Connieman posted this in the general discussions forum. This is approximately the same thing I have heard over and over again. Bateman....you SHOULD believe in God in Christ, because if you do not, your sins are going to sink you into everlasting death, hell, and punishment in the Day of Judgement. HOWEVER, you won't believe in God in Christ unless He wants you to believe, and enables you. There is the possibility that you are REPROBATE, rejected by God, and you will never believe. We will have to wait until you die to know this...for, as the old folks used to say, "As long as there is life, there is hope." If you are not chosen of God, and called by His Spirit, you will not believe. But, in your natural unbelief, you won't truly care; you will think it all foolishness, until the day you are thrown into the Pit. Regards, connieman Jesus spoke directly in opposition to the entire Calvinistic scheme when He said Come to me, ALL you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. and it is claimed that an unredeemed man can know nothing good, do nothing regarding his salvation, but Jesus said differently: The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and wold everything he had and bought it. In neither case did the man/merchant create the treasure or the pearl. But in both cases, the man was looking ("Seek and you will find"), and in both cases gave up everything for it as a choice. The decision was his. He did not earn the treasure. He did not create the treasure. But he had to react to the finding of it, and he had been searching. People like connieman have looked Calvinism straight in the eye and have no illusions about what it is really saying. It is a message of despair, not hope, unless, of course, you are one of the 'lucky few.' Or considere the implications of this: If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be trown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it awayl It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell. Now please consider the implications of that. We know salvation cannot be lost. Therefore Jesus cannot be talking to people already saved where this is concerned. Therefore there IS that which a man must do first. If you think about the fact that your hand, your foot, your eye cannot CAUSE you to sin, but that your sins come from your heart's condition, then you will see (I hope!) that what must be cut off is what you do, where you go, or even your own understanding, -- this is called repentance. And it is something a man must do to be saved. At least, that is what Jesus is indicating here. Or consider Jesus' response to the rich young man, when He finally says, If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. THEN COME, FOLLOW ME. That sounds like an invitation to me, like grace extended, ready for the taking. But the rich young man "went away sad." He refused grace extended, an invitation from Christ. Calvinism says God's invitation cannot be refused. That's not what Jesus said. Remember the parable of the wedding banquet? The invited guests did not come, so the servant was instructed to go out and gather anyone on the streets. The last line in that parable is the warning, For many are invited, but few are chosen. It is obvious then that there is more to the whole thing than just the inviting. And then, when someone asks, "Why should I believe in God?" and I attempt to start a conversation, two people come in with the Calvinist bit -- it doesn't matter a bit if you believe or not because if you are chosen you are chosen and if not you are going to hell and there is nothing you can do about it. That is a lie. Jesus says today the same as He said then: "Come, ALL ye...." FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIS ONE AND ONLY SON, THAT WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM SHALL NOT PERISH BUT HAVE ETERNAL LIFE. FOR GOD DID NOT SEND HIS SON INTO THE WORLD TO CONDEMN THE WORLD, BUT TO SAVE THE WORLD THROUGH HIM. WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM IS NOT CONDEMNED, BUT WHOEVER DOES NOT BELIEVE STANDS CONDEMNED ALREADY BECAUSE HE HAS NOT BELIEVED IN THE NAME OF GOD'S ONE AND ONLY SON. "World is mentioned a number of times there, and it is not qualified once by indicating a particular group of predestined people. When you put these verses, and hundreds more, alongside the verses the Calvinists like to use to 'prove' their point, it becomes extremely evident that there is a mutuality in the choosing. Just because those clinging to Calvinist dogma cannot understand that is NO reason to deny hope to the unbeliever. Yes, I'm angry. How can the kindness of God, expressed through anyone, lead people to repentance if they have been taught that the Bible actually teaches Reformed theology? Whereas God is not willing that one should perish, evidently Reformed theologians don't have any trouble with the idea.