What is the difference?

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by npetreley, Jun 21, 2004.

  1. npetreley

    npetreley
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    Let's assume for the sake of argument that the difference between a saved person and an unsaved person is that the saved person decided of his/her own free will to accept/believe/trust the Gospel.

    Will an Arminian (or reasonable facsimile) please explain at least one reason WHY one person chooses to accept/believe/trust the Gospel and another does not? What differentiates the two? WHY does one choose to accept/believe/trust and another choose to reject/disbelieve/distrust the Gospel?

    I hope you will please avoid the tautology that the difference between the two boils down to the fact that man is ABLE to choose one or the other. That is a meaningless tautology, not an answer. It simply says that man chooses because he is able to choose. That would be like saying man eats because he is able to eat, which may be true, but it does not address the question of why man chooses pizza over hamburger when given the choice. Therefore I will ignore any such answer, though others are free to waste their time debating it.

    Here are some examples of meaningful answers: Given the choice, one person will choose pizza over a hamburger because...

    1. He is genetically predisposed to like pizza
    2. He associates pizza with pleasant childhood experiences
    3. He had a bad experience with a hamburger containing e-coli and now finds them distasteful
    4. And so on...

    Here is another dead-end answer I would like to avoid:

    1. Man accepts the Gospel because he decided at some point to seek God, whereas the other man had earlier decided not to seek God

    This is yet another non-answer. It simply shifts the question to "Given that man has the free will to seek or not seek God, why does one seek God and not the other." One can use this poor debate technique to push the question backwards ad-infinitum, thus forever avoiding having to answer the real question and, in the process, wasting everyone's time. Therefore I will consider any such answer an attempt to evade the question and ignore it. Again, others are free to waste their time debating it.

    Hopefully, however, at least one Arminian or the like out there will offer a substantial answer. So, would you please offer some examples or reasons why one man (ostensibly of his own free will) chooses X and the other Y?
     
  2. Debby in Philly

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    I would say it is because the one who does not choose to accept Christ is not open to the message or to the Spirit's call for one reason or another.

    Some people believe that all "religious stuff" is foolishness, and reject the message. Some just don't "get" all of our talk about spiritual matters, they only believe what they can see, and that is the plane on which they interpret everything.

    Now certainly how one was brought up or what experiences one has had can color the the amount of difficulty a person would have in responding to the Gospel. But nothing is impossible with God.
     
  3. psr.2

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    Quote; Let's assume for the sake of argument that the difference between a saved person and an unsaved person is that the saved person decided of his/her own free will to accept/believe/trust the Gospel.

    That is not an assumtion that is scriptual
    John 3:18 "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."

    Quote; Will an Arminian (or reasonable facsimile) please explain at least one reason WHY one person chooses to accept/believe/trust the Gospel and another does not? What differentiates the two? WHY does one choose to accept/believe/trust and another choose to reject/disbelieve/distrust the Gospel?

    Rom. 1:21 "Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened."

    John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
    45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.
    46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?
    47 He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.

    Need any more?
     
  4. npetreley

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    This is the same as my example of moving the question back one step. This simply leads to the question, "Why is one person open to the message and another not open?" You say "for one reason or another". That's EXACTLY what I'm asking! What's that one reason or another?

    Do you see how this answer differs from the one above? You have attributed the difference in difficulty to man's experiences or upbringing.

    I find it fascinating that you then credit God with the ability to overcome the differences.

    So what are you really saying God is doing? That God equalizes the differences that occure due to upbringing and environment, and then leaves the decision to their free will? If so, then that still leaves the question unanswered -- once they are "equalized", why does one person choose to belive, and another not?

    Or are you saying that with man, choosing salvation is impossible, but with God anything is possible?
     
  5. psr.2

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    Hello Npetreley. I'm here too. Any feedback on what I wrote?
     
  6. npetreley

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    This does not answer the question. The above statement says nothing about WHY one believes and another doesn't. It simply says that those who believe are not condemned, but those who do not believe are already condemned. It could just as easily have said "He that is 6' tall is not condemned, but he that is less than 6' tall is condemned already because he will not grow any taller."


    Not if you're arguing for the side of Calvinism! Those who belong to God hear God's words. Those who do not belong to God do not hear God's words. According to that passage, the difference between the two amounts to who owns you (or who is your father) - the devil or God. There's not even a hint of free will in that passage.
     
