How do Calvinists respond when someone asks....

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by William C, Jun 5, 2003.

  1. William C

    William C
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    How do Calvinists respond when someone asks, "Why would God still blame us for not doing that which he, our creator, hasn't enabled us to do?"

    This is a question almost every person asks when introduced to Calvinism.

    Calvinists, what response do you have to this question?

    Arminians, what responses have you heard from Calvinists in the past to this question?
     
  2. Frogman

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    Why do men seek to blame God for their sinfulness?

    Bro. Dallas
     
  3. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    Man is doing exactly what he wants to do. He does not want to anything else. At any time he so desires, he can turn to God for salvation. He simply chooses not to because he doesn't want to.
     
  4. Scott J

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    Bill, How long will you play this same old worn out tune? If you were ever Calvinist, you would surely know that we do not believe that man is not responsible or that the non-elect do not have a real choice. They do and most of us clearly affirm that they do. What we disagree with is that anyone acting of their own free will ever makes the choice to deny themselves and turn to God. God's grace extended to people of His choosing is the only hope.
     
  5. William C

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    No one here is blaming God for their sinfulness. I simply asked why would God blame us for not doing that which God has not enabled us to do? God holds us accoutable if we fail to repent yet you believe that not all men have been enable to repent. I'm asking how God can blame someone for not repenting if God has not granted him the ability to do so?

    I admit we are all sinners, that's not the issue, the issue is: Can God blame us for not believing in Him and repenting from those sins if He hasn't enabled us to do so?
     
  6. William C

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    Your argument is: Man cannot because he desires not.

    Fine. The fact is that HE CANNOT. The reason he cannot doesn't change the objection. He is totally unable, period. Now, deal with the objection. You think that explaining why man is unable somehow dismisses the validity of my objection. That's as ignorant as an atheist thinking that his scientific explainations of life's beginning somehow dismisses the validity of faith in God' creation of life. Just because you explain the reason something is true doesn't mean the objections to it are invalid.

    But if you want me to reword the objection for your benefit, I will:

    "Why would God still blame us for not doing that which He, our creator, hasn't enabled us to do by giving us new desires?"
     
  7. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    I wasn't dismissing its validity (though that would have been a worthy treatment of it). I answered it. The reason he cannot is because he doesn't want to. It is a moral inability. His moral faculties have been corrupted by sin; therefore he cannot want to do differently.

    Because we have still sinned freely against him. (Same answer as before, worded in a different way for your understanding :D ).

    The fact is that the motivation for sin is not at issue. God judges sin.
     
  8. William C

    William C
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    Until someone answers it and then sticks around long enough to defend their answer without making lame excuses for why they can't address my objections.

    And if you were an honest and objective Calvinist you would recognize the paradoxial explainations that your view must employ to reconcile your teachings about man's responsiblity and God's sovereignty are not simple issues to understand. Don't pretend this is an easy issue Scott, you know better.

    You should know that this objection, whether valid or not, is a real honest question that most believers have when confronted with Calvinistic thought. Your apparent belief that everyone should just automatically understand that men have "real choices" and are rightly held "responsible" by God within your system of belief is not realistic. Calvinism naturally causes men to believe they don't have real choices and that God wrongly holds them responsible for choices that He makes. That's an objection you should be willing to deal with honestly and objectively. If you can't, just say so, but don't pretend that it's not a valid objection.


    They do and most of us clearly affirm that they do. What we disagree with is that anyone acting of their own free will ever makes the choice to deny themselves and turn to God. God's grace extended to people of His choosing is the only hope. [/QB][/QUOTE]
     
  9. William C

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    Sinning freely implies we have the ability not to sin. Do you believe that we have the ability not to sin?

    Isn't it true that we sin by the compulsion of our sin nature with which we are born? How is that sinning freely?

    Doesn't the Bible speak of God binding men over to disobedience? How is that sinning freely?

    Plus, Pastor you're still really missing my objection. I'm not objecting to God's condemnation of man for their sin. I'm objecting to God's condemanation of man for their lack of belief and repentance from that sin. You can't seem to understand the difference between those two very distinct concepts.
     
  10. Scott J

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    Other than phrasing, how would your argument be any different? Under your system those that will not believe "cannot because {they} desire not." We should be in relatively close agreement about those that "desire not."

