Harambe the Gorilla: A Serious Theological Lesson

Discussion in 'Calvinism/Arminianism Debate' started by Protestant, Jun 5, 2016.

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  1. Protestant

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    The heart-stopping video of the 3-year-old boy, Isaiah, taken captive by Harambe, the 450 pound Silverback, will not be easily forgotten. Millions have viewed the video with intense inquisitiveness, and with equally intense differing points of view.

    But how many of the viewers discerned the heavenly eternal truths contained in this earthly, terrifying incident?

    Before the gorilla dragged the boy like a rag doll through the water, his mother could be heard shouting, “Mommy’s right here. Isaiah, mommy loves you.”

    Mommy could do nothing for the boy who was in eminent danger of death.

    All she had to offer was sincere assurance that she was near and loved him.

    But such assurance was meaningless without the assurance that, in addition to love, she would actually save him.

    It took the death of Harambe, shot by an expert marksman, to assure the boy was saved.

    Isaiah, like Adam and Eve, allowed curiosity to lead him into temptation.

    And like the fall of Adam and Eve, Isaiah’s world became fraught with horrifying consequences as a result of his fall.

    Now, how to rescue little Isaiah?

    Unlike Isaiah’s mother who offered only words of love, our Lord offers more than mere words.

    For our Lord understands full well the impotent condition of fallen man, as well as the overwhelming power of sin which has dominion over him.

    Fallen man, like the 3-year-old in the grasp of Harambe, is no match for sin and Satan.

    He has the power to take us captive at will, dragging us like limp rag dolls wheresoever he wills (2 Timothy 2:26).

    The theology of our Pelagian, Arminian, non-Cal friends which states God loves all people, yet despite His love, cannot actually save the souls of all the people He allegedly loves, posits an impotence in our Lord which parallels the love of Isaiah’s mother.

    “God loves you; now by the strength of your own power of self-determination free yourself from the stronghold of sin and Satan, and come to Christ by faith,” is the underlying message of our friends who preach ‘free will.’

    But our Lord teaches the contrary: No man can come to me except the Father which hath sent me draw him (John 6:44).

    The drawing of the Father includes giving the gift of the Holy Spirit who illumines and regenerates the slaves of sin and Satan who are, by nature, spiritually blind and dead.

    And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father (John 6:65).

    Christ has slain the strong man, Satan, of whom Harambe is a type.

    This Christ achieved at the cross (Colossians 2:14-15), on behalf of the Elect.

    The Elect are those given Him by the Father, who are loved by the Father.

    And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day (John 6:39).

    Those whom the Father loves, He actually has the wisdom and power to save to the uttermost (Hebrews 7:25).

    He is not willing that any of His Elect perish (2 Peter 3:9).

    And His eternal, immutable will of purpose to save His people can never fail (Isaiah 46:10; Matthew 1:21).

    This is the Gospel we preach; to the praise of His glorious grace.
     
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  2. Van

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    Yes, the above is what some preach. But it is like the fence that the little boy slipped through, full of holes.



    I suppose it is possible that some hold the theology that God is not all-powerful and can choose to do whatever He pleases. But to assert generally that non-Cals hold that view is mistaken, to be kind.

    Next, the Cal view that God does not love the world, which includes those destined for swift destruction conflicts with 2 Peter 2:1. So it is not supposedly, God desires that all people be saved, 1 Timothy 2:3-4.

    But God does not desire all people or a subset of people, to be saved via compulsion, the Cal view. God desires that everyone believing into Christ will not perish, but have eternal life. Thus, if God credits a person's faith as righteousness, He transfers them from the realm of darkness into Christ, where they are regenerated, made righteous, holy and perfect, and arise in Christ a new creation, created for good works.

    No human has the capacity to free himself or herself from their sinful, separated from God state. All their works of righteousness are as filthy rags to God. But God can turn our wretched, worthless faith and devotion to Christ into righteousness. Romans 4:4-5/24.

