The question that Arminians flee

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by npetreley, Jul 8, 2004.

  1. npetreley

    npetreley
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    Here is a question I have asked in various ways:

    Given the assumption that you choose to believe the Gospel of your own free will, who gets the credit for making that decision -- you or God?

    Has anyone else noted Arminians either dance around this question, answer it in a mockery of Calvinism, or simply flee the question it as if it's the boogie monster?

    C'mon Arminians. I'll even give you the obvious multiple choice answer:

    1. I get the credit, because I made the decision of my own free will.

    2. ....

    Oh, right, there is no other answer. Because if you credit God in any way, you must admit that you could not possibly have made that decision without God's assistance in some way, whether you call it His grace, His regeneration, the "drawing" of the Holy Spirit, etc. And if you could not have made the decision without His grace, then you couldn't have had free will to begin with.

    Now there are those Arminians who believe they do NOT have free will until God re-enables it in them. (They say this is done through God's drawing, wooing of the Holy Spirit, whatever, depending on the Arminian. How one can come to the conclusion that wooing, which is an aggressive influence, "re-enables free will" is beyond me, but that's a whole 'nother topic.)

    But even THOSE Arminians simply delay the question, not avoid it.

    Once their free-will is re-enabled by God, the difference between the saved and unsaved still boils down to their OWN free-will decision. Thus there's still only ONE answer to the question. They may precede the answer with, "I thank God for giving me my free will back." But after that, they still must answer, "I still get the final credit, because I made the decision of my own (restored) free will."

    Is that why you flee this question? Is there not one Arminian among us who can answer this question head-on?


    (In one case, someone has flippantly twisted the question by claiming it is relevant that God credited righteousness to the account of Abraham for his faith. But that only addresses the fact that God imputes righteousness to the person who has faith. But this does not even address the question of whether or not Abraham was regenerated by the Holy Spirit or chose to have faith of his own free will. It does not mean God is giving Abraham the "credit" for making the "right decision". All it says is that, because Abrahaham had faith, God credited righteousness to his account where Abraham had none of his own.)
     
  2. Skandelon

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    Abraham had faith and it was credited to him as righteousness.

    Why do you have such a problem crediting men for faith when Paul does it so easily?

    You and Paul must hold to different doctrines. [​IMG]
     
  3. npetreley

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    Hellooo ooo ooo ooo oo?

    Just as I thought -- all the Arminians scampered away from this question as quick as rats out of an aqueduct.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  4. StefanM

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    I suppose the only defensible Arminian position would be something along these lines:

    1. The Holy Spirit draws individuals toward faith, thereby overcoming the total inability to approach God alone.

    2. Those who do not resist the Holy Spirit eventually come to saving faith. This action is entirely passive. The Holy Spirit is doing the work whereas the individual is merely doing nothing.

    3. The rest (the unsaved) do not come to faith because they actively oppose the work of the Holy Spirit, consciously and actively rejecting the work of the Holy Spirit to move them toward a saving faith.

    I suppose in this position those who come to faith have no credit to their name in the process, but those who do not come to faith have discredit because they actively opposed the Holy Spirit.

    I just threw this together on the fly, so bear with me if it's terribly lacking.
     
  5. Tatian

    Tatian
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    Well... I suppose I'll try my hand at this.

    "Oh, right, there is no other answer. Because if you credit God in any way, you must admit that you could not possibly have made that decision without God's assistance in some way, whether you call it His grace, His regeneration, the "drawing" of the Holy Spirit, etc.

    Strawman argument. I don't know if even CLASSICAL
    Arminians would agree with this as a representation of there position. No Arminian who
    has a basic understanding of theology would say God has no credit at all.

    "Once their free-will is re-enabled by God, the difference between the saved and unsaved still boils down to their OWN free-will decision."

    Free will is secondary, enablement is primary. Our free will decision would mean nothing without
    enablement. Further, I can say I have free will without saying I am free to do all things. I am not free to move the moon out of its position. Free will doesn't mean complete enablement."

    My answer: GOD get's the credit. I can take no more credit then a man who excepts a gift from another. Nobody would credit me for anything if I
    accepted 50 million dollar from you.
     
  6. Skandelon

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    Good response Tatian!

    It's good to have you around! [​IMG]
     
  7. Tatian

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    ***Blushes shamefully***
     
  8. npetreley

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    We've been through this argument on another thread.

    Receiving something does not require action on the part of the receiver. I can deposit $50 million in your bank account without any "acceptance" or any other action on your part, in which case ALL of the credit goes to me.

    On the other hand, it MAY involve action on your part. Suppose I walk up to you and offer you $50 million dollars, and you take it. Then I walk up to another person and offer him $50 million and he refuses it. You can take credit for being smart enough (wise enough, whatever-fill-in-thel-blank enough) to have accepted my gift, and rightfully say the other person was too stupid (stubborn, fill-in-the-blank) to accept it. In other words, it's still a free gift, but you take full credit for choosing to receive it.

    So if you accept or reject salvation of your own free will, only God gets the credit for your salvation, but you have only yourself to credit for the decision to accept it.