  7. psr.2

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    Romans 10:9-10 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
    10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

    The very fact that the word if is in the verse shows that there is choice.

    Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

    Whosoever means whosoever.
     
  8. npetreley

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    "If warm moist air collides with a cold front, convection will occur (clouds)." According to your reasoning, the very fact that the word "if" is in this statement means that the warm air chose to collide with the cold front of its own free will.

    And if means if. And none of these words require free will.

    "Whosoever is six feet or taller is usually better at playing basketball" does not involve free will just because the word "whosoever" appears in the sentence.

    "If you hit my toe with a hammer I will cry out in pain" does not involve free will just because the word "if" exists in the sentence.

    Regarldless, this is my last response to your attempts to derail these threads. My first post poses a question. If you want another response from me, then please attempt to answer it.
     
  9. Johnv

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    (pardon me while I put on my "advocatus diaboli" hat)

    OTOH, "If warm moist air collides with a cold front, convection will occur" and "If you hit my toe with a hammer I will cry out in pain" does also not infer election. These things simply involve cause and effect.
     
  10. psr.2

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    quote; "If you hit my toe with a hammer I will cry out in pain" does not involve free will just because the word "if" exists in the sentence.

    Screamimg is not mandatory. No force greater than you made you scream.
    Nice play on words followed up by a derailing accusation to make me look like the bad guy.

    You so nicely inserted "will scream" there to prove your point. But your point was built on sand.

    I have more than answered your original question and then you began to re- interpret the bible to make it say what you wanted it to.
    The proof is in black and white for all to see as long as the post is here.
     
  11. npetreley

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    I agree completely. The word "if" does not in any way confirm either election or free will. Neither do the words "whosoever" or "all". But I am continually amazed by how many advocates of free will make these three words the foundation of their doctrine.
     
  12. Skandelon

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    npetreley,

    Let me comment on the "whosoever" debate and then I'll answer your original question so as to get this back on topic.

    The reason we (Arminians) point toward the "whosoever believes" passages is because they list the one critera God has for whosoever (anyone). That critera is that they believe. Its not, "whosoever has been chosen by God, regenerated and then believes, its just "whosoever believes."

    Then Calvinists argue that only those who have been "chosen by God and regenrated" will believe, but that seems to undermine the intent of the word "whosoever."

    Its kind of like a father saying to his five children, "Whoever opens the door gets a prize." You would think that the "whoever" would mean anyone of the five children that he is addressing, right? Wrong. You find out later that the door is locked and the father only gave the key to one of the children who he had predetemined to recieve the prize. This realization would certainly bring some reproach upon the original statement of the father who seems to be inviting and even luring all the children to attempt opening the door. This is a natural objection and one that deserves answers. Calvinistic dogma has those answers but I don't believe scripture does because that is not an objection scripture affords.
     
  13. psr.2

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    quote from npetreley;
    "I agree completely. The word "if" does not in any way confirm either election or free will. Neither do the words "whosoever" or "all". But I am continually amazed by how many advocates of free will make these three words the foundation of their doctrine. "

    "IF" certainly does not mean mandatory.
    "If"
    "will" look at that word.
    Think about it, let it sink in deep.
     
  14. Skandelon

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    Now to your original question:

    Why does one man believe and another refuse?

    Is it because God is unwilling to save one or because the other is unwilling to be saved?

    What does scripture reveal?

    I believe it is safe to say that it is because of man's unwillingness to be saved, not God's unwillingness to save. So, now that we have established that God desired for both of these men to be saved and gave them both everything that they needed to be saved so that they stand in judgement without excuse, we can better answer your question.

    Since both men have been given everything they need to be saved it is now their responsiblity and thus they are held accountable. I believe the answer to this particular question is different with each man. Scripture indicates that it is difficult for rich men to be saved. Why? If God is doing everything why would it be any more difficult for the rich than the poor? The difficulty lies within the distractions of the will. The worldly lusts that mold and shape us affect our will. Scripture supports that concept throughout. So, the rich ruler might refuse because he considers the cost is too high.

    The unbeliever may have allowed his heart to grow hardened by this world. We are not born hardened, we become hardened. How? By continuely rejecting God's revealations and following the world's ways. We all have a conscience and it not born seered, it becomes seered.

