Something I don't understand about Calvinism

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by JMF, Nov 5, 2002.

  1. JMF

    JMF
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    II Peter 3:9 says "The LORD is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward,not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance(Ezekial 18:23,32& 33:11) If it's not the LORD's will that any should perish why didn't He just elect everybody in the beginning? I believe that the LORD knows the end from the beginning, for He showed Daniel, the Apostle John, and others the actual future. So I realize He can't help but know who will receive Him "elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father" and yet it seems that the scriptures are clear about the fact that men must exercise their will to receive Him.
    Another question I have for Calvinists is that the scriptures seem to teach that every person's name is/was found in the book of life and it must be blotted out. I believe when a person turns away from the light shed in their heart by the Holy Ghost in their day of visitation and stubbornly refuses to "lose their life" and trods under foot the Son of God, and counts the blood wherewith they were sanctified an unholy thing, and does despite to the Spirit of grace, that their name will be blotted out of the Lamb's book of life. Comments?
     
  2. Aaron

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    Why does God delay His coming? So that none will perish.

    None of whom? This is where Calvinists and Arminians differ on the interpretation. Arminians interpret this to mean all mankind. Yet that would mean God's will has already been thwarted, for few argue that all men will be saved. Tarrying seems to be defeating His purposes even further. God would fail except for those who were good enough to recognize the value of His gift.

    Calvinists clearly see "any" as referring to any of God's elect. There are those of His fold that have not yet been born. Therefore, He tarries because He is not willing that any (of His elect) should perish. God's will is not thwarted, and He is victorious.

    ...the scriptures seem to teach that every person's name is/was found in the book of life...

    You stated that correctly. The Scriptures seem to you to teach such a thing, but they don't. They teach quite the contrary.

    But about those who fall away: Remember the parable of the sower, and that some seed (the Gospel) fell in places where it seemed to flourish, but could not take root. These are stones and weeds, not good ground. But that which fell upon the good ground, took root and flourished and bore fruit.

    What is the difference between the good ground and the evil ground? There is no difference before the farmer removes the stones and plows under the weeds and breaks up the dirt. The farmer prepares the ground to receive the seed.

    In the same way, there are those who hear the Gospel, but God has not broken their hearts. Therefore the Gospel is choked out. These are those who "were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come," but fell away.

    Never saved in the first place.
     
  3. JMF

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    Thanks for the reply Aaron.

    I agree

    I would like to comment further concerning the Lamb's book of life so that we might know exactly what the scriptures do teach. As far as I can tell the scriptures speak of the book of life only 8 times, 7 of which are in Revelation.

    He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I[Jesus] will not blot out his name out of the book of life...(Rev 3:5a)

    And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life...(Rev 22:19)

    Obviously the scriptures teach here that it is possible for somebody to be removed from the book of life.Of course the Armenians would say that this is teaching you can lose salvation which I do not believe. (I believe the scriptures teach that these are those who reject Christ in the day of visitation, and as Aaron stated were "never saved in the first place".)

    ...whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world...(Rev 17:8)

    If you were one of the elect before you were born, were you born saved or did God just know you would be saved?
    And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.(Rev 13:8)
    If Jesus was slain before He came, why did He come? or did God just know He would be slain? Were those in Revelation 17:8 condemned before they were born, or did God just know they would be condemned? Since someone could be removed from the book of life [Rev 3:5,Rev22:19][I don't think God would have made reference to the possibility without it being possible] and since once you are elected you cannot lose your election, how do we make these scriptures work?

    [ November 07, 2002, 12:19 AM: Message edited by: JMF ]
     
  4. Aaron

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    You believe in the Trinity (I assume), yet has there been any real satisfactory explanation of the concept of one God in three Persons?

    Of course not.

    But it's one of those things that the Scriptures teach that we merely must accept. It is beyond our human comprehension.

    Eternity is of the same vein. When we pass from this life to eternal life, we will not experience a moment to moment existence. There is no time. The ideas of yesterday, today and tomorrow will be meaningless.

    The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world is an eternal perspective.
     
  5. Rev. G

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    You bring up a very good question, friend. Rather than just giving you 'my personal' spin on the issue, I'd like to give you two positions that are held by "Calvinists."

    First, there are "three" wills with God. His decretive will (whatever He has decreed will come to pass; we have no power to break this will). His moral will (revealed in the Law; we have the power, but not the right, to break this will). His will of disposition (His attitude towards the lost / non-elect, all humanity, etc.). God's decretive will is hidden, and none may know it. What He has revealed is that He cares for all, and loves all, but His love for the elect is special. One might liken this love to the love a husband has for a wife. He loves his wife more than all others. He loves and cares for his neighbors, but it isn't the same type of love that he has for her. Spurgeon would be an example of one who held to this.

    Second, that the interpretation of 2 Peter 3:9 is taken out of context. Let's look at it:

    "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." - 2 Pet. 3:9

    Who is the Lord longsuffering toward? "Us." Who is "us"? The context of the epistle: "To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ." There would also be others who would / who will obtain this like faith.

    So, there are two different explanations. I hope that is helpful. Good question!

    Rev. G
     
  6. Helen

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    Then there are those of us who believe that "all" means "all", "every" means "every", "world" means "world", "whosoever" means "whosoever" etc. etc.

    I personally don't think the Bible has to be reinterpreted away from the simple and clear understanding of the words used in these passages.

    The reason all are not saved is therefore not a matter of God's perfect will, but of the fact that He has allowed men to choose to accept or reject salvation through Him. But when Jesus said that God so loved the WORLD, I think Jesus knew what He was talking about. After all, He is the Creator...
     
