Question for the Non-Sovereigntists

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Pastor Larry, Dec 29, 2001.

  1. Pastor Larry

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    If all men have an equal ability to accept Christ or reject him, what makes some choose and some reject? What is the cause of rejection and what is the cause of acceptance.

    Micheal Wrenn usually cites John 1:9: He is the light that lights every man that comes into the world. So what is the actual difference (causally) between those who respond and those who do not?
     
  2. JAMES2

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    Pastor Larry:
    In the past three months I have asked that question at least a half dozen times. As of yet, I have not received an answer. It has been totally ignored. I wonder why?
    James2
     
  3. swaimj

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> If all men have an equal ability to accept Christ or reject him, what makes some choose and some reject? What is the cause of rejection and what is the cause of acceptance. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    I think the answer to this is stated clearly in II Cor 3:15-17. In verse 15, Paul states that people who hear the word are unable to understand or receive it, and with this calvinism would agree. However, in verse 16, he says, "Nevertheless (inspite of this blindness and inability) when one turns to the Lord (repentance) the veil is taken away (this is illumination, not regeneration as calvinism argues). And notice the order, Paul's statement places repentance prior to illumination, though I would argue that the two are actually simultaneous. In any case it is hard to see how the word order would place illumination (much less regeneraton) prior to repentance. Now the calvinist asks, "How can dead man believe?" The answer is in verse 17: "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." God, through the preaching of the word (which is what Paul is talking about in the context), illuminates the unregenerate mind and gives him the liberty to accept the gospel. So, the answer to your question: God, upon the preaching of the gospel, grants man the free will to accept or reject. [​IMG]
     
  4. Pastor Larry

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by swaimj:
    ... God, upon the preaching of the gospel, grants man the free will to accept or reject. [​IMG]<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Cutting through everything else, are you then saying that the choice for salvation comes from the will of man?
     
  5. Eric B

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    Just to clear up something, all non-calvinists are not "non-sovereingntists". we just don't defing God's sovereignty the way you do. You try to read certain things into it, but as this is human interpretation, you wind up acutally dictating how God must act if He is sovereign, and this is an equal degradation of His sovereignty
     
  6. S. Baptist

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Pastor Larry:


    Cutting through everything else, are you then saying that the choice for salvation comes from the will of man?
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    God makes the call, "MAN" choses to accept or reject.

    Mr 6:11 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

    Do yo see the difference in "Judgment" for those who have heard the Gospel and those who haven't??

    The justification for their condemnation is in the fact that Jesus paid for "All sins" but they refused to "believe".

    In dying for "all sins", then All sins will be accounted for, either to "justification of believers or condemnation of unbelievers.

    Lu 12:59 I tell thee, thou shalt not depart thence, till thou hast paid the very last mite.

    Dying for the sins of the whole world, leaves all without excuse for remaining sinner, if they do, it's "their choice".

    God and Jesus made it possible for the redemption of the "whole world", the reason it isn't is "man's choice".
     
  7. swaimj

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> Cutting through everything else, are you then saying that the choice for salvation comes from the will of man? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Pastor Larry, I have attempted to give a biblical basis for my position and a thoughtful reply to your question. If something I said needs clarification, I'll try to clarify it. Please don't try to twist it into a straw-man you can attack. BTW, I have about a 30 minute trip to church each way on Sundays and gave this some thought tonite. Let me try to approach this issue from a different angle. Perhaps as you read this you will understand why I have difficulty with your position.

    There is another biblical issue in which the sovereignty of God and the instrumentality of man comes into play, and that is in the issue of inspiration. I think that you and I would have to discuss this issue at length and try extremely hard to find a point of disagreement on the issue of inspiration. We believe that the scriptures are the Word of God, yea, even the words of God. Yet, we also agree that men wrote the Bible (holy men of old wrote as they were borne along by the Holy Spirit). There is an element of mystery here which we cannot fully explain. God's sovereignty and human instrumentality are in tension in the human mind, but are not in contradiction in God's mind. If I stood in your pulpit and said, for instance "Paul says in chapter 8, verse 12 that...", you would not stand up and say "Hey, you heretic, God said that, not Paul!" And yet, God's sovereignty and human instrumentality are involved in salvation as well. Why can we not agree on how to state this? I say this with humility, Pastor Larry, and with deep respect for your position and for the knowledge and giftedness you display on this board, but I think the problem is that you are inconsistent; reconciling sovereignty and instrumentality in the area of soteriology differently from the way you reconcile it in the area of inspiration. In the area of salvation, you hold a position that is analogous to a dictation theory of inspiration. Salvation is all of God and none of man, you say. I agree, but there is human instrumentality involved as well. If I mention human instrumentality in the area of inspiration, it passes with no comment, but the least hint of human instrumentality in the area of salvation brings a charge of Armenianism. Am I misunderstanding what you are saying, or do you ligitimately see a difference in the way the two are reconciled in the two different areas?
     
