QUESTIONS FOR CALVINISTS TO PONDER.

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Skandelon, Feb 15, 2004.

  1. Skandelon

    Skandelon
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    Generally speaking the New Testament refers to three groups of people. The Remnant of Israel, the Hardened Jew, and the Gentile. Keeping that in mind I want to define each of these groups and have the Calvinists on this board answer a few questions, if they can:

    (1) The Remnant were Jews from God’s elect nation. In Salvation, these were, “holy firstfruits” (Rom. 11:16) “set apart from birth;” the first fruits of grace; the first to be called by Christ; the first and only to be appointed as Apostles through a divine calling. These were the unique messengers who were authorized by the Sovereign decree of God to usher in the gospel of Grace through faith in Christ.

    Questions for Calvinists to consider: What sets Paul and the other apostle apart from you, me and every other believer? Are verses that speak of his being “set apart from birth” and “effectually compelled” to preach common to all believers? If so, why does Paul refer to these unique attributes as authoritative signs of apostleship? Do we undermine apostolic authority by claiming that God has sovereignly elected and called us in the same manner as he did Paul, the divinely inspired apostle? Is proof that God sovereignly elects and calls divinely inspired messengers also proof that he elects and calls their audiences in that same manner?

    (2) The Hardened Jew: The rest of the Jews were temporarily hardened (Rom. 11:25). In Salvation, these are hardened for the purpose of grafting in the Gentiles and in turn arousing “envy” within them so that they too might believe (Rom. 11:11-14). If they believe in the message they can be grafted back in, if not they suffer the under the wrath of God just as the unbelieving Gentiles. So, salvation comes to these through faith in Christ IF God has “enabled” them to be grafted back in. (Rom. 11:23) The word “enabled” in John 6:65 then referrers to God’s removing His judicial hardening and not God’s overcoming their inborn nature of total depravity as Calvinists interpret it.

    Questions for Calvinists to consider: How does the biblical teaching of hardening fit with Total Depravity? Why would God hardened men who are born unable to see, hear, understand and believe the things of God already? Why does the Jesus speak of hiding the gospel in parables if indeed those he is hiding it from were born Total Depraved rendering them unable to believe it anyway?

    (3) The Gentiles were not hardened, as Calvinists seem to assert in their teachings of Total Depravity. “They will listen!” (Acts 28:28) They are the “foolish” ones that the scripture speaks of that will “accept what Israel rejects.” Gentile’s belief and acceptance of the gospel through faith provokes envy in the hearts of the Jews. “I will make you envious by those who are not a nation; I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding.” (Deut. 32:21/Rom.10:19). During this time Paul and the other apostles were trying to convince the church that Gentiles were chosen of God and that this mystery was apart of God's plan from the beginning of time. Thus, Paul thanks God continually for their being chosen. (1 Thess. 1:4; 2 Thess. 2:13)

    Questions for Calvinists to consider: What would envy or jealousy have to do with bringing someone to saving grace if indeed man’s will is not a factor? Jealousy is a motivator of man’s will. Why would it be needed if men our brought to salvation by an effectual calling? Isn't it possible that when Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, speaks of his audiences being chosen that it's in reference to the major debate of that day which dealt with God's choice to ingraft the Gentile nation by allowing them entrance into His covenant, a place traditionally thought to be reserved only for Jews?

    I know this is a lot to go through, but it was these issues that pulled me away from the Calvinistic doctrine. I'm interested to know how you might deal with them. Maybe you can find answers that I was unable to find. I am willing to learn.

    Thank you! [​IMG]
     
  2. DeafPosttrib

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    Good question!! [​IMG] I am not Calvinist. I am curious to hear what Calvinists would respond to your question.

    In Christ
    Rev. 22:20 - Amen!
     