    This is why Jesus teaches that we must become like a child to be fit for heaven. A child's heart is not seered and hardened like a man's heart could be. If a child is born hardened, why would Jesus set him as an example?

    To find an answer to your question answer this question. Why are some Christians better Christians than others? Why do you read your bible more and witness more than your Christian brother? Are you more spiritual? Are you smarter? Or did God save you better? Is God doing something in you that he didn't do in him? If so, is he not still responsible for his lack of obedience? Why are you rewarded in heaven, should God get the award since you really had nothing to do with it?

    The difference is the same. Choices. Responsiblity. Accoutablity. Influences. If you try to remove it from scripture it becomes senseless.
     
  15. npetreley

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    We all know what scriptures Arminians use to "prove" man has a choice. Since this thread begins with the assumption that man has the free will choice to accept or reject salvation, there's no need to debate that point here again and again.

    Your entire post amounts to the tautology I want to avoid. You are simply saying that some people choose X because they choose X, and some choose Y because they choose Y.

    If X is whatever decision that leads to salvation, and Y is whatever decision leads to rejection, tell me - what is it about the person who chooses X that inclines him to choose X? What is it about the person who chooses Y that leads that person to choose Y.

    (By the way, you are asking a similar question when you ask why some Christians are more "spiritual" than others, but you are not asking the same question. I will gladly answer that in another thread, and do so with scripture, if you will answer my question first, and do so without retreating into a tautology, or endlessly retreating backwards with answers like "because one is more inclined to seek God", which only leads to the question "what makes that person more inclined to seek God?".)
     
  16. npetreley

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    By the way, I apologize for not addressing this part of your response.

    First, are you saying that the difference boils down to external influence? In other words, one man chooses to believe because it is easier to beleive since he is poor, and another man chooses to disbelieve because it is more difficult to believe because he is rich?

    I want to be sure that's what you're saying before I address it.

    This is a whole 'nother question, and the answer to it depends on your answer to my above question.
     
  17. Skandelon

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    It boils down to eternal influences working with an individual who has a personality, desires, experiences that are all unique.

    Think about the question you are asking. It deals with many variables that influence decisions. A big part of it is the external influences...ie parents, friends, schooling etc. Another big part of it deals with how long one has been in the world rejecting God's revelation of himself.

    I would also say that the level of God's revelation makes a difference. Thomas saw Jesus and believed but blessed are they who don't see him and still believe. You've also got the rebuke of Christ dealing with the two cities that didn't repent being compared to the two ancient cities that would have repented when confronted with his signs and wonders. This shows that there are external influences that can determine ones acceptance. Jesus calls people to believe because of the miracles he performs. He knows that people are influenced by external means. Also, you've got the OT prophecy and Paul speaking about envy as being a provoker of the man's will so that they too might be saved. Wealth, signs and wonders, knowledge of the word, and even envy are all biblical examples of how man is externally influenced unto salvation.

    Some external influences clearly make it more difficult for one to be saved and some make it less difficult.

    There are others. You have men's conscience which scripture speaks about clearly as an influence of men's choices. This conscience is obviously able to be influenced by outside means and the choices a person makes.
     
  18. npetreley

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    Okay, since it is a matter of external influences, then let's take that example you posed about the rich man.

    23 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
    25 When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, "Who then can be saved?"


    His disciples really did get the bigger picture here. If it's THAT hard for a rich man to be saved, and EVERYONE has some issue or another to deal with, then who on earth can possibly be saved?

    26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, "With men this is impossible,

    There's your answer. NOBODY.

    but with God all things are possible."

    NOBODY unless God change their hearts, that is.

    The DIFFERENCE does not have anything to do with being rich or poor. With men, it is impossible, regardless of what their "stumbling block" may be. God makes all the difference.
     
  19. Hardsheller

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    Salvation is a divine event in a person's life by which that person is transformed from an alienated sinner into a child of the King.

    I was changed by a supernatural God who because of an intentional act of his grace and mercy sought me, revealed himself to me, and called me to follow Him as Savior and Lord. In the face of such overwhelming Holiness and Truth, I could do nothing else.

    Anything less than that is mere religion and this world has enough of that already.
     
  20. Hardsheller

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    Remember Zacchaeus?
     

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