    No one can come to Christ unless God has drawn (attracted) them, John 6:44. God draws people by demonstrating His lovingkindness, especially has demonstrated by Christ dying on the cross. John 12:32.

    No one can enter Christ, unless God credits his or her faith as righteousness. God then sets those apart in Christ, the sanctifying work of the Spirit.
     
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  3. SovereignGrace

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    [​IMG]
     
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  4. Van

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    9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9 NASB)

    Some assert that since this letter is addressing those already saved, thus Elect, this verse should be understood to be saying God is not wishing for any [elect] to perish, but for all [elect] to come to repentance.

    But an entirely different understanding arises when considered contextually. The believing elect are saying "where is the promise of His coming" and Paul's inspired answer is that the Lord is being patient toward the elect, giving them sufficient time to evangelize and help win the lost to Christ, because God is not wishing for anyone to perish, but for all humanity to come to repentance.
     
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  5. Sapper Woody

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    I generally don't participate in the Cal/Arm debate. I personally am a Non-Cal, and have been curious about the Calvinist view in the past, but any time there is a discussion or debate, it turns into sentences like the one I quoted.

    The above view is asinine. Let's follow the logic. You say that we believe that God "cannot" save everyone. This is a huge straw man argument. Just like a non-Cal saying to you that you believe that God chooses to damn some to Hell.

    You, as a Calvinist, believe that God chose some and didn't choose others. Does that mean that could not have chosen the others as well? If so, you're putting the same impotence on God that you claim non-Cals are. If you're not saying that God could not have chosen the others, then you are in the same boat as we are.

    We belive that God can do whatever He wants. However, we believe that He chose to work in a certain way; that is that He allows man to make the choice. Just as you don't believe that He is incapable of saving anyone, but rather chose to save some, we believe that He is capable of forcing Himself on anyone, but chose to allow mankind the choice.

    The issue of God's omnipotenece comes up a lot, and it really is a stupid argument. Neither side believes any less in God's power than the other. We simply belive differently in where and when He chose to use that power.

    My daughters are still pre-teens. If I wanted to, I could literally grab them and control them, forcing them to clean their room. I have never done that. I have always told them to do it, and then disciplined them if they disobey. That doesn't detract from the fact that, if I chose, I could literally force them to clean their room. I still have that power.

    Believing that God chose to work a certain way in no conceivable way diminishes God's sovereignty. After all, if it did, we would already be serving a God who is not sovereign by all of our standards. We all believe that God didn't immediately destroy Satan, but allowed him some time before the final judgment. Since God did not do so, does that mean He could not?

    You have two ways to answer that last question. If you say yes, then we're all serving an impotent God, and you have no leg to stand on. If you say no, then your whole statement I quoted is made null. Believing that God did not do something in no way means that He can not.

    This is one of the things I hate about the disagreement between Cals and non-Cals. Both sides resort to idiotic arguments and false assumptions rather than take a look at the other side, and try to be honest about the other side, and disagree on an actual basis, rather than stupid arguments which can be torn apart easily.
     
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  6. Protestant

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    Unable to post reply. Is there a technical problem?
     
  7. Sapper Woody

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    I saw your initial reply, but when I logged in to respond it wasn't there.

    Sent from my QTAQZ3 using Tapatalk
     
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  8. Protestant

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    Mr. Woody wrote:

    I quite understand something about God’s truths upsets you.

    The same attitude was taken by Paul’s detractors as evidenced by their replies in Romans 9:14 and verses 19 & 20.

    Divine truth cannot be received by all that hear it….which is why Christ said, He that hath ears, let him hear (Matthew 11:15).

    I believe as the Bible teaches. In fact, I have written an extensive treatise on the subject: The Absolute Decree of Reprobation Expounded.

    You owe it to yourself to sincerely study the issue before you attempt to refute this basic biblical truth.

    Your doctrine of ‘free will’ which teaches man able, if he so wills, to do that which is pleasing to God, is nowhere found in the Bible.

