two root words, "response" and "able," literally meaning "able to respond," thus it seems for you to support your position you need to redefine this word, or at the very least use another word.
     
  20. Johnv

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    Not at all. Use of the word "responsibility" no more supports one side of the calvinist argument than the other, any more than than one's use of the word "disaster" (from the root words "bad star") would indicate a belief in astrology.

    To reiterate: God opening a man's heart does not preclude a man's responsibility to accept or reject the gift of salvation. The mainline Calvinist position does not compromise God's soveriegnty, nor does it preclude man's accountability.
     
    #20 Johnv, Dec 28, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 28, 2009

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