    But if you are elected to have salvation and are regenerated by God in order to receive it, then only God gets the credit for everything, start to finish.
     
  9. Tatian

    Tatian
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    "Receiving something does not require action on the part of the receiver. I can deposit $50 million in your bank account without any "acceptance" or any other action on your part, in which case ALL of the credit goes to me."

    This now becomes a matter of whether someone who accepts something from a person has done anything
    credible.

    "Then I walk up to another person and offer him $50 million and he refuses it. You can take credit for being smart enough..."

    The presupposition you are operating on goes something like this; "I am in a college class with 30 students getting a F in the class... except me, I am getting a D. Because My grade is better then the others I am doing something good.
    That is nonsense, I am still not doing good."

    I wouldn't "take credit" for the D I am getting in that hypothetical class. I wouldn't take credit for excepting salvation anymore then I do for knowing the "wisdom" of breathing, bathing and drinking fluids. You compare the "wisdom" of
    choosing Christ and the foolishness of not. Yet you don't compare how someone has committed suicide as a coward and yet myself as brave for not committing suicide.

    I reject your presuposition that accepting Christ
    as a wise choice on my part but instead I look upon it as an OBVIOUS choice. It's not amazing that I accept Christ but rather that ANYONE rejects him.
     
  10. Skandelon

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    Titian,

    God has no problem crediting Abraham for his faith as seen in Romans 4 so I don't know why Nick has such a problem with it.

    What he is trying to do is make salvation through faith tautamount to salvation through works so that he can use the scriptures in which Paul refers to boasting against us. I assure you that Paul was not addressing people who were going around boasting about the fact that they humbly recongnized their sin and in faith repented, he was addressing Pharisaical Jews who were boasting of their works in the Law. To apply boasting passages to our discussion is the worst case of proof texting I've EVER seen from those who consider themselves to be people who believe the Bible.

    Nick, is using deceptive debate tactics, just ignore him. [​IMG]
     
  11. Tatian

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    Heh... I certainly agree but I still don't believe salvation is anything we can give ourselves credit for because we have a positive responce to it. That is rediculous.
     
  12. Ray Berrian

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    npetreley,

    You said, 'Given the assumption that you choose to believe the Gospel of your own
    free will, who gets the credit for making that decision -- you or God?'

    Ray: You reduce God to something similar to the Sears Credit Department. We are nothing in the light that God tells us that 'even the nations of the earth are as a drop in a bucket.' The Lord God receives all the praise in leading us to eternal life. Nevertheless, God requires faith in order to please the Lord. [Hebrews 11:6] If He demands faith from sinners, and He does, then faith is our response toward Him, and yet we should not claim a kind of 'credit' as you suggest.

    Grace is from God toward the sinner. [Ephesians 2:8-9] Faith is our response to the Lord in thankfulness for His redemptive plan. Peter claims that faith comes from the hearts/lives of men and women. [I Peter 1:7,9,21] Do you have a problem with God's explanation via the Apostle Peter?

    Claim ownership of your faith; after all, it is 'Your faith.' Our faith is not a work, and yet we must 'diligently seek Him.' [Hebrews 11:6] God receives all the glory and praise, forever. This is the Arminian view of salvation, and is the Biblical interpretation as to how a sinner can find God. The Spirit of God calls all sinners to Himself, prior to regeneration.

    Berrian, Th.D.
     
  13. npetreley

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    Non-sequitur. It does not follow that if God demands faith from sinners that faith is our response. God demands total obedience to the law, yet our natural response is to break the law continually. One cannot deduce from what God commands that we have the ability to comply.

    And if we DID have the ability to comply, then we would have something about which to boast, as it says in Romans 4.

    2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.

    See? If Abraham could have obeyed the law to the letter and was justified for doing so, he owed no credit to God. He could boast all he wanted. It wouldn't have mattered that God commanded it and it was his duty to obey -- the fact is that Abraham could rightly boast of having done it all himself.

    This is a very simple concept, Ray. If you believe of your own free will, then you owe no glory to God for believing, since you made the decision to believe on your own.

    This has nothing to do with who gets the credit, but my response is the same as when you said the same in another thread. This is correct!

    And the Bible ALSO says those who are controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God (Romans 8:8). Therefore those who are controlled by the sinful nature cannot have faith.

    And who are those controlled by the sinful nature? Those who do not have the Spirit of God dwelling in them. (Romans 8:9) And if you do not have the Spirit dwelling within you, you do not belong to God (Romans 8:9).

    This presents Arminians with a catch-22. If you can't have faith without the Spirit of God dwelling within you, then how could you possibly make a "decision" to believe of your own free will while you are yet unsaved and lack the Spirit? You can't.

    Ah, but then that violates the premise of the question of who gets credit. That question is based on the fallacy that we could actually "decide" to believe of our own free will.

    Thus endeth the lesson. ;)
     
  14. Tatian

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    Your question was answered and you have not supplied a rebuttle. The scripture speaks of depravity and of salvation but not of how we get from one to the other. Sense this is the case, I can supply a logicaly coherant concept by saying that God enables us to make a free will choice for him or not. I can even make indirect conections by other scriptures such as Titus 2:11
    and 2 Peter 3:9. I know you have had an entire long discussion on this but I wasn't there so I am going to use it.