    Where we differ is over those that "desire to". You say it is because they possess some sort of goodness that allows them to choose God. We say that since God alone is good, He does the choosing.

    The same objection applies to your beliefs. If you leave the decision with man, you must acknowledge that some will be able to believe and some will not. Recognizing that none are good, no not one, we place our trust in God's ability rather than our own.
    What??? Something can be true and open to objection? I would like to see that one explained.

    Your objection is based on a false premise. We are condemned already because of our sin. There is no need for God to "blame" us for anything further. The fact that He mercifully changes some does not excuse a single sin performed by the others.
     
  11. William C

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    Not really. You believe they cannot because they were born that way. I believe that the only ones who could not were those judicially hardened by the Father as spoken of in John 12. Your system creates the problem by teaching that people cannot believe or repent even when confronted by the Holy Spirit with the gospel message. I believe that everyone can, unless they have continually refused to believe and have been judicially hardened by God.

    Where does the desire come from? God. He is the one who sends the good news that birthed the desire within me. You just don't acknowledge that the message of the Cross is enough to birth that desire to those who hear it. I do. I believe the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Why do some receive it and others don't? Some are more enslaved and hardened in their sins than others. Some are not willing to give up the fleshly desires. The cost to follow Christ is too high for them. They'd rather experience the temporary enjoyments of sin. That is their free choice to do so. To teach that everyone would do so unless they were "irresistably called" by God takes the "freedom" out of that choice.
     
  12. Hardsheller

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    Here's how I answer them.

    Pre Fall Man - Able to sin & Able to not sin
    Post Fall Man - Able to Sin & Unable to Not Sin
    Reborn Man - Able to sin & Able to Not Sin
    Glorified Man - Able to Not Sin & Unable to Sin
     
  13. Pastor Larry

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    I disagree with your viewpoint in your first sentence. Sinning freely means we do it of our own free will. It says nothing about the opposite ability, which no we do not have.

    Because our will is not constrained to do it. We do it of our own free will.

    Because it is in line with his nature, which he will not contradict. He does not want it to be any different.

    I have not missed your objection. I understand it fine. What I don't understand is how you are missing the very simple answer. Man is not condemned because he is forced to do something. He, like God, is free to do whatever he wants to do. Their lack of belief is because they will not do otherwise. Their lack of repentance is because of their own refusal to submit. I am not sure how else to put it.
     
  14. William C

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    If you don't have the "opposite ability" then its not free will. A choice implies that you can do one or the other, if you can only do one and not the other that is the opposite of free.

    Our will is not constained to sin, but the elect's will are constained to believe and repent? I thought we are constrained by our nature in your system?

    Larry, how can I be any more clear with you? I have never said that I think you believe that man is condemned 'because he is forced to do something.' That is not my objection!!!

    Once again, my objection has to do with your belief that God condemns men for not doing that which he is incapable of doing. You quote John 6 and teach that God must 'enable' man before they can come to Christ and then you teach that He only enables the elect which leaves the non-elect unable to do that which God demands of them for salvation, by which they are etenally condemned.

    I don't think Calvinism teaches that God forces people to sin as you imply here. That is NOT my objection. My objection has to do with God's enabling of some and not others while holding both to the same standard of responsiblity on judgement day. Can you please address that?


    Yes, I know. But Larry you refuse to take it any further because you realize the implications that your system creates. Why, according to Calvinism, are they unwilling. Why do they refuse to submit? Because they were born Totally Depraved, right? They were born incapable of responding in faith and cannot do so unless enabled by God, according to your system.

    So, in reality man is not condemned because of his own unwillingness to have faith, but because of God's unwillingness to grant him faith. This is basic cause and effect. God chose not to grant Joe Heathen faith, Joe Heathen was unwilling like the rest of humanity. This might be acceptable if God didn't demand Joe and all of humanity to have faith and plead with them to have faith and even long for them to come as Matt 23:37 suggests.
     