  7. JMF

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    Re: But it's one of those things that the Scriptures teach that we merely must accept. It is beyond our human comprehension.

    Eternity is of the same vein. When we pass from this life to eternal life, we will not experience a moment to moment existence. There is no time. The ideas of yesterday, today and tomorrow will be meaningless.

    The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world is an eternal perspective.

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

    So, Aaron, let me see if I follow you.Basically since the trinity is something we can't understand and the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world is in that same category, where does elect from the foundation of the world fall?
     
  8. Abiyah

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    JMF --

    This is a subject I am interested in studying. I
    especially need to read such threads as this
    particular one, in which Scriptures are used,
    rather than something said by some other
    author.

    Unfortunately, I have only WebTV. This limits
    my screen width, making it impossible for me
    to read the posts where anyone adds a long
    line like the dashes in your last post, or any
    other long line, like a long site address.

    Would it be possible for you to cut the long line
    of dashes down so that I may read your post
    and others'? Thank you! 8o)
     
  9. JMF

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    Thanks Rev G.

    I want to go to John 5:40 And ye will not come to me[Jesus], that ye might have life.

    I stated in my topic that I believe the Lord's will is that none should perish. And if this is true why didn't everybody get elected in the beginning to fullfil God's "decretive" will. My thoughts were tied to the fact that I believe the scriptures teach that every one starts out in the Lamb's book of life and must reject the offer of salvation to be removed from it's pages.
    To me it seemed that Jesus, speaking to a group of lost(non elect) people in John 5, wanted them to come to Him and stated that what hindered them was their own unwillingness to come. Why didn't He just say "and you can not come to me"?
     
  10. Helen

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    Aaron, if you read Revelation 22, you will read verbs. The river flows. That is a time-related movement. The tree yields its fruit every month. That means there are months. That is time. We will be serving God. That is a verb of continuing action. That involves time.

    It is not time as we know it. We live in a time/space/mass continuum which will be rolled up and a new creation initiated. We don't understand what 'time' will actually mean there, but the fact that there will be time, in the sense of consecutiveness, is clearly indicated.
     
  11. Rev. G

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    Friend, He was declaring that the fault was not with Him or with the offer or with the sovereignty of God. The problem was their own sinful wills.

    As far as your second question, take a look later on in John:

    Jn. 8:43, 47 - "Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word.... He who is of God hears God's words; therefore you do not hear because you are not of God."

    Jn. 10:25-27 - Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father's name, they bear witness of Me. But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me."

    Rev. G [​IMG]
     
  12. KenH

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    Helen,

    Out of curiosity, when you are interpreting the Bible, do you always interpret "world" to mean every single person that will ever live?

    Ken
    A Spurgeonite :cool:
     
  13. Pastor Larry

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    I absolutely agree with you.

    Again, I absolutely agree with you.

    But these statements are not the difference between us and you. We both agree on these statements.

    In 2 Peter 3:9, the obvious meaning of "any" seems the elect to me, since that is who Peter is writing to (cf. 1:1-2). I don't see any reason to change the meaning to be something else. I could see the distinction about "theolo/boulamai" (will) but am slightly persuaded that the prior answer is the best one.

    The one I am least comfortable with is your view. If God was not willing that any should perish, and his will cannot be thwarted, then there would be no one in hell. Since there are people in hell, it seems that you must either admit that God's will can be thwarted by man who chooses not to believe or that your view is mistaken. Is there a third option I am not aware of?
     
  14. Abiyah

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    JMF --

    You may or may not have seen my post above--
    we were writing at the same time.

    If you can . . .
     
  15. JMF

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    That was the true Light[Jesus], which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received ( Greek 2983 - to take, to get hold of) Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.John 1:9-13

    1. Do people get the power to become the sons of God before or after they receive Him? Seems it ought to be -to those that believe on His name He gave the power to receive Him and become the sons of God, but then the question would be -
    Do people get the power to receive Him and become His sons before or after they believe on Him?
    2.Scripture teaches that those that receive Christ are: 1.born of God; 2.not born of: blood, the will of the flesh, or the will of man. It seems obvious that without an enlightenment from God noone would ever be saved.
    No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up, at the last day.John 6:44
    The problem seems to be that the day of visitation/enlightenment is not reserved for only the elect,(John 1:9) and if so, then every condemned person is condemned by a choice they made of whether or not to receive Christ and not on the basis of whether or not they were elect.
     
  16. Ray Berrian

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    Helen,

    Preach it sister! Maybe sometime the light will shine in . . . It may be that Calvin will sitting in the back pew in the Temple above for teaching such vile error. [​IMG]
     
  17. Ray Berrian

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    Ken Hamilton,

    The word of the day is 'context.'

    Respectfully,

    Ray
     
  18. Rev. G

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    Just a caution...sometimes those (not you, obviously) who take "all" to always mean "all" argue for universalism. They take passages such as Rom. 5:18, 1 Cor. 15:22 and 1 Tim. 4:10 to "prove" universalism.

    Rom. 5:18 - Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act, the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.

    1 Cor. 15:22 - "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive."

    1 Tim. 4:10 - "...because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially those who believe."

    Does "all" always mean "all"? What about the following?

    Does "all" mean "all" in Mt. 3:5-6 (also Mk. 1:5)?
    Did every single individual in Judea and the surrounding region get baptized by John the Baptist?

    Did the early Church have favor with every single individual in Jerusalem (Acts 2:47)? If so, then why was persecution experienced?

    Rev. G
     
  19. Aaron

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    Good answer, Rev. [​IMG] I was poised to invoke the "all Judea" clause myself. [​IMG]
     
  20. Aaron

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    The same category. He gives us eternal life, life without beginning or end. We are also sons of God and brothers of Jesus.
     

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