  3. massdak

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    do you believe God chose the remnant of Israel based on foreseen faith?

    your premise here is a flawed question it is obvious that God intervenes in mans rejection of him since the scriptures tell us that man is a willing enemy of God and doesn't want to even seek Him.

    mans will is a factor, i believe most calvinist understand that man has a will that is directed by his nature or fallen nature. God gives man knowledge and true wisdom. the mystery of how God effects man to show him the truth of the gospel is not based on mans will without God giving man understanding and opening his heart to attend to the gospel message.

    this brings me back to the question of why do some people believe while others do not? and why do some not ever even hear of the gospel.
    in romans 11 it is clear that believing is from Gods mercy not mans desire to be saved. in reality no one would want to die and go to hell, unbelief in God and indifference to even want to seek the truth is due to a fallen human nature from adam.

    it all boils down to God being merciful to some and giving others due justice

    now sorry if that all sounds unfair but having mercy on some doesnt make the justice due to others unfair.
     
  4. Skandelon

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    What faith? The apostles saw Christ and Paul had the road to damascus experience. They didn't have to believe in the unseen in the way we do. Now they had to trust that what Christ said was true, but their appointing was done in person, not through a secondary source as ours is. In fact, you will see throughout scripture that Apostolic authority was based upon their learning directly from the original source. Thomas, saw him and believed, but blessed are they who don't see him and still believe. That's faith.

    So. No, I don't beleive God merely look through the annuals of time and saw Paul's faithfulness, Paul's desire was to persecute Christians. God interviened and changed all that on the road to damascus.

    I agree that God intervenes in man's rejection of him. Proof that man doesn't seek God is not proof that man cannot respond to God when He calls. I believe he calls all men through the gospel.

    But you believe that God only gives faith to certain elect people; therefore, rendering God's words senseless when he rebukes men for their lack of it. Shouldn't He rebuke himself for not giving certain men enough faith? In your system, there is no one to blame for their not responding except for God because He is the only one with the ability to grant it to them.

    I believe it is because some have allowed their hearts to grow hard by continually refusing to acknowledge God's revelation of Himself. Nature, man's conscience, the law, the prophets, the apostles, the scriptures, and the Holy Spirit all testify to who God is and some refuse to listen allowing their hearts to grow harder and harder with each rejection of the truth.

    You believe its because God chose to impute a sinfulness to such a degree to all men due to the Fall that everyone was born in a hardened state and therefore must be irrestiably called out of it by God leaving him ultimately responsible for mankinds rebellion and lack of faith and leaving man with a perfect excuse at judgement.

    God shows mercy to all men (Romans 11:32) He does this by inviting them all to a covenant relationship with him through faith, which they are all capable of from birth. Its only when they continually refuse to acknowledge His clearly seen and understood revelations that they will grow hardened. They are NOT born, "given over" or "hardened" they BECOME that way after time.

    I don't object so much because it seems unfair, though we all must admit it does, I object because its not supported by SCRIPTURE. That must be our standard.
     
  5. BBNewton

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    Skan,

    "God shows mercy to all men (Romans 11:32) He does this by inviting them all to a covenant relationship with him through faith, which they are all capable of from birth. Its only when they continually refuse to acknowledge His clearly seen and understood revelations that they will grow hardened. They are born, "given over" or "hardened" they BECOME that way after time."

    I have a question for you:

    Faith comes only through hearing the gospel of Christ. Saving faith cannot come from natural revelation. Why does God allow people (sometimes entire nations) to live and die without hearing the gospel of Christ?
     
  6. massdak

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    but see you are not using scripture to support your belief. you take the scirpture where He says that He will have mercy on all to mean every person ever born. but how do you reconsile these scriptures&gt;&gt;&gt;
    Rom 9:15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Rom 9:18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will [have mercy], and whom he will he hardeneth.

    in short it is mans fault if he goes to hell and it is Gods doing if he(man) goes to heaven.
     
  7. Skandelon

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    No, I am using scripture. Everyone who He bound over to disobedience, which is everyone who is born, is also shown mercy. Is it not merciful for God to allow all men entrance into his covenant through grace? He didn't have to do that, but the scripture says he did.

    In the context of Romans 9 this is speaking about Jews who think it unfair for God to allow Gentiles entrance into his covenant. Think about it. Jews thought of Gentiles as being unclean and unworthy of God's mercy. But He can have mercy on whom He wants to have mercy, even dirty Gentiles.