    You will, however, find that teaching among Pelagians and Arminians.

    Furthermore, you have no comprehension as to the purpose of Adam’s testing.

    Again, this is basic essential Christian truth which lays the groundwork for understanding all other Christian essentials.

    For those who may be unfamiliar with the doctrine of original sin, I suggest a thorough investigation is in order.

    Here is a brief overview:

    God created man in His image and likeness. Adam was blessed with original righteousness. His will was free from sin, yet able to sin, should he will to do so. In other words, his will was mutable, making him able to sin or not to sin. The choice was Adam’s.

    God tested Adam’s faith. The future of the entire human race was in his hands.

    Adam failed the test. He made a very poor choice.

    And because Adam was the root and head of all mankind who then fell with Adam, God judicially imputed Adam’s guilt and punishment to all men.

    As a result, we lost the image of God, our natures so corrupted we detest holiness, God and His truth, preferring lies instead.

    Our new lord is Satan, the angel of death.

    As such, we are all dead men walking, doomed to destruction, unless God’s grace plucks us from the fires which eagerly await us.

    Through the centuries there have been professing Christians who deny these essential, critical truths.

    Thus, it no surprise there are similar professing Christians today who would boast of having the ability and power to pass another test: The alleged ‘test’ of either receiving or rejecting the gift of Christ.

    However, the testing was completed in the Garden. God needs no further test to discover man’s choice.

    If left to man’s will, his choice will be evil every time.

    As stated in my OP, Christ teaches no man will receive/come to Him, unless the Father supernaturally, omnipotently intervenes to bring that man to faith in Christ.

    Mind you, this is not my teaching, it is Christ’s teaching.

    Do you believe Christ?

    And lastly, if salvation was contingent on the sinner’s choice, none would be saved because Christ is naturally repugnant to carnal men.

    They would rather kill Him than love Him.

    Christ’s crucifixion proves this axiom.

    Today the call of God goes out into all the world.

    Christ is gathering His sheep, His Church.

    His sheep hear His voice and follow Him because He chose them for salvation from before the foundation of the world.

    They have been given ears to hear and a heart to love Him because He loved them first (John 10:27; 1 John 4:19; Ezekiel 36:26-27).

    God loves those He saves.

    Do these biblical truths disturb you?
     
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  9. Sapper Woody

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    Firstly, we need to get something very straight right off the bat. Your teaching, although I disagree with it, does not upset me. Your false assumptions of my belief, then used as "ammunition" against it, is what upsets me. People grow in their Christian walk at different rates. I believe that if you study it out enough, you'll come to see things as I do. You believe the opposite. This doesn't upset me.

    Again, what upsets me is your accusation, and the fact that you can't seem to understand that saying that God didn't do something is not the same as saying that God can't do something. So, most of the rest of your post is moot. I'm not arguing Cal/Arm right now. I'm arguing that your strawman is just that; a strawman.
    Just because I don't normally argue doesn't mean I haven't studied it out. And just because I don't come to the same conclusion as you does not mean I haven't studied it out. I've even been in contact in private messages with some of the Cals on this board in an attempt to better understand the Calvinist view point.

    And I believe the opposite is true. But again, I am not arguing the Cal/ARm viewpoint. I'm simply pointing out how your accusation works against you.

    Ad Hominem much?

    So, what you're saying is (and this is not a question, it's a statement. Because you ARE saying it) that anyone who doesn't believe in the Calvinist doctrine cannot understand any other Christian essentials. So, I am dealing with a hyper-Calvinist.

    I do understand it. Very thoroughly. I just disagree with your point of view.

    And right there I have to stop you of yet another straw man. It's yet another argument that goes BOTH WAYS. How is it you say that I boast of doing something that I believe any person on earth can do, but yet you don't considering it boasting to be of a group that God specifically chose? If you can't see that, there's no point in continuing.

    I snipped out the rest of your lesson, as it was unnecessary.