  15. Primitive Baptist

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    Adam was created as the head of all mankind. When he sinned, we sinned in him. I believe that we had the best representative who was created with the will and ability to keep the law of God (You'll have to ask Absolute Predestinarians on what ground they keep affirm that). Now that Adam sinned, and we in him, does God now have to lower His standards? Because man has rendered himself incapable of meriting the mercy and grace of God, is God unjust to punish sin? This is not meant to slander Pastor Larry, but I do not believe the blood is sufficient for the world, but efficient only for those who meet certain conditions. That is Arminianism if I ever heard it. The blood, 2000 years ago was both sufficient and efficient to cover the sins of all for whom it was shed. There is no blood to be applied today. Jesus Christ went into the heavenly tabernacle and applied it 2000 years ago. It is finished. It is done. Nothing else can be done with respect to the blood of Christ. He didn't offer it to us, He offerred it to the Father for us. Pastor Larry, I also woul like to ask you a question. I read where you asked Ray Berrian on another thread why God would still send people to hell if Jesus died for them. Question: If the blood of Christ shed 2000 years ago did not make peace between the elect and God, fully acquit the elect from all their sins, and jusify them before God, is not your system the same as Ray's, which says that something else must be done in order for a man to be saved before God?
     
  16. William C

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    You mean God gave up his sovereignty to allow Adam to make a real free will choice? How can that be, don't Calvinists always make the argument that free will would be infringing upon God's sovereignty, yet here you argue that Adam had a free will. Did God compromise his sovereignty by allowing Adam a choice?
     
  17. Pastor Larry

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    Part of your frustration about people leaving and not continuing conversations is your own fault due to your inability to accept what people say as what they believe. I have answered your objections here and elsewhere. If you claim to have been a calvinist at one time, you should have had an answer to this question. I leave conversations because of this type of thing you are doing. Please listen and quit making stuff up.

    You have a faulty definition of "free will." By your definition, God is not free because he cannot choose to sin, cannot choose to be less than God, etc. That is simply false thinking on your part. Man is a free being. He cannot fly. That does not make him less than free. And when he is on the top story of a burning building, he is held responsible for his inability to fly. Yet that does not compromise his freedom.

    The elect's will isn't constrained to believe and repent. You are making stuff up. They believe and repent freely becuase God, in regeneration, gave them a new nature. The new nature has a new understanding that leads inevitably to belief and repentance. Again, this is basic stuff. If you used to be a calvinist, you were a very uninformed one.

    I think you are talking out of both sides of your mouth here. When you accuse us of believing that man has no choice and God condemns him anyway, you are saying that you believe God forces them to not repent and then holds them accountable. You seem to be the one confused here. Remember what you said above, that you believe that lack of an alternative means he has no free will. The absence of free will leads to the requirement of the one option.

    I have plenty of times. You simply are not listening. Therefore, you are confused. God holds them to the standard of responsibility because that his is standard of judgment. They do not want to do anything else. They freely and willfully sin.

    You seem to be laboring under the impression that these non-elect want it to be different. They do not. That is your confusion. If you would listen, this question has been answered many times.


    This whole paragraph is based on your faulty understanding. There is no simple or delicate way to put that. You simply will not submit your mind to the teaching of Scripture. (This is why I quit having these conversations; it simply isn't worth my time to talk to someone who has shown time and again that they have no interest in learning.) If you would quit making stuff up and forcing yoru own limitations of understanding on Scripture, this problem would cease to be a problem. For those of us that are willing to take Scripture at its face and understand the biblical teaching on teh nature of man, we have no problem with this.

    Keep your accusations of my being on a high horse to yourself. You would do better to submit your mind to Scripture.

    Here is the bottom line.

    1. All men are sinners and are willfully rejecting God. For that they are held appropriately accountable.
    2. Out of grace, God gives som of those men a new nature out of which they willfully respond.
    3. The rest, God simply let's them go the way they are going. They do not want to change. God is not withholding anything that they desire.
     
  18. William C

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    Larry,

    You created a list of things Calvinists believe on another post which said:

    Calvinists do believe in man's responsibility, but deny his ability to repent and believe the gospel. The two terms are not synonymous. Calvinists believe that man's inability to repent and believe are caused by his own sin ... not any positive imposition on God's part.

    This is what I'm objecting to. Where in scripture do you find support for this understanding. How can man be held responsible for not believing when he has not been granted the abilty to believe?

    How can one be justly held responsible for something he is unable to do? Please provide a scriptural response to this objection.
     