    Do you remember the story about the workers in the vineyard? The ones who were there all day complained because the new guys got paid the same. Do you know what that is about? Jews who think it unfair for God to show mercy on Gentiles. That is the big issue of that day. Its the "mystery" Paul continually refers to and it is what Paul is addressing in Romans 9.

    I agree. But that can't be in your system.

    Romans 9 is not comparing saved (elect) and unsaved (lost) it is comparing those being shown mercy (Gentiles) and those being hardened (Jews.) Read on into chapter 10 and 11 and you will see that those hardened may be provoked to jealousy and saved, they can't be the non-elect of Calvinism. Hardening does NOT equate to being unchosen by God for salvation otherwise Paul would not have spoke about the possilbiy of their being saved in chapter 11.

    These passages CANNOT support your interpretation.
     
  8. tnelson

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    General Speaking the New Testament refers to two groups of people:

    1. Believers

    2. Non-believers

    by His Grace
    mike
     
  9. Skandelon

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    Yes, you are correct. But the question is "Why are they non-believers and what keeps them from BECOMING believers?"

    They are non-believers because of their own choices and desires, we all agree on that point.

    But why can't some of them become believers? You think it is because they were born Totally depraved and God has chosen them, right?

    But the bible says in numerous places:

    Why couldn't they believe? Because they were being hardened.

    Does'nt that just mean they are non-elect?

    NO!

    How do you know?

    Because they ones are are being hardened could still be saved:

    You can see that those who can't believe at that particular time in human history, may believe later, so what you see as God not choosing them for salvation is really just God temporarily hardening them while he accomplishes a purpose through them. You think they are unable because of Total Depravity, but in reality they are unable because of hardening. There is a BIG difference.

    Total Depravity is from birth. You become hardened after hearing and understand then rebelling.

    Total Depravity affects all men. Judicial hardening was applied to the Jews alone for a temporary period of time, the Gentiles will listen (Acts 28:28)

    Total Depravity never ends unless effectually called, hardening ends when one is "confronted by the gospel, ""provoked by jealousy." and "leaves their unbelief." (nothing is ever said in regard to an effectual call being utilized)
     
  10. Skandelon

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    Yes, you are correct. And do you deny that these two groups could be further divided into the 3 subcatagories I presented? You really didn't deal with the issues.

    The real issue is, "Why are they non-believers and what keeps them from BECOMING believers?"

    They are non-believers because of their own choices and desires, we all agree on that point.

    But why can't some of them become believers? You think it is because they were born Totally depraved and God has chosen them, right?

    But the bible says in numerous places:

    Why couldn't they believe? Because they were being hardened.

    Does'nt that just mean they are non-elect?

    NO!

    How do you know?

    Because they ones are are being hardened could still be saved:

    You can see that those who can't believe at that particular time in human history, may believe later, so what you see as God not choosing them for salvation is really just God temporarily hardening them while he accomplishes a purpose through them. You think they are unable because of Total Depravity, but in reality they are unable because of hardening. There is a BIG difference.

    Total Depravity is from birth. You become hardened after hearing and understand then rebelling.

    Total Depravity affects all men. Judicial hardening was applied to the Jews alone for a temporary period of time, the Gentiles will listen (Acts 28:28)

    Total Depravity never ends unless effectually called, hardening ends when one is "confronted by the gospel, ""provoked by jealousy." and "leaves their unbelief." (nothing is ever said in regard to an effectual call being utilized)
     
  11. jcrawford

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    I'm not a Calvinist either but www.chalcedon.edu seems to offer a pretty good refutation of Arminian heresy.
     
  12. Me2

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    Skandelon,

    I can only see two of a possible three groups.

    1.) the hardened jew
    2.) the gentiles

    3.) the "totally depraved" not called "outside" the gentile nations.

    are there any non mentioned nations outside the gentile nations?
     
  13. Skandelon

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    Me2, I'm sorry I don't understand your question. Which of the three groups that I mentioned can you not see and why? Gentiles include all non-Jews.
     
  14. Skandelon

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    You're leaving out the remnant of Israel refered to in Romans 10 and 11. And I'm not sure what you mean by your statement. Gentiles include all non-Jews.
     
  15. Skandelon

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    Sorry about the numerous posts above guys. The system was just giving me a blank page and when I would resign on the message wasn't there. Weird???