  8. trueliberty

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    The issue of human instrumentality is a very apt issue in regard to this.

    When God burdens someone to pray for a certain individual to be saved, does not that factor into the equation of someone seeing their need of Christ and trusting in him? When God burdens someone to share the gospel with a friend and they don't, doesn't that play into the increased possibility that the friend will never trust Christ (Ezekiel 33:8)?
    What about whether Christians are obedient or not to the exercise of their spiritual gifts? The end goal of spiritual gifts is listed in Ephesians 4:12:
    "For the perfecting of the saints; for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ" (Edifying meaning to build up not just in strength but in numbers---in other words evangelism)

    We cannot discount the role of human instrumentality in these matters. Not because God needed us, but because he CHOOSES to use us (his SOVEREIGN will decrees that that is his plan, to use us to show his amazing mercy and grace!)

    So in the end, what ultimately is the reason why one chooses and the other rejects?

    Answer:
    John 5:39-40 "Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: andthey are they which testify of me. And ye WILL NOT come to me, that ye might have life "

    I know what you're thinking, Pastor Larry, ah HAH!!! he's saying it's the will of man, and you're ready to zing us with John 1:13 which says it's NOT the will of man. But that verse does not refer to human responsibility and man's initiative, but instead discusses the miraculous supernatural power of God in regeneration or being born again. verse 12 show the responisiblity of man "as many as received him" "that believe on his name". The other part of verse 12 shows that God gives power to those who receive and believe. God giving power is the subject of verse 13

    In other words, the will of man is involved in taking the gift of salvation, but the gift itself involving regeneration etc is a miracle of God (John 3:8 etc) and any man-made ritual-- or reform effort (flesh) or heredity (blood) cannot gain regeneration.

    I for one prefer the phrase "equal opportunity" versus "equal ability" though I know I've used the phrase before. The example of those with 50 IQ as compared to 150 IQ, Bible Belt vs Timbuktu dwellers etc--well I guess that's another discussion.
     
  9. EPH 1:4

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    Trueliberty, I read your post, when you were speaking about a man being born-again and used John 1:12&13, you need to read v13 carefully...v13 Who WERE born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. The word WERE is past tense, so these that had received Christ, WERE already born-again.BTW, it is NO man's will to come to God,v13. Thank God for His grace.
     
  10. Chris Temple

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Eric B:
    Just to clear up something, all non-calvinists are not "non-sovereingntists". we just don't defing God's sovereignty the way you do. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Actually, they are.
    People don't get to define God's Sovereignty; God does, and he has in Scripture.

    R.C. SProul gave a good description of God's Sovereignty in his book Now That's a Good Question! (Tyndale, 1996):

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>I have a close friend who came to this country from England…. When he first came to the United States, he visited an antiquarian in Philadelphia, and there he saw some slogans and mementoes and poster boards that actually date back to the 18th century, during the time of the American Revolution. He saw signs like “No taxation without representation” and “Don’t tread on me”, but the one that caught his eye was the one that said in bold letters, “we serve no sovereign here”. When John looked at that, an Englishman, he said, “how can I possibly communicate the idea of the kingdom of God in a nation that has a built-in allergy to sovereignty?”

    As American’s we’re used to a democratic process of rule. When you’re talking about sovereignty, you’re talking about government and authority. From a biblical perspective, when the Scriptures speak of God’s sovereignty, they reveal God’s governmental authority and power over his entire universe.