    I will, however, post a presumptive defense of this passage. If 2 Peter 3:9 is referring to people already saved then it's absolutely absurd!
    This would mean God is patient on account of HIMSELF! He is being patient with himself because
    he has not regenerated them, yet. But yet, the scripture declares, he is patient on account of YOU and not himself.
     
  15. npetreley

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    I don't see an answer anywhere other than my own. Can you restate it for me or point me to it? The closest thing I can find to an "answer" is exactly what I predicted - you claim that enablement is the key issue, after which we "choose". But then it still comes down to your own decision, for which you are entirely responsible, and for which you alone can take credit.

    Then you are not answering my question, you are changing the premise. I personally agree that it is the obvious and irresistable choice, which is why when we are regenerated we will ALWAYS "choose" Christ. But that is not the premise for this question.

    The question is based on the assumption that God "offers" us salvation to accept or reject of our own free will. If that is how the process works, then the person who rejects the offer has nobody but himself to blame for doing so. And the person who accepts the offer has nobody but himself to credit for doing so.
     
  16. Tatian

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    "My answer: GOD get's the credit. I can take no more credit then a man who excepts a gift from another. Nobody would credit me for anything if I
    accepted 50 million dollar from you."

    The above was my answer to you in which case you compared the wisdom of accepting money to the lunicy of not. I then rebutted you by questioning
    the presuposition of "wisdom" in choosing Christ as compared to the "wisdom" of breathing or drinking fluids. Nobody tells you either of those
    is a wise idea. THEN I told you I reject the presuposition you based your argument off of.

    "Then you are not answering my question, you are changing the premise. I personally agree that it is the obvious and irresistable choice, which is why when we are regenerated we will ALWAYS "choose" Christ. But that is not the premise for this question."

    I didn't say it was irresistable in my statement
    of saying it was obvious. I just said it (the right choice) is obvious the way choosing to drink fluids is the right and obvious thing to do.

    "But then it still comes down to your own decision, for which you are entirely responsible, and for which you alone can take credit."

    How can you post that? That's such a strawman I could build a scare crow and still have enough hay left over to 500 acres of horses.

    1) I have already stated that no arminianist would agree with there argument being stated that way.

    2) Even IF my choice came first, don't you think
    the one who provides it get's SOME credit? Tell me if I am wrong, but you seem to indicate that if free will is true, we take all the credit. Wouldn't I have had to accomplish the action of what saved me AND choose to except it?

    3) You have ignored my challenge of enablement. GOD takes ALL the credit because my choice is meaningless without it.

    By the way. I have posted a topic concerning order of salvation and Ephesians 1. I am hoping they will draw some of your attention.
     
  17. BobRyan

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    Calvinists always "give the credit" for the infinite gift of salvation to the one who is enabled to accept it - rather than the one who provides it.

    Arminians do not.

    Calvinists always "assume that the only reason that we choose something is that someone/something made us do it (inclined us, predisposed us, genetically programmed us) "

    Arminians do not.

    Free will BY DEFINITION states that you may CHOOSE any option no matter WHAT your genetics, or environment, or inclinations prior to that Gospel appeal, and drawing.

    Calvinist such as Nick will respond - "yes but also provide ANOTHER answer BESIDES free will for that result".

    Because "of course" Calvinism does NOT accept Free will - and needs ANOTHER solution. Something on the order of "God made me choose it".

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  18. npetreley

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    Of course not. That would expose his/her pride.

    Yes, and I've said that repeatedly. You can continue to credit God for providing you the choice, for providing a way to salvation, etc. But you have only yourself to credit for making the "right" decision. Therefore God must share some of the glory (however little you want to make it appear) with you.

    I have not ignored it. I've stated the obvious truth. Enablement only postpones the credit. Here are the two scenarios:

    1. We are born with free will. One chooses to accept salvation. The other chooses to reject it. Who gets the credit for choosing rightly? The person who chose rightly, because he did so of his own free will.

    2. We are not born with free will. God enables it through His grace. AFTER THAT, one person chooses to accept salvation of his own free will. The other chooses to reject salvation of his own free will. Who gets the credit for choosing rightly? The person who chose rightly, because he did so of his own free will.

    Enablement only postpones the issue, it doesn't change it.

    You can dance around that all you want at this point. I've said it plainly several times, take it or leave it.
     
  19. Charles Meadows

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    What about those who are neither Calvinist nor Arminian? Just because one is not a five point Calvinist he/she is not necessarily and Arminian! Many baptists today might best be described as 2 Calvinists (I think N. Geisler gets credit for the term).

    Wesley (Arminian) and the RCC favor a cooperation between God and free will - thus intentionally distancing themselves from the "semi-pelagian" label!
     
  20. BobRyan

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    I agree that there are different kinds of Calvinists. 3 point Calvinists seem to have a lot in common with Arminians.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     

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