    I reposted few times and I guess they finally all came on. Sorry. :confused:
     
  16. Me2

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    Skandelon,

    If I read the NT I discover that

    there is Four groups called and mentioned if you really want to be specific.

    the remnant within the jews.
    the hardened jews.
    the remnant within the gentiles
    the hardened gentiles

    and a fifth group not mentioned which is
    the totally depraved. (not called within the age of the jews, or the age of the gentiles)

    if I were to be true to presenting what is there in print. I will discover that there are hardened jews as well as HARDENED GENTILES. reprobates that are within each group.

    If I read in romans 9-11, specifically Paul targets the hardened jews and the unhardened gentiles to present his explanation of the "principle of the firstborn".

    yet in his presentation, does he mention hardened gentiles. No, For It doesnt serve his presentation. does he mention all "not called outside" the jews and gentiles races. No, again. it doesnt serve his presentation and explanation concerning the principle of the firstborn.

    in romans 11, Pauls states that "all" are saved.is he specifically speaking of those called out from the jews and gentiles?. announcing that both are saved by faith and reprobates. yes. and no one outside the groups are being mentioned. again the focus is towards explaining the principle of the firstborn. excluding all others as they are not mentioned concerning the principle he is attempting to unfold and explain.
     
  17. Skandelon

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    Problem. The bible never speaks of Gentiles being judicially hardened as were the Jews. Read Acts 28:21-28 and you will see that there is something very unique about the hardening of the Jews. I posted on another thread the difference between self-hardening and Judicial hardening, if you need me to repost that here I can.

    You are correct. Which is why this passage CANNOT support the Calvinistic rendering. Why? Hardened Jews may be saved and therefore cannot by a reference to "non-elect" reprobates as Calvinists interpret it. That is the point I'm trying to make.

    Well, there is another reason. The Gentiles were not being actively hardened by God as were the Jews (Acts 28:28) "The Gentiles will listen."

    Who are the "firstborn"? Israelites who were the first to hope in Christ. Namely the chosen apostles.

    There is much debate about what Paul means when he states that all Israel will be saved. Some scholars, even Calvinistic ones, think this literally means all Jewish people will be pardoned in the end times. Others think "Israel" means "elect ones" in that God has determined who "Israel" would be sovereignly before time began, which is what I think you're proposing. And then there are other that say "Israel" is believers. You can become true Israel by believing and anyone can do that. I think the text support the latter most clearly because it calls for Jews to leave their unbelief so that they can be grafted BACK into the vine. And it speaks of Jews being provoked to jealousy so that they too might be saved. Where would jealousy fit into the Calvinistic system, when that is a provoker of man's will? It also goes on to speak of Gentiles being ingrafted but only IF they continue in the faith and that if they become prideful they too could be "cut off." That in no way seems to be an indication that God has predetermined who these people would be.

    BTW, there are only two nations. Jews and non-Jews. Non-Jews are called "Gentiles." All other nations are lumped in with the term "Gentiles." It seemed like from some of your comments that you might think there are more.
     
  18. John Owen

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    skandelon, haven't you already answered all these questions to your satisfaction? If so, why ask the Calvinist to respond to something that is already settled in your mind? It seems disingenuousness on your part to ask. That is, they may be stated as questions, but in reality they are just negative reflections of your prior positive assertions.

    aside from disagreeing with your initial statements, which could be responded to, but, maybe later.....

    RE 1. What sets Paul and the other apostle apart from you, me and every other believer?"
    I was not given the responsibility of writing God's word.

    "Are verses that speak of his being “set apart from birth” and “effectually compelled” to preach common to all believers?"
    Not necessarily.

    "Do we undermine apostolic authority by claiming that God has sovereignly elected and called us in the same manner as he did Paul, the divinely inspired apostle?"
    No. Do not confuse our election to salvation as equal to the task of writing the Scriptures of being not only elected to salvation, but also to being chosen for being the Apostle to the Gentiles. We are alike in our election to salvation, but not in our duties.

    "Is proof that God sovereignly elects and calls divinely inspired messengers also proof that he elects and calls their audiences in that same manner?"
    No.