    In my classes in the seminary, I raise a question like, “is God in control of every single molecule in the universe?” when I raise that question I say, “the answer to that question will not determine whether you are a Christian or a Moslem, a Calvinist or Arminian, but it will determine whether you are a theist or an atheist.” Sometimes the students can’t see the connection. And I say to them, “Don’t you realize that if there is one molecule in this universe running around loose outside the scope or the sphere of God’s divine control and authority and power, then that single maverick molecule may be the grain of sand that changes the entire course of human history, that blocks God from keeping the promises he has made to his people?” It may be that one maverick molecule that will prevent Christ from the consummation of the kingdom. For if there is one maverick molecule, It would mean that God is not sovereign. If God is not sovereign, then God is not God. if there is any element in the universe that is outside of his authority, then he is no longer God over all. In other words, sovereignty belongs to deity. Sovereignty is a natural attribute of the Creator. God owns what he makes, and he rules what he owns. (Now That’s A Good Question! Tyndale, 1996. pp 25-26).<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    [ December 31, 2001: Message edited by: Chris Temple ]
     
  11. S. Baptist

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Chris Temple:


    [ December 31, 2001: Message edited by: Chris Temple ]
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
     
  12. S. Baptist

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by S. Baptist:
    [QB][/QB]<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    OOOPPPSSS!!!

    Was it God's will that Adam and Eve sin, Jesus would have to die, many would go to Hell???

    Based on the action God took, Jesus dying for the sins of the whole world, God not willing
    that any should perish, you would to answer "NO", however it did happen.

    Where was God's sovereignty when all of this was taking place???

    Was Adam and Eve given a "choice", so are we.

    Being made in the "image of God", we have the ability to "make decisions", the same as God.

    Joh 10:34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?
    35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be
    broken;

    And it's in those "decisions" we're either saved or lost, when hearing the call, no man can
    accuse God of withholding salvation from them by "predestination".

    The fact that they were offered salvation, but refused it, is the justification for them being
    condemned, this is why Jesus didn't die "in vain" for their sins, it's used to condemn them.

    If God uses his sovereignty as you claim, if he hates sin, and is "sovereign", there wouldn't be
    any sin.


    Head colds make a feller do "strange thing".
    :D
     
  13. nelson

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Chris Temple:
    People don't get to define God's Sovereignty; God does, and he has in Scripture...R.C. SProul gave a good description of God's Sovereignty...[December 31, 2001: Message edited by: Chris Temple ]<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    It is interesting that you assert people do not define what is meant by God's sovereignty and that God does in accordance with what He has revealed to us in the Bible. However, instead of quoting Scripture, you quote Sproul. Interesting.
     
  14. Chris Temple

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by S. Baptist:

    Was it God's will that Adam and Eve sin, Jesus would have to die, many would go to Hell??? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Yes.

    Ephes. 1:11 (ESV)
    In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will

    Rev. 13:8 (ESV)
    and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain.

    ***We believe that the same good God, after He had created all things, did not forsake them or give them up to fortune or chance, but that He rules and governs them according to His holy will, so that nothing happens in this world without His appointment; nevertheless, God neither is the Author of nor can be charged with the sins which are committed. For His power and goodness are so great and incomprehensible that He orders and executes His work in the most excellent and just manner, even then when devils and wicked men act unjustly. And as to what He does surpassing human understanding, we will not curiously inquire into farther than our capacity will admit of; but with the greatest humility and reverence adore the righteous judgments of God, which are hid from us, contenting ourselves that we are pupils of Christ, to learn only those things which He has revealed to us in His Word, without transgressing these limits.

    This doctrine affords us unspeakable consolation, since we are taught thereby that nothing can befall us by chance, but by the direction of our most gracious and heavenly Father; who watches over us with a paternal care, keeping all creatures so under His power that not a hair of our head (for they are all numbered), nor a sparrow can fall to the ground without the will of our Father, in whom we do entirely trust; being persuaded that He so restrains the devil and all our enemies that without His will and permission they cannot hurt us.
    And therefore we reject that damnable error of the Epicureans, who say that God regards nothing but leaves all things to chance. (The Belgic Confession of Faith, Article XIII
    The Providence of God and His Government of All Things)

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Based on the action God took, Jesus dying for the sins of the whole world, God not willing that any should perish, you would to answer "NO", however it did happen. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    As has been shown many times, Christ did not die for the sins fo the whole world, but of the elect only. The all he is not willing to have perish are the elect.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Where was God's sovereignty when all of this was taking place??? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    You are on dangerously thin ice; do you suggest that God was at some point not sovereign? As divine soveriegnty is an attribute of deity, are you suggesting that at some point God was not, or is not, God?