    I wholeheartedly agree with this statement. I just disagree with you as to what it means.

    And we come to it again. I don't argue the Cal/Arm debate. There's no point. I don't get upset when someone discusses their opinion. But, I will gladly call you out on false statements concerning what I believe, especially if they apply to your viewpoint as well.
     
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  10. Iconoclast

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    SW,

    You do not answer his post because you cannot. There is not two sides. there is truth and error.
    you cannot go line by line and answer here....that should tell you something.
     
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  11. Sapper Woody

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    Again, I refuse to get caught up in the Cal/Arm debate. But, if someone misrepresents my viewpoint, or uses arguments that apply to both sides, I'm going to call him out on it.

    Whether I can answer his claims concerning Cal/Arm is immaterial to my posts. What is material is that he is using arguments that are full of holes, misrepresentations, and dual edged swords.

    I'll be honest, some of the arguments of Calvinists seem logical to me, even though I still disagree. But saying that non-Cals somehow diminish God's sovereignty is a straw man. And saying that non-Cals boast of making a decision is even less helpful to the cause of Cals, as they have more reason to boast by being part of a special group, rather than the entire world.

    So, yes, I will respond to those arguments which are born of ignorance. But I will not get caught up in pointless debate.
     
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  12. TCassidy

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    I don't blame you. You might find yourself disarmed. :)

    By inserting a logical fallacy of the false dilemma?

    But it should be. The questions are pedagogical. They are designed to make you think and learn. :)

    But they aren't. You just insist on seeing a false dilemma where none exists.

    Not at all. God is either Sovereign in Salvation or He is not. We believe He is.

    Except we don't. We know it was nothing in us, not our "innate faith," not our making a decision, not our walking the aisle, not our praying the prayer, not our making a choice. It is all of God and none of us so we can say, as did Paul, "But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." Galatians 6:14. I can't boast of my choice. I can't boast of my faith. I can't boast I am better/smarter/more spiritual than my neighbor who heard the same message as I heard but did not get saved. My glory is not in myself. My glory is in the Cross of Christ. :)
    Woody, you are a very young man with very little formal education. Most of those on the BB who believe in Particular Redemption are older and faithful scholars of God's word. I was once an Arminian. I believed I was saved because I chose to trust Christ. But as I grew in grace and knowledge of the Lord and His word, and learned to read His word in the languages He inspired it in, and as I began to read the writings of the great men of the faith who preceded us, I began to see how wrong I was, and how right God was. All of God. None of Tom. :)

    The debate is only pointless if you refuse to listen.

    From Plato's Republic:

    Polemarchus said to me: I perceive, Socrates, that you and our companion are already on your way to the city.

    You are not far wrong, I said.

    But do you see, he rejoined, how many we are?

    Of course.

    And are you stronger than all these? for if not, you will have to remain where you are.

    May there not be the alternative, I said, that we may persuade you to let us go?

    But can you persuade us, if we refuse to listen to you? he said.

    Certainly not, replied Glaucon.

    Then we are not going to listen; of that you may be assured.

    :)
     
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  13. Sapper Woody

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    A false dilemma is only if I was saying that there were only two sides to a coin, when in reality there were more. This doesn't apply here to either mine or his arguments.

    The reason they are immaterial is because I was not attacking the Cal position, but rather attacking the arguments themselves in an attempt to make him see that the arguments he is using are null. I still study, and am not afraid to admit when I am wrong. I have been, once or twice. But when someone tries to convince me using arguments that are obviously wrong, I call them on it.

    TC, I'm not sure what you mean here by a false dilemma. It doesn't apply here, so I can't exactly answer you on this. Perhaps you meant another fallacy?

    He is.
    So do I. That I believe that God chose not to do something in no way diminishes whether or not He could do something.

    And here is the crux of my disagreement with the OP. We don't either. I don't deserve Heaven. I'm just a worthless sinner. But by God's grace He saved me. We agree here, whether you want to see it or not. There is nothing to boast about it on either side. But, if a Cal says there is on the non-Cal side, then he must equally apply that to his side as well.