    "“How does the biblical teaching of hardening fit with Total Depravity?"
    All men are Totally Depraved, this doesn't mean that they are as sinful as they could be. In some cases, God hardened hearts and their sins were considered greater. see below for more on this

    "Why would God hardened men who are born unable to see, hear, understand and believe the things of God already?"
    To serve His own purposes. And we are also explicitly told that "For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." (18) So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills." Rom 9:17-18 ESV

    "Why does the Jesus speak of hiding the gospel in parables if indeed those he is hiding it from were born Total Depraved rendering them unable to believe it anyway?"
    The short answer is, He must have wanted to. But Jesus reinforces the idea of election in the following passage by saying that He "granted" the ability to believe to some, to others He did not.


    (Mat 13:10-17 NKJV) And the disciples came and said to Him, "Why do You speak to them in parables?" {11} He answered and said to them, "Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. {12} "For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. {13} "Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. {14} "And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: 'Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, And seeing you will see and not perceive; {15} For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.' {16} "But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; {17} "for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it."

    This then, is the parable about parables. He who has ears, let him hear.

    "What would envy or jealousy have to do with bringing someone to saving grace if indeed man’s will is not a factor? Jealousy is a motivator of man’s will. Why would it be needed if men our brought to salvation by an effectual calling?"
    I do not see a connection between being provoked to jealousy to that of a state of redemption.

    "Isn't it possible that when Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, speaks of his audiences being chosen that it's in reference to the major debate of that day which dealt with God's choice to ingraft the Gentile nation by allowing them entrance into His covenant, a place traditionally thought to be reserved only for Jews?"
    A jealousy on a national or corporate level does not negate individual election. Besides, we cannot be absoloute in seperating Jews and Gentiles, for Jews did in fact come to savingly believe.
     
  19. Me2

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    Skandelon,

    Dont you think that the principle of the firstborn should first be understood in depth before anyone addresses the respective roles of the jews and gentiles within Gods plan.

    Me2
     
  20. BBNewton

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    Well put, Owen

    To everyone,

    I believe Skan has mentioned before that there are few dogmatic Arminians out there. I think he is correct. In history, however, there have been many dogmatic free willists with thoughtful and well sounding arguments.

    One of the greatest cases was the meeting of the Arminians with the Reformers at the Synod of Dordt. If anyone is interested in a historical refutation of Arminianism with biblical proof-texts, please read the Canons:

    http://www.reformed.org/documents/canons_of_dordt.html

    Here is an excerpt from the conclusion section:
    Therefore this Synod of Dordt in the name of the Lord pleads with all who devoutly call on the name of our Savior Jesus Christ to form their judgment about the faith of the Reformed churches, not on the basis of false accusations gathered from here or there, or even on the basis of the personal statements of a number of ancient and modern authorities--statements which are also often either quoted out of context or misquoted and twisted to convey a different meaning--but on the basis of the churches' own official confessions and of the present explanation of the orthodox teaching which has been endorsed by the unanimous consent of the members of the whole Synod, one and all.

    Moreover, the Synod earnestly warns the false accusers themselves to consider how heavy a judgment of God awaits those who give false testimony against so many churches and their confessions, trouble the consciences of the weak, and seek to prejudice the minds of many against the fellowship of true believers.

    Finally, this Synod urges all fellow ministers in the gospel of Christ to deal with this teaching in a godly and reverent manner, in the academic institutions as well as in the churches; to do so, both in their speaking and writing, with a view to the glory of God's name, holiness of life, and the comfort of anxious souls; to think and also speak with Scripture according to the analogy of faith; and, finally, to refrain from all those ways of speaking which go beyond the bounds set for us by the genuine sense of the Holy Scriptures and which could give impertinent sophists a just occasion to scoff at the teaching of the Reformed churches or even to bring false accusations against it.

    May God's Son Jesus Christ, who sits at the right hand of God and gives gifts to men, sanctify us in the truth, lead to the truth those who err, silence the mouths of those who lay false accusations against sound teaching, and equip faithful ministers of his Word with a spirit of wisdom and discretion, that all they say may be to the glory of God and the building up of their hearers. Amen.
     

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