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Was Adam and Eve given a "choice", so are we. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Choices are limited by the one who has higher authority. Adam could have chosen to not eat the fruit and live, or eat the fruit and die. He could not choose to eat the fruit and live. That would be true free will.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Being made in the "image of God", we have the ability to "make decisions", the same as God. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    We have the ability to make decisions within our limited freedom as creatures.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>And it's in those "decisions" we're either saved or lost, when hearing the call, no man can accuse God of withholding salvation from them by "predestination". <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    No man can ever accuse God of anything - including being not sovereign. The creature is responsible to the Creator.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>The fact that they were offered salvation, but refused it, is the justification for them being condemned, this is why Jesus didn't die "in vain" for their sins, it's used to condemn them. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    The rejection of Christ is certainly grounds for further condemnation of men, but men are condemned anyway for not keeping God's law. Jesus atoned for the sins of the elect. If any die and are still condemned for sins that God has nailed to the cross and forgiven, then forgiven men are sentenced in double-jeopardy.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>If God uses his sovereignty as you claim, if he hates sin, and is "sovereign", there wouldn't be any sin. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Wrong, for God has ordained that man would sin, and that God woudl redeem some to the praise and glory of his name.

    [ December 31, 2001: Message edited by: Chris Temple ]
     
  15. Chris Temple

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Nelson:


    It is interesting that you assert people do not define what is meant by God's sovereignty and that God does in accordance with what He has revealed to us in the Bible. However, instead of quoting Scripture, you quote Sproul. Interesting.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Nelson:

    Being a junior member of the BB, perhaps you haven't yet scrolled the dozens of posts containing Scriptural support for divine sovereignty of God?

    :rolleyes:
     
  16. Nelson

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Chris Temple:
    Nelson: Being a junior member of the BB, perhaps you haven't yet scrolled the dozens of posts containing Scriptural support for divine sovereignty of God?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Other postings are irrelevant. I am questioning the fact that in that one post you assert only God, not people, can define His sovereignty, nevertheless, rather than quote Scripture, a man is quoted.

    [ January 01, 2002: Message edited by: Nelson ]
     
  17. Eric B

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    And it's by philosophical arguments ("maverick molecule") (Col.2:8) that God's sovereignty is defined, and all those dozens of scriptures are interpreted by these men. No, man is not supposed to "get to" define God's sovereignty, but precisely my point, they are doing it anyway.
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>As American’s we’re used to a democratic process of rule. When you’re talking about sovereignty, you’re talking about government and authority. From a biblical perspective, when the Scriptures speak of God’s sovereignty, they reveal God’s governmental authority and power over his entire universe. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Non Calvinism did not originate in America, so you cannot try to attribute it to our belief in "Democracy". The point is, other scriptures tell us what God does with that authority of His, and destroying His creatures just for "His good pleasure" is denied as being one of them, despite what people try to read into some scriptures. So all the philosophy about what sovereignty must mean does not amount to anything if it contradicts the scriptures.
     
  18. Pastor Larry

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Eric B:
    And it's by philosophical arguments ("maverick molecule") (Col.2:8) that God's sovereignty is defined, and all those dozens of scriptures are interpreted by these men. No, man is not supposed to "get to" define God's sovereignty, but precisely my point, they are doing it anyway.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Now that this thread has run away without me while I was gone for a few days, perhaps I will get to my point. S. Baptist has responded, as usual, with something completely off the point. A New Year has apparently brought no change in him [​IMG]

    But first let me address the issue of sovereignty. I think sovereignty is defined in Eph 1:11: God is the one who "works all things after the counsel of His will."

    Notice the following:
    All things -- you cannot leave anything out of "all things" and still have all things; therefore, "salvation of man" is one of all things.

    works -- this is an active verb. It very clearly teaches control, not reaction. To work all thing is to bring about or to effect.

    after the counsel of His will -- This is the controlling issue for the working of all things: the counsel (boulen -- intention, decision, purpose) or his will. There is nothing that can be ascribed to anything other than the will of God.