    I guess. Unless you count growing up in a Pastor's home, going to 4 years of Bible College, spending a year apprenticed to a pastor, spending another two years as an assistant pastor / youth pastor, and 6 months as a senior (interim) pastor.

    As are all the men I get my counsel from.

    I'm sorry that you once believed that way. But that's not what I believe.

    And, as stated there, I can agree with everything in that paragraph. The only thing we disagree on is whether we had any choice in the matter. I believe God gave me the choice, and you don't.

    I have listened, TC. This screen name joined in 2011, but I had an original screen name from back in 2003 when I was still in Bible College (blessedhopeboy; I lost all that information and just made a new account in 2011). And what I've heard has been misrepresentations and straw men. I've been watching the debate for years now. And for all their supposed humility, I've seen hatred and anger from Calvinists. Granted, I've also seen quite a bit of vitriol from non-Cal/Arm as well. But for a long time (for about 6 months) I refused to even read what was on this board because of all the "gang up on the non-Cal" garbage that was on here. Definitely no spirit of love. At that point I even told my Dad that I didn't want to get on the BB, because it was no longer the "Baptist board", but rather, the "bash non-Cal board".

    If you want a good example of this, look at the third post in this very thread. Someone posted a detailed response to the OP, and the next person put a meme to show that he thought the poster was stupid, without even commenting on what was said. That's pretty much the definition of trolling.

    At one point, I wanted to sincerely learn of what the Calvinist viewpoint is. I PM'd a few of the Cals on the board, and got into some email discussions. I began emailing several Cals to discuss what they believed, because I wanted a Calvinist to tell me, not a non-Cal who would present the Cal belief to me with a biased spin.

    But, that all went away when I saw the attitude of Calvinists towards non-Cals. The baseless accusations, the gang mentality, and the "we're right and won't even discuss it" attitude (much like you were talking about in your last post, and shown in the third post in this thread). If Calvinism is correct, then God's going to have to convince me, because no one on this board could now.

    Edited to add: Also, see the intentional misrepresentation in the next post, rather than a discussion of what was actually said.
     
    #13 Sapper Woody, Jun 6, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2016
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  14. Protestant

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    Van wrote:
    I can hear your prayer for the lost now:

    “Lord, I pray for all my lost loved ones that they would come to saving faith in Christ. However, as much as I desire and ask your help in their salvation, I DO NOT want you to force conversion on them. I ask you NOT COMPEL THEM in any way to love that which, in your view, is good, true and holy. Rather, I want you to simply extend an olive branch. I am sure this will be more than sufficient to change their wicked hearts and evil natures which hates and detests all things you consider good, true and holy. Amen.”
     
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  15. TCassidy

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    Yes, it does. The options are more than a simple dichotomy.

    But they are not. They only appear to be so if you force the false dichotomy on the subject.

    No, I mean the false dilemma. You indicate there are only two options. Such is not the case.

    Well, except for that "choice" thing. :)
    But that is not the point. There is still the "choice" thing.

    Except you made the right choice and your neighbor made the wrong choice. Praise me for making the right choice?

    Exactly my point. I spent over 40 years in full time ministry. 26 years as a bible college and seminary professor. Just short of 27 years as senior pastor of the same church. And that does not even scratch the surface. I was 55 when I got my last degree. And I started at 17. :)

    Yes. You think you were given a choice. I believe you didn't chose Christ. I believe Christ chose you. John 15:16 "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you."

    Not from me.

    I have been willing to discuss the issue since I first joined the BB back in 2000. The problem is that those who oppose Particular Redemption refuse to discuss it. And the few that do finally stop discussing the issue and just call me names. :)
     
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  16. Internet Theologian

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    The scoffers aren't the elect. How you fail to distinguish these from the elect and conclude it was Paul speaking in Peters epistle is quite telling considering your theological absurdities.
     