  19. Pastor Larry

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    AAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Simply unbelievable. Man is required to be perfect; yet he was never able to be. Man was required to keep the whole law, yet he was never able to. This is an objection born out of the logic of autonomous man; it is not borne out of any allegiance to Scripture or its teachings.

    He is commanded to believe because all men everywhere are commanded to believe. He does not want to believe, so therefore, on one level, his ability to becomes irrelevant. If I tell you that at 3:00pm today, I will treat you to a round of golf here in Michigan, your inability to get here for it is superceded only by your dramatic lack of interest and desire (assuming for the sake of argument that you do not like golf). His inability to believe is caused by himself, by his own sin that has darkened his understanding and his mind, corrupted his will and ability.

    This is so simple and elementary. I do not understand how you are so confused over this. It is really very simple. Either you haven't gotten to this level yet or you have way over thought it. The latter is more likely the case. Either way, there are not many more ways to answer you question. It has been made pretty simple. It appears that the Calvinism you used to believe was nothing resembling what calvinism really is. It's no wonder you left it; you had no clue what you believed or why you believed it.

    In the bottom line, God can do whatever he wants because he is God. If you don't like, then you run in the next election and see if you can get elected. Until then, you have to live under his economy. It is not that difficult. It just mystifies the mind of those who will not take Scripture for what it says.

    BTW, the list was not mine. I copied from a site which I linked to because the guy there was addressing some of the tactics that you and others here were using. It was a needed (and overlooked) reminder of how to address the differences.
     
  20. William C

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    Ditto

    Yes, but God provided a means by which man can be clothed in the perfection of Christ, who did obey the whole law. Therefore, God commanded that man be perfect and then provided the means by which that could essestially be accomplished. You want us to believe that God commands the impossible and then only makes it possible for a select few. This is what brings the objection that you have yet to find a scriptural response for.



    Two things:
    1. Paul anticipates objections to God's fairness in Romans 9 as it relates to God's hardening Israel despite the fact that He seemly had chosen them in OT times. So, if one might object to God's temporarily hardening of a group of people who have continually rebelled against Him, don't you think one would also be expected to object to the teaching that says God imputes the sin nature of Adam which causes Total inablity upon all mankind and then only selects a few to enable to be saved from that state of depravity eventhough he calls and even comands all people to repent and believe. In other words, God's temporary hardening is much less objectionable than Calvinism and Paul anticipates that objection. Why wouldn't he anticipate any objections to Total Depravity, or your dual calling of irresistable grace, not to mention the highly contraversal view of limited atonement. It just seems to me that Paul or the others might have anticipated some of these so called "objections born out of the logic of autonomous man."

    2. To suggest that these objections couldn't be "born" from some one with an allegiance to the scripture is absurd!!! Look at men like Billy Graham or Wesley just to name a couple and tell me they don't have an "allegiance to scripture." Even honest Calvinists admit this objection is common for them when first confronted with these doctrines so don't pretend your taking the high road here pastor.

    You would like for his ability to be "irrelevant" because you recognize the problem that it causes for your system.
    The question is, "Why doesn't he want to believe?"

    Your answer is because he is Totally Depraved.

    Why is he Totally Depraved?

    Because God chose to impute Adam's sin upon all mankind from birth. God bound all men over to disobedience!

    You won't go there because you see that it brings God under reproach, which is the very reason we abhore your doctrine.

    Careful Pastor, you've got your foot in the stirrups of your high horse again.

    This issue has been debated for centuries by much smarter men than us. More churches have been split and more ink has been poured out on this issue than just about any other issue in all of Christian history and you have the audacity to say "this is so simple and elementary."

    To quote a friend, "AAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!"

    You would like to think so because you are not willing to address the weaknesses or obvious objections to your system. When one of your own brings those questions to light you deamen and dodge, which just goes to prove my point in the thead I started titled "Why do Calvinists here react differently?"

    I agree. But that doesn't mean He has done everthing you have claimed He has done. Scripture is our standard not Calvinism.

    And it mystifies the mind of those who are not willing to acknowledge that Scripture could mean something different than their limited preconceptions have determined.

    I didn't over look what he said. I objected to what he said and asked for scripturual support. You overlooked, or should I say avoided, my objection.
     

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