    The teaching of the sovereignty of God is in Scripture, and contrary to what some are claiming, is clearly explained. It is a not a matter of man defining it; it is a matter of how God said it would be. Of course, we could go to a multitude of passages that would confirm exactly what is taught here. I think the issue is clear: God is either “working all things after the counsel of his own will” or there is something (the “free will” of man in salvation??) that is outside of the working out his will. Thus, those who deny the sovereignty of God in salvation believes, by definition of Scripture, that God is not in control of “all things” and therefore is a non-sovereigntist.

    So a question is in order, for those who demand that "all" always means "all," how do you exclude the salvation or rejection of man from "all"? Are you now wanting to define "all" to mean less than "all"?

    Second, and more to the point of this thread, what is the controlling factor in whether man accepts or rejects? Swaimj accused me of twisting a straw man, something which I did not do. I tried to cut through the verbiage to see if I had correctly assessed his point. I am not denying human instrumentality. God does not save man apart from man’s will. The issue is simply this: How or why does man exercise his will to choose?

    Trueliberty has correctly assessed the problem with the position espoused but then, instead of accepting Scripture for what is says, redefines it to agree with the position held. V. 13 very clearly does refer to initation and completion of the becoming the sons of God. Even by the (too) narrow constrictions of TL's explanation, you still cannot escape the truth that salvation comes by the will of God, not the will of man.

    The point is that man cannot exercise a will to choose God except by God’s initiative. And when God initiates, it is effectual.

    [ January 01, 2002: Message edited by: Pastor Larry ]
     
  19. Nelson

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Pastor Larry:...Eph 1:11...Notice the following:
    All things -- you cannot leave anything out of "all things" and still have all things...To work all thing is to bring about or to effect...There is nothing that can be ascribed to anything other than the will of God.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>Please correct me if I have misunderstood. Simply stated, Larry is asserting that (1) Nothing is outside of God's will, (2) All that happens, can be ascribed to God's effectual working, and (3) Nothing that happens can be ascribed to anything else but God's will alone.

    If I am allowed to carry this assertion to a logical conclusion, then the rape of an 8-year-old boy by a wicked man is: (1) Not outside of God's will, (2) Can be ascribed to God's effectual working, presumably in the heart of the rapist, and (3) Nothing outside of God's will caused the rape of this child.

    Is this a correct assessment of your reasoning regarding God's sovereignty?

    If it is not, please state any objections to my response simply and point-by-point so it may be understood (if possible) how, on the basis of Larry's explanation of divine sovereignty, such an evil event as the rape of a child can occur without impugning God's holy character.

    [ January 01, 2002: Message edited by: Nelson ]
     
  20. Pastor Larry

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Nelson:
    If I am allowed to carry this assertion to a logical conclusion, then the rape of an 8-year-old boy by a wicked man is: (1) Not outside of God's will, (2) Can be ascribed to God's effectual working, presumably in the heart of the rapist, and (3) Nothing outside of God's will caused the rape of this child.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    1. Yes ... not outside of God's will.
    2. Probably described as God allowing the individual to do what he will according to Rom 1 where sexual depravity is the result of God giving man over to his desires.
    3. Yes.

    Let me pose the question this way: Is it God's will that a family should gang up on one of its members to to sell him to get him out of the family? Should God allow the killing of children? Should God will the brutal torture and murder of one child? Should God inflict medical problems on people?

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Is this a correct assessment of your reasoning regarding God's sovereignty?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I would probably put it in different terms but I have no problem with the general thrust of it. You see, if God works all things after the counsel of his own will then I think that is what he does. I am not at liberty to believe otherwise simply because I can't understand God.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> on the basis of Larry's explanation of divine sovereignty,
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


    Thanks for the compliment but this was actually Paul's explanation of divine sovereignty ... and he got it from the Holy Spirit.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>such an evil event as the rape of a child can occur without impugning God's holy character.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    To do wo would take a much greater mind than I have. God has not revealed to us the infinite perfections or the interworkings of his mind. His thoughts and ways are above ours. I think it is outside the place of man to try to "figure it out." We must simply take God at what he says and live accordingly. God's character is not impugned because our minds are too small to comprehend his plan. I would be careful asserting otherwise.

    The bigger problem for you is to explain why the verse doesn't mean what it says, if indeed you are disagreeing with the verse.
     

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