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  17. Sapper Woody

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    I was not offering options. I was equalizing an imbalanced equation. I merely pointed out how his argument could (and does) also apply to his side, and therefore is moot.

    You keep using this, but I have never offered any choices or options. I have only shown that what applies to one side applies to the other.

    TC, I'm honestly at a loss here. How can you not see this? I could turn this right around and ask, "Praise me for being chosen?". If it applies to the non-Cal side (which it doesn't), it applies to the Cal side. There's no getting around it.

    For the record, I don't claim that Cals boast. But, if there were any boasting to be made, it would be on the Cal side, not the non-Cal side. Being chosen as part of a small group is much more to boast about than accepting something offered the entire world.

    - I've re-written this section several times before posting, hoping to say what I want to say without sounding like I am attacking you, personally. But, as I cannot do so, suffice it to say that at the least you are being patronizing, while also denigrating my education and experience. It's a classic appeal to authority fallacy.

    Right, we believe different things, and understand verses to mean different things or have different applications. And that's as close as you'll get me to debating the Cal/Arm issue, other than to point out fallacies.

    Except when you felt the need to denigrate my education? Or flaunt your experience? At the very least you were patronizing.

    Or instead of discussing, just dismiss someone because they're not as old or as experienced as they are?

    This is part of the attitude that I am talking about, TC. In the same post, you managed to claim to be open to discussion, yet demonstrated your closure to discussion by dismissing me because of your perception of my lack of experience.

    I may not have 50+ years in the ministry, TC. But I have an education. Not only in the Bible, but in problem solving and debate. I also have world experience. I've led troops into battle, had to assess a situation and make split second decisions based upon what information I could gather.

    I say all that not to brag, but to get two points across. First, you're insinuation that my education is inadequate is not welcome. Second, I've learned a lot more than book knowledge. And when I see someone using an argument that destroys his own side's argument, I've learned to recognize it.
     
  18. Internet Theologian

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    With due respect the above is merely a cop out. Tipping your hat to truth in case it may be correct while dismissing it is not a noble thing at all. It is a weak excuse and is inexcusable.
     
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  19. SovereignGrace

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    I think here is a fitting allegory...

    [​IMG]

    You have a child sitting in the middle of a railroad track, and he/she is blind and deaf...an apt picture of us as unregenerate sinners...blind and deaf. You see an oncoming train heading right for you child. Are you going to scream at your child and also tell them to look and see that oncoming train headed towards them or are you going to go and fetch them out of harms way? The better fitting analogy would be that you supernaturally infuse sight and hearing unto your child, thereby they see and hear the train and get off the track. But either way, you are not just going to set there and not be active in the saving(redemption) of your child.

    That is how God saves us. Without His supernatural regenerative power via His Spirit, we'd be the blind and deaf child that got ran over by the train.

    This is how God sees His sheep, His ppl, His chosen, His elect...

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. Sapper Woody

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    There was no "tipping of the hat". There was an acknowledgment that I can see where people get their beliefs, although I disagree with them. I find the whole Cal/Arm debate exhausting and unproductive. So I do not engage in the debate. But, when someone comes out and says such an absurd claim that also applies to his argument if he is correct, I'll call him out on it.

    It's not that I don't like debate. I love debate. I love discussions. I love talking about theological differences with people. I do it all the time. But from what I've seen on this board, there's no point in even trying to discuss Cal/Arm. There's no meeting room. It's all hatred and vitriol from both sides.

    Look at this thread. There is a BB member who has gone and placed a "winner" rating on almost all of the Calvinists' posts. The same member has down-voted several non-Cal posts. But that same member has not said a word yet (posted a meme, but hasn't commented). It's the whole gang mentality that I was telling TC about.

    If Calvinism is correct, then surely the argument can be made without ad hominem, weak analogy fallacy, appeal to authority fallacy, denigration, etc. If it has a strong case, then make the strong case. Resorting to such tactics destroys your cause, even if you're correct.
     
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